New Bus Service Offers Transportation to Disney Springs Directly from the Parks

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Have you ever been in the Disney theme parks wishing you could take a bus DIRECTLY to Disney Springs? In the past you had to go to a resort, and catch a Disney Springs bus there which you know, was extra time. Another option, take a cab, which adds to your budget. Thankfully Disney  found a way in 2016 to save us time and money on vacation in the late afternoon when we want to head from a theme park to Disney Springs.

Disney Springs Bus Transportation Service from Theme Parks:

  • Buses now run directly from Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios parks starting at 4pm daily – it is NOT an all day service.
  • The drop off at Disney Springs is in the heart of it all at Town Center where you can shop world class brands, dine at one of a kind eateries and enjoy some entertainment.
  • Disney Springs Bus Service will be provided from 4pm to 11pm (or until two hours after theme park close whichever is earlier).
  • IMPORTANT to know, the new bus service from the Parks is one-way: FROM the Parks, TO Disney Springs. 
  • You will NOT be able to take a bus from Disney Springs directly back to a theme park, so keep that in mind and plan accordingly.
  • Disney transportation will continue to be available from Disney Springs directly back to Disney Resort hotels. See they won’t leave you stranded.

dining at Disney Springs

Why go to Disney Springs?

Sometimes a person just needs a change from the parks…yes, it happens.  A great vacation touring strategy: ride attractions and enjoy the parks from opening through the afternoon, then head over to Disney Springs to chill and enjoy dining and drinks from 30 food and beverage options. You can catch La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, a movie at the AMC Dine-In Theatres, or go bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes. There are also over 50 new stores you can shop until you drop for that perfect vacation souvenir- whether Disney themed merchandise or not, they got it all!

Keep in mind if you have your own vehicle, Disney Springs parking is free and includes two new parking garages with “smart technology” where you can easily find available parking spots. Don’t have a vehicle, no worries, the new bus service makes it easy to spend your late afternoon and evenings over at Disney Springs.

Do you plan to try out the route during your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation?

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

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 Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

Boathouse Restaurant at Disney Sorings for less

Updated for 2017!

I don’t mind admitting I was intimidated by the Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs. The Internet was abuzz with chatter about the prices almost before the doors opened, and the menu just shouted fru fru to my immature pallet. Foodie is the last word people use to describe me, but we gave it a whirl on a trip to Orlando, with the intentions of seeing what you can get for under $20 a person. You won’t get a steak or a lobster, both of which they offer, but there’s definitely meals aplenty for under $20.

Read: Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World

What then should you order that won’t bust up your budget? [Read more…]

Christmas Holidays at the Disney World Resorts…Where to Find the FREE Stuff!

While the Christmas holidays are the busiest time to visit Disney World, this time of year, with music, entertainment and fantastic decorations, is also the most beautiful. You don’t need park tickets to enjoy resort hopping and free fun. So where should you go and what should you do for free?

General Resorts

Holiday Performances – Choirs, from elementary and middle school through retirement ages, are frequent presences in the resort lobbies singing holiday tunes.  Stop and sing along with a few songs.

Christmas entertainment Disney World resorts

Treats on Christmas Day – For the past several years on Christmas day, Deluxe and Moderate Resorts offered Snickerdoodle cookies and lemonade in the lobby. These were the same kind of cookies given out at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and let me tell you, they were yummy. Looking for a Christmas day activity in Orlando without standing in line up to your elbows with thousands of people? Resort hop, and be sure to stop in the lobby.

free Christmas snacks at Disney World

Smores – Many of the resorts now have fire pits where they had out free marshmallows and fire sticks. Even in the summer whine’s hot, my sons thought this was pretty fun, so it’s got to be even better in cold weather. Check with your resort to see if there is a fire and ask about start time.

making marshmallows at Disney World Resort

Free Snack Samples – Many resorts are now offering cupcakes and assorted sugary goodies in their gift shops, kept in refrigerated cases for freshness. Check the top of the snack case for occasional free samples like cookies and fudge.

