Disney World Activities: Tours, DisneyQuest, Water Parks & More

LAST UPDATE: 8/4/14

If you buy a multi-day ticket to the Walt Disney World theme parks and stay for a week or less, you’ll probably find that you can’t begin to explore all the entertainment options that are INCLUDED in the park passes, between the rides, parades, fireworks, and a zillion other Disney World activities.

However, the time may come when you’ll want to get out of the Disney theme parks and do something different, like riding the wild slides at Disney’s water parks, taking a backstage tour, spending an evening at Cirque du Soleil’s dazzling show La Nouba, getting a relaxing massage at one of the Disney spas, playing a round of golf on one of Disney’s award-winning courses, or enjoying any of the dozens of other Disney World attractions.

Naturally, Disney has plenty of ways to separate you from your money if you want to enjoy these extras. There are some discounts, deals and bargains available for almost every activity you can name, however, and we’ve gathered them in one place here!

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Special Events

Click here to see an entire page of seasonal and special events at Walt Disney World, many of which are included in the price of admission.

Whether you want information about Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, this is the place to check!

If an additional cost is required to attend the event, we list any available discounts.

Water Parks

There are currently two Disney water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Both are wonderfully themed and have great water slides as well as quieter areas to just float.

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Tickets That Include Water Park Admission

Advance Purchase Water Park Discounts

Water Park Discounts at Ticket Window

Other Water Park Deals

DisneyQuest

DisneyQuest, located in Downtown Disney, is a “virtual reality theme park” with many interactive games, old and new video games (including a whole area of early classics like PacMan and Galaga) and some pretty amazing virtual reality “rides.”

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Tickets That Include DisneyQuest Admission

Advance Purchase DisneyQuest Discounts

DisneyQuest Discounts at Ticket Window

Other DisneyQuest Deals

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba

La Nouba is a spectacular show with amazing feats of acrobatic prowess, beautiful lighting and costumes. While it’s expensive, most people (including us) think it’s well worth the price: We’ve seen the show three times. You can order tickets online through Ticketmaster, or by phone at (407) WDW-SEAT (939-7328). Shows are at 6:00 and 9:00 pm. There are no performances on Sundays or Mondays.

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Regular Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Prices and Info

Our main comment would be that there are NO horrible seats in this theater. It’s not super-critical to be centered to the stage, because a lot of the show takes place in the air and there is a lot going on all the time — if you miss something on one section of the stage, there’s plenty of other activity on another part of the stage to watch! We think the big decision is whether you want to be super close (to see the performers’ faces) or further up (so you’re not craning your neck to watch the aerial acts). Cirque du Soleil keeps adding more and more premium sections to the seating, with little justification, in our minds. If you want very good seats, go for Category 2 and see if you can get a discount. If you want to see the show but you’re on a tight budget, consider Category 3 or 4. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Click here to see a seating plan.

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba Discounts

Splitsville

Splitsville is a luxury bowling alley with great food, located in Downtown Disney.

Movies

There is an AMC 24-plex movie theater in Downtown Disney.

Aerophile/Characters in Flight Balloon

A tethered gas balloon — which features hand-painted silhouettes of Peter Pan, Dumbo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Buzz Lightyear, and Tinkerbell – rises 300 feet above Downtown Disney. The balloon’s 19-foot diameter gondola can hold up to 29 passengers and a pilot. Participants hover for 8 to 10 minutes while enjoying a breathtaking ride and a 360-degree view of Walt Disney World.

Spa & Salon Treatments

Disney’s Spas

There are two full-service spas available at Walt Disney World resorts: Senses Spa at the Grand Floridian Spa and Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Most of Disney’s Deluxe hotels also offer limited massage services, fitness rooms and/or salons. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (407) 824-2332 for Grand Floridian or (407) 827-4455 for Saratoga Springs.

The Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin is another full-service spa option on Disney World property.

Curious about how the spas differ? Click here to read a review comparing the Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin with the Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort.

Mandara Spa at the Walt Disney World Dolphin

The Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, a non-Disney-operated hotel located on Disney property right next to several Disney resorts, has a fabulous Mandara Spa.

Magnolia Spa at Shades of Green

If you qualify to stay at the military-only Shades of Green on the Walt Disney World property, you can visit Magnolia Spa at the resort, which offers treatments at prices substantially lower than the other spas on Disney property and nearby. Click here to see a Magnolia Spa menu with prices.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is an enchanting place where little royals can create their own wands, fill their own jewelry boxes, and explore a stunning array of storybook delights. The salon is owned by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother herself and operated by her wand-toting Godmothers-in-Training. They’re wondrous whizzes with faux hair, accessories, jewels, beads, nail paints and other niceties. They’ve conjured up three royal hair styles: fairy tale princess, pop princess or Disney diva. The boutique is open to princesses ages 3-12.

There are now two locations for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: one is part of the Princess Room at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney Marketplace, and the second is in the Magic Kingdom inside Cinderella Castle.

You can book sessions at either location up to 180 days in advance at (407) WDW-STYLE (939-7895).

