17 Ways to Celebrate Dad This Father’s Day at Disney World
Each year on the third Sunday of June, people from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom go out in search of that perfect tie or pair of socks to celebrate a special someone. That’s right, folks – Father’s Day is right around the corner. June 20th this year, to be precise. (Don’t worry, dads get their day in other countries too. They just observe the holiday during a different time of year.)
So, if you’re visiting The Place Where Dreams Come True with your dad this June 20th and are wondering what to do for Father’s Day at Disney World, there’s a lot to choose from! Stick with us, as we break down our favorites.
Please note that due to COVID-19, some activities on this list – like most backstage tours – are temporarily unavailable. However, we are hopeful that they will return in time for Father’s Day next year. In the meantime, please refer to Disney World’s website, the My Disney Experience app, or onsite cast members for the most up-to-date information.
Celebrate Dad With Our Disney World Father’s Day Ideas
There’s no doubt about it, Father’s Day at Disney World can be magical. That being said, celebrating Father’s Day, Disney World-Style, can look very different depending on what your dad is interested in. Of course, while you could stick to eating at his favorite restaurants, going on all his favorite rides first, and maybe stopping to grab a beer along the way, we suggest you think outside the box – or rather, outside the theme parks – and try one of the many other activities the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.
Here are some ideas we’re sure dear old dad will love:
For the Outdoorsman
Clocking in at 40 square miles in size, Disney World is massive. So, it should come as no surprise that there’s a whole lot more to do here than just hoofing it around the theme parks. With a campground, several bodies of water, and a whole bunch of wooded space, there are tons of activities for dads who can’t get enough of the great outdoors.
Go Catch-and-Release Fishing in Disney World
Think dad would like to explore some of Disney World’s waterways? Then reel in the fun, and hopefully some largemouth bass, with a guided fishing excursion out of one of Disney World’s many marinas. Lasting either 2 or 4 hours in length with space for up to 5 guests (solo adventures are also welcome at a reduced price), Disney World fishing excursions include drinks, all the tackle you’ll need, and an experienced guide. Or, for family fun without all the bells and whistles, head on over to Ol’ Man Island at Port Orleans Riverside for some easy dockside fishing.
Get Out on the Water with a Disney World Boat Rental
For dads who would rather have a paddle or a refreshing beverage in their hand instead of a fishing pole, consider one of Disney World’s kayak, canoe, or motorized boat rentals instead. Discover what is just around the riverbend with a kayak or canoe rental from Fort Wilderness Campground ($13 per hour). Not only is this resort the only place you can go camping at Disney World, but it’s also dotted with streams and ponds that are perfect for exploring from the comfort of your own paddle-powered boat.
Looking for something with a little more horsepower (aside from the ponies you’ll find over at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, of course)? Disney’s motorized boat rentals offer watercraft of all sizes and speeds, from the thrilling speed of the 2-person Sea Raycer to leisurely cruising on a 10-person pontoon boat. Rentals are priced at $32 or $45 per 30 minutes depending on which powerboat you choose.
Sleep Under the Stars at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground
If your dad prides himself on his excellent charcoal cooking skills and ability to pitch a tent in six minutes flat, then consider booking a stay at the Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney World.
Zip Around on a Segway During the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
Does your dad like his Mother Nature with a dash of technology? Stay on (somewhat) solid ground and try the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort instead ($90 per person, tax not included). This special, 2-hour tour will have you and your pops gliding around the Disney World backwoods on a Segway X2. Never ridden a Segway before? No worries, you get a 30-minute training period to get your bearings and balance before heading out to explore. Keep in mind that you must be 16 years old or above to participate.
For the Foodie
When most people think of theme park food, they probably think of hamburgers as dry as hockey pucks and turkey legs almost as big as your head. And while the turkey legs are definitely still there, we’re happy to report that food at Disney World tends to be a cut above puck-like patties. So, whether dad has a craving for BBQ, steak, seafood, or pizza, you’re sure to find more than enough options to keep dad feeling full and happy.
DIY a Disney World Dine-Around
Disney World is positively stuffed with tasty dining options. But, why pick just one for a Father’s Day meal when you can eat at three or more – maybe even all for the same meal? Enter, the Disney World dine-around. With convenient transportation options like the Disney Skyliner and Monorail, getting around Walt Disney World is easier than ever. So, why not take advantage by taking dad on a custom food tour around Disney World featuring all of his favorites? Or, embark on a progressive dinner where you eat each course at a different restaurant. Either way, the sky – and dad’s stomach – is the limit.
