Stranded at Walt Disney World and Loving It
Irene put an unfortunate damper on my plans last weekend, as she did for so many up and down the East Coast. While my husband stayed to look after the house, my mom and I evacuated with my two small children to a hotel about three hours away. It was a lovely hotel but it was selected for its availability and its distance from my house – not for its thriving tourist center or local attractions. Trying to find inexpensive, local activities to pass the time with the kids was a challenge.
Lying in dark room waiting for a two-year old to fall asleep gives you a lot of time to think. What if I were stranded at Walt Disney World instead? What could I do with the kids outside the theme parks (with an eye on budget)? Here are some of my half-day ideas.
Fishing at Port Orleans Riverside. Amid all the wonderful hustle and bustle of the Walt Disney World resort there is a quiet, tranquil fishin’ spot. For $5 a pole for 30 minutes, including bait, try your hand at catching bass.
Shop. There are stores for every age and interest – from sports to toys and even for left-handed guests! My kids could spend an hour in Once Upon a Toy alone, playing at the Mr. Potato Head station or having LEGO car races outside the LEGO store. Both are free. Me – I’m the sentimental sort where the kids are concerned so I would spend $16 each to have their hand prints turned into a unique design at Hand Art Memories.
Earl of Sandwich. Earl of Sandwich is a great value. The sandwiches are large, delicious, and well-priced. I was intimidated by the lines at this eatery for years and avoided it. I was so wrong. The ordering process is very efficient and quick and it’s now on my must-do list for every visit to Downtown Disney.
Back to Nature
Monorail. A trip to Walt Disney World with our family wouldn’t be complete without a monorail ride so we would start with a ride on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop and exit at the Magic Kingdom
Fort Wilderness. A boat from the Magic Kingdom would take us to Fort Wilderness where the kids would blow off steam at the playground. Next up would be pony rides and if we were hungry, lunch at Trails’ End Restaurant which has delicious fried chicken.
Wilderness Lodge. A boat launch would take us to Wilderness lodge for Magic Cookie Hour so the boys could decorate their own cookie. A look at the geyser would complete the outing for us.
Down at the Boardwalk
Surrey Bike Ride. Late afternoon would find us trying our hand at one of the surrey bikes on the Boardwalk. I know the kids would get a kick out of ringing the bell warning unsuspecting guests that we were on the move.
Sand Pail Meal. The sand pail meal saved our night on a recent trip. We grabbed two kids’ meals from Hurricane Hanna’s which were served in sand buckets with shovels, some food for the grown-ups, and found a quiet spot to have a picnic on the beach outside the Beach Club resort. The kids played happily in the sand while my husband and I relaxed.
Ice Cream. A “day” at the beach wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream cone from either Beaches & Cream Soda Shop or the Fountain.
Campfire Sing-along and Movie on Beach. To top the night off, we would stay for the campfire sing-along outside the Beach Club, roast marshmallows, and watch the outdoor movie.
When in doubt with small kids, feed them and chances are they’ll be happy campers. To while away the morning, try having a snack crawl – stopping at different resorts for a signature snack and checking out the playgrounds while you’re there.
I would start with Tonga Toast from Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort and then hop the monorail to the Magic Kingdom where I would pick up a bus to either Pop Century for their tie-dyed cheesecake or Port Orleans for beignets. So what if it’s still morning – you can’t go wrong with fried tough or a hunk of brightly colored cheese.
Now that we’re properly fed, we’d be ready for the trip to Downtown Disney for one of Cookes of Dublin’s Doh-Bars, a chocolate candy bar wrapped with dough and fried. Yum.
It’s time for our last bus ride to the Grand Floridian for afternoon tea. For only $12, the kids would enjoy the Mrs. Potts Tea with chocolate milk, small kid-favorite sandwiches, and a pastry or two.
*I feel compelled to state that I never feed my kids so many snacks in one morning but desperate times (ie, being stranded) sometimes call for desperate measures
How would you pass the time at Walt Disney World and spending it in the theme parks doesn’t count!
This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival. Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.
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