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Top 10 Things To Do At Walt Disney World Without A Park Ticket

10. View the Electrical Water Pageant

The Electrical Water Pageant is held nightly (weather permitting) on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. It has been around since the beginning of Walt Disney World. The electric barges travel from one resort to another and can be viewed from the Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Fort Wilderness Marina. Set in time to music, this brief show is a hidden treat that most guests never see.  Times are subject to change but the Electric Water Pageant is usually performed at nightfall (9 p.m. at the Polynesian Resort, 9:15 at the Grand Floridian, 10:15 at the Contemporary Resort, and 10:25 near Magic Kingdom.)

9. Watch fireworks

You don’t need a park ticket to see the fireworks at Disney.  The Happily Ever After Fireworks show at Magic Kingdom is viewable from the Grand Floridian boat dock. Narcoossees restaurant, also located at the Grand Floridian, receives the audio soundtrack, so you can enjoy the fireworks synchronized to the music. There’s a little bit of delay due to the distance, but it still works. Seeing the fireworks reflect off of the lake is beautiful.

From the Boardwalk, you can walk to the “back door” of Epcot, or over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The walking path begins directly behind the Boardwalk’s Atlantic Dance Hall and continues to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Parking lot. It takes 10-15 minutes. Time it just right and you can enjoy the music and perhaps a glimpse of IllumiNations or Fantasmic!

8. Visit Beaches and Cream for a Kitchen Sink

Head over to Beaches and Cream restaurant at Disney’s Beach Club Resort for a family treat. The legendary Kitchen Sink is a sundae built for a crowd. It has 8 scoops of ice cream, every topping in the house, and an entire can of whipped cream! It is plenty for everyone to share but the real treat here is the experience. The sundae is served in a “kitchen sink” shaped bowl to much fanfare. The kids will LOVE this!

7. Explore Fort Wilderness….and maybe rent a golf cart!!

Guests often rent an electric cart to explore the more than 700 acres of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, but you don’t have to be staying at the resort to do so. This is a fun favorite for locals who enjoy the Christmas and Halloween decorations that resort guests display each year. Carts have windshields and headlights, seat up to 4 adults and can be rented by the day or the week. Guests must be 18 years or age and older to rent a cart, and reservations are highly recommended.  Just give the Outpost a call at 407-824-2742. Fort Wilderness carts may be reserved up to one year in advance.

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Why not drive your golf card or ride the bus over Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long? That’s right! While exploring Fort Wilderness, you can join the adorable Chip ‘n Dale for a nightly campfire celebration. Most evenings the chipmunks will work the crowd for a quick meet and greet so you can take photos. This is followed by a classic Disney movie under the stars, and believe it or not, you won’t need any sort of park admission.

6. The Spirit of Aloha Show!

Located the Luau Cove at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, The Spirit of Aloha Show brings you hula dancing, fire dancing, and a wonderful dinner that is all you care to eat – family style. This means you don’t even have to walk to a buffet, because your server brings you more food when you ask for it. Beverages will include bottomless beer, wine, tropical rum punch, sodas, coffee and tea. Other alcoholic beverages may be purchased from the full bar. Dress is casual and shorts are permitted at this show. Reservations are paid in full at the time of booking by contacting 407-WDW-DINE.

5. Explore Animal Kingdom Lodge at Sunset

As the sun goes down, you can make your way to the Sunset Savanna Overlook viewing area behind the lobby. It’s secret? THIS savanna is designed specifically for viewing at sunset. Giraffes, zebra, impalas and more will be active at this time of day, increasing your chances of seeing them up close. It’s free to take all the photos you want, and even tripods are welcome. As gorgeous and unique as the Lodge is during the day – it truly comes to life in the evening with some unusual (and FREE!) nocturnal activities that you just can’t find anywhere else.  These activities that create a perfect way to cap off a romantic dinner at Boma, Sanaa, or to unwind with the family, no park ticket required.

4. Enjoy a cocktail or a meal

The 21-and-over crowd can have a drink at one of the wonderful themed bars and lounges in the resorts. Lounges can be found in Disney’s Moderate and Deluxe resort hotels.  Why not visit them all and start a collection of swizzle sticks? Remember, you don’t have to drink alcoholic beverages to enjoy the atmosphere. Most lounges also serve coffee, mineral water, soda and virgin drinks.

Bonus: many of the bars and lounges have great food on the menu too. For instance, the snacks at the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge come straight from the Artist Point kitchen! Crews Cup at Yacht Club serves food at limited hours – but they have a great menu! The River Roost at Port Orleans Riverside has appetizers and steak sandwiches.

3. Find Hidden Mickeys

A Hidden Mickey is defined as a representation of Mickey Mouse that has been inserted subtly into the design of many resorts and other areas on Disney property.  You can find many of them without ever entering the parks. For example: The Beach Club gift shop has three sand dollars in the carpet design that form several Hidden Mickeys. Light brown classic Mickeys can be found near the top of the columns outside the World of Disney store. Over at Caribbean Beach Resort, behind Old Port Royale, a classic Mickey appears in the “Barefoot Bay Boat Yard” sign on the side of the lighthouse near the bike racks. Pick up a copy of the Hidden Mickey guide in bookstores or on-line and start hunting!

2. Head to Disney Springs

You can easily spend an entire day at Disney Springs. Parking is free and you do not need admission in to the theme parks. If you are not in the mood to shop, you can check out the wonderful interactive fountains. There are two in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs, although the two of them aren’t always open. The Lego Imagination Center has a FREE 3,000-square foot outdoor play area. You can get a meal (sandwich, side and drink) at Earl of Sandwich for under $10 per person. Visit the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop and enjoy a sundae or a shake.  Go into the chocolate shop side of the store and sometimes score a FREE chocolate sample! Raglan Road often has free live music in the bar, particularly on weekends that you can enjoy, for just the cost of a drink!

1. Go for a ride

Ok so you can’t ride any attractions inside the parks without park admission. But that doesn’t have to stop you from riding around Walt Disney World. Taking the monorail is free, and it just happens to be one of the fastest rides at Disney!  Enjoy your highway in the sky as it cruises around the resorts in the Magic Kingdom area. Ride the Epcot monorail from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot, and you’ll even take a brief loop over Epcot. The views from above during the Flower and Garden Festival are especially nice.

If you love the water, try a Disney boat. There is a route you can take to visit the Epcot resorts.  You can also take a boat from Port Orleans Riverside to Disney Springs.  If you get on the boat that goes from Hollywood Studios to Epcot, you can get off at any Epcot resort along the way to explore. Remember, you can ride Disney buses without park admission too. This is a great way to get around so you can check out all the great theming around property and to and look for hidden Mickeys.

About Krista Joy

Krista Joy is an Orlando native and former Disney cast member. She is also the owner of Disneyways.com and founder of the Living The Dream online radio show. Krista was born and raised in the heart of Orlando Florida – where she still lives. Krista’s Disney dream is to bring magic and fun to the every day lives of her fellow Disney fans – while sharing some laughs along the way. She is very grateful to Rick and the team at DisneyDining.com for helping her to make this dream a reality. Contact information for Krista can be found at Disneyways.com/connect