20 Tips for Taking Kids to Walt Disney World

20 Tips for taking Kids to Walt Disney World

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

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This summer, while Pokemon players were walking around collecting virtual Pokemons, I got busy winning Disney emojis I can send to my friends in texts. Granted, they are not a prize I can hold in my hand, but I can insert them into text after text, and there are hundreds to collect.

As soon as I saw the Disney emojis, I knew I had to have them. And best of all, unless you just really feel the need to play extra games, the emojis are totally free!

Times Have Changed: Welcome to the New Era of Walt Disney World

Ready to start collecting yours? Here’s how… [Read more…]

Make Your Own Disney Inspired Picture Frames for Super Cheap!

Mickey Mouse picture frame craft copy

Updated for 2016!

I sure love Disney them park picture frames, but I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t purchase many because they are all priced over $20, and if memory serves, some float up into the $40 range. That’s really not a tremendous amount of money to pay for a souvenir, especially in a fantasyland of gifts that can leap into the thousands, but I’m always on the lookout for a cheaper alternative.

Are you looking for a fun family craft? Head down to the Wal-mart craft section, Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby and check out the unpainted wooden picture frames. My personal preference is Wal-mart, because most of the frames I buy there are $1. Seriously…wooden picture frames for one dollar.

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disney painting crafts

I like to use a light sandpaper on the edges of the frame, because inexpensive wood frames don’t aways have the smoothest edges.

I’m a pretty good crafter, but I am not all that original. I’ve found the best place to find ideas for painting is Google images.

This frame didn’t look all that hard to replicate, with just straight lines and circles, so I traced out what I wanted. I used quarters to make the yellow button circles, and the quarter and a Chapstick top for the Mickey head circles at the top of the frame.

Mickey Mouse craft ideas

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Deciding that painting ultra-thin circles with a brush would be really difficult, I used fabric paint in the little squeeze bottles. They may not be completely circular up close, but they are pretty close to circular from a distance.

Fabric paint dries just as well on wood as it would on fabric, in fact maybe even better since it’s a completely flat and less movable surface.

make a Disney inspired picture frame

Disney crafts

And the final product.

Mickey Mouse picture frame

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Everything Mickey-themed uses black, red, and yellow, which you notice quickly when you search Google images.

mickey mouse craft ideas

I bought this wooden Christmas ornament from Michael’s, usually priced at $4.99 but was marked at half off after Christmas, and so it ended up being around $2.50. And in keeping with the Mickey colors, I started painting.

wooden Christmas ornaments

craft ideas for Disney moms

I used two wooden circles I had saved (my husband said translate this as hoarded) from some project at one time or another and painted them black. You can guess where this is headed.

Mickey Mouse picture frame

This is the final product, which I believe would have looked completely different with a Christmas color scheme and no extra black circles. It would have looked way…less…Mickey. 

Mickey MouseChristmas decoration

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When you Google Minnie Mouse, you get a lot of red and pink images.

Minnie Mouse craft ideas

I drew out the next two frames, one inspired by Mickey and one by Minnie, and then just added the pink bow to the traditional Mickey color scheme. It looks red with my camera phone, but I pinky swear the bow is truly pink.

I realize that Mickey’s buttons should be more oval that round, but oval is tough to reproduce and circular is not when you use an object to trace. I and a big-time tracer. 

Disney Mom art projects

Now add some color. Did I mention that bow is really pink?! It really is.

make a Minnie Mouse handmade picture frame

Mickey and Minnie picture frames

make your own Disney character picture frames

I filled in the colored circles with fabric paint, because this gave the frame a raised texture. You could always use regular paint.

Easy DIY Mickey Mouse French Manicure Instructions for a Cheapskate Princess

And then I tried to step it up a bit. This picture looked more difficult than anything I finished before it.

Mickey Mouse Andy Warhol

I use a Mac laptop, and I made the size smaller and actually traced the shape off the screen. Then I traced it onto the frame, making a few adjustments before I went any further.

Disney World picture frame

Mickey Mouse picture frame

Then I just started filling in the drawing with paint. I always work my way from the outside in. Mickey’s face is often a flesh color or white, and I decided this looked better in white like the original.

painting Mickey Mouse

Instead of a plain red background, I added some lines of brown and yellow paint in for a streaked look. I mixed those colors with red so it blended in.

