• Jessi Frenzel

7 Great Things to Do at Disney Without a Park Ticket

Updated: 5 days ago

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:

Jaleo (Spanish)

Morimoto Asia (Japanese/Sushi)

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' (Southern)

Boathouse (American)

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:

Blaze Pizza

Wolfgang Puck’s Express

Earl of Sandwich


Amorette’s Patisserie

Gideon's Bakehouse


Sprinkles Cupcakes

Joffrey’s Coffee, Tea & Smoothies

For more ideas and details on things to do at Disney Springs, see my other blog post.

2. Disney's Boardwalk

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:

California Grill at The Contemporary:

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.

More Fabulous Restaurants Outside the Parks:

Toplino's Terrace (table service) or Primo Piatto (quick service) at Disney's Riviera Resort

Jiko, Sanaa, and Boma (buffet) at Animal Kingdom Lodge

You can even dine with an animal specialist!

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop and Cape May Cafe seafood buffet at Disney's Beach Club

Flying Fish at Disney's Boardwalk Inn

Victoria & Albert's and Citricos at Disney's Grand Floridian

Geyser Point and Whispering Canyon Cafe (table service) at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

4. Dinner Shows Outside the Parks

If you like a show with your dinner, check out:

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

Toplino's Terrace breakfast with Mickey & Friends (in their artistic outfits) at Disney's Riviera Resort

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!

#waltdisneyworld #disneysprings #universal #noparkticket #resortday


Jessi Frenzel, Travel Advisor

214-620-0695 | jessi@creatingmagicvacations.com

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