The words “free” and “cheap” aren’t usually things you hear associated with Disney. But, what if you only had an extra $100 to spend. What would you do? Where would you go? And how many activities can you get done before your money is gone?
I know what you’re saying…if you only have $100, there’s no way you’re going anywhere. Tickets and Resorts cost far more than that.
But, that’s not what we’re talking about.
Disney is synonymous with expensive Theme Park tickets and a typical family spending hundreds of dollars to eat one meal inside Cinderella Castle.
It’s that very perspective that gives many Guests the idea that they can’t afford to go to Disney. But, there is far more to Disney than expensive meals and crowded lines.
Your trip may not be as glamorous as the trips you see flaunted on social media. But, there are still things you can do to still have a magical time at Walt Disney World that falls within YOUR budget.
|Price: $14 per adult / $12 per child|
Many Guests don’t realize that Walt Disney World has 2 Mini golf courses. Their themes are completely different. But, they each have a lot of Disney magic in each course.
Located near Blizzard Beach is Winter Summerland. It has 2 courses: a winter course and a summer course.
Designed by Santa (yes, THE Santa Claus), he decided to build a vacation destination for his elves to go on their time off. But, just like everyone else, not all elves like the snow. So, Santa made 2 completely different golf courses, a summer side and a winter side. Now, they (an you) can choose to vacation in the sun or snow.
Fantasia Gardens and Fantasia Fairways
Located near the Swan and Dolphin Hotels is Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf.
There are 2 different courses. Fantasia Gardens is the easier side, whereas the Fantasia Fairways more closely resembles an actual golf course…just smaller.
Just as the name suggests, Fantasia Gardens takes its design after the Disney animated movie, Fantasia. Watch out because those pesky broomsticks just may splash you with water. If you have smaller children with you, this is the course you would likely choose.
Although anyone can play here, Fantasia Fairways is for the more experienced mini golfer. Sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens definitely show just how much more challenging this course is compared to Fantasia Gardens.
|Price: $25-$35. Children under 18 are 25% off|
If you’ve never heard of Footgolf, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The rules are pretty much the same as traditional golf. But, instead of clubs and golf balls, you’re kicking soccer balls into 21-inch diameter cups.
A typical game usually takes up to 1 1/2 hours and consists of 9 holes. Because you’re playing at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, tee times are typically booked around the tee times of Guests playing 9 holes of traditional golf.
There is no age restriction. But, there is a lot of walking. So, younger kids may have a hard time getting through the course.
|Price: $8 for children ages 2+|
Have you ever wondered where the horses who work around Walt Disney World live when they’re not working? Well, more than likely, they’re hanging out in the Tri-Circle-D Ranch.
The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
And besides not even knowing this place exists, what many Guests don’t realize is that visiting the Ranch is completely free. Thanks to the Cast Members who care for the horses, you may learn a little bit about the horses and what role they play in Walt Disney World.
If you have a young child with you, they may also get the opportunity to ride a pony. And unlike many things around Walt Disney World, Pony Rides are very reasonable priced. And best of all, the ponies are led by you.
Since you’re the one leading the ponies around the track, you may want to bring an extra adult to take photos.
There are a few requirements. But, if your child meets these requirements, it’s an experience they likely won’t forget.
In order for your child to ride a pony, he/she must:
- Be at least 2 years old
- Be able to sit unassisted and hold onto the reigns without letting go
- Weight under 80 pounds
- Be no taller than 48 inches
I know I’m not alone when I say that live entertainment in Walt Disney World is what turns a great vacation into a magical vacation.
No matter what I’m doing or where I’m rushing off to, I am compelled to stop and admire these talented Cast Members.
And best of all, they’re not only cheap, they’re completely free for all Disney Guests. Not all live entertainment is located inside of Theme Parks, either. So regardless if you have a ticket into any of the Parks or not, there’s plenty to see and do.
Just a few of the entertainment options you’ll find outside of the Theme Parks are:
- Live Bands at Disney Springs
- Yehaa Bob, at Port Orleans Riverside
- The Lobby Pianist, at Grand Floridian
- Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long, at Fort Wilderness
- Magicians, Musicians, and Jugglers, on the Boardwalk
- The Electrical Water Pageant, on the Seven Seas Lagoon
- and more…
If you’re heading to the Parks, be sure to stop and watch:
- The Dapper Dans, in Magic Kingdom
- Casey’s Corner piano player, in Magic Kingdom
- Main Street Philharmonic, in Magic Kingdom
- Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe, in Animal Kingdom
- Flotillas, in Animal Kingdom
- Army Men, in Hollywood Studios
- Various popular artists who perform in the American Gardens Theater, in Epcot
- Matsuriza, the Japanese drummers, in Epcot
- and more…
Behind The Seeds Tour
|Price: $35 per person|
Assuming you already have a ticket into Epcot, the Behind the Seeds Tour is a fun way to get an up close view of the plants and foods in the attraction, Living With The Land.
