Hi. I have a question.

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Joined: 05/07/2014
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Hi. I have a question.

My name is Terry. My wife has been wanting for the two of us to schedule a trip to Disneyworld. I've been trying to understand the appeal and someone pointed me to this website.

What my wife wants is a vacation that doesn't involve going to the amusement park, but only staying at one of the hotels. Now I've always seen hotels as a place to sleep when visiting somewhere else. The idea of vacationing just to go to a hotel is strange to me. So my question would be, what is it about the hotels at Disneyworld that would have such strong appeal?

Thanks in advance for any answers.

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Hi Terry,

That is a pretty loaded question in this group.

I think you may want to start with the things you like to do. WDW has so many different resorts with so many different things to do that we could talk for weeks on the topic.

There is something to astound everyone at WDW, and I'm very excited that you came to find out clapping

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There are many great Disney resorts, with great food, pools, hot tubs, shops, and many more amenities. But you can find those amenities at many upscale resorts around the country. The main appeal of a Disney world resort are all the extra perks you get at the 4 Disney parks. Extra magic hours, free transportation to the parks, at some resorts you get the free dining plan, and there are many more perks to staying at a Disney world resort. But if you don't plan on going to any of the 4 parks, you won't benefit from most of those special perks.

I'm sure some people can stay at a Disney world resort, never go to any parks, and have a wonderful time. I just could NEVER do that. I love the parks way too much!

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I can't imagine staying at a Disney resort and being so close to the parks and not going eek However, I am a Disney World addict laugh

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Spook wrote:
I can't imagine staying at a Disney resort and being so close to the parks and not going eek However, I am a Disney World addict laugh

I know - I can't make 1/2 day there without hopping a park bus, or 2, or 3..... mickey

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You definitely want to focus on what Disney calls 'Deluxe Resorts'. I would recommend looking at the Grand Floridian, The Wilderness Lodge, The Polynesian, and The Animal Kingdom Lodge (just my personal choices).

There are some world-class restaurants, great pools, spas, and a myriad of specialty activities at each. the best part is that you can stay at one resort and travel to the others to take advantage of much that they have to offer. If you want some nightlife, you can get to Downtown Disney from your resort as well. In addition, two golf courses, and the world outside 'The World' in Orlando are just a short ride away.

Spend some time on the Disney World site and see what each resort holds for you. Good luck!

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You can't go wrong at a Disney resort. Unique theming, great restaurants, amazing pools, and lots of other great benefits. I would never stay off site again. The resorts carry the same magic and pixie dust as the parks. I have to say I love the deluxe resorts best especially Wilderness Lodge but the moderate and value are great also.

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Check out the different resort categories: value, moderate, deluxe. It sounds like your wife if wanting a deluxe experience. For this, you will pay a premium, depending on what time of year you visit.

Now, you both say you/she doesn't want to visit the amusement parks. Disney is so much more than that. If you like learning about different cultures, you could both spend a day walking around the world showcase in EPCOT, visiting various countries around the world, learning their culture and foods. You could do this and never step foot on an attraction.

I would also visit Disney's website and look at hotels, parks, events, etc. Do you like food and wine? There is a festival for that. Like flowers and gardens? Guess what? There is a festival for that too! There is so much to do.

Everyone on this forum loves Disney and has many experiences to share with great knowledge! I hope we can help you! mickey

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As others have said, there's lots to do at Walt Disney World that doesn't involve any of the four major parks. There's also a lot more stuff for adults in the parks than you or your wife realize.

But if the wife really wants a Disney experience without the parks, may I suggest a Disney cruise? I've never done one, but it sounds like a great way to get some Disney time without ever bothering with parks.

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I'm in agreement with all of the above. I personally would have a really hard time being that close and not going to any of the parks, but that's just me. We went to Fort Meyers last Thanksgiving and it was so painful being even in Florida and not going to any of the parks! However, there is a ton to do at the resorts and the great thing about Disney is that you're not just limited to the specific resort you are staying at. I would absolutely recommend going deluxe if you're going to be spending that much time at your hotel, and I'd probably go with either Yacht Club or Beach Club simply for the amazing pool (assuming you like to swim), plus you are right across the water from some awesome nightlife at the Boardwalk. You also don't need park tickets to go to Downtown Disney that has awesome restaurants, shopping, a movie theater, bowling, mini golf, etc.

