15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free)

by Shannon Albert · 31 comments · Like the Facebook page

(Article last updated: November 17, 2014)

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.comSo you know about Space Mountain and Toy Story Mania.

And you know about character meals and autographs.

What else is there?

Today, I’m showing you 15 unique things that most first-timers don’t do that you might want to add to your trip plans.

Let’s get started…

1. Have dessert with your fireworks

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
One hour prior to the fireworks starting at Magic Kingdom, there is a Fireworks Dessert Party that is held at Tomorrowland Terrace. There is a self-service buffet of desserts and beverages and a great view of the fireworks from this location.

A PhotoPass photographer is present so take advantage and get some great pics with the fireworks in the background.

Some people have reported that desserts have run out and advised getting there early (others have said desserts were plentiful). Some have also reported that viewing was difficult because people rushed to the front of the area once fireworks began (and others have reported there not being any issues at all).

It’s possible that some of the issues happened at the beginning of this event being offered and Disney worked to correct them. I’m not sure but wanted to let you know.

Prices: $14.90 for children ages 3-9 and $27.68 for people ages 10+ (both prices include tax). During peak times, prices can go up.

Reservations: Reservations can be made online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Disney advertises that reservations open at 180 days; however, in reality, it works a bit differently and it is not uncommon for dates to open several days past the 180 day mark.

Note:  The Fireworks Dessert Party often has a start time of 6:00 PM listed, even though the actual party may start later.  If you plan to schedule a dinner Advanced Dining Reservation around 6:00 PM you will need to call 407-WDW-DINE for your Fireworks Dessert Party reservations as the online system won’t let you hold 2 reservations with conflicting times.

2. Watch an outdoor movie

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
All of the Disney resorts have outdoor movies in the evenings, with many of them being pool-side using blow-up screens. Some resorts even include a dance party or campfire as part of the festivities.

Price: free

More info: outdoor movie schedule at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/activity-outdoormovie.php

3. Have family pics taken

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
You can have professional portraits taken of you and your family while you’re at Disney World. You’ll have the gorgeous resorts as a backdrop as they take dozens and dozens of photos.

Portrait session are available at these resorts:

  • Grand Floridian
  • Polynesian
  • Beach Club
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge

You can choose from Professional Print packages or get all of your session images on the Professional Portrait CD (separate from Disney’s PhotoPass PhotoCD). Because the CD purchase gives you full copyright of your pictures, you can have prints done at less expensive places. And since they are kept separate on their own PhotoPass Card ID, you can use this online for the different products on Disney’s PhotoPass website.

Price: Varies, depending on what you order

Reservations: 407-934-4004

More info: http://allears.net/tp/ppass.htm#products

4. Learn to draw

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Hollywood Studios has an Animation Academy which has a class that is held every 30 minutes to teach you how to draw a Disney character. You don’t know ahead of time which character you’ll be drawing but there’s a teacher who guides you through the process.

Classes are less crowded later in the day. After you get home, frame it for a nice memory of your trip.

Price: free

5. Get a haircut

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Right when you walk into Magic Kingdom and just to the left, there is a place to get your hair cut called Harmony Barber Shop. This is an old-fashioned kind of place where you can get a quick trim or a full groom.

If your child doesn’t need a haircut they can still have the old-fashioned barber shop experience by having their hair adorned with clear gel and colorful “pixie dust”.

Services at Harmony Barber Shop used to be just available by walking in but they now take appointments.

Price: $15 for adult haircut, $19 for children 12 and under (other services are available as well)

Reservations: 407-WDW-DINE

Other places to get your hair cut at Disney World: American Beauty Shoppe and Captain’s Chair (at Contemporary Resort), Casa de Belleza (Coronado Springs), Ivy Trellis (Grand Floridian) or Periwig’s (Yacht and Beach Club)

6. Enjoy some water sports

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
At Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre (located at The Contemporary Resort), you can choose from several different water sports: water skiing, parasailing, wakeboarding, stand up paddle boarding or inner tubing.

Guests have to be 18 to rent, 16 to drive and any age to ride along. Parasailing has a minimum age of 6.

Price: $80 and up

Reservations: 407-939-0754

More info: discount and info available at SammyDuvall.com

7. Play miniature golf

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
There are 2 mini golf courses at Disney World: Fantasia Gardens (located near the Swan/Dolphin) and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (located near Blizzard Beach). Each golf course has 2 separate sections to choose from.

Price: $12 for kids 3-9 and $14 for people 10+ (also something you can do if you purchase the Water Parks Fun and More park tickets)

8. Take a dive

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Inside The Seas Pavilion at EPCOT is DiveQuest, which allows visitors to dive inside the 5.7-million-gallon saltwater tank. Scuba-certified guests can swim with over 6,000 sea creatures—including sea turtles, angelfish, dolphins, eagle rays and sharks.

