A frequently asked question is whether or not Disney Springs is free to visit.

Yes, Disney Springs is free to visit. You do not need to purchase a ticket or make a reservation to enter. Parking and Disney transportation to the area are also free. This makes it a convenient and budget-friendly choice for people who want to experience the magic of Disney on the cheap.

An illuminated bridge and a restaurant shaped like a paddlewheel boat at Disney Springs

Image © Disney

There are many free activities available at Disney Springs, including:

  • Taking in scenic waterfront views
  • Watching live entertainment and performances
  • Browsing the 150+ stores and restaurants
  • Trying free product samples at shops
  • Meeting Disney characters during appearances
  • Riding the water taxis
  • Letting kids play at the splash pads and select stores
  • Capturing photos around Disney Springs’ scenic landmarks

Now, let’s dive into all the details on how to maximize the free experiences and magic of Disney Springs for your family.

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No Tickets, Fees, or Reservations Required

Enjoy a delightful escape into the enchanting world of Disney Springs, without any entry fees or passes! Unlike the four theme parks at Walt Disney World, Disney Springs welcomes you with:

  • Free Admission: No tickets or reservations are required.
  • Complimentary Parking: Drive up, park, and start your adventure without any parking fees.
  • Extended Hours: Open from 10 AM to 11 PM (or later) every day.

Disney Springs is a great place to relax after a day at the theme parks. It’s also an excellent option for a fun and affordable day trip on your non-park day. Disney Springs, located at 1486 Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL, in the heart of Walt Disney World, is undoubtedly one of the best free activities you can do at Disney World!

Scenic Views and Relaxation Areas

One of the attractions of Disney Springs is its lovely waterfront setting. You can enjoy stunning views of Lake Buena Vista and Disney Springs without spending a dime.

My family loves to relax in The Landing, which has stunning views of the waterfront and nautical-themed shops and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to people-watch!

Find a bench or spread out on the lawn to take in the ambiance and sights and sounds of Disney Springs as it passes by. It can be just as entertaining as the rides at the Disney parks!

Free Entertainment and Activities at Disney Springs

Disney Springs provides guests with a daily schedule of free live entertainment and activities. Here are a few examples of what you may find on any given day:

Nighttime Drone Show: Disney Dreams That Soar

LIMITED TIME ONLY: nightly from May 24, 2024 through September 2, 2024

This nighttime drone light display promises choreographed drone movements that light up the nighttime sky, accompanied by a Disney soundtrack filled with music and memorable movie quotes. Performed in the skies over Disney Springs West Side.

Street Performers and Dance Parties

Look for pop-up street performers, especially on weekends. You may catch jugglers, bands, singers, and more.

Don’t miss the free dance parties for families. Kids love showing off their best moves!

Outdoor Concerts at Disney Springs

In addition to the smaller busker-style musical acts, Disney Springs also offers larger free concerts on the lakeside stage several nights a week, with genres ranging from pop and rock to country and jazz. It is a great way to relax and enjoy some fantastic live music without spending anything.

Seasonal Events at Disney Springs

Time your visit around seasonal events like Epcot Food & Wine Fest or the holidays for extra entertainment.

Be sure to stop by the Disney Guest Services desk in the Town Center neighborhood to pick up a free printed map and learn more about the entertainment lineup for the day.

Ride Transportation for Free Family Fun

For a free, family-friendly activity that won’t break the bank, take a relaxing ride on the Disney Springs water taxis. These boats offer continuous free transportation for guests between the Disney Springs West Side dock and nearby Disney Resort hotels, including Saratoga Springs, the Treehouse Villas, Old Key West, and Port Orleans (Riverside and French Quarter). It’s a fun way for the whole family to see Disney Springs from the waters of the (man-made) Sassagoula River and its large lake.

The West Side landing is adjacent to The Landing dining and shopping neighborhood, making it easy to walk to restaurants after your boat ride. The water taxis run until midnight, so you can enjoy the beautifully illuminated sights of Disney Springs at night.

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Free Window Shopping at Disney Springs

Disney Springs offers over 150 diverse shops, restaurants, and boutiques for visitors to explore. You can wander about and browse the shops without spending a dime.

Try to resist impulse purchases and just enjoy the visual stimulation. You never know what unique treasures you might discover just by browsing the aisles and displays.

