Walt Disney World Tips: Resort Goodies for Kids

Disney Resort goodies for kids

There are several reasons to stay off property at Disney World, one of the most important of which can be a lower cost, but if you are traveling with children, paying more money to be closer to the action and surrounded by all the “Disney Magic” of the resorts may be more desirable than saving money. Many people prefer to stay on property just to take advantage of all that Disney World has to offer.  

There are lots of goodies for the kids if you stay in the on-property resorts.

 10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

1. Pools

As a resort guest, you paid for the room, so you will basically swim for free as a perk of your accommodations choice, and the pools run from kid-friendly with Disney characters in sight to simply amazing with hot tubs and slides. 

Wilderness Lodge resort pool

2. Bathroom Freebies

Shampoos and soaps at the resorts are great, created by a company called H2O just for Disney. Why bring your own toiletries when you can use the H2O soaps, conditioners, and shampoos in your room? If you run out, simply run down the hall to Mouse Keeping and ask for extras. If you don’t mind paying a tip, call the front desk and ask for extras to be delivered to your room. They come in child size bottles too. 

 

3. Fireside Marshmallows

Camp fires at resorts offer free marshmallows and roasting sticks. Complimentary campfire activities can be found at 14 locations at Walt Disney World Resort, as seen in the list below. Call the resort to confirm that night’s fire and get an approximate time, although they usually take place before sunset.

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

 

fires and marshmallows at Disney resorts

4. Stationary Freebies

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

5. Character Greeting Call

Upon check-in at your resort, ask a Cast Member to set up a “Welcome Call” from a Disney character. Like Disney magic, Mickey or a Goofy friend will leave a message on your room phone. Have the kids answer this call for a big surprise! 

6. Character Wake Up Call

Just like the greeting we mentioned above, schedule a wake up call to your resort room and a Disney character, usually Mickey, will call to wake you up. What better way to get tired kids out of bed to start another magical day. 

7. Use Their Pool Towels 

For registered resort guests, there are towels available that can be used in the pool-side showers located in the bathrooms. Let the kids take a swim on check-out day or a free day when you take a break from the parks, and now they don;t have to drag a towel with them. Are you traveling with a large group and want to speed up the showering process at night after a long day at the parks?  For something a little different, the kids can use the showers near the pool.

8. Mugs 

So the purchase a Resort Mug isn’t free, but the free refills afterward at all the Disney resorts for sodas and drinks are. The Dining Plans already includes a Resort Mug for everyone age three or older. The mugs cost $17.99 for your length of resort stay, no matter how many days. These make excellent dinner cups once the kids get back from vacation.

 

 

why kids love Disney resort refillable mugs

9. Pool Side Games

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

10. Outdoor Movies

Come for the campfire, and then stay for a movie. Take in one of the many free “Movies Under the Stars” outdoor movies at WDW resorts following the campfires. Huge screens are blown up for nightly movies outside the resorts. This can depend on weather. At some resorts, you will need to bring a towel or blanket to sit on, and at others, they provide chairs. Call the resort desk for specific information.

Movies and entertainment are subject to cancellation or change without notice. For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort, or call 407- WDW-PLAY or 407- 939-7529.  How to See FREE Movies at the Walt Disney World Resorts!

movies by the stars at Disney resorts

11. Professional Portrait Service

This may not be so great for kids when they are young, but it could be a fantastic heirloom when they are adults. You can arrange to have professional portraits taken of your family while you’re at Walt Disney World. To make a reservation to schedule a portrait session or get more information, call 407-934-4004. Make reservations up to 30 days in advance.

Portrait sessions are available at the Grand FloridianPolynesian Village, Beach ClubWilderness Lodge, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

12. Playgrounds

Your feet will be tired, but the kids may still be full of energy.  Walk down to the playgrounds found at the resorts, and they all have one. Playgrounds are great for a free day or when the parks close early for holiday parties. Coronado Springs has an amazing kid’s playground next to the Aztec-themed pool.

playground at Disney's all star resorts

13. Resort Decorations

At the Value Resorts, there are incredible landscaping decorations that will totally entertain the kids in your group. 

what to do for fun at Disney World All-stars resort

Disney's All Star Resort

When my children were young, these seriously were the highlight of their stay at the All-Stars. Going back now that they are teens, they have a true fondness for the property I hope they share with their own children one day.

