Walt Disney World is known for their amazing rides, shows, and entertainment. While many guests have favorites, and there are many popular things to do, Disney magic is everywhere. There are many cool experiences all over the parks and resorts that may not be advertised as frequent or are ‘hidden’. Here are 11 things you may have not yet tried at Walt Disney World.
11. Electrical Water Pageant
If you’re staying (or visiting) the resorts in the Magic Kingdom area, you’re in luck. In the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, there is a nightly Electrical Water Parade. While this isn’t the ‘best’ parade or the biggest production, there is something truly magical about lounging in your resort balcony or on the decks and watching this adorable light-up spectacular. Guests can enjoy sea creatures light up the lagoon with thousands of dazzling lights as they are paired with sensational (and familiar) Disney tunes (just like in the Main Street Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom). This parade travels from one resort to the next around the lagoon, so it is important to make sure you check with the front desk for show times. The good news is that if you miss the show in one resort, you can head over to another to enjoy it! This show is weather permitting, but since it is on every night, you have a good chance of being able to catch it on one of your nights there!
10. Fantasia Gardens & Fairway Mini Golf
Did you know that there are a few golf courses on Walt Disney World property? One of the best ways to unwind with the family is to head over to Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Mini Golf. This 18-hole Fantasia themed golf course is not only a fun way to enjoy sporting in the Florida sunshine, it has amazing background views like the Tower of Terror and the Swan and Dolphin Resort.
9. Character Palooza
Ever wonder what happened to those classic Disney characters we used to see roaming the parks? If you’re like me and you love to meet unique Disney characters (that were popular back in the day) you may be in luck! Character Palooza is an unpublished, unannounced event that occurs daily (weather permitting) at Hollywood Studios. Various characters stroll through the front of the park at a specific time to meet and greet with guests, giving you the opportunity to take some great photos. Since this is not advertised (and is usually done at the front of the park), most park guests are unaware of this because they are inside the park experiencing other things when this happens. There are also times when cast members won’t give a specific time if asked about this meet and greet.
8. Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
If you’re staying at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds or just checking it out, you’ll want to experience Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long. This nightly production is held during the nightly ‘s’mores campfire and includes Chip, Dale, and an amazing cowboy guitar player singing and dancing for a rootin’ tootin’ good time! This event is weather permitting, but if you can squeeze it into your schedule, it is a guaranteed good time! Check with the lobby of the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds for the times guide.
7. Dessert Parties
One of the most popular events at each of the firework shows at the parks are the dessert parties. These have become popular with guests over the years and are truly worth every penny. Guests that purchase the dessert party tickets will have priority seating at the firework show of the park they are in and will be able to enjoy delectable desserts and beverages. These parties are themed and some even include character meet and greets. There are even dessert parties on a beautiful boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon! If you’re interested in checking out one of these events, be sure to book in advance as they tend to reach capacity quickly.
6. Club Villain
Speaking of parties, one of the hottest ones made its debut earlier this year and it was brought back by popular demand. Club Villain, located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is home to the most villainous party on the Walt Disney World property. Hosted by Dr. Facilier himself, this party includes appearances by the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruela De Vil, and the Queen of Hearts in their own special meet and greet area. In addition to the meet and greet and the dance party, guests will enjoy an unlimited buffet of New Orleans delicacies, alcoholic beverages, and hilarious stage shows. Since this experience has only been brought back on select night for the months of September and October (as of now), you’ll want to snag tickets for this event before it retires or sells out!
5. runDisney Events
If you’re into running or fitness, runDisney events may be up your alley. While races are always fun, there is something truly magical about running around the Walt Disney World resort with other Disney fans. RunDisney is host to multiple races at various times of the year. There are a plethora of races to choose from for the little ones all the way to the Dopey Challenge (which is a whopping 48.6 miles). Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or you’re a pro, you can register for a race that is just right for you. The best part about these races is the theming. Guests come totally decked out in tutus and character bounding outfits for the races. There are even Disney characters around the path for meet and greets while you’re running.
Did you know there are some great recreational activities at the Disney World resorts other than the pool? While every resort offers different activities, there are a plethora that can be enjoyed at each one (whether you’re staying there or visiting) including (but not limited to) archery, fishing, boating, pony rides, horseback riding, jogging trails, basketball, tennis, volleyball, wagon rides, bike rentals, arcades, playgrounds, and much more. Be sure to ask the front desk of your resort for a list of recreational activities. Don’t see what you were looking for? Ask about which resorts offer what you would like to do and you’ll be headed in the right direction!
3. Hard Ticket Events
Experiencing the holidays at the parks are truly special. The décor and holiday spirit is alive and there are so many special additives in photos and dining that make it that much more unique. A great way to experience the holiday magic is to experience the popular hard ticket events: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. These parties have been extended to multiple days and are offered more frequently due to their popularity over the years. There is a limit to the capacity of tickets sold at each event, making the crowds smaller than a typical day. There are shows, parades, meet and greets, and photo opportunities that are unique and only offered during these events. They are truly a one of a kind experience and I guarantee you’ll want to do it as often as possible. Tickets for these two events are offered at certain times of the year. Since they are popular, you’ll want to reserve them as soon as possible.
2. Backstage Tours
Most Disney fans are in awe when it comes to the intricate detail and execution of ideas and production quality. Let’s face it, no one makes a theme park like Disney does. There are several backstage tours that are available for guests to get a sneak peek at the behind the scenes magic in each park. While these can be very pricey, they are worth every penny! You’ll feel like a VIP as a knowledgeable cast member fills you in on some awesome facts and secrets about the parks and even dine with your tour group (on select tours) at a Walt Disney World restaurant. Most of these tours are for teens and adults, so make sure you make accommodations with the children in your party. Check out the official Walt Disney World website for pricing on these experiences. You can also receive a discount if you’re an annual pass holder!
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1. Movies Under the Stars
Disney movies are magical, so why not enjoy them at the happiest place on earth? Each resort on the Walt Disney World property offers Movies Under the Stars, where a beloved Disney movie is played near the pool on a giant screen each and every night. Guests are given complimentary popcorn and are able to sit back and relax under the night sky. This is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day at the park. Be sure to ask for the movie schedule at the front desk.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!
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