8 Fabulous Deluxe Walt Disney World Resort Experiences Most People Miss

When people think of Walt Disney World, usually the theme parks spring to mind. Often a picture of Cinderella Castle will form in their heads. They might also think of how much fun the water parks are on a hot day. If you’re only thinking about the parks you’re missing out! The Walt Disney World resort hotels should be part of any Central Florida vacation, even if you’re staying off property. Here are eight fabulous deluxe resort experiences. You don’t have to be staying at the resorts in order to enjoy them.

8. Spas

There are three spas at the Walt Disney World deluxe resorts. Two of them are called Senses, and they are found at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Mandara Spa is at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. You can enjoy anything from a facial to a couple’s retreat. Walt Disney World can be exhausting, so plan to take a little bit of vacation “me time” and include a relaxing spa treatment.

7. Observation Deck

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Here is something that may not quite qualify as an “experience” as much as something that “you need to experience”. Located on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is an observation deck. There are great views of the Magic Kingdom, and you can enjoy them for free. Order a cup of coffee and a pastry at Contemporary Grounds, then sit outside and soak up the scenery. The observation deck is also a great place to catch Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, and you won’t have to fight the Magic Kingdom crowd once it’s over.

6. Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

While some deluxe resort experiences are meant to help you relax, this one will instead give you an adrenaline rush. Also located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre you will never want to leave the water. You can water ski, parasail, wake board, tube, and more. Rent a water craft and see Bay Lake from a different perspective. Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre could be the most fun that you have on your Walt Disney World vacation.

5. Resort Hopping at Christmas

Here is another fun experience that won’t cost you anything extra. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World during the holiday season, plan to spend a day resort hopping. You can take the monorail and hit Disney’s Grand Floridian (a must-see at Christmastime), Disney’s Polynesian Village, and Disney’s Contemporary Resorts. In the Epcot Resort Area visit Disney’s BoardWalk, Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Yacht Club, and also the Swan and Dolphin. Walk, or take your time and ride the Friendships to hit them all. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may be a little bit harder to get to than some of the other resorts, but it is definitely worth a visit during the holidays. All of the deluxe resorts are decorated differently, so have your camera ready.

4. Evenings

Disney’s BoardWalk

Disney’s BoardWalk is beautiful during the day, with a relaxed feel that might make you forget that you’re just minutes away from two of the most popular theme parks in the world. In the evenings, the area comes alive. You can play carnival style games or enjoy a funnel cake. Street performers entertain from 7:00-10:00 each evening. Grab some ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery, or a drink at AbracadaBar. For those 21 and up, there are two nightclubs. Make a reservation at Flying Fish for a signature dining experience that you won’t soon forget. If you would like a relaxing evening but still want to do something fun, Disney’s BoardWalk is a great destination.

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3. Victoria & Albert’s

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Some of the things on this list are either low cost or free. Victoria & Albert’s is the opposite of that, in fact it is the most expensive restaurant at Walt Disney World. There’s a reason for that; the food and the service are impeccable. Victoria & Albert’s has won the AAA Five Diamond Award for excellence every year since 2000. There are three dining experiences to choose from; The Dining Room, Queen Victoria’s Room, and The Chef’s Table. Whichever one you decide upon, you’re sure to have the best meal of your vacation, and possibly the best meal of your life. Victoria & Albert’s is the ultimate Walt Disney World dining experience.

2. Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Another elegant experience takes place each afternoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room will allow you to feel sophisticated for a little while. A traditional British Tea is served, featuring finger sandwiches, pastries, and, of course, different tea selections. If you time your reservation correctly you’ll be able to listen to live music from the lobby as you dine. Afternoon Tea is a quick monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom, but you’ll feel like you’re worlds away.

1. Jiko Wine Tasting

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Each Wednesday afternoon something special happens at Jiko – The Cooking Place. Jiko Wine Tasting features a trio of African wines, accompanied by the perfect cheese for each. You can talk to a sommelier and find out about each selection. After your wine tasting is over head out to the savanna and watch the animals for a while. Jiko Wine Tasting is a great way to relax and learn. Remember that there is a dress code at Jiko – The Cooking Place, so you might want to change if you spent the morning in one of the parks.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.