When planning a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) you have many options that can juridically effect your stay. One of those being what resort you decide to stay at. Personally there was only one occasion that I did not stay at a WDW resort during a trip to Disney, and that was with a high school trip. In the other 50+ times I have made the trek to Florida I have stayed at resorts on property. In my opinion it truly is you best option when planning a WDW vacation, but thats for another blog…
What I want to talk about today is the hidden treasures that you will find while staying at a WDW Resort Hotel, or even just visiting one for the day. Whether you have prior knowledge of these things or not, they still may be something you would want to check out!
1) Tri-Circle-D Ranch
This first hidden treasure can be found at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, located a short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom or a leisurely walk away from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Tri-Circle-D Ranch is quite the site for young and old. Best part? It’s free to go to! While there are activities like carriage rides, horseback trail rides, and pony rides for little ones that the Ranch offers do cost money, checking out the barn is free of charge. You can meet Cinderella’s Carriage horses, the horses that stroll down MainStreet, USA, and even watch horses get tidied up and fitted for a new pair of horseshoes. We often stay at Wilderness Lodge and head over to Fort Wilderness during our stay. I remember going to the Ranch as a little girl and going on pony rides, walking around the barns, and checking out the Dragon Calliope that was once in a Disneyland Parade back in the 1950’s. I can assure you if you stop by Tri-Circle-D Ranch you won’t be disappointed, and you will be sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
2) Community Halls
Community Halls are quite the treasure found at only a select few WDW Resort Hotels; Disney’s Boardwalk, Disney’s Old Key West, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Bay Lake Tower, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. Please note that Bay Lake Tower (BLT) is an exclusively Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort. But whether you are staying at a resort that houses a community hall or just stopping by to see what they’re all about, you’re sure to find something that strikes your fancy. These Community Halls are decked out with activities, crafts, games, and more! You can go in a play the newest video game systems, or take a break from the sunshine to sit down and watch a movie, or head on in to color some coloring pages. Every day the cast members offer different crafts for a small cost like pillowcase coloring, Mickey tie-dye, and even ceramic painting! (And that’s not even skimming the surface of what they have to offer) Now many of the community halls offer ceramic painting everyday! Painting ceramics was and is my family’s favorite activity to do while at a Disney World Resort. And surprisingly it’s much cheaper than Color Me Mine and other ceramic painting places. If you are planning to paint ceramics just make sure you paint minimum 2-3 days before your departure so the cast members have time to fire your piece. At community halls you can also rent movies to take back to your room! Also, if you’re a DVC Member don’t forget to ask for a discount on paid activities!
3) Bike Riding
If you’ve ever been around Disney’s Boardwalk Resort or Fort Wilderness Campground, it’s likely you’ve seen guests riding bikes or surrey bikes. Over a dozen Disney Resorts offer bike rentals including Pop Century, Art of Animation, Port Orleans, and Caribbean Beach, just to name a few. It costs about $18 to rent a bike, discounts are available for DVC Members. They also offer children’s bikes, some with training wheels, as well as rear seats for little ones. Surrey bikes are available at 10 different resorts and prices differ on size; 2-seater, 4-seater, and 6-seaters are available.
4) Fitness Centers and New Balance Running Trails
For all the workout junkies out there, you won’t have to take a break from your workout schedule because of vacation. Multiple resorts offer fitness centers on site (Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary, Coronado Springs, and more!) however you do have to be a guest at that resort to use their fitness center. But for those of you who are at a resort that do not offer a fitness center — fear not! There are plenty of walking/jogging/running trails offered on Disney property. Just a few of the resorts that offer them are All-Star Resorts, Art of Animation Resort, Pop-Century Resort, Boardwalk, and Wilderness Lodge. Ask a cast member for maps that offer distances and paths at your front desk.
I hope you enjoyed discovering some of these little treasures hidden around the Walt Disney World Resorts. If there is anything I didn’t mention feel free to comment down below what little hidden activities you enjoy on your WDW vacations!
*disclaimer: none of the pictures used in this post are mine, nor do I take credit for them*