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25+ Free Things to Do in Disney World

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What can I do at Disney for free?

I’ve been to Disney World nearly a dozen times over the course of my life.

So, it’s no surprise that I am planning a trip for my toddler.

But thinking of the cost of a trip to Disney (roughly $5,000-$8,000 for a week of exhausting fun), got me wondering if there are any free things to do in Disney World.

And the answer is surprisingly. YES!

Even things that I didn’t really consider when I was visiting Disney as a childless adult became things that I think my son would really enjoy and won’t cause extra strain on the wallet.

There are even free things to do in Disney World that adults will enjoy as well!

Check it out. You might even find some of them to be a welcome break from all the non-stop excitement.

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Tinker Bell
Tinker Bell in Magic Kingdom parade

Is Disney World still free on your birthday?

You might find it hard to believe but in 2009, Disney offered free admission to the parks on your birthday. What a way to celebrate!

Unfortunately, that promotion ended in December of 2009. And while many hope it returns, it hasn’t happened since.

But there are other things you can do for free at Disney World. And a few things that are actually pretty cheap, which is great if your traveling with your group of kiddos. Check out some of my favorites below!

Epcot ball at night
Epcot ball at night

What can you get for free at Disney World?

There are a number of free things to do in Disney World, some of which you can get before you even step foot on property. While it’s likely you’ll be spending a big chunk of money to make this vacation happen, the best way to get anything (free perks or good customer service) is to be polite to the cast members who are doing their best to make your stay magical.

France in Epcot
France pavilion in Epcot

Free Things to Do in Disney World: Before You Go

There are not many free things you can get from Disney before your trip begins, but the ones that make this list are the best things you can get for starting your trip off on the right foot.

1. Disney Vacation Planning DVDs

When you are still in the planning stages of your Disney trip, get a free planning to DVD to get inspiration and preview all that Disney has to offer.

Save it as a surprise for your kiddos when you announce that you’re taking them to the most magical place on Earth.

Related: How to Afford Your Disney Vacation

2. My Disney Experience App

Before you step foot in a park or even check into your Walt Disney World resort hotel, you’re going to want to download the free My Disney Experience App.

This app gives you access to everything Walt Disney World.

You’ll be able to track your hotel and park reservations and make payments for your vacation.

You will be able to book your dining reservations 60 days in advance, so you’re sure not to miss your favorite meals.

You can also add things like Genie+ and Lightning Lane purchases once you are on property.

It’s a must-have to get the most out of your Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

Free Things to Do in Disney World: At the Resorts

There are so many great options for free things to do in Disney World before you ever even enter any of the Disney parks. And the best part is if something free is happening at a hotel that you’re not staying in, you can still visit and enjoy the free activities.

3. Free Balloons at Your Hotel

I didn’t even know about this freebie until I started researching this trip for my toddler.

And I think it’s absolutely amazing!

Just go to the front desk of your Disney resort and ask for a free balloon. The only resort this is not offered in is the Animal Kingdom Lodge. They do not have balloons anywhere on Animal Kingdom property for the animals’ safety.

I can’t tell you what type of balloon you will get because I haven’t done this yet, but it’s a great way to dress up your hotel room from the moment enter. (You can bet I’ll be asking for one when I check in, so I’ll update you when I find out.)

Also, the last I checked balloons in the parks were $15. And you have to deflate them before taking them on the plane. Or gift them to an incoming family when you leave. Free balloons are the way to go!

Related: Packing for Your Toddler

4. Celebration Buttons

Celebration buttons are one of my favorite free things to do in Walt Disney World.

You can get them at of the Disney hotels, any of the theme parks, and even Disney Springs.

They have birthday buttons, first visit buttons, happily ever after button, and I’m celebrating buttons.

Cast members throughout Walt Disney World are taught to look for these buttons when guests wear them and acknowledge the celebration. So, expect a lot of happy birthdays or congratulations.

Birthday buttons could get you a free cake or ice cream at some restaurants (though it’s not a guarantee).

And the best part is that the cast member will write on your button. It might be your name, a special date, number of ears (get it?) you’re celebrating, or what you’re celebrating.

