Introduction: Best FREE Things to Do at Walt Disney World

Imagine this scenario. You may have gone through this same scenario yourself (although not necessary as extreme)...

You are going on a trip to Orlando, Florida with your family of four. Your main destination here is Walt Disney World. Your lifelong dream of being able to hug Mickey Mouse, show off your Pooh tattoo to the "real" Winnie the Pooh, and to get punched by Tigger will finally come true. You are extremely happy about your trip. You plan on spending two weeks on Disney property without leaving. For weeks before you leave, you dream happy thoughts about your trip every morning as you eat your breakfast consisting of mouse-shaped waffles and drink your Disney brand coffee.

Then one day you get the travel information that you ordered from Disney's website. Your dreams are suddenly squashed like Jiminy Cricket under Pinocchio's wooden foot. Your happy thoughts fly out the window as you realize that Mickey Mouse really doesn't care about you, all the rat really cares about is your money.

A one day ticket into one of Walt Disney World's four major parks is $75.62 each (last time I checked). That means that if you and your family go into one of the major theme parks for one day, it would cost you $302.48. So if you spend your entire two week Walt Disney World vacation at the theme parks without planning and buying a new ticket every day, it will cost you $4234.72 in admission tickets alone. There are several discounts available to lower this high price such as multi-day tickets, park hopper passes, Florida resident tickets, and even annual passes if you're going to enter the parks enough, but despite any savings, your vacation will still be expensive regardless. Be sure to research the different ticket deals before you go on your vacation to get the best deal. Then add in the cost of getting to Orlando, transportation, a place to stay, food, parking fees, and everything else, you realize that Mickey Mouse doesn't just care about your money. He loves your money. You know you can't afford it, but due to your unhealthy Disney obsession, you plan on making your pilgrimage to the happiest place on earth regardless...

Perhaps you are not as obsessed as the person described above but are still planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Disney will charge you the same amount of money, regardless of your sanity and level of obsession, and a visit can get very expensive. And that is why this Instructable may be helpful to you. In this Instructable, I will show you a few of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World that are completely free. This way, your Disney vacation won't hurt your wallet quite as much and you can put your money towards better things. Like the gas required to get to Disney...

Step 1: Visit Disney's Entertainment Complexes

Walt Disney World has two entertainment complexes that have free admission. While the admission may be free, most of the stuff inside of these areas does cost, but it won't be as bad as a ticket into one of the theme parks. Spending no money here is a possibility too. Just walk around and take in the sights, and you won't spend a cent.

Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World's biggest and most popular entertainment complex is called Downtown Disney. It is currently under major construction as it is transformed from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs. It formerly consisted of three sections called The Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and the West Side. It's hard to say what's going to happen to these areas once the renovations are complete, but so far we know Pleasure Island won't be returning. With all the construction going on, everything about this place can change very quickly. Here's what's at Downtown Disney currently:

The Marketplace is filled with mostly stores. The majority of this area is nothing more than a massive Disney Store, only with better decorations. These stores are filled with lots of eye candy to look at to keep you entertained, such as stuff like animatronic pirates. The major restaurant in the Marketplace is a Rainforest Cafe. It's overpriced tourist food, but since you are about saving money, just go inside and wander around the gift shop and seating area. It's filled with giant aquariums and all sorts of animatronic animals. Once you have had your fun, walk out and move on. Also be sure to visit the Ghiradelli store. They always give free chocolate samples!

What was Pleasure Island is currently nothing but construction walls.

The West Side is filled with most of the expensive stuff in Downtown Disney. They have a Cirque du Soleil show that is awesome, but is also very expensive. Disney Quest is a virtual reality theme park. It's a whole lot of fun, but since it's in Disney, it is also costs to get in. There are more overpriced restaurants here, and some higher end shops. These are fun to look around in...


Walking through all of Downtown Disney is a nice walk, and if you don't eat here or buy anything, it's a free way to spend a few hours of your Disney vacation.


The Boardwalk

Disney's Boardwalk technically doubles as one of Disney's many hotels (more on hotels later) as well as an entertainment complex. There are lots of restaurants here as well as two nightclubs, but they all cost money. During the day there really isn't too much to do here if you don't want to spend money on renting bicycles or eating. It's a nice mile walk around the lake that the Boardwalk is built around. In the evening, the free entertainment picks up a bit. Every night there are several different street performers that rotate through their acts. These acts are normally somewhere between 10-15 minutes long and can be anything from juggling to magic to a guy playing a piano on a bicycle. Some nights the acts are good. Other nights they are a waste of time. But don't complain, because they are free!