If you’re looking for free things to do at Disney World, some must-see stops include:

  • Visit the massive World of Disney store, which has endless Disney merchandise.
  • Check out Marvel’s Super Hero Headquarters, which has superhero costumes and gear.
  • Explore the LEGO Store, which features life-size LEGO sculptures where kids can pose for photos.
  • Browse Disney’s Days of Christmas shop, which has thousands of holiday decorations.
  • Visit Disney Pin Traders, which has an impressive selection of collectible Disney pins.

Despite the tempting options, we limit ourselves to just a few Disney World souvenirs each trip!

You can also browse various Disney Springs restaurants without dining. Hosts are generally happy to let you look around before committing to a meal. It’s a great way to scope out dining options for future visits.

Free Snacks and Treats

One of the best free activities at Disney Springs is sampling delicious snacks and treats.

  • Sample a delicious chocolate square for free at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.
  • Another purveyor of fine chocolates, The Ganachery, has also been known to dole out free samples.
  • Treat-filled kiosks may also provide free food samples to entice you to make a purchase.

Note: while you can still sample Coca-Cola products from around the world at the Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store, you will have to pay for them. Disney fans may be familiar EPCOT’s Club Cool, well known for its unlimited free self-serve samples of international Coca Cola products; the Coca-Cola Store at Disney Springs offers many of the same products at its rooftop bar, but only via a paid “flight” tray of sixteen beverages (with no refills).

Meet Beloved Disney Characters (for Free)

What trip to Walt Disney World would be complete without snapping photos with beloved Disney characters?

Luckily, Disney Springs offers opportunities for free character meet and greets during scheduled cavalcades and random appearances throughout the day and night.

Some of our recent character sightings include classics like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Chip ‘n Dale. You never know which Disney, Pixar, or Star Wars friends you might run into at Disney Springs! You might even run into the Coca-Cola Polar Bear hanging out at the Coke store.

Be on the lookout for pop-up character photo opportunities, particularly near the lime green backdrops operated by the Disney PhotoPass photography service. Always check the My Disney Experience app to see the schedule of character meet-and-greets during your visit.

Splash Pads Offer Free Family Fun

Let the kids burn off energy and cool off at the free splash pads scattered throughout Disney Springs.

The main splash pad is near Earl of Sandwich in the Marketplace neighborhood. This interactive play area features Donald Duck and Daisy Duck sculptures that spray mini water fountains for toddlers to waddle through.

There is also a smaller splash pad behind the Disney’s Days of Christmas store. Both provide hours of free outdoor water fun for families looking to beat the Orlando heat.

Another popular water attraction is the statue of Stitch that spits water in front of World of Disney. Kids love rushing to get wet as Stitch shoots streams out towards them.

If visiting Disney Springs with little ones, remember to pack towels and a change of clothes. Parents can relax on nearby benches and chairs while the kids enjoy the splash pads.

Cooling off at these free spots could be a great way to add some extra fun to your Disney trip! It’s free family entertainment that’s perfect for hot days.

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Take Photos and Find Disney PhotoPass Spots

Disney Springs has many photo opportunities, such as the Lake Buena Vista waterfront, the big green Disney Springs entryway water tower, the whimsical Wonderfall lighted sculpture wall, and in front of the Meet Mickey 3D topiary by the guest services building.

PhotoPass Cast Members are available at these designated locations to take pictures with their cameras or your camera or mobile device (for free). Posing with Disney characters when they appear is also free.

After your Disney Springs visit, you can review your PhotoPass pictures and purchase professional prints, downloads, or gifts if you choose. But the photos themselves are completely free!

Watch Candy Being Made at The Candy Cauldron

If you love sweets, stop by The Candy Cauldron shop and watch candy being made right in the store. Skilled confectioners create Disney-themed candies and treats you can only find in the magical world of Disney.

While there are no free samples, kids and adults alike will enjoy seeing lollipops, caramel apples, chocolate creations, and more being made before their eyes. It’s one of the coolest free things to do at Disney Springs for chocolate lovers!

Tip: you can also watch candy-making in action at The Ganachery!

Dig for “Fossils” at T-Rex Cafe (for Free)

Make a stop at the prehistoric-themed T-REX Cafe in Disney Springs and let kids discover their inner paleontologist by digging for gems and fossils.

Outside the restaurant is the Paleo Zone sandpit, where children can dig to uncover “bones” and treasures for free. There is also a Dino Store next door for fun window shopping without having to dine.

