Trips to Walt Disney World are often jam-packed with tons of plans and park time, but all that walking around in the heavy heat can be absolutely exhausting. That’s why my family has always left at least one day free to spend at whichever resort we happen to be staying at. At many of the Disney resorts there are all kinds of things to do, certainly enough to keep you occupied for a day or two. One of the many wonderful perks of staying at a Disney resort is the presence of Children’s Activities, a fun group of Cast Members whose job is to keep you entertained on your days off from the theme parks.
As a former Children’s Activities Hostess, I have a little insight on the wide variety of offerings available for Disney resort Guests. Since Disney is an ever-changing company, the activities offered may vary from resort to resort, but here is a general idea of what you will find in terms of entertainment at your resort.
Poolside Children’s Activities
For most people I know, a day off at the resort includes at least a little time at the pool. Some people occupy their time entirely in the water or on the slides, while other may be sat on the edge reading or tanning. Another option that is fun for all members of the family are the poolside activities provided by the Recreation team. The variety of activities may change depending on which resort you’re staying at when, but there are usually some that are the same across the board. You will find trivia-type games, ranging from classic Disney trivia to “Notable Disney Quotables,” and even some non-Disney-themed competitions, like “Name That Tune.”
You’ll also be able to find games friendly for any age, like Bingo or Hot Potato (with a water balloon!). The rest of the activities take place in the pool, and include everything from “Bruces and Nemos” (Sharks and Minnows) and “Holey Bucket Relay” to “Mickey-Pluto” (Marco Polo) and “Critter Roundup.” There is often a pool party held at some point throughout the day, which can include hula hoops, beach balls, and usually even prizes, among other things. These events are held throughout the main part of the afternoon, starting after 12:00 pm (although the times may vary by resort or by the time of year).
Held at most of the Walt Disney World resorts (typically every one except the Value Resorts), campfire is a time to gather everyone together to enjoy a sweet treat! It is typically held for one hour in the evening, and gives Guests the opportunity to roast unlimited marshmallows. There are plenty of safety rules to follow, including wearing shoes and blowing out any on-fire marshmallows, but other than those basic instructions, anyone of any age is free to roast to his or her heart’s content. Some of the resorts even occasionally offer packages of graham crackers and chocolate for a small fee to make your own s’mores!
If you’re trying to find something to entertain yourself on a night at the resort, all of the Walt Disney World resorts offer movies throughout the week. Typically the same week-to-week but usually different nightly, the movies are shown on a large blow-up screen in a large area and range from Disney animated classics to Disney Channel Original Movies. They will even show Disney’s newest releases as soon as they’re available to the public. Some of the resorts will also provide an indoor option if it is raining or the movie can’t be shown outdoors for some reason. This activity is a great way to enjoy an old favorite or catch a new movie you’ve been dying to see.
Pirate Adventure Cruises
If the young ones in your family have always dreamed of learning how to be a pirate and search for buried treasure, than sign them up for a Pirate Adventure Cruise! Setting sail from Grand Floridian, Beach Club, and Caribbean Beach resorts, these cruises give kids a chance to explore some of Walt Disney World’s many bodies of water for a few hours in an attempt to find some pirate booty while parents are able to enjoy a little time off-duty. These typically take place bright and early in the morning, and snacks and drinks are included in the price of each excursion. While I never got to lead one of these awesome cruises, I did have the opportunity to experience one or two as part of my training and role in Children’s Activities, and I would highly recommend your youngsters participate in one if they can, as they are a lot of fun!
Children’s Activities Centers
Another great option for parents looking to be kid-free for a few hours is to take advantage of the Children’s Activities Centers located at a few of the resorts around property. There are four in total: Lilo’s Playhouse at Polynesian Village Resort, Sandcastle Club at Beach Club, Simba’s Cubhouse at Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Camp Dolphin at the Dolphin Resort, and each one provides kids with a variety of toys and games to keep them entertained while their parents are out on the town. Prices vary for these facilities, as do the hours.
Located at several of the Disney Vacation Club resorts—namely, Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Boardwalk, and Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary—Community Halls are a great place to go if the pool and outside activities just aren’t cutting it for you. Here, Guests staying at the resort are able to do arts and crafts, play lawn games like ping pong, pool, and the like, and watch movies. You can even rent out board games and movies to take back to your room with you! It’s a great place to blow off some steam and relax, and there’s a little something to keep everyone occupied on your day off.
There are certainly other ways to keep yourself busy while spending time at your Walt Disney World resort hotel, but the offerings provided by Children’s Activities really are a great way to bond with your family and try some new things you might not otherwise think to do. The best part about these experiences is that anyone can partake, and just about anyone in your group will find something he or she is excited about doing. If nothing else, you will certainly leave your vacation with some wonderful memories (and a strong knowledge of Disney trivia!).