Disneyland Resort may have just announced another round of ticket and annual pass price increases, but there’s still plenty of free things around the parks and Downtown Disney. In this post we’ll go over all the free stuff at Disneyland Resort.
- Water. The water bottles sold throughout the parks cost $4 each each (depending on location). If you want to hydrate for free, simply walk up to any counter service restaurant and ask for a cup of ice water. By default they will give you the smallest cup, but you may ask for a larger size and the cast member may or may not oblige.
- Ice. Ice machines are available on most floors at all the Disney-owned hotels.
- Meals for infants and toddlers. Children under the age of three will not be charged for food at Disney’s buffet restaurants (Goofy’s Kitchen, Storytellers Cafe, and PCH Grill) when dining with their families.
- Some sort of birthday dessert. Tell your server at any table service restaurant, and there’s a decent chance that she’ll gift you with a complimentary dessert. No guarantees, but worth a shot. Example, in the past Blue Bayou has given people free cups of chocolate mousse. Remember, don’t be a jackass and lie about it being your birthday!
- Free bread. The Bakery Tour in Disney California Adventure gives all guests a free slice of bread as they enter the attraction.
- Smokejumpers Grill toppings bar. Sure, this isnt completely free since you paid for some food. But you can load up with as many toppings as you want and no one will stop you. You can even make yourself a decent little side salad with your meal.
- Celebration buttons. If you’re celebrating, be it a birthday, anniversary, first visit, family reunion, or anything else really, stop by Guest Relations in Disneyland or DCA, and they’ll give you a free “Happy Birthday” or “I’m Celebrating” button with which to publicly proclaim your celebratory status. There’s also “1st Visit” and “Happily Ever After” buttons available. All of these buttons can usually be found in a cart in front of Disneyland’s City Hall.
- Guest Survey stickers. Guest survey cast members will randomly approach guests as they are leaving the parks. If you or someone in your party completes a survey, they will be handed a sticker of Mickey Mouse.
- Maps. Park maps are one of my favorite souvenirs, and I have collected hundreds of them over the years. Save them for your scrapbook. Frame them for playroom decor. Use them for small-item gift wrap. Turn foreign-language maps into a great teaching tool for your child’s school language lessons.
- Fireworks. If you want to see Disneyland’s fireworks without entering the park just head over Downtown Disney near the front of Splitsville. Another great spot for fireworks is the esplanade in the middle of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. These aren’t the best spots to view fireworks, but you can still see them. Don’t feel like walking? A great spot for fireworks is on top level of the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure.
- Play time. The Lego Store in Downtown Disney has bins of Lego bricks near the front of the store for guests to build and play. There are even ramps where everyone can race their creations.
- Park admission for preschoolers. The best reason ever to bring your two-year-old on vacation: kids under the age of three are allowed in the theme parks at no charge.
- Photography. The PhotoPass photographers in the parks will take pictures with their cameras at no charge, but it will cost you big to actually buy the photos. Bypass this charge by asking the PhotoPass photographers to use your camera to take your picture. They’re happy to do it, and most of them are pretty good at composing a shot; they do it all day long.
- Wi-Fi. Disneyland and DCA doesn’t have park-wide Wi-Fi, but most major areas of the parks do. For example Disneyland’s central hub is a Wi-Fi zone. Other Wi-Fi hotspots are noted on the park map or Disneyland mobile app. Disneyland Resort hotels also offer free in-room and public space wireless Internet service.
- Luggage storage for Disneyland Resort hotel guests. Check-out is at 11:00 a.m., but your flight’s not til 7:00 p.m.? No problem. Just drop your bags at the hotel Bell Services desk. They’ll hold your luggage in a secure location until your departure at no charge.
- Over the counter medication. Each of the theme parks has a first aid station staffed with nurses ready to assist with minor theme park ailments such as blisters, sunburn, and motion sickness. They’ll also provide you, free of charge, with a few doses of many over-the-counter medications, including antihistamines, antacids, and acetaminophen, as well as bandages in several sizes.
- DVD “rentals.” This one’s for Disney Vacation Club members. Don’t forget that you have access to a large library of DVDs at your resort when staying on points. You can borrow them for free.
- FASTPASSes. FASTPASS tickets are free and available to any guest in the parks. They allow you to skip sweating in line and instead visit an attraction at a specified time to ride with a minimal wait. Of course, a well crafted touring plan may obviate the need to use FASTPASS, but that’s another story.
- Storage of medical devices. The first aid stations at the parks will be happy to store bulky devices such as nebulizers while you’re touring in the parks. This keeps them safer than the potentially overheated park lockers.