Gotta Have it! 12 Cheapskate Extravagances at Walt Disney World

best things to spend money on at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

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?

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The Top 10 Best Disney Vacation Planning Web Sites

Mickey Mouse ears, unusual Mickey Mouse photo, what are teh best Disney web sites to plan a vacation?

Updated for 2016!

If you ever read Disney planning articles on the internet for FREE, rather than forking over cash for planning books, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Should you total up all the gift shops, restaurants, events, resorts, theme park rides, the number of Disney related topics of interest for someone visiting Disney World would be in the thousands. Throw in ride refurbishment schedules, Advanced Dining Reservations, park opening and closing times, and generally wondering what everything costs, and it’s probably no wonder people get overwhelmed when they start planning their Disney vacation. Sometimes, if they haven’t done the proper planning, they show up in Orlando only to get overwhelmed on vacation. What should I do? Where should we go? Is this worth the exorbitant price? [Read more…]

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney photopass Princess photo

Updated for 2018!

If you’ve 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…]

1st Trip to Disney? Why You Should Limit Electronic Devices

great-advice-for-a-disney-tripUpdated for 2017!

The last time we went to Disney World, my family brought along five cell phones, three Mac laptops, two iPods, and two iPads. Given all those devices, it would be rather hypocritical for me to give the following advice without admitting up front that we are a family deeply wired into technology. Planning a first trip to Disney World? The one thing you need less of on your Disney vacation are electronic devices. [Read more…]

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Guide to Disney Resort Pool hopping

Updated for 2018!

If you ever hung out in the lobby of a Disney Resort, to feel like you were vacationing there, then you might be a Cheapskate Princess! One of my favorite parts of a Disney vacation is visiting resorts I am not actually staying in. I have referred to myself as a lobby rat for the last 25 years. I had no idea if you were “officially allowed” to visit the other hotels before I started this website; we just drove over, walked around, grabbed a snack, and enjoyed the atmosphere. I have walked myself and my family around every single Disney World Resort property. While I can’t describe the inside of all the rooms from actual personal experience, I can tell you about the architecture, the amenities, and the fabulous qualities of each resort.

Can you do the same thing without being turned away at the guard gate? [Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney World? Top 10 Cheapskate Tips to Save Money

Top Ten Disney World List

Updated for 2018!

There are lots of Disney Top Ten lists floating around the Internet, all designed to help you plan the very best vacation lots of money can buy. Everybody has their own ideas about what is the most important information that can make or break your trip. We compiled a list of what I think every Cheapskate Princess needs to know about taking a WDW vacation, whether it’s your first or 50th trip. [Read more…]

Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

save money at Disney World and Disneyland on Food
Updated for 2017!
 
If you ever ate half a Disney kid’s meal for lunch to save money for a character meal for dinner, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

You need to bring an empty stomach and a full wallet to Walt Disney World. Tickets, accommodations, food, travel costs, and souvenirs will all set you back a pretty penny. To help save you money both for and during your long-awaited Disney vacation, here’s our guide to a multitude of ways to save some cash, even if it’s not your first time to see the Mouse. [Read more…]

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

While I do love the Disney on-property Resorts, for their fabulous theming and close proximity to everything Disney, the point can be made that you can find excellent deals off property that make financial sense when you are on a budget. From a Motel 6 room to renting a spacious house or condo, Orlando is full of beautiful properties just waiting for you to find them and decide if it’s worth your trouble to stay off site. Let me whisper three words for you to remember… Bonnet Creek Resort.

You can almost drive right by the entrance to Bonnet Creek without realizing it’s there. When my children were toddlers, we made a wrong turn and wound up driving into the property on accident. Just that one peek was enough to make me dream of staying there one day. I looked up pictures of the rooms and the multiple pools on the Internet, and then the price stopped me dead in my tracks. But I found my Cheapskate Princess solution to that dilemma… [Read more…]

Don’t Get Sick on a Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Best Disney vacation ever, how to stay well on vacation, how not to get sick on vacation

Updated for 2017!

On a trip to Orlando just after Thanksgiving, I picked up a stomach bug of some sort that put me in the bed for the last 24 hours of our stay. My kids are I are big on “one last time at Disney,” because we never know when the next time will be. Completely gone was one was my last chance to ride the monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see the Christmas tree again. Gone was my chance to stand on Main Street after the park closed just that last one last time. Gone was my opportunity to put my arms around my children and gaze at Cinderella Castle for just a few minutes longer. Gone, gone, (cue vomiting sounds) and then I had to ride eight hours home feeling miserable.

Plus the other four members of my family got it when we returned home.

If you get sick while on vacation, you could be in big trouble. I really lucked out, because while I felt terrible, at least I didn’t have to go to the walk-in clinic, or heaven forbid, the hospital. There are serious horror stories out there of happy people who arrived in Orlando and illness derailed most of their entire trip. Time is money on vacation, and if you get sick, well, it can waste both. [Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney? Why You MUST Start Walking Now!

how much walking will I do at Disney World, walking on vacation, how far do people walk at Epcot, how far do people walk on vacation, why walk before a vacation

Updated for 2017!

What’s the most important thing you can do for your next Disney vacation?

I realize the answers will vary for this question. Save money? Make your Advances Dining Reservations 180 days in advance? Plan your three FastPass+ rides in advance? Pick a hotel room that doesn’t wreck your budget? All those planning details are indeed important, but I’m declaring that what’s most important is far more basic than any of that, and it’s actually a four letter word. Ready? [Read more…]

Life Lessons with a Disney Twist: Kids Need a Vacation Budget

why kids need a budget on a Disney World vacation
Updated for 2017!
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Everybody needs money at Disney World. Do your children know how much money they are taking on your next trip? Do YOU know how much money they will be taking? You better, or they will be trying to con you out of your hard-earned cash.

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FREE Disney World Movies Under the Stars: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Updated for 2017!

If you have young children, chances are, there is a TV on in your house right now playing a Disney movie. So why on earth would you want to go on vacation and watch yet another Disney movie? The first time I saw a blow up screen outside Bay Lake Tower, I laughed at the idea of taking up my valuable time (equals money) with…a movie. But my children weren’t laughing at all. Little did I know my sons would soon be popping their own popcorn and grabbing a seat for a Disney flick right outside our Disney resort. [Read more…]