At Disney World and need a break from the rides? Or maybe it’s the end of the day and you’ve still got some energy left after exploring some of the many things to do in Orlando (seriously, how?!). Head to Disney’s outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort by Lake Buena Vista for some family friendly fun. Apart from being free to enter and full of stuff to see and experience, there are plenty of free things to do at Disney Springs too!
What started out as a shopping village in 1975 has since transformed into an entertainment spot with four distinct areas that each have a neighborhood feel. These areas are the Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. Keep reading to learn more about them or skip ahead to read my free things to do at Disney Springs list below.
The Marketplace is the oldest portion of Disney Springs and the place kids have the most fun. The area is Disney themed with structures of Disney characters all around. It has cool restaurants like the T-rex Cafe and Rainforest Cafe, and is most famous for its magical toy stores. The Lego store, Once Upon a Toy, and the World of Disney are all worth a visit. World of Disney is a particularly huge attraction on account of being the largest disney store in the world.
The Landing is where all the fancy restaurants are. Visit Pizza Pronte for the best pizza you’ll ever have. Maria and Enzos is another great place for Italian cuisine. Groove to the tunes at night and join the crowd to dance to the DJ’s music from Thursdays through Sundays.
The Town Center is where you go to shop till you drop. Here you’ll find well-known brands, Disney-centric boutiques, and some of the best food shops for quick eats. Drop by the Coca Cola store, Planet Hollywood’s food court, Chicken Guy, and Polite Pig for a taste.
West Side is the hub of entertainment and nightlife at Disney Springs. Daily entertainment and live music can be found on the Park Stage of this area.
If you’re visiting Disney Springs on your vacation, don’t bother paying for the following items!
27 FREE THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY SPRINGS, ORLANDO WITH KIDS
1. Free entry
There’s absolutely no entry fee to get into Disney Springs. This is especially awesome because not that many things are free to enter at Disney World! In fact, you don’t even need a park ticket to get into this place. That means anyone craving a little Disney magic can walk right in without worrying about burning a hole through their pocket!
2. Free Parking
Disney Springs offers free parking at four locations, namely the “Orange,” “Grapefruit,” “Lemon,” and “Lime” garages. If you’ve ever been to Disney World you know that free parking is definitely something to gush about. Add to it that the parking garages actually tell you how many parking spots are available on each floor, and you’ve got just the parking solution you have been looking for. Note that if you’re driving in for a special event at Disney Springs, it’s wise to arrive an hour before start time to ensure you snag a spot.
3. Bus Rides for Free
Even if you haven’t booked a stay at the Disney Resorts, you can always visit them for dinner or just to hangout. And what about getting there, you ask? Free bus rides to any and all of them! Just hop on the bus at Town Center and go from resort to resort. Buses are available every 20 minutes from 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM on different colour coded routes – Blue, Yellow, Green and Red Routes. How cool is that?
4. Free Boat Rides
Kids and adults alike find traveling using Disney’s water transport enjoyable, making it one of the most popular free things to do at Disney Springs. Sassagoula Steamboat Company will take you to the Disney Resorts. One boat will take you to the Saratoga Springs Resort and the other to the Old key west resort. There are two other places to get free boat rides as well, namely Westside and the Marketplace. Kids and adults alike find traveling using Disney’s water transport enjoyable, making it one of the most popular free things to do at Disney Springs. So, set aside some time to relax, take in the views, and float down the waters of Lake Buena Vista.
5. Window Shop at the World of Disney shop
Yes, it would most likely cost you to buy something at the largest Disney store in the world, but who says you have to! Browsing the selection at the World of Disney shop will undoubtedly keep you and the kids occupied for quite a while, making it worthy of its free status. The store has accessories, home decor, toys, souvenirs, and really anything else Disney related that you can imagine. While away hours here as you get lost in the magic – and good luck prying your kids away from all the goodies!
6. Witness some Performing Arts
Located right across from the Marketplace area is the AdventHealth Waterside stage. Here, you’ll be able to catch shows by Disney Performing Arts dance troupes by day and live tunes by night. Kids especially enjoy the children’s dance parties.
7. Munch on Some Chocolate Samples
Walk by the famous Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop to score a couple free samples of chocolate. What you want to look for is a greeter carrying a basket filled with an assortment of chocolate squares. Milk Chocolate & Caramels Squares, Peppermint Bark Squares, and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Squares are just a few of them. No guarantees the chocolate won’t just lure you into the shop – so maybe drop by when you and the kids are pretty full on food already!
8. Catch Some Free Live Music Shows
There is no shortage of spots to stop with your family for a free music show at Disney Springs. Visit the scenic Waterview Park Stage for a sunset and some tunes; the Sunshine Highline Stage for some unique, international music; or if you’re more into bluesy sounds, stop by the House of Blues’ Front Porch for a musical treat.
9. Photo op alert
Stop by DisneyStyle for a photo sitting in a stationary tea cup!
10. Celebrate Off Season Christmas
At Disney Springs, Christmas is celebrated throughout the year. Listen to Christmas carols and enjoy the spirit of Christmas with your family. Adults will enjoy taking inspiration from stylish Christmas decorations for home decorating during the holidays. You will see gigantic Christmas trees with eye-catching themes like the Mickey and Minnie tree, the Chocolate tree, Disney’s Robin Hood Christmas Tree and the Toy Story Christmas Tree. Kids get the chance to meet Santa in his cozy cottage. It’s free fun times for all!
11. Another photo Opportunity
Head to the Orlando Harley-Davidson shop for an envy-inducing photo. Although bikes aren’t ridden or sold here, the central attraction of this apparel store is the stationary motorcycle. Hop on the Harley and capture that rockstar shot for your new cover picture on social media. They also have a cool TV screen displaying biking videos for your entertainment.
