How To See A Bit Of Disney – Without Spending A Dime

Walt Disney World – the place every dream can come true… Well, every dream except the one that involves saving your hard earned money! Ha!

I’ve spent most of my life living in Florida. Within a few of hours, I can drive to the “Happiest Place On Earth,” but truthfully, I’ve only been inside the theme parks a handful of times. (I know, I know! Crazy!)

To be honest with you, I am not a Disney fanatic. I certainly DO like it! But I don’t live, eat and breathe their magic. It’s also REALLY expensive to visit the parks on a regular basis. Not to mention that the parks are HOT and crowded. (This Florida girl likes her AC!)

Welcome to Florida!

While visiting, you can anticipate dripping from either rain or sweat…

Every. Single. Day.

Enjoy your stay!

Nevertheless, sometimes Disney just has to happen! (Even more so since I have kids! I mean, it’s not actually a necessity… My daughter is 2 years and my son is 7 months old. I suppose they don’t REALLY need to visit Disney NOW. But I digress…)

Recently, I was visiting Orlando with a friend, and we wanted to find something fun to do. But we also had a serious list of requirements:

We didn’t want to sweat.

We didn’t want to get sunburned.

We didn’t want to spend money.

It had to be kid friendly.

Umm, have you ever been to Florida in July? (If you haven’t, I would NOT recommend it!)  Basically all of the above statements are impossible to achieve in the summertime here. Especially the first two!

But then I had a crazy brilliant  idea! We could travel by monorail to explore a few of the Disney hotels! (I mean, Disney always does an incredible job of spreading their magic far and wide! Why not “experience” the hotels?!)

What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

To begin our adventure we found ourselves at the Magic Kingdom Parking Lot. There was a very good chance that the hotels had their own designated parking lot; however, like a stereotypical young person, I blindly followed my GPS to that lot.

When we pulled up to pay for our parking ($20 per car! Yikes!) we mentioned that we wanted to take the resort monorail to visit the different hotels. I don’t know if this is normal or not, but the girl in the booth smiled, nodded,  and waved us through without making us pay to park our car! Yes!!! (Disney scored major bonus points for having really amazing employees!)

Pro tips:

  • Always take note of where you park at Disney. You will NOT find your car again if you do not keep track of which lot you are in. (I like to snap a photo with my phone since my memory doesn’t always serve me!)
  • Strollers are awesome for the kids. They are also a serious pain to breakdown for the tram ride. Just bear in mind that you will have to fold it up and haul your kid(s), stroller, and any other stuff up and into the tram. And back down again. (Honestly, it is helpful if the adults in your party outnumber the kids…)

What to do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

After managing to get ourselves AND our stuff AND our stroller into the tram, we arrived at the monorail station. (Side note, kudos to each and every person who has ever stopped to help moms struggling with, well… anything.) I really appreciated the kind gentleman who helped me manhandle unload my stroller.

After going through a bag check station (Yes, the security officers are actually very thorough at Disney – but they are also armed with smiles and stickers!) we snapped a few photos and then boarded the resort monorail. (No need to fold the stroller for this ride!) The resort monorail track travels to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Contemporary Resort, along with stopping at the Magic Kingdom.

What to do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

Our first stop was the Polynesian Resort – my personal favorite of the day! It was beautiful and had recently received fresh attention because of Disney’s newest island princess. Little B had a blast exploring and was regularly greeted by the staff members with a friendly “Aloha!” (After which she would stare at them in a quizzical sort of a way…) We made it totally normal to chill in the lobby (as people who OBVIOUSLY did not belong there!) But that’s one of the greatest things about Disney – we felt at home in the hotel even though we weren’t staying overnight!

What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

As we exited each hotel, we had our bags checked and we walked through metal detectors again (the adults – not the kiddos…) before hopping back onto the monorail. While the monorail traveled between the hotels, we spent the time trying to get a bird’s eye view of Disney property! I remember seeing Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, and other fun sights as we circled the Seven Seas Lagoon. (This is the born-and-raised-Floridian Disney tour, guys… Ha! My poor kids!)

What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

The next stop on the loop was Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This was by far the most luxurious hotel that we visited that day. The inside was lovely with so many ornate details, and yet, despite all of the refinement and style, it was still extremely kid-friendly! There were special little seating areas in the lobby for children and small old-fashioned TVs that played clips from several Disney classics. (Not to mention a really neat elevator! I get excited about the random, unique things!)

What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!What do you do with a few hours in Orlando? Explore parts of Disney, of course! Here's my how-to, without spending any money!

The last hotel on the route was the Contemporary Resort. The monorail actually travels inside of this building – which is pretty nifty. Here, we did what any person ought to do at Disney – explore the gift shops! Little B had fun playing with some of the stuffed characters and light-up wands. Thankfully (for me!) I was spared from buying an overpriced golden retriever named Dug by way of distraction, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be that lucky!

By the end of our Disney resort tour, we were tired but happy (and just a bit hungry.) We managed to reboard the tram and find our car. (It was about 150° inside from sitting in the sun all day, but it was nothing that blasting the AC couldn’t fix!)

All in all – we had a blast! This little adventure cost us nothing, was indoors the vast majority of the time, and was completely kid-friendly! It was a win in my book! (Please note, that I’m also easily entertained! Ha!) But most importantly, my kids had fun too! If we do this “Disney tour” in the future, I would also love to explore the pools at the different resorts and perhaps buy a small treat to eat! Have you ever done something crazy like this? I’d love to hear about it!

PS – Shout out to my mom and aunt for the inspiration for this adventure! They took my cousins, my brother, and I on the same “tour” years and years ago. It’s so fun to relive my own childhood with my kids now! ♥

Grace and peace!

– Alex ✌️

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This blog is dedicated to things I love, motherhood and family life, and Jesus. Welcome to Heart, Home and Hope!

 

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