When you think of Disney World, you most probably imagine most of your time being spent in the parks. Did you know that there is a lot to see and do outside of the theme parks? Sometimes it’s a good idea to plan for a non-park day to give yourself a break. There is a lot to choose from whether you want to have a more relaxing break or a day filled with fun outside the parks.
Here are some ideas of things you can do on a non-park day without a Disney park ticket:
Disney Springs is the dining and shopping location on property. It is SO large, you could actually split this up over two days. If shopping is what you want, then they have so many cute shops to browse through. This is also where you will find one of the largest Disney stores in the world – World of Disney. You’ll find every and any kind of Disney souvenir there.
It’s also a mecca of amazing restaurants. Any kind of cuisine you are looking for, you’ll find it at Disney Springs. From super casual to more upscale, you are sure to find something for everyone here. Reservations are recommended for most restaurants at Disney Springs. If you can’t find an available slot on My Disney Experience, then try calling the restaurant directly. It’s not widely known, but you can often get a table by calling them direct since they do not give out all their time slots on My Disney Experience.
On Disney World property you will find two mini golf courses – Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. Each one has 2 18-hole courses, so you can actually enjoy a total of 4 games! Fantasia Gardens is located near the Swan hotel, while Winter Summerland is right next to Blizzard Beach. The cost for a game is $14/adults and $12/children (3-9).
Ride the Monorail
A fun ride that you can take without ever stepping in to a park – the monorail! You can get on the monorail at the Ticket & Transportation Center, or you could take transportation to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot and jump on it there. Make sure to ride it around the Seven Seas Lagoon and then you can get off to explore all the Magic Kingdom area resorts – Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and the Contemporary.
Visit the Resorts
Resort hopping is a great way to spend a day. Each resort is themed and different in its own special way, so they really are worth checking out. Some of the resorts even having special activities that you can partake in such as a carriage ride, horseback riding or you could rent a surrey bike. If you are there during the holidays, then you will be in for a special treat since they go all out dressing up the resorts for Christmas. Make sure to also stop by the quick-service locations to check out any special treats that may be exclusive to that resort.
Enjoy the Activities at Your Resort
If you are staying at a Disney resort, then take a look at your resort activities calendar for that day. There are always activities planned throughout the day, enough to keep you busy all day long. Most activities are by the main pool, but some will also be at other locations throughout the resort.
Disney has 3 dinner shows that you can attend at various Disney resorts and no park ticket is required! You’ll find Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness, and Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian resort. At the dinner show you’ll get to enjoy an all-you-can eat feast and be entertained the entire evening. Reservations are required to attend a dinner show and the cost is approximately $37 and up for children & $62 and up for adults.
Most nights at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort, you can join in for a campfire sing-a-long with Chip n’ Dale. This activity is completely free to attend, unless you would like to roast some S’mores. S’mores kits are sold at an additional fee. You’ll get to roast marshmallows, sing to old-time favorites led by a guitar-playing cowboy and then visit with Chip n’ Dale. It’s the perfect evening activity!
Movies Under the Stars
If you are staying at a Disney resort, then be on the lookout for their schedule of Movies Under the Stars. In the evening, they’ll set up a huge movie screen, usually by the pool, where you will get to enjoy classic Disney movies. This activity is complimentary and it’s a great way to wind down and end your non-park day.
Want to jazz up your day with some fun? Then head to Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Disney Springs for a bit of bowling. This bowling alley is really well-themed and a lot of fun. You can also grab a bite to eat since it is one of their table-service restaurants as well. Great food and fun all in the same building.
Characters in Flight
Another great activity that you will find in Disney Springs is Characters in Flight. You’ll get to go up in a hot air balloon and get amazing 360-degree views of the Disney property. If you are afraid of heights, then this might not be for you, but for anyone else, this is a breathtaking experience. The cost for this experience is $20/adults and $15/children.
I think you can pretty much fill up a full day or two with the activities mentioned above. What would your ideal non-park day look like at Disney World? Tell us in the comments below!
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Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 10 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!