36 Free Things to do at Disney World
Logic tells us that the more activities we engage in, the more expensive our vacation becomes. However, this isn’t necessarily the case at Disney World. Even though Disney vacations can be costly, there are plenty of ways to make your trip more affordable without sacrificing your level of enjoyment. In fact, some of the best free things to do at Disney World are also some of the most fun.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the best free things to do at Disney World. Not only will these activities, mementos, attractions, foods, and services help you cut down on your vacation expenses, but they can also make your trip even more carefree and magical. So put your wallet away, and let’s look at the best free things to do at Disney World!
Free Things to do at Disney World Parks
Here are some of the best free things to do at Disney World. Our list includes free activities, mementos, attractions, and services in and around Disney World.
Disney World maps, brochures, stickers, and other assorted free ephemera can be fun to collect while you are at the park and great souvenirs to remember your vacation once you return home. These items are always some of our favorite free things at Disney World.
2. Personalized MagicBands
If you have a Disney World Resort package or an Annual Pass, Disney will ship a personalized MagicBand (with your name and color of choice) before you leave for your vacation. This personalization service is totally free with your MagicBand purchase.
It normally costs money to park in a Disney theme park parking lot. However, Annual Pass holders and guests staying at a Disney World Resort receive FREE parking.
In this day in age, pretty much everyone spends a good portion of their day online. Disney guests are no exception. Whether it’s using the MyDisneyExperience app at the theme parks or laptops and tablets at the hotel rooms, rest assured that wireless Internet access is totally FREE to use at all Disney World Parks and Resorts.
5. Celebration Buttons
If you are celebrating a special event at Walt Disney World (like a birthday, wedding, or anniversary), stop by Guest Relations (or any indoor merchandise location) and ask for a complimentary Celebration Button. As you wear this button around the park, Cast Members will give you extra attention in honor of your special occasion.
6. Ice Water
Staying hydrated on those warm Orlando days is crucial. Instead of spending money on bottled water inside a Disney World park, find a counter-service restaurant and ask for a large cup of ice water, a cup of ice, or even a cup of hot water. There is no charge for tap water at Disney.
7. Coke Samples at Club Cool
Head to Club Cool at Epcot for more free beverages. There you will find free samples of Coca-Cola products from different countries around the world, including an infamous soda named “Beverly” cola (warning: it’s quite bitter!). The serving cups are very small, but you can refill as many times as you like.
8. Trading Cards
“Disney Transportation Collector Cards” are cards that feature various modes of Disney transportation, such as monorails, ferryboats, and buses. When you are at a Disney Transportation Center, just ask a Cast Member for your collectible souvenir cards. They are free!
9. License Cards
There are two free license cards available to Guests of Magic Kingdom. Ask a Cast Member for an “Official Speedway License” card as you board the Tomorrowland Speedway. You can also pick up a “Disney License” at the Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction. They have no legal weight, but they are a fun – and free – Disney souvenir.
Cast Members often hand out free Mickey Mouse stickers around Disney. Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café often hands out Sonny Eclipse stickers to those who request them. And kids love the free “Wilderness Explorers” sticker badges. Wilderness Explorers is a fun (and free) scavenger hunt at Animal Kingdom, sending kids throughout the park to learn about the wildlife and collect badges along the way.
There are 30 free Wilderness Explorers sticker badges to collect in all. Kids are welcome to participate in the Wilderness Explorers challenge as often as they would like (to accumulate more sticker badges).
11. Free Concerts at Epcot
Free outdoor activities can be some of the best free things to do at Disney World when the weather is nice. The America Gardens Theater (at the American Adventure Pavilion) has free concerts throughout the year. Special concerts often coincide with seasonal festivals (Flower & Garden, Food & Wine, etc.) or a holiday season, but there will likely be at least one free concert at Epcot during your Disney World stay.
12. Kidcot Fun Stops
Fun Stops are activity areas located in each of Epcot’s 11 World Showcase pavilions. Cast Members oversee kids as they sit at tables and work on assorted arts and crafts (like coloring and making stick puppets). These free activities really engage children in the somewhat more adult-oriented World Showcase section of Epcot.
13. Hidden Mickeys
Hidden Mickey Mouse silhouettes can be found in every corner of Disney World Parks and Resorts. These covert Mickey designs are subtly incorporated throughout attractions, hidden in sidewalks and landscaping, and even found in coiled rope designs on the ferry boat docks.
Free things to do at Disney World activity: Make a list of all the Hidden Mickeys you encounter during your day at the park. How many can you find?