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I outlined the Mickey face with the fabric paint, and in places where it was bit blobby or too wide, I just went back and edged it with white paint.

Mickey Mouse picture frame craft

The cost…

For the three wooden frames pictures above, I am almost certain I paid $1 for each one. I had a full box of paint and paint brushes to work with already, so that didn’t cost me anything extra. But what if you have none of that and have to purchase paint and brushes? I would say budget $10-15.

Any paint supplies you have left will be available for use with your next arts and crafts project. I did a lot of crafts when my children were younger, so some of these bottles and containers of paints were over 10 years old. I gave the fabric paint a good shake, and some of the regular paints needed some extra water added. Most of these paints then worked just fine after 8 – 10 years. I would therefore say my paints were a good investment for my money.

Mickey Mouse Decorating on a Cheapskate Princess Budget!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in the crafts section, picking out frames and red & black paint.

 

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

Vacationing at Disney World? Then You’ll Need a Nap!

you need this at Disney World

Updated for 2016!

Do you realize how big those Disney theme parks really are? Can you imagine the toll all that walking will have upon your body? As I hit my mid- 40s, slipping and sliding toward the big FIVE-OH, I’ve come to one huge conclusion. I don’t care how much fun I am having riding roller coasters and seeing character shows, I need a nap to get through the Disney World day, and my friend, so do you.

On why you need a nap…

To see everything and ride every ride in all the parks (besides Animal Kingdom,) it can take more than a day per park. During busy seasons, the wait times in all the parks can prevent you from riding, exploring, and enjoying everything you plan to experience. If you won’t make it all in one day anyway, why not give yourself time for a little rest? After a several of days of park hopping and line standing, you are almost guaranteed to need it. Some of you think you can make it, but your body will tell you otherwise.

And believe me, there is no Disney shame in stopping for a rest.

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they ever snuck in a nap on vacation, and we’ll share some of our nappers’ responses. I almost never miss a nap each day on vacation, but why take just my word for it?

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

why you should take a nap on a Disney vacation

Your kids need a nap.

Dawn, “With a four-year-old naps are essential.”

Cheryl, “We have a one and almost four-year-old, so naps/quiet time are extremely important (and not the ‘in the stroller kind’ generally.) We get to the park between 9-10, stay till about 1:30-2:00, go back to where we are staying, then return from about 4:30 to 5-8 or 9:00. It works out well for us, and in all honesty, it makes the transition back to ‘normal days’ at home much easier. I can’t wait until they are older though, and we can go to the parks for hours on end! In the meantime, these vacations are for them, and memories for us, and I’d rather spend less time in the parks with happy children than more time in the parks with miserable children.”

You say your kids aren’t big nappers?

Turn off the room lights and have them lay quietly – maybe they’ll fall asleep from sheer exhaustion.

If your child hasn’t taken a nap since they were 18 months old, which perfectly describes my middle child, then turn the hotel TV on a low volume and just close your eyes. The best that can happen is you’ll all fall asleep and wake up ready to take on the parks later that afternoon.

If the worst that happens is you get some rest and the kids watched one more TV show, well, that’s not such a bad deal in the long run.

Randy, “We don’t sneak a nap; it is a daily vacation occurrence. It gets us out of the heat of the day and allows us to enjoy the parks day and night without getting grumpy…”

Should You Give Your Kids Money for Souvenirs at Walt Disney World?

keep calm and take a nap

Nap Ideas

There are certainly other ways to get in a nap rather than head back to your hotel room. Those dark rides are not only for your entertainment, don’t you know, but they also serve as an air-conditioned cave for a little nappy-poo. (That’s kid speak for “nap.”)

Brad, “There’s plenty of attractions at all four parks to sneak in a 10-15 minute nap. Why go back to your room?”

The couches in the resort lobbies offer a great place for a little mini-nap. And then there’s always a nice chair, comfy or otherwise, to be found somewhere inside or out.

Kelly, “Try Tom Sawyer Island: I usually nap for 30-45 minutes in the rocking chairs, while my child plays on his iPad. It’s a very relaxing place.”