Disney statues at the All Stars Resorts

So while you may pay a little to a LOT more money to stay on Disney Property, there are lots of extras and goodies for the kids to enjoy. Some you’ll take home with you; others you’ll take home as pictures and memories. 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you standing by Buzz Lightyear outside your resort room. 

 

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.

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

Disney Resorts

When planning to visit Walt Disney World, some might say “to do it right, stay at a Disney Resort”. While there is no one “right” way for everyone to vacation at the most magical place on earth, there are benefits of staying at a Disney Resort. Staying close to the parks does come with a price, but keep in mind, you get more than “just being closer to the parks” for your money at a Disney Resort. Comparing what is included can sometimes make off property the same or more cost than staying at a Disney Resort, with less convenience.  [Read more…]

2016 Transportation Changes at Disney Springs

Summer 2016 is in full swing at Walt Disney World, and with the prime season comes changes to handle the crowds.

Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks Blog

I will admit, in the past, me personally, I was put off with the transportation to Disney Springs. It seemed to take a while to get there and well, while I liked shopping and eating there, I didn’t think it was a destination that I needed to go to…kind of been there done that. Boy have times changed! Along with the makeover from the former Downtown Disney, Disney Springs has new dining options and some great new shops. My transportation issues have been addressed with a new dedicated bus loop for Disney resort guest motorocoach transportation.

The new dedicated loop gives Disney resort guests much more efficient access to all Disney Springs has to offer, which is loads of yumminess and fabulous shopping. It’s a perfect location to visit as a day off from the parks or a simply as dining destination. With Sprinkles Cupcakes, Morimoto Asia, The Ganachery, the Lego Store, Earl of Sandwich and yes, the Margarita Stand and more, if you have some time or need someplace to eat while on vacation, go there. Remember, most restaurants at Disney Springs take Advanced Dining Reservations, so make sure you take care of that up to 180 days in advance either via MyDisneyExperience.com or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Tips to Stay Cool on a Summer Disney Vacation

Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks Blog

Once resort guests arrive via Disney Resort Transportation they will be dropped off at The Gateway, Disney Springs newest neighborhood. Centrally located in Disney Spring’s Town Center, there are 18 loading zones to help guests get on and off the motorcoach with as little delay as possible. And yes, and it looks really nice too!  The old bus location at Marketplace will now support other transportation including Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotels, Hotel Boulevard Resorts and Shades of Green.

One of the best perks about staying at a Disney Resort is the free resort transportation to attractions which includes to Disney Springs. It’s nice to see with the expansion, Disney Parks has made it easier for resort guests to be able to enjoy all Disney Spring has to offer in dining, entertainment and shopping both old and new.

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.

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

steps for planning a Disney vacation

Updated for 2016!

So the family has been discussing taking your first Disney World vacation, but you don’t really know where to start? That’s totally understandable, because Disney World is a HUGE place, and the different options you have to customize your trip can seem endless. We’re going to help you get that planning in full swing with five big decisions you’ll need to face as you make your way to Orlando, and we’ll do it with finances in mind. After all, if you ever brought your lunch to work for a month straight so you could afford to eat out every day on vacation, you might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Ten and 1/2 Tips for 1st Time Walt Disney World Visitors

 

Step #1 – When Will You Travel?

This is usually one of the hardest decisions to make when planning a vacation. You have to coordinate everyoneʼs schedule and then try to find dates that match up with low prices, weather, and crowds.

Prices

For prices, Disney has several seasons that they consider “value.” Value seasons offer some of the lowest prices of the year. The value seasons are the 2nd week of January-February 14, September, and the 2nd-3rd week of December. These are the best times of year to visit the Walt Disney World Resort if you are looking for low prices. The closer you get to most holidays – summer break, spring break, and especially Christmas break – the higher prices will go.

Weather

There are several seasons in Orlando; locals jokingly call them hot, really hot, and “stay inside” seasons. Here are the average temperatures in Orlando if weather will be a factor in your planning.

10 Things They Forgot to Mention About Walt Disney World Vacations

Climate Data for Disney Vacation in Orlando

Crowds

These two articles give you the “best” and “worst times of year to visit WDW in terms of crowds and overall craziness at the theme parks. Hint: if school is in session, crowds will be lower than normal. When the kids are out on vacation, this is the scheduling-best and yet “worst” time to travel to Disney. Crowds levels are connected with accommodation prices in many ways – during the busy times at the parks, prices are generally higher.

