One of the most exciting things about visiting Walt Disney World Resort is that there are constantly new things to experience — even if you’ve been hundreds of times.
Here we’ve gathered 34 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do at Walt Disney World — so let’s all go try something new!
1. Experience the Magic Kingdom Flag Retreat
This moving Magic Kingdom experience requires no Lightning Lane reservation — just a desire to participate in a formal flag lowering ceremony held at the Magic Kingdom flagpole in front of the Walt Disney Railroad Station.
The ceremony includes fanfare by trumpets, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of God Bless America and the Star-Spangled Banner accompanied by the Main Street Philharmonic.
After the lowering and folding of the flag, a guest veteran is handed the flag for a short procession up Main Street, U.S.A., while accompanied by a medley of U.S. military songs.
This event takes place daily, so check with Guest Services or the Times Guide to find out when to watch!
2. Drink up — for free!
That’s right — no need to hand over $4 for a bottle of Dasani or to fill up your water bottle with tepid Florida fountain water. Many counter service locations in all of the parks will give you a free cup of ice water upon request! We recommend asking for a large cup to help combat that central Florida heat!
If you choose to use a fountain, keep in mind that you can fill a water bottle or cup at the various refillable water bottle stations around Disney World!
Things with the free water situation can change though (they changed in 2022 at one Starbucks location) so just be sure to ask and see if the free water is available at the spot you’re checking. You may have to head to a different location or get a smaller cup, but rest assured that free water is out there somewhere!
3. Eat Like an Emperor
Fine dining is possible at Walt Disney World, and if you’re a connoisseur of beef, Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs has got a treat for you. Diners can order certified A5 Japanese Wagyu Beef (seriously, they bring the certificate out and everything) and have it seared tableside.
This experience isn’t cheap (currently $34 per ounce, with a 3 ounce minimum), but it’s stunningly good and a true dining event.
4. Get a Massage
If you like a little relaxation with your vacation, you can find a moment of zen even in the hustle and bustle of Walt Disney World! Several spas on property offer massages! The best known are the spas at the Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs, but there are lesser-known options at Coronado Springs, the Yacht Club, the Dolphin, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Note that several spas may be temporarily unavailable. Check to see what’s open during your trip.
5. Have Your Cake (Almost) Anywhere You Want It
Guests at Walt Disney World Resort can generally have specialty cakes delivered to their resort or to many restaurants on property. In most cases, advance notice is required (and it’s always recommended!), but that Mickey Celebration Cake is totally worth it!
Guests can also make special requests for custom cakes.
These will cost a pretty penny, but they are done so well.
For more on how to order a specialty cake for delivery, check out our Cakes FAQ page here.
Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs can make you a cake too. The treats at Amorette’s are many and varied — and undeniably special.
Some things with specialty cakes may be a bit more limited at this time so be sure to check and see what’s available during your visit.
6. Ride a Car on Water
That’s right: you can ride in a car on the water! Just head to The BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs and ask for a tour in an Amphicar. (Note that this is an extra cost.) This twenty-minute tour of Disney Springs takes place on the waters near Disney Springs — and it’s great fun!
And don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at The BOATHOUSE before or after your tour! There are tons of offerings to choose from — originating from both sea and shore.
7. Celebration Buttons
If you’re celebrating a milestone during your Walt Disney World vacation, don’t be shy about asking for a celebration button! These 3-inch diameter pins feature fun Disney character designs and are meant to help you wear your celebration on your sleeve (or backpack or lapel or Goofy ears — wherever!).
Over the years we’ve seen First Visit, Birthday, Anniversary, and generic I’m Celebrating buttons, but stock does vary. You can pick up a pin at Guest Services at the parks, at the front desk at your resort, and at various other locations.
While there are no guaranteed perks to wearing your celebration button, loads of guests report getting a little extra attention during meals (think bonus birthday cupcakes!) and special greetings from Cast Members and guests alike!
8. Actual Nightlife
If you’re an adult looking to add a little grown up fun to your Walt Disney World vacation, you will find lots of actual nightlife all over the World!
Disney Springs is open until 11PM or 11:30PM every night of the week, with several locations providing music, dancing, and plenty of libations. House of Blues features live music often (check out their schedule to see if any of your favorites are playing!), and Paradiso-37 offers live music, a DJ, and dancing often as well!
The Edison also promises lively entertainment each night. With three bars located on two different levels of the restaurant, The Edison is always ready with a drink. And entertainment will vary from DJs to live bands and more!
The BoardWalk also offers nighttime entertainment, including exciting restaurants and bars as well as Atlantic Dance Hall. But one of our favorites is Jellyrolls, where dueling pianos play into the night!
Just goes to show, there’s more entertainment out there than you might have thought!
