Sports at the resorts? You bet. Let’s be frank. As travelers, we all pay premium prices for Disney accommodations, even at the value resorts. Be sure as families to take full advantage of the recreational amenities Disney offers to hotel guests. Time away from the parks can easily be filled with a range of exciting activities for your athletic-minded children, regardless of age. At the top of the list should be a visit to Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort. If your family isn’t booked to stay at this particular resort, scheduling a trip over is a must. Your kids will marvel at the gigantic sports statues (along with some fun characters like Donald Duck’s nephews) and have a blast exploring and taking in all of the oversized sights.
No kid of any age can resist being mesmerized by over a dozen giant basketballs suspended high above, tennis racquets towering over a building and colossal football helmets tall enough to walk under.
Every Disney resort offers at least one pool for guests staying on site, but most have the choice of several. From value to deluxe resorts, there are wonderful options at each one. As a mom of three, all of my kids wanted to swim at least part of every vacation day, especially from ages 2-10. Take advantage of these younger years by making great family memories at the beautiful Disney pools. Trust me, you will be talking about these special smaller moments as the years go by and your children grow older.
You may even choose different hotels for future stays for more opportunities to swim in a variety of the pools at Disney. Conversely, you may be like our family and have your favorites that you go back to time and time again. Kids never forget their uncontrollable laughter from the time a parent or older sibling clumsily zipped down the Doubloon’s Lagoon’s slide at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter or got drenched by the flower-shaped water jet at Disney’s Pop Century Resort‘s Hippy-Dippy Pool.
Even to this day, rarely a trip goes by that we don’t squeeze in a round of mini golf. There are two different courses to choose from, each offering two 18-hole options. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is located in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel area. Although we enjoy playing the Fantasia course, our family favorite is Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course. The story goes that Santa, on his return trip to the North Pole, discovers snow in Florida and decides to build a vacation spot for the off-duty elves. One side is geared toward sunny weather and the other toward cold weather the elves are used to at the North Pole. This is Disney’s creativity and Imagineering at its finest!
Walk-ups are welcome at both courses, but you may call (407) WDW-PLAY for next-day booking and beyond to ensure a tee time.
Have you ever heard of FootGolf? Any soccer enthusiast in your family will enjoy trying out this unique and entertaining activity. If you can kick a ball, you are old enough to play. FootGolf is hosted at Disney’s Oak Trail, a 9-hole course where you kick a regulation #5 soccer ball into special holes that are 21 inches in diameter. To learn more, simply search FootGolf on the My Disney Experience app for additional information and to book tee times online. General golf attire is requested, so be sure to pack a short-sleeve collared shirt for each participant in your suitcases. We didn’t know this in advance of leaving home, so we ended up purchasing a few inexpensive polo-style shirts at a nearby department store.
Many visitors don’t realize there are tennis courts open to all Disney hotel guests tucked away at seven different resort locations. Families can enjoy an afternoon of playing a few carefree games of doubles, perhaps with one adult and one child on each team. Most locations have more than one court, so larger families can spread out and have several games going on at the same time. There may be some associated fees for equipment rental if you do not bring your own. Pickleball equipment is also available for use at select locations. Courts are open from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, some are even illuminated to allow for play after the sun goes down.
What could be more fun than riding a 2- or 4-person Surrey bike near the banks of the Sassagoula River or on Disney’s Boardwalk? This is a great family activity, especially if you have kids across age ranges like I do. Put the pedal power of your teens to work to help carry the load of younger riders. Some of our most fond vacation memories include cruising on these fun and colorful pedal cars. In addition to Port Orleans Resort (both French Quarter and Riverside) and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas, rentals are also available at Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.
Moreover, both adult and children’s bikes (even some with training wheels) are available for rental. Note that helmets and child seats are complimentary with all bike rentals.
There are plenty of options for beach volleyball as Disney World offers eight locations to choose from. This activity provides a beachy feel while in Central Florida. My kids are well aware that no vacation is complete for me until I get the chance to stick my toes in the sand, somewhere some way. Volleyball is especially enjoyable if you are traveling with a large extended family or multiple families. A bigger group that can split into two teams makes for a spirited rivalry. A good time is had by all with games of “kids versus adults” or “family versus family.”
After more than twenty years of traveling to Disney World with kids, until recently, I had no idea there were basketball courts for guests staying at a hotel on property to use. Much to my surprise, there are actually seven courts in total, including a half-court available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and several quarter-size courts located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. My teenager and I are already planning to seek one out on our next visit. It’s only fitting to change our usual shooting game of “H-O-R-S-E” to “M-O-U-S-E” while staying at Disney. Since the exact locations of the courts aren’t readily available through the My Disney Experience App, be sure to ask the cast members at your hotel where you can find them. Complimentary basketballs are available for use to hotel guests.
Resort Days, Great Days
A full day in a Disney park is incredibly enjoyable, but also hectic and exhausting, especially for children. During vacations, kids often miss their regular routine activities from back home, like school sports teams, community leagues and/or riding bikes around the neighborhood. Be sure to build in some down time to bring some of their sports interests from home to Disney. That way, the entire family can join in, and all of you will be making memories that will last a lifetime.
Finding fun and informative ways to provide Disney goers a unique perspective on the information they seek about the parks, resorts, food, history and so much more. Been bringing kids to Disney from toddlers to teens, so plenty of parent tips will be given.
Happiest with a pineapple Dole Whip float in my hand and an Orange Bird hat on my head.