What Are the 5 Worst Times to Vacation at Walt Disney World?

What Are the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World?

Keep in mind that with the seasonal/tiered ticket announcement, which in March 2016 was just for one-day ticket purchases, it is assumed that the holidays may be a slightly less busy, seeing how some people may not want to pay higher prices during holidays. This in turn could make other seasons, less busy times of year, more busy as people avoid paying higher prices. “Less busy” these days in terms or Disney World crowds simply means it’s just not super crazy/ three-hour wait times. Disney is a busy place all year ’round; it’s just crazy busy during major holidays and summer. 

Where will you stay at Disney World

Step #2 – Where Will You Stay?

The Walt Disney World Resort has twenty-five hotels, including Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and a campsite. That sure is a lot of options for your family’s vacation. In deciding on a resort, you need to choose a location that fits your budget and will work with your familyʼs vacation plans and needs.

Rooming options range from $100 to $500 per night room as a starting point, and for time’s sake, we haven’t even really discussed the amenities you get with each level room. The more expensive the room, the more amazing perks you’ll receive.

 Value Resorts

  • least expensive accommodations but smallest sized rooms
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery
  • two to three quiet and large pools
  • a lot of walking and can be really crowded during busy times of year

Moderate Resorts

  • medium priced rooms – medium-sized rooms
  • bus and sometimes boat transportation to theme parks
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery, table service (except POFQ) lounge bar
  • most offer quiet and large pools with slides and hot tubs
  • expect to walk a fair amount

Deluxe/Deluxe Villas

  • amazing theming, most expensive accommodations, largest sized standard rooms, interior corridors
  • concierge and deluxe suite options available
  • compact locations, so less walking is required in most instances
  • bus, boat and monorail transportation to theme parks (AK is bus service only)
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery, room service, table service, fine dining, character meals
  • quiet and large pools with slides, hot tubs & spas
  • other amenities: playgrounds, pool bar, boating, video game room, gift shop, kid clubs, babysitting, health clubs, valley parking, salons, some bunk beds

We’re given you the quickie version here, but this article is the prime resource we have for helping you decide which resort will be the best for you money.

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

While Orlando is filled with hotels and resorts off Disney property, there are many reasons to stay right on-property with the Mouse.

*10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

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Step #3 – Tickets!

If you chose one of the Deluxe resorts, you may not even need tickets with so many activities to do on property. But if you are headed to Orlando to visit the theme parks, then once you’ve narrowed down when to travel and picked out a place to stay, now you need to choose what sort of tickets you’ll need. You need to determine how many days you plan to visit the amazing theme parks as well. We always suggest at least one “down day” of no park activity just to enjoy the resorts amenities and swimming pools.

Tickets

Disney offers several ticket options, starting with the basic ticket called the Magic Your Way Base Ticket.

With Magic Your Way Tickets, determine the number of days you want on your Base Ticket. This ticket allows you to enter one major theme park every day, although re-entry to the same park is allowed. You can add other options to this base ticket. These are pre-tax prices for 2014.

cost of Disney World tickets

What You Can NOT Wear to Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Options

Park Hopper Option

By adding this option, you can visit of the four major Walt Disney World theme parks for every day you have tickets. You can add the Park Hopper Option after you have started using your tickets if you realize you want to “park hop,” as in visit more than one park per day.

Water Park Fun & More Option

Using this option, you purchase admission to water parks and other attractions.

  • Blizzard Beach water park
  • Typhoon Lagoon water park
  • DisneyQuest
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (including 30 minutes of game play at PlayStation Pavilion)
  • mini golf at Fantasia Gardens (one round before 4:00 pm)
  • mini golf at Winter Summerland (one round before 4:00 pm)
  • golf at Oak Trail family walking course( one round.) Advance reservations are required.  Golf clubs are not included for adults, and neither is a pull cart.

Magic Your Way with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More

This option will combine the benefits of the Park Hopper option and the Water Park Fun & More option.

For adults, using a 4-day ticket as an example.

adult ticket prices Disney World

For children, using a 4-day ticket as an example.

children's ticket prices Disney World

Disney World Water Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Step #4 – Purchase the Disney Dining Plan or Not?

