It’s Time to Disney Yourself, all for FREE!

It’s hard to find anything truly free these days, I mean, there always seems to be a catch. You didn’t know it, but you really need to “Disney Yourself,” and unlike a vacation, it’s 100% free. It’s catch free as well!

[Read more…]

Where to Find H2O Products After Your Disney Vacation

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve ever stayed in a Disney resort, then you are familiar with the fabulous H2O bath products you receive free with your hotel accommodations. You’ll receive little travel sizes in your room, and if you run out while you’re still a paying guest, you can ask Mouse Keeping to bring you some more. But even if you take some home, they run out fast.

What’s a cheapskate to do then? [Read more…]

2017 Disney World Resort Refurbishments and What It Means For You!

Disney's Wilderness LodgePhoto from Walt Disney Travel Company

One reason Walt Disney World remains a great vacation destination are the beautifully themed resorts. One way Disney World keeps them beautiful is with refurbishments and updates.

But when more than one resort is getting an overhaul, how will that effect your 2017 Disney vacation? [Read more…]

A Whole Bunch of Tips For a Better Disney Trip!

tips for a better Disney World trip

One of our most popular articles EVER is called120 Walt Disney World DO NOTs: Tips From Real People on How NOT to Screw Up a Disney Vacation!” By popular, I mean that as of January 2017, it has been read over 1,500,000 times. This piece gets pinned like crazy on Pinterest.

We had a lot of our readers leave comments on the article, because frequent Disney visitors love to give advice to friends, family, and even strangers who are planning trips. The DO NOT comments they left on the article will certainly not RUIN a Disney vacation if you do the opposite, but they can definitely add a lot to your trip, depending on the needs and wants for your group.

Take it from our readers… there’s a lot of planning that goes into Disney vacations these days. You might as well benefit from their experience.  

Read: Disney Ticket Prices Just Went Up, So What Can You Do?

[Read more…]

Disney Ticket Prices Just Went Up, So What Can You Do?

Disney Ticket prices went up so what can you do?

Disney recently raised their single day ticket prices for 2017 during certain times of the year. Company officials say they hope this will prevent overcrowding during the busiest times at the theme parks. So where does that leave you and your wallet? [Read more…]

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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Updated for 2017!

As the newest resort on Walt Disney World property, completed in 2012, the Art of Animation Resort will give you and the kids the feeling of being a character in some of your favorite Disney movies. Whether you are going under the sea with Nemo and Friends, swimming with The Little Mermaid, chilling out in Radiator Springs with Lightening McQueen and Mater, or enjoying the essence of the African savanna with Simba and his friends Timon and Pumba, Art of Animation has something for everyone of all ages.

This value resort provides the amenities and perks as other value resorts on property but can comfortablly accommodate larger families.

Compared to the other Disney value resorts, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are perfect for any budget. And while the Family Suites are higher priced than those found at All-Star Music Resort, your kids will definitely enjoy the adventurous feel of each differently themed area.

This list of pros and cons for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will help you decide if this should be your next choice for your magical Disney World vacation!

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

7996404249_d7aeb790c2_zThe Inovabed in the Lion King Suite, one of 1,120 Family Suites available at Art of Animation

Art of Animation Resort Pros:

Standard Rooms: 

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms can accommodate up to four guests, plus one child under the age of three in a crib.

These rooms have two full beds.

Family Suites

For larger families, the Family Suites comfortably accommodate families of six.

While all rooms have a mini refrigerator, the Family Suites, also have a microwave and a kitchenette.

Family suites also have two bathrooms.

All Family Suites have three separate sleeping areas. The master bedroom has one queen, sleeper sofa with double bed, and the Inovabed that converts from a table to a double bed.

Pools:

There are three amazing heated pools; The Big Blue Pool (the largest at the resort and has an underwater soundtrack in the Finding Nemo Courtyard), Flippin’ Fins Pool (Little Mermaid courtyard), Cozy Cone Pool (Cars Courtyard).

The main pool and kids splash area have zero entry, which is perfect for little ones.

The Schoolyard is a water play area for the little ones; Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground and The Boneyard Playground are all play areas for your little animators.

 

Read: Prisma: The FREE App You Need for Your Disney Vacation Photos

Dining

Landscape of Flavors Food Court includes five distinctive food shops – The Soup, Salad and Sandwich Shop, The World Flavors Shop, The Pizza Shop, The Burger Shop and The Market.

