How I Lost 38 Pounds Going To Disney World

How I Lost 38 Pounds Going To Disney World

Walking In Disney World

Let’s start this by speaking the obvious – I am a huge Disney fan and love going to Disney World.  I love it so much that I moved from Nashville to live closer to Disney World and I wanted to live as close as possible, so I moved to Celebration, Florida.  Celebration is a beautiful little community that Disney built!  Now walking in Disney World happens a few days each week!

But it didn’t start out that way…

After moving to Disney World I gained a lot of weight, went through a big emotional funk and got to the point where I was not even walking 500 steps in a day.  That definitely was not the dream life I had envisioned.

To make a long depressing story really short, I finally got fed up with my weight, my lack of energy and not being able to take advantage of all the fun that waited for me just across the street at Disney World.

So I started walking!  It was literally the only exercise that I felt I could do.  I would walk about 500 steps and stop for a while.  Then get up and move again.  It was painful, it was hard…and I was embarrassed because all I could do was walk.

Needing accountability to stick wit my decision, I jumped on Facebook and announced to the world that I was going to finally do something about my weight. I was going to begin walking and was starting a Facebook group called “Walking Into Greatness” so friends and family could go on this journey with me.

I posted the picture below of me in front of Space Mountain showing a scary face because I had gone public with my decision and wondered if I had set myself up for a big huge fail!

That was the beginning of my journey!

walking in Magic Kingdom

Morning Walks For The Win

I made a decision to take a morning walk every single day.  If I didn’t walk in my neighborhood in the morning I would walk in the afternoon or evening at Disney World.

Even though I live in a beautiful community that almost feels like I’m walking at Disney, the morning walks still felt like work and took a ton of discipline to stay on track. It was always a win and felt like a personal victory when I walked in the morning.

But walking at Disney World  was more fun and exciting!  Obvious, right??  Walking past the amazing smelling snacks and food took discipline, but walking 10,000 steps at Disney World felt a lot less like exercise and more like I was living my dream.  Plus, starting out, there were tons of places to sit and rest and lots of A/C shows and rides I could go cool down when I needed too.

I’d even try to have fun with my walks and “take people along” with me on Instagram Stories (@WalkingInDisney), our Facebook group and even shared a walk through Epcot here on Walking Into Greatness, How To Get 10,000 Steps In Epcot.

Disney World Walking Distances

Since people know I walk in Disney, I’m constantly being asked “what are the average steps per day at Disney World?”  That number could easily be 25,000 – 30,000 steps if you’re there all day on vacation.  There’s a lot of variables to consider – which park are you going to?  How much are you waiting in line?  Do you go to a lot of shows?  Do you zig zag around the parks?

When I’ve gone to the parks for full days just to have fun, my steps have never been over 30,000 but never under 20,000.  That means training for Disney World walking may be a great idea if you’re not very active.  I had a friend ask me “how many miles is it to walk around Epcot?  I’ve had a full day there and walked 30,000 steps, but when I go just to walk, it takes effort to get 10,000.

Keep in mind that Disney World is 47 square miles of magic.  When you consider the 4 parks, 2 water parks, more than 25 resorts, Disney Springs and massive parking lots, there are lots of places to walk.  There are so many different areas to walk in you should never get bored of walking at Disney.

Walking Goals

My goals for walking are pretty simple:  Walk at least 10,000 steps six days each week.  I never take the trams, so I get one or two thousand steps that way.  With unpredictable rain, a busy work schedule, social life and a constant voice in my head telling me to watch tv, 10,000 steps six times per week is truly a challenge.

Getting 10,000 steps in over at Disney is about a 3 1/2 hour commitment, so that could easily be 21 hours in a given week.

But my big goal was to get active, regain energy, get my focus and ambition back and lose weight.  I made a decision to stick with it no matter what, and so far I’ve lost 38 pounds by walking at Disney and by changing my diet.

Walking At Magic Kingdom

Walking at the Magic Kingdom is my favorite Disney park to walk in.  It’s very easy to get 10,000 steps, though it does require a little bit of zig zagging through the park.  Walking past the amazing smells is another challenge all together!  In my past, I LOVED Disney snacks and the smell of a Churro STILL gets me every single time!

