30 FREE Activities at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Updated July 2015!

If you are looking for the top of the line Disney World Resort accommodations, then look no further than the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. When he was initially planning the resorts built in close proximity to the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney planned the Polynesian resort to directly reflect Adventureland, the Contemporary Resort to reflect Tomorrowland, and the Grand Floridian was designed to mirror the splendor of Main Street, U.S.A..

The resort’s outer lodge buildings — Sago Cay, Sugarloaf Key, Conch Key, Boca Chica and Big Pine Key—are named for islands in the Florida Keys.  Inspired mainly by San Diego’s spectacular Hotel Del Coronado, the Grand Floridian seamlessly blends Victorian elegance with modern-day amenities. The resort contains 867 rooms among six buildings. The monorail stop is designed to resemble a Victorian train station, leading you into a five-story lobby high-lighted with incredible stained glass domes. Glistening chandeliers, an aviary, potted palm trees and a grand piano providing live music add to the lavish ambiance here. An open-cage elevator transports guests to the second floor shops and restaurants. This resort is oh so lavish.

Are there any activities can you do for free here? We have gathered together an entire list of over 30 activities and created a Cheapskate Princess Guide, so get ready for a trip back in time into old Victorian elegance, in search of freebies!

Outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort 

1. Wishes Viewing

You can watch the Magic Kingdom Wishes fireworks from one of the many Disney resorts on the monorail circle. My favorite resort for this view is the Polynesian, with the fireworks directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon, but that beach view has been blocked somewhat by the addition of the DVC rooms out over the lagoon. But even at the Grand, music will be piped in. So while you might not be at the Magic Kingdom for Wishes, if you are perhaps dining at the Grand Floridian late in the evening, step outside to see what you can see.

Perhaps the best place for viewing is on the pier leading to the transportation boats. While there is really no good place to sit and rest your feet here, there are no trees in your way either. Cop a squat – enjoy the show!

where to view wishes from the Grand Floridian Resort

2. Fireside Marshmallows

Camp fires at resorts offer free marshmallows and roasting sticks for resort guests. Complimentary campfire activities can be found at 14 locations at the Walt Disney World Resort, but the Grand has an especially beautiful view of the Seven Seas Lagoon. 

3. Go Visit Other Resorts

Disney has an “open resort policy” where you don’t have to be staying at the resort to go visit, which is referred to as “resort hopping.” This would be a great time to determine what section of the property you might like to make reservations for on your next trip or inquire at the front desk about rates and current discounts.

Hop a boat to the Magic Kingdom, and with one more boat transfer, you can be at the Polynesian, the Contemporary, and one boat from there is Wilderness Lodge.

Where is the Best Place to Watch Disney’s “Wishes” Fireworks?

ride a boat to resort hop at Walt Disney World

4. Park for Free

Parking is also free while you visit the resorts, with the general understanding that this is for a maximum of three hours. The length of acceptable time varies with who you talk to, but you’ll be finished walking around the Grand in that amount of time anyway. 

5. See an Outdoor Movie 

Come for the campfire, and then stay for a movie. Take in one of the many free “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor movies at the WDW resorts following the campfires. Huge screens are blown up for nightly movies outside, although this can depend on weather.  At some resorts, you will need to bring a towel or blanket to sit on, and at others, they provide chairs. Call the resort desk for specific information.

Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice. For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort, or call 407- WDW-PLAY or 407- 939-7529.

6. Plan a Wedding

It’s just a short walk over to the Wedding Pavilion, at most 10 minutes if you walk slowly enough to take in the sights. Look around and perhaps plan your dream wedding!

Take a Break During Your Disney World Vacation for This Free Activity!

Disney's Wedding Pavillion at the Grand Floridian Resort

7. Take a Jog

There’s a walking/jogging trail that starts at the Beach Pool entrance and loops past the Polynesian Resort’s beach and back for about a mile.

8. Night Time Water Parade 

Visit the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness, or the Contemporary Resort to catch a glimpse of the nightly water show, The Electrical Water Pageant. This water-light parade was created in 1971 for the dedication of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Scheduled to run just that one time only, popularity keeps it playing each night. goes by each night at 9:15 p.m.. Approximate show times are:

  • Polynesian Resort, 9:00 p.m.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 9:15 p.m
  • Wilderness Lodge, 9:30 p.m.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground, 9:45 p.m.
  • Contemporary Resort 10:00p.m.

electric water parade at Walt Disney World

9. See the Ladies

On Mondays and Thursdays, enjoy the Grand’s “Showkeeing Parade”as  the Grand Floridian Ladies twirl their way to work through the courtyard with their parasols. With up to fifty Mouse Keepers, this tradition began when the resort first opened back in 1988.

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10. View the Vintage Cars

Under the porte-cochere, a vintage car and carriage greet you as you enter the resort from the ground floor.  One runs under its own horsepower, and the other would run under external horse power, if there was a horse around.

11. Check out the Yacht

Named so aptly, “The Grand One,” this 1.5 million dollar boat launches from the Grand Floridian, and for you big spenders, you can rent it for $550 an hour for up to 18 of your closest friends. The yacht is popular for wedding receptions and is often used to watch Wishes Fireworks show over Cinderella Castle from the Seven Seas Lagoon. Wikipedia says that yacht was given to Disney for free from SeaRay because Walt Disney World has purchased so many other boats for use around the resorts from SeaRay. I’d love to know if that little bit of trivia is correct!

12. Ride the Monorail

How often do you get to ride a monorail where you live? The answer for me is a big huge never. Riding the monorail is free, and while it can be crowded at certain times of day, like when everyone is trying to escape the heat of mid-day or going to grab a bite to eat outside of the Magic Kingdom, this is a lovely way to see the sights of the Seven Seas Lagoon from up in the air in the air-conditioning. (Note: sometimes the monorail can get a bit hot, depending on the season and crowd levels.)

ride the monorail at the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World

13. Take a Walk

The Grand Floridian Resort resides on 40 acres along the Seven Seas Lagoon. Walking here, as if your feet weren’t tired enough, is a visual feast for the eyes, including glimpses of beautiful landscaping, several fountains, white sandy beaches, a marina and a dock, water craft rentals, a beach pool with waterfalls and zero-depth entry, and a yacht for charter. When you walk around, you’ll feel like you are walking around a resort where your grandparents might have stayed back in the day. 

