Everyone knows that flying with Peter Pan or singing along with your favorite Frozen characters are both super entertaining. But what are some of the lesser-known things to do around the Walt Disney World Resort? And what are the best things to do at Disney World?
Here, we are going to discuss some things you might not have even known you can do! These experiences are sure to create some extra magic during your trip.
Best Tours to Take in Disney World
Some people may know this while others don’t, tours are everywhere in Disney World! There are tours that go around different pavilions, behind the scenes of rides, and more. These tours will cost extra, but are extremely worth it at least once in all of the times you find yourself traveling to Disney World!
Behind the Seeds Tour
This is a tour in The Land pavilion (World Nature) over at EPCOT. It is $35 per person with an age requirement of 3 and up. Of course, if you have very little ones, they are able to come as well. The tour runs every hour from 10:30am to 4:30pm.
This hour long walk-through experience takes you behind the Living with the Land attraction. Guests can learn about the ways the cast members tend to the plants, what grows in their gardens, see the fish tanks, and more. You’ll even get a chance to taste the fresh fruit and veggies growing on site!
A valid theme park ticket with an EPCOT reservation is required. To make park reservations, check out Disney World’s official website for a guide. Reservations can be made in advance by visiting the website or using the MyDisney Experience app. The app is available on any smartphone and is free to download! This tour also has limited walk-up availability, so get there early if you’d like to go that route.
This is a walking tour, but you should be alright with any type of attire since it is a shorter tour. Check-in is fifteen minutes prior to your selected time, and you can find the desk at the bottom floor of The Land pavilion.
It’s a great experience for anyone that wants to learn more about gardening, or anyone interested in gaining knowledge about Disney’s horticultural background and the ways that they guarantee the freshest and most clean ingredients. This is also a great educational opportunity for the littles.
Keys to the Kingdom Tour
An amazing and unique experience, you can find this tour at the Magic Kingdom. It is a pricier one at $114 a person, but it is worth every penny. This is for ages 16 and up, and a valid form of identification must be shown upon arrival. There are four possible times that happen every half hour between 8am and 9:30am.
This tour is extremely long at five hours, so wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to walk. You will get a full, detailed tour of the entire park while learning incredible secrets! Guests will go behind the curtains of the park, go backstage with VIP entrances to attractions, and even experience the legendary ‘Utilidors’. These are underground tunnels below the park used for transportation and business spots. You get to learn about everything Walt Disney and his team envisioned when building the parks! Lunch is included in the tour, and you will leave with a commemorative gift as well!
A valid theme park ticket is required for this tour. Check-in is at Town Square fifteen minutes before your tour starts. A guide will be with you 99% of the time, and they are absolutely wonderful at their jobs. No phones or cameras are permitted during most of the tour, so you know that what you’re seeing is insanely special.
I personally was blessed enough to go on this tour myself. It was absolutely amazing! The things I got to see and learn were enough to stick with me forever. The tour guides were great and constantly kept our group excited and interacting. This tour was life-changing.
For anyone who is a die-hard Disney fan, loves trivial facts and small details, or just wants to learn all about Walt’s visions, this is 100% for you.
Wild Africa Trek Tour
Head on over to Africa in Animal Kingdom for this wild tour! Another pricier one at $199 per person, this is an unforgettable experience. Ages 8 and up are free to enjoy this one, and you can find times at 8:45am, 10:15am, 11:45am, and 12:30pm.
This tour is 3 hours long, and includes a lot of strenuous activity. That being said, make sure you are in good health and up for outdoor activities. On this tour, guests can hike trails behind the safari ride, walk across rope bridges, and take a spin in an off-roading safari vehicle. Tour guides give their knowledge on the animals, their habitats, and how Disney takes great care of each and every species. There is a Photopass photographer along with your group to capture all of your best moments.
After your tour, you will then receive a complimentary gift as well as a small appetizer style lunch! This is a great tour for animal lovers, educational purposes, Animal Kingdom fans, or anyone wanting a truly unique experience that you will never forget.
Theme park admission is not included and is a requirement. Close-toed shoes are a must, as well as comfortable clothing. You will be wearing safety gear, harnesses, and more. They provide lockers for any loose articles! There is a weight limit of 45-300 pounds. Also, you have to be comfortable with hiking, heights, and rough terrain.