The Boardwalk is located right next door to EPCOT. At 9:00 each night, EPCOT explodes with their fireworks show. Since you are right next door, you can see some of the show over the trees if you find a good spot. It will be far from the full show, but again, it's free! More on how to see fireworks for free later.

Step 2: Ride a Monorail...

The Disney theme parks are famous for their monorails. This futuristic form of transportation travels between the Magic Kingdom, it's hotels, and EPCOT. The best thing about the monorails are that it won't cost you anything to go for a ride.

Since the monorails travel to all of the hotels surrounding the Magic Kingdom, all you need to do is visit one of these hotels (more on hotel visits coming later). Go to the Magic Kingdom toll booth where they would normally collect an insane amount of money from you to be able to park your car. Tell the toll collector that you are going to either the Grand Floridian, The Poloynesian, or The Contemporary Hotel. They will give you directions and wave you through. Go to the hotel of your choice and tell the guard at the hotel entrance that you are going to have dinner at the hotel. They won't question you (unless it's a holiday and all restaurants are booked) and will wave you through. Chances are you will get hungry by the time you're done and Disney hotels generally have very good food, so you probably won't be lying about eating either. Walk into the hotel and find the monorail station. Take a ride around, but avoid switching to the EPCOT monorail unless you have a ticket to the parks. They may give you some problems on your ride back without a ticket.

If alcohol is your thing, also consider the Monorail Bar Crawl:

http://watch-me-eat.blogspot.com/2013/01/monorail-bar-crawl.html

Step 3: Go for a Boat Ride

Walt Disney World has all sorts of water on their property. There are several good sized lakes as well as miles of man-made canals. With all of this water, what Disney wants you to do is pay lots of money to rent a boat.

Renting a boat is expensive, so why not turn Walt Disney World's free water transportation into entertainment. From almost every location on the property that has water, you can probably take a boat somewhere else for free. Explore where you land for a bit, then get back on the boat and enjoy your cruise back to your starting location. Nobody ever asks where you are going, so you don't need to be a hotel guest or any of that stuff. Sometimes they ask to see a photo ID before letting you board a boat, but once you show it to them, there isn't ever any problems.

Some of my favorite free boat rides are:
*Downtown Disney to the Port Orleans Hotel- It's a nice long ride, starting in Downtown Disney's lake. You then enter a canal and travel past the Saratoga Springs Resort, through golf courses, past the very cool condemned Tree House hotels (although they are in the process of reopening), and then finally arriving at the hotel. Get out and explore a little, then take the ride back. If you get a good driver, the whole trip will be narrated too, with all of the good stuff being pointed out along the way.

*Seven Seas Lagoon Boats- To get to the boats here, follow the same method to get through the tolls for free that you use when riding the monorail. Then take the monorail either to the front entrance of the Magic Kingdom or to the parking lot. Get off and pick your boat. The big boats here are the ferries that transport people from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the Magic Kingdom park entrance. These are some of the largest boats on Disney property. They are two levels, and you are free to walk around whatever level you choose while the boat is moving (always go for the second floor). There are some great views of the lake, it's many islands, and the surrounding sights. There are several smaller boats that go to some of the hotels that are on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake that are fun to ride too. Board these by getting off of the Magic Kingdom monorail station, and pick your boat. Taking a boat to the Wilderness Lodge is always fun, mostly because it is a nice long ride that takes you through the Seven Seas Lagoon, into a canal that passes over a road, then into Bay Lake.

If taking a boat here after dark, it's possible to see the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from the water and keep a lookout for the Electrical Water Pageant, which is a illuminated light show that floats across the Seven Seas Lagoon on barges.

*EPCOT Waterway Boats- These boats travel from the back entrance of EPCOT, up a canal into the lake surrounded by the EPCOT hotels, into another canal to the Swan & Dolphin Hotels, and then up to the entrance of Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM), and then turning around and repeating the whole trip. It's a nice long ride, but with all of the stops, it's quite slow going. There are pathways along the whole route so you can walk back if you choose not to ride round trip.

Step 4: Explore the Hotels

I have already mentioned some of the Disney hotels such as the Boardwalk and the Magic Kingdom hotels. What I mentioned previously only scratches the surface of the hotels though.

Just like when riding the monorail, when entering a hotel, if there is a toll booth, say you are going to eat dinner at the hotel. If you feel like a big over achiever, know the name of a restaurant, but this isn't necessary. The guard will most likely ask for photo ID and will copy your name down, and then will wave you through as easy as that. Once in, you are free to roam around the hotel. You probably will get hungry eventually, and Disney hotels have very good food, so chances are that you won't be lying about eating dinner there.

Here is a list of some of my favorites and some of the highlights of the free things to do at each one:

*Animal Kingdom Lodge- This is one of my favorites. It is built next to the Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and carries over an African theme. The massive lobby is filled with cool stuff like bridges spanning with width of the room between the upper floors and giant ostrich lamps. All of that is good, but the best part about the Animal Kingdom Lodge is by far the animals. The hotel has it's own recreated African Savannah, so the hotel guests can see gazelles and zebras grazing outside of their rooms. For the people that aren't staying at the hotel, you can walk around the outside of the hotel and some of the indoor hallways and get wonderful views of the animals. It's like a free zoo. If you pay admission into Animal Kingdom next door, you'll get to see one of the world's best zoos, filled with all sorts of impressive animals. Here you are limited to slightly less exciting animals like zebras, giraffes, and other grazing animals. It's not quite as exciting, but it's still pretty cool, and it's free!

*Wilderness Lodge- Another one of Disney's Lodge hotels. This one is themed to be somewhere in the American Northwest, specifically around the national parks. The setup of the hotel is very similar to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, only without the animals. It also has a massive lobby filled with all sorts of good stuff like giant totem poles, fireplaces, and hot springs. These fake hot springs bubble up into pools inside the lobby and then flows into a stream. The stream flows out of the lobby, where it forms a larger river outside. The river passes over several waterfalls and then flows into the Wilderness Lodge's swimming pool. It doesn't end there either. The water then flows out of the pool into another stream, and eventually flows out into Bay Lake. This whole water system is one of the highlights of the hotel, and it is very interesting to follow the flow of the water along it's whole path. Behind the hotel, along Bay Lake, there are some nature trails to walk around, and then their is the geyser. The geyser erupts every half hour and is a nice free show...


*Contemporary Hotel- This is one of the oldest hotels at Walt Disney World, but it still very cool to walk around. The Contemporary is one of the Magic Kingdom hotels, built between the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. The hotel was built using modular construction, meaning the frame of the building was constructed here, while all of the rooms were constructed off site. The rooms were then lifted up to their proper place with a crane and slid into the frame. This was done to make renovating the hotel easier when it started getting old since they would be able to pull out an old room, and slide a new room in. It turned out that the building settled after construction though, making this impossible.

The Contemporary has a large open lobby, with all of the rooms on the upper floors above. The monorail passes and stops right in the lobby. Perhaps my favorite part of the Contemporary is the buildings stairs and rooftop. On the top floor of the hotel, there is a very expensive (and good) restaurant called the California Grill. Surrounding the restaurant, there are pathways going out onto the roof of the hotel, providing great views of the surrounding area. Depending on the time of the day, the hotel's elevators do not always go up to the top level of the building, and that's where the Contemporary's very cool stairs come into play. On each end of the building, there are two sets of stairs that go up to the top of the building. These dizzying stairs wind up the slanted outside walls of the building all the way up to the pathways going across the Contemporary's roof, even when the California Grill elevators aren't running.

*The Boardwalk- I already discussed what happens here. See step 1.

These are a few of my favorites, but there are plenty more Disney hotels to explore. There are the very cool Swan & Dolphin hotels, the Coronado Springs Hotel with it's Mayan Pyramid, the Pop Century hotels. The list goes on and on...

Step 5: Watch the Fireworks

Walt Disney World puts on nightly firework shows at all of it's major theme parks with the exception of Animal Kingdom. If you have already paid admission into one of these parks, by all means watch the show from the inside. But that's not why you are reading this Instructable. You want to know how you can see the fireworks for free.

Don't waste your time attempting to watch Hollywood Studio's Fantasmic firework show from outside of the park. You won't see much since this show is set in a stadium and really has very little fireworks. All you may see from outside of this park is maybe a few fireworks passing over the treeline in the direction of stage while hearing blasting Disney movie music.