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take a walk around the Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World

Inside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

There may be no better place in all of the resorts to window shop, or actually real shop if you have the inclination, than at the Grand Floridian. All their shops have their own unique personalities, and the merchandise they sell is all different from the others. They also sell merchandise at this resort that you will not see at all the resort gift shops; some items are definitely upper end with brand names and big process, but you will also find affordable items like food, key chains, pins, and soap.

14. Window Shop at Summer Lace

 Located on the first floor of the resort, Summer Lace features women’s designer fashions. This shop is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Grand Floridian robes and logo items
  • some character apparel,  a cut above the usual t-shirt
  • swimwear
  • flip-flops and Crocs
  • accessories
  • gold and silver jewelry
  • fragrances

This gift shop feels like you’ve stepped into a designer boutique. Some of the famous designer names you will find here? These will vary from season to season, of course.

  • Betsey Johnson
  • Steve Madden
  • Dooney & Bourke
  • Harveys – Seat Belt Bags
  • Loungefly
  • Tommy Bahama
  • Lilly Pullitzer
  • Guerlain
  • Vera Bradley

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford a Dooney & Bourke Disney Handbag? 

15. Window Shop at Sandy Cove Gift and Sundry Shop 

Located on the first floor, just off the lobby as you walk out of the main area, Sandy Cove sells an assortment of items that won’t break the bank.  This shop is open from 8am-10pm.

  • fine chocolates, candies, and gourmet foods
  • Grand Floridian logo merchandise
  • items for Disney Digital cameras
  • CDs by musicians who perform at the Grand Floridian
  • cold beverages
  • snacks
  • basic pharmacy items such as sunscreen, aspirin, allergy and cold medicine
  • baby diapers and formula, shampoo, etc.

16. Window Shop at M. Mouse Mercantile 

This gift shop can be found on the second floor near the monorail station. They carry Disney souvenir items including children’s apparel, toys, books, pins, and watches. This shop is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Move Over Disney Dooney & Bourke…Make Way for the Newest Disney Vera Bradley!

M. Mouse Merchantile at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

17. Window Shop at Commander Porter’s

For the well dressed man in your life, Commander Porter’s on the second floor sells men’s apparel and some Grand Floridian-branded merchandise. This is your go-to shop for men’s designer clothing, including items from Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren Polo.

Men’s fragrances, golf apparel, and gift items are also available here. This shop is open daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.

18. View Your PhotoPass Photos 

Next to M. Mouse Mercantile, you can view your Disney’s PhotoPass photos at a kiosk and place orders as well. This photo location is open daily 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. 

19. Wash Your Hands

While this doesn’t normally sound like a particularly fun activity, at Basin White, a retail store found on the second floor of the main lobby, you can wash your hands with sweet-smelling salt and sugar scrubs.

They sell beauty and bath products, but Basin also sells free samples of hand lotions. Your hands will feel silky smooth after you finish your wash. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more detailed information on Basin products and locations, use this link.  Downtown Disney’s Basin: For $5.99, I Can Smell Like Disney All Day!

Basin White at Grand Floridian Resort

20. Hear a Concert

Beginning mid-afternoon, you will hear live music as soon as you walk into the lobby. Starting around 3 p.m., a pianist starts playing and alternates with an equally talented orchestra until almost 10 p.m. There is no better place in all of WDW to hear live musicians performing mostly Disney themed tunes, all for free. The orchestra is called the “Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.”

grand piano player at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

21. Cut a Rug

Little kids and adults alike will often dance along to the tunes, so grab your dancing’ shoes and join in!

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where to dance at the Grand Floridian Resort

22. Admire the Architecture

The attention to detail at the Grand is simply a cut above nearly all the Disney resorts. Chandeliers and stained glass skylights are some of the most impressive large elements you will see, but don’t miss the intricate tile work as you walk into the lobby from the monorail platform. You will think you have left present day and traveled back in time.

Grand Floridian Stained Glass at Disney World

23. Lobby Cartoons

While you look at the fine detailing of the hotel lobby, there is a television playing older Disney cartoons. If your kids are tired of walking while you resort hop and need a break, tell them to have a seat. This is also nice child distraction while the adults check in after a long drive or flight.

24. Spot a Bride?

There are a great many weddings that take place next door to the Grand Floridian, so if you are there at a lucky time, you can spot a bride walking through the lobby in her wedding attire. Or you will frequently see entire bridal parties arranged on the grand stair way leading up to the second floor. Their excitement leaks out onto you as they prepare to start the rest of their lives from “the Happiest Place on Earth.”

bridal photos at Disney World Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

 25. Locate Hidden Mickeys

There are hidden Mickeys everywhere you turn at the resorts and parks if you stop to look close enough. Some of the most often spotted Mickeys are on the back of the piano in the main lobby and on the weather vanes on top of the roof.  Hidden Mickeys.org has a list for you, so you can get a jump on exactly where to turn your attention, which can allow you time for other activities.  Use this link to their Grand Floridian page.

26. Bird House/Aviary

There is a bird house in the lobby, which is two stories tall and contains no live birds, and for the life of me, I can not seem to locate any more information on this decorative item that has been found in the lobby for years. If you know the back story, leave us a comment so we can add it in. 

Bird House at the Grand Floridian

Grand Floridian Holiday Ideas

27. Gingerbread House

In what may be the most famous of any Christmas decoration on WDW property, there is a life-size gingerbread house built in the Grand lobby during the holidays. 2015 will be the 17th anniversary of the gingerbread house, which is 16 feet high and 17 feet wide, taking six men almost 10 days to create.

What sort of ingredients are used to make this fabulous  once-a-year holiday creation?

  • 1050 of honey

  • 140 pints of egg whites

  • 700 pounds of chocolate

  • 800 pounds of flour

  • 35 pounds of spices

Grand Floridian Christmas Gingerbread House

28. See the Tree!

Decorated with a Victorian theme, you have got to see the bird cages, intertwined swans, and tons of amazing golden-colored ornaments adorning this humongous Christmas tree. Assembled in just one night while guests sleep, the tree is four stories tall (40 feet)  and sparkles with 45,000 lights.

Grand Floridian Christmas tree at Disney World

29. Meet Holiday Minnie & Mickey

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed in their Christmas finest, arrive to take photos in front of the grand Christmas tree. Lines are not that long, so bring your camera and ask a Cast Member to snap a shot of the whole family.  This would make a fabulous Christmas card photo.

