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.

Looking Back at Disney’s Wishes: Looking Forward to Happily Ever After

what to do at Disney World at night

If you have watched the 10 p.m. fireworks show at Magic Kingdom since way back in 2003, then you’ve seen “Wishes.” How much longer will it be at Magic Kingdom? Not long… [Read more…]

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…]

Coming to Disney Springs: The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane

The Dress Shop at Disney World

There’s a new clothing and accessories collection called The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane that is coming to Disney Springs at the end of March. 

If you are looking for a vacation souvenir that’s different from Dooney & Bourke handbags or character inspired jewelry, this may be the spot for you. 

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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…]

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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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…]

20 Tips for Taking Kids to Walt Disney World

20 Tips for taking Kids to Walt Disney World

Planning a Disney World vacation with kids in tow? Visiting theme parks with children can sometimes be like traveling with a herd of wild house cats on vacation; it can be every man for himself. We’ve gathered some words of wisdom for not only surviving the trip but thriving at the House of Mouse.  [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Shopping for Jewelry

shop-for-jewelry-in-disney-springs-orlando

There are many items to bring home as souvenirs from Disney World, too many in fact. How does a cheapskate know what to choose?! [Read more…]

Jewelry Bargains Found in the Disney Parks Collection by Rebecca Hook

rebecca-hook-jewelry-for-disney-parks

Let’s talk a little bit about souvenir shopping. The word “bargain” is really a relative term; what you call a bargain, I may call insanely expensive. While jewelry may not generally be regarded as cheap, I really believe it’s one of the best souvenirs you can bring home from a Disney vacation. You’re buying a quality item, often produced using high-class metals like sterling silver and gold, which can last for generations if you take proper care.

See, this $4,000 diamond necklace could be the un-doing of someone’s vacation budget…

expensive Disney World jewelry

Read – Cheap Disney World Souvenirs: Where to Purchase a Silhouette

There’s a new jewelry designer on the Disney scene, with her creations selling in both park and resort gift shops as well as at DisneyStore.com, for those days when your post-vacation depression leads to a little online shopping. Priced under $150, with many pieces under $100, the cost of her jewelry didn’t cause my Visa card to scream in panic. I therefore call that a bargain, based on prices for other jewelry items (see pic. above) and Disney souvenir costs in general.

Her name is Rebecca Hook, and her designs are understated yet beautiful, with prices that even a cheapskate can afford.

The pictures alone will sell the product…
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