Make a Reservation for a Special Dining Event
Nothing says celebration like an extra-special meal. And while any dinner featuring some of dad’s favorites is sure to please, consider taking things up another notch by booking your pop a seat at one of Disney World’s dining events. These delicious opportunities come in a range of flavors and settings, from dining with an animal specialist at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa to sipping on South African varietals at a Jiko Wine Tasting. Or, for fathers with a sweet tooth, be sure to save a spot at one of Disney World’s many dessert parties.
For the Sports & Fitness Fanatic
Disney World may be all about the rides, but there are also plenty of indoor and outdoor activities available to help dad get in touch with his athletic and competitive sides. Whether he’d rather perfect his bowling approach, soak up some sun while working on his putt, hang ten on a surfboard, or channel his inner Michael Jordan, there’s an active offering for him.
Send Pins Flying at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Nothing says good, old-fashioned fun quite like bowling. No matter if your dad can wax philosophical about the perfect bowling ball or could probably benefit from a pair of bumpers, Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney Springs is an excellent place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Disney World and get in some quality time. Best of all, with live music, an expansive dining menu, and an upscale setting, this is one bowling alley you’ll be more than happy to spend more than 10 frames in.
Putt Your Way to Dad’s Heart With a Few Rounds of Miniature Golf
Disney World is home to not one, but two different mini-golf courses: Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens & Fairways. With adorable theming the whole clan will enjoy, if you’re looking for a fun activity the whole family can do with dad, this is it.
While Winter Summerland follows Santa and his band of merry elves from summer vacation all the way to Christmas Eve, Fantasia Gardens and Fairways immerses you in the whimsical world of Fantasia. Featuring sand traps, water hazards, and more, golfing purists will especially appreciate the Fantasia Fairways Course, a traditional golf course on a pint-sized scale. Each location offers two 18-hole courses, with each round costing $14 for adults and $12 for children (tax not included).
Get a Hole in One at a Disney World Golf Course
If there’s anything Florida is known for – besides Disney World, of course – it’s golf. Yes, along with sunny weather all year round, the Sunshine State also boasts an astronomical number of courses (over 1,300 to be specific – the most of any state). So, it’s no wonder that Disney World touts three different championship courses to choose from, along with a family-friendly course, all operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. For a challenge, get dad a slot at Disney’s Magnolia, Palm, or Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses, or book him a professional golf lesson.
For a round of golf that the whole gang can participate in alongside dad, make your way over to Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. This 9-hole walking course features junior tees and approachable challenges for golfers both young and old. Or, for something completely different, try Oak Trail’s FootGolf course instead. This precision sport fuses golf with soccer and comes with super-sized holes to match.
Hang Ten With Surf Lessons at Typhoon Lagoon
Hoping to catch some waves with dad by your side? Don’t go all the way to the coast, head over to the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool instead. The largest wave pool in North America, the Surf Pool pumps out 6-foot swells that are made for riding. Whether dad is a first-timer or a pop-up pro, Typhoon Lagoon surf lessons ($199 per person including tax) are the perfect gift for the father who wishes he could live at the beach. To top it all off, continental breakfast and digital photos of dad’s lesson are also included.
Shoot Every Shot at the NBA Experience
Let dad live out his pro-basketball dreams at the NBA Experience at Disney Springs. With hands-on drills like dribbling, shooting, and dunking, this interactive attraction lets participants get a taste of what it’s like to play in the NBA. Plus, priced at $34 for the day, you can easily get in some hoops at the beginning of the day, then return later on for some more friendly competition.
For the Star Wars Fan
Before millennials dreamed of getting their acceptance letter to Hogwarts, people wished (and still do) that they could wield lightsabers and the Force, hobnob with bounty hunters in an intergalactic cantina, befriend a droid, and travel to a galaxy far, far away. Well, with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, now they can. Help dad get in touch with his inner Jedi or (gasp!) join the Dark Side with these out-of-this-world ideas.
Take a Trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
With its incredibly detailed theming, next-level rides, and interactive experiences, Galaxy’s Edge is a Star Wars lover’s dream. While the entire land is well-worth exploring, we’d like to suggest three experiences in particular for all the Star Wars dads out there.
Savi’s Workshop is an immersive shopping experience unlike any other. There, under the guidance of the Gatherers, dad will build his very own lightsaber, from hilt to kyber crystal. At $219.99 plus tax per lightsaber, this is one expensive souvenir, but we think it’s worth it for the collector-quality lightsaber and the unforgettable memory.
For a more affordable gift option, take dad for a visit to the Droid Depot. Similar to Savi’s Workshop, this is a hands-on retail offering, only this time your pops comes away with a droid of his own creation. Unlike Savi’s, however, the quality of the droids is more akin to a high-end toy than an authentic collectible, and the experience lacks the transporting quality and story of its counterpart. That being said, at $99.99 plus tax each, dad is sure to get a kick out of making and playing with these loveable gadgets.
