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20+ Free Things at Disney World You Shouldn't Miss Out on Any Longer

20+ Free Things at Disney World You Shouldn't Miss Out on Any Longer

As the saying goes, Walt Disney World (WDW, as we like to call it) in Orlando, Florida, is the "Happiest Place on Earth"—and we'd be the last people to disagree. But it can't be denied: Disney happiness doesn't come cheap!

As of 2024, tickets start at $109 and go as high as $189 (depending on park, the time of year you're visiting, etc.), and when you're traveling with your family, that grand total can indeed get grand. Here's a secret though: Once you've paid the price of park admission, there's actually plenty inside that's free. Really, we mean it! You just need to know where to look.

There are some things, of course, that don't require much of a hunt—the fireworks, festivals, and parades, for instance—but did you know about the free drinks at Club Cool? (Crucial during Florida's scorching summers.) Your child can even get an actual sprinkling of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique-worthy pixie dust—without ever stepping inside the salon.

Add concerts, chocolates, and The Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve—a stunning, 11500-acre preserve just 40 minutes south of Lake Buena Vista—to that list, and you've got quite the money-saving scavenger hunt laid out for you.

Don't miss out for much longer—scroll on for the best Disney World freebies.

PLAN YOUR VISIT

Transportation

Buses, monorails, boats, skyliners—no matter how you choose to travel around Disney, if it's on a Disney mode of transportation, it's free!

spaceship earth is the visual and thematic centerpiece of epcot at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla
gene duncan

Celebration Buttons

These are always a delight! Disney's three-inch "celebration buttons"—which can be found at a number of guest relations locations throughout the parks—are free pins that help you celebrate…well, quite literally anything. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and first visits each have designated pins, but there's also a general "I'm celebrating…," pin, which lets you fill in your celebration of choice. Once you put it on, cast members will know to congratulate you (so sweet)—and, when they can, go the extra mile to make your day extra special in other ways too.

a group of people holding colorful pins
Walt Disney World Resort

Pixie Dust

You've probably seen little princesses and princes leaving the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique dressed like royalty and absolutely doused in that fine, fine glitter known as pixie dust. Well, if the $100 base package price isn't quite your once-upon-a-dream, there are two places where anyone (regardless of age) can get dusted for free: Sir Mickey's and Bonjour! Village Gifts, both located in Fantasyland.

golden glitter explosion
stilllifephotographer - Getty Images

Character Meet and Greets

Yep, all traditional meet and greets are free once you're inside the park! But heads up: The printed photos are not...unless you're a Disney Visa cardholder. Cardholders are eligible for a free Disney character "meet and greet" at EPCOT's Innoventions, complete with a complementary 5 x 7 souvenir photo.

guests can meet princess anna queen elsa from frozen inside royal sommerhus, their cozy cabin in the norway pavilion at epcot here, guests can meet the royal sisters, pose for a photo, and share a warm embrace epcot is one of four theme parks at walt disney world resort located in lake buena vista, fla ryan wendler, photographer
Ryan Wendler

Non-Professional Photos

Here's a little hack for you! Just like you never have to pay for character meetings, you also don't have to pay for the pro photos. You can simply ask the photographer or one of the nearby cast members to take a few photos on your phone or personal camera, guaranteeing that you get the shot without having to pay for prints.

haunting halloween festivities await at mickeys not so scary halloween party in magic kingdom park at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla the specially ticketed event brews up eerie sistible delights including entertaining parades, spirited character opportunities and scary good treats guests can enjoy the spooktacular party on select nights through nov1 from 7 pm to midnight
MARIAH WILD

WiFi

All of Disney World's parks offer free WiFi, so you always have reception to post your magical memories!

flower and garden festival at epcot
Anadolu - Getty Images

Soda Samples

Disney calls EPCOT's Club Cool its "Coke"-tail bar, as it only features Coca-Cola products. And here's the fun twist: Those Coke products are from around the world! Even better? They're all free to sample.

top view of cola drink isolated on white background
Boy_Anupong - Getty Images

Disney Springs

WDW's entertainment complex, Disney Springs, is free for anyone to visit, whether you're vacationing at the parks or just a local looking for a good night out. There are restaurants, shops (some of which have items exclusive to Springs), shows (like Cirque du Soleil), and more, all centered around the Lake Buena Vista for an aesthetically pleasing scene. And while you're visiting...

