For anyone planning a vacation to Disney World, making sure you get the most out of your trip is a crucial part of the planning process. But did you know that there’s a long list of secret things to do at Disney World that you and your family can enjoy immensely?
Well if not—don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, I’m going to reveal 25 unknown things to do at Disney World that are secret, or at highly unique and less crowded, that can bring you and your family loads of joy.
Secret Things to Do at Disney World
Let’s first begin a game that’s a wild combination of soccer and golf—a game that you can find on one of Disney’s golf courses.
1) Play FootGolf
Okay, so you’re probably wondering what exactly is FootGolf, and that’s okay because this is something relatively new to this Disney fan as well. Oak Trail is one of Disney World’s four golf courses, and it’s here that you’ll find a nine-hole FootGolf course.
A combination of golf and soccer, this is a game in which you kick soccer ball-sized golf balls into holes using your feet instead of a golf club. Total playtime should last about an hour and a half.
2) Go Horseback Riding
Something you probably weren’t expecting to be an option on your Walt Disney World vacation, a trip to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will see you and yours saddle up for a guided trail ride.
Guests aged 9 and up are welcome on this 45-minute riding tour through the forests surrounding Fort Wilderness, priced at $55 a guest. Pony rides are available for the little ones, and carriage rides are available at both Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans Riverside resorts for those who would rather admire the horses at a bit of a distance. More information, rules, and guidelines can be found on the Walt Disney World website.
3) Enjoy a Campfire Sing-A-Long with Disney Characters
Staying at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort for this next one, did you know that the resort plays host to two beloved Disney characters nearly every night who you can meet for free?
Any night that Chip ‘n Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long occurs, you can expect to see the lovable little chipmunks making their way through the audience, taking pictures and signing autographs while guests sing campfire songs.
For an added bit of campfire fun, you can also make s’mores. Just either bring your own s’more supplies or stop by the Chuck Wagon Snack Bar to buy some chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers on your way to the campfire.
Note: This particular offering has been suspended since the parks closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is expected that this will return soon as other Character Meet & Greets have been returning in recent months.
4) Get a Haircut
If you’ve ever taken a walk down Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom, you’ve probably seen the Harmony Barber Shop before, but did you know that it’s an actual working barber shop? In addition to providing regular haircuts for both children and adults, the Harmony Barber Shop also has a special offering just for the littlest of the little ones.
The “My First Haircut” package is exactly what it sounds like, and getting Baby’s first haircut done at Disney World includes the cut itself, a commemorative Mickey Ears hat, a keepsake lock of Baby’s hair for Mom or Dad, and an official milestone certificate all for just $25, though prices are always subject to change.
Just remember to make an appointment in the My Disney Experience app ahead of time.
5) Watch Fireworks from a Yacht
Have you ever been at any sort of fireworks display, from a theme park to your town’s local 4th of July or New Year’s Eve celebrations, and wished that you could have a private viewing of the show free of the cramped confines of large crowds?
Well, have I got a secret to share with you!
At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, you can wander down to the marina and rent a private yacht to view Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks display from the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon.
At a rate of $399 an hour (again, prices are always subject to change), it’s definitely one of the pricier ways to avoid crowds, but your rental cruise on The Grand 1 is guided by an experienced captain and can accommodate 18 guests (or 17 and a butler should you choose that option). Dining options and celebration banners are available upon request, and evening cruises have the audio from Magic Kingdom’s nighttime spectacular streamed into the boat.
If you have the cash to spare, this once-in-a-lifetime experience could be the most magical addition to your family’s vacation. There are a few more super special, and sometimes pricey, ways to watch the fireworks, but more on that later.
If you can’t swing this luxury experience, but still want a more private viewing of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks, Disney had plenty of totally free options for you as well. Audio from the show is played at the resorts around Seven Seas Lagoon each night, and the marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian, the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village, and the 4th floor observation deck at Disney’s Contemporary Resorts are all free for both resort and non-resort guests.
6) Take a Painting Class
Pick up a paintbrush and make a one-of-a-kind souvenir for yourself during your Walt Disney World vacation! Offered at various Walt Disney World resort hotels, painting classes take place at varying times throughout the day.
One such offering, Wild About Painting, is held at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko – The Cooking Place on Wednesdays from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM and costs $35 per person. Check with your Walt Disney World resort and see if they’re offering any painting classes on your next trip.
