Planning a Disney vacation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are ways to have an amazing family vacation without totally breaking the bank. If you’re looking for free things to do at Walt Disney World, the following ideas should get you started toward a fun, budget-friendly Disney family vacation.
Free Things to Do in The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
Go on a Pirate Adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow
The Magic Kingdom is home to Treasure of the Seven Seas: A Pirates Adventure where guests assist Jack Sparrow in fighting off enemies. This interactive adventure brings guests on a scavenger hunt that begins in Adventureland. They’ll then complete missions throughout the Magic Kingdom. Players earn Treasure Finder cards after successfully completing each mission and upon completion of all 5 missions, are awarded a special victory card.
Treasure of the Seven Seas: A Pirates Adventure is a fun way to add a bit of magic to your day at The Magic Kingdom, especially if you have pirate fans in your family. The signed victory card from Captain Jack Sparrow doubles as the perfect free souvenir for your day in the park.
Defeat Villians as Merlin’s Apprentice
Also at The Magic Kingdom, guests can assist Merlin in the interactive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. Players locate portals hidden throughout the park and activate a nearby game screen with their playing cards. The playing cards cast spells that assist Merlin in keep villains from taking over The Magic Kingdom.
Free Things to Do in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World
Kids aged 4 through 12 are invited to earn a Trials of the Temple Badge. They’ll work hard to defeat Darth Vader or Kylo Ren at the ancient Jedi Temple. Jedi Knight’s help train your child before they face off against the power of the Dark Side. Parents can enjoy the show while Disney Photopass photographers capture all of the special moments. You can download photos from the event for free with a special Photopass for the event. It’s important to register early for at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost upon your arrival at Hollywood Studios.
Where to Find Free and Budget-Friendly Souvenirs at Disney
If you’re looking for free things to do at Disney you’re probably also interested in taking home some budget-friendly souvenirs. When visiting Walt Disney World you can save some money by collecting freebies as souvenirs throughout the parks. There are several out of the box ways to bring home special mementos of your visit without breaking the bank The following are inexpensive ways to incorporate some regular pixie dust into a special souvenir.
Press a Penny at a Coin Press Machine
Pressing pennies is a great way to let the little ones expend a bit of energy and create a fun, customized souvenir to take home. Throughout Walt Disney World properties, there are over 100 coin press machines. Most of the pressed coin machines require you to insert fifty-cents and a penny. Others with Star Wars theming are a little more expensive but not by much, and they’re fun to collect and search for while you’re on Disney property.
Recognize a Special Trip with a Button
Celebration Buttons help Disney Guests commemorate special events like First Visits, Anniversaries, Engagements and Birthdays. Guests can also opt for an “I’m Celebrating” button that lets you recognize any special event that means something to you. This is a great way to incorporate a little extra magic into your day in the theme parks. Disney guests can pick up Celebration Buttons at Guest Relations in each park.
First Haircut at Harmony Barber Shop
While it’s not one of the free things to do at Disney, it’s still relatively inexpensive and if you’re going to be getting your toddler’s hair cut some time, you may as well do it at Walt Disney World. Located in The Magic Kingdom, Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street offers a First Haircut package for around $25. The package includes a set of First Haircut Mickey Ears and the stylist saves a lock of your child’s hair packaged in pixie dust. Your child will also receive a First Haircut certificate that will go perfectly in that baby book.
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How to Get Free Family Photos Taken at Disney
Disney Visa cardholders who are also Star Wars fans will love this fun, free thing to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One of the perks of having the card is that Disney Visa cardholders can get access to Kylo Ren and Chewbacca at Hollywood Studios. (There’s also a special Disney Visa cardholder meet and greet at EPCOT with Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy.) Have a photo taken with your favorite character while you interact with them in a private area. Photos are loaded onto your Photopass which you can download for free once you get back home.
Free Things to Do at Disney Outside of the Parks
Play for Free at the LEGO Store at Disney Springs
Located near the theme parks, Disney Springs is a shopping and dining complex that will please all interests and tastes. Guests can spend an afternoon strolling along the Marketplace side and shop to their heart’s content. With stores that appeal to young and old and everything in between, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Kids will enjoy the free hands-on LEGO play tables at the LEGO Store. The store offers a shady spot for kids to get out some energy, build and create.
Cool off at the Disney Springs Splash Pad
Central Florida is hot can make for cranky toddlers (or adults for that matter). This does not help create a magical time at Disney. Thankfully, Disney thinks of everything and has installed fountains ideal for splashing and playing with your kids under the Florida sun.
Watch a Free Stage Show
In the evenings, Disney Springs sees its fair share of fun and engaging street performers. During the day guests are sometimes treated to stage shows and performances by musicians, school bands and everyone in between. These shows are always of top quality and entertaining and there’s plenty of seating to sit, relax and enjoy a free concert.
There is Such Thing as a Free Lunch at Earl of Sandwich
If you’re heading to Disney Springs for your birthday, consider signing up for the Earl of Sandwich mailing list. Loyalty club subscribers receive a free sandwich on their birthday. If you time your travel right, you may be enjoying a delicious gourmet sandwich courtesy of the Mouse. Speaking of free things, don’t forget to swing by Ghirardelli Soda Fountain for your free chocolate square, but eat if fast, they melt quickly in the Florida sun!
Go on a Resort Tour
Disney Springs offers boat rides to three of the Walt Disney World Resorts. Visitors can board a ferry that regularly shuttles guests back and forth from Saratoga Springs, Old Key West Resort and Port Orleans. The boat ride is free and is the perfect way to enjoy the cool breeze coming off the water after a day of shopping and activity.
Visit Disney’s Boardwalk
The Boardwalk at Disney is the perfect place to go for dinner and an evening walk. While there you may encounter magicians, jugglers and other street performers. The chance of fun free entertainment is certainly not a bad way to end a delicious dinner at Disney.
Free Disney Transportation Adventures
Disney offers plenty of free transportation options whether you’re a resort guest or not. The Disney Skyliner takes guests in gondolas to and from Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and several resorts. The Skyliner is free to ride and encompasses 6-miles throughout Disney property.
To continue your resort tour, consider a loop along the Monorail. You’ll be able to resort-hop and tour the properties and take in all that Disney has to offer. During the holiday season, stop at the Grand Floridian to take in the Gingerbread House displays. If Dole Whip is your thing, take the Monorail to Polynesian Disney Resort and stop in at the Pineapple Lanai for this refreshing treat.
If you enjoy boat rides, consider heading over to The Contemporary Resort, Fort Wilderness or Wilderness Lodge from the Magic Kindom boat launch. This is alternative transportation if you want something besides a regular bus ride to a resort restaurant. Just be sure to leave the Magic Kingdom in time to make it to your dining reservation on time.
Take an Art Lesson from a Disney Animator
If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a Disney animator, don’t miss your chance to learn how to draw at one of the daily art classes at The Art of Animation Resort. The resort offers classed throughout the day taught by a Disney animator. There are no age limits or restrictions and you don’t have to be a guest of The Art of Animation Resort to attend a class. This is the perfect way to do something fun and free at Disney and take home your own one-of-a-kind piece of Disney art.
Walt Disney World is the ultimate family-friendly vacation and finding free things to do is an ideal way to get the most for your money. The souvenirs, activities, and attractions should enhance your Disney vacation experience.
Don’t consider them another ‘thing’ you must do at Disney to ensure everyone has a good time. Plan the ones that are must do’s for you and your family and keep the others in the back of your head. If you happen upon one of the free fun things to do mentioned above, great if not, that’s ok too. Creating lasting family memories is your goal, so relax and enjoy your Disney family vacation as is.