For many, a vacation brings healthy eating and a workout routine to a screeching halt – and that’s ok. After all, as food is a window into the world around us, it can, and should, be an integral part of traveling. Luckily, if you’re planning on visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth in the future, the House of Mouse makes it relatively easy to stay fit at Walt Disney World.
For this guide on how to work out at Disney World, we’ll go over all the ways to get your heartbeat up at The Place Where Dreams Come True. Whether you’d like to get in a run or some laps, or you’re looking for a more fun way to stay in shape at Disney World (that’s right, we said it), there’s sure to be an activity or two to help you fill in those rings, get those 10,000 steps, and just feel good while on your Disney vacation. And best of all, most of them are free or very low cost.
Read on as we break down the 14 best ideas for working out at Walt Disney World.
Please remember that due to the global pandemic, some of the suggestions below may not be available at this time. In general, some recreation offerings, amenities, events, and attractions with a lot of high-touch surfaces and close interactions between guests and/or cast members are temporarily on hiatus.
Additionally, as many of these Disney World workout ideas are located at the resorts, you will need a dining reservation to visit the hotel if you aren’t already staying there. Offerings continue to return as people are vaccinated and the situation improves. So, be sure to pay attention to Disney’s website or the My Disney Experience app or speak to a cast member at the Disney World hotels for the most up-to-date information.
Traditional Disney World Workout Ideas
Running, biking, swimming, and lifting weights are classics for a reason. So, there’s no need to worry about breaking your early-morning jog routine or skipping out on arms day during a Disney vacation. Keep your workout schedule intact with these Disney World wellness offerings.
Get Your Steps in With a Whole Lotta Walking
Ok, we’ll admit it. This first one is a bit of a cheat, but really, that’s what makes staying healthy at Disney World so easy. The place is just so darn big that no matter whether you’re booking it around the theme parks, walking from slide to slide at Blizzard Beach, or trying to figure out where to eat at Disney Springs, you’ll be well on your way to clocking in those coveted 10,000 steps and beyond without even trying.
In fact, according to some of the people sharing their stats on Disney discussion boards, there’s a good chance you could earn yourself 20,000 or even 30,000 steps per day. Of course, it all depends on where you stay, how you choose to get around, the way you tackle the parks, if you park hop, and so much more. In other words, if you’d prefer to stop reading here and pat yourself on the back for a workout planning job well down, you’ve earned it.
That being said, there are some ways you can be more intentional about using walking at Disney World as your workout. For example, don’t plan on going around World Showcase one time. At roughly 1.25 miles around World Showcase Lagoon, by strolling past the pavilions more than once, you don’t just get more opportunities to appreciate the immersive theming each pavilion has to offer or to figure out what you’d like to eat at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, you also get to work off all those calories in the process.
Other ideas include going on a nature walk through the Fort Wilderness Campground, exploring every avenue of Disney Springs, or walking all the way around Crescent Lake to the other Epcot Resort Area hotels instead of just sticking to Disney’s BoardWalk.
Or, for guests staying at Disney World hotels near Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, consider forgoing the Monorail, water taxi, or Disney Skyliner to walk to the theme parks instead. Walking paths are available from the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Village to the Magic Kingdom. While over near Epcot and Hollywood Studios, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Beach Club, Yacht Club, and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels are also within walking distance. Meanwhile, guests at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort can even take a leisurely stroll to Disney Springs.
Check Out the Disney World Running Trails
Unintentional exercise is great and all, but for those of you who are really hoping to stay on top of your goals, you may want to consider utilizing one of the other wellness offerings Disney has made available. And the easiest way is by going for a jog. In fact, no matter which of the Disney World hotels you stay in, there’s a good chance that it has a running trail. Depending on which resort you decide to call home, you’ll have access to everything from a leisurely 0.75-mile loop to 3-mile-long trails through beautifully scenic areas. Snag your map of the Disney World running trails from your hotel concierge.
Take Part in Sunday Runday With Disney Resort Fun Runs
Need a little extra motivation to go for your morning jog while on vacation? We don’t blame you. Perhaps one of the Disney resort fun runs will do the trick. Held most Sundays (except for those on Disney marathon weekends) as well as a few other days during the week depending on which hotel you’re at, Disney World resort fun runs come with not one, but two covetable prizes: finishers’ souvenirs and breakfast pastries. Plus, at around only $15 per person, they’re an affordable alternative to the runDisney races.
According to Disney’s website, there are only two official resort fun runs. Over at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, The Running of Coronado takes to the trails for a 1.7-mile dash around the property. At the end, you’ll be rewarded for your hard work with a collectible pin and a lemony Spanish-style muffin called a magdalena. Or, kick off your morning at Port Orleans French Quarter with the Beignet Dash, where you’ll receive a medallion and one of the resort’s signature sugary pastries after finishing the 1.5-mile course.
