Bringing Food into Disney World Theme Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

yummy snacks to bring to Disney World

Updated for 2017!

If you ever tried to sneak food into some sort of establishment, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! Most Walt Disney World visitors are aware that you no longer have to sneak your food into the theme parks, because the rules have changed from years past. I have a mini-anxiety attack every time we go through Security, because my dad snuck food during every trip we made to Disney as kids. I call it “Post Traumatic Cheapskate Syndrome.” Even the most well-traveled Disney visitors could use a refresher on just what you can bring with you and what to transport your food in. [Read more…]

Impulse Buys: How Returning Kid’s Purchases Is Costing You Money at Disney World

Disney World best souvenirs for kids

Updated for 2017!

With my family right next to me, I spend a lot of time in Disney gift shops when we’re in Orlando on vacation. I’m as much at home and happy on the back bench in the Small World ride as I am in a gift shop at the Polynesian Resort. Through the years, I have realized that my vacation time spent shopping for and purchasing Disney items wasn’t nearly the waste of time that returning those purchases was. [Read more…]

A Disney Princess Wouldn’t Wear a Fanny Pack, but a Cheapskate Princess Might!

fanny pack at Disney, fanny pack, why carry a fanny pack, fanny packs are ugly, fanny packs are hideous

Updated for 2017!

The fanny pack. I’m really not a clothes snob, but those are two words I can’t even say with a straight face. The thought of fanny packs have struck fear into the heart of Disney fashionsitas for years. Can you imagine Cinderella with a sparkly fanny pack to hold her car keys and lipstick?

Uh, no.

For anyone hiding out under a Prada rock, a fanny pack is a small fabric pouch secured with a zipper and worn with a strap around the hips or waist. The name “fanny pack” was derived from the fact that these bags were traditionally worn facing the rear above the “fanny.” Our reader Amy stopped by to say, “It’s quite funny because ‘fanny’ means something else (a far more intimate part of the anatomy!) in British English, so the fact you wear them at the front is quite appropriate!

Yet despite this highly amusing name, most people do not really wear fanny packs on their actual rear because they are easier to pick pocket there and much harder to access from that angle.

Read: Here’s Why the Wrong Shoes Can Cost You Money on a Disney Vacation

why take a fanny pack to Disney World

This guy, with his fanny pack from bagtake.com, is pretty hot. I believe he could single handedly bring this into fashion…

When you head off to Disney for your vacation, do you use a traditional bag or backpack, or do you opt for the fanny pack?

Some of our readers told us about their choices.

We have the fanny pack fans:

Kelsey, “My dad has always rocked a fanny pack at amusement parks, but now he is good at hiding them! So good, I didn’t even know he had one on until 3/4 of our day at Six Flags! I did see some “fashionable’ ones I would totally rock. Once my son is older, I don’t think I’ll want to tote all that stuff around!

Megs, “I LOVE MY FANNY PACKS! Literally. They are THE best. I have a pleather leopard print one that I got from a thrift store for 50 cents, and it comes with me to Disney, to go on walks and runs with my dogs, and on Black Friday! I know it isnt typical for a 21 year old, and I definitely get some odd looks, but it is totally worth it. Work that fanny pack girl. You gosh dang work it!”

Cody,” I wear one as a belt. I have one from Disney Movie Rewards that is black with a silver Mickey on it.”

Cindy,”They may be ugly to look at, but they are very convenient and, personally, I love not have something hanging on my shoulder and having my hands free!

And our backpack fans: 

Eryn, “I have a cross shoulder backpack that is our “theme park bag.” It’s kind of the best of both worlds. Not too big, not too small, a good strap, keeps my hands free, but can also be passed around between the adults (& teen) throughout the day. Don’t forget one fatal flaw of backpacks: You’re going to end up carrying everyone else’s stuff! ? Heavy is the bag that holds the water bottles. You can only jam so much stuff in a fanny pack.”

Lauren,A backpack worked great for us. We didn’t have any instances where we couldn’t bring it on a ride, though we don’t do roller coasters or anything high speed, so that may be why.”

Here are some reasons for both.

Read: Disney Springs Must Do: Shopping for Jewelry

Reasons to use a fanny pack

1. They may not be as fashionable, but they are smaller than regular bags.

2. While many a shoulder has been pained by a backpack, fanny packs don’t create the same strain, the main reason being, they are restin’ on your fanny or thereabouts.

3. With your bag around your waist, you have you arms more free to push little Mickey in a stroller, get in and out of rides a bit easier, and hold onto monorail poles a bit tighter, etc.

4. On rides where bulky backpacks are not allowed, you and your fannypack will pass through with no problem. This can definitely help some of you Disney Moms as you grab for your kids with two free hands.

