There’s really no way around it: a vacation to Disney World is pricey when you include flights, theme park tickets, accommodations, and of course all the spending that happens in the parks and resorts.
Luckily, there are still a select amount of things that are still absolutely FREE in Disney World. And if you know about these things and use them strategically, you CAN end up saving a few valuable bucks.
Disney World transportation
There are several “public transportation” options in Disney World to get you from point A to point B. These modes of transportation, which include buses, monorail, boats, and the Skyliner are all completely free!
Keep in mind that you aren’t restricted to Disney’s provided transportation to get around. You are also welcome to use your own car or rental car, or take a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare services. But those can be costly, when you consider the price of rideshare daily, parking, gas, etc.
You can also get around on foot! A select number of Disney World Resort hotels have pedestrian access to the theme parks. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts along with Disney’s BoardWalk Inn are minutes away from EPCOT, and a short walk away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. All three of the monorail resorts (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort) now have foot access to Magic Kingdom!
Disney’s Magical Express is ALSO free for those flying in & out of Orlando International Airport and staying on Disney World property. (Please note: Disney’s Magical Express will be discontinued in 2022.) If you’re ok with waiting for a little bit with the various forms of transportation, you can get around Disney World without spending a dime!
Disney Springs self-parking
Speaking of getting around, if you’re looking to spend the evening in Disney Springs for some shopping and dining, self-parking is completely free! Preferred parking is available for $10, and valet parking is also available for $20.
There are also other free ways to get to Disney Springs that do not involve hopping in a car. You can take the bus from any Disney World resort or theme park, as well as the boats from Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. You can even walk directly from Saratoga Springs! (Note that, at this time, not all transportation options are available in Disney World.)
All of the Disney World Resort hotels host an array of fun activities for the whole family, and the VAST majority of them are free.
Many resorts have regular movie nights under the stars, as well as morning yoga, plenty of poolside activities, and some even have fun campfires at night. All of these are complimentary with your resort stay.
FuelRod Swaps…for those with “Founders Status”
FuelRod once sold their portable chargers for $30 with unlimited free swaps included. This policy was changed to charge guests per swap, which led to a class-action lawsuit, which resulted in Disney keeping the free swaps…for SOME of their guests.
FuelRod swaps are STILL free but you must have “Founders Status” in order to take advantage of this complimentary service, otherwise it’s now a $3.00 swapping fee. Of course, you can also bring your own portable chargers if you do not currently have a FuelRod, and there are a few select charging ports throughout the parks.
What? Free souvenirs at Disney World? Say it ain’t so!
There are a select few keepsakes at Disney World that are free. This includes celebration buttons, stickers, any items that come in free in-park activities (Kidcot, Wilderness Explorers, etc.), and those Animation Experience drawing classes at Animal Kingdom!
Drawing classes are available at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, too. Learn how to draw some of your favorite Disney characters, and keep your art as a unique and complimentary souvenir!
Would it be a complete DFB list of free things without mentioning free water? If we said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times…don’t buy bottled water in Disney World! Bring your own reusable bottle and refill it throughout the day at water refill stations. You can also ask for free cups of water at counter service dining locations.
Hydration is key, especially nowadays where you may need to take more frequent breaks during the day so you may temporarily remove your face mask (while socially distanced and stationary!).
Click here to read about what the water bottle refill stations have been like since the parks reopened.
Kids under 3 get into the parks for free
There are lots of pros and cons for traveling to Disney World with little ones, but perhaps one of the biggest perks is that kiddos under the age of three get free admission to the parks, AND they get to eat for free, too!
Keep in mind that at this time, all guests the age of two and up are required to wear face masks at all times, just like adults. So if you’re traveling with a two-year-old who has difficulty keeping a mask on all day, you may want to reconsider your trip.
Views of the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
If you want to catch a glimpse of a giraffe or zebra, you can do so without buying a park ticket or worrying about a Park Pass Reservation to Animal Kingdom! Just head on over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and visit their savanna…for FREE!
There are several viewing areas around the resort to watch the animals roam. You can also dine at Sanaa which isn’t free, but the views of the animals are!
Keep in mind that at this time, according to Disney’s website, you still need to be an overnight guest OR have an Advance Dining Reservation to visit a resort. In our experience this policy has been touch and go, depending on the Cast Member we encounter when arriving at the resorts. So be prepared!
Last but not least, there is the all-important internet access. This is perhaps the ONE time on this list where we’ll stand behind that well-known phrase, “you get what you pay for”…or rather, what you DON’T pay for.
Disney’s WiFi is spotty at best, but it IS important to point out that it is completely free during your stay, regardless of whether or not you’re a Resort guest, Annual Passholder, or a Theme Park Ticket guest. If you’re on Disney property, you can use the free WiFi.
That WiFi can help you access important tools, like My Disney Experience, Disney World’s free planning app, Play Disney Parks (another free app), or posting vacation pics on Instagram!
We have a bonus item for you today, and we kept it separate from the other complimentary items because as of this writing, FastPass+ is still suspended for the time being. That said, this is another completely FREE service that Disney provides.
While many other theme parks charge for these “front of the line” or expedited wait time passes, Disney World’s service comes included with your park admission, at no extra charge. We don’t know if there will be any changes to the FastPass+ experience when it returns, but we will be sure to fill you in with all the latest information!
We hope this list gives you some ideas on how to SAVE on your next Disney World vacation! These savings may be small, but when you use them strategically, those savings can add up over the course of one vacation, and certainly over the course of several vacations. While Disney can be pricey, it IS possible to do Disney World while sticking to a budget. Keep checking back for even more money-saving tips, like this video below!
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What is your go-to method for saving money in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!