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3 Ways to Experience Disney World Without Breaking the Bank

We all know Disney is pricey. But there is a great way to experience the magic, the food and even the fireworks of Disney World without spending your hard-earned cash on a park ticket: resort hopping!

Whether you're looking for a fun day out with friends, a setting for a romantic date or even a unique spot to study, the twenty-five immersive Disney World resorts are the perfect places to explore hidden gems without breaking the bank.

While Disney encourages resort hopping, the swimming pools are reserved for resort guests only. But no worries—there are plenty of ways to enjoy your resort hopping day! Here are some highlights of Disney's less explored playgrounds.

1. Disney Theming... For Free!

What sets the Disney Parks apart from any other place is their detailed theming that transports you to another world. This is carried on throughout the resorts. At Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can see giraffes and zebras right outside the lobby. At the Grand Floridian, the famous jazz band plays your favorite Disney songs as you relax under the elaborate crystal chandeliers.  Whether “value,” “moderate” or “deluxe,” each resort has its own unique theme, offering new places to explore and—of course—new places to snap a few shots for Instagram!

2. Getting Around for $0

Disney offers great ways to get from place to place. While Animal Kingdom Lodge is only accessible by car, Disney buses can transport you to and from other resorts. The Contemporary, Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian are all connected via Disney’s famous monorail, making it incredibly easy to travel between them. For the perfect place to spend an evening, the five resorts along the Boardwalk are walking distance from each other. For others, you can travel by bus or boat from Disney Springs.

If traveling by car, most resorts will allow you to park for free when you provide your I.D. and a reason for visiting (shopping, dining or just “checking it out”). However, The Boardwalk and the Monorail Resorts will turn you away without a reservation. Walking or boating from Wilderness Lodge or the Beach Club is a good alternative if you’d like to visit those areas.

3. Fireworks, Shopping and FOOD!

From outdoor movies to musical performers, there's no shortage of entertainment at Disney’s resorts! Each resort has shops tailored to its theme, and a resort day isn't complete without a visit to Basin at the Grand Floridian to sample its lotions, soaps and sugar scrubs! Plus you can find some of the most deliciousand Instagrammable—treats like beignets, Ample Hills ice cream and the famous Dole Whip!

As your resort hopping day comes to a close, be sure to catch one of Disney’s trademark firework shows. You can see Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the viewing deck at the Contemporary or the beach at the Polynesian where they pump in the music! For Epcot’s fireworks, the bridge between the Boardwalk and the Beach Club is a great viewing spot.

So what are you waiting for? Put on a cute outfit and some comfy shoes and become a guest for the day—no ticket required!

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Kate is currently a freshman at UCF with a major in hospitality. Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan (it's a real place!), she is loving the change from snow to sun. When she's not in class or singing show tunes, you can find her running around Disney World, cooking dinners from Pinterest, or planning imaginary vacations. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @katemorrisssey
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