Where Can You Find Disney Character Watches Under $20?

Updated for 2018!

Ever need a cute gift that also shows off your all encompassing love of all things Disney? Head over to Wal-mart, where you’ll find a large assortment of watches for under $20. 
[Read more…]

Doing Disney World for Less: Souvenir Picture Frames

Updated for 2018!

Souvenirs are expensive at Walt Disney World. It’s not like walking into Wal-mart of T.J. Maxx where items go on sale. There’s almost nothing on sale at WDW, and paying full retail price hurts.

I like to recommend that vacationers purchase souvenir items they can use every day at home, or at least something you can see every day, so you feel like you got the best use of your money. [Read more…]

What Can Make You Sick in a Disney World Hotel Room?

Updated for 2018!

With the occupancy rate sky high these days in Disney Resort hotels, people are in and out of those rooms like you wouldn’t believe. Chances are, they brought with them as many germs as they did items of luggage. How can you protect yourself and your family from bringing home a cold or the flu? [Read more…]

20 Cheapskate Tips for Souvenirs and Activities at Disney World: How to Save Money!!

cheapskate tips for souvenirs and activities at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Disney vacation souvenirs are expensive, but do you always have to pay retail?

We have some tips on saving money for your next Disney vacation, plus ideas on how to save money on souvenirs and activities. So put your Visa card away, hide your checkbook, and let’s see how the cheapskates do Disney!

Read: Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

[Read more…]

Walt Disney World Must Eat? Chocolate Covered Caramel Apples

disney-world-must-dos-food

Updated for 2018!

There are certainly a lot of snack options at Walt Disney World. Food makes up such an important, and expensive, part of vacations, that sometimes choosing what to munch on can be overwhelming. How can you be sure you picked the best snack for your money?

Never fear, Cheapskate Princess is here! [Read more…]

Planning a Disney Vacation? You Need a Disney Change Jar!

Make a Disney World change jar

Updated for 2018!

Everybody collects change; it’s just one of those things that accumulates. Many families saving up for a vacation, from Disney World and Disneyland to a cruise, collect money in a “Disney Change Jar.” We recently asked our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans what they used their change for, and we went searching the Internet for super cute jar ideas, in case you want to start pitching your change into your own vacation jar. [Read more…]

Disney World Extravagance: Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Updated for 2018!

Disney World continues to offer travelers amazing opportunities that are well beyond a normal vacationer’s travel experiences. On a day when you do not have park tickets, like a swim day or a sleep-in day, you can head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for their Starlight Safari.  [Read more…]

Ladies: Don’t Wear These Costumes to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

do not wear this to Disney WorldUpdated for 2019!

Adults are not allowed to wear costumes to Disney World theme parks, because this can be confusing to many children. A five-year-old standing in line to see Cinderella, standing next to an adult dressed like Cinderella, would be confusing. The only exception to this rule is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, because everyone of all ages is dressing up in costumes for this extravaganza. Disney even encourages adults to dress up on their website, “Don your favorite costume and get ready to trick-or-treat at this Halloween-themed event held each fall in Magic Kingdom park!” [Read more…]

Taking Baby to Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

how to take a baby on vacation

Updated for 2016!

I have a good friend who struggled for years to have a baby, and when she finally got pregnant, my first question was, “When are you going to Disney World?” She said she and her husband had discussed it, and they decided when the baby turned five, that was a good time. I think I gasped. I seem to recall my mouth fell open. I thought she was joking, until she said that considering what the vacation would cost, they knew they wouldn’t have any fun at Disney with a baby.

When you talk about Disney World being an expensive vacation, that would be a valid point. Given the cost added to babysitting duty, can you really have any fun with a baby in tow at Disney World?

Babies are work, man, lots and lots of work. I believe you can have fun, although it may not be the most relaxing vacation you ever take. Is life ever easy with a baby? I’ve seen parents struggling at WDW with wailing infants that looked four days old, all the way up to those babies reaching up to touch Goofy in Chef Mickey’s. There are a lot of babies hanging out at Disney World, probably more than you would expect.

