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

Disney Resorts

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

Where to Meet Olaf the Frozen Snowman in the Summer

Frozen fans can now meet Olaf from Frozen in a Character Meet and Greet at a new location in Disney’s Hollywood Studios AND you see him at Blizzard Beach hosting this summers Frozen Games with Kristoff.

[Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney? 20 Magic Kingdom Rides to Save Time and Money

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Updated for 2017!

When you write about Disney topics, people like to ask you questions. Probably the one question I get asked the most is, “We only have tickets for one day. What park should we go to?” Without hesitation, I say Magic Kingdom. Regardless of age or how much you love roller coasters, I always say the Magic Kingdom just for the experience. When people think of Disney World, what pops into their heads first is usually Cinderella Castle; adult visitors have said they cried the first time they saw it because they had waited for so long. So if you can only be in Orlando for one day, I say spend it there. [Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #5: Eat When They Are Not!

When to eat meals at Disney World when to eat lunch at Disney, when to eat dinner at Disney

Updated for 2017!

Meal time can be what I call “crazy time” at Disney World. Do you want to dine at a resort restaurant or one of the food courts? Were you able to snag Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) far enough in advance to book the actual restaurant where you really wanted to eat? Did you wind up standing in line at Casey’s Corner with 100 people after a Main Street parade? Did you have to leave your kids at a table by themselves so you could order the food?

[Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #10: When to Schedule Table Service Meals to Save Money

Updated for 2017!

Headed to Walt Disney World? Chances are, you have several special restaurants you want to visit for a memorable meal. Table service meals, where a Cast Member brings food or drinks directly to your table, are a great way to add to your Disney dining experience, but it doesn’t come cheap. Table service meals are more expensive than counter service meals, sometimes by a rather large amount, and that’s before you even add in the tip. For what you will pay for a table service steak surrounded by fantastic architecture and soft lighting at Le Cellier, I could buy three hamburgers meals, with fries and a drink, at a counter service restaurant like Cosmic Rays, ambient sounds provided by an audioanimatronic space alien. Steak for me or hamburgers for three members of my family?

[Read more…]

Haircuts at Walt Disney World For $20: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

price of hair cuts at Harmony Barber shop Disney World

Updated October 2015!

Getting a hair cut is not necessarily what you would normally associate with taking a vacation, in fact, my sons associate haircuts with the pain of going to the dentist. Leave it to Disney to put some fun into something as simple as personal grooming. There is a barber shop on Main Street, U.S. A. in the Magic Kingdom, and many Disney visitors who only use Main Street as their route to a roller coaster are surprised to learn this is not just a fake store front.  Lots of hair, for both adults and children, is styled here every day. Cheapskates, get ready for your next fun Disney World adventure, one that won’t break the bank. [Read more…]

Gotta Have it! 12 Cheapskate Extravagances at Walt Disney World

best things to spend money on at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

There is no one size fits all Disney vacation. You can customize your trip to fit your needs and desires, sprinkling as much Pixie Dust as you can afford to spread. From Value to Deluxe Resorts, standard park tickets to Annual Passes, and Signature Restaurants to cereal in your hotel room, there is seemingly no end to the choices you can make concerning your Disney experience.

I always believe it’s a good idea to ask real people who spend lots of hard-earned money on vacations what they thought of experiences, accommodations, and purchases before I decide where and when to drop my Disney money. We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans, “What is the one thing you’ll spend money on for a Disney vacation, even if it’s pricey?