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Mickey and Minnie Christmas photos at teh Grand Floridian Resort

30. Easter Eggs Lobby Display

2015 was the 4th annual Easter egg display in the spacious Grand Floridian lobby with springtime edible works of art. While the days can vary from year to year, dates generally run the first week of April through Easter. 

The enormous hand-paint Easter eggs, ranging from 16 to 20 inches tall and weighing over 9 pounds, are usually tinted cocoa butter, and frequently,  the eggs tell familiar Disney stories like “The Little Mermaid,” “Cinderella,” “Pocahontas,” “Lady and the Tramp,” and “Frozen,” all created with modeling chocolate, fondant, sculpted sugar and royal icing.

Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian Resort

31. Have a Picnic

The lobby, unlike a Disney resort like Bay Lake Tower, has a lot of seating, plus various tables and chairs. What better place for your own snack or picnic than a table within feet of a concert pianist?

where to have a picnic at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

32. Simply Take a Seat

This is my favorite activity here at the Grand Floridian, because by the time I make it over to this resort, my feet are tired and I need a rest. Unlike some of the newer DVC resorts like Bay Lake Tower, there are plenty of lobby seats here to grab at almost any time. Listen to the sounds of happy people walking on their way through the lobby toward some other fun activity. Listen to the oh-so-tallented musicians as they serenade you with your favorite Disney tunes. It’s truly heaven.

 

So there you go, over 30 activities that should be totally FREE at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. If you ever said,”Be sure to build time during the trip schedule to go resort hopping, because that’s free,” then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!  

We have several more “Free at the Resorts” articles you might enjoy, if you enjoy spending time at the Disney Resorts without spending a fortune.

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Love Free? Try These 11 Free Outdoor Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

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Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you on a couch in the lobby, watching the little girls in princess dresses dance standing on their father’s shoes.

 


Amanda

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

Come see us at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess on Facebook and Cheapskate Princess on Pinterest.

FREE Activities at Disney World’s Polynesian Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Polynesian Resort Free Things

Updated July 2015!

Opening on October 1, 1971, Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort was one of the original WDW resorts built at the same time as the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Opening ceremony was held on the beach, with celebrities in attendance like Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Fred MacMurray. The “Village” portion of the name was dropped during the 1980s, leaving the name as simply “Disney’s Polynesian Resort.” These deluxe accommodations are located on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon, occupying 39 acres and replicating a South Pacific paradise, adorned with beaches, tropical landscaping, tiki torches, and waterfalls. The Great Ceremonial House is the center of the resort as well as the lobby.

Have you ever wanted to visit the Polynesian for an hour or so just to see what other resort accommodations are available? Or as I tell my children, “let’s go see how the other half lives!” If you are on a tight budget, it sure would be nice to have something to do that won’t cost you a fortune. We scoured the Internet for activities that were totally FREE at the Polynesian to create this Freebie Guide, so grab a pencil and turn the page in your Disney planning notebook, because here we go…

Making a Disney World Scrapbook? Get These Disney Google Maps for FREE!

1. Visit Other Resorts

 Disney has an “open resort policy” where you don’t have to be staying at the resort to go visit, which is also called “resort hopping.” This would be a great time to determine where you want to stay on a future trip or inquire at the front desk about rates and current discounts. You can walk to the Grand Floridian or hop a monorail, which also goes to Bay Lake Resort and the Contemporary Resort. From the Contemporary, a boat will take you to Wilderness Lodge, but you cannot catch this transportation directly from the Polynesian.

2. Park for Free

Parking is also free while you visit the resorts.

3. View Wishes

You will be able to see the Magic Kingdom Wishes fireworks show from one of the many Disney resorts on the monorail circle. My favorite resort for this view is the Polynesian, with the fireworks directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon. Music is piped in, so while you might not be at the Magic Kingdom for Wishes, it’s the next best thing. If you are lucky, a swing or hammock will be available.

4. Catch the Night Time Water Parade

  You can catch a glimpse of the nightly water show, The Electrical Water Pageant. This water-light parade was created in 1971 just for the dedication of the Polynesian Resort. Scheduled to run that one time only, popularity keeps it playing each night. Approximate show times are:

  • Polynesian Resort, 9:00 p.m.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 9:15 p.m
  • Wilderness Lodge, 9:30 p.m.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground, 9:45 p.m.
  • Contemporary Resort 10:00p.m.

5. Listen to a Holiday Performance 

During the Christmas holidays, choirs, from elementary and middle school through retirement ages, are frequent presences in the resort lobbies signing holiday tunes. Don’t rush off to the theme parks; stop and sing along to a few songs. At the Polynesian, they were regularly located by the lobby door leading out to the swimming pools.

Disney's Polynesian Resort Christmas music

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6. Roast a Marshmallow Fireside

Camp fires at resorts offer free marshmallows and roasting sticks. Complimentary campfire activities can be found at 14 locations at Walt Disney World Resort including the Polynesian.

7. Watch a Sunset

 Frequent visitors will tell you that sunsets at the resorts are magical. Park yourself on the beach and listen to the sounds of boats horns, children splashing in the pool, wildlife, and “happiness” as my children often said. The lake is a beautiful place to stop and pretend you really are at a South Sea paradise.

8. See a Movie

Come for the campfire, and then stay for a movie. Take in one of the many free “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor movies at WDW resorts following the campfires. Huge screens are blown up for nightly movies outside the resorts. This can depend on weather.  At some resorts, you will need to bring a towel or blanket to sit on, and at others, they provide chairs. Call the resort desk for specific information.

Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice. For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort, or call 407- WDW-PLAY or 407- 939-7529.

9. See a Torch Lighting Ceremony

 At the Polynesian Resort, there is a short program featuring an authentic Polynesian dancer. He performs a traditional fire-knife dance and then lights the torches leading into the Great Ceremonial House. A Polynesian entertainer will perform chants and authentic drumming. This mini-show is presented each evening Tuesday through Saturday at 6 p.m. I would suggest calling the resort before you arrive to make double sure this event is still held.

10. Window Shop

There are several gift shops at the Polynesian, perfect for actual Disney Visa card shopping, but even better for some old-fashioned “window shopping.” Which of course is best because it’s free, but good luck on resisting the souvenirs, snacks, and clothing. You have several shopping options.

