Free & Cheap In Walt Disney World
Words like Free & Cheap in Walt Disney World are not Familiar with us. Surprisingly there are fun activities in Walt Disney World that do not require park admission. In this post, I will list free activities, inexpensive activities, and free stuff in Walt Disney World.
Let’s start with Disney’s Boardwalk. Reminiscent of Cape May and Coney Island in the 1940’s, Disney’s Boardwalk has a beautiful atmosphere. I favor after sunset, it’s absolutely beautiful all lit up. There are many free and inexpensive things to do at the Boardwalk.
Free & Cheap
–Carnival-style games (small fee).
–Street Performers. As you stroll around the Boardwalk, street performers like jugglers, comedians etc. entertain guests. These entertainers are employed by Disney and are not allowed to accept any gratuity.
–Food vendors, inexpensive carnival-like treats.
-Boat ride. Friendship boats cruise to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, sit and relax, take in the sights. I do not recommend a boat ride during park closing hours.
–Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar featuring sing along for a $12 cover charge (21 years and older guest). Many times a bit later in the evening, you could walk right in without paying a cover charge.
–Atlantic Dance Hall. You could dance the night away to a DJ top 40, usually with no cover charge (21 and older guests).
–Surrey rentals. Bicycle around, visit Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Surrey’s can accommodate 2 to 4 people costing around $22 for an hour.
-Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Enjoy the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra playing in the lobby. One of my favorite nights of relaxing at Walt Disney World is sitting in the lobby with my cup of coffee listening to the big band play.
Free Guided Tours
The Disney Wilderness Preserve Free Tour
About 20 miles south of Orlando, at the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, is The Nature Conservancy’s Disney’s Wilderness Preserve. Here you could observe native plants and animals by hiking a 2 1/2 mile trail.
The preserve is open 9 AM – 5 PM daily, November through March. It is closed on most holidays, closed on weekends March through October. Admission is free though donations are appreciated. Before visiting please call the preserve at( 407)935-0002, as there may be limited access to flooding or restoration activities.
Free Resort Tours
Several Walt Disney World Resorts offer free tours that are open to any guest no matter if you are staying at that particular resort or not. These resort hotels include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and the Yacht Club. Let’s take a look at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers two free tours and also includes some free food. Tour-goers can participate in the culinary tour of Boma-Flavors of Africa and Jiko the Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge and/or the Culinary Tour of Sanaa at Kidani Village.
A cultural representative shares first-hand knowledge of his or her home country’s culture and customs. Participants in Boma and Jiko combo tour meet at the hostess podium. A Cultural Representatives begins the 30-minute experience by sharing information about African inspired decor and the layout design of the spacious dining room. The tour then continues with the group observing the preparation of the buffet line for the evening meal. Most tour takers report having the opportunity to select and sample one of the evening’s featured soups, Hummus, dips, and desserts (like Zebra Domes).
The Boardwalk Inn offers a free tour Wednesday through Saturday with some nice treats.
This guided tour highlights many design choices the Imagineers made when constructing Disney’s Boardwalk Resort area. This walking tour begins at Bellevue Lounge and continues through the main floor of Disney’s Boardwalk Inn ending at the Boardwalk Bakery. There are no age restrictions and you do not need to be staying at a Disney resort, this tour is open to everybody.It is recommended to arrive 15 minutes before time. Here is a little tip if you show up earlier, Baked goods and a variety of coffees could be waiting for you free of charge.
A native North Easterner will share the boardwalk’s connection to his/her hometown region. Your tour guide will point out the different decorative choices made for the space including the original boardgames and unique radios along the walls that would have been popular during Atlantic City’s heyday. This 45-minute tour can’t be beaten, it’s free, fun, short and informative.
Wilderness Lodge offers a free tour 9 AM Wednesday through Saturday, this one hour tour meets in front of the lobby fireplace. This tour starts off with the brief history of the resort and how it was inspired by Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn and other national park lodges. This Tour is open to all ages and the best part is you don’t need to be staying at the resort to partake. Your tour guide will point out many architectural designs and artwork of this gorgeous resort. It is a perfect morning away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
You are welcomed to contact Disney Customer Service for additional information (407) 824-3200.
Disney Springs is a shopping area and a restaurant zone, but many overlook some great free and cheap entertainment Disney Springs has to offer.
–Interactive fountains. Children love playing at these fountains, great for some of those hot days and nights.
–Lego Imagination Center. Free 3000 ft. outdoor play area filled with thousands of Lego blocks.
–Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. Stop in the chocolate shop for a free chocolate sample.
–Musical performers. There are multiple locations where individual musicians and bands perform in the evening, ranging from full-scale cover bands and dance bands to individual performers with just a guitar and microphone. Entertainment is scheduled from 7 PM to 11 PM
–House of Blues. Free live music on the front porch.
–Raglan Road. Free live music in the bar, particularly on weekends, enjoy it for the cost of a drink (21 and over of course).
