Disney World Tips for Kids: Free or Inexpensive Activities at Disney Springs

free or cheap activities at Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is free – the word free probably caught your attention, eh? Now kids probably don’t care much for shopping, and they would probably rather be entertained by rollercoasters than dining in a sit down restaurant, but there are TONS of things to charm the kids into begging for a trip back, most of which you can do for free. 

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Coming to Disney Springs: The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane

The Dress Shop at Disney World

There’s a new clothing and accessories collection called The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane that is coming to Disney Springs at the end of March. 

If you are looking for a vacation souvenir that’s different from Dooney & Bourke handbags or character inspired jewelry, this may be the spot for you. 

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Disney Springs Must Do: Goofy’s Candy Co.


Sometimes we take vacations and visit places we soon realize we’ll visit again. There are beaches, hotels, and believe it or not, even stores that just stay in your memory for all time. Goofy’s Candy Co. is one of many super adorable shops in Disney Springs which, with all their renovations and new additions, is fast becoming an incredible Disney-themed shopping and dining location you have to visit while in Orlando.

Goofy’s is certainly not new. This sweet shop has looked mostly the same for as long as I can remember, and yet it remains an absolute must do for any shopping trip to Disney Springs.

Grab your wallet and be prepared to make a yummy purchase!

Read: A Whole Bunch of Tips For a Better Disney Trip!  [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Shopping for Jewelry


There are many items to bring home as souvenirs from Disney World, too many in fact. How does a cheapskate know what to choose?! [Read more…]

Cheap Disney World Souvenirs: Where to Purchase a Silhouette


Simple items that can stretch your Disney World vacation budget are souvenirs. T-shirts for $30, sweatshirts for nearly $60, and toys that can soar into the hundreds. A small trading pin will cost $10. How can you make the most use of your money without skyrocketing your overall budget?

We’ve searched all over the “World” for the best bargains, and we’re going to suggest a silhouette…

Wait, a what?!
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Disney Springs Must See: the Coca Cola Store


If you have planned a free day on your next Disney vacation,  a time when you don;t have park tickets, then visiting Disney Springs has got to be on your agenda. And a brand new Must See at the Springs is the Coca-Cola Store located in the Town Center area. With so many other shops to see, why stop in? [Read more…]


world-of-disney-store-is-hosting-a-royal-receptionBy Hiromi Okuyama

Meet a REAL Disney Princess without the price of a theme park ticket at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.

For a very limited time, ending November 1, 2016, The World of Disney Store is hosting a “Royal Reception!” Between the times of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, anyone visiting the beautiful new Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) will get a chance to meet a SURPRISE PRINCESS, and it’s all completely for FREE. [Read more…]

New Bus Service Offers Transportation to Disney Springs Directly from the Parks and Other News Around the Mouse

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Lots of news this week as Disney World converts to Fall season – Main Street is getting a seasonal make over, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire has a new Fall themed finale, just in time for Halloween Club Villain returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s and NEW BUS SERVICE offers transportation to Disney Springs directly from the Parks. Because the bus service is a little different than from a resort to Disney Springs, it is the focus of News Around the Mouse this week. [Read more…]

Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs: Go for the View but Skip the Cupcake

Sprinkles Cupcakes at Disney Springs

Updated for 2017!

A little cupcake shop opened up at Disney Springs in the summer of 2016. You may have heard of them…Sprinkles. I love the name. Sprinkles sounds so happy! And while I am possibly the biggest cupcake fan who ever set foot on Disney property, my advice for the Sprinkles in Disney Springs is to go for the view but skip the cupcake.

Nobody had their sugar-craving high hopes dashed like mine. So what happened?

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Transportation Changes at Disney Springs & Other News Around the Mouse this Week

By Julie Franklin

Summer 2016 is in full swing at Walt Disney World, and with the prime season comes changes to handle the crowds. Among the news: table service at The Diamond Horseshoe Magic Kingdom is extended, Sounds of Summer debuts this week, Disney’s Hollywood Studios  (where Star Wars lives at Disney World) extends their park hours, preferred parking for a price is being tested at the Disney’s Water Parks and what I am focusing on this week, transportation changes at Disney Springs. [Read more…]

Save Money on Disney’s Characters In Flight

save money on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Updated for 2016!

