Tips for Kids: Before You Leave

1. Use FREE T.A.

Planning a Disney vacation has become a complicated ordeal, especially when traveling with kids, and we like to have help. We recommend using Erin, our official Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida. Her services are 100% free, and she is fantastic!

2. Phone App.

**Get the My Disney Experience iPhone app. This vacation planing tool can help you view and update your Disney plans, make dining reservations, search maps of all 4 theme parks, and get real-time attraction wait times. As tech savvy as kids are these days, older children could easily learn to navigate this app. on their on, plus there’s a lot of information for kids to read.  For more detailed information, use this link.

3. Schedule FastPass+

**Similar to making a dinner reservation at a restaurant, FastPass+ lets you make reservations to ride attractions, see shows, or meet characters at Disney theme parks before you even arrive in Orlando. Simply use Disney’s website or the My Disney Experience app. (see #1) to make your reservations.  Guests staying on Disney property can make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days before their trip, while everyone else with park admission can book FastPass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance. After you use your first three FastPass+es, you can get more on a one at a time basis, although a word of warning – by this time, there may be very few of the kid’s favorite rides available.  

If you buy tickets the day you arrive or you want to change your FastPass+ selections while at the parks, you will use in-park computer terminals to make or alter same-day reservations. Use this Disney link for more info.  

Let the kids tell you what rides are most important to them, and let the pre-planning begin. 

4. Arrange for Magical Express

**Are you and the kids flying? Disney’s Magical Express transportation is a complimentary service for guests of select Disney Resort hotels from Orlando International Airport to your Disney resort. Resort Airline Check-In Service is also complimentary if you are staying at a select Disney Resort hotel and are also traveling on a participating airline. The Disney’s Magical Express Welcome Center is in the Main Terminal Building on the B side, Level 1 in the Ground Transportation area.

To use this service, when you make your reservation, provide your arrival and return flight information. Simply call Disney direct, or your Travel Agent can do this for you. The free TA we recommend is Erin, our official Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida. 

5. Delayed Check Out

**All Disney hotels have a posted check out time of 11 a.m. To work with later flight schedules, when you check in at the front desk, ask if it would be possible to extend your check out time. Sometimes, depending on occupancy levels, this can be extended by several hours.

6. Tickets

**Unless you purchased Annual Passes, your tickets will expire 14 days after the first day of use. So if the kids get tired after several days of early mornings and late nights, you have the flexibility to schedule in a free day without stressing over looming expiration dates.

7. Start Walking 

**The average person walks eight to ten miles per day at Disney World, kids can not just show up and make it through that mileage. Get the kids out walking way before the actual vacation, because exhausted children make for a brutally long day. The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

8. Wear Comfy Shoes

**To be successful with all this walking at Disney, the kid’s need shoes that are comfortable. Those glittery heels, while oh so stylish, may be tough for a princess to walk in for hours all day long. Flip flops and sandals with little arch support can be rough on little feet hour after hour. Shoes need to be comfy for big mileage. What are the Best Shoes to Wear on a Disney World Vacation? We Asked the Fans…*

9. Prepare for Rain

**It rains a lot in Orlando, especially in the summer. You can buy good quality ponchos at the parks, but they are expensive, so many people bring their own.

10. Count Down Calendar

**If your children are driving you crazy in anticipation of your departure date, make an old fashioned paper chain or a chalk board count down calendar so they can physically see how many days they have left (to suffer) before you leave.

11. Google Maps

**Google maps have some really cool, almost-cartoon-like maps of the Disney parks and resorts. These are great for kid’s entertainment. This is a perfect way to show children what your resort and the parks look like with a childlike appearance. FREE Disney Virtual Vacation…Check Out the Walt Disney World “Parks” Maps.

12. Free Disney Planning DVDs

**Parents, you’ll need to do this, but the kids will thank you for itTo request a free planning DVD, use this link. Here’s what you get:

  •  A complete tour of the 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks and over 20 Resort hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
  • A tour of the Disneyland Resort in California, including 2 enchanting Theme Parks and 3 Resort hotels
  • Affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation
  • Pocket-sized planning guides, planning tips, and information on special events

13. Utilize YouTube 

**YouTube can be a huge aid in planning and preparing for a vacation. Show the kids a ride video each day, or two or three, so they know what to expect.

iThemePark added “Soarin’ Complete Ride Experience Epcot Walt Disney World HD.” Videos like this show you what the ride is like from start to finish. This was there are no surprises.
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14. Camera Equipment

**You can’t take pictures of the kids when the equipment isn’t working. It’s extremely important to remember extra batteries and memory cards for your camera to ensure you catch those precious memories. Make sure your camera or phone is charged, or with you and not in the hotel room, so you don’t come home regretting the moments that weren’t saved in pictures.

