Florida,  Travel

How to Have a Disney Day Without Visiting the Parks

A Fun-Filled, Park-Free Disney Day Itinerary

Do you want a Disney day without the long lines and high ticket prices? Are you a Disney fanatic and want to see what else they have to offer? Or do you live nearby and want a little staycation?

I love a good park day as much as the next person, but with COVID-19 still lurking I won’t be visiting the parks for a little while even after they open up again in July. I’ve got the perfect park free Disney day in mind to ease back into things.

Step 1: Pack your bag

Before you start your fun-filled day there are some things you don’t want to forget!:

  1. Rain Gear: While Florida is known as the sunshine state, we are also the lightning capital of the US. Afternoon showers are common so bring an umbrella or ponchos. An extra pair of socks is never a bad idea either!
  2. Sunscreen: Please protect your skin. Especially your face, shoulders, chest, and the back of your neck.
  3. Shades: Yes, more sun protection. Instead of squinting all day, bring shades or a hat!
  4. Walking Shoes: Your poor feet are going to be so tired, go for comfort over fashion here, you will thank me later.
  5. Snacks: No hangry episodes allowed. You’re going to have a busy day and there might be a wait for food so bring snacks just in case, someone will use them!

Morning/Noon:

Now that you’re packed let’s get this show on the road!

Start your day at Disney’s Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is –surprise- a boardwalk. It‘s a quarter mile long and curves around Crescent Lake. The boardwalk connects a couple of Disney’s resorts with food, shopping, and entertainment options. You can rent a surrey bike for a ride along the water or just go for a stroll and enjoy the view and do some shopping. For breakfast you can pop into the Boardwalk Bakery for a quick bite or if you are looking to splurge make reservations at Trattoria al Forno for a Character Breakfast! 

Next, go play Mini Golf at Winter Summerland  or Fantasia Gardens. I have only been to Winter Summerland and I had a great time, so that is the one I will recommend. They have two 18 hole courses to choose from- one Winter and one Summer themed. They are both outdoors and the courses are interactive and fun for all ages. I played the Winter side and it was very cute, we were a group of people in their 20’s and we all had fun!

I prefer to pack a lunch for long days like this to save some money. If you want to get lunch out the next stop has a ton of options for both lunch and dinner, or you can eat at the Boardwalk before you leave.

Late Afternoon/ Night:

Next stop: Disney Springs. Springs has a lot to offer, it’s a hot spot for locals and tourists because there is just so much to do! I’ll break down some of the entertainment first and move on to the food next:

  • AMC Movie Theatre: Springs has a nice AMC with a bar inside and very comfortable seats in the theaters. A great air conditioned, seated activity to take a break from walking around in the Florida heat.
  • Air Balloon Ride: Aerophile is the tethered balloon ride offered when weather permits. Always check Groupon, I see it on there all the time!
  • NBA Experience: This is a new feature at Disney Springs, and you do have to buy tickets to play. I have not been yet so here is a link to more info if you are interested.
  • Live Shows: There are a variety of stages and venues to watch live shows. If you are just walking around you can see performers at the patio stage at Raglan Road and outside at the House of Blues (which also hosts concerts if you want to look for tickets in advance). If you are looking for entertainment with a meal you can head to The Edison or Stargazers.
  • Splitsville: Splitsville is a bowling alley that also has billiards, bars, food, and TVs to enjoy. It’s another fun indoor option if you want to cool off or if it starts raining.
  • Shopping: One of the main reasons people come to Springs is to shop. You can stop at the iconic World of Disney store that has every Disney item you can imagine, from clothing to ears to toys. You could get lost in there for hours, especially if you come with a group. Another shopping option is the multi-level Coca-Cola Store. You can take a picture with the polar bear inside and head to the rooftop bar when you are done! There is also an entire mall at Springs with stores like Free People, Anthropologie, Lucky Brand, Sephora, and UNIQLO to explore.
  • Food: The food options are endless. There is a full list here you can check out because I can’t list them all. Some of the most recommended ones are Paradiso 37, Homecomin’, The Edison, and Morimoto just to name a few. There are also 2 food truck areas! The Candy Cauldron is a good stop for sweet snacks like their candy apples, so good.

If you want to end the day (or night) here, I recommend checking out some of the bars at Disney Springs. There are so many to choose from like the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Bar that serves unique coke drinks. Stargazers has live music for you to enjoy and The Edison has entertainment too (but they have a dress code at night!). If you don’t feel like bar hopping you can get a drink at one of the drink stands or the bar by AMC, you’re allowed to walk around with alcoholic drinks and just enjoy the atmosphere.

Drinks at the coca cola rooftop bar at Disney Springs
Drinks at the Coca Cola Rooftop Bar!

Late Night:

If you want to keep the party going, call an Uber (or pick a DD) and head to the Polynesian to check out their popular bar, Trader Sam’s. It is a small place so you may have to wait at their outdoor bar area before being able to go inside. They have themed drinks inside with very fun, entertaining presentations. Jellyrolls is another popular option located at the Boardwalk. They are a live dueling piano bar that does sing-a-longs. It’s a favorite among cast members and locals alike so show up early to get a good spot, there is a cover charge here!

Have Fun!

That’s a wrap on this fun park free Disney day! There are so many great things you can do outside of the theme parks, more than I have listed. If you have even more time you should definitely check out some of the resorts. They are beautiful and have a lot of great activities you can enjoy without being a resort guest. I hope you have a magical day, however you choose to spend it! Let me know your favorite Disney activity in the comments!

One Comment

  • Farrah

    This sounds like such a fun day! Boardwalks are awesome to explore + I’ve yet to check out Disney Springs–I didn’t realize they had so much stuff to do there!

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