Pros and Cons of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

pros and cons of staying at a Disney Resort

Your family has decided they want to go to Walt Disney World and you are so excited, but then you have to decide if you want to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort or stay off property. A Disney World vacation has so many moving parts, and there are so many decisions to make while planning your vacation.  But don’t worry, because we are here to help you make the important decision on where to stay!

When you take a Walt Disney World vacation, there really isn’t a bad place to stay.

Read: Benefits of Staying at a Disney Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

[Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Caribbean Beach Resort Guide

caribbean beach resort guide

Walt Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a large, with over 200 acres surrounding a 45 acre lake called Barefoot Bay. There is a 1.3 mile path around the resort and lake which connects all the villages that is great for jogging or walking. The lake provides sandy beaches for sunbathing with hammocks for relaxing, though swimming is not permitted in the lake.

The Custom House at the main entrance is where guests check-in and acts as the arrival and departure points for guests using Disney’s Magical Express airport service. Bell Services is located here too. Check in time is 3 p.m.; check out time is 11 a.m. [Read more…]

Disney Vacation Must Do: Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort

Disney World Contemporary Resort

Have you ever looked into prices at the Contemporary Resort? The least expensive room they offer, $371.25 per night before taxes, is a Standard View Garden Wing room.  That’s not even in the main building. The MOST expensive room at the Contemporary is a Bay Lake View Two Bedroom Suite on the Club Level, and that room rate is a whopping $2218.49 per night before taxes. Prices like that are going to stretch the budget of even the best of us. I joke about how one of these days, I’ll spend the $400 for just one night at the Contemporary so I can say I actually did it. Maybe one day…but to be realistic, it probably will not happen.

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

But with Disney’s “open resort policy,” the Contemporary is one of the best resorts to visit for that “Disney experience,” even if you are not spending the night. The grounds are beautiful, with the property situated between Bay Lake and The Seven Seas Lagoon, and the resort itself has a 70s Disney retro vibe. This resort opened at the same time as the Magic Kingdom in 1971, and it still has a Disney old-school feel. Which is why visiting this particular Disney resort is a fabulous idea if you are on that limited budget. Walk around for a little while, soak everything in, and grab a bite to eat.

One of my all time favorite places to grab a counter service meal is at the Contempo Cafe. Monorails will zip through the building. There is a famous Mary Blair floor to ceiling mural that was all the rage when the resort opened. This is an amazing place to have a meal with a true “Disney feel,” and the prices are not in the stratosphere like the resort rooms.

Read: Mary Blair: Why You Should Touch the Tile Mural in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort

Hot breakfasts, bakery items, fresh salads, hot and cold sandwiches, flatbreads and pasta entrées are served in the Contempo Cafe. “Grab ’n’ Go” items are also available. Have a cupcake and a chocolate milk, will travel kinda thing…

Let’s take a look at some menu prices.

Breakfast Menu

Bakery/Snack Items (Only between 6am and 11am)

  • Bagel with Cream Cheese 2.79
  • Cinnamon Roll 3.19
  • Chocolate Croissant 2.99
  • Croissant 2.49
  • Assorted Danish 3.49
  • Assorted Muffins 2.99
  • Yogurt Parfait 4.59
  • Freshly Baked Cookie 2.39

Entrées (Only between 7am and 11am)

  • Mickey-shaped Waffle with choice of Fruit Topping, Bacon, and Turkey Sausage 7.79
  • Breakfast Sandwich with Grilled Ham, Egg, and Cheddar Cheese 6.49
  • Bounty Platter – Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Turkey Sausage, Breakfast Potatoes, French Toast, and Biscuit 8.99
  • Breakfast Platter – Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Turkey Sausage, Breakfast Potatoes, and Biscuit 6.79
  • French Toast with Bacon and Turkey Sausage 6.59
  • Breakfast Burrito – Scrambled Eggs, Chorizo, Potatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Charred-Tomato Salsa, and Black Beans 6.49
  • Oatmeal 2.79

Sides (Only between 7am and 11am)

  • Grits 2.79
  • Side of Bacon 2.49
  • Side of Turkey Sausage 2.49
  • Side of Scrambled Eggs 2.59
  • Side of Breakfast Potatoes 2.49
  • Biscuit 0.99