The Pirates League

Ahoy, mateys! Begin your piratical transformation when you receive your Official Pirate Name as recorded from the leather-bound captain’s log. Next, stop by the Muster Station and leave your old self behind as the Pirate Masters perform a marauder’s makeover. Hear the ways of the scurvy sea dogs as they apply yer buccaneer beard, scars, earrings and eye patches. Or even be ye a boney pirate and wear your skeleton on yer skin! Once you have fully transformed, enter the Secret Room where your Pirate Portrait is taken for posterity and the Pirate Masters reveal their hidden treasure.

The Pirates League is located in Magic Kingdom, next to Pirates of the Caribbean. For ages 3 and up. For reservations at The Pirates League call (407) WDW-CREW (939-2739).

Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street

Located on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, the old-fashioned Harmony Barber Shop offers a relatively low-cost and definitely fun experience. Haircuts are $19 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and under, $18 for “baby’s first haircut.”

The barber shop also offers a fun service of decorating kids’ hair for a nominal charge. They will put gel and glitter (aka “Pixie Dust”) in a child’s hair, and sculpt the hair into a crazy ‘do, for just $7.50 plus tip.

The barber shop is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, seven days a week. You can walk up and wait your turn, though waits can take awhile at times. However, the barber shop now takes appointments up to 180 days in advance at (407) WDW-PLAY (939-7529) or (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463). (If the agent is having a hard time finding it in the system, it is listed under Children’s Activities.) You must provide a credit card number when booking. If you miss the appointment without cancelling at least 24 hours in advance, there is a $10 fee. Thanks to Kimberly F and Nancy V for info.

Tours and Special Backstage Programs

Disney offers many interesting backstage tours in the theme parks. You must reserve tours in advance through (407) WDW-TOUR (939-8687).

Pool Cabanas

Pool cabanas are available at the three Monorail resorts: Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian. They include such amenities as a flat-panel television, DVD player, digital music docking station, locking drawer for personal items, mini fridge, fruit platter, soft drinks and bottled water. (Amenities may vary by resort: ask when booking.) You’ll also receive service from a cabana attendant. To book a cabana, call (407) WDW-PLAY (939-7529).

Boating & Water Sports

We always have a fantastic time buzzing around Bay Lake on the little Sea Raycers (formerly called “water mice”) available for rent at Wilderness Lodge and other resorts. These and many other types of boats can be rented at Walt Disney World.

Additionally, at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you can try water sports including personal watercraft (jet skis), parasailing, water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing. Reservations are suggested. Certain age and other restrictions apply. For more information or reservations call (407) 939-0754.

Bass Fishing

Guided catch-and-release bass fishing is available at Walt Disney World. Excursions include fishing equipment, rod, reel, shiners, artificial bait, non-alcoholic beverages and a 1-year membership to B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society). Advance reservations are required. Call (407) WDW-BASS (939-2277) or book online at disneyworldfishing.com.

Golf

Disney operates three championship golf courses (Lake Buena Vista, Magnolia and Palm) plus a 9-hole family walking course (Oak Trail). Advance reservations are required. Call (407) WDW-GOLF (939-4653) or book online at disneyworldgolf.com.

A great unofficial site for Disney golf information is Marc’s Walt Disney World and Golf Site.

Store Your Clubs by Owner’s Locker

Store Your Clubs by Owner's LockerIf you are a frequent golfer at Walt Disney World and the surrounding area, consider using Store Your Clubs by Owner’s Locker. It’s a new service from a very reliable company we’ve been recommending for years, Owner’s Locker.

With Store Your Clubs by Owner’s Locker, you won’t have to haul a set of golf clubs back and forth, ship them or pay extra baggage fees to the airlines. The service will pick up your clubs from your resort as you depart at the end of your vacation, keep them in a climate controlled warehouse and have them waiting for you at your resort when you return!

  • Click here to learn more about Store Your Clubs by Owner’s Locker.

Miniature Golf

Disney operates two miniature golf courses: Winter Summerland, located near Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Fantasia Gardens, located near the Dolphin Hotel.

Richard Petty Driving Experience

Drive or ride along in a NASCAR-style race car with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, located on Walt Disney World property. You can do a Ride-Along Experience (ride shotgun in a 2-seat NASCAR-style stock car driven by a professional instructor, for 3 laps at up to 165 mph) or a Driving Experience (take command of the wheel and experience the thrill first hand). Call (800) BE-PETTY (237-3889) for reservations and information.

Parking at the speedway is FREE, or you can get a FREE shuttle from Disney’s Ticket and Transportation Center. (Ask about the shuttle when making your reservation.)

ESPN Wide World of Sports

ESPN innovation and entertainment joins the magic and service of Walt Disney World Resort at this 220-acre sports complex, host of more than 60 sports and thousands of events for athletes of all ages and skill levels. From the state-of-the-art broadcast center and the ESPN Innovation Lab to professionally kept fields and courts, there is no other place like this to play at the next level.