To Get Home From Disney With Your Souvenirs, Bring Less of This…

Christmas on Main Street, Toy Soldiers, Disney Toy Soldier, Disney Christmas, packing for Disney, what to pack for vacation

Getting to and from a vacation seems to be the worst part of the whole deal, and don’t get me started on the depression that can set in once you are back home. Either flying or driving to Walt Disney World Disney, chances are you will over-pack, especially if you are traveling by car. You know Disney Princesses – we overpack for everything! My husband commented for years that we looked like the Clampetts from the Beverly Hillbillies as we pulled into our hotel. Well, it’s tough to pack light with a family of five. But as our children have grown older, we have tried to take along just the necessities. He swears on the next trip, we can make it it in just two large suitcases. The number one thing we always over-pack?


Today’s Cheapskate Princess tip? Cut back on the amount of clothing you bring.

One good question to ask when you make your Disney reservations is, “Where can I wash clothes?”  Many hotels and resorts, both on Disney property or otherwise, have laundry facilities. You can find out if your accommodations have washers and dryers in one quick phone call or with a little Internet research. This will leave room in your suitcases for fabulous Disney souvenirs.

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

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If you’ve packed lighter and don’t have access to a washer and dryer, there’s always a sink and a bar of soap. I readily admit, this is not my number one choice. Faced with no room for my new Mickey sweatshirt in the suitcase or washing out a few socks pairs of socks, those socks are headed for the sink, pronto. It’s not the ideal situation, but hey, you do what ya gotta do to get it all home!

Multi-pack. If you have a big t-shirt, use that as a bathing suit cover-up and pajamas.  Bring a light jacket, as this can serve as both the jacket and a raincoat.

Save Money on Disney World T-Shirts by Making Your Own!

Dooney & Bourke purse, Disney bag, Disney luggage

What can you do while you wash clothes?

Take a little nap.

Take a walk around your resort/hotel.

Grab a light snack.

Prop up your weary feet and watch some TV.

Take a dip in the cement pond. (see above Beverly Hillbillies reference)

Window shop without your wallet to avoid overspending.

Disney’s Basin: For $5.99, I Can Smell Like Disney All Day!

stroller at Disney World, stroller, Disney souvenirs

One thing about vacation is that most people find themselves toting too many items, which in the long run just causes additional stress. Vacations can be stressful enough just fighting crowds and worrying about finances without sitting on your suitcase to get it packed, or paying those extra fees at the airport when your luggage goes over a certain weight.

There are definitely an abundance of packing lists floating around, but with all that stuff crammed in your suitcase, there may not be enough room for the important things, like bringing home your new Mickey Mouse ears hat or a coffee mug. Stuff that shirt/pajamas/beach cover-up in the mug for extra travel protection.

Can You Afford a Vacation at WDW’s Bay Lake Tower Resort?

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So to get home from Disney with all your souvenirs, you will definitely need more cash and probably less laundry!


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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

Erin, 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 @ 

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


Thanks for stopping by for a quick Disney tip, and we’ll see you in the resort laundry mat with a roll of quarters.

Disney’s Extra Magic Hours: a Cheapskate Princess Guide

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Updated for 2017!

If you ever said,”Let’s just stay at a cheap hotel, because with the money we save, the longer we can stay at Disney World longer,” then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. I’m all about finding a bargain. And there is no doubt that staying at a Disney World Resort can be more expensive than staying “off property.” 

But Disney offers a huge perk other off-property hotels don’t: Extra Magic Hours. Staying fewer days in a Disney resort to play longer in the parks is what a Cheapskate Princess would call a splurge.   [Read more…]

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

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While I shout it to the world that going to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holidays is mostly just crazy, due to the insane crowd levels compared to other times of year, I need to point out that the holiday decorations are just spectacular. Standing on Main Street, U.S.A., and watching it “snow” might be worth your headache and the stress level of vacationing with so many other people. But can a Disney Princess afford to pay rack room rates during the busiest time at Disney?

