A question we get often is about activities at Walt Disney World that don’t require theme park admission. On our longer trips, we always reserve at least one day to spend at the pool and explore the attractions on property but outside of the parks. Today we’re sharing ten things to do at Walt Disney World that don’t require a ticket!
Explore the Resorts
This is one of our all time favorite activities. All the Disney resorts are open to the public. You can explore the grounds and lobby, shop in the boutiques, dine in the restaurants, and take as many photos as you want. We’ve made it our goal to explore all the resorts, but if you only want to see a few we recommend:
- The Monorail Resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian)
- Animal Kingdom Lodge (be sure to walk to the Savannah viewing area to see the giraffes)
- Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club
Play Mini Golf
Disney has two mini golf courses. One is located outside of Blizzard Beach, and the other outside of the Swan Resorts. The Winter Summerland Mini Golf at Blizzard Beach has two, eighteen hole courses. It’s free to park at the water park, and bathrooms located outside of the park. Adults can play for $14, and kids for $12. Typical hours are 10 am – 10 pm, but it varies based on the season.
The Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Mini Golf is located at the Swan Resort. To play, park in the resort parking lot and walk along the path towards the tennis courts. Here, you’ll find the mini golf course and a building to pay for your game. Adults can play for $14, and kids for $12. Typical hours are 10 am – 10 pm, but it varies based on the season.
Looking for something different? Disney also offers Foot Golf at the Oak Trail Golf Course near the Polynesian! It’s just like golf, but all the holes are 21 inches in diameter and you play with a soccer ball!
Shop at Disney Springs
Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is a shopping, dining, and entertainment district at Walt Disney World. It’s completely free to the public, including parking. There’s a huge variety of stores to shop at ranging from popular clothing merchants to Disney specific stores. There’s also many restaurants, bars, lounges, and specialty shops that a wide range of ages can enjoy. And, there’s attractions like the new NBA Experience, AMC Theaters, and the AmphiCar Tours.
Walk around The Boardwalk
The Boardwalk is a toned-down version of Disney Springs. It has restaurants, shopping, bakeries, ice cream parlors, bars, and entertainment, but it’s definitely less hectic than Disney Springs. In the afternoon different carnival games are open, and at night street performers come out. It’s a lot of fun, and easy to get to via the new Skyliner, boats from Epcot and Hollywood Studios, or buses. If you want to drive, you can park at the Boardwalk Resort!
Watch the Electric Water PAGEANT
The Electric Water Pageant is a water parade on the Seven Seas Lagoon every night. It’s similar to the Main Street Electric parade, with floats in the shape of sea animals lit up with bright lights accompanied by Disney music. You can watch the show at the Polynesian at 9 pm, Grand Floridian at 9:15, Wilderness Lodge at 9:30, Fort Wilderness Campground at 9:45, the Contemporary Resort at 10:10, and Magic Kingdom at 10:35 pm (during extended hours only).
Enjoy the Fireworks from the Polynesian Beach
Want to catch Happily Ever After? You can get a great view from the Polynesian Beach with the music! Just park at the Polynesian and head to the beach area outside of the Grand Ceremonial House. There’s swings, benches, and beach seating with a great view.
Have a pool day
Whether you are staying onsite or offsite, your resort probably has a pool! Take a day to swim at the pool, or play poolside games that your resort has to offer. Just note, as much as we wish it was possible, you can’t use a resorts’ pool unless you are staying there.
Take an Animation Class
Sadly, animation classes are no longer offered at Disney Quest or Hollywood Studios. But, the Art of Animation resort offers classes three times a day at 1 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm. For more specific times, as the concierge at the resort. These classes are open to the public, not just Disney guests!
Attend the Hoop-dee-doo Musical Revue
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a two-hour long dinner show at the Fort Wilderness Campground in Pioneer Hall. Performers put on different skits and songs, and in between you can help yourself to all-you-can-eat fried chicken, BBQ pork ribs, salad, baked beans, cornbread, and strawberry shortcake. And, unlimited beer, wine, and sangria are included for guests 21+!
This dinner show requires a reservation, and it sells out fast. So, be sure to book it 180 days in advance!
Do a Tour
Several tours at Walt Disney World do not require theme park admission. Tours are a ton of fun, we’ve done 6 so far and loved them all! The Wilderness Back Trail Adventure is our favorite, it’s a Segway tour through Fort Wilderness Campground.