Most Popular Disney World Souvenirs: Mouse Ear Hats

Updated for 2018!

Disney World is like a huge red carpet of Mouse fashion. You won’t be able to turn five feet without seeing someone with a Disney character on their shirt or on their head. This can be intimidating for first time travelers or even long time travelers; you feel the pressure to be dressed like everybody else, and everybody else seems to have paid for Mickey items to show off on vacation. 

And covered in bright colors and shiny sequins, Mouse Ear Hats are now all the rage. They aren’t the least expensive items you’ll find in gift shops, but they are cheaper than many other items like $49.00 sweatshirts and $125.00 sterling silver necklaces.

[Read more…]

The Disney Rash: How to Beat It!

preventing the Disney rash

Updated for 2018!

Have you ever heard of the “Disney Rash?” You will do an incredible amount of walking on a Disney vacation. Sometimes the mileage adding up can be more painful than the sticker shock from the cost of your trip. Sore legs, aching feet, and then throw in a rash. Wait, what?? Seasoned Disney World and Disneyland travelers have noticed a rash appearing on the legs of people walking in the parks and resorts. They call it the “Disney Rash.” Is there really such a vacation ailment?

I know my Disney Visa bill can make my eye twitchy, but can a Disney vacation really make you itchy? [Read more…]

Doing Disney World for Less: Miniature Golf

Disney World for less Miniature Golf

Updated for 2018!

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

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

[Read more…]

Disney World Vacation Planning: Non-Holiday Dates to Avoid

plan a better Disney World vacation

Heading off to Disney World these days requires a lot more planning than it took years ago. In the olden days, or perhaps the Golden Days, you could throw some bags in the car and drive to Orlando for a week or a simple weekend without doing very much in advance. In this new era of technology, you’ll need hotel reservations, Advance Dining Reservations, and ride reservations using FastPass+, if you don’t want to pay a fortune, get shut out of restaurants or stand in long lines. Disney World planning has become complicated.

Many vacation planners are well aware that travel during holidays can seriously affect the quality of your trip, since many families choose major holidays to vacation in Orlando. I’m talking about summer holidays when school is out, Christmas holidays, Spring Break, etc. It’s natural to expect these times of year to be busy. But when you start to look at a calendar to schedule your trip, you should be aware that there are other events and actually sports competitions that can have an impact on crowds and general traffic at WDW. 

Over 10 Ways Kids Can Earn Money for a Disney Vacation

avoid these dates at Walt Disney World

Many of the following competitions and events that take place on Disney property may not have that much of an impact on the amounts of people entering the theme parks. Sometimes athletes and chaperones travel to Orlando for competitions, but just covering that expense alone does not always allow for the purchase of park tickets. What they can affect your trip in particularly are the crowd levels at your resort, since in an effort to save money, many student groups stay at the Value Resorts like the All-Stars and Pop Century Resort. Cheering, chanting and people everywhere can take a toll on your sanity during what was intended to be a time to relax. If you typically choose the Value Resorts, these may be dates you want to avoid. 

While Mardi Gras is not an actual event that takes place at WDW, many school children get off for several days or the entire week in southern states like Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Our coastal Alabama school system shuts down for Monday and Tuesday of Mardi Gras week every year. We live four hours away from New Orleans, but that is close enough for local cities to have their own Mardi Gras parades. 

Teens from Argentina and Brazil frequently take school breaks at Disney World in large groups. There are intense discussions on the Internet about the chanting, singing and clapping that occur within these groups. While I am all about having a good time with other students on a trip, many people have complained these large 100+ teen groups (did I mention loud noise and chanting?) created tranquility issues for their time in the theme parks. The word chanting is like the opposite of the word relaxing. 

Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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Around the 1st/2nd week of November, New Jersey schools have a teachers’ convention when many families head south to Disney, a time known as “Jersey Week.” This is like the Spring Break of winter for New Jersey schools, and park attendance will definitely increase. 

During “Pop Warner Week” in December, Disney hosts the The Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships. Again to save money, football players, cheerleaders, coaches and family members will pack out the Value Resorts, as well as some of the Moderate Resorts. If you can imagine almost 70 football teams and over 400 cheerleading squads there for competition, you will know to expect noise and crowds, especially on busses, and higher there park crowd levels at night when competitions are completed. 

Will it be the ruination of a great vacation if you schedule a trip during these events? Absolutely not, but it’s just a good idea to be aware of what is going on at the parks and resorts so you can make an informed decision. Everybody handles crowds and kids differently.

Understanding Disney World Bus Transportation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

when is Jersey Week at Disney World

Use this simple layout so you can see how these dates might affect your trip. These were dates for 2016. 