Judy, “A nap is a Must Do during the summer! It lets us stay up late when the parks are open til midnight. Plus it gets us out of the hot sun…

So take it from vacation napping pros…a short snooze is just what you need to get you through the day. It’s what your kids need to make it through the day and not drive you nuts in the process.

why take a nap on vacation

I’m a numbers-obsessed princess, and I wear a pedometer on vacations. I walk 10 to 12 miles (and up) each day at Disney, and one crazy day two years ago, between checking into hotels and staying up late, my entire family each walked 21 miles – that one day!  It was brutal.

I seriously doubt you can do any of the parks besides Animal Kingdom in under six or eight miles per day. You will be tired by lunch. Your kids, especially in the hot Florida summers, will be tired by lunch. The younger they are, the more exhausted they will be.

Go back to your hotel, take a swim if it’s pleasant out, and then crawl between those cool sheets and take a nap.

Benefits of a Nap

1. Think More Clearly

2. Increase in Alertness

3. Decrease in Stress

4. Improvement in Memory

5. Enhancement of Your Creativity

So you might not need too much creativity on a vacation, but that could come in hand before your vacation. Everything else on this list is sure to come in handy.

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

No Thanks to Napping

I know we have readers who will wholeheartedly disagree with this nap thing. You pay a ton of money for a Disney vacation –  why not just sleep at home?

And the beauty of that is simple. Every vacation is different, and there is no perfect way to travel. Take our nappy advice if it will work for you, and if not, you certainly will not be alone about mid-day, standing in those roller coaster rides. And that leaves more room, pre-nap, in the pool for me!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed for a comfy couch. If you see me in the Grand Floridan lobby, asleep in a chair, you can assume it was planned 90 days out… 

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

Funny Stuff Overheard in the Disney World Parks!

DSCN9462

You will find yourself listening to other people’s conversations when you vacation at Disney World. It’s not that you’re being nosy or intrusive. There are so many people waiting in lines or riding transportation in such close proximity to each other, it’s almost impossible not to overhear what other people say. I overheard this on a monorail, “Look, Lauren, that little girl has three Mickey balloons. Her parents must love her a whole lot!” Those price-checking parents that know Mickey balloons cost nearly $20 each would get the joke. Poor ballon-less Lauren didn’t seem so amused, but I sure grinned!

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans to tell us something they overheard in the parks, and I picked out all the quotes that made me laugh. Vacations can be stressful, and I am not sure you can over-value a good laugh these days. So sit back and laugh along with us…

Where to Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples!

Disney World balloons

Samantha  My son was on the monorail sitting next to a woman.  He then got up, and we all overheard him saying, “She smells like farts!” Oh my God, the embarrassment. He was three, by the way. 

Joe On Main Street I heard a friend muttering, “I’m at the happiest place on earth, but I am not happy.” This was due to him fighting with his wife before arriving at the park for the day. In response, I said “SHUTUP!”

Erika  I was chatting with some kids on the monorail, and a younger sibling shouted across the car, “Stop talking to that old lady!” I am just 33!

Kimmy  From a little boy exiting the Haunted Mansion, “Mommy, why were the heads disappearing from all those pictures?” Mom, “Because it’s showing all her friends in those pictures had died.” Reply from the boy, “Wait, but when Gramdpa died, you could still see HIS head in our pictures.”  Mom “That’s because he didn’t die here.” When I heard this, I was like WHAAAAT?!??”

Avoid Kid’s Tantrums in Walt Disney World? Teach Them This Important Life Skill

funny things you hear at Walt Disney World

Jill  We rode the monorail through ALL the resorts with a three-year-old named Hailey. How do we know her name was Hailey? ‘Cause we heard, “Hailey STOP” “Hailey come back” “Hailey, the doors are going to close on you” “Hailey, please stop crying.”  We laughed and rolled our eyes, but three years later we now have a “Hailey” named Addison who is just as bad.

Clarinda From my own kid, “I just wanna go to bed.

Don Overheard on Splash Mountain, “Is that some kind of word: Brer?”