If you made the trip to Orlando for some theme park visiting, it’s always a good idea to have a “free” day with no park tickets. We’ve devised the ultimate early morning plan for Disney Springs, leading you to an amazing coffee shop, an awesome and discounted balloon ride, followed by world-class Disney shopping. Sorry, roller coaster enthusiasts, but it may not get any better than this! Not for this price anyway…

So here’s what you’ll do for a morning at Disney Springs as you head over to climb aboard  Characters in Flight.

get a discount on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Save Time

Traffic is so crazy at the new Disney Springs, with construction going on at every turn and intersection. The whole complex is really going to be fabulous upon completion, but parking and highways are a big mess right now. If you don’t get an early start, you could be headed for some major delays. By getting to Disney Springs before most stores even open, you’ll be looking at a relatively empty parking garage. Several hours later, traffic and parking will be congested and frustrating.

Arrive at Disney Springs by about 9 a.m.

Now walk straight to the new Starbucks right next to Characters in Flight, which is the balloon that takes guests up 400 feet in the air.

where Disney Springs Characters in Flight is located

Enjoy a Snack

Have you been to the new Starbucks by the lake at Disney Springs? As much as I dislike the Starbucks that replaced the bakery on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, I LOVE this Starbucks location. It’s not that I am anti-corporation or anti-Starbucks coffee. I just disliked how they removed the seating. Perhaps they noted my complaints and set out to rectify that mistake at Disney Springs.

Go in, order a breakfast snack or drink and take a seat. Starbucks prices are not unreasonable, and many drinks and snacks are part of the Disney Dining Plan. I’m not sure there is a coffee shop with a better view anywhere than this Disney Springs location. When you go to the Disney Starbucks early in the morning, I can’t tell you how relaxing it is, without having to wait for a seat or stand in line to order.

Sitting inside smells like coffee with a view. To see more pictures, use this link:

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

tips for Characters in Flight

Outside seating, interesting on its own, has an even more fantastic outlook of the lake and the balloon. The combination of wood, stone, vegetation, and fire is soothing to the soul. Did I mention how much I LOVE this particular Starbucks? I don’t even like coffee, and I practically run from our car straight here.

To see prices from Starbucks menu, use this link:

Disney World’s Main Street Bakery: Can You Afford Starbuck’s Prices?

how to enjoy Characters in Flight

Grab a table and enjoy the scenery!

save money at Disney World

When to ride the Disney World balloon

Enjoy the Ride + Save $$

Finish your snack by 9:30, 9:40 at the latest, and then walk over to buy your tickets at the balloon. 

Characters in Flight is an attraction that takes guests 400 feet up in the air on an Aero30 tethered gas balloon that was custom-built for Disney by Paris-headquartered company Aérophile S.A..

The yellow striped balloon has hand-painted silhouettes of Peter Pan, Dumbo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Buzz Lightyear, and Tinker Bell. On its 19-foot diameter gondola, up to 29 passengers and an Aérophile-certified pilot can take a ride straight up, floating skyward with the help of up to 210,000 cubic feet of helium.

Because the balloon is tethered, it will not travel beyond 400 feet at any time.

Is Your Starbucks Coffee Habit Taking Money Out Of Your Disney Vacation Fund?

save money on Characters in Flight

If you purchase your ticket and travel up by 10 a.m., ticket prices drop from $18 for adults to $10. For adults, that’s almost half off! You’ll save $2 per child’s ticket. It’s called the Early Bird Special. Kids under the age of three fly free everyday.

Now, this special could change at any minute with no notifications for you or me, but a Cast Member said this promotion had been going on for a long time.

So up you go, Early Bird, but first be sure you have read our ultimate guide to Characters in Flight.

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

Characters in Flight discount

cheap fun at Disney Springs in Orlando

Tips to Know Before You Go Up

The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 22 mph or if there is a storm.

Maximum balloon capacity will be affected by wind speeds.

Items that are not permitted aboard are bags, food and drink, smoking and strollers. You’ll need a place to secure these. 

There is a safety net, but the holes are large enough that you could drop your camera or phone. You won’t save enough on Early Bird tickets to replace anything electronic that you drop, so hold on tight. 

best things to do at Disney Springs

Do Some Shopping

Well, now you are now at the perfect time to do some shopping, assuming you are finished with the balloon by around 10 a.m. Stores at Disney Springs traditionally start opening at ten, so the crowds aren’t crazy yet. Temperatures in the summer start to rise at this point, so being in the air-conditioned stores will keep you cool.

There is so much to do at Disney Springs, you could easily spend half a day here. Even with the current construction woes, it’s a great place to spend some time on vacation.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with an almost finished Starbucks coffee in hand, headed for the ticket counter.