While those are currently the only fun runs online, other Disney fun runs that have been held in the past at the following resorts:
- Regatta Run at the Beach Club – 3k on Thursdays
- Seaside Point at the BoardWalk Resort – 1.5 miles on Fridays
- Southern Most Point Fun Run at Old Key West – 3k on Wednesdays
- Topolino Trot at the Riviera Resort – 1.2 miles on Sundays
- Derby Dash Family Fun Run at Saratoga Springs – 1.4 miles on Thursdays
Break a Sweat at Disney World Resort Fitness Centers
For those of you wondering whether there is a gym at Disney World, the answer is a yes. However, for those of you that need some weight machines or, at the very least, some free weights, we’re sad to say that not all of the resorts at Walt Disney World come with a fitness center.
For the most part, you’ll only have access to a gym if you stay at one of the deluxe hotels or in the Disney Vacation Club villas, as well as at Disney’s Coronado Springs hotel. There you’ll typically find some treadmills and possibly a few ellipticals and stationary bikes, free weights, kettlebells, exercise balls, and possibly a few weight machines. Disney resorts with fitness centers include:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House – Zahanti Fitness Center
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village – Survival of the Fittest Fitness Center
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas – Muscles & Bustles Health Club
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Olympiad Fitness Center
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – La Vida Fitness Center and The Fitness Center at Gran Destino Tower
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club (also open to guests at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort – R.E.S.T. Exercise Room
- Disney’s Riviera Resort – Athlétique Fitness Center
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Fitness Center
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas – Sturdy Branches Health Club
- Disney’s Yacht Club – Ship Shape Health Club
Enjoy Some Moral Support at One of the Disney Resort Fitness Classes
For some people, getting in a workout is a simple as going for a run or busting out some pushups in your room. For others, you need the support of an instructor and a room full of other sweaty humans. Luckily, for all the group fitness class fanatics out there, Disney has you covered too.
While the deluxe Disney World resorts tend to boast the most benefits, Coronado Springs, one of Disney World’s moderate resorts, is shaping up to a mecca for fitness fans. Not only does this massive convention hotel have a fun run and two fitness centers, but it also has a whole slate of group fitness classes including yoga, pilates, aqua aerobics, and bodyweight exercises. Similar Disney resort fitness classes have been held at the Contemporary, Old Key West, and Riviera resorts.
And for those looking for more of a moving meditation than an intense workout, yoga is on offer at many of the Disney resorts including the All Stars, Contemporary, BoardWalk, Grand Floridian, Saratoga Springs, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht and Beach Club, and the Riviera. And best of all, mats and towels are complimentary.
As always, be sure to double-check with the front desk once you arrive to see what’s available. Although something may have been offered in the past, it may no longer be offered now. Plus, as group fitness classes tend to be really popular, you’ll also want to sign up ahead of time if you know you want to attend as space is limited.
Swim a Few Laps in the Disney World Resort Pools
While some like to keep their workouts on dry land, others would rather splash into a lane and swim for a while. You might think that getting in a proper swim at Disney World may be a challenge given all the people. However, if you get up early in the morning – and you’re staying at a resort with a good-sized pool – you might even be able to get in a couple of laps.
Of course, the best pool for swim workouts at Disney World can be found at Coronado Springs. Although the Lost City of Cibola pool is a good shape and length for swimming, the Casitas leisure pool is actually our favorite, measuring around 30-meters long and with painted lanes on the pool floor for lap swimming.
Challenge Your Crew to a Game of Beach Volleyball
What better way to get in a workout than with your toes in the sand? And not just because it’s extra fun, but because it’s extra challenging. Rent a volleyball for a small fee (DVC members can snag one for free) and head to one of the white-sand volleyball courts at Disney World resorts property-wide. Family tournaments and casual games alike can be held at Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Contemporary, Coronado Springs, Fort Wilderness, Old Key West, Polynesian Village, and Yacht and Beach Clubs.
Work on Both Your Serve and Your Fitness During a Disney World Tennis Match
Whether you want to perfect your serve or have a little friendly competition, tennis is a great way to get your heart pumping. Tennis courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis at several Disney World resorts including Saratoga Springs, Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk, Fort Wilderness, Old Key West, and Yacht and Beach Clubs. Best of all, you can be a guest of any Disney World resort to access them. Equipment can be checked out for a fee, while DVC members can use the gear for free.
Or, for those who take their tennis seriously, guests can also reserve a tennis lesson. Taught by a pro and available in both group and private settings, Disney tennis lessons are customized to fit your skill level are a great way to elevate both your game and your vacation.
Fun Workout Ideas at Disney World in the Great Outdoors
Sprawling over 27,000 acres, with much of it being conservation land, Disney World is as filled with natural beauty as it is theme park magic. Enjoy some of it – and get a workout in too – with these outdoor recreational offerings.
