Low Cost or No Cost Fun at Disney World
Hi Disney Fans.We live three miles from Disney and spend a lot of time there.better then my own back yard ! As annual passholders we get to see the parks from a different persepctive. Many times friends and family visit and we are not up to going in to the parks that day.We still want a bit of that Disney Magic so we have accumulated therse tips over the years. I hope you enjoy them.
Free: Ride the Monorail
Did you know you can ride up front with the monorail driver? Just let the Cast Member at the monorail entrance gate know that you want to do this. Usually the drivers are very friendly and will give the kids a special co pilot certificate. The best time to do this is in the middle of the day, when things are quiet because most people are in the parks. You're less likely to have to wait.
Take the "inner" monorail that circles the three monorail resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian). This is a great way to orient yourself and get a look at the resorts and an overview of some of the parks. You can get off and explore each hotel or just enjoy the ride and the view.
How do you get on the monorail system and avoid paying for parking? Drive towards the Magic Kingdom but stay in the far right lane (not the bus lane) Tell the park attendant you are heading to the Polynesian, Contemporary or The Grand Floridian resorts. It does not matter although the Grand Floridian has the largest parking lot to walk through. Once at the gates tell the attendant you are there for a walk around and enjoy the shopping and a meal. With proper ID he will issue a 3 hour pass. Once on property the resort monorails are free for everyone.
Take a Free Boat Ride: this is enjoyable any time of day but especially beautiful and romantic at night.
Cruise the loop around Crescent Lake, which visits Epcot, Boardwalk, Yacht-Beach Club, Swan-Dolphin and DISNEY-MGM without going into the parks. The best starting point is the Boardwalk Resort Hotel as both boat routes start and end up here.
Take the boat that visits the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. These ferry boats connect to other ferry boats that visit the Polynesian, Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom. Best of all you can get off at the Magic Kingdom and wander along the lake outside the gates or hop on the monorail. Best starting point is at any of these three Magic Kingdom Resort hotels as they each have docks and the boats run every 20 minutes.
Cruise from Downtown Disney's Marketplace to Port Orleans and back, along the Sassagoula River. Each way is at least a half hour boat ride. Port Orleans Riverside and the French Quarter both have an excellent Food Courts. We suggest you do not get off at the French Quarter as the boat actually continues further down the river to Riverside.
Cruise from Downtown Disney's Marketplace to Disney's Old Key West Resort. This great boat ride takes you to another outstanding Food Court. Old Key West has superb grounds and parks to investigate.
Cost for any of the above: FREE. Officially reserved only for all Disney resort guests and anyone with a multi-day pass. Unofficially, once you have access to any of the resorts no one will ask you for any sort of ID. As long as you can get in the resort the rest is free. The ride from Downtown Disney is especially pleasing as it lasts so long. The boat launch to Port Orleans and Old Key West is located outside of the Rainforest Café and no one will ask you for ID. Expect the unexpected as many of the boat launch pilots are spontaneous with trivia, funny stories and even the occasional prize for children.
FREE OR LOW COST ACTIVITIES GOOD FOR YOUNG AND OLD
Go swimming. Did you know that Fort Wilderness, The Yacht and Beach Club, Swan and Dolphin, The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian resort and even the Wilderness Lodge all have small but natural white sand beaches? Not ideal for an actual swim but perfect for young children to splash around while the adults can relax on proper lounge chairs or in the shade of a neighboring tree. Often trees with old fashioned hammocks.
Play miniature (crazy) golfThere are two courses: Fantasia Gardens, near Disney-MGM Studios and next to the Swan and Dolphin. Fantasia has the traditional near impossible fun course but a second simulated grass and real grass course that will challenge the ultimate putters. Winterland-Summerland, next to the Blizzard Beach Water Park. Cost: $9.25 adults, $7.50 children. A little more expensive then other local mini golf places but ten this is Disney. Certainly the best mini golf courses in Orlando. Allocate at least 2 hours for either course.
