Over 50 million people visit Disney World every year. The “magic” of Disney World continues to entice visitors from around the world, making it the world’s most famous and popular theme park year after year since 1971. When you think there is nothing new under the sun, Disney always has new surprises. These surprises include the free Magic Band, MyMagic+, and FastPass+.
A full day of fun in any of the four theme parks at Disney World can set you back around $100 per person. For those who seek to save some money without compromising on Disney’s magic, here are Travelmath’s 5 free things to do in Disney World:
1. Enjoy Free Rides in Disney World
Even if you arrive at 8 am in Orlando International Airport, you may want to save on park admissions and not visit the theme parks on your first day. Your family may be exhausted after a few hours of flying or driving, so you’ll want to save your energy for the next full days in the park.
For your first day, it’s best to get acquainted with the resort and take time to relax at the pool, ride the monorail or enjoy a boat ride.
Disney’s monorail system has three separate lines – the resort monorail, the Epcot monorail, and the Express monorail. The resort monorail stops at Magic Kingdom Park, the Contemporary Resort, the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian Village Resort. The others offer express round-trip services to Epcot and Magic Kingdom Park.
Take the monorail and explore Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village.
Water taxis (launch), ferries, and ferryboats are complimentary in Disney World. Sail around Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake, Crescent Lake, and Lake Hollywood and take in the beautiful scenery.
More information: Water Transportation
2. Visit the Resorts
Most Disney resorts have free activities for guests and non-guests. Take a walk at the beach at the Polynesian Village Resort. If you like Toy Story, head over to Disney’s All Star Movies Resort for a photo with the 35-foot Buzz Lightyear (use Disney’s free transportation to get there).
Join Chip ‘n Dale for the nightly campfire celebration and watch a Disney movie under the stars at the Fort Wilderness Resort. You can either bring your own marshmallows and sticks or purchase a s’mores kit at the Chuckwagon Snack Bar. Eat, play and have your photos taken with Chip ‘n Dale. After the campfire celebration, join the cowboy sing-along and movie under the stars.
More information: Chip ‘n Dale Campfire
During the holidays enjoy the gingerbread houses and Christmas trees created by the resorts. Disney resorts have the best gingerbread house displays in Florida.
Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks for free from the Polynesian Village beach, the dock at the edge of Bay Lake of the Grand Floridian and at Magic Kingdom’s ticket and transportation center.
To see Epcot’s Illuminations (obstructed view) for free, go to Disney’s Beach Club and Boardwalk.
If you would like to watch the fireworks while dining, the best restaurants to do so are at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill and the Grand Floridian’s Narcoossee’s.
You can also enjoy the fireworks at a non-Disney restaurant. The new Four Seasons Orlando’s Capa Bar on the 17th floor offers views of the nightly fireworks.
4. Electric Water Pageant
The nightly Electric Water Pageant is suitable for preschoolers, kids, teens, and adults. See the sea monster, mythical and natural creatures come alive accompanied by Disney tunes and patriotic songs.
The locations for viewing: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness and Contemporary.
More information: Electric Water Pageant
5. Disney Springs
Downtown Disney is now called Disney Springs with two new restaurants: Morimoto Asia and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. It is free to visit Disney Springs. It offers hundreds of shops, restaurants, and entertainment centers that fit guests of all ages.
Currently with 75 shops, Disney Springs will have over 150 shops when the project is completed. One of the most popular shops for kids is the Lego Store.
Join the DJ Kids Dance Party for free entertainment at the Waterside Stage from 7 to 10 pm. For Irish music and dance, join in the fun at Raglan Road Irish Pub.
A few extra things:
The Magic band is an all-in-one device for Disney resort guests. This rubber bracelet is your identity ‘card’ – your key, entrance ticket, and credit card when you visit Disney. It stores all your information including itineraries, meals, passes, and fast passes you created on MyMagic+ through MyDisneyExperience.com. One big plus is you get FastPass+ access where you can skip lines for popular rides.
The Magic band is free for Disney hotel guests and costs $12.95 per band for non-Disney guests.