Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

Boathouse Restaurant at Disney Sorings for less

Updated for 2018!

I don’t mind admitting I was intimidated by the Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs. The Internet was abuzz with chatter about the prices almost before the doors opened, and the menu just shouted fru fru to my immature pallet. Foodie is the last word people use to describe me, but we gave it a whirl on a trip to Orlando, with the intentions of seeing what you can get for under $20 a person. You won’t get a steak or a lobster, both of which they offer, but there’s definitely meals aplenty for under $20.

Read: Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World

What then should you order that won’t bust up your budget? [Read more…]

Christmas Holidays at the Disney World Resorts…Where to Find the FREE Stuff!

Updated for 2018!

While the Christmas holidays are the busiest time to visit Disney World, this time of year, with music, entertainment and fantastic decorations, is also the most beautiful. You don’t need park tickets to enjoy resort hopping and free fun. So where should you go and what should you do for free? [Read more…]

Save Money on Disney’s Characters In Flight

save money on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Updated for 2018!

If you made the trip to Orlando for some theme park visiting, it’s always a good idea to have a “free” day with no park tickets. We’ve devised the ultimate early morning plan for Disney Springs, leading you to an amazing coffee shop, an awesome and discounted balloon ride, followed by world-class Disney shopping. Sorry, roller coaster enthusiasts, but it may not get any better than this! Not for this price anyway… [Read more…]

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

guide to Disney's Characters in Flight

Updated for 2018!

If you ever walked past the Aérophile Characters in Flight balloon at Disney Springs without purchasing a ticket, telling yourself you’ll do it the next time when you have a little more money, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess.

But did you know they offer an “early bird” special? Get there before a certain time, and you can save almost 50% off the regular ticket price. That was just the news my family had been waiting for!

Read – Free Fun in Celebration Florida: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

wedding idea at Downtown Disney Springs

What is Characters in Flight?

Characters in Flight is an attraction at Disney Springs in Orlando, also known as Downtown Disney, that takes guests 400 feet up in the air on an Aero30 tethered gas balloon that was custom-built for Disney by Paris-headquartered company Aérophile S.A..

The yellow striped balloon has hand-painted silhouettes of Peter Pan, Dumbo, Aladdin, Jasmine, Buzz Lightyear, and Tinker Bell. On its 19-foot diameter gondola, up to 29 passengers and an Aérophile-certified pilot can take a ride straight up, floating skyward with the help of up to 210,000 cubic feet of helium.

The balloon is tethered and will not travel beyond 400 feet at any time.

Where can you ride an Aérophile balloon?

In 1993, Matthieu Gobbi and Jerome Giacomoni, who were just 25 years old at that time, reinvented the tethered gas balloon, which enables faster rides than your typical gas balloon. They started the company called Aérophile. Their balloons are now fun attractions in more than 60 locations around the world, including Paris, Berlin, and Angkor Wat Temple.

Renowned amusement parks like Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris use Aérophile’s innovative balloons. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding attractions and landscape, and stay with us to see how you can save money on your tickets as well.

Read: Don’t Eat Too Much of This at Disney World

get a discount on Characters in Flight at Disney Springs

Where is Characters in Flight located in Orlando?

The balloon is located on the West side of Disney Springs, right next to the (new in 2015) Starbucks location along the waterfront facing Saratoga Springs Resort.

You will see from the map below that the balloon is also very close to the AMC Downtown Disney 24 Dine-In Theaters and the Planet Hollywood restaurant. This map was current when we first published this article, but back then we still called the area Downtown Disney. When they finish re-imagining the entire area, we’ll update this map. When the balloon is floating in the air, you can’t miss it!

where is Disney Springs Characters in Flight located

How much does Characters in Flight cost?

Adult tickets, and adult means anyone age 10 and up, are $18.00 including tax.

A child’s ticket, ages three to nine, is $12.00.

Children ages two and under are FREE!

How long does Characters in Flight last?