  • Downstairs, BouTIKI sells souvenirs, more expensive men’s and women’s clothing, fine jewelry, picture frames, glassware, and other upper line merchandise.
  • Upstairs, Trader Jacks sells lower priced gift and souvenir items which seem more targeted toward the younger or vacation budget conscious crowd, including t-shirts, swimming accessories, key chains, etc. Trader Jacks has a pin trading cart located outside in the lobby – you won’t miss this as you exit the monorail entering the building as you turn to the right.
  • Next door upstairs, Samoa Snacks, sells alcohol, film, drinks and snacks.

Disney's Polynesian Resort gift shop

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11. Take Home a Polynesian Lei

In the lobby of the Polynesian Resort, Cast Members often hand out plastic tropical leis, or they are hanging on a display stand by the children’s Disney cartoon viewing area.

12. Mickey Hunt

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a special self-guided Hidden Mickey hunt available to everyone. Just stop at the front desk and ask for the paper describing the clues for the hunt, then spend an afternoon exploring the resort.

13. Watch Some Cartoons

  Resort lobbies have TVs set up playing older Disney cartoons. If your kids are tired of walking while you resort hop – or tired in general- and need a break, tell them to have a seat. This is also nice child distraction while the adults check into the resort after a long drive or flight.

14. Learn the Hula

 The Polynesian Resort offers free hula classes Monday through Saturday at 3:45 and on Saturday mornings from 10:00 until noon. The 3:45 classes are designed for younger children, but the Saturday morning class is for all ages. Classes are reportedly taught by Auntie Kaui, who is a hula dancer with over 50 years of experience. While there is some remodeling going on at the Polynesian, classes are usually held in the back of the lobby.

15. Take a Walk

 There are walking paths from the Polynesian going in all directions, like over to the Ticket and Transportation Center. This is how my family usually gets to the Polynesian, by taking a monorail over to the TTC and walking from there. It’s not very far, and the paths are especially beautiful at night. When construction for the new Vacation Club building is complete, you will be able to once again walk beside Seven Seas Lagoon, which is stunning at sunset. This path also goes over to the Grand Floridian Resort.

free things at Disney's polynesian Resort

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16. Take a Jog

For more of an extended walk, a jogging path circles around the Polynesian longhouses and reaches the Shades of Green Resort and back. Passing Luau Cove, the route is 1.5 miles. For a map of the jogging path, stop by Guest Services.

17. Tiki Search

BouTIKI has wooden statues made in Bali that weigh up to 1,000 pounds each. There are many tikis around the hotel, so see who can find more, you or the kids.

18. Take a Seat

The lobby has lots of comfy chairs and couches just waiting for a tired walker. Take a seat, and watch the action as happy vacationers zip in and out of the building. The Polynesian is a busy place, and thus it’s a great place to people watch.

Our next two items aren’t found at the resort, but they can definitely add to your visit.

19. Treats on Christmas Day

 On Christmas day in 2013, Deluxe and Moderate Resorts offered Snickerdoodle cookies and lemonade in the lobby. These were the same kind of cookies given out at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and they were yummy.

20. Free Help Planning a Vacation

At Cheapskate Princess, we are all about finding discounts and cheap stuff. Many people don’t realize that using a Disney Vacation Planner is free. Erin, our Destinations in Florida agent, charges nothing for her services, zero, zip, nada.  She is a zero out-of-pocket expense to her clients. From dinner reservations and purchasing tickets to determining resort discounts and free vacation quotes, Destinations in Florida can make your vacation a reality. And she charges her clients nothing.  And if you use her services, she often sends free gifts to clients like Disney Trading Pin sets and autograph books.

Polynesian Resort free activities sun set

 21. Cool maps!  

How can you get cool map photos of the resorts like this for your scrapbooks, totally free? 

map of Disney's Polynesian Resort

Use this link to more map photos and instructions on where to find them. The maps are a great way to get excited about an upcoming trip or reminisce about your last vacation. And everybody loves free!

Making a Disney World Scrapbook? Get These Disney Google Maps for FREE!

And there you have a ton of free things to do at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. With no discounts, the least expensive room at this resort will cost you $429.00 a night (2015 prices). Visiting the Disney resorts is free and a great way to spend an afternoon relaxing in-between days you spend at the parks. Just remember, one activity that seems inciting but is not allowed is pool hopping. For info. on the only people legally allowed to pool hop, use this link. A Cheapskate Princess knows how to find activities to do for free without breaking the rules.

For a great (pretty long and quite informative) article on the history of the Polynesian Resort, with old photos of the lobby and rooms, use this link to the DIS.

Did we forget anything?

Is any information outdated?

Sometimes activities pop up or are no longer available without notice. Leave us a comment so we can keep our information current. We’ll add and subtract free stuff as we find out about them. We love picking up tips from our readers, because it’s never too late to learn a few new tricks for your next vacation.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from  Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

130 Free Disney World Activities

Updated July 2016!

The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited entertainment complex in the world. The property covers 47 square miles, offering visitors 24 unique themed resorts, four theme parks, two water parks, nearly 300 restaurants, a sports complex and the Downtown Disney shopping area. There is more to see and do than your average visitor has time or money to actually accomplish. With prices seeming to increase every year, some families struggle to make their Disney vacation dreams a reality. [Read more…]

3 Days with No Orlando Theme Park Tickets; How We Survived and Thrived Almost for FREE!

Rockin' Roller Coaster

When I heard people vacation in Orlando without actually setting foot in a theme park, I thought this was sort of a joke. Orlando is a nice town, but to go there without riding roller coasters? Orlando without going to the Magic Kingdom? In recent years it’s become…go to Orlando without visiting Harry Potter? People really drive/fly that far and don’t ride any roller coasters or get character autographs? Me personally… I live in a vacation town almost on the sandy white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.  I have just short of a nine hour drive to reach Orlando. No way was I driving to that far and not go to a theme park.

Until my annual passes ran out three days before the end of Spring Break, and I wasn’t ready to pack the family up and head home just yet. I didn’t want to spend any more money on entertainment, but I wanted to hang out in Orlando for a little while longer.

Cheapskate Princess powers…activate! It was time to put that “Oh, there is LOTS of stuff to do for free!” motto I frequently yak about into actuality. Three days + no tickets = fun??

Yup, we had a blast.

