For a Limited Time, Purchase Disney-Themed Items at the Coach Factory Outlet Store

I live in an Alabama city with a Coach Factory Outlet Store. Imagine my shock and delight when I walked in on a window shopping expedition one day to find Disney-themed items on Coach merchandise. I wouldn’t afford most of it, but that’s besides the point. Ready to do some window shopping of your own? [Read more…]

Disney World Extravagance: the Designer Collection Jewelry

Disney World has been offering high quality silver jewelry in their upper level gift shops (Epcot’s Mouse Gears, Disney Spring’s World of Disney, etc.) for several years. Now you don’t have to set foot on property to purchase these items, which you can order from shopdisney.com. These jewelry pieces were created especially for Disney Parks. [Read more…]

Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Universal Orlando Resort is a great option to add to your must do list in Orlando. If you have Harry Potter fans, then you absolutely must visit Universal. Universal Orlando has something for every member of your family from amazing thrill rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster or Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, to family fun rides like Transformers The Ride – 3D, Men in Black, and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. For the little ones you want to enjoy The Cat and the Hat ride and Caro-Seuss-el just to name a few. [Read more…]

Disney Dream : A Cheapskate Princess Guide

A Disney Cruise is such a unique vacation and a must do for any Disney fan. The beauty of a cruise is that you can unpack once and see multiple destinations. This vacation allows you to pay one price for your resort, entertainment, and food. Also, Disney Cruise Line offers free soda. This is almost unheard of on a cruise. A Disney Cruise is also a fun way to have Disney (and the characters!), but at a more relaxed pace. Also, if your family can’t decide between a Disney vacation and a beach vacation then a Disney Cruise gives you both!

Disney Dream [Read more…]

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Have you ever dreamed of staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort? This amazing resort is worth the dream. The amenities and location make this resort one of the best at the Walt Disney World Resort. It is a deluxe level resort, so it is one of the more expensive resorts on property, but for some this is considered a bucket list resort for many guests.  Is this one on your bucket list? [Read more…]

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival : A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Have you ever been to Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival? Disney announced that from September to November of 2016 Epcot will host the International Food & Wine festival; this year’s event will be almost an additional two weeks longer. If you are a foodie, then this is your festival.

[Read more…]

Perhaps the Most Amazing Disney World Resort Ever? The New Four Seasons Resort Orlando

prices for Four Seasons Orlando

When a Cheapskate Princess spends more than she should for something she really wants, we call that a splurge. There may be no bigger vacation splurge than Disney World Deluxe accommodations, which can easily run into the thousands per night. When I heard about the new Four Seasons Resort scheduled to open in August in Orlando, I just had to check it out. Not because I had ever stayed at a Four Seasons hotel (being a cheapskate, I have not) but rather I knew I would want to just because of the name. The Four Seasons. It’s a legend in the hotel industry, with the name alone implying luxury, tastefully appointed furnishings, and of course, budget-busting amenities. [Read more…]

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.

Fabulous Disney-Inspired Wedding Rings, Perfect for a Disney Princess!

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.

Disney World Pressed Penny Jewelry Fit for a Disney Princess!

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

Under $20, See Why the Pick-A-Pearl from Disney World is a Must-Do!

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

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

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

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

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

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

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

Can 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.

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

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!

Where Can You Get FREE Fall Disney Dining and FREE Kid’s Mickey Mouse Hats?

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.

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.

Where Can You Find Disney World’s Main Street Area Music?

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

How Much Will the New “Rapid Fill” Refillable Disney Resort Mugs Cost You? Is It Worth It?

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.

Hungry? Try These 10 Disney Inspired Snack Ideas Easily Created for Less than $10

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.

Is Your Starbucks Coffee Habit Taking Money Out Of Your Disney Vacation Fund?

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.

