If you’re trying to save some money at Disney World but still want to have a great time, there are a lot of things to do, eat or drink, in and around the parks that don’t cost a dime! Take a look at our list below for some ideas on how to have a lot of fun without spending any money.
WITHOUT PARK PASSES
1. Boat and Monorail Rides
I enjoy riding the ferries and friendship boats as much as some of the rides in the different parks. Ferries take folks from the parking lot to Magic Kingdom and friendship boats transport guests from the resorts to Disney parks, Downtown Disney and Disney Boardwalk. Sit Back and take in the view! The monorail is such an iconic part of Disney that no trip is complete without at least one ride.
2. Celebration Buttons
Yep, buttons… if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc…, you’ll get extra special treatment by cast members when wearing one of these and they’re free. They’re available in many places at Disney World including resorts, restaurants and entrance points to the parks.
3. Downtown Disney
Enjoy street performers, bands in the open-air theater and don’t forget people watching. House of Blues frequently offers free live music at its’ Front Porch Bar where you can listen in for the cost of a drink. Also, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop gives away free chocolate samples.
4. Disney Boardwalk
Watch street performers, take a ride on a friendship boat, or get your groove on at Atlantic Dance Hall to DJ spun Top 40 with no cover charge (21 and older).
5. Free Movies at Disney Resorts
If you’re staying at a Disney Resort you can take advantage of a lot of fun activities. One thing they all provide are free open air movies – for instance, The Beach Club Resort sets up a screen on the beach and shows Disney movies each evening for no extra charge.
6. See Cinderella’s Ponies at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch
Visit Fort Wilderness – home to the stables where Cinderella’s Ponies and the majestic horses of Main Street, U.S.A. call home. Watch as blacksmiths make horseshoes and shoe horses’ hooves. You’ll also see the Dragon Calliope – a horse-drawn musical instrument purchased by Walt Disney for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus Parade at Disneyland Park in the 1950s. A variety of breeds live here including Appaloosas, Arabians, Belgians, Clydesdales, Paint horses, Percherons and quarter horses and pint-sized Shetland ponies.
WITH PARK PASSES
7. Free Soda at Club Cool in Epcot
Get a break from the heat and head inside to sample a number of Coke brands from around the world.
8. Animation Academy
Part of The Magic of Disney Animation, take part in this interactive attraction as you participate in a drawing class led by a Disney-trained artist. You’ll learn to sketch a Disney character, and be able to keep your artwork.
9. Interacting with Cast Members in Epcot’s World Showcase
Many of these individuals are from the countries you’re visiting in the showcase and can answer all kinds of questions you may have about their country. I usually begin by asking them to tell me about their hometown. I spoke to a young lady in France who was from Toulouse and was flattered that I asked about her home. She described her city in detail and shared other fun facts about her proud heritage. The countries in world showcase are great, but it’s the people in a culture that can truly enrich your overall experience. Most of the Cast Members working in the World Showcase are here to experience American culture, improve their English and to share their culture so they welcome conversation.
10. Free cups of ice water at any fountain drink location
You can save a bundle by not purchasing bottles of water or soda by asking for ice water at any disney soda fountain. They’re FREE! Here’s a tip – I bring single-serving packages of Crystal Light or Wylers lemonade to add to my ice water. It’s a tasty option that even your kids will appreciate and it’s a lot less calories than a soda.
All throughout Epcot there are “stations” where kids can collect stamps and create a personalized souvenir at more than 10 World Showcase craft stations.
This is by no means a complete list. If you have any additional tips, share this article and include your own insights.