Visiting Walt Disney World Resort can be tough on the wallet, and I’m not just talking about the cost of the vacation itself. You’ve got dining, souvenirs, PhotoPass, and all the little things here and there that add up. Well, I’ve got good news! There are several fun things you can do and/or get at Disney for FREE.
Here are my top 10:
1) Explore the Resorts. Hop a bus, boat or monorail over to the Resort of your choice. Browse, shop, dine or take advantage of other amenities. The only thing they ask you not to do is swim in the pools! Check out Mary’s list of free activities for kids to do at the Resorts.
2) Speaking of Resorts, take an evening to visit one surrounding Seven Seas Lagoon or Bay Lake. Cozy up and watch the nightly Electric Water Pageant. It’s viewable from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness, Contemporary, and from Magic Kingdom Park during Extra Magic Hours, beginning at 9:00PM. You can also view Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks show from most of these locations.
3) Stop by Ft. Wilderness Campground for a sing-a-long with Chip & Dale. We like to take the boat over from Magic Kingdom. Arrive by 7:00 PM in the fall/winter or 8:00 PM in the spring/summer for games and prizes, s’mores, hang time with Chip & Dale and an outdoor movie screening.
4) The African-styled Animal Kingdom Lodge is set amidst a 43-acre wildlife preserve. Over 30 species of wildlife (more than 100 grazing animals!) that roam amidst 4 lush, tropical savannas are viewable from special alcoves throughout the Resort. If you didn’t get your fill of critters at Animal Kingdom, stop by the Lodge to see zebra, reticulated giraffe, wildebeest, ostrich or much, much more.
5) Trade pins with Cast Members. If you see a Cast Member wearing a pin-covered lanyard or vest, flag him or her down and see if you can score some good ones. Each CM is allowed to swap up to two pins with any Guest. I have friends who stock up on pins from eBay before their trip so they have lots to trade away. Downtown Disney is a great place to buy and trade!
6) Get special occasion buttons to wear on your lanyard to commemorate your trip. You can request them when you book your trip and collect them when you check in, pick one up at your Resort concierge, or look for them at the kiosks in the Parks. They offer Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, 1st Visit, Just Married and fill-in-the-blank ones to customize your celebration.
Plenty of FREE stuff in the Parks too!
7) Answer the payphones in the red booths at Epcot’s United Kingdom or Canada Pavilions. A lot of people pick them up to pose for a pic, but they are real and functioning. You never know who’s calling! By the way, if you’d like to call them yourself (long distance charges may apply), the numbers are as follows:
Right Booth: (407) 827-9861
Left Booth: (407) 827-9862
Center Booth: (407) 827-9863
Canada Phone Booth: (407) 827-9884
8) Do you have a Disney Visa card from Chase? Cardholders are often offered special perks, so read the fine print and materials they send. One you may be unaware of is a private meet and greet with Mickey and his friends. Arrive at Epcot’s Innoventions West between 1:30 and 4:30 PM for the Character encounter and receive a FREE 5×7 photo.
9) Let the kids play in the various playground areas at the Parks. The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom is a favorite of my younger kids’. They also like Honey I Shrunk the Kids at Hollywood Studios and all the water sprayer zones.
10) Hit the Epcot Kidcot Funstops at each international Pavilion along World Showcase! Kids select a wooden craft mask to decorate and receive a charm and a passport stamp at each stop. There are often additional activities such as coloring pages or origami folding. Not only does this activity keep kids wanting to see what’s next, it also provides a unique (and FREE!) souvenir to take home.
What free or inexpensive extras have you discovered at Disney?