Read: 11 Cheapskate Ways to Save Time (Equals Money) at Walt Disney World

Reasons you should stick to a traditional backpack

1. I will stop short of calling them ugly. I will simply say that you will not see Rianna or Lady Gaga rocking a fanny pack on any red carpet.

I have yet to see a Dooney & Bourke fanny pack featured prominently in any Disney gift shop. I am waiting with curious fascination to see if they appear. The photo below offers an example of current styles, and you can make your own judgement of fashion worthy-ness. These fanny packs are available at tillys.com back in 2012 for $12.99 before shipping.

2. You cannot carry as many items in a fanny pack due to their smaller nature.

3. I mentioned in #1 that I would stop short of calling them ugly, so let’s just say they are not the height of Disney Princess fashion.

Why am I not carrying a fanny pack? Because Dooney & Bourke don’t currently have one available in a Mickey prints, and personally, I am holding out for style over substance.

As small as fanny packs are, this may be the only Disney Dooney I can actually ever afford. Check out prices …

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford a Dooney & Bourke Disney Handbag?

Style over substance? Size and comfort over fashionista superstar status? What do you wear to Disney to haul your stuff in?  If you buy enough non-brand bags, you just might be able to afford some of this Disney jewelry…or maybe not!

Love Disney Jewelry? Check Out Over $20,000 in Platinum and Diamond Jewelry

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the gift shops, some sort of bag thrown over your shoulder or fanny.

I mean, if this guy can pull off this look…

fammy pack humor

Then why can’t you?!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

 

Disney’s Extra Magic Hours: a Cheapskate Princess Guide

Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, castle, Disney castle, Disney resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, vacation, vacation fun

Updated for 2017!

If you ever said,”Let’s just stay at a cheap hotel, because with the money we save, the longer we can stay at Disney World longer,” then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. I’m all about finding a bargain. And there is no doubt that staying at a Disney World Resort can be more expensive than staying “off property.” 

But Disney offers a huge perk other off-property hotels don’t: Extra Magic Hours. Staying fewer days in a Disney resort to play longer in the parks is what a Cheapskate Princess would call a splurge.   [Read more…]

10 Cheapskate Ways to Save Time (Equals Money) at Walt Disney World

Disney car tag, personalized Disney car tag, car, tag, personalized car tag, Disney cars,

Updated for 2017!

Time is money at Walt Disney World.  You will spend a ton of your hard-earned money at Disney, and wasting time is really the equivalent to wasting your precious vacation dollars. The more time you spend standing in lines, the more time you are not doing something else fun. So let’s get to it and not waste any more…time.

Here are 10 ways to save time (equals money), because who among us doesn’t need more of both?

1) Walk faster

I have read a lot of Disney books, and I have never read this suggestion anywhere, so I hope I am the first person to point this out. You will save time if you just walk faster! But you had better be ready to do some serious walking. Most people average between 10 and 15 miles each Disney day. You need to start training right now for that vacation that you started saving money for months ago.

Start walking every day now, so you don’t have to waste time sitting on a bench later with sore feet and an aching back.

Read: 20 Cheapskate Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney World

Goofy's barnstormer, old Disney rides, Goofy, Goofy airplane

2)Read and make plans

Read up on park touring plans and use them. People actually study up on where to go and when to play at Disney, sort of like studying for a semester exam, because even if you don’t follow the plan to the letter, you will still save time by having a clue where you are going. Getting lost in the parks and doubling back will cost you valuable rollercoaster-riding time.

Google is a great place to start, and there are tons of Disney themed websites with a plethora of information. Travel agents can be a fantastic source of information. Book a trip with a reputable company and your travel agent will also answer any questions you have about events and dining. We recommend our Disney Vacation Planners, Erin and Elizabeth, with Destinations in Florida travel.

Read – Disney Springs Must Do: Shopping for Jewelry

Pooh, Tigger, Pooh and Tigger at Disney World, Disney characters, character photos at Disney World, Disney character photos

3) Eat when it’s less crowded

Eat before or after the “normal” meal times. My kids are now all older than sixteen, but when they were much younger, it really made me nervous to leave them at a table while I went to stand in line at noon that was 15 people deep. During really busy holidays, some restaurants will not let even find a table until you have your food in hand. I can’t imagine standing in a 20-30 minute ordering line with hungry toddlers or three griping teens.

If it’s a popular time to be eating a meal, like noon or 5 p.m., then you’re going to be standing in line for a while. Try lunch at two or dinner at four, and you will notice the lines are shorter.