Disney offers a food option to their packages called the Disney Dining Plan. There are three options:

  • Quick Service Dining Plan
  • Basic Dining Plan
  • Deluxe Dining Plan

Here is the 2016 cost per person per hotel night for each plan. Every plan comes with a refillable resort drink mug.

  • Quick Service (snack, 2 counter service meals)  Adult $44.13, Child $19.04

  • Standard (snack, 1 counter service meal, 1 full service meal) Adult- $63.70, Child $22.85

  • Deluxe (2 snacks, 3 counter or full service meals) Adult $115.08, Child $35.49

If you are looking to save money on food while you vacation, there are lots of alternatives to purchasing a dining plan, including eating in your resort room and bringing snacks/meals into the parks with you. You are allowed to bring snacks, drinks and coolers into all theme parks and resorts. Use this link for other item restrictions.

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

However, if you plan to enjoy any of the amazing Signature Dining experiences and Disney Character meals, then the Disney Dining Plan can save money over the cost of paying for your meals out-of-pocket.

Dining Plans allow many visitors to pre-pay for their food, so once they arrive in Orlando, they are not making meal decisions based on cost. As the cost of the meal plans have risen through the years, many seasoned travelers feel the meal plans are not the deal they used to be.  

best Disney Dining Plan

The Top 20 Best Disney Restaurants, So Says the Fans!

Step #5 – Other Plans?

Orlando has so much to offer besides Disney roller coaster rides. Some will require tickets but many will not. We have links to much more detailed information on some of these activities.

Will you visit Disney Springs, for dining, entertainment, and shopping?

23 FREE Activities at Disney Springs! 

Will you do some shopping at any of the other malls?

70% Off Disney Parks Authentic Merchandise? Cheapskate Bargains Galore!

Will you spend any time “resort hopping” = looking around the Disney Resorts?

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

For our most detailed article on entertaining yourself in Orlando, use this link:

3 Days with No Orlando Theme Park Tickets; How We Survived and Thrived Almost for FREE!

mall of Millenia in Orlando

It’s almost as simple as that. Determine the following:

  • when you will travel and for how long
  • where you will stay
  • ticket preferences
  • meal plans or out-of-pocket meals
  • other activity plans?

And this is enough to get you started on your way to a magical Disney vacation, maybe not in a financial sense but certainly in an organizational direction.

For more ideas on Disney travel, we have an entire page of articles. Bookmark it and the just read at your convenience!

Vacation Planning Tips

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you looking at your calendar, calculator in hand.

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

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

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

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Disney PANDORA Charm Bracelets Don’t have to Cost a Fortune!

Cinderella Pumpkin Coach Disney Charm

Updated for 2016!

My PANDORA charm bracelet does indeed have several Disney-themed charms, and the only bad part about that was the cost. Many of the really stunning Disney-themed charms are almost $100. They are really cute too…

$90 – Mickey and Minnie Mouse ”Mickey & Minnie” Charm

Mickey and Minnie Mouse ''Mickey & Minnie'' Charm by PANDORA

$85 – Mickey Mouse ”Believe” Charm

Mickey Mouse Believe Charm

$100 – Cinderella Pumpkin Coach Charm

Cinderella Pumpkin Coach Disney Charm

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

When you look at the bracelets in resort gift shops, as well as in your mall PANDORA store, the sample bracelets are usually just filled with charms. I look at these and start doing the mental math – $55 + $90+ $55+ $80 and on and on..

Disney Pandora charm bracelet ideas

Pandora bracelet Walt Disney World

Pandora Disney World

When you look at these bracelets with many, many charms, one thing that seems obvious to me, given my penchant to look for a cheaper alternative, is to realize that you do not have to purchase all Disney-themed charms to achieve that Disney look.

PANDORA currently offers almost 25 charms that are $25 each, a far distance below the $100 Disney charms and half of what the other lower-priced Disney charms cost on average, which is about $55.

These are some of the really cute $25 charms.

Pandora charms 1

Pandora charms 2

pandora charms 3

pandora charms 4

pandora charms 5

pandora charms 6

Did you notice these two heart charms on the bracelet above?

pandora charms

The plain heart charm costs $25, while the Disney heart charm costs $55. In reality, you could purchase two plain heart charms for the price of one Disney heart “dream” charm.  If you are buying a starter bracelet for a younger child and don’t want to risk a $700 bracelet turning up lost or stolen, then make sure some of the charms you purchase are of the less expensive variety.