15. Photopass 

**Disney’s Photopass is a free service where Cast Members are stationed with digital cameras at park entrances, main icons, most character meet and greets, and character dining locations to snap photos of your group.

Get a Disney’s PhotoPass card from any Cast Member photographer or just have your MagicBand scanned. Have your photos taken and then while on vacation or when you return home, view all your photos. You can upload your own photos with a variety of options for customization. You have access to pictures online at MyDisneyPhotoPass.comalthough photos expire after 45 days, or you can extend it to 60 days with an extra fee. You will register for free, and enter the ID number on your card. You can view your photos, order prints, and create photo keepsakes. Order a PhotoCD with all the high resolution images plus a limited license agreement, allowing you to make prints at any local photo processing center.

Ordering prints or individual photo downloads starts at $14.95.

Purchase all of your Walt Disney World PhotoPass photos on one CD for $169.95, or pre-order the CD at a discounted price of $119.95. The PhotoPass Archive Disc, which is your photo CD, gives you a copyright release to print the photos yourself. Use this link for more information. 

16. Memory Maker

**Memory Maker is a relatively new photo package that includes all your PhotoPass photos, attraction photos, and dining photo print packages all for $199. To save money, you can purchase it in advance for $169. Your photos get connected to your MyDisneyExperience account. Download them at no additional charge from MyDisneyPhotopass.com for 45 days after being taken. These photos also come with a copyright release, allowing you to do anything you want with them except commercial use.

Tips for Disney’s Photopass service:

  • Keep your Disney’s PhotoPass card in a safe, easy to find location.
  • Take a photo of the back of your card, just in case it gets lost.
  • Each member of your party can have their own card in case you split up. You can combine multiple cards into one account online.
  • You can ask to have multiple photos taken per pose. 
  • Go to the same location at night for a different perspective. 
  • Have Disney characters magically added to your photos. Just ask the Disney’s PhotoPass photographer to set up the right poses.

17. PhotoPass Photographers & Your Camera

**PhotoPass photographers will be glad to take pictures with your camera, even if you don’t want PhotoPass. Simply wait in line, then hand the photographer your camera to snap a picture.

18. Bring Ziplocs

**You will find a need for Ziplocs every day, from storing light medical supplies like bandaids and antibiotic ointment to unfinished snacks and kids’ meals. Food stays contained and clean, and techy gadgets like batteries, memory cards, cameras and phones stay safe and dry. Want to Save Money on Food at Disney World? Ziplocs Can Save You Cash!

19. Bring Your Meds

**If you realize you forgot Bandaids, triple antibiotic ointment, etc., you can purchase all these things in the park and resorts gift shops, but it will cost you two to three times what you would pay at home. Make sure you pack what the kids need beforehand, so you don’t have to pay big bucks to replace it later. The resorts and first aid stations have a limited variety of medications, so it’s always wise to bring what you know you will need.

20. Bring Your Sunscreen  

**Speaking of supplies you don’t want to pay Disney prices for, you will need sunscreen, and it will cost more if you have to purchase it on Disney property. Be sure you put it on the kids 30 minutes prior to being out in the sun. Make sure the sunscreen has not expired; all sunscreen has an expiration date. Sun burns are something you do not want to be dealing with. 

21. Bring Change

**One of the cheapest souvenirs ever is the pressed penny, and pressing machines are found all over property. For $.51, you can get a Disney image pressed onto a penny. For $.75, you can get an image pressed onto a quarter.  Cheapest vacation souvenir…Ever! There are lots of fountains all over property, and kids like to throw change into those as well.

22. Tinker Bell Gifts

**Many parents buy gifts before the vacation to sidetrack kids from spending money on souvenirs in gift shops. This can save big bucks. Essentially very similar to a vacation Tooth Fairy, Tinker Bell brings gifts as night for children, especially those with good behavior. Use this link to see what our readers suggest: The Ultimate Tinker Bell Gift Guide for a Disney Vacation

23. Glow Sticks

**When the sun goes down, you’ll start to see kids and adults sporting glow in the dark jewelry. To save some money, bring these with you, purchasing them in advance from Dollar Tree or Michael’s. This is also a great way  to spot your child in a crowd while you are in dark lighting situations. 

What Items Can You NOT Bring to Walt Disney World Theme Parks?

24. Autograph Books

**Many children really get into having characters sign autographs, in which case, you will need something for the characters to sign. Lots of parents buy or make their own autograph books, which can save money. I happen to like the Disney autograph books, for sale in gift and merchandise shops all over property. Priced under $10, these are not a huge expense. Tips on other great and unordinary items to have autographed?  12 Totally Cool Ideas to Replace Your Usual Disney Character Autograph Books.