The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney runs from December 21 to December 31 of this year. Without any sort of discount, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts will cost you $164, and the prices for this time of year go up from there.

Disney World at Christmas: Would a Cheapskate Spend Up to $30 for a Christmas Ornament?

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A standard Holiday Season room at moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday.

The least expensive room, a garden wing room, at the Contemporary Resort goes for $530 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $360 for a Regular Season night on a weekday.

A standard room during Value Season at the Animal Kingdom Lodge will cost $265 a night, with a jump to $470 a night for Holiday Season.

And in the Deluxe Villa category, a studio room at Bay Lake Tower will cost $600 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $485 a night during Regular Season, $415 a night during Value Season.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Photos of WDW during the Christmas Holidays

Disney's Yacht Club at Christmas, Yacht Club, Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Vacation Club,

Of course you don’t have to stay during those ten days to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks and resorts by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in a less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Can a cheapskate afford those resort prices? Yes, but you may have to sell the glass slippers first!

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts for the Magic Kingdom from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link.

how tall is Disney's Main Street Christmas Tree, what does Disney's Christmas weigh, how many decorations does Disney use at Christmas, who decorates Disney at Christmas

The Magic Kingdom Christmas tree is 26 feet wide, and it takes a 70 ton crane to position the theme park Christmas trees into place each year.

25,000 poinsettias are used to decorate the Magic Kingdom for the holidays, which takes two whole nights to put everything in place.

A Cast Member crew of 30 people do the holiday landscaping at the Magic Kingdom.

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

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How tall is the Christmas tree erected in the center of Main Street, U.S.A., each Christmas season? 65 feet.

Talk about your crazy Florida weather forecasts…There is a 100 percent chance of snow flurries during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place on select holiday evenings in Magic Kingdom. And for those who don’t want to pay the $53.95 to $63.95 a ticket for this special party, snow frequently falls on Main Street throughout the holiday season.

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

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Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!


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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin, our Cheapskate Princess travel agent

Erin, 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 @ 

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


Thanks for stopping by today for a look at room rates and holiday decorations, two of my favorite Disney topics. What do you think? Would you be willing to pay full price for a Disney resort room to spend the holidays at Disney World?

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan

Updated for 2017

Free Disney Dining has almost taken on a life of its own. If you planned your entire vacation around qualifying for free food,  then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!  Travel agents stay tied up for days to get their clients the accommodations and Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) they have requested to get those free meals. People go crazy for Free Disney Dining, and why not? Traveling during those certain dates can save you a lot of money. Those of us who are DVC members or cannot leave work to travel during  the free dining dates, we just sit around and mope that we don’t get to eat for free.

Want a free, no obligation vacation quote?  Click HERE.

Free Disney Dining…Is It Really Always Free?

But, uh oh, what if you don’t qualify for the free dining and have to pay for your dining plan?  Is it worth the money? Let’s take a look at how the Disney Dining Plan works.

The Quick Service Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation, the Quick Service Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • Two quick service (counter-service) meal credits per night including non alcoholic beverage;
  • Two snack credits per night; and
  • A refillable drink mug per stay.

The current 2017 daily price of the Quick Service Plan is $48.19 per adult and $20.88 per child ages 3-9 for a stay during regular season. This is the lowest level for the dining plan.

To Save Money on Disney World Food, Eat Breakfast Here!

Disney Dining Plan


The Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation per night of package stay, the Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • One Table Service Meal credit per night including entree, dessert, and non alcoholic drink or full buffet;
  • One Quick Service Meal credit per night;
  • Two Snack credits per night; and
  • One  refillable drink mug per stay.

The current daily price per night for the Disney Dining Plan is $69.35 per adult and $24.95 per child for most times of the year. Children under three eat free from an adult’s plate. Your gratuity is not included for table service meals. Be sure to include this in your food budget as some guests get a surprise while on vacation. Two table service credits can also be used for signature restaurants, dinner shows, private dining, or pizza delivery.

