I am so excited to have Carrie joining the Mission to Save team. She will be sharing some great travel and Disney tips with us all!
Did you know that the Walt Disney World Resort is roughly the size of Manhattan? And packed in that fantastically magical place are tons of free things to do! Yes, FREE! Even though a Disney vacation takes some planning and saving, did you know that there are many free, magical activities, to enjoy while you are at Walt Disney World? Even if you are staying at a local Orlando hotel or a vacation home, you can enjoy these activities because they don’t require park admission. Double win!
You need to know about these for your next Disney, or Orlando area, vacation. Hopefully you can work some of them into your plans!
Best Walt Disney World Freebies!
- Disney’s Electric Water Pageant. Every night, in the Magic Kingdom area, Disney sends out a parade of floats lit up in Disney magic. These float along the Bay Lake Area, around 9PM nightly, and you can see them from the boat dock at the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian beach. Those are the two best viewing spots for this. The Electric Water Pageant lasts for about an hour. Even if you are not residing at one of the Magic Kingdom resorts during your stay, you can still visit them and enjoy the Electric Water Pageant.
- Disney’s Boardwalk Area. Located in the EPCOT area of Walt Disney World Resort, the Boardwalk is one of the most entertaining areas outside the Disney parks. Themed after the Northeast coast, particularly Cape May, your whole family will enjoy this area. Walk along the beach, enjoy the fireworks portion of Illuminations from the bridge on the Boardwalk. There are street performers. fun house mirrors to enjoy, and so much more. Sometimes, Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will host movies on the beach area, as well as a campfire-all for free!
- Magical Disney Fireworks. If you are in the Bay Lake Area for the Electric Water Pageant, you can even take in Wishes from that same area! Find a spot on the beach at the Polynesian Resort, or take a spot on the boat dock at the Grand Floridian for Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. They even pipe the soundtrack for Wishes to these areas, so you get the extra magic of Jiminy Cricket and the wonderful Disney music that goes along with Wishes.
- LEGO Store at Downtown Disney. The LEGO store at Downtown Disney is a must for any family. You can play inside and outside the LEGO store and enjoy some down time from the parks. The gigantic LEGO sculptures outside the LEGO store make for great photo ops. And, inside, there are play and build areas set up to get your LEGO building fix-all for free. They have a 3000 square foot store outdoor play center for plenty of building fun!
- Explore Disney’s Value Resorts. Of course, you can explore all the Disney resorts. But the Values offer extra fun theming, and are so much fun for families to explore. The enormous icons of Buzz Lightyear and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are perfect fun for your family! Just tell the attendant that you are there to explore the resort, and they will give you a parking pass that is good for a few hours.
- Ride the monorail. A visit to Walt Disney World is not complete without a ride on the monorail. You can board it at EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, or the Transportation and Ticket Center and ride either the parks loop or the resort loop. This will give your family a fun, classic monorail ride. While enjoying views of Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, as well as going through some of Disney’s most beautiful resorts. Feel free to stop at the resorts on the monorail loop-to explore them or eat at their restaurants as well. You’ll get to enjoy Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, and Disney’s Polynesian along the monorail.
- Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing a Long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Want to join in with two of the cutest chipmunks ever? Then take your family to the Fort Wilderness Campground for some campfire fun-and even s’mores! The s’mores aren’t free, but you can also bring your own ingredients for s’mores. Following the campfire sing a long, you can stay and enjoy a Disney movie under the stars!
- A Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of the most beautiful resorts on Disney property. And you can get fabulous views of animals in the Arusha Savanna from this resort. When you arrive at Animal Kingdom Lodge, walk thorough the lobby to the Arusha Savanna. There will be a cultural guide there who will help you look for the animals. It is best to visit this at dawn or dusk, when the animals are more active. If you have binoculars, it is a good idea to bring them. Plus, you can wander Animal Kingdom Lodge and enjoy the animals from other viewing spots as well.
- Hunt for Hidden Mickey’s. Walt Disney World Imagineers have worked Mickey heads into the landscape, decor, walkways, just about anywhere you look! But sometimes you have to really hunt for them. Take some time while exploring the resorts to find the Hidden Mickeys. Some resorts will even give you a list of the Hidden Mickey’s to find during your self-guided tour.
- Take a boat ride. Just like the monorail, Disney has several areas where you can enjoy water rides for free! You can take a boat from Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter Resorts, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort to the Downtown Disney area. Often times, the drivers will narrate as they are taking you from one place to the next. Take a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. This is the longest boat ride, and you can even get a seat on the upper level of the boat. This gives you fabulous views of the Magic Kingdom and the Bay Lake Area.
- Watch Disney movies under the stars. Most, if not all the Disney Resorts have movies under the stars. My personal favorite for this is Disney’s Beach Club Resort. You don’t have to be a guest at that resort, and you can still enjoy the movies. At the Beach Club, the movie screen is literally on the beach, just off the Boardwalk area. You can’t miss it! To find out the movie times, stop at the Concierge Desk at the Beach Club, or ask at the front desk of your Disney Resort.
- Art classes at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Being the most animated resort on property, Art of Animation offers free animation classes at various times. These are free, and open to everyone! What a fun way to spend the afternoon, out of the Florida heat and enjoying a free animation class!
What are your favorite free activities at Walt Disney World? Have you enjoyed any of these?
Carrie is a vacation specialist with Destinations in Florida, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She is ready to help your family make magical vacation memories at Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line at no cost to you! Contact her at [email protected] or at 937.209.9473 to book your next Disney vacation!