The Drop Off is a poolside snack bar and delivery service.

Freebies included with your Reservation

Registered guests receive free resort and theme park parking.

Registered guests receive access to Extra Magic Hours in the parks when offered.

Transportation

Airport transportation is free using Disney’s Magical Express.

Free Disney Theme Park transportation is offered via service bus every 15-20 minutes.

There is a dedicated Disney transportation bus for Art of Animation guests only, as opposed to All-Star Value Resorts which all share the same bus line.

Fun Lobby

Animation Hall Lobby houses Pixel Play Arcade as well as, an interactive, hands-on area where a Disney artist teaches guests how to animate favorite characters.

Read: Disney World’s Memory Maker: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

7320062486_45965f6fb0_zFinding Nemo Courtyard features The Big Blue Pool, The Schoolyard, Squirt’s Righteous Playground

 

Art of Animation Resort Cons:

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are the farthest away from Animation Hall, like all standard rooms, so at the end of your day in the parks, it can be a long walk.

Finding Nemo suites are now considered a “preferred location” which means they are more per night than Cars or The Lion King Family Suites.

There are only a few Standard Rooms available with a King Bed.

While this is value resort, the price of the themed suites are more than the Family Suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.

Because this resort is a great option for families, especially larger families, it can definitely be noisier during high peak travel times.

If you are a family of five, the themed Family Suites at Art of Animation Resort are not the least expensive option on property. If are trying to stick to a tight budget, certain room which accommodate five at the moderate resorts can be more cost effective.

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

102 (2)The Little Mermaid wing featuring 864 Standard Rooms

These pros and cons will help you decide if Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best fit for your family. My opinion is this is a great resort to try for your next Disney vacation. Whether you stay in The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms or any of the Finding Nemo, Cars or The Lion King suites, the pros outweigh the cons with this property.

With the right planning, you can avoid some of the cons of staying here.

7996401717_0aa4d48f04_zSleeper sofa in The Lion King Suite which converts to a double bed

108 (2) (1)Queen Bed in The Lion King Master Bedroom

AOA1The Little Mermaid Flippin’ Fins Pool

AOA2 The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

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The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite
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The 4.3 cu. ft. refrigerator and microwave in the Finding Nemo Family Suite Kitchenette

AOA5 The Master Bath in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

Art-of-Animation-Resort-040Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground in the Finding Nemo Courtyard

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Read: Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

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.

Best Disney World Souvenirs: Picture Frames

Souvenirs are expensive at Walt Disney World. It’s not like walking into Wal-mart of T.J. Maxx where items go on sale. There’s almost nothing on sale at WDW, and paying full retail price hurts.

I like to recommend that vacationers purchase souvenirs they can use every day at home, or at least place their eye on every day, so you feel like you got the best use of your money. [Read more…]

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Updates and Changes for 2016

bibbidi bobbidi boutique

2016 brought changes at the very popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Many a young maiden’s trip to the Magic Kingdom is not complete without a visit to the Fairy Godmother’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a royal makeover. What is changing?

  • The boutiques Castle Package at both the Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs locations have now been upgraded to include a unique keepsake Disney Princess necklace.
  • Some packages had a price increase – yes sad face.  Take note you will need to save up approximately $5 more for the Castle Package and the Courtyard Package from the previous price.
  • Photopass Photographers will continue to capture transformations, however review the the photos section below to understand some changes in prints and photopass.

The following prices are now in place effective May 10th of 2016 and the features of each package are listed below:

The Castle Package – $199.95 plus tax

  • Hairstyling
  • Shimmering make-up, face gem
  • Princess necklace, sash and tote
  • Nail polish
  • Complete costume of your choice plus accessories (shoes not included)

The Courtyard Package – $99.95 plus tax

  • Hairstyling
  • Shimmering make-up, face gem
  • Princess sash and tote
  • Nail polish
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique T-shirt
  • Trendy tutu

The Crown Package – $59.95 plus tax (no price change)

  • Hairstyling
  • Shimmering make-up, face gem
  • Princess sash and tote
  • Nail polish

The Knight Package – $19.95 plus tax (no price change)

  • Hairstyling with gel
  • Mighty sword and shield
  • Confetti

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

Photos: Disney PhotoPass Photographers will continue to photograph Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique transformations, and Guests can purchase prints as an add-on to any package for $34.95 plus tax, which includes one (1) 6” x 8” photo and four (4) 4” x 6” photos in a special photo holder.  Guests may also view and order photos through MyDisneyPhotoPass.com or the My Disney Experience mobile app. Prints were no longer be included in the Castle Package effective May 10th.

