No Space Mountain, no Dumbo the Flying Elephant, no Tower of Terror. Could you spend a day in Walt Disney World without going on a single ride? Would it eat you alive to know you’re so close to your favorite attraction? Well not only do I think it is possible, I think it might be a good idea. Most guests are surprised to know how much there is to do besides going on rides. I suggest exploring the options you might have never done before.
Did you know that Walt Disney World has two miniature golf courses, horses to ride on at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, or that you can rent boats at Seven Seas Lagoon? But this is not an article about “20 Things To Do Besides Going On Rides”; it is more to recognize that there are hundreds of things to do in Walt Disney World besides going on rides. Especially if you come to Walt Disney World regularly I highly suggest searching for the hundreds of options that are passed over every day. For example, when working in the Magic Kingdom I had friends who I worked with that had never visited Tom Sawyer’s Island simply because it wasn’t a ride.
Not only will spending a day without going on the rides be relaxing, but it will also give you a greater appreciation of the parks. When you don’t spend half of your day standing in line you take in so much more. Looking closely at the windows of Disney legends of Main Street U.S.A., watching shows in World Showcase, or taking the time to go to Rafiki’s Planet Watch will enrich your visit to Walt Disney World so much more than riding Space Mountain twenty times. My point of this article is not to tell you to never go on the rides, but that a day without them might prove how much you’ve missed by only going on the rides.
Most of us are so concentrated on getting to the next ride that we don’t take in the beauty that is around us. Without taking in the beauty of the parks, then Walt Disney World is no better than any local theme park. The closer you look the more you realize the ornate details that each Walt Disney World park provides. For example, did you know that the brown pavement in Liberty Square was designed to be there intentionally? The Imagineers wanted to represent the sewage that ran down the middle of the street in the early years of our country. If you don’t know what to look for, ask a cast member: “Hello, what is something you could tell me about this area of the park that I might not know?” When I worked in the Magic Kingdom I loved telling guests a little about the history of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. For example did you know that the Carousel of Progress has been located in New York for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, in California in Disneyland Park, and now here in Florida in the Magic Kingdom? Asking cast members about your surroundings you will learn that you are surrounded by history and detail.
You’ll be surprised how much time you can spend in the parks not riding rides. So here is your challenge, try spending one full day at Walt Disney World without going on the rides. You might just be surprised how much fun you have!
Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!