How to Get Your Walt Disney World Fix While on Business

I’ve been a huge Walt Disney World fan since my parents took us there on several family vacations in the 1980s. First of all, let me be clear: EPCOT Center will always be the name of the theme park with the giant golf ball at its gates, even if current park maps suggest otherwise. Okay, I feel better now.

So when I was assigned the state of Florida as part of my recruiting territory here at Hope College, I was thrilled at the prospect of possibly spending time in proximity to WDW.

Now when I’m in Orlando I am there to work, but if I’m going to fly across the country, it’s nice to at least get a taste of Disney in my free time. However: as comedian Jim Gaffigan says, “now there are adults without children who go to Disney… and they’re called weirdos.” Let’s be real here — he’s probably not wrong about this.

So, I got to thinking: what are some ways I can enjoy Walt Disney World while I’m on business, but without buying a park ticket? Here’s what came to mind.

1. Spend an evening hanging out at Disney Springs.

This one’s the most common for me! I usually leave it for the last night of my trip, after I’ve made all of my sales calls for the week. If you’ve never been, Disney Springs is the most ridiculous shopping and dining destination…ever. Parking is free, a real rarity in Lake Buena Vista, but everything else is not. Grab a quick bite, browse the shops, enjoy live entertainment, or even see a flick at the AMC Dine-In Theatre. It’s all at Disney Springs, and I love just walking around there.

BONUS: If you’d like to go see some Disney hotels, you can even take a boat ride from Disney Springs to the Port Orleans resorts, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs.

2. Head over to Disney’s BoardWalk, or as I like to call it, “Disney Springs Lite.”

Disney’s BoardWalk is nestled along the back entrance to EPCOT Center (yes, that’s right) and across the water from the Yacht & Beach Club resorts. While you’re there you can catch a game at the ESPN Club, play some Skee-ball at the arcade, or just enjoy a nice meal out. Fun fact: from the BoardWalk you can see part of Spaceship Earth and Epcot’s evening fireworks display.

3. Attend a conference that’s happening on-property.

The BoardWalk hotel hosts conferences, but the neighboring Swan and Dolphin Resort (now owned by Marriott) might host even more! Attend a business event here and you’ll be within walking distance of Disney’s BoardWalk, plus you’ll have complimentary transportation to Disney Springs (and all of the parks).

4. Bring your family and extend your trip.

Sure, you’ll be in the salt mines during the day, but maybe you could head over to the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios on the weekend before you fly home. Plus your fam will get to have all the fun at the parks while you’re hard at work. Lucky you.

5. Make one of the Disney resorts your home base for the week.

Okay, I’ve never done this. But if you’re booking Orlando-area accommodations and your expense report will allow it, why not make a Disney World resort hotel your home base? (Yes, you can book them through Upside.) And if it’s the WDW offseason, you might even be able to snag a really good deal on one of the quieter hotels like the Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter.

So that’s my getting-your-Disney-fix-while-on-business listicle. Your mileage may vary, but your happiness will only increase if you can sneak away for a Walt Disney World visit while you’re in the Orlando area. Enjoy!

Andrew Meyers is an Upside Brand Ambassador and lifelong Walt Disney World fan. He writes about consumer tech on The Agenda, his collection of gadgets, gear, and more. He also recently released Better With Basecamp, a guide to help folks learn how to use Basecamp to manage their projects and teams. Use his referral code JJHBLN at checkout or click here to earn a minimum of $100 in gift cards when you book your first Upside business trip of $600+.

_Offer valid for first time Upside customers with pre-tax purchase minimum of $600+, see upside.com for terms and conditions._