Kids Just Wanna Have Fun (Outside the Parks at Walt Disney World)

3 free things your young kids will want to do at Walt Disney World.

Not Everything that Your Kids Will Want to Do Will Cost You Money

Everyone knows that the Disney Parks are the big draw for any kid on a Walt Disney World vacation, but what about time spent outside the Parks?

Many parents are surprised when their kids tell them they’ve had enough of the Parks for the day (usually after four or five hours of walking and waiting). It’s then that your kids will tell you exactly what they want to do to have fun at Walt Disney World.

The best part? Most of these popular pastimes at Walt Disney World are free.

Sunset at the Grand Floridian Splash pad

Sunset over the splash pad at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Three things your kids will want to do when they need a break from the Disney Parks

1. Swimming in the Resort pool or playing in the splash pad

One of the great things about Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts and Villas is that they all have some pretty great pools. And many of them have multiple pools.

There are water slides, pool deck games (with lots of free prizes), poolside crafts in some places, dance parties and more. Plus, there are often quiet pools (no music or pool games) where kids are still quite welcome. And usually there are pool bars at all of them so that moms and dads can relax a little too.

Most pool areas also have an elaborate Disney-themed splash pad nearby and many have whirlpool hot tubs.

So if your kids tell you that they want to go back to the Resort to play in the pool, let them. It doesn’t mean they don’t like the Parks, it just means they’re tired and need to have some unstructured fun. This is one of the benefits of staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort after all, so it’s well worth it to go with the flow.

2. Playing in a playground

Some Walt Disney World Resorts also have playgrounds. Even though your kids are on a Disney vacation, they will still appreciate being able to play freely in ways that they cannot inside the Disney Parks (although all parks do have playgrounds in them, so keep an eye out). Older kids will appreciate resorts with basketball courts, beach volleyball, tennis and more.

Lobby Bridge at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

A bridge over a stream in a hotel lobby can be quite appealing to children. This one at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is always quite popular with the younger ones.

3. Exploring in the Resort hotel lobby

This one may seem a little odd, but I see it so often that it’s worth mentioning.

Kids love to play in the lobbies of Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts. And it’s not really hard to see the appeal when you think about it.

The lobbies of hotels such as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example, are just begging for someone to explore them. They are big, spacious and full of areas for imagination creation. What else could any kid ask for? Plus, just about every Deluxe Disney Resort hotel lobby has a special area for kids to watch Disney cartoons on kid-size chairs.

On a rainy afternoon in particular, any kid can have a lot of fun in a big and interesting hotel lobby (while mom and dad browse the shops or sip a cocktail in a cozy club chair).

Goofy's Barnstormer, Disney's Magic Kingdom

After many hours in the parks, it may be time for a break for your younger kids. Pictured: Goofy’s Barnstormer kids coaster.

Free Fun is a Great Balance for Park Fun

Disney Parks are magical places, but everyone needs a little break now and then. Time away from the Parks is needed to recharge the batteries (for both you and your kids). This is especially true for younger kids, ages three to nine.

When you hit the wall in a Disney Park there’s no need to try to push through it. That’s when you’ll be really glad that you are staying close by at a Disney Deluxe Resort. This is where your kids can be kids without lines, waiting or making their way through crowds. And parents can relax a little too.

I can’t tell you how often I hear from parents who return from a Walt Disney World vacation and say “all the kids wanted to do was swim in the hotel pool.” Of course they don’t really mean that that’s all they wanted to do, but they do mean that when they hit their daily limit of Park time, they couldn’t wait to get back to the Resort to hit the pool.

And this is a good thing.

I often write about a Walt Disney World vacation being about more than just spending all your time on the parks. The pools at Disney Deluxe Resorts are magical places for kids (and parents too). So it’s important to allow yourself the luxury of spending some family fun time just hanging around the pool or the Resort and having fun.

Interested in Planning a Family Vacation to Walt Disney World?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel