Disney World Cheapies and Freebies: Doing Dw on a Shoestring

Disney World Cheapies and Freebies: Doing Dw on a Shoestring

Has the high costs of Disney World kept you and your family from taking the vacation of your dreams? Perhaps you haven’t done enough investigating. Being aware of a number of little known cheapies and freebies might make your dream come true. Not everything at Disney World comes with a high ticket.


Disney’s Boardwalk, reminiscent of Atlantic City Boardwalk in the 1940s, offers plenty of family fun at little or no cost. For those staying on the Disney property, Disney transportation is available to get to the Boardwalk. For those driving, you can get a free 3-hour parking permit from the lot attendant.

• The promenade along the water offers a breathtaking view. It’s fun to stroll and look.

• Often you will see street performers, such as jugglers, comedians, jazz ensembles or fire-eaters.

• Vendors along the Boardwalk sell inexpensive food treats.

• Carnival-style games are available for a small cost. Try your luck!

• Watch the Friendship Boats coming and going.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney offers a number of free and inexpensive things to do:

• Wonderful interactive fountains are amazing and fun. And what a great backdrop for your take-home photos! Jump in and enjoy!

• The kids will go wild at the Lego Imagination Center. The Center offers a 3,000-square-foot play area filled with thousands of Lego blocks. Huge Lego sculptures are also available to study and admire.

• Stop by the Magic Masters shop and see the FREE magic demonstrations. You may learn a few tricks yourself.

• Pleasure Island is an un-gated area at night. That means during the evening hours, guests are allowed in at no charge. It’s a fun place to soak up the ambiance – for free!

Budget Hotels

During the last decade, Disney has built budget-type, motel-type hotels which offers rooms for less than $100 a night. Efficient and clean, these facilities have met with mixed reviews. Check them out before deciding. The hotels are spread over four sprawling properties:

• All- Star Movies

• All-Star Music

• All-Star Sports

• Pop Century

Fort Wilderness

A little-known area known as Fort Wilderness offers one of the greatest bargains at Disney World, and lots of low-cost fun. Families can come in the family RV or rent one of the cabins. Either way, bring a few of your own basic groceries as the prices as the area stores are a little high.

Air-conditioned cabins (about 400 of them) offer the following amenities:

• Fully-equipped kitchens

• Dining table with seating for six

• Air conditioning

• Full bathroom

• Nonsmoking rooms available

• Irons, ironing boards, coffee makers, hairdryers and VCRs in each room

• Patio deck

• Picnic table and charcoal grill

• Fold-away crib

• In-room safes

• Dual line phones with voicemail

• Disney Channel and ESPN

• Daily housekeeping

• Access to nearby laundry facilities/services

The Campfire Program at Fort Wilderness is open to all Disney World guests. You’ll find it near the Meadow Trading Post in the campfire area. A Disney Cast Member leads the sing-a-long while the kids roast marshmallows over the open fire. Your can bring your own marshmallows and snacks, or purchase them at the Chuckwagon.

The kids will be thrilled when Chip and Dale make an appearance and sign autographs. All this is followed by a Disney feature film on the large outdoor screen. Bleachers and benches are available or you can bring your own blankets.

Two heated outdoor swimming pools are available for Fort Wilderness guests – one near the Meadow Trading Post, the second smaller one located near the cabin area.

Guests appreciate the fact that at Fort Wilderness, a boat ferries between Magic Kingdom and the Fort Wilderness dock, which means they beat the crowds following the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show.

Food and Drinks

No one will deny that food at Disney World is pricey, but planning ahead can greatly reduce these costs.

Bring your own trail mix, energy bars, or bags of bagels for breakfast – a savings in both time and money. Keep in mind that early morning is the least crowded time of day so you’ll not want to waste it waiting for your order at a restaurant.

For another eating time-saver, take advantage of the counter-service outlets such as the Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari. Portions are large, prices are small, and service is quick.

Order double cheeseburgers and let the kids split them. It sounds cheap, but it’s another bargain idea to consider when a basic combo meal may run more than ten bucks.

Purchase refillable mugs offered at the Trails End Restaurant and refill them throughout the day at the designated locations.

Bring your own water bottles and fill them at the available fountains. Be sure to bring a carrying strap for them so your hands will be free.

Taking the time to plan ahead and cut a few corners with food and drink items, allows you to enjoy a few splurge meals in the more upscale Magic Kingdom eateries.

Add Your Own Ideas

This is not a comprehensive list of Cheapies and Freebies at Disney World, but it should get your creative juices flowing adding ideas of your own. And maybe, just maybe, it will help your dream vacation to become reality soon.

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