7) Go Bowling
In Disney Springs, you probably already know that you can shop ‘til you drop, but did you know that you can go bowling there as well? At Splitsville Luxury Lanes, you can bowl, play billiards, and enjoy live music. If you get hungry in between rounds of 10-pin bowling, Splitsville also has a dining room that serves pizza, sushi, burgers, and even fried rice and a taco bowl!
Located in Disney Springs’ West Side entertainment district, situated diagonally across from The House of Blues, across the way from Disney Springs’ AMC Theater, and just a two-minute walk from the Cirque du Solei tent, Splitsville Luxury Lanes is easily accessible from both the Watermelon parking lot and Orange parking garage.
8) Go Fishing
It might surprise you to know that you can cast your line within sight of Cinderella’s Castle, but it’s certainly an option. Both traditional dockside fishing and guided bass fishing excursions are available.
For the latter, boat options include either a 21-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat for up to five guests or a tournament-style boat for up to three guests.
9) Following Dino Tracks
A staple of Disney’s Hollywood Studios since the park opened in 1989 (and was known as the great Disney-MGM Studios), Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction is nowadays a seldom operated ice cream stand across Echo Lake from Dockside Diner that you’ve probably seen if you’ve ever stepped inside the park.
In the cement and grass surrounding the California Crazy style Dino snack stand, guests in the know can spot Gertie’s large footprints leading to where she sits today as an homage to Windsor McCay’s 1914 animated short film Gertie the Dinosaur, an inspiration to up-and-coming animators of the time including Walt Disney himself.
10) Uncover a Secret Society
Though it’s gotten significant attention in recent years, this is one secret that most Disney Parks fans and ordinary guests still might not know about when they trek to Disney World. Connecting many attractions, restaurants, and even theme parks worldwide, Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers has multiple spots in Walt Disney World alone, where guests can learn about S.E.A. and the secret ways in which the parks are all interconnected.
Most notable of these Magic Kingdom spots is at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen where you can dine in the secret library that’s rumored to have played host to S.E.A. meetings. Browse the bookshelves lining the short hallway entrance for a sampling of all the things connected to the S.E.A.
11) Hidden Mickey Hunt
Okay, so there was no way to make a list of secret things to do in Disney World and not include Hidden Mickeys.
If you’ve never heard of a Hidden Mickey before, that’s okay. According to author Steve Barrett in his book Hidden Mickeys: A Field-Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best-Kept Secrets, these little secretive character silhouettes originated during the construction of Epcot when Imagineers were looking to keep characters like Mickey and Minnie in just Magic Kingdom Park.
One of the rarest Hidden Mickeys can be found at Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland in the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, and this special Hidden Mickey can only be seen around noon on November 18th, Mickey Mouse’s birthday, as the sunlight shines through another Hidden Mickey to cast the shape of the mouse who started it all on the queue wall.
12) Pop the Question!
This one might not be a secret, per say, as people propose to their significant others on a daily basis at Disney World, but did you know that you can work with Disney to plan an extra special proposal?
That’s right, Disney World offers a number of ways that you can pop the question with that extra special, magical touch. Maybe your girlfriend’s favorite Disney film is Cinderella and you want to propose at Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant? Or maybe your boyfriend is an animal lover and you want to ask him to marry you with an audience of elephants looking on at Animal Kingdom?
Even if you just want to surprise your partner with a custom cake or gift basket when you ask them the single biggest question of your lives, Disney can do it..
- You Might Want to Read: Disney Prom Proposal Ideas
13) The Ghost Bride’s Ring
Keeping with the wedding theme for a moment, amidst the interactive aspects of the extended queue for Disney’s Haunted Mansion, you can find what looks to be an engagement ring embedded in the cement near the musician’s tomb.
The metal ring was once the remains of a post for the queue chains, and stories made up by guests and cast members over the years resulted in Imagineers turning the spot into a wedding ring that, legend has it, once belonged to the ghost bride in the attic, Constance Hatchaway, and was given to her by her late fifth husband, George Hightower.
A portrait of Constance at George’s grave can be seen in the stretching room, and a familiar ring sits on her hand in it.
14) Take a Starlight Safari
Kilimanjaro Safaris has been a beloved attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since it opened in 1998, but this is far from the only place that you can go on safari at Disney World.
