Fun without a ticket at Disney World

I don't think I'd be going too far in saying that one can have an excellent Disney World vacation without even stepping foot in any of the four major theme parks.

There is a whole host of recreational and leisure activities one can take part in without even buying theme park tickets.

Outdoorsy type? Rent a bike, go on a fishing excursion, or play a round of golf with your pals.

The Epcot resort area is a great place to head to without a theme park ticket. With a group of adult friends, hit up Beaches 'n Cream at the Beach Club Resort, and order a Kitchen Sink sundae for the crew -- then head over to Jellyrolls piano bar at the Boardwalk and dance the night away!

Need some girl time? Visit the spa, then hit Downtown Disney for some serious shopping.

If you're a foodie, make reservations at some resort restaurants you've been wanting to try -- much of the best food at Disney World is found outside of the theme parks and in the resort hotels.

Family time? Hit the arcade, then catch an outdoor movie and make some s'mores at a campout.

These are just a few ideas -- there's really so much more. Click here for more ideas on leisure and recreation activities at Disney World that don't require a theme park ticket.

Have you ever skipped the theme parks for an entire Disney World vacation? Do you have a favorite non-theme-park activity at WDW? Leave a comment below!

Rich Miller wrote on Mon, 02/21/2011 - 19:32:

Rich Miller's picture

I love being at The Animal Kingdom Lodge. Hang around the observation areas with a drink and book, take an afternoon swim, dinner at Boma, storytelling around the fire, nightvision goggles to view animals, and wrap up the night in the hot tub. Almost all this can be some if stay on property or not. No ticket required!

gaylin wrote on Mon, 02/21/2011 - 20:05:

gaylin's picture

My favourite (expensive) non-theme park activity I have done is the Back Trails Segway Adventure. So much fun!

We have done and enjoyed the outdoor movie at Fort Wilderness. Love Beaches and Cream. Had a great time playing mini-golf at Winter Summerland (hole in one 6 times!).

We really like heading over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to wander the grounds, talk to the lovely young people from Africa, get a chance to watch the animals meander about, go to Sunset Terrace and see giraffe and ostrich feeding. Oh, and then have dinner at Boma.

Grand Floridian at Christmas time for the gingerbread house and decorations.

Can you tell I could go on and on . . . wrote on Mon, 02/21/2011 - 20:41:'s picture

We really like the story hour around the campfire at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is always such an interesting and authentic story from Africa, but entertaining, funny and fun.

JeffC wrote on Tue, 02/22/2011 - 00:49:

So many things! We often take a day away from the actual parks to do other things. Favorites include:

Horseback riding at Fort Wilderness
Movie night on the beach at the Bach Club
Monorail riding and resort hopping.

And of course, walking around the Boardwalk and DTD can entertain me for hours.

Kristen H wrote on Fri, 02/25/2011 - 02:59:

Kristen H's picture

I am going to do ALL OF THESE THINGS! Well the ones I haven't already done. Thanks for some great ideas, everyone. (:

Julie wrote on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 22:01:

We have a tradition every Christmas we make our annual resort day trip. We spend the whole day visiting all the resorts and Christmas shopping in all the different shops. We love the different ways they are all decked out for the holidays. The Grand Floridian is a must, with the gingerbread house and treats. We also love the Boardwalk with the chocolate carousel. We park at a resort and use Disney transportation to get around the whole day. One year we took 18 of our neighbors (we live in Tampa) with us for a neighborhood field trip. They couldn't believe there was so much to do w/o buying a pass to a park!

Sandra wrote on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 02:23:

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If you are not staying at a Disney Resort can you still wonder around the resorts, use the boat to go from Contemporary to Fort Wilderness, wabder around Fort Wilderness Campground, swim in a pool, watch a movie...stuff like that? It pains me to not stay on the property but my budget just can't handle it. I do however have tickets to visit the attractions each day. I have so many magical memories of staying on the property as a child and I want so much to walk the resort to relive them.

Brad wrote on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 14:06:

Brad's picture

Sandra, you absolutely can. They have shops and restaurants they want to sell you stuff in so they're happy to have you come visit, even if you're not staying there.

Swimming in the pools is a no-no however. Even if you're staying at another Disney resort, you can't swim in the pools at any resort except the one you're staying at.

No problem at all though to go walk about and relive your memories otherwise.

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