IMPORTANT, if you want to experience the Fairy Godmother’s magical makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, get those reservations in EARLY as they fill up FAST! Need help planning your transformation and your Disney vacation?

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.

20 Cheapskate Tips for Souvenirs and Activities at Disney World: How to Save Money!!

cheapskate tips for souvenirs and activities at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

Disney vacation souvenirs…I really dream about them at night after we get back from vacations. If I bought everything I wanted when cruising isles in the Disney gift shops, I would spend more on t-shirts and jewelry than I spent on our resort room. One of my best pieces of advice is for people making vacation budgets is to add more to the amount set aside for souvenirs. Kids and adults alike will easily overspend, and it’s too easy to do because all their merchandise is so enticing. Souvenirs are expensive at Disney, so where will you get the money? And do you always have to pay retail?

We have some tips on saving money for your actual trip, plus ideas on how to save money on souvenirs and activities for your next Disney World vacation. So put your Visa card away, hide your checkbook, and let’s see how the cheapskates do Disney!

Read: Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

[Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Pros & Cons for FREE Disney Dining

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By Erin Johnson

FREE DISNEY DINING!

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

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

Disney World Park Tips for Kids: Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney World theme park tips for kids

Updated for 2017!

Let’s be honest. Taking children on vacation to theme parks, surrounded by thousands of people and potentially walking miles a day, can be overwhelming. For the Disney parks in particular, add in scheduling Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) and FastPass+ times, and you have a lot of information to absorb and keep up with.

We’ve amassed our best tips for taking children to Disney theme parks in one easy to follow guide. And away we go!

Read: Taking Baby to Disney World

1. Daily Schedule

Grab a daily schedule when you first arrive at the parks in the morning; this way you know what’s going on with scheduled events, entertainment, and character locations. You can also get a schedule from the front desk at all the WDW resorts. Children that can read might enjoy having their own schedule, which means multiple people in your party will be planning things down to the minute! 

Those of you with iPhones can use the My Disney Experience App. to see times and locations for character meet and greets, attraction wait times, and a limited schedule for some events like Casey’s Corner Pianist, Celebrate the Magic show, Flag Retreat, etc. Kids are totally tech savvy these days and will enjoy looking this up on a phone. 

2. Go Early

If you have spent any time on vacation with children, you know that they are usually wide awake and raring to go way before the adults. Most smaller children are in prime form in the mornings, crashing later on in the day. So it makes sense when traveling with kids to head over to the parks bright and early.

Theme parks are the least crowded first thing in the mornings (unless there is morning Extra Magic Hours), so you will have shorter wait times than from noon until later on in the afternoon. In the summer, it’s not yet hot and humid during the early mornings, and you can always come back to your room and grab a nap. Vacations are hard work; I am a big proponent of naps.

Items You Can NOT Bring to Disney Theme Parks

Disney World Theme Park Tips for Kids

3. Take a Picture of your Parking Row

Time to start your day off right. Cast Members say you wouldn’t believe how many people forget where they parked each day. Take a picture of the sign on your parking row and text it to yourself, or just text the information so you don’t forget how to find your spot.

If any child traveling with you has their own phone, have them take the picture (participation!) and send it to you. Let them be in charge of finding the car, with a little gentle supervision from you.

4. Take a Nap

As I said in #2 when discussing beating the big crowds by waking up early for park openings, I am all about the nap, both for me and for children. On a typical Disney day, but even more so when it’s summery-hot, kids start to lose it around lunch time. Even if you have active children who can handle a fair amount of walking, the Florida heat alone can suck the life out of you.

If your children normally take a nap, we recommend heading back to the hotel for a quick rejuvenating snooze. There are kids napping in strollers everywhere throughout the parks, so if they fall asleep before you make it back to the room, that’s even better for those left to ride roller coasters while the kids nap it out in the shade.

Read: FREE Drink Refills at Disney World Theme Parks

take a nap on a Disney vacation

5. Or Take a Break

Not every child will need a nap, but they certainly might need a break. There is so much to see and do in the parks and resorts (ever seen a child in a gift shop on the way to a park?!) that overstimulation is a very real possibility. If you have two adults, let one take the nap and the other adult can take the non-nappers for a swim.