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, guests ages 8 and up can embark on a special nighttime safari through the resort’s savanna, a good way to see animals that might be more nocturnal that you wouldn’t be able to see in action otherwise.
Ready with provided night vision gear, spot the likes of zebras, ostriches, wildebeests, giraffes, and antelopes. Tours last for about an hour and costs between $75.65-$89 per person (as of this publication).
If you don’t feel like it’s quite worth that price, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers viewing areas of their savannas that are free to use but do keep you at more of a distance from the animals.
15) Get Up Close and Personal with Animals
Disney World offers a number of unique tours, some of which give you special line-jumping abilities that we’ll discuss in a bit, but one particular type of tour is only available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot parks.
Go on an undersea dive or swim with dolphins at Epcot’s Seas pavilion or get up close and personal with elephants, rhinoceroses, and other African wildlife and learn how the folks at Animal Kingdom care for these magnificent creatures day-in and day-out with tours and encounters ranging in price from $35-$199 per person.
Not all tours have resumed since the 2020 COVID shutdown, but most have. Be sure to check Disney World’s Enchanting Extras page to check availability when booking tours and interactive animal experiences.
16) Book a VIP Tour
Want your Walt Disney World vacation personalized even more? Consider booking one of Disney’s VIP tours and get access to special perks, like getting to the front of the line for your favorite attractions and hearing all sorts of behind the scenes stories from your very knowledgeable tour guide.
You could even have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the famed utilidors, the underground tunnel system that helps cast members get around the Magic Kingdom unseen.
VIP tours can take you across all four parks in a single day, or you could choose the special limited-time 50th Anniversary Tour, which includes lunch at Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom and dinner at Space 220 in Epcot.
Hourly rates, or lump sum prices, vary depending on the tour, and Disney’s Private VIP tours require a minimum of seven consecutive hours for the experience.
17) Have a Magic Kingdom Dessert Party
If you want to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks from a less crowded spot than Main Street, but want delectable snacks, why not book a dessert party?
For the Magic Kingdom fireworks, there are three options:
Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise on the Magic Kingdom ferry
Celebration at the Top located at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats at Tomorrowland Terrace inside Magic Kingdom itself (limited time)
18) Take a Ride in a Vintage Amphicar
Back in the 1960s, the latest craze in the automotive world was the Amphicar, a car that could drive through water like a boat. Even though the production and sale of the Amphicar was permanently halted in 1968 due to changes in environmental laws, you can still experience these unique cars on your next Disney World vacation.
Just hop on over to The Landing at Disney Springs and venture over towards The BOATHOUSE restaurant where twenty-minute Amphicar rides are offered for $125 per car, though this price was temporarily discounted as pandemic safety regulations required that no guests sit up front with the driver for the sake of social distancing.
So, why not plan a fancy date night at one of Disney Springs’ finest dining offerings and cap it all off with a romantic Amphicar ride along the waters of Disney Springs?
19) Victoria & Albert’s
If you weren’t hungry enough after those last couple of entries, let’s add one more.
Likely on the bucket-list of every Disney die-hard, Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is one of only two AAA Five-Diamond restaurants in the whole of Florida! The super pricey, fine-dining restaurant offers three options for guests, any of which would be the perfect date-night for adults.
First, there’s the main dining room, which is an elegant space reminiscent of a garden. You’ll find that it’s very much decorated with Victorian murals and wall coverings, as well as the flowers and butterflies that adorn the ceiling.
Just through the main dining room is Queen Victoria’s Room, an exclusive space that accommodates no more than eight diners per night at four tables set for two that features live harp music during your meal, itself of course being a tasting menu personally curated by Victoria & Albert’s chef du cuisine Matthew Sowers.
Children under the age of 10 are not permitted inside the restaurant, and it is one of the few places in Walt Disney World to maintain a very strict dress code. Ladies are provided with a small cushion for their phones and handbags, and gentlemen must wear a dinner jacket. If you plan on splurging to dine here, pack accordingly.
20) The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Albert’s
Situated at a table inside the kitchen of Victoria & Albert’s, this unique, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience can cost upwards of $425 per person, but is generally seen as being more than worth the price.
Throughout your three-hour dining experience, you’ll have the chance to interact with the chefs, as they prepare your food right in front of you, and the multi-course tasting menu is tailored entirely to your party’s dietary needs and tastes.