Window Shopping – There may be no better time to “window shop” at the resorts than Christmas. The decorations are amazing and the music is magical. It will be very hard to keep that Visa in your pocket though, so stay strong. Once you see some of the prices on ornaments, you may have reason to fight the urge to spend.

Christmas shopping at Disney resorts

Beach & Yacht Club Resorts

Beach & Yacht Club Villas –  You can see the “Holiday Village” in the resort lobby, which was created by Cast Members, there’s a miniature train that makes its way through a quaint village over to a sugar rock mountain.

The Edible Carousel – It’s pretty amazing to see the life-size, edible spinning Holiday Carousel, and 2014 will mark 15 years the carousel has been created. Be on the lookout for magical surprises and hidden Mickey’s hiding in the carousel’s décor.

Boardwalk Resort

The Holiday Gazebo  – Gaze up at this merry gazebo in the lobby at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and examine a scene made entirely out of gingerbread and chocolate. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for Hidden Mickeys just waiting to be discovered.

Stitch’s Bakery Store Front  – Explore a Stitch-sized replica of the Boardwalk Bakery’s store front in the lobby. See if you can spy Lilo as Cast Members create gingerbread houses right in front of you.

The Stitch Display contains:

  • 50 pounds of Icing
  • 400 gum paste and sugar flowers
  • 300 pounds of chocolate
  • Over 2000 gingerbread pieces
  • 15 hidden Mickeys

While you are at this resort, you really need to take your group to get one of these desserts. It’s a true experience!

Contemporary Resort

Gingerbread Holiday Tree  – On the Grand Canyon Concourse, there is a a gigantic gingerbread holiday tree decorated with ornaments, candy canes and presents. Up until 2013, this tree was themed with Mary Blair’s Small World figures, but in 2014, Disney has (totally rammed Frozen down our throats) created a Frozen-themed tree for the Contemporary. Disney Characters have been known to pose here for photos, and if they are no where to be seen while you are there, you can snap your own photo in front of a holiday background near the tree.

The 2014 tree was inspired by Mary Blair’s “small world” figures and Disney’s animated movie”Frozen” and created by the Contemporary Resort Bakery Team. Thanks to WDW Shutterbug for the stats and photo.

  • 311 lbs. honey
  • 514 lbs. flour
  • 212 eggs
  • 67 lbs. spices
  • 35 lbs. sugar syrup
  • 222 lbs. icing
  • 433 lbs. chocolate
  • 1500 gingerbread shingles
  • and 14 hidden Olafs

See the Christmas Tree – Outside the resort, don’t miss the 70-foot-tall Christmas tree at the resort’s main lobby entrance, featuring nearly 36,000 white LED lights. Take a stroll outside; kids love to stand beside this tree in amazement of the truly immense size, and you’ll be impressed by the size as well.

Mickey Wreath – One of my very favorite Disney Christmas decorations has to be the Mickey Mouse wreath at the Contemporary. This wreath is four stories tall, measuring 25 feet in diameter and has 18 feet elliptical mouse ears. As you approach the Contemporary in the monorail from the Magic Kingdom, it lights up the night.

Gingerbread Pin Signings – By  the gingerbread tree in years past, visitors have been offered opportunities to meet the Disney chefs behind some of Walt Disney World’s best holiday gingerbread creations. For 2013, the chefs were signing Gingerbread Trading Pins. Pastry chef Jeff Barnes was at the Contemporary Resort in 2013 on November 15th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. I suggest you call the resort to see if any signings will take place this year. With the new Frozen theme, I would highly suspect there will be Frozen gingerbread-themed pins available.

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Gingerbread House – In what may be the most famous of any Christmas decoration on WDW property, there is a life-size gingerbread house built in the Grand lobby during the holidays. 2014 is the 16th anniversary of the gingerbread house, which is 16 feet high and 17 feet wide, taking six men almost 10 days to create.

Grand-Floridian-Christmas-Gingerbread-House-

What sort of ingredients are used to make this fabulous  once-a-year holiday creation?

