For the most part, a Walt Disney World vacation is one of the most expensive trips a family can take, and while Walt Disney World caters to a range of budgets, we can all appreciate something for nothing. So, if you’re an extravagant splurger or a penny pincher, here are five things you can do at Walt Disney World for free.
5. Meet Cinderella at the Grand Floridian’s Princess Promenade
Disney princesses are a huge part of a Disney vacation and getting the chance to meet one is as magical for children as it is for the parents watching. Magic Kingdom offers multiple opportunities to meet many princesses, however these do come at a price: over $100 park admission and over one hour standby wait times. You can beat both the wait and price by meeting Cinderella at the Grand Floridian Resort during the ‘Princess Promenade.’ Every day at 3:30pm, Cinderella and Prince Charming will descend the Grand staircase and proceed to the lobby. They will dance together and guests are welcome to join in. This setting is more magical than the traditional theme park setting and the interactions are more organic feeling. Most importantly this whole experience won’t cost a single penny.
4. Drawing Classes at Disney’s Art of Animation
Drawing classes at the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were an activity enjoyed by all until it closed in 2015 to make way for everything Star Wars. If you enjoyed the drawing classes you might want to check out the drawing classes at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. The classes are open to all Walt Disney World resort guests and are held Thursday through Monday at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm.
3. Visit the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
One of the main draws of Animal Kingdom is the opportunity to get an up close experience with many different animals that you wouldn’t get to see normally. Animal Kingdom however, is often the first park to be dropped when planning a shorter Walt Disney World vacation. If you would like the opportunity to see Giraffe, Bongo, Impala, Thompson’s Gazelles and Ostrich just to name a few, head on over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The beautiful African themed resort offers its own Serengeti filled with animals that are free to view for anyone visiting the resort, guest or not. It’s not unusual to see a Cultural Representative Cast Member posted at the Serengeti to answer your questions and share some knowledge as well.
2. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon
My whole time working for Disney was spent around Seven Seas Lagoon in some capacity, so I was lucky enough to experience the water pageant on many nights. For those of you not in the know, the water pageant is essentially a floating electrical light parade, and if you’re staying at one of the hotels around Seven Seas Lagoon, there is a good chance you’ll catch this little piece of magic. It’s by no means a spectacle. It is, however, a nice little surprise at the end of a long day in the parks. The Water Pageant is something that every Disney fan should experience at some point, after all it is a true classic as it opened with Magic Kingdom back in 1971.
1. Watch the Wishes Fireworks from Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Wishes is arguably the best night time spectacular at Walt Disney World and for good reason. Set to a beautiful soundtrack, this is the cherry on top of a magical day for any Disney fan young and old. If you want the chance to experience Wishes without the hefty price tag, this can be achieved by viewing the show from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Viewing from this unique location means you don’t have to fight the crowds for a good spot or wait in long lines for the Monorail when leaving. Although a few miles back, the Polynesian beach is set directly in front of Cinderella Castle, giving a good view for all on the beach. Most importantly, however, is that the famous Wishes soundtrack is ‘piped in’ on the beach for everyone to enjoy.