January

College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championships – January 15-17, 2016

National Dance Team Championship – January 30-31, 2016

South American Tour Groups

February

National High School Cheerleading Championship – February 6-7, 2016

Twirlmania – February 12-15, 2016

March

Contest of Champions Nationals – March 4-6, 2016

International All Star Cheerleading Championship – March 12-13, 2016

Mardi Gras Holidays – February 9 is Mardi Gras day in 2016

April

All Star Cheerleading & Dance Worlds – April 23-25, 2016

July

South American Tour Groups

November

Jersey Week – November 10-11 in 2016

December

Pop Warner Super Bowl – December 5-9, 2016

National Cheer & Dance Championships – December 5-9, 2016

Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Platinum Disney Jewelry

best time to go to Disney World

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.

Memorable Disney World Souvenir? Christmas Decorations!

best-disney-world-souvenirs

Updated for 2017!

You can’t escape merchandise at Walt Disney World. There’s a gift shop or shops in every resort, and most rides deposit you into a room filled with Disney charactered-merchandise ready and available for purchase. Window shopping in the gift shops during the Christmas season is a visual feast for the eyes, and actual shopping can lead to some memorable purchases.

christmas-decorations-at-walt-disney-world

Now every Disney vacationer will have a favorite item to bring home, but we like to suggest items that you can use for years after your vacation ends.

disney-christmas-decorations-to-purchase

disnet-world-mini-christmas-tree

Christmas ornaments are certainly not the cheapest items for sale at WDW, but if you take good care of them, they are high quality enough to be passed down to your children one day. Plus the cuteness level for ornaments is through the roof.

disney-world-christmas-ornaments

disney-christmas-ornaments

wdw-christmas-decorations

disney-princess-christmas-ornaments

disney-world-christmas

shopping-disney-world-at-christmas

What better way to celebrate baby’s first trip to Disney than with a Mouse ear ornament?!

disney-baby-first-christmas-decoration

disney-world-christmas-wreath

Several parents I know purchase a dated ornament for every year they travel.

disney-christmas-ornament-2015

Julie gets her ornaments from a different off property source. “I purchase at Disney Store and each year, I pick one that has a meaning. For example, this year my daughter is in a school play of Jungle Book, so I bought a Jungle Book ornament. In past years when her favorite princess were Mulan and Ariel, we have those too. The funny thing is, when she was three-years-old, she HAD to have an ornament which was a princess. I wrote the year on it with a Sharpie. She just recently asked ‘Where is my favorite ornament? I need to hang it on the tree.’ She is now 10!”

Speaking of year after year…Imagine if your favorite “ornament” was this gift card holder. I’d be like, “Where is my favorite gift card holder hanging on the tree, and did Santa leave any cash in it this year??”

disney-world-gift-card-holder

Cheapskate Princess.com reader Elizabeth sent us a picture of one of her ornaments.

cheapskate-princess-disney-decorations

Elizabeth said, “We get them as gifts from other people when they go to Disney but we’ve also bought them as gifts in Disney Springs. We’ve had the ones made with hand painted words on them.”

Longtime Cheapskate Princess.com reader Melanie reminded us that you can purchase Christmas ornaments and decorations all year ’round. “We buy Christmas ornaments at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Magic Kingdom.” There is also a shop at Disney Springs as well called Disney’s Days of Christmas.

christmas-shop-at-disney-springs

How a Walt Disney World Trip Alters Your After-Vacation Reality

To buy or not to buy – that is the question!

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.

Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Mickey & Minnie Mouse Shopper Handbags by Dooney & Bourke

new Mickey and Minnie Shopper Handbags Dooney & Bourke

Updated for 2016!

Ready to spend some of your vacation souvenir money on a new Disney-themed handbag? Mice and castles and Disney, oh my! In 2015, Dooney & Bourke released some of their most adorable handbags for the Disney Princess with the funds to spend on a nice vacation souvenir.

[Read more…]

Disney’s Charmed in the Park Jewelry: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

prices for Charmed in teh Parks Disney exclusive jewelry

Updated for 2018!

So Pandora’s Disney inspired jewelry feels a little out of your price range? Perhaps a LOT out of your budget? With Disney Pandora charms retailing from $35 to $95, it’s easy to see why. Does your daughter want a charm bracelet, but you aren’t ready to sink a lot of money into her collection? Well, what you need is some charm from the parks!

Read: Doing Disney for Cheap: New $8.95 Hand Sanitizers

[Read more…]

How a Walt Disney World Trip Alters Your After-Vacation Reality

Disney World changes your life

Updated for 2018!

Returning home from a really fun vacation may be one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world. If you’re reading articles about Disney, you’re probably either planning a trip or you’re fighting depression. Walt Disney World is a magical place, and a journey to Disney parks and resorts can affect you in an assortment if surprising ways.  [Read more…]

A Rest Day from the Disney World Parks? Try These Fun Activities

Free Day ideas for Orlando and Disney World Resort

Updated for 2018!

