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Disneyland Article
20 Surprising Things You Can Score For Free
Caroline Picard
While it may be the ''Happiest Place on Earth,'' Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, is definitely not the cheapest place on Earth.

A single, one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom in 2024 starts at $104, with prices fluctuating depending on the time of year and demand. Once you factor in fare for the whole family, as well as meals, hotels, transportation and souvenirs that are just too sweet to pass up, your Disney fairytale might start looking more like a budgetary nightmare.

The secret to maximizing your Disney trip is to take advantage of everything the parks have to offer! While the cost of admission might be steep, Disneyland is full of hidden perks and fun freebies. Sure, some of them are no-brainers (there's no chance you'll be skipping that once-in-a-lifetime fireworks show!), but others are kept on the down-low.

Foodies can try free samples of freshly baked bread, while history buffs can tour a historic theater. Try your hand at drawing at the Animation Academy, scoop up tons of free mementos on rides like Autopia and Jungle Cruise, or participate in an interactive Star Wars scavenger hunt. And did we forget to mention there are several perks that make your trip more convenient at no additional cost? (Hello, package check!)

Replacement Balloons

Did you accidentally pop your precious balloon? It's on a case-by-case basis, but as long as you bring back the remnants, you should be able pick out a new inflatable for free. Make sure to snag a receipt upon your initial purchase so you don't run into any issues!

Celebration Buttons

Birthdays, honeymoons, anniversaries and just about any other occasion earns its own pin. Stop by a Guest Relations kiosk or almost any store for the festive flair.

Drawing Classes

Budding artists, this one's for you! Swing by the Animation Academy at California Adventure to learn how to draw a Disney character from an expert animator — and then keep your work as a free memento. On some days, the park offers more than 20 classes, so you're sure to catch one!

Wake-up Calls

If you're staying at a Disneyland hotel, make your little one's morning a little bit brighter with a wake-up call from a beloved Disney character! While you can't choose which character helps you get up and at 'em, you can request multiple wake-up calls on your trip — because why not?

Package Check

Chances are, you'll be toting several souvenirs around with you during your Disney day. Don't risk losing your new goodies: If you're staying at a Disneyland hotel, arrange to have your purchases delivered directly to your room for free! If you're staying off-property, there are several complimentary package check locations across the park.

'Star Wars' Scavenger Hunt

While there's already plenty to see and do in ''Galaxy's Edge,'' add to the fun by partaking in the attraction's secret scavenger hunt. At the Creature Stall, ask for ''Bina's Guide to the Creatures of Batuu,'' which guides children through questions relating to animals hidden in the area and allows them to collect stamps from cast members.

Boudin Bakery Bread Samples

Stop by the Boudin Bakery Tour, located in San Fransokyo Square, for a peek into the baking process. The bakery usually hands out freshly baked sourdough to hungry visitors — and according to WDW News Today, samples were back as of 2021!

Jungle Cruise Map

While aboard the Jungle Cruise, make sure to ask your skipper for a map of the river route — and voila, a free keepsake! (Maps are typically limited in quantity, so your best bet is an early cruise.)

Historical Restaurant Tour

The Carthay Circle Restaurant boasts an upscale menu and a peek into cinematic history. (It's the theater where Snow White and The Seven Dwarves premiered in 1937 and includes film art from Walt Disney's home!) If you have a dinner reservation, Tips From Disney Divas and Devos says you can get a tour of the building from a cast member beforehand, complete with little-known historical gems.

Buffet Dining for Little Ones

Be their guest! Kids under the age of three can eat for free at Disneyland's all-you-can-eat-style restaurants, like Goofy's Kitchen. More Mickey-shaped waffles, please!

Architecture Tour

Inspired by the turn-of the-century Arts and Crafts Movement, the Grand Californian Hotel provides guided tours to guests staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel. Heads up: The tours are free, but reservations are required!

Early Entry

Staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is already incredibly convenient, and this perk is just one reason why. Hotel guests can take advantage of early entry to the parks to skip the long lines. While not every attraction is open during early entry, there's enough to make getting there ahead of the crowds worth it.

Autopia Driver's License

Fun fact: Autopia is the last existing Tomorrowland attraction that has been around since the park's opening in 1955! Once you cruise through, thanks to Disney Tips, we know you can snag a souvenir driver's license. Bonus: they don't expire until the year 3000!

Pixie Dust

While an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is an unforgettable way for youngsters to look and feel like absolute royalty, a trip to the shop comes at a steep price — and can be a tricky reservation to score! Luckily, there's an alternative that's just as magical: Mickey Visit says you can simply ask a cast member to sprinkle a bit of ''pixie dust'' from their magic wand. Magical!

Birthday Treats

A birthday spent at Disneyland calls for a sweet treat to celebrate. Make sure to tell your waiter that it's your special day, and they'll usually accommodate with a complimentary dessert — complete with a candle and a birthday song!

Emailed Ride Photos

While emailed photos are not available on every ride, Finding Mickey tells us you can email your snapshot at Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Another hack? Disney almost always displays ride photos, so try to snap a quick cell phone shot!

Holiday Surprises

Time your trip to take advantage of one of the park's many holiday celebrations! A visit around Halloween allows you to enjoy the spookiest parades, as part of the Oogie Boogie Bash, and take in hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins along Main Street. The winter holidays never disappoint at Disney either: Starting in mid-November, there are countless holiday-themed fireworks shows, tree lightings and seasonal decorations worth exploring.


Polka Dots & Pixie Dust says that the janitorial staff, waiters, and cast members usually carry around a roll of stickers that they're happy to share. It's the perfect collectible for kids with sticker collections!

Ice Cream Replacements

No use crying over spilled...ice cream. In case your little one drops their ice cream, Dole Whip, or any other frosty treat purchased on the property, the park is happy to replace it, according to Disneyland 4-Ever. Just make sure to keep your receipt handy until your dessert is safely consumed.

Fireworks Show

No trip to Disneyland is complete without taking in the legendary fireworks–the free show is truly a feast for the eyes! Seriously, you'd be hard-pressed to find a place doing it better than Magic Kingdom. The park rotates between seasonal shows and classic displays, all of which include traditional fireworks, music, lasers and lights. Stake out a prime viewing spot in front of the castle or along Main Street, U.S.A.

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