[Read more…]

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

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

2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you see fireworks from bay lake Tower, fireworks from the top of Bay Lake Tower, Disney fireworks, Wishes fireworks at Disney,

Under $200 a Night

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

Pop Century Resort – $106.88

Art of Animation Resort $112.50

Caribbean Beach Resort – $182.25

Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter -$182.25

Coronado Springs Resort  – $187.88

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

Under $400 a Night

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – $313.88

Wilderness Lodge – $319.50

Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – $325.13

Contemporary Resort – $371.25

Beach Club  and Yacht Club Resort – $393.75

Top Ten Cheapskate Tips Every Disney World Visitor Needs to Know

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Are you sitting down? Perhaps you should be…

Under $500 a Night

Beach Club Villas -$405.00

Boardwalk Inn, Boardwalk Villas – $405.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Kidani Village – $414.00

Animal Kingdom Villas, Jamba House – $414.00

Villas at Wilderness Lodge – $414.00

Polynesian Resort – $474.75

Under $600 a Night

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – $508.50

Old Key West Resort – $508.50

Grand Floridian Resort And Spa – $540.00

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

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Under $900 a Night

Bay Lake Tower Resort – $816.75

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

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

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

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What is the Special Now?

If you book by March 31, 2013, you can receive the discount for travel most nights April 2nd through June 14, 2013

Simply call Disney World at (407) 939-1283 and speak with a vacation expert, use this link to the Disney World Website, or call your travel agent to help plan the perfect trip for your family. 

Top Ten Cheapskate Tips Every Disney World Visitor Needs to Know

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Quick Money Saving Tip!

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

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

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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.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney photopass Princess photo

Updated for 2017!

Seriously, have you ever seen a more beautiful princess?! If you have been to Disney World lately, surely you have noticed the astounding amount of little Disney Princesses running rampant (in full make up and plastic heels, no less) through the parks. Dresses, shoes, tiaras, shiny jewelry, and let’s not forget the princess up-do and sparkly make up. Holy Minnie Mouse, if your princess isn’t dressed to the nines, then she’s liable to feel like she’s been left out of all the fun. The quest for fun-time entertainment is probably not the issue if you are on a budget; it’s the ca$h.

How much will transforming your princess into an official Disney-fied Princess cost? [Read more…]

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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

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

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

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

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

1. What comes standard in the kitchen?

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

Bonnet Creek dining room photo,

Bonnet Creek Dining Room, 2 Bedroom Unit

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

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

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

Bonnet Creek master bedroom photo,

Bonnet Creek master bedroom

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

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

4. Is Internet service available?

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

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom photo

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom with 2 Full Size Beds

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

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

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

Bonnet Creek heated pool

Bonnet Creek heated pool and lazy river

6. Do any rooms offer whirlpool tubs? 

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

Bonnet Creek whirlpool tub, Bonnet Creek jet tub photo

Bonnet Creek Resort whirlpool tub

7. Is this a Pet-Friendly resort?

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

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

Bonnet Creek Resort Private Balcony

8. Is smoking allowed at this resort? 

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

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

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

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

Bonnet Creek mini-golf, Bonnet Creek resort golf,

Bonnet Creek Resort mini-golf

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

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

Bonnet Creek Resort swimming

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

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

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

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

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

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

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

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

Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at the Contemporary Resort at Christmas?

Contemporary Resort Wreath, Contemporary Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Mickey Mouse wreath

If you have ever looked at The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney World to see if you could afford a room during the most festive time of year, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. Nothing wrong with making plans and checking things out to see if your budget can handle what your heart desires. Christmas is a truly magical time at Disney. “Holiday Season” runs from December 21 to December 31 of 2012. 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. A standard room a moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday. Now, are you ready for some really heaving pricing?

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

Disney's cookie tree, Disney's gingerbread tree, what is in Disney's gingerbread tree,

2012 pricing:

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.

Of course you don’t have to stay those 10 days to enjoy the sights of the seasons, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks 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  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 to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

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What will it cost you to stay at  the Contemporary Resort during Holiday Season?

2012 pricing:

Garden Wing with a Standard View sleeps 5  and offers views of a parking area or obstructed views from the Garden Wing.  $530 per night.

Garden Wing with a Garden View sleeps 5 and offers views of the gardens, pools, the marina or Bay Lake.  $575 per night.

Garden Wing King Room sleeps 3 and offers views of the parking area or pool. $605 per night.

