Disney World Character Dining Options:

Dining with characters has become a HUGE part of many Disney World vacations. Character meals can be expensive when compared to counter service meals, or breakfast in your hotel room, but you save a lot of time eating with characters instead of waiting in theme park lines to meet your favorite Disney characters.

 

[Read more…]

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival : A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Have you ever been to Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival? Disney announced that from September to November of 2016 Epcot will host the International Food & Wine festival; this year’s event will be almost an additional two weeks longer. If you are a foodie, then this is your festival.

[Read more…]

Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Tiffins Animal Kingdom

Got a special occasion and want to try some new dining on your next visit to Walt Disney World in a restaurant like no other on the property? Give Tiffins a try, Disney’s newest signature restaurant and part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.  [Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Pros & Cons for FREE Disney Dining

should-you-order-the-Disney-Dining-Plan-900x675

By Erin Johnson

FREE DISNEY DINING!

These three words, when put together, create magic and pixie dust for all vacationers dreaming of their next Walt Disney World adventure! You are saving so much money when you buy the Disney Dining Plans for your vacation. But, getting them for free? Are you kidding? That sounds perfect, right? Well, it can be. And sometimes it can be…a little less than perfect.

I have put together a list of pros and cons to help our Cheapskate Princess readers answer some very frequently asked questions. If you are planning your Disney vacation around a possible free dining offer, or you are just trying to learn what free dining is all about, these pros and cons will definitely help! [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.

One of the Best Disney World Snacks Under $10? Try a Cupcake!

best Disney World snacks under $10

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve been to Disney World before, there are several really yummy snacks that cost under $10 that would easily qualify for the “Best” snack you can buy on vacation.

I’m going to make my pitch for cupcakes as one of the best items, because they are so colorfully appealing and large enough to share, which can help in cutting your snack costs. [Read more…]

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan recommendations

Updated for 2015!

Ask a group of seasoned Disney visitors about paying out-of-pocket for the Disney Dining Plan, and you are guaranteed to spark a pretty good debate. Many people love it, while others refuse to pay, only using the dining plan when they can get it during a free promotion. It’s hard to argue with that logic, as every Cheapskate Princess loves FREE! But what do you do if the free option falls outside of your travel window? Do you pay for your own food whenever you feel like it, or do you pay for the Disney Dining Plan in advance of your vacation?

Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg; Gotta Have It or Skip it?

Resort guests who purchase a Magic Your Way Package or book using Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points can purchase The Disney Dining Plan (DDP).  With the dining plan, you simply purchase a certain number of meals on a “voucher system.”  Every night of your stay, each guest on your reservation receives an allotment of quick service meals, table service meals and snacks. The number of meals you receive depends on the dining plan you choose.

Your Key to the World card (room key) monitors your group’s allocated meals.  After you finish your meal, your receipt will display how many meals you have remaining for each room (not per guest), which allows you to keep track of what you have left.  Meals and snacks may be redeemed in any order during your stay until the balance is at zero or until midnight of the night you check out.

The Disney Dining Plans come in three types. Magic Your Way Package Plus Quick Service Dining, Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining and Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining.

These are prices for the 2015 dining plans. Each price is per night.  Going by Disney rules, adults are people 10 years and over, and children are ages 3 to 9. A ten-year-old may not be an adult in your house, certainly not in mine either, but they are viewed as adults at Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s time to send grown up Jr. (age 10) out to mow the grass before you leave?!

Quick Service Dining

2 quick service meals, 1 snack, 1 refillable mug

$41.99 per adult, $16.03 per child

Regular Dining

1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack,  1 refillable mug

$60.04 per adult, $19.23 per child

Deluxe Dining

3 meals – any combination of table service and quick service,  2 snacks, 1 refillable mug 

$109.53 per adult, and $29.86 per child

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

should you get the Disney World Dining Plan

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans what they thought about paying for the DDP; their answers can help you plan your next Disney vacation!

No – Do Not Purchase the Plan

Vegetarian Options are Limited

Lisa, “No, we don’t because we are vegetarian, and the dining options are very limited. It’s mostly the meat dishes that are expensive.”

Too Much Food

Stefanie, “We tried the dinning plan, and we decided it wasn’t for us until our son decides to eat more. I ended up sharing with him a lot. Disney does know how to fill a plate! We never left hungry!”

Stacey, “We have done it both ways, and the dining plan is just way too much food for us. We don’t want a dessert with every meal. It is just cheaper for us to pay out-of-pocket and get what we want rather than purchase the dining plan.”

Food Costs Less with No Dining Plan

Erica, “I took my three youngest kids in April, and due to their ages, Disney wanted $200 a day for the dining plan. We spent less than that for the entire three days we were there.”

Tammi, “When we don’t get the dining plan for free, it just does not make sense. We normally never eat desert, etc. When we have it, we eat two times as much as we normally would.”

Liz,We didn’t even get it free this time. The Room Only discount made more sense financially for us. The first time we went, we paid for Deluxe Dining, and what a mistake that was! Way too much food and way too much time spent getting to and from restaurants. This trip in September, we are paying out-of-pocket for food. We made a few ADRs but not many.  We will eat breakfast in our room most days, and we will eat what we want, when we want, from counter service spots. My back-of-the-envelope calculations/estimates have us paying just over half what we would have for the dining plan.

Jennifer, “We don’t purchase the dining plan, because there’s just two of us. We feel like it’s not worth the price, because we share a lot of food, and we don’t want to be ruled by reservations and desserts! We end up eating wayyyy more when we have the dining plan, and it kind of drags me down. So we just eat when we are hungry, and we save a lot of money.”

Freedom from Constant ADR Scheduling

Salina, “We pay out of pocket for our food. We are big eaters, but we always do much better paying as we go! Then we can have a few sit down and character meals and not have to have a sit down meal every day. Our kids want to go go go!”

Where to Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples!

Disney Dining Plan Tips

Yes – Pay for the Dining Plan

Given the cost of the dining plan, it always somewhat surprises me people are willing to spend that much money on food. But the beauty of a Disney vacation is that no particular vacation plan is right for every family. Some people go to Disney to experience all the amazing cuisine WDW has to offer, and the DDP is a great way for Disney foodies to whoop it up.

Mendi and Nick, “The dining plan may be our favorite Disney perk. That is where they hide the magic.”

Tammy, “We’ve done it both ways – free and out-of-pocket. On our last trip, we did four nights at Disney World, (three days in park,) then Disney cruise, and then back to the parks for two days. So we got a Five day Magic Your Way with dining. The dining worked for the first part of the trip, but for the last part after the cruise, that was out of pocket. We were using the ‘leftover’ two days of park tickets and paid for a hotel at the Art of Animation. After always having the dining plan, paying out-of-pocket was very different. We said then that we would never pay out-of-pocket without the dining plan again ( if our stay allowed.) It just makes things so much more simpler and a little easier on your budget, if you plan on eating in ‘the world.'”

It Saves You $

 Jordan, “Last November we chose to go with the upgraded (free) dining. We kept receipts and did the math. If you plan to do character meals, and ever consider doing desserts (even though most of ours ended up coming back to the room with us,) then paying full price for the dining would be worth it.  You do come out saving some money. But if you pay for it, then for sure use it.  If you want that 25$+ steak, then have it because then you really get your money worth.”

Nancy, “Before we started staying on property, we paid for meals with cash. Now when we stay on property, we use the deluxe dining. It totally saves money! Especially since we do a lot of character and signature meals. We feel it is definitely worth it!

Disney World Food Tip #1: Why You Should Share Dessert

Relax- It’s Paid for in Advance!

One big reason many people choose to purchase the dining plan in advance is because it takes a lot of worry over pricing out of your hands. Why worry about looking at prices, because it’s already paid for?

Randy, “We have used the regular dining plan since our children reached their upper teens. We park hop and most days and nights, we plan to be back at Epcot for lunch or dinner, even if we are taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours at another park. For us, knowing that a table service meal each day is paid for allows us to try a new restaurant each time we vacation, and yet we still get to enjoy our favorites… LeCellier and Via Napoli.”

Amy, “Yes! We did character dining each day plus Ohana for dinner. That added up. We didn’t have to think about prices, we ordered what we wanted. It made dining so simple and care free.”

Julie, I have payed out-of-pocket because I love the dining plan; it affords me the opportunity to pre pay my food and eat whatever I want! The no-worries feeling helps us enjoy our vacation much more!