25. Bring a Sharpie

**If your child plans to stand in line for autographs, make sure you bring a large wide-tip Sharpie marker. Many of the characters wear big chunky gloves, so it’s hard for them to hang onto small pens. You would rather the character spend time interacting with your child rather than chasing down that small pen.

26. Costumes

**Disney World has become a complete kiddie fashion show. What was t-shirts and Mickey Ear hats when I was young has become girls wearing full out princess dresses and boys dressed and face-painted in pirate costumes. And if you don’t bring your own costumes, and the kids decide they need to dress up like “everybody else,” well, it’s going to cost a fortune. We suggest you bring outfits with you including comfy shoes. How much to outfits cost at the parks these days?

Boys! How Much Will It Cost to Dress Them in Costumes at Walt Disney World?

Can You Afford Those Adorable Disney Princess Costumes at Walt Disney World?

27. Match those Clothes

**You will spot many a group trekking through the parks in matching shirts. Not only does this create a sense of family and spice up group photos, but it also makes your family members easier to spot. Lose track of your child? He or she could be the one in that special tye-dye or neon t-shirt you had made just for this trip. Don’t be surprised if strangers ask where you got them. Save Money on Disney World T-Shirts by Making Your Own!

28. Packing for Winter

**While warm sunny Florida is known to be just that, it can get cold in the winter months, especially when the sun goes down. We generally recommend taking pants and a jacket with you to Orlando in the winter. In the daytime, shorts and t-shirts may be just fine, but night time could require some warmer clothing. Be sure to check the weather forecasts frequently. There is nothing worse than being in shorts when the temperature drops quickly. 

29. Best Rides for Your Child’s Age

**The Disneyworld.com website has sections under each theme park with a series of filters that can help you determine the best rides for your child using their age, height, and interests. The pages look like this:

determine best Disney rides for kids

If you would like to do some detailed research for your family, use these links to each park’s Attraction Page.

Magic Kingdom, EpcotHollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.

30. Celebrate Something

**Did you know you can celebrate “something” at Disney six months prior and six months after the date? Think of that…celebrate a birthday at even if it’s not on your birth date. Celebrate your anniversary after or before the date. This opens up all sorts of reasons to plan a trip. My children have been having “birthdays” at Disney for the last 7 years. We have a simple dinner for them at home, and then we let them choose the dinner location for their Disney birthday months later. We pick up a cake at Target in Orlando, and literally, we celebrate at Disney. *Nine Tips for Celebrating Birthdays at Walt Disney World for FREE!

31. Plan a Child Free Night?

**If you are celebrating something adult-ish, like your birthday or a wedding anniversary, perhaos you would like some adult time without the kids? Using the services of an independent childcare provider called “Kid’s Nite Out,” with prices starting at $16 per hour for one child, a babysitter can come to your WDW hotel room. Arts and crafts, reading and playing games are activities offered for children 6 months to 12 years of age. Use this link for prices and more information. 

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

32. Children’s Activity Centers

**If in-room babysitting services are not your thing, you can take the kids to “Children’s Activity Centers” located at select resorts hotels. These are themed, supervised play areas where children 3 to 12 years of age can watch movies, play games, draw, eat and play with new friends. Where are the centers located?

  • Simba’s Cubhouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Club Disney at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Cub’s Den at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Sandcastle Club at Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney Beach Club Resort
  • Camp Dolphin at Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan

Call 407-939-3463 for more information on operating hours, because hours vary based on location. For more information about Camp Dolphin, call 407-934-4241.

33. Potty Training

**Potty training is one of those childhood trials that can take some time to complete. When planning your Disney vacation, keep in mind that you don’t want to be hauling around a child’s potty seat or a even one of those big plastic potty chairs. This could be a great incentive to speed things up. Teaching the kids to potty on the regular adult seat can save lots of child (and adult) tears. 

34. Beware the Automatic Toilettes

**The toilettes in Disney parks and Resorts are automatic flushing. You can put your hand over the sensor, but this makes helping out difficult with one hand tied up. Take some Post-It notes with you into the bathrooms (keep them stored in your Ziplocs.) Place a sticky note over the sensor before your little one sits down, taking it with you when you exit.

35. MagicBands + Room Key

**If you stay at a Disney resort property, key cards are still available, but MagicBands have mostly now replaced traditional room keys/keycards. Linked with My Disney Experience (see tip #1)MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands that resemble a watch or bracelet which you touch to a sensor. You can

  • Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
  • Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
  • Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
  • Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room (only available during your hotel stay).

If you do not want your children to have charging privileges with key cards or MagicBands, simply tell a Cast Member when you arrive for check in. Walt Disney World MagicBands: A Cheapskate Guide 

36. Customize your MagicBands 

**Ask the kids, and anyone else traveling with you, what color band they want for the trip. The My Disney Experience website allows you to customize colors (pink, blue, red, green, orange, gray and yellow) and names. 