Best Shows to See Around Disney World
If there’s one thing that Disney knows how to do, it’s entertainment. And what better way to be entertained than with a good show?
Cirque Du Soleil
On the West Side of Disney Springs, you’ll find a big white tent standing tall and proud, as it should! For inside that tent holds a story of magic, art, and beauty. The theme of the shows are subject to change, but for right now, it is Drawn to Life. This is a show about a young daughter of a talented animator. She is grieving over the loss of her father and is left with his artwork. Some of the work is not yet finished, and she must figure out what to do with it. She will go through a quest of love, inspiration, magic, and her favorite Disney friends in order to complete the work. You’ll watch acrobats fly through the air, beautiful colors, and music, and so much more.
Tickets are between $70 and $90 per person. Shows take place between Wednesday and Sunday! Wednesday through Saturday, you can find times at 5:30pm and 8pm, while Sunday shows are at 1:30pm and 4pm. It runs for around 90 minutes, and will keep you captivated the entire time.
Tickets must be booked through Cirque Du Soleil, and Disney will redirect you to the official website when you are looking to buy them. You can also book a slot by calling the phone line, at (877) 773-6470.
This show is great if you have a free day, are having a date night, or just want a lovely experience.
Festival of the Lion King
Heading back to Africa in Animal Kingdom, this is a show you cannot miss during your park day. This show welcomes all ages, and is a free attraction with a valid AK park ticket!
Happening every hour from 10am to 5pm, this lovely show is a celebratory retelling of the good ole’ classic movie The Lion King. Take the movie and add animatronics, stellar singers, dancers, and acrobats, and you’ve got this insanely good show.
It’s about 40 minutes long, but definitely captivating and fun enough to keep everyone entertained. Seats are on a first-come first-serve basis, so be sure to head to the theater around 20/30 minutes in advance. If you have purchased Genie+ for your Animal Kingdom park day, you can use it to reserve a lighting lane for the show! Lightning lanes are essentially ‘fast-passes’ to mostly skip ride lines, but here it will guarantee you a seat.
This show is good for those who love a really theatrical performance, or for anyone who wants to see a beautiful honoring of such an amazing classic.
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Buying tickets from Get Away Today is easy and convenient since all their tickets are sent electronically. You can take their vouchers and head straight to the gate without needing to wait in any ticket booth lines. They also offer layaway plans so you can pay off your vacation over time.
Best Activities Around Disney World
There are so many things to do hidden around every inch of Disney World property. These are all great options for free days, late night adventures, or just unique things that you might not know you can do during your trip.
Over at the West Side of Disney Springs, you can find this high-soaring activity. For $25 per adult and $20 per child, you can hop into the Aerophile, Disney’s hot-air balloon, and take an eight minute ride in the sky. You’ll see views overtop of Disney Springs, as well as views of the surrounding property and even the parks!
It’s a unique, inexpensive experience you’ll be sure to talk about for months after. The Aerophile is open for most of the day, usually from around 9am to 7pm. It will not run in severe weather like thunderstorms, and it will not run if the wind is high that day. Since tickets can only be purchased the day of, be sure to check at the booth for weather conditions and operating periods.
Another gem in the West Side of Disney Springs, this cannot be overlooked. Splitsville is a multifunctional place, operating as a restaurant, bar, and bowling alley. The food is absolutely amazing and quite underrated, but let’s focus on the bowling!
You can reserve both dining tables and lanes in advance. If you’d like to dine here, reservations can be made by calling Disney World’s dining line or using the website. If you want to reserve a lane (or lanes), you can use Splitsville’s website or call (407) 938-7467. Prices are subject to change, but will usually cost around $15-$25 per person.
I never thought that I could be in Disney World and find something as simple as bowling a good time, but I was pleasantly surprised! The food is delicious and the environment is so much fun. Upbeat music plays while people dance, eat, drink, bowl, and even play pool. Everyone in your party is guaranteed to have a good time here.