Sara  Overheard on the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, “Yeah, it was a real family who got in a plane crash and landed on a desert island!

Over 20 Disney World Tips for Parents With Younger Children

Moms and kids love Disney World

Alicia  In the Magic Kingdom, there was a child who was crying and throwing a fit. The father yelled at the child saying, “I spent thousands of dollars to bring you to the Happiest Place on Earth! NOW YOU’RE GONNA BE HAPPY!!!” We still laugh about that ’til this day.

Cheryl  We got off Tower of Terror, and there was a girl about eight crying hysterically. Both parents were on each side of her smiling with the camera doing a selfie. Mom said, “Say Tower of Terror” right before they took the picture. This was so funny!

Susie Overheard from my 4-year-old son on the monorail. It was the first time we stayed with the kids at the Contemporary Resort. He asked some people getting off at the Polynesian Resort if they were staying there. They responded that they were not; they were just having dinner there and were actually staying at Pop Century. He replied, “Next time you need to stay at a monorail hotel. It is sooooo worth the money!”

Jessica  Overheard a parent tell their small child, “It’s not about YOU” while at Magic Kingdom. My husband and I laughed and kept saying that the rest of our trip!

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Dapper Dans at Disney World

And Our Funniest Quote for the month, an award given by me to whomever made me laugh the most, for June goes to Deann.

Deann  Overheard on the train during the taping of the Christmas Day parade, “Hey honey, I heard that Regis AND Philbin are here!” 

Sometime you just gotta laugh!

A big thanks to all our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans for posting their quotes. Stop by one day and see what we’re up to on Facebook. If you have a funny quote, leave it in the comments, and we’ll add it in to our July edition. Be sure to leave your name, and we’ll make you almost famous!

 

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you on a monorail, listening for a little laughter!

Life Lessons with a Disney Twist: Mastering the Art of Window Shopping

Best thing for kids at Disney World
One of those terms that seems to be lost on the younger crowd these days is “window shopping.” This terms is so old, they now have an entry for it on Urban dictionary.com. They define it as “When one visits a store or mall to admire goods rather than to purchase them. The ‘shopper’ seems to be looking so intently at the glass in storefront windows that he appears to want to buy the window itself, hence ‘window shopping.'” So to window shop, you simple look around stores without serious intentions of making any purchases.  
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So long-gone is the act of window shopping, (which is how I spent the majority of my childhood, jobless & broke, with my forehead leaning against storefront glass) that Wikihow.com has an entire slide show dedicated to teaching you how to window shop. Picture me shaking my head. I imagine millennials flipping through the slides, confusedly saying to each other, “They don’t even take their credit cards in the stores??” Wikihow suggests that window shopping is mostly an unexplored art in our materialistic society, and I certainly tend to agree. The purpose of window shopping is not to spend money or acquire new clothes, but rather it’s an activity where you learn more about yourself and your personal tastes.

teach kids to window shop on vacation

Nerdwalllet.com reports, using some nerdy finance terms I couldn’t quite decipher, that the average household in the United States owes between $7,000 and $15,000 in credit card debt.
 
Clearly, Americans could stand to do more window shopping and less actual shopping.  
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Because Disney vacations are expensive, most people feel the need to maximize their time in Orlando. You get up early, ride roller coasters all day, stay up late, and do this as many days as you can make it without collapsing from exhaustion. Time is money at Disney World; you only have a certain amount of time on vacation, and that time is costing you money. One area that many people do not budget a lot of time for is shopping. Your children will want time to shop at Disney, and unless you brought a suitcase full of cash, the majority of that shopping will need to be the not-spending kind.

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Dooney & Bourke kids purse

There are lots of children “shopping” at Disney World, and by that I mean, nearly every ride drops you off into a beautiful gift shop. So kids wind up in stores all over everywhere touching everything in sight, usually until an adult escorts them out and off to the next ride. Parents don’t typically give their children a lot of time to shop, which makes rational sense. Since time equals money, then shopping often seems like a waste of both to adults. But have you stopped lately to ask your kids what they want to do on vacation?

Many, many of them want to shop, and window shopping is a skill that will come in really handy here. It’s also a life skill they need to master to become a successful adult.