14. Free Desserts
If you are celebrating an anniversary or a birthday in the park, mention your special occasion to your server. More often than not, you will receive a complimentary dessert or champagne toast in honor of your special day.
15. Character Meet and Greet Photo
Are you a Disney Visa cardholder? If so, then you are eligible for a free Disney character “meet and greet” at Epcot’s Innoventions, along with a 5″ x 7″ souvenir picture taken with a classic Disney character.
16. Pressed Pennies
Ok, so this one isn’t free, but pressed pennies are so inexpensive that we had to include them on our list!
Souvenir Pressed Coin Machines can be spotted around all Disney World parks. These machines imprint/press a WDW design onto a penny for two quarters (51 cents total) or on a quarter for four quarters ($1.25 total). It’s a fun and inexpensive way to keep kids engaged throughout those long days at Disney World. See how many machines you can locate and how many imprints you can collect each day. Then save your coins as Disney World souvenirs. See presscoins.com for locations and current designs.
Free Things to do at Disney World – Outside of the Theme Parks
You can save plenty of money by spending some of your vacation time away from theme parks. Here are some free things to do at Disney World – outside of the theme parks. Our list includes fun and free activities, mementos, attractions, and services.
So long as you are staying at a hotel in or near Disney World, chances are high that you will have free access to a pool. Swimming and lounging near the pool are obviously some of the most popular activities that require no additional expense beyond the cost of your stay.
18. Resort Hopping
Disney World’s resorts are spectacular, and resort-hopping is one of our favorite free things to do at Disney World activities.
Just because you aren’t staying at a particular hotel doesn’t mean you can’t go and check out the nearby resorts’ lobby, grounds, and pool areas. Several resorts – including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club – offer free tours to any Disney Resort guest.
Check with each resort for tour times and reservation information (if applicable).
19. Package Delivery
If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can arrange to have your park souvenirs delivered directly to your hotel instead of lugging them around the park.
At the time of your purchase, just tell the cashier to make arrangements to have your package delivered. It will arrive at your hotel room on the same day as your purchase, and the service is free of charge!
Shipping your purchases back to your home is also offered, but there is a fee for that service.
Whether it be buses, boats, or monorails, all Disney World transportation is complimentary (i.e. FREE). Riding the “inner” monorail – which circles around Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Resort – can be a fun and free adventure.
Get off at each stop and explore the beautiful lobbies and grounds of these resorts.
Use other modes of Disney Transportation to visit other Walt Disney World Resorts, attractions, restaurants, etc.
Making use of Disney transportation is a great way to familiarize yourself with the surrounding areas outside of the theme parks.
See our interactive Disney World Transportation Map and plan your bus, boat, monorail, and Skyliner routes around Disney hotels and theme parks.
21. Polynesian Lei
When you visit the lobby at the Polynesian Resort, pick up a complimentary lei (traditional Polynesian necklace). They are pretty, and best of all, they are free!
22. Boat Rides
All boat rides at Disney World are free, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this “Free Things to do a Disney World” perk, especially on a nice evening.
There are several relaxing and scenic boat rides to choose from, including Port Orleans to Disney Springs loop along the Sassagoula River; the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Magic Kingdom loop; the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness loop; and the Crescent Lake loop which stops at Epcot, Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach Club, Swan/Dolphin, and Hollywood Studios.
We especially love boat rides at dusk – when the park shimmers with light.
Disney’s BoardWalk area is a quarter-mile promenade featuring dining, shopping, and exciting nightlife.
There are several free activities to enjoy at BoardWalk, including street performances (music, comedy, juggling, and more), relaxing by the lake as the Friendship Boats come and go, or dancing the night away at Atlantic Dance Hall (no cover charge, 21+).
At night, strolling the BoardWalk is one of our favorite free things to do at Disney World.
24. Disney Springs
Between all the exquisite dining, shopping, and entertainment options at Disney Springs, it’s easy to spend money in this lively area of Disney World. However, there are a few free things to do, as well.
Besides window shopping, you can watch street performances and musicians in several Disney Springs locations, Raglan Road offers live music on the weekends (no cover charge, 21+), and House of Blues has free live music at its Front Porch Bar (no cover charge, 21+).
For kids, the Lego Imagination Center has a 3,000-square- foot, interactive, outdoor LEGO play area (free), and kids really enjoy the interactive water fountains play area at Disney Springs.
25. Nightly Movies
A number of Disney World Resorts offer free outdoor movie nights. These screenings (projected onto large screens) usually feature classic, family-friendly Disney and Pixar animated movies. Check with your resort for more details.
