We all know that a trip to Walt Disney World can be expensive. And with Park ticket prices rising all the time, it can be difficult to figure out how long you should go for. What’s worth it and what’s not, and how to get the biggest bang for your Walt Disney World buck. There are plenty of things to do at Walt Disney World without a park ticket. So save yourself some money and some stress and be sure to check out some of our favorite activities outside of the Parks!
- 2 Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket
- 3 Visit Disney Springs
- 4 See the Animals on the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- 5 Head to the Disney Water Parks
- 6 Hang out on the Disney BoardWalk
- 7 Enjoy Nature at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- 8 Play Mini Golf at Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket
- 9 Relax on the Beach with a Dole Whip at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- 10 Ride the Disney Skyliner at Disney World Without a Park Ticket
- 11 Find Some Really Great Coffee at Disney World Without a Park Ticket
- 12 Go for a Walk at Disney World without a Disney Park Ticket
- 13 Take a Trip on the Disney Monorail Without a Park Ticket
- 14 Set Sail on a Disney Ferry Boat For FREE
Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket
One thing we cannot stress enough to you is that it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think it is! We’ve written posts about saving money at Walt Disney World, free things at Walt Disney World. And how you can score discounted or even FREE resort stays at Walt Disney World.
But getting tickets cheaper can be a little more difficult. Unfortunately, the reality is that ticket prices are likely to continue to rise as long as visitors are willing to pay for these increases. So if you’re looking to visit Walt Disney World and can’t justify adding another day to your Park tickets, never fret. We get it!
Where Can You Park at Disney World Without a Park Ticket?
First things first! If you’re planning to spend a day at Disney World without a park ticket, let’s get the logistics out of the way. If you have a car, one of the biggest issues you’ll face is with Disney World Parking. Especially if you’re not staying at a Disney Resort. As such, we’ll make this REALLY EASY. Simply, park your car at Disney Springs. With loads of lots and parking garages, you can leave your car there for the day, safely, while you explore Disney World property. And it’s FREE to park at Disney Springs too, so you won’t have to worry about how long your car is there for. From Disney Springs, you can grab a Disney Bus to any Disney Resort, or take the Disney Boat over to the Port Orleans Resorts.
Maybe you’re only going to be there half a day when your flight arrives/departs. Or maybe you’re not sure if you or your kids will last that many days navigating the Parks and the crowds. Or maybe, you just want to do something else. Maybe you’re just visiting Orlando for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Perhaps it’s just not in your budget. That’s OK! Whatever your reason, don’t feel the need to pay for a Disney Park Ticket in order to have a great time. These are listed in no particular order, but here is a quick list of our favorite things at Walt Disney World without a Park ticket!
Visit Disney Springs
If you remember Disney Springs as Downtown Disney, then you’re in for a treat. Disney Springs now has more destinations than you could hope to cover in a single week. From restaurants to shopping to snacks galore, Disney Springs has really become a force to be reckoned with on Walt Disney World property.
Aside from shopping and food, they also offer lots of fun activities. Including virtual reality, hot air balloon rides above the lake, and live music. Perfect if you’re looking for a little less “Disney” at Disney! With 10 Things to Do at Disney Springs, taking a day in this shopping center has really become an all-day affair. And we actually think it’s a must-see when visiting Walt Disney World. Save yourself a Park ticket and check out all they have to offer. How to Get There: Just Drive, or Uber! Parking at Disney Springs is FREE, and you can stay as long as you like!
See the Animals on the Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge has quickly become one of our favorite spots on Walt Disney World property and for good reason. On the hunt for unique and absolutely delicious treats?! Want to escape the crowds? Love animals and want to learn more about them and their habitats? Well, Animal Kingdom Lodge can offer you all of that and much, much more. Animal Kingdom Lodge can really be a destination all in itself. As they offer so many activities throughout the day that are completely free! And it costs nothing to visit the Disney resorts, so it can be a great, budget-friendly way to spend a day at Walt Disney World. How to Get There: Take the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge from Disney Springs, or from any Disney Park Entrance.
Head to the Disney Water Parks
Although you will still need to purchase a ticket to enter the Water Parks at Walt Disney World, they aren’t as expensive as Park tickets and can offer a great escape from the crowds and relief from the heat. There are two water parks at Walt Disney World: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Although they are enjoyed for different reasons, we love them both and think they’re a nice change from the Parks. Especially when you have a longer trip. How to Get There: Parking at Disney Water Parks is FREE, so you can just drive, or take a Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon bus from any Disney Resort.