Welcome to my Disney Splurge Wish List[Read more…]

We Are Losing Meleney Harris to Cancer, and She Needs Your Help

meleney

This is a Disney World vacation planing web site. I have never written here about any subject that didn’t pertain to Disney. When you write about planning vacations to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” most everything you cover is indeed happy. Happy resorts, happy kids, happy family, and happy times. But this is not Earth changing stuff. There are moments when I have asked myself if planning the use of disposable income is what I really should do with my free time.

My friend George Throop from Enjoythewalk.org dedicated almost five years of his life to walking across America to spread the word about how to avoid cancer, like the cancer that took his own mother when she was just 24. I couldn’t bring myself to even tell him I wrote articles about Disney. It seemed to pale so hugely in comparison, with me pricing Disney souvenirs and George aiming to stop the spread of a deadly disease. My good friend Mike Ellis from My Dreams of Disney writes an article each week posting prayer requests, and none of his readers are asking to win the lottery to fund their next vacation.

The pain and suffering of many people is so great, it can sometimes cause you to put your vacation dreams and plans in perspective.

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 1.59.53 PM

I’ve asked myself what is important.

My husband teaches high school band in the nearly coastal town of Foley, Alabama. He teaches hundreds of students each year in both marching and concert band, and through his 18 year career, we have gotten to know thousands of teens. We have not had a lot of students pass away, in fact, it’s comforting to know through the years, there has only been a small hand full of students we’ve lost. I say we because while I teach high school, I also teach band with him, sometimes after school but most notably during the 101 degree week known as “band camp.”

All my high school friends were in band, and I trotted off to college on a music scholarship. I met my husband, the love of my life, in college band, and my three children are in beginner and high school band. With my band director husband, I teach hundreds of students each year during band camp week, which this year is challenging 250 teens. We also work with a fantastic band staff and amazing parents. I have loved band since I was 13, and I still love working with band kids at 43. Band is a family that you make for yourself.

My husband received a text last weekend saying a former band student of ours was given just several days to live.

Her name is Meleney Harris.

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 1.59.43 PM

We knew Meleney had been diagnosed with cancer, and we knew she had been up and down in terms of  the medical treatment effectiveness throughout the last year. To hear that her life expectancy was just several more days was both startling and heart breaking. Meleney was one of those students that you just remembered instantly, even if she graduated several years ago. Meleney is one of our band family.

I remember Meleney the most from band camp, her unusual hair, her quirky t-shirts and crazy shoes, and her huge smile. She was not the type of kid to complain, and she always ran back to her spot. If someone was new, she was sure to show them the way. She was easy-going, helpful and cheerful. She was the kind of kid you would be proud to call your own, someone you could count on, a friend you would want to have. She was a leader you followed, and to catch her, you better run back to your spot.

My very favorite Meleney memory took place in 2009 on a band trip to Chicago. We went to see Blue Man Group, and just a sophomore, Meleney was chosen from the whole theater to go up on stage. If they had chosen me, I would have surely refused, too shy, too embarrass-able. Not Mel. In front of hundreds of mostly strangers, dressed in some sort of plastic protective covering, Meleney shared an intimate on-stage meal with the three blue guys, where they spewed crunchy cereal and sprayed her with some sort of cheese substance. She totally played along, and the crowd loved her.

She was the epitome of the word “band kid.” She was a Shining Star in the Foley High School Band.

In this photo, she is in the band room with her future fiancé, Daniel McWatters.

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I have asked myself what is important.

I thought it was important to share Meleney’s story today.

Meleney Harris is a graduate of Foley High School, where she was a straight A student. She was planning to attend college to be an ultrasound technician. All this came to a complete stop when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a primary bone cancer that affects mainly children and adolescents. It’s one of a group of cancers known collectively as the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors — ESFT or sometimes just EFT. It’s the second most common bone cancer in children, but it’s also relatively uncommon. It accounts for only 1% of all childhood cancers. Although it can occur at any age, it very rarely occurs in adults over the age of 30.

As there are no known risk factors that can be changed and no screening test to effectively identify someone prone to develop this cancer, there is no way to prevent it. There are approximately 200 new cases of Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosed in the United States annually, and somehow, Shining Star Melenie Harris was one of those 200.