Last year,  my kids and I somehow got distracted riding rides and looked up to realize it was 9:45 p.m., and we had completely missed dinner. We popped into Cosmic Rays, where we had an entire section to ourselves. We were also starved, so the food tasted extra good. My sons said it was the best meal they ever ate.

There’s always pizza delivery to the resorts, which, ordered by cell phone from the back of a Disney bus on the way to your room, will arrive in no time at all.

Read: Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford the Disney Dining Plan?

Chef Goofy, character meal, Goofy, Chef Mickeys, Disney characters sign autographs, meeting Disney Characters

4) Get there early

Get to the park early and ride your favorite rides first thing. This will save time standing in line later on when the whole world wakes up and arrives at the parks – to stand in line.

I admit it: I am absolutely no morning person. Although my parents arrived at the parks plenty early in my childhood, I have seen just one rope drop during my adult life. The traditional Disney planning wisdom is to get there first thing while people like me, who stayed up past closing and then walked around the Contemporary Resort past 2 a.m., sleep in. Late risers like me start arriving around ten or eleven, so get up and get moving.

5) Stay up late

Here is where I am a total expert. Stay up late and ride your favorite rides at the end of the day. We stay until the Magic Kingdom closes, then shop Main Street, U.S.A. until Cast Members are practically asking us to leave. Temps are cool late at night in the summer, and you don’t  waste time standing in line for a monorail when the whole world leaves right after Wishes at 10 p.m.

If I had a favorite suggestion for Disney Moms, it would be to enjoy those late night hours after the kids have taken a nap and had a good dinner. Grab a nap yourself. 

Read – 20 Cheapskate Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney World

Cinderella Castle, Disney World Castle, Disney Princess Castle, vacation for Disney Moms

6) Use three Fastpass+es and then make some more

Fastpasses have changed a lot from days gone by. Paper Fastpasses are no more; these days, you need to schedule your Fastpasses as soon as possible so you get the rides you really want. You simply link your park admission to your Disney account, which you can do with a ticket or pass up to 30 days in advance. If you have a Disney Resort hotel reservation, you can make your Fastpass+es 60 days in advance.

Once you use your third pass, go make another FastPass+ selection at an in-park kiosk or on a mobile device. Then repeat that process until you leave the park for the day. 

Don’t forget this, because passes your favorite raised will go fast. 

7) Skip parades and shows

Ride your favorite rides during big shows or parades. Well, that’s common sense for those who have seen the shows and parades multiple times so the newness has worn off. If people are watching shows and parades, while you then won’t see the entertainment, you won’t wait in lines as long either if you just skip the shows altogether.

Read: Should You Bring Your Own Snacks to Disney World to Save Money?

Small World ride, It's a Small World after all, Small World characters, small world boat, Mary Blair Small World

8) Work those Fastpasses!

Pay attention to start and end times on Fastpass+es. Years ago with the paper FASTPASS system,you could probably talk a Cast Member into letting you on a ride before your time started or after your time expired. With the system being computerized, Disney now enforces these times and there’s little flexibility.

And as we mentioned in #6, once you use your three scheduled passes, go make your group another one.

Working the Fastpass+ system will ensure you get your money’s worth from those expensive tickets.

9) Pick and choose your park well

The size of the park will determine how much time you spend there and how you plan your day. It will take longer to see all of Epcot because it’s huge, and you’ll walk more. It will take less time to see Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios because they are more compact. Everything is usually less crowded than the most popular theme park, Magic Kingdom, and of course that depends on the day of the week and the time of year.

There are lots of apps. you can use now to see wait times, although the best would be My Disney Experience. Use this link to see more information on My Disney Experience.

Read: Where is the Best Place to Watch Disney’s “Wishes” Fireworks?

Contemporary resort monorail, monorail carpet, monorail welcome mat, contemporary resort welcome mat

10. Map it out

Never been to Disney or one of the parks before? Study a map. Study maps. They are in books and online, and you will save mucho time by not getting lost and wandering around aimlessly. Not getting lost translates into feet that don’t ache as much as well. Knowing where bathrooms are located will save you time.

Plus the Disney maps online are just too cool.

Magic Kingdom Google map

Disney Google maps

Use this link for information on how to find them.

Making a Disney World Scrapbook? Get These Disney Google Maps for FREE!