You have until 10 days before your arrival at your Disney  hotel to customize your MagicBand, if you wish to have the bands shipped to your home. Customization between 9 and 5 days before your arrival means you will receive your bands when you arrive at your Disney Resort hotel. If you do not nothing, you will receive a non-customized MagicBand or card when you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort.

10 Things They Forgot to Mention About Walt Disney World Vacations

37. Earn $ 

**If you know someone who wants to take a trip, Disney or other locations, you can earn $20 for referring your friends, family, work associates to use the FREE travel services of Erin, our official Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida. There are some specifics, so use this link for more information.  Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

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Disney Water Park Tips

Remember where you put your belongings

Some areas of the watermarks start to look like everywhere else, especially if you are a first or second time visitor and not too familiar with the layout.

tips to find a chair at a Disney World water park

Bring Sunscreen

2. Bring Your Own Towels

  • Bring your own towels! Renting is $2/towel. NO refund.

3. Rent a Locker for Valuables?

Locker rentals are available at High ‘n Dry Towels $13 for a small size and $15 for a larger size, plus $5 refundable deposit when you turn your key back in.

On Photographs

there are PhotoPass photographers in a few places at Typhoon Lagoon

  • Consider bringing one of the relatively inexpensive single-use underwater cameras (about $10) that are widely available — especially if you plan to visit Shark Reef.

4. Wear Plain Swimsuits

  • Don’t wear swimsuits that have rivets, buckles or exposed metal. These are not permitted on the slides.

5. Bring Your Lunch

  • Coolers are allowed in BB, however no alcoholic beverages or glass containers are to be carried into the water park.

Don’t Bring Valuables

  • Lost articles can be picked up at Guest Relations (at the entrance to BB). Be warned that some articles may be irretrievable. Glasses and jewelry should be removed before going on the water attractions. BB is not responsible for lost articles. You can phone Lost & Found directly during normal business hours at (407) 560-5408.

Hurt Kids

  • The First Aid stand is next to Leaning Palms.

Lost Kids

  • Lost children are reunited with their families at High ‘n Dry Towels.

Independent kids

  • Lifeguards are plentiful and present at all locations, but children under age 10 should be accompanied at all times by an adult throughout the park.

Dealing with Rain

  • TL sometimes closes when it reaches capacity at peak periods. It will also close during rainstorms. In the case of the typical brief afternoon thundershower, if you can weather the storm, the park will be virtually empty when it reopens. Although there are no refunds due to weather-related closings, you can always leave and return later in the day. (Make sure to get your hand stamped on the way out.

 

Lockers (small and large sizes are available, $13 and $15 respectively, with a $5 refund when you return the key) and towels ($2) are available for rent at Snowless Joe’s. Life jackets are available free of charge for guests who wish to leave an identification card or a refundable deposit. Changing rooms and showers are also located right next to the lockers. Also, lost children are brought to Snowless Joe’s to await their parents. Lockers are also available at the restrooms located between Tike’s Peak and Ski Patrol Training Camp and also beside the Downhill Double Dipper.

 

Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool is one of the largest inland wave pools in the world. It’s approximately 2.5 acres in size with 3 million gallons of water (80,000 gallons are used for each wave). The Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool uses a machine to generate an approximately 6-foot tall wave every 90 seconds, with periods of calm between the waves.

The Surf Pool features 90 consecutive minutes of these 6-foot waves spaced 90 seconds apart, followed by 30 minutes of  bobbing waves and calmer water. From the wave pool, you can see the Miss Tilly’s (the boat stuck atop Mount Mayday) smokestack “erupt” with water every half hour as its foghorn sounds.

the pool bottom has a textured concrete surface. If it was slick, you could fall and hit your head on the hard floor. So the bottom of the pool feels like sandpaper, and your feet almost grip it. But the hazard with this is, if you get knocked over by waves, which happens nearly every wave that crashes by, you can get scraped up pretty badly.

water shoes – pavement is scorching hot. If you get parked in the second parking lot, you will walk half a mile in, and you’ll need shoes. You need shoes on the hot sidewalks at the water park as week.

water shoes also keep your feet from being scraped up.

 

Top priority should be grabbing lounge chairs in the shade, as there isn’t an abundance of these and their highly sought after. Following that (and getting a locker, if necessary), i

The shady spots are all snagged fast, and if you haven’t claimed your chairs within the first 30 minutes of the park being open (usually less), you have no chance at one of these spots.

 

How Long to stay
Minimally, the park is open from 10am to 5pm. Hours expand in the summer to 9am to 8pm.

