We frequent Disney resorts as often as possible. Each year we plan 2-4 Disney resort stays with our toddlers and they love it so much they beg for specific resorts by name! One of the biggest things I stress when it comes to staying on Disney property is to make the most of it! The amenities on property and perks for the toddlers are so wonderful you don’t have to leave the resort. We recently stayed at Art of Animation (again) and only left the property once for a theme park adventure. Earlier this summer we stayed in a cabin at Fort Wilderness and NEVER made it to the theme parks, how wild is that? Here are a few ways to make the most of a Disney resort stay with toddlers!
Enjoy the Lobby and Gift Shop at Disney World Resorts
The gift shops on Disney properties are such fun and themed around the resort you’re staying at. There are items you won’t find at any other store at specific resorts. We let the boys try on hats and explore the shops for “vacation treasures” which means 1 item they get to take home from that trip. Outside of the themed gift shops, we let our boys take over the lobbies too. Disney does not skip details when it comes to the resort lobbies. Each lobby is uniquely themed with fun decorative touches throughout. From grand chairs to wood carvings at the Wilderness Lodge to the large colorful bird at Coronado Springs my boys love telling me all the things they see. Gift shop and lobby exploring is a great way to pass time when waiting for a dining reservation too.
Visit Disney World Resort Pools
Disney pools are the best pools around! Each pool area has a kid-friendly area as well. From kid slides to splash pads the resorts do pools right. If the entire family enjoys the larger pool area you’re in for a treat there too. The larger pools are themed with slides and fun events. Be sure to see when the poolside trivia, dance parties, or pool games are happening on the property you’re staying at. The snacks poolside are fun too, so don’t miss out on the pool bars for epic Disney snacking and drink-sipping in true vacation style.
If you aren’t sure which pool to pick read The Best Disney World Resort Pools.
Hang Out in the Room
We spend time just relaxing in the rooms. Just because you’re on a Disney property doesn’t mean you have to go go go. Relaxing is what vacations and staycations are all about! We sometimes let the kids watch the Disney channel in their room/area and we play cards and cook. A family in-room movie night is fun too! This is the time to let the kids jump on the bed and order room service.
Make Dining Reservations
Most resorts offer restaurants and these are unique to the resorts. If it’s in the budget, make a dining reservation for the family on the property or one close by. I’ve mentioned Trattoria al Forno before, this is a Disney boardwalk resort dining option but if you’re staying at the Beach Club or Yacht Club you’re just a short walk away from it as well. Take time to research the local eats and close by eats to add an extra bit of pizzaz to your vacation. During our summer trip to Fort Wilderness, we stopped at Trails End buffet after seeing the animals and loved it!
Watch the Fireworks from the Resort
I’ve yet to stay at a Disney resort that didn’t offer some sort of view of the fireworks. During a stay at the Contemporary resort we were on the back side and didn’t have a great view of the fireworks BUT you could hear the soundtrack clearly. The boys enjoyed playing with their bubbles on the balcony while we sang along to the music. Get unique with how you watch the fireworks and evening shows even if it’s from your resort room doorway or you have to walk to the resort lobby for a better viewing option.
Take advantage of the Resort Movie Nights
Each night the resorts play a movie under the stars. If you’re not sure where the movie will be played ask the front desk for directions. We’ve watched movies on the lawn at Port Orleans French Quarter and poolside at Art of Animation. At the All Stars Movie resort we caught a movie without even planning to on our way to get an evening snack from the food court area.
Consider a Disney World Resort Fun Run
Several Disney resorts offer a fun run for all ages. I’ve taken the kids in a jogging stroller a handful of times. The resort fun runs typically cost $10-$20 and you get a gift and medal at the finish. At the French Quarter resort, you get beignets! I’ve also finished the Boardwalk fun run and received a cute pin and free drink. These runs are not timed and typically 2 miles long; they’re short and easily enjoyed by all family members. These fun runs occur on specific days so check with your resort to see if it’s offered and what day of the week.
Take a Stroll to Explore all of the Resort Property
We find new unique spots at resorts we have visited more than five times on exploratory strolls! The kids like spotting things like hidden Mickey’s and vibrant colored buildings. A stroll around the Port Orleans Riverside resort might be my favorite. It has views of the beautiful grounds and walkway that connects it to the Port Orleans French Quarter. This is a great time to point out the architecture, take cute family photos, and see what other amenities available that you might have missed. We paused during a stroll to rent surrey bikes last minute and it created one of our best (and funniest) resort stay memories.
Disney resorts bring life to toddlers and they feel like they’re at the Magic Kingdom without having to step foot in it. While theme park visits tend to be a must during resort stay visits, there’s still plenty of things to do on Disney property when you’re away from the parks too! From value resorts to deluxe level Disney resorts there’s so much on explore and enjoy on Disney World property with toddlers.
You can find me pushing a double stroller through the magic most days.
I’m a toddler boy mom that has a passion for Florida living and all things Disney! As a Florida native and self proclaimed Disney staycation pro, I look forward to guiding you through the magic.