12 Things That Are Free At Disney World

We hate to admit it, but prices at Disney resorts in the United States can be pretty high. Although Walt Disney World has a lot to offer guests (for a price), you may be surprised to learn that there is a wide range of free offerings there. Some of these dozen free options seem apparent to frequent park visitors, though you may be surprised by some.

Even after countless visits to WDW, we were still surprised to learn that the transportation trading cards existed. Walt Disney wanted the parks to constantly evolve with new elements, but those elements don't have to be massive undertakings like new or updated attractions. Sometimes, they're as simple as unique collectibles or activities around the parks.

Before you head off to your next (or even first) magical adventure at Walt Disney World, remember these free-of-charge magical extras. They could save you some serious dough or add a sprinkle of spontaneous — or literal –- pixie dust to your next trip.

Ice water

Drinking fountain water and tap water at Disney World can be kind of gross. So, if you're a picky water drinker (and didn't bring flavor drops), don't feel pressured to buy bottled water. Ice water is available for free at some food kiosks and quick-serve restaurants all over the parks. Sometimes, the ice water from these locations tastes somewhat earthy. Plus, you can save the ice in your personal water bottle to keep your beverage cold or to drink later. Wrapping ice cubes in a cooling towel will also help on those hot Florida days.

If the prospect of waiting in crowded, quick-serve restaurants for water intimidates you, don't worry. You can walk up to the pick-up counter area, preferably an empty one, and ask for some water cups. Especially during busy times of day, the cast members are frequently stocking the counter areas, so they can just grab them for you quickly.

Pixie dust

No, we aren't talking about the ultra magical free surprises that sometimes get gifted to extra lucky guests. We mean literal pixie dust. You know, the kind you sprinkle on people or things to make them magical. There are a few locations at Walt Disney World where you can get pixie-dusted for free.

Adults, or anyone over 12, can't make appointments for themselves at Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique in Magic Kingdom, but they can go to BBB for a free pixie dusting. Cast members will sprinkle you with pixie dust, and you'll make a wish. It's a magical moment that adds a little something to your day, completely free of charge.

Sir Mickey's gift shop across the walkway from BBB offers this pixie dust offering as well. It may even be a better option, as it is usually less crowded than the Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique. In our experience, we can attest that you may be turned away at BBB if they're too busy to accommodate. Best play it safe and head to Sir Mickey's for all your free pixie dust desires.

Celebration buttons

If you're new to Walt Disney World, you may be surprised to see many guests wearing large buttons that say "I'm Celebrating" or "First Visit." These buttons can be acquired all over the parks and hotels to celebrate whatever special event brings you to Walt Disney World or just to celebrate the everyday magic, which is always good, too. Every shop has them, though they do run low from time to time.

There are four kinds of celebration buttons offered at WDW: "First Visit," "I'm Celebrating," "Happy Birthday," and "Happily Ever After." From time to time, these buttons change design or topic, so if it's been a while, it may be worth checking out the pins.

Cast members can also write family-friendly notes on your button for you. If you're celebrating a promotion, a much-needed vacation, or anything else, put it on the button, and let everyone know. That way, it becomes an even more special free souvenir. They'll even place a piece of tape over the message so it doesn't rub off. You can also bring these buttons to the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Magic Kingdom for a calligraphy personalization, although that will cost extra.

Hotel parking for hotel guests

Disney World temporarily started charging guests for hotel parking again in 2021, but the hotels are back to free parking. This is a massive benefit if you drive to Disney and stay on-site. Hotels in major cities or touristy areas frequently charge for parking, so most might assume that Walt Disney World follows suit. The fact that WDW doesn't have parking fees at their hotels is a fantastic bonus for guests.

That free parking perk extends to all kinds of vehicles, not just standard cars. That's the good news for RV owners. You'll also have in-and-out privileges after registering your vehicle with the hotel. Security will ask you upon arrival for your hotel guest credentials, so simply give them your last name, and you should be good to go.

While hotel parking is free, it should be noted that parking at the parks themselves is not. Unless you have certain annual passes, you'll be paying a per-day fee that varies from park to park as well as per vehicle type. Sorry, RV owners, you'll be paying more for parking.

Park transportation

When you stay at a WDW hotel, you can access a range of complimentary transportation options for the parks, Disney Springs, and the water parks. From the buses to friendship boats, the ferries, a riverboat, the monorail, and the Skyliner, Disney's got creative options. Once you stay on-site with the free transportation, it's hard to go back to commuting on future visits to Walt Disney World.

Remember that these Disney World transportation options vary depending on the hotel you stay at. Bus services are available for all the accommodation, but options like the monorail are only available for specific hotels. Regarding our favorite free transportation, we are massive fans of Skyliner, which only connects a few hotels to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Even so, this option often has shorter queues and quicker ride times.

The transportation options also depend upon the weather, which in Florida can be finicky. Boat services and the Skyliner are temporarily suspended during thunderstorms or any instance of lightning, which is entirely understandable.

Soda at Club Cool

Over in EPCOT, Club Cool is an exhibit sponsored by Coca-Cola, located next to the Creations Shop in the World Celebration section of the park. That's where you can sample a range of sodas from all over the world, free of charge. This is also where you can try the infamous Beverly, a bitter non-alcoholic apéritif that divides Disney fans. You either love it or viscerally hate it.

