Do Not Miss the Contemporary Resort Mural!

Mary Blair tiles, who was Mary Blair

Updated for 2018!

As a child of the 70s, I heard the name Mary Blair on every Disney vacation in every Disney monorail that zipped through the Contemporary Resort. My own children are not so familiar with her name. While I still can’t take my eyes off the fabulous seven story tile artwork in the atrium of the Contemporary, most children today seem lost in staring at their cellular devices. This seems like such a shame to me, as I touch the tiles every time I order something to nibble on at the Contempo Cafe. The tiles are a part of my Disney vacation history.

Just who was the creator of the fabulous Contemporary mural? [Read more…]

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Guide to Disney Resort Pool hopping

Updated for 2018!

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

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

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Wyndham's Bonnet Creek Resort review, photos of Bonnet Creek Resort, why stay off Disney property

If you are a vacationer who stays on Disney property every time you visit Orlando, you may never have heard of Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. Surrounded on three sides by the Walt Disney World Resort and next door to Epcot and next to Downtown Disney, Bonnet Creek covers 482 acres perfect for business meetings to extraordinary vacations. What Bonnet Creek offers is nearly 1,500 guest rooms and suites, a spectacular convention center, spa facility, a superb golf course, and fabulous restaurants are just some of what you get if you can afford a vacation at this resort. For years I didn’t think I could afford to stay here, until I discovered a way to take a vacation here that didn’t kill my budget.

Check it out and you’ll be ready to book your stay.

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

Ready to head off to Bonnet Creek? Here are some commonly asked questions that will help you in your planning and packing.

1. What comes standard in the kitchen?

The kitchens have a full size refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, four burner stove top, oven, blender, coffee maker, toaster, pots, pans, utensils, dinnerware and glasses for four to eight people, depending on what size unit you stay in.

Bonnet Creek dining room photo,

Bonnet Creek Dining Room, 2 Bedroom Unit

2. How close to my own comforts of home will my unit be?

Every suite comes complete with a fresh set of linens, extra pillows and towels.  A full-sized washer and dryer and laundry detergent are also included in every suite.  I wasn’t too impressed with the free detergent; it did clean the clothes, but I brought my own detergent on our next stay. Daily housekeeping is available only upon request, and there is an additional charge for this service.

The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Disney Vacation? It’s a Four Letter Word!

Bonnet Creek master bedroom photo,

Bonnet Creek master bedroom

3. What do we need to bring to the unit?

Just bring your clothes, personal items, and stop by the store for any food you plan to cook in the unit.  Show up ready to have fun and relax.

4. Is Internet service available?

There is free Wi-Fi service in units and common areas. Gotta love free!

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom photo

Bonnet Creek 2nd Bedroom with 2 Full Size Beds

5. Can Bonnet Creek Resort help you plan your Disney vacation?

Bonnet Creek offers an on-site Disney Planning Center that is staffed with Disney Cast Members who would be happy to assist you with tickets, Disney Dining Reservations, and insider tips for visiting the parks. So if you didn’t finish making all your reservations at home, head over to the building where you checked in for some planning help.

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

Bonnet Creek heated pool

Bonnet Creek heated pool and lazy river

6. Do any rooms offer whirlpool tubs? 

Yes, most one and two bedroom units offer whirlpool tubs. They are large enough for three or four small children and  maybe two mid-sized adults. The water is hot and the jets are fabulous – what a great way to start or end a day of theme park walking. If you walk as much as I do, you will definitely want to take advantage of the jet tub relaxation.

Bonnet Creek whirlpool tub, Bonnet Creek jet tub photo

Bonnet Creek Resort whirlpool tub

7. Is this a Pet-Friendly resort?

Sorry, pets are not allowed. You’ll have to leave Fido at home. You’ll probably be too busy out having fun to entertain a pet anyway.

do you have a balcony at Bonnet Creek Resort, Bonnet Creek Resort pictures, Bonnet Creek Resort photos, balcony,

Bonnet Creek Resort Private Balcony

8. Is smoking allowed at this resort? 

Bonnet Creek is a non-smoking resort. I found this information on the official Bonnet Creek Resort site, and then I noticed ash trays in the photo above on the balcony. Those came with the unit, so perhaps the no smoking mandate was for inside areas. There are definitely no ash trays inside the unit or main buildings.

