103 Things To Do at Disney World Without Park Tickets

Disney Springs is a beautiful place to spend the day.
Disney Springs is a beautiful place to spend the day.

Disney World without park tickets is a magical Disney experience if you know all of the fun activity choices you have. Before we became annual passholders, we would spend rest days, arrival day, and departure day exploring Disney property. Even as passholders, we love to still participate in many of these fun activities.

Disney Springs is a beautiful place to spend the day.
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Disney Springs is a beautiful place to spend the day. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.

There’s no denying that park passes for Walt Disney World are one of the most expensive parts of a vacation. The theme parks are the main attraction for most visitors to the resort. Some of our favorite things to do range from exploring the Disney resorts, visiting the miniature golf courses, and visiting Disney Springs.

We have you covered if you have a spare day on your trip without tickets or are just looking to have a more budget-friendly trip. These are also great arrival day or departure day activities. These are some of the best ways to spend a day in Walt Disney World without heading to the parks.

Disney Springs

The most common attraction that visitors to Walt Disney World head to when they don’t have a park ticket is Disney Springs. This dining, shopping, and entertainment complex offers dozens of diversions for every family member to enjoy.

World of Disney store located in Disney Springs.
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World of Disney store located in Disney Springs.

While you could spend a fortune here shopping, there are plenty of free or inexpensive ways to pass a day here. Enjoy strolling around the entirety of the area and checking out the fun Lego displays and live entertainment on offer. 

  1. Shop at unique stores: There are many stores in Disney Springs like the World of Disney or the Marketplace Co-Op. Discover vintage Disney collectibles at Marketplace Co-Op. The Marketplace Co-op always has some interesting finds you may not be able to find everywhere. The co-op is always worth a walkthrough as well for some unique Disney souvenirs. 
  2. Enjoy live music and entertainment: Check out the calendar of events for up to date information about the live music and events. 
  3. Indulge in gourmet treats: Our favorites are Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, Gideon’s Cookies, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, Swirls on the Water, and Amorette’s Patisserie.
  4. Experience the giant balloon for panoramic views of Disney Springs: Also known as the Aerophile. We have never dared to experience this, but we do love to watch the hot air balloon in action. It’s a beautiful and usually quiet place to relax behind Starbucks.
  5. Bowl at Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Enjoy a retro themed bowling experience that will be a great addition to your Walt Disney World vacation.
  6. Catch the latest movie at AMC Disney Springs 24: Enjoy a dine-in movie experience.
  7. Dine at themed restaurants like The Boathouse or T-Rex
  8. Sample diverse cuisines at the food trucks: Currently the food truck offerings include GoJuice and Cilantro Urban Eatery. Food trucks and menus can change.
  9. Build a custom LEGO creation at the LEGO Store: The lego store is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike to walk through.
  10. Go for a Car Ride and a Boat Ride: The Amphicars are another cool experience to add to your list. You can frequently see the boat launches next to the Boathouse Restaurant or wave to boaters from the bridge next to Swirls on the Water.
  11. Coca-Cola Rooftop Bar: Catch an amazing view of Disney Springs while you enjoy an assortment of Coca-Cola products.
  12. Sample and purchase teas at Tea Traders Café.
  13. Enjoy a chocolate and whiskey pairing at The Ganachery.

Resorts and Hotels

One of the most popular things to do on rest days are explore the Disney resorts. Most people visit the Deluxe resorts to visit the gift shops, enjoy the dining, and walk around the resort. Some of the resorts also have other activities you can enjoy as well like boating and fishing.

