Updated for 2017!
If you have young children, chances are, there is a TV on in your house right now playing a Disney movie. So why on earth would you want to go on vacation and watch yet another Disney movie? The first time I saw a blow up screen outside Bay Lake Tower, I laughed at the idea of taking up my valuable time )equals money) with…a movie. But my children weren’t laughing at all. Little did I know my sons would soon be popping their own popcorn and grabbing a seat for a Disney flick right outside our Disney resort.
Where are the Free Movies?
There are outdoor movies available almost every night at all the Disney Resorts, which are called “Movies Under the Stars.” Locations and seating arrangements will vary according to the resort. Bay Lake Tower offers guests metal chairs in the grass, whereas the Polynesian Resort sets up their screen on the sand with lots of beachy lounge chairs. For movie schedules, just call the front desk of your resort to find the times and locations or call 407-939-2273.
Will Older Children Like the Movies?
As an adult with three pre-teens, movies had absolutely no appeal to me personally. I would rather be taking a nap, window shopping in a resort gift shop, or riding a monorail. My 9th grade daughter wasn’t a fan of movies either; she likes that texting function on her phone too much. But it turns out my 7th and 5th grade sons loved the outdoor movies. If you are a parent of smaller children, I think this is a fantastic way for children to relax, rest their feet, and perhaps save some energy, simply for surviving the next day’s miles of walking or for some late night fun or
Many nights at the end of these movies, the parks will still be open for hours of more rides and entertainment. So you could catch a free movie and then head back for more roller coaster fun.
Summertime movies start about 8:30 p.m. The winter movies may start a bit earlier since it get’s dark earlier, but again, call your resort or 407-939-2273.
What Should you Bring?
There are so many variables in seating arrangements from resort to resort, there is no set list of items to bring with you.
Snacks – It’s always a good idea to bring snacks and drinks with you for a Movie Under the Stars. These will not be provided for you.
Seating- I would definitely call your resort to see what you’ll be sitting on, but you may need a towel to sit on unless you and the kids are comfortable on grass or sand. If the resorts are particularly crowded, there may not be any seating available when you arrive.
Unlike spending a week at the beach, your children are going to be tired on a Disney vacation. The average adult walks 10 to 15 miles a day, so your kids are not far behind. In fact, they may outdistance you if they are hoping on rides by themselves, since attractions like Space Mountain have a pretty lengthy hike to the loading station.
Your Disney cheapskate tip for the day? Try an outdoor movie for a change of vacation pace. It might not seem to be the best use of your time, but you might be surprised.
If you are a veteran of multiple Disney trips, or planning a first time trip and worried about fatigue and meltdowns with the kids, a night-time movie can be a great way to break up your Disney day. You have some of the most beautiful behind-the-screen views, those fabulous Disney resorts, anywhere in America. While the daytime temperatures in the summer are brutal, there is often a light breeze at night, and winter is perfect for viewing with a light jacket and some hot coco.
One thing that will be different from the above pictures, since the incident in the summer of 2016 along the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, is that there is now fencing and rocks along every public access to water. Your view will look slightly different but not enough to really notice. You might even feel a tad safer.
Let me mention again, this is a FREE movie! You’ll want to get there early enough to get a seat, or bring a blanket and lay back and enjoy the show. Remember that times, locations, and movie selections can change without notice. One call to the front desk can give you all the answers you need.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you prepping your snacks and maybe a blanket for the movie…
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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