The gifts are unwrapped. The New Year has begun. The decorations may even be put away. Now it’s time to relax. Where can you find the perfect place to relax, you ask? Walt Disney World, of course. You can’t think of anything to do except run from park to park, activity to activity, show to show? Well, I’m here to help. Whether you’re recovering from the holidays or just taking a little time to smell the roses, I’ve found some great relaxation options around the World.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Think about it. You step into a carriage built for four then journey through the cypress trees of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort or along the banks of the Sassagoula River at Port Orleans-Riverside. You can choose to engage your driver in some history conversation or enjoy quiet time. The most important thing is to take this activity from yesteryear and enjoy the scenery it has to offer.
One of my family’s favorite places is the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Whether you are outside by the fire or sitting on one of the porches, a rocking chair will take the stress away from any day. You don’t have to venture there, though. You can enjoy this serenity at Saratoga Springs Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness and even on Tom Sawyer’s Island in the Magic Kingdom. I’m sure that you will run across many more rocking chairs on property where you can just take a minute (or 30) and just sit and watch the world go by.
Want to explore the waters of Walt Disney World? Take an afternoon to rent watercraft. Head to a resort located on the water or Downtown Disney and have your choice of pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, motorized boats, pontoon boats and more. You can enjoy the virtual tranquility of the bays, lakes and lagoons throughout Walt Disney World. Want to enjoy the waters and leave the driving to someone else? You can do that, too. Just sign up for an (adults only) specialty cruise and let Disney do the rest.
Be Nostalgic With a Piano Player and Orchestra
Wander into the Grand Floridian on any night and you are greeted in the lobby by the sounds of a live pianist or an orchestra. It’s not dance and party music, but it’s the kind of music that makes you want to lower your voice so you can hear. That may be why my mother likes to sit in the pristine lobby!
Sit Back and People Watch/Listen
No matter where you are, you can take a relaxing retreat on any hectic day by finding a bench and watching other people have fun. My suggestion: get a snack (Dole Whip if you are me or Main Street Popcorn if you are my brother), then sit back and enjoy. You’d be surprised how much fun it is to watch other people in the park-and how you can interact with them, too. For example, sometimes a crying princess only needs to see a stranger’s smile to turn into a happy princess; a frustrated parent may just need to know where exactly “on the map” they are to figure out how to get to the next attraction; and a family may just need a helping hand to get everyone in the picture. You may also feel the need to slow down after watching other guests run past you to move to the next thing. Imagine all the stuff that they are missing by not taking time to slow down. My father likes to put another spin on this and I have learned to enjoy it. Sit on a bench and just listen. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of the land. In Magic Kingdom it is especially evident. Every land has a distinct sound associated with it, whether it is music or animal sounds. No two lands are alike.
Nope, not on the ground but in a hammock! Visit a resort on the beach and you are sure to find a hammock strung between two trees. On a previous visit staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort, my mother and I would venture out early every morning to wander around. We’d grab a drink and a hammock and wait for the sun to fully rise. After realizing what we were doing, my brother started getting up extra early to join us. It was a great, fun way to start every day. What surprised me most is that, no matter what time we were walking around – morning, afternoon or evening – the hammocks were empty!
Watch The Fireworks From The Beach
If not from Main Street, USA, a great spot to relax and enjoy the Magic Kingdom fireworks is from the beach of the Polynesian Resort or any other resort surrounding the Seven Seas Lagoon. An added benefit is that after the fireworks end, on select nights, you will also be treated to a viewing of the Electrical Water Pageant. Not sure what the water pageant is? It’s a light-up water parade featuring floats of, what else, water creatures. The end of the parade features a “moving” American flag and patriotic songs. The music will be stuck in your head for the rest of the night!
Movie Under The Stars
What a great way to end the day. Back at your resort (or visiting another if you prefer), grab a seat and enjoy an “open air” Disney movie with other guests. Poolside, on the beach or under the branches of majestic trees, this nightly option is a wonderful way to wind down. If your room has a microwave, remember to bring some popcorn with you (or you can buy a snack from the resort). The movies are always changing so there is sure to be something that you want to see during your stay!
What says relax more than a manicure, pedicure and massage? Perhaps a body wrap, aromatherapy, facials or scrubs? Whatever your preference, WDW Spas are sure to offer whatever you want to ease any tension away. I have never visited a spa in Walt Disney World but it is definitely on my “must do” list in the future. It is important to remember, though, that there are some age restrictions for spas and treatments so, if you are traveling with someone under the age of 18, you have to read the fine print!
Fore! That’s about the extent of my golf knowledge (and I don’t know exactly what that means) but you can take in a relaxing game of golf at any of four Walt Disney World Golf Courses including one that has been host to the PGA Tour. If you didn’t pack “proper golf attire” or think a real course is not-at-all relaxing, I prefer to try my luck at one of Disney’s two Miniature Golf Courses. Spending time at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland will let you forget the hustle and bustle that usually goes with a vacation.
Relaxing is the key part to any Disney vacation. Even though darting from attraction to attraction may be fun and the prime focus of your trip, you should always take time to unwind with your family doing any of these activities. Some of these I haven’t had the opportunity to experience yet, but hopefully I will in the near future. What is your favorite way to relax in Walt Disney World? I would love to know. Maybe I can add it to my future “to do” list.
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “Keep adventuring and stay not a grown up!” ~ Spieling Peter
Makena is a 15 year old high school student who spends much of her free time researching Disney. She enjoys sharing Disney facts and even plans Walt Disney World vacations (including searches for secrets and Hidden Mickeys) for friends and family. You can follow Makena on twitter @makattack98 or on Facebook (Makena Wolcott). Makena began blogging for WDW Radio in December 2011.