A trip to Walt Disney World Resort is a notoriously expensive vacation. From food, to souvenirs, and the very tickets themselves Disney World can certainly put a drain on a families wallet. The following is a list of things guests can enjoy in the parks without the need to purchase anything except an admission ticket. These are things that are included in admission but offer a tangible take home item or an extra special experience/activity. So here we go into the guilt-free fun zone…
So this is not exactly a super fun freebie BUT it is a very valuable one that i think a lot of first time Disney goers don’t know. While at the Walt Disney World Parks you can walk up to any counter service restaurant and get an ice water for FREE! In the Florida heat, walking all day- staying hydrated is extremely important! However, a standard size bottle of Disani water is around $4 at Walt Disney World. That adds up very quickly. So take advantage of this! If the taste of tap water isn’t your thing i recommend bringing water flavoring to add to it- we like to bring Mio it’s no calorie, has a resealable cap, and doesn’t have that fake sugar taste.
These restaurants have self serve drink stations allowing guest to get free refills: Be Our Guest and Tortuga Tavern in Magic Kingdom, Sunshine Seasons and Electric Umbrella at Epcot, Backlot Express in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Restaurantosaurus in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At other Disney World quick-service restaurants drinks are provided to you from behind a counter with no refills.
My Guys ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! Club Cool is located in Epcot just passed Spaceship Earth (the big ball) and Starbucks. Club Cool is full of fountain soda stations with Coke beverages from around the world for guests to sample in tiny paper cups-as much as they want- for FREE! An added bonus- they always have the A/C cranked! It is an oasis on those blazingly hot days. This is my guys first stop when we enter Epcot, although it’s worth noting that Club Cool doesn’t open until 10am most days (we aren’t morning people on vacation). The drinks range from very good fruity soda to ‘what was that?!’.
Mission to Mouse tip: Have your camera ready when members of your party are ready to try Italy’s Beverly… just trust me 😉
Walt Disney World offers quite a few different celebration buttons for free! If you are celebrating something- they probably have a button for it and if not they offer a blank “I’m Celebrating” button to fill in your particular celebration. Our niece got a button for her High School graduation!
My husband and i have quite a collection of anniversary buttons. They are great mementos of your special Disney vacation AND at the very least Cast Members will congratulate you/wish you well when you wear it. You may also receive special perks- this is not a guarantee but Disney loves making the guest experience extra special so there is a good chance you may get a little something special at the end of your table service meal…
So moral of the story- if you are celebrating something special, get a button for it! And wear it proudly, you never know when it may pay off.
This is a coloring activity located throughout EPCOT’s World Showcase. I think KIDCOT is wonderful for the younger group of kids. World Showcase is one of my favorite areas in all of Disney World but the appeal is more towards adults. Touring the countries with only one ride in Mexico (the Norway Frozen ride is set to open in the spring) feels like walking around, wasting time to them and the likelihood of boredom is high. So having a station just for them in each country’s pavilion is a great break. Each pavilion has a representative from the country at their KIDCOT station to help the kids and also draw the flag of their country on the back. The goal is to collect all the flags. Our son loves to collect anything- this turns it into a game/contest for him and he is always excited for the next stop. In Japan they will also write the child’s name in Japanese if you ask! So not only is this an activity for the kids when they would otherwise be bored and asking to ride Nemo for the 4th time, it gives the adults an opportunity to pause in each country, explore, and maybe even enjoy a beverage or snacking around the world. Win, Win! This is also something they can take home as a *free* souvenir.
Transportation Trading Cards
The Cast Members on the different forms of Disney transportation should have transportation trading cards. These can be fun to collect for the young ones. If the cast member you speak to first doesn’t have any just ask another and you may luck out.
Ghiradelli in Disney Springs offers free chocolate samples just for coming in as does the Ghiradelli shop in the festival center during EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival. These samples are often of the season chocolate- our last visit it was pumpkin spice which i loved!
The Confectionery on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom often offers samples. If it’s not too busy you’ll see a cast member holding a tray of things for guests to try.
A Pirates Adventure in Magic Kingdom. This is a scavenger hunt complete with treasure maps and clues. Our 7 year old son really loved the experience! It involves map-reading, hidden clues and entertaining special effects. Each time the guest completes a quest they return for the next pirate map. The maps themselves look pretty awesome and are great take-home souvenirs. Once the mission is completed the pirate gets a certificate and a sticker.
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
This is another quest/mission activity. This one takes place in EPCOT’s World Showcase and is an AMAZING activity! This is a ‘must-do’ for us every trip. The child is allowed to choose their secret agent name and is then given a phone and mission in a particular country. I recommend selecting a county you are interested in- you’ll be spending extra time there after-all. The phone prompts the new secret agent with clues to find Dr. Doofenshmirtz and stop his evil plot. We’ve found that the mission in France can be a little trickier than the other countries BUT at the end of that particular mission the secret agent receives a FREE pressed penny featuring Perry himself.
Transportation at Disney World between Parks and between Disney World Resort Hotels is also free. This includes the buses, boats, and monorail. We particularly like taking the boat from Hollywood Studios over to EPCOT. It’s almost always empty and a much more relaxing way to get to EPCOT than the bus system. An added bonus: the boat drops guest off at the much less crowded entrance right at World Showcase.
Those are our favorite free things at Walt Disney World- do you have any suggestions?