as disney celebrates halfway to the holidays, festive cheer is already in the air at walt disney world resort at disney springs, shoppers can find treasures for loved ones while enjoying dazzling decor and live entertainment and the disney springs christmas tree stroll invites guests to discover 20 christmas trees on display throughout the dining, entertainment and retail complex visitors can also be on the lookout for magical snowfall in central florida kent phillips, photographer
Kent Phillips

Ghirardelli Chocolate

If you visit the Springs, make sure to stop by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop. Each guest is handed a free square of their delicious chocolate on the way in! (BTW, that's per visit, so if you happen to leave and come back...)

square of ghirardelli chocolate
San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images - Getty Images

Dessert on Your Birthday

Okay, this one's not a 100% guarantee, but if you dine with Disney and a cast member knows you're celebrating something (like a birthday), they'll often bring you a dessert—on the house. (They don't call it the Happiest Place on Earth for nothin'!)

from jan 12 to feb 19, epcot international festival of art invites guests to embark on a delicious journey at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla more than 15 food studios throughout epcot create a colorful palette of flavors where each dish turns every meal into a vibrant and tasty masterpiece matt stroshane, photographer
Matt Stroshane

Water

...because Florida can get capital H-O-T hot! While there's plenty of bottled water to buy at every turn, most restaurants and quick-service kiosks will give you a free cup of ice water if you ask.

ratatouille inspired fountain features rats holding bottles and flutes of champagne as water shoots out of the bottles toward the top basin in the newly expanded france pavilion at epcot at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla chef remy stands atop the fountain wearing his classic french toque hat and holding a cooking spoon harrison cooney, photographer
Harrison Cooney

Festivals

As we mentioned, you do need to pay the price of admission to experience some things—including Disney World's truly glorious festivals—but the festivals themselves do not increase the price of your ticket, so we consider them a perk. Just look at the detail on Encanto's Miracle for EPCOT's annual International Festival of the Arts! EPCOT also hosts the Food & Wine Festival (a favorite for bachelorette parties) and the beloved Festival of the Holidays, while greater WDW celebrates both Autumn at Walt Disney World and Holidays at Walt Disney World—both with truly magical décor and themed activities.

beginning feb 28, 2024, a topiary of mirabel from the disney animated film encanto will greet guests once again at the epcot international flower garden festival guests can enjoy a springtime event filled with enchanting topiaries, brilliant gardens, fresh flavors and lively entertainment at the epcot international flower garden festival david roark, photographer
David Roark

Parades

Does anyone do parades like Disney? We'll answer that for you: nope! The music, costumes, and floats, all of which glide onto the scene carrying Disney's beloved cast of characters, are top-notch. The only cost once you're in the park? A little time away from the rides. (But you might just be ready for a break from those!) And yes, during the holidays, the parades are themed.

mickeys once upon a christmastime parade is just one of the holiday highlights that guests can experience during mickeys very merry christmas party at magic kingdom park in lake buena vista, fla the separately ticketed event also features dazzling stage shows, fireworks, complimentary sweet treats and so much more it takes place on 25 select nights nov 9 dec 22 now in its 40th year, the event has become a holiday tradition for families and kids of all ages harrison cooney, photographer
Harrison Cooney

Fireworks

Not to sound like your favorite Disney soundtrack on loop (Moana, anyone?), but again, when it comes to fireworks, no one is doing it like Disney! The Magic Kingdom's latest show, "Happily Ever After," features not only fireworks, but also lights, lasers, and special effects. That includes projections that not only dress the castle, but all of Main Street, U.S.A., making any spot you snag a visual feast...at no extra cost.

happily ever after presented by pandora jewelry lights up magic kingdom park in lake buena vista, fla with fireworks, lasers, lighting and projection effects featuring a story that captures the heart, humor and heroism of favorite disney films
Matt Stroshane

More Night Shows

Of course, while the Magic Kingdom's fireworks display may be the most iconic of WDW's evening shows, it's certainly not the only one. EPCOT boasts "Luminous: The Symphony of Us" over its lagoon, while Hollywood Studios has two night shows: "Fantasmic!" (Mickey fights for the fate of the world!) and "Wonderful World of Animation," which projects clips from a slew of Disney films over it's recreation of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

epcot forever the nighttime spectacular featuring fireworks, music and lighting effects over world showcase lagoon, returns july 1, 2021, to epcot at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla the show highlights themes of innovation, exploration, imagination and celebration at the core of the parks past, present and future disney
Disney