If you are like me, prone to losing or dropping things, you might want to go slow on amassing too many of the $100 charms, in case, ya know…

You can always make the pricey Disney charms a special present or gift to justify the higher expense. 

Senses Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

Pandora

While I am a huge eBay shopper, I do caution people about purchasing PANDORA charms on eBay. I bought two charms once for $40 including shipping, while these charms normally retail for $50 each. The seller assured me they were authentic.

I took them for inspection to the nearest PANDORA retailer, where we all agreed they were very similar to the in-store charms yet slightly different. The salesgirl took close up photos and sent them to corporate, who confirmed they were fraudulent and asked for the eBay seller’s name.

So buyer beware…there are fakes out there.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Disney Pandora for kids

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you doing some Internet shopping, although gift shop shopping is definitely more exciting…

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.

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

130 Free Disney World Activities

Updated for 2017!

The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited entertainment complex in the world. The property covers 47 square miles, offering visitors 24 unique themed resorts, four theme parks, two water parks, over 300 restaurants, a sports complex and the renovated Disney Springs shopping area. There truly is more to see and do than your average visitor has time or money to actually accomplish. With prices seeming to increase every year, some families struggle to make their Disney vacation dreams a reality. [Read more…]

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

best counter service meals at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

There is more to a Disney vacation than riding rides and waking up at 5 a.m. to get ready to ride more rides. With so many fabulous resorts on Disney property, many visitors build time into their schedule to visit resorts where they are not staying to see the sites. Disney has an “open resort policy,” where visiting the resorts is allowed and encouraged. Parking is free for now, but that may change in the future.

Visiting with the intentions of having a meal is a great way to fill an afternoon, most especially if you don’t have park tickets or just to give yourself a break mid-vacation from the crazy pace of roller coasters and large crowds.

Read: The Top 20 Best Disney Restaurants, So Says the Fans!

But where should you go? We asked our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans to tell us their favorite resorts for a quick service dining experience that wouldn’t break the bank but give you enough Disney magic to make the visit memorable. Of course, good food was another reason people listed their favorite as well. This list can also be helpful when choosing the resort you would like to vacation in.

So with a tie at number three, here are the fan’s Top 5.5 Disney World Quick Service Resort dining locations.

 

Before You Make Your Disney World Dining Reservations, You Should Read These…

5. Coronado Springs

Coronado Springs Resort is a Moderate level resort with standard room starting at $214.00 a night. Dining options here are unique/themed dining at the Maya Grill, quick-service options like Café Rix, Pepper Market, and Siestas Cantina, and in-room pizza service.

For a quick meal at this resort, visit the Pepper Market food court: pancakes, omelets, crème brûlée French toast, breakfast burritos and Mexican fare, salads and sandwiches, grill items, hot sandwiches, pizza and pasta, kids’ picks and drinks, plus wine, beer and margaritas.

The price per meal is $15.00 and under up to $29.99 per adult meal, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Coronado Springs Pepper Market

Coronado Springs restaurant food court

Coronado Springs lake

4. Pop Century

Pop Century Resort is a Value level resort with standard rooms starting at $117.00 a night. Dining options here are quick service at Everything Pop Shopping and Dining and Petals Pool Bar and in-room pizza delivery.

For a quick meal at this resort, visit the Everything Pop Shopping and Dining, where you can choose food from any of 7 stations: grab ’n’ go items, grill fare, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, healthy choices and ethnic cuisine. Specialties include oven-fired flatbreads, lo mein, pan-seared fish and house-made desserts.

Prices per meal are $14.99 and under per adult meal, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Read: What You Can NOT Wear to Walt Disney World Theme Parks

3. Art of Animation (tie)

The Art of Animation Resort is a Value level resort with standard room starting at $143.00 a night. Dining options here are in-room pizza delivery and the quick service food court called the Landscape of Flavors.

For a quick meal at this resort, visit the Landscape of Flavors for international and American favorites, including build-your-own burgers, oven-roasted meats and veggies, and an array of hot and iced coffee drinks.

The price per meal is $14.99 and under per adult meal, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

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

3. Port Orleans French Quarter (tie)

Port Orleans French Quarter is a Moderate level resort with standard room starting at  $206.00.  Dining options here are quick-service dining at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court, lounges like Scat Cat’s Club and Mardi Grogs, and in-room Pizza Delivery.

