If you are looking for something free to do in Orlando, it is hard to beat a day or an evening spent at Disney Springs. If you want to give you and your family a taste of Disney without dropping a grand on park tickets, this is just the place. But are there really any fun things to do for free? Let’s find out.
About Disney Springs
Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney is a massive themed retail, dining and entertainment venue. Unlike Universal CityWalk, entry and parking to the venue are always free. Located at 1486 Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, the venue features four distinct neighborhoods. You have The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and the Town Center.
The Landing occupies the area formerly known as Pleasure Island. It is home to a number of great restaurants, shopping and has beautiful water views.
One of the most unique attractions of the Landing is the ability to take a tour of Disney Springs from the water in a vintage Amphicar. Unique for sure, but for $125 a ride, it is hardly a free activity. Still, the presence of the cars adds a unique touch to The Landing and they are almost as fun to watch as they are to ride in. Be sure to catch a view.
Another must see attraction in The Landing is the live outdoor stage at Raglan Road. Raglan Road is a pub that is more for adults, but the outdoor stage will be enjoyed by kids of all ages. They have nightly Irish dancing performances from 6 PM to 10 PM.
If your family enjoys Raglan Road, they will also appreciate the live performances over at the Riverboat Square. You can enjoy anything from an acoustic guitar performance to a magic show courtesy of The Mystery of Meraux. Performances are held during the week between 7 PM and 10 PM in front of Paddlefish.
With a name like the Marketplace, you would think that you should avoid this part of Disney Springs if you are trying to find free things to do. Fortunately, this is not true.
The AdventHealth Waterside Stage is located across the street from the World of Disney Shop and is well worth your time. The open air stage hosts dance groups and regional and local musical acts. Seating is first come first served, so keep that in mind on busy nights.
Another attraction is the Marketplace Carousel. Although not free, your kids will be able to take a ride for just $3 a piece. The carousel is an old fashioned piece of work with 16 hand crafted horses and it is open from 10 AM until 10:30 PM
If the carousel is not your kids thing or if they just need a little more action, there is also the Marketplace Train Express. Tickets are once again just $3 and riders are treated to a 3 to 4 minute ride around the track.
In West Side, you can treat yourself to some street food from the food trucks at Exposition park. You are not going to find free food here, but you really can not expect that anywhere, even outside of Disney. Prices will be much more reasonable than what you would find at the sit down restaurants however.
West Side is where you will find entertainment options like Splitsville Luxury Lanes, The AMC Movie Theatre and paid balloon rides at Aerophile. None of these activities are free, but the balloon rides are fun to watch.
If you want free entertainment in West Side, you will need to turn to Sunshine Highline, another great outdoor venue. It is a great place to unwind while listening to performers playing both exotic and classic instruments.
Not as much to do in Town Center for free, but the Coca Cola building is definitely worth a visit. Check out the views from the rooftop patio and on the way down, score a photo opp with the Coca Cola polar bear. Hours of availability vary, so call (407) 560-0107 to check when the bear will be available.
Free Entertainment At Disney Springs
As you can see, there is obviously a lot to do at Disney Springs that is either free or cheap. Yes, you could succumb to commercialism and blow a few hundred dollars at the stores, but it is certainly not necessary in order to have a good time.
Night Or Day At Disney Springs
One thing that I would certainly suggest is that you spend the night at Disney Springs rather than make a day trip. There is a completely different vibe at Disney Springs during the night.
In the daytime, there is less to do and you will likely find yourself window shopping more of the time. That could very well lead to spending a significant amount of money because when kids see something, they usually want to buy it.
If you go to Disney Springs in the evening, you can grab a cheap bite to eat before you arrive and then enjoy the entertainment that will be all around you. If you want a nearly completely free activity in Orlando, night time at Disney Springs is the best choice.