Nobody wants to be a cheapskate, but a trip to Disney can add up pretty quick and $10 won’t get you very far. Unless you’re a resort guest or annual passholder, you can’t even park at the theme parks for $10. But, upon closer inspection, you will find there are still a few fabulous experiences that can be had for $10 or less. Let’s see what they are!
10. Characters in Flight
Soar 400 feet in the air at Downtown Disney. Characters in Flight, operated by Aerophile, is a hot air balloon tethered to the ground. It’s 19 foot diameter gondola holds 30 people including the certified pilot. When at the top, sights include all of Downtown Disney, Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Tower of Terror and more. The flight is approximately 8-10 minutes. Try to schedule this experience earlier in your trip as the balloon does not operate in high (or even medium) winds. Current rates are $18 for adults, $12 for children. But… shhhh! Go before 10:00AM and it’s only $10.
9. Dockside Fishing
Back in the 1960s, Disney stocked Bay Lake with 70,000 bass. However, fishing was not permitted until the mid-1990s, leaving the fish undisturbed to breed for over 25 years. Cast fishing gear can be rented from the Bike Barn at the Fort Wilderness Resort. Traditional cane-pole fishing gear can be rented at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. Both types of fishing gear can be rented on an all-day basis, or a reduced rate for up to 30 minutes. All fishing is strictly catch and release. A fishing license is not required.
8. Snacks & Treats
The taste of a refreshing fruit smoothie on a hot day. The smell of fresh popcorn while strolling down Main Street. The look on your child’s face as you hand them a Mickey shaped soft pretzel. These simple treats are tough to resist. A waffle sandwich, one of my favorites, comes from Sleepy Hollow. This Belgian Waffle Sandwich is topped with Nutella and fresh fruit. Nothing beats sharing one of these with my daughter while watching the Wishes fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle.
7. Penny Press
The penny press machines started making appearances at Disney in 1994. This is one of the least expensive mementos available on property. It takes just two quarters and a penny. Each press contains up to a choice of four different imprints that includes Disney characters, parks, attractions, special events and more. A roll of quarters slide perfectly into an empty tube of M&M minis making it an easy way to take advantage of the penny press. There are nearly 200 penny and coin press locations located throughout Disney World. Could you locate them all?
Who doesn’t want to take a piece of Disney home with them? From large shops to small carts, you are sure to find at least one, two or ten items you’d love to put in your suitcase with you. Spending a small fortune is unnecessary to make memories last after your trip is gone. Some of the best keepsakes can be found for less than $10. You can bring back the memories each time you get in your car with a whiff of Disney’s specialty air fresheners including a turkey leg, Mickey waffle or candy apple. Tumblers, Mickey globes, placemats and even official autograph books can be found for reasonable prices. Be sure to check out the World of Disney at Disney Springs. It is the largest collection of Disney character merchandise in the world with over 51,000 square feet of retail space!
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5. Wagon Ride
No, we’re not talking about the little red wagon from your childhood! We are talking about a classic, horse-drawn wagon ride at Fort Wilderness. Located at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, this nostalgic ride is sure to please the entire family. Adults (ages 10 & up) are just $8 and children (ages 3-9) are only $5. Guests two and younger are free. Wagons hold 30-35 guests at a time and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. This 25 minutes excursion takes you on a tour around the sites of the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
4. Pony Rides
Your little up-and-coming cowboys and cowgirls will love taking a ride on the back of a Shetland Pony at Fort Wilderness! For just $8 (cash only), guests who are under 48 inches can take advantage of their very own four legged experience. Mom, dad or a responsible guardian is at the helm to lead the way. These young patrons must be at least two years old and weigh less than 80 pounds.
3. Quick Service Restaurants
While not all counter service meals will fit under our $10 budget, many can still be found. In addition, you don’t have to settle for the same dish each time. While the chicken breast nuggets inside the Pinocchio Village Haus will probably always be a staple of mine, look for other fare throughout the Disney empire to fit your cost and cuisine. Casey’s corner on Main Street serves up a mean barbecue slaw dog, nachos and corn dog nuggets. The ABC commissary inside Hollywood Studios offers a collection of seafood platters, salads and more. Chicken skewers, kabobs and asian entrees are to be found throughout Animal Kingdom. Plus, Epcot is littered with places from all over the world to try.
2. Chip ’N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
Nothing brings the family together than singing around a campfire. And, what better way to do it than to have your friends, Chip ’N Dale alongside! For $10 you can purchase a S’mores kit, or simply bring your own goodies to roast over the fire at no charge! Chip ’N Dale also make their way to each of the guests to say hello and sign autographs. This just might be the only character meet and greet that does not require theme park admission or a table side meal. After the sing-a-long, head over to the big screen and get ready for a Disney movie under the stars. Cozy up with your blanket and bring a chair, or use the benches provided.
1. Dole Whip
Easily one of the most popular treats at Disney, the Dole Whip is a soft serve frozen dessert. This cold, creamy, sweet and tangy delicious taste of paradise is available in vanilla, pineapple or a twist of the two. In addition, try the Whip Float where pineapple juice is poured on top of your whip, sending you straight to pineapple heaven. Originally only available at Disneyland, the most popular place to pick up this simple and savory refreshment is found at Aloha Isle in Adventureland of the Magic Kingdom. However, few know that the famed Dole Whip can now also be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you happen to find yourself at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, look to satisfy your cravings at the Pineapple Lanai. No matter where you indulge, this dairy free and vegan friendly treat tops the list at number one.