Let’s face it. Visiting Walt Disney World ain’t cheap. And with the recent addition of Genie+ and Lightning Lane, a visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth” isn’t likely to get more affordable
any time soon.
One day tickets “start” at $109 per person, and multi-day packages for families can run into the thousands. Add in food, snacks and souvenirs — it’s hard to even think about.
However, there are a few freebies that can add a touch of magic without breaking the bank.
Here are ten free things every Disney World guest should know about before entering the parks, ranging from educational activities to thirst-quenching drinks that are especially useful on hot days.
1. FREE ICE WATER
Anywhere fountain drinks are sold, guests can get complimentary cups of ice and ice water. Although this may not appear to be a “big deal”, water bottles are not cheap inside the park and can quickly add up.
On a humid Florida day, a cold drink is not only refreshing, it is necessary. It’s easy to get overheated in the hot Florida sun, especially when you’re walking miles all over the parks. It’s essential to stay hydrated. Guests who wish to bring their own refillable water bottles can request that they be filled instead.
The Monorail, Skyliner, and ferries at Disney World are all free to ride, but theme park parking is not. These forms of transportation are ideal for resort hopping and seeing what each property has to offer. They are also convenient to park hop.
Parking is free for guests who are “enjoying select dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation opportunities at Disney Resort hotels,” according to the Disney World website.
Depending on the hotel and the time of year, proof of reservations may be required. At Disney Springs, parking is also free.
3. WORLDWIDE ACTIVITIES
4. POP (AKA SODA)
Cool Club guests can cool off and try complimentary Coca-Cola soft drinks from around the world at EPCOT, which is hosted by Coca-Cola. It reopened on September 15, 2021, after a relocation and rebranding. Guests can currently sample 8 flavors:
Many cast members have stickers to hand out to guests who ask. You can get a free sticker from any Disney Cast Member by chatting with them.
Everyone has stickers, from the housekeeping crew to the wait staff to the DVC Cast Members. If your child has a sticker collection, make sure to pick up this freebie on your next trip
Guests at Disney World can enjoy complimentary high-speed wireless internet connection (wi-fi) in public areas across the theme parks and hotels. Unfortunately, while Disney World’s free wi-fi works well most of the time, it can be unreliable at times due to the high volume of users.
You can count on Disney’s wi-fi for fast social media updates and e-mail, as well as for utilizing the My Disney Experience app, but don’t rely on it for any serious work on a deadline.
7. CELEBRATION BUTTONS
These bright pin-on buttons commemorate special occasions such as first visits, birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, graduations, and more. When cast members notice the pins, they generally offer a congratulations. Some guests have gotten special goodies, such as free desserts, although this isn’t always the case.
Each button depicts Disney characters and a space for guests’ names to be filled in.
The pins are available in most businesses as well as at City Hall in Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A.’s Guest Services.
8. ART CLASSES
At Animal Kingdom, guests can take a complimentary drawing class from a Disney animator.
Each program at Conservation Station’s The Animation Experience lasts 25 minutes and focuses on a different Disney character.
9. PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
Photographers from Disney Photo Pass are stationed at key locations across each park to assist guests in capturing vacation memories. That isn’t just for those who purchase Memory Maker photo packages, which range in price from $69 to $199.
Any guest can request a free shot from one of these expert photographers using their own camera or smartphone.
10. WILDERNESS EXPLORER BADGES
Like Russell in the movie “Up,” kids can earn Wilderness Explorer badges. Kids can complete educational tasks at various marked locations throughout Animal Kingdom to collect stickers. There are a total of 25 self-paced, interactive tasks.