10 Classic Things to Do at Disney World that Are Not Rides

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A trip to Walt Disney World is not just about the rides. The Disney vacation wouldn’t be the same without these essential experiences and things to do.

A young girl holding a rice crispie treat shaped like Mickey Mous

A trip to Walt Disney World is about so much more than just riding as many rides as you can squeeze in to your visit.

While I love to take advantage of their system to experience as many of the best rides at Magic Kingdom, I love that it opens up time in my schedule to make sure we’re having fun with the other things the park has to offer, too!

If you only worry about which ride you’ll jump on next, you’re missing some of our family’s favorite parts of a Disney family vacation!

The Disney theme parks have so much more to offer than just rides, be sure to add a few of these experiences to your to-do list, too!

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Disney Things to Do that Are NOT Rides

Everyone loves a good Disney ride but the parks have so much more to offer for your family’s vacation entertainment if you know where to look.

Slow things down, actually enjoy your Disney vacation, and be sure to add these non-ride experiences to your to-do list.

1. Visit the Main Street Confectionary and Get a Mickey Pop

Two girls eating Mickey Mouse shaped pops.

Right on Main Street near the entrance is one of the sweetest (pun intended) bake shops we’ve ever seen.

I love taking the kids here right before a parade to pick out a treat and a drink to enjoy while we wait on the curb for the show.

I dare you to be able to choose from all their delectable options but for us it always comes down to the classic Mickey shaped chocolate covered crispy treat pop!

2. Stop by the Chapeau Hat Shoppe

A young girl tries on a Pluto hat while holding a Mickey Mouse toy.

To the right of the entrance as you enter Magic Kingdom you’ll find the Main Street Chapeau Hat Shoppe.

We were sure to start one lovely relaxed morning with a visit there to get my girls their first pair of ear hats followed by a visit to see Mickey at the Main Street Theater.

Even if you don’t plan to purchase a hat, this is the best spot to find the full variety of options the park offers and it’s fun to pose for pictures with a few new looks.

3. Hop on the Monorail

The Disney monorail is driving past the EPCOT ball.

This postcard perfect attraction is free and a fun way to get from Magic Kingdom to Epcot or for riding in a circle just from Magic Kingdom to the 3 resorts on its path and back again.

We’ve used it to take a mid-day break from the heat and the crowds and get a meal at one of the resorts before heading back for evening fun and fireworks.

It is one of our favorite ways to stay cool at Disney World!

4. Find a New Disney Treat

There are entire web sites devoted to documenting Disney food for a good reason.

The menus are ever-changing but you can always find Mickey-shaped delights around every turn.

This trip, hunt down a NEW favorite you haven’t tried yet!

5. Enjoy a Character Meal

Tigger with two young girls.

Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.

We try to schedule one character meal each trip.

I’m not a fan of standing in line to see the characters when I could be on a ride or relaxing.

Booking a meal ensures you get a good photo op or two and can even make it possible to get inside the park before opening so you can be first in line at your favorite ride.

We love breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace and the Disney Junior breakfast at Hollywood Studios the most but Ariel’s Grotto at Disneyland was amazing, too.

6. Trade a Pin

A Disney Store wall of pins.

This is one of our favorite traditions during our visits to Disney World.

The kids start trading with the resort staff, pick it back up in the parks, and don’t stop till they’ve found the characters they set out to acquire by the trip’s end!

Need more details about pin trading? Check out my Disney Pin Trading 101 here.

7. Hunt for Hidden Mickeys

A young girl is shocked and pointing at a hidden Mickey on a railing.

Waiting in line, walking down Main Street, on the shower curtain at your resort, hiding in tiles in the lobby–you can find hidden Mickeys all over Walt Disney World.

There are whole books dedicated to finding them, but we just love to try and spot them on our own.

Take a picture with your kids pointing each one out as you go!

8. Look for Walt

The whole family, including mom, is in the photo.

Remember the man behind the mouse.

We always stop to wave to Walt’s statue in front of Cinderella’s castle.

It can be easy to overlook as you race off to your next adventure but pausing even for a moment to recognize the creative genius it took to imagine all that you are enjoying is an inspiring example for the whole family.

You can also spot Walt all over the place in the Disneyland park if you slow things down and keep your eyes open. Don’t miss seeing his famous bench, it’s one of our favorite things to do at Disneyland.

9. See a Disney Parade

Tinkerbell is on a light-up float as part of the Disney evening parade.

The lights, the music, the nostalgia is at its peak when those floats come down Main Street at night.

I am convinced this makes the biggest deposit in the kids’ memory banks.

Unfortunately, the Electrical Parade is not currently an active Disney experience but be sure to look for a similar evening performance.

There’s just something special for kids about staying out after dark at Disney!

10. See the Disney Fireworks

Disney fireworks are unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.

The lights, the laser shows, the music, Disney fireworks are just pure magic.

Everyone thinks that Cinderella’s Castle is the best place to watch them, but we actually have several tips for where to watch Disney fireworks that might surprise you.

A photo collage shows several fun things to do at Disney that are not rides.

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