We always to suggest a free day or a “rest day” to those planning a Disney World vacation. Not necessarily “free,” as in it costs nothing, but free as in you do not have regular park tickets for that day. And you may not always be resting exactly, but you won’t be walking miles and miles through Magic Kingdom or other parks. You and the family are not waking up early, walking for miles, and shutting down a park late into the night. 

Many parents new to all this Disney planning stuff don’t realize that Disney vacations are tiring, and it’s a good idea to plan a “free day” mid-vacation just to keep from stressing everyone out. (If you can afford it, we actually recommend two days if you are staying for six days or more.) For those parents not into tantrums and meltdowns, be aware that heat, exhaustion, overstimulation, and an altered schedule starts to wear out little bodies. If you are already in Orlando, you might as well make plans for a day to enjoy life beyond the theme parks, because there really is a lot to do besides roller coasters and in-park character meet and greet lines. [Read more…]

Disney World Water Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

guide to Disney World water parks

Updated for 2019!

Disney World is a hot and busy place in the summer, and one of the best ways to cool off in Orlando is to head to a water park. There are two amazing water parks on Disney property. If you are a Disney pro who visits yearly or planning your first trip, our Travel Experts have the low down on Water Park Fun & More options, changes and pricing to get you ready to splash into summer! [Read more…]

Disney for Le$$: $8.95 Hand Sanitizers

best Disney vacation souvenirs

Updated for 2016!

I touch everything on vacation. How better to totally immerse yourself in the experience than by getting your hands a little dirty? The problem with dirty vacation hands is that they harbor nasty germs and viruses. And if you’ve ever traveled with children, you know those touch-feely hands will wind up in their mouths at some point during the day. We have always recommended packing and using hand sanitizer in case you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands with soap. 

Read: Easy Way to Save Time at Disney World? Buy This for One Dollar

 Decorative Disney-themed hand sanitizers are now for sale in the parks and resorts, and they are really adorable. 

cheap Disney World Disneyland souvenirs hand sanitizers

What do you get?

Each hand sanitizer comes with a specially designed one fluid ounce bottle and a key chain split ring with lobster claw clasp.

About 20 hand sanitizers will feature popular Disney characters and iconic locations including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Anna, Elsa, Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle.

The cost?

Hand sanitizers retail for $8.95 not including tax.

Disney parks hand sanitizers

Read: The Disney World Do-Over: Tips for Planning a Better Vacation

Refills?

Right now, refill bottles will not be offered. As if they read my cheapskate mind, Steven Miller, Disney Merchandise Communications Manager, said, “yet you can refill the bottle with your favorite hand sanitizer once empty.” Hello half used bottles of Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers, I’ll be coming to find you and put you to good use, only this time better dressed. 

The Fine Print

The Disney Parks Blog offered a reminder, “Please note that retails are subject to change without notice.” I took this to mean if they are über popular, the price may go up, which can happen with any product, and there is no guarantee they will be available for any certain amount of time.  

Why Purchase?

Disney merchandise is expensive, and priced at $8.95 including the actual sanitizer, that’s on par with one of my other favorite and  less expensive souvenirs, key chains. These would be great stocking stuffers come Christmas time, excellent souvenirs for neighbors and friends, and a somewhat inexpensive way for you to hold onto that Disney magic after your vacation.

Did I forget hand sanitizer can help prevent you and the kids from getting sick, which can keep your vacation on track?  You pay a lot for vacations, so that may be the best reason of all. 

Disney Star Wars hand Sanitizers souvenirs

Read: Why this $10 Item May Be the Best Disney World Souvenir Ever!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you touching the stone walls in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and then passing out the hand sanitizer. 

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Mike Ellis

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.

 

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Looking Back at ALEX AND ANI’s “Precious” Disney Jewelry Collection

Alex and ani Disney jewelry

 

Updated for 2018!

ALEX AND ANI released new jewelry pieces to their Disney-themed jewelry line in October of 2015. Gift shop locations throughout the parks and resorts now offer the “Precious” collection, as well as the Disney Store.com. So when you Disney Princesses want to treat yourself to something nice, splurge on a really special souvenir from a fantastic vacation, where should a Cheapskate Princess spend her money?

There are Disney Dooney & Bourke handbags, plus Vera Bradley bags with Disney icons, but should you go the handbag route?

Hang onto your wallets, Disney Princesses, while we check out the ALEX AND ANI “Precious” collection in beautiful fall colors.

2018 Update: These designs are no longer being sold online at DisneyStore.com. I would suggest searching eBay at this point for these jewelry designs, but this article will give you an idea about prices.  [Read more…]