What can I get for free at Disney World? 10 freebies for your next trip

·3 min read

Visiting Walt Disney World is expensive.

Single-day tickets start at $109, and multi-day vacations can run well into the thousands for families. A stay at the new Disney Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel will cost more than many mortgages when it opens next year. And let’s not even talk about souvenirs.

But there are a few freebies, which can add a little magic without spending extra money.

From educational activities that keep little ones entertained to thirst-quenching drinks that prove particularly helpful on hot days, here are 10 free things every Disney World visitor should know about before stepping into the parks.

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A Monorail ride offers a stunning nighttime view of EPCOT as Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary.
A Monorail ride offers a stunning nighttime view of EPCOT as Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1. Celebration buttons

These colorful pin-on buttons mark a variety of milestones, including first visits, birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, graduations and more. Cast members who see the pins often offer celebratory greetings. Some guests have even gotten special treats, like free desserts, but that's not guaranteed.

Each button features Disney characters and a place to fill in guests' names. The pins can be picked up in most shops as well as at Guest Services in City Hall at Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A.

2. Professionally taken photos

Disney Photo Pass photographers are stationed at prime spots across each park to help guests capture vacation memories. And that's not just for people with Memory Maker photo packages running anywhere from $69 to $199.

Any guest can ask one of these professional photographers to snap a photo on a personal camera or smartphone for free.

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3. Art classes

Guests can take a free drawing class from a Disney animator at Animal Kingdom. Each class at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station takes 25 minutes and centers on a specific Disney character.

Guests can learn to draw from a Disney animator at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Guests can learn to draw from a Disney animator at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

4. Wilderness Explorer badges

Kids can earn Wilderness Explorer badges just like Russell in the movie "Up." The stickers are earned by completing educational activities at various marked stations around Animal Kingdom. There are 25 self-paced, interactive challenges in all.

Kids can learn about wildlife while collecting Wilderness Explorer badges around Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Kids can learn about wildlife while collecting Wilderness Explorer badges around Disney's Animal Kingdom.

5. Activities around the World (Showcase)

Children can collect Kidcot cards at each country around EPCOT's World Showcase. The cards feature cultural facts about each real life destination.

During EPCOT's annual International Food and Wine Festival, there's a passport guests can check off as they snack around World Showcase.

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6. Stickers

Many cast members have stickers to give away to guests who ask.

7. Soda

Guests can sample sodas from all around the world at Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola at EPCOT. Warning: Beverly is no crowd pleaser, but worth trying once.

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8. Ice water

Guests can get free cups of ice and ice water anywhere fountain drinks are sold. That may not seem like much, but water bottles are not cheap and can quickly add up. Also, a cold, refreshing drink can be invaluable on a hot Florida day. Guests who prefer to use their own reusable water bottles may ask for those to be filled instead.

While bottled water is available across Walt Disney World, guests can also ask for cups of ice water for free.
While bottled water is available across Walt Disney World, guests can also ask for cups of ice water for free.

9. Wi-Fi

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available at all Walt Disney World theme parks, hotels and Disney Springs. AT&T is one of the park's official sponsors.

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10. Transportation

Rides on Disney World's Monorail, Skyliner and ferries are free, though theme park parking is not.

These scenic modes of transportation are popular for resort hopping and taking in the various offerings at each hotel property.

While overnight guests must pay to park, parking is free for visitors "enjoying select dining, shopping, entertainment and recreation experiences at Disney Resort hotels," according to Disney World's website. Proof of reservations may be required depending on the hotel and time of year.

Parking is also free at Disney Springs.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Disney World tips: 10 free things you should definitely know about

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