Vacation Kingdom Know How: A Free Night at WDW

(Sorry for a few weeks absence, friends. I had to step back for a moment and let the Disney excitement calm down from my visit. But here I am, back again and ready to go!)

Warning: Some people may see some of this as scamming the system by enjoying Disney World but not going into the parks. I say whatever. We broke no rules, we just found ways to enjoy things that we wanted to enjoy.

In my recent trip to Walt Disney World,  we didn’t go to any of the main parks.* Hard to believe as a huge Disney parks fan, I know. We did visit Blizzard Beach for the first time and enjoyed it (post on that coming soon) and had delish dinner on property as well.  We adventured and managed to fit in some Disney magic as well, so let me tell you about it.

Welcome to Animal Kingdom Lodge!

First off, we left Blizzard Beach after a full day and went over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Sanaa. Since we were dining, parking was free. We walked around for a bit before our reservation time and took in the resort. It’d been a while since I had stepped foot into a WDW resort and this being my first visit to AKL, I cried. It was wonderful. A sweet older gentleman who was part of the custodial crew asked me if I was ok. I assured him it was happy tears.

Loss isn’t a huge fan of giraffes. I loved being so close to them!

After walking around and seeing some animals, we had an awesome meal, complete with 4 bread services on the table and cast members singing a birthday song to me with drums and the whole nine. It was pretty awesome.  Next trip, I hope we can do a trip to Boma or Jiko and try out the other spots to eat at AKL.

Look at all the bread service!

From there, we drove to the TTC and made our way to the Contemporary. For those keeping score of the free aspect of things, we were with AP holders who could park for free, but if we had not been, we would have ridden a bus (or Minnie Van possibly) to the Contemporary. We were planning on making our way to Top of the World Lounge in Bay Lake Tower, but with that plan not working, we planted ourselves on the breezeway on the 5th floor between BLT and the Contemporary and watched the Happily Ever fireworks from there.

I was excited to find out that they did pipe in the show’s music on the breezeway, so we got an awesome view of the show (except most of the castle projections) complete with music. Going into seeing this show and not expecting to catch the projections, I knew it’d have one less element, but it was still very well done. I’m looking forward to the day we get into the parks and watch the show from Main Street in a year or so.

Isn’t this logo amazingly the best?

When the fireworks were over, we went downstairs and to the back of the Contemporary, taking in part of the Electrical Water Pageant as it passed by. I’d only ever seen it from the Magic Kingdom, as it passed near the Polynesian, so it was fun seeing it in a different spot. I’d never been back to behind the hotel either, so seeing the pool and Bay Lake was neat.

Hubs & I finally found this statue!

After debating on wether or not to hit Trader Sam’s or not, we decided it’d been a long enough day already and caught a bus from the Contemporary to Animal Kingdom, then jumped onto the Animal Kingdom Lodge bus.

Total spent on Disney (besides dinner): $0

I was happy to have a great night with great friends and some sweet memories to go along with them. I can’t wait to do more fun stuff on property, free or not, next time we visit again!

What do you like for free on Disney property?

*We visited the parks a handful of times between 2013-15. In 2015, we had a week long, on property stay for our honeymoon. Since then, we have done things around property but not the parks proper due to price. If someone would like to gift us APs, we’d so be in, but until then, we’re going to hold off for a bit due to a 3 or 4 day hopper being the same price as rent for a month. Adulting brings so much into focus, doesn’t it? Our day will come though, we’ll see you again soon, MK, Epcot & Hollywood Studios (how about opening/refurbing some first?)!


To keep up with the latest Disney merchandise news, be sure to bookmark and follow us on social media including Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook


Jenny Buchanan is JLB Nerdy. She writes on her blog,, is a member of the cast on Tom Morrow’s Mouse, a Disney podcast and loves cats but refuses to own one personally. She currently lives in Tennessee but a large portion of her heart is in Orlando, where she and her husband are moving in 2018. Besides Disney, she enjoys coffee, writing, being silly with her husband, Losson, and nerding out over random things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.