  • 1050 of honey

  • 140 pints of egg whites

  • 700 pounds of chocolate

  • 800 pounds of flour

  • 35 pounds of spices

The Tree! – Decorated with a Victorian theme, you have got to see the bird cages, intertwined swans, and lots of amazing golden-colored ornaments adorning this humongous Christmas tree. Assembled in just one night while guests sleep, the tree is four stories tall (40 feet) and sparkles with 45,000 lights.

Meet Holiday Minnie & Mickey – Mickey and Minnie Mouse, dressed in their Christmas finest, arrive to take photos in front of the grand Christmas tree. Lines are not that long, so bring your camera and ask a Cast Member to snap a shot of the whole family.  This would make a fabulous Christmas card photo.

free picture of Minnie and Mickey at Disney World

Hear Some Tunes – Beginning mid-afternoon, you will hear live music as soon as you walk into the lobby. Starting around 3 p.m., a pianist starts playing and alternates with an equally talented orchestra until almost 10 p.m. There is no better place in all of WDW to hear live musicians performing mostly Disney themed tunes, all for free. The orchestra is called the “Grand Floridian Society Orchestra.”

Free music at the Grand Floridian Resort

If you take a walk around toward the Polynesian Village, the beach area here is lovely. Take a seat or a swing and enjoy the surroundings.

Disney World Polynesian Village beach

Wilderness Lodge

Enjoy the Christmas Tree –  When the holiday season rolls around, a massive Christmas tree is erected in the center of the lobby. PhotoPass photographers are available to snap your picture, or you can just take your own photo.

Meet Holiday Minnie & Mickey – Dressed in their Christmas finest, our favorite Disney couple arrives to take photos by the “indoor stream.” Lines are not that long, so bring your camera and ask a Cast Member to snap a shot of the whole family.

Wilderness Lodge Christmas tree

Disney World Wilderness Lodge Christmas decorations

Wilderness Lodge indoor lobby stream

As a FREE bonus, we have some bonus information on what to do at Downtown Disney, because entertainment is free there as well.

Bonus- Disney Springs

Enjoy Some Live Music – With restaurants like House of Blues, Paradiso 37, Raglan Road, there is no shortage of Downtown Disney music floating over the crowds. Even the new bowling alley, called Splittsville Luxury Lanes, frequently has outdoor musicians.

street performers at Disney SpringsJPG

Festival of the Seasons  – Enjoy Downtown Disney holiday entertainment (November 15 – December 29 for 2013) plus holiday sights and sounds.  Live Christmas entertainment includes carolers, Latin, jazz and pop performances of cherished holiday songs, costumed stilt walkers, street performers, and a lively holiday dance party with deejay.

Festival of the Seasons  – (November 14 – December 29 for 2014) Speaking of free live shows, Disney has performers walking around showing off everything from acrobatics and magic to theater. Live mini-concerts pop up in various places throughout the Downtown Disney area. Our family has watched Christmas Soldiers on stilts dance above our heads, had our photos taken with mime-type performers, and listened to some of the best singers and guitar players we’ve ever heard perform live. Often there are street performers like jugglers, comedians, fire-eaters, and jazz ensembles in the evenings. Find a spot with a good view and enjoy the show.

Disney Springs Festival of the Season Christmas

Stop the family for a photo.

Disney Springs

Lego Store – Stop by and play with Legos, or take your picture with many of the huge Lego decorations.

Downtown Disney Springs Lego store free activities

There are some lovely sunsets at Disney Springs, which are always free.

Downtown Disney Springs lake sunset

Visit with Santa – During the Downtown Disney Festival of the Seasons, you can visit with Santa and have your picture taken. Santa’s cottage is typically located in-between The World of Disney Store and Arribas Brothers and Basin.

Disney Springs free Santa Photos

After Santa heads back to the North Pole, then Goofy takes over for photos. Times may vary, so stop by what was formerly Santa’s Chalet to see when Goofy will be available.

