I used to think it was crazy if people went to Disney and didn’t go into the parks. As the years went on, and hotels became just as much Disney to me as the parks, I realized it’s not so bad. But only for a day.
If I cannot stay on property (usually this is only when hotels are sold out, or my park tickets have expired and I can’t afford it) my hotel of choice is the Buena Vista Palace. It’s located within walking distance to Downtown Disney, usually offers a hotel credit or breakfast, and even has a spa! Although I haven’t tried it yet.
This is not something I do often, especially if I’m able to spend more than one day.
Some non-Disney Diz tips:
*Visit downtown Disney! You can shop, eat, check out Cirque Du Soleil or DisneyQuest. The Pleasure Island area is good for walking around, although they are undergoing changes. One thing that remains is Raglan Road. This is a great Irish restaurant, good for the food, entertainment and drinks.
*Plan your meals at Disney hotels. Most hotels offer character dining options (especially for breakfast). The restaurants at the hotels often match up with the theme of the hotel (ie: Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club, Ohana’s at the Polynesian, etc).
*Want to see Wishes or Illuminations from outside of the park? My favorite spot for Wishes (besides right in front of the castle) is at the California Grill at the Contemporary Resort. You can head up there for dinner or drinks and dessert. From there you have a great view from inside the restaurant, or even better, a rooftop viewing option right outside for the fireworks! They also pipe through the music from the show into the restaurant, this way you don’t miss out on the experience! Illuminations is a little tougher. Alot of the show happens on the water, which can only be seen from inside the park. But if you’ve seen it before, and are just waiting for the fireworks portion I suggest watching it from the bridge connecting Beach Club and Boardwalk. Many already know about this tip, so it can get crowded quickly, make sure to allow yourself enough time.
-By now it’s not a secret that I love Beaches and Cream. When possible, I like to squeeze in two trips. One for a burger, fries and chocolate milkshake. Another for a No Way Jose (with all chocolate ice cream).
If I’m going to Disney, there’s no doubt I want to be in the parks. But for the random times I can’t, it’s nice to know I can still get a Disney experience!