Visiting Walt Disney World can be as hectic, relaxed and expensive as you choose to make it. If you spend all your days running from park to park and still try to do everything else offered on WDW property, you will definitely go home tired from your vacation.
There are lots of fun and exciting things to do on a few days during your trip that will be relaxing and give you a break from the parks.
The list of things to do on Walt Disney World property is long. These 15 Fun Things to Do at WDW Without Going into a Park are just a small sample of what you can do.
1 – Enjoy Your Resort
Enjoy your resort pool and all your Disney resort offers. Each Disney resort has so much to offer and lots of entertainment at the pools, in the lobby and around the resort.
Each Disney resort is themed and has fun activities for all age levels to coincide with the theme.
2 – Do Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Campground
The fun offered at the campground is plenty. You can spend several hours exploring all there is to do before enjoying a great meal at Trails End.
- Horse Back Riding
- Pony Rides
- Chip and Dales Campfire Singalong
- Hoop De Doo Musical Review
- Rent a Canoe or Kayak
- Archery Experience
- Horse Drawn Wagon ride
- If it’s a holiday season (Halloween or Christmas) explore the wonderful decorations at each of the camp sites.
3 – Movies Under the Stars
Most resorts at Walt Disney World show movies under the stars in the evening. Disney movies of course! This is a great way to relax after a day of running around or after a long travel day before heading to the parks the next morning.
When you check into your Disney resort be sure to get a times guide that will give you information about day and time of the movies and all other resort activities.
4 – Monorail Tour
Take Disney transportation to the Transportation and Ticket Center and embark on a voyage around the Seven Seas Lagoon via Monorail!
Get off at each of the resorts serviced by the Monorail and explore the resort, visit the themed gift shop, enjoy a themed cocktail or cupcake. Each of the resorts on the Monorail line offer great things to see and do.
5 – Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise
If you love Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom and the all the sparkles of the fireworks but hate the crowds, Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise is for you! You can experience the show in a whole new way when you climb aboard the fireworks cruise.
The cruise leaves from the Contemporary Resort. When you check-in you’ll be issued seating assignment and pirate garb to get you in the spirit. The evening starts with tables full of treats (cookies, cupcakes, drinks, ice cream and pirate punch) before pirates are given the opportunity to meet Captain Hook and Smee. Before too long all pirates are paraded through the resort to the docks to board their ship for the evening. Once on board there will be pirate chants, songs, and trivia games. Children will most definitely be well entertained.
6 – Take a Specialty Cruise
Although a little pricier than your average special themed cruise dessert party, every frequent visitor to Walt Disney World should take a specialty cruise at least once. The specialty cruises take place on one of Disney’s deluxe pontoon boats, and board at Magic Kingdom Resort Marinas to sail around Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon.
You get your own private pontoon boat for just your family/friends. The 21-foot pontoon boats can hold up to 8 guests along with your captain. You can arrange for full meals to be provided on the boat or simply enjoy the snacks provided (Rice Krispie treats, chips, pretzels, soft drinks).
You set sail approximately one hour before the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom and are treated to an area cruising tour by your captain. When the show is ready to begin, the captain will anchor the boat and you can watch (and listen since the music is piped in) and enjoy the show with just your group. If there are 6 to 8 of you in your group this is actually cheaper (per person) than taking one of the dessert cruises.
7 – Do Animal Kingdom Lodge
I sometimes think that Animal Kingdom Lodge has more going on at the resort than any other WDW hotel.
- Sense of Africa Tour is a morning backstage tour with animal encounters and breakfast at Boma. It’s a 3-and-a-half hour tour that begins with insights into the artwork and architecture of the uniquely beautiful Resort, followed by breakfast at Boma.
- Wyanma Safari is a private safari tour for guests staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It includes encounters with exotic animals before enjoying a multi-course meal at Jiko – The Cooking Place.