Resort view from Disney's Caribbean Beach looking at Disney's Riviera.
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Resort view from Disney’s Caribbean Beach looking at Disney’s Riviera. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort: For anyone who has never visited Fort Wilderness before, this would be our top recommendation for spending a day without a park ticket. There’s so much to see in this resort and campground, and you could spend hours walking around the area. Start your morning with breakfast at Trail’s End Restaurant, which offers one of the best value-for-money meals on property. From there you could enjoy boating, biking, horseback riding and so much more at this resort. If you are visiting during the Halloween or holiday season, take the time to walk around and admire the decorations on the campsites.
  2. Resort hopping to explore themed hotels: You can use Disney transportation to visit any Disney resort hotels regardless of whether you stay there. You will need dining reservations to be able to drive your car their though. Popular resorts to visit are Disney’s Grand Floridian, Disney’s Contemporary, Disney’s Polynesian, and the Wilderness Lodge. You can also find and collect exclusive resort pins or merchandise at the gift shops in each resort.
  3. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant from resort beaches
  4. Enjoy campfire activities at select resorts
  5. Movie nights under the stars at resorts: One of our favorite free night-time activities at Walt Disney World is the Movie Under the Stars. This event takes place at almost all of the on-site resorts, but the schedule varies by hotel. Check out the times guide at your resort for further information, where you can see the selection of movies that will be playing for the upcoming week. It’s a fun activity for the whole family.
    You’ll enjoy watching a classic Disney movie and relaxing together. Buy a few snacks and drinks from your resort’s food court. It will be just like visiting a movie theater.
  6. Dine with Disney Characters at resort restaurants
  7. Explore the beautifully landscaped grounds of the resorts
  8. Rent a boat or bike at select resorts
  9. Rent a Canoe or Kayak
  10. Catch live music at lounges and bars in the resorts.
  11. Participate in resort-offered activities like fishing 
  12. Go Horseback Riding
  13. Take a tour of the kitchens at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
  14. Play Tennis
  15. See the Animals on the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  16. Monorail Resort Hopping: Spend a free day in Walt Disney World hopping between the three monorail resorts near the Magic Kingdom. Many guests enjoy just riding the monorail especially if it’s their first time in Disney World.Start your day at the Contemporary Resort, where you can enjoy watching the monorail whoosh overhead when you’re standing on the concourse. From there, take the monorail or boat over to the Polynesian Village Resort, where you can relax on the hotel’s beach and enjoy wandering around the grounds.If you’re ready for lunch by this point, stop at Capt. Cook’s, which offers some fantastic budget-friendly quick-service options. Alternatively, enjoy relaxing with a cocktail at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, which serves some fun tropical drinks in a relaxing atmosphere. Finish off your day at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where you can admire the most luxurious resort on property. If you need a good dinner option, try out the Grand Floridian Cafe, which offers family-friendly dining at an affordable price point.
  17. Disney Springs Boat Rides: One of our favorite free excursions from Disney Springs is a boat ride to one of the nearby resorts. We love taking the round trip from Disney Springs to Port Orleans, where you could also stop off for some delicious beignets at the Port Orleans French Quarter quick-service location.
  18. Discover hidden Mickeys throughout Disney properties: Hunt for hidden mickeys at all of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.

BoardWalk Area

This is one of my favorite places to spend time. The boardwalk has many quick service food options, carnival games, bike rentals and more.

The entrance to the Boardwalk at Disney World.
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The entrance to the Boardwalk at Disney World.
  1. Stroll along the Disney BoardWalk.
  2. Enjoy street performers and entertainment.
  3. Visit the BoardWalk Bakery for sweet treats.
  4. Rent Surrey bikes for a fun ride.
  5. Experience nightlife at Jellyrolls or Atlantic Dance Hall.
  6. Dine at BoardWalk restaurants with waterfront views.
  7. Watch sports games at ESPN Club.
  8. Enjoy ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery (or its current equivalent).
  9. Take a boat ride between Epcot and the Hollywood Studios area.
  10. Capture picturesque sunsets along the water.

Outdoor Activities

Typhoon Lagoon After Hours H20 Glow Party
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Typhoon Lagoon’s Lazy River. This photo was taken at night during the H2O Glow Nights party. This after hours event is another thing you can enjoy without a park ticket and purchase a party ticket instead. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Golfing at one of Disney’s four golf courses on property. 
  2. Miniature golf at Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf: If you’ve never played mini golf at Walt Disney World, you’re in for a treat. Located behind the Swan and Dolphin Resorts, you’ll find the Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.Choose from the family-friendly Fantasia Gardens course or the Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf, which is similar to a traditional golf course but in miniature form. Alternatively, head over to Blizzard Beach, where you’ll find the Winter Summerland Miniature Golf course.Choose from the Summer Course or the Winter Course, both of which offer plenty of interactive elements that kids and teens will love.
  3. Go on a nature trail at Fort Wilderness Resort.
  4. Rent a canoe or kayak at Fort Wilderness.
  5. Enjoy a professional soccer match at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
  6. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride at Fort Wilderness or Port Orleans.
  7. Experience the thrill of parasailing or water skiing at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports.
  8. Participate in a runDisney event.
  9. Discover the Tri-Circle-D Ranch horses.
  10. Engage in archery experiences at Fort Wilderness.
  11. Water Parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are a great way to spend the day especially in the summer time. They do require tickets, but they are not as expensive as the regular Disney World Tickets.

Dining and Culinary Experiences

My favorite part of Disney is the dining and snacks. You can enjoy some of the best Disney has to offer without even entering the park.

California Grill located at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
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California Grill located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Enjoy afternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
  2. Dine with an Imagineer at select restaurants.
  3. Indulge in a waterfront dinner at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  4. Taste wines at California Grill’s Wine Tasting.
  5. Savor a beachside meal at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
  6. Experience unique dining like Chef Mickey’s or ‘Ohana.
  7. Participate in a culinary tour at select resorts.
  8. Enjoy a specialty cruise with dining options.

Relaxation and Wellness

Disney vacations are typically busy and physically demanding. It’s always a great idea to build in a rest day and what better way to do that than relaxing and pampering yourself?

