I’m not embarrassed to admit it, but I am a little obsessed with all things Disney – especially Walt Disney World. Yeah, you heard right – I’m one of those adults who go without children. And yet, I’m also super cool. Weird right?
But yeah, Disney is expensive (and I’ll promise to get some guides up in the future on how to do it on the cheap(ish), but for now – I’m going to start with the freebies you can get. There are lots of bits and bobs you can get totally free that the general Disney-park-goer wouldn’t know about.
The Walt Disney World Resort (and The Disneyland Resorts) offer free Celebration Buttons to all guests who are, you guessed it – celebrating. You can request your free buttons (you can have more than one) at the front desk of your Walt Disney Resort when you arrive or at Guest Relations in the parks (including Downtown Disney).
Disney pretty much has all of the celebrations covered including: “Just Engaged”, “Just Married”, “Birthday”, “First Visit”, “Happy Anniversary”, “Family Reunion”, “First Visit”, as well as a generic “I’m Celebrating”.
You don’t really get much from it (no other freebies, or front of the line passes), but the cast members (people who work at Disney) will make a fuss of you when you go around, and you get to ride with the captain in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain (the SteamBoat) – so it’s worth wearing one. Oh, and don’t worry – you don’t have to show ID or prove it’s your birthday or anything – that would be very un-Disney-like!
There’s no need to buy expensive bottles of water at Disney, when you can go to any place that has a soft drink fountain and get a free cup of ice water (ask for the largest cup if I were you).
If you’re in Epcot, you can go to its ‘Club Cool’ (by Innoventions West), which is a Coca Cola attraction of sorts, where you can try free Coke samples. There are eight Cola flavours available from around the world you can try – free. Beverly (from Italy), Fanta Pineapple (Greece), Fanta Melon Frosty (Thailand), Vegitabeta (oh no… from Japan), Biblo (South Africa), Sparberry (Zimbabwe), Inca Kola (Peru) and Gurana Kuat (Brazil). I don’t know what half those ingredients are! Let me know if you’ve tried them.
Free professional photos
As soon as you arrive at a Disney Park, you’re going to see PhotoPass photographers – they hang around in places that will take a good photo (in front of the castle for example) and they’ll take your photo and you can then decide if you want to pay for it at a later date. All good and standard.
However, most PhotoPass photographers will take a photo using your own camera/phone if you ask nicely – which means everyone gets to be in the picture (and a professional is framing the photo) – without charge! Don’t worry, I know it might feel rude (we Brits to panic about this kind of thing), but they generally don’t mind at all, in fact, they often offer (especially if it looks like you’re struggling to get everyone in the picture).
We don’t get Ghirardelli chocolate in the UK, which is a shame, because it’s bloody amazing! And expensive. However, there’s a shop in Downtown Disney, where you can always get a freebie (there’s usually a staff member handing them out). I found myself popping in whenever I could to get a sugar hit.
First Aid supplies
There’s no need to stock up on plasters for your blisters (you do walk MILES) or painkillers for your sun headache, because Disney will give you all of this stuff totally free.
It’s not a massive saving, but will save you a few pennies!
Glowing Mickey Mouse Ice Cubes
If you’ve ever had lunch or dinner at a Disney restaurant, it’s likely your drink came with reusable glow in the dark ice cubes. They glow cubes can be set at different colours using a button on the bottom, and there are even settings where they cycle through different colours automatically.
Just a warning, once the battery has gone, there’s no way to replace them (not that I know), so make sure you turn them off properly when you’re not using it.
So if you have them, grab those things out of your glass and take them home with you – because they are selling on the site for $9!
Disney Transportation Cards
These are freebies for the dedicated as they can be a little tricky to find. On every mode of transport the driver will have a Transportation card, you just have to ask the bus drivers, boat and monorail captains for them. Here’s the problem, it’s up to the individual captains as to whether they’ll carry them or not – so if you plan to collect a whole set, you’ll have to do a lot of asking.
You can also ask for the cards from the Ticket and Transportation Centre, other transportation buildings, and the cast members who work at your resort’s transportation loading areas. Again, not everyone chooses to carry them, while other drivers just pass them out freely.
Wild About Safety Cards
If you like collecting cards at Disney, you can get free Wild About Safety Cards and a book that goes with it at the guest services area at all four parks. There are lots including monorail co-pilot, boat co-captain, assistant bus driver and junior driver licenses.
The goal of the program was to teach children how to stay safe in the parks while using Timon and Pumba from The Lion King to spread the ‘safety’ message.
If you’re a visiting the Polynesian Village Resort you can ask for a leis at the front desk. It’s not one made of real flowers because they cost a fortune! Although it does mean you can take it home with you, or wear it around for your whole holiday which is a bonus.
Cookie, Candyfloss or Ice Cream Samples
As you’re heading down Main Street in Magic Kingdom, stop by the Confectionery. If it’s not to busy, there’s likely to be a cast member handing out samples.
The Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom will sprinkle confetti and “pixie dust” on your kid’s fair for free (I reckon they’ll do it for adults too!). Castle Couture in Fantasyland also have “pixie dust”.
Bit of a boring one, but all of the Walt Disney World parks and all of the hotels have free WIFI available (though it can be a bit rubbish).
Have I missed any Disney freebies? Let me know!
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