 

 

As far as other things to bring, towels aren’t free at Typhoon Lagoon ($2 rental), so another recommendation is to bring your own. Don’t go for anything fancy, just grab one out of your hotel room. After this most recent trip, something we’d highly recommend is quality water shoes. We forgot to take our water shoes, and as I sit here writing this, my feet are still throbbing from walking around barefoot on that hot pavement. You can wear water shoes on the attractions, and your feet don’t get burnt. Win-win! Oh, and the floors of the restrooms at Typhoon Lagoon are spectacularly gross, so you’ll definitely want water shoes for those.

Rather than bringing a refillable mug to the water parks (as we saw many people do), buy one at the water parks. Your hotel refillable mugs won’t work at the water parks anyway, and although you can purchase the reader-sticker to put on your resort mug and use at Typhoon Lagoon, that method is only a few dollars cheaper than purchasing the (larger-sized) water park mug outright. Plus, the water park mug is a neat-looking souvenir!

first thing in the morning.

More than anywhere else, we think it’s important to arrive at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach before they open. This is because you’ll want to grab beach chairs in shady locations (that will STAY shady as the sun moves) and start hitting the slides before lines form. The shady spots are all snagged fast, and if you haven’t claimed your chairs within the first 30 minutes of the park being open (usually less), you have no chance at one of these spots.

Likewise, lines for water slides aren’t exactly fun (especially ones that aren’t shaded) and waiting in line 15-60 minutes for a 60 second or so slide shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a good time. Arriving early, grabbing a good spot and getting the slides out of the way is the best way to ensure a nice, relaxing rest-of-the-day at Typhoon Lagoon–no matter what day or time of year you visit.

 

The second reason is the wave pool. Typhoon Lagoon’s Surf Pool trounces Blizzard Beach’s main pool, Melt Away Bay. In the immortal words of Stacey from the Walt Disney World Top 7 Must-Dos video (the old version, when it was so over the top that it was good, campy fun), “this baby cranks up a 6-footer every 90 seconds!” Because of this constant action, I can spend a lot more time in Typhoon Lagoon’s main pool than I can Blizzard Beach’s. Trying to withstand the wave is engaging, and hearing the “surround sound” of the communal scream when that wave first wave starts to form is fun. I can spend over an hour in the Surf Pool before wanting to get out. By contrast, Blizzard Beach’s Melt Away Bay has some light bobbing waves, but they’re nothing special. It’s sort of like a less-lazy river, except there aren’t enough inner tubes to go around. Rentals

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are now offering premium spaces for rental. Premium spaces can accommodate up to six. There are four premium spaces in each water park, and they include the personalized services of an attendant, private lockers, all-day drink mugs, cooler with bottled water, lounge furniture, tables, and rental towels. The attendant will also offer advice and help with food and drink orders. At Typhoon Lagoon, the spots are called “Beachcomber Shacks” — ask about them at High ‘N Dry.

Cost for the Beachcomber Shacks as of Summer 2012 is $213 during off-season dates ($226.85 with tax) and $300 ($319.50 with tax) during peak season dates. Additional guests can be added for $25 each. Guests will be given a bracelet that allows access to the private area. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. Full payment is required at the time of reservation.

You can now also rent a premium beach chair space at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in the area known as Getaway Glen. This new offering includes 2 lounge chairs, an umbrella, a cocktail table and 2 towels. Cost as of Summer 2012 is $40 plus tax ($42.60) in low season and $50 plus tax ($53.25) during high season and must be paid at time of reservation. Advance reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. You can stop in at High ‘N Dry Towel Rental to check same-day availability.

If you must cancel either space, you must do so before 9:00 am the day before your reservation. If the park is closed all day on your reserved day for any reason, you will get a refund.

Kids

Are there any provisions for small children?

Ketchakiddee Creek, on the far left side of the park, provides wading pools, bubbling fountains and mini-slides & raft rides for the little ones. Children under age 10 should be accompanied at all times by an adult throughout the park. Also, remember that children of diaper age are required to wear snug-fitting rubber pants over their diapers, or special swimming diapers here and throughout the water park.

When is the best time of day to visit Typhoon Lagoon?

There are two good times to arrive: Shortly before the park opens and — in the warmer months when the park is open at night — mid- to late afternoon. If you want to go for the morning/early afternoon, it is essential to arrive by park opening time, particularly in the warmer months. When you arrive early, you will benefit from:

  • Claiming lounge chairs that are shaded by the relatively scarce thatched umbrellas or thatched lean-tos that are scattered around the surf pool, rather than the more numerous ones that are out in the blazing sun;
  • Being able to do a lot of water sliding in a relatively short time, rather than spend most of your time standing in the hot lines that form within a few hours after the park opens;
  • Getting a locker and towel quickly, rather than waiting in the long line that forms by late morning;
  • Getting a locker that is conveniently close to the entrance, rather than the ones nearer to the back of the park that are handed out when the “good” ones are gone.
  • Parking close to the entrance (if you are driving), saving you a long hot walk back to your car when leaving;
  • Avoiding the disappointment of not getting in at all should the park close (typically in the late morning) because it has reached capacity.

