I'm sure you all know about Disney World's amazing theme parks, but are you familiar with the myriad of fascinating activities for children offered throughout Walt Disney World that are either complimentary or offered for a reasonable fee to Disney resort guests? Here are some of the best: ? Snag a Bass On a Kid's Fishing Excursion. - 1-hour angling trips just for children are available from the resort marinas of Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian, Yacht and Beach Club, and Boardwalk Inn and Villas. For miles of shore fishing head over to Disney's Ft. Wilderness where cane poles and rods and reels may be rented at the Bike Barn in the Meadow Recreation Area.
Fishing excursions are approximately $25 per child. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for reservations. ? Enjoy the Old West. - Hayrides depart each evening from Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness for a 45-minute trip. Very tame, cowboy-guided trail rides are also offered, or younger children can opt for a $2 pony ride at the Fort Wilderness Petting Farm. Hayrides are $8 per adult and $4 per child; no reservations taken.
Trail rides are $30 per person; reservations are required and may be made up to two weeks in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. ? Sing-Along in Front of the Campfire. - Families gather round the campfire each evening at Ft. Wilderness for a sing-along, marshmallow roast, and a Disney animated movie. Complimentary to all Walt Disney World resort guests. ? Watch the Electrical Water Pageant Parade.
- Nightly on the Seven Seas Lagoon is a delightful 1000-foot string of illuminated barges featuring King Neptune and his court of whales, sea serpents, and other deep-sea creatures. The free show can be seen from the beaches of Disney's Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Wilderness Lodge Resorts. ? Ride Up Front with the Monorail Driver.
- Simply ask the Cast Member on duty. They will be happy to oblige as long as the front car is empty. ? Take a Spin on a Watermouse Boat. - Rent one of these two-seater mini-power boats and zip around one of Disney's lakes at 22 miles per hour. Kids love them, particularly because they need only be 12 years or older and at least 5 feet tall to drive one without adult supervision.
Available at the Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, the Yacht and Beach Club, Downtown Disney, and the Wilderness Lodge. Approximately $22 per half-hour. ? Dive into One of Disney's Fabulous Themed Pools. - You can't do much better than a dip in one of Disney's wonderful swimming pools.
Children's favorites: the Volcano Pool at Disney's Polynesian Resort featuring a smoking volcano slide, underwater music, and sparkling waterfall, all with a superb view of the Seven Seas Lagoon; the Wilderness Lodge's boulder-lined pool featuring waterfalls, rocky overlooks, water slide, and a nearby geyser; the eye-popping Stormalong Bay, a mini-water park complex that meanders between the Yacht and Beach Club, offering three acres of winding, watery delight including sandy bottom pools, a giant "shipwreck" waterslide, a tidal whirlpool, bubbling hot tubs, a kiddie pool with its own slide next to the beach, and enough length to float lazily in inner tubes to your heart's delight. ? Search for Buried Treasure on a Pirate's Cruise. - Every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, children ages 3-10 sail from the dock of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort on a 2-hour supervised trip to a deserted island. $28 fee includes snacks, bandanas, and treasure. Call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations. ? Attend a Children's Tea Party.
- A "Wonderland Tea Party" happens Mon-Fri at 1:30 P.M. in 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Hosted by characters from Alice in Wonderland, the little ones play games, listen to stories, and drink apple "tea". $28.
Strictly for children ages 3-10. Call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations. ? Take in a Character Meal. - These extremely popular dining opportunities, offered at both the Disney theme parks and resort hotels, are a perfect way for your children to spend extra time with favorite Disney characters. Meals are offered in three ways depending on the restaurant: buffet-style, family-style, or pre-plated meals; regardless, it's essentially all-you-can-eat.
Characters work the room, stopping at each table to interact with guests, pose for photos, and sign autographs. Book priority seating early, particularly for Cinderella's Royal Table, Epcot's Princess Breakfast in Norway, and Chef Mickey's by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Cara Goldsbury is the author of The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World: How to Get the Most Out of the Best Disney Has to Offer available at 800-247-6553, www.luxurydisneyguide.
com, Amazon.com, or your local bookstore. Visit her at www.luxurydisneyguide.com.
By: Cara Goldsbury