So we all know that Disney is a little pricey. I doubt anyone who has been to Walt Disney World can argue with that.
However, while the Disney price can make us cringe, we can't deny the fact that the quality and experiences Disney offers is unparalleled; and that's going to mean a higher price tag. Right?
Well, maybe most of the time. But not today!
In today's post, we are going to share with you the free stuff we've come across at Walt Disney World. Enjoy!
1. Club Cool-We are big fans of this little corner of Epcot's Future World. While there is Coca-Cola merchandise for sale inside, the real draw is the soda fountains showcasing soft drinks from around the world! While that's cool, what makes it even cooler is that you can sample these drinks as much as you want for free!
2. Buttons-Celebrating a birthday, anniversary, wedding, graduation, or maybe even an un-birthday? Tell a Cast Member at your resort check-in, or guest services at one of the parks, for a free button! Fellow guests and Cast Members will be wishing you well all day, and they may do even more?
3. Celebrations-In addition to a Celebration Button, you can let your resort or restaurant know that you are celebrating. We can't guarantee what will happen, it just depends, but sometimes Disney adds a little pixie dust to the day! For example, we let the Crystal Palace know in advance that we were celebrating my Disney Bro's birthday; and we were treated to a table dusted with Mickey glitter and a free cupcake and candle!
4. Downtown Disney-This shopping and etertainment complex, which features the world's largest Disney Store, doesn't require any tickets to visit! There's lots to see, buy, and enjoy at Downtown Disney; and unless you want to, you don't have to reach for your wallet once!
5. The Boardwalk-This area, located right across the water from Disney's Yacht and Beach Club, features a resort along with a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment! You can stroll the Boardwalk, browse the shops, and take in the live entertainment here for free; but we recommend you do so at night when it's cooler and there's more activity. It's also prettier at night too.
6. Resort Hopping-Some guests don't know that you can visit any, or all, of the Disney Resorts for free! This is actually one of our favorite Disney World activites. You can spend a whole day visiting Disney's best resorts and enjoying what they have to offer, such as the live animals at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge's gorgeous lobby, the shopping at the Grand Floridian, or the grounds and Tri-Circle D Ranch at Fort Wilderness.
7. Animation Academy-Inside the Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios, you can take a free art class and learn to draw a Disney character for free! Even if you have difficulty drawing a circle, don't be concerned. The animator makes it so easy and you will be surprised what you can do. You also get to take home your drawing your free, it makes a great souvenir.
8. Wilderness Lodge Tour-Whether you're staying at Wilderness Lodge or not, you can take a free tour here and learn about the historical artifacts, as well as the lodge itself.
9. Movie Under the Stars-At many of the Disney Resorts, you can watch a Disney movie outdoors at night for free! Some even offer a campfire, stories, and S'mores! Check out the Chip n' Dale Campfire Sing-a-Long at Fort Wilderness for an appearance from those mischevious chipmunks along with the campfire and movie!
10. Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop-Have a sweet tooth? Stop by Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop at Downtown Disney for a free sample of chocolate!
11. Harmony Barbershop Mouse Ears-This barbershop, located on Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom, will give your child a free pair of Mouse Ears if it's their first haircut, appropriately reading "My 1st Haircut!"
12. Water-You can walk up to any Counter Service restaurant at WDW and ask for a cup of ice water and you will get it for free! That will definitely save some cash as bottled water can be a little pricey.
13. Free Dining Plan-At certain times throughout the year, although when is unpredictable, Disney will offer a Free Dining Plan for guests who book a Disney Vacation over certain dates! Yes, that means FREE FOOD! Yay for Disney!
14. Kids Under Three Years-Children under three years of age get free admission into the parks and are not charged at most restaurants!
15. Splash Areas-At some of the parks, and at Downtown Disney, there are fountain play areas for little ones to splash in. Kids can literally spend hours cooling off and playing in these areas; and they can have all that fun for free!
16. PhotoPass Photographers-Want a picture with a character or at a picturesque spot? Ask a PhotoPass Photographer to take a picture with your camera. They will do so for free, whether or not you use PhotoPass.
