I have this feeling that when I go to a Disney Park, I need to be in the park for the most amount of time as possible. Unless I was in Disney for a super long time, I would not want to spend a half day in the parks. So when we were arranging this trip, we wanted to make sure that our park days were days on which we had the most available time to spend at each park. We had 4-day park hopper tickets, so we decided to go to the parks on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. Dave was still working in Tampa on Wednesday, but the kids and I headed to Orlando in the morning to check in and start the Disney magic. But without park tickets, what is there to do? A ton!!
I love starting our vacation with a visit to Disney Springs. Formerly Downtown Disney, Disney Springs still has some great Disney themed stores as well as other unique and fancier stores. Of course, there are plenty of restaurants to grab a meal or a snack. We like looking through the Disney stores and getting our pin trading started for the trip! We returned our rental car and checked into the hotel, but our room wasn’t ready since it was still early, so we left our luggage and took a bus to Disney Springs.
I love carousels, but we didn’t go on this one!
These are cars you can pay to ride – they are amphicars because they go in the water too.
This balloon goes up and down for a good fee.
Pretty lanterns in the water!
We always stay at the Swan or Dolphin Hotels, which are located right by Disney’s Boardwalk, which is a fun place to walk around. The Beach Club, Yacht Club, and Boardwalk Resorts and their shops are fun to explore as well. We took a bus from Disney Springs to the Yacht Club because that was the first bus to arrive. You can also take a bus to any park and switch to a resort bus – for example, you can take a bus to the Animal Kingdom and switch to the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus to check out that resort. Or take a bus to the Magic Kingdom and take the Monorail to the Monorail hotels like we did last time!
View of the Dolphin from the Boardwalk:
Not a real Mickey Bar:
Explore Your Resort
We made our way back to the Dolphin when I got a text that our room was ready! As we walked over, we took some more pictures!
Enjoy Your Resort
The resorts have some really nice pools, but there are other amenities available as well. The Swan and Dolphin have a resort fee that includes paddle boats! There are also activities going on. On this particular day, there was a Disney Trivia game happening at the pool. We ended up winning! We all got coupons for free drinks that were usable anywhere at the resort – we used them on our second non-park day! I’m including paddle boat pictures here, but we actually went on them the following day when we had a break between parks (and Gabbie had practice for dance)!
The ducks enjoy the pool too!
Once Dave arrived at the Dolphin, we took his rental car to a nearby kosher restaurant and then went food shopping for the rest of the trip. Then we returned his car (there is a car rental facility at the Dolphin) and got ready for our first park day starting the next morning. Just by going to Disney Springs and walking around the Boardwalk and our resort, I walked 5.79 miles and took most of the above pictures. Just imagine what my posts will be like when I write about time spent IN the parks! Actually, don’t imagine. Come back next week to find out!