While you’re exploring Black Spire Outpost, be sure to save some time for a drink at Oga’s Cantina. This highly themed bar will thrust you and your father straight into the action, no jump to hyperspace required. Although there are some snacks on offer, the real stars here are the drinks. From cocktails and mocktails featuring flavors, ingredients, and even fun effects inspired by the world of Star Wars to a selection of beer, wine, and cider (all renamed to suit the theme), dad is sure to find something here to sip on.
Set Sail on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Ok, you caught us. Unlike some of the other activities on here that are temporarily on hiatus due to the pandemic, the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser resort isn’t even open yet. That being said, it is set to open its doors to Star Wars fans sometime in 2022, hopefully in time for Father’s Day. Featuring inclusive activities, immersive atmosphere actors, and a setting inspired by the cruise ships of today with a planetary twist, Galactic Starcruiser is basically a fantasy camp for geeks. In other words, we’re expecting it to be wildly popular. If you want to reserve a spot for your number one fan, we suggest you act fast as soon as reservations are made available.
For the Sharp-Dressed Man
Considering that sneakers and comfy walking clothes are basically the unofficial uniform of Disney vacations everywhere, personal style probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Disney World. However, that doesn’t mean that dad can’t look spiffy while making the most of his Father’s Day. Luckily, there are a few options available to help him (and the kiddos too) look and feel his best while visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth.
Treat Father and Son to a Luxurious Spa Experience
A dad teaching his son how to shave is an unforgettable milestone for many fathers. Although dad won’t need to bust out the razor blade and shaving cream for a hands-on lesson, the Father & Son Barber Spa Experience at The Art of Shaving at Disney Springs (available June 18 to 20) is sure to be almost as memorable. While junior sits through a haircut and an extra special spa service, dad gets to sit back and relax as he enjoys the treatment of his choice. At the end, he’ll leave with a gift just for him, a photo of the pair looking dapper, and a bunch of memories.
Stop in for a Shave and a (First) Haircut
What could be more special for a new dad than getting his beard trimmed alongside his mini-me during their very first haircut? Harmony Barber Shop near the front of Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom provides what are certainly the most magical haircuts in all the land. While this old-timey barbershop specializes in first haircuts (the My First Haircut package is $25 plus tax and includes a commemorative set of Mickey Ears, a lock of your child’s hair as a keepsake, and a certificate in addition to the haircut), anyone can take a break from the day and get a trim there. A child’s haircut here costs $18, while an adult’s starts at $19 and a Beard or “Moustache” Trim is $10 (tax not included).
For the Animal Lover
Does your dad get the awwws any time he sees a cute dog or cat? Is Animal Kingdom his favorite Disney World theme park? Then you’ll definitely want to check out our animal-centric Disney World Father’s Day ideas. Home to the Animal Kingdom Theme Park (which is basically a zoo on steroids) and the second-largest aquarium in the United States (Epcot’s 5.7-million-gallon Caribbean Coral Reef), Disney World is positively filled with experiences starring the world’s creatures.
Walk on the Wild Side During a Disney World Safari
Be transported to the African savanna during a thrilling, animal-filled safari. And we don’t just mean Kilimanjaro Safaris, although that is good too. No, we’re talking about one of Disney’s special behind-the-scenes safari tours. These up-close expeditions – available at both Animal Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom Lodge – come in a variety of price ranges and lengths. For a shorter, more budget-friendly option, try the Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village ($74.17 per person plus tax, no park tickets required).
Or, if you and your dad have got the time, cash, and theme park tickets, the Wild Africa Trek ($139-$249 per person, plus tax and park tickets) and Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience ($169 per person, plus tax and park tickets) both feature breathtaking views of Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Wildlife Preserve with a side of vibrant African-inspired dishes.
Take a Dive Under the Sea
The Seas with Nemo & Friends, that is. Epcot’s massive aquarium is home to more than 65 species of marine life totaling over 6,000 sea creatures. Best of all, you and your dad can explore it all during an Epcot Seas Adventure. Whether your father is a novice snorkeler or a SCUBA-certified pro, there’s an aquatic adventure that’s perfect for him. Snorkel through crystal-clear, current-free waters to spy on the sea life below you during the Aqua Tour ($145 per person plus tax).
Alternatively, to really get up-close-and-personal with the incredible creatures that call The Seas home, dive to the depths during DiveQuest ($179 per person plus tax). For this option, you can even watch your dad do his best merman impression from dry comfort outside the tank.
Well, that wraps up our list on the best ways to celebrate dad during Father’s Day at Disney World. Fortunately, no matter what time of year it is, Disney World is a pretty amazing place to spend some time with dear old dad. Most of the activities we listed above are available all year long, making them great for birthday gift ideas or just hanging out.