Day 1

 1. Swam in Our Pool

rent a house with a pool, heated pool on vacation, heated pool in Orlando

Our rental house had a heated in ground pool. Of course house rentals don’t always have a heated pool, but we got a fabulous deal on a rental house in Davenport. So fabulous, that’s how we wound up in Orlando for Spring Break in the first place as opposed to renting a place at the beach 15 minutes from my house. We didn’t pay any more for this house with a pool than other houses we priced without a pool.

Think you might like a rental with a pool? You can read about our rental house adventures here:

18 Cheapskate Reasons to Rent a House in Orlando for a Disney Vacation

  2. Theme Park Connection Shopping

collecting Disney key chains, buying Disney key chains

We drove what seemed like forever to a store called Theme Park Connection, a store located in a Winter Garden outside of Orando. They specialize in buying, selling, and trading Disney items. I bought nine “vintage” (translation = used and old) key chains for $1 each, plus two vintage (translation = old but brand new in the package) luggage tags. There were lots of authentic Disney parks signs and memorabilia, but most everything in the store was way out of my price range. I’m just not going to pay $300 for a framed print of the Grand Floridian Resort or $1200 for those cool Disney cruise ship models you see enticing you to book a cruise. Used trading pins here were $3 each, which is double or triple for what I pay on eBay, and used Vinylmations were $7, which is 3 times what I pay on eBay buying in bulk.

Theme Park Connection was a cool place to visit once, but unless I am on that side of Orlando, I won’t be going back anytime soon. For the serious theme park memorabilia collectors, it might be worth the drive to Winter Park, but I won’t be back unless we go to Universal or Islands of Adventure, which was about 15 minutes away from their store.

You don’t have to buy anything here; you can just window shop. It’s pretty cool to look at old Disney uniforms, resort decorations, models, books, records, and on and on Window shopping is free.

Where do I have better luck shopping? Right here…

Love Disney Jewelry? You MUST Shop Here For A Bargain!

3. The Mall of Millenia

nice Orlando mall, cool shopping on vacation, free entertainment in Orlando

Wow. This place was just as fantastic as I had been warned. I do need to point out that I am a mall snob. I don’t necessarily spend a lot of money in malls unless I am looking for something specific, but I love being in really nice malls. I like cool background music, a clean appearance, and lots of room in the food court. Nice bathrooms are a bonus.  I enjoy window shopping, since being a Cheapskate Princess, window shopping is like my own personal sport. I am good at it.

Oh, the places the Mall of Millenea has to shop/window shop. Rolex, Apple, Louis Vuitton, and on and on. They gave me complimentary bottled water at the Vera Bradley store, and it was like a three minute mental visit to a spa.

This mall wasn’t overly crowded, and we didn’t have a hard time finding a parking spot. We did have a hard time finding our car, having gotten turned around, because it’s a big mall. It’s so big, you can pick out a sports car across the street on your way back home. This was the third Lotus we saw entering or exiting the parking lot. These three cars would be the only Lotus automobiles I have seen in my entire life. The things you see in Orlando…

You don’t have to buy anything: window shopping is free.

Use this link to see the stores we loved:

FREE Entertainment in Orlando? You have Simply GOT to Visit The Mall at Millenia!

Lotus car dealership in Orlando

4. Character Warehouse Discount Shopping

where to discount shop in Orlando, discount Disney merchandise

I do a large amount of window shopping at the resorts and theme parks, because well, like many people, I don’t always have a lot of money to spend there. My kids have their own spending money; at their age, they earned it or they don’t have any souvenir money. How many $50 sweatshirts do I need? Do I need another $25 Christmas ornament? What I really NEED is a bargain, to feel like I found something that was is expensive and was marked down just for me.

That’s what you find in the Character Warehouse… Authentic Parks Merchandise marked up to 70% off. My best finds, not necessarily on that vacation, but through the years? Scarves, t-shirts, and soft computer carrying cases. I found a $30 iPhone case for $4.99.

Now again, you don’t have to buy anything; window shopping is free.

Use this link for the addresses to both Orlando Character Warehouses and phone numbers.

70% Off Disney Parks Authentic Merchandise? Cheapskate Bargains Galore!

 5. Super Target

shopping in Orlando for Disney merchandise

Three miles from our rental house in one direction was a Super Walmart, and three miles the other way was a Super Target. On this day, we chose the Target. There was lots and lots of Disney merchandise, an entire section full, but Target wasn’t as crowded as some of the Wal-marts we have shopped at in Orlando.

We went shopping because we needed food!  We needed groceries because we do a fair amount of cooking in a rental house to save money, and we found food prices were great as well, with costs comparable to shopping at home.

And that was the end of day one. Let’s recap.

  • swimming
  • Theme Park Connection store
  • Mall of Millienia
  • Disney’s Character Warehouse
  • Super Target

Day 2

1) Walk by the Lake

what to do in Orlando, things to do for free in Orlando, Old Lake Davenport,

I took our dog on a walk down to the lake in our rental house neighborhood. Many houses for rent throughout Orlando seem to be in close proximity to a lake. Our house was about .25 mile down from Lake Davenport, which is mostly undeveloped. Birds were chirping, and a nice cool breeze was blowing since Spring Break this year was a bit cooler than what I usually expect. Taking a walk by a lake is indeed very relaxing, a great way to start your day.

Not all rental houses are by lakes. I didn’t pay any more for a rental house located near a lake than I would have if there was no lake, so I call that free.

You’re really thinking about renting that house now, admit it. Here’s the link again on how we found out house and the bargain we got:

18 Cheapskate Reasons to Rent a House in Orlando for a Disney Vacation

2) Lunch at Caribbean Beach Resort

Carribbean Resort lunch

I have to feed a family of five adults: with three kids in 10th, 8th, and 6th grades, we all quality as adults in terms of table service restaurants. A characters meal will cost me over $200 including the tip. So as a general rule, if we are not cooking ourselves, we stick to counter service meals. We are Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn regulars, try to find a quiet spot upstairs at Epcot’s Electric Umbrella, and we also like to visit the resorts for a nice counter service meal there.

One of my very favorite resorts for lunch is Caribbean Beach Resort. With a food court that is reminiscent of visiting a tropical village, complete with building facades and a blue sky painted overhead, this is truly a nice place to eat.

You do not have to eat here, or really at any of the resorts, but we were there around lunch time and needed a meal. Walking around is free, but this is a great location to grab a meal.

