Beyond the Attractions: Disney World Activities That Don’t Bust Your Budget

Photo Credit: Stephh922 on Flickr

Try as we might to slow down, a weeklong Walt Disney World vacation is usually a whirlwind of activity for my family as we try to see and do all our favorite attractions. And, there are a lot of them.

This year we’ll be staying ten days instead of our usual seven. With a longer vacation come additional costs so selecting free or low-cost activities is a priority. These five Walt Disney World activities have received a coveted spot on my planning spreadsheet.

Magic Cookie Hour. My boys are aspiring chefs (I think it may having something to do with the taste testing) and they are the perfect age for the free, weekly Magic Cookie Hour at Roaring Forks in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Currently scheduled for Saturdays between 2 and 3 pm, budding pastry chefs decorate and sample their whimsical cookie creations. I double checked and children do not have to be staying at Wilderness Lodge to participate.

Movie Under the Stars. Mild Florida nights set the perfect stage for gazing at the stars – the stars of Disney films, of course! If the weather cooperates, most Walt Disney World resorts offer a free, nightly outdoor movie by the pool or on the resort beach. Check the resort Activity Sheet for more information and the schedule.

Surrey Bike Rentals. Every year, renting surrey bikes is on the list and every year we leave without crossing it off. I’m determined this is the trip we take the pencil to it. At $21 for a 30-minute rental, it’s not the cheapest activity in the World but I’m banking on the laughs it gives my family to make it a great return on our investment.

Dockside Fishing. There’s something about fishing that evokes thoughts of lazy summer days for me. The plan is to head over to Port Orleans Riverside and rent two fishing poles for the kids at $5 apiece (for 30 minutes). Armed with a bobber and some bait, the boys will have a blast trying to catch a fish “this BIG.” After fishing, we can catch the boat to Downtown Disney and do some exploring.

Behind the Seeds. Epcot’s Behind the Seeds tour is one of the most affordable and family friendly tours Disney offers. And, every review I’ve read has been positive. This backstage look at the greenhouses that are part of the Living with the Land attraction is $18 for adults and $14 for children. My only concern is that my three-year old son’s enthusiasm for pulling weeds will lead to an embarrassing situation.

With a little planning, guests at Walt Disney World can experience unique and memorable activities that don’t blow the vacation budget.

Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers and a columnist for WDW Fan Zone. When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.

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