Free things? At DISNEY? Yes, it’s true, there are some things at the Walt Disney World Resort that are indeed free. Some of the items on this list are free with park admission, but many do not even require a park ticket and can be perfect for when you’re looking for something to do without breaking the bank!
1. Share what you’re celebrating!
Pick up a celebration button for free from Guest Services, your resort’s front desk, or a merchandise location to let everyone know what you’re celebrating this trip! Buttons include birthdays, “happily ever afters,” family reunions, first visits, and more. When I started my current job I picked up a celebration button for it, and I’ve seen other buttons for things like finishing school or running a marathon, so these buttons are really a fun way to add a little extra magic to your trip.
2. Tour the resorts
Each Disney resort comes with a different theme and atmosphere, and can be a blast to just walk around and explore. Hop on the monorail or stroll through the Epcot resort area to take in a few resorts at once, but don’t forget about the moderate and value resorts or the more out of the way deluxes like Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge.
You can also take the boat from Disney Springs to explore Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Port Orleans. Some amenities (pools) are reserved for guests staying at the resort, but you can always enjoy all of the design details in the lobbies and visit the shops and restaurants. If your visit falls during the holidays you can even make your own Christmas decorations tour of the resorts!
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3. Have your photo taken
Disney PhotoPass photographers are everywhere in the parks, and while you may usually skip their photo spots because you don’t want to pay for the photo, I would still recommend stopping. I honestly do recommend purchasing Memory Maker, but regardless of how you take your photos these cast members will be happy to take your picture with your own camera or phone.
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4. Visit Disney Springs
There is no ticket required to visit Disney Springs, and parking is complimentary, so a visit here can be “free.” (I use quotes because if you’re like me you’ll probably end up eating and shopping, but the area is free to visit). You can window shop or take in some of the live entertainment without spending any money, or you can stop in for dinner without spending the extra money on a park ticket.
5. Watch a movie under the stars
Each resort shows a Disney movie under the stars throughout the week. Check with the front desk of your resort (or whichever resort you’ll be watching the movie at) for a schedule of movies. It’s free to watch the movie, and you are welcome to bring your own snacks or pick some up from the resort’s quick service restaurant.
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6. Visit an African savanna
You don’t need to go inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom to see the animals on the savanna. Without using a park ticket, you can stop at Animal Kingdom Lodge and take in the view of an African savanna from a porch just outside the lobby. There are a couple of overlook areas around the resort, and you can actually spot some of the animals you would see in the park like giraffes, zebras, and wildebeests.
7. See the fireworks
For something free to do in the evening, visit one of the resorts where you’ll have a view of the fireworks. There are areas where the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks can be viewed from each of the monorail resorts, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios’ fireworks can be seen from some areas of the Epcot area resorts.
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8. Collect some stickers
Cast members sometimes have stickers with them to give to guests in the parks. They’re usually hidden away in a pocket or bag when they’re not being given out to kids, but if you happen to see some stickers they’ll be happy to give you one too– remember, everyone is a kid in Disney!
9. & park maps or brochures
I love collecting park maps just so I have one as a souvenir from each of my trips and to use for crafts like scrapbooking. There is a good chance that the park maps will all be different on your next visit, so be sure to pick one up.
10. Hang out at the Boardwalk
Like Disney Springs, the Boardwalk offers free entertainment, along with shops and dining. It’s a fun place to hang out when you need a day away from the parks or if you’re just looking to walk around and grab dinner and drinks later in the evening.