9. Get Allergen-Free, Vegan/Vegetarian Food
If you’re concerned about dietary restrictions around the World, fear not! Disney World has earned a reputation for offering tasty options for those with allergies and those who choose to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet.
All restaurants offer allergen information upon request, and some even have a separate menu for those dining with allergies or special diets.
Plus, when you dine at table service restaurants on property, you can speak with the chef to ensure that the kitchen knows exactly what you can and can not eat.
Vegan and vegetarian diners will find lots of appropriate options, even at quick service locations. And guests can request accommodations as needed. For example, if you’re really jonesing for a fajita at Pecos Bill’s, request it without meat — and then grab some veggies or other toppings to go with it! See the DFB YouTube video covering our favorite restaurants for vegan and vegetarian dining in Walt Disney World for lots of detailed information!
10. Get a Haircut (Returning Soon)
If you ran out of time for a haircut before your vacation or you’re looking for a special cut for your kiddos, the state-licensed cosmetologists at Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom can create a little magic for you! This offering will finally return to Magic Kingdom on July 31st, 2022, for the first time after the 2020 closures!
Harmony Barber Shop is located just past City Hall and the Fire Station at the start of Main Street, U.S.A., and its old time charm will give you all the feels. You’ll want to make a reservation when they open on June 28th by visiting the Disney World website or using the My Disney Experience App.
The cast members at Harmony Barber Shop have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to keep the kids entertained while they’re in the chair (and while they’re waiting!); plus when your little one gets their first haircut at Walt Disney World, you can opt to get a First Haircut set of Mickey Ears! Talk about a memory to last a lifetime!
11. Ride a Horse
Did you know that Walt Disney World offers plenty of outdoor activities that have nothing (or at least very little) to do with cartoons and princesses? One of our favorites is horseback riding at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.
Horseback riding is for guests ages 9 and up and includes a 45-minute ride on the trails of the resort costing $55 per person. For the younger set (2 years and older, under 80 pounds, and no taller than 48″), there are $8 rides on the petite ponies!
12. Learn to Shoot a Bow and Arrow
Also located at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, the Fort Wilderness Archery Experience is open to guests ages 7 and up and includes small group instruction on the use of compound bows.
The 75-minute session gives guests opportunities to fire at a range of targets and to receive advice from trained Archery Guides! This is perfect for your little Merida or Robin Hood and costs $45 per person (gotta be 7 and older for this experience, adventurers!). To reserve your spot, call (407) 939-7529.
13. Eat Authentic Japanese Sushi
Finding authentic Japanese Sushi in a theme park might normally be a challenge — but not at Walt Disney World! Sushi chefs abound here, with convenient restaurant locations throughout the World. Unsurprisingly, one of those locations is Tokyo Dining at the Japan Pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
On the Monorail Resort Loop, you can find fine sushi at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and at Kona Island at the Polynesian Village Resort. Kimonos at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel also offers a large selection of sushi.
And if you’re looking for your sushi fix at Disney Springs, you’ll find beautiful options at Morimoto Asia.
14. Eat in an Aquarium — or Scuba Dive in One!
You already know that EPCOT’s Seas with Nemo and Friends has one of the largest saltwater tanks in the world (the actual world — not the World), but did you know that you can eat surrounded by the aquarium and its inhabitants? Coral Reef Restaurant is a table service restaurant smack dab in the middle of the aquarium. And it’s pretty unbelievable.
Not only can you dine with the fishes — you can also scuba dive with them! EPCOT DiveQuest is a three hour experience with a 40 minute dive in the 5.7 million gallon Seas tank and provides views of angelfish, dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks. Because the tank consists of 56 windows, your family and friends can watch the dive too! The only catch is that divers must be SCUBA-certified to participate.
15. Meet Disney Characters Without a Park Ticket
Think you need a park ticket to see your favorite characters? Well you’d be wrong! Disney characters make appearances in Disney World’s hotels as well, so you’ll want to look for the character caravan when you’re there!
But you can also get a more scheduled visit with the characters by dining at a character dining experience outside of the parks. Head to Disney’s Riviera Resort to eat with Mickey and friends (in some fabulous outfits) for breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace. Or hop to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to say hello to Mickey and more at Chef Mickey’s.
You can also see Princess Snow White and others at Artist Point — Story Book Dining with Snow White. Or head to the more underrated Ravello to have breakfast with the Disney characters on select dates when offered.
Basically don’t let the lack of a park ticket mean the end of your fun character interactions! Note that character dining is returning to “normal” through a phased process so things may still be a bit different during your trip.
16. Ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage
If you’re looking for a relaxing and romantic way to slow down on your vacation, a horse-drawn carriage ride through one of the beautiful Walt Disney World resorts might be right up your alley. At the Port Orleans Resort, ride along the picturesque Sassagoula River.
At Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, enjoy the wilds of the pine and cypress forests of the resort, keeping your eyes peeled for local wildlife!
17. Learn to Surf (Some May Be Temporarily Unavailable)
Here’s a tip for the thrill-seeker in your family: you can learn to surf at Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon water park! Lessons include instructions (on land!) from surf pros, followed by lots of time catching waves in the wave pool! Already know how to surf? Reserve your spot for a private surf session before the water park opens on select days! Hang ten, y’all!
Note that the certain surfing classes may be temporarily unavailable. Be sure to check and see what’s available during your trip.
18. Ride in a Surrey Bike
Have you long dreamed of riding in a surrey with a fringe on top? The Resorts of Walt Disney World have got the wheels for you!
Rent a surrey bike for two to four people at BoardWalk Inn and Villas, Old Key West Resort, Port Orleans — Riverside and French Quarter, and Saratoga Springs.
19. Get Your Favorite Hotel Restaurant Food to GO
You’re probably familiar with Mobile Order for the regular counter service spots around Disney World, but did you know that select table service restaurants at Disney World hotels also offer a mobile order option that will let you take those items to go?!
Spots like Sanaa, Steakhouse 71, and others will let you grab your favorite dishes and take them with you. Grab a tasty meal from one of these spots to go and then you can enjoy it from the comfort of your room, from a relaxing outdoor spot around the resort, or wherever else you’d like!
20. See Unique Star Wars Props
You know you can pilot the Millennium Falcon or help the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but did you know that you could check out some awesome Star Wars props over at Star Wars Launch Bay?
This underrated area hasn’t fully reopened (it previously had character interactions and more), but you can still walk through the space, and look at some of the amazing costumes, models, concept art, and actual movie props from the Star Wars films!
Plus it’s air conditioned and often not busy — it’s a great place to escape the heat and see some Star Wars history!
21. Go on Safari — Even at Night!
If you love to get wild with the animals of Walt Disney World, you’ll be happy to know that several safari adventures await! Not only can guests embark on a bumpy ride on Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safari, but they can also enjoy a special nighttime safari with the Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge!
The Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge is a nighttime animal adventure that takes place on the Resort’s savanna. Guests board a ride vehicle and use night vision goggles to try to spot some of the many animals that call the savanna home!
The Wild Africa Trek is a unique adventure that brings guests closer than ever to the animals of Kilimanjaro Safari — including the crocs! Reservations are required for this three-hour private tour where guests clip in for a trek across grasslands, rope bridges, and the open savanna.
Plus, there are tasty treats served as part of the experience. The Wild Africa Trek is a pricey adventure, but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience for animal lovers!
22. Dine with an Imagineer (Currently Unavailable)
If you’ve ever wondered about the minds behind the magic of the Disney Parks, you’ll definitely want to Dine with an Imagineer. This small-group luncheon takes place at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and sometimes at Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Diners are treated to a four-course meal and a free-flowing conversation with an Imagineer. Dine with an Imagineer lets guests gain insight into the creative process behind the parks, rides, and attractions. It could be such a fun experience for budding Imagineers and any who embrace the magic.
Note that this is temporarily unavailable as of the last updates to this post, but check to see if things have changed ahead of your trip.
23. Dine with an Animal Specialist (Currently Unavailable)
Disney bills this experience as an “untamed” lunch — and for animal aficionados, Dine with an Animal Specialist is endlessly fascinating. The lunch is held at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. During the lunch, diners in the small group (no more than twelve people are assigned to each meal) will be able to look out over the resort’s Sunset Savanna and potentially catch a glimpse of the 200 birds and hoofed animals who roam just beyond the windows.
Throughout the meal, the animal specialist will share details about animal care, field research, and conservation.
Note that this offering is temporarily unavailable as of the last updates to this post, but be sure to check and see if things have changed ahead of your trip.
24. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Disney Springs is the place to go for epic dining and shopping at Walt Disney World, but it’s here you can also take a hot air balloon ride! Aerophile is a helium-filled balloon with a basket for 29 passengers (and one balloon operator).
The balloon is tethered but rises up to 400 feet into the air, providing 360-degree views of Walt Disney World. It’s truly a chance to see the World from a whole new perspective!
25. Become a Wilderness Explorer
Animal Kingdom is the place for outdoor adventure, and now you or your kiddos can become bonafide Wilderness Explorers just like Russel and Dug from UP! This self-guided experience includes dozens of activities spread all over the park, ensuring that you’ll get to see all kinds of unique places in Animal Kingdom.
And with every challenge you complete, you get a Wilderness Explorer Badge! We love an activity with built-in souvenirs and life-long memories!
