Earlier this year we took a week vacation to Orlando. We were probably amongst the few people that weren’t going there for Disney World. But soon found out all the cool Free things to do at Disney World for Free.
January in Idaho is cold and dreary. So we really just wanted to get away to some place with sun and warmth. We booked our stay at The Reunion Resort, which is part of our RCI timeshare exchange. But there are many listings on AirBNB. The Reunion has a mini water park that is perfect for kids under the age of 10. You can also go all the way to the roof top of their Hotel to watch the fireworks at Disney (they are very far away though).
Yes! There are Free Things to do at Disney World
So we had no desire to do Disney World this time around because lets be honest its so expensive. But once you are around that area the Magic of Disney captivates you and the kids. We tried our hardest to stick to our budget and fight the urges. So we did the next best thing and we had a blast. Did you know that there are so many FREE things that are actually cool and still gets the kids in the magic?
Free for Everyone!
Pin Trading Everywhere
Head to Amazon before you leave for your trip and order Disney Trading Pins and a lanyard for the kids. This literally was probably the best investment of about $30 and the kids made amazing memories.
You are going to want to do this before because at the resorts, pins are $10 each.
You can trade pins with any cast member in the resorts or transportation. This is so fun for the kids as they find their favorite Disney Characters or gain a exclusive pin.
The kids were blessed with this exclusive pin when we were visiting the Disney Art of Animation Resort.
2. Free Experience Pins
Once you make it to one of the resorts ask one of the cast members for a Free Experience pin. i.e. First Time, Birthday, anniversary They have pins for them all!
3. Not FREE but cheap
Ok, remember I said we were on a budget? Bailee really wanted mouse ears and of course we didn’t purchase shirts like I normally would have before a trip to Disney World because we weren’t planning on going. So I got to researching and found a outlet store. Because I am not going to pay $30 for a kids t-shirt or $30 for mouse ears.
I hit the jackpot guys. We found the actual Disney World Outlet Store, here is the address so you dont have to go searching. Its part of the Orlando Outlets, I will warn you, it seems janky but its legit. I got the kids shirts for $4,99, ears for $7, and they got to spend some of their money on goodies that were too expensive in the resorts.
4969 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
4. Visit Disney Springs
A. When you arrive at Disney Springs, formally known as Downtown Disney, grab their “directory” pamphlet. When you flip it over you will find a coupon for a FREE Heart Necklace from one of the jewelry shops
This is a great necklace for your little girls and it will make them feel super special. I totally missed taking a photo of this necklace but if you head to my Instagram you will see in my Disney HIGHLIGHTS reel what Tatum did for his sister.
B. Take a free boat ride around the lake. This will also take you to Port Orleans, Key West, and another resort.This a fun ride for the kids as it just toots around to different sides of Disney Springs and some resorts.
I got to say Disney Springs has blown up since I was there 10 years ago. Its HUGE! So take advantage of this transport to get to the other side for more shopping. Here is Disney’s transport link.
C. At Disney Springs go check out the new T Rex restaurant. Its by the same family that created Rainforest cafe, so the food isn’t great and super over priced, but the atmosphere is so cool!
If you dont want to eat there, just walk inside and checkout the storms, the giant jelly fish, and let the kids dig up their own dino bones.
D. Lastly at Disney Springs you need to checkout the Lego store! Its really cool to see all the designs, take pictures, plus your kids can build cars. Around the back of the store they have a racing track. Your kids can build a car and race against each other or other kids.
5. FREE Transportation
Disney has done an amazing job with their transportation system. They have buses, boats, and trains. We literally paid for 0 parking while we explored resorts and the amazing things around them. Here is the transportation list again. They are all so connected, for example at one resort you can get there by sky tram, but then you can take the boat to another. Tom and I went on a date. We started at the Polynesian Resort took the monorail, went to magic kingdom transportation, had ice cream at the boardwalk, walked to Swan and Dolphin resort, took a bus to Disney Springs to have dinner, then took a bus back to the Polynesian resort.