EPCOT's Reflections of Earth Firework show can be seen from the bridge near the back entrance of the park in the Boardwalk hotel. You will see a lot more fireworks from this show for free than you would at Hollywood Studios, but it still isn't ideal. This show involves a whole lot of video on a floating globe that isn't visible outside of the park for a good part of the show. You will get to see some fireworks in the beginning of the show, a big break in between, and then some more fireworks at the finale. You'll be able to hear some drifting audio, but nothing great.

Wishes at the Magic Kingdom is the ideal Disney firework show to watch for free. Go to one of the Magic Kingdom hotels as described in the previous step. The Contemporary is my personal favorite to watch the show from. The Polynesian Hotel and the Grand Floridian Hotel both provide about equal view of the show. In the Contemporary, go outside on the side of the building facing the Magic Kingdom anywhere from the bottom of the staircase up to the roof. You will not be alone when doing this and some of the better spots on the side of the building fill up fast, mainly the floors close to the lobby and the rooftop. They play the audio for the show, although I have noticed it is never loud enough to hear clearly at this hotel. It is very cool though to be higher than where most of the fireworks are exploding...

In the Polynesian or Grand Floridian, head towards the beaches on the lake. On most nights audio is played and it is normally much clearer than at the Contemporary. Most of the restaurants on the lake have view of the show and also play the audio.

If you happen to go on or near the Forth of July or New Years Eve, you may get a special show where the fireworks are launched from several additional spots in the Magic Kingdom and also from some of the islands in the Seven Seas Lagoon. It's a very cool show, although it's a bit tricker to get into the hotels without restaurant reservations on these nights (it is possible though).

Here is a video of Wishes on New Years Eve 2007 from the Polynesian Hotel...

Step 6: Go to Celebration

Walt Disney's original grand plan for Walt Disney World was not a complex of theme parks. Disney's main project for Walt Disney World was the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT for short. Disney's EPCOT would have been nothing like the Epcot theme park that exists today. EPCOT would have been an actual city, with a commercial area filled with skyscrapers in the center of the city, all under a glass dome. There would be large apartment buildings surrounding the dome, followed by a ring of parks. The outskirts of of the EPCOT city would consist of smaller homes. Apart from this commercial/residential section of the city would be a separate industrial city. Disney planned to get large corporations to set up shop in EPCOT and design all of the world's latest and greatest technology from the city. Each of the two sections of the city would be set up in a ring design, much like the Magic Kingdom park, with a central hub, with everything radiating out from there. Transportation would be provided using monorails and People Movers. All cars would travel through underground tunnels. Then Walt Disney died, and the rest of the Disney company wasn't all that interested in urban planning, and EPCOT turned into the theme park that exists today. Almost everything in Walt Disney's plan for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was put aside, but many of the ideas were utilized in the Magic Kingdom park. The People Mover, now known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority runs around Tomorrowland and even passes a model of what EPCOT was going to be.


In the 1990s, the Walt Disney Company decided to get into urban planning again and built the city of Celebration. Celebration is very much the opposite of what EPCOT was originally designed to be. It was designed as a very low key town, with the plan to provide people with a nostalgic fuzzy feeling for a time they can't remember. The city consists of mostly houses, but also has a small downtown. This downtown is a fun place to walk around and explore for an afternoon. There are some fairly decent restaurants, a tiny movie theater, as well as other pointless shops that don't sell anything anyone really needs. There are often events downtown, so if you're lucky you will have a little more to do. Be sure to go in December and see the fake snow on Market Street...

I've also seen several of the houses in Celebration with Christmas lights set to music in the style of the famous Wizards of Winter videos...

Step 7: Free Stuff in the Parks...

Once inside the theme parks, you won't get much for free that wasn't covered in your price of admission. Food, drinks, and everything else will cost you high theme park prices in most cases, although there is the rare exception. In fact, I can only think of one exception that is always available...

In EPCOT, there is a place called Club Cool nearby the big fountain in Future World. In this Coca-Cola sponsored exhibit, there are free flowing, self serve samples of Coke products from around the world. Some of the sodas are horrible, while others are very tasty. Whenever I am at EPCOT, I never buy any sort of drinks. I make a point to pass through this exhibit as many times as possible to get all of the free beverages possible!

Step 8: Free Admission...

