Free things to do at Disney World
I have written about this in the past, but get quite a few questions about it still! People are always wondering what they can do for free or if anything has changed in this area. I’ve been to Disney World quite a few times in recent months and I’m going to share with you, everything I know about doing things for free!!
#1 Disney Springs
We absolutely love taking in the Disney Springs area! Formerly known as “Downtown Disney” – Disney Springs was recently renovated and expanded. It is huge! There is a TON to see and do. It is a really cool place to walk around and experience the feel of a Disney park, without the price.
Here are a few of the Free things to take advantage of at Disney Springs:
- Admission to Disney Springs is free and open to the public with no ticket purchase necessary
- Free parking!
- Lots of things to see and take in. Hands-on Lego displays and a huge Lego store. Lots of cool Disney stores to window shop – my favorite is the “World of Disney”
- The Bibidibobidi Boutique does elaborate princes makeovers. A princess makeover is NOT free – but they will wave their magic wand and sprinkle pixy dust on your head for free if you ask!!
- Free nightly entertainment and/or “dance party” for kids at the stage by the water
#2 Resort Hoping
Resort hopping is for sure a legitimate thing, you just need to know a few things.
There are numerous attractions and restaurants located within the various Disney hotels. Each resort has it’s own theme and decor that is really cool to see. If staying at one of these resorts is out of your price range, consider taking in a meal at one of the resort restaurants! The “quick service” restaurants are set up cafeteria style and are the most reasonable. If your budget allows, getting reservations at a more expensive restaurant that has “character dining” is a great way to experience Disney! Character breakfasts are usually the cheaper option.
If you plan on grabbing a drink or even just dessert at one of the resort’s restaurants, parking should be free!
When pulling into the resort parking lot, let the parking attendant know you are there to eat at a restaurant and they should let you in for free. This has always been the case for us, but might be dependent on parking spaces available. If all else fails, you could park for free at Disney Springs and hop a free Disney bus over to the resort.
Don’t be one of THOSE People
Remember to be courteous and respectful of those around you. There are paying guests staying at the resorts you are visiting, so don’t try and sneak into any areas that you are not welcome. Public areas, shops and restaurants are all open to the public, but pools are reserved for resort guests.
- Walk through the front entrance into a tropical paradise and you might be greeted with an “aloha” and a flowered lei necklace!
- The Polynesian offers prime viewing of the nightly fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. Sit on their sandy beach, and take in the fireworks, complete with the same musical program that can be heard live at the Magic Kingdom (all for free!!).
- Book a meal at the Ohana or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. Please note, reservations book up way in advance! Make reservations as early as 180 days before your trip.
- The monorail has a stop right here at the resort. Hop on and ride the loop around the Magic Kingdom Resort area for beautiful views of Cinderella’s castle!
- Offers a great view of the castle from their balcony on the floor directly bellow the monorail station.
- The monorail track actually goes right through this hotel! There is a stop here as well. Hop on and ride the loop around the Magic Kingdom Resort area for beautiful views of Cinderella’s castle!
- Book a meal at Chef Micky’s for a character dinning experience without having to purchase park tickets. Please note, reservations book up way in advance! Make reservations as early as 180 days before your trip.
The Grand Floridian
- A beautiful hotel to stop in at. Not much to do for free, but if you’re willing to put out money to eat, it’s a very nice place to have breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- The Grand Floridian is one of the three hotels with direct access to the monorail. This is another great place to catch a ride!
The Animal Kingdom Lodge
- A highly recommended stop! The decor and style of this resort is so cool to experience.
- Eat at their “quick-service” dinning room, the “Mara.” The African Stew is amazing and the prices are very reasonable.
- Take it all in, go for a walk around, it’s huge! Straight out back from the main entrance is an entire African Savannah, complete with viewing areas. You’re guaranteed to catch Giraffes, Zebra, maybe an elephant and all kinds of birds and flamingo!
- The Animal Kingdom Lodge also has a very nice play structure and on certain nights, they have a camp fire going where you can roast s’mores.
- The Animal Kingdom does not have Monorail access, you will need to drive there or take a Disney bus.
Fort Wilderness Campground
Fort Wilderness hosts a campfire sing-along and movie every night! Go here for details: Campfire sing along
#3 The Monorail
- In case you didn’t catch the hint, you should definitely ride the monorail on your next visit!
- Did I mention it is free and a great way to catch views of the Magic Kingdom??
- Hop on the monorail from the main transportation hub or at any of the resorts in the Magic Kingdom loop: the Contemporary, the Polynesian, or the Grand Floridian. Remember, parking at these resorts will be free occasionally and for anyone that is arriving to eat at one of their restaurants.
#4 Disney Bus Transportation
Disney bus stops can be found throughout all the resorts and Disney Springs area. These are all free to ride! Park for free at Disney Springs and catch a bus over to one of the resorts!
#5 Boat Rides
There are free boat rides you can take from many locations throughout the Walt Disney resort area. Hop on from any of the hotels surrounding the Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake. My favorite spots are from the Fort Wilderness Campground beach, to the Magic Kingdom. If you time it right, you could catch the fireworks over the castle while out on the water!
#6 Electrical Water Pageant
Did you know Disney has a free water parade that makes it’s way around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake area every night? You can watch it from several different locations. Go here for a complete list: Electrical Water Pageant
#7 Firework Viewing
There are several spots where you can catch the nightly fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, without paying the price of a ticket! My favorite is from the beach at the Polynesian Resort. They even have a speaker system that plays the same music as they’re playing at the Magic Kingdom.
#8 The Skyliner
- Opening in the Fall of 2019
- I can’t wait to experience this new transportation option at Disney World!
- The details are not known yet, but I’m assuming this will also be a free transportation option
- The Skyliner will connect Hollywood Studios with the Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation Resort
#9 Disney’s Magical Express
While this one is only free if you have booked a hotel at one of the official Disney World resort hotels, many people don’t realize that Disney offers this free transportation from the airport! This is one of the many perks to staying at a Disney resort. There’s no need to spend money on a car rental! Hop on the Magical Express over to your resort, and while you’re there, take advantage of all the free transportation options around the resort.
#10 Free Things to Eat and Drink
Did you know that ice water is free everywhere throughout each of the Disney parks? Take a water bottle with you and refill it at any restaurant. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, many of the hotel cafeterias offer free butter and jelly. Purchase a loaf of bread or bring your own, and take advantage of the toasters and free jelly! Hey, it’s the little things, right?
Have you had any experiences doing any of the things I’ve mentioned?
Do you have any other great tips for free things to do at Disney World?
I’d love to hear them! Please share below!