Hang out on the Disney BoardWalk
By now, it should be noted that we are huge Disney Boardwalk enthusiasts. Whether we are in the mood for some carryout from Ale and Compass Marketplace, or some downtime from the Parks. Just looking to chill on the beach for a moment? The Boardwalk is where we end up. It’s a calm, chill vibe, but with plenty to see or do. Or do nothing at all! It’s one of our favorite places you can go without a Park ticket at Walt Disney World; there’s so much to see and do and the vibe is just such a nice change. Check out everything you can do on a Free Disney Day at Disney’s Boardwalk.
And if you want to take some time and get your steps in while not in the Parks, we always recommend the walking trail to and from Hollywood Studios. It was a pretty great secret for the longest time and no one was ever on the trail; but even as it’s become more popular, it’s usually a pretty calm spot. How to Get There: From Disney Springs, take the Disney Boardwalk Inn Bus. This will drop you off at the resort, and then you can simply walk through the lobby out onto the BoardWalk.
Enjoy Nature at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, then the Walt Disney World bubble may be a bit claustrophobic for you. Never fear though, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground is a nature lover’s paradise. Take a hike through the woods, ride horseback, and enjoy the beach at Walt Disney World’s own campground. Not only can you do all the outdoorsy things here, but you can also rent a golf cart and explore the campground and all that it has to offer.
We have grown to really love Fort Wilderness Campground and if nature is more your thing, we think this is a great place to stay if you’re feeling adventurous. Grab our Fort Wilderness Bucket List for an even bigger list of what you can do at this Disney resort. How to Get There: From Disney Springs, you can simply take the Fort Wilderness Resort Bus. Or from the Magic Kingdom entrance, you can grab the Disney Fort Wilderness Campground Boat.
Play Mini Golf at Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket
If you’ve ever stayed at The Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin, you may have noticed that there are signs for a place called Fantasia Gardens. Fantasia Gardens is one of two mini-golf courses on Walt Disney World property, and both offer a fun change from your everyday park-going experience and will also save you some money!
Located on the Disney Boardwalk you’ll find that Fantasia Gardens is accessible via a walking path from the Swan and Dolphin area, or obviously by car. Fantasia Gardens is themed to Disney’s Fantasia movie and offers 18 holes of mini-golf. Pricing is $14 for adults and $12 for kids.
The other option for miniature golf on Walt Disney World property is Winter Summerland. This golf course at Disney World is located at Blizzard Beach Water Park. So if you’re already at the Water Park, this is a fun add-on; or can be an adventure all in itself! Winter Summerland isn’t open all year round and closes when Blizzard Beach does, which is usually a couple of months throughout the year.
This mini-golf course has a similar theme to Blizzard Beach, with a Christmas theme around Santa and his elves taking a little bit of a golf vacation. There’s a summer section and a winter section in this 18-hole course and the pricing is the same as Fantasia Gardens. How to Get There: For Fantasia Gardens or Fairways, take the Disney Swan Reserve Bus from Disney Springs. The golf course is located just across the parking lot. If visiting Winter Summerland, you can take the bus to Disney’s Blizzard Beach from any Disney Resort. The mini golf course is right next to the water park entrance.
Relax on the Beach with a Dole Whip at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Resort has always been a favorite of ours and for good reason! With a laid-back, tropical vibe, this resort offers a little bit of Hawaii without the expensive flight. The music, the smells, and the food are all great ways to enjoy this tropical paradise right on Walt Disney World property without a Park ticket. And with Pineapple Lanai right on the property, you can grab a dole whip and head to their white sands beach to enjoy it. It’s a really great way to decompress after a long day or spend an afternoon. How to Get There: From Disney Springs you can grab the Disney Polynesian Resort Bus. Or just head to the Magic Kingdom entrance to catch the Monorail to this resort.
Ride the Disney Skyliner at Disney World Without a Park Ticket
Have you tried the Skyliner at Walt Disney World yet? Since you can ride the Disney Skyliner for FREE, why not? It’s a great way to travel from place to place and is almost like a ride itself! It takes you to some of the most beautiful places on Walt Disney World property, no Park ticket required. You can pick the Skyliner up at Hollywood Studios, the International Gateway at the back entrance of Epcot, Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort, and The Riviera. Check out everything you can do at the Disney Skyliner Resorts.
