Everyone thinks a Disney vacation is going to be super expensive the whole time they are visiting. I won’t lie, a Disney World vacation is not cheap by any means, however I have learned after many (many) trips that there is plenty to enjoy that is either completely free or really inexpensive. Let me know if you have any other freebies to share that I may have missed!
- Let the kids play in the interactive fountains! Make sure to bring a change of clothes, this will keep them busy for quite awhile and they will be exhausted after running around
- In the evenings the stage in front of the World of Disney hosts FREE performances, magicians and DJ’s. You never know who will be out there to play for you.
- The Lego Imagination Center has a FREE 3,000-square-foot play area filled with thousands of LEGO blocks, let the kids use their imaginations and play!
- For adults House of Blues and Raglan Road offer FREE live music, just grab a drink and enjoy!
- Take a FREE boat to one of the resorts along the Sassgalouga River and explore Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter or Old Key West Resort, then just grab a boat back when you want to return to Downtown Disney
- Get a FREE sample of chocolate at the Ghirardelli Store
Disney’s Boardwalk Area
The Boardwalk Area sits along Crescent Lake and comes alive at night! There are a few inexpensive or even FREE things to do here on a beautiful Florida evening.
- Often there are street performers (jugglers, comedians, fire-eaters, jazz ensembles, etc.) in the evenings — stroll around and watch them!
- There are lots of vendors selling inexpensive boardwalk treats such as pizza, corn dogs and pretzels.
- You can try your luck at a carnival game (small cost).
- Sit and watch the Friendship Boats come and go between the other area resorts and Epcot
- Watch Illuminations from the bridge
- 21 and over guests can visit Jellyrolls or Atlantic Dance Hall for a small cover charge
Disney Resorts are a sight to be seen in and of themselves and it costs you nothing! There are great photo opportunities at Art of Animation, The Polynesian Beach, Wilderness Lodge Lobby and many more. You should really just commit to exploring resorts on one day of your vacation, especially if you are visiting during the Holidays when they host a little extra magic.
- Free dive in movies at the pool or on the beach in the evenings depending on the resort you are staying at.
- Several of the resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge and Grand Floridian offer FREE tours that are open to any Disney resort guest. Some of the tours require a reservation, so inquire in advance.
- Free daily pool parties and games all day, take a break from the parks and just stay at the resort.
- Watch the Wishes Fireworks from the Grand Floridian boat dock
- At Wilderness Lodge, a geyser (kind of a mini version of Old Faithful) spouts on the hour from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. The geyser is located at the back of the property, past the pool.
- At Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can walk out to the viewing areas and see the exotic African animals roaming free. Dusk is the best time to see the animals.
- Watch the Electrical Water Pageant, this floating parade is visible nightly, starting around 9:00, from Disney’s Magic Kingdom-area resort hotel docks and beaches. The pageant takes about an hour to move slowly around the lake starting with Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness and Contemporary. DONT MISS THIS, I have been watching this since I was a kid, and it’s just magical.
- Ride the Monorail: Take the inner Monorail loop that circles the three Monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian). You can get off and explore each resort, or just enjoy the ride and the view. Great trick with babies, put them in the stroller and they will pass out, the monorails have air conditioning and are large enough that you don’t have to collapse strollers. I would ride while my little ones napped even if for 20 minutes!
- Hidden Mickey’s are everywhere in Walt Disney World, start a Hidden Mickey challenge for your family and reward the winner of the most hidden mickey’s found an inexpensive treat
- Go fishing. This is strictly “catch and release.” There are two places to rent cane poles (worms also provided): Port Orleans Riverside (near Ol’ Man Island) or Ft. Wilderness (at the Bike Barn). Cost: about $4 per half-hour per pole, or $9 for a full day per pole. It’s a great inexpensive activity when you need a park break.
- Visit Tri-Circle D Ranch at Ft Wilderness and see the horses used on Main Street USA. Often times they offer pony rides for the little ones for $5.
The possibilities are endless at Walt Disney World when it comes to FREE or inexpensive things to do. I am sure that there are a few things missing from my list. That just means I have to go back and research more!