3) Walked Around The Beach Club Resort Lake

walk around the Boardwalk Resorts for free

After we left Caribbean Beach, we drove over to the Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and took a walk around Crescent Lake, taking in the sites and gift shops. They have a really cute little gift shop and a great bakery. Having grown up in a water front town, currently living near the Gulf of Mexico, I like water locations. I enjoy being around water, hearing the sounds of boat horns on the lakes, and just soaking up the “coastal” lifestyle.

A walk around this entire lake, called “Cressent Lake,” is about a mile. You’ll see the Boardwalk Resort, The Yacht Club Resort, and The Beach Club Resort. 

Walking is free.

4. Welcome Home Wednesday

Disney Vacation Club, DVC Welcome Home Wednesday, what is Welcome Home Wednesday for Disney Vacation Club

Welcome Home Wednesdays are an hour long event for Vacation Club Members held every week at the Boardwalk Resort  Atlantic Dance Hall. most every week on, you guessed it,  Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. The session is a combination sales pitch for new DVC resorts, information session, and fun social time for DVC members.  Everyone attending receives a coupon for snacks  including apples, popcorn, caramel corn, lemonade, coffee and water. It is free to all Disney Vacation Club members. We like to attend when we can because each person receives a FREE DVC hat, which I wear all year ’round. So this wouldn’t be free unless you were a member of the Vacation Club.

If you pay DVC dues, you have paid a fee to attend, so while it’s not free per say, it didn’t cost me any extra money that day to attend. If you are not a DVC member, you can not attend, but you can do the next activity for free.

Curious about my favorite part of the DVC? Use this link:

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun! 

5) Disney Vacation Club Tour

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While at the Caribbean Beach Resort, I started talking to the Cast Member manning the DVC booth, who noticed me taking photos of odd things like brownies and light fixtures. He suggested we attend a DVC open House to see the Aulani Resort room. So we did. We drove over to Saratoga Springs to the DVC building to see the new rooms.

The Disney Vacation Club tour is just that, an informative tour of the newest actual-sized Vacation Club Villas, in our case Aulani and Animal Kingdom. But you don’t have to drive on your own. To arrange for a tour, you can stop by any DVC information kiosk at both the parks and resorts, call the front desk of your resort, or call DVC direct. A Cast Member in a red DVC van will pick you up at a resorts and deliver you to Saratoga Springs Resort for your tour. After the tour, which can last  from 45 minutes to over an hour, your family will be treated to ice cream in their DVC  ice cream parlor before being whisked away to any Disney Resort or park. A bonus if you have small children – they  provide childcare for your kids while you enjoy the tour.

Just for taking the tour, each member of your family is given an instant FASTPASS card good for up to three rides in any park. These cards are usually good for four days – including the day you receive them. You can redeem them on any ride that offers Fastpass, unless all the Fastpasses for that ride have been distributed that day, so don’t go too late in the day to use them.

Another way to see up the FREE tour is to call one of my favorite people in the (Disney) World, our personal DVC representative. His name is Aldemar Ramirez, he has the most amazing accent, and his number is 800-501-8669. Be sure to tell him Amanda Major referred you, because they frequently have DVC incentives if you know the name of a current member.

6. We Swam Again

And while in the pool we listened to the BOOMs of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks at 10 p.m. Lovin’ that  pool…

Day 2 Recap

  • Walk by the lake near our rental house
  • Lunch at Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Walked Around The Beach Club Resort Lake
  • DVC’s Welcome Home Wednesday
  • Disney Vacation Club Tour
  • Took a swim

Day 3

 1) Took a Swim

rent a house with a pool, heated pool on vacation, heated pool in Orlando

Yup, we started the day back in our rental house pool, which over looked a neighborhood golf course. I’m not a golfer, so I enjoyed watching all the practice swings. We had lovely weather during Spring Break, so the pool was a really nice addition to our rental house. We tried to swim nearly every day.

Where did we eat breakfast to save money? Use this link:

To Save Money on Disney World Food, Eat Breakfast Here!

2) Toured Wilderness Lodge

free activities at Wilderness Lodge, go to Orlando with no park tickets, what can you do in Orlando with no park tickets

We drove over for a snack at Wilderness Lodge. Roaring Forks snacks has lots of inexpensive priced cupcakes and brownies, and there are tables galore outside with a great view of the pool. Disney has an “open resort” policy, so touring the resorts are free, even if the snacks are not.  Cheapskate Tip: bring your own snacks for a picnic snack or lunch.

Touring the Disney resorts is free.

Our favorite FREE activities at Wilderness Lodge inside and out? Use these links:

Love Free? Try These 11 Free Outdoor Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

16 Free Indoor Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge…Gotta Love Free!

3) Toured the Contemporary Resort

boat over to the Contemporary Resort, free Disney activities

We took a boat from Wilderness Lodge to the Contemporary Resort, which is free. There are benches at the end of Wilderness Lodge pier, plus a water fountain, so you can have a seat and watch the activity on the lake in the shade. The ride over is soothing and stress reliving. When the sun is shining in March, boats suddenly appear everywhere. Renting a “Mouse Boat” at $37 per half hour is not free, but boat watching is.

The Contemporary Resort is probably one of my favorite resorts to walk around and just be a part of the Disney resort atmosphere. The best part I have loved about the Contemporary Resort since I first rode a monorail through it at age 5?

Walking around the resorts is free.

Mary Blair: Why You Should Touch the Tile Mural in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

4. Toured the Polynesian Resort

From the Contemporary, we boarded a monorail headed over to the Polynesian Resort. I tell everybody who asks me about our time in Orlando that making the trip to the resorts around the monorail track is one of my family’s favorite activities. It certainly helps that its free.  The Polynesian Resort has a lovely beach on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you are lucky there are sailboats with colorful sails afloat.

The resort lobby, inside the Great Ceremonial House, is fantastic as far as hotel theming. Be sure to walk around the rails outside the lobby as well, because the resort is peaceful and relaxing, and the tropical foliage is unbelievable. My sons joke that walking around the Polynesian is as close to being in the jungle as we will ever get.

Walking around the resorts is – still –  free.

Disney Polynesian Resort beach

5. Toured the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

While you can take a monorail over to this next resort, we walked from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian Resort, which took us right by all the new DVC villa construction. It’s cool to see monorails zip by overhead. Once inside the resort, we took a seat and listened to live entertainment, which was a pianist seated at a marvelous grand piano, and a jazz band on the second floor playing Disney favorites. It’s a beautiful resort to walk around.

Listening to musicians at the resort is free.