Single parent of nappers AND non-nappers? This is where you turn the room TV on a low volume, turn off the lights, draw the curtains, and catch some Zs for yourself while those still awake watch some cartoons. Hanging out with the less-stimulated child is certainly ideal over the cranky and completely over-stimulated one.

Naps and breaks can make your vacation run much more smoothly.

6. You Can Rent Strollers

While parents can bring strollers from home, Disney also has molded plastic strollers for rent. These rental stroller are not suitable for infants or older babies, but they are certainly fine for toddlers to preschoolers. You cannot remove strollers from the theme parks, so if you park hop, just present your rental receipt at the next park to obtain a replacement. A $100 credit card deposit is required for strollers rented at the Disney Springs area.

  • Single strollers are recommended for children 50 lbs. or less. The daily rate is $15 and multi-day length of stay rate is $13.
  • Double strollers are recommended for children 100 lbs. or less. The daily rate is $31 and multi-day length of stay rate is $27.

To qualify for a Length of Stay stroller discount, simply pre-pay the number of days that you will need a stroller. Purchase a Length of Stay rental ticket, and show your receipt at the rental location to receive your stroller for the day.

In addition to stroller rental locations across Walt Disney World Resort, several private companies in the local area also offer stroller rentals.

  • Orlando Stroller Rentals: (800) 281-0884
  • Kingdom Strollers: (407) 271-5301
  • Magic Strollers: (866) 866-6177

Over 30 FREE Activities In Disney Springs

where to rent strollers at Disney World

7. Realize Strollers are Moved

Where did your stroller go? You know for a fact you parked it right here. Well, as they straighten up park areas, Cast Members will often move strollers around so everything looks more organized. There is no need to panic if you don’t find your stroller where you originally parked it. Look around for the huge group of strollers, and if you use tip #8, you’ll have no trouble spotting it.

8. Cheapskate Decorate Your Stroller 

You need your stroller to stand out from the crowd. Stroller decoration certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take much time. Lots of families attach balloons, ribbons, or decorate bright-colored name tags so they can recognize their stroller more quickly. When you walk out of an attraction, you will then spot your distinctive looking stroller more quickly.

Personalization is especially important if you rented one of the identical looking Disney strollers. Pick identifiers your children will recognize, so they don’t climb into the wrong one. (Ask me how I know this happens…) You don’t have to spend lots of money for a Mickey helium balloon to make your stroller look special, but if you do, remember to take it home at the end of the day. I’ve heard stories from parents who say their balloon stayed inflated sometimes for over a month. 

Read: Disney World $.51 Souvenir Pennies

decorate your stroller at Disney World

9. What’s in Your Stroller?

I always tell people Disney World is a really safe place, both for your family and your belongings. I once forgot a backpack on a resort bench as we boarded a bus to Magic Kingdom. 20 minutes later after riding back to the bench, me in panic and with a furious husband, that bag was still sitting right there with all the contents, untouched and in place. Chances are anything you leave in your stroller will be right there upon your return, but…

Just in case, make sure anything you leave unattended will not ruin your trip if you come back to find it missing. If your child can only sleep with that one specific Mickey doll, perhaps that Mickey doesn’t need to be in the stroller. Or maybe you need to bring two Mickeys, one for the stroller and one for the room. Chances are everything will be fine, but sometimes it’s not worth taking a risk bringing along financial or emotionally valuable items with you into the parks.

10. Stroller Fold Up 

Keeping in mind that you can’t take the rental strollers out of the parks, when you bring your own stroller on the Disney busses and trams, you will need to fold it up before you climb on board. This catches a lot of families by surprise, and stroller break down and bag organizing can take some time to get yourself together.

Strollers can be rolled onto monorails and some boats, depending on space, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared for fold up. Children should be ready to be in and out quickly. People behind you in line will thank you.

11. Bag Check Lines

Since we’re talking about potentially holding people up in lines, bag check into the parks is another area you should be prepared. You need to have every pocket of your bag open for Cast Members to check. Just for your information, they are looking for glass containers and weapons, not food.

Children traveling with you should have their bags open as well, even if it’s a small backpack or fanny pack. Trust me, people behind you in line will thank you.

