Updated for 2017!
It can get crazy HOT in the Disney Parks. Summer is brutally hot, but this is Florida, so it’s not like fall and spring are chilly. You will get thirsty, regardless of the season.
Lots of people bring their own water bottles into Walt Disney World, which is definitely O.K. Years ago, you were not allowed to bring outside food or drinks with you, but now you are in the clear. I had a Cast Member doing bag checks shake a box of snacks and look at me funny, with a rather unsettling face. I just smiled, like somebody sneaking snacks into a theme park. He said, “No chocolate?” So you can relax and bring in your plastic bottles, snacks, and picnic meals.
Remember to bring no glass bottles with you, as carrying glass will have you stopped before you even reach the turnstile. Planning to propose in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom? Make sure those Mickey themed champagne glasses are plastic.
What happens when your water bottles run out?
But those bottles of water will soon be empty, especially in the 105 degree Florida summer heat. It may not reach 105, but it will sure feel like it. What is a Cheapskate Princess to do? Don’t toss the bottle yet. You can refill your bottle in any of the multitude of Disney water fountains, but Disney water snobs will tell you it’s not the greatest tasting beverage in the world, and often if the water fountain is located in the sun, your yucky fountain water will be luke warm. Ugh.
Head over to any quick service restaurant, and I’ve seen this done at snack stations that serve drinks as well, and simply ask for a cup of ice water. This is FREE! It’s like a bonus for spending a fortune on your tickets and hotel. Now pour this in your empty water bottles and head off for your next set of Fastpasses. With the money you save, you might decide to pick up an apple fritter later on, because priced under $3.50 at the coffee stands as you enter the parks, they are barely more than the cost of another bottle of water. And it was sure tasty!
Does this always work?
When this is not a great freebie is when lines are long at the closest counter service restaurant, which is fairly common during peak dining times. If you don’t want to waste valuable time standing in line for water, you may just have to shell out up to three dollars for a bottled water or sports drink. Or you can always just suck it up and drink the fountain water. It may not taste that great, but it won’t hurt as bad as paying $3 for water.
Ordering water works at both counter and table service restaurants. Ordering water is free, so order a round for your table, and then take it to go in your plastic bottles. The paper cup they gives you works fine for a little while, but carrying a paper cup in a backpack isn’t going to work. I know- my son tried when he was four.
Hang onto those water bottles and fill ’em up for free. A Disney Princess would definitely purchase designer water, but a Cheapskate Princess will count how many times the bottle was refilled.
If you are walking around the resorts, you may spot some of this free water. I’m not a favorite of the zucchini flavored water, but it’s free and all.
Our readers agree…
Donna, “The free water is an awesome tip. We take our own bottles and refill throughout the day. The snack stands that serve soft drinks in cups have water also, and they are often less crowded than restaurants…..unless it’s parade time.“
Carrie has a bunch of ideas, “On the days we used dining credits for breakfast, we would snag a to-go drink in a bottle for later on and use our refillable mugs for drinks with breakfast. I liked the Vitamin Water, because they were larger mouth bottles and you could easily fill them with ice and water from the restaurants and then carry it around in the backpack. Plus, they were sturdier than the cheapy water bottles we took.
We also did bring our refillable mugs, which aren’t completely water tight, but held up better than the paper cups (and didn’t sweat every where). They aren’t refillable in the parks, but you can dump your ice water (or any other fountain drink) out of the paper cup into it.
Additionally, restaurants that have self serve drink machines can be used to refill water bottles, with water only, without waiting in another line. We popped into several and filled up water with no issues.
I think the water fountain water tastes funky because it is warm. The cup of water comes with ice, so you can’t taste the funk as much because it is cold.”
Rachel, “I took one of those refillable filtered water bottles last time; it weighs only a little more than a typical water bottle, but then you can refill at the water fountains without it tasting yucky. I do not normally drink the tap water in FL as I am one of those snobs but with the bottle it tasted great!”
We’ll see you in the Fastpass line. You’ll know me by the Vos Water bottle I’ll be holding…
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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.
We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Erin and Elizabeth. You can also e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.