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25 completely free things at Disney World
When you think of a Disney World vacation, the first word that comes to mind might be expensive. So, you’re looking for some free things at Disney World. I don’t blame you; we would all like to save a few dollars for a Disney vacation!
Disney is indeed the most magical place on earth, and it can also be one of the most expensive places on earth. There are so many wonderful things about a Disney vacation, and some of them can be free. Yes, free!
Here are 25 free things at Disney World. We’ll talk about both things that are free for everyone at Disney World and things that are free to Walt Disney World Resort guests.
Do I need to rent a car at Disney World?
Okay, so renting a car isn’t free, but if you rent a car, you want to save as much money as possible, right? If you decide to rent a car during your Orlando vacation, I recommend renting one from Discount USA Car Rental.
Whenever I need to rent a car, I use Discount USA Car Rental, whether I fly into MCO, SFB, or even Tampa. They have the best prices, and you don’t have to pay until you pick it up!
1. Celebration Buttons
Let’s start with the one you might already know about: celebration buttons. Make sure to pick up a celebration button if you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or another special event.
You may get additional freebies by having a celebration button, and you may not. Don’t ask Cast Members for magical extras, because you won’t get them. That’s what makes them magical!
2. Disney Genie
When I originally wrote this blog post a few years ago, I wrote about how Fast Passes were free. HAHA. No more. However, the new Disney Genie is free to use.
Disney Genie is not to be confused with Disney Genie +. Disney Genie is used for travel planning, while Disney Genie + is what replaced Fast Passes. The Disney Genie + is $15 per person per day, and even then, some rides are not included.
Yes, it isn’t straightforward, but Disney has (kind of but not really) made up for it by offering Disney Genie to help with your travel planning.
Sometimes people ask about Universal, so yes, you still get Express Passes for free when staying at a premium hotel at Universal Orlando Resort.
3. Kids Under 3
Children under 3 are free at Disney World. You don’t have to pay for a ticket for any children under 3, which is helpful if you have a 2-year-old who can ride the rides and enjoy themselves.
4. Dining for Kids under 3
Children under three years of age can also dine for free at Disney World. They can eat off their parent’s plates, and many restaurants also give them a drink – completely free! This is a massive advantage at a buffet.
Wi-Fi is free throughout Disney World parks and Disney World resorts. It isn’t always fantastic in the parks, but it is free.
6. Meeting Characters*
Meeting characters at Disney World is entirely free in some scenarios. Yes, there are times when you need a dining reservation, etc., to meet a character, but many characters’ meet-and-greets are free. Meeting characters wasn’t a thing for quite some time due to social distancing, but it’s back now!
7. Character Autographs
8. Visting Disney World Resorts
You can use Disney transportation (including the fun, free Disney Skyliner) to visit resorts, even if you aren’t staying there. Some of the high-end resorts may not allow you to park without a dining reservation, but you can take Disney Transporation or another form of transportation to those resorts.
Riding the Disney Skyliner can be a fun and free way to relax after a busy day at Epcot or Hollywood Studios. Or, you can find around for free even without park tickets!
Disney wants you to stay on property, so they want you to check out the resorts. There are even activities at resorts that are often available to anyone, but check at the front desk to make sure.
9. Viewing Animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Seeing animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge is one example of something you can do at a resort without being a resort guest. You can head over to the Animal Kingdom to take a look at the animals from one of the many viewing locations. Checking out the animals is a great thing to do if you plan a day away from the parks.
10. Fireworks, Parades, and Shows
While there are some separately ticketed events, the fireworks and shows at Disney World are absolutely free. Fireworks and parades are some of the favorites of the free things to do at Disney World. Make sure to check out which shows are available during your stay. You can check the times of fireworks, parades, and shows in the My Disney Experience app.
11. Transportation Trading Cards
This is one of those free things at Disney World that’s a little lesser-known. Disney has trading cards for various types of transportation; make sure to ask for one.
12. Sorcerers at the Magic Kingdom
Visit the Firehouse on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom to sign up and receive free key cards.