Unknown to many, Disney World actually has not one, but two mini golf courses on property. They are called Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. Both are usually open from 10am to 10pm. They also have the same cost of $14 per adult and $12 per child. You can do next-day booking for either, but they have plenty of walk-up availability. There are two courses at each location.
Winter Summerland was designed by Santa Claus himself! He decided that he wanted a place for his elves to vacation, but wanted them to be comfortable either in the sunny summer weather, or the homey and chilly environment. Thus, the courses were created. Guests will have to zip through snowmen, decorated palm trees, and more!
Fantasia Gardens is full of whimsical and wonderful colors, characters, and more. You will find plenty of obstacles here, so get ready to be competitive!
A fun (and free) activity to partake in is resort-hopping! You don’t have to have a valid park ticket, nor do you have to be staying on property to do this.
There are many methods of transportation around The Walt Disney World Resort. This includes busses, monorails, walking trails, boats, and the Skyliner. Guests can hop on any of these and explore desired resorts. Then, you are free to find delicious food and beverages, fun merchandise stores, and some things you may have not known about!
I love doing this on free days or late start park days. I’ve found some of my favorite coffee shops and breakfast spots while doing some early-morning resort trips! Plus, who doesn’t wanna hop on an empty bus or Skyliner cart and enjoy the views while relaxing?
Let me tell you all about a not-so-well-known spot! Partnering with the idea of resort-hopping, you’re going to find this at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. It operates from 10am to 5pm, and it is a super cool piece of history.
Tri-Circle-D Ranch is home to the stables that hold almost all of the horses used in different events around Disney World. There are over 5 breeds of horses, and each of them have a story! You can find horses used in the Festival of Fantasy Parade, and even the horse that is used during the Boo to You Halloween Parade, that the Headless Horseman rides on.
Along with this, you can find great memorabilia like Walt’s Dragon Calliope, a horse-drawn instrument that was used starting in the 1950s at Disneyland. This is a great spot for any history buffs, animal lovers, or just a place to adventure around leisurely.
Plus, you can make reservations to ride a pony or hop in a horse-drawn carriage! Pony rides are walk-up only, and you can find the information at the stables near Pioneer Hall. They run around $8 per person. Trail rides are bookable online with some limited walk-up availability for $55 per person. Carriage rides are available both at Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Riverside by reservation. They are also around $55 per person. This is a really cool and interesting experience for anyone who wants to do something low-key but entertaining!
Find Hidden Mickeys
Another free activity, this is one of the most loved by all Disney fans! Disney loves to put small hidden characters, mainly Mickey Mouse, into various art pieces, carpet patterns, and more. It’s so fun to try and spot all of them!
They can be found all over the place at Disney World. Whether this be the parks, the attractions, or the hotel that you’re staying at, you’re sure to find one somewhere. It makes for a great scavenger hunt for the littles, too!
There are so many free websites and even books that you can find to get locations of all hidden Mickeys across the resort. It’s fun to do anywhere, at any time!
Best Food Related Things to Do at Disney World
Let’s face it; Disney World has an insane amount of amazing food offerings. No matter where you go, you’re guaranteed to find something sophisticated yet delicious. Here are just a few recommendations for food, and also fun things to do regarding snacks!
Salt and Straw
On the West Side of Disney Springs, you’ll find a fairly new addition to this shopping and dining center. Salt and Straw opened in April of 2022, and has been a huge hit ever since. They’re known for creating yummy and unique ice cream flavors that all will enjoy.
You can partake in tasting different flavors, buy your favorite in a cone or cup, or even get a flight of multiple kinds! They come out with new flavors often, and they do not hold back when revealing seasonal specials. Everything here is under $15, so you’re not spending too much, either!
Some interesting flavors that guests love include olive oil, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, and honey lavender. They also have a delicious chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, featuring malted fudge and big chunks of cookie pieces.
Hours of operation are basically the same as the rest of Springs, from 10am to 11:30pm. On a hot day, it’s nice to cool off with an ice cream that you probably won’t find close to home.
Found at The Landing in Disney Springs, this is the most popular bakery on property. Open from 10am to 11:30pm daily, this is a must see on your next trip.
