The good news has been announced. Disney is finally lifting the park reservations requirement. It has been a long time coming! As of January 9th, 2024, park reservations will no longer be required at Walt Disney World parks. There is a catch though. Park reservations for dated tickets will be lifted. There are more details to be revealed. It’s not an easy picture to sort out. Other guests’ needs will need to be accommodated. With the good news announced, a countdown to normalcy has officially begun. January 9th, 2024 may be a long way away, but with great patience, it will be here soon enough.

With the date set for the park reservations requirement being lifted, one can imagine what is going through the minds of avid Disney travelers. Waiting until January 9th is a long way away. The world outside the Walt Disney World Resort property has just as many great fun opportunities to be seized. Walt Disney World is in a spot light of its own. However, Florida visitors whether minimally experienced or seasoned can take in so many great opportunities while the countdown to normalcy is in progress. What are some of those alternative destinations?

Until park reservations are lifted, everyone is wondering, “Where should we start?” It’s always best to start just outside the Walt Disney World property. In the Orlando suburb of Kissimmee, the Cypress Cove Resort is the best place to start. It’s one of the best alternative destinations. Family-owned and operated since 1964, Cypress Cove is the favorite destination of naturists around the world. Its 300-acre facility includes a 50-acre lake, 130 acres of protected wetlands, 20 acres of recreation, and even a residential community. Accommodations include 84 villa hotel rooms and apartments, and a modern campground. Cypress Cove is in the heart of one of the world’s most popular family travel destinations. Not only is it atop the list of alternative destinations, it’s an alternative escape for the entire family. It’s just a short drive to any one of Central Florida’s famous attractions. Universal Orlando Resort is approximately 40 minutes away. Sea World is a short 15 minutes away. Kennedy Space Center is a short 55 minutes away. Families can begin their alternative escape at Last, but not least, Playalinda Beach is 1 hour and 10 minutes away. Speaking of alternative destinations, it’s an alternative escape from bustling Orlando all together. In Central Florida, all the fun can be found directly in the back yard.

Venturing further from the Walt Disney World property, the Tampa area is another great area to explore. Like the Orlando area, the Tampa area is a world all its own. Tampa is a hot spot for alternative destinations. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the perfect starting point. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is home to some of the wildest thrill rides in Florida. Guests can conquer the all-new Serengeti Flyer. Who likes roller coasters? No one should pass up the Iron Gwazi, Tigris, Cheetah Hunt, and SheiKra- an extreme roller coaster if you dare. Families can explore further at

North of downtown Tampa is the Caliente Resort. Of all alternative destinations, adults who visit will never want to go home. Caliente, located in Land O’Lakes, is the most luxurious, adults only, clothing-optional experience anyone can imagine. Whether it’s the joy of going au naturel or looking to discover a more daring side, Caliente is home to the perfect adventure awaiting. On a scale of 10 considering alternative destinations, Caliente is truly a 10. Adults can discover more at Nearby is a more laid back au naturel experience. Paradise Lakes is located in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. Paradise Lakes Resort has been welcoming guests from around the globe, providing them with an exciting and playful place to relax and renew. Comparing alternative destinations between Caliente and Paradise Lakes on a scale of 10, Paradise Lakes is an 8. Further details can be found at Tampa is home to opportunities for adults and children alike. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy all that the rest of Florida has to offer before the real reservation-free fun begins.

It’s May 2023. Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. Summer is a hop, skip, and a jump away. The kids can’t wait to get out of school. Adults cannot wait to get some breathing time away from work. Summer is the perfect 3 month window to hit the reset button and unwind. Park reservations at Walt Disney World will be lifted in just 8 months. It sounds like a long way away, but January 9th will be a reality before we know it. Until then, why must anyone stress over making park reservations? There are a handful of alternative destinations where families and adults can go and be alone-to unwind and just be themselves. When it comes to enjoying life au naturel and being themselves, families can experience Cypress Cove Resort in Kissimmee. In Tampa, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay provides families all the chills and thrills they’re longing for. For adults, Tampa provides the perfect au naturel surroundings at Caliente Resort and Paradise Lakes. Who needs to pull their hair out, flipping out over making park reservations? Shouldn’t Florida be an oasis where reservations lead to fond memories? Reservations are meant for freeing the mind, the body, the soul, and of course-the traveler’s spirit. January 9th may be 8 months away, but appreciating alternative destinations in Orlando and Tampa will make the wait worthwhile.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, David also writes for the publication On, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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