How to Score Free Drinks at Disney World’s Epcot!

Deluxe Disney Dining Plan

For each person on the room reservation, the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan includes:

  • Three meal credits at your choice of Quick Service restaurants or table service restaurants per night. When using the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan, a Table Service Meal consists of an appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage or one full buffet or family style meal;
  • Two snack credits per night; and
  • One refillable drink mug per stay.

The current daily price of the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan is $106.68 per adult and $38.75 per child during regular season. Children under three eat free from an adult’s plate.  Two table service credits can also be used for signature restaurants, dinner shows, private dining, or pizza delivery. Gratuity is not included for the table service meals.


Disney Dining Plan

Should You Bring Your Own Snacks to Disney World to Save Money?

Want to see if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for you? Click HERE.

Lots of people describe “ease” as one of the main reasons the Disney Dining Plan is the route to go. Here are several reasons purchasing the DDP will make your vacation easier.

  • Simply present yourMagicBand  to your server or cashier just before you order. Your Magicband electronically monitors the meals allocated for your group.
  • You can track your meals with an easy-to-read receipt your server will provide you, which will display your remaining meal balance.
  • You can redeem your meals in any order throughout your package stay until each person’s meal total is complete.
  • There are over 100 select restaurants available throughout the WDW resort and Downtown Disney to choose from that accept the DDP.
  • The Dining Plans can save you money if you plan to eat at the parks or resorts for every meal. Unless you plan on bringing food into the park or eat meals in your room then the dining plans will save you money.
  • A positive reason to get the dining plan is that you can pay for your meals ahead of time. This helps guests be able to save and budget for their meals while on vacation. You will already have everything paid before your vacation even starts. This helps you to not hemorrhage money while eating on your vacation.

We ask our  Facebook fans what they thought of actually paying for the Dining Plan. Here are their thoughts.

Samantha Berry said, “Our family uses the dining plan for every trip! It is the best choice for our on the go family and offers the most flexibility and convenience for our stay at Disney World. It allows us not to price check everything during the trip and because we have already paid for the dining plan included, there are no surprises at the end and no overspending!”

 Want to Save Money on Food at Disney World? Ziplocs Can Save You Cash!

Disney Dining Plan

Kristen related, “Deluxe Dining gives us the flexibility we want in choosing where to eat, the opportunity to sample a greater variety on the menu, and the luxury of including signature restaurants in our plan. It’s my default for great Disney dining.”

Melissa said, “I definitely think it’s worth it. I’d rather pay for it up front and know I won’t have to pay for anything else other then gratuity. I order the most expensive meal and enjoy, when at home, I would always look at price. It’s a nice way to be care free.

Lori said for her family of seven, the DDP is the route to go. “We like to eat stuff other than quick service and really enjoy our character dining. Some of the places (1900 Park Fare from our last experience) are just too expensive to do otherwise.”

Kristy said, “The DDP is definitely worth it if you are going to do a sit down meal. It almost pays for itself with just that. Believe me, we keep receipts to add up and see how much we save!!”

 Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

Disney Dining Plan

Melissa said Deluxe Dining, always. “Since we are DVC, we don’t qualify for free dining. We usually wind up saving a little bit of money, but we eat like kings and queens, and we aren’t worried about the cost, because we already paid for it!”

Tammy told us, “Free dining is by far the BEST, but we’ll still always go with a dining plan. My kiddos are older, and between their dining preferences and mine, we always come out ahead on the dining plan. For our next trip, we actually decided to go Deluxe rather than Basic, as a matter of fact. My number-crunching teenager went through the list of restaurants we want to go to (many of them 2 credit eateries) and ball-parked the costs from the menus on When he compared it to the cost of the deluxe plan, we came out money ahead using the plan. We won’t save a TON of money, but a little ahead is still ahead, and that gets combined with the convenience of the prepaid plan and snacks thrown in. If you tend to get quick service most of the time, you’re going to be better off paying out of pocket, though.”