Go FishingThis is strictly "catch and release." There are two places to rent cane poles (bait provided): Port Orleans Riverside (near Ol' Man Island) or Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground (at the Bike Barn). Cost: about $4 per hour per pole, or a family special of $14 per hour for 4-6 poles.
Go on a Hayride! There are nightly hayrides from Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness resort and campground ( subject to weather )
Visit the Petting farm or Tri-Circle D Ranch at the Fort Wilderness Resort and campground are horse stables open to everyone. These horses are the same ones at the Magic Kingdom. Pet them, ride them (FEE), and have fun! Also available to children is an affordable pony riding experience in an enclosed and supervised area.
Horseback Riding (Modest Fee)Fort Wilderness is not only the home to all the Disney horses but it has a wide range of horseback riding programs. Whether a beginner or a cowboy there are affordable programs for young and old.
Free Movie on the Beach at Disney's Beach Club they have just launched a free Disney movie on the beach program. Nightly ,starting at dusk , you can enjoy another Disney classic as you sit under the stars on their white sand beach. Lounge chair seating is limited but you are welcome to bring along a blanket. Movies are projected on a gigantic digital screen and the sound is excellent. Tip: this is still outside and bugs or inclement weather may be an issue. Although Disney sprays for insects you may need some sort of repellent should the weather warrant it. Dress appropriately . Poor weather will cancel the movie at the discretion of the attendant. This is an excellent viewing point for the fireworks at EPCOT.
Hiking and Evening Strolls: There are lovely walkways or nature trails around almost all of the resorts. Whether a small walk or significant hike they all offer something unique.
POLYNESIAN RESORTAt night you can wander along the Polynesian's beach, sit in a cabana and watch the Electrical Water Pageant and the fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. It's very romantic. Go to the resort and tell the gate guard that you are here to have a drink / meal at the beach bar.
The BOARDWALK at the Boardwalk Resort is plenty of entertainment but also walking paths to both EPCOT and the Disney MGM Studios. Along the way you'll pass by Disney's Yacht / Beach Club resort, Disney's Swan, and Disney's Dolphin resort hotels. All of these resorts offer fine-dining and plenty of entertainment for all.
WILDERNESS LODGE: During the day, explore the woods from the Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. There is a well marked paved sidewalk that is about one mile in length. Virtually traffic free this makes for an ideal hike for young and old. Once you arrive at Fort Wilderness you can enjoy lunch at Pioneer Hall or buy a few snacks at the General Store. From there you can enjoy the white sand beach, rent a speed boat for an hour or just take the free ferry boat back to the Wilderness Lodge.
GRAND FLORIDA RESORT AND SPA Stroll from the Grand Floridian to the Wedding Pavilion and ask for a tour. Sometimes they have time the many weddings between weddings. Who knows, you might even become a wedding crasher!
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE: The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers unique viewing areas for African Animals including but not limited to: Giraffes, Elephants, and more. Arrive after darks and enjoy a campfire under the stars. Ask any attendant for the person who has the night vision goggles? You would be startled at the number of animals that lurk on the open savannah at night.
DOWNTOWN DISNEY: world class shopping, entertainment and dining. Whether it is a movie ,the Virgin Mega Store or one of dozens of shops this place is a very popular location to spend an afternoon or evening. People watching reaches its peak at this place. Best of all you don't have to pay anything although we almost guarantee that by the time you leave you will have spend something. Large free parking lots and plenty of free entertainment nightly.
Rent a Bike...and explore the trails around one of the resorts. Every Disney resort hotel has some kind of trail, but the trails around Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground are especially nice. The Boardwalk, Coronado and Polynesian resorts all have bicycle rentals. Cost: about $5 an hour.
Rent a Boat : Whether it is a family pontoon boat or a couples water sprite, many Disney resort hotels offer boat rentals for modest fees. For a fee you can request a supervised rental of a family size pontoon boat at the Disney Yacht Club that will take you front row to the fireworks at EPCOT. Nothing beats being on the lake itself where the fireworks explode literally in front of you without an obstructed view.
Some of these resorts include Disney's: Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, Yacht and Beach Club, Port Orleans, the Downtown Disney Resort Area.
More tips Coming Soon