If you are a tourist visiting Walt Disney World, chances are you won't have a way to get any free tickets into the parks, but they are out there.

Disney employees hardly make any money, but one of the perks is that they are given free tickets into the parks. On occasion these employees don't have time or don't want to use their free tickets, and they are often passed on to non-Disney employees. If you are friendly with any Walt Disney World 'Cast Members', be sure to give them a call and see if they can supply you with any freebies.

NEVER (unless you know what you're doing) fall for any of the scams that you will see outside of Disney, mostly on International Drive and 192 offering you free tickets to the theme parks. If these places are giving you real tickets, you will need to sit with a high pressure timeshare salesperson for hours that will do their best to keep you at the sales pitch until they make you feel guilty enough to make a purchase. These timeshares will often have problems actually giving you the tickets that they lured you into the sales pitch with in the first place, not to mention the fact that places are known to give unsuspecting tourists used or counterfeit tickets.

Just remember that if someone you don't know is offering you free tickets, it's probably too good to be true...

Step 9: Explore Beyond the Walls of Walt Disney World

And that's my list of things to do at Walt Disney World for free. Enjoy your trip, and I hope this list will save you some money by giving you some ideas of what do do besides going to the theme parks.

If you're feeling really brave, I also recommend that you leave Disney property on your vacation, although the person I described in the Introduction wouldn't do that. There is a whole city outside of Disney's walls, filled with lots of things to see and do! Go explore Downtown. Go swim in a natural springs. See some wild alligators. Go to a museum. There is lots of other stuff to do in the Orlando area!

And most of all, have fun on your trip...

Comments

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rafununu made it!(author)2017-05-21

Why do you want to give your money to Disney ? They certainly don't deserve it.

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FansR made it!(author)2016-07-03
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kelly.l.smith.104 made it!(author)2015-04-29

How long can you park at a hotel. For example, could you park at one that has monorail stops and ride the monorail to the others?

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mpedone made it!(author)2016-01-19

Pretty sure you can park there all day. A couple of years back, my wife and I went to Kona Cafe for breakfast, then walked around the Polynesian, took the path over to the Grand Floridian, then rode the monorail to the Contemporary. So, in short, yes, you can.

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AsusK made it!(author)2014-12-09

Orlando was LOADED with crime, streetwalkers and $5,000 defunct condos when I was there ~5 years ago. How much does these schiesters charge for parking for the day? Other thing I've noticed were within Youtube videos (you can view the ENTIRE thing, ALL of it) pointed out many of the older attractions have broken animatronics. Most of that stuff is so dated now, there's no "magic" left. Not with what you can do from a cell phone now, that's for sure! Lastly, I think a Euro roadtrip is a better investment, but I don't have kids.

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ashley.dillashaw made it!(author)2014-10-23

I read alot of comments but they were from 6 years ago. I'm getting ready to take my 4 daughters to Orlando for a week and wet are leaving Halloween night. By the time I got our passes the Mickey's nit so scarey Halloween party was sold out. I was told that downtown Disney doesn't do any trick or treating anymore. Is this true? My girls def want to go trick ir treating still. Does anyone know of a place in Orlando that does trick or treating or any neighborhoods?

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RhiannaM made it!(author)2014-10-24

Hey Giiirrll!!

I'm going on Tuesday to Disney :) We might see eachother there xx If you hear of anywhere to go trick or treating it would be fab! (i thought downtown disney still did it x)

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woofboy111 made it!(author)2014-10-24

http://www.mynews13.com/halloween/eerie-events.html#orange

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Sephirot-mommy made it!(author)2014-07-29

how I miss disney :, ( I lived and work there for a year and that was one of the most awesome times in my life

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nof-z made it!(author)2014-02-01

not really "free" but worth knowing: I was at disney world with my band and choir, and we had a clinic, so my mom got us some fastpasses for when we got back. we came back a little later than we thought we would, so we went to guest services, and told them our plight. they gave use these passes that were good for any ride with a fast pass option, for any time. so just so you all know, if you have a small issue like this, and talk to the cast members nicely, then you will usually get an upgrade from what you have. but the key word in this in NICE.