For a quick meal at this resort, visit the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory Food Court. Here you will dine like a Mardi Gras reveler as giant parade icons float overhead. Bite into beignets for breakfast or a King Creole platter until 11:00 AM, and then feast on muffalettas and other sandwiches, burgers, pizza, salads, ice cream and more.

The price per meal is $14.99 and under per adult, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

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

2. Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge is a Deluxe level resort with standard room starting at $307.00 per night. Dining options here are Fine/Signature Dining at Artist Point, Unique/Themed Dining, at Whispering Canyon Café, Quick-Service dining at Roaring Fork and Geyser Point Bar & Grill. Lounges like the Territory Lounge and room service is available from 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM to midnight.

For a quick meal at this resort, visit the Roaring Fork. Here you will find continental and hot breakfast served in the morning and gourmet sandwiches, salads, grill items and pizza later on in the day. Popular items are the roast beef bleu cheese sandwich or a turkey and brie. Beer and wine are also available.

Geyser Point Bar & Grill is brand new for 2017, with a walk-up window and an all-day menu. You can enjoy meals from the comfort of your lounge chair or at a table on the restaurant’s spacious outdoor deck.

The price per meal is $14.99 and under per adult meal, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Read: How Can You Save Money on Disney World Souvenirs? One Four Letter Word…

Wilderness Lodge Roaring Forks cafe

Wilderness Lodge counter service restaurant

Wilderness Lodge

1. Port Orleans Riverside

Port Orleans Riverside is a Moderate Level Resort with standard rooms starting at $206.00 per night. Dining options there are casual dining at Boatwright’s Dining Hall, quick-service like the Riverside Mill Food Court, lounges like River Roost and Muddy Rivers Pool Bar, and in-room pizza delivery.

For a quick meal, head over to the Riverside Mill food court.

Enjoy a taste of New Orleans at this food court by the big mill wheel that powers an actual working cotton press. There are six stations to satisfy any craving, from bakery, grill, pizza & pasta, to specialties, salads and a carving station. Choose a grab ’n’ go item and take it with you.

The price per meal is $14.99 and under per adult meal, and some dining plans are accepted.

Use this Disney link for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.  

Disney World Port Orleans French Quarter restaurant

Port Orleans French Quarter foor court

Port Orleans French Quarter restaurant

And there you have six restaurants our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans felt were the best locations to grab a quick bite to eat while staying at or just visiting the Disney Resorts. These may not be everyone’s favorite restaurant choices, we realize that. My personal favorite resort for a quick meal is the Contemporary, but that didn’t even get enough votes to make this particular list. But I always think it’s a good idea to take more than one person’s opinion anyway.

If you want to get in on some voting, come find the Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans.

Hungry now?!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in line for a quick bite to eat.

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Mike Ellis

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.

 

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Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at a Disney Resort? Check Out These Prices!!

How much does cost to vacation at Disney, Disney room rates 2013, Disney World Rates 2013,

2013

If you ever wanted to stay at a Disney Resort, but you settled for something way less expensive off-property, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Choosing the right accommodations for your vacation can be simply overwhelming. Visitorlando.com provides the following numerical information:

  • The greater Orlando area contains approximately 450 hotels and 115,200 hotel guest rooms.
  • There are more than 26,000 vacation home rentals available.
  • There are more than 20,000 vacation ownership units.

That’s a bunch of places! Have you looked into prices for the different levels of Disney rooms lately? Disney Resorts are classified in three categories, from the least expensive Value Resorts, Moderate Level Resorts resting in the middle, to the Deluxe Disney Resorts and Villas ready to test the limit on your Disney Visa.

Take a peak at these 2013 per night room prices, straight off the Disney World website, with no discounts, taxes, or fees added. Some of you might need to take a seat, and hold on to your Disney Princess Tiara…

16 Free Indoor Activities At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge…Gotta Love Free!

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Under $200 a Night

All Star Sports, Movies, & Music Resorts –  $96.05

Pop Century Resort – $106.88

Art of Animation Resort $112.50

Caribbean Beach Resort – $182.25

Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter -$182.25

Coronado Springs Resort  – $187.88

Ready to take a step up into the price level that your average coupon-clipping, cheapskating family will not be able to swing without a significant discount? These prices made my wallet cry out in vicarious-vacationing pain.

