Disneyland is the Happiest Place On Earth. It’s also an expensive one. A trip to Disneyland might set you back a few hundred dollars, which may leave your wallet a little less happy. What if I told you there are plenty of things that are free at Disneyland? What if I told you about 17 of those things in particular? Got your attention? Read on to find out why free and Disneyland do indeed go hand in hand.

Free things to do at Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

Free at Disneyland? It’s true! Here are 17 free things you can do at the happiest place on earth. Photo: Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom

17 Things that are Free at Disneyland Resort

1. Phone Apps
2. Free Pokemon Go hunting
3. FastPasses and Rider Switch Passes
4. Holiday Freebies
5. Free Package Check Service
6. Autopia Driver’s License
7. Free cups of water at any quick service location
8. Maps, guides, and celebration buttons
9. Free Broadway-style show
10. Fireworks
11. Wi-Fi
12. Free Lunch
13. LEGO building at the LEGO store
14. Window Shopping
15. Live music and entertainment
16. The tram
17. And the number one thing that’s free at Disneyland?

Alright, I can hear it now.

What in the WORLD is she talking about, free at Disneyland? Girl, those tickets and hotels are expensive!

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.

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So you might as well get the most bang for your buck while you are there. Here’s a list of 17 free things you can take advantage of at Disneyland.

1. 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. Sigh!

2. 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!

3. FastPasses and Rider Switch Passes

Everyone knows FastPasses are free. And if you didn’t know it, well, you do now. FREE!

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.

There is another option that is NOT free, but you need to know about it as well because it’s amazing. There is a MaxPass FastPass option that plusses the experience- with a $10 per person per day fee.

I recently visited Disneyland and used the upgraded MaxPass system and became a believer: it’s worth the upcharge!

17 Things That Are Free at Disneyland Resort

Fastpasses and Rider Switch passes are FREE. Learn them, love them, use them. Photo: Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom

Do you have a baby or young child too small to ride something like Space Mountain? Then you just won the Disneyland lottery. Three words: Rider switch passes. While your party takes a trip, you’ll wait at the exit with the small child. When they get off, it’s your turn with the rider switch pass. 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!

4. Holiday Freebies

You can score bags of free candy at the annual Mickey’s Halloween party. And we’re talking good quality stuff here, folks. 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.

17 Things That Are Free at Disneyland Resort

Free party hats and horns can be yours on New Year’s Eve at Disneyland. Photo: Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom

5. Free Package Check Service

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 and at 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.

6. Autopia Driver’s License

You can grab a free driver’s license while in line at Autopia. They are paper and not customized, but they are a fun and free way to remember your trip.

17 Free Things at Disneyland

It’s free! No DMV visit necessary. Photo: Betsy Tsukamoto

7. Free cups of water at any quick service location

Don’t dehydrate! Ask for a free cup at any walk-up location. You can also get free chocolate squares at Ghiradelli and go across the way to Boudin Bakery to 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.

8. Maps, guides, and celebration buttons

All free. Grab them when you first walk in and over at City Hall. Simple souvenirs to take home with you.

9. Free Broadway-style show

Frozen at the Hyperion lives up to the hype. And it’s free.

Don’t let this one gooooo! You get out from the heat and superior entertainment to boot.

17 Things That Are Free at Disneyland Resort

Broadway caliber show for FREE.  Photo: Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom

Okay, so those things actually require a bit of money up front. I mean, they are all happening at the parks, which means you are paying for the park ticket.

What about totally free?

Oh, I’ve got you. Check this out.

10. Fireworks

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!

11. Wi-Fi

It’s free at Disneyland— ahem—  when you can connect.

You see, Disneyland has finally upgraded to Wi-Fi in the parks. Sorta.

If I sound wishy-washy about this free at Disneyland item it’s because it’s still not perfect, but I’m glad it finally exists.

Let me explain.

disneyland wifi hotspot guest services app Free wifi in the DIsneyland parks

There are free wi-fi hotspots around the park and you’ll see the connection come in and out depending on how close you are to the hotspots. Most of the hotspots are going to be found near major attractions to help with the MaxPass experience.

You can find the hotspots located on the map in the Disneyland App (look for the universal wi-fi symbol). In my experience, the wi-fi was stronger in Disney California Adventure than it was in Disneyland Park proper.

17 Things That Are Free at Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Hotel lobby is a perfect place to relax and use the free wi-fi. Teacup couches are the best! Photo: Patty Holliday, Candid TravelingMom

But you can pop in any of the onsite hotels (the Disneyland Hotel is my favorite) and “borrow” the free 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.

12. Free lunch

You can bring your own food. There is a great picnic area just outside of the Disneyland gates where you can set up and enjoy your meal. We’ve rented a nearby locker and stashed the cooler inside until we were hungry. You don’t have to re-enter security either since that has been moved to the far end of Downtown Disney, and it’s a great option when you are looking to save a little bit of money.

17 Free Things at Disneyland

Bring your lunch and eat just outside of the parks. Photo: Betsy Tsukamoto

Downtown Disney offers these additional freebies:

13. LEGO building at the LEGO store

Your kids will LOVE this hands-on experience and you’ll love a few moments of activity that doesn’t need your constant attention. Let them create while you chill out a bit!

14. 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.

15. Live music and entertainment

There’s often musicians or entertainment set up in Downtown Disney, especially in the evenings. You can catch a great show for free since this area does not have a cover charge!

Televised live sporting events are also free at Disneyland at the ESPN Zone. But catch this one soon- ESPN Zone will be going away by the start of summer 2018 to make way for a new Disneyland hotel.

17 Things That Are Free at Disneyland Resort

Don’t miss the game, just because you are at the happiest place on earth. You can watch for free outside of the ESPN Zone. Photo: Patty Holliday, TravelingMom

16. The tram

On slow days in the parks, this can be a nice option for entertainment that is also free at Disneyland. If there’s a line, I’d skip it to allow folks who need to get to the parking structure first dibs. Kids who are transportation nuts love this little excursion! The tram gives you a little rest, and sometimes you get to spy some seasonal decorations on the trip.

17. And the number one thing that’s free at Disneyland?

Exercise. 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. It’s mind-blowing! My biggest Disneyland day was 77,000 steps and 34 miles (13.1 were on the half marathon course). WOW.

There’s also a free runDisney-ish option at Disneyland that you might want to check out. It’s the Get Up and Go Power Walk that happens (early! just like runDisney!) every morning at the Grand Californian hotel.

There are free things over at Walt Disney World as well. Be sure to read up on those options if you are heading coast to coast this year! You’ll want to take advantage of all the free you can, ’cause this magic is expensive, my friends!

17 Free Things to Do at Disneyland!