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Hi Terry!

Welcome to our forums. There are many, many wonderful things to do at Walt Disney World that don't include hitting a theme park and lots of folks have great vacations that way! For me personally, when I'm not going to have much (or any) Park time I want to make sure that I'm at a Disney Deluxe Resort. These are mostly AAA Four Diamond properties that offer large well appointed rooms, full service amenities and highly themed environments with meticulous details through every nook and cranny. In addition, some of the best of Disney's dining is located at the resort properties.

Transportation - Staying at a Disney Resort Hotel provides guests with complimentary transportation to and from Orlando International Airport via Disney's Magical Express. Also included is complimentary transportation around the Walt Disney World property via bus, boat, and monorail. For many guests the freedom of not having to rent a car, or worry about how to get around, or how many cocktails you can drink at diner is a big benefit.

Amenities - Disney Deluxe resorts all offer luxurious pool spaces, hot tubs, pool bars, gift shops, massage centers or full salon spas, fitness centers, free wi-fi, private dining, relaxing lounges and multiple restaurants. Some of them offer special tours of the things that make a specific resort special, tours of the kitchens, wine tastings, free live entertainment, walking paths, boat and bicycle rentals. If you are staying in one of the Magic Kingdom area resorts, you also have the Electric Water Pageant and usually someplace to get a view of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge even has its own African style savanna with live animals. In addition WDW Resort guests get a discount at the WDW Golf Courses.

Downtown Disney - Located on WDW property, but not within a Park is the Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment area. This area (which you can hop of a bus from your hotel to get to) includes many themed retail boutiques, great restaurants, live entertainment, an AMC movie theater, tethered balloon ride, luxury bowling alley, and plays host to some special events throughout the year.

Taking a Walt Disney World resort vacation without hitting the theme parks is not only possible, but it can be a fun and relaxing getaway as well. These aren't the Comfort Inn down the road hotels, they are destination properties and the overall WDW resort offers more than a full vacations worth of things to do, even without hitting the parks.

Do you know if your wife has a particular hotel that she wants to stay at?

My favorites for a non-park vacation are the Grand Floridian (because of its central location and the most amenities, activities, and transportation options) and Animal Kingdom Lodge (because of the animals, restaurants, and it has my favorite pool).

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I understand the feeling of "Not doing an amusement park" but Disney parks can also mean a great deal of entertainment. There are wonderful shows (The Festival of the Lion King and The Birds of Flight at AK just to mention two). You don't have to be on a ride and still enjoy the adventures of shows at MK like The Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, Mickey's Philharmagic, and so many more.

If you aren't doing the parks, I agree that you may look at Deluxe resorts and possibly Downtown Disney for some entertainment.

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If Downtown Disney or golf are appealing to you, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West are excellent options. Both have boat transportation to Downtown Disney (infinitely more fun than the also-provided bus transportation) and are adjacent to the Lake Buena Vista Golf course.

For the same transportation options at a lower cost, Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter are also lovely. At Riverside, there are horse drawn carriage rides available. (Double check that before booking because some of the equestrian options have changed at other resorts and we have not stayed here for a few years.) There is also a walking/jogging trail along the river.

Any of the EPCOT resorts would also give you access to the Boardwalk area with restaurants, shopping, and night life. I think most people consider Beach Club to have the best pool on property. I haven't been and we aren't even pool people, but it's on my list of places to stay eventually just for that pool.

Animal Kingdom Lodge would be excellent if you prefer to hang out on your balcony and watch the animals.

If you are considering any of these options, consider renting Disney Vacation Club points because it will be less expensive in most cases than reserving the room on cash. I haven't used them personally since we have purchased our own set of DVC points, but David's Vacation Club Rentals are highly recommended by many sources on the web.

We are talking about doing a Disney vacation without park tickets in the next few years sometime. One of the things that I intend to do on that trip is to do the Backstage Magic Tour. At around $225 per person for 7-8 hour tour, I don't want to pay for the tour on a vacation where I am already purchasing Disney tickets. So, we are going to do Universal & the Backstage tour and then hang out at the resort for the rest of the trip. I'll probably end up breaking down and buying at least a few days of Disney tickets...

