Why You Should Skip the Parks on Your Next Walt Disney World Trip

When planning a Disney World trip most people are focused on which parks they want to visit each day. But don’t sleep on one of our favorite Disney World vacay activities: a resort day! 

Riviera Resort

It’s no secret that staying at a Disney World hotel can cost a pretty penny, and you’ll want to make the most of that investment! Instead of packing every day with a park visit, here’s why we think you should consider spending at least one day at your hotel.

Here’s Why You Should Skip the Parks on Your Next Disney World Trip!

Pool Day

Every Disney World Resort hotel has a pool, and a lot even have multiple pools (check them out here)! They can range from simple — with a wide-open space to play and swim — to bordering on miniature water parks — with water slides, fountains, and more. While many families either plan to visit the pool as a break during the day or plan to skip it entirely, for some it’s worth spending an entire day poolside!

Time for Some Fun in the Sun in Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Pool!

If you’re thinking about doing a pool day at your hotel, though, you’ll want to factor that into your resort choice! Each Disney pool is unique in that moderate and deluxe resort pools have at least one slide, while value resorts don’t.

Luna Park Pool at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has one of the largest Disney hotel pools (and a fun splash pad for the littles!)…

Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

…while Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts share a pool (that’s much more than JUST a pool) with a 200+ foot long water slide, a lazy river, and a sandy bottom! (Yeah, Stormalong Bay is the ult.)

Stormalong Bay

If you’re looking for luxury on your pool day, you can even rent cabanas for the day at some resorts!

We Ranked Walt Disney World Resort Hotels By Their Pools! Click HERE to Check It Out!

Resort Activities

Pools aren’t the only thing that can keep you busy at Disney World hotels. Disney has a whole team of Cast Members who spend the day doing activities with guests (particularly kids) at the hotels!

Recreation activities at Disney’s Riviera Resort

Depending on your resort, you may be able to make a craft, play games at the pool, make s’mores in the evening around a campfire, watch a Disney movie, play video games, and more! Bonus: most of the activities are completely free.

Recreation Activities Board at All-Star Movies

If you want to know what’s going on at the hotel and when, the schedule of activities can normally be found in the lobby or outside near the pool. You can ask the front desk for a paper copy, too.

Click HERE to Check Out MORE Resort Activities You Didn’t Know About!

Restaurants & Lounges

Disney hotels are home to some of the BEST restaurants at Disney World, and you can make a reservation for any Disney restaurant at any time, so you don’t have to be staying there to dine!

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

All Disney resorts have a quick service restaurant option, but resorts in the moderate and deluxe categories are home to even more places to eat! Plus, many hotels have lounges that are highly themed and feature some great cocktails (like Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and The Enchanted Rose at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa).

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Whether you want to explore a new hotel or if you’d rather eat your way through the resort you’re staying in, you can find your day occupied by great drinks and fine dining if you plan to just explore the restaurants.

Click HERE for All of the Table Service Restaurants in Disney World Resorts, Ranked!


For those who want it, there’s a whole lot of relaxing to do at the Disney World hotels. One of the best ways to do that is to spend a day at the spa!

Grand Floridian Spa sign

You can currently visit the Grand Floridian Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, although Senses Spa is still closed at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. These full-service spas are where you can get facials, massages, manicures, and even get your hair cut! Other resorts offer spa services as well.

No matter which spa service you purchase, you’ll have all-day access to the spa lounge area that has showers, a whirlpool, snacks, lounge chairs, tea and coffee, and more!

Grand Floridian Spa Waiting Area

The spas do come at an extra charge, but if you’re looking to plan a highly relaxing day and do something you’ve likely never done at Disney World, the spas are a great option!

Check Out More Experiences and Activities That Are Worth the Splurge in Disney World!

Resort Hopping

Why just spend a day at one resort when you can visit more? Regardless of whether you’re staying at a Disney World hotel, guests can “hop” around and check them all out.

Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

You can explore the restaurants and lounges, try a treat that’s only being served at one location, or even check out all of the holiday displays (including GIANT gingerbread houses) around Christmas time! It’s particularly easy to Resort hop at Disney’s resorts that are connected by the Monorail and Skyliner. Several resorts are also close enough in proximity that you can walk between them!

2021 Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Just keep in mind that Disney resort pools are reserved for those staying at the resort, and you may need a dining reservation to park at a hotel. (Otherwise plan to use Disney transpo to go from one Resort to another.)

Check Out 8 Disney World Resort-Hopping Must-Sees

There certainly is a lot to keep you busy at your hotel even if you’re not planning to head into the parks for the day. And the Resorts aren’t the only things to explore without a park ticket — check out our video for some of the best things to do outside of the parks!

Check Out The 6 Best Disney World Resorts for a Resort Day!

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Have you ever planned a resort day on your Disney World vacation? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Replies to “Why You Should Skip the Parks on Your Next Walt Disney World Trip”

  1. While these all sound nice, folks taking a once in a lifetime trip to Disney do not have time to try these things. As a DVC member and someone who has been to Disney over 40Xs, I can take time to do some of these things. But most don’t interest me. Others are already a part of my trips. Since Disney now wants to charge everything ala carte, they are making it very easy for me to avoid these upcharges and take my cash elsewhere. Universal must be dancing in the streets over these actions by Disney.

  2. My last trip was in March 2019 just before Disney shut it all down for Covid. Except for one day in EPCOT and 2 night time parties [which were awesome] my mom and I stayed at the pool, resort hopped and shopped at Downtown. We did a painting experience at the Top of the World lounge in BLT. The World isn’t what it used to be and with costs rising faster than I can make money NOT going to the parks is an ideal vacation. That’s also the value of having DVC. We can stay at a deluxe resort without the pricey expense and if we don’t hit the parks it doesn’t feel like we gave up anything. I am NOT a fan of all this Genie+ and pay for riding rides that I already bought a park ticket for.

  3. I say hit the parks early in the morning. Don’t try to hit everything. Maybe even skip all the E ticket rides. Go to hotel BEFORE noon and spend afternoon at hotel. Return to parks in evening OR go to Disney Springs OR visit another hotel.