Leis

Polynesian Resort guests get a lei at check-in, but here's a secret: Anyone who visits the lobby can get one. All you have to do is ask! Disney's leis are made without fake flowers, making them durable for repeat wearings through the park—and a trip home in your suitcase.

young boy wearing a floral lei
Igor Alecsander - Getty Images

Concerts

All of those EPCOT-based festivals we mentioned? So many of them feature free concerts, featuring big stars: Simple Plan, Smash Mouth, Boyz II Men, Hanson, to name a few. All of the concerts are first come, first served, so get there early to score a prime spot.

joyous traditions from around the globe return to the epcot international festival of the holidays presented by adventhealth nov 25 through dec 30, 2022 at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla guests will discover seasonal food and beverages, festive merchandise, holiday storytelling and uplifting entertainment, including the return of the beloved candlelight processional featuring celebrity narrators with three performances nightly abigail nilsson, photographer
Abigail Nilsson

Broadway-Caliber Shows

Want to see Beauty and the Beast without paying Broadway prices? Head to Hollywood Studios. Its theater on "Sunset Boulevard" puts on Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, a 30-minute take on the Broadway production, complete with all your favorite songs, five times a day.

with an elegant setting right out of disney's beauty and the beast be our guest restaurant magically takes magic kingdom diners into the grand ballroom, rose gallery, and mysterious west wing of the castle
David Roark

Wilderness Explorers Scavenger Hunt

If you love Up, this one's for you! While visiting Animal Kingdom, make like young Russell and become a Wilderness Explorer—one on a scavenger-style hunt to find all the animals in the park. For every animal you find, you get a "badge" (i.e. a very cute sticker) in your booklet. If you complete the challenge, you'll have a booklet with a whopping 30 stickers to take home.

disneys animal kingdom guests become wilderness explorers in an all new self guided experience aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the natural world we live in inspired by russell, the wilderness explorer in the disney pixar film up park guests can earn approximately 30 sticker badges in adventures exploring the theme park, completing various activities and solving puzzles along the way topics include everything from studying the animal inhabitants of the park to learning animal nutrition to combing through a dig site and identifying fossils headquartered on oasis bridge, wilderness explorers is included in disneys animal kingdom admission disneys animal kingdom is located at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla kent phillips, photographer
Kent Phillips

Disney Wilderness Preserve

Did you know that just 20 miles south of Orlando, Disney has a Wilderness Preserve? Well, now you do! The Preserve boasts over 12,000 acres, all of which is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Take the Preserve's 2.5-mile hike, and you'll get to see a lot of that wildlife up close—at zero cost to you. (However, they do welcome donations to keep doing the important work they do!)

disney teamed up with florida wildlife corridor foundation fwcf and the nature conservancy to host local girl scouts for some hands on learning experiences throughout the month, including an exclusive, advanced screening of home waters, a short film produced by the fwcf and a day at the nature conservancys disney wilderness preserve for some onsite exploration and career conversations with local leaders and conservation experts olga thompson, photographer
OLGA THOMPSON

Campfire Sing-a-Long

Get ready to belt it out! Every night, Fort Wilderness hosts a Chip and Dale-themed marshmallow roast and sing-a-long—and you don't have to be a guest of the Fort to attend. You should also be ready to snap a pic with Chip 'n' Dale (who do meet and greets on site) and watch a Disney classic (on a large screen nearby). FYI: Disney's Port Orleans-Riverside also does a version of this seasonally called "Campfire on de' Bayou."

a boy and a girl looking at a person in a garment
Walt Disney World Resort

Early Entry and Extended Evening Hours

Now this one's a little more specific: Anyone staying at a Disney World Resort hotel (and a few select Disney-area hotels too) gets free early entry to the parks, which is excellent for beating the crowds. Plus, if you stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort (and a few additional select hotels), you can also enjoy free extended evening hours on select nights. All around, a pretty good reason to stay on property!

cinderella poses in front of cinderella castle inside magic kingdom park at walt disney world resort in lake buena vista, fla matt stroshane, photographer
Matt Stroshane

Movies Under the Stars

Another WDW resort guest perk! No matter which one you stay at—the Grand Floridian, the Caribbean, or any of the All Star resorts—you and your family can take in movies under the stars. Each hotel has its own schedule and its own movies. Some even have snacks! All are free.

a group of people sitting in front of a large screen
Walt Disney World Resort

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