17. Free Package Delivery-If you purchase an item at one of the shops on property, you can have it shipped to your resort for free! It usually takes a day or so, so keep that in mind; and we think it's great that we don't have to tote around heavy bags or breakables at the parks!
We know there's more free stuff at Walt Disney World! Leave a comment and let us know what we missed!
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This week's theme is the color Red, so we decided to post one of our Etsy creations! Check it out here
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"A" is for Animation!
While we are big fans of Star Wars Weekends, we know that some guests visiting Walt Disney World are not; but they still want to enjoy what Hollywood Studios has to offer. So how do you see the best of Hollywood Studios with the heavy crowds armed with lightsabers and Darth Vader masks? Let us help with our Star Wars Weekends Manuevers!
1. Arrive at Rope Drop
-Star Wars fans are known to camp out hours before the park opens to be first in line for autographs; but if you arrive before park opening, you can head straight to the popular attractions to ride without the wait. First of all, we recommend heading straight for Toy Story Midway Mania or Rock n' Roller Coaster, as these two attractions are incredibly popular and known for long waits. Also, if you are wanting to ride Star Tours, we recommend you do so ASAP as the line will get long quick!
-Since the park will be packed, we recommend you get a FastPass for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror instead of heading here at rope drop. Why? While it is incredibly popular, its line tends to move faster than other popular attractions at Hollywood Studios. If you choose not to, then we recommend you grab a FastPass for a major attraction you didn't get to ride at rope drop or for another you want to ride again!
-Counter Service restaurants at Hollywood Studios will naturally be swamped at lunch and dinner. To avoid this, and escape from the crowds, book a reservation in advance for Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, 50s Prime Time Cafe, Hollywood and Vine, or Mama Melroses. If this doesn't interest you, then hop aboard one of the Friendship Boats near the exit and sail over to one of the Disney Resorts for a break from the masses!
-Many of Hollywood Studios' shows offer lots of seating. Therefore, if you there when the open the theater, you most likely will get a seat without a wait! Be sure to arrive at either Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage, Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, Muppet Vision 3-D, or Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular about ten to fifteen minutes before showtime; and when you enter the park, grab a Times Guide as some of these shows are only offered several times a day.
5. Use the Parade
-Star Wars Weekends offers the Legends of the Force parade for Star Wars fans; and if this isn't for you, use the parade to your advantage! Since most guests will be lining the streets, you can enjoy many of the parks other attractions with a shorter wait! We suggest you hop aboard the Great Movie Ride or Voyage of the Little Mermaid, or some of the other shows you haven't seen just yet. This may also be a good time to use your FastPass!
-Are the crowds and heat getting to you? Run away to the Magic of Disney Animation, where you can enjoy an amusing show that teaches guests about the animation process, hosted by both a live animator and Mushu from Mulan! Afterwards, take your time enjoying an air-conditioned area offering character meet-and-greets and interactive stations where you can take personality quizzes. There is also a free art class available here! Wanna skip the show? Enter through Art of Disney store located next door to enjoy the other activities. Also check out Walt Disney One Man's Dream, an indoor mini-museum that is entertaining and informative for kids and adults. It's actually one of our favorite things at Hollywood Studios.
7. Hyperspace Hoopla
-In the evening, the grand finale of each day at Star Wars Weekends is the hilarious Hyperspace Hoopla show located right in front of the giant Sorcerer's Hat. This is a great time to ride and see attractions that you didn't experience early in the day.
-After Hyperspace Hoopla, the Star Wars crowds tend to die down. Take advantage of the few hours you have before closing, and the cooler temperatures, to enjoy other attractions and shows you missed or do some shopping without fighting the crowds.
While we hope this post will help you enjoy Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends, we encourage you, if possible, to visit this park during the week for less crowds and mayhem. Also be aware that following a schedule in a crowded park, especially with kids and hot temperatures, can be extremely difficult. So to keep it simple, check out our list of Hollywood Studios Priorities!