At the end of the meal, you’ll be sure to leave with an array of takeaway goodies offered to you, including a copy of your custom menu for the evening, and every lady who dines at the Chef’s Table is gifted a single, long-stemmed red rose.
Wine pairings are available starting at $200 per person, while Zero-Proof pairings are available starting at $110 per person. None of these prices include taxes and gratuities.
21) Sangria University
Okay, so we all know that you can drink around the world at Epcot, but did you know that you can actually make your own sangria at Disney World? You can at Three Bridges Bar and Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
This hour-and-a-half long course, offered on Saturdays and Sundays at the resort, not only teaches you the history of sangria and the recipes used to make Three Bridges’ four offered varieties of sangria, but it also allows you to make your own glass of fresh sangria with an assortment of fruits and spirits all for just $59 per person (and the taxes and gratuities are included).
22) Turn Your Phone into a Star Wars Datapad
While you might know that you can use your My Disney Experience app for booking Advanced Dining Reservations, checking into and out of your Disney resort hotel, and using that pesky new Genie+ in as many ways as you can, did you know that there’s another app that’s as equally important?
If you download the Play Disney Parks app, you can use it as a datapad, a la Star Wars, to translate signs in Batuu, play fun games throughout the Black Spire Outpost on the planet, and help Rey and the Resistance take down the First Order.
The best part? This is all completely free!
While you will need valid theme park admission to do any of it, there’s no extra charge for using the Play Disney Parks app. So why not take advantage of a totally free perk that kids (and kids at heart) can enjoy together?
23) Special Genie+ Photo Filters
While Genie+ may be either hit or miss with guests, especially now that you have to spend $15 per person per day to use it instead of adding it onto the cost of your tickets for the length of your stay, the service does have some perks that you wouldn’t expect.
Once you’ve bought Genie+ for the day and entered your chosen Disney World park, open the My Disney Experience app and tap on the “More” menu at the bottom of the home screen. Select Disney PhotoPass Lenses, and let the magic begin.
From Mickey sunglasses to a Genie filter that makes you look like the blue guy himself, the assortment of photo filters are a part of the Genie+ service at no additional charge beyond the initial $15 per person you pay at the start and includes some special filters that are only available at certain spots inside the parks.
If you’re paying for Genie+ anyway, why not make use of all the service offers?
24) Have a Beach Day
At any average hotel, you might spend a day taking a break at the pool, but at a number of Disney World resorts, you can lounge in a hammock or build sandcastles to your heart’s content.
While swimming in non-pool waters is strictly prohibited (it’s still a swamp in central Florida after all, and home to no small number of deadly snakes and alligators), you can still relax on the sugary sands of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Village, Contemporary Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Beach Club Resort, Riviera Resort & Spa, Old Key West Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, and the non-Disney owned but Disney branded Swan and Dolphin Resorts.
At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort specifically, each of the resort’s five “villages” (in which the buildings are divided) has its own beach—and naps in a hammock is always welcome here.
25) Follow in the Footsteps of Real Life Royalty
It’s well-documented that the late Diana, Princess of Wales brought a young Prince William and Prince Harry to Disney World in 1993, and they stayed in the fifth-floor Grand Suite at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa during their stay.
While befitting of the two princes and their mother to stay at the resort that has a restaurant named for the boys’ great-great-great-great-grandparents (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert), even mere ordinary folk can stay in the same suite as actual royals…if you can afford it, that is, as the Grand Suite can run between $2,200-$3,300 a night.
At 2,200 square feet, the luxury suite is one of five signature suites at the Grand Floridian, the others being the Walt and Roy O. Disney Suites and the Victorian Suite on the floor below. The suite is made up of two bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, a half-bath in the foyer, and a main parlor with a wet bar and a television hidden behind a painting.
In the master bathroom is a sunken jacuzzi tub, and every room has fresh flowers. The suite also has five dormer balconies, one of which has a direct view of Cinderella Castle and is an excellent fireworks viewing location. So, if you’ve ever wanted to live like a real princess, even for a night, check out this suite!
So, as you can see, there’s a lot more to Walt Disney World than meets the eyes. From beach bum days and Hidden Mickey hunts to extravagant dining experiences and living like royalty, you might want to start brainstorming today all of the fun, secret things to do in Disney World for your next trip!
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