Read: Haircuts at Walt Disney World For $20

find your stroller at Walt Disney World

12. Emergency Plan

If you become separated, do your children know where to meet? Do small children know what to do if they suddenly can’t find you? Should they stand still or walk around looking for you? It’s an excellent idea to determine a meet up place if you get separated or have a plan on what to do.

For children that are really small and unable to communicate how to reach their parents, many people tape phone numbers in their child’s shirt collars, take pictures of what they are wearing that day, and lots of other child finding measures. We have an entire article with tips to help you keep up with your children in the parks: How NOT to Lose Your Kids at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

13. Baby Care Centers 

Baby Care Centers can be truly helpful during your vacation. Open during regular park hours, each full-service Baby Care facility is FREE to use and includes the following:

  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
  • Feeding area with high chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa

There is an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase. These items will not be free.

Read – Disney World 4 Le$$: Miniature Golf

Disney World baby care center information

14. First Aid

What do you do what a child gets sick in the parks?  Or if the adult watching a child feels sick? Visit one of the First Aid centers. Nurses are available during regular park operating hours, providing over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies.

Use this link to see their locations in each park.

15. Souvenir Pick-Up for Toys/Merchandise

Have the kids have picked out souvenirs too large for you to carry? Or maybe you don’t want to leave expensive items in your stroller? Decide you have to purchase something breakable? Good thing you have an option. Theme park merchandise can be delivered to a designated location near the front park entrances for convenient pick-up as you exit the parks. To utilize this service at the time you make your purchase, let the Cast Member who rings up your items know you want everything delivered to the park entrance.

You can also have items delivered to your resort room, but obviously don’t use this service if you are leaving early the next day. How awful would it be to miss your souvenir delivery!

Disney for Le$$: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX in Disney Springs

have items delivered to yoyr resort room on a Disney World vacation

16. It Gets Loud

Small children can be really noise sensitive, as can be children with special needs. Fireworks and music in Fantasmic!IllumiNations, and Wishes can be really loud. If your children are noise sensitive, pack some earplugs; if you forget, they are available at First Aid. If possible, try not to sit too close to the front.

17. It Also Gets Dark

If your younger children have never been on “dark rides” before, you may be shocked by their reactions. I’ve seen kids wailing in Small World, and this is a happy dark ride! Start explaining to them that some rides and shows may be in the dark. A great way to do this is by showing ride videos found on YouTube.

Once you arrive in the parks, don’t push your children into something they can’t handle. If the tears start in the first dark space, then don’t continue going into dark ride after ride. You can always come back when they are older.

Read: How to Pack the BEST Disney World Theme Park Bag Ever!

Disney World tips for kids

18. Lines/Queues are Long

Stand-by lines can frequently get really long, like hours long during holidays, and this can be stressful for both adults and children. Many parents recommend that kids play on iPhone apps. or try looking for Hidden Mickeys while they wait. Hidden Mickeys are just Mickey-head shapes/three circles that appear where you wouldn’t expect them.

This is also a great time to have a conversation with your child, especially teens, because now you have a captive audience!

19. Ride Before Parades & Shows

People can start lining up for shows and parades nearly one hour or more before they actually start. This means while large groups are gathering in one spot, you can take advantage of what can be shorter wait times for roller coasters. The lines will fill back up right after the entertainment ends. I’m not saying choose rides OVER parades and shows, because Disney absolutely has some of the best of both. But if your group isn’t that into seeing live entertainment, then use that time wisely for more popular rides with potentially shorter waits.

Read: Less Stress on Vacation

avoiding long likes at Disney parks and resorts

20. Tips For Big Theaters

Shows like PhilHarmagicLittle Mermaid, and the Muppets 3D movie are all housed in large theaters. Your impulse will be to hurry inside, but the better plan is to hang back. The first guests through the doors are instructed to walk all the way to the end of the rows. If you want to sit in the middle, our favorite viewing spot, let other people go in before you.

However, if you do rush into the theater and find yourself sitting at the beginning (which is now the end) of the row, cheer up, because you are in prime position to get out of the theater faster to move to your next attraction.

21. FastPass+ 

If you haven’t been to Disney World in a long time but are now taking kids with you, know that things have drastically changed in the last few years, especially changes from the paper FASTPASSes. Now, you can schedule FastPass+ rides in advance, but you cannot make them for the same ride. You should have seen my sons’ faces when I said we were unable to schedule three passes for Space Mountain. Both over the age of 15 now, this is a disappointment they still suffer through every single trip.