26. Kids Programs
Many Disney Resort hotels offer special kids programs. These free recreational programs offer activities ranging from pool games to arts and crafts. These activities keep children engaged and entertained after their exciting day at the park. Boredom is seldom a problem at Walt Disney World!
27. Art Class
The Art of Animation Resort often offers art “classes.” Learn how to draw a popular Disney character and keep your artwork as a souvenir. The classes are free and open to everyone, including non-Resort guests.
28. Electrical Water Pageant
Head to the docks and beaches of Disney’s Magic Kingdom resort hotels to watch the Electric Water Pageant. The free show takes place every evening/night on Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake and features 14 floats lit up to depict sea creatures.
29. Campfire Sing-a-long
Campfire sing-alongs are free and open to all Disney World Resort guests. The Fort Wilderness sing-along and marshmallow roasts are held every evening near the Meadow Trading Post.
This event features a Chip and Dale meet and greets followed by a screening of a classic Disney movie (projected on a large outdoor screen).
You have the option of purchasing food at the sing-along, or you may bring your own food to the event.
Similar (free) programs are held on the beach at Beach Club Resort and Grand Floridian Resort, as well as a seasonal “Campfire on de’ Bayou” at Port Orleans-Riverside. Check with these resorts for more details.
Head to the backside of Wilderness Lodge to see a miniature version of Old Faithful. The geyser is open to the public, free to view, and spouts on the hour (between 7 am – 10 pm).
31. Animals Viewing
Check out the viewing area at Animal Kingdom Lodge to watch exotic African animals roaming free in their (Animal Kingdom) habitat. While Animal Kingdom Lodge guests have similar views from their hotel rooms, anyone can enter the viewing area of this resort to watch the animals free of charge. If you’re at the resort in the evening, you might even get a chance to spot the critters by using night vision goggles!
32. Butterfly Gardens
The butterfly gardens at Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary Resort are open to the public and free of charge. Call the Gardening Hotline at (407) 938-3900 for more information.
33. Ghirardelli Chocolate
We would be remiss if we didn’t include chocolate on our “Free Things to do at Disney World” list. Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop in Disney Springs offers free squares of chocolate to all guests as they enter the store. Each guest receives one square per visit, so we recommend visiting the store as much as possible!
34. Birthday Treats
There is no better time to visit Disney World than on your birthday. Why? Because several Disney World restaurants offer free treats to these special guests.
Sign up for “Starbucks Rewards” to receive a free birthday drink (Starbucks – Disney Springs), “Earl of Sandwich’s Loyalty Club” to receive a free birthday sandwich (Earl of Sandwich – Disney Springs), “Sprinkles Perks” to get a free birthday cupcake (Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream – Disney Springs), and “Shula’s E-Club” to receive a free birthday entrée with the purchase of another entrée (Shula’s – Dolphin Resort).
35. Disney Wilderness Preserve
At the headwaters of the Everglades, about 20 miles south of Orlando, The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve offers a perfect side trip for nature lovers. Visitors can hike the 2.5-mile nature trail and view plants and animals in their native habitat.
The Preserve is open to the public from 9 am – 5 pm (daily from November to March, weekdays from March to October, excluding holidays) and free of charge (donations are welcome).
Originally developed by the Disney Development Company in the early 1990s, Celebration is an interesting planned community located about 10 miles outside of Disney World. So, like Disney Wilderness Preserve, you must have access to a car to see this great little town, but we think it’s worth the trip.
The old-fashioned downtown area (Market Street) has plenty of interesting sights to see, attractions to explore, shops, restaurants, pedestrian-friendly walkways, and nature trails, plus the exquisite Bohemian Hotel. The town of Celebration also hosts free Christmas celebrations, antique car shows, craft festivals, and more exciting and free events throughout the year.
Leave your wallet in the car and just walk around this interesting town.
We hope you found some great ideas for free things to do at Disney World!
On a final note, remember that the services of Disney Travel Planners are also free! See our page for our suggestions.
If you enjoyed this page, feel free to read other Magic Guides articles like this, including Disney World Tips and Tricks, Disney World Resort Comparison, My Disney Experience App, and our useful vacation tools, like the Disney World Cost Calculator, Disney Dining Plan Calculator, and the updated WDW Crowd Calendar. And to learn how to go to Disney for free, see our Free Disney World Vacation page!
And if you need help planning and booking your next Disney vacation, then please contact The Vacationeer. Their services are 100% free of charge and super helpful! Click HERE for a free, no-obligation price quote.