Walt Disney World – Great Places to Explore Outside the Parks

There are lots of magical little corners of the World to be found outside the hustle and bustle of the parks.  Today I want to talk about a few of our favorites.

Walt Disney World – Great Places to Explore Outside the Parks

The walkway between the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian Village Resorts – For us, this is a must-do anytime we’ve dined at Citricos or Narcoossee’s.  We’ll walk off our dinner with a stroll from the Grand Floridian to the Poly.  It’s a beautiful, peaceful way to end the evening.  If we time it right, we can stop on the boat dock at the Polynesian and watch the Electrical Water Pageant go by.  Disney World's Electrical Water PageantOnce we arrive at the Polynesian, we’ll catch the monorail back to Magic Kingdom for a resort bus if we’re not staying in that area.  If we’re staying at Bay Lake Tower (more likely than not), we’ll take the monorail home.  

Fort Wilderness – This is one of my favorite places in the World and we’ve never stayed there!  Sure, the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review is a draw for many, but the entire resort is incredibly interesting.  Feels like no place else at Walt Disney World and has the added bonus of being the home of the Tri-Circle-D Ranch!  We got to explore the ranch’s horse barn during our Wilderness Back Trail Adventure Segway Tour (highly recommend!).  While we were there, we also took the time to visit the gift shop (very cool!) and explore the resort.  If you’re looking for something different, consider either the Segway Tour or a carriage ride or horseback riding at the ranch.    The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World

Disney’s Boardwalk – A great place to explore anytime of the day, but evening is when the Boardwalk really comes alive.  Live performers like mimes and magicians, lounges for a pre-dinner cocktail, ice cream, snacks, and more.  It took us years (and years!) to visit the Boardwalk for the first time and now that we know what’s there, we visit an almost every trip to the World.  We especially love the Flying Fish Café for a nice dinner and the AbracadaBar for a well-themed libation stop.  

Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Savannah Overlook – If you’ve never taken the time to visit Animal Kingdom Lodge, you need to squeeze it in on your next visit.  The place is spectacular and, you know, ANIMALS!  It’s very cool to step out of the lobby and check out the wildlife.  Whether you’re at Jambo House or the Kidani Village area of Animal Kingdom, there’s a lot to see.  We try to go over in the late afternoon straight from Disney’s Animal Kingdom (park) to see the sights and maybe enjoy an adult beverage at the Victoria Falls Lounge.  If we can add dinner at Boma, Sanaa, or Jiko…all the better!  Tip:  If you only have time for a snack, visit Sanaa after you check out the savannah at Kidani Village and order their famous Indian-Style Bread Service!  You won’t be sorry.

When you’re at Disney World, where are your favorite places to visit outside the parks?

Walt Disney World Mid-Vacation Check-in

Cinderella Castle at NightWith just a couple of days left to enjoy this week at Walt Disney World, I thought I’d post a quick update about how it’s been going…

What a GREAT time we’re having!  Everyday has been packed with fun – even though, by our usual vacation standards, we’ve been really taking it easy and going with the flow.  We’re trying a lot of things for the first time and revisiting some old favorites.  Mostly, we’ve been staying in the moment, stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.  This is what has certainly made our first trip as a couple in 25 years extremely special!

Here are 5 things that we’ve learned so far:

1. Animal Kingdom is experiencing some major growing pains and construction walls are Dawa Bareverywhere.  Even so, we had a wonderful afternoon there on Saturday – saw some amazing things even – like BOTH of the new baby gorillas and a cast member feeding the Meerkats by hand.  We enjoyed Kilimanjaro Safari in the late afternoon nearly as much as we usually do first thing in the morning.  We also spent a delightful and relaxing few minutes enjoying a cocktail at the Dawa Bar.

2. The road from Jambo House to Kidani Village is paved with….lizards.  We counted 31 along and on the walkway on our way to Sanaa.  Every great thing we’ve heard about Sanaa was true!  We had a great dinner and the bread service?  Just amazing!!!

Path from Jambo House to Kidani Village3. Excitement is in the air at the Studios.  You can feel changes coming and while it’ll be a little sad to see original attractions make way for new ones, the park needs some TLC and we will welcome the changes with open arms.  We saw the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular just in case it’s next on the chopping block and you know what?  I loved it as much as I did the first time I ever saw it.

4. Citrico’s (table service, Grand Floridian) has got to be one of the most underrated dining experiences on Disney property.  Everything from the atmosphere to the service to the fantastic food was perfect.  We can’t wait to go back.

5. The Food and Wine Festival at Epcot is a big bunch of fun.  We made friends everywhere we stopped.  We haven’t disliked a single thing we’ve tried so far and I can’t wait to rank everything when we’re finished.  Brazil’s Crispy Pork Belly – To. Die. For.  We started off sharing everything we tried, but by the time we reached the Brazil kiosk, we knew better than to try to share that porcine delicacy!  You don’t stayed married for 25 years without perfecting certain strategies.  We strongly recommend at least one serving per person to keep the peace.

Well…I hate to cut this short, but our ADR at California Grill is in about 40 minutes and that’s barely enough time for me to get gussied up a bit.  I’ll be back home in a few days with reviews, tips and tricks, loads of pictures, and much more about our trip.  I’ll leave you with this picture of me…well, technically not me, but certainly how I felt I must have looked after our first afternoon in World Showcase sampling all the tasty offerings at the Food & Wine Festival.  If most of the pictures in this post appear sideways to you, my sincerest apologies – taken with my new iPhone 6, I’m having a super hard time getting them to appear correctly.  I’ll be working on that!

Country Bear Portrait