Melanie, “We just got back last week, and I did pay for it. I tracked all our expenses and we broke even, actually it was a little bit of a deal for us. I like the fact that my meals are paid for in advance. That’s one less expense to think about on the trip, since I have to think about tips.”

Are Disney World’s “Rapid Fill” Refillable Resort Mugs Worth the Cost?

Character Meals 

Most people who seem to really talk up paying for the dining plan are people who know for certain they will go to character meals.

Amanda, “We are making our first ever trip in December with our daughter. She will turn five while we are there. We are paying for the dining plan, because we plan to take full advantage of character dining and special dining. It would cost too much to pay for all of it without the plan.”

Melissa, “It depends. If you plan on doing character dining, then the dining plan pays for itself! I’ve done both; I think you can eat cheaper, and there are some really great quick service options. I’m not just talking burgers and fries here! My kids are spoiled though, and I must admit, so is their mom. We need our character interactions!”

Kelly, “We are DVC members, so we ALWAYS pay for the dining plan out-of-pocket. Going with two teenage boys, the dining plan is worth it. When they were younger, the dining plan allowed us to enjoy ALL of the character meals. The price of one character meal was usually equal to one person’s dining plan for our trip. When it is just my husband and I, we don’t usually purchase the dining plan because it isn’t worth it for just the two of us. We have friends that only go when there is free dining. So, my advice is, if it is only two adults and they aren’t big eaters, or not interested in trying some of the finer dining offered by Disney, then I say pass. But, if you have small children that love the characters it is worth paying for.”

What Are the Top Three Character Meals at Walt Disney World?

Disney Dining Plan

Bring Your Snacks Home

Bridget “We pay for the dining plan. We are DVC members, so I have to pay for it, but with character meals, it pays for itself.  My daughter loves Chef Mickey. If we have left over snacks or quick service items, we bring stuff home to enjoy once we are back to real life.”

Judy, “The last three times I have visited Disney, we have paid for the dining plan, and I feel it was totally worth it. If you look at the cost of what meals would cost without it, and compare it to what you get with the meal plan, you can see that it pays. At many counter service and table service meals, you can get a meal and a dessert, or an appetizer and a meal. When we didn’t use the dining plan, I would normally skip the appetizer or dessert. Then if you add in all the character meals that you can attend, it definitely pays for itself. If I didn’t do the meal plan, I would only do one character meal. But since we purchased the plan this last time we visited last summer, and it was kids first time visiting, we were able to do three different character meals. At the end if the week, we had so many meals left over, so we used them to get snacks for traveling home. The other advantage I have found is that we try restaurants and meals that we would not normally try if we were paying for the meal out-of-pocket, like Tandouri chicken at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge.”

information on the Disney Dining Plan

Remember the Tip at Table Service Meals

And remember, table service meals at Disney World come with a steep tipping cost added in for larger groups. Large by Disney numbers is any party over six people. 

Melissa, “We purchase the dining plan, but it’s almost impossible to figure out if it’s truly a cost savings. We kept all our receipts, but the problem is that we ordered differently than we would if we were paying out-of-pocket, so it was really impossible to do a cost savings analysis. There is one thing to watch out for; if you have a group of more than six people, you pay an 18% mandatory gratuity on the ticket price of the meal. So, all those free desserts and free drinks, etc., start to add up. For our group of nine people for nine days with 2-3 table service meals per day, the meal plan cost roughly $5,ooo, but we paid over $1800 on top of that in gratuities for the trip. It was NUTS! Again, the gratuity is based on the ‘ticket price’ of your meals, not the cost of the dining plan. (18% of the dining plan would only have been $900). I would never do the dining plan for large groups for this reason, because it gets out of control. The ‘freebies’ aren’t free.”

Also, an automatic gratuity charge may also be added to your bill for items you order that are not included in the Disney Dining Plan, like alcoholic beverages.

I’m all about being a cheapskate, but if you can’t afford to tip, then you should be dining at counter service restaurants. We travel with five “adults,” so that’s where you’ll find our family.

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

For a much more in-depth look at the entire Disney Dining Plan, use this link. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you waiting for your character meal reservation time.

