Are there things I can do cheaply on Disney property without a park ticket? I'll be in Orlando for a couple of days but am not able to buy tickets.
There are a number of things you can do on Disney property without a ticket, whether a ticket is not in your budget or you want to take a day off from touring the parks. Here are a few very inexpensive things you can try:
1. Resort hop. Literally one of my favorite things to do on Disney property outside of the parks. Go check out all the great theming in Disney's resorts. The easiest way to do this is to visit the monorail resorts in the Magic Kingdom area or take the boat and visit the Epcot resorts. All Disney resorts have quick service restaurants where you can buy an relatively inexpensive lunch. One of my favorites is Mara at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Bring a book and read and people watch in one of Disney's amazing resort lobbies. Remember, you can ride Disney buses without a park pass.
2. For a little more money, you can have lunch or dinner at a sit-down restaurant at one of the resorts or downtown Disney. Make sure you look at the menus on AllEars for prices before you make your reservation.
3. Explore the Boardwalk. Even if you aren't a Disney resort guest, you can park at the Boardwalk Resort. Just tell the guard that you want to shop and eat at the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is great for people watching; you may even see a wedding at Sea Breeze Point.
4. Go shopping at Downtown Disney. This doesn't have to be a budget-buster. You can get a filling sandwich and drink from the Earl of Sandwich for under $10 and sit and people watch.
5. Have a quick drink at Raglan Road. Perhaps the most themed restaurant outside of Disney parks or resorts, Raglan Road is one of those places that really shows you Disney's attention to detail. A live band plays most nights.
6. Go for a ride on the monorail. It's free and it just happens to be the fastest ride at Walt Disney World.
7. Go to Epcot for free. Okay, so you're not exactly getting into Epcot free of charge, but if you ride the Epcot monorail from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot, you'll take a brief loop into Epcot. The views from above during the Flower and Garden show are especially nice.
8. Appreciate the artwork of Mary Blair, the Imagineer behind It's a Small World, in the Contemporary Resort. You'll find a mural designed by her right as you get off the monorail.
9. Walk from the Grand Floridian to the Polynesian on the path that links the two resorts. Along with great views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella's castle in the distance, you'll see the Disney's famed Wedding Pavilion. If you time it right, you can even see the fireworks.
10. Take a boat ride, either from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom, from Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney ,or from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. If you get on the DHS-Epcot boat, you can get off at any of the resorts they stop at and explore.
I can't promise you that any of this is as good as visiting the parks, but it will give you a little of that Disney magic. Have fun!