When you think about a trip to Disney World
, rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation probably aren't the first things that come to your mind. But Disney World
is way more than whimsical rides, princesses, crowds, and churros
. Disney Vacation Club
— Disney's timeshare program — has created unique ways to take a Disney vacation that go far beyond what you've come to expect at the parks, from their villas
, cabins, and overwater bungalows
to spa days and even bike rides in nature. Keep scrolling to find out how to take a vacation at the "Happiest Place on Earth" that the whole family will enjoy — even if they're not a fan of Disney characters, long lines
, and Splash Mountain. (Photos via Sunny Chanel and Disney Vacation Club)
Stay in your own cabin.
Right in the middle of Orlando is the little slice of rustic heaven known as the Wilderness Lodge
. Inspired by the Pacific Northwest turn-of-the-century National Park lodges
, this sprawling resort has a new addition — the Copper Creek Cascade Cabins
. While these cabins (and the other deluxe accommodations featured) were created for Disney Vacation Club members, anyone can book them. Just reserve them early since they tend to get snapped up quick. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Spread out. Forget about cramming everyone into a standard hotel room; these beautiful luxury accommodations include all of those much-needed comforts of home and then some with a huge great room, two bedrooms, a well-stocked kitchen (with everything you need from pots and pans to a dishwasher), a washer and dryer, a fireplace, and a screened-in porch. Of course, there are those Disney touches like hidden Mickeys, odes to Walt Disney’s love of the railroads, and a Chip and Dale mural on the Murphy bed in the second bedroom. Yeah, it’s pretty sweet. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Soak in your own private hot tub. While others flock to the communal pools and spas at the resorts, these cabins have their own hot tubs with views of the lake. It's the best way to ease those aching muscles after a long day hitting the parks — and your feet will definitely thank you. (Photo via Disney Vacation Club)
Pretend you’re in Bora Bora.
If you’re more of a tropics person than a rustic woodsy type, the Polynesian Hotel is the place to go. Not only is there a huge tiki-accented pool, in-house Dole Whips
, and a Trader Sam’s tropical tiki bar
(order the Uh-Oa!; you’ll thank us later), they have the coolest over-the-water bungalows
you'll find short of the Pacific. Plus, you get lei’d when you arrive, and who doesn’t love that? (Photo via Disney Vacation Club)
Bask in the mid-century glow. The 20 bungalows at the Polynesian Hotel, which sleep eight, have such perks as a private plunge pool with views of the Magic Kingdom, hanging swing chairs, Jungle Cruise-inspired art, and tikis sprinkled everywhere. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Play and stay in a treehouse.
Live out those Swiss Family Robinson
fantasies with a room at the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs
. Nestled among woods, which are reminiscent of upstate New York, this serene getaway is like glamping
but even more extra. The treehouses have all the modern conveniences a family could want but with views of the forest from every angle. (Photo via Disney Vacation Club)
Stay in a loft with a spectacular view.
If rustic or exotic isn't your thing, there’s always the Grand Villa two-floor lofts at the Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
. The highlight of this option is the stunning scenery of the Magic Kingdom. A humongous window looks out on a breathtaking view of Cinderella’s castle and Space Mountain, which means you can watch the nightly fireworks in your PJs from the couch. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Do Disney in a sleek and modern way. Can you believe these posh digs are just minutes from Mickey, Minnie, and friends? It's so chic that you'll feel worlds away. (Photo via Disney Vacation Club)
Partake in an outdoor adventure. There’s plenty of active fun to be had outside of the parks. If you’re staying at the Wilderness Lodge, rent a bicycle and explore the trails that will take you over to the Wilderness Campgrounds. The path meanders through a heavily wooded area with the occasional Mickey head arranged out of pine cones. Or, you can trade those two wheels for four hooves and go horseback riding; pony rides and carriage rides are also available. Additionally, you can rent a variety of water crafts and go boating or on a guided catch-and-release fishing trip in the stocked lake. For those who are looking for a thrill, you can even try parasailing.
(Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Say hi to the animals.
There’s more wildlife to see than merely the wandering Goofy and Pluto at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ; there are real-life animals living in the "Happiest Place on Earth" (especially in the Wilderness Lodge area). If you keep your eyes open, you might be able to spot frogs, lizards, rabbits, deer, and an impressive array of birds including bright red cardinals, snowy egrets, and great blue herons. Make sure to visit the horses and ponies at Tri-Circle-D Ranch
at Fort Wilderness Resort
. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Get in touch with your inner foodie.
Leave the chowing down on hot dogs and hamburgers to the parks; one the most enjoyable parts of vacay is all that fine dining. At Artist Point
at the Wilderness Lodge, you can feast on such delightful dishes as their Cedar Plank Skuna Bay Salmon served with wheatberries, garden squash, frisée, blood orange, ramps, and fresh herbs, or Farm Egg Pappardelle mixed with duck ragoût, English peas, dandelion greens, and aged cheese. That’s a big step up from a turkey leg. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
For those who like to throw in a wee bit of education while on vacay, Disney Vacation Club offers special classes
exclusively for their members. We took a Speakeasy Craft Cocktails class and not only did we learn how to make two totally delicious drinks, but we also soaked up all sorts of interesting facts about the liqueurs we were using. In addition to cocktail mixing, they offer lessons in animation, painting, and wine tasting. And yes, they did arrange the lemons and orange to make a Mickey, 'cause of course they did. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Go bar hopping.
If you don’t feel like making your own drinks, hit one of the bars and indulge in one of Disney’s signature cocktails. On a hot day (which in Florida is every day), the Cascadia Sangria from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge’s Geyser Point Lounge
will hit the spot. It’s a refreshing mix of black cherry vodka, fresh lime juice, and orange juice topped with merlot. Yum! (Photo via Disney Vacation Club)
Dine at “home.” Since the cabins, bungalows, and villas boast their own kitchens, you have the option of dining in and making your own feast. Disney offers a grocery delivery service that’ll bring items directly to your door, or you can swing by their general stores, which are stocked with popular (and easy to cook) options like pizza and pasta. Or perhaps just pop some cookie dough in the oven for a late-night snack like we did. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Hit the spa.
For some genuine “me time,” the Disney World spas are the place to be. There are a variety of locations around the resorts that offer up pampering such as an Aromatherapy Massage, a Tropical Coconut Body Treatment, Disney Nail Art Designs, or even just a basic mani/pedi or haircut. New to the menu is the “Character Couture Package
” where Disney stylists transform your hair, makeup, and nails with inspo from classic characters. (Photo via Sunny Chanel)
Which unique Disney room would you most want to stay in? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo or tag us on Instagram!