Get a taste of the Dark Side

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.

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

Cheap Disney snack ideas under $10

Updated for 2014!

One of the things people remember most about a Disney vacation are the snacks! And why not? They cost 1/10 what a character meal costs, even if you don’t have your photo snapped with Chef Goofy. Sometimes, we don’t get back to Disney World  as fast as we had planned. Faced with a rainy day or just a free afternoon? Why not try to make some of these cool Disney-inspired treats I located on Pinterest. If I could find the original source, I have provided the link for instructions to make your baking easier.

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

Everybody loves an Oreo. It’s been the best-selling cookie in the United States since its introduction in 1912, and the round shape just lends itself to a Mickey Mouse-themed snack. Oreos are cheap, and so is icing. You can find the instructions and ingredients here on keepmovingforwardwithme.com.

how to make Disney snacks, Disney birthday party snacks

Toostinkincute.com made these double threat cupcakes, both “tasty and easy to make.” Cupcake batter is cheap, so is icing as we just mentioned, and they’re using Oreos here as well.

make your own Disney cupcakes, Mickey Mouse cucake

There are no instructions for this next sweet, but it’s pretty straight forward and sure to be a hit with the younger sugar cookie-loving crowd. For some cute Disney birthday party ideas, where this photo originated, head over to itsybitsyfoodies.com. 

Make your own Mickey Mouse cookies

What kid, age six or 60, doesn’t enjoy a good stack of pancakes? Sometimes at our house, as a throwback from my college days, we have pancakes for dinner and call it “moonlight dinner.” The original idea for these Mr. Potato Head pancakes and the photo came from kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com.  Round pancakes would work for both Mickey and Minnie, Toy Story aliens, and lots more ideas characters kids will love.

Disney pancakes, make Disney pancakes, how to make Disney pancakes

Read: Want FREE Drink Refills at Disney World Theme Parks? Then Choose These Restaurants

Quesadillas are a quick and easy snack to pull together, even for a sub-par cook like me.  itsy bitsy Foodies used a cookie cutter to create these to “Mouse-ka-dillas.” You crafty moms could decorate these right up with all sorts of veggies. For some cute Disney birthday party ideas, head over to itsybitsyfoodies.com. 

Mickey Mouse lunch ideas

There seems to be no instructions or photo origin for this next Mickey inspired snack, but it looks pretty easy. Doughnuts, doughnut holes, chocolate, and you could add your own sprinkles, powdered sugar, etc.

Mickey Mouse doughnut

While I don’t think Snow White’s poison apples would be acceptable party food for the younger princess crowd, teens and adults at Halloween parties will eat this up. Add a little blue or green food coloring to the candy apple red slurry, which will give the apples a “dark, sinister, glossy” look. The original picture was from catchmyparty.com. 

Disney candy apple

Read: Who Would Pay $29 for a Disney World Dessert? You Should!

There were no instructions for this pizza nor origin for the photo,  but if you can roll out some dough and add a splash of sauce and cheese, you will be well on your way to lunch or party food. Throw on some veggies for the complete face. Dough, cheese and sauce might not qualify as cheap, but they are inexpensive enough to make this for under $10. Your costs will obviously rise if you use any sort of meat.

make a Disney pizza

No instructions here, but the purplepatchparties.com baked up these Mickey themed Rice Krispie treats. This would not only work with the popsicle stick, they would also be great as just the treat itself, or bake a square pan and decorate each section with Mickeys in icing. Only your imagination, Ok and cooking abilities, will limit you here. Rice Krispie treats are cheap to make.

Mickey Mouse rice krispie treats

Where can you find Mickey Mouse cookie cutter sets like these?

Mickey Mouse cookie cutter set

Head over to DisneyStore.com, where a set of three is just $9.95 before shipping. (At least they were for sale at the time of publication!)  Use this link. 

Using the cookie cutters, you could make these adorable cookies, but that might take more artistic skill than I have. This photo was on weheartit.com. Little kids all the way up to teens would have a great time decorating cookies, and these would be a big hit at a Disney-themd baby shower or engagement party.

Mickey Minnie cookies

Read: 12 Disney Craft Ideas from Pinterest for the Disney Princess on a Budget!