I typically schedule a FastPass in Tomorrowland and another in Adventureland (the far side of the park from Tomorrowland).  From Tomorrowland I’ll walk through Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Frontierland to Adventureland and then into back to Tomorrowland.  That usually gets me up to 10,000 steps by the time I get back to the car.

With a FastPass I can jump onto a ride with very little wait, so it’s a fun way to break things up a bit and force me to get my steps in within a certain time frame.

When friends come to Orlando (and when you live in Orlando, there’s always friends coming to town) it’s easy to meet them at the Magic Kingdom and get my steps in.  And it’s fun to jump on a few rides with them, too!

Walking at Magic Kingdom

Walking At Hollywood Studios

Right now Hollywood Studios is under major construction as they prepare for Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land.  With entire streets and areas closed off, it’s very difficult to get 10,000 within the park unless you walk in the same areas over and over. …and to me, that’s not so fun.  It’s also harder to get FastPasses at the last minute at Hollywood Studios, so I don’t go there as often.

When walking Hollywood Studios I’ll often park at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort or Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and walk from there to Hollywood Studios.  That’s around 2,000 steps, depending on where I park.  If I go to Fantasmic, that’s typically a LOT of added steps because the theater is off the beaten bath.

If you’re vacationing at Hollywood Studios you definitely end up walking the same areas multiple times.

I LOVED walking Hollywood Studios over Christmas – they have an incredible Christmas vibe for sure!Walking Disney's Hollywood Studios

Walking At Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is my favorite Disney World Park.  It’s incredibly themed and offers some amazing trails off the beaten path that are full of animals and beautiful landscape, plus, there’s entertainment galore!  Animal Kingdom is absolutely stunning and the details found throughout the park continues to amaze me!

My walks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom always begin from the parking lot and walking to the entrance.  Without a doubt, it’s easy to get 10,000 steps here.  On a recent fun day where I was there for about 12 hours, I walked 25,000 steps.

With the opening of Pandora (Avatar Land) it’s definitely made this park a lot more crowded. Other than a few areas, it’s still easy to walk at a good pace throughout most of the park.  Most of the rides here have substantial wait times, so if I’m not able to get FastPasses, I don’t take in many of the attractions here.

Walking At Animal Kingdom

Walking At Epcot

Epcot has turned into the park known for “Drinking Around The World” and “Eating Around The World.”   I’ve turned it into my personal “Walking Around The World” park and end up at Epcot almost as much as I do Magic Kingdom.

Walking around World Showcase (all the countries) is around 3,600 steps if you don’t explore the various country pavilions, so I often walk around World Showcase twice.  There are a few attractions that you’re able to ride / watch without much wait, so it’s easy to get out of the rain or the blazing sun pretty easily when desired.  Plus, there’s so much entertainment and scenery at Epcot.

One of the reasons I love walking at Epcot is because the Character Meet & Greets often have very little wait time, so I’m able to take a quick selfie with the Disney characters!

Riding Soarin’ (my favorite ride at Epcot) is usually good for about 1,000 steps, so riding it is always a win!  Epcot at night is my favorite place at Disney World when it’s dark, so walking here at night is both entertaining and helps me reach my activity goals.

I recently did a post on How To Get 10,000 Steps At Epcot with a photo breakdown and step count.

Walking at Epcot

Walking The Disney Resorts

I’m often asked if I get bored going to Disney so much.  When most people think of Disney World they think only of Magic Kingdom and don’t consider all of the resorts, the water parks and the fact that it’s 47 square miles of magic!

Several of the resort areas are perfect for walking.  They are much less crowded than the parks and beautifully decorated.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offers a tropical beach vibe and is full of white sandy beaches.  Coronado Springs is a Mexican themed resort built around a lake that makes it easy to get your steps in.

The Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach Club and Swan & Dolphin resorts are all part of the Boardwalk area and a favorite for walking after dark because of all of the night time entertainment taking place at Disney’s Boardwalk.  Plus, if I time it right, I can see fireworks from Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and Epcot as I walk – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Walking at Disney’s Riverside and Disney’s French Quarter is also rather lovely with lots of pathways and a walk along the waterway.

It’s also fun to walk at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground – but even better to bike through it!

Preparing For Disney World

If you’re going to be at Disney World, be prepared! It’s hot, humid and your feet are not accustomed to all the walking you’ll do at Disney.  I’ve always joked that Orland prepares you for Disney World as soon as you land at the airport – it’s so big and you’ll do a LOT of walking starting from the moment you land.

7 Tips for Walking at Disney:

  1. Drink Lots Of Water
    Any quick service food counter will give you free cups of ice water.  Ask for a large – it’s free!
  2. Wear Appropriate Shoes
    Good broken in sneakers or Teva’s.  I always check the weather report before I walk, and if it’s going to rain, I wear my Teva’s.
  3. Bring A Poncho
    Again, check the weather and if rain is in the forecast don’t allow it to ruin your plans.  Grab a poncho and keep having fun!
  4. Wear Sunscreen
    The Florida sun is intense! If you’re not from here, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you will burn.
  5. Look Up And Take It All In!
    One of the reasons I love walking at Disney is because of all of the sights, sounds, smells and beautiful details.
  6. Take In A Show
    At Disney, you will walk a LOT.  Take in a show, or jump on an attraction / ride to allow your feet to rest.
  7. Smile At People
    I’ll admit, since I am at Disney to exercise I often forget that it’s a park where people are on vacation and here to have fun.  Smile at people, enjoy yourself and let yourself be a kid.  The steps will happen either way, so it’s incredible to get to exercise with a smile and relaxed attitude.

Losing Weight At Disney World

So far I’ve lost 38 pounds walking at Disney and eating a Keto diet.  I often eat at the parks/resorts and definitely drink my fair share of water in order to stay hydrated.

Here’s some pics from my journey so far:Steps at Disney World

How I Lost 38 Pounds Walking At Disney World

It comes down to three things: activity, eating healthy and sustaining these long term.

For the activity, I walk.  When I started out, it was the only thing I could do….and walking even hurt!

There have been times in my life when I would spend hours and hours at the gym 5 days a week, but would still gain fat. My activity was present, but the nutrition wasn’t there.

For the nutrition, I do a keto.  It’s basically a high fat, medium protein and low carb (less than 20g per day) diet.  I take a multi-vitamin but do not take any other supplements. I’m allowing food to work for me, not against me.

It wasn’t until I combined nutrition with activity that I began to see results.  The keto diet has made me feel young again, it’s given me back my energy and drive and my ambition for an incredible life has surfaced once again.  I’m not saying this way of life is for everyone, but I sure know it’s working for me.

I’m no longer hungry all the time, my body doesn’t constantly ache like it did before, I don’t crave sweets and I’ve not had bread in over 8 months. Not eating bread may sound difficult, but as soon as I realized how bad it made me feel all of the time, it was easy to cut out. It’s inconvenient not having bread – but I’ll take inconvenient over feeling miserable anytime!

I’m down 38 pounds (so far) and don’t plan to stop anytime soon!

If you’re looking for support and encouragement on your journey, I believe you’d love our Facebook Group – Walking Into Greatness.  It’s full of people who are out to be the best versions of themselves, who know the struggle is real but that the effort is worth it!

For the nutrition, I love the food I get to eat.  Early on I may have felt like I was sacrificing, but I found a way to work in the foods I really love so I would stick with it long term.

I love walking at Disney!!  And to get to say I’ve lost weight while walking here – that’s even more awesome!

I’m in this for the long haul!

Walking At Disney World




By | 2019-02-13T13:20:49-04:00 February 23rd, 2018|Activity, Disney, Inspiration, Travel, Weight Loss|

About the Author:

Bonnie is a happy-go-lucky guy who enjoys Travel, Disney, Business and a really good ribeye! His commitment to living to his full potential, and encouraging others to do the same, is the heart behind his blog, Walking Into Greatness.


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