I get many questions from people who are thinking about visiting Walt Disney World and want Disney World vacation tips and suggestions. Disney vacation planning can be very involved and confusing as well, so the goal of this series is to start at the beginning, and look at everything you need to think about, in the general order you need to think about it. Each week’s post will be numbered and link to all the others so that, when complete, you will have a guide with all the steps and information you need to plan your own Disney magic.
When talking about affordable Disney vacations, it is easy to get so caught up in all the attractions, rides, major shows etc. that one can easily overlook the many fun things to do at Walt Disney World that are free….or almost free.
One thing that I have tried to do with The Affordable Mouse is to show that, while Disney CAN be expensive, it does not HAVE to be. The topic of today’s post will show you just how many things you can do at Disney World that won’t cost you additional money beyond what you are spending for room, food, tickets, and transportation.
OK, in no particular order then:
- Check out the Disney resorts. Whether you are staying on or off Disney property, you owe it to yourself to visit the resorts. Each of them offer a wealth of fun and interesting themes, and you may be amazed at how much time you can spend just wandering around and taking in all that they have to offer. Plan your visit around dinner if you like and try out some of the restaurants or food courts at the resorts too!
- Related to number 1, but really in a category all it’s own: visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge to animal watch. There are a number of animal observation stations where, believe me when I say that you can spend a lot of time being mesmerized by all of the animals there.
- Visit the Boardwalk. Not necessarily the resort (although it is great) but the actual Boardwalk where all kinds of fun and interesting things are happening. Yes, they are not all technically free, but relatively speaking, the cost of renting a bike or surrey for example is minimal compared to how much fun you will have!
- Take time to smell the roses…literally. We have been to Walt Disney World 11 times and counting and every time we visit we STILL see/find something that we never saw before. Disney loves detail, and some of my favorite memories center around exploring gardens, topiaries and such that sometimes just get passed by in the rush to get to the next ride before the line gets too long.
- Ride the monorail. It’s a must do on every vacation we have at Disney World. And for more fun, ask the Cast Member on duty if you can ride “up front”. If you are the first one to ask, they may say yes and I can tell you, that is one fun ride. Plus your kids will get a “Co-Pilot” certificate as well.
- Pin trade. Yes I will readily admit that pin trading CAN get out of hand and cost a lot of money, but really for a minimal investment, your kids (and you) can start a really fun and interesting hobby. We began our collection during the Millenium Celebration when it was raining every day and night…so we just pin traded. Castmembers love to pin trade with park guests and kids get a real kick out of trying to get specific pins. You don’t have to make it heavy-duty or expensive to start. Set a budget of one or two pins/per day, or get some on eBay before you arrive. And then have fun!
- Epcot has the KidCot fun stops where children create fun masks and activities at each of the World Showcse countries. What a great way for kids to create, and learn a little about each nation…without them even realizing they are learning!
- Ride a Segway. Yes you can sign up for an actual tour that is not particularly cheap, but you can get a quick “lesson” …and photo op….at Innoventions at Epcot. Just keep in mind there is a height limit on this and parents sign an “injury waiver” beforehand.
- Ride the boats that go from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, or around World Showcase Lagoon. Fun, and a great way to cool off when it’s hot.
- Pools. Pools. Pools. Oh and then there are the pools. 🙂 Unless you are visiting during the cold weather months, most of the Disney resorts have fabulous pools, and many are open to “pool hopping”: just make sure you check with your resort first if you plan to try out another pool, as some resorts are closed to pool hopping. And even if you are not staying at a Disney resort, most Florida hotels realize the importance of pools for their guests.
I could go on and on, but this is already a pretty long post, so I think I’ll leave it at that for now. There are tons of great “free” things to do on your affordable Disney vacation. If you have “free” ideas of your own, please share!