Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney theme park closure phase

There are a LOT of people taking vacations to Disney parks, which these days can pretty much be year ’round. There seem to be no “down” times to go to Disney with short lines and low crowds like in years past. And during holidays, things can be just downright crazy! If you are one of those people planning a trip to Disney, you need to be aware that all these visitors in one place at one time can affect your vacation in more ways than you may realize.

Walt Disney World will limit the amount of people they allow through the gates so guests have more fun and stay safe. What happens if you are vacationing during these crowd-intense times? Can you get shut out of the theme parks?

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Parking Lots Closing

The first thing to close when crowd attendance levels start to peak will be the Disney parking lots, because they generally reach capacity levels before the parks start closure procedures. At this point, your car may be diverted to an alternate parking lot. You will be provided bus transportation back to the park with the closed parking lot, provided that park is still open to visitors.

Time = Money. Driving over to another parking lot will take a lot of time, with traffic moving slowly, bumper to bumper. You will use up time getting to the new parking lot, plus time to get to your destination. When parking has reached the point of diversion, your day is going to get off to a slower start. 

Parks Closing

Now remember that the phrase “park closure” does not mean Cast Members simply shut the gates immediately; there are levels of closures.

Every single Disney World theme parks has reached a level of closure at some point, even if it was a lower level, and predictably because of its popularity, Magic Kingdom is the most likely to start closure procedures based on high crowd levels.

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are less likely to reach closure phases, but it is definitely possible because they are smaller parks with less standing around room than Magic Kingdom.

Epcot has massive amounts of space, so it’s less likely to close than the other three parks.

Even Disney’s water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, can close due to high crowd levels, which can occur during Easter holidays and the week of July 4th.

“Best of the Best” Walt Disney World Freebies

Disney World park closure phases

Phases for Closure

The Disney Company does not currently publish any specific information regarding park closure phases. What we assume about closure phases can change at any time with no notice to anyone, so this is our best guess guide. 

“Closure phases” are initiated by Disney to restrict the amount of guests coming into theme parks. There are four phases to closures. These closure phases also may not last all day long. If enough guests leave mid-afternoon or in the evening, closure restrictions can be listed and more guest will be permitted entry. 

Phase One

Guests allowed to enter:

  • Annual Passholders
  • Multi-day or multi-park tickets holders
  • Guests staying on Disney Resort property
  • Guests re-entering the same park that day
  • Guests who entered another park that day (park hoppers)
  • Guests with in-park reservations or appointments
  • Guests arriving using Disney transportation rather than personal transportation

Guests not allowed to enter:

  • Visitors with no park tickets
  • Visitors with one-day, single-park tickets
  • Visitors intending to use Cast Member passes

Phase Two

The only guests allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots are:

  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests staying on Disney Resort property
  • Guests re-entering the same park that day
  • Guests who entered another park that day (park hoppers)
  • Guests with in-park reservations or appointments
  • Guests arriving using Disney transportation rather than personal transportation

Guests not allowed to enter:

  • Visitors with no park tickets
  • Visitors with one-day, single-park tickets
  • Multi-day or multi-park tickets holders
  • Visitors intending to use Cast Member passes

Phase Three

The only visitors allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots now:

  • Annual Passholders
  • Guests staying at a Disney Resort
  • Guests with in-park reservations or appointments

Phase Four

The theme park and the parking lot is now closed to all arriving guests. You can assume the entire world is now standing inside that park. 

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

crowds during holidays at Disney World

How Can You Ensure You Get In?

1. Scheduling

So we really love celebrating holidays at Disney World, with all the decorations, music, and special fireworks. But traveling during really busy times means long lines, people standing elbow to elbow, waiting in traffic, etc.  Our first suggestion to beat the huge crowds is simply to avoid taking vacations during major holidays like Easter, July 4th,  and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Schedule a trip close to a holiday, but not too close, and crowd levels will be lower and more manageable, way below the point of initiating closure phases.

Use this guide: Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

2. Arrive at the Parks Early

If you want to secure a parking spot and get yourself through the park turnstiles, you need to get an early start.  Standing around before the park opens will be way better than sitting in a car stuck in traffic later on, hoping you don’t get directed to a different parking lot.

Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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3. Stay on Resort Property

Booking your stay on resort property has several advantages, even if you pay more for this privilege.

By waking up already located on Disney property, you can utilize Disney resort transportation. Guests arriving using Disney transportation rather than personal transportation are allowed through the turnstiles through a level two closure. 

Disney Resorts guarantee their guests access to a Disney World theme park. However, just because you are guaranteed to get into a park does not mean you will be able to get into the specific park that you want to visit. And just because you get in, standing side by side with all those people, this does not ensure you’ll enjoy the low-stress holiday you were looking forward to enjoying (see scheduling tip #1.)

Where to stay? Use this guide: *Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

4. Make In-Park Reservations or Appointments

Guests with in-park reservations get into the parks through a level three closure, so save up your money and schedule a special event or meal just to be sure. 

You can start making ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) 180 days in advance of your trip. This is very important as dining reservations fill up fast during holiday seasons. Use this guide: Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Surviving Disney World at Christmas: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

 

 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you considering what you and the fam. are doing during Christmas vacation…

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!

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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 Tips for Kids: “Free Day” Fun Activities

Free Day ideas for Orlando and Disney World Resort

We always to suggest a “free” day to those planning a Disney World vacation. Not necessarily “free,” as in it costs nothing, but free as in you do not have regular park tickets for that day. You and the family are not waking up early, walking for miles, and shutting down a park late into the night.

Many parents new to all this Disney planning stuff don’t realize that Disney vacations are tiring, and it’s a good idea to plan a “free day” mid-vacation just to keep from stressing everyone out. (If you can afford it, we actually recommend two days if you are staying for six days or more.) For those parents not into tantrums and meltdowns, be aware that heat, exhaustion, overstimulation, and an altered schedule starts to wear out little bodies. If you are already in Orlando, you might as well make plans for a day to enjoy life beyond the theme parks, because there really is a lot to do besides roller coasters and in-park character meet and greet lines.

Over 190 Disney World Tips for Kids!

These are our favorite tips for a free day at Disney World.

1. Sleep Late, Go for a Resort Swim

Staying on or off property, many resorts have great swimming pools available for your use. Most kids love to swim, so put on the sunscreen and head to the pool. This is a free option in that you paid to stay there, so swimming is thus free.

If the kids want to do some more serious swimming on a free day, there are several ways to purchase tickets to the Disney World Water Parks listed below.

swim on a free day at Disney World

2. Water Park

Water Parks Fun & More Ticket Option

You can add the Water Parks Fun & More Option to any valid Magic Your Way ticket For just $60 plus tax, you and the kids can experience Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, as well as admission to one of the following for each day of your ticket:

  • DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park This is closing, so don’t count on this.
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf
  • Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (one round) Tee times are required for Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and are subject to availability.

Individual Tickets

Tickets for Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach start at $53 per day before taxes. With both thrill and chill rides, relaxing lounge areas, wave pools, snorkeling adventures and much more, these water parks makes your local pool look like a $20 plastic back yard kiddie pool. Both parks have areas specifically for younger children. Use this link for more info. on Disney water parks and ticket options. 

when to visit Disney water parks

3. Resort Hop

Resort hopping is simply looking around the Disney resorts where you are not staying, which is 100% allowable and 100% free. What better way to decide where you want to stay on your next trip than by looking around? Each resort has a different theme, so ask the kids which location they like best. Use this opportunity to talk about finances, because there are big price differences in the three resort levels of accommodations.

The All-Star Resorts, Art of Animation Resort, and Pop Century Resort have the most to offer young children in terms of looking around and taking pictures. Here’s our guide to making the most of time spent looking around: Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

Resort hoppng at Disney World

4. Disney Springs

Wow, is there a lot to do at Disney Springs, which has been completely renamed and re-imagined from Downtown Disney, with some free activities and other things to do that are definitely not so free.

  • Shopping – Over 40 stores from toys and games to clothing and jewelry
  • Dining- Over 40 restaurants, including kid favorites T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe
  • Bowling – 30 lanes, billiards tables, live music, and dining opportunities
  • Movies – 24 Theaters
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. Tickets start at $59 before tax.
  • DJ Kids Dance Party – everybody can dance at the Waterside Stage
  • Characters in Flight – ride a balloon 400 feet up in the air
  • Goofy’s Candy Co. – No trip here is complete without stopping by this delightful candy store.

Traffic and parking is nuts while Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, so our recommendation is to arrive early. Use this link for our best plan of action:

Use this link for our ideas on what to do at Disney Springs for free: Over 30 FREE Activities In Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Use this link for our ideas on how to experience the Disney Springs balloon and save money: Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide.

best time to go to Disney Springs in Orlando

5. Character Meals

While you can schedule a two-hour meal break on a day when you have park tickets, why not enjoy a character meal at one of the Deluxe Resorts when you have nothing else more pressing to do? Character meals are pricey compared to counter service meals, and you will be responsible for tipping, but you are paying for an event that kids (and adults) are sure to love.

Beach Club Resort – Cape May Cafe – Breakfast and Dinner, ($30 to $60 per adult)

Contemporary Resort – Chef Mickey’s – Breakfast, Brunch, and Dinner ($30 to $60 per adult)

WDW Swan Hotel – Garden Grove –  Breakfast and Dinner- ($30 to $60 per adult)

The Four Seasons – Ravello – “Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals” ($22 per child, $42 per adult) Thursdays and Saturdays only.

Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – 1900 Park Fare – Breakfast and Dinner – ($30 to $60 per adult)

Polynesian Village – ‘Ohana – Breakfast and Dinner – ($30 to $60 per adult)

Here are some suggestions from our readers about their favorite restaurants on Disney property, both in parks and resorts: The Top 20 Best Disney Restaurants, So Says the Fans!

when to schedule a character meal at Walt Disney World

6. See a Dinner Show

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Take the kids to celebrate the spirit of Aloha with entertainment including dancers, drummers and a show-stopping fire-knife performer all within the confines of the Polynesian Village Resort’s open-air theater in Luau Cove.

Adults will enjoy Island pulled pork, BBQ ribs, roasted chicken and a vegetable medley, honey-lime slaw, pineapple-coconut bread, and for dessert, warm pineapple bread pudding with caramel sauce. The kids will enjoy mini corn dogs with tater tots, cheese pizza, and either grilled chicken or mahi mahi with rice and green beans.

The price here is over $60 per adult, and advanced reservations are highly recommended. Make those up to 180 days prior to your visit.

Spirit of Aloha Dinner show prices Disney World

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

Located at rustic Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, the Pioneer Hall Players provide two hours of Wild West dancing, singing and zany vaudeville comedy.  You and the kids can clap your hands, stomp your feet, and sing along. For dinner, you will dine on buckets of all-you-care-to-enjoy fried chicken and smoked BBQ pork ribs, as well as a tossed green salad, baked beans, fresh-baked cornbread and strawberry shortcake.  Unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria are included for Guests 21 years of age and up. Soft drinks are also included. Prices are $59 to $68 per adult. 

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue prices

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Over at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, there is a covered, open-air pavilion for a music-filled hoedown with some favorite Disney Characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Chip ‘n Dale. You will enjoy an all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ spread including barbecue ribs, smoked chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs with all the trimmings, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, lemonade, fruit punch and soft drinks, plus complimentary wine and beer for Guests 21 years of age and up.

Guests will enjoy cowboy rope tricks, a live country-western band, and line dancing with Disney friends. Several times each night, Disney Characters mingle with guests for photos and autographs. The cost is $30 to $60 per adult.

7. Visit Celebration

Just a short 15 minute drive away from the Disney property is the planned town of Celebration, Florida. Adults will enjoy the shopping, Starbucks, and restaurants. Kids will enjoy a large fountain just right for splashing by the lake, plus candy and toy stores.

Every night during the Christmas season, the snow falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Stop to have your photo made with Santa, plus there is other entertainment like strolling holiday carolers, an ice rink, entertainment and more. This is our guide to locating the free activities in Celebration: Free Fun in Celebration Florida: A Cheapskate Princess Guide.

Celebration Skating

Skating is a reasonable $10.00 for a 1/2 hour minimum skate, with your skate rental included.

8. Visit Ft. Wilderness

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground offers campsites starting at just $69 (2015.) On 750 acres of pine and cypress trees, you can see wildlife like deer, rabbits, ducks and armadillos roaming the woodland trails inside this woodsy backcountry retreat. We mentioned two dinner shows located at Ft. wilderness, but there are a lot of other activities here kids would enjoy as well. 

Explore the Ranch  

(Day) At the Tri-Circle-D Ranch from to  through the stables to see Cinderella’s Ponies and the horses of Main Street, U.S.A.. You might get to see the blacksmith make and apply horseshoes. There are many different horse breeds residing at Tri-Circle-D Ranch, including Appaloosas, Arabians, Belgians, Clydesdales, paint horses, Percherons, quarter horses, and Shetland ponies. Advise the kids that as a free activity, they will be doing far more looking than petting.

Pony Rides

(Day) If your children want to touch ponies, for a very reasonable fee of $8.00 (cash payments only), children can take a pony ride. Offered daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. near Pioneer Hall, no reservations are necessary. Riders must be:

  • at least 2 years of age
  • under 80 pounds
  • no taller than 48 inches
  • be able to hang on by themselves.
  • lead on their pony by a parent or guardian at all times.

Campfires/Singalongs

(Night) Ft. Wilderness is home to a free campfire program sing-along and movie, although there is a charge for refreshments. This event usually begins around 7 p.m. in fall/winter and 8 p.m. after the time change in April through summer.

Christmas Lights

(Night) During the Christmas season, vacationers staying at Ft. Wilderness adorn their campers, golf carts, and tents with a huge display of Christmas lights and decorations. It’s wise to take small flash lights with you, as some of the woodsy roads through the campground are not well-lit.  Smaller children with darkness issues might feel better with some extra lights.

Wagon Ride 

(Night) Take an old-fashioned, 25 minute horse-drawn wagon ride on a tour of the campground property. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, wagon rides depart daily at 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM (weather permitting) from the front of Pioneer Hall. The cost is $8 for guests ages 10 and up and $5 for guests 3 to 9 years of age.

Traveling with a really big group? Group wagon rides (for 30 to 35 Guests) cost $300 per hour and are available with 24-hour notice.

For more information on any activity at Ft. Wilderness, call (407) 824-2832 for information. Here is our guide to wagon rides: Doing Di$ney 4 Le$$: Wagon Rides Under $10

where to find horses at Walt Disney World

9. Water Parade & Wishes

If you are resort hopping after dinner, be sure to catch a glimpse of the free nightly water show, The Electrical Water Pageant at the Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness, or the Contemporary Resort. The water-light parade was originally created in 1971 for the dedication of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. In my opinion, this show is geared more for younger children, but many adults say they enjoy it too. Approximate show times are:

  • Polynesian Resort, 9:00 p.m.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 9:15 p.m
  • Wilderness Lodge, 9:30 p.m.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground, 9:45 p.m.
  • Contemporary Resort 10:00p.m.

If you have stayed for the Electrical Water Pageant, now stay to watch the Magic Kingdom Wishes fireworks show from one of the many Disney resorts on the monorail loop. At the Polynesian Village Resort, the fireworks are visible directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon. The show music is piped in, so while you might not be at the Magic Kingdom for Wishes, the kids will still get the show feel. Before or after the fireworks, grab a bite to eat or a snack. Hang out in the remodeled Polynesian lobby, which is beautiful at night.

You will also have a clear view of the fireworks from the Ticket and Transportation Center located next to the Polynesian. 

where to watch Wishes fireworks for free at Walt Disney World

10. Mini Golf

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf

At Fantasia Gardens, you and the kids will putt your way through five scenes featuring tutu-clad hippos, marching broomsticks and pirouetting ostriches. This course is perfect for families and beginner golfers.

