The cost of travel these days can be pretty overwhelming, especially when you plan a vacation to the Central Florida area.  Families have so many choices to make between Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Sea World, Bush Gardens and many other wonderful attractions.  Sometimes making a choice can be difficult, because you simply can’t afford to see everything.

I get asked all the time if I can recommend any deals or give any tips about the area.  Where should we go?  What should we do?  Well, my first recommendation is always the theme parks at Walt Disney World, but lately I have been recommending some fun ideas that really doesn’t cost money to enjoy.

So to help lessen the strain on your wallet, here are 8 ways to experience the magic of Walt Disney World for free:

There is no particular order and opinions may vary!

Disney Springs

Take part in this exciting atmosphere featuring some of the finest shopping and dining experiences…but you don’t have to shop til you drop in order to have a great time.  Take in the fun atmosphere as you make your way through Downtown Disney over to the West Side.  Just browsing can be fun!  It’s easy to find entertainment as well, with live music, DJ’s and dance parties to enjoy.  Be sure to stop in at Ghirardelli Chocolates and get your free sample.  It’s delicious!

downtown disney
Piglet and Tigger in Downtown Disney

Magic Kingdom Fireworks at The Polynesian Resort

polynesian resort fireworksIf you are looking for a very relaxing way to enjoy some classic Disney amenities without breaking the bank, then this idea is highly recommended.  The Polynesian Resort offers breathtaking views of Cinderella Castle from across the Seven Seas Lagoon.  You have a wide verity of opportunity if you are looking for some evening entertainment.  Start off your night by simply relaxing with your shoes off in the warm white sand and a drink in hand.  There are classic Disney movies shown nightly on the beach, so sit back and take in a flick.  The main attraction by far is the chance to see 2 Disney favorites in one night.  Beginning nightly at 9pm, is the “Electrical Water Pageant” that makes a pass in front of every resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon as well as Bay Lake.  The grand finally is when you watch the fireworks over Cinderella Castle complete with choreographed music from the Magic Kingdom being played through the resort sound system.  This can really be a wonderful way to take in some great Disney moments in a relaxing and free way.  You also won’t have to fight the crowds when exiting the Magic Kingdom.  

polynesian resort fireworks
Electrical Water Pageant
polynesian resort fireworks
Magic Kingdom Fireworks
polynesian resort fireworks
Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Disney’s Boardwalk

A favorite of many, The Boardwalk can provide long leisurely strolls by the lakeside during the day or a fun party atmosphere at night.  It’s nice to enjoy the sun, sit on a bench and just enjoy the people on a nice lazy day, then stick around as night falls for live entertainment including magicians and jugglers.

Disney's Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk
Disney Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk Surrey Bike Rental

Chip N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long

This is a personal favorite, located at the Fort Wilderness Campground.  If you are looking for a great way to spend an evening with the kids, then be sure to check this one out.  Start off around the campfire, where you can bring your own marshmallow or purchase marshmallows (optional) from the food wagon to roast.  The night kicks off with some live country style music followed by a dance / meet n greet with Chip N Dale.  After getting your fill of fun, it’s time to watch a classic Disney Movie on the large outdoor movie screen.  This makes for a perfect night that you and the kids will always remember.

Chip N Dale's Campfire Sing-a-Long Chip N Dale's Campfire Sing-a-Long

Monorail

You can board a Disney Monorail at Transportation and Ticket Center, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, The Grand Floridian, The Magic Kingdom, The Contemporary Resort or Epcot.  No matter where you board, you are in for a smooth, fast, memorable ride on one of the most popular modes of transportation at Disney World.  Of course the main intent for the monorail is to get from point A to point B, but the experience of riding it, is half the fun.  You zip along on a raised platform nearing speeds of 40-50mph.  Enjoy yourself as you circle the Seven Seas Lagoon, passing the Magic Kingdom and running through the center of the Contemporary Resort.  Then switch to the Epcot monorail and find yourself circling around inside of Epcot.  You can get all the views, without the admission.

Boats

Yes, even the transportation at Walt Disney World is fun, especially if you travel by boat.  Resort hopping is made simple when you travel by water.  You can enjoy a large Ferry Boat that travels back and forth between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Magic Kingdom, the Friendship Vessels that mainly service the Epcot and Hollywood Studios Resort area or the smaller cruisers that service the Magic Kingdom Resorts.  Which ever you choose, you are sure to get a relaxing experience as you take in the sites along the way.

disney friendship boat
One of the Disney Friendship Boats
disney friendship boat
View from a Disney Friendship Boat
disney friendship boat
View from a Disney Friendship Boat

Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Trails.  (2.5 miles)

The Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground have wonderful hiking trails that interconnect both resorts.   Take a slow stroll, a brisk hike or a cardio run through 2.5 archers of natural beauty.  See the wildlife including deer, birds, rabbits and many other fury friends.  Rent a bike or use your feet, either way it’s a quiet way to enjoy Disney’s nature.

All the Resort Hotels

Take the time to experience the 23 resort hotels that Walt Disney World has to offer.  Each resort offers unique themes from elegant to whimsical, adventurous to relaxing, no matter what your taste, you will find something that interests you.  It could literally take several days to explore each one.  Be sure to research your favorites and go check them out.  It won’t cost you anything, but it will submerge you in the Disney magic!

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Wildlife viewing area
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Wildlife viewing area
wilderness lodge
Wilderness Lodge Lobby
art of animation
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

 

 If you have any free tips that you would like to share or if you have experienced anything on the list, please leave us a comment and tell us about it!

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