- Dine with an Animal Specialist and learn what it’s like to take care of the many beautiful creatures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Interact with the animal expert while enjoying a 4-course lunch at Sanaa restaurant in Kidani Village.
- Jiko Wine Tasting lets you explore South Africa’s distinguished flavors while sampling the complimentary tastes of exquisite cheese pairings. This only takes place on Wednesday and guests must be 21 years old or over.
- Explore Animal Kingdom Lodge and see the animals. Check the daily schedule because sometimes you’ll encounter animal experts who will talk about animal care around different areas of the resort. There are many viewing areas around the resort that allows you to see the animals. Many of the lucky guests staying their can see the animals right from their rooms!
- Book a spa treatment in the resort’s spa. Although several of the deluxe resorts offer a spa experience, the one at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is my favorite and most relaxing.
8 – Do the BoardWalk
Walt Disney World’s BoardWalk area is . . . well, a boardwalk. Just like the one we all know from how trips to the shore!
- Entertainment. Sing along to dueling pianos at Jellyrolls, catch the ultimate televised sporting events and dance the night away.
- Abracadabra Bar is the ultimate magician themed bar.
- Dining. Delight in sensational dining options, from multi-course dinners to on-the-go sweets.
- Recreation. Enjoy classic arcade games, and cruise down the boardwalk on a Surrey bike built for 4.
- Hot dog cart – funnel cake cart – and more
- Street (boardwalk) performers like jugglers, stilt walkers and street musicians.
9 – Everybody Loves Sweets!
Take a special class at Amorette’s at Disney Springs.
The pastries and cakes at Amorette’s are each perfect works of edible art. Visitors to Disney Springs can take a class in creating one of the works of art by taking the Amorette’s Cake Decorating Experience. The 90 minute class takes place before the shop opens. An instructor will walk you through the process of creating a Disney inspired dome cake,
The courses held on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday will make a dome cake in the classic Mickey Design. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes will feature a character of the instructor/artist’s choice. Classes are limited to 14 individuals and everyone must be 10 years old or older.
10 – Shop – Shop – Shop Till you Drop
Shop till you drop at Disney Springs where you can explore the World’s largest Disney store -the World of Disney.
Looking for that perfect LEGO set. Be sure to visit the LEGO Store and play with some LEGO’s while there!
Not only are there fabulous and different places to shop, scattered throughout Disney Springs are lots of fun entertainment and great restaurants.
11 – Dine with the Characters
Located throughout the various resorts are great character dining experiences. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner with the Disney characters you love. Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort and Ohana at the Polynesian are two of everyone’s favorites. Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge lets you dine with Snow White or you can have a Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian.
When it comes to dining with characters, there is no reason to enter a park since there are many locations with great meals available in the resorts.
12 – Bippity Boppity Boutique
Every little girl wants to be a princess! Bippity Boppity Boutique has locations outside of the parks too! Get your princess makeover at one of the other locations!
13 – Polynesian Luau
Located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show has been around for years. Every Walt Disney World visitor should see it at least once. The show is lots of fun and offers large portions of good food too! Watch as guests learn how to do the hula – it’s always entertaining.
14 – Amphicar Ride
Located at the Boathouse restaurant in Disney Springs nothing can be more fun than taking a ride in an amphicar! TIP: Have a great meal in the Boathouse first and you’ll find a discount coupon on the back of your receipt to help cover the cost of your ride.
15 – Learn to Draw Disney Style
Teach to Draw is held in the Children’s Playroom at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Classes are held at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. Classes are open to all Guests regardless of where they are staying but priority is given to those that are staying at the Art of Animation Resort.
15 things – Yep 15! But . . . this is just a small sampling of all there is to do at Walt Disney World Resort without actually going into a theme park. You would need a month’s long vacation to see and do everything offered to guest around the property.
What are some of your favorite things to do at WDW outside of the park?
Don’t forget to go hunting around the resorts and Disney Springs for Hidden Mickeys!