From there you can explore places like the Boardwalk, take a stroll along the sandy beaches of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, or grab a carryout meal to enjoy outside from any of the resorts. You could probably spend an entire day exploring the areas that the Skyliner can take you to! And if your kids enjoy the Skyliner this is basically like free entertainment for them! How to Get There: From Disney Springs you can grab the bus to Disney’s Art of Animation or Pop Century Resort. This is where the Disney Skyliner starts, and allows you to take the track to Caribbean Beach, Disney’s Rivera Resort, and EPCOT’s International Gateway. From here you can disembark and explore the BoardWalk, or just loop back around.
Find Some Really Great Coffee at Disney World Without a Park Ticket
Gone are the days that Walt Disney World is known for well, very bad coffee. At least to us, this is true! Walt Disney World has really stepped up its coffee game in the last few years and we are here for it. Sure this might seem more like a Disney Adult-Only activity, and maybe it is, but if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll thank you late for being properly caffeinated.
We’ve done a round-up of where to find Coffee at Walt Disney World. But, here are some of our current favorites on Walt Disney World property. Kona Island at the Polynesian, Le Petit Cafe at the Riviera Resort, which is accessible by the previously mentioned Skyliner, and Barcelona Lounge at Gran Destino Tower in Coronado Springs are all great for unique specialty coffees. And Joffrey’s at Walt Disney World are everywhere, but we really like the stand at the Skyliner Station at Caribbean Beach Resort! And of course, if you have your signature drink, then Starbucks at Disney World is easy to find everywhere.
Part of the fun is actually finding the coffee, so feel free to check Instagram for any special coffees being offered at the moment. We love following @disneycoffeeblog on Instagram for all the latest news in coffee at Walt Disney World. How to Get There: Take the Disney Bus to whichever resort you choose to find coffee.
Go for a Walk at Disney World without a Disney Park Ticket
Eating at Walt Disney World can easily creep up on you and we all know the feeling. You’re walking 12-18 miles a day in the Parks but still, you come home with a few extra vacation pounds. Luckily, you can stay in check with plenty of places to get your steps in on Walt Disney World. And they don’t require you to be inside the Parks.
All of the Walt Disney World resorts have a New Balance Running Trail; the Boardwalk is a great place to walk or get a run in; Stroll along the beaches of the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian; Fort Wilderness Campgrounds has plenty of trails to hike and Port Orleans Riverside has some of the prettiest areas to go for a run or a stroll along the water. How to Get There: Take the Disney Bus to any resort to browse and walk the grounds.
Take a Trip on the Disney Monorail Without a Park Ticket
Although taking a trip on the monorail does require bag checks to board at each stop, riding the Disney Monorail Does Not Require A Park Ticket! It’s no secret that the Disney Monorail resorts are some of the best on Walt Disney World property. And a trip to the Monorail Resorts can easily take a few hours. Whether grabbing lunch at Captain Cook’s at the Polynesian or stopping by Basin on the top floor of the Grand Floridian Resort to get yourself some self-care necessities, there’s plenty to do. Check out the fun gift shop at The Contemporary Resort, and stop by the Enchanted Rose Lounge for truffle fries. these resorts are well worth a visit.
The quick-serve restaurants at the monorail resorts are also some of our favorites; so even if you are in the Parks during the day, checking them out is a great break from the chaos of the Parks. How to Get There: To get to the monorail, simply take a Disney Bus to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Head to the fourth floor, and access the monorail line for some exploring.
Set Sail on a Disney Ferry Boat For FREE
Another favorite activity at Disney World without a park ticket is finding ways to add a little more magic to your day than you would normally have, without paying for it. We most like heading to Port Orleans Riverside Resort and Disney’s French Quarter Resort for beignets and a stroll along the river. What’s more, is that as some of the Disney Resorts with Boat Transportation, these two resorts also have boats that take you to and from Disney Springs.
And, if you’re up for walking the Path between the Port Orleans Resorts, it’s only about a 5-minute walk to get your fill of scenery. And then you can grab the boat to do a little shopping later on. Better still, if you end your Disney World without a Park ticket day here, you can simply take the boat back to your car parked at Disney Springs. How to Get There: If you’re at Disney Springs, you can simply grab the boat at the dock near the back of the shopping center. Or take a Disney Bus to Port Orleans Riverside Resort to catch the boat there.
Disney World Without a Park Ticket
What is your favorite thing to do at Walt Disney World without a Park Ticket? We’re always adding more and more things to this post! Share your thoughts, we would love to know!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .