Disney World Orlando is famous across the world for some of the best rides, famous characters, and some seriously good dining and shopping. You could spend weeks upon weeks in the parks and still have an endless list of things you would still want to see and do. However, there are a few activities and attractions that aren’t part of common knowledge. Even some of the most hardened Disney fans would never be able to find all of the hidden activities, and there are things in the parks that even they wouldn’t think of doing.
So if you want to do something a little bit different on your next visit to Disney World, or simply want to impress your friends and family with your in-depth knowledge of the lesser-known side to the parks, have a look at the list of our favourite unusual things to do at Walt Disney World.
1) Go underground at Magic Kingdom
This truly is one of the best things to do at Magic Kingdom. One of Disney’s worst-kept secrets is that the park is actually built on the first floor – there’s a whole other level below the rides and streets. A large network of corridors (utilidors) were constructed before Disney World opened with the theme park built on top. These secret tunnels are used for backstage functions and so cast members are able to reach different locations of the parks quickly and easily, without ruining the magic of moving about within the parks themselves.
Most Disney visitors won’t ever see the secret underground world of Magic Kingdom, as they are not typically open to anyone other than staff. However, certain tours give visitors rare access. The ‘Keys to the Kingdom’ tour (temporarily unavailable), allows access to the tunnels, and a unique opportunity to explore the labyrinth beneath the streets of Disney World.
2) Get your hair done on Main Street
Can you imagine going to a theme park for your haircut? Well, this novelty is available at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. You can head on over there for a variety of cuts, blow-drys, and colorings. When your friends ask you where you got your fancy new hairdo, they won’t believe you when you tell them Disney World!
This being Disney World, there are special extras, including colorful hair gels and ‘pixie dust’. Young kids can even get their first-ever haircut here – the package includes Mickey Mouse ears and a certificate. The musical talents of the Dapper Dans, Disney’s own barbershop quartet, may even provide a bit of entertainment during your pampering session.
This service is temporarily unavailable, but keep checking in, as it will be back soon!
3) Decorate a Christmas tree – even in summer
The Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom is home to a Christmas shop that’s open all year round. ‘Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe’ regularly allows the first child of the day to decorate the Christmas tree. They’ll be able to sign it with their name and date to let all visitors know. It’s totally free – just make sure you wake up early enough to be the first visitor of the day!
4) Order the ‘grey stuff’
Remember that bit in Beauty and the Beast when Lumière sings ‘Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious’? Well at the beautiful, immersive Be Our Guest restaurant in Fantasyland within the Magic Kingdom park, the ‘grey stuff’ is actually a sweet treat on the dessert menu.
You used to only be able to find this on a secret menu at the restaurant, and had to be requested through quiet whispers, but now it’s available for everyone to try. The Be Our Guest restaurant is one of Disney World’s most popular restaurants, so we highly recommend making dinner reservations up to 60 days in advance, so you can guarantee a table, and don’t miss out on the grey stuff! Feel free to get in touch with our concierge team to book your reservation.
5) Enjoy a hot meal and a movie
A restaurant and the movies are rolled into one at the AMC Dine-in theater at Disney Springs. Whether you’re craving a burger with a comedy or a scary film with a side of fries, this is the place to go if you’re ready to enjoy your meal with your favorite movie on in the background. You’ll be able to enjoy restaurant dining with the luxury of seat-side service, and plenty of entertainment to go with it. For movie times and menu information before you book in for your experience, visit the Disney website.
6) Become a princess at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Is your little one a massive princess fan? Make their dreams come true with the chance to transform into their favorite princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disney Springs!
This unique salon gives your child the choice of a fabulous hairstyle, makeup, nail polish change, and an astounding ball gown, all with a few professional photos taken (depending on which package you go for). The once-in-a-lifetime experience will leave your child feeling magical and throughout the day, Disney cast members will also give them extra attention, to make them truly feel like a real princess.
Whether you want to treat your little one for their birthday or a different kind of special occasion, this experience is incredibly popular, so it’s worth making a reservation in advance. Let our concierge team know when you’d like to visit and they’ll organise the rest.
This activity is unfortunately temporarily unavailable, though it is expected to return in the near future.
7) Go to a ‘dessert party’
The Magic Kingdom’s daily fireworks display is accompanied by a delicious dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace. End your day with the grand display and a wide selection of treats, including colorful ice cream, chocolate-dipped strawberries, themed desserts and create-your-own cookies.
Hot chocolate and lemonade is served up for the kids, and there’s sparkling cider, tea, and coffee for the grown-ups. When showtime approaches, you’ll be escorted to your seats on the patio of Tomorrowland Terrace, ready for the fireworks to light up the sky. This event is very popular so book ahead – our Trip Planners can help you secure a booking.
8) Take to the sky for a bird’s eye view of Disney World
For one of the best things to do at Disney World, head on over to Disney Springs, where you can soar through the sky in the world’s largest hand-painted helium balloon!
The once-in-a-lifetime experience sends you up 400 ft in the air with a 360-degree view of the entire Walt Disney World Resort. The whole experience lasts 8–10 minutes. Try and spot the iconic Disney sights as you float high into the air – from Epcot’s Spaceship Earth to Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. This is perfect for families with young kids or older relatives, who might not fancy trying Disney’s adrenaline rides.
If you’re raring to get up in the sky, tickets can be purchased by the balloon in Disney Springs. This ride works on a first-come, first-served basis, so go early!
9) Ride a car on water
Head over to Disney Springs for a truly unique experience. If you head to the BoatHouse restaurant, you can book on for a tour in an Amphicar. Essentially, it is a car that can glide on water, so you can explore the surrounding area in a completely new and unusual way; in a car designed for the water!
The tours run from 10am to 10pm, and operate on a first come, first served basis, so make sure you head over early for the best chance of getting on. The experience takes 20 minutes, and it is priced at $125 per car, which can fit around 3-4 people at a time.
10) Watch the fireworks from a whole new perspective
This is an absolute must do at Disney World. You’ve probably heard about the daily fireworks display that’s held at Epcot. But did you know that you can see the show from the water?
If you’re visiting the park as part of a big group, you can hire out a private pontoon boat for a special front-row seat, and soak up the brilliance of the Epcot fireworks display in a truly majestic setting; floating as the light makes the water shimmer all around you.
Setting sail from the Boardwalk Marina or the Yacht and Beach Club Marina, the boats accommodate up to 10 guests at a time. Reservations for this experience need to be made in advance, so make sure you contact your Trip Planner to get it all booked in.
11) Go fishing
Fishing is available in a huge variety of locations around the resort, at: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Available for all ages, and party sizes between 3 and 5 people, you can choose a two or four hour excursion with an experienced guide. All equipment is included for your experience as you fish for bass, and once caught, you release the fish once more to re-join its pals in the water.
12) Play a game of mini-golf
Head to the Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, or Fantasia Miniature Golf, both costing either $14 per adult or $12 per child. The Winter Summerland course has been designed by Santa and his elves, with two courses on offer for you to enjoy – a winter theme course and a summer theme course. The Fantasia Miniature Golf course is designed after the Disney Movie Fantasia, so you can jump into scenes of the movie as you play. Beware of the broomsticks that will try and soak you as you pass!
13) Experience the horses of Disney World
You can ride a horse at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, which is located a short free bus journey, or boat journey, from Magic Kingdom. Available from the age of 9 upwards as long as a parent or guardian is present, you can ride your very own horse through the woodland area of Fort Wilderness. Look out for ducks, deer and armadillos as you ride! This is a 45-minute experience, costs $55pp, and is available to both first-timers and those with some riding experience.
You can also pay a visit to the working ranch at Disney; the Tri-Circle-D-Ranch. The recently renovated ranch in Disney’s Fort Wilderness area is a free-to-visit ranch where the horses of Disney World Live are looked after. You will spot a huge range of horse breeds, including Appaloosas, Arabians, Belgians, Clydesdales, paint horses, Percherons, Quarter horses, and even Shetland ponies.
If you want to see the horses in action, you can also ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Located in both Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Disney’s Port Orleans area, the horse-drawn carriage rides are expected to reopen in early 2022. In Fort Wilderness, climb aboard your carriage near Crockett’s Tavern for a beautiful, scenic journey through a pine and cypress forest teaming with deer, rabbits, ducks, and armadillos. At Port Orleans, board at the Riverside Levee Marina, and enjoy the rustic and charming pathways surrounding the banks of the Sassagoula River. Horse-drawn carriage rides cost $55, last for 25 minutes, and can fit up to four adults, or 2 adults and 3 small children.
14) Try out the Animation Experience in Animal Kingdom
For a free thing to do at Disney World, head to Animal Kingdom, where there is an animation studio where you can learn how to draw some of your favorite characters under the watchful eye of a trained Disney animator. You can keep your masterpiece as a unique free souvenir at the end of your experience too!
15) Enjoy a unique way to celebrate
If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasions, visit one of the Guest Services desks at the parks. Tell them what you’re celebrating and they’ll provide you with a special button to wear. Some buttons may even be personalized with your own name!
The restaurant options at Walt Disney World are endless, to say the least, from classic American diners to Italian chains. If you’re celebrating a birthday when dining, mention this to the waiter or waitress and they’ll either prepare a complimentary dessert or a champagne toast. If you have any dietary requirements, be sure to mention it to your server.
If you are looking for incredible places to stay, please check out our villas near Disney World. All homes are located within 10 miles of Disney World.