Gideon’s has a dark, gothic theme with whimsical characters decorating the interior. The cookies are huge and the cake slices are even bigger! They offer eight or nine cookie flavors each month, with one being the monthly special. Flavors include chocolate chip, pistachio chip, peanut butter, Oreo, and more. To put cookie size into perspective, six of them equals around three pounds of dough!
They also offer three cake flavors, with all of them rotating occasionally, but one usually being a limited time offering. The cakes are so rich and definitely make for a great shareable. Both the cakes and cookies are great and will freeze nicely if you’d like to take them home! How do I know? Well…I may or may not have some in my freezer from April.
Gideon’s also offers a hot cookie hour from 3pm to 4pm, and again from 7pm to 8pm. Here, you can get a warm cookie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Beware, the cookies are sweet enough, so the ice cream only adds to the sugar content. They also have cookie bites, where they cut up pieces of the cookie, dip it in chocolate, flash-freeze them, and sell them in individual bags. These are great for small gifts if you’re looking to bring someone a yummy surprise.
As if that wasn’t enough, they also offer cold brew! This is made nitro style, so it’s got a great smooth texture. There are so many flavors, but my favorite is the cookies and cream. Trust me when I say that one taste of this coffee and you’ll be craving it every day.
Walk-up lines can get long, so Gideon’s will start a virtual queue. You can enter this by talking to the cast member at the side of the door and giving them your name and phone number. When it is time to hop into line, they’ll send you a text!
Snacks Around the World
This one is for my under 21 crowd, my non-drinkers, and anyone who has an interest in trying cultural snacks. You’ll be able to accomplish this at EPCOT with a valid park ticket and a stack of cash for eating. There are two ways to go about this, so let’s delve into both!
Snacking in Each Country – Small Bites
This one is the simpler of the two: Eating around the world!
It’s hard to not fill up on food, especially when you’re presented with eleven different countries. Eating smaller portions or little snack plates in each country will let you try more while filling up slower.
There are so many lesser-known eats that won’t cost much and will give you a taste of authenticity from whichever country’s pavilion you may be in. You do not have to attend a festival at EPCOT to do this!
The trick to snacking around the world is to find stands or shops that offer various smaller items. For example, China has the Joy of Tea stand, which has delicious eggrolls! Norway offers the Kringle Bakeri Og Kafe, with various Norwegian pastries you will absolutely enjoy.
You’ll be able to share food, or purchase multiple small items to try, while spending little amounts of money.
Snacking in Each Country – Candy and Treats
This is another way to essentially ‘snack around the world’. However, these treats can be brought home with you!
There are always merchandise stores in each country’s pavilion. Here, you’ll find clothes, artwork, and more. Most importantly, you’ll find candy and snacks! You’ll be able to purchase small little treats for a low price to taste test. Then, you can bring them home to enjoy as well, since it’s not a freshly made food item!
I love going around to each country and finding a unique snack I’ve never tried. It’s fun to be able to try them at the park and then bring the rest home as a souvenir and a rare treat. My personal favorites are the wine gums (non-alcoholic, don’t worry!) in the United Kingdom pavilion, the chocolate in the Mexico pavilion, the sour candies in the Japan pavilion, and the chips in the China pavilion.
At home, if you want snacks from other countries, you normally have to purchase a subscription box for a lot of money with options you might not even like. Finding a desirable snack in each country eliminates the possibility of getting an unwanted snack, and is much cheaper than those boxes! Plus, it’s fun to give the kids a certain amount of money and letting them pick a snack they want that they might not be able to find at home. If you don’t want to do this with food, try it with small trinkets from each country!
Best Drink Related Things to Do at Disney World
This is mostly for all of my over 21 friends, but there are some for my non-drinkers and younger ones as well! These are some fun ideas to enjoy a relaxing cocktail, drink at different spots, and have a good time!
Drink Around the World
This one is a simple, yet a good one. It is so fun to try different drinks from around the world!
This is somewhat costly, so I definitely recommend either having money saved for this alone, or sharing drinks with friends. Also, the drinks are usually strong, so pace yourself for sure, and make sure to eat and drink some water in between beverages.
