Are you looking for free family activities at Walt Disney World? Wondering how you can get free stuff from Disney World?
Going to Walt Disney World alone or as a couple is expensive enough, but nothing can prepare you for the cost of booking a magical vacation with the entire family.
If you’ve got kids with you at Walt Disney World, you may be just as surprised at how much they add to the cost. With that in mind, it’s always nice to find things to do for free at Walt Disney World that don’t cause you to dig any deeper into your pockets.
However, you will find that there are definitely ways to enjoy yourself at Disney World without spending any additional money. Often, when you look back, these are the memories that you cherish the most. Just simple activities with the family.
These are some free family activities at Walt Disney World for you all to enjoy.
- Visit a Disney World Resort
- Movies Under the Stars
- Disney Animal Kingdom Resort Animal Viewing
- Disney's Electrical Water Pageant
- Live Entertainment at Disney Springs
- Go For a Disney World Gondola or Boat Ride
- Free Family Activities at Walt Disney World – Art Class
- Free Disney Food Samples
- Disney World Free Celebration Buttons
- Free Disney World Park Maps
Visit a Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World has some truly amazing hotel resorts. You could spend a lot of time just touring around the Deluxe and even Moderate Resorts to take in the ambiance, enjoy some activities or even just participate in some good old fashioned people watching.
One fun and completely free thing to do it to take a tour of the Disney monorail hotels. These are the three Deluxe Disney World Hotels which are on the monorail loop:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
You can either start at the Transport and Ticket Center to get on the monorail (where you will have to pay for parking) or you could park at Disney Springs and take a Disney Bus over to a resort. Be aware though that the bus transportation system can be a little slow, so don’t do this if you are on a tight timescale.
Just step into the lobby of any of these hotels, find a place to sit and enjoy people watching!
In the Polynesian Resort head out through the lobby, past the pool and to the beach. If you are lucky there will be an empty hammock calling your name. It is amazingly relaxing to enjoy some down time just resting on one of these hammocks or strolling along the beach.
Take a stroll through the grounds of the Grand Floridian Resort. If you are planning to spend the day at Magic Kingdom you can walk to the boat dock at the back of the resort. Taking the Grand Floridian Resort boat transportation to Magic Kingdom is a great start to the day.
Movies Under the Stars
The best free family activities at Walt Disney World are Movies Under the Stars. Each resort has this experience and you don’t have to be a resort guest to join in on the fun (with one exception that we will talk about too). This is a great way to get some free entertainment and take in a whole new environment.
Or, if you prefer to stay and watch what’s playing at your resort, you can do that, too. Movies Under the Stars are usually on a beach or near the pool. Disney movies are projected onto an inflatable screen.
The one place where you do have to be a Disney Resort guest is for the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort.
The Fort Wilderness sing-along, movie under the stars and marshmallow roasts are held every evening near the Meadow Trading Post.
This is such a fun event – and it is free for Walt Disney World Resort guests. You will even get a special meet and greet with the ever popular Chip and Dale. This is definitely worth trying to make the trip at least once for this unique experience.
Disney Animal Kingdom Resort Animal Viewing
May of the Walt Disney World Resorts have free things to do, such as scavenger hunts and tours around the hotel. However, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort offers the most unique experiences.
This is one of the best locations for Disney World free activities for families.
Ask at the front desk of Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a copy of one of the two scavenger hunts available. Find Hidden Mickeys or get to know the resort better by answering the scavenger hunt questions.
You can also go on the free Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant tour. This culinary tour of Jiko and Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge is free and includes samples of food from each restaurant. It happens every day at 4.15 pm. Sign up at the front desk.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has an amazingly unique opportunity. Animal watching. Head to the back of the resort, past the pool and you will see the trails where the animals live. If you go at night you can participate in the night watching of the animals too.
There are lots of knowledgable Cast Members available to talk to if you have any questions about the animals. There are also lots of signs posted around the trails to indicate what animals you might be seeing out on the savannah.
Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant
Have you ever seen Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant? The Parade has been a Disney World since Magic Kingdom opened in 1971.
Imagineer Bob Jani looked out at the Seven Seas Lagoon when they were designing Magic Kingdom and wondered what they were going to do to fill the somewhat dark and uninteresting void. The answer? Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant.