These items are not accepted with the Disney Dining Plan.

  • Alcoholic beverages;
  • Items that are more than one serving, like a box of doughnuts or a jar of peanut butter;
  • Items served in souvenir containers;
  • Items sold at recreational rental counters;
  • Items that are considered to be merchandise, like bottle toppers, glow cubes, and bottle straps; and
  • Some special event dining events with special menus.


The Fine Financial Points to Remember with the Dining Plan

  • Gratuities are not included except at dinner shows, private in-room dining, and Cinderella’s Royal Table.
  • 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill for parties of 6 or more.
  • Items that are not included in the Disney Dining Plan will be added to your bill.
  • If a guest under three orders a meal off the menu, this cost will be added to your bill.

Want a free, no obligation vacation quote?  Click HERE.

I read some DDP reviews on , where someone commented that the cost of the Disney Dining Plan has increased by 22% over the last several years, so while you were saving a fair amount of money several years ago, this is not necessarily the case now.

Cheapskate Princess fan said, “You will like the DDP if you like to take the time to eat and like good quality food and trying new things. It works out really well, especially if you are traveling with kids and adults (like me) that like to do character dining experiences. Then it pays for itself. If you have a bigger appetite, the meal plan is the way to go. If you go by yourself or travel with people who do not want to take a lot of time for dinning, then just do Quick Service only. However if you are like my sister and her family, who can live on a cup of soup for 10 hours, then don’t do any of the meal plans.”

Want to Save Money on Food at Disney? Two Words: Kid’s Meals!

Melissa said her group just got back from Disney, “We didn’t do Disney Dining, but we had a condo and brought in lunch every day of sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. We only paid for our princess lunch at Epcot and two other meals in the park, which was less expensive than the dining plan for us.”

Disney Dining Plan

Jennifer described her dining plan experience. “We’ve always had free dining in the past, but this year we’re looking for a room-only rate to stay at a dream resort and won’t have dining. I think it works out. The dining plan for us ends up always being too much food. We wouldn’t normally order desserts and sodas with every meal, and we tend to want less sit-down meals each trip. If we actually calculated what we would normally purchase, it would turn out to be far less than the dining plan cost. Even when it’s “free,” there is a cost because you must pay rack rates for rooms instead of getting the sometimes-hefty room discounts. Since we do like the ease of not thinking about the price of things, I think for the next trip we’ll pre-purchase Disney Gift Cards in large amounts and just hand those over when it’s time to pay. That way we still won’t have to see cash exchanging hands, and it will still have the illusion of being free!”

Kim said, “We used to get free dining, and then once we paid for it because we got a great discount. Now that we have Annual Passes and the dining price went up… Nope. We eat at Taco Bell and Fuddruckers!”


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Disney Dining Plan

Jennifer explained her opinion, “We’ve been annual pass holders for the last few years. Our December trip will be our very first time on a dining plan. We’ve seen no need for it before, and the only reason why we have it this time is because it was free. We easily save hundreds of dollars more by purchasing meals ourselves. We don’t need a dessert or a soft drink with every meal, and we actually prefer to drink water. And if you stay off resort, it’s much cheaper to eat out, even at Cracker Barrel or Chili’s, than it is to eat in the parks. It’s all about preference and convenience. The meals are so big that you can easily share anyway, especially if you have kids.

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

Now looking at the numbers, I can totally see how free dining would pay off, even if you were paying for the upgrade for a more expensive dining package. It might not work for every vacation, but run the numbers and you might be surprised that it can save you money in the long run.

One factor to remember is that with the popularity of the free dining promotion, if you plan a last minute trip while other people are eating for free, or you stay in a DVC resort using points, should you try to purchase the dining plan on your own, you may not be able to get reservations at the restaurants where you really want to dine.

