Ask a Princess Travel Expert: What’s the Best Disney Resort for Kids?


Updated for 2017!

Planning a Disney vacation can often be confusing work, and work is certainly not a word we want to associate with a vacation. Choosing a place to stay in Orlando is one of the first big decisions you will make when planning your Disney trip, and if you decide to stay on property, there are now more than 25 Disney Resort locations to choose from, from the budget-conscious Value Resort hotels to over-the-top Deluxe Resort hotels.

Read: Pros and Cons of Staying Off Site at Disney World

We asked some of our team of Princess Travel Experts where they recommend you book your next trip when you are traveling with children.

[Read more…]

Walt Disney World MagicBands: A Cheapskate Guide

MagicBands information and prices

Updated for 2016!

When we got back from our summer Disney vacation, my 7th grade son wore his MagicBand every day for nearly four months. And let me assure you, he’s not alone. After wearing the bands all around Disney World, what better way to hold onto that vacation magic a little longer than to continue wearing the band day after day! For those who need a little more information on the bands, what they do, and some free vs. cost information, we developed this Cheapskate Princess Guide to send you off on vacation in the know.

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What are MagicBands?

MagicBands are these cool plastic bands you can wear on your wrist while you are on a Disney vacation. MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands – resembling a watch or bracelet – that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a ”touch point.”

MagicBands contains an HF Radio Frequency device and transmitter which sends and receives RF signals through a small antenna inside the MagicBand. This enables the band to be read by long-range readers used to deliver personalized experiences, as well as provide information that helps Disney improve the overall experience of our Parks.

MagicBands are not currently used at the Disneyland Resort, however, people are guessing they will eventually be used there as well as other Disney parks overseas. 14 months after this article was published in 2015, these MagicBand features are still exclusive to Walt Disney World Resort. 

Not only have they become a fashion statement in the parks and resorts, but they serve a huge functional purpose on your vacation. MagicBands connect choices you make on the My Disney Experience mobile app. and the website.

  • Use the MagicBand and a valid park ticket  to enter theme parks and water parks.
  • Redeem your FastPass+ selections.
  • Connect your Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account.
  • Enter your Disney resort rooms, as this is the new room key, having replaced plastic key cards.
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases to your room.
  • Identify yourself when you pass through theme park parking plazas.

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the cost of MagicBands at Disney World

When are they free?

And I mentioned before, when you stay at Walt Disney World Resort or if you are an Annual Passholder, MagicBands are given to you for free.

When are they not free?

The purchase price for a band as of March, 2016, without shipping costs is $12.99. So if you need to purchase a band, or your children wear out their bands over time and need a replacement, it may be easier to just order new bands online. Use this link to the Disney for ordering information. 

If you are not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel and are not a Passholder, you will receive a card when you purchase park admission. You then have the option to purchase a MagicBand at the theme parks, Disney Springs, or at You can link your park admission ticket using My Disney Experience and then use your MagicBand to enter the parks.

In addition to solid color, plain bands, and the resort and park gift shops also have graphic MagicBands available for purchase. In 2015, these graphic MagicBands retailed for $19.95 each. In 2016, bands retail for $22.95 to $27.95 in lots of colors and designs.

Disney Word graphic MagicBands

where to purchase Disne World MagicBands

MagicBand upgrades

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And of course, because those Disney magic makers are merchandising geniuses, there is all sorts of extra “bling” you can order for your bands.

MagicSliders – $12.95 each

A “MagicSlider” is a plastic design that fits over the center of your MagicBand. You just slip a MagicSliders onto your band for an instant custom accessory.

Mickey Mouse MagicSlider

Minnie Mouse MagicSlider

Disney World MagicSlider

Disney MagicSlider for MagicBands

You can use this link to the for one of the MagicSliders. 

MagicBandits Sets – $7.99 per set of three, $9.99 for a set of 4

MagicBandits decorate any common band when you simply pop the design into any available holes. The bandits are small parts, and they are not designed for children under three years.

These little additions have a reputation for falling off occasionally, so keep an eye on them if they start to work their way out of the holes.

You can use this link to the for more MagicBandits. 

Disney Icon MagicBandits

Disney Duffy Bear MagicBanditsDisney Princess MagicBandits

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

You can snag a sale on the MagicBandits and MagicSliders occasionally, like these two sets. Now it’s not a huge savings, but every little bit can add up.

Disney World MagicSliders MagicBandits on sale

Answers to Common Questions

1. What if we don’t have the free bands when we arrive?

If you plan a last minute vacation and don’t have time to order your MagicBands before you leave, you should be able to get them once you arrive at your ersort, but you may not get the color you want based on supply.

2.  If you have an old admission ticket, (hand date-stamped with no magnetic strip) will this ticket link to a MagicBand? 

Yes. As you enter the parks, go to Guest Relations to exchange your old ticket for a new plastic card containing an RFID chip. That ticket information will then be linked to your MagicBand.

3. How many MagicBands can you have?

While you can have up to seven, you won’t need that many. You will link, activate, and/or deactivate them on the My Disney Experience website or using the phone app.

4. What happens if I lose my MagicBand? 

If you should lose your band, deactivate it using your My Disney Experience account online or using on the mobile app.  Notify Guest Relations or your hotel’s Lobby Concierge if you are on resort property, where you should have a replacement band issued. If you are off property/finished with your vacation when you lose the band, deactivate the band using the same methods, but realize you may have to purchase a replacement.

5. Do you have to use MagicBands?

No, because you can always use a plastic RF card for park admission and resort room entry. The only issue may be that the RF cards cannot be detected by long-range readers like the MagicBands can. Just let a Cast Member know your preference when you check in.

6. Will the band get ruined if it gets wet?
No. MagicBands are waterproof, so you can wear them swimming or showering.

How fun would a box full of these be?!

Disney World MagicBandits

Given how many people are now wearing the bands throughout their vacations, and how many of the MagicBands and accessories stations are now found in gift shops everywhere, chances are your children are going to either buy the accessories and specialty bands or certainly ask about purchasing them.

Now you will be prepared pre-trip with details and prices. Financial information allows you Disney moms and the kids to make a plan.

One of these days, you’ll look up and find your arm decorated just like this…

magicband Disney world overdose

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you blinging out your bands, or explaining to the kids how much money is left in their budget for MagicBand bling!

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

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

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

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

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Dooney & Bourke kids purse

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

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

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

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

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Kids want to shop at Walt Disney World

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

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

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

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why kids need to know how to window shop

Teach Kids the Skill

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

This one is pretty simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disney Moms go shopping

Make a Child’s Souvenir Budget Before You Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

why take small kids to Disney World

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

Window shopping – a life skill indeed.

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

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

Disney moms take kids shopping

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


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

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

How to Have fun at Disney World with small kids.

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

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