Kids’ Meals

  • Breakfast Sandwich – Turkey and Scrambled Eggs with Apple Slices and Peach Applesauce 4.99
  • Breakfast Platter – Scrambled Eggs, small Mickey-shaped Multi-grain Waffle, Turkey Sausage, Grapes, and Strawberries 4.99
  • Mickey-shaped Waffles – Two small Mickey-shaped Multi-grain Waffles with Grapes and Strawberries 4.99
  • French Toast with Bacon or Turkey Sausage and choice of Applesauce or Grapes 4.99

Beverages

  • Coca-Cola® Fountain Beverages 2.99
  • Dasani® Bottled Water 2.50
  • Smartwater 4.00
  • Vitaminwater 3.29
  • Simply Orange® Juice 3.79
  • Minute Maid® Apple Juice 2.59
  • Honest Ade® Pomegranate Blue 3.99
  • Honest Tea® Green Tea 3.99
  • Fuze Peach Mango 4.29
  • Powerade 3.19
  • Monster Energy 4.29
  • Lowfat Milk 1.69
  • Nesquik® Chocolate Milk 2.39
  • Nesquik® Strawberry Milk 2.39

Hot Beverages

  • Illy Cappuccino 3.99
  • Cappuccino 3.39
  • Espresso 2.99
  • Coffee 2.29
  • Hot Tea 2.29
  • Hot Cocoa 2.29

Read: Vintage Disney Photos – Take a FREE Mental Vacation Back in Time!

cheap meal at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Lunch Menu

  • Cheese Flatbread 8.19
  • Pepperoni Flatbread 8.79
  • Marinated Beef Flatbread with Goat Cheese Spread, Oven-roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Arugula 9.99
  • Chicken Artichoke Flatbread with Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Spread, Diced Tomatoes, and Basil 9.99
  • Caprese Flatbread with Basil Pesto, Diced Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese, and Balsamic Glaze 8.49
  • Chicken Chop Salad with Corn, Black Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Cilantro Vinaigrette 7.89
  • Roasted Curry Vegetable Salad with Romaine Hearts, Bulgar Wheat, Dried Cherries, and Yogurt-Pesto Dressing 6.69
  • Steakhouse Salad with Marinated Beef, Red Onions, Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing 8.29
  • Caesar Salad with Chicken with Cheesy Breadcrumbs 7.99
  • Turkey BLT Sandwich – Turkey, Cheddar, Bacon, Tomatoes, Lettuce, and Lime-Cilantro Aioli with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 9.39
  • Italian Stacked Sandwich – Ham, Turkey, Salami, Cheddar, Provolone, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onions, and Sun-dried Tomato Spread with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 10.19

Kids’ Meals

  • Tuna Salad Platter with Pita, Grapes, and Apple Slices 5.99

Bakery/Dessert/Snack Items

  • Cheesecake 3.99
  • No Sugar Added Brownie 3.99
  • Assorted Cupcakes 4.19
  • Worms ‘n Dirt Cake 1.99
  • Soft Serve Ice Cream Cup 4.29

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Budweiser 5.75
  • Bud Light 5.75
  • Bud Light Lime 6.50
  • Miller Lite 5.75
  • Coors Light 5.75
  • Corona Extra 6.50
  • Corona Light 5.75
  • Heineken 6.50
  • Red Stripe 6.50
  • Bacardi® Lemonade 5.75
  • Bacardi® Sangria 5.75
  • Kahlua® Mudslide 6.75
  • Mini Margarita 6.75
  • Parducci Merlot 10.95
  • Parducci Chardonnay 10.95

Read: Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at the Contemporary Resort at Christmas?