Arriving mid-afternoon is almost as good. By this time, people are starting to leave, making lounge chair seating available. You will probably have to settle for full-sun seats, but by this time the sun is not quite as bad as at mid-day. The crowds in Castaway Creek should be thinning out by now. A little later in the afternoon, the water slide lines will become reasonable as well. Admission discounts may also be given for mid-afternoon or later entry (check by calling (407) 824-4321). If the park is open past 7 PM, there may be special activities scheduled as well.

The direct telephone number to Typhoon Lagoon is (407) 560-4141.

Additional information is available directly from Blizzard Beach at (407) 560-3400.

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Who Makes Disney World Jewelry Under $40? Alex and Ani!

Where to buy Alex and Ani at Walt Disney World

I’ve looked at a lot of Disney jewelry through the years, dating all the way back to the late 1970 when I barely had any money to spend. Now that I am an adult (my family would dispute this description at times) with a job and my own Disney Visa card, I still really love looking at the colorful Mickey-themed jewelry throughout the parks and resorts. And like the Dooney & Bourke purses, expensive watches, and sparkling 14k gold rings, almost all of the jewelry remains on the shelf at the end of my vacation. Adults have monthly car insurance and teen braces bills to pay, after all.

So it was a real treat to find these bracelets at Disney World by a company called Alex and Ani, which have that adorable Disney jewelry charm but won’t wreck your budget. Alex and Ani products are “infused with positive energy.” The ancients referred to this precious energy as chi and prana, while modern science simply calls “vital force.” Alex and Ani believe positive energy is the natural energy that supports life.

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Alex and Ani Disney energy bracelets

So if Alex and Ani embrace the power of positive energy as their core company belief, how exactly do you infuse each product with positive energy? Their website explains three ways.

  1. All their products are manufactured, and infused, with positive intention in carefully selected American factories.

  2. The symbols featured on their designs carry their own energy; they are accompanied by thoughtfully crafted and meticulously researched meaning.

  3. Each design is positively intended to empower the wearer and reflect the unique qualities of the individual.

Some Alex and Ani pieces carry sentimental meaning, while others are talismans of protection, power, or intention.  Customers can mix symbolic pieces with your own alchemy (isn’t that a fabulously Disney word to associate with jewelry?!) to make Alex and Ani jewelry completely and uniquely yours.

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So let’s get to some of their designs, which are found at Walt Disney World and also on the Disney Store.com.  We’ve provided links in case you can’t wait until your next trip to make a purchase. Priced under $40 before shipping, they would make fabulous pre-trip gifts or really gifts for all occasions for the Disney jewelry lovers in your life.

+) Energy

You can embrace the power of positivity with this Mickey Mouse Icon and Initial Bangle Bracelet in Gold.  This brass bracelet with Rafaelian Gold finish has Mickey’s icon plus your favorite letter of the alphabet on an antiqued bas relief charm.  Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com.  The price?  Just 31.95 before tax.

Alex and Ani Disney initial bracelet

(+) Energy

You will embrace the power of positivity with this Cinderella Castle Bangle.  The Walt Disney World dangles from a brass bracelet with Rafaelian Gold finish, producing a stylish souvenir of your visit to the Magic Kingdom.  Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com.  The price?  Just $39.95 before tax.

Alex and Ani Walt Disney World bangle bracelet

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A filigree design is etched into the Mickey Mouse Finigree Bangle in Gold.  The icon charm brings positive energy to this Rafaelian Gold finish Bangle. Designed to ”enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit,” this bracelet features a sliding mechanism for a perfect fit. Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com. The price? Just $39.95 before tax and shipping.

Alex and Ani Mickey Mouse Filigree bangle bracelet

Birthday girl

It’s time to celebrate your birth month in sparkling style with  a Mickey Mouse Birthstone Bangle in Gold. Designed to provide positive energy, this shiny bangle features a Mickey icon, birthstone, and sliding mechanism for a perfect fit. Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com. The price? Just $31.95 before tax and shipping.

Mickey Mouse Disney Princess birthday bracelet

+) Energy

This Charm Bracelet has lots of Mickey character. “Infused with the power of positive energy,” the Rafaelian Silver Mickey Mouse Bangle bracelet features a larger Mickey’s smiling face and four smaller charms.  Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com. The price? Just $39.95 before tax and shipping.

