15 Free or Cheap things to do with kids at Walt Disney World

Disney Springs Free Boat Cruise
Disney Sea - There are free Disney cruises

This week I thought I would discuss the free or cheap things to do with kids at Walt Disney World. These are extra activities, which you may or may not be aware of – that add to your holiday experience.

1. Kidcot Funstops and EPCOT Passports
Kids can get special Passports ($10 USD) at Kidcot Funstop at any of the 11 World Pavilions in EPCOT. The Passport comes with stickers and pictures of each country and makes a nice souvenir. The idea of the Passport is to get a stamp and a personal message from a Cast Member at each Kidcot Funstop. The cast members inside the World Pavilions are from their respective countries on the Disney cultural exchange program – usually hired for a 12 month stint.   I would really recommend buying the Passport as it gives the kids something to look forward to at each pavilion, its educational (the Cast members at these Kidcot stations are only too happy to chat to you about where they are from). If you don't want to purchase the Passport the Cast Members are happy to stamp anything – people do bring notebooks/scrapbooks from home to get stamped.  

EPCOT Kidscot Passport

EPCOT Kidscot Passport Open Pages with stickers

EPCOT Kidscot Passport getting it stamped at Norwar Pavilion

In April 2018, the Kidcot stations were handing out complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear cut-outs. The Cast members would stamp these too and write messages from their respective countries. This was discontinued in July 2018.
EPCOT Kidscot Passport Duffy Cutout
Duffy the Disney bear free cutouts available at KidCot stations

There was a new free Kidcot activity introduced in  July 2018 – kids can now collect travelers cards from around World Showcase and these come in a neat zip locked bag. The cards have fun facts about each country and on the other side of the card – a picture that the kids can colour in. These cards have replaced the Duffy cut-outs. I do think though that little kids (like 3-5 year olds) would probably much prefer the Duffy cut-outs as they are bigger to colour in and they can easily carry them around. The card packs do look smarter – but I think they are aimed at an older child audience which defeats the purpose of Kidcot – which was to entertain the little ones at each Word Showcase. This is just my humble opinion though. 

Cost: $10 USD for the EPCOT Passports, free World Showcase cards. Free also if you just bring in your own scrapbooks from home for the cast members to sign.

2. Wilderness Explorers Handbook – Animal Kingdom
These books are free from Animal Kingdom. There are numerous Wilderness Explorer stops around the park where you can get a sticker for each page of the book. However – it is not just a matter of getting a sticker. The Cast members will ask your child for an answer to a question, solve a puzzle or get you to do a quick activity (they make you work for the sticker). Its actually very educational for kids and the book is jammed packed full of information about animals, plants and conservation. My daughter wanted to do everything in this book – but we just didn’t have time. Highly recommended though if you have kids. We are keeping the book – for next time.
Cost: Free

Wilderness Explorers Handbook Disney's Animal Kingdom
These are free books you can get at Disney''s Animal Kingdom

Wilderness Explorers Handbook Disney's Animal Kingdom

Wilderness Explorers Handbook Disney's Animal Kingdom

3. EPCOT - Flower Garden Book
This booklet comes out in Spring, and is another free book where once you complete a page, you add the stickers. The stickers are already supplied in the book. Aimed more at adults, this is something kids can also assist with. The activities to complete mostly revolve around sampling the various foods around EPCOT.

EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival book
A free book you can get at EPCOT, in Spring!

EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival book

EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival book

4. Disney Springs – The Lego Store
Located within the shopping district of Disney Springs – is the Lego Store. This is a gigantic store with lots of wonderful Lego – the Disney Castle, Saturn V rockets and the Millennium Falcon are all on display – and can be purchased. They also have competitions for building your own Lego car – that you race with other kids along a lego racetrack. The race is organised by staff from the Lego Store.

Cost: Free

5. Disney Springs – Boat cruise
There is a free boat ride from one end of Disney Springs to the other. We went on this ride twice – once on a scenic sunset cruise. There are two main ‘routes’ that the boats take. One heads around 3 stops in Disney Springs. The other route goes to the resorts. Each cruise takes about 20 minutes return.
Cost: Free

Disney Springs boat ride
Free boat cruises!! I recommend a sunset cruise.

Disney Springs boat ride sunset
Recommend a sunset cruise around Disney Springs - all free!

6. Disney Springs shops and Restaurants
There is a wonderful Dinosaur restaurant and shop called T-Rex in Disney Springs. Very well themed, it is almost like a mini museum inside with gigantic Amethyst rocks and reproductions of giant dinosaurs. To the right of the store is a dig pit for kids to explore. This is free.

T-Rex Restaurant Disney springs
The T-Rex Restaurant - a great place to eat and look around
T-Rex Restaurant Disney springs

Similarly, the Rainforest Café has a gigantic volcano that roars overhead and lots of animatronic animals to view for free – but a warning you might get persuaded by your kids to buy something in the shop! It is a very lively area of Disney Springs.

Also, there is a Star Wars themed shop in Disney Springs called Star Wars Galactic Outpost. They have moving robots of BB8 and R2D2 to play with for free.

UNIQLO has a free selfie photo booth where you can get your photo taken. It is in the middle of the store, ground floor. We did a family photo twice – at the start of our holiday, and 19 days later. You get a hard copy to take home and an electronic copy which gets emailed to you.

There are also free outdoor activities for kids (near Earl of Sandwich). Activities include hoola hoop contests and water spouts.
Walking around the Worlds biggest Disney Store ‘World of Disney’ – lots of fun looking at all the Disney gear.

Cost: Free – but a warning you will buy something!!

7. Ride the Monorail
The Monorail from EPCOT to Magic Kingdom is a unique experience for many (such as our family). The round trip ride is free and takes about 20 minutes round trip. There isn’t much scenery to view as you whizz past, but it’s a novelty trip. You do fly over Future World in EPCOT however.