Fairways Miniature Golf is more challenging. Resembling a traditional golf course built on a miniature scale, this course emphasizes skill over chance. Sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens make the Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course an exciting challenge, where par-3 and par-5 holes range in length from 63 to 109 feet long.

Both courses are located in the Epcot Resort area by the WDW Swan Hotel. Prices are $12 for children ages 2-9 and $14 for everyone over age 10.

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

The elves then built 2 distinctly different 18–hole golf experiences: a sand course named “Summer” and a snow course named “Winter.”

On the Summer Course, putt among surfboards, sand castles and ornaments hanging from palm trees, peppermint-striped inner tubes, snapping clam shells and a melting snowman. Disney advises you try not to wake sleeping Santa buried in the sand!

On the Winter Course, watch out for Squirty the Snowman, who sprays water at golfers when golf balls pass beneath him. Holiday themed obstacles include giant peppermints, hockey sticks and the drawbridge of a fantastical, melting castle. The courses combine for the last holes, and after sinking the last putt on Hole 18, you will receive a special message from Santa Claus, courtesy of the WinterNet.

The courses are located next to Blizzard Beach water Park. Prices are $12 for children ages 2-9 and $14 for everyone over age 10.

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Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf prices

11. Movie Under the Stars

Each night at Disney resorts, a complimentary movie screening is available to Guests of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Whether on the beach, poolside or surrounded by the woods, enjoy relaxing evening entertainment that’s fun for the whole family, plus this is FREE! Some resorts have chairs while other resorts just have guests sit on the ground, usually on their own towels, so it does;t hurt to ask what the seating arrangements are beforehand.

For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, or call (407) 939-2273. Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice.

Here is a link to our free movie guide: FREE Movies at the Walt Disney World Resorts: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

12. Parasailing

By taking a parasail ride at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre, think of the views of Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Magic Kingdom you have from high up in the air. For those not into getting soaked with lake water, you won’t even get wet! 

Set out on a standard flight, where you’ll coast through the air for 8-10 minutes, 450 feet off the back of the boat. Or, float even higher in the sky on a deluxe flight where you’ll flutter gracefully for 10-12 minutes, 600 feet behind—that’s as long as 2 football fields!

  • Come dressed the same way you would if you were heading into one of the parks; no swimsuit is required.
  • Bring sunglasses along for the ride, and don’t forget some sunscreen.
  • All fliers must be six years of age and up, and the combined passenger weight in the parachute must be between 130 and 330 pounds.
  • If a flier is under the minimum weight requirement, he or she may ride tandem with another child or adult to reach the minimum weight.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early for check-in. Minors under 18 years of age must have an adult present to sign waivers prior to boarding.

Per U.S. Coast Guard regulations, Sammy Duvall’s parasailing excursions allow up to six passengers on board. Flyers have priority, but friends or family members can ride along in the boat free of charge, if room allows. (Rider inclusion is not guaranteed.)

Operating hours are 9 am to 9 pm, and the cost is $95 to $170 per personUse this link for more information. 

Disney World parsailing information and prices

13. Rent Personal Watercraft

Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre offers two adventures on personal watercraft (PWC.)

Adventure One – Explore Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon on a guided tour, where you follow the leader to an array of one-of-a-kind sights, including Discovery Island, Magic Kingdom park and more. On this one-hour adventure, you may see animals like river otters or elusive Bald Eagles.

Adventure Two- For those who want to chart a new course, set off into our buoyed-off private riding area under the supervision of an official Sammy Duvall’s Watersports guide.

Either choice offers you an all-new view of Walt Disney World.

  • All PWC drivers must be 16 years of age and up, and will need a form of photo ID present at time of check-in
  • While up to 3 passengers may ride a single PWC at once, combined weight must not exceed 400 pounds
  • Minors under 18 years of age must have an adult present to sign waivers prior to departure
  • Any age can ride with an adult
  • PWCs are governed to 35 mph
  • Private riding area is approximately the size of 3 football fields, and is strictly for PWC use
  • Up to 4 PWCs can be rented at once

Before taxes, the price is $135 per PWC (not per person), and allows up to 3 riders or 400 lbsUse this link for more information.

14. Other Water Fun at Sammy Duvall’s

Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre, located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort marina, offers other water activities in addition to tubing and PWC rentals.

Tubing
Ride atop an inner tube towed by the pros. From mild to wild, you will control the ride with a set of hand signals.  The price is $165 which includes a ski boat for 60 minutes, driver/instructor, equipment and up to 5 guests. Cost is for the boat rental, not the price per passenger, and does not include tax.  Use this link for more information.

Water Skiing

World-class instructors can accommodate all ages and skill levels, from first-timers to first-rate. Kids and beginners will have a private dry lesson will show you all the key tips you’ll need. More advanced skiers will enjoy top-level instruction to up your skills. The price is $165, which includes a ski boat for 60 minutes, driver/instructor, equipment and up to five guests. The cost is for the boat rental, not the price per passenger, and does not include tax. Use this link for more information.

Wake Boarding

Towed at high speeds, tearing back and forth across Disney’s Contemporary Resort marina like a true champion of the water, there are wake boarding thrills for all ages and skill levels. For kids and beginners, a private dry lesson will explain all the necessary know-how to become an aquatic wonder once you hit the wake. For the advanced, a little top-level instruction can help you improve your technique and show you how to bust that big trick you’ve been after.

The price is $165, which includes a ski boat for 60 minutes, driver/instructor, equipment and up to 5 guests. The cost is for the boat rental, not the price per passenger, and does not include tax. Use this link for more information.

First Trip to Disney World? What You Probably Don’t Know

Sammy Duvall's watersports activities

15. Specialty Cruises

A free day could provide the opportunity to celebrate a special occasion or enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard a deluxe pontoon boats. Drop your anchor for the world-class fireworks of Magic Kingdom park or Epcot during an evening cruise, where you will experience the fireworks within Epcot when your pontoon boat sails up International Gateway near World Showcase Lagoon.

  • 21-foot pontoons hold up to 8 guests.
  • 25-foot pontoons hold up to 10 guests.
  • A Captain accompanies each Specialty Cruise.
  • Assorted snacks and soft drinks are served.

On the 21′ Tracker Pontoon, the Magic Kingdom show price is $292.88, tax included for your group of 8 guests. Water, soda and bagged snacks  are included. The sound from the fireworks show is not provided on the boat.

On the 25′ Tracker Pontoon, the Magic Kingdom show price is price is $346.13, tax included for your group of 10 guests. Water, soda, and bagged snacks are included. The sound from the fireworks show is provided on the boat.

The price for the only IllumiNations cruise is $325 plus tax for up to 10 guests. Price includes pontoon boat, driver, water, soda and bagged snacks.

Celebration and Dining Cruises

You can transform any cruise into a “Celebration Cruise” with balloons and a banner, and order onboard feasts from Private Dining. Private Dining can deliver customized menus, personalized birthday cake, champagne and strawberries, dessert platters, and light appetizers. You could even order a full meal to be enjoyed during your cruise, from intimate brunches to reception-style dinners. Celebration Cruise packages and Private Dining are available at an additional cost. A professional Butler service is available for order as well. Call Private Dining at the Disney Resort where your cruise launches:

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort: (407) 824-2955
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: (407) 824-2473
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: (407) 824-2165
  • Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts: (407) 939-3160

Fireworks are not guaranteed = On the rare occasion, fireworks shows may be rescheduled or canceled. Guests are encouraged to call to reconfirm the fireworks schedule at least 2 weeks prior to arrival.

Also, it is customary to give your “captain” a gratuity. For more information, use this link. 

Disney World specialty cruises

16. Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage

How about a boat trip where everyone dresses up as pirates?!

Leaving from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, this experience used to be called Magical Fireworks Voyage. You will begin with cookies, snacks and beverages before you head out for a boat trip with prime viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes and the Electrical Water Pageant. Before you board, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee arrive for fun and photos, and your host for the night is “Patch.” As you sail along the Seven Seas Lagoon, Patch leads sing-along, Disney Trivia challenges, and tells the story of Peter Pan, who actually greets you when you arrive back at the dock. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, and there is a 48-hour cancellation policy  

The price is $33 for ages 3 – 9 and $57.50 for anyone age 10 and up.

Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage

17. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Your daughter will receive her own “Fairy Godmother-in-training” who will wave her magic wand, then break out the beauty tools, and turn your darling into a princess!

Depending on what services you want to pay for, you will choose a hairstyle, make-up, and nail color. You can add accessories, a Disney princess costume, and keepsake photo in a princess-themed photo holder if your brought $$$.

Packages start at $54.95 plus tax and go up to $189.95.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique can be found inside Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom, but on a free day, you’ll want to visit the other location inside the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney Springs. Use this guide for more information: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

18. Fireworks Dessert Cruise

Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise lets you see the fireworks show Wishes from a completely new viewing location. You’ll be on board one of Disney’s ferrys, enjoying all sorts of fabulous food and drinks. Guests will board the ferry at the Ticket & Transportation Ferryboat Dock one hour prior to Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

The cost is $99 for guests over the age of nine and  $69 for children ages 3 to 9. These prices include taxes and your gratuity.

Disney World ferrytle wishes dessert party prices

19. Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room is held at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  Afternoon Tea is offered seven days a week and is held from between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  The cost for tea and assorted finger foods range from $13 to $45, For more information including menu items and specific prices, use this link. 

Disney-Moms-fun-outside-the-parks

How a Walt Disney World Trip Alters Your After-Vacation Reality

And there you have it, tons of activities for a day at Disney World that doesn’t include park tickets. Your “free day” can be as relaxing or exciting, or as free or expensive as you want it to be. The true beauty of a trip to Disney World is never running out of things to do. You will just never be able to see and do it all without running out of time.

Running out of money, well, that’s a different matter altogether.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you after you woke the family up late, headed for your resort pool and perhaps a movie at Disney Springs. 

 

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.

Ferrytale Wishes Fireworks Dessert Cruise: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney ferrytale wishes dessert party

For those vacation planners looking for a different activity for an upcoming trip, Disney World has announced a brand new opportunity to see Wishes fireworks while enjoying yummy snacks and drinks.

Disney World Water Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

What is it?

Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise lets you see the fireworks show Wishes from a completely new viewing location. You’ll be on board one of Disney’s ferrys, hence the name Ferrytale Wishes, and while there, you’ll be enjoying all sorts of fabulous food and drinks.

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When do you board the ferry?

Guests will board the ferry at the  Ticket & Transportation Ferryboat Dock one hour prior to Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

What foods will served?

  • “The Grand” key lime tart
  • pineapple upside down cake from the chefs at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • spiced flourless chocolate cake from the pastry kitchen at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • “Main Street” Mickey Balloon Tarts
  • mini “fireworks” cupcakes 
  • Cinderella’s Sugar Slipper with Orange Financier
  • no-sugar-added Florida mango panna cotta
  • assorted fruits and cheeses.

You can also toast your evening with specialty alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages in souvenir glow glasses.

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

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The Cost

This is a special ticket event with limited availability, so you will need to purchase tickets in advance.

The cost is $99 for guests over the age of nine and  $69 for children ages 3 to 9. These prices include taxes and your gratuity.

Is it worth the money?

The dessert parties inside the parks have been extremely popular.

I think it’s important to realize that no adult will really eat $100 worth of dessert. About the point I hit $10 worth of sugar, I would probably develop a stomach ache.

What you are paying for is an event, and special Disney events cost money. Imagine a proposal aboard the ferry, or celebrating a birthday, or an anniversary, and compare that cost that with concert or sporting event tickets, and while not a deal, it certainly makes the cost seem more justifiable.

Over 10 Ways Kids Can Earn Money for a Disney Vacation

Disney hidden Mickey

How do You Make Reservations?

For reservations, use these options

  • visit DisneyWorld.com/DINE
  • call 407-WDW-DINE

Wishers Ferrytale Dessert Party

When is Wishes not “Wishes?”

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very-Merry-Christmas Party nights, the fireworks display will be Happy HalloWishes or Holiday Wishes—Celebrate the Spirit of the Season. On these nights, you will not see the traditional “Wishes” Nighttime Spectacular.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you peeking over the ferry railing, waiting for the fireworks to begin…

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room: a Cheapskate Guide

Disney World ferrytle wishes dessert party prices

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 Extravagance: Keys to the Kingdom Tour

Updated for 2017!

Sometimes Disney fans need something different to propel a vacation to the next level. There are many Disney World special events you can attend by purchasing tickets that feature food, fun, and entertainment. You can also take tours of parks and resorts that provide backstage knowledge of Disney World and Walt Disney himself. These additional tickets are not necessary for a fun vacation, in fact many are pricey, but they can also create memories that last a lifetime. There’s really nothing cheapskate about purchasing an additional ticket on top of theme park admission, so we call this a Disney World extravagance.

Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour provides a five-hour, in-depth look at the history of Magic Kingdom, along with backstage access to legendary hidden areas, and lunch. [Read more…]

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room: a Cheapskate Guide

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room prices

Looking for a special Disney activity, something different from the usual roller coasters and counter service meals? Then perhaps you should think about making a reservation for Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Room. Vacationers always remark that walking around the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, often referred to as the “flagship” of Disney resorts, is like taking a trip back in time. It’s time to experience a traditional afternoon tea served in grand British style.

The Location

To find the Garden View Tea Room, walk through the Grand Floridian first floor lobby to the lounge area at the far end of the building. This light-filled lounge overlooks manicured gardens, a fountain, and a pool area. You will “tour the globe” sipping international teas, dining on a selection of sandwiches, cakes and other delicacies.

Days and Times

Afternoon Tea is offered seven days a week and is held from between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. At three o’clock each day, enjoy the Grand Floridian piano player as he begins performing Disney tunes, a lovely accompaniment to your relaxing afternoon. You can make reservations for the Tea using this Disneyworld.com link.

Disney PANDORA Charms and Bracelets Are Finally Here!

prices for the Grand Floridian afternoon tea

Prices

I was unable to find prices or menu descriptions on the main Disney website. After some research, the most up to date menu (updated 1/15) and price list was located on  wdwinfo.com. They have a tremendous wealth of information on their website, which you can visit with this link.  Remember that all menus are subject to change at any time with no prior notice.

