10) Electrical Water Pageant--The Electrical Water Pageant is held nightly (weather permitting) on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. It has been around since the beginning of Walt Disney World. It inspired the creation of the Main Street Electrical Parade. The electric barges travel from one resort to another and can be viewed from the Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Fort Wilderness Marina. It is usually performed at nightfall, but times are subject to change (9 p.m. at the Polynesian Resort, 9:15 at the Grand Floridian, 10:15 at the Contemporary Resort and 10:25 near Magic Kingdom).
9) Fireworks--You don't always need a park ticket to see the fireworks at Disney. If you are a Disney Vacation Club member, you can go to the top of Bay Lake Towers to see The Wishes Fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. If you are not a DVC member, the same show can also be viewed from the Grand Floridian boat dock or Narcoossee's Restaurant, which receives the audio soundtrack so you can enjoy the fireworks synchronized to the music. You can also take a walk on the path that starts behind the Boardwalk's Atlantic Dance Hall to the back of Epcot or to Hollywood Studios where, if you time it right, you can enjoy the music and possibly catch a glimpse of IllumiNations or Fantasmic!
8) Explore other resorts--We take a bus ride or a ride on the monorail from a theme park to explore other resorts to determine where we may want to stay on future trips to Disney World. Our favorite adventure was when we took the monorail to the Grand Floridian when everything was decorated for Christmas. All of Disney World has spectacular decorations, but only this place has a ginger bread house in its lobby that is big enough for cast members to work out of. Kick back and watch a cast member decorate smaller versions of ginger bread houses, too!
7) Rent a golf cart at Fort Wilderness--Anyone over the age of 18 can rent a golf cart to explore the 700 acres of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort. The 4-person electric carts can be reserved for the day or for the week a year in advance by calling the Outpost at 407-824-2742.
6) Chip 'N Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long--Whether you choose to rent a golf cart at Fort Wilderness or not, plan on participating at the Chip 'N Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long! It's a nightly campfire celebration where the chipmunks will mingle in with the crowd most nights for photos. A Disney campfire just wouldn?t be complete without a classic Disney movie under the stars.
5) Polynesian's The Spirit of Aloha Show--The show is located in the Luau Cove at Disney's Polynesian Resort. The Spirit of Aloha Show brings you hula dancing, fire dancing and a dinner that is all you care to eat/family style, which translates to: Instead of walking up to get all you want at a buffet, your server brings you more when you ask for it. The price includes the show, tip, unlimited food and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, beer, wine and a tropical rum punch. Other alcoholic beverages may be purchased from the full bar. You can dress up or dress casual! Shorts are permitted at this show. Reservations are highly recommended and are paid in full at the time of booking by contacting 407-WDW-DINE or on-line at www.disneyworld.com. Disney Dining plan is accepted, but it does require 2 Table Service entitlements per person.
4) Sunset View At Animal Kingdom Lodge's Savanna--Behind the Animal Kingdom Lodge's lobby is a Savanna specifically designed for viewing at sunset. There are so many animals to see including giraffes, zebras, kudu and gazelles. Just be sure to bring your camera! At night, there are viewing times with night vision goggles. Take a look at reserving dinner at one of their restaurants on the same night you plan to enjoy the beautiful Savanna sunset.
3) Enjoy some downtime at poolside with a cocktail--Grab yourself a lounge chair at poolside and enjoy an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. Lounges can be found in Disney's Moderate and Deluxe resort hotels. I haven't experienced every resort, yet, but so far, my favorite was the outdoor lounge on the side of the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It's also where I tried my first Mai Tai. Yummy!
2) Go for a free boat ride--Take a Disney boat to visit the Epcot resorts. If you get on the boat that runs from Hollywood Studios to Epcot, you can get off at any Epcot resort along the way to explore. You can also take a boat from Port Orleans Riverside to Disney Springs. Remember, you can ride Disney buses without park admission, too.
1) Disney Springs--This has been my favorite for many, many years. I, actually, go out of my way to ensure a trip to Disney Springs is on our itinerary even though we have theme park tickets. You can easily spend an entire day there. If driving, parking is free! I don't go there to necessarily shop, either. I love to walk around and just....look. I love getting a margarita at the specialty margarita hut. I love the smell as you walk by Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. I love to see the live parrots and fake crocodile in front of the Rainforest Café. It's so cool to be walking around their gift shop while the lights dim; thunder and lightning appear making it feel like you are in a rain forest. Some of the best dining is at Disney Springs. If open, watch the interactive fountains in the Marketplace area. The Lego Imagination Center has a FREE 3,000 square foot outdoor play area. Don't forget to try to score a free piece of chocolate in the Chocolate Shop on the side of Ghirardelli!