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Silver_Kate made it!(author)2013-12-18

Not sure anyone does this any more but if you are driving down pack your own emergency kit. Dramamine, antacids, band aids, anti-diariah. Anything you get from the hotel or from the local area is going to be marked up. From pads, to flip flops to an aspirin. A suitcase of basics will cyoa. Also with a baby toddler you can bring a bag of snacks almost anywhere. With a dr's note (if they have allergies) you can take them anywhere. If you have a baby or toddler and they are still on formula take at least a gal of water that is from home, even if you use bottled water all of it is bottled regionally. (Honestly a run to a drug store for just a few things could run you over the price of a park ticket.)

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razordu30 made it!(author)2010-12-13

Wait a second! Is this a way to get free parking at Disney? Like, can I "visit" a hotel, take the monorail, and avoid the $10 or whatever it is now fee? I mean, at $10 a car a day, 2 cars of families for 5 days is $100.

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Galonii made it!(author)2013-12-06

it now cost $17 to park at Disney world, park at Down town Disney, ride the bus to a hotel, then catch another bus to the park of your choosing. Do the same in reverse after the park closes, Down town Disney and the Boardwalk close at like 230am

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woofboy111 made it!(author)2010-12-13

:-)

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Galonii made it!(author)2013-12-06

Tickets to the parks are now $91 and some change before tax

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wanna+beco made it!(author)2012-12-05

This is a great write up, and I love your pictures. Thank you so much for this informative write up. And even though you didn't "make" anything, I know your research and information was very time consuming to acquire. good work!

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geco4ever made it!(author)2009-08-27

the best thing about living in florida is residents get a discount on hotels and theme parks :P. its like $40 a ticket

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samwfc12 made it!(author)2012-06-13

i wish it was 40

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americangeiko made it!(author)2008-09-15

The "Tree House Hotels" you're refering too are the "Tree House Villas" that were actually for the International College Program students. They've since been shut down, and there's no word on what they're doing with them at this time.

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woofboy111 made it!(author)2008-09-15

Last I heard, the Treehouses are currently being rebuilt/renovated/improved. Read about them Here

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samwfc12 made it!(author)2011-06-23

The tree house villas are now the animal kingdom villas

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cmiller40 made it!(author)2011-10-18

I thought the Treehouse Villas were being opened for the Disney Time Share members....

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ramallama made it!(author)2012-04-11

They are not the animal kingdom villas. They are still the Tree House Villas. They have been completely remodeled and are now open. They are part of the Saratoga Springs Disney Vacation Club resort.

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samwfc12 made it!(author)2011-12-18

yes...the animal kingdom lodge villas are for the non timeshare owners and timeshare owners

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mary.parry made it!(author)2012-04-09

If you are in downtown disney near where many of the buses leave then check out the water fountain pavement which squirts jets randomly into the air. I was able to relax here while the kids had fun with the water - no cost.

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shendershot75 made it!(author)2012-02-24

Does anyone have any recommendations for the best deal with doing the time share thing ?

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Babeehonee made it!(author)2010-02-20

So I have a couple ways to save on a short vacation to Disney!

If you are like me and been to Disney quite a few times, you know what to see and what is most important on your list.  I have a timeshare and go every April for one to two weeks.  Take advantage of the FREE passes that Disney has been giving away.  Last year i went to Magic Kingdon for free on my birthday.  This year it is Give A Day, Get A Day.  I live in MA and i gave an HOUR at a build a bear last week bought a $20 dollar bear and donated it and received TWO one day tickets to one Theme Park.  I did just about NOTHING and received my voucher on the Disney Site.

Another way to save some money is from early Sept thru beginning of OCT they have MICKEYS NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN at the Magic Kingdom on select nights.  Now the ticket is just about half the price, it says the event is from 7pm to 12am, but they start letting you in at like 2pm, I HAVE DONE THIS FOUR TIMES so i know they let you in.  You get to take your kids trick or treating throughout the Magic Kingdom, and all of the Characters are dressed in Halloween Costumes and they have a special parade each night.  Now i took my kids for Halloween 09 and when i decided to go on this mini-vacation Halloween night was sold out.  Downtown Disney had trick or treating FOR FREE on Halloween NIGHT, it was very crowded, but my kids (9 and 2) had a blast, the characters were not there but on top of 26 trick or treat stations, a lot of the stores gave away candy and other things in your trick or treat bags.  So then the following night NOV 1st we went to the trick or treat at Magic Kingdom and because Halloween was over it was also about $10 cheaper per ticket to get in, but like i said we went to the park at about 3pm and had no problem entering.  We stayed at the All-Star Movies resort for 4 nights for $300.  If i had booked this vacation when i was going to back before mid-Sept i would have recieved ALL DINNING FREE too, but i decided to drive there two weeks b4 Halloween.  PS if you have a lil one over 3 they dont check, tell them that your kid is two, i didnt pay for my son til his was 6, he was petite but still.  They make so much money they are worried about one kid...  LOL