Entree/Main Course

Mrs. Potts Tea (For Guests Ages 3-9)

Assorted tea sandwiches including tuna salad, ham and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly on white bread, plus a selection of two house-made pastries, together with a special “Dark Tea” (Chocolate Milk)  $13.00

Buckingham Tea

Assorted tea sandwiches, butter scone, jam tart, with a choice of two house-made pastries (Strawberries and Crème or English Trifle) together with your choice of tea  $25.00 ***

Prince Edward Tea

Assorted pâté, cheeses served with cumberland sauce, butter scone, jam tart, together with a glass of Fonseca Bin 27 Character Port and your choice of tea  $30.00 ***

The Grand Tea

Assorted tea sandwiches, butter scone, jam tart, with a choice of two house-made pastries (Strawberries and Crème or English Trifle) together with a glass of Domaine Ste. Michelle Sparkling Wine and your choice of tea  $35.00 ***

Princess Kate Tea

Choice of potted shrimp or tuna poke, cheeses and seasonal fruits, buttery scone, jam tart, with a selection of two delicate house-made pastries. together with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne and your choice of tea  $45.00***

***There is a charge for additional pots of tea. 

A Disney World Parks Guide: Tips from a Travel Agent

Grand Flroidian Tea

Teas

Cassis  Aromatic blend that harmonizes the sweet tartness of blackcurrants with depth of black tea

Chamomile  Infusion of golden chamomile blossoms with a smooth, apple-like finish

Eros  Medium-bodied Ceylon combines sweet mandarin oranges with warm vanilla for a sweet and creamy finish

Floral Jasmine Green  Spring harvest twisted-leaf green tea with medium- tannic notes and the delicate scent of jasmine

Garden View Blend  Assam and Keemun black leaves blended with the floral overtones or flowery Early Grey

Harmony   Mild and sweet with a blend of chamomile, orange blossoms, peppermint, and allspice

Imperial English Breakfast   Blend of Ceylon and China black teas. Decaffeinated English Breakfast is also available

Jade Leaf   Delicate tea with a hint of sweetness, fresh and grassy quality reminiscent of Nori

Jamaican Spice   Brilliant red zesty infusion of hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party   Medium-bodied Ceylon tea leaves scented with the essential oils of vanilla and natural fruits, including passion fruit and pomegranate

Mango Oolong   Refreshing Tung Ting oolong, mingled with the scent of ripe mangoes

Masala Black Tea Chai   Layered and complex blend of spices with notes of clove and cardamum

Organic Breakfast   Blended true to the origin of “English Breakfast,” this organic connoisseur-grade version is made in the great tradition of strong, malty black tea

Organic Vanilla Rooibos   Madagascar vanilla bean natural essential oils sweeten this organic rooibos

Osmanthus Oolong   Rare Osmanthus flowers are placed next to oolong leaves for fragrance. It is highly coveted for its champagne aroma and deep, rich flavor

Princess Breakfast Tea   South African Organic Rooibos flavored with vanilla beans and a hint of strawberry, rich in antioxidants and vitamins and naturally decaffeinated

Russian Earl Grey   Blended in the honor of the Russian tradition, this Earl Grey uses the rind of the spicy beramot orange for an exotic blend of citrus

Silver Leaf   Harvested from south of the Yangtze River, this premier connoisseur grade of white tea is named for the silver downy hairs that cover the young, unopened buds

Thunderbolt Darjeeling   Often referred to by tea connoisseurs as muscatel, which is a grape varietal found in sweeter wines, this thin-bodied tea is light with a floral aroma

Vanilla Earl Grey   This “classic with a twist” has a decidedly smooth finish

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian's Garden View Tea Room

Randy Ash, long-time Cheapskate Princess reader, took his family to the Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room this past January. We asked him how he enjoyed his experience. “I enjoy the down time that Afternoon Tea provides. It is a beautiful place to sit, enjoy a snack, and plan our evening. We’re very happy we purchased Table in Wonderland this year.

Disney Grand Floridian Afternoon Tea Prices

His wife Stacy also told us what she enjoyed about the Tea, “The exquisite foods, tea selection and timeless atmosphere are on our itinerary every Disney trip. Visiting the tea room is like walking into a grand time in history. The atmosphere is fancy, but the service is friendly.”
 
What were Stacy’s favorite foods? “We can’t pass up the cheeses and tea sandwiches, but the scones and lemon curd and fresh strawberries with cream are exquisite. Every WDW trip includes a trip to the tea room, that’s if we can get in!
Disney Moms fun outside the parks

Discount?

The cost for the Ash family’s four people was about $134 including tax, but they saved over $26 on their Tea by using the Tables in Wonderland card. You can read more about this at tablesinwonderland.com.  To my knowledge, there are not any price discounts other than Tables in Wonderland.
Remember even if this is not a full meal, it is essentially a table service experience. An 18% to 20% gratuity for table service meals is suggested.
 free day activities at Disney World

Our Fans

We asked our Facebook fans what they thought about the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea.
 
Pat S., “We enjoyed the tea, but it was five or six years ago. It was a fun girl’s time out.
Helen Z., “It was such a wonderful experience. They have several tea packages that they offer. I can’t wait until my next visit in April.
Jennifer E., “I took my two sons last year. It was so fun; they really enjoyed it, as did I. I see they raised the prices. My kids requested this for our spring trip, so we will see. It was awesome though, so I am considering it.
And our one negative vote:
Christina R., “In my opinion, it’s not worth the price. I have been to a lot of tea houses with my parents over my childhood. The food was average, service was fantastic though. I liked it better when you could order a la carte.”

fun things to do at Disney World

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed through the lobby at the Grand Floridian…

 

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.

Over 190 Disney World Tips for Kids!

best tips for kids on a Disney World vacation

Best Disney Tips

If you are planning a Disney vacation that includes children, you will do a lot of just that – planning. We’re here to help. When we published our most popular article, entitled 120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation!, we had no idea it would be read over one million times in less than two years. So introducing…Over 190 Disney World Tips for Kids. Think of this article as our FREE vacation gift to you, because we love free!

Warning: this article is long. But this list may seriously be the ONLY planning guide for Disney World vacations with kids that you may ever need. At least we hope it is!

So don’t feel like you have to read it all at one time, because we’ve organized, categorized, and numbered it for you.  Pinterest pin it, bookmark it, e-mail it to yourself, come back later, or just settle in with a cup of coffee for a nice long read. You’ll thank us later.

And if we forgot YOUR favorite tip, leave us a comment so we can add it in. We have some of the most traveled readers and best informed Facebook fans ever!

tips for a Disney World trip with kids

1. Use FREE T.A.

Planning a Disney vacation has become a complicated ordeal, especially when traveling with kids, and it’s nice to have expert help. We recommend using Milke Ellis, our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations. Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com. His services are 100% free, and he is fantastic!

2. Phone App.

Get the My Disney Experience iPhone app., where you can view and update plans, make dining reservations, search park maps, and get attraction wait times. Older children could easily learn to navigate this app. on their on, plus practice reading a wealth of information. For more detailed information, use this link.

3. Schedule FastPass+

Use Disney’s website or the My Disney Experience app. (see #2), to make three (per day) pre-reservations for rides, shows, or meeting characters before you even arrive in Orlando. On-property guests can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days before their trip; everyone else can book FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. Use your first three FastPass+es, then get more one at a time. Fine out what rides are most important to the kids, and let the pre-planning begin.  Use this Disney link for more info.  

4. Arrange for Magical Express

Are you and the kids flying? Disney’s Magical Express transportation is a complimentary service for guests of select Disney Resort hotels from Orlando International Airport to your Disney resort. To use this service, provide your arrival and return flight information when you make your reservations.  5. Delayed Check Out

All Disney hotels have a posted check out time of 11 a.m. To work with later flight schedules, when you check in at the front desk, ask if it would be possible to extend your check out time. Sometimes, depending on occupancy levels, this can be extended by several hours but no guarantees.

6. Tickets

Unless you purchased Annual Passes, your tickets will expire 14 days after the first day of use. So if the kids get tired after several days of early mornings and late nights, you have the flexibility to schedule in a free day without stressing over looming expiration dates.

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

7. Start Walking 

Kids have a tough time walking miles for days at Disney World. Start them walking way before the actual vacation, as exhausted children make for brutally long days. The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

8. Wear Comfy Shoes

Kid’s need shoes to be comfortable. Glittery heels, flip-flops, and sandals can be rough on little feet hour after hour, and wearing brand new shoes is just asking for trouble. What are the Best Shoes to Wear on a Disney World Vacation? We Asked the Fans…*

9. Prepare for Rain

It rains a lot in Orlando, especially in the summer. You can buy good quality ponchos at the parks, but they are expensive, so many people bring their own.

10. Count Down Calendar

If your children are driving you crazy in anticipation of your departure date, make an old-fashioned paper chain or a chalk board count down calendar so they can physically see how many days they have left (to suffer) before you leave.

11. Google Maps

Google maps have some really cool, almost-cartoon-like maps of the Disney parks and resorts. These are great for kid’s entertainment. This is a perfect way to show children what your resort and the parks look like with a childlike appearance. FREE Disney Virtual Vacation…Check Out the Walt Disney World “Parks” Maps.

12. Free Disney Planning DVDs

Disney Planning DVDs offer video tours of the theme and water parks, resorts, a tour of Disneyland, tips to save money, and pocket-sized planning guides  To request a free planning DVD, use this link. 

13. Utilize YouTube 

YouTube can be a huge aid in planning and preparing for a vacation. Show the kids several ride videos each day so they know what to expect. Search YouTube for ride videos, park tips and secrets, ride music (one of my favorites), and all sorts of fun fact videos.

14. Camera Equipment

It’s extremely important to remember extra batteries and memory cards for your camera to ensure you catch your children’s precious memories. Charge your phone, and make sure you remember your camera. Some of these experiences will not ever be repeated. 

15. Photopass 

Disney’s PhotoPass is a free service where Cast Members are stationed with digital cameras at park entrances, iconic locations, most character meet and greets, and character dining to snap photos of your group. Purchase all of your Walt Disney World PhotoPass photos on one CD for $169.95, or pre-order the CD at a discounted price of $119.95. The PhotoPass Archive Disc, which is your photo CD, gives you a copyright release to print the photos yourself. Use this link for more information. 

10 Vacation Questions Answered by a Disney Travel Agent

16. Memory Maker

Memory Maker connects your photos to your MyDisneyExperience account, including your PhotoPass, attraction, and dining photo print packages all for $199. Purchase it in advance for $169. Download your photos at no additional charge from MyDisneyPhotopass.com for 45 days after being taken. These photos also come with a copyright release, allowing you to do anything you want with them except commercial use.

17. PhotoPass Photographers & Your Camera

PhotoPass photographers will be glad to take pictures with your camera, even if you don’t want PhotoPass. Simply wait in line, hand the photographer your camera to snap a picture, and say thanks!

18. Bring Ziplocs

Ziplocs can store light medical supplies, unfinished snacks and meals, unopened snacks, batteries, memory cards, cameras, and phones, with everything remaining safe and dry. Want to Save Money on Food at Disney World? Ziplocs Can Save You Cash!

19. Bring Your Meds

You can purchase simple medical supplies in the park and resorts gift shops, but that’s expensive. Make sure you pack what medical necessities you and the kids need beforehand.

20. Bring Your Sunscreen  

You will need sunscreen, and it costs more to purchase it on Disney property. Be sure you put it on the kids 30 minutes prior to being out in the sun. Make sure the sunscreen has not expired; all sunscreen has an expiration date.

21. Bring Change

One of the cheapest souvenirs ever is the pressed penny, and pressing machines are found all over property. For $.51, you can get a Disney image pressed onto a penny. For $.75, you can get an image pressed onto a quarter. The Cheapest Disney Souvenir EVER? Many crafty moms turn these souvenirs into jewelry.  Cool Disney World Pressed Penny Jewelry! Children will enjoy throwing change into fountains on property as well.

22. Tinker Bell Gifts

Many parents buy gifts before the vacation, which can save big bucks on souvenirs. Tinker Bell brings gifts at night for children, especially those with good behavior. Our readers offered suggestions: The Ultimate Tinker Bell Gift Guide for a Disney Vacation

23. Glow Jewelry

When the sun goes down, glow in the dark jewelry appears. Many parents purchase these in advance from Dollar Tree or Michael’s. This is also a great way to spot your child in a crowd while you are in dark lighting situations. 

What Items Can You NOT Bring to Walt Disney World Theme Parks?

24. Autograph Books

If the kids plan to collect character autographs, you’ll need an autograph book. Make or buy your own book pre-trip, or purchase a Disney autograph books for around $10. Tips on out of the ordinary items to have autographed:  12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books.

25. Bring a Sharpie

For character autographs, make sure you bring a large wide-tip Sharpie marker. Many of the characters wear big chunky gloves, so it’s hard for them to hang onto small pens.

planning guide for a kids vacation

26. Costumes

Children really dress up at the Disney parks these days. And If you don’t bring pirate and princess costumes for your kids, it’s going to cost a fortune to buy them there. We suggest you bring outfits with you including comfy shoes.  Can You Afford Those Adorable Disney Princess Costumes at Walt Disney World?

27. Match those Clothes

Dressing the family in matching t-shirts creates a sense of belonging and makes your group (especially children) members easier to spot. You can order your shirts or make them yourself.  Save Money on Disney World T-Shirts by Making Your Own!

28. Packing for Winter

We generally recommend taking pants and a jacket with you to Orlando in the winter. In the daytime, shorts and t-shirts may be just fine, but night-time could require some warmer clothing. Be sure to check the weather forecasts frequently.

29. Best Rides for Your Child’s Age

The Disneyworld.com website has sections under each theme park with a series of filters that can help you determine the best rides for your child using their age, height, and interests. If you would like to do some detailed research for your family, use these links to each park’s Attraction Page: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

30. Celebrate Something

Did you know you can celebrate “something” at Disney six months prior to and six months after the date? This opens up all sorts of reasons to plan a trip, including birthdays and anniversaries. *Nine Tips for Celebrating Birthdays at Walt Disney World for FREE!

31. Plan a Child Free Night?

If you are celebrating something adult-ish, like your birthday or a wedding anniversary, perhaps you would like some adult time without the kids? Disney uses “Kid’s Nite Out” for in-room babysitting children 6 months to 12 years of age, with prices starting at $16 per hour for one child. Use this link for prices and more information. 

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

32. Children’s Activity Centers

Kids ages 3 to 12 years of age can visit “Children’s Activity Centers” located at select resorts hotels. These are themed, supervised play areas where children watch movies, play games, draw, eat and play. Call 407-939-3463 for more information on operating hours, because hours vary based on location.

33. Potty Training

Ah, potty training. Do you really want to be hauling around a child’s potty seat or even one of those big plastic potty chairs? (No, you don’t.) This could be a great incentive for kids to speed things up and do some pottying on a regular adult seat.

34. Beware the Automatic Toilettes

The toilettes in Disney parks and resorts are automatic flushing. You can put your hand over the sensor, but this makes helping out difficult with one hand tied up. Take some Post-It notes with you into the bathrooms (keep them stored in your Ziplocs.) Place a sticky note over the sensor before your little one sits down, taking it with you when you exit.

35. MagicBands + Room Key

MagicBands have mostly replaced traditional room keys/keycards. Linked with My Disney Experience (see tip #2)MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands that resemble a watch or bracelet which are touched to a sensor. Use the bands to unlock your room, enter theme and water parks, check in using FastPass+, connect PhotoPass to your account, and charge food and merchandise purchases to your room.

If you do not want your children to have charging privileges with MagicBands (or key cards), tell a Cast Member when you arrive for check inWalt Disney World MagicBands: A Cheapskate Guide 

36. Customize your MagicBands 

The My Disney Experience website allows you to customize colors (pink, blue, red, green, orange, gray and yellow) and names for your MagicBands. Ask the kids what color they want, because you have until 10 days before your arrival to customize your MagicBand, if you wish to have the bands shipped to your home.

10 Things They Forgot to Mention About Walt Disney World Vacations

37. Earn $ 

If you know someone who wants to take a trip, Disney or other locations, you can earn $20 for referring your friends, family, work associates to use the FREE travel services of Mike Ellis, our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations. Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com. His services are 100% free, and he is fantastic, and he can;t wait to send you $20 once your referral finishes their travels.  

Scheduling

When kids are out if school, families go to Disney. If you can take the kids out of school, lines will be shorter and crowds will be lighter. But this can be hard for those with older children who would struggle with make up work or truancy policies. What Are the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World?

tips for toddlers on a Disney World vacation

38. Locker Rentals

You can rent key-operated lockers to store your personal items in the theme and water parks. Not including a $5 refundable key deposit, large are $10 and small are $8 per day. Return your locker key before one hour after park closing to receive the deposit refund. Use this link for more information. 

39. Keep a Map/Schedule

At the resort front desks and park front gates, grab time schedules and park maps. Put these in scrap books, picture frames, or turn them into drink coasters by gluing them onto small ceramic tiles, coating them with Mod Podge.

40. Free Stickers 

Be on the lookout for Cast Members with free stickers, which are great for t-shirt decorations, scrap-book mementos, and spilled-food stain cover ups.

41. Change of Clothes

Accidents happen, kids get dirty/wet, and chances are pretty high they will need a change of clothes. Put an extra outfit in a Ziploc bag (tip #18) inside your park bag, swapping the dirty clothes back into the Ziplocs.

