How to Do Disney World Without Rides

How to Do Disney World Without Rides

Disney World is known for its four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. But there is so much to do beyond the traditional spots! We discuss how to enjoy Disney World without rides, what to consider, and whether it is a good idea for your next trip.

Enjoying Disney World Without Rides

Whether you’re someone that just wants to avoid all thrill rides at Disney World, or you simply don’t want to pay for Genie+ to skip long lines, here are my recommendations for how you can enjoy Disney World without getting on a single ride.

Shows, Restaurants and Parades

Be Our Guest” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are some people that go to Disney World just for a good meal.  Others enjoy Disney World solely for the cast members and characters that roam the parks.  And then there’s others that just want to head to Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios to see an awesome show.

I think this is what makes Disney World so unique.  When we think of Disney, we admittedly conjure up thoughts of the “Expedition Everest” ride or “Space Mountain.”  But really, you can just go to Disney World to eat a tasty meal at the Sci-Fi Dine in Theater.  Or enjoy a yummy lunch at Be Our Guest.

And speaking of Be Our Guest, why not bypass all the rides at Hollywood Studios and simply enjoy the Broadway-esque production of Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage?  Or head over to Animal Kingdom and catch the incredible Lion King live show?

Heck, you could even pop into a Disney theme park just to enjoy an awesome parade or fireworks show.  There’s so much to do that you might even be wondering the following: can I just walk around Disney World and enjoy myself?  And my answer to that is an emphatic “yes!”

Art Galleries

You can visit The Art of Disney!
Art of Disney Sign” by Steven Miller licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of my favorite things to do at Disney World besides rides is strolling through The Art of Disney galleries.  These galleries, located in places like Epcot and even Disney Springs, is such an awesome way to window shop Disney-related art.  And, if you find something you really like, you can buy for it—whether it’s a rolled print, a framed canvas, or even a Disney character statue made out of porcelain.

These galleries is where I discovered amazing artists like Tim Rogerson, Rodel Gonzalez, Thomas Kinkade and so many more.  If you love Disney and you love art, this is a can’t miss.

Golf Courses

Disney World has four golf courses: Palm Golf Course, Magnolia Golf Course, Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, and Oak Trail Golf Course. Palm and Lake Buena Vista are 18-hole courses, whereas Oak Trail is 9-hole, and Magnolia is 14-hole.

Pricing varies by season, time of day, and week. The cost will be higher on the weekends compared to weekdays. You can also enjoy savings during the afternoon or twilight hours.

If you want to learn how to play, you can take golf lessons from an instructor. Or you can try a variation of the classic game by participating in FootGolf. This combination of soccer and golf requires minimal experience and is available at the oak Trail Golf Course.


If you cannot enjoy a full golf day, why not try your hand at mini-golf? There are two courses: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. Fantasia Gardens is near the Swan & Dolphin Resort, and Winter Summerland is nearby the Blizzard Beach water park.

Themed to the Walt Disney classic film Fantasia Gardens has two play styles: Fantasia Gardens and Fantasia Fairways. Gardens will be the more straightforward, family-friendly option, whereas the Fairways is a longer, more challenging course. Believe us – the Fairways holes are no joke. The holes range from 63 to 109 feet long and encounter moderately intense hills, sand traps, and bunkers.

Winter Summerland was designed by Santa Claus, who enjoys relaxing in Florida after the holiday season. There are two courses: The Summer Course and The Winter Course. Both are family-friendly and designed with fun in mind.

Disney Springs

Disney Springs
Disney Springs” by Jennifer Lynn licensed under CC BY 2.0

This central Florida shopping and dining center is on Disney World property. You can easily spend a day winding through shops, picking up your next favorite souvenir, or enjoying some delectable dishes. There are over 100 shops, 60 restaurants, and 20 attractions and shows!