You can ride the same rides over and over, but you will find yourself at the mercy of the Stand-By lines, and those can be lengthy. Make sure the kids understand this before you arrive, or stress and tears can ensue. This is a HUGE change for people who haven’t been to Disney in a long time.

Read: Surviving Disney World at Christmas

Disney World Fastpass + tips

22. FastPass+ is Inflexible

FastPass+ ending times are now strictly enforced. Long ago, if your FASTPASS paper ticket said 2:30 and you showed up after 3:00 with your paper pass, Cast Members waved you through. But now with the use of MagicBands and a crack down on times, you will not be allowed on a ride if you show up outside of your return time window, no matter how much you smile or how much the kids beg. So plan accordingly, which can include writing your time frames down or storing screenshots of them in your phone for easy access.

23. Additional PastPass+

When the initial switch was made from FASTPASS paper passes to FastPass+ and MagicBands, you were only allowed three passes per park per day.  You can now get more PastPass+ passes once you have used your original three, but warn the kids, what is left at the end of the day will probably not be their first choice ride. There’s not much left by the end of the day in terms of really popular rides.

24. Special Holiday Parties = Closing early

During certain times of year, there are “hard ticket” events that cause the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to close early. Without a ticket for popular parties like MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and MVMCP (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) you will be leaving the parks around 7 pm. This was a real shock for my crew when we were instructed to make our way to the exits way before 10 p.m fireworks. Be sure to have your Travel Agent check the dates for you or check themselves using this link to Disney’s Special Event Ticket page. 

Read: Buying Disney World Souvenirs on Ebay

Tips for Disney World Christmas party

25. Extra Tickets

If you want to purchase a ticket for these special events so you can stay after 7 p.m., know that prices will vary. You can expect a starting price of around $55- $65 for children’s tickets and $65-$75.00 for adult tickets before tax. You get sweet treats, special photo opportunities with characters, music and light shows, and time in the parks when the general public has gone home. How Much Are Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween and Christmas Parties? Grab Your Disney Visa!

Starting in April 2016, Magic Kingdom park will stay open for three extra hours after the park closes to other guests on certain dates. This is called Disney After Hours. You can enjoy favorite attractions and character greetings with very little wait time, but it’s going to cost you $149 before tax for both adults and children.

Of it’s being offered, the Early Morning Magic program will involve one hour and 15 minutes of park time before opening with three rides and a breakfast buffet. The rides are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight. This cost $69 for adults and $49 for children in 2016.

Disney is providing lots of way for you to visit the parks without huge crowds, but it will cost you extra, and a fair amount extra at that.

26. Sleep In

You may have days when you just can not wake up super early without a child (or adult! I’m thinking of you, dear husband) committing mutiny. It’s not the end of the world to sleep in. So you miss a few rides…you can make up for it later with a good attitude and a rested body.

27. Stay Late

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are times the parks open early or stay open for those guests staying at Disney resorts. This extra time a perk of staying on property. The parks will thin out as non-resort guests leave, but they also get replaced with on-property guests coming over from other parks. If you have small children, Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours are your best option, because when the really popular roller coasters have long lines, there are still lots of other attractions for kids without crazy waits.

If you managed to catch a nap, then enjoy Extra Magic Hours late at night, when the summer temperatures and humidity are lower.

Read: 10 Ways to Save Money on Disney World Food

Disney Moms tips and tricks

28. Show the Bands

If you are attending Extra Magic Hours, you will need a MagicBand/park ticket for every person you are traveling with to show a Cast Member for admittance. You will not be allowed on rides or in shows without a ticket or band, and that rule goes for every person in your party. So make sure you keep them with you.

29. Night Time Shows

This may be tough with small children, but if they can stay up later, (naps help tremendously here) some of the best shows start after 9 p.m. I’m referring to the Main Street Electrical ParadeWishes, and Celebrate the Magic at Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. These are all excellent shows that start after most younger children’s normal bed times. If Disney offers a second show time, the second showing is generally regarded as being less crowded than the first.

 30. Prep. for Holidays

Holiday crowds at Disney World are indeed crazy. If you go vacation during a holiday when kids across the country are out of school, then you better be mentally prepared for long lines, people everywhere, and more waiting in lines. Should you take your kids out of school? More and more parents are these days, so they can hopefully enjoy lighter crowds, but Christmas is definitely the busiest time of the entire year. Prepare your own children for possible long waits and crowded situations.