12. Free Playzone at T-Rex Cafe
If your kids tire you out and you need a break, head to T-Rex Cafe where the play zone is absolutely free. The free Paleo Zone is a sandbox where little ones get to explore the history of planet earth while looking for fossils. The digital mupis (digital information point) are another striking feature in the cafe placed exclusively for educational purposes.
13. Get Yourself Some Soaps and Scrubs
Visit Basin to experience a blast of aromas, collect some free samples, and leave smelling oh-so-good yourself. They have a variety of custom soaps, bath bombs, candles, natural body scrubs, scents, body butter, and the sugar soufflé, all available for guests to try.
14. A Lucky Chance to Watch the Free Volcano Show
Popularly known as the Marketplace’s showstopper, the erupting volcano at the Rainforest Cafe is free to watch and photograph. This bright display of fire and smoke spews once every 30 minutes, so you might need to wait a while depending on when you show up, but it’s so worth it. I would recommend making your stop at night to watch the 2 minute display of wonder in all its bright glory. If you’re close enough, you will even feel the heat.
15. Make a Free Splash
Smash out some cool moves at the Disney Springs Splash! This free outdoor play area is great for some cooling down on a sunny day and your kids will love the fountains and sprinklers. This fun thing to do in Disney Springs is situated at two locations – one near Earl of Sandwich and another behind the Christmas store. Remember to carry a change of clothes or a swimming suit along.
16. Browsing the Art of Disney
Immerse yourself in the lovely art, paintings, and statues at the Art of Disney gallery and then go shopping in the Marketplace. Watch artists paint live and take painting to another level. Visit during peak sunny hours to spend time in the air conditioned gallery, while admiring the lines and strokes.
17. Free WiFi at Disney Springs
Free Wifi is always a huge bonus irrespective of the place. All locations at Disney Springs offer free Wifi connectivity, so whether you need it to check up on emails or entertain your kids during downtime, you won’t have to spend on your personal internet at all!
18. Goofy’s Glacier Chocolates
Get a free treat at Goofy’s Glacier to make your holiday even sweeter. Additionally, at Goofy’s Candy Co, you get cool drinks as freebies. The store is full of goodies for both kids and adults. They include candies, alcoholic frozen glaciers, and tart slushies available in raspberry, strawberry, and mango flavors, and more. Watching the staff make candies is a bonus free activity for both you and the kids at this magical candy shop.
19. Sculpt Structures at Legos
Participate in fun lego building activities in the Lego Store located at the Marketplace. You don’t have to spend a dime at the hands-on play area. Another fun free thing to do while there is to get pictures of your kids with their massive 8 feet tall lego sculptures. Help them build their own jet or make their own Lego figures here!
20. Witness a Princess Parade
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique organises a Princess Parade at Disney Springs. The parade kicks off at 3 PM everyday, weather permitting. Feel the grandeur of the princesses by joining Cinderella, Tiana, Snow White, and the Fairy Godmothers. Learn all about the fictional stories of the Kingdom and have a ball!
21. Ice Water for Free
Beat the heat by grabbing a glass of ice water available for free almost everywhere at Disney Springs. You can quench your thirst at all the food stores on sunny days. Of course you’ll have to pay for bottled water, but as long as you take advantage of the free, cold water, you won’t need them!
22. Interactive Time At The Rainforest Cafe
Hop on into the Rainforest Cafe to enjoy a jungle trip. This jungle themed restaurant not only offers delightful food, but has an ecosystem of its own in their thickly vegetated area. It truly is one of the best restaurants at Disney Springs. Get a chance to meet their shiny fishes and rare birds.
23. Listen to the Birds Chatter
The Rainforest Cafe also offers visitors a chance to talk to their real tropical birds for free (assuming the birds are willing)! You can often catch the birds talking with the staff. If you happen to miss it, fret not for there’s also a simulation available at the entrance.
24. Watch Glass Cutting and Blowing
The Crystal Arts by Arribas Brothers at Disney Springs offers on-lookers an entertaining demonstration of how they cut and etch glass all day long. You will find lots of collectible glass items and can also get your name engraved on glass here. You will be “blown” away watching these artisans do their magic!
25. Go on a Mickey Quest
Disney Springs has hidden Mickeys in abundance for kids to hunt down! Although there are no rewards for this, it is still a great pastime activity.
26. A Brew-tiful Stop
Scout to Starbucks Coffeehouse in the Westside area to spot striking moss art which can be seen through the roof. They also have dramatic interiors with a fireplace and a touch sensitive video wall to experience.
27. Claim Your Free Necklace at Diamonds International
All you need is your code in the Disney Springs Map for your kid to get a hold of their very own free necklace. No purchase necessary!
Here are some almost-free things to do at Disney Springs:
- What makes a ride more thrilling? An affordable, child-friendly Train Express ride that’s located in the Marketplace! The prices are as low as $3 per ride and $5 for two.
- Enjoy budget friendly shopping at Uniqlo. You will find cheap Disney merchandise which includes shirts for as low as $6.
- If your budget is limited and you want to grab lunch, drop by Earl of Sandwich and sign up for their Earl of Sandwich Loyalty Club. Your lunch will be discounted.
- Go Horsin’ Around- This is a unique and colourful carousel at the Marketplace featuring 16 handicraft horses. Rides are available for all ages from 1 PM to 10 PM for a minimal fee of $3.
- It’s Cupcake O’clock- Halt for a cupcake break at the Sprinkles Bakery for moist and creamy options. Be it red velvet or salted caramel, they have cupcakes for as cheap as $4.95. Their ATM machine dispenses cupcakes like magic. For offers join Sprinkles perks program and download their app.
Well that concludes my list of free things to do at Disney Springs! Did you find something new to do on your next visit? Let me know your recommendations.
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