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42. Hydration is a Must

Mid-summer in Orlando is Africa hot. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity, without sufficient rest and fluids puts children at risk for dehydration. So keep those fluids going, both water and Gatorade type drinks.

43. When Children Get Sick

What do you do what a child gets sick on vacation? In the parks, visit one of the First Aid centers. Nurses are available during normal park operating hours to offer over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies. Resorts have a map with directions to local drug stores and Wal-marts if you need to pick up medications. In-room medical services are available at all WDW Resort hotels 24 hours a day. Use this link for more information. Offsite Urgent Care centers like Florida Hospital Centra Care Walk-In Urgent Care Centers are open 8 to midnight, M-F, and 8 to 8 Sat. to Sun. Complimentary transportation is available and many insurance plans are accepted. Call (407) 934-2273 for more info. or use this website for more information. 

44. Hand Sanitizer

You won’t always be able to get little hands to a sink with real soap, and kids touch everything in sight at Disney. (So do I!) Keep some small bottles of hand sanitizer with you and apply often; wash with soap in sinks when possible.

45. Pin Trading

With Disney Pin Trading, guests trade metal Disney pins with Cast Members and possibly other guests. The pins are not free, but trading them is. Trading Pin boards are located at resorts and gift shops. Cast Members wear pins on lanyards for trading: if their lanyards are green, they will only trade with children.

46. Ready for Characters?

Cast Members in some character costumes are tall, and even if they are very familiar, children still may get scared when it comes time to take a picture, like what often happens with Santa. If the kids start freaking out, don’t push them or force them to interact. Tips from our readers: Over 20 Disney Character Autograph Tips from Fans and Parents*

47. Where are the Characters?

If your child is looking for a certain character, just ask Cast Members where to find them. If you want to make advance plans, use this list on Intercot.com for typical character locations, although remember these can change at any time without any notifications.

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48. Get a Button

When you celebrate a special event at WDW,  stop by your resort front desk or Guest Services for a FREE “button” ( a big pin, but don’t confuse this with Trading Pins) announcing your special event. Get them for first trips to Disney, birthdays, anniversaries, and occasionally special events. Why Celebrate with a Birthday Button at Disney World? Let a Cheapskate Princess Tell You!

49. Get on the Correct Bus

A great majority of the Disney busses look exactly the same, or they look pretty similar. Before you lose valuable time riding on the wrong route, ask the driver where they are headed. It never hurts to double-check anything.

plan a fun Disney vacation

50. Transportation Trading Cards 

Cast Members on the various forms of Disney transportation often have transportation trading cards available upon request. Sometimes they are out of stock, so if you strike out with one Cast Member, just ask another.

51. Travel Takes Time

Traveling ANYWHERE at Disney takes time. Be sure to give yourself just that, a lot of time to transition from place to place. When traveling from a resort to a dinner reservation, give yourself an hour’s  head start before your reservation time.

Some thoughts on Safety…

52. Child Gets Lost?

If you look up and can’t find your child, or they aren’t at a designated meeting spot, immediately tell a Cast Member. Lost children can also be reported at Guest Relations and Baby Care Centers. When a lost child is found, they will be taken to the Baby Care Centers.

53. Take a Daily Picture

Snap a quick cell phone picture as you walk out of the hotel so you know exactly what each child is wearing that day. This could come in handy (if your memory is like mine…) if you need to show someone what your child’s outfit looks like. 

54. Utilize those Buttons

Remember the buttons we mentioned in Tip #48? Take a Sharpie and write your contact info on the back. If your child gets separated, make sure they know to find a Cast Member and show or tell them your how to reach you.

55. Cell phones

*Cell phones can be really helpful with children that are old enough to A) answer them B) not lose them C) tell you exactly where they are if you get separated on accident. They don’t need a brand new iPhone, because an older phone or a Go Phone works fine. 

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56. MagicBands 

Cast Members say MagicBands will NOT provide any information about a lost child. Have your children memorize your full name and phone number, or write your information on a Disney button (#48) or on a piece of tape you secure inside their shirt collar.  Until the MagicBand technology advances, the bands won’t help when a child is lost.

57. White Name Tags

When separated from your group, make sure children know to look for Disney Cast Members wearing white oval name tags. Make sure your child is carrying or wearing your contact information if they can’t remember it on their own. 

58. Hand Holder/Harness

Toddler harnesses and “hand holders” (Playskool made one called the “Baby Hand Holder for Toddlers”) can help you hang onto impulsive children, on those occasion when you need a little extra help besides just holding a little hand. They may look a little over-protective, but they work. 

59. Deliver Foods to Room

Having groceries, water and snacks delivered  to your hotel can save money and provide picky child eaters with exactly what they will consume. Goodingsdelivers.com, Amazon.com, gardengrocer.com, staples.com (no perishables), and wegoshop.com are companies that deliver water, snacks, and groceries.

 dining tips for Disney World vacations

Dining Tips

60. Kids Under Three Eat Free 

Children under the age of three eat for free at Disney’s buffets and family style table service restaurants as long as they eat off your plate. So their food is free as long as they are willing to eat what you eat. Why Take a Baby to Walt Disney World? Because It’s FREE!

61. Kids’ Meals

Kids’ meals are served with carrots or grapes and milk. If your child wants fries or a soda, simply tell the Cast Member when you place your order.

62. Drink Refills

Kids get thirsty, as do adults, and at almost all WDW theme parks, you will pay more for additional drink refills at counter service dining locations. But FREE refills (leaving more money for other items) are available at certain restaurants:

  • Magic Kingdom: Tortuga Tavern, quick service lunch at Be Our Guest
  • Epcot: Sunshine Seasons, Electric Umbrella
  • Hollywood Studios: Backlot Express
  • Animal Kingdom: Restaurantosaurus

63. ADRs 

Because of increased crowd levels, it’s difficult to get a table at a full-service restaurant without an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR.) You can make ADRs 180 days before your trip by calling 407- 939-3463, make reservations online, or let Erin, our T.A. with Destinations in Florida, do it for you. For last-minute trip planners that cannot secure a reservation, it never hurts to walk up and ask if you can get a table.  If you are close by anyway, the best they could do is locate a table! 

64. Recipe Request

*If your children really enjoy a specific dish served at a table service restaurant or character meal, speak to your server, and they can sometimes provide you with the recipe. You can also phone Disney Guest Services at 407- 939-6244 to request a recipe, or visit disneyfoodblog.com for recipes.

65. Eat Now, Not Then

If you eat at your children’s regular meal times, you will probably be standing in long ordering lines. Try to eat before the rush, like a late lunch or even a late dinner. Lines will be shorter, more tables will be available, and you won’t have to leave the kids seated and reserving your table while you order.

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66. Free Water/Ice Cups

You can order water with meals, and water is FREE!  Kids will save calories, and you’ll save that and money. You don’t have to be eating a meal to order water. Counter service restaurants and snack stands will give you water or cups of ice for free, so just ask. Want to Save Money on Drinks at Disney World? Order This Drink for Free!

67. Eat Breakfast in Room

You don’t have to eat breakfast outside of your room, unless you have a meal plan or free dining. We recommend you and the kids eat breakfast in your room to save time and money. The best food to eat? To Save Money on Disney World Food, Eat Breakfast Here!

68. Bring Your Own Water

Bring your own water bottles, and to save money, refill them with fountain water, water left from lunch, or water you got in one of those free cups we mentioned in Tip #66. Take your own refillable water bottle/container with you into the parks to keep you from throwing away so many plastic bottles, teaching the kids about recycling. To Save Money on Food At Disney, Bring This Bottle With You

69. Bring Water Flavoring 

Some people do not like the taste of Disney water when it comes out of the water fountains, especially children, so bring flavor packets to mix into your water bottle. Let the kids pick these out at the store.

70. Freeze that Water

Freezing water bottles the night before you need them is a great way to fight the heat, and many believe it makes the yucky Disney tap water taste a little more palatable. Drink the cold water as it melts.

71. Bring Your Own Snacks

If your children are picky eaters, bring snacks with you on vacation so they will have their favorites Not only will this save money, but it can keep the picky eaters satisfied and full in-between meals. Can You Bring Your Own Food into a Disney World Theme Park?

72. Check the Menus

Are your kids picky eaters?! It’s a good idea to take a peak at the restaurant menus before you show up for an expensive meal. How to find menus online: Before You Make Your Disney World Dining Reservations, You Should Read These…

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73. Character Meal/Table Service Money Saving Tip

Lunch is a less expensive time to eat than dinner for table service and character meals, and a lunch-time break could be just what fussy children need before a nap. Save Money on Food at Disney World? Make Dining Reservations for This Meal Rather Than That One…

Disney park tips for kids and toddlers

74. Parking Space

Cast Members say you wouldn’t believe how many people forget where they parked. Notice what section and row you parked in. Take a picture and text it to yourself, or write it down, because you’ll need this information 12 hours later when the kids are ready for bed.

75. Holidays

Holiday at Disney are magical and completely decorated to the hilt, especially Christmas. If you go to Disney World during a holiday when children across the country are out of school, then prepare the kids for long lines, people everywhere, and more waiting in lines. Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

76. Daily Schedule

Grab a daily park schedule when you first arrive at the parks so you know what’s going on with scheduled events, entertainment, and character locations. You can also get a time schedule at the resort front desks.

tips and tricks for planning a Disney vacation

77. You Can Rent Strollers

Disney also has molded plastic strollers for rent, which are not suitable for infants or older babies but are fine for toddlers to preschoolers. To get the length of stay stroller discount, you pre-pay the number of days that you need.

  • Single strollers (children 50 lbs. or less) cost $15 daily and $13 for multi-day rate.
  • Double strollers (children 100 lbs. or less.) cost $31 and $27 for multi-day rate.

78. Strollers are Moved

Cast Members will often move strollers around as they straighten the area, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t find your stroller where you originally parked it. Attach balloons, ribbons, or decorate your stroller for easier recognition.

79. Stroller Fold Up 

If you get on Disney busses and trams with your stroller, it needs to be folded up. Strollers can be rolled onto monorails and some boats, depending on space, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared to fold it up.

80. Emergency Plan

If you get separated, do the kids know where to meet? Do small children know what to do if they suddenly can’t find you? Should they stand still or walk around looking for you? Determine a meet up place if you should get separated.

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81. Baby Care Centers at all Four Parks

Open during regular park hours, each full-service Baby Care facility is FREE to use and includes the following:

  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
  • Feeding area with high chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa
  • There is an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase. There items are not free.

82. Souvenir Pick-Up  for Big Toys

Theme park merchandise purchases can be delivered to a designated location near the front entrance for convenient pick-up as you exit the park. When you make your purchase, tell the Cast Member to have your items delivered to the park entrance.

83. It Gets Loud

Small children sensitive to loud noises can find shows like Lights, Motors, Action!, Fantasmic!, IllumiNations, and Wishes to be really loud. You can bring earplugs, and they are also available at First Aid. If possible, sit far away from the source of the noise.

84. It Gets Dark

If kids have never been on “dark rides” before, you may be shocked by their reactions. Don’t push them into something they can’t handle. If the tears start in the first dark space, then don’t continue going into dark ride after ride.

85. Go Early

Head over to the parks early. Except on Extra Magic Hours days, theme parks are the least crowded first thing in the mornings, so you may have a shorter wait time than later on in the afternoon. In the summer, early mornings are not yet hot and humid.

86. Need more Tickets?

If the kids beg you to stay another day in Orlando, to add another day(s) to your current tickets, go to Guest Services before you use the final day of your tickets. Unless it’s the last day, you have the option to add more days, park hopper, and water parks options.

87. Take a Nap

On a typical Disney day, kids start to lose it just after lunch, so head back to the hotel for a quick rejuvenating snooze. There are kids napping in strollers everywhere, which is a great other-option as opposed to going back to the resort.

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88. Take a Break

Disney overstimulation is a very real possibility. If your child isn’t into naps, take a break from rides, take a walk around a resort, or you catch a nap while they watch a little TV. Less stimulation is ideal over cranky and completely stimulated.

89. Lines/Queues Entertainment

Stand-by lines can frequently get really long.  Entertain the kids with iPhone apps., look for Hidden Mickeys, play “I Spy,” or use this time to have a conversation with your child.

90. Ride Before Parades & Shows

During parades and shows, or when people start lining up for entertainment, take advantage of what can be shorter wait times for popular rides. These lines will fill back up right after the parades and shows end.

91. For Big Theaters…

For shows like PhilHarmagic, Little Mermaid, and Muppets 3D Movie in large theaters, your impulse will be to hurry inside one they open the doors, but the better plan is to hang back. First guests inside are instructed to walk all the way to the end of the rows. To be seated in the middle, let other people go in before you.

92. FastPass+ Ride Limits

FastPass has changed in recent years. You can schedule FastPass+ rides in advance but not for the same ride. Some parks put rides into categories called “tiers,” and you can only choose one attraction per tier. Without a FastPass+, stand-by lines for your child’s favorite ride can be long. Use this link on touring plans.com for more information.

93. FastPass+ is Inflexible

FastPass+ ending times are now strictly enforced. You will not be allowed on a ride if you arrive past your return window. Screenshot your My Disney Experience so you remember your times, or write them down, and double-check them frequently to ensure you arrive on time.

94. Extra PastPass+

When the switch was made from FASTPASS paper passes to FastPass+ and MagicBands, you were only allowed three passes per park per day. You can get more PastPass+ passes once you have used your original three, one at a time, but warn the kids, there may not be many popular passes left by the end of the day.

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95. Special Parties = Extra Tickets

Especially popular with kids, “hard ticket events” are special parties held at the parks that require additional admission. MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and MVMCP (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.) have a starting price of around $55- $65 for children’s tickets and $65-$75 for adult tickets before tax. You get sweet treats, special photo opportunities with characters, music and light shows, and time in the parks when regular ticket holders have left.

96. Sleep In

There will be days when you just can not wake up super early without the kids declaring “mutiny.” It’s not the end of the world if you sleep in. You can make up a few missed rides later with a good attitude and a rested body.

97. Stay Late

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are hours the parks open early or stay open later for those guests staying at Disney resorts.  EMH at Magic Kingdom are a great option for vacationing with small children, because when the really popular roller coasters have long lines, there are still lots of MK attractions for kids without crazy waits.

98. Show the Bands

If you attend Extra Magic Hours, you will need a MagicBand/park ticket for every person you are traveling with to show a Cast Member for E.M.H. admittance. You will not be allowed on rides or in shows without a ticket or band, and that rule goes for every person.

99. Night Time Shows

If the kids can stay up late, some of the best shows start after 9 p.m, like Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, and Celebrate the Magic at Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. If there is a second show time, the second showing is generally less crowded than the first.

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100. Height Requirements in Alphabetical Order

  • Big Thunder Mountain – 44″
  • Goofy’s Barnstormer – 35″
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38″
  • Space Mountain – 44″
  • Splash Mountain – “40
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – 40″
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – “32

101. Wishes Fireworks Viewing

If your children can handle the loud booms of fireworks (or bring ear plugs,) try standing behind Cinderella’s Royal Carousel to watch Wishes at 10 p.m. Fireworks are shot from the roof tops and the swampland behind Fantasyland, so you get a tremendously “in your face” experience from behind the castle. Beware falling ash on windy nights, but this spot becomes more popular each year for a reason.

102. After Wishes 

Watch Wishes (Tip #101) from behind Cinderella Castle, and then walk around to the front of the castle for Celebrate the Magic. You should be able to get an unobstructed seat right up front. Then catch the second Main Street Electrical Parade performance. This helps avoid the crazy crowds exiting the park before and after Wishes at 10 p.m.