26. Order from a Secret Menu
Real Disney insiders looking to add a little intrigue to their meals will want to take a look at the secret menus offered throughout Disney World! There are secret menus at a variety of places, including some Magic Kingdom restaurants, spots in EPCOT, and more!
In the past, we’ve also seen a secret menu offered at All-Star Movies’ World Premier Food Court. The secret menu here could only be seen through a retro view finder, and eats included poutine, a bacon mac-and-cheese dog, and a burger served on a cinnamon roll. This secret menu was fun from start to finish!
Note that secret menu offerings come and go. We haven’t seen the one at All Star Movies return just yet, but there are other secret menu eats and drinks you can get throughout Disney World!
27. Transform Into a Princess (Returning Soon)
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a beloved experience that transforms children between 3 and 12 years of age into princesses and knights!
While this experience has yet to open since the COVID-19 shutdown, Disney has announced that it will be opening in 2022!
28. Sail into the Night with Pirates (Currently Unavailable)
Really want to get into the adventuring spirit? Walt Disney World offers a Pirates and Pals Cruise. This cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon combines a fun pirate party with fireworks viewing — all from the comfort of a pirate-driven boat.
The Pirates and Pals Cruise is limited to sixty or fewer guests, and it includes snacks and a meet-and-greet with Captain Hook and Smee! It’s a rollicking time on the high seas!
Note that this experience is currently unavailable, but check to see if it has returned for your trip.
29. Get Up Close and Personal with Dolphins (Currently Unavailable)
Dolphins in Depth at the Seas pavilion in EPCOT gives you or your budding marine biologist an up close meeting with some sweet bottle-nosed dolphins! The three-hour experience includes a tour of backstage areas used to care for the dolphins, information about how the dolphins are trained, a chance to watch training in progress, and thirty minutes of interaction with these beautiful mammals in waist-deep water — no swimming or SCUBA necessary!
Note that this experience is temporarily unavailable but check to see if it has returned during your trip.
30. Take Free Restaurant Tours (Temporarily Unavailable)
Foodies unite for a tour of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko — The Cooking Place and Boma. When offered, the tour includes a relaxing walk through the restaurants, where cultural representatives share information about the atmosphere, decor, and culture(s) represented there.
At Jiko, representatives also highlight some of the African wines that are a hallmark of the signature restaurant. Participants also get the opportunity to try some of the dishes served in both restaurants! And the tour is completely free! How’s that for a tasty tidbit?
Note that these tours are not currently available, however check to see if the situation has changed ahead of your trip.
31. Go Behind the Seeds (Temporarily Unavailable)
Living with the Land in the Land Pavilion in EPCOT’s Future World immerses guests in the agricultural wonders of the United States — and for guests who want to know more, there’s the Behind the Seeds Tour!
On this tour, honorary gardeners visit four greenhouses and a fish farm, learning more about the on-stage and off-stage work that the Living with the Land researchers conduct. Participants may even get to release lady bugs to help protect the plants! These daily tours are reasonably priced and provide great inspiration for those with (and without) green thumbs.
As of the last updates to this post, the tour was unavailable. Check to see if this offering is available during your trip.
32. Take a Segway Tour
Segways are a fun way to see the World, and at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, visitors can go on a Wilderness Back Trail Adventure riding on these fun, two-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles!
The Adventure includes thirty minutes of instruction and practice on the Segway before embarking on a two-hour circuit of the resort, Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and Bay Lake. Tours are led by a knowledgeable and entertaining Cast Member.
33. Travel the World (Showcase) (Currently Unavailable)
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the many countries and cultures depicted in the pavilions of the World Showcase, DestiNations Discovered is a must-do tour for you. This 4.5-hour tour travels through 11 countries and 4,000 years of history!
During the tour, guests get to see 3D models of the pavilions and go behind the scenes to see all that goes into creating these iconic pavilions.
Note that this experience is temporarily unavailable as of the last updates to this post. Be sure to see if it has returned ahead of your vacation!
34. Watch an Outdoor Movie and Make S’mores
For free fun at your resort, grab some popcorn and enjoy an outdoor movie! Movies are shown at all of the Walt Disney World Resorts, and, of course, they include your favorite Disney classics…plus some s’mores!
At several resorts, an inflatable movie screen is secured near the pool, so in some cases, you can watch while you swim! That’s some entertainment on top of your entertainment!
Be sure to check your Resort’s movie schedule, and prepare to relax!
That’s it! Thirty-six totally awesome activities you can do at Walt Disney World! Add one, two, or a dozen of these fun experiences to create memories that will last a lifetime!
Want More Info on ALL Of These Experiences?
We cover these experiences in detail — including prices, discounts, and booking information — in the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World!
What is the most unique thing you’ve done in Disney World? Tell us in the comments!