Paddle Around With a Fort Wilderness Kayak or Canoe Rental
Discover what is just around the riverbend and work on your arm strength with a canoe or kayak rental from Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Explore this resort’s peaceful wooded areas as you float beneath Spanish moss and towering cypress trees along the campground’s watery highways and byways.
Available on a first-come, first-served basis for $13 per hour, Disney World canoe and kayak rentals are a steal for a workout with a view. Plus, at such an affordable price, the whole family can afford to come along for the adventure. Keep in mind that life jackets are both provided and required, and you must be over 18 and have a valid driver’s license to be able to rent a kayak.
Pedal It Out With a Disney World Bike Rental
It’s no SoulCycle, but you’d be hard-pressed to have a more magical bike ride than the one you’ll have with a Disney World bike rental. There you can zip down waterfront promenades or along treelined trails on either a single-rider bike or a charming surrey bike.
Single-rider bicycles, including some kid-sized bikes with training wheels, are available for rental for $20 per person on a first-come, first-served basis from several Disney World resorts including Caribbean Beach, Fort Wilderness, Old Key West, Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge (currently unavailable due to construction). Bike helmets are also included, and you can even get a complimentary child seat if required.
Or, for something extra fun and family-friendly, go for one of the nostalgic surrey bikes. Made to fit 2 or 4 people, these human-powered carriages are a great way to get in a leg workout and take in some of the sights all at the same time. Disney World surrey bikes cost $25 per person and are available at the BoardWalk, Old Key West, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, and Saratoga Springs.
Stroll the Fairways During a Round on a Disney World Golf Course
Disney World may have two adorable miniature golf courses to choose from, but if you’re looking for more of a workout, then you may want to consider one of the Disney World golf courses. Operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, championship holes can be found at the Disney Magnolia, Palm, and Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses, while Disney’s Oak Trail offers a walking course that’s perfect for beginners.
In fact, the key here is the walking. To really add some steps onto that Fitbit, forgo the golf cart to walk the holes instead – and get some bonus Vitamin D and perfectly manicured views for your troubles.
Or, for something more out-of-the-ordinary, consider giving FootGolf at Oak Trail Golf Course a try. With soccer balls instead of golf balls and giant holes to match, it’s perfect for golf newbies, as well as those looking to spice up the game or get in some steps. A round costs between $20 and $29, depending on when you play, and junior players under 18 receive 40% off. Reservations are available here.
Disney Attractions That Are Also a Good Workout
Leave it to Disney to turn exercise into part of your vacation. Whether hanging ten at one of the Disney World water parks, shooting hoops at Disney Springs, or running around Disney property in the wee hours of the day, these unique Disney World experiences are as much of a workout as they are a good time.
Catch a Wave Doing a Little Typhoon Lagoon Surfing
As a city with precisely zero oceanfront property, Orlando may seem like a strange place to go surfing, but that’s exactly what you can do at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. In the hours before the waterpark opens, Disney runs a group surf sesh that’s perfect for learning a new skill, having an unforgettable experience, and getting in a workout all before you even head to the theme parks.
Led by a pro, you’ll go from pop-up to possibly even riding a wave up to 6 feet tall. Plus, there will even be a photographer on hand to capture you in all your aquatic glory, with your photos provided at the end. And don’t worry about getting breakfast beforehand as Disney has you covered there too. Disney World surfing lessons cost $199 per person (including tax).
Shoot and Sweat at the Disney Springs NBA Experience
While you could shoot some hoops at a few of the Disney World resorts, our favorite spot to play a little basketball on property is the NBA Experience at Disney Springs. This hands-on experience gives you a taste of the life of an NBA player, from running drills in the combine to hoisting an award after the championships – and it’s one heckuva workout too. Be sure to bring your sneakers and some comfortable clothes because you’ll be dribbling and dunking the day away. The Disney Springs NBA Experience costs $34 for ages 10 and up and $29 for ages 3 to 9.
Take Part in One of the RunDisney Marathons
We take it back: This is probably the most obvious Disney World workout idea. After all, what could be more of a workout than finishing a full or half marathon? To be clear, however, participating in a Disney World marathon is a choice. Not really just part of your vacation, it will be your vacation.
That being said, what an experience it will be. Sprint around the theme parks like never before in your best Disney-inspired gear and be treated to exclusive Disney character experiences and runDisney medals along the way. Marathons at Disney World are incredibly popular. So, if you know you’d like to participate, be sure to register ahead of time so you can plan your trip around the event.
Well Disney fans and fitness fanatics, we hope we’ve given you some ideas for staying active while on a Disney World vacation. And we especially admire your commitment to staying healthy even amid the temptation that is a Disney buffet. You’re an inspiration to us all.
Worried you won’t have enough time to exercise at Disney World? We’ll help you make time with our one-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. While you’re at it, why not save some extra cash too with our discount Disney World tickets?
What’s your favorite way to work out at Disney World? Are there any exercise ideas we left off our list? Let us know in the comments!
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.