There are eight flavors to choose from at Club Cool. They can change, but they're generally pretty standard and tend to include drinks from different countries, including Italy, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Moldova, Madagascar, and others. It's a lot of fun to try the sodas with your travel companions to see which ones each person prefers. Just don't make the mistake of assuming the flavor matches the names. Smart Sour Plum? It's not terribly sour and more salty/sweet instead. Delicious, though.

Kidcot crafts

Adults aren't the only ones who can have a blast at the World Showcase in EPCOT. The Kidcot Fun Stops, which you can find all over the park and in the pavilions, provide kiddos with free crafts, passport stamps, pin trading, and more fun (and free) activities to keep them occupied. Each Kidcot Fun Stop can be located thanks to the adorable wooden signs in the pavilion areas.

Each Kidcot Fun Stop will give your child (or you, because adults can do them too) a suitcase-themed Ziploc. Kidcot Fun Stops will also hand out individual country or territory cards with fun facts about those locations, and cast members may write or draw on the cards to make them extra special. Plus, each stop has its own variety of coloring pages for a quick coloring break. The Play Disney app also has Kidcot game elements, like the Disney Kidcot Puzzle Hunt, that can be completed by visiting the various locations throughout the World Showcase.

Hotel activities

Each WDW resort hotel has amenities to offer guests, which can differ from hotel to hotel, and many of the amenities and activities are free across the hotels for guests. Things like campfire s'mores, poolside games, and movies under the stars don't cost a dime. Not all activities, like the mosaic-making at Coronado Springs, are free, so be sure to confirm before attending.

Suppose you're staying at the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, or Contemporary Resort. If so, you can watch the Electrical Water Pageant each night (weather dependent) at 9 p.m. for free. As with any parade, this pageant takes a little while to get to each resort area, starting near the Poly and ending at the Contemporary.

Or, at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can go on your own little safari around the property. There are viewing areas where you can often see the magnificent resident animals wandering about, gorgeous beasts like giraffes, impalas, gazelles, and more. The animals tend to gather in the greatest numbers around sunset, so keep that in mind.

Transportation trading cards

Whenever you encounter drivers, boat captains, or tram cast members around Disney World, there's a good chance they'll have a bunch of trading cards on them. These trading cards are free for guests and feature various forms of Disney transportation, along with interesting factoids about them. Since they're trading cards, they're all numbered. If you can't remember whether or not you've collected one of the parking lot tram cards, it's just a matter of keeping an eye on the numbers.

If a cast member doesn't have any more cards on them, never fear; just ask again next time. You can also check in with transportation cast members away from the transportation. For example, there is a transportation kiosk before the main gates at EPCOT, so feel free to ask those cast members about trading cards. Since they aren't attached to any particular transportation mode, they may even have some you still need to collect!


No, PhotoPass isn't free — unfortunately. Even so, PhotoPass cast members and other cast members in general are usually happy to take your photos for you with your camera or phone. Photos on your personal devices won't include the magical extras that some PhotoPass images get, like Tinkerbell in your hands at Magic Kingdom, but still, you'll get the cast member's expert eye for Disney World scenery.

What's helpful about keeping track of the PhotoPass cast members is that they're often placed near the most iconic views around the parks. From the fountains and Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, the Chinese Theatre at Hollywood Studios, or the castle at Magic Kingdom, you'll spot these folks everywhere.

This free photo option also applies to character meet and greets. While some have automatic photos, like meeting with Magician Mickey at Town Square Theatre in Magic Kingdom, the attending cast member can still take photos for you, too. Don't let a lack of PhotoPass stop you from snagging pics with your favorite characters!

First aid

Disney's First Aid Stations can be a real lifesaver — literally. For boo-boos, upset tummies, and anything in between, free help can be found at the First Aid Stations located in each Walt Disney World park. Licensed nurses and cast members are on staff at each location to provide expert medical care and attention when it is needed most. The stations are well-stocked with medicine, bandaids, tissues, and even barf bags. Even if you simply need a place to rest for a minute in the air conditioning to feel better, they can also help.

When a sudden pain strikes and you're unprepared, don't spend money on the tiny packages of painkillers at the gift shops or hotel store. Locate your nearest First Aid Station instead. The stations aren't going to carry specialty medications or give you a lot of anything you ask for, but they will be able to provide you with a little something to help at the time.

Wild About Safety trading cards

This is a very niche freebie that "The Lion King" fans will want to keep an eye out for. In the mid-2000s, Walt Disney World created a safety slogan series called Wild About Safety, starring Timon and Pumbaa. These cartoons can be seen at the resorts (they have their own TV channel), on transportation ad space, and via their special trading cards, which you can collect for free around the parks.

Safety Cards are usually found at Guest Relations near the entrance of each park. Every once in a while, you'll encounter a cast member elsewhere who has them, but your best bet is to visit the Guest Relations cast members first. Cards are updated occasionally, so if you are a past collector, it's possible some of the cards you collected have since retired and been replaced.

Besides the trading cards, Wild About Safety also has a range of free coloring pages you can download and print before your trip. The coloring sheets encompass many of the trading cards you may encounter once you start collecting them.