How to spend a (mostly) free day at the Walt Disney World Resort

Disney World is ridiculously expensive. We all know this. And there are a lot of different guides out there that supposedly tell you how to get “free” stuff at Disney, but most of them involve paying park admission, which definitely isn’t free. This itinerary aims to help you enjoy the “magic” of Disney World without having to “let it go” when it comes to your money.*

So here's your step-by-step guide to spending Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah at Disney. Everything contained within is satisfactual indeed! 

*(P.S. I can’t stand Frozen.)

2 pieces of bread (per person)
2 english muffins (per person)
swimming gear
extra clothes

  1. Start at Downtown Disney. It is truly awful down there right now with all the construction, but it's the easiest way to park for free. The area formerly known as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village will serve as a transportation hub of sorts for your day. 

  2. Travel by Disney Resort bus to the Coronado Springs Resort with your English muffins in tow. Here you will find Café Rix. Proceed to the counter to order two cups for ice water. Past the cash registers, there is an area with a toaster and a selection of honey and jellies. Toast your English muffins, gather your napkins and condiments and breakfast is served!

  3. While at Coronado Springs, visit the Dig Site. This is the first time your swimming attire will come in handy today. Now, Disney pools are strictly for resort guests only – so my advice to you comes from the great J.R. “Bob” Dobbs: “Act like a dumbshit and they’ll treat you like an equal.” In other words, look touristy and you’ll be fine. I like developing intricate backstories for myself. Give it a shot.

  4. Change into your dry clothes and take a bus from Coronado Springs to the Magic Kingdom. Monorail! Be sure to ask all of the Disney Transportation workers if they have any trading cards. You may just get a fun souvenir to commemorate how cheap you are! Also, the monorail will be the closest thing to a “ride” that you will get all day. Enjoy it. 

  5. Get off at the Contemporary Resort monorail stop and take the series of escalators to the second floor. It’s nap time! Across the way from the California Grill check-in desk is a lounge area that I guarantee you could snooze in for at least six hours before anyone even noticed. I totally want to squat there. It has all of the amenities of a luxury resort ... BECAUSE IT IS!!! (*actual level of luxury up for debate)

  6. After your nap, take another bus from the Magic Kingdom to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Get there by 4 p.m. and go directly to the Jiko check-in desk. Ask to participate in a culinary tour of Boma and Jiko, two of Disney’s African-inspired restaurants. It's actually a very informative tour, but it will also be your lunch today – you get to sample soup, bread, dips, and dessert. The tour guides, all from Africa, usually give out a card denoting the country they are from. Your worthless trading card collection is growing!!

  7. Time to hit the hot tub at Animal Kingdom. Remember ... be cool.

  8. You've been tromping around all day – change your clothes. There, that's better.

  9. Take a bus back to the Magic Kingdom. From there, head over to the Polynesian Village Resort. It's going to be hard not to spend money here on a Lapu Lapu – a rum drink that comes in a pineapple – but you’ve made it this far. Stay strong! On the beach, you can catch a view of the Electrical Water Pageant, with its crazy “switched-on” soundtrack. (As of this writing, the Polynesian is undergoing extensive refurbishment. You may want to walk over to the Ticket and Transportation Center to see the water pageant.)

  10.  What better way to end your day than with fireworks? At this point, you are either at the Polynesian or the TTC (also known as “the land of broken dreams”). At the Polynesian, the beach is your best bet; if you are at the TTC, go in between the ferry and the monorails for the best view.

  11. Back on the bus to Coronado Springs now. With any luck, the honey, jellies, and peanut butter are still at the table they were at this morning, and you can make a sandwich with the pieces of bread you have been carrying around all day before getting on the bus back to Downtown Disney and heading home. 

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