103. Trading Cards 

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game gives you five FREE collectible trading cards per day for each ticket that has been activated on that day. If dad stays back at the resort, sorry, you can’t pick up his cards. You don’t have to actually play the game to start collecting. Pick up cards at the Fire Station on Main Street and over in Liberty Square by the Christmas Shop. 

Disney Mom tips for vacation

104. Hair Cuts

While hair cuts are not generally regarded as all that much fun, they can be at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street. Prices for child and adult hair cuts are extremely reasonable.  Should You Get a Haircut at Walt Disney World? For $20, with Pixie Dust and Stickers, Yes!

105. Hair Confetti 

The Harmony Barber Shop (tip #104) on Main Street will “confetti” and “pixie dust” your child’s hair for free. Castle Couture in Fantasyland also has “pixie dust.” As far as we know, this is still a free service. 

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106. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella’s Castle is a styling salon for children over the age of three. This is popular, so reservations (407-WDW-STYLE) are highly suggested. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance, or a $10 fee can be applied. All packages range in price from $15.95 (Knight Package) to $189.95 (Castle Package) Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: Can A Cheapskate Afford To Become A Disney Princess?

107. The Pirates League

Next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, kids ages three and up can become transformed into pirates or empresses, complete with a new pirate name and a bag of loot. This is becoming popular, so reservations (407-WDW-CREW) are highly suggested. Package prices are $29.95 (Jake and the Never Land Pirates) to $74.95 (Mermaid Deluxe Package)

108. Early Character Meals

Make an early reservation for Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table on a day with no Extra Magic Hours, and you are admitted into the park ahead of other guests. Your child may not eat $30 worth of food, nor might you eat $50 worth of food, but it’s truly the experience you are paying for. Tips to Keep a Good Disney Character Meal From Going All Wrong*

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109. Goodnight, Sweetheart, It’s Time to Go…

Getting out of the parks at night can be a mad dash to get in yet another line to wait for transportation. Many parents leave before Wishes fireworks. If you stay until after 11 p.m. or later, transportation lines and crowds will be much more manageable.

110. Shop Late

After park closing, Main Street at Magic Kingdom frequently stays open a full two hours. While the whole world is standing in line to get home, kids can take their time and look through the gift shops or grab a snack and eat it above the train station. Let them take your time looking for souvenirs.

111. Free Snack Samples 

Visit the Main Street Confectionery for occasional free candy samples, with cotton candy being a pretty common sample handed out daily. Good luck getting out of there without purchasing something sweet.

Epcot Tips for toddlers and teens

112. Height Requirements in Alphabetical Order

  • Mission: SPACE Green and Orange – 44″
  • Soarin’ – 40″
  • Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East – 48″
  • Test Track – 40″

113. Two Entrances

Epcot is the only Disney park to have two entrances. The front entrance at Future World (East and West) connects to the parking lot. The secondary entrance, connected to the back edge of World Showcase, leads to Disney’s Boardwalk and multiple resorts. If the kids want to see the countries, you may do less walking by using the back entrance. 

114. Two Opening Times

Just as there are two different entrances, World Showcase also has a different time schedule, typically opening two hours later than Future World. Plan accordingly, because a lot of wasted walking is at risk.

115. Seriously, Strollers

Epcot is massive. Even if your children can handle every day walking, you should think about bringing or renting a stroller, because little feet tire fast.

116. There are Characters

While most people do not associate Epcot with Disney characters, there are meet and greets for characters including Alladin and Jasmine, Alice in Wonderland, Aurora, Belle, Mary Poppins, Snow White and others. Consult the times guide or ask Cast Members where you can find them.

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117. Character Photo

Have a Disney Chase Visa Card? Enjoy a character Meet ‘N’ Greet at Chase’s Private Cardmember location that includes a FREE 5×7 photo.  This exclusive event is offered daily 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Innoventions West.

118. Character Meals

Epcot has 2 character meals. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Princess Storybook Dining) features Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mary Poppins, Mulan, and Snow White. These characters rotate, so you won’t see them all during every visit. At the Garden Grill (Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast) kids meet Chip, Dale and many other favorite Disney Characters, which can include Mickey and Pluto.

119. INNOVENTIONS

Make sure the kids stop by INNOVENTIONS East and West, two separate pavilions where children discover engaging exhibits, stimulating simulations, educational games, and tons of interactive, hands-on fun.

120. Fountains = Wet

Several areas in Epcot allow kids to splash and play in fountains, which can be great for cooling off in the sweltering summer heat. Have a change of clothes though, just in case the little ones don’t like walking around soaking wet. 

121. Get a Drink

Club Cool in Epcot’s Future World offers eight drinks from around the world, all of which are international Coca-Cola brands. Taste as much of the beverage samples as you want, but make sure the kids don’t leave with a tummy ache.

122. Kids Crafts

See Cast Member at any Kidcot Fun Stop to get a complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to decorate and personalize with the free supplies at each station. Cast Members will share insights about their native lands, such as how to say “hello,” and they will give your child a stamp of Duffy in each country. Use this link to find Kidcot Fun Stops.

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123. Go on a Secret Mission

At Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure, kids can solve clues with Agent P. to thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s most daringly evil plots. Visit a recruitment center at Odyssey Bridge, Norway Pavilion, Italy Pavilion or near the International Gateway to receive your assignment. Here you will pick up an interactive handheld device that will guide you on your 30 to 45 minute mission. 

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124. Model Trains

A large model train display is located at the Germany Pavilion. Kids will love the three electric traveling trains, mostly locomotives that pull a car or two. 

125. Buy Me Somethin’

Where can you shop with kids in mind at Epcot? Mouse Gears is a massive souvenir shop in Epcot’s Future World by INNOVENTIONS, where kids will find every imaginable bit of Micky-themed merchandise available. There are gift shops in World Showcase that are more adult-oriented, but they offer candy, toys, jewelry, and holiday ornaments.  

126. E-mail a Video to Friends

Leaving Spaceship Earth, you are deposited in Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. Kids can e-mail a video message to their friends and family.

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127. Thoughts on IllumiNations

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a 12 minute fireworks show beginning just before the park closes at World Showcase Lagoon. Small children can definitely be frightened with the loud sounds of fireworks. Also, the show is probably best viewed right around the lagoon, which can be difficult on crowded days.

128. Hats & Glasses

Of all the parks that get direct sun without benefit of very much shade, Epcot guests suffer the most.  Kids would definitely appreciate hats and sun glasses.

Disney Hollywood Studios tips for kids

129. Height Restrictions in Alphabetical Order

  • Rock’n’Roller Coaster – 48″
  • Star Tours – 40″
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40″

There are only six rides in Hollywood Studios, three of which have height restrictions, so if you visit with smaller children, understand they will be seeing shows and street entertainment more than riding anything.

130. Shows for Smaller Kids

*If there is a benefit to a lack of rides for kids at Hollywood Studios, it would be that the stage shows available are Broadway-caliber. Beauty and the Beast – Live on StageVoyage of The Little Mermaid, and Disney Junior-Live on Stage! are all tremendously popular shows. Remember parts Little Mermaid take place in a darkened theater, and Ursula can be scary to little children.

131. Specialty Meals

Looking for a special dining experience for kids? The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant lets you enjoy your meal sitting in convertible car tables, watching clips from b-movie sci-fi flicks on a big screen. The 50’s Prime Time Cafe invites you to enjoy crazy family antics eating in “Mom’s kitchen.” Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

132. Character Meal

Jedi Mickey’s STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood & Vine is a character meal available May 4 through June 14 (2015 dates). You’ll meet Disney pals dressed like Star Wars characters, including Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Vader Goofy, Storm Trooper Donald, and Ewoks Chip ‘n’ Dale.

The cost is $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child age 3 to 9. Tax is included but not gratuity. Advanced reservations are highly recommended. For booking, you can check availability online or call 407- 939-3463.

133. Shrunken Playground

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is an 11,000-square-foot play area based on the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Children climb enormous anthills, scale sprawling spider webs, avoid dripping garden hose, explore a maze tunnel, slide down a roll of film, and sit atop an ant. Be advised that this is a large area, and it can be hard to spot your own children here.

Hungry? Try These 10 Disney Inspired Snack Ideas Easily Created for Less than $10

134. One Man’s Dream

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream is part walk-through exhibit and part 15-minute film. Guests view over 400 of Walt Disney’s personal artifacts featuring one-of-a-kind animation art, paintings, storyboards, photos, park and ride models, props, costumes, and movie set pieces. Here, children can get a better understanding of Walt Disney as a real person.

135. 3D Movie

Join Kermit, Miss Piggy and the entire Muppets gang for a spectacular 3D movie presentation in a theater designed to look like the original Muppet Theater from the classic television series. This show rarely has a long wait.

136. Get a Jedi Training Certificate

At the Jedi Training Academy, children learn to use the Force in a 20-minute training academy. Twelve guests between the ages of 4 and 12 years of age will be selected for each show, all receiving a certificate at the end of training. At park opening, get in line outside the ABC Sound Studio, across from the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, to sign the kids up.

137. Get a Disney Junior Dance Party Balloon

During night-time Extra Magic Hours, dance to music videos with Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and more. New characters fill the floor throughout the night, so you never know when someone special like Jake and the Never Land Pirates or Bones & Sharkey might appear. 

138. Take Home a Free Drawing

At the Animation Academy, with help from a trained Disney artist, kids get instruction for drawing a Disney character sketch. Unlike the Animation Academy at DisneyQuest, take your drawing from this Academy home for free.

139. Fantasmic

Fantasmic! is a 30-minute fireworks and water extravaganza showcasing pyrotechnics, laser lights and one million gallons of dancing water. 50 costumed performers sing Disney tunes while classic animation clips are projected onto massive walls of water. This is an extremely popular show, so if there are two shows, the second is almost always not quite as busy.

Disney Animal Kingdom tips for moms and kids

140. Height Restrictions in Alphabetical Order

  • DINOSAUR – 40″
  • Expedition Everest – 44″
  • Kali River Rapids – 38″
  • Primeval Whirl – 48″

141. Hot and Sunny

Welcome to the Florida jungle, where there is a real lack of shade and air conditioning. This park tests your ability to cool off sufficiently, so keep the kids hydrated and sun protected (hats, sunglasses sunscreen.)

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142. Go Mornings

If there is a Disney park you can finish in less than a full day, this is it, so going back to your resort for a break or a nap is not advisable. Arrive first thing in the morning, because it’s cooler and animals get less active as the temperatures rise.

143. Stuff Just for Kids

TriceraTop Spin is very similar to the iconic Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom. Primeval Whirl is a spinning roller coaster with sudden dips and hairpin turns. Chester & Hester’s Dino-Rama! is a dinosaur-decorated amusement park with vintage-style attractions and games. At The Boneyard, kids ages 10 and under can climb rocks, cross  bridges, roam caves, hurl down twisting slides, navigate a maze, and unearth dinosaur bones.

144. Talk To Cast Members

Cast Members are a wealth of Disney-related information, but this is especially so in Animal Kingdom. Many of them have years of experience handling and caring for animals, so have the kids ask them some questions.

145. Park Hours

Animal Kingdom usually closes well before the other parks; animals need to be fed and cared for, plus have time to sleep. Off season, Animal Kingdom could close as early as five p.m., although six or seven is more common during regular season. In peak attendance times, this park will sometimes open 30 or 60 minutes early. There are no fireworks at Animal Kingdom. 

146. About Dinosaur

DINOSAUR includes loud sounds in the dark with seemingly menacing audio-animatronic dinosaurs that may be scary for children. It is not recommended for younger, easily scared children.

147. Explore The Wilderness 

Kids can follow in the footsteps of Russell and his faithful dog, Dug, from the Disney•Pixar film Up! as they complete a series of self-guided, completely different challenges, ranging from animal observation to learning nature skills. As you complete missions, collect over 30 badges to place in your official Wilderness Explorer field guide. Use this link for info. 

Disney World Resort tips for kids, toddlers, and babies

148. Staying on Property

It can definitely be cheaper to stay off Disney property. 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. Cheapskate tip: the Value Resorts are very popular because of the child-centered decorations, and so they are frequently packed.  *10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

149. Pools

If you kids are comfortable in the water, the pools at Disney resorts are great fun. Plus Walt Disney World Resort hotels heat pools to a comfortable 82 degrees Fahrenheit (about  28°C). Remember that Value resorts do not have slides while Moderate and Deluxe resorts do.

150. Pool Side Games

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

151. 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. Have a large group and want to speed up the showering process at night after a long day at the parks? Send family to the showers near the pool.

Disney moms and kids on vacation

152. Bathroom Freebies

H2O toiletries at the resorts smell lovely and come in child size bottles. If you run out, stop by Mouse Keeping and ask for extra soaps, conditioners, and shampoos. Extras can also be delivered to your room. 

153. Stationary Freebies

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

154. Character Greeting Call

When you check into 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. 

155. 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 the kids out of bed to start another magical day. 

156. Fireside Marshmallows

Camp fires at resorts offer free marshmallows and roasting sticks. These complimentary campfire activities can be found at 14 locations at Walt Disney World Resort, so use this link for the list. Call the resort to confirm that night’s fire and get an approximate time, although they usually take place before sunset.

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157. Outdoor Movies

Take in one of the many free “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor movies at WDW resorts following the campfires, although this is dependent on weather and thus subject to cancellation or change without notice. Huge screens are blown up for nightly movies. Call the resort desk for specific seating information, and for movie schedules, call 407- 939-7529.  How to See FREE Movies at the Walt Disney World Resorts!

158. Mugs

Purchase a Resort Mug and receive free refills at all the Disney resorts for soda, coffee, etc. Dining Plans include a mug for everyone over age three, but the cost for everyone else is $8.99 (1 day), $11.99 (2 days), $14.99 (3 days), and $17.99 for your length of stay. These make excellent dinner cups once the kids get back from vacation.

159. Dirty Clothes? Clean ’em Up!

There are laundry machines at the resorts, so don’t forget to bring plenty of quarters. Disney sells one dollar laundry detergent for a single load box, while it costs $2 per load to wash and $2 per load to dry the clothes.

160. Schedule Mouse Keeping

When you check in your resort, make sure you ask for early housekeeping. If you are early morning risers, this will ensure that if you return for an afternoon rest, your room will be clean. And if you are napping, you won’t be disturbed by Mouse Keeping if you forgot the sign.

161. Professional Portrait Service

Like to have professional portraits taken of your family on vacation? Portrait sessions are available at the Grand FloridianPolynesian Village, Beach ClubWilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Up to 30 days in advance, call 407-934-4004 to make a session reservation.

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162. Playgrounds

All Disney Resorts have playgrounds, which are great for a free day or when the parks close early for holiday parties. Coronado Springs has an amazing playground next to the Aztec-themed pool.

163. Hotel Baggage Handling

If your room isn’t ready when you arrive, drop off your bags with Hotel Baggage Handling, and take off for the parks. On the day you leave, check out, drop off your bags, and pick them up later when you are ready to head home.

free day tips for a Disney World vacation

We always recommend taking a “free day” in Orlando, because it’s nice for children to take a stimulation break from riding rides and standing in line, and there are tons of fun activities outside the park main gates. 

Downtown Disney, soon to be re-named Disney Springs, is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex located lake side and within an easy WDW bus ride or car ride from the Disney resorts. You can entertain yourself for half a day here easily. 

164. Play with Legos

Head into the Lego Imagination Center  for some free interactive Lego fun. Outside is a 3,000-square-foot play area filled with Legos,  just tempting little hands to build something. Inside and out are larger-than-life Lego statues just waiting to be photographed.

165. Bowl & Movies

AMC Movies at Downtown Disney 24 is a modern movie theater located near Splitsville Luxury Bowling Lanes. Both are new facilities with state of the art technology and top-notch casual dining. If you can entertain yourself for half a day at Disney Springs, throw in a movie or some bowling with a meal, and you could stretch your half day to a full.  