We’ve all taken our children to stores and let them look at toys. But Disney gift shops are on a completely different level. This is not your average TOYS R US store or the back corner of Target. This is Disney World, and the merchandise is colorful, character-familiar, and completely enticing. Kids love to look at toys; it’s a kid thing. Your child really will have a great time shopping and will want everything he or she sees.

Big tip here- so do adults, by the way. The Disney-wants is not just exclusive to kiddies.

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Kids want to shop at Walt Disney World

I have watched children literally get dragged out of Disney gift shops kicking and screaming. I’m talking about screaming at the top of their lungs and crying hysterically. Now these tantrums could be because they wanted a toy and couldn’t get it, but there’s also a good possibility they just wanted more time to look around. Perhaps they weren’t ready to leave. You can’t buy them every toy they ask for, but you can give them more time.

A great reason to let them shop, or window shop, is that realizing you can’t buy everything that you want is a life skill. I wish I had the money to buy everything I like at Disney.  If I bought everything I saw that I liked, we couldn’t pay our mortgage this month, and maybe next month too if jewelry is included. I cannot think of a time when I bought every item I wanted on a shopping trip. Can you?

Let those kids spend some time looking around in the shops. Build it into your schedule if you have to, because shopping is a lot of fun at Disney World.

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why kids need to know how to window shop

Teach Kids the Skill

How do you teach kids to window shop, where you go shopping and yet buy nothing?

This one is pretty simple.

Practice ahead of your trip, because trying this for the first time in front of a display of Mickey Mouse hats is a terrible idea.

Go to Target. Go shop at Walmart. Stop in Walgreens. Explain to your child that this trip is not for purchases, but you are giving them time to explore what items they like and to see how much things cost. Let them walk up and down the idles and touch things. Go when you are not in a hurry, and after sufficient touching and pricing time, now announce it’s time to go without bying anything.

Chances are in your favor that leaving empty handed will be met with a big messy tantrum, and that’s OK. You may have to try this for weeks or months until your child understands that you will not have enough money to buy a toy every time he or she sees one they want.

Explain that on your upcoming trip to Disney World, you will do a lot of this style of shopping, drop the old fashioned term”window shopping” here, because no one can buy everything they want all the time. Point out you won’t be buying everything you want either. I do this a lot. “See that watch? I really want to purchase that, but I’ve decided I don’t really need it. Even I can’t buy everything I want, because if I did, they would repossess your braces.”

Make sure you have a lot of conversations about what type of behavior you expect before you get to the store. Little ears will hear very little new information when standing in the toy isle. Once you have practiced shopping without buying, and you can leave tear and tantrum free, you are ready to give it a go at WDW.

Should You Give Your Kids Money for Souvenirs at Walt Disney World?

Disney Moms go shopping

Make a Child’s Souvenir Budget Before You Vacation

Several months before your trip, decide how much money your child/children have to spend on vacation, and most importantly, determine where is this money coming from.

  • Are you giving them a loan?
  • Are you giving them a vacation allowance?
  • Are they spending birthday money?
  • Are they using Christmas money they saved for just this occasion?
  • Can they work to earn spending money by washing cars, raking leaves, or doing household chores?

Kids need to understand as early as possible in their young lives that no one can buy everything they want. When adults do this, we wind up with massive credit card bills and wreck our credit scores. Adults that can walk into stores and not feel the urgent need to make a purchase at every location know the difference between want and need. Kids will want a lot of things at Disney, and that’s just fine as long as they have the cash to pay for things they want. And if the cash is not there, you set it down and walk away.

We asked our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they gave their kids spending money on vacation; check out their answers.

Should You Give Your Kids Money for Souvenirs at Walt Disney World?

why take small kids to Disney World

It’s very important to explain there will be no tantrums or begging when they money runs out. At least, that’s what my husband explained to me the last time I was crying and begging for that $4,000 gold Mickey Mouse necklace I had spotted.

Window shopping – a life skill indeed.

Need more Disney parenting ideas? Try this great article with advice from Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans, a great set of Disney parents who have been there with kids and lived through it.