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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

Disney Springs Must Do: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX

Chocolate Extinction T-REX Disney World

Updated for 2017!

T-REX is a fantastic restaurant located in the heart of Disney Springs. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back 200 million years when you dine next to wooly mammoths, pterosaurs, a giant octopus, and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, the largest of which is a 15-foot-tall T. Rex. This dining establishment is a favorite of kids and adults alike, although see our warning at the end for small children.

Serving lunch and dinner, T-REX burgers start at $16, while seafood, pasta, and “carnivore” dishes start in the $20 range and go as high as $30 each. This can be a pricey meal for a large family. If you are looking to enjoy the T-Rex experience without breaking the bank, make an Advanced Dining Reservation and order the Chocolate Extinction!

Read – Disney World Vacation Planning: Non-Holiday Dates to Avoid

Chocolate Extinction dessert price

T-REX is unlike anything you will encounter at your neighborhood eatery for sure. Dinosaurs decorate this dining establishment, where every room has a different theme, depicting diverse primordial landscapes from an ice cavern to a fern forest. We are fond of the ice cave, which changes colors frequently.

T-Rex restaurant Disney Springs

ice cave at T-REX Disney Springs

Hello Chocolate Extinction!

Chocolate Extinction is a gigantic portion of chocolate fudge cake served with ice cream plus whipped topping covered in fudge and caramel sauces, then topped with Butterfinger crumbs. This dessert is enough for four people, and it’s priced at $17.99 (2017 prices). That would be steep for one person, or even two, but four…We’ve now cut our costs down significantly per person.

And as somewhat of a self-appointed Disney dessert expert, having eaten more sweets on vacation than entrees, I can vouch for how rich tasting this cake is.

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

T-Rex Downtown Disney menu

chocolate extinction dessert Disney World

Here’s what the dessert looks like in the light, in much better quality than photos I take…

T-REX dessert menu

Noise Warning for Small Children

Approximately every 20 minutes, there is a meteor shower with rumbling and faux-fiery explosions. The lights dim, the explosion sounds get loud, and things get interesting. But little people with noise aversions who may have some fears of both tall dinosaurs that appear real with darkened lighting may not react with clapping hands.

If your kids sailed right through and counted down until the next meteor shower, that’s fantastic. Having dined here multiple times through the years, we have witnessed several small crying children being walked out by a parent. So be aware of the noise/lighting changes and anticipate how your child will react. If your children can’t do dark rides at Magic Kingdom without issues, they may not be ready for the atmosphere of T-Rex’s prehistoric dining.

Use this link to more tips on Disney food.

There are a lot of appetizers on the T-REX menu that won’t break the bank. 2017 prices. 

Bruschetta $9.99

Tomatoes, herbed cheese, toasted focaccia bread, balsamic glaze

Dual Dip $11.99

Shrimp and Artichoke Dip plus Chili Con Queso Dip

Colosso Beef Nachos for Two $16.99

Cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, green onions

Mega Mozzarella  $8.99

Seared mozzarella, marinara, mozzerella fingers

Chicken Flatbread $11.99

Cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, goat cheese, caramelized onions, balsamic glaze

Chicken T-Rexadillas $11.99

Red bell peppers, green onions, Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, avocado cream sauce

Supersaurus Sampler (for Four) $18.99

Chili con Queso Dip, Bruschetta, T-Rexadillas, onion rings. Add St. Louis style pork spareribs 7.99
There are also other desserts if you want to make your reservation for an afternoon snack or after-dinner treat. 2017 prices. 

Ice Age Indulgence (for Two) $8.99

Layers of ice cream sandwiches, fudge sauce, whipped topping, Heath Bar Crunch®

Meteor Donut Bites (for Two) $9.99

Chocolate and vanilla donut holes, powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate sauces

Cosmic Key Lime Pie $7.99

Our own freshly baked key lime pie, graham cracker crust, raspberry sauce, whipped topping

Sorbet Sampler  $6.99

Mango and Raspberry sorbet, raspberry sauce, mango puree, chocolate covered wafer

Read – A Cheapskate Prince$$ Guide: Top 10 Freebies at Disney World 

We do recommend you make an Advanced Dining Reservation, which you can do 180 days in advance of your travel, but you can always stop by and see if they have an available table. Asking for a seat at the bar can be a fast way to get a seat.

T-Rex prices at Walt Disney World

Here’s a cute map of Disney Springs, March of 2016 edition, of the T-Rex location.

map to T-Rex Disney Springs

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with fork and spoons in hand, ready to dig into some dessert!

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


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