For a Fabulous Disney Meal, Make These Reservations ASAP!

Disney Dining Plan

So most of the Disney’s Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans responded that they purchased the Disney Dining Plan for the convenience of having meals paid for ahead of time. No one mentioned they were saving a tremendous amount of money using the plan, although lots of people said they saved a ton of money by vacationing during the free dining promotion. Which leaves me cupcake icing green with free dining envy.

A special thanks to Bob Abgelo for his fabulous dining photos.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Disney Dining Plan Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from  Elizabeth, 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 Elizabeth Mallers a call at 317-753-5959, or send an e-mail to

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


Thanks you for stopping by, and we’ll see you in line for Chef Mickey’s. I’ll be seated in the Contempo Cafe looking over the barrier wall to see what I am missing out on. Be sure to wave at me!

Should You Bring Your Own Snacks to Disney World to Save Money?

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Updated for 2017!

If you ever brought your own snacks into the Disney World parks to save money, then you are definitely a Cheapskate Princess! I am constantly looking for ways to cut my food costs down while we vacation at Disney. I have eaten fries for dinner so I would have room for a snack later on that night. I have brought half a hamburger in a ziplock along with me in a backpack for a post-dinner yet pre-midnight-ice cream meal. I all about trying to save money on food so I can purchase take-home souvenirs

I asked Disney’s Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans if they brought snacks into Walt Disney World or purchased snacks in the parks. The overwhelming response was to bring your own snacks, but lots of fans brought snacks to save enough money to purchase Disney snacks at some point on the trip. Get your pen and pencil handy, because hopefully some of these tips can save you some money. [Read more…]

Cheap Ways to Keep the Disney Magic Going After Your Vacation

Knowing the crazy amount of money I spend on Disney vacations, it just kills me to go home and have the memory of my time in Orlando slip away. I’m not that old, but those Disney feelings and memories fade quickly. The longer I am back home, the less I seem to recall unless I am sitting in front my pictures. I miss the smell of Disney, the colors of the buildings and characters, the feel of the monorail bench, the sound of the fireworks, and the songs.  I seem to miss it all.

I’ve picked up a couple of tricks through the years that help me keep that Disney Feeling going when I am nine hours away from Main Street. If you are planing your first or 50th trip to Disney, these ideas are cheap and simple, and what Disney princess wouldn’t love that?!

fun ideas for after a Disney vacation

I am a Disney vacationer by hobby, a high school educator by profession, which of course pays for my Disney addiction. Other than just a hunch, I knew there had to be actual “scientific” reasons my six ways work to aid my memory. I found a site called The Learning that gave me some educational wisdom to not only aid you in remembering your vacation, but remembering other facts as well, because in our Big Mac – fast-paced world, who couldn’t use a memory boost?! I ran across two ideas that lend credibility to my ways to continue the Disney Magic.

Love the Disney Princesses? 10 Ways to Act Just Like One!

Learn with all your senses. If you can see it, touch it, taste it, hear it and smell it, you are much more likely to remember it.

1)  I take air freshener with me to our Disney hotel, and I spray it a couple times a day. When we come back to the room, it smells fresh and clean, or in my case, like Oriental Spiced Ginger in the summer, and Peppermint Gingerbread Cookie in the winter. When I am back at home from my vacation, if I spray some air freshener, one or more of my kids will walk in the room, inhale deeply, and say,”Ah, this smells just like Disney.”

Cheapskate fan Heidi warns not to overspray. “Keep in mind that there are people out there who are allergic/sensitive to perfumes and air fresheners.” Just a little is all you need, and then you’ll have more when you are at home.

*FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

Disney resort

As adults, I expect my children will continue to associate certain smells with Disney, of being on vacation with family. I want them to associate the smell of Disney with the smell of family. Hopefully, when my children have their own families, they will bring me and my air freshener along on their Disney vacations.

