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Any tips on what to do outside of the parks?

by Gustavo

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“Hi Dad, first I love your blog, it’s really helpful.

I’m planing on going on early September 2019 (its my birthday) and I have two questions:

Is there a special extra for folks celebrating their birthday?

And I’m planing on going with my girlfriend 5 nights and 6 days (1st to 6th) but we’re only buying tickets for 4 days, I know you can go hotel hopping to just explore the magical land of Disney but we’re staying at the All Star Sports, can we still get to the other hotels? are there any tips you have to enjoy a day at Disney World without entering a park?


Birthday Celebrations

A Happy Birthday button held up in front of Cinderella Castle

Be sure to get a Happy Birthday button – Photo by Rich Ramos

Hi Gustavo,

Congratulations on your trip. It sounds like fun.

Let’s talk about those birthday celebrations first. No, Disney does not have a big birthday party, or anything like that for those who celebrate birthdays. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything for you.

You might have seen that Disney gives out buttons for people to wear that celebrate events in their lives. One of those buttons is a Happy Birthday button. Be sure to get one (you can get them at your Disney hotel, or at the parks. Just ask any Cast Member and they will tell you where you can get one.

When you are wearing that button, Magical things have been known to happen. Special desserts at restaurants, Cast Members moving you into FastPass lines, getting into the park before everyone else, and a lot of people telling you Happy Birthday.

There’s no guarantee that something extra will happen, but especially going in September, the odds are pretty good.

What to do outside the parks

Check out the animals on the Savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge like this giraffe

Visiting the Animal Kingdom Lodge offers some SPECTACULAR views – Photo by Laurie Sapp

There is a LOT to do outside of the parks. You could probably spend a week at WDW never stepping into the parks and not see everything.

Let’s start with Resort hopping. Yes, you can go to any of the resorts (you just can’t swim in the pools) and explore. The Deluxe Resort are really fun to explore. My favorites are Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

At Wilderness Lodge you can see Fire Rock Geyser a “working” geyser go off on the hour most of the day. There’s even a Quick Service restaurant right by the geyser where you can grab a meal or a drink and enjoy the show. There’s also the Carolwood Pacific Train Room that has some nice memorabilia from Walt’s love of trains.

Just walking around the Wilderness Lodge is pretty awesome.

At Animal Kingdom Lodge there are places where you can go out and watch the animals on the Savannah. You might find a giraffe or two, a gazelle or maybe even an impala. There’s usually a Cast Member around to point out the animals and tell you a little about each.

Other things to see

Some of the projections at the World of Disney Store in Disney Springs

The projections at the World of Disney are pretty cool – Photo by Courtney Reynolds

Oh we’re just getting started.

After you are done with the resorts, or before, you might want to check out Disney Springs. Disney Springs is a mile long shopping and entertainment area. There are over 100 shops, restaurants, and entertainment options at Disney Springs.

You can go bowling, watch a movie, ride in an amphicar (a car that goes in the water), go up in a “hot air balloon” and get a birds eye view of Walt Disney World, and that’s just for starters.

Just walking through the stores is an experience. The newly designed World of Disney store is pretty awesome and has a bunch of new projection shows that you’ll want to check out.

Oh, and there is live entertainment always going on especially in the evenings.

In addition to Disney Springs, there’s the Boardwalk area where you can enjoy a slice of pizza as you walk down the old fashioned Boardwalk. In the evenings the Boardwalk comes alive. There will be street performers, bicycle riders (family size bicycles), and some fun entertainment in the adult establishments at the end of the Boardwalk.

We’re not done yet. There’s also some incredible golf courses and fun mini-golf courses. There’s usually something happening at the Wide World of Sports Complex. You can go fishing in the lakes. Or you can just jump on a bus, boat, or monorail and just people watch.

Oops, I almost forgot the water parks. In September, you really may want to spend a day at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. They are incredible water parks and a welcome relief from the heat of September.

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Gustavo, I’ve been to Walt Disney World over 20 times and I still haven’t seen everything there is to see. It’s a huge place with entertainment everywhere. Inside the parks and out. You’ll have plenty to do the two days outside the parks.

Be sure to grab that Birthday button as soon as you can and wear it for the whole trip. You never know what might happen.

Have a great birthday trip.


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Comments for

Nov 09, 2018 My favorite non-park activity
by: Filmurf

Everytime time we visit Disney World we take a boat ride from Disney Springs on the Sassagoula River to Port Orleans – Riverside.

The boat ride is about 20 minutes long and really takes you behind the scenes at WDW. You pass resorts, golf courses and the Tree House Villas. We often see Florida wildlife. We have seen a bobcat, alligators, hawks, and an osprey. Once we arrive at Port Orleans we head straight to Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory for a delicious bignet and coffee.

The bignet and the architecture remind us so much of Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. The resort is super relaxing and quiet. A short walk to Port Orleans-Riverside takes you to a most impressive cotton press run by a huge water wheel in the Riverside Mill Food Court. The relaxing boat ride takes us back to Disney Springs to finish the day.

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