How to Have a Great Day at Walt Disney World Without Stepping Foot in the Parks

When it comes to planning relaxing, exciting, and adventure-filled days at the Walt Disney World Resort, there is far more to do than just what the parks themselves have to offer.

Walt Disney World

Here is how to have a great day in Disney World without stepping foot in the parks! 

 Pirate Adventure Cruises for Kids

Young scallawags ages 4-12 will don bandanas as they set off to sail on the high seas of the Walt Disney World waterways. There are two swashbuckling Pirate Adventure Cruises to choose from, and both will have your kiddos looking for clues to bountiful treasure chests, visiting exotic “ports of call,” and hearing legends of pirates past. 

Pirate Adventure Cruises. © Disney

Departing from Caribbean Cay (Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort), the Islands of the Caribbean Pirate Cruise is where your budding buccaneers will sail the Ports of the Caribbean waters, hearing stories of Old Port Royale’s pirate laden past.

Embarking from Bayside Marina (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort), the Albatross Treasure Cruise will ferry small sea-farers across Crescent Lake and Epcot park’s World Showcase Lagoon, where they’ll search for pirate booty and hear all about “The Legend of the Albatross.” These experiences are sure to leave your young ones yearning for more, from sea to shore!

Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage

Unlike the Pirate Adventure Cruises, which are limited to pirates-in-training ages 4-12, this is a pirate party for brave buccaneers of all ages. The Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage is the perfect way to end a day of adventuring. 

Contemporary Resort ©Disney

First, you’ll get to indulge in a few decadent delights inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Hosted by a pirate named Patch, you’ll enjoy dessert, meet the infamous Captain Hook and his first mate Smee, and climb aboard a naval vessel to take in a nighttime spectacular from one of the best vantages Disney World has to offer.

First Mate Smee

Grab yer best matey’s, and get ready to set sail on the Seven Seas Lagoon for an unforgettable fireworks voyage during your next Walt Disney World vacation.

Carriage Rides

An idyllic way to pass the time outside of the theme parks is by taking a 25-minute carriage ride at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Traveling the charming pathways along the banks of the serene Sassagoula River, you’re sure to enjoy the rustic beauty and tranquility this setting has to offer. 

Carriage Ride in Walt Disney World

The horse-drawn carriages at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside can accommodate up to four adults, or two adults and three small children for $55 (price is subject to change). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. 

Marina Rentals

Enjoy theme park views and natural surroundings as you cruise the scenic lakes, lagoons, and inlets of Walt Disney World. Whether you’re craving a relaxing excursion or satisfying a need for speed, there are a variety of watercraft rentals from which to choose. 

Marina at Walt Disney World

The marinas in Walt Disney World have mini-speedboats, versatile and roomy vessels, and smooth, spacious pontoon boats. With so many options, there’s undoubtedly just the right boat for you! 

Disney Springs

Apart from the myriad choices for shopping and dining, numerous other exciting activities make Disney Springs entirely worth visiting! In the past, we’ve shared six great reasons why Disney Springs should be on your must-do list. Today, we are sharing two of our favorites!

Disney Springs

The Void

Step into the surreal wonders of virtual reality at The Void, and enjoy experiences like no other. Surrounded by cutting-edge 3-D imagery and sound, in multi-sensory environments that combine the magic of illusion with state-of-the-art technology, you’ll get to gear up to explore exciting new worlds.

The Void

Join the Rebellion and help recover vital Imperial intelligence or come “online” into the arcade world of Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz. Regardless of which option you choose, you’re sure to have an impressively immersive and exciting time!

Aerophile Balloon Ride

Ready to get your feet off the ground for a while? Take to the skies aboard the Aerophile Balloon Ride! This peaceful yet exhilarating adventure will have you soaring above Disney Springs at up to 400 feet in a helium-filled balloon.

Aerophile Balloon

You’ll be taking off with silhouettes of some of our favorite Disney Characters associated with flight, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning views all around. On a clear day, you can see for nearly 20 miles in all directions!

Dinner Shows

When we think of shows to see at Walt Disney World, we tend to think of shows such as Festival of the Lion King and Fantasmic! While everyone knows that fantastic shows can be found in the parks themselves, these two resort dinner shows are absolute must-sees.

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

At the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, you’ll experience “a hilarious, high-spirited hootenanny the whole family will enjoy, accompanied by a finger-lickin’ countrified feast.” Located at the rustic Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, you’ll get to join the Pioneer Hall Players for singing, dancing, and silly vaudeville-style comedy with a Wild West theme.

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue

As you clap your hands and stomp your feet, you’re sure to have some good old fashioned fun. In between acts, you’ll have plenty of time to chow down on an all-you-care-to-enjoy feast.

Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

At Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, you’ll get to enjoy authentic and enthralling Polynesian dancing and tradition during an enchanting luau.

Spirit of Aloha

Celebrate the spirit of aloha at the open-air theater of Luau Cove in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. You’ll be entertained by drummers, spellbinding dancers, and a show-stopping fire performer. This show wouldn’t be complete without a tropical feast filled with platters of Polynesian style barbecue. 

Miniature Golf

Walt Disney World has two miniature golf locations: Winter Summerland Miniature Golf and Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses

At Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, you’ll get to choose between two creatively themed 18 hole courses (winter or summer), both showing the kinds of things Santa and his elves like to do in their “off-season.” 

Fantasia Gardens

At Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf, you’ll find two 18-hole courses as well. The ‘Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf’ course offers a more familiar mini-golf experience, complete with obstacles and surprises. The ‘Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf’ is a far more skilled adventure that mimics a traditional golf course, only smaller in scale! With challenging greens, water hazards, and sand traps, this course leaves far less to chance.

Live Music

Perhaps what you’re looking for to unwind on an off-day from the parks is some live music. There are certainly options to be found in the Walt Disney World Resorts!

Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter Lobby

Musical styles of the “Big Easy” can be heard at Scat Cat’s Club, inside Disney’s Port Orleans Resort -French Quarter, where you’ll be tapping your toes to some swinging jazz and enjoying Southern-inspired craft cocktails.

Grand Floridian Resort Lobby

Nestled in the spacious lobby area of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, you’ll find the magical melodies of the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra floating through the air.

You’ll be entertained with ragtime, Dixie, traditional jazz, and popular Disney tunes by this genteel orchestra. They play most afternoons and evenings and will make for a grand interlude in your day.


Strictly for guests ages 21 and up, be sure to check out Jellyrolls at Disney’s BoardWalk. You’ll be able to let the good times roll as you tip your glass to a pair of piano prodigies, enjoying their musical stylings. Audience participation is required, from trying to stump the dueling piano masterful maestros with requests, to singing along with the songs.

Have you enjoyed any of our suggestions while visiting Walt Disney World? Please let us know in the comments below!

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