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AnnielovesDisney wrote:
There are many great Disney resorts, with great food, pools, hot tubs, shops, and many more amenities. But you can find those amenities at many upscale resorts around the country. The main appeal of a Disney world resort are all the extra perks you get at the 4 Disney parks. Extra magic hours, free transportation to the parks, at some resorts you get the free dining plan, and there are many more perks to staying at a Disney world resort. But if you don't plan on going to any of the 4 parks, you won't benefit from most of those special perks.

I'm sure some people can stay at a Disney world resort, never go to any parks, and have a wonderful time. I just could NEVER do that. I love the parks way too much!

Hi Annie. Thanks for answering. The reason we're not going to the parks is that I've just never enjoyed amusement parks. I went to Disneyworld once as a kid and several other amusement parks and it just never clicked for me, I guess. (I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's tastes, though. I try to live by "to each their own".) My wife, on the other hand, goes there every year and she thinks that I'd enjoy staying in one of the hotels, so that's what we're planning to do.

JustCar wrote:
I think you may want to start with the things you like to do. WDW has so many different resorts with so many different things to do that we could talk for weeks on the topic.

There is something to astound everyone at WDW, and I'm very excited that you came to find out


Well, my idea of the perfect vacation is very different from my wife's. I typically go for mountain climbing, skiing, and other outdoorsy things. That's why I'm trying to figure out what people find so appealing about these hotels. It's just not what I'm used to.

And thank you to everyone who's responded. It's been quite helpful.

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TerryM wrote:

Well, my idea of the perfect vacation is very different from my wife's. I typically go for mountain climbing, skiing, and other outdoorsy things. That's why I'm trying to figure out what people find so appealing about these hotels. It's just not what I'm used to.

And thank you to everyone who's responded. It's been quite helpful.

Disney offers some parasailing, the link below is a guest review of that from a few months ago.
http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/articles/parasailing-sammy-duvall-walt-disney-world

Also this article article is 5 Ways to Get Back to Nature and offers ideas like sport fishing boat rental, wilderness segway tours, and horseback riding. It also suggests something called the Wild Africa Trek that you may enjoy if you love animals, however that requires Animal Kingdom park admission.
http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/articles/5-ways-get-back-nature-walt-disney-world

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Thanks for posting those links, Kristen. I will definitely look into some of those things.

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Hey people, don't forget about Subvet & Jan. They went to WDW often for years and never went into a park. By the way hello TerryM and welcome to WDW For Grownups!

Sammy Duvals at Bay Lake have water skiing, Jet ski rentals, Parasailing (which I just did and was fantastic!) just to name a few things.

You just may never "get it", and one time you could just snap and get hooked. You definitely would want a Deluxe Resort if you're just going for the resort and not the parks. Disney does a lot of refurbs, so its good you are researching. The Polynesian Village Resort is under major refurb at the moment, adding DVC (Disney Vacation Club) and adding new restaurants, getting rid of some asbestos issues and the main pool will be closing soon for quite a while, so I would recommend staying away from there for the next year at least.

We do love roaming the resorts, taking the shuttle boats around Seven Sea Lagoon just for the ride, shopping, the restaurants and such,the food and the food and the food and the...... sorry, got carried away. But like most others, we couldn't "not" go to the parks, especially the Magic Kingdom. Good luck and hope it all works out for you. We are always here for questions.

Check out some of our members trip reports, might help you out there.

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Almost every trip we've taken has gotten less and less park focused. We are selective about how/where we spend our time and are far, far past the 'commando' tourist mode of our first several trips. We enjoy dining out, sleeping in, and being flexible. We have a list of 'musts', and we do those. Beyond that, we always have no-park days that we spend at DTD, at resorts, or at the pool. You just can't go wrong!! awesome

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Ollie wrote:
Almost every trip we've taken has gotten less and less park focused. We are selective about how/where we spend our time and are far, far past the 'commando' tourist mode of our first several trips. We enjoy dining out, sleeping in, and being flexible. We have a list of 'musts', and we do those. Beyond that, we always have no-park days that we spend at DTD, at resorts, or at the pool. You just can't go wrong!! awesome

awesome agree 100%