A Disney World vacation can be so expensive! It is nice when you find some freebies at Disney World. We have put together our Cheapskate Princess list for the Top 10 Freebies that you do NOT want to miss. Remember you can always fill out a quote request form here to get started planning your next Disney World vacation.
#10 Free Water: Water is an essential part of a Disney World vacation. Between the weather in Orlando and all of the walking, you need and want to stay hydrated. A bottle of water inside the park can start at about $2.50 and go up to $3.75, or one snack credit. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could get a free cup of ice water or free cup of ice?
Well, at any counter service (quick service) restaurant, you can do just that! Another great addition to Disney Parks is free self serve ice water at Starbucks. You are also able to get a free cup of hot water, which during the holidays is perfect for people who enjoy hot tea or instant coffee.
#9 Free Celebration Buttons/Pin Trading: Most everyone knows about Celebration Buttons, but we are including them on this list because they are THAT great. Everyone in the family can get a celebration button, even if you are celebrating Mom and Dad’s anniversary, graduation, a honeymoon, or other special occasions/personal achievement.
Critics might say it is just a button, however, it is not. Your Princess Travel Experts know that these buttons are a gateway to interacting with cast members and getting other freebies. Cast members see your button and sometimes strike up conversations with you and your family about your celebration. This can lead to any number of fun experiences with cast members.
Cast members have a lot of magic at their disposal and they enjoy giving it out to families. Now, we don’t recommend walking up to a cast member and saying, “Look at my button, now give me something free!” But we do recommend being open to interacting with cast members and sometimes your celebration buttons set you apart, especially when there is a fun or interesting back story to your celebration.
Side note to the buttons: Pin Trading. Obviously the Disney Trading Pins are not free, but getting to trade them with cast members IS free. Pin Trading is lots of fun and enjoyed by kids and cast members of all ages. Another reason to take advantage of your free celebration button. It can give you and the cast member something fun to talk about while you are talking pins!
#8 Free Nighttime Show Viewing: THE best places to experience all of the nighttime magic at the Disney Parks is inside the parks. However, one of the biggest tips I give my guests is to have an “off day” from the parks. Usually in the middle of the vacation, I recommend having a day off to relax at the resort, explore Disney Springs, resort exploring, etc. Just because you don’t go into the parks that day doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the fireworks. Magic Kingdom’s Wishes can be viewed on the beach of the Polynesian Resort and Grand Floridian Resorts. At the resorts, they also have the musical soundtrack from the show piped in to add to the magic!
Epcot’s IllumiNations can be easily viewed from the International Gateway (back entrance to Epcot) which you can get to from the BoardWalk Inn Resort or Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.
The Electrical Water Pageant is displayed on the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is something that not many people think about seeing because it can only be viewed around the lagoon. But, if you are at one of the resorts to catch Wishes, it is fun to end your day by catching this iconic and retro Disney light parade on the water. It begins around 9pm every night and starts near the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts and makes it way over to Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness Resort area.
#7 Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios: The Force is strong at the Jedi Training Academy and while you DO need park admission and quick feet to get on the list, this free extra at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a great perk for any young Padawan. To sign up, one adult and the children wishing to participate need to register at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost located between the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
Registration begins when the park opens for the day and is only offered on a first-come, first serve basis. Children must be between 4 and 12 years old to participate. The cast members will give you a card with your training time to come back and confront Darth Vader and the new villain, the Seventh Sister Inquisitor. Be sure to always check the times guides when you arrive, and remember that these spots fill up fast, so if you would like to participate, you want to make sure you get there as soon as the park opens for the day. (Typically 9AM)
#6 Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom: A great family fun and interactive experience is Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Especially for Disney veterans who are not visiting for their very first time, this is a great way to leisurely go all around the park and experience this adventure. If you are new to the game, you will sign up at the Main Street Firehouse. Cast Members will walk you through the easy sign-in process and give you instructions on how to use your cards.
You will be given a Portal Key Card that will be your master key to the game. This Key Card will keep up with your game progress if you come back the next day, the next week or over the next few months. So, this is a freebie that can last over many visits! Each person with park admission for that day can get a set of cards, and there are special cards available during the holiday parties.
This is becoming as popular as pin trading (you can also trade your Sorcerers cards as well) and you will find many ways to hold and display your cards for purchase inside the parks. This is a big hit for older kids, especially boys who might think Magic Kingdom has less to offer them than other parks. If you win the game (by defeating Hades) you also get a special set of cards you don’t want to forget to pick up. And the cards make for great souvenirs and the family memories made trying to find all of the portals cannot be beat!
#5 Kidcot at Epcot: One of the many questions I get asked as a travel agent is, “How much fun is there for kids at Epcot?” I think there is a huge misconception that Epcot is more educational, and not super exciting for the little ones. Well, Epcot is very educational but, just like anywhere at Disney World, is exciting for kids of all ages. One great interactive experience at Epcot are Kidcot Spots.