There are deals, Disney DOESNT broadcast them freely, but look under Special Offers and if it say stay 5-nights or more, check anyways even it its if for 2 or 3 nights.  Also, u only have to buy a 1-day pass for Disney to be able to get the dinning plan even though when you look at it they automatically put in a pass for everyday you are staying there.

I have been going to Disney every year since 1992 and i was a teenager and now i bring my kids 1 or more times a year and know alot.  Feel free to ask questions, i may not know everything, but i do know alot.  I am a single mom and i am always looking for a deal.

 

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Honeyleb2000 made it!(author)2012-02-15

Please help anyone who has an idea to help me get cheap city passes for Disney I'm going for seven nights

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babysaving made it!(author)2012-01-05

This is a really helpful list. I was reminded when reading this that I have had the privilege in the last 10 years of going to Disneyland parks 4 times and Disneyworld parks 4 times - ALL for FREE. How? Hosting a family that paid for my ticket, the year it was free on your birthday, twice from a friend who worked at Disney, Craigslist, someone handing me a ticket outside the parks, my work paid for it, my friend's work party at Christmas. Would I bank on this for a family vacation? No. But having others in your family know that this is the gift that you want is a great way to go. Even saving every birthday gift or Christmas gift for a year towards it or putting allowance money towards it. I have never had excess to do expensive family vacations, but have somehow been tremendously blessed to benefit as though I do. And I do all the above free things mentioned here when I get there! As well stay outside the parks in a VRBO property, house swap or shared with another friend who wants to split a place.

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tyarton made it!(author)2011-11-13

As for fireworks from the contemporary resort, you can hear the music because its pumped from stereos on the roof aimed at the guests who have dinner reservations at the California Grill located there. Its a very expensive place to eat but with the suggestion listed above you can hear it better the closer you can get to the top of the hotel.

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cmiller40 made it!(author)2011-10-18

You all forgot one free thing we enjoy!!!! We always take a trip to Port Orleans Riverside and see Piano Bob Jackson play at night. He is a great show, involves the kids and loves everyone. Bob is entertaining and a great bonus. The show is free and so is the seating. If you want food and drink obviously that is an expense at Disney prices, but BOB is worth whatever you decide to spend! We LOVE BOB! Tell him the Miller's from Alabama said HI!

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thebestvillas made it!(author)2011-07-07

Interesting....

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jodij made it!(author)2009-03-29

THANKS FOR YOU GREAT REVIEWS OF FREE STUFF...EVERYONE IS TRYING TO KEEP THEIR KIDS ENTERTAINED WHILE NOT DECLARING BANKRUPCY!

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s_ksmith made it!(author)2011-06-24

Amen to Jodij, this is my first trip to Disney and I am taking my grandson who will be turning 7 on July 24. Looking for more free stuff to do in Orlando!!

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samwfc12 made it!(author)2011-06-23

some free things to do at disney is:
go around the parks (not inside) on the boat rides
go around in your car and try to see all the fireworks ex. mk to epcot
during christmas time at the boradwalk go inside the hotel and there is a gingerbread house with 11 hidden mickeys you have to find
Go to fort wilderness and look for deer
go thorgh evey street (except the ones for cast members only) and try to find hidden mickeys
At fort wilderness around christmas go and look how people decorated their camp ground ( been there thousands of times...one plays movies for you :))
go to all the disney hotels and trade pins they have special ones for each hotel theme

add to this list please thank you!

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Madame+JG made it!(author)2010-11-15

I havent read all of the comments, so maybe mine are already here and these are repeats.... But being the thrifty cheapskate I am, I have been searching multiple sites to find more ideas. (also a WDW Virgin, I dont know where any of this stuff is, so FREE MAPS for planning would be a GREAT bit of info)

Here are a few ideas I haven't noticed on your original site:
-walking the gardens in the garden tour.
-Fort Wilderness Campfire
-Electic water paegant
-hidden mickey hunt, appearantly you can ask for a list of them to find, and some places give you a free gift if you find them!
-Fort Wilderness petting farm
-Beach?? (not quite sure what one it means?)