Meleney has spent seven months going through surgeries and chemotherapy. Her tumor was resistant to chemo, and now the tumor is pushing on her lungs, collapsing them, and putting pressure on her heart. There is nothing that can be done. Meleney Harris, Shining Star, is dying of cancer, quite probably within the week based on her doctor’s prognosis.

That makes you ask yourself what is important.

Meleney started dating her fiancé, Daniel McWatters, when she was in my husband’s band. We watched them flirt, hang out, date, fall in love, and graduate high school together. Even at marching contest, with other senior band members, they stood together.

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When Meleney got sick, friends and family of the couple said Daniel was always there for her.
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I have asked myself what is important…

How tragic to see the woman you have loved since high school slip from your life while living with daily pain.

How crushing to see a family member suffer and then have to worry about how you will pay for the funeral.

How amazingly unfair to know you are dying and to worry about the people you leave behind.

555019_10151805937169278_1307946738_n

Suzi Hall, Daniel’s mother, started a GoFundMe campaign to help defray the costs of Meleney’s funeral. Can you imagine planning your own funeral? Melenny has done just that.

Suzi said, “Meleney told Daniel and I what she wanted, the casket –  brown and silver – with roses on her casket. She wants to be buried in her prom dress she wore to her and Daniel’s prom. She wants Daniel to wear the same color tux he wore that special night. As Daniel’s mother, the hurt in my heart with knowing we are losing her is unbearable.  She sure is a sweet and wonderful girl, and she’s had a hard life.”

I think most of us, at one high school time or another, thought we would go on to marry our high school sweetie, but surely none of us ever envisioned planning a funeral together and then worrying about how to pay for it.

In this photo, Meleney and Daniel are headed to prom, not knowing this is the dress she will ask to be buried in barely two years later.

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Meleney Harris is just 20-years-old, and she has no life or burial insurance. This has left her fiancé and her parents to do what they can with the funeral expenses, all the while dealing with her medical expenses and their own finances.  Suzi said, “When you walk into a room where she and Daniel where standing, you could feel the love that just lit up the room. I ask of you all to help give Meleney the burial she wants. She so deserves it. Thank y’all.”

I can’t imagine seeing my child suffer with cancer.

I can’t imagine having the strength to plan my own funeral.

I can’t imagine knowing I was losing someone I loved with all my heart, and then had to worry with how I would pay for their funeral.

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I ask myself what is important.

Today my family made a donation to the funeral fund for our former high school student who was a Foley Band Shining Star as she loses her battle with cancer. Most of you will not know her, which is unfortunate. She is indeed a Shining Star, both on and off the marching field, in the classroom, around the community, and in our Foley Band family. If you had met her, she would have shaken your hand, said something funny, and her smile would have set you at ease. That’s just how she is.

Today, sharing Meleney Harris’ fight with cancer seemed more important than talking about Disney World.

Use this link to go to GoFundMe.com for Meleney Harris. 

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This year about 564,800 Americans are expected to die of cancer—more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease. One of every four deaths in the U.S. is from cancer. Since 1990, there have been approximately 5 million cancer deaths.

A lot of Shining Stars have been lost, and today it seemed important to focus on just one.

I have wiped away a lot of tears in locating these photos and reading the words of encouragement from her high school friends and family posted on a Facebook group called Meleney’s Angels. If Meleney’s story has touched your heart, it was important to me to ask that you consider making a donation toward her funeral expenses.

It’s about time her family got a break.

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This article was written on July 3o, and Meleney passed away on August 13th after a long battle with her illness. I wanted to thank everyone who has donated money for her funeral. As of August 13th, they are still raising funds to bury a beautiful shining star.

Peace, love, and light to Melanie Harris, her fiancé Daniel McWatters, their families and close friends, and all the kids in the Foley Band who loved her.

Go hug someone, and tell them how much they mean to you, because life is short and certainly not always fair.

Thanks for reading and for thinking about Meleney. Thank you again for your donations, and keep them in your prayers.

Amanda Major

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