Other holidays are packed out as well; if the kids are out of school, crowd levels will be pretty intense. 

Here are two articles that can help you prepare for the holiday madness.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

What Are the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World?

Disney World Christmas snacks

31. Need More Tickets?

When the kids are having a blast at the parks, if you decide (to make them happy, of course!) you would like to add another day or days to your current tickets, go to Guest Services. You need to make this decision before you are on the final day of your tickets. Extra days are not as expensive as your initial four or five days. Unless it’s the last day, you have the option to add more days, park hoppers, and water parks options.

 

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed toward the Magic Kingdom, pushing a small child in a stroller…

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 World 4 Le$$: Miniature Golf

Disney World for less Miniature Golf

Disney World has so many activities to keep your family entertained beyond the gates of their theme parks. Fortunately for the cheapskates, many of their entertainment options are far less than the price of park tickets. You won’t be entertained as long as a full Magic Kingdom day, but you can certainly can fill up a morning or an afternoon. Mini golf, anyone?!

Disney World has two different miniature golf courses on property with prices under $20 per person. Compared to other Disney prices, that’s a steal.  

Read – Disney for Le$$: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX in Disney Springs

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Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf

At Fantasia Gardens, you and the kids will putt your way through five scenes featuring tutu-clad hippos, marching broomsticks and pirouetting ostriches. This course is perfect for families and beginner golfers.

Fairways Miniature Golf is more challenging. Resembling a traditional golf course built on a miniature scale, this course emphasizes skill over chance. Sand traps, bunkers, water hazards and sloping greens make the Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf Course an exciting challenge, where par-3 and par-5 holes range in length from 63 to 109 feet long.

Both courses are located in the Epcot Resort area by the WDW Swan Hotel.

2017 prices are $12 for children ages 2-9 and $14 for everyone over age 10.

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways location and price

Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 9.34.30 AM

Read – Doing Di$ney 4 Le$$: Wagon Rides Under $10

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Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

Situated right next to Blizzard Beach Water Park is Winter Summerland. The elves built two distinctly different 18–hole golf experiences: a sand course named “Summer” and a snow course named “Winter.”

On the Summer Course, putt among surfboards, sand castles and ornaments hanging from palm trees, peppermint-striped inner tubes, snapping clam shells and a melting snowman. Disney advises you try not to wake sleeping Santa buried in the sand!

On the Winter Course, watch out for Squirty the Snowman, who sprays water at golfers when golf balls pass beneath him. Holiday themed obstacles include giant peppermints, hockey sticks and the drawbridge of a fantastical, melting castle. The courses combine for the last holes, and after sinking the last putt on Hole 18, you will receive a special message from Santa Claus, courtesy of the WinterNet.

The courses are located next to Blizzard Beach water Park. 

2017 prices are $12 for children ages 2-9 and $14 for everyone over age 10.

Read – Disney for Le$$: $8.95 Hand Sanitizers

Disney World Winter Summerland prices and location

Disney Winter Summerland for kids

Winter Summerland

Discounts

Ask about a second round of golf for 50% off on the same day.

Disney World Annual and Seasonal Passholders receive 15% off miniature golf for the passholder and three of their guests.

Disney Vacation Club Members receive 15% off miniature golf for members and up to three guests.

Magic Your Way Ticket ticket holders with the Water Park Fun & More option can use one or more of your “visits” for one round of miniature golf at either golf course before 4:00 p.m.

        Cheapskate tip: Because the cost of mini golf is so low compared to other ticket prices, like the water parks, this wouldn’t be the best use of your money. 

If you purchase a Magic Your Way Vacation Package, these include a voucher valid for one round of miniature golf at either golf courses. You will receive one voucher per room.

Purchase a Magic Your Way Premium or Platinum vacation package, and you will receive unlimited miniature golf at no additional charge.

Read – Disney World Meals Under $20: Whispering Canyon Cafe Breakfast

Winter Summerland prices

Miniature golf for under $15 per person. In terms of Disney World pricing, that’s a pretty good deal. 

Both courses are open 10 am to 11 pm daily. 

We have a full list of activities for a day where you don’t have park tickets, we call this a “free day,” including activities that start at completely free and go up to fairly expensive experiences. There’s something here for all budget levels. 

Read – Disney World Tips for Kids: “Free Day” Fun Activities

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you out on the mini golf course…doing Disney for Le$$. 

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.