All Guests must be SCUBA-certified and at least 10 years of age to participate. Guests ages 10 to 12 must be accompanied by a paying, participating parent or guardian.

The experience lasts 3 hours, and guests will spend about 40 minutes underwater in the huge Caribbean Coral Reef aquarium—which until 2005 was the largest saltwater tank in the world. Participants also get to see the massive backstage infrastructure required to filter and maintain a vast manmade ocean.

Price: $175/person

Reservations: 407-WDW-TOUR

9. Have a campfire

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Near the Meadow Trading Post at Ft. Wilderness is Chip and Dale’s Campfire, held around 7 p.m. during the fall/winter season and 8 p.m. beginning sometime in April through the summer. A cast member starts it off with a sing-along, followed by a marshmallow roast and a visit from Chip and Dale.

Price: free

10. Go fishing

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Guests can go on private fishing excursions in a catch-and-release program for large-mouth bass. The excursions include a guide, rod and reel, tackle, bait and beverages.

Guests are not allowed to bring their own food, beverages or coolers.

Most excursions accommodate up to 5 people. They’re available at the following locations:

  • Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Downtown Disney® Marketplace

7 a.m.: $270 for two-hour excursion; $455 for four-hour excursion
10 a.m.: $270 for two-hour excursion; $455 for four-hour excursion
1:30 p.m.: $235 (a single guest can take this excursion for only $170)

Reservations: 407-WDW-BASS

11. Take surfing lessons

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
At Typhoon Lagoon, guests 8 and up can learn to surf in the gigantic wave pool. Surf lessons are offered on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, early in the morning before the park opens. Each lesson is 2 1/2 hours and includes:

  • 2 professional instructors
  • Soft-sided surfboard for use during the lesson
  • Instruction on land
  • Opportunities to ride waves up to 6 feet tall

Price: $165/person

Reservations: 407-WDW-SURF

12. Play at the arcade

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Most Disney resorts have an arcade that’s open from 7 a.m. to midnight with a wide variety of games to play. Most of the arcades use a rechargeable card that holds credits for game play.

These resorts have arcades available:

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Beach Club Resort
  • BoardWalk Inn Resort
  • Contemporary Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort
  • Polynesian Resort
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Yacht Club Resort
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Coronado Springs Resort
  • Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • All-Star Movies Resort
  • All-Star Music Resort
  • All-Star Sports Resort
  • Pop Century Resort
  • Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

13. Ride a cowboy horse

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
The Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Ft. Wilderness Resort has lots of ways to enjoy horses – trail rides (offered daily at 8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4:00 pm for riders age 9+), pony rides and carriage rides*. Also available at the ranch: hay rides and wagon rides.

Available in October: haunted carriage rides.

Available in December: horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Prices: Trail rides – $46, pony rides – $5, carriage rides – $45

Reservations: 407-824-2832

* carriage rides also available at Port Orleans Riverside

14. Drive a race car

Drive or ride in a NASCAR car up to 140 mph at the Walt Disney World Speedway as part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience. You can choose between 8, 18 or 30 lap programs.

Prices: $99 to ride, $449+ to drive

Reservations: 800-BE-PETTY

More info: http://www.drivepetty.com/race-tracks/orlando-walt-disney-world-speedway

15. Play an interactive game

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
Falling under the nerdy category (i.e., I love it) are these 2 games: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the….Magic Kingdom.

Both of these games involve an interactive scavenger hunt where you solve things and you are able to make things happen in the parks as you go through the game.

Price: free

More info:
Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom info

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure overview from the creators of Phineas and Ferb…


Thoughts? Questions? I know some of you have things that could be added to this list. Talk about it in the comments.

15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com15 unique things to do at Disney World (and some are even free) from WDWPrepSchool.com
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{ 31 comments (add yours) }

Patricia Delgado September 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

So Art of Animation does not have an arcade?


Laura November 18, 2014 at 11:01 am

We stayed at ARA last September and are returning there Jan. 2015. Yes they have a small arcade. Right off the lobby.


Alora January 18, 2015 at 5:39 pm

The Art of Animation arcade is the same as pop centry’s arcade. Pop century is exactly the same as Art of animation lol ;)


Jen May 19, 2014 at 11:10 am

Can you confirm that they are still doing the Haunted Carriage Rides? I saw a brief advertisement for this several months ago. My family is planning a trip in October and we would love to attend this, however, I’ve seen/heard that this is no longer offered. I hope that’s just a rumor and is not found to be true…..See banner in yellow at the top of this webpage:


See banner in blue at the top of this web page:



Disney Trip February 23, 2014 at 9:40 am

Hey thank you for explaining some of the activities at disney world along with their prices. It is so hard to find a detailed article along with prices while searching on Google. Be sure to keep adding to the list. Thanks again!