Most all of these snack ideas could easily be created for under $10, maybe just a bit more depending on how many colors of icing you purchased, or how many pizzas you wanted to produce for picky eaters. While you sit down for some quality family crafting time, go to YouTube, search for “Disney World Area Music” and hit the play button. Listening to YouTube Disney music, as opposed to purchasing music on iTunes, is free. Have yourself a Disney afternoon, eat some snacks, and then burn off some of those calories on a walk. Walking at my house is also called “training for Disney.”

Your family and/or friends will thank you.  As cheap as most of these snacks look, your wallet will thank you. And your feet will thank you for getting in shape for Disney on a walk. See, who says that snacks can’t be a win-win for everybody!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the kitchen with your Mickey Mouse cookie cutters, cookin’ up somethin’ yummy…

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.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Disney World’s NEW & Improved Main Street Bakery (Starbucks)

Disney Starbucks

It was Walt Disney that said, this sentence so often quoted in regard to his humongous and ever-changing empire, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Quite a few eyebrows were raised by Disney fans everywhere when it was announced that Starbucks was taking over the Magic Kingdom’s beloved Main Street Bakery. Change – it happens all the time at Disney World. They change the flowers. They tear down Mickey and Minnie’s homes and put up a circus. They build new resorts. They tear down shows and put in Star Wars Land (Ok, that’s still rumor. Just seeing if you are paying attention.) Change.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

 Read: Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

new Main Street Bakery

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” That’s another of my favorite Walt Disney quotes, and really how I approach any news of coming changes within the gates of WDW. I like to be optimistic, be hopeful, but I lost this one. The Disney Main Street Bakery that I knew and loved is gone.

I managed to score four tickets for a preview into The NEW Main Street Bakery on Father’s Day, June 16th, 2013, the last day of our summer Disney vacation. Walking by on the way to snag FASTPASSES to Space Mountain 20 minutes after park opening, I saw two Cast Members handing out tickets. Forget Space Mountain…I shoved my husband and sons into the waiting line. I thought they were tickets just to get in the door for a soft opening preview. Imagine my surprise when it was tickets for free food and drinks. Woohoo! FREE! I looked at my husband and said,”Happy Father’s Day!”

 Read: If You Want to Save Time and Money on Disney World Food, Eat Now and Not Then!

Disney meal dining voucher

Here’s a breakdown for you, trying to be as unbiased as possible, because while I fear change as a general rule, I also try to embrace it so I can keep moving forward.

The Good

I love all improvements to buildings, rides, and whatever the Disney Company chooses to “plus.”  The term “plus it” was commonly used by Walt Disney to  mean making further improvements to a project, no matter if it was a film, a television show, or a theme park. You Starbucks fans have been “plussed.” There are a lot of coffee/latte options, and The Bakery smells of delicious Starbucks Coffee. After years of reading complaints about whatever coffee Disney was serving, apparently Nescafe, you guys will be happy.

My husband said the breakfast sandwich he ate was really good, probably one of the best “meals” he had eaten on Disney property during our vacation.

My piece of berry coffee cake was Ok; it was better than a Wilderness Lodge brownie I once ate, but not as good as the Lemonade Cupcake they served at the Contempo Cafe last sumer. Average.

I have read online that those people on the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) will be able to purchase food and drinks here that will count as snack credits. This is great news if you were planning to buy your Caramel Macchiato here anyway, because that’s one less expense.

 Read: Can You Afford the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party at Disney World?

Disney's breakfast sandwich

My sons said their Vanilla Bean Latte was fabulous.

We didn’t actually get a coffee. This Disney Princess is no fan of coffee or latte from anywhere, so I let them enjoy it.

The Cast Members are as delightful as ever. They were helpful, smiling, and exactly what I have come to expect from Disney employees. They did not disappoint. The Cast Member that got us the vouchers actually went back into the building to get them for us, and we thanked her no less than three times. This is Disney World at its finest.

The floors were lovely, the wood trim was warm and inviting, and the brick work was a nice touch. It’s nothing to do cartwheels over, but the building has been updated. I personally liked the old building, but this change in appearance is still a positive.