It’s one of the best free things to do at Disney Springs to entertain little ones on your visit!

Build a LEGO Racer

Outside of the LEGO Store, you’ll find an interactive build area where kids (and adults) can build a miniature race car.

Once you’ve finished your creation, send it zooming down a ramped roadway to test your speed skills against fellow LEGO maniacs.

There’s no charge to participate and you can do so as many times as you like. Just remember, the bricks are there for everyone to enjoy, so please leave your creation behind as you depart so others have a chance to play.

What Does Cost Money at Disney Springs?

While most entertainment, character meets, transportation, scenery, and general sightseeing at Disney Springs are free, some activities do come at a cost, including:

  • Shopping at any of the 98 stores and boutiques
  • Dining at the 69 quick service and table service restaurants
  • Attractions like Cirque du Soleil shows, the Aerophile tethered passenger balloon, Amphicar rides, etc.
  • Some live concerts (such as at House of Blues), movies (at AMC), and special events may charge for tickets.

With strategic planning, you truly can visit Disney Springs for a full day and find plenty of free things to do for your family. But having some spending money does allow you to participate in more experiences like shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Tips for Maximizing Free Family Fun at Disney Springs

Use these tips when planning free family fun during your Disney Springs visit:

  • Visit on weekdays to avoid the largest crowds and lines
  • Arrive in the morning to maximize free activities before peak late afternoon crowds
  • Pick up a free Disney Springs map and check out the events calendar for show times
  • Pack snacks or split Quick Service meals to save money at restaurants
  • Use free Disney transportation like buses from resorts instead of driving and parking
  • Connect to the free My Disney Experience app for maps and mobile ordering
  • Attend one of the many festivals or holiday events for free entertainment
  • Extend your stay into the evening to see the magical, illuminated sights of Disney Springs.

With lively music, family activities, scenic water views, and surprises around every corner, you can easily spend an entire day enjoying Disney Springs for free.

FAQ About Visiting Disney Springs for Free

Here are answers to some common questions families have about spending time at Disney Springs without spending money:

Is it entirely free to visit Disney Springs?

Yes, it is free to enter and explore! There are no tickets, fees, or charges required.

Do I need a Walt Disney World park ticket to go to Disney Springs?

Nope! Unlike Disney parks, Disney Springs does not require theme park admission or reservations. It’s open to everyone.

Is parking free at Disney Springs?

Yes, self-parking in the Disney Springs garages and surface lots is totally free for all guests.

What’s the best day of the week for free activities at Disney Springs?

Weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends. But weekends have more entertainment.

What can kids do for free at Disney Springs?

Kids love the splash pads, playgrounds, dance parties, character meets, live entertainment, window shopping, and browsing toy stores.

Are free samples really offered at Disney Springs?

Yes! Some shops provide free chocolate, skincare, makeup, and food samples.

What months are best for visiting Disney Springs?

Fall through winter holidays have special events and entertainment. But January through April are less crowded. See our Disney World Crowd Calendar and Best Time to Visit Disney World articles for more.

Is Disney Springs Worth It?

Disney Springs is a fantastic place to shop, dine, and play during your Walt Disney World vacation. It is free to enter, and Disney hotels provide convenient and complimentary transportation options. Yes, you will need to spend money on shopping or dining if you choose to do so, but simply walking around and taking in the sights and sounds is free.

Jaimie, Ben, Ava, and I always visit Disney Springs, and we all enjoy the free activities and family bonding. We highly recommend visiting Disney Springs, particularly if you are searching for a family-friendly destination that will not break the bank.

Who should I contact for questions about Disney Spring or Disney World?

You can ask questions about Disney Springs and plan your Disney vacation with the help of a trusted Disney travel agency. We recommend The Vacationeer. See the next section for details.

Start Planning Your Disney Springs Visit

To start planning your upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, which includes all the magic of Disney Springs, contact the knowledgeable Disney specialists at The Vacationeer for a free consultation.

As an Earmarked Diamond Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, their team can help you plan your dream Disney vacation, including booking dining reservations, finding ticket discounts, and ensuring your trip is full of magical memories. Plus, they will get you the lowest rates and best deals.

You’ll work with the same dedicated Disney expert from start to finish for personalized service. And amazingly, their services are completely free!

Reach out to The Vacationeer today for your free, no-obligation quote and start planning an unforgettable Disney Springs and Walt Disney World vacation filled with all the experiences you’ve been dreaming of!