Obviously it’s no secret that while it is the happiest place in the world, a Disney World vacation is expensive. Even after you’ve paid for your tickets and room, once you’re inside the Disney World bubble there’s still food, special events and souvenirs to spend more money on. So anytime you can do something to save a little bit of money – and I don’t care how much money you have or want to spend – saving some money is always something people like to do. We have compiled a list of all the free things to do at Disney World. Now some of things do require a Disney World park ticket, since you would need to be inside the park in order to do them, but some of these things you won’t even need a ticket for. We will separate these free things at Disney World into two groups: needing a Disney World park ticket and not needing a park ticket.
Free Things That Don’t Require a Disney World Park Ticket
First off on the list of free things at Disney World, there’s Disney Springs. It’s free to park in the parking garages, and you can spend all day just walking around and don’t have to spend a dime unless you want to. You can window shop, enjoy the streetmosphere – the performers and live music, and just people watch. Some restaurants may even hand out free samples! There is plenty to do here that is free, and you will still have a great time!
If you happen to go to Disney World during your birthday or anniversary, or any special occasion, you can go to any Guest Services desk and receive a free celebration button. You can also get these free buttons inside the parks or at any resort as well. And when you’re wearing one of those celebration buttons, Cast Members will go out of their way to say something to you and if you’re lucky, you might even get a little Disney World pixie dust sprinkled your way. Like another free thing – dessert. Sometimes if you are wearing your celebration button while at a Disney restaurant (usually more so at a Disney Springs or resort restaurant), they will surprise you with a free cupcake or dessert, or if you mention it while you are making your reservation. Granted, you are paying for your meal, but some of those desserts at Disney World are like $5.00 or $6.00, so getting a free thing is always a nice little perk.
Collect Park Maps
Another free thing to do at Disney World is collect park maps. You don’t have to get these free maps from inside the parks – you can get maps from Guest Services in Disney Springs, or from your Disney World resort. Some people like to collect them so they can see how the park have changed over the years. The only thing is that if the park is having a special event that day (like celebrating the park’s anniversary), then you will most likely only be able to get them in the park.
Magic bands are also free if you are staying at a Disney World resort. You can pick from 9 colors and you can decorate them however you choose. You certainly have the option to buy one of the nicer, fancier magic bands, but that’s all up to you. WiFi is free at the resorts; Disney’s Magical Express is free from the airport to the Disney World resort and back. Most transportation is free from the resorts to the parks for Disney Springs, the exception being the Minnie Vans. The buses, monorail, boat – both ferry from TTC to Magic Kingdom and the Friendship boats – are all free.
Explore Disney Resorts
Exploring the Disney World resorts is also free. You don’t need to be staying at a particular resort in order to enjoy certain activities – except using the pool. You can take a walk around the grounds and hang out. You can check out the lobbies – especially at Christmastime – and listen to any entertainment playing. You can walk into any of the shops, especially someplace like Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Some resorts offer free tours of the building architecture – like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. They also offer free tours of Jiko and Sanaa. You can enjoy some of the recreational activities like horseback riding, carriage rides, and surrey bike rides. And events like Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long and Movies Under the Stars (as long as they are not in the pool area).
Finding Hidden Mickeys
This next free thing at Disney World on our list is more of a little game people like to play and it can be done pretty much anywhere on property, and it’s searching for hidden Mickeys. There’s books out there that people can buy that will tell you where you can find them and people will basically go on scavenger hunts to find them. There are hidden Mickeys inside the parks, at the Disney World resorts, at Disney Springs, pretty much everywhere on property. So if you are into that sort of thing, you can probably spend quite a bit of time doing that for free.
View The Fireworks
Another free thing you can do on your Disney World vacation is view the fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant from outside the parks. The monorail resorts are a great place to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks. The beach at the Polynesian and Grand Floridian have great views, and they pump in the music. Apparently, the bridge between Bay Lake Tower and the main Contemporary building is a good spot. Of course, there’s the top of the California Grill, but you have to pay to eat there first. These are all great places to view the Electrical Water Pageant. It’s been at Disney World since the 70’s and it’s a light show on the Seven Seas Lagoon and it hasn’t really changed since it opened. But guests really like it and it runs right after the Magic Kingdom fireworks. And it has a cool dragon.
What’s Free Inside the Parks?
Well, if your kid is under three years old, at Disney World…they’re free! They don’t need a ticket to get into the park, you don’t have to pay for them to eat on the Disney dining plan, and they can eat off your plate at all Disney World restaurants. Even if they turn 3 while you are at the parks – like during your Disney World vacation – they are still free for your entire stay!
There are a few places you can go to get free water, and free drink and food samples drinks. You can stop at any quick service location and ask for a cup of ice water and they will give you one. And it’s filtered water, not the nasty Florida water. At the Main Street Confectionery at Magic Kingdom, you can get free samples of cookies, candy, and ice cream. And at Club Cool in Epcot, you can sample different types of soda from around the world. There’s like one from Brazil that’s really good, some from the Philippines that are pretty good. Just stay away from the Beverly – It’s just flat out yuck. But you can drink as much of and try as many as you’d like and it won’t cost you a dime.
Another free item is one of the festival passports you get at Epcot during Food and Wine, Flower and Garden, Festival of the Holidays, and Festival of the Arts. They are free and you can pick one up and it will list all the food booths and the different food at each booth. It’s a fun little way you can keep track of what you’ve eaten and a neat little souvenir of whichever festival you’ve attended. They are different every year and they are nice quality, too. This is one of our favorite free things at Disney World.
There are also two games at Disney World that are free – Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at Epcot. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a card game offered at Magic Kingdom where you receive a Sorcerer Key Card, Merlin’s mystical map, and a pack of spell cards. You use the map to locate magical portals located throughout the park and use your cards to battle Hades and his evil henchmen. You get to keep the cards at the end and you can even trade cards with people. Disney even offers special event Sorcerer cards at MNSSHP and MVMCP.
For Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, you can either sign up ahead of time and use your smartphone to receive clues, or you can download the Play Disney Parks app and play that way. Either way, it is free. But you would receive clues that will lead you through the pavilions to help Agent P find Dr. Doofenshmirtz and stop him from creating havoc in the World Showcase. We’ve never done either one of these, but maybe Jeremy and I will try it one day and vlog our adventures.
Strolling Around The Parks
And last but not least, just walking around in the parks and enjoying the atmosphere and just being on vacation at Disney World with the people you love the most is always free. You’re not at work, you’re not cleaning or cooking, you’re just there and in the moment. Stop and eat a Mickey bar or a dole whip. Sit down and people watch – its free. Enjoying life at that moment is free. Happiness is one thing that is always free.
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