Some of my favorite shops are:

  • Coca-Cola Store
  • DisneyStyle
  • Amorette’s Patisserie
  • Tren-D
  • The LEGO Store
  • World of Disney

You can also enjoy shows throughout the day, including Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil. A number of local artists also perform regularly on the stages throughout the area.

The Aerophile is another excellent attraction at Disney Springs. It is a hand-painted helium balloon that soars up to 400 feet with 10-mile views. If you want a unique perspective, this is it!

On top of that, there’s tons of great places to eat, like Maria and Enzo’s or The Edison.

Hotel Activities

Orlando – Disney World – Disney’s Pop Century Resort” by Jared is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Your Disney Resort hotel offers various activities throughout the day, including face painting, pool games, movies, art classes, and yard games. You can easily spend an entire afternoon in your hotel before retiring for the night.

One of our favorite resorts, Pop Century, had plenty of poolside activities throughout the afternoon. We saw children play relay games, answer trivia, and jam out to Disney music. Another resort, Port Orleans – Riverside, had fishing excursions, horse carriage riding, and quiet leisure pools.

A Day Beyond Theme Parks

The typical Disney itinerary when visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth is conquering each theme park. But what can you expect when not visiting the parks? Let’s review the pros and cons of a vacation day without theme parks.

Pro: You Save Money on Tickets

For a family, ticket prices can add up. The starting price for a Disney World base ticket is $109 per day. Of course, this varies based on when you visit and how many tickets you buy. When you save $400 to $600 not to visit the theme parks, that opens budget-conscious opportunities. You could try a unique experience, catch a family-friendly show, or pick up a few souvenirs.

But just because you save money not visiting a park does not necessarily mean you will save money on the whole. The cost can add up if you use those savings on extra activities or restaurants. However, if you spend your day doing free or cheap hotel activities, you can save a lot of money.

Pro: Wake Up Whenever You Want

To visit Disney World is to experience hustle culture. Many guests like to be the first ones in the park. Then, they spend every waking hour riding rides. But imagine if you could wake up whenever you wanted – doesn’t that sound incredible?

The beauty of a vacation is that it is just that – a vacation. You can dictate how much you want to relax. Having a rest day between the busy experiences can let you savor your trip more. Plus, you can enjoy the things that truly matter, such as spending time with your friends and family.

Con: Missing out on Attractions

Not everyone wants to have a day off. A Disney World vacation is expensive, and many people feel they need to be in the parks every day to make the most of the price. The most significant consequence of having a rest day is missing out on in-park attraction. If you have a family that loves rides and cannot imagine being outside a park during the day, then a rest day is not a viable option.

Con: You May Need to Plan More

Even a day beyond the parks requires planning. Sometimes it is easier to enter the parks and let the day take you. If you are having a rest day, researching what is available during your trip is helpful. That way, you have a list of ideas you and your family can enjoy instead of trying to figure out last-minute activities.

Should You Try Disney World Without Rides?

In our opinion, having a day without rides is vital in enjoying your vacation. Whether on an arrival day from the airport or somewhere between your park days, it is nice to sit back and relax occasionally.

Rest days are most manageable when you have a more extended vacation, typically four days or more. For example, for a seven-day trip, from a Saturday to the following Saturday, you could visit two theme parks on Monday and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, and visit two more theme parks on Thursday and Friday.

Rest days are difficult when you have a short trip. If you want to conquer all four parks but have less than a week to do so, you can forgo the rest day and invest in Park Hopper.

Alternatively, you could have a rest day on the day before your departure. We tried this technique during a recent trip, where we took a Friday away from the parks before leaving on Saturday. It felt nice to relax, knowing we wouldn’t be exhausted at the airport the next day.


As much as we recommend having a day to enjoy Disney World without rides, adding it to your itinerary can be tricky. If you have a more extended trip, consider placing it in the middle of your vacation for a relaxation day. For a shorter trip, try having a rest day before your departure. You can enjoy a restful day away from the theme parks with golf courses, shopping, entertainment, and more.

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