Here’s Why the Wrong Shoes Can Cost You Money on a Disney Vacation

9. Are there things to do for my kids at the resort?

There most certainly are. Mini-golf, ping-pong (bring a quarter to purchase your own ball), heated swimming pools and lazy rivers, water play areas, swing sets, a recreation room with pool tables and video games, and a video arcade. You may have to pry the kids away from all the resort activities to head over to that other famous Orlando park.

Bonnet Creek mini-golf, Bonnet Creek resort golf,

Bonnet Creek Resort mini-golf

10. How can I get to the Disney theme parks?

The resort offers free scheduled transportation to the Disney Theme Parks. I never personally experienced riding on the shuttles, as we always drove our own car. Angela Klakamp, a Cheapskate Princess fan, had this to say of her vacation at Bonnet Creek.  “I stayed there last time; very nice, clean, pretty, and really nice pools. I hated the shuttle service. It was inconvenient for park hopping. You also had to clock watch so you didn’t miss the bus. Long waits if you missed one…” So if you use the Bonnet Creek shuttle service, just make sure you keep track of time, so you don’t miss the bus.

Bonnet Creek Resort swimming

One of the best things about Bonnet Creek? There are amazing sunsets in Orlando, and with this much open space, you’re guaranteed a fine viewing point.

Disney sunrise, Disney sunset, Bonnet Creek Orlando, Disney Bonnet Creek

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.

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

Updated for 2017!

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

Disney’s PhotoPass: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney's PhotoPass prices and instructions

Updated for 2017!

If you ever handed your camera to a PhotoPass Cast Member in a Disney theme park to get a photo of your whole family, thus bypassing the cost of paying for Disney’s PhotoPass, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. But should you skip it to save the cash?

PhotoPass is a complimentary service that anyone visiting Disney World can use, regardless of whether you stay on or off property, that is designed to make it easy for you to see and share vacation photos and other digital content, plus you have the option to purchase gifts showcasing your digital images. [Read more…]

Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at the Contemporary Resort at Christmas?

Contemporary Resort Wreath, Contemporary Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Mickey Mouse wreath

If you have ever looked at The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney World to see if you could afford a room during the most festive time of year, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. Nothing wrong with making plans and checking things out to see if your budget can handle what your heart desires. Christmas is a truly magical time at Disney. “Holiday Season” runs from December 21 to December 31 of 2012. Without any sort of discount, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts will cost you $164, and the prices for this time of year go up from there. A standard room a moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday. Now, are you ready for some really heaving pricing? [Read more…]

Disney’s Extra Magic Hours: a Cheapskate Princess Guide

Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, castle, Disney castle, Disney resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, vacation, vacation fun

Updated for 2017!

If you ever said,”Let’s just stay at a cheap hotel, because with the money we save, the longer we can stay at Disney World longer,” then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. I’m all about finding a bargain. And there is no doubt that staying at a Disney World Resort can be more expensive than staying “off property.” 

But Disney offers a huge perk other off-property hotels don’t: Extra Magic Hours. Staying fewer days in a Disney resort to play longer in the parks is what a Cheapskate Princess would call a splurge.   [Read more…]

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort During Holiday Season?*

Grand Florisian Resort and Spa, Grand Floridian, Disney's Grand Floridian, Seven Seas Lagoon

Often referred to as the “flagship” hotel of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, the Grand Floridian Resort sets the Princess bar high in terms of everything: world-class dining, entertainment and luxurious accommodations. You will pay a pretty penny to stay here any time of the year, but to spend the night during the Christmas holidays may just wipe out your Disney change jar!

The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney runs from December 21 to December 31 of this year. The level of your room cost goes up with your level of accommodations. Without any sort of discount during Holiday Season, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Value Resorts will cost you $164.  A standard room Moderate Resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, while a standard room at the Deluxe Resort level Animal Kingdom Lodge is $470 a night for holiday season.

Maybe that will prepare you for the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa pricing, sort of like a mental warm up!

What Is The Ultimate Disney World Souvenir? The Mickey Mouse Doll!

Grand Floridian pool, can I afford the Grand Floridian Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Holiday Season Room Prices

A room in the Outer Building with a Garden View is $460 a night on a weekday in Value Season, is $730.

