Top 11 Free, or Low Cost Disney World Ideas
First evening or last day ideas for Walt Disney World
Most likely you've spent most of the day getting to Walt Disney World. You might feel that using a whole day of theme park tickets for just a few hours would be a waste. Or you've used up your park tickets during your stay and will be leaving for home in the afternoon. Here are some free or low cost things you can do to pass an evening or morning at Disney World, or even fill a non-theme park day.
1. Chill at your Resort Pool - Having just spent all day getting to Walt Disney World or getting ready for a full day going home can drain you. Perhaps you'd just like to spend some time relaxing at your own hotel. Take a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub.
2. Have a great meal - You've got to eat anyway so have a meal at one of Disney's great restaurants. In one of the resorts, at Disney Springs ( formerly Downtown Disney), or the Boardwalk.
3. Go to Disney Springs- Explore the Shops and wonderful dining options located there.
- The Lego Imagination Center has a 3,000-square-foot outdoor play area filled with thousands of LEGO blocks.
- Several dining locations and a couple merchandise locations offer Military Discounts.
4. Rent a boat - Most of Disney's Moderate, Deluxe and Disney Vacation Club resorts have a marina where you can rent various types of watercraft. A kayak orcanoe will set you back about than $13.00 for an hour rental. A two person motorboat is about $32.00 an hour.
5. Visit Disney's Boardwalk - The Boardwalk is a fabulous entertainment area with lots of dining and entertainment options located out the back door of the Boardwalk Resort. Park at the Boardwalk Resort, tell the Security Host at the gate you're there to walk on the Boardwalk. There are several restaurants along the Boardwalk and roaming street performers (jugglers, comedians, jazz ensembles, etc.). Located within walking distance are the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts as well as the Swan and Dolphin Resorts. There is a bridge near the Swan and Dolphin that offers a decent view over the trees of the Illuminations show at EPCOT.
6. Fort Wilderness campfire program - Sing around the campfire and watch a free Disney movie. It's open to everyone. Held every evening, at about 7:00 PM in fall and winter and about 8:00 PM in spring and summer, near the Meadow Trading Post. The program starts with a sing-a-long and marshmallow roast. You can bring your own food or buy it from the Chuck Wagon, which sells S'more kits, pizza and hot dogs. Chip and Dale meet the guests and sign autographs. Then a Disney movie is shown on a large outdoor screen. There is some seating on bleachers and benches, or you can lay out a blanket. No reservations necessary.
7. Take a tour of the Disney Resorts - The resorts are so beautiful especially at Christmas. We love to check them out and see which one we'd like to stay at next. While touring you could have a drink in one of their lounges or grab a snack. Be sure to be on the lookout for Hidden Mickey's.
8. Tour Disney World's Monorail/Magic Kingdom Resorts (the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian). Park at one of the resorts, just tell the Security Host at the parking lot entrance that you're there to have a drink in their lounge. You can then ride the monorail between the resorts. Here are some ideas for these resorts:
- Contemporary - The fourth floor houses a cocktail lounge as well as dining and shopping options. The California Grill is located on the 15th floor and has superb views of the Magic Kingdom. If you time it right you can have dinner and watch the Wishes fireworks over desert. Watch from your table or go onto the observation deck. The sound track from Wishes is played both inside ans outside to enhance the show. If you'd just like to see the fireworks you need to get there early, just tell the host at the fourth floor podium that you'd like to have a drink in the California Grill bar. There is a maximum capacity so if they've reached it you won't be able to go up. If they do fill up another viewing option is the fourth floor observation deck located facing the Magic Kingdom. After the Wishes walk out back to the marina to see the Electrical Water Pageant.
- Polynesian - The Lobby area and second floor above house the lounges, dining, and gift offerings. Or have a drink at Trader Joes or the pool bar and watch Wishes and Electrical Water Pageant from the sandy beach.
- Grand Floridian - The Lobby area and second floor above house the lounges, dining, and gift offerings. Watch Wishes and Electrical Water Pageant from the sandy beach or marina.
- Ride the shuttle boat from the Contemporary to the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campground.
- Wilderness Lodge - Explore the fabulous lobby. The huge fireplace which extends many stories up through the open central lobby area has been constructed to simulate the strata of the Grand Canyon. You can go to each floor to see and read about that particular level. Each level looks just like what you'd see in the real Grand Canyon (on a smaller scale!). There are also display cases on each floor with geologic items to see.
9. Visit Fort Wilderness Campground. Catch the shuttle boat from the Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness. You can take a 45-minute wagon ride around Fort Wilderness Campground for $8/adult, $5/child (ages 3-9). The rides are offered nightly at 1900 and 2130 and depart from in front of Pioneer Hall. No reservations
10. Catch the "Ye Haa" Bob show, late evenings at the River Roost Lounge at Port Orleans Riverside Resort. "Ye Haa" Bob Jackson performs a very popular piano sing-along comedy show with lots of audience participation.
11. Play a round of Mini Golf - There are two mini golf courses: Fantasia Gardens, near Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Winter Summerland, near Blizzard Beach Water Park. Military Discounted Tickets at Shades of Green: $12.00 adult, $10.00 children.
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Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:
Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.
See: Top 8 Reasons to Use An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Do you want all of your Disney Planning information in one place, organized in a step-by-step logical manner with an emphasis on Military Discounts and offers? I've written 3 Guidebooks just for the Military Community:
Walt Disney World for Military Families 2019 - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download
The Essential Guide to Shades of Green - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download
Disneyland for Military Families - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download
Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your Disney planning. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.
Ears of Experience - My recommended Travel Agent, Fee Free, Disney Only, Military Family Owned
Need a Little Extra Help Planning your Disney Vacation? Check Out Ears of Experience's Concierge Service
Military Disney Tips Negotiated Military Discounts
Orlando Shuttle Service - $15 off basic round trip pricing to ANY Orlando resort use MDT15
Amusement Park Rentals - 10% Military Discount on Strollers and Scooters Use 10MILITARY at checkout
EzPacking Cube Organization System, Tame Your Suitcase! - MDT Readers get 15% off with MILITARYDISNEY at checkout
Other Planning Resources
Buy Your Magic Bands at the Disney Store
Best Ever First Timers WDW Book The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit
YourFirstVisit.net The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!
The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World The Ultimate WDW Guide!
TouringPlans.com - The website of the Unofficial Guide - Crowd Forecasts, Pre-made Touring Plan, plus lots of detailed info
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