5 Things To Do at WDW Resorts (Even If You're Not Staying There)

By Holley Long

Walt Disney World resorts are magical places to spend a vacation, but did you know you don’t have to book a stay to enjoy some of the perks? Even if you aren’t a resort guest, there are several things you can do on property to get a whole Disney experience—and many of them are free! 

Sing with Chip ‘n’ Dale at Fort Wilderness 

family at a campfire with chip and dale

Get your voice ready for a good old fashioned sing-along at Fort Wilderness. While a guitar-strumming cowboy croons classic favorites, the furry duo Chip ‘n’ Dale will come out to play and dance with kiddos, signing autographs and taking photos as well. 

There’s also a campfire for roasting marshmallows, so you can create the perfect s’more. Bring your own supplies or purchase a s’mores kit from the snack bar, and, after you’ve eaten your fill and sang your heart out, be sure to stick around for a movie night under the stars.

*Fun Fact: There are several other resorts where you can also enjoy s'mores around a campfire, including Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Catch an Outdoor Movie Night at the All-Star Resorts 

all star resort entrance with sign

Speaking of a movie night under the stars, the All-Star Resorts are some of the best places to catch an outdoor film. You can view popular and classic Disney movies while relaxing poolside or with a drink in your hand from one of the surrounding bars. 

The All-Star Resorts are also fun to walk around, as each has decor themed around sports, music, or movies. There’s also a spacious arcade at each resort, as well as a gift shop, food court, and more activities you and the whole family can enjoy. 

See Wildlife at Animal Kingdom Lodge 

giraffes at dawn on the savana

Animal Kingdom Lodge has delicious restaurants, beautiful art, and relaxing amenities, but one of its biggest draws are the exotic animals. There are over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and flamingoes, that roam throughout savanas on the resort property.

You can view the animals from many areas throughout the resort, including through floor to ceiling windows in some of the resort restaurants. You can also learn more about the animals and their ecosystems during programs led by animal specialists at the resort. 

View the Magic Kingdom Fireworks at the Polynesian Resort

seven seas lagoon at night with dragon light up boats and castle

View from Seven Seas Lagoon

No matter the show, the fireworks display at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is always a sight to see. However, a trip to the theme park—especially when the whole family comes along—can get pretty pricey. Thankfully, you don’t need to buy tickets to get a good view of the fireworks. 

One place to get a good view is the Polynesian Resort. It’s located on 7 Seas Lagoon, and from the resort’s sandy beaches you can see not only the fireworks display but also a portion of Cinderella’s Castle lit up for the show. The resort even plays the show’s music so you can get the full effect, and you don’t have to worry about battling horrendous crowds—there’s plenty of room. 

Play on the Art of Animation Playgrounds

squirt figure on a rock outside at art of animation resort

Walt Disney World has no shortage of beautiful resorts, but if I had to pick the one with the most “Disney Magic” I’d have to choose Art of Animation. The resort is divided into sections themed around a popular Disney film. There’s a Cars section with figures of Lightning McQueen and his friends, a Little Mermaid section with giant King Triton and Ursula statues, and even seagulls that yell “Mine!” every now and then, like the ones in Finding Nemo. 

The resort also has a number of immersive playgrounds for little ones to run around. Kiddos can enjoy exploring sets featured in their favorite cartoons, from The Lion King’s elephant graveyard to Finding Nemo’s undersea paradise, or they can play giant outdoor games, like checkers, Connect Four, and more. 


All Images by Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts


From wildlife to fireworks, there’s plenty to see and do at Walt Disney World resorts. So, if you’re looking for a magical experience, but don’t want to head into one of the theme parks, stop by one of the resorts for an exciting and fun time!


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