And when they wrote on our buttons at our hotel, the cast member put a piece of tape over the writing, so it didn’t fade. (Just a reminder to take some tape with you, if you want to do the same.)

5. Disney Stickers

This is one of those things that I never really thought of as a freebie before, since I never went to Disney with kids.

But when we checked into our Disney hotel, there was always someone greeting hotel guests and passing out Mickey Mouse stickers. Now, that I have a toddler, free stickers – yes please!

And apparently you can get free stickers throughout the parks as well. If you happen to strike up a conversation with a cast member, ask if they have any stickers. Remember, it’s always best to be polite. Bad behavior is never rewarded with stickers.

6. Wake-Up Call

A great way to start your very early day at Disney World is with a wake-up call from a special Disney character.

Rather than setting a traditional alarm for your kiddos, let them answer the phone each morning for this fun surprise.

Characters include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. You can choose your favorite character and get one from a different character every day.

7. Resort Pools

The pools at your resort are always free for the length of your stay. And while resort hopping is okay, pool hopping is not. Many of the pools are locked and can only be accessed by guests of that resort.

During the day, there are also games and free activities that take place at the pool for those looking to get away from the crowded parks during the midday heat.

8. Resort Movies Under the Stars

Another great free thing to do in Disney World is check out the free movie that is playing at your resort.

Known as Movies Under the Stars, each resort offers a large patch of grass and a projector screen playing a favorite Disney movie. Bring a blanket to sit on and some snacks and spend your evening unwinding with your family. Check your resort information for a times guide.

9. Scavenger Hunts

Check with the front desk of your Disney resort hotel to see if they have a scavenger hunt you can participate in.

If not, create your own scavenger hunt for your kiddos before you leave. Find some fun facts about each of the parks or your resort and offer clues throughout the day.

A simple scavenger hunt for Epcot is meeting someone from each of the countries in the World Showcase. Or trying to take a picture with all of the characters available for meet and greets. Or even using the different forms of transportation available on Disney property. The possibilities are endless.

10. Resort Hopping

Resort hopping is a fun thing to do at Disney World, if you’ve scheduled a rest day. You don’t need a hotel reservation to visit the other Disney resorts. However, if you’re driving yourself, you may need a dining reservation.

To get around that, choose Disney transportation instead. (Also free! Check out those options below.)

Be aware that you can’t take transportation between resorts, but you can go to a central point (like a park or Disney Springs) and then to another resort.

Check out some of the fun things to do at the resorts for free!

  • Christmas – Christmas at Disney is epic! Decorations go up November 1 and stay up until just after the New Year. Every park has its own tree, and every resort has a tree and its own Christmas theme. Disney’s Grand Floridian boasts a life-size gingerbread house that is not to be missed!
  • Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – You don’t have to be a resort guest to see some of the animals roaming the Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are special viewing areas throughout the resort that anyone can visit. Pick up a free Wildlife Field Guide at the front desk to spot all the animals.
  • Welcome Leis at Polynesian Resort – Another freebie that you can enjoy without being a resort guest is a flower lei. Get your lei at the entrance or ask for one at the check-in desk.
  • Campfire Sing-a-longs at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – Fort Wilderness Resort offers a campfire sing-a-long with Chip and Dale. Bring your own marshmallows to roast or purchase a s’mores kit to enjoy around the fire as you hang out with Chip and Dale.
  • Butterfly Gardens at Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Resort – Wander the beautiful butterfly gardens at either of these resorts for free.
  • Drawing Classes at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Drawing classes are offered daily at the Art of Animation Resort for kids and adults. You don’t have to be a resort guest, but you should call ahead to book your time.
  • Tri-Circle D Ranch Horse Stables at Fort Wilderness Campground – Check out the horses of Disney at the Tri-Circle D Ranch Horse Stables. Pony rides, trail rides and carriage rides are available for a fee, but it’s free to visit the horses and walk around the grounds.
  • Resort Tours at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge – These free tours are available to anyone wanting to join. The tour of Animal Kingdom Lodge discusses how African culture and cuisine inspired the design of the resort. While the tour of Wilderness Lodge, a ranger discusses the resorts American art collection and architectural inspiration.
rooftops of Disney Springs at night
rooftops at Disney Springs at night

Free Things to Do in Disney World: At Disney Springs and Transportation

Disney World is so much more than parks and hotels. So, while you’re there be sure to take advantage of everything Disney Springs has to offer. And let Disney handle the driving by using any of the forms of transportation Disney offers for free.

