Recently I spoke with someone who had to scrap their plans for a first time, three day trip to Disney world and turn it into a single day at Magic Kingdom, with the other days just at their hotels since they didn't have the budget for park days.
This person seemed a little sad, but quickly my thoughts turned to how can a person still experience some of the Magic, and fun of Disney, without a park ticket?
As I gave suggestions, I realized, that for no money at all, you really could make a day or two of Disney magic, without a park ticket. Here are some of the things I suggested. Pick a few to round out a day, or try and do them all to make a day of it!
Check out Resorts
Every resort has something unique about it, and you could spend quite a while exploring the resort grounds! Pop Century has a free scavenger hunt you can do, you could take walking trails, check out the large statues at any of the value resorts, as well as the amazing interiors! Many resorts have free activities throughout the day, like drawing lessons, games for kids, or even movies. Chip and Dale even come out at one resort, and join in on roasting marshmallows!
Ride the Monorail
While at one of the monorail Resorts, hop aboard the Monorail, and ride around! You'll get to experience an iconic attraction and get quite the view! Ride to Magic Kingdom, and you can...
Jump on the Ferry
Take a relaxing trip to and from on the Ferry Boat. You'll get to see the Castle, and take some amazing pictures! Time it right, you may even see...
There are several places to see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios when not at the park. You might not hear all of the music, but you can snuggle into a blanket, munch on a snack, and enjoy the show!
Disney Springs is great, because there you will find so many fun, and free Disney things! Pin trade with Cast Members, stop in the candy store to get some samples, stop in the massive World of Disney store, and you'll definitely experience magic as Tinkerbell flies around! There are loads of other things there too, Disney backdrops are scattered around, the Lego Store has a massive covered Lego play area out front, and the shops are filled with Disney, Disney, and more Disney!
There's a lot more to explore and find!! Easily a few days worth! Do you have a favorite outside the parks thing I missed?
Things change frequently at Disney in regards to food, but luckily the free drink refills at these locations have stayed around. If everyone keeps playing by the rules, hopefully they remains!
The free refills have a few rules. It does not mean that you can bring in your own cups, a cup you bought previously, or ask for a free water then fill the cup with soda. You can get a free refill on a beverage that you bought at that location, for the duration of your meal.
Here are the places you can go and quench your thirst on a hot summer day, without breaking the bank.
Be Our Guest (breakfast and lunch)
Do you have a favorite of these locations with refills? Backlot Express is always a stop for us!!
Maybe you've wondered what the best age is to go to Disney. Maybe you've mentioned wanting to plan a trip to someone and heard one of these:
"What?! You shouldn't take a toddler to Disney! they won't remember it!"
"Teenagers at Disney? They aren't going to have ANY fun! Why waste your money?"
"You're going to Disney? Why? Aren't you to old for that?"
I'm here to settle the debate and tell you the best age, the most perfect age, to go to Disney. Ready? The answer might surprise you.
The best age to go to Disney is....
Yep! Every single age group has an amazing time at Disney, and I'll explain why. Saying there is something there for everyone an sound cliche, so think about this. Ever seen a movie, loved it, and a few years later, watched it again and still loved it but caught so many things you missed the first time around? That's Disney! The same ride can be a different experience, depending on the age of the person riding it. There is even a statue of Cinderella behind Cinderella's Castle, that from an adult's height perspective looks like a beautiful design painted into the background. From a child's height perspective? It's not a fancy design...it's a crown. Pretty cool huh? There are hundreds of hidden treasures like that at Disney!
Still not convinced? Let's dig deeper into each age group!
The Tiny Tots
I think whether or not a child remembers their Disney vacation does in part have to do with their age. Our not quite two year old sure remembered...and for a ear afterwards thumbed through the picture album. While at age six, he can't remember his first visit as well to Mickey, I do. He bypassed Mickey with his outstretched arms, and flung himself at Minnie! He hugged him and squeezed him and he was so happy, that Mr. Disney and I started to tear up.
With a babe in tow, and the stroller that comes along with it, you can go everywhere, and not lug your stuff! Another win! You can even take advantage of skipping lines with a rider switch if you want.
The early years were pure magic for our guy. I'm betting you've heard similar stories! In fact, there are very few rides that the littles CAN'T do! You'll be surprised when you read this list of what they CAN do!
The Tweens and Teens
The eye rolls, the requests to ride solo, the ear buds always stuck in, and the never ending appetite. Yep, Disney is for those kids too!