Window shopping at the resort gift shops is free

Have time for a free Disney movie? Check out how you do it:

Take a Break During Your Disney World Vacation for This Free Activity!

walk from the Polynesian Resort to the Grand Floridian

6. Window Shopping at Downtown Disney

There are parts of Downtown Disney I like as much as the gifts shops found on Main Street, U.S.A, sometimes more, because on the right day, they are not as crowded. It’s really hard not to spend any money here. Here’s a list of my favorite activities:

22 and 1/2 FREE Activities at Downtown Disney!

Two of my favorite Downtown Disney stores?

Free Disney World Entertainment? Don’t Miss the Art of Disney Store

Downtown Disney’s Basin: For $5.99, I Can Smell Like Disney All Day!

Downtown Disney shopping

There may be no one more excited about the proposed renovations for Downtown Disney than me. I love to window shop, and the expected changes just look amazing.

7. Went swimming again

Well, if you have it, you better use it.

 

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

Let’s recap that last day:

  • swim
  • toured Wilderness Lodge
  • toured the Contemporary Resort
  • toured the Polynesian Resort
  • Toured the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  • Window shopped at Downtown Disney
  • Took another swim

The sun can seemingly rise and set on theme parks in Orlando, but there are so many things to do besides ride rides. We didn’t even make it to tour the other resorts and several more malls.

Did we miss any fu activities? Leave us a comment!

 

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from  Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Thanks for stopping by, and let us know what do you do in Orlando when you don’t have tickets!

Orlando’s Mall at Millennia: A Cheapskate Princess Guide


Mall at Millenia

Updated for 2017!

Why in the “Disney World” would you ever waste your time going to a mall when you are in Orlando?

For those of you who swear you will never leave Disney property while on vacation, don’t lose interest yet. Stay with me until I can make my money-free sales pitch, or you can look at all the photos, whichever happens first.

[Read more…]

Disney Vacation Must Do: Try Epcot’s Beverly!

How bad is Beverly at Epcot, free drinks at Epcot

Updated for 2017!

Club Cool is a great little spot in Epcot that offers FREE drinks, and if you ever paused your vacation roller-coaster ridin’ fun to get a free drink, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!  Disney rumor has it that Club Cool was initially designed to be a temporary free attraction, but the Mouse kept it around because the drinks can reduce the cases of dehydration. If you’ve walked from one side of Epcot to another during any part of the summer, you know how incredible hot this park in particular can be.

So if you are feeling thirsty, or just up for a little fun, drop by Club Cool over in Epcot. Disney fans in the know will tell you…the drink everyone is talking about goes by the pretty name “Beverly.” [Read more…]

Why Celebrate with a Birthday Button at Disney World? Let a Cheapskate Princess Tell You!

Disney birthday button, celebrate a birthday at Disney World, celebrate a birthday at Disneyland

Many Disney visitors are familiar with the Birthday Button you can pick up both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Most guidebooks and website wisdom tells you that if you are celebrating a birthday at the Disney Parks, you should be sure to pick up a Birthday Button to get extra attention and possibly free treats from Cast Members. We asked the Cheapskate Princess fans if they had ever received anything extra special (translation = FREE!) for wearing their Birthday Buttons into the parks, and the answers were fabulous!  If you have ever thought about celebrating a birthday at a Disney park, here are some details about the free swag our fans picked up on their vacations.

Nine Cheapskate Tips to Celebrate a Birthday at Walt Disney World for FREE!

Some of our  Cheapskate Princess fans received a free dessert. 

Jason, “I got a free dessert the entire week of my birthday at every sit down restaurant we ate at last year. Best birthday ever!”

Christina reminds us why you always need a camera, “For her 12th birthday, we took my daughter to Disneyland. The day we arrived, we had tickets to the special seating with desserts for Fantasmic. Eager to get to the parks, we dropped everything at the hotel and ran over. Later, we got to the designated seating area for the show, and the Disney Cast Member checking us in saw my daughter’s birthday button. He wished her a happy birthday and showed us to our seats. Fifteen minutes later the CM returned, this time with a giant piece of cake on a special Disney Plate with a candle on top. He asked my daughter to come with him for a moment, led her to the center of the crowd, and announced it was her birthday. He lit the candle and led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to her. There she was in the dark, face lit by a candle, beaming as 5000.ish people sang, and there I was tearing up and realizing I didn’t have my camera. Naturally, she didn’t finish the cake because it was HUGE, so they packed it up for her, plate and all. She’ll be 19 next month, and we’ve still got the plate and wonderful memories of her 12th birthday.”

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

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Several of our of our  Cheapskate Princess fans received a cupcake or some type of snack. 

Stacy tells us, “We got a free cupcake from Tusker House and the Crystal Palace, plus a free chocolate dessert (AMAZING!) from Cape May. I even have a picture of it!”

Cindy says, “My husband received a free ice cream sundae with Mickey ears on it for his. I have received lovely sweets from the Yachtsman Steakhouse on a plate with Happy Birthday written in chocolate. I also have a cute place mat from Chef Mickey’s.”

Lenora got this wacky-named favorite, “The Grey Stuff at Be Our Guest!”

Donna received the same thing,  “At Be Our Guest they gave my son ‘The Grey Stuff’ and it WAS delicious!!”

Emlyn got her birthday treat at Disneyland, “At Blue Bayou at DL in 2010, my sister and daughter ,who were both celebrating and wearing their buttons, got birthday sundaes with Mickey sprinkles.”

Save Money on Disney World T-Shirts by Making Your Own!

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You just might get a free drink, maybe…

Jennifer, “We received a frozen lemonade over by the Rockin Roller Coaster, since it was mine and my son’s birthday!”

Stephanie tells us, “I got a free margarita from the Mexico Pavillion in Epcot. Awesome!!!!”

LeighAnne tells it short and sweet, “We got free popcorn and soda!”

Michaela received a couple goodies, “I got lots of great stuff, but by far the best was a free glass of champagne each for my fiancé and I from our amazing waiter at the Brown Derby!”

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

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Many of our  Cheapskate Princess fans received some type of free food. 

Amy tells us, “My daughter received a free second meal from Cinderella castle because she wanted more chicken and not a cupcake.”

Krystene is a Disneyland visitor, “At Blue Bayou at Disneyland my husband got beignets!! So good!!

Sue whooped it up with her grandchild, “My granddaughter got a Mickey shaped beignet at French Quarter for her Birthday. She loved it!”