Alex and Ani Mickey Mpouse icon bangle bracelet

Circle of life

Enjoy a spot of positive energy courtesy of this Minnie Mouse Bangle. Designed to ”enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit,” this bracelet features a Rafaelian Silver finish and sliding mechanism for a perfect fit. Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com. The price? Just $39.95 before tax and shipping.

Alex and Ani Minnie Mouse bangle bracelet

Charmed life

A cloisonné charm with his iconic ear hat brings positive energy to this Shiny Silver finish Bangle. Designed to ”enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit,” it features a sliding mechanism for a perfect fit. Click here for the link on the Disneystore.com. The price? Just $39.95 before tax and shipping.

Mickey Mouse Disney cloisonné charm

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These are more photos of the jewelry listed above, where you can see more details of their outstanding craftsmanship.

Alex and Ani bangle bracelets

Disney World Alex and Ani bracelets

Walt Disney World silver bracelet

Disney World birth stone bracelet

Alex and Ani Disney positive energy

I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the Disney Store (links to each piece are above) prices were far lower than eBay prices are right now. There seem to be no real bargains on purchasing from eBay, with prices for the same pieces ranging from $59.95 to $65.95 before shipping.

Alex and Ani jewelry on eBay

You can also visit Alex and Ani.com to see more of their jewelry designs. It’s hard to resist the idea of products created with positive energy right here in the United States. We could all use a little more positiveness in our lives.

And of course, we could all use a little more Disney as well!

 

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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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 You Afford the New Harambe Nights Event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Disney World's Harambe Nights prices

Disney World has announced a brand new event for Animal Kingdom including entertainment, food, and fun after the park closes on certain summer nights. Giving you more after-hours park options, the event “Harambe Nights” will offer guests the chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Lion King.

What will you do?

The Reception: You will start your evening with a reception, moving inside the Harambe Theater.

The Show: Inside will be a performance of the show The Lion King: Concert in the Wild. This will feature a live orchestra and a celebrity narrator, which sounds similar to Epcot’s Candlelight Processional at Christmas.

The Street Party: Following the performance, guests will attend a “party in the Harambe streets,” include food, local bands, autographs, character appearances, and the opportunity to purchase event merchandise. Your evening will end with a “fond farewell.”

When is it?

Harambe Nights will be held Saturday evenings, June 7-August 9, 2014.

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Nights entertainment at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Who are the celebrity narrators?

  • Viola Davis – June 7
  • TBD – June 14
  • Montego Glover – June 21
  • David Alan Grier – June 28
  • Michael Beach – July 5
  • Harry Lennix – July 12
  • Joe Morton – July 19
  • Alfre Woodard – July 26
  • Brian Stokes Mitchell – August 2
  • Patina Miller – August 9

How much will this cost?

A separate ticket is required to attend the Harambe Night events.

Regular Tickets: The cost before tax is $119 per adult, $79 for each child ages 3-9.

Premium Ticket: The price before tax is $134 for adults, $94 for children ages 3-9. Premium tickets provide access to special seating for the show.

The price includes the reception, the show, the street party, food, and beverages (including African beers and wine for those of age).

While rides or attractions be open during the event?

None. The Harambe Nights event is the main and only attraction.

Do I need reservations?

While not mandatory, reservations are recommended. You can use this link to make reservations on the Disney World website, or you can Disney direct at 407- 939-1319. Our Vacation Planner cal also make reservations for you.  Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

So tell us, will you be purchasing a ticket for Harambe Nights this summer? Leave us a comment, and let us know what you think!

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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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.

Disney World’s Main Street Bakery: Can You Afford Starbuck’s Prices?

Starbucks Disney prices

The Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom caused quite a stir last year when they essentially became a Starbucks after months of remodeling. When the doors re-opened in June of 2013, the sign above the door still read “Main Street Bakery,” but the great majority of the food and drink items sold there were revealed to be Starbucks products. “The Cinnamon Roll,” a long time bakery favorite with many fans, was moved to Gaston’s Tavern. Not that there was a tremendous amount of seating to begin with, but what seats there had been were removed to make room for two sides of counter space for ordering, sales and product delivery.

Disney fan’s reactions? Long-time bakery lovers complained on the Internet, some actually boycotting the new bakery, meanwhile Starbucks fans rejoiced there was finally some “good” coffee to be found in the Magic Kingdom. If they are not currently open by now, Starbucks locations will be found in all four theme parks and Downtown Disney.

So even if you can’t have a seat, or purchase bakery items you loved before the remodel, have you ever wondered about the prices? Can you afford Starbucks items when they are served on Disney property?

Let’s take a look at current menu items and pricing, and you Starbucks regulars can decide if these prices are higher or lower than what you currently pay.