Visitors hover for 8 to 10 minutes, experiencing breathtaking 360-degree views of the Disney Springs area. Soar high above the white peaked tents of the Cirque du Soleil Theater and get a view of the theme parks and resort hotels off in the distance. Depending on the weather conditions, guests on board will be treated to stunning vistas up to 10 miles away.

If you look closely, you can see the Epcot ball!

see Epcot from Downtown Disney balloon

Disney Springs discount activities

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How old do you have to be to ride?

Guests over nine years of age are permitted to ride by themselves. However, children under nine years must be accompanied by an adult (18 years of age or older).

What if you have a wheelchair or a scooter?

Guests must transfer from their motorized scooter or ECV to an available wheelchair to experience this attraction. Be sure to speak with a Cast Member when you get your tickets.

Who shouldn’t ride?

Expectant mothers should not ride. This attraction is not recommended for those prone to motion sickness, vertigo, heart problems or any other condition that may be aggravated by flight.

While the main Disney website does not include this information, Groupon, who runs 40% off coupons about once a year, states that while there are no age or height restriction, there is a 250 pound weight restriction. Use this link to their information regarding groupon coupons and information.

5 Steps for Planning a Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

cheap fun at Disney Springs in Orlando

where to get tickets for Disney's Characters in Flight

More Info. Before You Go

The balloon will not fly if winds exceed 22 mph or if there is a storm.

Maximum balloon capacity is affected by wind speeds.

Bags, food and drink, smoking and strollers are not permitted.

above Disney Springs in Orlando

Disney Springs Parking Concerns

Because of ongoing construction and limited parking availability as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, it’s highly recommend that all Disney Resort hotel guests take advantage of complimentary transportation options. So if you can hop a bus from your resort, this could be easier than taking your own car. Busses will drop guests off at the Marketplace end.

Watercraft transportation is also available from Port Orleans, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs.

If you drive your own vehicle, it’s suggested that you leave 60 minutes in advance of all reservations and planned activities. Traffic is just crazy in this area with all the construction.

Valet Parking is available daily with pricing starting at $10 for 0-2 hours; the cost is $15 for 2-3 hours and $20 for three or more hours.

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

The gondola seems smaller when you are walking by at a distance, but it feels much larger as you get closer to the balloon.

Disney World Characters in Flight gondola

There is more than enough room for people to walk by each other on the balloon gondola without feeling cramped.

Characters in Flight balloon

how much does Characters in Flight cost

And there doesn’t appear to be a bad place to stand, because one side give you a water view, and the other gives you a view over land.


balloon Disney World Downtown

Disney Springs balloon Character in Flight

Disney fun for kids and moms

Looking for Vintage Disney Items? Try Theme Park Connection

Saratoga Springs Resort from high above…

Saratoga Springs from Characters in Flight balloon

From 400 feet in the air, you can see all the construction going on. Now months -actually over a year- after these pictures were taken, things will look vastly different.

Downtown Disney construction

Disney Springs activities

what to do in Disney Springs

Disney moms save money

Disney Springs construction photos

Downtown Disney fun for less

view from Characters in Flight in Olando

Photo Tip: Remember the Net

There is a safety net around the gondola for your protection, which can make it difficult to take pictures. It’s not so much that the net will prevent you from snapping photos. But putting your hands and camera through the net can be stressful, because if that camera/phone slips from your fingers, there is no safety net below to catch it. It’s just gone.

The photos you see here came from my iPhone 6, and I was an absolute nervous wreck holding my phone through the net. The balloon was not swaying very much at all on our flight, so it wasn’t crazy winds that would have caused me to drop my phone/camera but rather my shaky hands.

So hold on to your camera/phone.

Read: Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

tips for Disney Spring's Characters in Flight

Tip: Motion Sickness & Nervousness

When we purchased our tickets, my teen son was a bit nervous. The Cast Member selling tickets told him to keep his eyes on the horizon, on the buildings in the distance rather than looking straight down, which he explained could help with motion sickness as well as nervousness for those that are afraid of heights.

