Just off work and settled on the sofa one Friday night watching TV, my 19-year-old son zips by, keys in hand, and proclaims he’s heading out with friends. Maternally, of course, I ask, “Where ya headed? Catching me off guard, he says “Disney.” Even though I know better, I question, “To the parks???” “Nooooo,” he laughs, “To the Disney Boardwalk!”
It made me think about how lucky we are to live in Orlando, and that he and his friends have these amazing places like Disney Boardwalk and Downtown Disney to go to and have fun at Disney attractions with or without money to spend. It also made me think about all the free Disney activities Orlando travelers can do to experience magic of Walt Disney World Resort® without having to park pay admission prices or fees that help maximize anyone’s visit and travel budget to Orlando.
It’s a epic journey to Orlando, and Best Vacations Ever can connect all the dots to make your dream Orlando vacation on a budget come true with travel-enhancing incentives – even possibly an Alamo rental car for a week. Along with a low-cost Best Vacations Ever (BVE) promotional vacation package with complimentary accommodations brought to you by Preferred Guest Resorts (PGR), you can stretch your travel dollars so much further than retail, especially wen it comes to the expensive big-name them parks. Here are a few free things you and your family can enjoy at Walt Disney World Resort.
- Disney’s BoardWalk: Always thriving and engaged with intrigued
guests, the beautifully themed Disney BoardWalk was exquisitely built and nestled along the edge of a lake and reminiscent of real-life experiences in Cape May or Coney Island in the 1930s. Decorations during the winter holidays are absolutely exquisite and a sight to behold all in itself. In grand Disney glory, with no expense spared, it’s a charming and timeless quarter-mile promenade of exquisite dining, midway games, unique shops/shopping and exciting nightlife. It is ideal for family fun or romantic couple’s stroll, and an exciting place to walk around the old-fashioned atmosphere. The kids will love checking out their reflections in the funhouse mirrors and playing some of the most state-of-the-art arcade games. In the evenings, there are spectacular street performers, such as jugglers, comedians, fire-eaters, dueling pianos and jazz ensembles. A family can even cruise down the boardwalk on a Surrey bike ride built for four. It’s a night full of fun and excitement that everyone will enjoy, from locals to traveling tourists, such as special guests on a customized Best Vacations Ever trip to Orlando. The BoardWalk also is a short walk to Disney’s Epcot® theme park, where the must-see International Flower and Garden Festival is held annually each spring and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival every fall, drawing out local and travelers. NOTE: Maximize your travel budget during these peak seasons with a BVE promotional vacation package with complimentary accommodations by calling The PGR Travel Center at 800-256-2780.
- Downtown Disney : This mesmerizing shopping, activity and dining restaurant zone is perfect for a family or couple’s night out. It was originally the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village in the early 70’s before it became the majestic and exciting area of Walt Disney World Resort. Enjoy waterfront dining, and check out the interactive fountains where children and even a few adults enjoy splashing around and getting wet. Let your and your kids’ imagination run wild at The LEGO Imagination Center, which has a free 3,000-square-foot outdoor play area filled with thousands of LEGO blocks, plus huge LEGO sculptures for you to admire. There are also free magic demonstrations at the Magic Masters shop. You can also ship for fashionable items and Disney collectibles at a variety of some 40 stores. Catch your breath with daring acrobatic displays, play fantastic virtual games, bowl at a 23-lane alley, and sit, sip and socialize among the live music at sunset. You can also check out and dine on fabulous food by famous gourmet chef for the stars, Woolfgang Puck, at the Wolfgang Puck Café and its sister eatery Wolfgang Puck Express for casual food to go. Afterwards, you can also graze The World of Disney Store for more collectibles and souvenirs. Plus, at Downtown Disney’s West Side, you can just view or enjoy a juicy burger great meal at Planet Hollywood where Hollywood museum meets restaurant and nightclub. Visit Orlando at the right time, which BVE representatives at 800-656-2780 can book (even during peak seasons), and you’ll also catch some of Disney’s most phenomenal special events like Festival of the Seasons and the legendary Festival of the Masters for golf aficionados.
- Disney Value Resorts: Walt Disney World Orlando’s collection of Value Resorts are attractions worth viewing just as if you were hotel hopping the Strip in Las Vegas. There are MANY fun photo opportunities when visiting one of Disney’s Value Resorts: All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, All-Star Music or Pop Century. Each of these hotels features enormous models of pop culture icons, like a 35-foot Buzz Lightyear at All-Star Movies, or Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head at Pop Century. Just tell the gate attendants at each resort that you’d like to visit the resort, and you’ll get a complimentary three-hour parking permit.
Electrical Water Pageant: The magical, glowing and floating Disney parade is visible every night, usually starting at 9 pm, from Disney’s Magic Kingdom-area resort hotel docks and beaches. The parade of electrical floats usually takes about an hour to move slowly around the lake, stopping at each resort in the following order: Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness and Contemporary. Again, tell the attendants you are their just to visit the resort.
- Disney Fireworks: Since the nightly fireworks are-sky-high and
magically spectacular, you and your family can also get a wonderful, and free, view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach areas at Disney’s Grand Floridian and Polynesian resorts. Pack a picnic and a blanket and you’ll have a full, clear view of the entire show brilliantly cascading over Cinderella’s Castle. Parking at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is free if you let the attendant know you’d like to explore the resort.
- Campfire with Chip ’n’ Dale: This event in the great outdoors is the perfect place to unwind and let the kids have a blast with some of their favorite characters. Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the evening event includes a sing-a-long around the campfire. You can also purchase marshmallow roasting kits to make smores or bring your own, plus a picnic for everyone. After the fun and fiery event, there is an under-the-stars screening of a popular, age-appropriate Disney film where everyone can kick relax. The campfire usually begins around 7:30 pm, when Chip ’n’ Dale stop by. NOTE: This is one of the only places within Walt Disney World Resort to hang out with characters for free. Make sure you check the website for reservation information for the event.
- Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: This magnificent hotel often costs too much to stay at when traveling on a budget. But you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy its safari benefits, given it’s a haven for African savanna animals. Head straight through the hotel lobby and head outside to the Arusha Savanna, where cultural guides will answer all of your questions about the giraffe, zebra, ankole cattle, kudu and other incredible animals you’ll get see – yes, without any fees. Make sure to bring binoculars if you have them, and of course, your cameras. Come and experience the savanna right here in Orlando. There are plenty of seated and covered viewing areas throughout the hotel. Tip: Visit early morning or at dusk, when the animals are most active ad out in the open.
Orlando is no less impressive than what your whole family’s imagination can conjure up, and the magic here is created with much more than a wave of a wand. Visit bestvacationsever.com for more information, BVE/PGR Videos, Testimonials, FAQs and destination and accommodation information. Then call 800-656-2780 for your family’s Best Vacations Ever trip to Orlando with the serious money savings of complimentary accommodations right in the heart of the theme, park action, so you can have even more fun in the Florida sun. For more money savings tips see the prior Blog Entry: Cheap Tricks Part 2: Top Travel Budget Savings Tips.
Do you have any other free Walt Disney World Resort activities to share with others?