Fun & Free at Disney
By: Lisa Howard, Guest Blogger
We all know that Disney can get a little pricey, but you don’t need a large budget in order to enjoy the magic. Disney offers many great free activities & souvenirs. Here are a few free treats you may not have known ever existed.
Celebrating anything special on your next vacation? Your first visit, birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or maybe even meeting a personal goal? You can get your own Celebration Buttons at hotel check in, Guest Services, or on Main Street in Magic Kingdom in the morning. Wear them around the park for smiles & congratulations throughout your day.
Free Goodies & Resort Activities
Don’t overlook the fun activities that your resort has to offer. My son loves coloring the activity pages that are usually on the tables in the lobbies. Art of Animation offers animation sketch classes near or in front of the lobby & you can keep your sketch when you are finished. Some of the value resorts, like Pop Century & Art of Animation, have fun scavenger hunts around the property. Just ask for the map & earn a little prize once complete. Caribbean Beach Resort often gives out pirate swords & eye patches for those staying in a pirate room. Port Orleans French Quarter can be found tossing out Mardi Gras beads & plastic coins. Animal Kingdom Lodge offers certificates for kiddos that participate in the bedtime story activities. On Halloween, many of the resorts offer Trick-Or-Treat stations where you can pick up candy & stickers. All of these resort specific surprises are subject to change & may vary by day. Disney Resorts often have a map of where you can find all of the hidden Mickeys at that resort. Just ask a Cast Member at the front desk.
Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom Cards (Magic Kingdom)
Register for the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game when you enter Magic Kingdom. You can register at the firehouse, on the left, just as you enter the park. Each person receives a set of cards to play the game. As you make your way around the Magic Kingdom, follow the map to fight off evil villains. If you complete the quest, you are eligible for another free set of Sorcerer Cards. If visiting Magic Kingdom more than one day, make sure to stop every day & pick up a new pack of cards; each guest is eligible for one set of cards per day. These cards make great souvenirs & you can even trade them.
If you purchase tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, be sure to stop by the Firehouse during the party for your exclusive event Sorcerer card.
A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas (Magic Kingdom)
Sign up for the Pirate Adventure, interactive game next time you are in Adventureland (next to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction) & you will be given a map & a quest. Simply stop at various places & hold up your map & props will come to life & will send you on to your next mission. Once you have completed one quest, you can sign up to do another quest with a different map. Once you have completed each quest, you will be given a stamp on your map, a trading card & at the end of the 3rd, 4th, & 5th quest, every person in your party will receive a free Fastpass to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. These FastPasses are usually good until the end of the following month so you will have plenty of time to use them.
These are fun, relaxing little activities that don’t take long & are entertaining to watch. If you are a huge pirate fan, you will want to bring home some of these maps for keepsakes from your vacation. In order to get all 5 maps, you will have to complete all 5 of the quests. After you collect all 5, you can pick up a final card signed by Captain Jack Sparrow himself!
Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial Certificate (Magic Kingdom)
Just opposite of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Adventureland, you can find an adorable show where Jack Sparrow takes recruits & trains them for his crew. I suggest that you arrive early & sit right in front of the stage. This is a wonderful photo & video opportunity. There is usually a PhotoPass photographer available so you can get your professional photos. If you are not chosen for the show, don’t despair, as long as you stand & take the pirate oath at the end, you will also be sworn in & given a certificate to join Jack’s crew. *Showtimes are on your daily Times Guide or are posted near the stage. Since this is an outdoor show, it is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.
Enchanted Tales with Belle (Magic Kingdom)
In Fantasyland, Enchanted Tales with Belle is an overlooked attraction. During which, people will be selected from the audience to assist in performing the story of Beauty & the Beast with Belle. After the program, the audience is invited to come up & take pictures with Belle & receive a bookmark signed by Belle herself. There is a PhotoPass photographer present & if you have already added Memory Maker to your package, the photos are free too. The bookmarks are a wonderful keepsake that will inspire your child to read & remember this wonderful moment of your family vacation.
Tomorrowland Speedway Official Speedway License (Magic Kingdom)
After taking a lap around the Tomorrowland Speedway, you can get your official Speedway License complete with the signature of Mickey Mouse himself. Just ask a Cast Member for one when you exit the attraction. If there is not a Cast Member at the exit, talk to the person at the FastPass entrance.
Wilderness Explorers Handbook (Animal Kingdom)
Be sure to stop at a Wilderness Explorer Station for your Wilderness Explorers Handbook. This will be your guide to follow as you participate in activities throughout Animal Kingdom Park. You can become an official Wilderness Explorer if you complete all 31 activities & earn all 31 badges/stickers in your book on the pages. Some of the activities are simple & others take a little longer. The entire book usually takes at least two days to complete. Don’t have two days to spend in Animal Kingdom? Don’t worry, you can take your Wilderness Explorer Handbook home with you & bring it back next time. The activities in the book are wonderful, educational experiences for kids of all ages.
Jedi Training Academy Pin (Hollywood Studios)
A Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple Pin from the Jedi Training Academy, is the perfect souvenir for any Star Wars fan & it doesn’t cost a cent. There is a trick though. You must get signed up first. Make sure you sign up first thing in the morning. This fills up fast! Then return 30 minutes before your assigned return time. At this time, each child will be fitted for their Jedi robes & be given a pin with their name on it. Once the show has completed, a certificate will also be awarded. This show also creates wonderful photo & video opportunities & there will be a PhotoPass photographer there taking pictures & handing out cards with your photo claim number on them.
Travel Agent Goodies
Some of the best souvenirs can come from your travel agent before you even leave home. I send various things with final client travel documents, such as Disney autograph books, Disney gift cards, coloring books, autographed character photos & more! These are on top of any special offers by Disney. The cost of booking through myself & booking directly through Disney is exactly the same. So why not take advantage of some expert planning assistance & goodies that your agent can provide? Don’t hesitate, it all starts with a free quote.