Cinderella's Royal Table
What little girl isn't fascinated with Disney Princesses? When most families with little girls visit Walt Disney World, the princess characters, attractions, and souvenirs are at the top of their to-do list. Therefore, today we are going to show you the Disney Princess hot spots at Walt Disney World to help you create that Disney Princess Vacation for your own little princess! Whether her favorite is the classic Cinderella, the intelligent Belle, or hardworking Tiana, Disney has something for you!Magic Kingdom
: Prince Charming's Regal Carousel
-This classic carousel can be found in Fantasyland and lets Disney Princess fans ride on majestic steeds near the castle! There are also painted scenes inside from the Cinderella film; and keep an eye out for the horse with a golden ribbon tied around its tail, it's Cinderella's favorite!Mickey's Philharmagic
-This 3-D show, located in Fantasyland, takes guests on a trip through famous musical numbers from classic Disney films, such as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin! Fantasyland Expansion
-The Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland is currently being expanded; and a large portion of the expansion is being dedicated to Disney Princesses! There will be two castles: one holding a Beauty and Beast restaurant and the other housing a Little Mermaid attraction! You will also get a chance to venture inside Belle's library, as well as explore her village, plus more! There is even a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs coaster in the works! These new experiences are set to begin opening later this year. Read about the other additions to the Fantasyland Expansion here
-You can find Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in this themed land from time to time for an autograph and picture!Fantasyland
-What better place to meet and greet with Disney princesses than in the shadow of Cinderella Castle? You can find princesses here from time to time, especially after rope drop in the morning.Liberty Square
-Tucked behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is a picturesque gazebo in view of the castle! Here many of Disney's newest princesses can be found at certain times throughout the day, such as Tiana from the Princess and the Frog!Town Square Theater
-On Main Street U.S.A., inside this the Town Square Theater, you can temporarily meet with Disney Princesses for a picture and autograph! However, this meet-and-greet area is temporary for the princesses as they will have a permanent area in the new Fantasyland which is currently under construction.Fairytale Garden
-In an area between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, you will find a corner featuring a small stage and seating area where new Disney Princesses visit and even put on a little, mini-show at times. Right now, Merida, from Pixar's newest movie, Brave, is making appearances! Read more about that experience here
-Both of the Magic Kingdom's parades feature appearances by Disney Princesses, definitely must-sees for princess fans.Dining
:Cinderella's Royal Table
-This is the ulimate character meal for Disney Princess fans! This restaurant is located inside Cinderella Castle, overlooking Fantasyland! You begin this fairy tale meal with a professional picture with Cinderella before walking up a winding staircase, or taking a royal elevator, up to the dining room which is decorated like the interior of a medieval castle! Girls then receive magic wands and boys plastic swords as you dine and enjoy princesses stopping by for a visit! Whether you are young or old, this restaurant experience is a dream come true!Shopping
-While Disney Princess souvenirs are easy to find at WDW, the best selection and store decor can be found in the shops at Fantasyland!Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
-Let your little princess get a royal makeover and don her own princess attire at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella Castle! Fairy Godmothers-in-training help transform little girls into princesses with special hairstyles, makeup, and even a Disney Princess dress if you didn't bring your own! Some guests choose this experience before enjoying a meal at Cinderella's Royal Table for the ultimate dream come true!Extras
~Check out the windows on Main Street U.S.A., particularly those in front of the Emporium, to see Disney Princess stories come to life! Also see the windows in Fantasyland, Disney Princess fans are sure to enjoy the scenes!
~Located right behind the castle, to the right, there is a fountain featuring a statue of Cinderella (see picture above). If you look at it just right from a certain angle, the crown behind her looks as if it's sitting on her head!
~There are two paths located on either side of the castle, if you take the one on the right (if you are facing the castle from the front) you will find Cinderella's Wishing Well!
Akershus Storybook Dining
Character Spots: At many of the World Showcase pavilions, you can find Disney Princesses!
China-Meet up with Mulan for a picture and autograph!
Germany-You can find many princesses here, such as Snow White and Aurora! Also keep a look-out for Rapunzel's Tangled Tower hidden near the train scene.
Morocco-Be sure to explore this pavilion for Princess Jasmine!
France-Belle can often be found at the pavilion!
Akershus Storybook Dining-Located at the Norway pavilion, this restaurant is one of the best character meals on property for Disney Princess fans! At Akershus, you enter a Norwegian castle where you get a professional picture with Belle in her signature yellow gown. As you enjoy your medieval surroundings, you dine on delicious Norwegian fare (it's really good) as a variety of Disney princesses drop by for a visit, such as Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, and Snow White! Akershus is open at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is, in our opinion, one of the best ways to meet Disney Princesses!
