May 17

Fun and Free Activities at Walt Disney World Resort

©Mad About the Mouse

Hello. My name is Debbie, and I am a self-confessed Disney addict!  I have been visiting Walt Disney World property with my family, since it opened its doors almost 46 years ago, in 1971. My family has always resided in Georgia, which meant Florida was only a car ride away.

As the years passed and I grew into an adult, I began to take my own family to Florida. The more we visited Walt Disney World, the more we longed for it. However, being a stay-at-home Mom meant we couldn’t afford many week-long theme park trips. That’s when we began to look at how could we afford to do Disney more than once a year and on a budget.

What we discovered was there are many things you can do on Disney property that are either FREE or that don’t cost much money. Not every trip had to include pricey theme park tickets. Some trips could be shorter, and we could hit the FREE, fun, and affordable things outside the parks. Over time, we became quite adept at doing things at Disney on a shoestring budget. It allowed us to enjoy the Magic and yet still keep our pennies in our pocket, if necessary.

If you are reading this and thinking, “That’s crazy. Disney is so expensive, and there can’t be free or affordable things to do.”  Stick with me for a few minutes and let me show you just five of the things you can do on a shoestring budget or for FREE at Disney.  Are you ready? Well then, let’s get started…

©Mad About the Mouse

1. The Walt Disney World Transportation System

One of my family’s favorite things to at Walt Disney World is riding the transportation. Whether it’s water taxis from resorts, buses to the theme parks, or Monorails around the property, the transportation system at Walt Disney World is an attraction all unto itself. Let’s look at two fun and free forms of transportation at Disney – boat rides and Monorails. Walt Disney World has a fleet of boats, and rides can be taken from a variety of resorts to Disney Springs or even to a particular theme park. My family always loves riding the ferry boats between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom as well as the boats that shuttle you between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. If you are not going to a theme park or getting off to visit Disney Springs, you can stay aboard and enjoy the lovely views on your round-trip cruise. Visit the Water Transportation page on the Walt Disney World website for more details and routes you can enjoy.

One of my family’s favorite things to at Walt Disney World is riding the transportation. Whether it’s water taxis from resorts, buses to the theme parks, or Monorails around the property, the transportation system at Walt Disney World is an attraction all unto itself.  Let’s look at two fun and free forms of transportation at Disney – boat rides and Monorails.

Walt Disney World has a fleet of boats, and rides can be taken from a variety of resorts to Disney Springs or even to a particular theme park. My family always loves riding the ferry boats between the Ticket and Transportation Center and the Magic Kingdom as well as the boats that shuttle you between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. If you are not going to a theme park or visiting Disney Springs, you can stay aboard and enjoy the lovely views round-trip. Visit the Water Transportation page on the Walt Disney World website for more details and routes you can enjoy.

Now onto Disney’s most famous mode of transportation – the Monorails. The Disney Monorails have technically three loops – the Resort loop, the Express loop, and the Epcot loop. You can ride any of them for FREE, but my family’s favorite ride is the Resort loop. The Express and the Epcot loops make exclusive runs between Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, and the Ticket and Transportation Center, but the Resort loop makes stops at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Take your time and explore each of the stops along the way. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as riding Disney’s Highway in the Sky.

©Mad About the Mouse

2. Resort Hopping

And while we are speaking of exploring Monorail stops along the way, let’s talk about our second FREE thing to do at Walt Disney World – resort hopping. If you have not visited all the Disney resorts (and I think it’s safe to say most of us have not), resort hopping is a fun and FREE thing to do while on the property. Some of the Disney resorts even offer complimentary tours or scavenger hunts for the family or little ones. Take a ride to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and walk through Radiator Springs or visit Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to see a geyser spraying water hundreds of feet into the air. There’s no end to the fun you can have when visiting a Disney resort.

And, while we are speaking of exploring Monorail stops along the way, let’s talk about our second FREE thing to do at Walt Disney World – resort hopping. If you have not visited all the Disney resorts (and I think it’s safe to say most of us have not), resort hopping is a fun and FREE thing to do while on the property. Some of the Disney resorts even offer complimentary tours or scavenger hunts for the family or little ones. Take a ride to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and walk through Radiator Springs or visit Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to see a geyser spraying water hundreds of feet into the air. There’s no end to the fun you can have when visiting a Disney resort.