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Disney World Starbucks prices

Coffee, Tazo Tea & More

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack, and the sizes are Tall 12oz./Grande 16 oz./Venti 24 oz.

Freshly Brewed Coffee – Regular or Decaf $1.99/$2.19/$2.49
Caffe Misto $1.99/$2.19/$2.49
Tazo Chai Tea Latte $3.49/$4.29/$4.49
Full-Leaf Tazo Tea $2.29/$2.49/$2.79
Hot Chocolate $2.99/$3.39/$3.69
Kids’ (age 12 and under)Hot Chocolate – 8 oz. $2.89

Frappuccino Blended Beverages

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack item, and the sizes are Tall 12oz./Grande 16 oz./Venti 24 oz.

Choose Milk: Whole, 2% or Nonfat Organic Soymilk  add $.59
Coffee: Decaf, Extra Coffee +49¢, Espresso Shot, add $.79

Caramel $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Mocha $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Java Chip $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Coffee $3.59/$4.29/$4.99
White Chocolate Mocha $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Mocha Light $4.29/$4.99/$5.49

Vanilla Bean $3.59/$4.29/$4.99
Strawberries & Creme $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Double Chocolaty Chip $4.29/$4.99/$5.49
Green Tea $4.29/$4.99/$5.49

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Starbucks snacks on Main Street

Smoothies

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack item, and they are blended with a whole banana and whey protein.

Strawberry, Mango, or Chocolate $4.99 

Espresso

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack item, and they come in sizes Tall 12oz./Grande 16 oz./Venti 24 oz.

Caramel Macchiato $3.99/$4.79/$4.99
White Chocolate Mocha $3.99/$4.79/$4.99
Cinnamon Dolce Latte $3.99/$4.79/$4.99

Caffe Latte $3.69/$3.99/$4.39
Caffe Mocha $4.29/$4.59/$4.89
Iced Caffe Mocha $3.99/$4.79/$5.29
Vanilla Latte $4.29/$4.59/$4.89
Skinny Vanilla Latte $4.29/$4.59/$4.89
Caffe Americano $2.49/$2.79/$3.29
Cappuccino $3.69/$3.99/$4.39

Espresso solo $2.99, doppio $3.99

Add Vanilla, Hazelnut, Caramel or Peppermint flavors: $.49
Add an Espresso shot: $.79
Add Organic Soymilk : $.59

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Disney World Starbucks menu

Starbucks Refreshers

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack item, and the come in sizes Tall 12oz./Grande 16 oz./Venti 24 oz./Trenta 31 oz.

Cool Lime $3.29/$3.79/$4.29/$4.79
Very Berry Hibiscus $3.29/$3.79/$4.29/$4.79

Iced Coffee & Iced Tazo Tea

These items count as a Disney Dining Plan snack item, and they come in sizes Tall 12oz./Grande 16 oz./Venti 24 oz./Trenta 31 oz.

Iced Coffee $2.19/$2.59/$2.99/$3.49
Iced Coffee with Milk $2.19/$2.59/$2.99/$3.49
Shaken Iced Tazo Tea $1.99/$2.49/$2.99/$3.29
Iced Tazo Tea Lemonade $2.99/$3.49/$3.99/$4.29

Breakfast Items

Bacon and Gouda Artisan Breakfast Sandwich $4.99
Ham and Cheddar Artisan Breakfast Sandwich $4.99
Sausage and Cheddar – Classic breakfast sandwich $4.49
Spinach, Feta, Eggwhite breakfast wrap $4.99

The Quick Service Breakfast Meal counts toward the Disney Dining Plan.

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how much does Starbucks cost at Disney World, Disney Starbucks prices

So there you go, prices for the new Main Street Starbucks Bakery. Breakfast items for under $5.00 and iced coffees for under $3.00. If you look closely, these prices are actually lower than many of the goodies and treats in many locations throughout Disney World. And remember that prices and menu items can change at any time without notice.

You may have to stand to eat at the counters along the wall or outside on the sidewalk, but you certainly won’t wreck your vacation budget if you pay a visit.

Ever wondered what your Starbucks is taking from your vacation fund? We did the math for you. Some of you may be shocked.

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Are these prices what you pay on a day to day basis when you visit Starbucks? And because most people have daily access to Starbucks products, does this make you look more or less forward to a bakery visit?

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you in line with your Starbucks gift cards…

 

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.

“it’s a small world” Disney Dooney & Bourke Handbag: Can You Afford It?

price for Small World Dooney & Bourke handbag

Updated for 2018!

As if saving money for your next vacation wasn’t chore enough, the Disney Company keeps teaming up with these clothing and handbag designers to bring us merchandise that is almost too irresistible. While I personally have not spotted this item in any park or resort gift shops (let me know if you have!) it’s all too easy to find online.

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.

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