You’ll want to read this one closely in order to make the most of your Disneyland vacation. Here are 20 Ways to Score Free Stuff at Disneyland. That’s right: there are free things at Disneyland Resort. Make sure you take advantage of them all.
FREE! FREE! FREE! As far as the eye can see- there are free things at Disneyland.
No, I’m not crazy, thank you very much, but I can hear it now.
What in the WORLD is she talking about, free at Disneyland? Girl, those tickets and Disneyland good neighbor hotels are expensive! Don’t even get me started on airfare- I’m not even sure where the closest Disneyland airport is?!
Yes, this is true. I won’t even argue that point.
However, I know you’re going. You know you’re going. Disney knows you’re going.
So you might as well get the most bang for your buck while you are there. Here’s a list of 20 free things you can take advantage of at Disneyland.
20 Ways to Score Free Stuff at Disneyland
You Can runDisney for Free (-ish)
Okay, so it’s walk-Disney, but it’s still free if you are staying at the Disneyland Resort Hotels. Check out the Get Up & Go Power Walk program that happens every morning at 6 am at the Grand Californian.
While it can’t replace our beloved runDisney events that are on hiatus at Disneyland right now, at least it gets you into the parks for a small taste of it!
Free Disneyland Phone Apps
Download the official Disneyland app to keep an accurate eye on wait times, show times, and character meet and greets.
Confession: sometimes I open it up when I’m home just to see what I’m missing.
Yes, I do like to torture myself like that!
Free Stuff at Disneyland Birthday Celebration Desserts
Is it your birthday? A Disney birthday is the best birthday EVER!
Table service locations will gift your birthday girl or boy with a special dessert if you let them know you are enjoying a birthday celebration at Disneyland.
Free Pokemon Go Hunting
Let’s be honest: you heard the castle is a gym, and you want to check it out. You won’t be alone!
Free Disneyland FastPasses and Rider Switch Passes
Everyone knows FastPasses are free. And if you didn’t know it, well, you do now. FREE!
*Important note: there is a “pay to play” version of the Disneyland FastPass called MaxPass. It costs $10 per person and allows you to schedule your FastPass options from anywhere inside the park- no need to visit a physical kiosk! It’s amazing and saves loads of time (but, you know, not free… so let’s move along right now!).
FastPasses are like paper reservations holding your place in line.
First, you pull a FastPass; then you can watch a parade or eat a meal, and return to the line at your appointed time.
Do you have a baby or young child too small to ride something like Space Mountain?
Then you just won the Disneyland lottery.
Five of the most magical words: free Disneyland Rider switch passes.
You get these by approaching a cast member at the entrance to the ride, small child in tow. They had you a rider switch pass and the rest of your party joins the line.
While your party takes a ride, you’ll wait at the exit with the small child.
When they get off, it’s your turn with the rider switch pass. It acts like a FastPass in most cases.
The bonus rides come in for others in your party: you are allowed to take up to 2 additional people with you.
Your sweet babe just scored someone a wait-free extra ride!
Free Stuff at Disneyland: Holiday Freebies
You can score bags of free candy at Disneyland’s annual Mickey’s Halloween party.
And we’re talking good quality stuff here, folks. I call the Reeces Peanut Butter Cups!
While entry to this event is a stand-alone ticket, you can probably clean up on candy for the year and recoup some of that cost.
If you are visiting over New Year’s Eve, you can also scoop up free hats and horns for the midnight celebration.
Free Package Check Service at Disneyland
I love this one. Say you get ahead of yourself and buy yourself something pretty early in the day. And maybe one (or two) of those huge stuffed animals that you’ll never be able to fit into your suitcase anyway.
You don’t have to haul these around all day and hope you don’t lose them.
Take them over to the Disneyland Resort Stroller Shop, The Star Trader, Port Royal, or Pioneer Mercantile in Disneyland or to Elias & Company in Disney California Adventure.
They will hold your packages for you. For Free. You must have the receipt for items you purchased, and they won’t store limited editions.
Free Stuff at Disneyland: Autopia Drivers License
As you exit the ride, hop into a booth and skip the DMV lines.
You score a sweet souvenir that’s FREE.
Free cups of water at any Disneyland quick service location
You can also score free chocolate squares at Ghiradelli and go across the way to Boudin Bakery get some free sourdough bread.
Uh, I think that might be 2 of my three main food groups right there.
Unfortunately, no free wine tastings that I know of at DCA. Though hitting up the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival food booths are totally worth the small price!
Free Stuff at Disneyland: Maps, guides, and celebration buttons
Grab them when you first walk in and over at City Hall.
Wear your free Disneyland birthday celebration buttons proudly around the park and let those FREE congrats/happy birthday/happy anniversary wishes pour in!
And it might score you that free Disneyland birthday dessert I mentioned above.
Free Stuff at Disneyland: Broadway-style Show
Frozen at the Hyperion lives up to the hype.
And it’s free.
Enjoy the show and let it go, let it gooooo!
Okay, so those things actually require a bit of money upfront. I mean, they are all happening at the Disneyland parks or resorts, which means you are paying for the park ticket.
What about totally free things at Disneyland?
Oh, I’ve got you. Check this out.
Watch the Disneyland Fireworks For Free
You’ll see a ton of people seated in the Esplanade, the area between the two parks.
They know the drill: it’s a great location to pop a squat and watch the Disneyland fireworks for free.
It’s a decent view, too! And you can hear a bit of the show which you may not hear from other locations.
Free Stuff at Disneyland: WiFi
Okay, so this is a big ol’ cheat.
Disneyland has free WiFi in the parks, FINALLY. Sorta. Kinda. Ha.
You can find the Disneyland WiFi hotspot locations on the app under Guest Services.
But it’s not super reliable or the best, to be honest.
It’s tied to hotspots (mostly around the MaxPass attractions) and I hear that it’s better in Disneyland proper than in Disney California Adventure.
Bottom line: Disneyland’s WiFI is not up to par with Walt Disney World’s yet.
But I have an alternate option for your Disneyland WiFi needs:
Make a quick pop in any of the onsite hotels (the Disneyland Hotel is my favorite) and “borrow” the free Disneyland wifi in the lobby.
This is one of the reasons I’ll book dining at a resort hotel. I gotta feed my internet addiction as well as my belly!
While you’re there, enjoy the free AC. You’re welcome.
Free lunch at Disneyland
You can bring your own food. There is a great picnic area just to the left of the Disneyland gates where you can set up and enjoy your meal.
We’ve rented a locker nearby also located just outside the gates and stashed the cooler inside until we were hungry.
You don’t have to re-enter security, so it’s a great option when you are looking to save a little bit of money.
Free Stuff at Downtown Disney
LEGO building at the LEGO store.
Live music and entertainment. Including televised live sporting events at the ESPN Zone.
This is subject to change shortly as this area will be undergoing construction (likely starting later in 2018 for a new luxury hotel).
Window Shopping. This is the place where dreams are only a Visa swipe away! But leave that Visa in the wallet and just enjoy playing the “someday” game.
The tram. Ride that baby back and forth from Mickey’s Parking Structure. Kids who are transportation nuts love this little excursion! I’ve also used this short-cut when staying at hotels on Walnut Street. The tram gives you a little rest, and sometimes you get to spy some seasonal decorations on the trip.
And the number one thing that’s free at Disneyland
I mean, have you seen the miles you can put on your legs? Strap on your Fitbit and see how many miles you can complete in one day.
My biggest Disneyland day was 77,000 steps and 34 miles (13.1 were on the half marathon course). WOW.
More Disneyland Tips from No-Guilt Life
Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguilttravel.com and noguiltfangirl.com