Garden Wing Deluxe Room sleeps 4 and offers views of the gardens, pools, the marina or Bay Lake. $605 per night.

Standard Tower Room sleeps 5 and offers views of Bay Lake – sleeps. $640 per night.

Standard Tower with a Magic Kingdom View sleeps 5 and offers views of Magic Kingdom theme park and the parking area. $700 per night.

Standard Room Atrium Club Level sleeps 5 and offers you views of Bay Lake. $850 per night. This level room gives you Concierge Service. That splurge obviously costs you extra money, so what special services will you receive?

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

Contempo cafe, Contempo Cafe photo, eat at the Contempo cafe, where to eat at the Contemporary Resort

 Concierge Service

  • Evening turn-down service with chocolates
  • Secure key access to the Club Level Lounge, which serves refreshments from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, including a continental breakfast, midday snacks, evening wine and cheese and evening cordials and dessert

I will admit, that sounds pretty spiffy!

2012 pricing:

Magic Kingdom View Atrium Club Level sleeps 5, offers views of Magic Kingdom theme park, and  entitles you to Concierge Service. $910 per night. This is the  last Contemporary room under $1,000 a night during Holiday Season.

Garden Wing One Bedroom Suites are located on the second and third floors of the Garden Wing, sleeping 7 and offering views of the gardens and Bay Lake. $1490 per night.

Garden Wing Hospitality Suite sleeps 6 and offers views of the parking area or pool. $1505 per night.

Bay Lake View One Bedroom Suite Club Level sleeps 6, offers views of Bay Lake, and entitles you to Concierge Service. $1839 per night.

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

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2012 pricing:

One Bedroom Magic Kingdom Suite Club Level sleeps 6, offers views of the Magic Kingdom, and entitles you to Concierge service. $1952 per night.

Bay Lake View Two Bedroom Suite Club Level sleeps 8, offers views of Bay Lake, and entitles you to Concierge service. This suite has a parlor area with full-size sleeper sofa. $2714 per night.

Magic Kingdom View 2 Bedroom Suite Club Level sleeps 10, offers views of the Magic Kingdom, and entitles you to Concierge Service. Featuring 2 full baths and one half-bath, there is a parlor area with full-size sleeper sofa, plus a full size refrigerator stocked daily with sodas.  $2730 per night.

Bay Lake View Vice Presidential Suite Club Level sleeps 8, offers views of Bay Lake, and entitles you to Concierge Service.  This suite offers a master bedroom with king-sized bed and bathroom, a second bedroom with 2 queen size beds and bathroom, a parlor area with full-size sleeper sofa, and a full-size refrigerator stocked daily with sodas. $2894 per night.

You Disney princesses ready for the Big Daddy Contemporary room of them all?

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort During Holiday Season?!

Bay Lake Gifts, shopping at Disney World, Contemporary Resort shopping,

Magic Kingdom View Presidential Suite Club Level sleeps 8, offers views of Magic Kingdom theme park, and entitles you to Concierge Service. Thus suite features a master bedroom with king-sized bed, king-sized bathroom with whirlpool tub, second bedroom with 2 queen size beds and bathroom, a parlor area with full-size sleeper sofa, and there is a full-size refrigerator stocked daily with sodas. $3131 per night.

Ready to make your reservations?!  You can book online or call (407) WDW-MAGIC or (407) 939-6244. or use this link to DisneyWorld.com for Holiday Season pricing guide.

 

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.

Walt Disney World Souvenir Tips: The Original Classic Souvenir

best souvenir at Disney World

Updated for 2017!

The one thing everyone is wearing these days at Walt Disney World? Mickey Mouse ears, in some form or fashion. If a trip to Walt Disney World is referred to as “a rite of passage for American children” in today’s society, then the Mickey Mouse Ears hat is definitely the badge of honor. Look all over any park, and it almost seems like the hat-less are in the minority. Ear hats are this year’s must have vacation item, and probably every other year as well, and it’s certain to be on your princess’  list. [Read more…]