11. Disney Springs

Disney Springs is the outdoor shopping, food and entertainment district of Disney World. It’s gone through some changes through the years, mostly recently known as Downtown Disney and previously Pleasure Island.

It’s now more family-friendly and a great place to spend a free day, an evening after the parks close, or your check-in day. Walk around enjoying the atmosphere, grab something to eat, and check out these free things to do at Disney Springs.

  • Outdoor Play Areas – The perfect thing for small kids are the outdoor play areas. There are two sets of splash pads with restrooms nearby. So, make sure to bring a change of clothes for your little one.
  • Street Performers – One of my favorite things about Disney Springs is the unscheduled events that take place while you’re just walking around. We’ve come across a variety of very talented musicians while waiting for a table reservation or doing some light shopping.
  • Concerts at The Waterside Stage – There are a variety of free concerts and live entertainment that takes place at The Waterside Stage. School bands and choirs perform here, among others.
  • Building Legos at The Lego Imagination Center – The Lego store offers the widest selection of Legos for sale. And the best part is the free outdoor play area where you can build your own Lego creations.
  • Ghiradelli chocolate squares at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop – While shopping in Disney Springs, stop at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop for a free chocolate square.
  • Dino Dig at T-Rex Cafe – Just outside of the T-Rex Cafe is a closed-in area where kids can enjoy a fossil dig site.

12. Free Parking at Disney Springs and Hotels

While you’re at Disney Springs, you can enjoy free self-parking. Of course, you can always get to Disney Springs by taking free Disney transportation.

As of January 2023, parking is also free at all Disney resort hotels. And if you’re staying at a Disney resort, you get free parking at all of the Disney theme parks and water parks. Or you can use one of the free transportation options below.

free things to do in Disney World: characters on boat during Fantastic at Hollywood Studios

13. Transportation

I’ve mentioned this many times, but yes, there are ways to get around Walt Disney World without using your own car. And the ones below are all free! And some of them are just a super fun way to travel, so even if you have no reason to use them, I recommend trying them just for fun.

  • Monorail – If you take your own vehicle to the Magic Kingdom, you will park at the Ticket and Transportation Center, where you will take the monorail or a ferry boat to the park entrance. At least once during your Disney vacation, I suggest taking a ride on the monorail. You can visit each of the monorail resorts that surround the Seven Seas Lagoon: Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort. You can also take a separate monorail from Magic Kingdom to Epcot.
  • Skyliner – Another fun way to get around Walt Disney World is the newer Disney Skyliner. The Skyliner connects four Disney resorts (Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach Resort and Riveria Resort) to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
  • Boats – Boats are available throughout Walt Disney World for free and are a unique way to travel. There is a ferry boat available at Magic Kingdom to take you to your car. The Friendship boats are available to take you from Epcot and Hollywood Studios to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. The Sassagoula River Cruise is a free boat ride that takes guests from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts (Riverside and French Quarter) to Disney Springs. Let me recommend if you’re taking a boat in the cooler months, bring a jacket, as it gets cold on the water after dark.
  • Buses – The final free option for transportation on Disney property is Disney buses. You can get to any park, water park, Disney Springs, and hotel by bus. You can travel park to park on some buses, but you can’t travel between resorts by bus. There are signs throughout Disney property for each bus location. Just be aware that your resort bus may not drop you off in the same spot where you’ll be picked up. Always double-check the bus number for your resort when leaving each park at night.
Conderella's castle
Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom

Free Things to Do in Disney World: At the Parks

These free things to do in Disney World require a park ticket, but it’s great that there are so many fun things to do in the parks that don’t have an extra cost.

14. Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours

As a Disney resort guest, you get early entry access to all of the theme parks a half an hour before the park opens on any given day. Check the opening times of each of the park before heading out for the day. And if you want to take advantage of this free perk, plan on getting to the park ahead of that half an hour timeframe, as you will be waiting with a sea of other people.

