There are many things to do at Walt Disney World outside of the parks. Some can cost a pretty penny, however, there are also many things you can do for free. In addition to our tips to save money at Disney World, here are 10 free things to do at Disney World.
1. Visit Tri-Circle D Ranch
Have you ever wondered where the horses you see trotting down Main Street live? That would be Tri-Circle D Ranch! At Tri-Circle D Ranch, located at the Fort Wildness Campgrounds, you can see the horses that trot up and down Main Street in Magic Kingdom. The ranch also features a petting zoo. While visiting the ranch is free, the ranch does offer activities such as pony rides for the younger children for a small fee.
2. View the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can view 30 plus species of African animals that wander the Savanna right outside the resort! Guests who visit can receive a Wildlife Field Guide at the Lobby Concierge to identify the different animals you maybe able to find. There are three locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for you to view the animals. These locations are the Jamba house, the Kidani Village and near the pool.
3. Visit Disney’s Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk features several restaurants and bars with live music. One of our favorite bars that is wonderful for live music is AbracadaBar. Along with the live music, AbracadaBar features cocktails and mocktails that are accompanied by a magic trick! The Boardwalk also features dueling pianos and several places to enjoy a night full of dancing.
The Friendship Boats stop at the Boardwalk. These boats allow you to travel to the Beach and Yacht Club, the Swan and Dolphin, Epcot and Hollywood. If you do not want to take the boat as transportation, you can walk or just enjoy the view from the Boardwalk’s shore line.
4. Ride Monorails and Boats
Disney offers transportation all around Walt Disney World property. By taking monorails and boats, you are able to visit and explore several resorts.
The monorail is a free transportation method that can move you from Point A to Point B relatively quickly. From the Ticket and Transportation center, you can take a monorail to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. When leaving Magic Kingdom, there are two monorail lines that you can take. The first line takes you directly back to the Ticket and Transportation Center. The second line is the resort monorail line. This will allow you to travel to the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, the Polynesian and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Disney also offers transportation by boat. If you are looking for a long boat ride, we suggest taking the boat from Disney Springs to Port Orleans or Key West along the Sassagula River. Along Crescent Lake, you can travel to Epcot, Hollywood, Boardwalk Resort, Yacht and Beach Club, as well as, the Swan and Dolphin. From Magic Kingdom, you can travel to the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Ft Wilderness, the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian by boat.
5. Ride the Skyliner
The Skyliner is Disney’s newest transportation method. The Skyliner can transport you to four different resorts and two parks while giving you a fantastic birds eye view of property. One of the stops of the Skyliner is one of Disney’s newest resorts, The Riveria.
To ride the Skyliner for free, you will need to visit one of their stations. The two easiest stations are the Epcot/Boardwalk station and the Hollywood Studios station. The Epcot/Boardwalk Skyliner station is located right outside the back exit of Epcot (The International Gateway) which leads into Disney’s Boardwalk. The Hollywood Studios Skyliner station is located right out front of the Hollywood Studios park.
Disney’s Skyliner is free to ride, even if you are not staying at a Disney Resort and even if you do not have Disney Park tickets. You can catch some great views around Disney Property and even tour a few of the resorts along the way.
6. Enjoy Live Music
Disney provides several places for their guest to enjoy live music for free. Disney Springs has several sections that feature street performances and dance parties. The amphitheater outside World of Disney is a great place to find this entertainment!
Port Orleans French Quarter Jazz Club also provides guest with evenings of live music. Sit back and soak up the beautiful tunes of some jazz music. As mentioned above, the Boardwalk also features live music and street performances as well.
7. Resort Hop and Explore the Resorts
Exploring the resorts is a wonderful activity for the family to participate in. Every resort offers a unique theme and beautiful scenery. While exploring, keep your eyes open for Hidden Mickeys! This is a great way to explore the resorts and keep the children focused on a unique scavenger hunt.
One of our favorite activities when exploring the resorts is to go during the holidays. Each resort decorates for the holidays while keeping to their theme. The Grand Floridian also is home to a massive gingerbread house that you can buy gingerbread and other holiday treats out of. The Beach and Yacht Club, along with the Swan and Dolphin will feature structures of chocolate for the holidays. Every resort is a must-see!
8. Watch The Fireworks
The firework shows are always spectacular at the Disney parks. However, you do not need to be inside the parks to enjoy the show! You can view Magic Kingdom’s Firework show from the Contemporary Resort. Magic Kingdom’s show can also be viewed from Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Epcot’s show from the back entrance of the park near Disney’s Boardwalk. These resorts also play the music that is playing in the parks for your full enjoyment. If you are exploring the resorts, stick around for this free way to enjoy the show!
Currently, the parks are not displaying firework shows due to the COVID-19 restrictions for social distancing.
9. Enjoy the Water Pageant
Disney presents a Water Pageant every night at 8:40 PM on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. The water procession features sea creatures, as well as Stars and Stripes. You can enjoy the music with the pageant at these locations:
- The Polynesian Resort
- The Grand Floridian
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
- Disney’s Contemporary
You can also see parts of the pageant from Magic Kingdom but the viewing of the pageant is much better at the resorts!
10. Explore Disney Springs
Disney Springs is a wonderful place to walk around, enjoy live music, and do some window shopping. Disney Springs also offers several restaurants to wine and dine.
Live Music at Disney Springs
Disney Springs features several different stages and music venues throughout the shopping venue. Each night, these stages and venues will feature live musical artist performing all types of genres of music. Grab some coffe or your favorite dessert and sit back, relax and enjoy some of Orlando’s music scene.
Build and Race Your Lego Creations
Be sure to visit the Lego Store while at Disney Springs. This is great for children of all ages and adults that are children at heart. In and around the LEGO Store, you will find large LEGO creations which make a great photo opportunities.
Out front, you will find a section where kids can build their own LEGO race car to race others down a ramp. This section is completely free and many kids will have a blast building, racing, improving and racing again. (Due to COVID-19, this section is currently closed)
Holidays at Disney Springs
If you’re lucky enough to visit Disney Springs during the holidays, there are many great things you can do for free at Disney Springs. You can visit Santa, view the giant Christmas tree, enjoy the Christmas lights, and visit the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail.
Other free activities/items at Disney Springs
- Free Ghiradelli Choclate samples
- Celebration buttons for birthdays, anniversaries or any other reason to celebrate are giving out at the Guest Service Center
- The Disney Vacation Club booths will give kids free stickers featuring Mickey and his friends
- There is an interactive splash pad for children to enjoy for free near the toy store
- And much more! Check out our article on 10 free things to do at Disney Springs for more fun ideas
Bonus: Leave Disney Property
Yes, this article is all about free things to do at Disney World, but sometimes, you need to take a break and get out of the Disney Bubble. There are many great things to do for free outside of Disney World.
- Visit the City of Celebration, a city designed by Disney full of unique shops, restaraunts and more.
- View the natural side of Florida by taking a drive on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, where you will be sure to see serveral wild alligators, birds and other wildlife.
- Explore the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, a resort with a large 4.5 acre atrium full of native Florida plants, animal displays, replicas of Florida landmarks, and more.