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Resort Hopping - Magic Kingdom Resorts

Do you ever want a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks but still want to be doing something and feeling Disney along the way?  Resort hopping is one of my favorite ways to spend the time outside of the parks and get a change of scenery and try some new things. 

There are 4 (maybe 5) resorts in the Magic Kingdom area that are super easy to get to and each have something unique to offer.  Here are some ideas of things you can do at each resort, whether you want to spend a few minutes to a whole day.  I highly recommend the atmosphere at all of the resorts which is free to enjoy, but most of the recommended activities do come with a small cost associated (grab a snack, drink etc).

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The Grand Floridian is the flagship resort of Walt Disney World.  It is full of elegance and has much to offer, even has its very own wedding pavilion.  You can arrive here via walking path from the Magic Kingdom, Monorail or Resort Launch. 

The Grand Floridian not only boasts some of the best restaurants and lounges on property, but also has some unique shopping options.  My favorite thing to do here is stop in at Basin White, which has items exclusive to this location.  It is great to get yourself a little something or perfect for gifts for those back home.  I love the bath bombs with hidden Mickeys and the fun designs of soaps you can purchase!

Soap Selection at Basin White

If it's later in the evening, stop by either the Enchanted Rose or Citricos lounge, both located on the second floor.  They both offer handcrafted cocktails and great bites if you're hungry.  Enchanted Rose is inspired by Beauty and the Beast while Citricos has some Mary Poppins inspiration.  

If it is the holiday season, be prepared for the lobby to be quite busy with the gorgeous giant tree and life-size gingerbread house.  It's worth a trip over here just for those alone!

Gingerbread House (typically on display mid-November through December)

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Villas 

Disney's Polynesian Village is across the lake from Magic Kingdom so it offers some great views for the Electrical Water Pageant and Magic Kingdom Fireworks, but it is also where you can score a fan-favorite Dole Whip outside the parks!  You can walk here from the Grand Floridian or the Ticket and Transportation Center, or hop on a Monorail or Resort Launch from the Magic Kingdom.

For a short visit on a nice day, grab a Dole Whip and stroll the beach while you enjoy your treat. 

Peaceful Polynesian Beach

For a longer visit, stop by Trader Sam's which is a tiki bar with lots of surprises around every corner located on the first floor.  We prefer inside as that's where the most magic happens (21+ after 8pm), but there is also a Tiki Terrace you can enjoy. It can get very busy here and have quite the wait, so if this is your style, stop by as soon as you arrive at the resort and ask about the wait.  

If you don't want to wait for Trader Sam's, I love the Tambu Lounge on the second floor outside 'Ohana.  If you indulge in the alcoholic beverages, a Lapu Lapu is a must as it is served in an actual pineapple and packs quite the punch.  We are also big fans of the Backscratcher if the Lapu Lapu sounds like too much or you don't like pineapple. You can also get some favorite 'Ohana bites served at the lounge so it's a great food stop as well, yum!

Lapu Lapu

Disney's Contemporary Resort

We will wrap up the Monorail resorts with the Contemporary, the closest to the Magic Kingdom.  To get here you can take the walking path, the Monorail or a Resort Launch.  The Contemporary gives me some of the most "Disney" vibes of all the resorts on this list since the Monorail goes THROUGH the resort.  It is just too cool!  I love to hang out on the concourse on the 4th floor and just watch it zoom by.  

View of the Monorail going into the Contemporary Resort

While numerous resorts have marinas, for some reason the Contemporary is my favorite one to rent a watercraft from and go explore the lake.  Get a little speed boat and go explore Bay Lake or the Seven Seas Lagoon for some new perspectives on the Magic Kingdom and resorts. 

View of the resort from the lake

If you are ready for a full meal, Chef Mickey's is extremely popular as you get to dine with the Fab 5 themselves, but best to make an advanced dining reservation if this is a must-do!  If you want a snack, the Contempo Cafe is a great quick service to stop for a quick bite.  Disclaimer, all of the resorts on this list have amazing food options, this one just gets mentioned because of the extra-Disney-feel of the characters. As night falls, you can head out to the deck and catch a great view of the Magic Kingdom and the evening fireworks. 

Donald Duck at Chef Mickey's

Disney's Wilderness Lodge and Villas

The Wilderness Lodge is a little more tucked away but well worth the visit.  You can get here via Resort Launch and it is my favorite to just hang out and spend time in.  On nice days, go sit outside at Geyser Point for some delicious bites and beverages. It is right by the water and just such a peaceful escape from the parks.  Make sure you catch the mini Old Faithful in action too!

Exterior of Geyser Point
Mini Old Faithful

On colder or rainy days, sit inside the beautiful lobby and enjoy the fireplace and check out the totem poles.  It is so cozy and there are so many great details to see. 

Looking up from the Lobby

Bonus: Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

This is the hardest resort to get to and only recommended if you have a full day outside the parks.  There are two great dining options here, Trail's End (closing Spring 2023) and The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.  Trail's End is one of the best deals on property for some great comfort food, so make one last visit if you can before it is reimagined as a quick service. The Hoop-Dee-Doo is a fun all-you-care-to-eat dinner show that I highly recommend seeing.  There are also stables here that are home to the Magic Kingdom horses and some other fun activities you can book in advance to make a full day of it.  

Performers at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

During Halloween and the Christmas season, many guests decorate their campsites so it can be fun to explore, but it is very large so make sure you have a game plan and understand how to get around this sprawling resort. 

If all of these activities weren't quite enough, you can view the Electrical Water Pageant each night from each of the resorts beaches.  Check with the hotel for the time for that location as it can vary.  This is a classic Disney touch that can add that cherry on top of your resort sundae.

What is your favorite activity at the Magic Kingdom resorts?  Let us know in the comments!

Maci Schau
Maci is an avid foodie and loves trying out new restaurants and seasonal food offerings in the parks.  You can email Maci at


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