When going to Disney World or Disneyland, you’re likely paying an arm and a leg for the magical vacation. From airplane rides or filling up your gas tank, to hotels, meals, and admission tickets to the parks, it all can easily add up to much more than you bargained for. Especially when you factor in the fact you may be paying for multiple people in your family.
With the universal truth that there’s a lot to buy to get to Disney, there’s also much to purchase once you’re there. And with all the money you’ll be spending, it can be helpful to cut corners and save money where you can. As someone who’s been going to Disney World since a few months old (thanks to living in South Florida as a kid, these trips were an easy three-hour drive from home), I’ve grown aware of some freebies guests can snag.
Read on to learn what you can get for free at Disney World.
1. You can create your own free salad, but please for the love of Disney, be coy about it.
In restaurants like Restaurantosaurus in Animal Kingdom and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Magic Kingdom, Disney offers a toppings bar where you can add to your presumably paid-for burgers and sandwiches. These toppings bars, though, come with enough food to actually make your own salad. Feel free to create your own dish with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sauteed mushrooms, jalapeños, pickles, and sriracha mayo. Or, use these to add on to your meal. Whatever floats your boat. The last time I was in Magic Kingdom, I ordered one of their salads, replaced the chicken with a veggie burger (just ask for it!), and loaded on the extra toppings.
2.If you’re a Disney Vacation Club member, you have access to a special lounge in Epcot that has free drinks.
Disney Vacation Club members get access to their own set of perks while vacationing at their “home away from home.” One of these perks being a special DVC members-only lounge in the Imagination! Pavillion in Epcot, where you can snack on soft drinks or free, away from the lines and massive crowds that Disney tends to have. The lounge also includes WiFi, an area where kids can play, computers, and charging areas.
3. And if you’re not a DVC member, Club Cool in Epcot has free drinks for you, too.
Take a refreshing break from going around the world by cooling off at Club Cool in Epcot. Keeping in the park theme, the drink stop allows guests to sample Coca-Cola refreshments from around the world. Notice how the flavor preferences vary by countries. And yes, it’s free.
4. Visit during Halloween to get free candy at nighttime with a special Halloween event ticket.
For guests that go to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a refreshingly unscary alternative to other theme park Halloween festivities, you’ll be able to trick-or-treat in the park. The candy will be free, but obviously extra points for dressed-up park guests.
5.For first-time park visitors or guests celebrating special events, you’ll receive a festive button.
If you’re celebrating your first visit, birthday, anniversary, engagement – whatever it may be, you can get a pin that says “I’m celebrating” and write whatever you’re celebrating. You’ll notice when wearing your fun decorative button that Disney crew members and fellow guests alike will be wishing you congrats or a happy birthday all vacation long.
6. Exchange pins you collect with Disney crew members and other park or hotel guests.
Disney crew members and guests can collect special pins, themed in Disney characters, movies, parks, and more. While these generally are items you purchase in stores or at on-site hotels, you definitely are encouraged to trade pins with others. Tout all your pins on a lanyard to show everyone your impressive collection.
7. You have access to a First Aid, where you can stop for medicine or see a nurse.
There’s a First Aid in every Disney World theme park, where you can get over-the-counter medicine, bandages, or consult with a nurse. On my last Disney trip, I swung by to get some band-aids and ibuprofen.
8. Ride home on Disney’s Magical Express.
If you’re staying at a Disney World hotel in Orlando, you receive a complimentary bus ride on Disney’s Magical Express to and from the Orlando airport. When making your reservation, indicate whether or not you will require the services, and when your flight times are. While aboard the bus, you’ll receive free entertainment as well. What else would you expect from Disney? Keep in mind on your way out, it’s not a “goodbye,” it’s a “see you soon.”
9. Get sprinkled – or have your kids sprinkled – with pixie dust.
As the saying goes, “All you need is a little faith, trust, and pixie dust.” This park bonus truly feels like a treat to any Disney obsessor. While I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to fly, you will certainly be feeling the magic. This free perk is available on Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom at the Harmony Barber Shop.