Toss aside the notion that Walt Disney World is just for kids. The Orlando resort is a popular vacation destination for adult singles and couples alike; it’s even become a hotspot for weddings and honeymoons. But even without kids, the price of accommodation, park tickets, and dining adds up fast in the House of Mouse. Fortunately, Walt Disney World actually offers plenty of activities that are free or reasonably inexpensive, and fully geared toward adults. Here are just a few…
1. Downtown Disney
For those in search of a Disney quick fix, Downtown Disney gets the job done. There are no admission fee to enter the area, and self-parking is complimentary. It’s full of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues like the House of Blues — and there will be more of these once Downtown Disney’s massive expansion project is completed in 2016. You’ll also find an AMC movie theater, Splitsville bowling alley, and a Cirque du Soleil show. If you’re not in the mood to do any spending, you can always pull up a chair and watch the ferries from nearby hotels sail into the marina. Don’t forget to stop by during the holiday season, when Downtown Disney is decked out for the season.
2. Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
You don’t have to pay park admission to enjoy this classic Disney experience. Anyone can head to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort to sing along (or just snap photos) around the campfire with Chip and Dale. Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long, held on select nights, is entirely free. If you’d like to maximize your campfire experience, you can purchase a s’mores kit for less than $10 at the Chuckwagon Snack Bar.
3. Disney’s BoardWalk
Disney’s BoardWalk is a quarter-mile stretch located near Epcot and is inspired by the boardwalks of Coney Island and Atlantic City. You won’t have to pay to take a stroll and enjoy free entertainment, like street performers, in the evening. You can even catch a view of Epcot’s nighttime fireworks from the promenade. Those looking for something slightly more energetic can try the BoardWalk’s bars, Jellyrolls and the Atlantic Dance Hall. Jellyrolls, a “dueling piano” bar, has a cover charge of about $12 while Atlantic Dance Hall, which plays music from the 80s and 90s, does not charge admission.
4. Character Meet-and-Greets
You can’t take a trip to Walt Disney World without meeting some of the characters from your favorite Disney films and TV shows. While you can meet characters at certain restaurants, these tend to be pricier than at other restaurants in the parks. An alternative? Pick up a Times Guide and map upon arrival at the theme parks; the guides will let you know when and where your favorite characters will be out and about. Photo opportunities won’t cost you a dime and Disney Cast Members can even use your camera to capture that special moment between you and Mickey.
5. Electrical Water Pageant
You’ve heard of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Electrical Parade and SpectroMagic, but did you know Disney hosts a similar parade on the water? Each night starting at 9 p.m. you can watch floats light up the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake as they pass Disney’s Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and Contemporary resorts. The great part about this parade is that you don’t have to pay for admission and crowds are significantly smaller than those in the park.
6. Mini Golf
For a leisurely break from the parks, head over to Walt Disney World’s two mini golf courses, Fantasia Gardens and Fairway, and Winter Summerland. Expect Disney’s signature whimsy throughout the courses but be prepared for some obstacles like sand traps and water hazards that make the courses grown-up-appropriate. Winter Summerland is home to two separate courses: the Winter Course and the Summer Course. Prices for adults at both facilities are $14 each.
7. Bike and Boat Rentals
Guests can explore by renting bikes or boats at select hotels. Guests must stay within the resort area where the bikes have been rented and rentals come with complimentary helmets. Prices are $18 per day. Several hotels offer rentals of motorized boats that hold between two and 10 passengers. Prices for a Sea Raycer, which fits two people, start at $34 for a half hour and $48 for an hour. Canoes and kayaks are also available, with prices starting at $11.
8. Yehaa Bob Jackson at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
On select nights, you can catch veteran Disney performer Yehaa Bob Jackson perform at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Vaudeville-style comedy and a nifty piano routine is guaranteed, and there’s even a bit of audience participation. The best part? It’s free.
9. Wonders of the Wilderness Tour
Stop by Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort for a free tour called the Wonders of the Wilderness Tour. The one-hour experience is open to everyone and is typically offered at 9 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, but make sure to call the hotel or visit the front desk in advance to confirm the time. Your guide will take you around the hotel to describe the lodge’s architecture and history – a fun diversion for those interested in the thinking behind some of Disney’s famous “Imagineering.”
10. Club Cool
Quench your thirst at this attraction located in Epcot’s Innoventions West Pavilion. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, it offers unlimited free samples of the soft drink company’s beverages and certainly comes in handy on Florida’s hot and humid days.