10 Free or Cheap Things to do outside WDW Parks
When families travel to Walt Disney World they they know they will spend lots of money. They spend money on transportation to WDW, hotel room(s), meals, souvenirs and more. But did you know there are many free or cheap things to do at the Walt Disney World Resort that won’t break the bank?
1. Downtown Disney- Downtown Disney is a shopping, eating and entertainment area on Disney Property. Along with shopping and eating there are several free things to do.
- You and/ or your children can play in the interactive fountains to cool off on a hot Florida day. You can visit the Ghirardelli store and get a free sample of chocolate!
- At the new Lego Imagination Center, you and your children can play with thousands of lego blocks to build something special- just don’t forget to snap a pictur
e of your finished product!
- You can also ride the carousel for $2 a person. If you are 21 and over, you can enjoy free live music at House of Blues and Ragland Road (with the cost of a drink!).
- At times, you can enjoy free entertainment (singing, concerts, dancers, etc) at the outdoor amphitheater outside of The World of Disney.
2. Fort Wilderness- movie, petting zoo, playgrounds, wagon Fort Wilderness Campground certain resorts for $8/adult, $5/child, ranch farm animals to see and pony rides for very small children from 10 am to 5 pm for $5
3. Electrical Water Pageant- This boat light parade, set to music, sails along The Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake nightly, usually starting at 9:00, from The Magic Kingdom resort area. The pageant takes about an hour, passing each resort along the way: Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness and Contemporary.
4. Resort hopping- All of the resorts on Disney Property are beautifully themed! It’s fun to just visit different resorts to take in the sights and theming and take fun photographs.
- The pools are only for resort guests, but I enjoy seeing the slides, waterfalls, bridges and geysers! Some of the deluxe lobbies offer entertainment, especially at Christmas.
- Some of the resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian and Yacht Club offer free tours to any Disney guest staying at any resort on property.
- Other resorts offer hidden Mickey hunts and other activities for children. While you’re there, check out the fun playgrounds as well!
5. Boardwalk- The Boardwalk is located around Crescent Lake nestled between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can find several resorts around Crescent Lake which are in walking distance to the Boardwalk entertainment district: The Swan, The Dolphin, The Yacht Club, The Beach Club and of course The Boardwalk. Once at the Boardwalk, you can shop and eat at several different stores and restaurants.
- Some of the free and cheap things to do at the Boardwalk are watching the street performers, play some carnival style games (for a small cost), take a ride on the Friendship Boats or rent a pedal boats for less than $10 an hour.
- If you are 21 and over, you can visit Jellyroll’s dueling piano bar for a $10 cover charge or visit Atlantic Dance Hall for dancing to DJ spun hits which usually has no cover.
6. Monorail/ Boat Rides- Most people ride the Monorail just to get from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom or from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom. But did you know you could hop on the Monorail and get view of other areas?
- You can ride the resort loop from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Contemporary ending back at the Magic Kingdom. This is a great, free way to “resort hop” and see different resorts on property while enjoying the air conditioning on the Monorail!
- Boat rides are other free ways to see new things on property. You can ride the Friendship Boats around Crescent Lake (see above #5) or the boats that cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Magic Kingdom. The Seven Seas Lagoon boats will take you to the same resorts the Monorail Resort loop will take you.
- The last area where you can take a free boat ride is from Downtown Disney to Port Orleans along the Sassagoula River. This is my favorite boat ride as you pass Saratoga Springs, the Tree House Villas, Lake Buena Vista Golf Course, Old Key West and both Port Orleans Resorts.
7. YeHaa Bob- On Wednesday-Sunday nights at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside Resort, you can enjoy the free entertainment of Bob Jackson, aka YeHaa Bob from 8:30-midnight. YeeHa Bob is a musician, singer, comedian who will entertain the entire family. After the show he hangs around to sign autographs and take pictures.
8. Rent Entertainment- You can rent boats, canoes, and bikes at many different locations.
- Most of the Moderate, Deluxe and Vacation Club resorts have a marina where you can rent various types of watercraft. A kayak, canoe or pedal boat will be less than $10 for a half-hour rental
- All of the Disney resorts have some type of trail, but the trails around Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness are especially fun to rent a bike and explore. Bikes will cost $9.59 an hour.
9. Fishing- At all Disney fishing holes, the policy is “catch and release.” You can rent cane poles (worms are provided) at Port Orleans Riverside or Ft. Wilderness. The cost is $4 per half-hour per pole, or $9 for a full day per pole. For families, they run a special: $14 per half-hour for 4-6 poles.
10. Walking/ jogging trails- I believe all of the resorts on property have some sort of walking/ jogging trail, but some are more scenic than others! Here is a link to Disney’s list of jogging trails.
- At The Polynesian, you can walk along the beach and through the gardens between the Great Ceremonial House and beach. From the beach, you can view the Electrical Water Pageant and the evening fireworks over Cinderella Castle.
- At the Grand Floridian, you can walk around Seven Seas Lagoon and pass by the Wedding Pavilion. If there is not a wedding taking place, feel free to look inside!
- The Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness both have Butterfly Gardens. At The Contemporary it is in the back by the pool. The garden at Fort Wilderness is outside the Outpost.
- The Boardwalk has a beautiful path all around Crescent Lake that will also take you from Epcot to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you walk this path at night, you may be able to see parts of IllumiNations or Fantasmic!.
- If you spend time at Wilderness Lodge, stroll back past the pool and see a geyser spout on the hour beginning at 7am and ending at 10pm. You can also explore the woods between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.
- It’s worth it to spend time at Animal Kingdom Lodge to view the savannah outside the main lobby. You can walk around and see the different African animals roaming free. At night you can find cast members who will let you view the animals through night vision goggles.
What other free or cheap things have you found at the Walt Disney World Resort?
- The Best Things in the “World” are Free (chipandco.com)
- Disney World Quick Tips – Ten FREE Things To Do At Disney World (chipandco.com)