Under $400 a Night

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – $313.88

Wilderness Lodge – $319.50

Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – $325.13

Contemporary Resort – $371.25

Beach Club  and Yacht Club Resort – $393.75

Top Ten Cheapskate Tips Every Disney World Visitor Needs to Know

how much does it cost to stay at Disney World Resorts, do they have discounts on Disney Resorts, how can I save money on Disney resorts

Are you sitting down? Perhaps you should be…

Under $500 a Night

Beach Club Villas -$405.00

Boardwalk Inn, Boardwalk Villas – $405.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village – $414.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Jamba House – $414.00

Villas at Wilderness Lodge – $414.00

Polynesian Resort – $474.75

Under $600 a Night

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – $508.50

Old Key West Resort – $508.50

Grand Floridian Resort And Spa – $540.00

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

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Under $900 a Night

Bay Lake Tower Resort – $816.75

Now Disney will run specials throughout the year for stays at their resorts. Typical savings are 15% to 20% at Value Resorts, 25% at Moderate Resorts, 20% to 30% at Deluxe Resorts, and 20% to 30% at Deluxe Villa Resorts, which does not include the 3-bedroom Villas.

These discounts will not apply to club level rooms, campsites, or to The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at the Art of Animation Resort. No group rates or other discounts will apply if you receive one of these discounts, and you will be required to make reservations ahead of time.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

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Top Ten Cheapskate Tips Every Disney World Visitor Needs to Know

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Quick Money Saving Tip!

It’s important to note that the Disney World website will automatically charge you regular = full price unless you go through their special offers page (use this link for their special offers.) If you make your reservations at full price and special offers are announced, you can have Disney or your travel agent apply the special offer to your vacation. Be sure you tell them to apply the discount, because this will not happen automatically.

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

Yacht Club, why I stay on Disney property, how much will vacation cost, how to save money on vacation, how to Vacation like a Disney princess.

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.

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Free Indoor Activities at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

free activties at Disney's Wilderness LodgeUpdated for 2017!

I love resort hopping at Walt Disney World. If you have a couple of free hours on your next Disney vacation, there may be no better place to spend some time than Wilderness Lodge Resort. One of the best reasons to visit this specific resort, perhaps more than all the others, is all the free things you can find to do inside the lodge. It’s hot in Florida for a large portion of the year, and inside the Lodge is cool and shaded. Use our guide to all the best FREE activities the Lodge has to offer.  [Read more…]

Classic Disney World Must Dos: Touch the Tile Mural at the Contemporary

Mary Blair tiles, who was Mary Blair

Updated for 2017!

As a child of the 70s, I heard the name Mary Blair on every Disney vacation in every Disney monorail that zipped through the Contemporary Resort. My own children are not so familiar with her name. While I still can’t take my eyes off the fabulous seven story tile artwork in the atrium of the Contemporary, most children today seem lost in staring at their cellular devices. This seems like such a shame to me, as I touch the tiles every time I order something to nibble on at the Contempo Cafe. The tiles are a part of my Disney vacation history.

Just who was the creator of the fabulous Contemporary mural? [Read more…]

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Guide to Disney Resort Pool hopping

Updated for 2017!

If you ever hung out in the lobby of a Disney Resort, to feel like you were vacationing there, then you might be a Cheapskate Princess! One of my favorite parts of a Disney vacation is visiting resorts I am not actually staying in. I have referred to myself as a lobby rat for the last 25 years. I had no idea if you were “officially allowed” to visit the other hotels before I started this website; we just drove over, walked around, grabbed a snack, and enjoyed the atmosphere. I have walked myself and my family around every single Disney World Resort property. While I can’t describe the inside of all the rooms from actual personal experience, I can tell you about the architecture, the amenities, and the fabulous qualities of each resort. Can you do the same thing without being turned away at the guard gate? [Read more…]

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Wyndham's Bonnet Creek Resort review, photos of Bonnet Creek Resort, why stay off Disney property

If you are a vacationer who stays on Disney property every time you visit Orlando, you may never have heard of Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. Surrounded on three sides by the Walt Disney World Resort and next door to Epcot and next to Downtown Disney, Bonnet Creek covers 482 acres perfect for business meetings to extraordinary vacations. What Bonnet Creek offers is nearly 1,500 guest rooms and suites, a spectacular convention center, spa facility, a superb golf course, and fabulous restaurants are just some of what you get if you can afford a vacation at this resort. For years I didn’t think I could afford to stay here, until I discovered a way to take a vacation here that didn’t kill my budget.