A Disney trip can be a ton of fun, but time equals money on vacation. Every minute there is costing you money, so you better send that time wisely. 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you checking out park maps, way ahead of your trip. 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney World Food Tip #7: Eat Breakfast Here!

save money on food at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

When some people go on vacation, many times they don’t want to cook a thing. Vacations are for relaxing and having fun, and for most people, cooking doesn’t fall under either of those categories. This carries over to a trip to Disney World, because the majority of travelers have specific ideas about where they want to eat in Orlando. Entire books are dedicated to planning out your vacation, hour by hour, meal by meal, advising you to make all your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) months in advance. Let me concur that this is sage advice. When would I suggest you go against traditional wisdom and skip a Disney meal? [Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney? Why Hand Sanitizers are a Must Bring

how not to get sick on vacation at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

If you ever washed your hands 10 times a day to ensure you didn’t get sick on vacation, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! Time is definitely money at Walt Disney World. Going on vacation in Orlando is going to cost you lots of pretty pennies, and if any family members wind up sick in bed, then there are certainly better things to do with your time, and conversely, your money. [Read more…]

8 Reasons Not to Go to Disney World in the Fall

helium balloons, how much are Disney balloons, Main Street at Disney World, Disney Princess balloons

Updated for 2017!

Fall. Leaves start dropping out of the trees, footballs are flying through the air again, and kids everywhere have begrudgingly snatched up their backpacks and headed back to school. What does this signal?  The crowds are suddenly lighter at Walt Disney World.  Does this mean fall a good time for you to go to Disney? Well…

8 reasons you should not go to Disney World in the fall.

1. School

Kids have gone back to school and could fall behind in their studies, especially in upper middle school grades and high school. Now this is a hotly debated topic on the internet. Teachers say keep them in school, and yet many parents want to get the most from their vacation dollar during the less crowded “off season” of fall. You know what works for your child, and for some, missing school may be too much.

Spaceship Earth, Spaceship Earth ride, Epcot ball, Epcot, why visit Epcot, why go to Disney in the fall, should I go to Disney in the fall?, what is there to do at Disney in the fall, ship school and go to Disney World

2. The Temperature

It’s still hot. It’s not as hot as summer, but it’s warmer than winter.

3. Shorter Hours 

Hours are shorter in the fall than other times a year, because there are fewer people. Every park except Epcot can close as early as 5 p.m. Compare this to midnight in the summer, and while you may be standing in shorter lines during fall, you will spend less time in the parks.

Read: Would a Disney Princess Spend $25 for A Disney World T-Shirt?

Mickey Mouse Hollywood Studios, Mickey Mouse costume, Hollywood Studios,

4. Not As Much Entertainment

If the parks close early, they may not show some of their night-time entertainment. Or these shows may only run on the weekends, and crowds are definitely heavier on the weekends.

5. Special Parties Mean Higher Crowds

Because fall is the time for Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, crowds will be higher during these specific times.

6. Parks Close Early

If you do vacation during MNSSHP, the park will close early on those days. You paid for a full day, but you’ll feel like you’re being kicked out early as party-goers pass you on the way in. With tickets for MNSSHP $50.95 for kids ages 3-9 and $55.95 for ages 10 and up, and these are advanced purchase prices, then you’ll pay a pretty penny to stay from 7 p.m. until midnight.

Read: Planning a Disney Vacation? Why You Need a Disney Change Jar!

sunset at Disney, sunset on the Seven Seas Lagoon, pretty sunset, beautiful sunset at Disney, Magic Kingdom sunset, Magic Kingdom transportation, boat ride to the Magic Kingdom

7. Ride Refurbishment

With crowdlevels being lower, some of your favorite rides may be closed for refurbishment. This makes sense from a Disney stand point – less people in the park is a better time to spruce up the rides. I can still hear my sons wails of heart-ache when we showed up one year to find Space Mountain closed for refurbishment. It’s wise to check the refurbishment schedules before you plan anything for certain.

8. Free Dining

Free Dining is offered in the fall, and many money conscious families plan their vacations around free dining. And why not, because you can save a lot of money taking vacations during these specific times. Free Dining means more people vacationing during this offer, and many of the table service restaurants you hoped to enjoy will be filled with free diners. If you don’t make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) as soon as possible, then you may not get to eat at the restaurant of your first choice.

Read: How NOT to Lose Your Kids at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

stay calm and think Disney, best time to go to Disney World, when not to go to Disney World, good time to go to Disney, Disney stop light, Disney traffic light, Mickey Mouse stop sign

Admittedly, these are not super strong reasons to skip that Disney vacation in the fall. Most people love Disney during the off season, but if you are one of the many that just can’t take off work during the fall, these 8 reasons may make you feel a bit better, take the edge off your Disney Depression Syndrome. I have to admit, it would be hard to talk myself into NOT going to Disney during fall, if it was a time of year when I could plan a vacation.

Now if you need some reasons to go during fall, we have that covered for you as well!

Read: 7 Reasons You Should Definitely Visit Disney World in the Fall

 

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.