Over 20 Disney World Tips for Parents With Younger Children

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with your head bent over the Disney Resort gift shop jewelry counter. Please wipe the condensation off the glass, because there is undoubtedly a cheapskate waiting for their turn to peek in the glass.

Disney moms take kids shopping

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Elizabeth and Erin, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Elizabeth and Erin. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

First Trip to Disney? Over 20 Tips for Parents With Younger Children

How to Have fun at Disney World with small kids.

Shopping at the local grocery store can be overwhelming for a parent. My children are all passed the elementary school ages now, but I talk with a lot of moms who have younger kids. Many say there is no way they would tackle Disney World with younger children. I always laugh first, and then I tell them that it can be done with proper pre-planning and mental and physical breaks.

We asked our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans, with a large group of parents who have been there and done that, for their best advice for parents who want to take smaller children to Disney World. They gave us over 20 fabulous ideas to help plan your next vacation. [Read more…]

Impulse Buys: How Returning Kid’s Purchases Is Costing You Money at Disney World

Disney World best souvenirs for kids

Updated for 2017!

With my family right next to me, I spend a lot of time in Disney gift shops when we’re in Orlando on vacation. I’m as much at home and happy on the back bench in the Small World ride as I am in a gift shop at the Polynesian Resort. Through the years, I have realized that my vacation time spent shopping for and purchasing Disney items wasn’t nearly the waste of time that returning those purchases was. [Read more…]

A Disney World Vacation: Can You Put A Price On Buying Memories?

 

why take kids to Disney world

Your Disney vacation is going to cost you a ton of money, but can you really put a price on the memories you make there with your children? I tell every new mother the same thing, “Time goes by heart-breakingly fast, so you better take a lot of pictures.”  And I follow it up with this, “The only piece of advice I will offer you? Take that baby to Disney.” They most-often don’t, of course, usually choosing to wait until Jr. is headed for pre-school. “Babies don’t remember vacations. Those trips cost a fortune. I want to take Jr.  when he is old enough to remember everything.”

Point taken. I took my babies to Disney, and they don’t remember a minute of it. I took a lot of pictures, though, so I have the memories. Time does indeed go by fast, and in a short five more years, all my children will have flown the coop off into the real world, where I won’t make their breakfast and wash their clothes. They are still excited about Disney vacations at this point, those trips that cost a fortune. I probably could have pre-paid for one year of college for what I have paid in Disney tickets and hotel rooms over the last 14 years.

What I am buying now is not just a vacation, which I can easily put a price on. What I am buying is memories for my children, memories I hope will lead them back to me in adulthood, and those memories, you cannot put a price on.

6 Cheap Ways to Keep the Disney Magic Going After Your Vacation

why Children love Walt Disney World

I witnessed a proposal at the Magic Kingdom last summer, sitting quietly beside my three kids as we waited for the Magic, Memories, and You! show. I remember wondering if the Disney memories I give my children now will affect their lives as adults. I want our happy times at Disney when they were kids to bring them back to me as adults for more of the same.

30 minutes after the proposal, my 7th grader verbally started planning where he would propose to his wife. He has always talked about having a family of his own, and he declared Cinderella Castle was a fabulous spot to pop the question. I told him I would always have a camera ready to capture the moment if he would have me along on his special trip. He hugged me and said, “Of course you’ll be there. Where else would you be?” Oh, if life were only as simple as seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old.

Disney has given my youngest child something to talk about with me for years, planning trips and chatting about the snacks we’ll share. We talk about our plans for my retirement in Orlando, and how he wants to get a job as a dentist and work there. He thinks we can live in the same neighborhood. If he can just find the right girl who will allow him to bring his mother on vacation, I’ll be set up. I’ll miss our Disney talks as he grows older and starts planning dates with cooty-infested girls and practicing his trumpet without me, but I hope the seed is planted.

Come back and visit me, buddy, when you are 34 and have your own children. I’ll hold their hands and walk them through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.

 Do You Have a Favorite Disney Child, and Would You Admit It?

