Not enough tickets to get you through your Walt Disney World vacation? Tickets are one of the major purchases for your trip and quite expensive. At MouzeKateerz.com, we’re always searching for inexpensive ways to get the most from your Disney Dollars. Sometimes it’s nice to do other things at Disney that don’t involve purchasing tickets or expensive character meals. Window shopping at Downtown Disney is good for half a day’s free, or almost free, entertainment and riding the WDW monorail to the resorts is another. “Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas. Ladies and Gentlemen, please collect your belongings and watch your head and step. Please assist small children by the hand.” Here we go Couponers, we’re headed around the Disney monorail track in search of some mostly-free entertainment.
Since the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, the monorail system has carried more than one billion passengers. The WDW Resort Monorail, the most heavily traveled passenger monorail system in the world, carries nearly 150,000 passengers every week day. Each year, the monorails transports more than 50 million people.
Your first stop…Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The monorail runs right through the Contemporary, which is probably the coolest features of the resort. Built in 1971 as well, this resort was considered a modern and futuristic vacation destination for its time. The Contemporary offers shopping at Bay View Gifts (BFG) and Fantasia. As you watch other monorails zip through the building, you can pick up an inexpensive snack or lunch from the Contempo Cafe. A traditional Contemporary must-see is the floor-to-ceiling ceramic mural, created by artist and Disney legend Mary Blair, whimsically celebrating the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the southwest region. Need some quiet time to rest your achy theme park feet? Take an escalator down one floor to the Convention Center area, where there are usually some fluffy couches available, and the bathrooms here are super clean, quiet, and roomy.
Next stop…Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Hop off the monorail here and you’ll enter a South Pacific themed tropical paradise. Walk down to the lower level and gaze at the 70 species of plants found around the waterfall. Take a seat, so close you are within reaching distance of the flora, and feel your vacation tensions melt away to the sound of the peaceful falling waters. If you need a quick bite to eat, try Captain Cook’s or grab a coffee at the Kona Cafe. If you are here near nightfall, ask about the Polynesian Resort’s torch-lighting ceremony, which includes a traditional fire-knife dance together with authentic drumming and chants. You can pick up a tropical drink, cocktails and appetizers at Tambo Lounge. The Polynesian has three stops for the window shopper: BouTIKI, with its 1,000 pound Balinese statues, art and collectibles at Wyland Galleries, and souvenirs and gifts at Trader Jacks. Take a walk down to the volcano-themed swimming pool, down the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, and enjoy tropical theming at its finest.
Last stop…the magnificent Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Labeled as the flagship hotel of the Walt Disney World Resorts, just standing in the five-story lobby is a journey into opulence and splendor. There are six restaurants to choose from, some definitely more expensive than others, with the two least expensive options being the 24 hour Gaspirilla Grill and Games and the Grand Floridian cafe. Shopping is available at Basin White or M. Mouse Mercantile. Pull up a lobby chair and listen to the frequent musical entertainment, which ranges from a musician seated at a grand piano to a Disney big band. The level of musicianship here is always incredible, and the music is quite relaxing. If you are vacationing near the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, be sure you take a look at the Victorian era-style Grand Floridian gingerbread house before you make your way back upstairs for the monorail ride back to the Magic Kingdom.
And if you get hungry, don’t forget to check out the Greatest $3.99 Snack at Walt Disney World.
Now you have some ways to spend an afternoon when you lack those Disney park tickets, or when you just need some down time strolling through fantastic Disney Resorts. Unless you buy a snack/meal or a souvenir, window shopping and architecture gazing is totally free. So take a ride on the WDW monorail, a modernistic transportation system to journey you to the Future, the South Seas, and the Victorian Era…all in a Disney’s free, or almost free, afternoon.