Did you know it’s possible to enjoy Disney World without a park ticket? It’s a great idea to build in some time outside of the parks when you’re at Walt Disney World. Or, if you’re a regular visitor, sometimes it’s nice to visit without going to the parks at all! In this week’s episode, Leslie and Joe discuss seven ways you can have a magical time at Walt Disney World without a park ticket! We include tips that will cater to all sorts of interests and age groups, perfect for families – especially extended ones.
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How to enjoy Walt Disney World without a park ticket
There’s plenty to do in and around the Walt Disney World area without a park ticket. You can shop, play, or eat for days on Disney property without even setting foot into the parks. Here are our top seven ideas for what you can do, and we’d love to hear yours as well!
1 – Go Disney hotel hopping
Many Disney hotels are attractions unto themselves. With Disney character dining, great Disney theming, and even unique features like Animal Kingdom Lodge being in the middle of a safari, you could spend weeks just exploring the different Disney hotels and what they have to offer.
We recommend checking out Sanaa for lunch at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village and then taking a stroll looking for your favorite savannah animals. Or you could check out Chef Mickey’s in the iconic Contemporary Resort or Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. You can enjoy pretty much everything Disney hotels have to offer (except the pools) even if you aren’t guests – so you can enjoy that Disney magic without a park ticket!
2- Shop, eat, or play at Disney Springs
Disney basically bills Disney Springs as sort of a fifth park these days, or at least an area that deserves it’s own day of touring. With all the work they’ve put in, the new shops, and restaurants, Disney Springs definitely should be on your list of things to do at Disney.
When we’re in Orlando without park tickets, visiting Disney Springs is a great way to get a taste of that Disney magic. From the large World of Disney store, to top notch dining and entertainment, there’s lots to do at Disney Springs for people of all ages. And if you like to shop, Disney Springs definitely deserves your time.
Check out our podcast on Disney Springs 101 for more tips and tricks.
3 – Explore the Boardwalk and Crescent Lake
As we’ve stated before, you can walk between Epcot Center and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The waterways in and around this area lead to Crescent Lake, one of our favorite areas to wander around outside of the parks. You can visit hotels like the Yacht and Beach Club (have some ice cream at Beaches and Cream), or you can stop in the many fun nooks and crannies at the Boardwalk.
Speaking of which, there’s a lot of great entertainment to be had on the boardwalk, especially for adults. Crescent lake has some of the best nightlife outside of Disney Springs – be sure to check out Jellyrolls for some lively piano playing!
4 – Enjoy a round of golf (or minigolf)
If you enjoy a round of golf, check out Walt Disney World’s four golf courses. A great way to spend a day away from the parks, you can hit the greens and enjoy some of the best courses Florida has to offer.
If you prefer the miniature version, Walt Disney World boasts two minigolf courses – which you can get to using the Park Hopper Plus ticket option for a fairly inexpensive break from the park!
5 – Take your kids on Disney transportation
If you have young kids, you can probably spend a good chunk of time just enjoying Disney transportation. From monorails, to ferries, and in the future, gondolas, it’s a lot of fun getting to and from Disney destinations. Disney has even made transportation fun for adults, check out The Deal Mommy’s review of Disney’s monorail fine dining experience (Highway in the Sky) here.
6 – Cool down at Disney waterparks
We’ve spoken about Blizzard Beach on a previous podcast, but the fact of the matter is Disney waterparks are a great way to stay away from the (slightly larger) crowds in the theme parks. You get to cool down, have some fun on water slides, and you can happily make a half day of it – decreasing stress through the rest of your vacation.
It doesn’t hurt that the water parks are a huge hit with kids and adults alike.
7 – Get outside the Disney bubble
Believe it or not (sometimes it’s tough even for us to believe!), Orlando offers plenty to do outside of the Disney bubble. Whether it be other large theme parks (Universal) or small ones (Gatorland), there’s plenty out there to see and do. If you fancy a drive you can check out Kennedy Space Center about an hour away or even hit the beach.
Like the mayor says at the airport, Orlando has plenty to offer – so if you’re doing a day without a park ticket go out and explore!
What are your favorite things to do without a park ticket? Let us know in the comments!
Leslie and Joe discuss all the magical things you can do at Walt Disney World without a park ticket. From Disney Springs, to the water parks, to even (gasp) getting outside of the bubble – there’s plenty to do near Disney World if you need a break from the parks. Plus, in Disney dos and don’ts we tell you what not to do so you can reduce stress and enjoy your vacation!
If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, PlayerFM, or Google Play (please leave a positive review if you’re enjoying the show), liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!
You can also e-mail us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com. Connect with Leslie @TripswithTykes on social media and Joe @asthejoeflies.
2:04 – Disney Springs, enjoying Disney transportation, and hotel hopping
6:13 – The Boardwalk and Crescent lake
7:22 – Golfing
8:59 – Enjoying the waterparks
10:53 – Getting outside the Disney bubble
13:38 – Arcades
14:14 – Disney dos and don’ts