©Mad About the Mouse

3. Disney’s Boardwalk

Here we are at free activity number 3 – Disney’s Boardwalk. Head over to the Hollywood Studios/Epcot area of Disney property to discover a turn of the century Atlantic Boardwalk. Parking and exploration are free to the general public. Disney’s Boardwalk is modeled after turn-of-the-century Atlantic boardwalks. Several Disney Deluxe Resorts surround the Boardwalk, as well as some of Disney’s most popular eateries. Popular and fun things to do at Disney’s Boardwalk (although they are not all free) include renting a surrey bike, playing boardwalk/carnival-style games or ordering Beaches and Cream’s famous The Kitchen Sink!

4. Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant and Fireworks Viewing

If, after reading all that, you are craving some much-needed quiet time, this next freebie is for you. Every night (contingent upon the local weather), Disney has a wonderful little water parade. The Electrical Water Pageant runs on Disney’s Seven Seas Lagoon. The water pageant times change frequently, so make sure you check with Guest Services on the night you plan to view. The pageant is made up of multiple, magical floats that light up and play electronic tunes. The parade stops in front of each Deluxe Resort’s beach to ensure each property gets a viewing. This is an excellent way to end your day on a Disney beach swinging in a hammock or lounging on a chaise with a Dole Whip in hand. Then, if after the parade you find yourself just too relaxed to get back up (the parade only lasts about 15 minutes), stay in your favorite spot and watch the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show over Cinderella Castle. The electrical pageant is usually timed to end shortly before the fireworks show begins, and the Resorts will pipe in music so you can enjoy the fireworks story, much like Guests inside the Magic Kingdom.

©Mad About the Mouse

5. Disney Pin Trading

Our last and fifth freebie doesn’t actually start out as a freebie, but once the initial cost is laid out, it can remain FREE forever (yes, I said forever).

Disney pin trading. Something my kids loved (and still do). Pin trading at Disney is wildly popular, fun, and often times addicting. Disney manufactures thousands of pins and lanyards. You can choose items based on rides, characters, or experiences. Once a pin is purchased or traded, it is yours to keep…until you decide to trade it away. Pin trading can be done with Cast Members and with other guests as well. If you have littles, look for Cast Members wearing either a green lanyard or a green apron. Green means these specific Cast Members are only allowed to trade pins with Guests 12 and under. (My kids always loved this perk!)

To begin your adventure in pin trading, purchase a pin lanyard and a few pins. To help with keeping costs down, look for pins on sale at The Disney Store’s website, Disney outlet stores, or auction websites like Ebay. If you wait to buy a starter kit at Disney, you will easily pay double for the same items. Once you have your lanyards and pins, you are ready to start. Pin trading is FREE at Disney, and you and/or family are free to trade as many and as much as you want while there. Pin trading stores and stations can be found in all four Disney theme parks as well as each of the resorts and Disney Springs. I love including pin trading in my list of freebies because once you have bought your first lanyard and set of pins, the rest of this activity will always be free, unless – of course – you decide to purchase more pins or additional lanyards for your collection! It is a great way to keep your children occupied, and it keeps them receiving something “new” every time they trade! This one activity kept money in my pocket and my children happy for many of our trips to Disney. A huge win-win for the entire family.

There are so many fun and free things to do at the Walt Disney World Resort, but these are just a few. A trip to Walt Disney World is an investment, so why not seek out things that can be free and still create long lasting magical memories? Finding the free things at Walt Disney World – it’s like putting the magic back into your vacation.

 


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Debbie Hudson
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Debbie Hudson

Dream Designer at Dreams by Design Travel
Hello! My name is Debbie Hudson, and I am a Dream Designer at Dreams by Design Travel. I have been traveling to Walt Disney World since I was a small child, having grown up in a North Atlanta suburb. My family started visiting Orlando back in 1971 when the Magic Kingdom park first opened. Since then, I have been taking my children (now 19 and 16) since they were 4 and 1. It is never too early to start taking your family to the Walt Disney World Resort! We have stayed at many of the Disney resorts, at least one from each category level (value, moderate, and deluxe) and have been frequent visitors at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. We have also taken a Disney Cruise Line vacation, so I am acquainted with all types of Disney vacations. Email me at debbie@dreamsbydesigntravel.com to plan your next Disney adventure.
Debbie Hudson
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