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DIYmaker96 made it!(author)2009-03-25

They have one of these in Atlanta at the World Of Coca Cola museum. Sadly, there is admission.

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Munchys made it!(author)2010-03-02

You have to pay to get in the park but the cola in the place is free

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woofboy111 made it!(author)2009-03-25

Technically Epcot has admission too. I'm sure Epcot's admission is more than what Atlanta charges too.

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RazorConcepts made it!(author)2009-10-20

Last time I was at the atlanta world, admission was about $10-15. Not bad! Also you get a glass bottle of coke. 

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lego606 made it!(author)2010-01-18

 I believe that they suspended the "ride in the front" thing after the crash.

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Tumunga made it!(author)2010-01-07

Sometimes things that are too good to be true are just plumb good and true...

My family and I fell for one of the so-called timeshare "scams". We got a brochure in the mail in May of 2000, giving away 4 free tickets to disney, and 4 days-3 nights in an Orlando hotel. Well, we bit, and called it up to reserve a sales pitch session in August 2000. At the end of June, we got a phone call from the place asking us for a small fee of $25, we could stay 3 extra nights in the hotel. I thought if we do get what we're promised for $25, it would be a good deal, so I sent them the money. I hate getting scammed.

August rolled around, we packed the kids up, and headed to Disney. We got to the sales office (I was suprised it was actually there), they gave us a voucher for the hotel (6 nights), and scheduled us for a sales pitch the next day.

After a nice night at the Days Inn West Gate ( I love that pool) we went to the condos. We had already swore to each other we would not be buying anything. After we dropped the kids off at the complimentary daycare, the pitch began. Not a hard sell at all. We went on a tour of a lovely timeshare, and if I were rich, I would have bought it. Anyway, it turns out that Florida law at the time would only allow them to keep us there for 90 minutes. That's it. After they tried, we pled "no", they gave us our kids back, 4 tickets to Disney, and that was that.

6 nights lounging at a pool, taking in the sights, and a day at Disney with the kids, all for $25 bucks and 90 minutes of our time. Not bad...not bad at all.

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Wasagi made it!(author)2009-12-13

Fantastic! I' going to assume that you've been to Disney a bucnh of times. The only problem for me would be getting to Disney, though, I could keep entertained for at least a day for free! 

Great Job!

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eneergcam made it!(author)2009-07-19

im sure someone else has said something, or you have already told us, but one of the steps is covered up by a picture. Great instructale by the way!

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minimidget made it!(author)2009-07-07

You can actually get free drinks at Disney world! all you have to do is ask for a free sample of a drink, and they'll pour you a small, no charge! It'll save you buckets of cash.

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fordman15243 made it!(author)2009-07-18

Or theres this thing called.... WATER! *gasp* If you ask for ice water, they'll pour it into a cup and it will be free of charge!

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A+good+name made it!(author)2009-04-04

Uh... you forgot that you can also go on the many rides available at Disneyland... that's actually kind of the whole reason that it's a theme park.

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notveryreal made it!(author)2009-04-27

Read the title.

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A+good+name made it!(author)2009-04-28

Disneyworld, sorry. It's still a theme park, there are still free rides. You will have to pay admission one way or another, and it's usually smart to go on the rides there.

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hollyyama made it!(author)2009-06-25

And you don't go to disneyworld broke... Also it doesn't cost 75.62 per person per day when you are buying park hopper passes for multiple days and multiple people. Unless you are traveling by yourself (I don't recommend it) and you buy your singular tickets each day (I also don't recommend it) yes, it would cost $75 per day. But If you are like 99% of families, you buy in advance and in bulk... In fact I calculated this: 2 adults for 6 days Park hopper total for both:$ 450 2 adults for 10 days Park hopper total for both:$ 474 2 adults 2 kids for 6 days park hopper total for all:$ 830 2 adults 2 older kids for 10 days park hopper total for all:$ 948 And just as a control: 1 adult for 6 days, park hopper bought in advance total:$ 225 Disneyworld is expensive, but it isn't 4000 for just tickets. I am going on my honeymoon there in October... Deluxe Suite in a Deluxe Resort... with all the Romance crap and the bridal minnie ears included. It is running us 3,500 for the trip not including food.

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