Who says you have to spend a fortune to experience the magic?
As a Disney World annual pass holder who visits the parks often, I’ve uncovered some magical secrets. Believe it or not, there are free things to do at Disney World that can add a sprinkle of pixie dust to your trip without emptying your wallet.
You should be! From hidden gems to unforgettable experiences, we’ve got a list that will make even the most budget-conscious traveler jump for joy.
In this Budget Guide, we’ll reveal 18 free activities, shows, and magical moments that you can enjoy across Disney World parks and resorts.
Free Things To Do At Disney World
1. Resort Hop the Monorail Resorts
Take the Disney World monorail for a free tour of the monorail resorts. These resorts include the Contemporary Resort, the Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Stop at each one and enjoy the unique decor, shops or restaurants. At Christmastime especially, these resorts are definitely worth a half-day of touring.
2. Lego Imagination Center at Disney Springs
The Lego Imagination Center at Disney Springs is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some free entertainment. There are several interactive displays where kids can build their own creations using LEGO bricks. Or, play with larger-than-life sculptures made entirely out of LEGOs, as well as video games and more!
Take a picture by one of the life-size sculptures like we did. Click here for a full list of things to do in Disney Springs with kids.
3. Look for hidden Mickeys
What is a Hidden Mickey? It’s a Mickey Mouse silhouette that is hidden in various places throughout the Disney Parks. If you’re looking for a fun scavenger hunt, try to find as many hidden Mickeys as you can.
Disney Imagineers placed hidden Mickey’s all over Disney World. Be on the lookout for them as you are walking down Main Street USA in The Magic Kingdom. Look for them while you are waiting in lines for rides. Or really, just anywhere!
4. Magic Kingdom card game
The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card game is a free way to enjoy some more Disney magic at the Magic Kingdom. Take care of Hades’ evil plot by casting spells with cards featuring your favorite Disney characters! The game can be found near the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A, and you’ll receive all of your spellcasting materials from there, too.
If this is your first visit to The Magic Kingdom, it’s really not advised to spend time casting spells since there is so much more to see and do. However, if you have been here previously and looking for some different type of entertainment, this free activity at The Magic Kingdom is sure to be a hit.
5. Shop till you drop at Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a great place to go shopping, and it’s also free! There are over 150 shops at Disney Springs, ranging from high-end boutiques to souvenir stores. You’re sure to find something that you’ll love!
6. Enjoy some pixie dust
Did you know that some shops will sprinkle a dusting of pixie dust on your child?
The cast member recites a special poem at the same time as they are sprinkling some pixie dust on your child’s head. Kids love how it sparkles in the sun. Plus, they enjoy some of that Disney magic themselves.
7. Animal sightings at The Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to more than 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras and giraffes. You don’t need a park ticket to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; just hop on the complimentary bus from any of the theme parks or Disney Springs!
Many viewing areas are set up around the lodge so you can get a glimpse of these animals close up. Grab a chair and enjoy.
8. Watch street performers at the Boardwalk
Wow-what a part of Disney World I was missing. This area comes alive with shops, bakeries, desserts and nightlife. It’s an easy walk from Epcot or park your car at one of the Boardwalk hotels for 3 hours of free parking.
The Skyliner also serves the Boardwalk – just take it to the Epcot station by the International Gateway.
If you time it correctly, you can also see Epcot’s fireworks from the Boardwalk, for free.
As I mentioned, this place really comes alive. From street performers to impromptu concerts, make an afternoon or evening of the free entertainment.
10. Free resort tours
I love resorts but have never paid the exorbitant amount of money that a Disney Deluxe Resort requires. So, when I found out about these free tours, I wanted to see what I was missing.
Several of the resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Inn, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club, offer FREE tours that are open to any Disney resort guest (whether you are staying at that particular hotel or not).
11. Skyliner Ride
Just like taking the monorail around those resorts, Disney’s new Skyliner Ride is a great way to get around other places at the Walt Disney World Resort. The best part? It’s free! Just hop on at one of the Skyliner stations (located near Epcot, Hollywood Studios and several resorts) and enjoy the ride.
Interested in seeing a particular resort that resides on the Skyliner? Go check it out!
See the newest Disney World Resort, the Riviera, or take it to Caribbean Beach, Pop Century or The Art of Animation.
12. Boat ride around Echo Lake (Boardwalk area)
Hop on a Friendship Boat and take a little ride on Echo Lake. The boats run from the Epcot International Gateway to the Boardwalk Inn, to the Disney Swan, Dolphin and Reserve (Marriott Resorts) and Hollywood Studios.
13. Boat ride from Disney Springs to Port Orleans – French Quarter
Enjoy a tranquil ride on the Sassagoula River. Boats dock at both French Quarter and Riverside. However, if you want an awesome Disney snack, stop in at the French Quarter for the only beignets at Disney World. Truly, one of the best snacks.
14. Electrical water pageant at Disney World
The Electrical Water Pageant is a parade of floating barges with lighted displays that are set to music. It travels around Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney World.
See it from any hotel on these lakes (the Monorail Resorts plus Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness), but I think one of my favorite spots is the beach area outside The Polynesian Village Resort (especially with the backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle).
The show starts at about 8:30pm at The Polynesian and makes its way around the lake ending at The Contemporary. Check with each hotel for exact times.
Inclement weather may cancel the parade.
15. Take a drawing class at The Art of Animation Resort
Please note: The Learn to Draw classes are not yet re-opened during Disney’s phased re-opening. Hopefully, they will be soon!
Want to learn how to draw Disney characters? Try your hand at an art class at The Art of Animation Resort. Offered at regular intervals, you do not need to be a resort guest to try this out. Little K participated when she was 6 and had a blast. This is her drawing and I thought it was so great, I hung it up in her bedroom.
16. Visit Disney’s Wilderness Preserve
Disney’s Wilderness Preserve is located just a few miles from Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle of the parks!
Tour through this beautiful nature preserve, which offers views that are just as breathtaking as those found in any of the theme parks or resorts.
17. Collect stickers
Omg, we did this for years! Every time we went to Walt Disney World, we came back with oodles of stickers.
The cast members working at the Disney Vacation Club booths have rolls of stickers. Kids can go up and just ask for some. Usually, they are given 5-7 stickers torn from the roll.
Imagine doing this every time you came across a DVC booth. From the parks to the hotels to Disney Springs, they are everywhere. My daughter loved it!
18. Collect celebration pins
Are you celebrating something special at Disney World? If so, head to a cast member and see if there is a special celebration pin for it!
We have pins from our first visit, birthdays and even one to celebrate Mickey’s birthday! I know there are honeymoon pins, too.
Cast members even recognized my daughter’s birthday button and wished her Happy Birthday. A few even gave her some small treats!
18. Pin trading
As Little K got older, she started pin trading with cast members. I bought her one small starter set (see What to Pack for Disney) and she was good to go for a couple of years. While this initial set of pins cost around $20, she used them for years and pin trading at Disney is free.
Sometimes, it’s just the littlest things that make a good vacation … great. Keep that in mind.
Free Things To Do At Disney World Summary
Disney World is a great place to visit, but it’s also very expensive. Take advantage of plenty of things to do that don’t cost money. In this blog post, we’ve listed 18 free things to do at Disney World. Many of these are ‘Disney Secrets’ that you won’t know unless you have been there countless times.
Do you have any other free Disney things to do you recommend? Which from this list are you going to add to your vacation? Let me know in the comments!
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