Taking Kids to Epcot: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Have your kids ever asked you what EPCOT stands for? Quick history lesson: EPCOT is an acronym for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, a utopian community of the future planned by Walt Disney. Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World has eight pavilions and World Showcase is themed with 11 world nations.The park opened in 1982, and Epcot is ranked the third-most-visited theme park in North America and the sixth-most-visited theme park in the world. Not only is it a busy place, but it’s massive in terms of the space it occupies.

Set on 300 acres, this park is more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom. Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, primarily technological innovation and international culture. Those of us old enough to remember World’s Fairs sometimes think of this Disney park like a permanent World’s Fair. You’ll see a variety of attractions and entertainment spanning the web and the globe.

Ready to take the kids for a visit? We’ve got some tips to make your trip easier on everyone.

Disney World Tips for Kids: Free or Inexpensive Activities at Disney Springs

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Disney World Tips for Kids: Free or Inexpensive Activities at Disney Springs

free or cheap activities at Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is free – the word free probably caught your attention, eh? Now kids probably don’t care much for shopping, and they would probably rather be entertained by rollercoasters than dining in a sit down restaurant, but there are TONS of things to charm the kids into begging for a trip back, most of which you can do for free. 

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Walt Disney World Tips: Resort Goodies for Kids

Disney Resort goodies for kids

There are several reasons to stay off property at Disney World, one of the most important of which can be a lower cost, but if you are traveling with children, paying more money to be closer to the action and surrounded by all the “Disney Magic” of the resorts may be more desirable than saving money. Many people prefer to stay on property just to take advantage of all that Disney World has to offer.  

There are lots of goodies for the kids if you stay in the on-property resorts.

 10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

1. Pools

As a resort guest, you paid for the room, so you will basically swim for free as a perk of your accommodations choice, and the pools run from kid-friendly with Disney characters in sight to simply amazing with hot tubs and slides. 

Wilderness Lodge resort pool

2. Bathroom Freebies

Shampoos and soaps at the resorts are great, created by a company called H2O just for Disney. Why bring your own toiletries when you can use the H2O soaps, conditioners, and shampoos in your room? If you run out, simply run down the hall to Mouse Keeping and ask for extras. If you don’t mind paying a tip, call the front desk and ask for extras to be delivered to your room. They come in child size bottles too. 

 

3. Fireside Marshmallows

Camp fires at resorts offer free marshmallows and roasting sticks. Complimentary campfire activities can be found at 14 locations at Walt Disney World Resort, as seen in the list below. Call the resort to confirm that night’s fire and get an approximate time, although they usually take place before sunset.

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

 

fires and marshmallows at Disney resorts

4. Stationary Freebies

Typically you will find free postcards, stationery, and WDW resort pens in your room. These are for your use, so make sure the kids bring them home.

5. Character Greeting Call

Upon check-in at your resort, ask a Cast Member to set up a “Welcome Call” from a Disney character. Like Disney magic, Mickey or a Goofy friend will leave a message on your room phone. Have the kids answer this call for a big surprise! 

6. Character Wake Up Call

Just like the greeting we mentioned above, schedule a wake up call to your resort room and a Disney character, usually Mickey, will call to wake you up. What better way to get tired kids out of bed to start another magical day. 

7. Use Their Pool Towels 

For registered resort guests, there are towels available that can be used in the pool-side showers located in the bathrooms. Let the kids take a swim on check-out day or a free day when you take a break from the parks, and now they don;t have to drag a towel with them. Are you traveling with a large group and want to speed up the showering process at night after a long day at the parks?  For something a little different, the kids can use the showers near the pool.

8. Mugs 

So the purchase a Resort Mug isn’t free, but the free refills afterward at all the Disney resorts for sodas and drinks are. The Dining Plans already includes a Resort Mug for everyone age three or older. The mugs cost $17.99 for your length of resort stay, no matter how many days. These make excellent dinner cups once the kids get back from vacation.

 

 

why kids love Disney resort refillable mugs

9. Pool Side Games

Some Disney resort activities include a fee, but many Disney resorts now offer games lead by Cast Members poolside for the kids. Groups of kids participate in these games. By the way, swimming at resorts where you are not a registered guest is not allowed (unless you are a DVC member at certain resorts.) Read: A Guide To Disney World Resort Pool Hopping

10. Outdoor Movies

Come for the campfire, and then stay for a movie. Take in one of the many free “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor movies at WDW resorts following the campfires. Huge screens are blown up for nightly movies outside the resorts. This can depend on weather. At some resorts, you will need to bring a towel or blanket to sit on, and at others, they provide chairs. Call the resort desk for specific information.

Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice. For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort, or call 407- WDW-PLAY or 407- 939-7529.  How to See FREE Movies at the Walt Disney World Resorts!

movies by the stars at Disney resorts

11. Professional Portrait Service

This may not be so great for kids when they are young, but it could be a fantastic heirloom when they are adults. You can arrange to have professional portraits taken of your family while you’re at Walt Disney World. To make a reservation to schedule a portrait session or get more information, call 407-934-4004. Make reservations up to 30 days in advance.

Portrait sessions are available at the Grand FloridianPolynesian Village, Beach ClubWilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

12. Playgrounds

Your feet will be tired, but the kids may still be full of energy.  Walk down to the playgrounds found at the resorts, and they all have one. Playgrounds are great for a free day or when the parks close early for holiday parties. Coronado Springs has an amazing kid’s playground next to the Aztec-themed pool.

playground at Disney's all star resorts

13. Resort Decorations

At the Value Resorts, there are incredible landscaping decorations that will totally entertain the kids in your group. 

what to do for fun at Disney World All-stars resort

Disney's All Star Resort

When my children were young, these seriously were the highlight of their stay at the All-Stars. Going back now that they are teens, they have a true fondness for the property I hope they share with their own children one day.