2) Basin is one of my all time favorite Disney shops, even if it’s not a treasure trove of Disney images. I buy a bar of soap, split it in three pieces, and every day I can smell like “Disney.” I shower with it on vacation in Orlando, as well as once we get back home.  Sniffing that bar of soap deja vu.s me right back to standing in Downtown Disney. Or sniff again and I am in Basin White at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa; I can even hear the pianist at his grand piano.

For more pictures and info on Basin products, use this link:

Disney’s Basin: For $5.99, I Can Smell Like Disney All Day!


3) I love jewelry, and I love Disney, so naturally I love Disney jewelry. I have several pieces of sterling silver Disney jewelry that I purchased the World of Disney Store from Downtown Disney, all under the $200 price range. I can’t afford a lot of that, if I plan to wear something different every day, so I mix and match those pieces with eBay white-gold plated jewelry. For under $12, I can get a nice piece of “Disney” jewelry shipped directly from China, and so far none of my purchases have tarnished or broken. They are not licensed merchandise or directly associated with the Disney company,  but they do the trick to remind me of Disney, because where do I also wear my jewelry? On vacation in Orlando, or course.

The same necklace I touch around my neck at the Contemporary Resort is the same necklace my fingers are grasping now, and what do you know, it feels almost like Disney.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

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

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

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


Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you cutting that Basin soap bar in thirds. Take it from me – fourths is too small!

Where is the Best Place to Watch Fireworks at Disney’s Magic Kingdom?

Wishes Fireworks, Main Street Fireworks, Main Street, Disney moms and fireworks, Disney princess fireworks

UPDATED for 2017:

As we prepare to say farewell to Wishes at Magic Kingdom, we are sad but excited about the new age of fireworks at Cinderella Castle!

I have watched Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show for years now, from so many park locations I have lost count. I have a favorite viewing spot, but sometimes as I make my way there, I get stuck watching from other places. Where does this Cheapskate Princess turn when she needs a great place to catch the fireworks and make some wishes of my own?  From behind Cinderella Castle, of course…

As your Princess Travel Experts, we give you all our tips and tricks and viewing spots for fireworks, shows and parades. Remember, for a free quote, you can fill out a quote request form here anytime.

I can handle the crowds at Disney. However, I enjoy my own space, which makes Disney a strange choice for my favorite vacation destination since you are usually surrounded by massive amounts of people all invading your personal-space-bubble. I watch the fireworks from the front, at least one time during my vacation, sitting with thousands of tourists by the “Partners” statue of Mickey and Walt. But I always try to see it at least two other times during my stay, and I always try to find a new place to view them.

A Cheapskate Princess Guide to Less Stress on Vacation

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One night, as we left Be Our Guest for dinner we stumbled upon the fireworks from behind the castle, and realized we had a new family challenge! We were going to find the newest and best ways to view the fireworks, minus all the crowds on Main Street, U.S.A.

The Wishes fireworks are shot from a barge in the marshy area outside the Disney property, back behind where the railroad tracks encircle the park. They are fired more close range from the roof tops right by Cinderella Castle, over Mickey’s Philharmagic and Princess Fairytale Hall. You will walk through the water they use to wet the building rooftops each night before the show begins, which certainly lends an “Up Close and Personal” touch to your viewing pleasure. Our family watches from the Carousel, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, as well as deeper into the New Fantasyland by Ariel’s Grotto. If you are in just the right spot, you are able to see the fireworks with three iconic castles in the background; Cinderella Castle, Beast’s Castle and Prince Eric’s Castle.

Do You Have a Favorite Child to Bring On a Disney Vacation?



I definitely wouldn’t recommend this spot for families with really small children or kids with noise aversions. It’s loud and firework-smokey, which I have seen frighten some children.

