Monday, April 16, 2012

Destination Disney - 7 Things to do OUTSIDE of the Parks

It's week four of the Destination Disney challange.  This week we're listing our 7 favorite things to do outside of the Disney parks.  Let's face it, it's hard to beat being INSIDE the parks, but there are a lot of fun things you can do OUTSIDE of them!

On with the countdown...
7.  Titanic - The Experience

This attraction, loctated on International Drive in Orlando, is one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.  You "become" a passanger of the RMS Titanic and venture through recreated rooms, see artifacts and hear touching and incredible stories from 100 years ago.  Almost 100 years ago to the day, as a matter of fact.  To learn more, please visit their website.

6.  Universal Studios, Orlando

Ride some of the other movies, at Universal Studios, Orlando!  I haven't visited in a few years because my kids are a bit young (which means, nope, haven't seen the Wizarding World yet), but Universal is still one of my favorite things to do in Orlando, OUTSIDE of the Disney parks.  Terminator 3D, Jaws (which I hear is closing soon, boo!), Twister, Men in Black... are just a few of my favorites!


5.  Electric Water Pageant

The few times I've caught this lighted boat parade, set in the Seven Seas Lagoon, I've really enjoy it but it seems that I miss it more often than not!  Haha!  Leaving the Magic Kingdom after Wishes, by ferry, one can see the boats making there way off the lake.  If you set up shop on the beaches of one of the Lagoon resorts, you can see both Wishes and the Water Pageant.  Now, if I can just remember to do that!

4.  Downtown Disney

 Always, always a stop for our family, Downtown Disney is like a park without the ticket.  Shopping, dining, entertainment, we usually make Downtown Disney our first day or last (sometimes BOTH!) as we don't want to "waste" a park pass for just a 1/2 day visit.

3.  The Spirit of Aloha

Not only is this show fun for the entire family, but the food is YUMMY!  Just entering the Polynesian puts you right in the mood for a luau.  The show is sweet and funny and full of songs and dancing and, like I mentioned already, the food is SO good!  We've done this show a few times and I'm sure we'll do it many more.

2.  Character Dining

There are lots of character dining experiences INSIDE the Disney parks but also many OUTSIDE of them.  O'hana is our family favorite but you can also visit 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary, Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club... just to name a few.  Not only is the food and atmosphere great but you can get those hard-to-aquire autographs SO much easier than inside the parks.

1.  Watching Wishes from The California Grill

My very favorite thing to do outside of the parks is making our dinner ADR at The California Grill so that we can watch Wishes right from our seat.  The view is spectacular plus they dim the lights and feed the music right into the restaurant.  When you make your ADR, request a seat near the windows and arrive a little early so they can accomodate the best they can.  We've never NOT gotten our window seat.  Plus, the food's delicious and the staff is great!

Wasn't that fun?!  Check out previous lists - Top 10 Disney Attractions, 9 Favorite Disney Characters, 8 Favorite "Lands".
And be sure to check back next week for our family's 6 Favorite Restaurants.

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