After dark, the Electrical Water Pageant floats along the Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s like a parade on water. 14 barges with colorful lights parade around the Lagoon every night at 9 pm.
Where are the best places to watch the Electrical Water Pageant? You can see this water pageant from the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, either at the Grand Floridian, or the Polynesian Village.
- 9.00 pm Polynesian Village Resort. The beach is one of the best places to watch the Parade. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the best-kept secret, so this location is usually a bit crowded.
- 9.15 pm Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. You have to walk all the way to the back of the resort from the lobby. This isn’t the best viewing location unless you are dining in Narcoossee’s restaurant.
- 9.30 pm Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. The beach and the boat dock are good places to view.
- 9.45 pm Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. You can see the Parade from the boat dock. You are unlikely to make the special trip out here just to see the Parade.
- 10.10 pm Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This is one of the very best places to view the Electrical Water Pageant. Go to the beach and watch the Parade!
- 10.30 pm Magic Kingdom Entrance. This isn’t a great place to watch, but nice to see if you just happen to be exiting the Magic Kingdom at the time.
Definitely make sure you see the Electrical Water Pageant at least once during your Disney World vacation.
Live Entertainment at Disney Springs
You can have a lot of free fun at Disney Springs, although it is more fun if you buy something. Window shopping at Disney Springs is such fun though and there is a lot to explore without paying any money.
There are even places along the way where performers entertain for free. It’s a very energetic and family-friendly environment, so the free performances are wonderful free family activities at Walt Disney World to stop and enjoy as you make your way from the West Side to the Marketplace.
You can check the Disney Springs Events page before you go so that you can see what entertainment is scheduled for the day.
Go For a Disney World Gondola or Boat Ride
The transportation is free for the most part at Walt Disney World. Aside from the buses, the transit systems are among the best Disney World free activities for families
The newest one is the Skyliner Gondolas and the system takes you to a previously unconnected group of hotels.
You can hop to resorts like Caribbean Beach, the Riviera, and the Art of Animation and enjoy a bird’s eye view of Walt Disney World in the process.
Take a ride on the monorail from the Transport and Ticket Center to Epcot. The monorail is usually pretty much empty on this journey and at the end you get to see Epcot from the high vantage point of the track.
The Disney World Boat Transportation System is also a relaxing way to spend some time with the family. Take the boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios and back. Or take one of the Disney World Magic Kingdom Hotels boats on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Free Family Activities at Walt Disney World – Art Class
“It was all started by a Mouse” is one of the most famous Walt Disney Quotes, so it is not surprising that you can find free art classes at select Disney world Hotel Resorts.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and go to Disney’s Art of Animation Hotel you can take a free art class. They are held every day at 11 am, 2 pm and 5 pm.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Animal Kingdom also has free classes which are taught by a Disney Animator.
Free Disney Food Samples
There are places where you may even get free food samples in Walt Disney World. We have already talked about the culinary tour of Jiko and Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Ghiradelli in Disney Springs gives out free samples of chocolate! What more can you want than one of those wonderful chocolate squares?
Remember too that you do not have to purchase soda. All quick service and kiosk locations will be happy to provide you with free iced water. The savings on this can add up considerably if you agree with your family to limit soda consumption!
You may even score a free drink and some ice cream if you agree to go on a Disney Vacation Club Sales Tour. However, you do have to be careful not to buy DVC, or that would be a very expensive dessert!
Disney World Free Celebration Buttons
This is a nice perk. You can pick up a free Disney button for various different celebrations and occasions. Celebrating a Birthday or Anniversary? First Disney World visit? Go to Guest Services and they will happily give you a free celebration button and write your name on it.
Not only do you get a free souvenir, but you get even more attention from Cast Members who will wish you a Happy Birthday when they see your button.
Free Disney World Park Maps
Even though many things are now on the Disney World App, you can still pick up a paper Disney World Park Map. These make great souvenirs. I have a huge collection of them that I have built up over the years.
It is a nice idea to frame them when you get home, to remind you of your amazing Disney World vacation.
Do you have any tips for free family activities at Walt Disney World? Leave me a comment below.