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues is the ultimate ride for Star Wars fans; and this new, updated versions offers an entertaining queue and numerous versions of the ride featuring different characters and places from all six films! Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, this is still an entertaining ride; and so when you are ready to jump to lightspeed, we have some tips to create a smooth trip to a galaxy far far away!
~Unless the wait is really long, we don't recommend getting a FastPass. The line moves rather quickly considering the ride vehicles can hold a large number of people; and the majority of the queue is air conditioned and entertaining, especially for Star Wars fans!
~The holding area you are sent to right before you board the ride vehicle has several lines. Those in the line farthest to the left are typically those who will be sitting on the front row.
~Be sure to watch the droid moving luggage through the x-ray machine. The contents of the suitcases are entertaining!
~Your Star Tours ride vehicle doesn't actually leave the building or even go anywhere! It tilts, shakes, and moves with the screen to make you feel as if you are speeding through space or in a pod race on Tatooine. However, that doesn't mean that this ride isn't thrilling or intense. Also, there are some light effects going on inside the ride vehicle to add to the realism.
~There is a net under your seat to hold your stuff; and unlike some storage areas located on Disney ride vehicles, this one is surprisingly spacious!
~Do you remember the original pilot of the original Star Tours attraction? Keep your eyes open for him in the queue!
~Because this attraction offers mild thrills, and doesnt actually leave the building, it's a great opportunity to test how your younger kids handle thrill rides.
~Many claim that the seats towards the back of the ride vehicle offers the roughest ride. If this is a problem for you, ask a Cast Member. They will usually accomodate you.
~In addition to a seatbelt, there is an arm rest for guests to hold on to; however, you will be sharing this arm rest with the rider next to unless you are seated at the end of the row. Young kids can be wary about this set-up, so be aware of this possibility.
~Have a Star Wars fan in your family? Set aside some money in your souvenir budget for the Star Wars gift shop, Tatooine Traders, located at the exit of the attraction. You will find lightsabers, t-shirts, action figures, plush toys, books, and soon a station where you can build your own droids!
~Across from Star Tours, you will find a speederbike in front of an Endor background from Return of the Jedi, a popular photo-op spot for guests!
~Will you be the Rebel Spy? During your ride, someone's face will appear on the screen labeled as the "Rebel Spy" who the Empire is after. Who knows, it just might be you!
~While this ride isn't as intense as some, it does offer a rough ride! Be aware of this is if you have health problems or if this doesn't appeal to you.
~Star Tours, and the surrounding area, is definitely going to be more crowded during Star Wars Weekends. Therefore, if you want a spin on this attraction, we recommend heading here first thing in the morning or grabbing a FastPass early.
As you know, we are always on the look out for unique Disney merchandise; but in honor of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, we are featuring a few items to help you showcase your Jedi pride!
We found all of these car decals on Amazon and all of them were reasonably priced, which makes them even better! They might even make great Father's Day presents maybe? Check them out!
So this is our favorite! Sorry to all you Ford and Chevy fans out there; but you have to admit, "Toyoda" is pretty awesome and clever!
Wouldn't it be great if this was true? Or maybe a landspeeder?
Also clever! It's sure to keep those in traffic behind you curious until they get a chance to read the bottom line!
I'm also a big fan of this decal; and it's sure to generate some chuckles at the stoplight.
So which of these decals is your favorite? Would you consider purchasing one of these? Share with us!
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This week's topic is our favorite WDW park! Is this your favorite too?
While this is probably no surprise, our favorite park at WDW is the Magic Kingdom! This park offers so much variety with all of its different themed lands and is packed full of history, fairy tales, adventure, the future and pixie dust! While we enjoy Epcot's World Showcase, the cultures and wildlife of Animal Kingdom, and the thrill rides at Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom is just the whole package and truly makes us feel like kids again!
So what is your favorite thing about the Magic Kingdom? We always enjoy reading your comments!
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I like how the cloudy evening threw a different light on the castle. What do you think?