Alternatively, you can catch the Monorail from the Magic Kingdom around the Disney World resorts Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian.
Cost: Free

8. Enchanted Tales with Belle - Don't miss this if you have kids as every child gets to play a part in the show. The 20 minute presentation never has a below 40 minute wait so do recommend a Fast Pass booking. Free bookmarks are given out at the end and there is a PhotoPass photo opportunity here with Belle and Lumiere the animated candlestick.

Cost: Free bookmark
Free bookmark Belle Magic Kingdom
The free bookmarks you get when you visit Belle

9. A day Disney Resort hopping
You can visit other Disney resorts, which are well connected via the Disney Busses, Monorail or the Disney boats. All transport is free and the entertainment at these resorts is below.

There is a nightly Electric Water Pageant that goes past all the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake resorts from around 9-10pm. The Lakeside resorts also have a view of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks.

Also, the Wilderness Lodge at Fort Wilderness has woods to explore and a geyser spouts every hour at the back of the property. There seems to be a lot of kid friendly activities at this lodge. 
The Grand Floridean has an orchestra playing most afternoons.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge you can see animals out the back of the resort including Giraffe and Kudu.

All the resorts are well themed and you could spend a day just touring the resorts.

Cost: Free

10. Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets – Cheaper Souvenirs at the Disney Shop
The ‘Disney’s Character Warehouse’ store is here and we found an unbelievable amount of bargains to be had in this store. Large Disney plush toys were less than $10 USD, Light sabers with sound were $10 USD, Disney Pins less than $4 USD. The staff were constantly restocking the shelves so we visited at the end of our visit on the same day and found even more items on sale. There was a lot of merchandise from Shanghai Disneyland (Shanghai’s opening day) and from Disney Cruise lines. My advice would be to come here first before purchasing merchandise in the parks!

The sporting stores here were also excellent value. My husband saved significant money buying sporting clothes and goods from here. Genuine discounts on expensive brands throughout the Outlets.

Cost: Cheaper then buying merchandise at the parks!

11. Club Cool’ inside EPCOT offers free Coca-Cola soft drink samples from around the world. Beware the Beverley flavoured one – its extremely bitter! A fun place to try the different flavours, but also a great refreshment stop in the Florida heat.

Cost: Free
Club Kool EPCOT
Club Kool - sample some free drinks! (this is part of your admission into EPCOT)

12. Pixie Dust in Fantasy Land - The Castle Couture shop in Fantasyland has a Fairy Godmother who will sprinkle pixie dust (glitter) on you for free with her magic wand. It kind of felt special as the Fairy Godmother waved her wand at you! Definitely recommend for everyone young and old.

Cost: Free

13. Disney Resorts have free organised activities for kids
Each hotel displays the activities – but they include things like Disney Movies in the pool,  tshirt tie dying, Disney face masks and more.

Cost: Generally free or small cost (tshirt tie dying had an added cost)

All Star Disney Music Activities
List of Activities at All Star Music resort

14. Pressed Pennies! Save up your 1 cent pennies and 50 cents. Scattered around the Disney Parks and Resorts (and Universal Theme parks, Kennedy Space Centre etc), there are 51 cent machines to press your pennies into, that come out in all sorts of Disney designs. The shinier the penny the better. Some people often ask shopkeepers for the shiniest pennies to place in the machines. Great way to spend your loose coins. You can display them in a Penny display book.

Cost: 51 cents! (but of course this will add up if you buy more then one!)

Penny machine Walt Disney World
The Penny machine. Make sure you use shiny pennies!
15. CitiWalk at Universal Studios Ok, this isn’t a free ‘Disney’ Activity, but hey CitiWalk is full of people, restaurants and shops. There are free bands and other entertainment on offer here in front of the riverbank. There is also a very cool Harry Potter shop here (huge) where you can purchase Harry Potter items without entering the Universal Parks and it is free to visit CitiWalk.

Cost: Free

CitiWalk Universal Studios Florida
CitiWalk is quite a lively area and very scenic

I hope you enjoyed reading my review of free and cheap things to do at Walt Disney World.

Until next week,

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You can read about other Disney Parks below:
What’s inside the Disneyland Castles Part 2
How to plan a Disney Wedding 
Planning Tips for Someone without a Car
Interview with an Annual Passholder -WDW

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Jennifer Dagi said…
Walt Disney is the perfect place to take your children during the holidays. There are so many fun things to do there. I love the idea of a boat cruise!
Frank said…
Very cool list! I love the stuff to do at Disney Springs. The boat ride is something I could do a few times I think before getting sick of it. :)
Carrie Lewis said…
What a great 'insider's article"! I love the idea of a free 'treasure hunt' for the kids. I hadn't a clue such things existed I've been do Disney Land (World) at least a dozen times. Thanks!
Some interesting ideas for kids. Learned some new things from this article. Thanks for visiting.
KJ said…
Thanks Jennifer Dagi - yes the boat cruise I totally recommend. It was best at sunset as it was still warm, and also it was very pretty.
KJ said…
Thanks Frank, yes the boat ride was very cool. I have actually had alot of feedback on this post (from Facebook mostly!), that people were quite unaware the boat rides were free!
KJ said…
Thanks Carrie Lewis - there really is so much to do with kids at Walt Disney World, and the Kidscot Passports and the Wilderness Explorer Passports are actually educational.
KJ said…
Thanks John Mulindi, there is always something new at Walt Disney World!!
Nicole Cline said…
This post has so many money saving tips, I love it! I'm especially love the souvenir tip, brilliant!
I live in Florida and visit Disney frequently, I was not aware of most of these savings tips, thanks for the info.

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