Did you know that there are plenty of fun things to do on Walt Disney World property without having a park ticket? Whether you want to explore the many fun things that Disney Springs has to offer, watch a movie under the stars, or even eat a meal with Mickey and his pals- there is something fun for everyone. Here are 10 fun things that you can do at Walt Disney World without having to a ticket to the four main parks.
Up, up and away!
At Disney Springs, guests of all ages can board the Disney Aerophile Balloon for a breathtaking view of the Walt Disney World property. This unique experience allows guests to float above Disney Springs in the world’s largest tethered helium balloon. Once you take your place on gondola of the enormous balloon, you will gently rise to 400 feet in the air. Be sure to have your cameras ready! Guests will experience beautiful 360-degree views during the 8–10-minute ride. On board, you can ask the pilot any questions that you may have about the area, and they are always happy to answer. Prices start at $20 for children 3-9 and $25 for adults aged 10 and over. Children under 3 may board for no charge.
Run, hike, ride a bike!
Many of the Disney World Resorts have trails where guests may run, hike or ride a bicycle. The running trails are all approximately one mile long and under. Trail maps are available from lobby concierges. Some of the most scenic running trails are along Hourglass Lake which is located near the Disney Springs Resorts The trails that are best for hiking are at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. The hiking path is 3.1 miles long and it winds through the beautiful, peaceful scenery surrounding the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. If you prefer to bike the trails instead, you’re in luck! There are eight different Disney World Resorts that offer bike rentals; Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort (French Quarter & Riverside), Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Cabins at Fort Wilderness and the Campsites at Fort Wilderness. Helmets and child seats are complimentary with all bike rentals. Make it a family adventure and rent a two-person, four-person or even a six-person Surrey bike!
Gather around the campfire
I know that when people think of a warm, sunny vacation spot like Disney World, they usually don’t associate it with sitting around a campfire. However, in this scenario, it is uniquely Disney! At Fort Wilderness Resort, guests can bring their own marshmallows and sticks and gather around the campfire! If you forgot to bring your marshmallows and sticks, you may purchase a s’mores kit from the Chuckwagon Snack Bar. After you fill up on s’mores, a guitar playing cowboy joins in on the festivities to sing some old-time favorites. Everyone’s favorite mischievous chipmunk duo, Chip and Dale, also join in on the fun for photos, autographs and lots of memory making that you won’t soon forget. This experience is complimentary and a must do for guests looking to have fun away from the parks.
Movie under the stars
At many of the resorts on Disney World property, guests can enjoy complimentary movies under the stars! After a long, fun day at one of the parks, what better way to wind down than to cozy up and watch a Disney movie? While all the resorts offer seating on benches or beach chairs, guests may bring their own chair, pillow or blanket. The movies being shown are all family-friendly Disney movies rated G or PG. Guests can enjoy a range of classic movies like Peter Pan or Cinderella all the way to modern classics like Frozen or Moana. You don’t have to stay on Disney property to take advantage of this fun activity.
Enchantment at the Monorail Resorts
Walt Disney World has the best fireworks shows. What many guests don’t know is that you don’t have to stand in the large crowds at the parks to enjoy them. Each of the monorail resorts (Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian) offers a one-of-a-kind view of the show. One of the best places to watch the fireworks outside of the parks is at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Guests dining at ‘Ohana for dinner can enjoy a delicious meal while watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom in the distance. The floor to ceiling windows allows a spectacular view and they even pipe the music into the restaurant! You may also watch the fireworks right on the beach at the Polynesian! Another great spot to view the fireworks is at the California Grille, which sits atop the Contemporary Resort. Like ‘Ohana, the music is piped into the restaurant. For a truly amazing fireworks viewing experience, guests may book the Celebration at the Top Experience. At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, guests dining at Narcoosee’s can enjoy the fireworks with the music piped in as well.
World of Disney
Come to Disney Springs and visit the world’s largest collection of Disney merchandise! It has just about everything “Disney” that you can think of from candy and toys to clothing and home decorating items. At 51,000 square feet, the store is enormous- and it is easy to get lost in all the Disney magic! It’s an attraction in it of itself. There is enchanted art and movie posters all around the store and even animation ink jars! You can get many of the same items here as you can in the parks. There is truly something for everyone here. This is the ultimate shopping destination for all Disney fans!
Disney World has not one, but two miniature golf courses. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens is located in the Epcot resort area, right across from Hollywood Studios. The course is themed after the classic animated film, Fantasia. It features 18 holes modeled after Fantasia’s most famous scenes. On the same property, Fantasia Fairways, is a traditional golf course built on a smaller scale. Fantasia Fairways also features 18 holes but has par 3 and par 5 holes that range from 63 to 109 feet long. The other miniature golf course, located within the Animal Kingdom Resort area, is called Disney’s Winter Summerland. Two differently themed courses are offered here- winter and summer. In the Winter Course, designed by Santa himself, guests putt their way to the “North Hole”. The Summer Course features 18 holes of summer fun with sandcastles, surfboards and a melting snowman. Both Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland are priced at $12 for children ages 3-9 and $14 for adults 10 and older.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Walt Disney World’s most unique and beautiful resorts. Perhaps the coolest thing about this resort is that over 30 species of African wildlife roam around outside of the lobby and even some guest rooms! You can see many of the wildlife here that you see on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom. Non-guests can also walk around the resort to see the animals. For those wishing to view the wildlife while dining- you’re in luck! Sanaa, one of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s restaurants, offer spectacular views of the savanna where guests can view a variety of animals and birds. Guests visiting the resort can pick up a free Wildlife Field Guide to try and identify all the different species of animals. Jambo House and Kidani Village have viewing areas inside and outside and are the best places to see the animals. If you have any questions about the wildlife, there are animal experts stationed by the outdoor viewing areas.
Have a meal with Mickey & friends
Many people do not know that you can meet characters without having to step foot in the parks! Character dining is offered at many of the Disney resorts and it’s a great way to meet some rare characters. For example, at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, guests can have a Hawaiian style breakfast at ‘Ohana with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch! This is the only place on Disney World property that you can meet Lilo. This is one of the hardest reservations to get because it is so popular. Not only is the breakfast delicious, but the characters make the experience a lot of fun too.
The Spirit of Aloha
Did you know that you can attend a luau at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Join Auntie Wini as she hosts this fun and exciting luau! The reason for the luau is that Auntie Wini is throwing a goodbye party for a local girl headed to the “mainland” for college and everyone is invited. The luau takes place in an open-air theater in Luau Cove where you can experience traditional dances from Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, Tonga and Hawaii. While dining on a delicious all-you-care-to-enjoy tropical feast, turn your attention to the stage where you will be delighted by the amazing dancers, singers, drummers and even a fire-knife performer! The two-hour long show is a one-of-a-kind experience that all guests should enjoy. Prices are divided into tiered categories and range between $39-46 for children ages 3-9 and $66-$78 for adults 10 and older.The Orlando Real on