In each pavilion around World Showcase you’ll find a small booth set up as a station for kids to work on a fun, free souvenir. At the first country you visit, your child will pick up the craft or sign which will be decorated in each country with special stamps, charms, and markers. The Kidcot Spot crafts have changed over the years. They once did lanyards, and then masks and then Duffy Bears on a stick. The actual item might change, but the fun and experience is always great. You can find a Kidcot spot at every pavillion around World Showcase and each cast member will sign or stamp your craft with something special from that country. While these are great freebies, they are also GREAT souvenirs to bring back to school for show and tell, or for the little ones to show their teachers all they learned. ALL for free!
#4 Wilderness Explorers Club at Animal Kingdom: “The wilderness must be explored!” Based on the Disney Pixar movie UP and the character Russell, who is working hard to earn his final Wilderness Explorer badge and become a Senior Wilderness Explorer. Your child can now become a Wilderness Explorer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and earn over 30 badges. Your youngster will be helped by a complimentary official Wilderness Explorers Handbook—and cast members serving as Troop Leaders and Badge Guides. They will undertake challenges and activities around the Park. This is a great way to spend a leisurely day inside Animal Kingdom and let the kids explore and learn so much from the park and about the environment.
#3 Resort Hopping: PLEASE NOTE: THIS DOES NOT MEAN POOL HOPPING! You cannot pool hop or visit other pools. You must only use the pool at your resort. HOWEVER, you do not have to be staying at a Disney World Resort to visit it. Resort Hopping is one of our favorite things to do outside of the parks, especially when visiting over the holidays.
Each resort is so unique and many of them have stunning lobbies or fantastic restaurants. At the very least you should visit the resorts on the monorail line, which you can get to easily from Magic Kingdom. Other resorts are accessible by bus. Holiday times are so special, especially at the monorail resorts because of the holiday decorations and gingerbread displays. Resort Hopping gives you a great activity if you are visiting when park crowds are on the higher end, or it is a rainy day, or just to waste time before your flight back home.
#2 Free Resort Guest Benefits: Disney World wants their guests to feel as much magic as possible, and they let you know that by all the different ways you benefit from staying on Disney World property. For starters, if you are flying in and out of Orlando, Magical Express is a free, exclusive service offered only to resort guests. They will pick you up from Orlando International Airport and drop you off at your resort. They will also pick you up from your resort and return you to the airport at the end of your vacation. They also deliver and pick up your luggage as well, so you can enjoy the magic as much as possible.
If you are driving your own car or a rental car, you get Free Parking anywhere on Disney property. Whether it is at your resort, or at the parks, you do not have to worry about paying to park.
Personalizing Magic Bands is free and included in your Disney World vacation package. If you are a resort guest, your Magic Bands are included and you get to personalize them for free on your My Disney Experience account. (You also get to make your fast passes 60 days before your trip as opposed to 30 days if you are staying offsite. This actually feels priceless to families who want to secure Frozen Ever After or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.)
Free Wi-Fi is also available to resort guests, (and throughout Disney property) and is invaluable now that the My Disney Experience app is used as an aid to your vacation.
#1 Free Disney World Transportation: There are so many different types of Disney transportation that are available to you as a Disney World visitor, we could probably do a top ten or top five list just on the ways to get around the property. As a resort guest, you are able to take advantage of the bus system, Disney’s Motor Coach, which takes you to any of the parks, Disney Springs and select areas within Disney World property. The buses run approximately every 15-25 minutes from each resort to the parks.
The Disney Monorail is another great way to get to either Magic Kingdom or Epcot, depending on the track you are riding. The Epcot Monorail and the Express Monorail originate at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) with service to Epcot and Magic Kingdom Parks. The resort monorail has stops at Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, TTC, Grand Floridian Resort, and Polynesian Resorts.
Another fun way to get around is by water ferry from Magic Kingdom to Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Resort, or Contemporary Resort. You are also able to take a free water taxi from Port Orleans Riverside, to Port Orleans French Quarter, and then to Disney Springs. If you are a guest at Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort or Boardwalk Inn Resort, you are able to take a Friendship boat to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
While a budget for your next Disney World vacation is important, don’t forget about these great freebies! Great family fun, magical souvenirs, and more for free await you at Disney World.
You can fill out a quote request form here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let one of your Princess Travel Experts help you plan your next Disney World vacation and take advantage of these, and many more freebies!
Are you ready for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Erin is your Princess Vacation Expert! Erin is a Disney College of Knowledge Graduate and Universal Orlando Specialist. Erin’s passion is helping families have a once-in-a-lifetime moments! She provides excellent customer service, attention to detail, magical milestones, and bringing families together.
Erin is ready to help you plan your next magical family vacation. Contact Erin Johnson at email@example.com or by phone at (214)697-7732 to get started! You can fill out a quote request form here. Let the magic begin!