13. Drawing Lessons
The Art of Animation Resort and the Conservation Station in the Animal Kingdom both offer free art lessons daily. You do not have to stay at either resort to participate, and it’s a lot of fun for the whole family.
14. Disney Play App
The Disney Play App has a lot of interactive games that you can play around the park. There’s a lot to discover, and it’s a great way to kill time while waiting in line.
I’ve talked about this in my Disney World hacks, but remember that water is always free at Disney World. There’s no need to spend $4-$5 on bottled water. You can request a cup of water at any counter-service restaurant. If you bring a reusable bottle, they are not allowed to fill it but will give you enough cups of water to fill it yourself.
Using all those cups does seem wasteful, but thankfully, Disney World is adding more water refill stations every day. Make sure to fill up if you see one.
16. PhotoPass photos from cast members
Yes, you can sign up for a PhotoPass (and probably should), but did you know that the cast member or helper will take a photo with your phone? All you have to do is ask.
17. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
The campfire sing-a-long and classic movie is one of the free things at Disney World that I can’t believe is free! The Movie and Campfire Singalong at Fort Wilderness is entirely free, and you get to meet Chip and Dale!
If you’re lucky, you might score some free stickers at Disney World. You can often find stickers at the Disney Vacation Club kiosks. Many Cast Members also have stickers and might offer them to younger guests.
19. Disney Springs
You don’t have to have a park ticket to visit Disney Springs, so I had to include it on the free things at Disney World list.
20. Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunts
There are two free Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunts at Wilderness Lodge. You do not have to be a guest to participate in the scavenger hunts.
Free things at Disney World for Disney Resort Guests
While there are plenty of free things at Disney World for everyone, there are even more for resort guests.
Disney World Resort guests can enjoy complimentary transportation to and from the airports and throughout the parks. Don’t forget to get your free transportation trading cards, too (#11.)
MagicBands are available for everyone, but Disney Resort guests get them for free. There is a small charge for personalized bands, but the basic MagicBands are complimentary for resort guests.
Unfortunately, MagicBands are still available but are no longer free to Disney Resort guests.
23. Resort Activities
Make sure to check the activity calendar when you check into your resort. Disney Resorts are regularly adding activities for resort guests, which is perfect for a resort day away from the theme parks.
The Caribbean Beach Resort offers free yoga. It is first come, first serve, but check it out if you love yoga.
25. Luggage Storage
I am like a broken record when I tell you DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN YOUR RENTAL CAR, I know. However, if you’re a Disney World resort guest, you don’t have to worry about it! Disney Resorts will hold your luggage for you even after you check out, which is excellent for those who have flights that don’t leave until the evening. While you’re planning your vacation, check out all the cute Disney luggage for your trip!
More Disney Travel Tips
- Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge vs. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World
- 10 reasons to take a Disney Cruise with kids
Booking your Disney Vacation
Now that you know all of the free things at Disney World, it’s time to start planning your vacation. Planning a Disney vacation is a lot harder than it sounds! In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest vacations to plan. Between dining reservations, Fast Passes, figuring out where to stay, and whether or not you need a car, it’s a lot!
One of the best Disney World Tips that I can give you is to book with a Disney Certified Travel Agent – like me! Booking with a Disney Travel Agent will save a lot of time and money. Here are the types of things that I do as a Disney Travel Agent:
- Itinerary Planning
- Helping figure out which dining plan is best for you (if any!)
- Helping with Advanced Dining Reservations
- Fast Pass Recommendations
- Tips on how to make the best use of the My Disney Experience App
- Making sure that you get the most current promotions to save you money!
If booking with a Disney Travel Agent sounds like the right thing for your family, make sure to contact me, and let’s start planning your epic Disney World vacation.
DIY your Disney Planning
If you plan to DIY your vacation, I understand that too! I highly recommend buying your tickets through Undercover Tourist if you choose not to use a Travel Agent. There are a lot of really scammy sites out there, so make sure you’re booking through an approved partner (like Undercover Tourist) or an approved Travel Agent!
If you plan to stay off-property, I recommend checking out Expedia to see what is available in the Orlando area outside of Disney Resorts.