Disney World can be expensive. There are times when you find yourself at Disney World looking for something to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Here are our top 10 free activities to do while at Disney World:
#10: Watching the “Old Faithful” Geyser – Located at the Wilderness Lodge, the Old Faithful Geyser erupts just about every hour, all day long. While not exactly Old Faithful, it is a fun event to watch with the kids. There are also plenty of walking paths, and the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge is great.
#9: Touring the Deluxe resorts – Disney has some fantastic resorts, all with great theming and wonderful areas to explore. None of the resorts require an entrance fee, just jump on a bus from one of the parks or Downtown Disney to a resorts of your choice and start exploring.
#8: Downtown Disney – Disney’s mall. With Disney shops galore, there is plenty to do and see at Downtown Disney. Make sure you visit the oft missed West Side.
#7: Boat Rides – Disney operates many different boats around WDW, all free to ride. Take a boat from the Magic Kingdom to the Wilderness Lodge, from Port Orleans Riverside to Downtown Disney or the big steamer from the Magic Kingdom to the Ticket and Transportation Center.
#6: Magic Kingdom Monorail – The monorail that serves the Magic Kingdom is basically a big circle, stopping at the Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian and the Ticket and Transportation Center. A great way to see the resorts and Magic Kingdom up close without spending any money. Feel free to get off at any of the resorts to explore.
#5: Epcot Monorail - They monorail that serves Epcot runs from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Epcot and back. While there isn’t much to see between the two stops (a lot of trees, Epcot parking lot and if you look closely, the old Walt Disney World Airport), but once you arrive at Epcot, the monorail actually enters the park, and you get an up close view of the entire park, without paying admission. A great introduction to Disney World.
#4: Magic Kingdom Fireworks – While best seen from inside the Magic Kingdom, you get a great view of them from either the California Grill (you must be dining there to watch from that point) or from the main level, where they often pipe in the music direct from the Magic Kingdom.
#3: Animals – The Animal Kingdom Lodge is spectacular, but you don’t have to be staying there to enjoy the animals. Once inside the resort, just head to the back of the lobby, go downstairs, and walk outside. You will be located right in the middle of the savanna surrounding the resort. There is an area where you can walk out into the savanna for a better view. They often have guides from the resort pointing out animals and asking question.
#2: Electrical Water Pageant – Each night, the Electrical Water Pageant passes through the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, and can be seen at the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. By far the best place to see it is from the Beach at the Polynesian. Plenty of places to sit, nice soft sand and easy access make this a prime place to spend a while watching the special water parade.
#1: Boardwalk - The Boardwalk area, located just outside of Epcot, is the hidden gem of Walt Disney World. Plenty of wonderful places to walk, good good, a decent view of the Epcot fireworks are just part of the reason why you should make a stop here. My favorite is the Buskers that appear on weekends (Thursday through Sunday night). They are very entertaining for both adults and kids, and are absolutely free, and don’t ask for tips either. If you feel like spending a few dollars and burning a few calories, rent one of the surrey bikes available on the Boardwalk. They will seat between 2 and 12 people, and there is an awesome circular path that goes around the Boardwalk, past the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, and back to the far end of the Boardwalk. 30 minutes is ample, it doesn’t seem like that long of a time, but trust me, after 20 minutes, you will wish you had only paid for 15.
Disney World does offer many other free events and activities around the resorts, and many that are very affordable. Just ask around. Many deluxe resorts do tours and special events throughout the year, so don’t be afraid to ask at your front desk or call the resorts directly.