Goofy's chalet at Disney Springs

See a Show– Look for an outdoor stage across from The World of Disney store. There is a large amount of seating, which is more comfortable in winter because you will be seated in direct sun light. This can be a great place to rest weary feet. This stage is used as a performance area for middle through high school and college bands playing everything from jazz and pop to holiday tunes. You’ll see ballet dancers, dance teams, and hear choirs singing and dancing their way through every genre of music imaginable. Disney has very high standards for acceptance as guest performers, so sit back and enjoy the free show.

 

Christmas is one of the busiest times at Walt Disney World, but it is stunningly beautiful. When we can get to Orlando during the holidays, my family spends a lot of time wandering the resorts and gift shops, away from the huge crowds and long waits at the theme parks. Roller coaster rides are great, but taking in the holiday sights and sounds is equally as memorable.

Cjristmas decorations at Disney World

plan a Christmas Disney vacation

Christmas Mickey Mouse

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you on the monorail, traveling toward gift shops filled with Christmas merchandise…

 

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.

Get Fabulous End of Summer Value Rates at the Disney Springs Resorts

Downtown Disney Springs hotel rate deals

2015

As the summer heat starts to take a slightly downward spin, special prices are being offered at many of the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels. It’s not too late to get a deal for Disney World travel during the next several months. So what kind of deal can you get?! [Read more…]

Save Money on Disney’s Characters In Flight

save money on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Updated for 2016!

If you made the trip to Orlando for some theme park visiting, it’s always a good idea to have a “free” day with no park tickets. We’ve devised the ultimate early morning plan for Disney Springs, leading you to an amazing coffee shop, an awesome and discounted balloon ride, followed by world-class Disney shopping. Sorry, roller coaster enthusiasts, but it may not get any better than this! Not for this price anyway…

So here’s what you’ll do for a morning at Disney Springs as you head over to climb aboard  Characters in Flight.

get a discount on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Save Time

Traffic is so crazy at the new Disney Springs, with construction going on at every turn and intersection. The whole complex is really going to be fabulous upon completion, but parking and highways are a big mess right now. If you don’t get an early start, you could be headed for some major delays. By getting to Disney Springs before most stores even open, you’ll be looking at a relatively empty parking garage. Several hours later, traffic and parking will be congested and frustrating.

Arrive at Disney Springs by about 9 a.m.

Now walk straight to the new Starbucks right next to Characters in Flight, which is the balloon that takes guests up 400 feet in the air.

where Disney Springs Characters in Flight is located

Enjoy a Snack

Have you been to the new Starbucks by the lake at Disney Springs? As much as I dislike the Starbucks that replaced the bakery on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, I LOVE this Starbucks location. It’s not that I am anti-corporation or anti-Starbucks coffee. I just disliked how they removed the seating. Perhaps they noted my complaints and set out to rectify that mistake at Disney Springs.

Go in, order a breakfast snack or drink and take a seat. Starbucks prices are not unreasonable, and many drinks and snacks are part of the Disney Dining Plan. I’m not sure there is a coffee shop with a better view anywhere than this Disney Springs location. When you go to the Disney Starbucks early in the morning, I can’t tell you how relaxing it is, without having to wait for a seat or stand in line to order.

Sitting inside smells like coffee with a view. To see more pictures, use this link:

I Completely Disliked Starbucks at Walt Disney World, Until This Happened…

tips for Characters in Flight

Outside seating, interesting on its own, has an even more fantastic outlook of the lake and the balloon. The combination of wood, stone, vegetation, and fire is soothing to the soul. Did I mention how much I LOVE this particular Starbucks? I don’t even like coffee, and I practically run from our car straight here.

To see prices from Starbucks menu, use this link:

Disney World’s Main Street Bakery: Can You Afford Starbuck’s Prices?

how to enjoy Characters in Flight

Grab a table and enjoy the scenery!

save money at Disney World

When to ride the Disney World balloon

Enjoy the Ride + Save $$

Finish your snack by 9:30, 9:40 at the latest, and then walk over to buy your tickets at the balloon. 

Characters in Flight is an attraction that takes guests 400 feet up in the air on an Aero30 tethered gas balloon that was custom-built for Disney by Paris-headquartered company Aérophile S.A..