If you kid is responsible enough, there aren't many places better to split up for an hour or so, or, do a family ride with the kids in one gar and the adults in another. As for rides, between the coasters, and old favorites or shows, there's going to be a full day of fun for them!
That never ending hunger? If your kiddo has their own hard to lose gift card or you are on the Disney Dining Plan, they can even take care of that themselves, and feel grown up while doing it!
Can't stop them from swiping your phone? Maybe that's because they knew you Disney-ed up your phone, and they are playing the in park games or listening to music on it!
Kids or no kids, Disney is for you! You've got the stamina to go all day, and the wisdom to know when to take a break so you don't miss out on the fun! You appreciate both the on the go meals, and those that require patience sitting for your order to be taken and then created by incredible chefs.
Nothing is off limits to you, and you can linger in the Forests of Pandora, or snack or drink your way around the Wold Showcase. Old favorite stories come to life at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios puts you right in the action or favorite movies! You are never too old to snap a photo with Donald, or hop on the carousel, in fact, you might even get a few envious looks when you get back home and show your vacation pics, because the naysayers thought adults couldn't have a good time at Disney.
The Aging Graceful Set
Ahh! Another good age. You can do everything the adults can, but did you know that sometimes your group gets a little extra attention? You might get a little Pixie Dust sprinkled on you at restaurants or the resort, and no one will bat an eyelash if you think, to heck with all the walking! I'm renting a scooter! The scooter gets you first pick ups on the bus, as well as those in your party, too and can even make lines a little shorter.
If you want to sit on a bench and people watch while tossing popcorn to the birds, or enjoy the rides and strike poses with the Princesses, you're going to find something to fill every minute if you wish! Nothing is undo-able, unless you choose not to do it! I'd say that's pretty awesome! Remember that guy who visited Disney 2000 days in a row? Yeah...you could do that too, I'll bet! Not as many obligations and school calendars to worry about!
So now what do you think? Are any of these ages off limits at Disney? No way! Every age is a great age! Disney was made for all to enjoy, and for all to love.
Snow White Copyright Disney
I'll bet you've noticed all the different water features at Disney, and you might have even dropped in a few coins. Ever wonder what happened to those coins after you've made the wish?
Disney donates all of the coins ($20,000 in 2018) to different charities for children. Last year's recipient was Community Based Care of Central Florida.
Can you imagine how many coins equal $20,000? How many pounds that must weigh? I love to use this an example for my kids, how one penny might not seem like a lot, but added to everyone else's pennies, can do something amazing!
Next time you drop your coins in and make a wish, think about this...you are helping make other people's wishes come true, too!
Do you have a thing that goes with you every trip, every time? I do too! Besides the obvious ponchos, money or PINS, for me, it's always a few Ziploc bags. Here are 8 reasons why!
1. Phone / camera protector
If you like the water rides, or if you just want to keep your electronics safe during a down pour, you can't beat a Ziploc bag! Just be sure you zip it all the way!
2. Mini Med Kit
Toss together a few bandaids, and an advil or two. Chances are you're going to need those at some point, so why not make a mini med kit? No better place to store it than something see through!
There are a few places that have such generous portions, or maybe you just wanted a snack, and realized you were about to miss a Fast Pass. Toss your half sandwich or pretzel in a baggie, and finish it later! Or, if you have kids like mine, they are ravenous...until two bites later when they are full. Pop it in the bag!
If you've people who don't want to dip into the same bucket of popcorn as everyone else, put some in a baggie! Works great to keep kids from arguing, too, and divide up other multi serve snacks.
Keep a bag for traders...and a bag for keepers! It keeps them from rolling around loose in the backpack! No more lost pins!
6. Ice packs
We fill a quart sized bag in the mornings before we head out, and pop into our insulated backpack. Not only is it a great way to keep the drinks cold, the kids sometimes want to have an ice cube. Those ice cubes have done everything from iced a scrape, cooled a person, and even provided entertainment in line, "I'll bet my ice cube melts before yours!"
7. Emergency clothes
Have a little one? Store an emergency outfit in the baggie, then put the soiled one in. Zipped up, there's no smell, or mess oozing in the rest of your bag!
8. Cooling Towels
If you carry a cooling towel, chances are you don't want it all day, and you don't want it getting everything all damp. Put it in a baggie until next use!
See how useful these baggies are? While there are so many more ways to use plastic baggies, these are a few of our favorites! Do you have any other ways you use them?