There are also things you miss from the back. Tinkerbell’s flight at the beginning of Wishes, is a crowd favorite for sure. And we hope that the new replacement show will add something even cooler for children of all ages. But if it is in the front of the castle like Tinkerbell, you will miss this if viewing from the back. Also, the wonderful images projected onto Cinderella Castle that adds to the show, will of course only be able to be viewed from the front.  This is why I always make sure to see it at least once from my favorite spot in front of the castle.

The crowds are light behind the castle after all, most people want to see if from the front. I understand this; I’ve just chosen to make other plans. On days when I can’t make it until the Kingdom, my other favorite spot is high atop Bay Lake Tower, but I don’t get this view often, and the volume actually feels muted compared to my regular back-row seat.

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

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If you feel like you know the fireworks show by heart and you don’t mind missing the noise and music, there are some other beautiful and special places to watch the show! As your Princess Travel Experts, one of the things we do when helping you with your dining is make reservations at certain restaurants to view the fireworks. Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts all have dining reservations during the fireworks. These resorts also have some wonderful viewing spots on their property so you can enjoy the show from outside the park.

And how could a fireworks viewing be complete without a snack? There are always snack spots around any of your chosen viewing locations where you can all get a snack and settle in for a great show!

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

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One last tip. The park closes after Wishes on some nights, and you are almost half a mile from the front gates. Walk slow…let people pass you as they rush to a monorail…take your sweet Mickey Mouse time. By now, the gift shops are clearing out, and you have more elbow room to do some window or actual shopping.

If you ever waited until the park was closing to do some window shopping, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

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Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Are you ready for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation? Erin is your Princess Vacation Expert! Erin is a Disney College of Knowledge Graduate and Universal Orlando Specialist. Erin’s passion is helping families have a once-in-a-lifetime moments! She provides excellent customer service, attention to detail, magical milestones, and bringing families together.

Erin is ready to help you plan your next magical family vacation. Contact Erin Johnson at or by phone at (214)697-7732 to get started! You can fill out a quote request form here. Our you can email directly.

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



Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Updated for 2017!

If you plan your Disney day around food – when-to-eat, what-to-eat, always trying to save $$ on what you pay, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. If you are putting thought into making reservations for vacation meals, then you need to make some be sure to make an “ADR,” otherwise known as an Advanced Dining Reservations. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from, and anyone – regardless of where you are staying – can make them in advance.   [Read more…]

First Trip to Disney: 10 Reasons to Stay on Property

why stay at a Disney World Resort

Updated for 2017!

If you have ever stayed at a hotel off of the Disney property to save some money, you just might be a Disney Princess! Our family has stayed both on and off Disney property, and the reason is pretty simple for staying off site. While there are some really excellent non-Disney resorts and hotels in Orlando, in most cases, staying off-site costs significantly less money. You can make a good argument for staying off site, but there are drawbacks.

Many of the reasons to stay on property are simply because Disney makes it so attractive to stay in their hotels. I’m going to refer to this effect as the Disney Splurge. You get what you pay for in life, and sometimes you just have to splurge on vacation to truly get the most from your hard-earned money.

Here is why staying on Disney property can be hard to turn down, even if it costs extra. [Read more…]

8 Reasons Not to Go to Disney World in the Fall

helium balloons, how much are Disney balloons, Main Street at Disney World, Disney Princess balloons

Updated for 2017!

Fall. Leaves start dropping out of the trees, footballs are flying through the air again, and kids everywhere have begrudgingly snatched up their backpacks and headed back to school. What does this signal?  The crowds are suddenly lighter at Walt Disney World.  Does this mean fall a good time for you to go to Disney? Well…

8 reasons you should not go to Disney World in the fall.

1. School

Kids have gone back to school and could fall behind in their studies, especially in upper middle school grades and high school. Now this is a hotly debated topic on the internet. Teachers say keep them in school, and yet many parents want to get the most from their vacation dollar during the less crowded “off season” of fall. You know what works for your child, and for some, missing school may be too much.