The yellow striped balloon has hand-painted silhouettes of Peter Pan, Dumbo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Buzz Lightyear, and Tinker Bell. On its 19-foot diameter gondola, up to 29 passengers and an Aérophile-certified pilot can take a ride straight up, floating skyward with the help of up to 210,000 cubic feet of helium.

Because the balloon is tethered, it will not travel beyond 400 feet at any time.

Is Your Starbucks Coffee Habit Taking Money Out Of Your Disney Vacation Fund?

save money on Characters in Flight

If you purchase your ticket and travel up by 10 a.m., ticket prices drop from $18 for adults to $10. For adults, that’s almost half off! You’ll save $2 per child’s ticket. It’s called the Early Bird Special. Kids under the age of three fly free everyday.

Now, this special could change at any minute with no notifications for you or me, but a Cast Member said this promotion had been going on for a long time.

So up you go, Early Bird, but first be sure you have read our ultimate guide to Characters in Flight.

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

Characters in Flight discount

cheap fun at Disney Springs in Orlando

Tips to Know Before You Go Up

The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 22 mph or if there is a storm.

Maximum balloon capacity will be affected by wind speeds.

Items that are not permitted aboard are bags, food and drink, smoking and strollers. You’ll need a place to secure these. 

There is a safety net, but the holes are large enough that you could drop your camera or phone. You won’t save enough on Early Bird tickets to replace anything electronic that you drop, so hold on tight. 

best things to do at Disney Springs

Do Some Shopping

Well, now you are now at the perfect time to do some shopping, assuming you are finished with the balloon by around 10 a.m. Stores at Disney Springs traditionally start opening at ten, so the crowds aren’t crazy yet. Temperatures in the summer start to rise at this point, so being in the air-conditioned stores will keep you cool.

There is so much to do at Disney Springs, you could easily spend half a day here. Even with the current construction woes, it’s a great place to spend some time on vacation.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with an almost finished Starbucks coffee in hand, headed for the ticket counter.

 

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.

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

guide to Disney's Characters in Flight

Updated for 2016!

If you ever walked past the Aérophile Characters in Flight balloon at Disney Springs without purchasing a ticket, telling yourself you’ll do it the next time when you have a little more money, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess.

But did you know they offer an “early bird” special? Get there before a certain time, and you can save almost 50% off the regular ticket price. That was just the news my family had been waiting for!

Free Fun in Celebration Florida: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

wedding idea at Downtown Disney Springs

What is Characters in Flight?

Characters in Flight is an attraction at Disney Springs in Orlando, also known as Downtown Disney, that takes guests 400 feet up in the air on an Aero30 tethered gas balloon that was custom-built for Disney by Paris-headquartered company Aérophile S.A..

The yellow striped balloon has hand-painted silhouettes of Peter Pan, Dumbo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Buzz Lightyear, and Tinker Bell. On its 19-foot diameter gondola, up to 29 passengers and an Aérophile-certified pilot can take a ride straight up, floating skyward with the help of up to 210,000 cubic feet of helium.

The balloon is tethered and will not travel beyond 400 feet at any time.

Where can you ride an Aérophile balloon?

In 1993, Matthieu Gobbi and Jerome Giacomoni, who were just 25 years old at that time, reinvented the tethered gas balloon, which enables faster rides than your typical gas balloon. They started the company called Aérophile. Their balloons are now fun attractions in more than 60 locations around the world, including Paris, Berlin, and Angkor Wat Temple.

Renowned amusement parks like Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris use Aérophile’s innovative balloons. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding attractions and landscape, and stay with us to see how you can save money on your tickets as well.

Don’t Eat Too Much of This at Disney World

get a discount on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Where is Characters in Flight located in Orlando?

The balloon is located on the West side of Disney Springs, right next to the (new in 2015) Starbucks location along the waterfront facing Saratoga Springs Resort.

You will see from the map below that the balloon is also very close to the AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theaters and the Planet Hollywood restaurant. This map was current when we first published this article, but back then we still called the area Downtown Disney. When they finish re-imagining the entire area, we’ll update this map. When the balloon is floating in the air, you can’t miss it!

where is Disney Springs Characters in Flight located

How much does Characters in Flight cost?