166. Visit with Santa  

November through December, visit with Santa and have pictures taken. When kids are out of school, lines can get long. Goofy takes over for pictures after Santa heads home.

167. Play Some Games 

Once Upon a Toy has the largest assortment of toys and games in all of the Walt Disney World Resort. You will find theme park play sets, Mr. Potato Head and Star Wars building stations, and an amazing amount of t-shirts, toys, dolls, video games, and collectibles.

168. Splash Around 

In the section with Goofy’s Candy Co., in full sight of the Rainforest Cafe, is a splashpad type fountain. This is fabulous for children on a hot day and funny entertainment for adults any day. Remember, kids may need dry clothes.

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169. Goofy’s Glaciers Free Samples

Goofy’s Candy Co. is a great little candy store by Rainforest Cafe.  Grab a small-cup sample of a Goofy’s Glacier, with flavors like Pucker Purple, Glacier Apple, Rootin’ Tootin’ Red, Orange You Happy Orange, Gawrshly Berry Blue, and Coca-Cola Cooler. This store smells amazingly sweet, and you will want every snack you see! Chocolate-covered caramel apples you design yourself are a big hit with the younger crowd. 

170. Watch an Artist 

In the Art of Disney store, kids can watch an artist drawing Disney characters projected onto a big screen. Statues and paintings for sale are bright and colorful.  Free Disney World Entertainment? Don’t Miss the Art of Disney Store

171. Disney’s Days of Christmas

Children love Christmas, and in this store, it’s Christmas 365 days a year. There are all sorts of tree decorations and plush toys, just right for little hands to touch and squeeze.

172. Free Chocolate!

Cast Members at Ghiradelli’s Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop hand out free chocolate samples throughout the day. This is a small retail space, but they offer some of the best ice creams and desserts anywhere in Disney Springs. They are very rich, so grab a table outside and make plans to share something cold. 

173. Hydrate Your Skin 

Basin is located nest to the Mickey pots topiary fountain, right next door to the World of Disney. Want to get kids excited about bath time? Bring them in to smell the bright, multi-colored soaps. Basin has an assortment of hand scrub and lotions samples you can sample for free. Be sure the kids wash their hands…they’ll love it!

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174. Aaribas Brothers

Looking for a nice souvenir for your princess? Bring her into Aaribas Brothers for a vast assortment of tiaras, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, most of which have Disney themes, sparkling with Swarovski crystals. Boys will probably be more into tip #175. 

175. Watch a Glass Demonstration

Arribas Brothers has glass blowers and glass cutters on staff giving demonstrations throughout the day. You can even purchase some of their creations. Children will be mesmerized by the blow torch, guaranteed.

Best Disney vacation planning tips for Kids

176. Hear a Concert

There are musical performers at Disney Springs throughout the year, both on a large stage on front of The World Of Disney and in random locations. Take a seat on benches or even the ground for a performance, giving little feet a rest. 

177. Go Up in a Balloon

The Characters in Flight balloon floats 400 feet straight up in the sky for 8 to 10 minutes, providing 360 degree views of Disney Springs. Prices before tax are $12 for children and $18 for adults, but arrive before 10 a.m., and you can fly for $10 each with their Early Bird Special.  Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

178. Kid Restaurants

Two restaurants in Disney Springs are popular with the younger crowd, Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex. Singing birds, trumpeting elephants, chest-pounding gorillas and schools of brightly colored fish welcome you to the Rainforest Cafe, while you are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, banyan trees, waterfalls and a starry nighttime sky.

At T-Rex, you dine among life-sized animatronics dinosaurs, including a 15-foot-tall T. Rex. There are themed rooms and a meteor shower every 20 minutes or so, complete with rumbling and fiery “explosions.” The lights dim and things get loud! Kids can assemble a plush pet dinosaur at the Build-A-Dino By Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Call 407-939-1947.

179. DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park

DisneyQuest is an indoor five floors of fun including virtual worlds, 3D encounters and classic video games. Hours are typically 11:30 a.m. to 11 pm. Guests under 14 years of age must be accompanied by a guest age 14 years of age or older. Admission to DisneyQuest is included with certain ticket types (see tip #182 below), but pre-tax, tickets for children ages 3-9 are $39 and adults (10+) are $45.

180. Play Miniature Golf

Found in the Epcot Resort area, these two mini-golf courses are based on Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens is designed for families and beginner mini-golfers, as you aim through twirling obstacles, cross fanciful fountains and discover musical surprises. Fantasia Fairways is more challenging, emphasizing skill over chance,with par-3 and par-5 holes ranging in length from 63 to 109 feet, plus sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens. Pre-tax, tickets for children ages 3-9 are $12 and adults (10+) are $14.

Located by Blizzard Beach Water Park, Winter Summerland Miniature Golf depicts where elves built Santa two distinctly different 18–hole mini golf experiences: a sand course named “Summer” and a snow course named “Winter.” The courses combine for the last holes, and after sinking the last putt on Hole 18, mini-golfers earn a special message from Santa Claus. Pre-tax, tickets for children ages 3-9 are $12 and adults (10+) are $14.

best tips for kids Disney World vacation

181. Smart to Hang Out

Disney vacations are tiring; it’s a good idea to plan a free day mid-vacation just to keep from stressing everyone out. If the group can’t handle the parks again without a melt down, have a back up plan. Day after day of waking up early and going to bed late starts to wear out little bodies. If you are already in Orlando, you might as well schedule a “free” day to enjoy life beyond the theme parks.

182. Water Parks Fun & More Option

Add the Water Parks Fun & More Option to any valid Magic Your Way ticket for just $60 plus tax. You can enjoy two water parks, as well as admission to one of the following for each day of your ticket:

  • DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf
  • Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (one round) Tee times are required for Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and are subject to availability.

183. Water Parks

Tickets for Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach start at $53 per day before taxes. With both thrill and chill rides, relaxing lounge areas, wave pools, snorkeling adventures and much more. Both parks have areas specifically designated for younger children. Use this link for more info. on Disney water parks and ticket options. 

184. Resort Hop

Resort hopping is simply looking around the Disney resorts where you are not staying. Each resort has a completely different theme. This is a great opportunity to talk about finances with your children, because there are big price differences in the three resort levelsDisney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

185. Wishes Viewing  

Watch the Magic Kingdom Wishes fireworks show from one of the many Disney resorts on the monorail loop. At the Polynesian Village Resort, fireworks are visible directly across the Seven Seas Lagoon, and show music is piped in through speakers. Before or after the fireworks, grab a bite to eat or a snack. Hang out in the remodeled lobby, which is beautiful at night.

186. Night Time Water Parade  

Visit the Polynesian Village, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Ft. Wilderness, or the Contemporary Resort to catch a glimpse of the nightly water show, The Electrical Water Pageant. The water-light parade was originally created in 1971 for the dedication of Disney’s Polynesian Resort. In my opinion, this show is geared more for younger kids. Approximate show times are:

  • Polynesian Resort, 9:00 p.m.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 9:15 p.m
  • Wilderness Lodge, 9:30 p.m.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground, 9:45 p.m.
  • Contemporary Resort 10:00p.m.

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187. Character Meals

Rather than schedule a two-hour meal break on a day when you have park tickets, enjoy a character meal at one of the resorts. Character meals are pricey compared to table service, but you are paying for an event that kids (and adults) are sure to love. Character dining locations at the resorts are Ohana’s, Garden Grove, Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and 1900 Park Fare. What Are the Top Three Character Meals at Walt Disney World?

188. Visit Celebration

A 15 minute drive away from the parks is the planned town of Celebration, Florida. Kids will enjoy the fountain by the lake, plus candy and toy stores. Adults will enjoy the shopping, Starbucks, and restaurants. Every night during the Christmas season, the snow falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Everybody will enjoy photos with Santa, strolling holiday carolers, an ice rink, entertainment and more. Skating is a reasonable $10.00 for a 1/2 hour minimum skate, with your skate rental included. Free Fun in Celebration Florida: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Ft. Wilderness Tips

189. Campfires/Singalongs

Ft. Wilderness is home to a free campfire program sing-along and movie, although there is a charge for refreshments. This event begins around 7 p.m. in fall/winter and 8 p.m. after the time change in April through summer.

190. Christmas Lights

During the Christmas season, vacationers staying at Ft. Wilderness adorn their campers, golf carts, and tents with a huge display of Christmas lights and decorations. It’s wise to take small flash lights with you, as some of the woodsy roads through the campground are not well-lit. 

191. Explore the Ranch  

At the Tri-Circle-D Ranch from to  through the stables to see Cinderella’s Ponies and the horses of Main Street, U.S.A.. You might get to see the blacksmith make and apply horseshoes. Advise the kids that as a free activity, they will be doing more looking than petting.

192. Pony Rides

How can the kids can touch ponies? For a very reasonable fee of $8.00 (cash payments only), children can take a pony ride at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch. Offered daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. near Pioneer Hall, no reservations are necessary. Riders must be:

  • at least 2 years of age
  • under 80 pounds
  • no taller than 48 inches
  • be able to hang on by themselves.
  • lead on their pony by a parent or guardian at all times.

193. Other Horse Activities

Tri-Circle-D Ranch offer activities for the kids and adults that love horses, including horseback trail rides, wagon rides and private carriage rides. Call (407) 824-2832 for information.

plan the best Disney World vacation

If you made it to the end, congratulations! You deserve a free Disney sticker…

We hope you gained some valuable information on what to do with children at Walt Disney World. Many of our suggestions are just that – suggestions. If you think they will work for you, great, and if not, do what you know works best.

Did we miss anything you feel other parents need to know? Leave us a comment, and we’ll add it in. If any times or prices have become outdated, let us know that as well. Disney changes things all he time without calling me first – can you believe it?!

120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation!

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you have a magical trip to Walt Disney World!

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!

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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.

Where to Find FREE Disney World Theme Parks Christmas Music

Disney World Christmas castle

As we approach Christmas holidays, do you ever find yourself being glad you didn’t brave the crowds at Walt Disney World and yet simultaneously really wish you were there? It’s a huge Christmas Catch 22 really. Do you tackle the huge holiday crowds and stand in long lines or do something else and wish you were in Orlando? It’s hard on the psyche when the decision is made not to travel to the House of Mouse.

Music plays such a big part in Disney vacations, that sometimes when you hear a familiar tune, you are magically transported back in time to your “home.” Christmas at Disney World is incredibly crowded, but it’s also decorated to the hilt with miles of twinkling lights and garland, plus all those trees! To mentally enjoy a Mickey Mouse holiday, you simply need to listen to some of the music they play in the theme parks. Mickey won’t be saying “See ya real soon!” but you will appreciate the high quality Disney holiday music production factor.

I can’t seem to locate many theme park area music songs for sale – I’ve looked.

Did you know you can hear this music for free? Simply press play on the YouTube videos we’ve collected all in one place, kind of like a Christmas present just for you. Throw in some fun facts and trivia from Disney by the Numb3rs.com, and you have yourself an afternoon of musical entertainment.

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Christmas at Walt Disney World

It takes 150 tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations to holiday-up all 24 resorts, four theme parks, Downtown Disney and other locations. A 70 ton crane is used to position the theme park Christmas trees into place each year.

1,500 decorated Christmas trees are placed thought the entire WDW property. 5,500 lights are hung on every icon Christmas tree in each park or resort for the holidays, and 98 percent of this lighting is LED. In case you are doing the math, that’s over 8.5 million lights decorating the WDW property for Christmas.

A total of 15 miles of garland is strung, 1,314 wreaths are hung, and 300,000 yards of ribbon and bows drape over Christmas trees across the property.

Disney Christmas Songs – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Christmas Illuminations, Country Bear Christmas

Posted on youtube by terrortower2 .

This video is a massive collection of songs, nearly three hours, with Christmas songs you might recognize from the parks playing in the last hour. Pluto is barking “Oh Christmas Tree” just after the three-hour point.

  • Magic Kingdom – Full Christmas Loop
  • Epcot – Full Christmas Loop
  • Christmas Illuminations – Full Christmas Show
  • Christmas Wishes – Full Christmas Show
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade – Full Christmas Parade
  • Country Bears Christmas Special – Full Christmas Show
  • Mickey’s Christmas Doggy! – Sung By Benji Boodles Lamey!
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Full CD Audio
  • Disneyland Paris – Chante, c’est Noel! Christmas Parade *Full Song*

This is a really nice collection of songs that would be great to play during dinner or at work as background music. Just hit the play button and let it run…

Mickey Mouse Decorating on a Cheapskate Princess Budget!*

Christmas at Hollywood Studios

There are well over 10 miles of twinkling rope lights in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

There are 5 million lights, and if they were strung end-to-end, the lights would span over 426 miles.

90% of the Osborne figurines were part of the original display in Little Rock. This includes the 70 foot tree, Mickey Train, globe, two 30 foot carousels and the Flying Santa and Reindeer.

Hollywood Studios Music – (Also known as Main Street Full Christmas Loop Disneyland Paris)

Posted to YouTube by DLRPWelcomeMusic.

I understand this video contains the same music they play at Hollywood Studios, and if per chance that is wrong and they only play it in Paris, well, it’s still amazingly beautiful music.

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Christmas at Epcot

Epcot has 11 countries that are dressed up for “Holidays Around the World” at World Showcase.

You’ll see a 65 foot Christmas tree on display, while 1,200 stuffed Duffy bears make up the newest Christmas tree in Epcot.

Epcot Entrance Area Music – Christmas Loop Version

Posted on YouTube by WDWFacts.

This video lasts about 50 minutes and is lovely background Christmas music.

800 performers are used each night during the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, while 200 guest choirs are showcased during the entire run of the event.

There are many YouTube videos of the Candelight Processional. If this one isn’t your favorite, they probably have a video you’ll like better, so just search around.

Epcot 2013 Candlelight Processional- Edward James Olmos

Posted to YouTube by grogruxking.

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Christmas at Magic Kingdom

A 65 foot Christmas tree is erected in the center of Main Street, which is 26 feet wide.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

300,000 cookies, washed down with 1,200 gallons of hot cocoa, are consumed each night.

164 performers appear in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and there is a 100 % chance of snow flurries during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade Soundtrack Album

Posted on YouTube by MoneySavingVideos.

This is not a professional recording, but you’ll feel like you are there while you listen.

Beware of Buying These Disney Vacation Souvenirs on Ebay*

Cinderella Castle

It takes 60 people a total of three weeks to install all the 200,000 LED Dream Lights, which made their debut in 2007, on Cinderella Castle. The lights are hung in place by 32,000 square feet of fish netting, which has been dyed to match the castle’s colors. It takes 15 miles of cable to hang all the lights and netting.

105 different circuits are used to make the lights come to life, aided by 74 LED spot lights that wash the castle in different colors and 500 strobes which create the sparkling lighting effect

Holiday Wishes Christmas Fireworks Show at the Magic Kingdom

Posted on TouTube by OnlyHDVideos.

This is not a professional recording, but rather it’s a video of the actual fireworks show. You can hear the crowd cheering and the sounds of the fireworks exploding, which adds to the feeling of being there.

A big thanks to Disney by the Numb3rs for their WDW Christmas trivia.

And there you have it – over 8 hours of videos with beautiful Disney World theme park music. You don’t have to play it all at one time, although this could get you through a work day. Save this page where you can find it and turn on doe tunes when you are cooking or having dinner, doing crafts with the kids, or just hanging out and remembering that last vacation. Music takes you back…

 

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.

Free Fun in Celebration Florida: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

where is Celebration. Florida

Everything seems to be expensive on vacation, so it’s a nice change of pace to find an activity that is basically free. Celebration is a master-planned community located in Osceola County, Florida, which is about a 10 minute drive from the Walt Disney World Resort property. Just like Disney resort hopping, visiting Celebration is totally free, so now is the perfect time to make plans for a drive over.

