I grew up going to Disney, and now that I’m an adult, I still consider Disney World one of my favorite places. I’ve always been interested in ways to make Disney World more affordable. Luckily, there are a lot of free things to do at the Walt Disney World Resort! The best part? None of these things require a parking ticket, and all of them are a great way to enjoy the Walt Disney World Resort without breaking out your wallet! These free things are a great way to take a break from the crowded parks, but they’re also a nice way to spend a day in Orlando! Here are some unexpected free things to do at the Walt Disney World Resort!
This should be a given, but the newly completed Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney) area is a must-visit. With a wide selection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, Disney Springs is quickly becoming almost as popular as the parks themselves! Since Disney Springs is a shopping district, there is no entrance fee. Better yet, parking is free and convenient! Here are some more free things to do at Disney Springs!
- Take the short boat ride between the Marketplace and the Westside for great views of the area and surrounding resorts!
- Watch the bakers create one of kind sweets in some of the bake shops. Great ones to check out are Amorette’s Patisserie, Sprinkles, and Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC which all have windows and views of the bakers in action!
- Finish this Disney Springs Scavenger Hunt!
- Try some of the mouthwatering free samples at Ghiradelli’s Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop.
- Enjoy one of the live performances happening daily.
- Play with the bath goodies and try all the samples at Basin.
- Watch the nighttime drone show (only available during the holiday season)
Animal Kingdom Lodge
While I love Animal Kingdom Lodge because they have Jiko, one of my favorite restaurants on property, it’s also a great place to get a little preview of the Animal Kingdom theme park. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has several Sahara viewing areas to see animals close up, and they’re free of cost and open to all guests even outside of the hotel. Simply take a bus from one of the parks and enjoy a few hours at this beautiful resort.
The Boardwalk Resort is another favorite which captures the fun of a coastal shoreline. This is a great place to people watch and window shop, with a lot of browsing options. Bonus: it’s a short walk from other fun resorts such as the Swan and Dolphin and the Beach and Yacht Club. Some great things to do at the Boardwalk include:
- If you’re 21+ you can visit the Atlantic Dance Hall, which often hosts shows and live dance events!
- Take a ride on the Friendship boats to tour nearby resorts.
- Play some of the carnival style games for a small fee.
- View street performers who surprise guests throughout the day!
Fort Wilderness Lodge Campground + Cabins
You don’t have to be camping in a tent to enjoy the beautiful grounds of the Wilderness Lodge area. There are plenty of cheap or free activities here including boat and bike rentals as well as nature trails. The Tri-Circle D Ranch has horses and ponies to view and ride for a small fee. Enjoy the more wild side of Florida with an afternoon spent exploring an untouched section of Florida. When the sun goes down you can even see a movie and a live show complete with smores and sing-a-longs!
Learn to Draw
The Art of Animation Resort now hosts learn to draw classes by cartoon experts. These classes are open to anyone and happen several times throughout the day. While they are geared towards children, they are a unique experience to get hands on help from a professional. Learn more about the Art of Animation here!
The Disney World resorts and hotels all have unique features and accommodations which are worth exploring even if you aren’t staying on property! While most of the accommodations such as the pools are only available for resort guests, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the grounds and admire the views! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Enjoy a live piano or jazz band performance in the Grand Floridian Resort lobby.
- Take a walk from the Grand Floridian to the wedding pavilion and enjoy the view of the lake and the Magic Kingdom.
- Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the shores behind the Polynesian.
- Ooh and ahh at the Pyramids in the Coronado Springs pool area.
- Take photos with the Pop Icons in the Pop Century and All Star Resorts properties.
- Lounge in the hammocks on the beach of the Yacht and Beach Club.
Free Things to do at the Walt Disney World Resort
Whether you’re visiting Disney World Resort for the day or for a week, these cheap or free things to do are a great way to explore the lesser seen sides of this amazing theme park! It can be hard to afford a vacation to the Disney World Resort, so these tips help find free alternative ways to enjoy the magic of Disney! What are your favorite cheap or free things to do at the Disney World Resort?