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The highlight of any Walt Disney World Resort vacation is always the four spectacular theme parks, but there is so much more to see and do outside of the theme parks. Whether you have some extra time on a travel day or are taking a break from the parks to rest during your vacation, there are lots of things to keep you busy at Disney World without a park ticket.
Here are 13 things to do at Disney World without a park ticket:
- Disney Springs: Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) is one of the most popular things to do at Disney World that doesn’t require theme park admission. It offers shopping, restaurants, bowling, a movie theater, food truck park, and so much more.
- Disney’s Boardwalk: Disney’s Boardwalk offers restaurants, a bakery, pizza window, shops, old fashioned carnival games, surrey bikes, and more. ESPN Club is a great place to catch a game or the whole family can enjoy a leisurely ride along Crescent Lake, if you rent a surrey bike.
- Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: Did you know that you can go horseback riding at Disney World? You can! There are both pony rides for little ones and trail rides for those who may just be young at heart. You can also visit Cinderella’s Ponies or enjoy a carriage ride around the property.
- Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: You can roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs with everyone’s favorite chipmunks most evenings at Fort Wilderness. You are welcome to bring your own s’mores supplies or they are available for purchase, too. Don’t forget your camera and autograph book for this unique experience.
- Watch Fireworks from a Resort: You can see Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After, from any of the monorail resorts. You are welcome to visit these resorts, even if you are not staying there. You can make a dining reservation to coincide with a view from select restaurants or head out by the water to enjoy the view. You can also see Epcot’s IllumiNations from Disney’s Boardwalk and Disney’s Beach Club Resorts.
- Beaches and Cream: Treat yourself to some delicious ice cream at Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. You can choose to dine in the restaurant (reservations recommended) with the exclusive Kitchen Sink or order at the to-go counter and eat at one of the outdoor tables.
- Electrical Water Pageant: This parade of floating lights has sailed across the Seven Seas Lagoon since Magic Kingdom Park first opened in 1971. You can view the Electrical Water Pageant from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, or even outside of Magic Kingdom Park.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Animal Kingdom Lodge is quite an incredible resort. You can view some of your favorite animals on the savanna from the resort like giraffe, cattle, and zebra. There are also unique activities available including cultinary tours, face painting, cookie decorating, and more. My friend Leah has a great review here.
- Ride the monorail: There are three different monorail routes at Disney World which cover over 14 miles. You can ride the resort monorail between the Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Magic Kingdom Park, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. There are some wonderful shopping and dining locations along this route.
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: Art of Animation has some of the best theming of any resort. You can enjoy free drawing classes here or take time to explore the four sections of the resort with large statues featuring characters from “Finding Nemo,” “Cars,” “The Lion King,” and “The Little Mermaid.”
- Movie Under the Stars: A great way to end you day at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is with a movie under the stars. All Disney hotels offer this free activity, either by the pool or elsewhere on their grounds. The schedule changes monthly so be sure to check with the front desk or the recreation sign by the pool for the current movie showing during your vacation.
- Miniature Golf: Disney World has two miniature golf courses on property- Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. You can find Fantasia Gardens at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel while Winter Summerland is at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park. The cost is $14 for ages 10+ or $12 for children ages 3-9.
- Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside: You can enjoy a 25 minute horse-drawn carriage ride from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort- Riverside for $55 plus tax. Each carriage can accommodate up to four adults or two adults and three children. Advance reservations are recommended and available up to 180 days in advance.
What are your favorite things to see and do at Disney World without a park ticket?