Cathy July 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Not just getting a haircut at Harmony Barbershop, getting Baby’s First Haircut! For the same $15 she got her hair cut for the first time (sniff), they wrapped up the curl for me to keep, she got a big Mickey certificate, her hair was sprinkled with pixie dust, AND she was presented with her very first mouse ears that said First Haircut. This is one of WDW’s best bargains all around.


Andreia June 25, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hi Shannon, what about having tea with Alice and friends at 1900 park fare? Is it a nice experience? Do you think it´s woth? My daughter loves Alice, but I dindn´t find informations or photos about this experience, how it happens and if it really fun… can you help me?


Terri June 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

Where do you get the Sorcerer’s Apprentice cards for the game?


Shannon Albert June 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Everything I know about SotMK is at the link I put in the description above. I haven’t personally done it yet to be able to give you an answer based on my experience.


Ginger Carey May 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I haven’t done it personally either..but plan on it in December. From what I have found the cards can be picked up at the Firestation and the Christmas Store in Liberty Square.


Frank June 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm

This all sounds great! We did the Segway at Epcot a few years ago and are thinking about doing that again. I also understand there is a Segway at Fort Wilderness. Which one would be the most fun? Also, we have park hoppers. Is there a way to park free anywhere and then use the Disney Transportation system to move around?


Kathy January 22, 2014 at 1:26 am

We’ve done both the EPCOT & Ft Wilderness Segways and both were great. I liked tooling around EPCOT before opening but the the other goes down trails in the woods…can’t go wrong with either! =)


Shannon Albert January 22, 2014 at 1:30 am

The Epcot Segway tour no longer exists. :(


kt June 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

would you recommend doing the sorceror’s magic kingdom game if you only have one day? We are only going to be at DW one day and Epcot one day. It sounds so fun and the boys are nuts about that kind of thing but seems that it might take a time commitment. Have you participated in either of those?


Christy June 12, 2013 at 8:46 am

We go to Disney every year. If you only have one day I would not do the game. I would sit down with your family and decide what rides they must do. If you are going at a busy time you will have long lines to wait in. Use Fastpass when available and realize you will not get to see even half of what is there.


Donna May 14, 2014 at 8:30 am

Even if you don’t want to spend the time playing the game–and it can take quite a bit if lots of people are playing–be sure to pick up the free cards for souvenirs.


rhiannon April 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm

The pirates and pals thing was fun! But exspensive and I recomend not drinking alot on the way your out on the boat for awhile….


Trisha April 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Don’t forget the Pirate and Pals Voyage cruise..a great way to see the wishes fireworks!


Barbara March 24, 2013 at 6:08 am

Is there an age limit on the learn to draw activity. I believe my 6year granddaughter would love to do this when we visit in June.


Dawn April 7, 2013 at 6:43 pm

no there isn’t an age limit…anyone can do it. It’s really fun!


Kelly December 8, 2013 at 5:05 pm

When my now 14 y/o son was six, he participated in two of the drawing classes at Disney Quest. I had to hold him in my lap so he could reach the drawing board. :) He LOVED it! To this day they are two of my most cherished items and favorite memories!


Becca February 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

Do you have to be staying on-site to attend the Chip and Dale campfire?


Shannon Albert February 24, 2013 at 11:35 am

As far as I can tell, anybody can do it. It’s one of the only ways to hang out with characters for free.


Becca February 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm

That is simply amazing! My kids will flip out! What is the best way to get there? We will have our own car. And how do I find out what nights it is?


Shannon Albert February 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Drive to Ft. Wilderness and park in the parking lot. Take the internal bus to the campfire stop. It’s every night of the year (weather permitting) and takes place at 8 p.m. during spring and summer, 7 p.m. in fall and winter (call Ft. Wilderness to verify when you’re there if you’re unsure). You can bring your own smores ingredients or buy them there if you want to make them at the camp fire.

Hope that helps!


Tamra September 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

There is also archery at Ft. Wilderness. My mom did it 2 years ago and loved it!


Shannon September 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I feel like Ft. Wilderness has at least 15 unique things that people can do just at that one resort. I didn’t know about archery though. Thanks for adding that!


Tanya September 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

The campgrounds have pony rides, horse rides, wagon rides, archery, canoeing, campfires, movies, Hoop de Doo, and lots more.


Tina September 11, 2012 at 7:35 am

I don’t think a lot of people realize that some packages include some credits on their key to the magic room card for the arcade, last time we went no one ended up using them. Also Disney Quest is included in the water park and more option as well as mini golfing.

There is a lot included in the Water Park option besides the water parks so be sure you understand what your paying for, I am still trying to be sure I understand all the details before the next trip.

Do you have an article about the different tickets and using them most efficiently?



Shannon September 11, 2012 at 7:53 am

Hi, Tina-

Here’s an article on figuring out which tickets to buy. http://wdwprepschool.com/which-disney-world-tickets-should-you-buy/


Kami September 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

Doing the photo pass and family pictures was one of the best things we did! I loved coming home and having our Christmas cards DONE. :)


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