7 Great Things to Do at Disney Without a Park Ticket
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
On a week-long vacation at Walt Disney World or Universal, I always recommend a "resort day" for every 2-3 full days in the parks. You need time to rest and decompress.
Some basic things to do on those days would be to sleep in, enjoy the pool at your resort or hotel, and walk around your resort.
If you're staying on Disney property, make sure to check out the specific activities at your own resort, such as making tye-dye shirts at Pop Century, or enjoying the night safari or dining with an animal expert at Animal Kingdom Lodge. All the Disney resorts also offer nightly movies under the stars.
Whether you are staying on Disney property, at Universal, or any resort or hotel nearby, all the following are options to you, and no park ticket or onsite resort reservation is needed!
1. Disney Springs - Dining, Shopping, & Entertainment
Disney Springs is a shopping, dining, and entertainment location that is free to visit and has something for everyone. You can experience all levels of dining, enjoy coffee by the lake, go bowling, catch a movie, visit the photo studio, ride in the aerophile balloon, catch live outdoor entertainment, or enjoy free boat rides. Walk, sit, shop, or eat. (Or do it all!)
Parking is free at Disney Springs! Use the Lime Garage to park in the most central area. You can also catch a free bus to Disney Springs from any Disney park or resort. Water taxi to Disney Springs is available at Port Orleans, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs resorts.
I love the ambiance and design of this area. It's just a lovely place to be, both day and night. I love the design of the buildings, the waterfront views, and the lighting at night.
When you get hungry, here are some of the places I recommend:
Table Service Restaurants:
Morimoto Asia (Japanese/Sushi)
Maria & Enzo’s (Italian)
Advance reservations are strongly recommended at table service restaurants, and can be made via the My Disney Experience app or OpenTable. Of course, if you're my client I will handle that for you!
Quick Service Restaurants:
Wolfgang Puck’s Express
Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'
Earl of Sandwich
Joffrey’s Coffee, Tea & Smoothies
For more ideas and details on things to do at Disney Springs, see my other blog post.
Dining, entertainment, and lakeside views at Disney's Boardwalk Inn.
3. Wonderful Dining at Walt Disney World Resorts; No Park Ticket Needed
Did you know you can dine at any of the many fantastic restaurants within Disney Resorts, even if you are not a guest of that resort? You can, and parking during your meal is complimentary. Again, no park ticket is required. Make reservations for any of these options in your My Disney Experience app or website. Clients can contact me for complimentary dining reservation booking.
Here are a few of the best restaurants at Walt Disney World:
Make your dinner reservation at California Grill during Happily Ever After fireworks at Magic Kingdom, or dine earlier and return in the evening with your receipt to be granted access to the fireworks observation deck.
You can even dine with an animal specialist!
Flying Fish at The Boardwalk Inn
Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge
4. Dinner Shows Outside the Parks
If you like a show with your dinner, check out these two:
Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at The Polynesian
Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness
5. Character Meals Outside the Parks
You might not need a park ticket to meet your favorite character! You can do it while enjoying a great meal at one of Disney's resorts.
Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage breakfast at Boardwalk Inn: Ariel, Eric, Rapunzel, & Flynn Rider
1900 Park Fare breakfast at Disney's Grand Floridian: Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger (characters are subject to change)
1900 Park Fare dinner at Disney's Grand Floridian: Cinderella, Prince Charming, and sometimes Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drisella, the evil step-mother and step-sisters (characters are subject to change).
Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort: Mickey Mouse & Friends
Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort: Lilo & Stitch
Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge: Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, Evil Queen
Cape May Cafe breakfast at Disney's Beach Club Resort: Minnie Mouse & Friends
Here's a list of all Disney Dining outside of the theme parks.
6. Universal's City Walk
No Admission charge, $25 parking. Free parking after 6pm.
Dining and nightlife that's edgier than Disney.
Blue Man Group performances. Contact me for tickets.
7. More Fun
In addition to the four theme parks, Walt Disney World has two water parks, several golf courses, and two mini-golf courses. Universal has a water park too! Contact me for more info on these.
Planning the details and making reservations is part of my complimentary services for clients. Contact me to help plan your next trip today!
Jessi Frenzel, Travel Advisor
214-620-0695 | firstname.lastname@example.org