DONT FORGET! All the transport drivers, especially the bus and trams have trading cards. You can ask any of them for their trading card and collect them. Its a pretty cool thing a lot of people do not know about, so ASK!
Best Ice cream on the Boardwalk
Ample Hills Creamery at Disney's Boardwalk has the best ice cream I have ever tasted. And for only $9.99 this huge bowl was worth it and totally sharable!
6. Polynesian Resort
Lets dive into all the really cool things at this resort. There is a handful of really cool free things to do here that are sadly overlooked. Not only is this resort one of my favorites because you get thrown into Hawaii here on the mainland. Its just a fun atmosphere.
A. When you arrive at the resort you will be lied. That is right even if you aren’t staying there you are greeted with an Aloha and a fun flower lei.
This is also the only resort that you can get a Pineapple Dole whip outside the Magic Kingdom.
B. Everyday they do hula lessons right in the reception area. If they don’t have one going on you can ask the amazing lady that is greeting you and she will do one on the spot. Bailee had a blast learning to hula.
Wednesdays they do Ukulele lessons for FREE in the main reception area. It is a free 30-40 min class. Tom came home learning how to play Over the Rainbow. Everyone loved this free treat.
C. The Polynesian resort has the best view of the water parade. Grab a drink at their bar, grab a lawn chair on their sandy beach, and watch this really fun water night light parade for FREE. It starts at about 930pm right before they release the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. So its a special treat to watch the water lights parade then see the fireworks.
7. Art of Animation Resort
You are a crazy person if you do not like this value resort. I mean it gave me all the warm feels walking into this resort. As an art major I loved seeing the sketches on the walls and as a mom I loved seeing my kids faces light up when we walked through this really cool resort. Lets break down the cool free things here.
A. Everyday at 11am, 230pm, and 4pm you can take a sketch art class. They will teach you how to draw a Disney Character. The day we went we learned how to draw Mini. This was a really fun experience! All you had to do is drive in say you are taking the drawing class and park.
B. Walk the grounds of this resort. There are so many cool photo opportunities plus the look on the kids faces seeing their favorite characters was priceless. We had a blast walking through Radiators Springs and playing on the Finding Nemo playground.
8. The Sky Tram
As you leave the Art of Animation resort you can have the option to take the new sky tram to a lot of places. This was a fun ride for the kids as we used this transportation to soar over Epcot and to the new Riviera Resort.
While you are at the Riviera there are some cool things you need to know.
- Eat at their poolside restaurant it literally has the best food! I recommend the Monte Cristo.
- There is Free Bocci Ball that the kids loved to play!
- They had build your own derby car races for the kids also.
- You need to see and take pictures of the new Murals that were created. You cant miss them getting off the tram and walking into the resort.
9. Grab a Cup!
When we first decided to explore Disney without actually going into the parks, we didnt even think about this deal till the last day of tours.
At every resort you can purchase a refillable cup that can be used at any. DO IT! Its $20 but you can fill it up at any Disney Resort unlimited. So we buckled down and bought one for the kids to put soda in and one for us to put coffee (it was chilly). We added up that we saved well over $50 in drinks a day just by grabbing this cup and filling it up everywhere we went.
10. Animal Kingdom Lodge
Animal Kingdom Lodge was one of the kids favorite places. I think it was due to the fact that you got to play on their cool playground and watch the wild animals all for FREE! This resort was pretty cool as you can walk the grounds and watch the amazing African animals roam. You can even help feed the flamingos.
As an adult you can partake in their Free culinary arts tour. The short tour begins every evening at 4:00pm at the Boma podium. They take you to their 3 restaurants and you try some of their famous parings to get to know the culture and food. Tom and I really wanted to do this as a date but we missed getting there in time. So next time!
I hope you all enjoyed my list of free things to do around Disney World. I have created a fun highlight bubble on Instagram of videos and pictures of all the free things we found. Click here to follow me over there. Please share your love of this post with your friends and comment whats the coolest thing you learned below.
The Pamper Corner