The balloon will sway, even if there is not a strong wind that you can feel on the ground. 400 feet in the air, the balloon has a slight motion feeling. I get severely motion sick, and I felt a little queasy once the balloon got back to the ground. So if you don’t have severe motion sickness, you should be fine. Keep your eyes on the horizon.

If you are not sure if you are afraid of heights, you will find out really quickly once you hit 400 feet. The Cast Member we talk with said most people are just fine. For us personally, two of our three kids enjoyed the ride, while the third never got over the height issue. 

How to Save Money!

If you made it through all our flight pictures, then it’s time for the most important information you may get today.

If you buy your ticket and travel up by 10 a.m., ticket prices drop from $18 for adults to $10. For adults, that’s almost half off! You’ll save $2 per child’s ticket. And when I heard that, nine years of saying I would go next time became let me show you my money. It’s called the Early Bird Special.

Now, this special could change at any minute with no notice for you or me, but a Cast Member said this promotion had been going on for a long time.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you 400 feet up in the air. Trust me, I’ll be there before 10 a.m.!


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

Amanda, 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.



Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Best of Mickey Handbags by Dooney & Bourke

Best of Mickey handbags Dooney & Bourke

Updated for 2018!

Many of you are saving money for your Disney vacation, rolling quarters and cutting costs. But have you ever thought about the souvenirs you will bring home from the parks? Many a Disney Princess has purchased a handbag by Dooney & Bourke, so many handbags that there are multiple styles and designs perfectly suited for princess of all kinds. 

While these styles are no longer for sale in 2018, you can get an idea regarding how much you’ll pay for Dooney and Bourke Handbags. And if you are heart broken you will be unable to make a purchase, I would definitely try eBay to see if someone has a gently used version for sale. 

Hang on to that Disney Visa while we look at the “Best of Mickey” handbags…

Vancaro’s Titanium Disney Inspired His & Hers Rings

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The Ultimate Walt Disney World FREEbie Guide: 120 Free Vacation Items and Activities

Updated for 2018!

Wow, a Disney World vacation can be expensive. Between the tickets, a place to stay, transportation to Orlando, snacks, souvenirs, and the list goes on and on, you could buy a compact car for what you will spend on your next trip. With prices seeming to increase every year, some families struggle to make their Disney vacation dreams a reality. While a Disney Princess may have no trouble paying for her next vacation, a Cheapskate Princess searches for the best deals and the best ways to spend her vacation time.

If you ever Googled “Free Disney Stuff,” you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Visit The Art of Disney Store


Updated for 2017!

If I bought everything that caught my eye at Disney World, how totally broke I would be. I’m a child of the 70s, and we did a lot of looking at souvenirs back then, because none of us kids had a Jay Oh Bee (job!) to pay for anything. My parents had money, but they were too busy sneaking in Magic Kingdom with food, and some other junk about teaching me the lesson you can’t have everything you want (No, and Blah, blah, blah is what I heard at the time) to buy us everything we wanted. 

Some of my favorite adult window shopping at Disney is in jewelry stores like Arribas Brothers and the Art of Disney stores.  Even if I am not taking home any huge Disney themed portraits, this has certainly never stopped me from looking.

So while in Disney Springs, an adult must do is the Art of Disney store. [Read more…]

Over 30 FREE Activities at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Free Activities in Downtown Disney Disney Springs

Updated for 2017!

If you ate french fries off your child’s childs’ plate as a meal so you could afford a pricey Disney souvenir, you just might be a Cheapskate PrincessAre you looking for some fun without the big expense of more theme park tickets?  Cheapskate Princesses have an absolute favorite shopping spot in Orlando that, if you do it right, doesn’t have to involve any money at all…Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney.

Here are over activities at Disney Springs to do for FREE, because a true Disney Princess loves FREE. [Read more…]