Making memories with family at Disney World

My middle child, a 9th grader and high school school drummer, reacted to the proposal by reiterating,”Ugh. I am never getting married. Can we go ride Space Mountain now?”  This child has been saying he wanted no part of marriage or kids since he was four, which I have to admit, tears greatly at my heart. I have been married for 22.5 years, and I have three kids, a mortgage, and two dogs. You don’t get much more family oriented than that. Middle child not getting married is going to mess up my plans for playing with his children, my grand-children, in the sand in front of the Polynesian Resort.

But then, this is not my life, it is his.

So I don’t tell middle child that he might one day bring a girlfriend or a family to Disney, but I do wonder if watching all the families there will shape his choices as an adult. I just simply say,”I bet Space Mountain will still look like this when you have to help me out of my wheelchair to ride it.”

Come back to Disney with me, oh-kid-O-mine, because the songs will still be the same in the Tiki Room when my hair is all gray, and we’ll sit in the back and sing real loud, just like we used to before you got your own cell phone.

Fabulous Disney-Inspired Wedding Rings, Perfect for a Disney Princess!

Do teens love Disney World?

My teen-age daughter, 11th grade high schooler this year, stood up from the Magic, Memories and You! show and announced,”If I don’t get proposed to in front of Cinderella Castle, then the whole deal may just be off.” I laughed and said,”I guess I should have a talk with the boy then, once you are 28, and he can afford a ring. You have to meet him first. Don’t rush it.” I have to tell myself not to worry. She will find the right guy one day, and she will be stunning in a wedding dress, and I will be totally broke if she plans the wedding I anticipate she will plan. I don’t even mention you can get married at Disney to this one; I just keep it in the back of my mind. And maybe I roll some quarters and hide them in a sock drawer for the wedding deposit.

Come back to me when I am old and gray, my first baby, my precious girl, and bring that boy with the ring with you. I will be there with a camera and a front row seat in front of Cinderella Castle, Kleenex in my pocket and joy in my heart.

Like to see the whole story of the proposal?

The Absolute Most Amazing Thing I Ever Photographed at Disney World? It was a …

proposal at Disney World

It’s just a crazy time we live in these days. My goodness, the world was supposed to end days ago (this was originally written in December of 2012, you know the whole Mayan calendar thing?) yet here I am, planning my next Orlando vacation. I hope I live long enough to see my kids married and happy. I have no reason to think I will be any place other than attending two weddings and watching two sets of grandkids. Ok, three sets if middle child changes his mind. But in a day and age where people get shot in movie theaters, and little children die in school classrooms, nothing seems very certain anymore.

I sometimes ponder the inevitable, because I won’t always be here to vacation with my kids.

Have I done all I can to make my children the best people they can be?

Did I talk to them enough?

Will they remember our late nights sharing cupcakes in the Contemporary Resort, and walking the dog around our block while planning the perfect Disney spot to share a snack?

Will they remember enough to come back and hang out with me when I will be called “Granny” and not “Mommy?” I took them to Disney, and one night, we sat and watched a proposal together. For today, I’ll just have to hope that memory stays with them as a reminder that I was there, and that I tried my best as their mom.

10 Things They Forgot to Mention About Walt Disney World Vacations

where to propose at Disney World

Life Lessons With a Disney Twist: Teach Kids to Be Appreciative

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, I took them to Disney and we made some memories. What they do with those memories remains to be seen. I’ll forget what I paid for the tickets, but they won’t forget me crying through “Wishes.”  I’ll forget the price of the hotel, but they won’t forget riding the monorail at two a.m. that one summer night, just us by ourselves, my arms around them, humming “When You Wish Upon A Star.”

Hotel and ticket numbers come and go, but you can’t put a price on memories with your family.

Thanks for stopping by. Time goes by fast, so go hug your kids…

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Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

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Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Life Lessons With a Disney Twist: Teach Kids to Be Appreciative

teach kids to appreciate nice things you do for them

Updated for 2017!

If you’re planning a vacation, it will probably be one of the more expensive things you budget for throughout the year. Some people plan and save for Disney vacations literally for years, weighing accommodation options, scheduling the entire trip around Free Dining, etc.  Not everyone stays in a Deluxe Disney Resort, because not everyone can afford it. If you are sweating over the money it will take to get to Orlando, then chances are, you are probably on a tight budget that may barely include Value Resort accommodations. [Read more…]