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Celebration Florida

Originally developed by The Walt Disney Company, Celebration is directly connected to the Disney Resorts using one of its primary streets, World Drive, which begins near the Magic Kingdom. In the early 1990s, the Disney Development Company (DDC) established the Celebration Company to develop land in the southern portion of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The total investment for this project was estimated to be around $2.5 billion dollars. Celebration was designed in an early 20th century architectural style. It is not zoned for high-density residences, so you will not see a mass of apartments or similar styles houses all in a row. Celebration was named the “New Community of the Year” in 2001 by the Urban Land Institute. In 2004, the Disney Company sold Celebration to Lexin Capital, a private real estate investment company.

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architecture in the Disney town of Celebration

While he was the Disney Company’s CEO,  Michael Eisner took a special interest in the development of the new town, and he encouraged the executives at the Disney Development Company to “make history.” He wanted them to develop a town worthy of the Disney brand and legacy that extended to Walt Disney’s vision of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). The Disney Development Company executives worked with leaders in education, health and technology, plus planners and architects to create the vision and operating policies for Celebration.

Although you may have a hard time finding a good parking spot close to downtown, Celebration is extremely pedestrian-friendly, with a small town feel that will remind you of old-timey main streets, with homes and real businesses intermingled.

map location of Celebration Florida

Celebration’s downtown has retail shops, restaurants, a town hall, a post office, and offices among other businesses. Many of these buildings are situated along a wide promenade area which circles a beautiful lake.

The downtown area is called “Market Street, and this is where you will want to spend your time unless you decide to take a walk through the neighborhoods.  That is a great idea, by the way, as the architecture of the homes, some in the million dollar range, is simply stunning.

Celebration does not actually have any road named “Main Street.” Osceola County, which does not allow street names to be duplicated, already had a Main Street. So the two main roads going through the center of the downtown area are named Market Street and Front Street. Stores are decked out during the holidays, like this realty company.

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Celebration Florida Realty

What is there to do?

Let’s start with what won’t cost you any money.

The Free Stuff – Window Shopping

Market Street has lots of businesses perfect for shopping, or if you are a Cheapskate Princess, just do some window shopping. It usually takes us a good hour or two to walk in all the shops and take a look around.

Enchanted Boutique offers fine apparel and fashion accessories catering to women, juniors, and girls of all ages.With some clothing custom-made just for Enchanted Boutique, you will also find jewelry, scarves, and other accessories. Enchanted Boutique offers a true boutique shopping experience. 321-939-1111.

Woof Gang Bakery offers full service pet grooming, pet foods, and supplies. Specializing in healthy, natural pet foods and treats, including hypoallergenic, wheat-free and grain-free selections, they also sell a variety of fun, fuzzy, floatable and tough toys, fashionable pet accessories, collars and leads, and a wide range of pet grooming products. WoofGangBakery.com.

This photo shows the doggy outfits at the Woof Gang Bakery.

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Woofgang Bakery in Disney's Celebration Orlando

Soft As A Grape’s specialty is comfortable family resort wear.  One of the original shops on Market Street, many of their unique designs are made of 100% cotton at their facility in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  They pride themselves in clothing that is soft, carefree, and most important – super comfortable. softasagrape.com.

Downeast offers ladies’, men’s, and children’s clothing plus gifts including brand names like Ralph Lauren Polo, LaCoste, Corbin, Southern Tide, Bill’s Khakis, Sperry, Jack Rogers, Alden Shoes, Susanna Monaco, Milly, Ella Moss, Spanx, Vera Bradley, Caswell Massey, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Cavalli Sunglasses and more.

Market Street Gallery offers exquisite jewelry selections, Vera Bradley, Suzy Toronto, greeting cards, home decor, a year round Christmas room and more! 407-566-1500

There were Vera Bradley patterns aplenty for the purse lovers.

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Vera Bradley store at Disney Celebration

Once Upon A Time features quality clothing and accessories for children from newborn to teens. They carry brands like Twirly Girl, Cheeky Banana, Rugged Butts, Kate Mack, Biscotti, Lipstik and Petit Lem, plus a number of items manufactured only for this boutique. Once Upon A Time sells dresses, tops, jeans, and shorts to swim, shoes, jewelry, accessories and hats for boys and girls alike, plus gift items, games, toys and books. They will gladly ship items home for you. 321-939-1144.

Confetti of Celebration has specialty gifts, centerpieces, candy bouquets, candy, and embroidery. They specialize in parties, dinners, and meetings. If you need to send a birthday gift, they can customize any candy bouquet to your special needs. They sell many types of candies and a huge selection of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.confettiofcelebration.com.

Sanrio Surprises is the home of “Hello Kitty” and all your favorite Sanrio characters.They offer Sanrio gifts and stocking stuffers, plus you can book a birthday party in their large party room.  To liven up your experience, add a special “Hello Kitty”  appearance or a ride on the Celebration Express Train. 321-939-1777.

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Christmas at Celebration is especially beautiful, and if enjoy looking at decorations, the holiday season is a great time to visit the stores. Step outside from the Christmas music in the shops to snow outside in the street.

Christmas shopping at Disney's Celebration

The Free Stuff – Events

Market Street often has different events scheduled each month like  antique car shows and craft festivals. For a complete list of Celebration events, use this link. This list will give you an idea of events in months past and coming up. 

January

Town of Celebration Marathon and Half Marathon

Winter Sidewalk Sale

February

Posh Pooch – For a howling good time, head to Downtown for a whole day of barking good fun. There are vendors, activities, demonstrations, food, performances and fun to enjoy with the entire family.

Art & Wine Stroll

March

Art & Wine Stroll

porch and yard sale

April

Great American Pie Festival – Celebration becomes the Pie Capital of the World in April, when thousands of pie lovers, tasters and bakers gather together. The highlight is always the Never-Ending Pie Buffet, featuring award-winning pie and ice cream.

Celebration Exotic Car Festival – a four-day children’s charity event that showcases North America’s largest collection of exotic cars, race cars and iconic Hollywood movie cars, coming together to help children with life threatening medical conditions.

May

Jaguar Car Show – showcases Jaguar cars from the early 1950s to present.

Art & Wine Stroll

July/ August

Hearts of Reality/Summer Sidewalk Sale – a weekend full of TV’s hottest deals and hottest Reality Stars.

A Sci-Fi 4th of July – Celebration Town Center’s World Famous 4th of July event.

October

Oktoberfest, where leaves fall nightly at 7, 8, and 9 p.m.

Art & Wine Stroll

porch and yard sale

November

Founder’s Day Concert

Alfa Romeo Car Show –  the Mid Florida Alfa Romeo Owners Club, Inc. hosts their annual Alfa Romeo car show.

Now Snowing Tree Lighting Ceremony – November 29th – This special tree lighting event features live music, a special entrance by Santa Clause, and family fun for everyone.

December

A Celebration of Voices

Now Snowing Nightly

During the winter holidays, Market Street hosts an event called “Now Snowing Nightly,” where it “snows” on Market Street multiple times a night. You and the kids, even the family dogs, can walk around in the “snow.” I wouldn’t do it in your finest leather shoes though.

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Disney Celebration snow

When they announce the snow, it can get pretty busy. Kids seem to love this!

Snowfall and events happen every night through December 31st, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Every night, the snow falls at 6, 7, 8 and 9 PM. There are photos with Santa, strolling holiday carolers, an ice rink, entertainment and more.

Now Snowing Nightly parking and admission are FREE. For a complete list of Community Performances click here.

*10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

snow in the Disney town of Celebration

Watching is free, but you’ll need to rent skates. This is “Disney” ice, by the way, so it’s not actual cold ice, and thus the ice skates will not be dangerous to smaller children.

The Endless Ice rink is open daily from 4:00-10:00 p.m. through January 3rd. There are Celebration Resident Skate Passes or multiple-day skate passes for guests (after November 29th .)

$10.00 for a 1/2 hour minimum skate (skate rental included)

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ice skating at Disney's Celebration

ice skating and snow in Florida.

During the Christmas holidays, Train Rides are $5.00 at the gate or $4.00 in advance if purchased at Confetti, Market Street Gallery, Sweet Escape, or Sanrio Surprises. (Before 4 p.m. Nightly)

Photos with Santa
Prices depends on the package purchased, and Santa will only be available until December 24th. For information on Santa photos visit: www.towncenterphotos.com.

Disney Celebration Pictures with Santa

The Free Stuff- Other Activities

Take a walk along the Lakeside Promenade or on the miles of walking paths and nature trails. These are especially nice as the sun is setting.

Head over to the large interactive fountain by the lake, where if it’s warm, the kids can splash around. Some still splash around even when it’s not so warm.

There are numerous rocking chairs by the lake. These are hard to come by in the busier seasons, like when the holiday snow is falling, but they are comfy and the lake view is peaceful, especially at sunset.

One of the most visually stunning buildings on the lakefront is the Bohemian Hotel Celebration. You can take a seat in one of the lobby chairs, and for a splurge, order a coffee or a drink at the bar.

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Bohemian Hotel Celebration Florida

At Christmas, the decorations at night on Market Street are just lovely.

decorations at Disney's Celebration town

The Not-Free Activities – $$ Meals

There are a lot of restaurants in Celebration. The downtown atmosphere is fantastic at night, with many outdoor tables enveloped in soft lighting. Enjoy a meal in one of the award-winning restaurants.

Cafe D’Antonio has an open kitchen and a wood burning oven, grill and rotisserie that are common to Antonio’s restaurants. The menu features items representative of the varied regions of Italy. antoniosonline.com

Ari Sushi offers authentic Japanese food and sushi. arisushi.net

Celebration Town Tavern describes their business as “Family, Food & Friends.” This New England style restaurant and tavern opened in early 2000. Favorites include clam chowder, fried clams, fresh Boston scrod, haddock & scallops, main plate salads, burgers, chicken, ribs and steaks.  thecelebrationtowntavern.com

The Columbia Restaurant overlooks the lake and offers classic elegance in a Mediterranean style setting. Diners can enjoy fine Spanish/Cuban cuisine in their old-world-style dining rooms, an outdoor cafe, courtyard, and a Tapas Bar. columbiarestaurant.com

Euro Bistro  offers a wide variety of affordable menu items to select from.  Tapas, very popular in Spain, are smaller servings that allow you to select several different items to snack on or combine a few items to make a full meal.

Imperium Wine Room is a 100 seat bar offering the highest quality food and wines with a 50 seat patio. Disney employees receive a 10% discount with ID. mperiumfoodandwine.com.

Market Street Cafe is an upscale diner concept that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Favorites range from blueberry pancakes and maple butter french toast at breakfast to homemade meatloaf and hot open face turkey sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is available all day, and signature desserts are made fresh daily. Market-Street-Cafe.com.

Thai Thani Restaurant was established by a retired Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Commerce. This restaurant was opened to enhance the Thai Government policy to promote Thai food as a leading cuisine of the world. thaithaniorlando.net.

Upper Crust Pizza features two types of pizza, thick Sicilian style and traditional New York style, both with a variety of toppings. Panninis are filled with items such as Tuscan chicken, steak, cheese, and vegetables. An open-faced calzone called a “Crusti” is a hand-made delight stuffed with meatloaf, steak, Greek Salad and other items. There is a rotating menu of dessert pizzas including chocolate and apple cinnamon.

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ice cream at Disney's Celebration

snacks at Disney's Celebration

The Not-Free Activities – $ Meals and Snacks

For less expensive snack and meal options, there are several “sweet shops” that will be quicker than a table service meal and less expensive as well.

Sweet Escape is an authentic European Style Bakery & Deli in a Victorian environment. In the bakery, there are fresh-baked breads, pastries, desserts, and cupcakes all made fresh daily. In the deli you’ll find breakfast, lunch, and dinner sandwiches featuring Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. In the café you’ll find locally roasted coffee including Italian Espresso, specialty coffee, frozen coffee, and iced coffee. You can also purchase 100% fruit frozen smoothies.

Sweet Escape also sells convenience items like newspapers,milk, eggs, yogurt, Monster Energy drinks, snacks, candy, and more. sweetescapecelebration.com

Kilwins offers confectionery chocolates and ice cream. kilwins.com. This was one of my favorites!

The Starbucks just across from Market Street is mid-size with plenty of seating. There is a nice outdoor area. We bought some inexpensive cake pops and a pastry, and then we watched families line up to see Santa. starbucks.comThis store has T-Mobile HotSpot wireless broadband Internet service.

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Disney Celebration Starbucks Coffee

The Not-Free Activities – $$ Splurges

Looking for a special occasion treat?

Misty Blue Acres Carriage, the official carriage company of Celebration Florida, offers carriage rides every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening from 6pm – 10pm. Providing a carriage hitched to either team of percheron horses, they are available for weddings,  two-horse carriage and single horse carriage rides, hay rides, birthdays, Halloween, sleigh rides, Christmas rides and holiday parties. mistyblueacres.com.

Wagon Rides- $5.00 per person
Horse and Carriage Rides- $25 for the first 2 passengers, $10 each additional

Special Holiday Home Tour Rides (30/40 minutes in length to see the lights throughout Celebration)- $25 per person
Call for Appointment for Horse & Carriage Holiday Home Tour: 321-624-6380

 U Can Cook is an all-inclusive Culinary School where the young and the young-at-heart can learn to cook. Their classes are designed to teach the basics on food preparation, food safety skills, proper etiquette, the skilled art of layering flavors and planning parties.They will also host an array of engagements. 407-233-0948.

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And there you have several hours worth of entertainment just down the street from the Walt Disney World property. If you have a free day with an empty time slot to fill after a swim or a nap, then head down World Drive to the town of Celebration. Take a walk, do some (window) shopping, and grab a coffee or a snack for an inexpensive several hours. If you have to pick a certain time of year to go, I would highly recommend Christmas, when music is in the air along with “snow.”

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed over for a celebration at Celebration!

 

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.

Can You Afford Disney’s Villains’ Sinister Soiree at Mickey’s Halloween Party?

Can You Afford the Villains’ Sinister Soiree at Disney World

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the castle, Disney World unleashes the “Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle.” Starting this fall as an add on ticket for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you can join Lady Tremaine and her wicked friends at a brand new dessert party…during another party!

When is it?

The Villains’ Sinister Soiree takes place on the following dates:

September 1, 9, 12, 16, 23, 26, 28

October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31

The times for these dates are both 10:15 PM and 11:45 PM.

September 14, 19, and 21.

These few dates are for  10:15 PM only.

Where is it?

The Sinister Soiree takes place inside Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant.

How many tickets will you need?

You need to purchase two tickets, one for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the other Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle. This is financially important for you to understand: admission to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is required and is not included in the price of the Sinister Soiree.

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how much does the Disney Villains dessert party cost

What do you get for your money?

 You’ll receive

  • preferred viewing for the 8:15 performance of Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade (only the 8:15 performance)
  • preferred viewing for the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular
  • access to the Dessert Soiree at Cinderella’s Table, including desserts and specialty non-alcoholic beverages
  • an autograph card and a souvenir Maleficent dragon cup
  • eerie musical talents of a piano player and a few haunting solos by Lady Tremaine
  • photo opportunities with all sorts of wicked party guests

The Cost

Hold onto your princess costumes…

Admission to the Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle is available for $99 per person, plus tax (gratuity included).

Reservations

Online booking is not available for the Villains’ Sinister Soiree.

To make a reservation, call Disney direct at (407) 939-5262. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have a parent or guardian’s permission to call.

Erin, our official Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel, from can also make your reservations for you.  You can give Erin a call at 214-697-7732 or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

What Do You Wear to Disney World in the Winter?

Lady Tremaine at Mickey's Halloween Party

Check-In

To check in for the event, visit the Will Call booth outside the main entrance of Magic Kingdom park from 4:00 PM to 6:30 p.m.. Starting at 7:30 p.m., you may check in at the parade and fireworks viewing area in the central plaza by the Castle Forecourt Stage.