A room in the Outer Building with a Lagoon View is $830 a night.

In the Outer Building – Club Level, you will pay $905 a night during Holiday Season. What’s so great about Club Level?

  • Lounge with beverages
  • Continental breakfast, midday snacks, afternoon tea, evening wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres, late night cordials and desserts
  • 24-hour room service
  • Turndown Service

For a Theme Park View in the Main Building – Club Level, you will pay $1,190 per night.

For a One Bedroom Suite in the Outer Building– Club Level, you will pay $1770 per night. Move over to the Main Building for this same one bedroom suite on Club Level, and you will pay $2020 per night. The suites can sleep up to six.

But maybe you brought eight people to Disney. What you need is a Two Bedroom Suite in the Outer Building – Club Level, which will cost $2525 to $2825 depending on your particular view.

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

Grand Floridian Resort lobby, Grand Floridian grand piano, Disney's Grand Floridian

Or maybe your family of four needs more space to stretch out. The Disney Suite Main Building – Club Level, which includes a master bedroom with a king-size bed and full bath, a second bedroom with 2 twin-size beds and full bath, a parlor area with half bath and a wet bar, will cost $3105 per night.

And if you need the exclusivity of the most expensive accommodations in the building, welcome to the Grand Suite in the Main Building – Club Level. Located in the Main Building in the Royal Palm Club, this suite offers the same accommodations as the Disney Suite listed above, but offers views of Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park and a panoramic view of the Resort hotel property. Welcome to Disney luxury, pals, and be prepared to spend $3210 per night.

Of course you don’t have to stay during those Holiday Season days to enjoy the sights of the seasons, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in  less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Avoid These 10 Mistakes That Can Wreck a Disney World Vacation

where to swim at the Grand Floridian, Grand Floridian pool, swimming at Disney, Disney pools, Disney resort pools

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts on the Grand Floridian’s Christmas decorations from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link.

A 40 foot tree is erected in the Grand Floridian lobby with more than 45,000 lights, which is assembled in just one night.

Can a Cheapskate Princess Afford a Dooney & Bourke Disney Handbag?

Grand Floridian Christmas Tree, how tall is the Grand Floridian Christmas tree, Christmas tree, huge tree,

A 16 foot high by 17 foot wide gingerbread house is erected each year in the lobby of the Grand Floridian, which takes up 200 square feet of lobby space.

It will take 10 men a total of 6 days will be used to create the gingerbread house. 60 sheets of plywood and 40 windows will be on the gingerbread house, with 1,000 board feet of trim. There will be a total of 40 window panes in the house.

What kind of ingredients are used to create the gingerbread house?

  • 1,050 pounds of honey
  • 600 pounds of chocolate
  • 800 pounds of flour are used to make the honey dough
  • 180 pounds of apricot glaze are used to make the gingerbread house
  • 35 pounds of spices

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

what is in the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, gingerbread house, Disney gingerbread house, Grand Floridian Christmas decorations

400 hours of baking will be needed to make the 2,000 pounds gingerbread pieces.

It will take 160 hours to decorate the house, because 10,000 pieces of gingerbread are needed to cover the house completely.

600 pounds of powdered sugar are used to dust the gingerbread house to make it look like snow.

Gingerbread house at Disney World, gingerbread, holiday gingerbread

140 pints of egg whites are used to create the royal icing, with a total of 500 pounds of this icing used to create the gingerbread house.

80 square feet of retail space is inside the gingerbread house, with 100 square feet of display area are available inside.

Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

10 Cheapskate Reasons to Vacation on Disney Property

 

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 a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

Disney Christmas card, Magic Kingdom Christmas card, Merry Christmas, Merry Disney World Christmas

While I shout it to the world that going to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holidays is mostly just crazy, due to the insane crowd levels compared to other times of year, I need to point out that the holiday decorations are just spectacular. Standing on Main Street, U.S.A., and watching it “snow” might be worth your headache and the stress level of vacationing with so many other people. But can a Disney Princess afford to pay rack room rates during the busiest time at Disney?

The “Holiday Season” pricing at Disney runs from December 21 to December 31 of this year. Without any sort of discount, a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts will cost you $164, and the prices for this time of year go up from there.

Disney World at Christmas: Would a Cheapskate Spend Up to $30 for a Christmas Ornament?

