10 Ways to Have an Amazing Disney Vacation Without Buying Theme Park Tickets

We recently took a magical Disney World vacation - without even leaving our resort. No crazy schedule of hitting theme park after theme park, and no paying for costly admission. Just us, together as a family, taking in the many exciting scenes and attractions at our very own hotel on our own time. Sound impossible that you could get a taste of Disney magic without even visiting the parks? Scroll through this slideshow for ideas about how to make memories with your family for less money without ever stepping foot outside your resort. Don't forget - you can always go to Disney Springs or Downtown Disney without having to pay for admission!

Trade Pins!

All you need is a pin-trading starter kit, which you can buy in any gift shop; it includes a lanyard and a few pins, and you are ready to trade! At every Disney resort hotel, you'll find a pin-trading board like this one. Plus, many Disney cast members have pins to trade, as will your fellow vacationers.

Swim in the Hotel Pool

Every Disney World resort features at least one swimming hole your entire family can enjoy. Many have water slides that'll keep little ones entertained for hours and a poolside bar for the adults. Check the activities schedule at your specific hotel for kid-friendly pool activity times, or just hang out, relax, and soak up the sun for no additional charge.

Tip: Disney Vacation Club members can pool hop to most resort pools during their stay.

Enjoy One of Many Themed Restaurants

Your resort will offer onsite restaurants, many of which are themed, and some include character experiences, like at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Hotel at Disney World. Enjoy a luau at Disney's Polynesian Resort, or take in the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground.

Tip: Make a reservation ASAP so you don't get shut out of what promises to be an unforgettable meal!

Browse the Gift Shop

My family have spent hours exploring keepsakes at the glorious gift shops in Disney World hotels. No, this activity won't save you money, but it allows you to bring some magic home when, sadly, you must leave the happiest place on earth.

Immerse Yourself in Hotel Themes

Many Disney resorts offer one-of-a-kind experiences, like the onsite safari at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We stayed in a savanna-view room at Kidani Village and could see giraffes, zebras, and a variety of birds and beasts from our very own balcony!

Watch Mickey Cartoons and Disney Movies in Bed

You are guaranteed to find plenty of Disney shows and movie content on TV at all times. Exhausted from a day at the pool? Cuddle up with your loved ones and take in a show, right from bed. This is also a great way to make the best of a rainy afternoon. Room service optional!

Order Room Service

Speaking of room service, why not? If you can't get a restaurant reservation or if you would prefer a quiet night in, most on-property resorts offer a room service option. Don't forget to ask about adults-only cocktail choices, and be sure to order up some fun, Mickey-themed treats for the kiddos.

Ride the Monorail and Check Out Other Disney Hotels

The monorail system connects some resorts to theme parks and to one another. It's free, and you can take in sights and sounds of Disney World with little ones who will think it's a ride. We rode the monorail and got off at a few different hotels, like the Grand Floridian, then walked around and visited the gift shops. It took up a few hours and was honestly a ton of fun!

Try Out Kids' Activities at Your Resort

Most on-property resorts offer organized activities for the kids. At Disney's Polynesian Resort, there's hula hooping lead by an energetic instructor, and at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, children can make s'mores after dark. Some resorts have Kids' Clubs, too, and a schedule of movies for the entire family to watch together.

Watch Fireworks From Your Room

Some Disney hotels, like the Contemporary, offer views of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. If you pay a bit more, you can watch the spectacular nightly show from your room or visit an observation area for a thrilling pyrotechnics display your family will remember for years to come.