save money on meals at Disney World

Dinner Entrees

  • Cheese Flatbread 8.19
  • Pepperoni Flatbread 8.79
  • Marinated Beef Flatbread with Goat Cheese Spread, Oven-roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Arugula 9.99
  • Chicken Artichoke Flatbread with Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Spread, Diced Tomatoes, and Basil 9.99
  • Caprese Flatbread with Basil Pesto, Diced Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese, and Balsamic Glaze 8.49
  • Chicken Chop Salad with Corn, Black Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Cilantro Vinaigrette 7.89
  • Roasted Curry Vegetable Salad with Romaine Hearts, Bulgar Wheat, Dried Cherries, and Yogurt-Pesto Dressing 6.69
  • Steakhouse Salad with Marinated Beef, Red Onions, Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, and Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing 8.29
  • Caesar Salad with Chicken with Cheesy Breadcrumbs 7.99
  • Turkey BLT Sandwich  – Turkey, Cheddar, Bacon, Tomatoes, Lettuce, and Lime-Cilantro Aioli with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 9.39
  • Italian Stacked Sandwich –  Ham, Turkey, Salami, Cheddar, Provolone, Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onions, and Sun-dried Tomato Spread with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 10.19
  • Lobster Roll  – Maine Lobster Salad and Romaine Lettuce on a Grilled Roll with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 15.99
  • Hot Smoked Turkey Sandwich – Turkey, Brie, Arugula, Green Apple Slices, Apple Butter, and Honey Mustard on Challah Bread with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 9.19
  • Angus Bacon Cheeseburger with choice of American, Cheddar, or Pepper Jack Cheese with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 9.39
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich – Herb Marinated Chicken with Pepper Jack and Salsa-Ranch Dressing with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 9.19 with Creamy Coleslaw and Spicy Tartar Sauce on a Focaccia Roll with French Fries, Chilled Sesame Green Beans, or House-made Chips 10.19
  • Pasta with Marinara Sauce – Orecchiette Pasta with savory Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, and Parmesan with a Parmesan-Ciabatta Breadstick 6.79
  • Chicken Basil Pasta – Orecchiette Pasta, Basil Cream Sauce, Mozzarella, and Feta Cheese with a Parmesan-Ciabatta Breadstick 8.79
  • Beef Pot Roast with Mixed Vegetables and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes 9.99
  • Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lobster Cream Sauce, Mixed Vegetables, and Rice 11.49
  • Barbecued Spare Ribs – Half Rack Barbecued Ribs with Coleslaw and French Fries 11.69
  • Tokyo Sushi Sampler 9.99
  • California Roll 8.99

Kids’ Meals

  • Mahi Sandwich with Apple Slices and Carrot Sticks 6.99
  • Tuna Salad Platter with Pita, Grapes, and Apple Slices 5.99
  • Pasta with Turkey Marinara with Grapes and Carrot Sticks 5.99
  • Turkey Sandwich with Apple Slices and Carrot Sticks 5.99
  • Chicken Nuggets with Grapes and Carrot Sticks 5.99
  • Hamburger with Grapes and Carrot Sticks 5.99
  • Cheese Pizza with Grapes and Carrot Sticks 5.99
  • Pepperoni Pizza with Grapes and Carrot Sticks 5.99

Bakery/Dessert/Snack Items

  • Freshly Baked Cookie 2.39
  • Brownie 3.99
  • Chocolate Cake 3.99
  • Carrot Cake 3.99
  • Cheesecake 3.99
  • Crispy Treat 3.99
  • No Sugar Added Brownie 3.99
  • Assorted Cupcakes 4.19
  • Worms ‘n Dirt Cake 1.99
  • Soft Serve Ice Cream Cup 4.29
  • Nestlé® Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar 3.79
  • Fruit Cup 3.59
  • Carrots and Celery 3.69
  • Yogurt Parfait 4.59

Beverages and Alcoholic Beverages will be the same as the lunch menu.

Read: Why Mickey Mouse is a Modern Symbol of Financial Success

Contemporary Resort

Food prices here are not as bad as you would think, given how much it costs to stay here. For me, that’s even more reason to grab a meal while I’m here.

The Contemporary Resort was the “flag-ship” of the Disney resorts before the Grand Floridian was built. The changes they have made through the years have added to the atmosphere rather than taken away the magic. There are three nice gift shops on one side of the mural, all within site of the monorails. Even if you can’t afford a meal at Chef Mickey’s on the other side of the mural, you’ll be able to hear the fun from your Contempo Cafe seat.

Spend some time just listening to the happy sounds of vacationers going through the building, the sound of the monorail engine as it speeds up and slows down. Watch the sun come through the 14 story windows.  Other than sitting beside the volcano rock water fall at the Polynesian Resort, there may be no better resort location to feel like you are back at Disney as a kid.

I really wanted to stay at the Contemporary when I was in elementary school. Now, knowing how much of my own money it will cost me, I’m rather content to pop in for a cafe meal and a look around.

I am really partial to the Contemporary during Christmas as well.

Read: The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Much to my surprise, when we took a vote with our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans, the Contempo Cafe did not earn a place among fan favorites. So to get other people’s opinion besides mine, see where the fans suggest you go for a great resort meal.

The Top 5.5 Quick Service Disney Resort Restaurants – Chosen by Our Fans!

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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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.