Disney at Christmas, Christmas, Cinderella Castle at Christmas, Disney Princess Christmas, Disney Christmas decorations,

A standard Holiday Season room at moderate resort level Coronado Springs Resort is $249, compared to around $190 a night for a summer night on a weekday.

The least expensive room, a garden wing room, at the Contemporary Resort goes for $530 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $360 for a Regular Season night on a weekday.

A standard room during Value Season at the Animal Kingdom Lodge will cost $265 a night, with a jump to $470 a night for Holiday Season.

And in the Deluxe Villa category, a studio room at Bay Lake Tower will cost $600 a night during Holiday Season, compared to $485 a night during Regular Season, $415 a night during Value Season.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Photos of WDW during the Christmas Holidays

Disney's Yacht Club at Christmas, Yacht Club, Disney Deluxe Resort, Disney Vacation Club,

Of course you don’t have to stay during those ten days to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks and resorts by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in a less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Can a cheapskate afford those resort prices? Yes, but you may have to sell the glass slippers first!

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts for the Magic Kingdom from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link.

how tall is Disney's Main Street Christmas Tree, what does Disney's Christmas weigh, how many decorations does Disney use at Christmas, who decorates Disney at Christmas

The Magic Kingdom Christmas tree is 26 feet wide, and it takes a 70 ton crane to position the theme park Christmas trees into place each year.

25,000 poinsettias are used to decorate the Magic Kingdom for the holidays, which takes two whole nights to put everything in place.

A Cast Member crew of 30 people do the holiday landscaping at the Magic Kingdom.

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

what does Disney look like at Christmas, Disney Christmas, Disney christmas decorations, holiday decorations, huge Christmas tree, tall Christmas tree, Christmas decorations

How tall is the Christmas tree erected in the center of Main Street, U.S.A., each Christmas season? 65 feet.

Talk about your crazy Florida weather forecasts…There is a 100 percent chance of snow flurries during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place on select holiday evenings in Magic Kingdom. And for those who don’t want to pay the $53.95 to $63.95 a ticket for this special party, snow frequently falls on Main Street throughout the holiday season.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

snow on main street, fake snow, fake christmas, does it snow at Disney World, does it snow in Florida, Christmas snow on Main Street, Christmas snow at Disney World

Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

 

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.

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Time is money at Walt Disney World. While I shout to the rafters that going to Disney during the Christmas holidays, when the kids are out of school, is pure insanity, the decorations are truly incredible. The twinkling lights and Christmas trees are spectacular, almost worth standing in lines for hours on end with thousands of people. Almost… [Read more…]

First Trip to Disney: 10 Reasons to Stay on Property

why stay at a Disney World Resort

Updated for 2017!

If you have ever stayed at a hotel off of the Disney property to save some money, you just might be a Disney Princess! Our family has stayed both on and off Disney property, and the reason is pretty simple for staying off site. While there are some really excellent non-Disney resorts and hotels in Orlando, in most cases, staying off-site costs significantly less money. You can make a good argument for staying off site, but there are drawbacks.

Many of the reasons to stay on property are simply because Disney makes it so attractive to stay in their hotels. I’m going to refer to this effect as the Disney Splurge. You get what you pay for in life, and sometimes you just have to splurge on vacation to truly get the most from your hard-earned money.

Here is why staying on Disney property can be hard to turn down, even if it costs extra. [Read more…]

1st Trip to Disney World: Is Summer the Best Time to Travel?

Disney castle, princess, Princesses, photo of Disney's Cinderella castle, Disney in the summer, Magic Kingdom in the sun,

Updated for 2017!

If you ever stood in a Disney World line, all sweaty and hot, primarily because summer room rates were cheaper than peak holiday times, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess! Everybody and their Disney loving’ cousin has an opinion about when the best time is to visit Walt Disney World. What is best for your family may not be the best for another.

You may not mind standing in 120 minute plus lines, just as long as you are surrounded by the holiday magic of Disney at Christmas, but your friends may tell you that you are absolutely crazy to travel during holidays. Summer seems to be a reasonable time to take a vacation, but the question must be asked…

If you are planning a first trip to Disney, or even a 10th trip for that matter, should you take the family to Disney during the summer months? [Read more…]