The thing that holds most people back from a Disney vacation is the cost. I get it, it's expensive. I could go into why it's worth saving up for, but that deserves it's own post.
To help with the cost, I suggest planning some non-park days. There is so much to do at Walt Disney World that does't require a park ticket. Here is what I would consider the top 10 in no particular order.
1. Disney Springs (aka Downtown Disney) This is becoming a full day destination with all of the new and exciting things Disney is adding to the area. There's a movie theater, bowling alley, characters in flight, and of course plenty of shopping, dining, and live entertainment. Plus you can get Starbucks and Mickey Bars down there now which makes for the perfect day!
2. Play Mini Golf - Disney has two mini golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland. Just like everything else Disney designs, they are adorable and perfect for everyone in the family. At the time of this post, both are under $15/person, and I have seen free mini-golf offers quite a few times when you buy your tickets via Disney.com
3. Take a Fireworks Cruise - WDW offers a couple of different ways to experience the fireworks without a park ticket. One of them is to take a Fireworks cruise. I would suggest contacting a Disney travel agent to book one of these. Disney travel agents services are always free. I have been using Pam from MEI Mouse Fan Travel. This is not a cheap option, but a really awesome way to end the night!
4. Catch the Fireworks - This is my FREE way to catch the fireworks, and possibly my favorite on this list. Catch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom by taking the monorail to a monorail loop resort (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian) and watching from there. If you watch from the Polynesian beach (that would be my suggestion) you can do so with a dole whip in hand from Pineapple Lanai right near the pool. They even pump in the music from Wishes so you get the full "in the park" experience.
5. Resort Entertainment - Tthere is so much to do see and explore at all of the WDW resorts! Most have night time movies, s'mores roasting, and pool activities during the day. The Fort Wilderness campgrounds have the best campfire parties! Select other resorts have live music as well.
6. Rent Bikes - WDW Resorts are full of trails to explore. Rent a bike for a few hours, it's a great way to explore all the hidden gems that WDW has to offer.
7. Visit The Boardwalk - This is the perfect place to walk around, and maybe even take some pics. There's shopping, places to eat, and entertainment as well.
8. Character Dining - Don't feel like spending one of your park days eating with some of your favorite Disney friends? Enjoy a character meal at a resort instead. Here is a list of character dining locations that don't require a park ticket.
9. Rent a Boat - There are many places/ways to rent boats and canoes at WDW. I think this is an awesome way to see some of the beautiful nature that WDW was built around and a great way to relax!
10. Relax by the Pool - When you combine all of the pools at the WDW resorts there are 27 of them! All of them are perfectly themed to the resort and most of them offer a fun feature like waterslides and kid play areas.
The full list of Sports & Recreation can be found here. It has descriptions, ages and prices for each.
Did I miss any of your favorite things to do without a park ticket. Leave me a comment below!