Cheap Eats In Disney World
Dining in Walt Disney World could be very expensive, however, there are some meals and snacks for $12 a person or less. You do not have to give up Disney’s theming.
Most overlooked menus are at the bars and lounges. I’ll tell you now my favorite lounge is Disney’s Polynesian Village, Tambu Lounge. The “snacks” on the menu are large and filling besides being delicious. Here is a list of some cheap eats locations to consider:
–Wilderness Lodge Resort. The Roaring Fork, just recently renovated, has a large variety of items under $12.
–Grand Floridian Garden View Tea Room. A place where you could order a pot of tea and share a couple of items a la Carte.
–Polynesian Village Resort. A real gem… Captain Cook’s Snack Company, its Polonesian’s Quick Service Food Court. Here you can find the infamous Tonga Toast for a much cheaper price than at Kona Café and delicious Asian Noodle Bowls. I have mentioned above Tambu Lounge for their great snacks/meals, but I will share one of my biggest values at the Tambu Lounge… Ohana Bread Pudding a la mode is one of my favorite Disney desserts. Tambu Lounge has it on the menu for six dollars. It’s a large serving, my husband and I love to share after viewing Magic Kingdoms fireworks from the resort.
-Yacht club Resort. The Crew Cup Lounge is another hidden gem. Here you can find great burgers or a lobster roll for lunch under $20.
-Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort This resort’s food court, Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory serve a large selection of meals and treats. My favorite is the beignets or the Beignet Gelato Sundae for under seven dollars. If a heartier meal is what you’re longing for, try the jambalaya for under $10.
-Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Bakery. Prepared sandwiches besides its fantastic baked goods are served daily. If something hot is what you’re in need of, don’t forget the walk up pizza window for a fresh slice of pizza next door.
-Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This food court called Contempo Café has a large variety of flatbreads.
-Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. A popular gem River Roost has some larger “meals” on the menu. Sustainable eats like Southern Fish and Chips, and Drunken Flatbread, (steak with drunken goat cheese and pepper jelly), and Loaded Potato Puffs (pulled pork with beer cheese in a large baked potato) for under $15 gives you a big bang for your buck.
Free In Disney World
Tri-Circle D Ranch. Not many people know of this ranch unless you have stayed at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. Tri-Circle D Ranch is the home of the draft horses used to pull the trolly’s down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. There are quite a few different horses to see. There are pony rides for very small children from 10 AM to 5 PM for five dollars.
Movies Under The Stars. Complimentary movie screenings are available to guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Enjoy a relaxing evening that’s fun for the whole family!
As I write this post I am reminded of my father’s little nuggets of wisdom. My dad has passed 19 years ago and his voice is so clear in my mind. So in reference to this post, I hear him say “what is important to you may not be important to someone else”, so here is a list of other freebies that I dismiss, but may be important to you.
Celebration buttons. These buttons are given to you when celebrating any occasion. Your celebration could be first time visiting Walt Disney World, birthday, anniversary, honeymoon or your child’s first tooth. Sometimes by wearing your celebration button can open doors to other freebies.
Sonny Eclipse Stickers. Cast members at Cosmic Rays Starlight Café in the Magic Kingdom of Sonny Eclipse, hand out stickers when asked.
Trading Cards. Disney has various forms of transportation. Ask a cast member if they have any Transportation Trading Cards. Most of the time you can pick them up at the Fire Station on Main Street.
Passports. Available for the Food and Wine Festival, these passports can be stamped at each kiosk.
Club cool. Sponsored by Coca-Cola try eight different drinks from around the world, all are Coca-Cola brands. Stay as long as you like tasting all eight drinks. It is free and refreshing.
Water. Cups of ice water are complimentary in Walt Disney World quick service eateries for no charge. Always ask for a large cup.
First aid. Walt Disney World first aid facilities are there to help you from Band-Aids to aspirins.
Pilot and Driver License. Get a license to drive and fly for free at Walt Disney World regardless of your age or experience. Disney will grant you these licenses at Tomorrowland Speedway and Dumbo. Just ask a cast member.
.Baby Care Centers are located in all four parks and are open during operating hours, these stations have:
- Private nursing room with rocking chairs
- Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
- Feeding area with highchairs
- Kitchen with microwave, oven, and sink
- Main room with television, table, chairs, and sofa
- On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase
Package delivery. When staying at Walt Disney World resort hotels anything you purchase in the parks can be delivered to your hotel for free. If you aren’t staying at a Disney Resort Hotel, there is a package storage service for items purchased.
In conclusion, Walt Disney World does have free and cheap stuff. The next time when you visit Walt Disney World consider taking advantage of these free and cheap tours, foods, activities, and services. I have a strong feeling I will be updating this post soon. Free and Cheap offerings in Disney World are all over, always ask a cast member.
Tell me your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
“Laughter is America’s most important export”