Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Exploring Your Disney Resort

This post was originally featured on MouseBuzz.

One of the most overlooked opportunities for making memories on your Disney vacation is to spend time exploring your resort.

At every price point, your Disney resort offers great opportunities for family time. Many people miss what’s offered right outside your hotel room door, in an effort to spend every waking moment at the parks. Of course, going to the park is the main reason you visit Walt Disney World. But you can really miss out on some amazing memories if you don’t take the chance to stop and enjoy your resort.

In your travel documents, there is more to see than just your luggage tags. Really! There are some great discounts available in that package, and few people actually put them to use. I recently stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – my “home away from home”. And rather than plan day after day at the parks, I made sure that we had plenty of down time to put those discount coupons to use. And boy, am I glad that I did!

One of the discounts we used was the coupon for the water sports. We chose to use our coupon on the Sea Raycers, also known as “Water Mice”. These adorable two-seater mini-speedboats can be rented by the half-hour or hour, and piloted out on the Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake. My daughter (9 years old) and I were in one boat, and my husband took his 11-year-old daughter in the other with him. We put the 9.9 horsepower motors on the boats to work as we zoomed around the Lagoon. We didn’t really time our trip, but we spent a half-hour on the open water. The cost was quite reasonable, especially with the 15% discount voucher. Both girls really enjoyed the excursion, and they both asked to do it again. I’d say that was a “win”.

Another discount we used was the arcade discount. My family is “that family” … we often have wars over the Galaga machine at arcades, and we weren’t disappointed with the selection of fun games at the Polynesian’s arcade. Granted, the discount coupon in the book wasn’t of much value (100 points was only four rounds of Galaga), but it was still a free bit of gaming. And we wouldn’t really have sought out the arcade otherwise.

Have you ever considered having an adults-only dinner while at Walt Disney World? There is a discount coupon for the Child Activity Centers (also known as “child care”) in your documents as well. My girls were guests of the Neverland Club while my husband and I enjoyed a delicious and romantic dinner at Narcoossee’s. The price for competent and safe child care while at Disney was excellent, and the discount voucher made it an even better value. My girls had such a great time at the Club that they asked to go back a second time. As a result, my husband and I had a second delicious and amazing dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse. I can highly recommend this service, because the kids have as much fun as the adults do.

Finally, another often-missed opportunity for family fun is the nightly movie held at most resorts. Many of the resorts have a large inflatable movie screen, and if your resort has a beach, it can often be found there at night. Check out the Resort Guide given to you at check-in for times and movie selections. It’s a great chance to grab a snack at the counter service location on-site (or an adult beverage for the grown ups), and watch a great movie with your family to end the day.

I hope that I’ve given your family some new things to try while at Walt Disney World … and some new ways to Let The Memories Begin!


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