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2. The Temperature

It’s still hot. It’s not as hot as summer, but it’s warmer than winter.

3. Shorter Hours 

Hours are shorter in the fall than other times a year, because there are fewer people. Every park except Epcot can close as early as 5 p.m. Compare this to midnight in the summer, and while you may be standing in shorter lines during fall, you will spend less time in the parks.

Read: Would a Disney Princess Spend $25 for A Disney World T-Shirt?

Mickey Mouse Hollywood Studios, Mickey Mouse costume, Hollywood Studios,

4. Not As Much Entertainment

If the parks close early, they may not show some of their night-time entertainment. Or these shows may only run on the weekends, and crowds are definitely heavier on the weekends.

5. Special Parties Mean Higher Crowds

Because fall is the time for Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, crowds will be higher during these specific times.

6. Parks Close Early

If you do vacation during MNSSHP, the park will close early on those days. You paid for a full day, but you’ll feel like you’re being kicked out early as party-goers pass you on the way in. With tickets for MNSSHP $50.95 for kids ages 3-9 and $55.95 for ages 10 and up, and these are advanced purchase prices, then you’ll pay a pretty penny to stay from 7 p.m. until midnight.

Read: Planning a Disney Vacation? Why You Need a Disney Change Jar!

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7. Ride Refurbishment

With crowdlevels being lower, some of your favorite rides may be closed for refurbishment. This makes sense from a Disney stand point – less people in the park is a better time to spruce up the rides. I can still hear my sons wails of heart-ache when we showed up one year to find Space Mountain closed for refurbishment. It’s wise to check the refurbishment schedules before you plan anything for certain.

8. Free Dining

Free Dining is offered in the fall, and many money conscious families plan their vacations around free dining. And why not, because you can save a lot of money taking vacations during these specific times. Free Dining means more people vacationing during this offer, and many of the table service restaurants you hoped to enjoy will be filled with free diners. If you don’t make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) as soon as possible, then you may not get to eat at the restaurant of your first choice.

Read: How NOT to Lose Your Kids at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

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Admittedly, these are not super strong reasons to skip that Disney vacation in the fall. Most people love Disney during the off season, but if you are one of the many that just can’t take off work during the fall, these 8 reasons may make you feel a bit better, take the edge off your Disney Depression Syndrome. I have to admit, it would be hard to talk myself into NOT going to Disney during fall, if it was a time of year when I could plan a vacation.

Now if you need some reasons to go during fall, we have that covered for you as well!

Read: 7 Reasons You Should Definitely Visit Disney World in the Fall

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 Erin, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at

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

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

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

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

Look in Davenport, Florida for Great Disney Vacation Rental Homes


Golfing Mickey rental house

December 2015

I read all the time on Facebook comments where die-hard Disney fans just cannot understand why someone would ever stay off property during their vacation. I have been on that mental thought train. We have truly enjoyed some fantastic on-property trips. And then we got two dogs, making on-property stays impossible without kenneling the furry members of the family. Not only am I too cheap to pay the kenneling fee, but it just seems like a choice I would rather avoid. And then my children grew taller than me, so sharing a couch bed was no longer so much fun for three kids. I then found myself on the Internet researching the costs of rental homes.

Have you done any research lately on the cost of rental homes? Granted, you are away from the magic and not in the heart of Walt Disney World, but there certainly are perks to renting your own home away from home. [Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney World: Should You Travel during Christmas?

Disney World at Christmas

Updated for 2017!

It seems that spring and summer are often the time planning begins for colder weather vacations. Lots of people want to visit Disney World during Christmas, and who can blame them?  If you have ever scheduled a vacation during the Christmas holidays to avoid putting up holiday decorations in your own house, you might be a Cheapskate Princess! While we’re talking about scheduling, the question must be asked. Is Christmas really the best time of year for you to visit Walt Disney World? [Read more…]