Christmas is our favorite time at Walt Disney World! It’s so festive and holiday cheer can be found everywhere! From snacks to decorations, they’ve thought of it all. But, let’s face it, with raising ticket prices at the parks, and many days throughout the holiday season being the MOST EXPENSIVE, we look for ways to enjoy the season without the high price tag. Wondering what you do for Christmas at Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket? We are here to help you with that!
- 1 Walt Disney World at Christmas
- 2 Disney Resorts Gingerbread Houses
- 3 Disney Resorts Christmas Trees
- 4 Disney Springs Christmas Trees
- 5 Mini Golf at Winter Summerland
- 6 Disney Christmas Fireworks from Afar
- 7 Meet Santa in Disney Springs
- 8 Breakfast with Santa at Disney Springs
- 9 Holiday Sleigh Ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- 10 Disney Christmas Snacks
Walt Disney World at Christmas
New to Walt Disney World at Christmas? We’ve rounded up everything you can do at Walt Disney World during Christmas here. There’s so much to see and do! And while it’s impossible to see it all in one trip, hopefully, our posts can help you decide what’s right for your family vacation this holiday season.
What can you do for Christmas at Disney World Without a Park Ticket?
We’ve talked about free fun that can be had at Walt Disney World during Christmas, but what can you do without a Park ticket? Maybe you can’t get a Park reservation, or maybe you are planning for the first or last day of your trip. Maybe you wanted to save a little money and have fewer days in the parks. Whatever the case, never fear! There is plenty to do at Christmastime without a park ticket or reservation.
And if you’re just visiting Orlando for the Holidays, Walt Disney World has loads to do that don’t involve the theme parks. Here’s the lineup of all our favorite things to do at Disney for Christmas, without a park ticket.
Disney Resorts Gingerbread Houses
Visiting the Disney Resorts at Christmas is actually one of our favorite things to do! Not only is each resort dressed in their holiday best, but they’re usually not crowded, and it’s free to visit them. Whether you want to see the amazing gingerbread displays, like the Carousel at Beach Club or the life-size gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian. Each year the Disney Deluxe Resorts get special gingerbread displays alongside treats you can take home! Be sure to stop at Disney Resorts during the holidays! No ticket is required!
- Christmas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
- Christmas at Coronado Springs Resort
- Christmas at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney Resorts Christmas Trees
One of the best things about Christmas at Walt Disney World is that EVERY RESORT gets into the holiday mood. From themed trees at the Value Resorts to Signature trees at the deluxe resorts, why not stop and admire the beautifully decorated trees, there’s plenty to see and do. Visiting the resorts is always a great way to take a break from the Disney Christmas Crowds too!
Disney Springs Christmas Trees
The Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs has changed over the years, but we still think this is one of the best things at Walt Disney World without a Park Ticket. Though they are no longer in a “trail”, beautifully decorated, themed Christmas trees are scattered throughout Disney Springs. The stroll even has an activity map that after participation, you can receive a prize! Get all the details about the Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs. And while you’re enjoying the trees, be sure to stop by Town Center for magical falling snow throughout the season- typically Friday through Sunday.
Mini Golf at Winter Summerland
Disney World Mini Golf offers the chance to take it easy, outside of the parks. There are three courses. Fairways and Fantasia Gardens are near the Disney BoardWalk. And Winter Summerland Miniature Golf os near Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Of course at Winter Summerland it’s always Christmas! Although this isn’t technically an activity specific to Christmastime, it is holiday-themed and we think it’s a perfect way to spend a day at Walt Disney World without a park ticket. It’s also very affordable, which makes it even more appealing. At $14 per adult and $12 per child, this is a much more budget-friendly activity than say spending the day in the parks. And it’s usually not too crowded, which is an added bonus.
Plus, if you’re staying at a resort on Walt Disney World property you can sometimes get 4 FREE tickets to mini-golf as part of the Magical Extras included in your stay.
Disney Christmas Fireworks from Afar
Want to see the holiday fireworks at Magic Kingdom, but don’t have a Park ticket? Tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party get pricey! Or maybe you just don’t want to fight the crowds? There are plenty of places to see the Disney fireworks without going into a Park! We love the views of Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach of the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort 4th floor balcony.
Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort also gives you some distant views of the fireworks you can watch from the beach and listen to the music piped in over the loudspeaker.
And if you want to add dinner to the mix, you can’t beat California Grill for rooftop views! Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks can be seen on dates of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Happily Ever After Fireworks can be viewed all other nights.
The Boardwalk Area Resorts are also a great option for viewing the Epcot fireworks show, and sometimes even Hollywood Studios nighttime entertainment can be seen from the beaches in this area.
Meet Santa in Disney Springs
Yes, you can meet Santa at Walt Disney World without going into the Parks! Santa meets with guests in Disney Springs during the later part of the season at Once Upon a Toy. We love that this is one of the best Free Things to do at Walt Disney World during Christmastime.
Breakfast with Santa at Disney Springs
You can also find Santa Claus at Maria and Enzo’s Restaurant for a breakfast filled with classic Italian menu items. This visit with Santa Claus is a family-friendly holiday activity that includes take-home treats and a keepsake photo souvenir. Plus Disney Adults ( 21+) attending get a free mimosa to have with breakfast. Kids can share Christmas Wishes with Santa, and get a special photo taken. Reservations are required. Check out the dates and prices for Breakfast with Santa at Disney Springs.
Holiday Sleigh Ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Holiday sleigh rides are hosted at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground throughout the holiday season. At $75 for each “sleigh” you do need a reservation, but you don’t need a Park ticket to enjoy this fun, festive activity at Walt Disney World. And while you’re there, you can check out all Fort Wilderness has to offer during the holidays. It’s such a fun and unique experience! To make a reservation, call (407)WDW-PLAY. Be sure to add this to your Fort Wilderness Resort for Christmas fun, on a day when you go to see the lights and displays that cover the campground.
Disney Christmas Snacks
Walt Disney World rolls out so many new Disney Christmas snacks for the holiday season, that many can be found outside of the parks! Disney Springs is a great place to hunt down holiday snacks. Amorette’s, and The Ganachery are some of our favorites. But you can find Christmas snacks scattered all throughout Disney Springs.
The resorts are also a great place to find some of the best holiday snacks. If you’re staying on Disney property, be sure to check out your resort’s food court. Almost all deluxe resorts have specialty snacks for Christmas at Walt Disney World, and you can find them listed in our Christmas snacks at Walt Disney World post!
There is so much to do at Walt Disney World during the holidays, even without a Park ticket! Even if you just need to fill that half day on Disney Arrival Day or Disney Departure Day, we love that there are so many options.
So what did we miss? What do you love doing at Walt Disney World during Christmas without a Park ticket? We would love to hear your favorites!
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 .