Read: Vacationing at Disney World? Then You’ll Need a Nap!

take a baby to Disney World

 Why Take a Baby To Disney?

1) No school to miss. Babies have all the time in the world, and there are no tests or home work to make up. And baby is learning anyway, all about colors, shapes, and songs, and he’s picking up language while you talk to him.

2) Food is practically free for babies. Breast feeding a baby is free.  If you are bringing formula and baby food from home, that is a normal every day expense for you. It is also nowhere near the cost of a childs’ meal. So food is not really an additional expense, because you had to feed her anyway.

3) Tickets are free. There is no Disney admission charge for children up until they reach the age of three. A one-day ticket in 2019 for a 10+ age child starts at $109, so think of the money you are saving by not buying tickets for that precious baby.

4) They take up very little space in a hotel room. If you didn’t bring your own Pack ‘n’ Play, you can borrow these at the resorts. Check for availability when you make your reservation. My babies have slept in laundry baskets before; they can’t roll out of it, and we packed up the hotel room with the basket when we left. That’s a multi-functioning bed at its finest.

5) You can still ride roller coasters. Rider Switch, which is sometimes called “Child Swap,” is a pass system that allows people with small children to take turns riding the “tall people” rides while the other person/people wait with the child. Now you won’t have to miss the ride because someone has to watch the baby in line. With your entire group  present, tell the Cast Member that you would like to use Rider Switch. The “waiters” receive a Rider Switch pass, similar to a FastPass, and the “riders” proceed on through the line. When they finish, you will swap. This will also work if a child is tall enough but doesn’t want to ride.

6) You Love Disney. Here is the part where I am talking about you having funIn reality, this vacation isn’t really about the baby, who wot remember the vacation anyway, it’s about YOU! You love Disney, you love spending time with your child, so overcome your fears and combine your two loves.

Read: “Best of the Best” Walt Disney World Freebies

take a baby to Disney World on vacation

Anyone who has spent time around a baby knows that life can be stressful, especially if you have ventured out of your comfort zone and onto a monorail with a stroller. Here is a list of things that I believe can make your time with a baby at Disney a little easier.

Things You Need

1. Nap

Number one on my list is a nap. You need one and baby needs one, and I suggest you go back to your hotel room to take it. Everybody wakes up refreshed and happy. That said, my babies took naps on the Peoplemover, the monorail, and occasionally in a stroller. I know some Disney moms worry about schedules, but altering regular plans slightly for a few days won’t cause permanent damage.  You should definitely get that nap in though. Power nap = happy momma.

There are babies and toddlers asleep all over Disney parks. Babies can and do nap on shoulders, in strollers, on slow-moving rides like the train, and in movies like The Muppets 3D Adventure, etc. They can nap most anywhere. While baby is asleep, have some fun pushing the stroller through a gift shop.

2. Distractions

For those babies old enough to eat solids, snacks can make waiting in line a little easier. So can distracting toys and the occasional song sung softly in a little ear. If baby gets fussy in line, it’s not the end of vacation if you step out and take a break. You can hop on a ride later. While you walk baby around, have some fun just looking at the Disney architecture and the other people on vacations.

3. Essentials

You’ll need the essentials. Making a run to a store can be time-consuming and will be more costly than bringing these supplies from home.

Here’s a good generic baby packing list.

  • blankets
  • clothes, pajamas
  • bottles/extra nipples, formula, possibly a breast pump
  • bibs
  • diapers, wipes
  • pacifiers
  • toys
  • medicines, hand sanitizer
  • gallon size storage bags for emergencies
  • shampoos, soaps, and lotions
  • car seat
  • stroller
  • baby monitor
  • Pack ‘n’ Play, if you think you need your own.

What if you forget to take these items into the parks? Can you buy them there? Sure, most of it.

All the theme parks, the water parks, and Disney Springs carry baby supplies like diapers, diaper pins, formula, and sunburn treatment. If you don’t see it, you can ask for it. You will pay a lot more for these items at Disney than at home, but you are paying for convenience and ultimately paying a high price for poor planning.

There are also baby care centers with supplies available in small quantities, which we will discuss further on.

4. Sunblock

I know there are rules and regulations on sunscreen use with babies of a certain age, but their little skin can get easily burned out in the sun, so cover them up or bend the sunscreen rules.  Sunburn is a great way to ruin a baby’s day and thus yours as well. I know people are having a stroke to get to the parks early. 

I’m thinking if you make an early day of it, go back to the room for a nap and/or a swim, and then head back to the park between four and six when the sun is going down.

Read: When Should You Tell the Kids About A Disney Vacation?

Cheapskate Princess Guide to taking babies to Disney World

What if Baby Gets Sick?

Many of the reasons we suggest babies go on vacations won’t make new moms feel any better. You’re not in your comfort zone on vacation, away from your home and a regular schedule, and things can go wrong.

If baby gets sick at the park, where do you go?

That would be every parents’ fear, that a baby would get sick or hurt on vacation. Colds can come on fast, little arms can get cut or scraped. Every park has a First Aid Center, and here is a list of where to find them:

  • Magic Kingdom- at the end of Main Street, turn left. It’s located between Casey’s Corner restaurant and the Crystal Palace.
  • Epcot – It’s located on the World Showcase side of Odyssey Center.
  • Hollywood Studios – You’ll find it in the Guest Relations Building inside the main Entrance.
  • Animal Kingdom- It’s located in Discovery Island, on the left side before you cross the bridge to Africa. It’s basically behind Creature Comforts.

The beauty is that in all four Disney parks, the First Aid Center is located next to the Baby Care Center. You can take a baby into any of the First Aid Centers, and they can handle anything from minor cuts and scrapes to allergic reactions.

Speaking of Baby Care Centers, what can they do for adults?

At a Baby Care Center, you can do the following:

  • change diapers
  • prepare formula
  • warm bottles and baby food
  • purchase supplies
  • rock in rocking chairs
  • nurse infants in special chairs

Dads are welcome at all the Baby Care Centers, and they can use most of the services.  Many men’s restrooms now offer diaper changing tables, so the burden won’t all fall on mom’s shoulders.

Read: Beware of Buying These Disney Vacation Souvenirs on Ebay

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So are you ready to make those reservations and bring that baby to Disney? Summer is probably not the best recommended time to go with a newborn, but you can still have a good time, even if you sweat a lot. See my above plan for taking a nap mid-day when the heat is the worst.

When it comes right down to it, taking a Disney vacation with a baby isn’t really about the baby at all. It’s about you, and you want to go to Disney World, and baby will be happy just hangin’ out with you.

You may feel stressed and overwhelmed, but you can feel stressed going to Wal-mart on a particularly rough baby day. You’ll forget to pack things, baby will cry, and you’ll have a few moments where you question your sanity. But then you’ll remember I said to take a deep breath, stop for a second, and remember how much you love being at Disney World. Then you’ll be just fine.

For every bad moment, hopefully you’ll have 12 good ones, plus you’ll have some fabulous pictures to show at baby’s high school graduation party years later.

So start planning that vacation.

Read: Should You Pull Kids Out of School for a Disney Vacation?

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll probably see you in a Magic Kingdom restroom as you search for the diaper changing table. I’ll be the one green with envy, as my babies are all tall enough now to ride Splash Mountain without me. I sure do miss a baby asleep on my shoulder on the WDW train…

 

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

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

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

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

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Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Disney Beach Shopper by Dooney & Bourke

Dooney-Bourke-Downtown-Disney

Updated for 2018!

Summer time is a prime opportunity to take a vacation to Florida or California and visit a Disney theme park. You’ll need a cute bag to haul around your stuff, so when you want to treat yourself to something nice, splurge on a really special souvenir from a fantastic vacation, where can a Cheapskate Princess spend her money?

How about on a cute as pie summer-Disney-themed handbag or backpack by Dooney & Bourke!

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.

[Read more…]

Looking for Vintage Disney Items? Try Theme Park Connection

Theme Park Connection directions

**Update for June 2017**    Be sure to call the number listed before you make a drive over. Rumor has it they closed their physical location in favor of an Internet business.

**As of July 2017, their website no longer worked, plus their eBay Store and e-commerce store Internet links no longer worked. 