Extended evening hours are also available for guests staying at any of the deluxe resorts. These extra hours are only available on certain days. But they begin at the closing time of the park and typically last two hours. It’s a great way to squeeze in a bit more fun on your Disney vacation.

15. Park Maps

As a first-time visitor to Walt Disney World, you’ll want to grab a park map at each of the theme parks when you enter. They are available in many different languages.

While the maps can also be found in your My Disney Experience App, they make for a wonderful free souvenir, especially if you enjoy scrapbooking. You’ll also have a map of the parks on the day you visited, as the parks are ever changing.

I know frequent visitors of Disney World who like to keep maps of each of their trips to see how they have changed. They are even separate maps for the special events that go on throughout the year (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, to name a few).

16. Cup of Ice Water

Be sure to stay hydrated on while on your Disney vacation by asking for a free cup of ice water at any Quick Service restaurant (or Table Service restaurant, with a reservation). The last thing you want while enjoying your trip is to pass out from heat exhaustion.

17. Character Meet and Greets

Character meet and greets happen throughout all four Disney parks, and you don’t need to pay any additional fees to enjoy them.

Keep your eyes open if you’re staying at a Disney resort because Disney characters have been known to show up there as well. And you wouldn’t even need a park ticket to see them.

There are also special character dining meet and greets that will cost you the price of a meal and you’ll need a dining reservation. So, take in the free character meet and greets where you can!

18. Pixie Dust at Sir Mickey’s in Magic Kingdom

If you’re looking for some actual pixie dust while visiting Disney World, head over to Sir Mickey’s in Magic Kingdom.

It’s a souvenir shop located behind Cinderella’s castle in Fantasyland.

Just ask any of the cast members and they will sprinkle pixie dust on your head for free with their magic wands. Be aware though, pixie dust, in this case, is glitter. (And we all know how long it takes to get glitter out of things.)

Before you leave Fantasyland, head over to the Sword in the Stone in front of King Arthur Carousel and take your turn at trying to remove the sword. It’s a magical feeling if you’re one of the lucky ones who can actually pull it out. (It doesn’t work for just anyone.)

19. A Pirate’s Adventure in Magic Kingdom

A Pirate’s Adventure is in an interactive treasure hunt where you search for clues throughout Adventure Land.

Get your first clue, grab a map, and you’re off!

This is a perfect thing to do at Disney if your little one is a fan of pirates.

There are five different quests, so if you have a really good time, you can go back for another round.

20. Kidcot Stations in Epcot

Kidcot Stations are fun craft stations located in all 11 countries around World Showcase.

Your kiddo can draw, color, and collect stamps from each country while they learn some facts about the country and talk to cast members.

21. Club Cool in Epcot

To cool off and try some different soft drinks from around the world, head to Club Cool in Epcot.

It’s a giant room full of soda fountains, where you get a disposable cup to try different flavors of Coca Cola. Each flavor offers a description and the country it is from.

Beverly has been known to surprise a lot of folks with its bitter flavor. So, let your loved ones try it first and enjoy the look on their faces, since you know the secret.

22. Wilderness Explorers in Animal Kingdom

Become a Wilderness Explorer (like Russel from Up) at Animal Kingdom.

Complete nature-themed activities throughout the park and earn 25 badges along the way.

It’s geared for kids ages 3-8, but anyone can join in on the fun and experience Animal Kingdom in a whole new way. Go to a Wilderness Explorer station to get your booklet and get started.

23. Live Entertainment

While it is included in the price of your park tickets, you should also be aware of the free entertainment that happens in the parks daily.

Some of this entertainment is listed in your times guide. Any of the stage shows are going to be listed with their times throughout the day, and they are not to be missed. No one puts on a show like Disney.

But some of the best live entertainment only happens when you stumble upon it. Street performers and stage shows throughout the World Showcase in Epcot, live music by The Dapper Dans performing on Main Street in Magic Kingdom, the Green Army Drum Corps in Hollywood Studios and the Tam Tam Drummers in Animal Kingdom.

And one of my favorite things that can only be found in the early morning hours before the Florida sun bakes it away is the custodians using water and their brooms to create Disney characters on the sidewalks around the parks. Everyone is so creative at Disney!

24. Hidden Mickeys

Mickeys have been hidden throughout the parks and the resorts by Disney Imagineers.