Disney statues at the All Stars Resorts

So while you may pay a little to a LOT more money to stay on Disney Property, there are lots of extras and goodies for the kids to enjoy. Some you’ll take home with you; others you’ll take home as pictures and memories. 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you standing by Buzz Lightyear outside your resort room. 

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Now let our vacation planners 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 Elizabeth and Erin, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

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 Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Elizabeth and Erin. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Free Dining, Fall Room Offer, and a SPECIAL giveaway

It’s here Cheapskate Princess readers, the day we have all been waiting patiently for…FREE DINING!! YAY! Now there are two options for those traveling in the Fall. Free Dining seems grand, but depending on your dates, your park tickets, and your resort sometimes the room only offer is the way to go. You can simply take your savings from your resort and pay for your dining plan with it! Everyone here loves to save the most money on our Disney vacations and we all love FREE so be sure to read to the end to see what our Princess Travel Experts have in store for those who book during these special offers.

free dining

Please remember these discounts are limited and are subject to restrictions. Contact your Princess Travel Expert now to have them assist you with your vacation planning needs. [Read more…]

Character Dining: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

My favorite part of planning a Walt Disney vacation is deciding where to eat and a trip to WDW isn’t complete without character dining. Character dining can be expensive and some experiences are better than others, but it saves lots of time to dine with characters instead of waiting in line in the parks to meet some of your favorite Disney characters. Character dining is also very popular so be sure to make your reservations at 180 days out or book with us and have your Princess Travel Expert take care of it for you!

Character Dining

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The BEST Disney World Snacks to Share!

Enjoying snacks is a very integral part of a Disney World vacation, but they are expensive and sweet. Like really sweet, as in sometimes too sweet to eat all by yourself without getting a stomach-ache.

This fits right into the cheapskate style of planning a vacation. Get ready for the BEST snacks you chould share with a friend to cut down on sugar and your costs. [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Goofy’s Candy Co.

goofys-candy-co-disney-springs

Sometimes we take vacations and visit places we soon realize we’ll visit again. There are beaches, hotels, and believe it or not, even stores that just stay in your memory for all time. Goofy’s Candy Co. is one of many super adorable shops in Disney Springs which, with all their renovations and new additions, is fast becoming an incredible Disney-themed shopping and dining location you have to visit while in Orlando.

Goofy’s is certainly not new. This sweet shop has looked mostly the same for as long as I can remember, and yet it remains an absolute must do for any shopping trip to Disney Springs.

Grab your wallet and be prepared to make a yummy purchase!

Read: A Whole Bunch of Tips For a Better Disney Trip!  [Read more…]

Disney World Resort Refurbishments and What It Means For You!

Disney's Wilderness LodgePhoto from Walt Disney Travel Company

One reason Walt Disney World remains a great vacation destination are the beautifully themed resorts. One way Disney World keeps them beautiful is with refurbishments and updates.

But when more than one resort is getting an overhaul, how will that effect your next Disney vacation? [Read more…]

A Whole Bunch of Tips For a Better Disney Trip!

tips for a better Disney World trip

One of our most popular articles EVER is called120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation!” By popular, I mean that as of January 2017, it has been read over 1,500,000 times. This piece gets pinned like crazy on Pinterest.

We had a lot of our readers leave comments on the article, because frequent Disney visitors love to give advice to friends, family, and even strangers who are planning trips. The DO NOT comments they left on the article will certainly not RUIN a Disney vacation if you do the opposite, but they can definitely add a lot to your trip, depending on the needs and wants for your group.

Take it from our readers… there’s a lot of planning that goes into Disney vacations these days. You might as well benefit from their experience.  

Read: Disney Ticket Prices Just Went Up, So What Can You Do?

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Special Ticketed Events and Tours at Walt Disney World

Did you know that Walt Disney World offers special tours and events for guests? These special events and tours do cost extra, but many people believe it’s worth it for the behind the scenes information and unique experience they provide. Reservations are required for most tours and can be made by calling 407-WDW-TOUR. While the cost will depend on the tour, all will require you reserve your tour or event with a credit card. Guests will have to show an ID when they check in for their tour. Also, most tours will require a theme park ticket and that is not included in the cost. But if you are looking for a special experience or if you are a seasoned Walt Disney World guest, the tours or special events will offer a new way to enjoy Disney. Also, be sure to ask if the tour offers a discount if you belong to the Disney Vacation Club, have an Annual Pass, or a Disney Visa Card holder. Not all tours or events offer discounts, but it doesn’t hurt to ask in case your tour does! We always look for ways to help save money on a Walt Disney World vacation.

Disney tours and events

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Disney Ticket Prices Just Went Up, So What Can You Do?

Disney Ticket prices went up so what can you do?

Disney recently raised their single day ticket prices for 2017 during certain times of the year. Company officials say they hope this will prevent overcrowding during the busiest times at the theme parks. So where does that leave you and your wallet? [Read more…]

What to Do with All Those Disney World Key Chains? Put Them on a Tree!

disney-cheapskate-princess

Disney key chains are cheap. They are one of the least expensive souvenirs you can purchase on vacation at the Disney parks, and the amazing part is, that for a low price, you get a quality product that could last for years.

But now let’s be real; how many key chains does one actually need? We only have so many cars and a limited number of locking house doors.

I solved that problem. The answer is you really can’t have too many. You simply need a place to display them.

Read – Disney Springs Must Do: Shopping for Jewelry

The most obvious choice? [Read more…]