Some suggestions I have for drinks in each country are as follows:
- Blood Orange margarita at La Cava del Tequila in Mexico, a perfect blend of tart and boozy. ($17)
- Viking Coffee in Norway, sweet, chocolatey, and available frozen as well. ($14.50/$15)
- The Kung Fu Punch in China features citrus and tropical notes. ($11)
- Schöfferhofer pink grapefruit Hefeweizen in Germany, a staple when drinking at EPCOT. ($10.75 for 20oz)
- Italian Margarita in Italy, a frozen tart drink with both limoncello and tequila. ($12)
- In the America pavilion, they sometimes feature a drink with moonshine. If it’s available, I highly recommend it. However, since it isn’t very consistently offered, I have to just recommend a good ole’ beer here! (Around $10)
- Sake Slushy at Kabuki Cafe in Japan, a hidden gem that’ll keep you refreshed and keep the buzz going. ($11)
- Frozen Mint Tea with gin in Morocco, a lovely light and not-too-sweet drink. ($15.50) [Stop here for a yummy dessert as well!]
- Ice Cream Martini in France, a creamy and delicious drink! I know, everyone loves the orange slush. But trust me, head back to the ice cream shop and grab one of these. You won’t regret it! (14.95)
- In the United Kingdom, everyone heads to the Rose & Crown Pub for a cocktail. While they’re great, I have a more unique recommendation. The Snake Bite Imperial Pint is a blend of cider and lager, and is just delicious! ($10.50)
- Ottawa Apple in Canada, a great way to end the drinking journey, with flavors of apple and cranberry. ($14.50)
Hidden in Discovery Island at Animal Kingdom is a lovely lounge. With views overlooking the lake that character boats travel on, this is the perfect spot for a relaxing moment, and even better to enjoy some drinks!
You can walk right up to the host’s booth and put your name on the list to be seated here. Open from 10:30am to 7pm, Nomad Lounge just really lets guests soak up all of the vibes of being in Animal Kingdom. There are so many beverage options here, as well as delicious small bites!
One of my definite recommendations would have to be Jenn’s Tattoo. It costs $14.50 and features flavors of watermelon and hibiscus, which is topped off with Ketel One vodka.
Another good one is the Snow Leopard Salvation. For $16.50, you’ll get a drink that has flavors of pear and mint, but without something super sweet and heavy.
The environment here is perfect. It’s quiet, quaint, and peaceful. Before you leave, be sure to grab an order of their churros for $9! Trust me on that one.
Pop into the Germany Pavilion at EPCOT for this secret wonder. You can either enter this store by going to the back of the pavilion and making a left, or heading in through the Karmell-Küche, heading toward the right, and then going to the far back.
In the Weinkeller, you can find all different steins, trinkets, and even German liquor available for purchase. But the best part of this little shop is the small bar counter in the back.
This counter (and the lovely cast members manning it) offers various German beers, wines, and liquors to taste. These will cost a fee and price varies on what you are buying. You can get beer pours, wine flights, and even individual shots. They will add some new options seasonally, but whichever you pick, you cannot go wrong.
If you’re okay with a creamy alcohol and love chocolate, you have to try the Mozart Chocolate Cream Liqueur. It’s sweet, but not overly sweet, and it’s an easy shot to take.
Everything here is amazing, and being able to purchase such fun liquor bottles to take/ship home is really neat as well!
Now located in World Celebration, Club Cool is sponsored by Coca-Cola and offers a unique experience for the whole family!
There are several soda machines filled with drinks from different countries around the world. Guests can come in and taste each one! This is not a separate ticketed activity and requires no reservation, so with just your park entry, you can access it.
Flavor rotation can change once in a while, but usual options include Minute Maid Joy from Korea, Smart Sour Plum from China, Bon Bon Anglais from Madagascar, and Beverly from Italy. Be sure to fill your cup to the brim with Beverly…As a prank to the rest of your party.
Best Things To Do At Disney World
Walt Disney World offers a world of things to see and do. The resort is huge, with endless options for entertainment. Everywhere you look, a new adventure is to be had.
Riding your favorite attraction and meeting characters are insanely fun, and you should do that as well! But consider doing these unique and lesser-known activities. Who knows, you might even knock something off of your bucket list.
Plan Your Next Disney World Vacation
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