I had originally written this for my sister, but I thought it would be fun to share with all of you. Walt Disney World was always one of my favorite places to visit during the Holidays while I was younger, but as I get older I realize just how expensive visiting the parks can be. But, the nice thing about Disney is you can still experience some of that same holiday magic without dropping $100+ on park tickets (each).
Here are my suggestions on how to enjoy a free day at Disney without ever having to visit the park. 🙂
If you are not staying on Disney property or are a local I would suggest parking your car at Downtown Disney. Parking is free and you can hop on a bus from there anywhere you want to go.
[Tip avoid the Westside Marketplace parking lot at Downtown Disney. It’s crowded and the lots are usually full. I would suggest driving to the other end and parking near the AMC theater. There are always spots and the buses are right there.]
From Downtown Disney I would hop on a bus that takes you to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn where you will find a gingerbread version of Santa’s Workshop.
From there take the walking path to Disney’s Beach Club Resort and visit the resort’s signature gingerbread carousel.
Next door at Disney’s Yacht Club is the famous gingerbread train display.
Hop across the water via the connecting bridge to Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Resort. This year the Swan & Dolphin has introduced a scene with Santa Clause made completely of chocolate!
The Swan & Dolphin has decorating demonstrations and various other events offered for free during December. I would check out this post at the Disney Food Blog for details.
From the Swan & Dolphin I would either take the free ferry or walk the mile path to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios is the only one of the 4 Walt Disney World Parks to display their annual Christmas tree outside of the park entrance.
From Hollywood Studios you can hop on a bus that will take you to the Ticket and Transportation Center. From there take the resort monorail to the first (or second?) stop at the Grand Floridian.
My favorite: the Life Size Gingerbread House.
Purchase a chocolate covered shingle and thank me later.
The Grand Floridian offers FREE decorating demonstrations Monday – Saturday at 1:00pm until January.
There’s also the gorgeous tree in the hotel where you can snap a few holiday photos.
After enjoying the house I would hop back on the monorail and go two stop to The Contemporary and track down the Gingerbread Christmas Tree.
From there you can head over to the Wildnerness Lodge or the Animal Kingdom to check out their beautiful rustic Christmas Trees or head back to Downtown Disney and enjoy the nightly Holiday [free] activities.
More information on Downtown Disney’s Festival of the Seasons can be found here.
As you can see, there is a TON to see and do [for FREE] at Walt Disney World! If you are a local I highly suggest checking it out or if you have a free day while you are here during the Holidays this is a great way to save some money on your vacation.
I would suggest packing a lunch or dinner to cut down even more on $$, but if you are looking to dine at Walt Disney World I recommend making a reservation ahead of time. For ideas of where to dine at Disney during the Holidays check out this post. There’s also lots of great information at the Disney Food Blog and the Disney Parks Blog (I’m obsessed with both!)
And if you do feel like enjoying the park – take advantage of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
It’s enough Holiday magic to bring out the kid in anybody. 🙂