It’s not a plush toy or even a picture, but it’s a Mickey shape built into the design of the architecture.

Hidden Mickeys are fun to spot on your own, but if you need a little help, this guide supplies you with hints on finding Hidden Mickeys all over Disney property.

25. Taking Photos

Obviously, it’s free to take pictures wherever you go on vacation.

But a Disney vacation offers beautiful backdrops for your family photos. Whether it’s Cinderella’s castle, the area outside the Tangled bathrooms in Magic Kingdom or the beautifully designed walls around the World Showcase in Epcot, you won’t have a hard time finding the perfect photo opportunity.

You can choose to purchase the Memory Maker during your stay or simply ask a cast member if they wouldn’t mind taking a photo with your phone (for free).

26. First Aid and Baby Care Centers

This might not be a big deal until you need it. But know that there are first aid stations at each Disney park that are equipped with nurses who are able to treat you. They have bandages, over-the-counter medications and moleskin for your blistered feet.

They also have private rooms should you need to lie down and paramedics on site to assist with major medical issues.

Each park also has a baby care center, which is free to use during the day. Whether you need a private place to breastfeed, change a diaper, or just a moment to rest with your little one, you can visit the baby care center.

They also have a small store stocked with baby products for sale: formula, food, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, medicines and clothing.

fireworks over Cinderella's castle
fireworks over Cinderella’s castle

Free Things to Do in Disney World: At Night

Nighttime is the best part of a Disney World vacation. Everything is lit up and becomes even more magical (if that’s even possible). So, here’s some of the best free things to do in Disney World after the sun goes down.

27. Electrical Water Pageant

This is one of those things that I always stumble upon at the end of the day that never ceases to amaze.

The Seven Seas Lagoon outside of Magic Kingdom becomes a magical floating parade of lights after hours. You can see the electrical water pageant from any of the three monorail hotels and while waiting for your bus when leaving the park.

It is scheduled to run after the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, giving you just enough time to see it pass the entrance of the park. And it’s a nice surprise at the end of a very tiring day.

28. Fireworks

Think you have to have park entry to enjoy the nightly fireworks? Nope this is one of the most amazing free things to do in Disney World!

Take the monorail to the Polynesian Resort for a great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. You can enjoy the specular show while dipping your toes in their sandy beaches.

A great place to enjoy the fireworks at Epcot for free is at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Go early to walk around, take in the atmosphere and check out the nightlife.

Beauty and the Beast castle with lamppost
Beauty and the Beast castle in Magic Kingdom

What are the cheapest things to do at Disney World?

Although this is an article about the free things to do in Disney World, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let you know about some of the cheapest things to do while you’re there as well.

29. Pressed Pennies

This is one of the cheapest souvenirs at Disney World, so it needs to be included in this list of free things to do in Disney.

And like everything else, there’s an app for that. Just go to the My Disney Experience App and search for coin press to get a map of all the coin machines located throughout Disney World.

Pennies are only a dollar or even less in you buy them in groups. And now you can pay with a dollar bill or your credit card.

And you don’t even need to carry your own pennies. The machines come pre-filled with pennies, so you’re not weighed down with a pocket full of change.

Related: How to Budget for Your Disney Trip

30. Pin Trading

Another low-cost thing to do at Disney World is pin trading.

You can pick up a pin trading starter set at your Disney hotel gift shop, which usually includes a lanyard and four pins.

Then you can trade pins with cast members throughout the parks, resorts and Disney Springs. From then on, it’s a free activity for your little one or even you.

Cast members usually carry their pins on lanyards or a small piece of felt. Simply ask to see their pins, and if you don’t see any you like, you don’t have to trade. It’s a great way to get to know the cast members on your next vacation!


There you have it: the best free things to do in Disney World that will make your trip extra special. Remember Disney is huge, and you probably aren’t going to get to do it all in one trip. So, do what you can, take the breaks, and enjoy your time! And if you can squeeze in some free things while you’re there, all the better.

Please let us know what free things you’ve done at Disney World in the comments. I love hearing about other people’s Disney vacations, when I can’t get there myself.

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free things to do in Disney World: Cinderella's castle at night and Ariel in Magic Kingdom parade

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