Adult tickets, and adult means anyone age 10 and up, are $18.00 including tax.

A child’s ticket, ages three to nine, is $12.00.

Children ages two and under are FREE!

How long does Characters in Flight last?

Visitors hover for 8 to 10 minutes, experiencing breathtaking 360-degree views of the Disney Springs area. Soar high above the white peaked tents of the Cirque du Soleil Theater and get a view of the theme parks and resort hotels off in the distance. Depending on the weather conditions, guests on board will be treated to stunning vistas up to 10 miles away.

If you look closely, you can see the Epcot ball!

see Epcot from Downtown Disney balloon

Disney Springs discount activities

Disney World Vacation Planning: Non-Holiday Dates to Avoid

How old do you have to be to ride?

Guests over nine years of age are permitted to ride by themselves. However, children under nine years must be accompanied by an adult (18 years of age or older).

What if you have a wheelchair or a scooter?

Guests must transfer from their motorized scooter or ECV to an available wheelchair to experience this attraction. Be sure to speak with a Cast Member when you get your tickets.

Who shouldn’t ride?

Expectant mothers should not ride. This attraction is not recommended for those prone to motion sickness, vertigo, heart problems or any other condition that may be aggravated by flight.

While the main Disney website does not include this information, Groupon, who runs 40% off coupons about once a year, states that while there are no age or height restriction, there is a 250 pound weight restriction. Use this link to their information regarding groupon coupons and information.

5 Steps for Planning a Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

cheap fun at Disney Springs in Orlando

where to get tickets for Disney's Characters in Flight

More Info. Before You Go

The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 22 mph or if there is a storm.

Maximum balloon capacity is affected by wind speeds.

Bags, food and drink, smoking and strollers are not permitted.

above Disney Springs in Orlando

Disney Springs Parking Concerns

Because of ongoing construction and limited parking availability as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, it’s highly recommend that all Disney Resort hotel guests take advantage of complimentary transportation options. So if you can hop a bus from your resort, this could be easier than taking your own car. Busses will drop guests off at the Marketplace end.

Watercraft transportation is also available from Port Orleans, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs.

If you drive your own vehicle, it’s suggested that you leave 60 minutes in advance of all reservations and planned activities. Traffic is just crazy in this area with all the construction.

Valet Parking is available daily with pricing starting at $10 for 0-2 hours; the cost is $15 for 2-3 hours and $20 for three or more hours.

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

The gondola seems smaller when you are walking by at a distance, but it feels much larger as you get closer to the balloon.

Disney World Characters in Flight gondola

There is more than enough room for people to walk by each other on the balloon gondola without feeling cramped.

Characters in Flight balloon

how much does Characters in Flight cost

And there doesn’t appear to be a bad place to stand, because one side give you a water view, and the other gives you a view over land.

10945396_10202381178931193_1151421268_n

balloon Disney World Downtown

Disney Springs balloon Character in Flight

Disney fun for kids and moms

Looking for Vintage Disney Items? Try Theme Park Connection

Saratoga Springs Resort from high above…

Saratoga Springs from Characters in Flight balloon

From 400 feet in the air, you can see all the construction going on. Now months -actually over a year- after these pictures were taken, things will look vastly different.

Downtown Disney construction

Disney Springs activities

what to do in Disney Springs

Disney moms save money

Disney Springs construction photos

Downtown Disney fun for less

view from Characters in Flight in Olando

Photo Tip: Remember the Net

There is a safety net around the gondola for your protection, which can make it difficult to take pictures. It’s not so much that the net will prevent you from snapping photos. But putting your hands and camera through the net can be stressful, because if that camera/phone slips from your fingers, there is no safety net below to catch it. It’s just gone.

The photos you see here came from my iPhone 6, and I was an absolute nervous wreck holding my phone through the net. The balloon was not swaying very much at all on our flight, so it wasn’t crazy winds that would have caused me to drop my phone/camera but rather my shaky hands.