Check it out and you’ll be ready to book your stay.

Forget Your Regular Disney Hotel; How To Save Money At Bonnet Creek Resort

Ready to head off to Bonnet Creek? Here are some commonly asked questions that will help you in your planning and packing.

1. What comes standard in the kitchen?

The kitchens have a full size refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, four burner stove top, oven, blender, coffee maker, toaster, pots, pans, utensils, dinnerware and glasses for four to eight people, depending on what size unit you stay in.

Bonnet Creek dining room photo,

Bonnet Creek Dining Room, 2 Bedroom Unit

2. How close to my own comforts of home will my unit be?

Every suite comes complete with a fresh set of linens, extra pillows and towels.  A full-sized washer and dryer and laundry detergent are also included in every suite.  I wasn’t too impressed with the free detergent; it did clean the clothes, but I brought my own detergent on our next stay. Daily housekeeping is available only upon request, and there is an additional charge for this service.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

Bonnet Creek master bedroom photo,

Bonnet Creek master bedroom

3. What do we need to bring to the unit?

Just bring your clothes, personal items, and stop by the store for any food you plan to cook in the unit.  Show up ready to have fun and relax.

4. Is Internet service available?

There is free Wi-Fi service in units and common areas. Gotta love free!

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom photo

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom with 2 Full Size Beds

5. Can Bonnet Creek Resort help you plan your Disney vacation?

Bonnet Creek offers an on-site Disney Planning Center that is staffed with Disney Cast Members who would be happy to assist you with tickets, Disney Dining Reservations, and insider tips for visiting the parks. So if you didn’t finish making all your reservations at home, head over to the building where you checked in for some planning help.

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

Bonnet Creek heated pool

Bonnet Creek heated pool and lazy river

6. Do any rooms offer whirlpool tubs? 

Yes, most one and two bedroom units offer whirlpool tubs. They are large enough for three or four small children and  maybe two mid-sized adults. The water is hot and the jets are fabulous – what a great way to start or end a day of theme park walking. If you walk as much as I do, you will definitely want to take advantage of the jet tub relaxation.

Bonnet Creek whirlpool tub, Bonnet Creek jet tub photo

Bonnet Creek Resort whirlpool tub

7. Is this a Pet-Friendly resort?

Sorry, pets are not allowed. You’ll have to leave Fido at home. You’ll probably be too busy out having fun to entertain a pet anyway.

do you have a balcony at Bonnet Creek Resort, Bonnet Creek Resort pictures, Bonnet Creek Resort photos, balcony,

Bonnet Creek Resort Private Balcony

8. Is smoking allowed at this resort? 

Bonnet Creek is a non-smoking resort. I found this information on the official Bonnet Creek Resort site, and then I noticed ash trays in the photo above on the balcony. Those came with the unit, so perhaps the no smoking mandate was for inside areas. There are definitely no ash trays inside the unit or main buildings.

Here’s Why the Wrong Shoes Can Cost You Money on a Disney Vacation

9. Are there things to do for my kids at the resort?

There most certainly are. Mini-golf, ping-pong (bring a quarter to purchase your own ball), heated swimming pools and lazy rivers, water play areas, swing sets, a recreation room with pool tables and video games, and a video arcade. You may have to pry the kids away from all the resort activities to head over to that other famous Orlando park.

Bonnet Creek mini-golf, Bonnet Creek resort golf,

Bonnet Creek Resort mini-golf

10. How can I get to the Disney theme parks?

The resort offers free scheduled transportation to the Disney Theme Parks. I never personally experienced riding on the shuttles, as we always drove our own car. Angela Klakamp, a Cheapskate Princess fan, had this to say of her vacation at Bonnet Creek.  “I stayed there last time; very nice, clean, pretty, and really nice pools. I hated the shuttle service. It was inconvenient for park hopping. You also had to clock watch so you didn’t miss the bus. Long waits if you missed one…” So if you use the Bonnet Creek shuttle service, just make sure you keep track of time, so you don’t miss the bus.

Bonnet Creek Resort swimming

One of the best things about Bonnet Creek? There are amazing sunsets in Orlando, and with this much open space, you’re guaranteed a fine viewing point.

Disney sunrise, Disney sunset, Bonnet Creek Orlando, Disney Bonnet Creek

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.