Disney World Tips for Kids: Free or Inexpensive Activities at Disney Springs

free or cheap activities at Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is free – the word free probably caught your attention, eh? Now kids probably don’t care much for shopping, and they would probably rather be entertained by rollercoasters than dining in a sit down restaurant, but there are TONS of things to charm the kids into begging for a trip back, most of which you can do for free. 

Play with Legos

The Lego Imagination Center is located over by the World of Disney Store for some free interactive Lego fun. Outside is a 3,000-square-foot play area filled with Legos,  just tempting little hands to build something. If playing with the actual Legos in not their thing, both inside and outside are multiple larger-than-life Lego statues just waiting to be photographed. This is a great way to measure their height from year to year, as long as the same statues remain in place. 

Lego Store at Disney Springs

Disney Springs Lego Store

Get Free Legos 

If you visit the LEGO Store on the first Tuesday of every month and you can learn how to build a cool mini model, and take it home – for free! Quantities are limited and the offer is good only while supplies last. A new model will be available every month and will be specially themed to that month – ask a Store Associate for details. These models are not for sale and cannot be purchased. One free per child. This event is open to children ages 6 to 14 only. (Remember this can be discontinued at any time with no notice.) 

Visit with Santa  

During the Disney Springs Festival of the Seasons, you can visit with Santa at “Santa’s Chalet” and have you or your child’s picture taken. When crowd levels are high, lines could easily become longer than an hour long. So now, you can pick up a pager upon arrival, which enables you to shop, eat or complete items off this list while you wait for your turn in the queue line. If you visit well before Christmas, you can use your family photo for this year’s holiday cards.

where to see Santa at Disney Springs in Orlando

As Santa makes his way back to the North Pole, after Christmas, Goofy takes over for pictures until Santa’s chalet is dismantled for the following year. And these times could change with no notice.

Goofy's Chalet at Disney Springs

Nightly Tree Lighting Ceremony

Speaking of the holidays, do the kids like Christmas lights? Every evening at 6 p.m., you can experience a festive tree lighting ceremony. Around this area, you’ll spot life-sized toys, toy soldier stilt walkers, and Christmas-inspired treats.

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt 

This took place in 2016, so there’s a good chance it will be back for ’17 as well. Starting on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, bring the kids for a scavenger hunt-style activity will send you through all four neighborhoods of Disney Springs. Once complete, go visit participating locations to get a free limited-edition completer button.

Play with Some Toys 

Once Upon a Toy has the largest assortment of toys and games in all of the Walt Disney World Resort. You will find theme park play sets designed after favorite icons like Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth, which offer lots of free fun. If you haven’t built a Mr. Potato Head in ages, this is your chance. There are also hands-on activities at interactive play stations adults and kids alike will enjoy.

Once Upon a Toy store at Disney Springs

build your own lightsaber at Disney Springs

Take a Photo with the Statues

Right outside Once Upon a Toy, you’ll find statues of Disney characters that are great for picture taking. You can find some more in the Pin Trading Store very close by.

where to take pictures with kids at Disney Springs

Mr. Potato head at Disney Springs

Splash Around 

In the section near Goofy’s Candy Co., in full sight of the Rainforest Cafe, is a splashpad type fountain. If you don’t stop to let your kids get wet, you can always hang around and watch other people let their kids get completely soaked. This is fabulous for children on a hot day and funny entertainment for adults on any day. If your little ones decide to walk through the water, you may need dry clothes.

Goofy’s Glaciers Free Samples

This isn’t an all you care to drink buffet of samples like at Epcot’s Club Cool, but rather you can receive a small Goofy’s Glacier sample in a little paper cup to wet your whistle. Try flavors like Pucker Purple, Glacier Apple, Rootin’ Tootin’ Red, Orange You Happy Orange, Gawrshly Berry Blue, and Coca-Cola Cooler. This is a great snack for kids to share.