Even if you’re inept at growing a single blade of grass, such as myself, you’ll walk away with an appreciation for all Epcot does to keep these plants growing, and the Guests fed.
And at the end of this 1 hour tour, you’ll also get to sample some of the produce that is grown there. A cheap tour with a free Disney themed snack the end? Sign me up. All joking aside, Living with the Land isn’t just for looks. They actually use the produce in restaurants around Epcot. So, if you’ve ever eaten in Epcot, there’s a good chance you’ve already had some of the produce that is grown right there.
I mentioned the Behind the Seeds Tour, primarily because it’s the most well known. But, there are other Tours that are decently priced, especially for Disney prices. One such tour, in Animal Kingdom, is the Caring for Giants Tour. It’s also $35 per person. It may take a little bit of research, but there are affordable options in Walt Disney World.
|Kayak||Price: $13 per hour|
|Canoe||Price: $13 per hour|
|Pontoon Boat||Price: $45 per half hour|
Do you want to get away from the crowds? Do you enjoy being on the water? Perhaps renting a kayak, canoe, or a pontoon boat is the perfect way to spend your day. Or at least an hour of your day.
Although you are charged by the hour, or half hour, it’s still a decent deal for something not a lot of Disney Guests experience on their vacation.
Canoes and kayaks can be rented from the Bike Barn at the Meadow Recreation Area of Fort Wilderness. Pontoon Boats can be rented at a variety of places, including:
- Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort
- Beach Club Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian
- Yacht Club Resort
- The Villas at Grand Floridian
The canoes and kayaks can only hold a couple Guests at a time. But, Pontoon Boats can hold up to 10 Guests. So, even if you’re on a tight budget, you find a few free friends and split the cost for a cheap activity at Disney.
Aerophile Balloon Ride
|Price: $25 per Adult, $20 per Child (Ages 3-9)|
The Aerophile is featured a lot in photos of Disney Springs. So, even if you don’t know it by name, you more than likely recognize it.
This brightly colored hot air balloon, in the middle of Disney Springs, give you a unique perspective of Walt Disney World from 400 feet in the air.
Unfortunately, weather does effect this experience quite a bit. If there’s any storms in the area, the Aerophile is grounded. Wind can also cause the balloon to be grounded, regardless if there’s a storm or not.
In the past, I’ve seen deals for the Aerophile, and other activities at Disney, on Groupon. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it there in awhile. But, regardless if there’s a deal or not, for Disney prices, this experience is decently priced.
And, seriously, how often do you get the chance to take a ride in a hot air balloon?
No one does “edutainment” better than Disney. And that’s why I absolutely love visiting the Disney Parks and Resorts. The Cast Members are a wealth of knowledge. But, many Guests are too busy rushing off to the Theme Parks to stop and talk to them.
Sometimes you will get information on the architecture or history of a Resort and how it ties into Walt Disney Word, or Walt Disney, himself. Other times, you’re learning all about the animals that call Walt Disney World their home.
Whether nor not you’re traveling with children, these interactions can include a simple conversation, an art project, a scavenger hunt, or a trinket to bring home for completing a task.
These types of activities are quickly becoming one of my favorite things. And best of all, there’s an endless number of these types of free and cheap activities that can do on your Disney vacation.
|Walk Up Price||$20 – $24|
|Online Priority Bowling Reservation||$30 – $34|
If there’s one thing that not many people know about me is that I grew up bowling. And when I first started dating my husband, my friend and I “innocently” challenged our boyfriends to a game of bowling. I still remember the look on his face when I showed up with my own ball. Good times…
So, the fact that I have not yet bowled at Splittsville still baffles me.
Anyway, the price includes shoe rentals and 1 to 1 hour and 45 minutes of bowling, depending on the number of people in your party. Obviously, the more people you have, the longer you get to play.
Pricing is pretty comparable to places, like Main Event, in Houston. So, for Walt Disney World prices, it’s one of the more reasonably priced activities on Walt Disney World property.
Marketplace Carousel and Train Express
|Marketplace Carousel||$3 – Adults ride free with a child under 42″|
|Marketplace Train Express||$3 – Adults ride free with a child under 42″|
I admit that $3 for one ride on a carousel or train is pretty expensive for what it is. But, it’s pretty standard for Disney pricing. And it’s the perfect way to entertain a young child during a “Boring” shopping trip to Disney Springs.
After all, not only is it free to park at Disney Springs, there’s aren’t many activities this cheap on property.
Ready to book your magical vacation?
Planning a trip can be overwhelming. Don’t do it alone. Get a helping hand.
This post contains affiliate links. By providing these links, we may receive a small commission when you purchase items through these links. This does not come at an additional cost to you, nor does it provide us with any of your information. These commissions, however small, help small businesses, such as Explore With Catherine, stay afloat. So, THANK YOU!