Disney changes the Main Street Bakery

The Bad

Those Bakery fans who loved all the food they offered previously will be disappointed, or I was in a huge way. I never ate breakfast at the old Main Street Bakery, but  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans said there was a ham and cheese croissant on the breakfast menu that was fabulous. No croissant items are listed on the new menu.

Remember the famed Main Street cinnamon roll?

Disney World Main Street Cinnamon Roll

It’s no longer on the menu.

I remember an apple turnover bigger than my hand. My youngest son and I split one like six years ago on the sidewalk outside The Bakery. How do I remember? Because it was that yummy, better than any bakery food I have in my home town.

I remember a massive slice of chocolate cake. I remember a chocolate chocolate-chip muffin with white powdered sugar sprinkled on top. I remember carrot cake, because while I am not a fan, my middle child certainly is. He bought a slice every trip with his own money. Come to think of it, I probably remember too many yummy calorie-filled snacks.

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

Disney Coffee cake

I remember a cinnamon roll so huge we split it in fourths. Word has it this treat has been relocated to Gaston’s Tavern in the new Fantasyland, which is not open as far as I know after Wishes, and it’s like two miles away from Main Street. OK, it feels like two miles, but it’s probably just one-quarter of a mile away. And I know there are fans of Le Fou’s Brew out there, don’t send me hate mail, please, but I thought that drink was blah at best, cold apple juice at worst, and I only set foot in the door once despite the amazing night-time lighting.

I don’t think of the new Fantasyland as the place to eat my Main Street Bakery cinnamon roll. What I knew is gone, and Starbucks stole it.

Disney peanut butter cupcakes

All my yummy snacks, the ones I looked forward to from The Bakery, are gone, gone, gone the way of Snow White’s Scary Adventure, or at least when I was there for the preview visit.

In Internet chatter regarding the new Bakery, many people have remarked that Disney is filled with corporate sponsorships, in fact there is an Edy’s Ice Cream Parlor almost door. My issues with the changes are not about branding and corporate sponsorships. I don’t buy coffee anywhere, so I honestly don’t care what brand of coffee is being served; it could be Goofy’s Coffee Company for all I care. Most people i know go to Starbucks for the quality of coffee, not necessarily for a snack. There are snacks all over the Magic Kingdom, and I was one of those people that ate here for the quality of the snack.

I wrote two paragraphs ago, “What I knew is gone, and Starbucks stole it.” A Reddit reader found this to be “a bit over-the-top.” Well, I’m going to stand by that as far as the food. Starbucks may have brought in a tremendous taste improvement as far as coffee, but it dropped substantially in terms of quality of snacks. That cake pop below is pretty, but it’s no match quality-wise for any of the foods I mentioned they served previously.

Bring in your Starbucks Frappuccinos, your Goofy’s Coffee, your Coca Cola coffee, (insert any brand here) but leave the Bakery snacks as they were. I read a review where it was pointed out that The Main Street Bakery wasn’t actually baking their food items on site. Neither is Starbucks, so why change up a good thing?

But hey, things change, and the menu might as well.

Wiping a formerly sugar-filled tear…

Starbucks Disney snacks

The Ugly

There is no seating now. This was a horrible realization for my family. Both my sons asked where we would sit with our food. Well, dears, mommy doesn’t exactly know.

This has really messed up my after “Wishes” snack plans in a royal Cinderella Castle-sized way. I was one of those die-hard Disney fans that watched people walking down Main Street toward transportation – on their way home  – while I enjoyed a snack in The Bakery. It was like a secret we knew, along with thousands of other Disney fans, that when the Magic Kingdom closes, you get a snack and stay a while. Some of us waited so long they kindly reminded us it was time to go now.

Starbucks stole the seats, and now there are a couple small (probably granite) counters to stand at. Listen, I’ve stood enough by 11 p.m. I liked my table. My kids liked the tables. We sat and watched the glass blowers in Crystal Arts next door. We watched sleepy kids sit in mom and dad’s laps and eat snacks. We talked about what we would order on our next visit. We watched parents fight, lovers share snacks with one fork, girls rip off princess dresses in preparation for a good night’s sleep beginning in a stroller. We watched a lot. We ate a lot of snacks on those small tables through the years, and if there wasn’t table space, you sat on the bar by the wall.

We enjoyed a lot of late night snacks in the Main Street Bakery, had some good conversations, made some vacation plans.