Once you are checked in, you’ll receive a credential, which must be presented to enter the preferred viewing areas and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Don’t lose this!

If you choose not to participate in the preferred parade or fireworks viewing, you can check in at Cinderella’s Royal Table at your designated seating time.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need reservations?

Reservations are highly recommended, as there are a limited number of tickets available for this event.

What if I lose my ticket?

Credentials are non-transferrable and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.

Is there specific seating provided?

No. Seating is not provided at the preferred parade or fireworks viewing.

Can I bring a wheelchair of ECV?

Wheelchairs and Electronic Conveyance Vehicles (ECVs) can be accommodated in the viewing areas and at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Can I use the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan entitlements may not be redeemed for this event. This offer also cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions.

Will there be Disney PhotoPass photographers?

PhotoPass photographers will be on hand at the parade and fireworks viewing area, but will not be at the dessert soiree. You can take your own photos inside the Castle.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party Villain Soiree

Other details to know

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special ticketed event and is not included with admission to Magic Kingdom park.

Entertainment and character appearances are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Guests will be able to utilize the preferred viewing area from the beginning of Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade through the conclusion of HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular.

 So two tickets, one villainous event…

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What do you get the princess who has everything? Tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the Villains’ Sinister Soiree. It’s guaranteed to be a night you’ll remember. 

So, will you be purchasing tickets for both events? Leave a comment and let us know if you think it’s worth the cost.

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.

How to Keep a Good Disney Character Meal From Going All Wrong

character meals at Disney World

Updated for 2016!

Ever taken a small child to eat dinner with a towering, walking, stuffed doll?  There you have it…a Disney Character Meal. Many parents are understandably giddy at the thought of booking a character meal for their next Disney vacation, but is your child really ready to dine with Mickey and all his pals?

We’ve all seen the cute television commercials, and we watch our free Disney planning videos. The children running through an almost-empty Magic Kingdom hug those iconic characters full on with no hesitation. Nuthin’ but LUV! Memories are made, photos are taken, smiles are exchanged, and the vacation life is indeed lookin’ good. But this isn’t always the reality with close encounter character meet and greets

And the same goes for those character dining situations, especially if your child is fairly young and has not spent a lot of time around unusually large costumed-characters. If you’ve ever seen a child flip out on Santa’s lap at the mall, then you know exactly where I am headed with this. Disney characters can be frightening for small children, and “small” doesn’t have to be the diapered crowd.

I don’t write a lot about character meals because until 2015, I had been to exactly one. My husband and I had a late dinner at the Crystal Palace in 2015, where we brought along no small children. Back in 2012, my sons took me to Chef Mickey’s for my Christmas present that year for our very first character meal experience, at the ripe old ages of 11, 13, and 42. How’s that for the epitome of “cheapskate?”

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The little girl seated on her mom’s lap in the photo below appears to be about four-years-old, maybe five. I watched this family come into Chef Mickey’s, and everything seemed fine, until delightful Disney characters started popping up at tables nearby.

Disney World character meal tipsWhen Chef Goofy, over 6 feet of him in a large costume, approached her table, she let out a piercing scream that stopped conversation eight tables away. When Minnie touched her chair, this child’s screams almost warped the ceiling beams of the Contemporary (just a bit of exaggeration here, but not much) And uh-oh, breakfast was over for their family.

Her father quickly removed her from the table and took her to a spot in a corner, far away from characters and her mother, her grandfather, and her grandmother. These three adults then picked at their meals, looked unhappy, and glanced over at dad and daughter composing themselves in the most un-magical of spots 30 feet away from characters and fun (and food!)

Character meals are some of the more pricey family dining experiences at Walt Disney World. In 2016, for breakfast, you will pay $21.29 for a child ages 3-9 and $40.46 for adults, not including tax or $18 gratuity. For dinner, you will pay $25.55 for a child ages 3-9 and $50.05 for adults, not including tax or $18 gratuity. For a true cheapskate like me, those prices are hard to swallow, or digest, or insert another food joke here. 

I have no doubt that if this little girl and her dad were unable to complete their breakfast, (and no, they had not returned to their table when we finished gobbling up our Mickey waffles and doughnuts,) that Disney probably reimbursed their money. They ate little if anything. I frequently sing the praises of the Disney Company for going that extra mile to keep their customers satisfied. But mom, granny and pop-pop just forked out over $40 each for this breakfast, and they didn’t seem to be experiencing the joy we almost demand from a meal so pricey and full of expectations.

What can you do if you’re not sure how your child will handle the characters, but you really believe now is the time to start character dining?

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fansreal moms who’ve been there on more than one occasion, to provide some suggestions. Their ideas can help you make the most of your vacation time and money.

Can You Bring Your Own Food into a Disney World Theme Park?

tips for kids at a Disney World Character Dining Character Buffet Chef Mickeys

1. Kids Lead

MandyMy child LOVED the character breakfasts at nine months and 21 months. He did not like them at 26 months; he did not like them at all.” 

Let your child take the lead in terms of how close he/she allows the characters to get. You need to be accepting if he or she wants to watch the character from afar.

Don’t freak out if there are no photos of your little one hugging Mickey. Is this about the enjoyment of the meal or a photo opportunity?

2. Wave From a Distance

Point out the characters from a distance, and if your child doesn’t want the character to hug them, explain that to the character or Cast Member close by.

You can practice before you travel as well. Heather, “‘Practice’ by meeting mascots at local venues before you book your meal – parades, grand openings, some restaurants, or local amusement parts might let you gauge you child’s reaction to costumed characters before you risk the time and money at Disney.”

Every child is different, thus certain characters can get different responses. Don’t assume because your child loved Goofy that they will be totally fine with Donald. Being straightforward with the characters is the best option. Disney Cast Members are highly trained and have handled plenty of screaming children before. Well, hopefully not plenty!

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tips for kids at Disney Character Buffet meals

3. Seating

Krystal, “Sit your child where they can see the character coming. My child was more receptive to meeting them when he could see them, rather than having them come up behind him.”

Karen, “Have the child sit on the outside close to where the character can get to them more easily.

If you know your child is hesitant about characters, seat them away from the aisle, or toward the back, and ask the character to just wave at first. This will provide a few extra moments to decide if he/she is ready for a big ol’ character hug.

4. Timing

Sara, “Get a character Fastpass+ at the parks if you want to see how your child will react before the dining experience.”

Or if possible, schedule the breakfast later in the week. That way you can take the kids to meet characters in the parks to see how they react. You can cancel your character meal reservation, as long as it’s 24 hours out, if the pre-meeting is not going too good. And it may not go well, so be flexible with your plans. Mandy‘s suggestion for character meals was, “Don’t do it! For the love of God, don’t do it!”  So clearly it doesn’t always go well, but you can prepare. 

Make sure you schedule your meal at a time of day when your child is most rested and happy, whether it’s breakfast or an early dinner after a good nap. A one p.m. lunch may not be your best option.

To Save Money on Disney World Food, Eat Breakfast Here!

tips for Disney World Character meals

5. Lower Your Expectations

Tina, “If you take your kids to a character meal, remember it’s about them, and some kids just get upset when the huge characters come near. A few tears never ruined a vacation, and adults freaking out and getting angry at scared kids just makes it so mush worse.”

Relax, and try to set your expectations a little lower than Greatest Meal of Our Entire Lives. This way if something does go wrong, you can handle it so there are not two people freaking out at the same table. Save the freak out for when the bill arrives!

6. Extra Tips

Sara, “Take your children when they are under age three so they can eat from your plate for free. We did that twice before my sons turned 3. They were three the last time we were there, and we skipped out on the character breakfast.”

Colleen, “Have them bring their autograph book. When my son was four, he was so excited to get their autograph, he didn’t think to be scared!”

Mandy, “Definitely bring an autograph book. My son was terrified, but he loved having them sign in his book. And have your camera out and ready.”

Holly, “Talk with them about the characters so they can ask fun questions. My then-4 year old loved asking Stitch about his missing “extra” arms and Pooh about being a little black rain cloud.”

Mandy, “Eat your fill, or use a Disney Dining Plan. Those meals are expensive!”

Jenny, “We bought a Mr. Potato at Downtown Disney. He became our dinner companion and distraction.”

And if you want to live on the edge, throwing caution to the wind, Lola suggests, “Don’t let them know you are going to a character meal…awesome expression on their face when the characters come out!!!”

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

how to enjoy a Disney Character Meal
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you, and maybe your kids, hugging Chef Goofy!

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.

Can You Afford the Villains Unleashed Party at Walt Disney World?

Villains Unleashed event at Disney World.jpg

As the years have gone by, Disney has been adding more and more hard ticket party events to their line up of world-class entertainment. This fall, over 50 Disney Villains will invade Hollywood Studios on Aug. 23, 2014, for the brand new “Villains Unleashed” hard ticket event.

Similar to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you can stay up late at this one-night only after-hours party. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., you will experience close encounters with some of the most popular Disney Villains, as well as character zones, special fireworks spectaculars, specialty food and beverage offerings, merchandise, and your favorite attractions. Plus, you can dress up to show your Disney Villain side.

Are you ready for some bad guy fun, food and fireworks?!

Can You Afford the New Harambe Nights Event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Disney villains unleashed

 What will you do?

  • meet and be photographed with Disney Villains
  • shake your booty at the “Hades Hangout & Dance Party”
  • “Oogie Boogie’s Variety Show”
  • Star Wars villain zone
  • a new “Villainy In The Skies” fireworks spectacular
  • a villain-inspired pre-show to “Fantasmic!”
  • face painting
  • specialty food & beverage opportunities
  • event merchandise
  • ride favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions like The Twilight Zone – Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania! and Star Tours

Can You Afford Tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Disney villains at Hollywood Studios

Dress Up!

Ticketed party guests are allowed to dress up in costume. This is a villain party, so dressing up as a Disney villain is suggested but not mandatory.

You need costumes that are

  • child-friendly and adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney
  • not obstructive, offensive or violent
  • not dragging on the ground
  • not containing sharp objects, since pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest
  • not containing any weapons or objects which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon

Masks may be worn, but they must not obstruct vision. Eyes must be visible at all times.

If you dress like a Disney character, you may not pose for pictures or sign autographs.

Anyone who does not adhere to these guidelines may be refused admission. Use this link for information on what you can and cannot wear to the parks. Remember, adults are not allowed to wear costumes unless it’s a special Disney hard ticket party, so now is your chance to be 12 years old again!

What You Can NOT Wear to Walt Disney World Theme Parks

caramel apples at Disney's Villains Unleashed event

Special Snacks

At the very first “Unleash the Villains” 24 hour eventsthat took place at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, there were mouth-watering photos floating around of the fabulous snacks they offered on that specific day.

A skull apple was a red cherry flavored candy apple covered in green chocolate, and a gooey caramel apple was layered with white chocolate to create the skull effect. Chances are you will see food of a very similar nature at this event.

Special (Evil!) Guest List

The list of attending villains published may include a few names you’ll recognize, but remember all entertainment is subject to change.

  • Hades
  • Meg
  • Pain
  • Panic
  • Anastasia
  • Drizella
  • Lady Tremaine
  • J. Worthington Foulfellow
  • Gideon
  • Big Bad Wolf
  • Cruella De Vil
  • Captain Hook
  • Mr. Smee
  • Bowler Hat Guy
  • Shenzi
  • Banzai
  • Ed
  • Gaston
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Maleficent
  • Jafar
  • Darth Vader
  • Darth Maul
  • Boba Fett
  • Asajj Ventress
  • Emperor Palpatine
  • Stormtrooper
  • Zam Wessell
  • Jango Fett

Can You Afford Tickets to Mickey’s Christmas Parties? 2014 Dates are Here!

special merchandise at Disney World Villains Unleashed

And Finally, The Cost

“Villains Unleashed” requires a separate ticket for park admission.

Adults tickets cost $67 plus tax and children ages 3-9 cost $62 plus tax.

To book your tickets, call 407-939-1933 for Annual Passholders and 800-800-9800 for DVC Members. Call 1-407-WDI-SNEY for everyone else.

Are there still tickets available?

There were tickets available as of July 14th, but the Cast Member I spoke with sounded quite surprised, so get your tickets now. Of course that could change at any minute.

Ideas for Preparation

If you plan to collect some autographs at the party, here is some advice directly from our readers.

Over 20 Disney Character Autograph Tips from Fans and Parents

Looking for something more exciting than the regular autograph book? We have 12 DIY ideas with photos.

12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books

And who wants red Minnie Mouse nails for a villains party? Use this link for something more maniacal…

FREE Instructions for a Disney Villain Manicure

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you designing your villains costume!

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.

Renting a Pool Cabana at Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Can you afford a Disney World pool cabana

Updated for 2015!

A Disney vacation isn’t all about roller coasters.  If you decide to to schedule a free day away from the parks and stand-by lines, you may find yourself planning a day by the pool. There are several resorts on the Disney Resort property that have cabanas by their pools, but we’ll use the cabanas by the Contemporary Resort as our example.

Just steps away from the sandy beaches of Bay Lake and two fabulous pools at the Contemporary Resort, the Cabanas for rent here are every Disney Princess’ dream. Compared to just sitting on a deck chair, there are loads of fabulous cabana services and amenities that will make you feel like you are receiving Rock Star Treatment.

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World

quiet pool at the Contemporary Resort at Disney Wor

Can’t Afford to Stay at This Pricey Disney Resort? Then Go Eat Here!

What Do You Get?

  • An exclusive tented-area just for you, family, and friends
  • Personalized service from your own Cast Member during your rental (No gratuities accepted)
  • Towels, two padded chaise lounge chairs, and two padded chaise beds, just in case you find yourself in need of a relaxing nap in the Bay Lake breeze
  • A 32-inch flat screen TV with cable
  • An iPod docking station for your favorite relaxing tunes
  • A mini-fridge stocked with complimentary bottled waters and sodas
  • A phone for calls inside the Contemporary resort complex
  • A complimentary fruit tray
  • For an additional cost, you can dine privately
  • A ceiling fan
  • Free Wifi

Pool cabana price for the Contemporary Resort in POrlando

what to do at a Disney pool? Rent a cabana

Disney World best pool

When it is available?

The Cabanas are available for half day rentals (morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and afternoon from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and all day rentals run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

price for Disney World pool cabanas

rent a Disney World pool cabana

bed pool side at a Disney pool

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

How much will the cabana cost?

Morning or afternoon rentals are $149 plus tax for each session, or the all day rental charge is $219 plus tax. All prices are subject to change without notice, and one person in your party must be at least 18 years of age.

The maximum amount of guests for the Cabanas are six. There is also a 24 hour cancellation policy, or the full charge will be applied, although you can cancel at any time due to inclement weather. For reservations, call (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.

You can also visit the marina at the Contemporary for same day reservations.

Disney pool cabana

flat screen Tv in Disney pool cabana

The Contemporary Resort’s Quiet Pool is close enough to watch the action at the pool with the slide, but far away enough not to be bothered if you are here for relaxation and to work on your tan.  The sounds of ducks, boat whistles, and happy vacationers walking  the dock all blend together into just the sounds of vacation.

So break out your designer sunglasses, that cute sun hat, your new Mickey Mouse string bikini, and unleash your inner Disney Princess at the Contemporary Cabanas. You’ll be the absolute envy of poolside vacationers throughout Walt Disney World!

Remember that walking around the resorts is free, as Disney has an open resort policy. But swimming in the pools where you are not a paying guest is not allowed except under one condition. Use this link:

A Guide To Disney World Resort Pool Hopping

lounge by the pool in a cabana at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Mickey towels at Disney pool and cabanas

rent a pool canaba at Disney World

Have you ever rented a cabana? Did you think it was worth the money? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you lounging on a chair by the Contemporary Resort, soda in hand, the smell of coconut suntan lotion in the air…

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.