Not every day needs to be spent in the parks when you visit Walt Disney World. Sometimes you just need a day to rest and relax. And sometimes you just can’t afford to be in the parks every day you’re on vacation. But don’t worry! There’s so much to do outside the parks that doesn’t cost you a thing. Here’s a list of some free things you can do at Disney without actually spending money on a ticket to go to the park but still get a dose of the Disney magic:
- Check out the lobby entertainment. Specifically at the Grand Floridian. Stop by to check out the pianist, band or singer performing. Check with the front desk for times or just enjoy the surprise when you come in and listen to your favorite Disney songs for free in the elegant atmosphere.
- Many of the Disney resorts we’ve stayed in have a scavenger hunt of some sort. You can ask at the front desk for the map. Sometimes there is a prize for returning the completed map back to the front desk but these are usually reserved for resort guests.
- When it’s warm outside, look at the resort’s activity schedule. Often you’ll see that a movie is being shown outside and is free to watch.
- Before the movies, you might be lucky enough to catch the campfire and marshmallow roasting at the resort. If you stop by earlier in the day, you might find another activity going on like cookie decorating, crafts or pool games (pool hopping is very much frowned upon so only participate in games at the pool of the resort you’re staying at).
- Looking for a challenge? Stop by Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kindani Village for the animal bead activity. You’ll participate in several different activities and earn a bead for each one completed. It took us two days to get all the activities finished and earn all the beads.
- While you’re at Animal Kingdom Lodge, stay for the marshmallow roasting and movie then check out the animals with night vision goggles. Because they’re real animals, you may or may not see animals and it will always be a different view.
- Spend a day hopping around the different resorts. Each one has a unique decor and theme as well as different foods to try in their shops. This is something you especially need to do during the holidays – specifically Christmas! The decor is amazing and completely over the top.
- Hidden Mickeys aren’t just in the parks, they’re in the resorts too! You can always purchase the Hidden Mickey book to help locate them or just poke around the resort to see how many you can spot on your own. The front desk Cast Members might be able to help point some out too.
- Resorts have pressed penny machines so don’t forget to bring your change. You’ll need fifty one cents for each one you’d like to make so it’s not technically free, but it’s pretty inexpensive.
- Dining in a resort and forgot your birthday button? Stop at the front desk and they’ll gladly give you one at no cost.
- Magic Kingdom view resorts on the water have a wonderful view for the Electrical Water Parade. If you’re not able to make it to a resort, you can always stop at the Ticket and Transportation Center and watch it from there. Hang around for a view of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks like one you won’t experience in the parks.
- As you’re traveling around Disney property, you just might get lucky and get a transportation card from a Cast Member. These collectible cards give facts about the different transportation options at Disney and are fun to collect.
- Disney’s Boardwalk is one of the most fun places to spend an evening. Performers line the boardwalk and perform throughout the evening for free. If you do have a little bit left in your budget, grab a snack from the Boardwalk Bakery and enjoy a treat while strolling along the boardwalk. You can even walk in a huge circle from the Boardwalk resort over to the Yacht and Beach Club then back to the Boardwalk.
- Disney Springs has a freebie too! Stop by Ghirardelli for a free piece of chocolate when you visit their store. You don’t need to purchase anything, just simply walk in the door and browse. Of course they would love it if you made a purchase during your visit but you aren’t required to.
- Guests staying at a Disney resort can schedule a welcome or wake up call from a Disney character at no cost.
- Visit The Art of Animation for an animation class. They’re held several times a day and are free to participate in. You’ll learn how to draw characters from real Disney Cast Members and Imagineers!
Do you have any other free things to do at Disney outside the theme parks to share? Leave us a comment to let us know!