Goodbye tables and yummy snacks. Hello…Starbuck’s coffee? Hello Starbuck’s cookie standing at a counter? Readers have remarked that “it’s silly to get mad about this kinda stuff,” and that I was being “nitpicky” and “complaining just to complain.” I say to them…you never enjoyed a great snack here with family, because if you had, you would know what you are missing out on in the future.

Disney Main Street Sarbucks

If the worst I can say is there is nowhere to sit, then that’s not all that bad, really. It’s a nice, clean shop with reasonable prices and friendly staff.

What I have lost is memories, and a table and chair on which to make future memories. Yeah, yeah, there are tables down the street  and at the train station, but ya know, change is hard.

I’ll be back, but not like I was. I’ll stop in if I need a cold drink, because they do not lack in available soda bottles. I’ll stop in if my high school-aged daughter wants to get a latte, even though we have a Starbucks offering the same latte just 10 minutes from my house.  I’ll be back if I want to accompany my husband as he purchases another breakfast sandwich, and I’ll walk with him while he eats it, hoofing it down the sidewalk on the way to more FASTPASSES.

Wait…Disney just changed the Fastpass system too. Wow, change can be hard!

But I won’t like it, not like I used to. I’ll just have to find a “new” favorite snack spot, maybe in different  park. We found a great coffee shop in Hollywood Studios with the coldest air EVER and a really great cherry pastry over by Star Tours. Yea, maybe I’ll go there and pout and talk about what was, how the Main Street Bakery used to be when my kids were kids.

 Read: 103 Fabulous Vacation Planning Articles for Walt Disney World Fun!

Disney Starbucks

When I think of “Main Street,” the kind Walt Disney so fondly remembered from his childhood, I think of soda fountains, quaint stores, and cafes where I could spend time with family and friends. I don’t think of drive-through windows and taking my coffee to go. I’m on vacation to get away from my McDonald’s Happy Meal world. I’d like a table to have a seat, rest my feet, plan my next stop, with my vacation-weary butt parked in a chair.

I didn’t win this round of change, but I truly have high hopes for that Cars Land rumor.

Stop by when Starbucks, I mean the new Main Street Bakery, and see for yourself. Let us know what you thought… 

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.

You can also 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.

Bringing Food into Disney World Theme Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

yummy snacks to bring to Disney World

Updated for 2017!

If you ever tried to sneak food into some sort of establishment, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! Most Walt Disney World visitors are aware that you no longer have to sneak your food into the theme parks, because the rules have changed from years past. I have a mini-anxiety attack every time we go through Security, because my dad snuck food during every trip we made to Disney as kids. I call it “Post Traumatic Cheapskate Syndrome.” Even the most well-traveled Disney visitors could use a refresher on just what you can bring with you and what to transport your food in. [Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #10: When to Schedule Table Service Meals to Save Money

Updated for 2017!

Headed to Walt Disney World? Chances are, you have several special restaurants you want to visit for a memorable meal. Table service meals, where a Cast Member brings food or drinks directly to your table, are a great way to add to your Disney dining experience, but it doesn’t come cheap. Table service meals are more expensive than counter service meals, sometimes by a rather large amount, and that’s before you even add in the tip. For what you will pay for a table service steak surrounded by fantastic architecture and soft lighting at Le Cellier, I could buy three hamburgers meals, with fries and a drink, at a counter service restaurant like Cosmic Rays, ambient sounds provided by an audioanimatronic space alien. Steak for me or hamburgers for three members of my family?

[Read more…]

Disney Food Tip #1: Share This Meal!

sharing food on a Disney World vacation

Updated for 2016!

Food is a hot topic among Disney vacation planners. People online are raving about their favorite restaurants and special meals. But food is also pricey, and if you are on a limited food budget, character meals and Disney Signature Dining meals may not be on your trip itinerary. Budget WDW trips often call for counter service meals. Counter service is simply where you walk up to the restaurant counter and order your meal, take it back to your table yourself, and clean up your own mess. There is no wait staff at counter service restaurants, like there are at table service locations, and this meal will be less expensive than table service.

So you can save money by choosing counter service over table service, and then save even more by sharing, because who says you have to eat the whole meal by yourself? [Read more…]