Watch an Artist 

As far as window shopping, one of my favorite spots is the Art of Disney. I could stand around forever looking at the Disney paintings and statues. Quite often there is an artist drawing in the store, and you can watch his or her work in action, being displayed up on a big screen. This store might appeal more to older children.  Free Disney World Entertainment? Don’t Miss the Art of Disney Store

Disney’s Days of Christmas

Most children truly love Christmas, and in this store, it’s Christmas 365 days a year. There are all sorts of Christmas tree decorations and plush toys, just right for little hands to touch and squeeze. Make sure you have a budget in place, unless you are prepared to make some purchases.

Free Chocolate! 

Cast Members at Ghiradelli’s Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop hand out free chocolate samples throughout the day. This is a small shop, and the chocolate is small, but they offer some of the best ice creams and desserts anywhere in Disney Springs. They are very rich, so these also make great snacks to share.

Take Care of Your Skin 

What kid wants to do this?? A store called Basin is located next to the Mickey pots topiary fountain, right next door to the World of Disney store and beside Aaribas Brothers. Blink and you could miss it, which would be a shame. Want to get kids excited about bath time? Bring them in to smell all the bright, multi-colored soaps. Basin has an assortment of lotions samples you can try for free. And this sounds crazy, but be sure the kids wash their hands…they’ll love it! And so will adults. Taking a $5.99 soap home is a cheap and fun souvenir from your vacation that kids will enjoy for months to come. 

fun for kids at Disney Springs

great-disney-vacation-souvenirs

Aaribas Brothers 

Looking for a nice souvenir for your princess? Bring her in for a huge assortment of tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, most of which has a Disney theme, sparkling with Swarovski crystals. And for you Disney moms, their assortment of non-Disney jewelry is a must see, with prices that can fit well within a cheapskate budget. Or you can go for the splurge and bring home something sparkly and amazing…

Watch a Glass Demonstration 

Once you enter Arribas Brothers, which is located next door to Basin, there are glass blowers and glass cutters on staff giving demonstrations throughout the day. You can even purchase some of their creations. My family has literally stood around for half an hour just watching the guys show off their craft. Children will be mesmerized, and the air-conditioning is fantastic on a hot summer day.

See a Movie

Compared to theme park tickets, movie tickets are inexpensive, especially if you had no plans to go theme parking that day anyway. What better place to see a Disney movie than at Disney Springs? There are two theater locations, and if you want to up your cost a bit, you can have dinner IN the theater near the World of Coke Store. 

see a movie at Disney Springs

Hear a Concert

Musical performers can be found throughout at Disney Springs all during the year, both on a large stage on front of The World Of Disney and in random locations. There is now a mini-stage area by the Boat House restaurant. If you are in no hurry to be somewhere, take a seat on benches or even the ground to see and hear musicians, ranging in age from middle school to adults, from all around the country give live performances. These concerts are all free and the performers ranger from outstanding to world class. 

Go Up in a Balloon

The helium balloon Characters in Flight floats 400 feet straight up in the sky for 8 to 10 minutes, providing 360 degree views of Disney Springs. Prices before tax are $12 for children and $18 for adults, but if you arrive before 10 a.m., you can fly for $10 each with their Early Bird Special.  Read: Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

kids will love Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Kid Restaurants

Two restaurants in Disney Springs are popular with the younger crowd, Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex. Singing birds, trumpeting elephants, chest-pounding gorillas and schools of brightly colored fish welcome you to the Rainforest Cafe, while you are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, banyan trees, waterfalls and a starry nighttime sky.

At T-Rex, you dine among pterosaurs, wooly mammoths, an octopus and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs—including a 15-foot-tall T. Rex. There are themed rooms depicting diverse primordial landscapes and a meteor shower every 20 minutes or so, complete with rumbling and fiery “explosions.” Kids can assemble a plush pet dinosaur at the Build-A-Dino By Build-A-Bear Workshop.

where kids like to eat at Disney Springs

t-rex at Disney Springs

Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.

There is tons to do and see at Disney Springs. Trust me, the kids will thank you.

 

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Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda 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 Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.