How to workout when there’s no gym at a Disney hotel + example HIIT Tabata and Progressive Workouts


I’ve been really good about getting my workouts in, even on vacation. I enjoy them and it makes me feel good. But, I didn’t count on there not being a gym at Disney’s Art of Animation. In fact, there isn’t a gym at any of Disney’s Value resorts. I made do with what I had with just body weight, a park bench and an exercise band I threw in my suitcase last minute. I asked myself, “how to workout when there’s no gym at a Disney hotel” and knew I could figure something you! If you want to workout at your Disney hotel, there are no excuses!

How to workout when there's no gym at a Disney hotel

I know what you are thinking, Krystyn, this is Walt Disney World, you will walk 7-12 miles a day. Sure, that does happen. But, there might be days you want more, or maybe you do a resort or Disney Springs day and want to round out your day. This is for you!

How to workout when there’s no gym at a Disney hotel (HITT and LISS options)

LISS (Low Intensity Solid State)

These workouts are something you can maintain for 30-45 minutes. Typically, think of walking at a brisk pace, cycling or even jogging/running. This is even where you could take your exercise band and do squats, walking squats or lunges up and down the hallway. Hallway exercises are good as long as they don’t have jumping. Nobody wants to hear that. You can also squat and lunge your way around the lobby or outside. 

Here I’m using an exercise band (great for throwing in almost any bag and take up very little space) around my upper thigh and doing walking squats down the hallway one direction and then back. You might find these called banded lateral low squats. If you are a numbers person, do 10 one direction and then 10 back. 

squats with band in art of animation

You can also do one step backwards with your right food, step together, squat and then one step back with your left foot, step together and squat and do those up and down the hallway. You will feel those the next day. And likely the day after. 

Run or Walk

The easiest and most fitting workout when there’s no gym at Art of Animation is to go for a run or walk on the paths around the hotel. They aren’t marked for distance, but you can use your phone or smart watch to track your distance or time and just get moving. Many of the paths and sidewalks connect to other resorts on property, too. 

Because Orlando / Lake Buena Vista feels like the surface of the sun, especially on cement, I’d recommend going early in the morning or later in the evening. This will help with the crowds, too. 

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

Many workout types fit in this category, but they are some of the easiest to do with little to no equipment and just body weight. These will be a kick in the pants cardio workout that will burn calories and get your heart rate up.  These will be quick bursts of high-intensity work followed by a rest. These types of workouts will help you continue to burn fat even after your workout is finished. 

After putting the kids to bed in the room with another adult, I went outside and found a bench and an area where I wouldn’t be in the way and got to work. 

workout at bench at art of animation

Some of these workouts include:

  • Tabata: (2:1 ratio of work and rest): 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest for a total of 8 sets. This comes to 4 minutes total. 
  • Progressive: (one of a couple exercise, then two, then three, up to ten of each)
  • Dirty dozen: (12 of 12 exercises done in two rounds)

The workout I’m going to share is a progressive workout I did. It should take about 30 minutes to complete and is sure to bring on the sweat. 

Disclaimer: Perform all of these exercises at your own risk and only after consulting with your doctor. Listen to your body!

Example HIIT Progressive Workout

You’ll start with one rep of each move with no rest. Then about a 30 second rest. Then you’ll do 2 reps of each move with no rest between. Rest for 30 seconds. You’ll go all the way up to 10 reps of each exercise and be done. 

1. Jumping Lunges. One on each leg counts as one rep. Try to get your knee as close to the ground as possible. 

2. Burpees with a push up. Drop it low, thrust your legs back, do a push up, jump back in and then jump to standing.

3. Mountain climbers. Bringing your foot all the way to your hand with one on each leg counting as one rep.

burpees outside at art of animation

4. Jump Squat or regular squat. I did these close to a bench so I could make sure my squat was nice and low. Just plan on watching your hands if you are jumping so you don’t whack the bench. 

squats on bench at art of animation

5. Toe Taps. 10 of these is equivalent to 1 rep. So that means when you get to your last set of everything (technically 10), you’ll be doing 100 toe taps. Get that toe up there and tap that bench. You’ll be glad you did it. 

toe taps on bench at art of animation

Check out the workout stats from my watch. I know that everybody is different (and that I forgot to shut off my exercise mode when I was done with my workout), but this gives you a good idea of what you will get with this workout. 

workout stats after completing progressive hiit workout

Example HIIT Tabata Workout

You’ll want to grab a tabata timer app for your phone. Just searching in the app store or google play store will find you what you need. Basically, you need a timer that will count you to do exercise for 20 seconds, have a 10 second rest and repeat for a total of 8 rounds (which is 4 minutes). Tabatas are a quick and fast way to burn calories

Perform each exercise for 20 sec on, 10 sec active recovery, alternating moves for each circuit, repeat circuit 4 times. Rest 1 min between circuits. (Each circuit is 4 minutes).

Circuit 1:

  • Squat Jumps
  • Skaters

Circuit 2:

  • Forearm Push-ups aka Commandos
  • Jumping Lunges

Circuit 3:

  • Plie Squat Jump
  • In and Outs

Circuit 4: 

  • Tuck Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers

FASTer Way to Fat Loss

Keeping moving while on vacation and incorporating intermittent fasting is inspired by my following of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss. In that program, in addition to a guide to eating (I promise, it’s truly the first sustainable way of eating I’ve found), there are a ton of workouts and exercises you can do almost anywhere!

Just do the workout!

The point I’m trying to drive home is that you don’t need equipment to get a workout in. You can get your heart rate up, burn calories and enjoy your happy post-exercise endorphins pretty much anywhere. You can make excuses, or you can get out there and move your body! And, now you know how to workout when there’s no gym at a Disney hotel!

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  1. The tracks at Port Orleans Riverside are really beautiful. Tree lined pathways that follow the waterfront. New Balance sponsored a bunch on property, and your ideas to grab a workout are perfect!

    1. That’s one of the resorts I haven’t been able to check out, yet!

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