You can find these day beds, hammocks, and games on the beaches at Disney World Resort Hotels. This picture was taken at Disney's Grand Floridian Beach.
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You can find these day beds, hammocks, and games on the beaches at Disney World Resort Hotels. This picture was taken at Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Spa day at Senses – A Disney Spa. There are Spas located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. There is also the Mandarin Spa at Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Resort.
  2. Relaxation at the pools of deluxe resorts (for guests only).
  3. Yoga sessions at select resorts.
  4. Stroll around the lush gardens of the resorts.
  5. Enjoy the serene beaches at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk.
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Jellyrolls at the Boardwalk.
  1. Catch the dueling pianos show at Jellyrolls.
  2. Enjoy live jazz at Scat Cat’s Club.
  3. Watch a live band at Raglan Road Irish Pub.
  4. Experience unique themed bars like the Enchanted Rose or Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
  5. Attend a seasonal event or festival at Disney Springs.
  6. Enjoy the views and cocktails at Top of the World Lounge.
  7. Participate in themed trivia nights at various lounges.
  8. Watch the fireworks from a resort beach or restaurant.
  9. Enjoy a dinner show like Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
  10. Attend special holiday events or parties at the resorts.

Unique Experiences

Fishing Excursion sign at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
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Fishing Excursion sign at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Take a behind-the-scenes tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  2. Experience the Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  3. Participate in a cake decorating workshop.
  4. Go on a guided fishing excursion.
  5. Experience a fireworks dessert party from a resort.
  6. Take part in a Disney Vacation Club open house tour.
  7. Capture professional PhotoPass pictures at resorts.
  8. Customize a Disney-themed floral arrangement.
  9. Participate in a mixology or cooking class.
  10. Go on a Segway tour at Fort Wilderness.
  11. Explore the art galleries across resorts and Disney Springs.

For Families and Kids

Ariel meet and greet at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort. You can meet many characters at the different Disney World Resort Hotels.
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Ariel meet and greet at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. You can meet many characters at the different Disney World Resort Hotels.
  1. Pirate Adventure Cruises for kids or join a pirate-themed treasure hunt.
  2. Mermaid School at select resort pools.
  3. Enjoy themed playgrounds at the resorts.
  4. Kid-friendly cooking or baking classes.
  5. Interactive games and activities at Community Halls.
  6. Disney character meet-and-greets at breakfasts.
  7. Participate in poolside activities and games.
  8. Explore the resort arcades.
  9. Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from a distance.
All ears takes you into the places you can go without a Disney park ticket.

Seasonal and Special Events

Check out the Grand Floridian egg that is filled in daily, it takes about 3 hours for every 2 characters.
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Check out the Grand Floridian egg that is filled in daily, it takes about 3 hours for every 2 characters. Photo by Bayley Clark for MagicalGuides.com.
  1. Experience the New Year’s Eve festivities at Disney Springs.
  2. Enjoy the Halloween decor and events around the resorts.
  3. Participate in the Easter Eggstravaganza hunt.
  4. Discover the holiday gingerbread displays at the resorts.
  5. Attend a special Valentine’s Day dinner.
  6. Experience the holiday sleigh rides at Fort Wilderness.
  7. Enjoy the Fourth of July festivities and fireworks.
  8. Participate in special Mother’s or Father’s Day brunches.
  9. Attend special cultural celebrations like Diwali or Lunar New Year.
  10. Experience the springtime flower and garden displays.
  11. Explore the Christmas Tree Trail during the holiday season at Disney Springs

Related Questions

Is it free to walk around Disney World?

You need theme park tickets to walk around in the Disney parks, but not to walk around other areas on Disney property. You can walk around the Disney hotels, Disney’s Boardwalk, and Disney Springs.

Will Disney let you in without a park reservation?

As on January 2024, you no longer need a theme park reservation. Theme park reservations may still be necessary for annual pass-holders or tickets purchased before January 2024.

Can I walk up to Disney World and buy a ticket?

Yes, you can buy tickets from the ticket window outside each park subject to availability. It is best practice to purchase tickets ahead of time especially if you are going during crowded times of the year.

Can I get into Disney without a ticket?

You need a theme park ticket to get into the 4 Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Water Parks. You can do some of the fun activities we have talked about in this article on Disney property without a park ticket.

Can you go to Disney BoardWalk without staying there?

Yes, anyone can visit Disney’s Boardwalk without dining reservations or park tickets.

103 Things to do without park tickets at Disney
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You don’t need to have a park ticket to have a great time at Walt Disney World. Many families choose to visit Orlando and not spend a single day at the theme parks. With so many activities to keep you busy and amazing resorts to explore, a budget trip to Walt Disney World is completely possible. You’ll still enjoy immersing yourself in the magic of the resort without the crowds and expense of a day at the parks.

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