Cheryl went with her kids, “My adult son and daughter each got a special cake with sparklers on it at the Animal Kingdom Rain Forest Cafe on our trip during Thanksgiving break four years ago.”

Hayden snagged a set of character signatures, “At 1900 Park Fare, my daughter celebrated her 5th birthday and received a birthday cupcake and a place mat signed by all of the characters.”

What’s One Thing You Need Less of On Your Disney World Vacation?

I love a birthday, birthday party ideas, birthday party, birthday button,

Mousekeeping went over and above for our  Cheapskate Princess fans.

Sharon shares, “Mousekeeping made me a really cool birthday cake out of towels!!”

Christina ditched the kids for a special celebration, “In January, my hubby and I spent a few days at Disney just to get away together. Laura, our Mousekeeper at Art of Animation, made the cutest Lovebirds out of wash cloths and left them for us in our room window…now they are looking cute sitting on my entertainment center in my bedroom… LOL!!”

Lenora hit the Mousekeeping surprise jackpot, We got a birthday cake made out of wash cloths at the Disneyland hotel, a signed photo of Cinderella, and free beignets at Cafe Orleans!”

Mayra says, “My son got a card signed by the Fab 5 and a Mickey head balloon; this was left at our room at Port Orleans Resort.”

Where is the Best Place to Watch Disney’s “Wishes” Fireworks?

Disney birthday balloon, Disney balloon, yellow balloon, Disney princess birthday, Disney

Many of our  Cheapskate Princess fans received special perks from Disney Cast Members. 

Kelli snagged a last-minute reservation, which can be worth it’s weight in Mickey gold, “On our recent trip my Disney daughter got free cupcakes at each table service restaurant, a free PB cookie from Big Top Treats, and free custom embroidery on her ear hat. I don’t know if this counts because the meal wasn’t free, but I asked about a last minute reservation for PL and they said none available. But when they saw my daughter’s pin, they worked her in!”

Christina may have one of our better stories, “At Whispering Canyon for our anniversary a few years ago, my husband and I got free glasses of wine with a strawberry on the rim of the glass. They asked us to stand up and kiss! Then another year at 50’s Prime Time our “cousin” waitress performed an impromptu wedding vow renewal.”

Is Your Starbucks Coffee Habit Taking Money Out Of Your Disney Vacation Fund?

DVC button, Disney Vacation Club button, Disney World buttons,

In what was one of my bigger surprises, many of our  Cheapskate Princess fans received merchandise from Disney Cast Members.

Teryl tells us, “My daughter got the cupcakes, and Pin Traders gave her a birthday pin when we were trading.”

Chris hit the birthday jackpot,”My son received a large white chocolate Mickey and assorted chocolates from the Grand Floridian, and for his 18th birthday, he got a signed Jack Sparrow poster and about 6 different candy bars wrapped in ribbon from the BWI!”

Sanrda also got some swag during their stay at a Deluxe Resort, “At Animal Kingdom Lodge, I got a nice Animal Kingdom Lodge notebook, pen and a key chain.”

Nicole received a Disney Princess treat, “My daughter was fooling around at a shop with a dress up Cinderella doll, and a Cast Member dressed the doll with her, handed her a wand to say the magic words, then told her the wand was hers to keep.”

Is Summer the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World?

Disney anniversary button, Disney anniversary pin, celebrate an anniversary at Disney

And don’t forget that Disney has Anniversary Buttons as well. 

Michelle enjoyed a special evening, “We got a dessert with special writing for our anniversary! Loved it!”

Where can you find the Disney buttons?

Nine Cheapskate Tips to Celebrate a Birthday at Walt Disney World for FREE!

There is certainly no guarantee that while wearing a Disney birthday button you will receive any swag or special treatment other than a big shout of “HaPpY BiRthDaY!” But if you do, give that Cast Member a big thanks.

Thanks for stopping by. If you ever held off on your birthday celebration so you could party at a Disney Resort, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess.

 

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from  Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

Free Indoor Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

free activties at Disney's Wilderness LodgeUpdated for 2017!

I love resort hopping at Walt Disney World. If you have a couple of free hours on your next Disney vacation, there may be no better place to spend some time than Wilderness Lodge Resort. One of the best reasons to visit this specific resort, perhaps more than all the others, is all the free things you can find to do inside the lodge. It’s hot in Florida for a large portion of the year, and inside the Lodge is cool and shaded. Use our guide to all the best FREE activities the Lodge has to offer.  [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Visit The Art of Disney Store

art-of-disney-store-at-disney-springs

Updated for 2017!

If I bought everything that caught my eye at Disney World, how totally broke I would be. I’m a child of the 70s, and we did a lot of looking at souvenirs back then, because none of us kids had a Jay Oh Bee (job!) to pay for anything. My parents had money, but they were too busy sneaking in the Magic Kingdom with food, and some other junk about teaching me the lesson you can’t have everything you want (No, and Blah, blah, blah is what I heard at the time) to buy us everything we wanted. 

Some of my favorite adult window shopping at Disney is in jewelry stores like Arribas Brothers and the Art of Disney stores.  Even if I am not taking home any huge Disney themed portraits, this has certainly never stopped me from looking.

So while in Disney Springs, an adult must do is the Art of Disney store. [Read more…]

Over 30 FREE Activities In Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Free Activities in Downtown Disney Disney Springs

Updated for 2017!

If you ate french fries off your child’s childs’ plate as a meal so you could afford a pricey Disney souvenir, you just might be a Cheapskate PrincessAre you looking for some fun without the big expense of more theme park tickets?  Cheapskate Princesses have an absolute favorite shopping spot in Orlando that, if you do it right, doesn’t have to involve any money at all…Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney.

Here are over activities at Disney Springs to do for FREE, because a true Disney Princess loves FREE. [Read more…]

Free Drinks at Epcot’s Club Cool: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

free drinks at Disney World Epcot Club Cool

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve ever walked out of your way to hunt down something free to drink on vacation, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Free drinks and Disney World are not words you would not normally speak together in the same sentence. But Epcot has a semi-hidden gem that many of you princesses will overlook, because it’s not situated at the exit to any roller coaster, and there is no huge neon flashing sign. Which is a good thing, because that leaves more room for all the cheapskates at the drink fountains!

Where do you get free drinks at Epcot?

A little spot called Club Cool. [Read more…]