10 Things to do at Walt Disney World Resort without a Theme Park Ticket

Character Dining

You don’t have to go to one of the theme parks to meet your favorite Disney characters.  Check out one of the character dining experiences outside of the theme parks for a great meal and the chance to meet different characters.  Most of Disney’s Deluxe resorts offer these dining experiences.  You can dine with characters like Mickey and Minnie at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Cinderella and Prince Charming at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. 

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Pool Day

Disney resorts have amazing pools that go along with the resort’s theme.  Sit and soak up the Florida sun while sipping on a cold beverage from the pool bar and relax.  You usually walk a lot while at Walt Disney World Resort so take a day and kick up your feet!  Resorts often have activities around the pool for your kiddos from dance parties to games to keep them entertained all afternoon. 


Rent a watercraft for as little as $32 per half hour and take in the Walt Disney Resort sights from the water.  Marinas can be found at Contemporary Resort, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and Wilderness Lodge. 

Bowling at Splitsville

This is a two-story bowling center at Disney Springs.  As you play you can snack on a large menu of items from sushi to pizza to loaded french fries.  It is open until 1am and a great rainy day activity.

Disney Springs Shopping

If you love to shop you can definitely shop until you drop here.  There are over 100 stores for you to look through.  It is also the home of World of Disney, the world’s largest Disney character store.  You can find everything you are looking for here!

Go Out to Eat

Some of the best Disney Dining can actually be found outside of the theme parks.  Any of the deluxe resorts have amazing restaurants and all of the resorts have places for a quick bite to eat.  You can also find high end and casual restaurants and bars at Disney Springs.  Most all of these outside dining options also accept Disney’s Dining Plans. 

Horseback Riding

Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness offers horseback riding experiences for guests 9 and up.  A 45 minutes trail ride can run you $55 per person.  For the little horse lover in your party there are also guided pony rides at the ranch for under $10.  This is also the home of “Cinderella’s Horses” and the horses of Main Street U.S.A. 

Resort Hop

This is a great way to spend a day off from the parks.  Check out this post Reasons Why You Should Monorail Hop on Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

Watch fireworks outside the Magic Kingdom

You don’t actually have to be inside the park to experience the magic of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.  Take a seat on the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort or make a dinner reservation at the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for great views.  They even pipe in the music from the show so you get more than just the visual experience!  You can also catch the Electrical Water Pageant at 9pm nightly in front of any of the resorts along Bay Lake. 


The BoardWalk is a great place to walk around at night.  It has a fantastic nightlife with games and magician’s for the kids and fabulous bars and a dance hall for the adults.  There are plenty of restaurants and some of the best ice cream in Disney right along here.  You can access the BoardWalk from Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club, the Swan and Dolphin or the back entrance to Epcot. 


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My favorite thing to do is plan Disney vacations and it has been a dream of mine to help others plan their own magical experiences. As they say in Disney, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow,” and I want to help you see it all!

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