So hold on to your camera/phone.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

tips for Disney Spring's Characters in Flight

Tip: Motion Sickness & Nervousness

When we purchased our tickets, my teen son was a bit nervous. The Cast Member selling tickets told him to keep his eyes on the horizon, on the buildings in the distance rather than looking straight down, which he explained could help with motion sickness as well as nervousness for those that are afraid of heights.

The balloon will sway, even if there is not a strong wind that you can feel on the ground. 400 feet in the air, the balloon has a slight motion feeling. I get severely motion sick, and I felt a little queasy once the balloon got back to the ground. So if you don’t have severe motion sickness, you should be fine. Keep your eyes on the horizon.

If you are not sure if you are afraid of heights, you will find out really quickly once you hit 400 feet. The Cast Member we talk with said most people are just fine. For us personally, two of our three kids enjoyed the ride, while the third never got over the height issue. 

How to Save Money!

If you made it through all our flight pictures, then it’s time for the most important information you may get today.

If you buy your ticket and travel up by 10 a.m., ticket prices drop from $18 for adults to $10. For adults, that’s almost half off! You’ll save $2 per child’s ticket. And when I heard that, nine years of saying I would go next time became let me show you my money. It’s called the Early Bird Special.

Now, this special could change at any minute with no notice for you or me, but a Cast Member said this promotion had been going on for a long time.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you 400 feet up in the air. Trust me, I’ll be there before 10 a.m.!

 

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 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.

Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Best of Mickey Handbags by Dooney & Bourke

Best of Mickey handbags Dooney & Bourke

Many of you are saving money for your Disney vacation, rolling quarters and cutting costs. But have you ever thought about the souvenirs you will bring home from the parks? Many a Disney Princess has purchased a handbag by Dooney & Bourke, so many handbags that there are multiple styles and designs perfectly suited for princess of all kinds. 

Hang on to that Disney Visa while we look at the “Best of Mickey” handbags…

Vancaro’s Titanium Disney Inspired His & Hers Rings

[Read more…]

The Ultimate Walt Disney World FREEbie Guide: 130 Free Vacation Items and Activities

119 Tips for Free Disney Items and Activities

Updated July 2015!

Wow, a Disney World vacation can be expensive. Between the tickets, a place to stay, transportation to Orlando, snacks, souvenirs, and the list goes on and on, you could buy a compact car for what you will spend on your next trip. With prices seeming to increase every year, some families struggle to make their Disney vacation dreams a reality. While a Disney Princess may have no trouble paying for her next vacation, a Cheapskate Princess searches for the best deals and the best ways to spend her vacation time.

If you ever Googled “Free Disney Stuff,” you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Visit The Art of Disney Store

art-of-disney-store-at-disney-springs

Updated for 2017!

If I bought everything that caught my eye at Disney World, how totally broke I would be. I’m a child of the 70s, and we did a lot of looking at souvenirs back then, because none of us kids had a Jay Oh Bee (job!) to pay for anything. My parents had money, but they were too busy sneaking in the Magic Kingdom with food, and some other junk about teaching me the lesson you can’t have everything you want (No, and Blah, blah, blah is what I heard at the time) to buy us everything we wanted. 

Some of my favorite adult window shopping at Disney is in jewelry stores like Arribas Brothers and the Art of Disney stores.  Even if I am not taking home any huge Disney themed portraits, this has certainly never stopped me from looking.

So while in Disney Springs, an adult must do is the Art of Disney store. [Read more…]

Over 30 FREE Activities at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Free Activities in Downtown Disney Disney Springs

Updated for 2017!

If you ate french fries off your child’s childs’ plate as a meal so you could afford a pricey Disney souvenir, you just might be a Cheapskate PrincessAre you looking for some fun without the big expense of more theme park tickets?  Cheapskate Princesses have an absolute favorite shopping spot in Orlando that, if you do it right, doesn’t have to involve any money at all…Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney.

Here are over activities at Disney Springs to do for FREE, because a true Disney Princess loves FREE. [Read more…]