They were a pretty interesting store that seems to be no more. While you are here, you might as well look at the pictures. On the right side of this page, you’ll find links to some of our most popular articles. Thanks for stopping by…~A.

I don’t remember where I first ran across the store called Theme Park Connection, but I strongly suspect it was on Facebook. After scanning through store photos, I was giddy at the idea of looking back in time at old vintage merchandise that was for sale to the general public.  If you are not familiar with the name of this business, Theme Park Connection is an Orlando area store that sells specialty vintage Disney items. The company goal is “to inspire an emotional, memory or passion for store guests by providing unique Disney items and the best in customer service.” Since 1995, Theme Park Connections has sold over 500,000 Disney related items. [Read more…]

Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

resort level differences at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Planning a Disney vacation? Perhaps the most important thing to decide, besides when to go and how long to stay, is where you will stay. Accommodations take up a large portion of a travel budget. If you are vacationing on property, there is a wide range in both price of the resorts and the amenities you get for your money.

Let’s take a look at the costs between Value, Moderate and Deluxe/ Villa resorts. Keep in mind these are starting prices, because you can pay for “upgrades” even with the least expensive Disney rooms, as in your view, room location, etc.

In this Cheapskate Princess Guide, we’ll also examine the basic perks everyone receives when you stay on property, and then we’ll see when your money begins to talk. And make no mistake, the more money you want to pay for a room, the louder those amenities holler!

Beware of Buying These Disney Vacation Souvenirs on Ebay

To price rooms, you simply enter your dates, because different times of month are considered different “seasons.”

All the following prices are for September 10-16, 2018, which make these Moderate Prices. Value prices are less expensive, but there are fewer of these dates available.  

 Value Resorts

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

Moderate Resorts

 

Vacationing at Disney World? Wow, You REALLY Need This!

Deluxe Resort Hotels

 

“Best of the Best” Walt Disney World Freebies

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Disney Deluxe Villas

When Should You Tell the Kids About A Disney Vacation?

 

 What are the free perks of staying on property at any Disney Resort?

  • Free transportation (bus, boat, monorail)
  • Free parking at WDW theme parks
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Disney’s Magical Express (free transportation, plus luggage transfer to and from the airport)
  • Charging Priviledges- charge resort and park purchases to your MagicBand (room card)
  • Package Delivery- have your purchases delivered to your room
  • 180 days prior to check-in, you can make ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations)
  • 60 days prior to check-in, you can make Fastpass+ selections
  • Complimentary wireless Internet (wi-fi) access in the rooms and some public areas
  • Mini-fridges in rooms

where to stay at Disney World

How do the resort levels compare in terms of amenities?

 Value Resorts

  • least expensive accommodations
  • bus transportation can take longer to get to  and from the parks, due to bus sharing between some resorts
  • smallest sized rooms (260 square feet excluding family suites)
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery
  • two to three quiet and large pools per resort
  • other amenities: playgrounds, pool bar, video game room, gift shop
  • a lot of walking can be required to get to your room
  • can be really crowded during busy times of year

The newer Art of Animation Resort offers perks other Value Resorts do not have:

  • slightly larger rooms (277 square feet compared to 260)
  • upgraded food court
  • interior corridors to rooms

Moderate Resorts

  • medium priced rooms – nearly double the cost of Value Resorts per night
  • medium-sized rooms – 314 sq. ft (340 sq. ft. at Caribbean)
  • some rooms can accommodate 5 people without being considered a suite
  • bus and sometimes boat transportation to theme parks
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery, table service (except POFQ) lounge bar
  • most offer quiet and large pools with slides, hot tubs, pool bar
  • also spread out – expect to walk a fair amount
  • other amenities: playgrounds, video game room, gift shop, boating
  • some resorts offer Business Club Level rooms, plus Pirate themed rooms, royal guest rooms

Deluxe/Deluxe Villas

  • most expensive accommodations – two to three times the cost of Moderate Resorts, and up to four times the cost of Value Resorts (using starting room prices)
  • concierge option (access extra services plus a private lounge serving continental breakfast, afternoon and evening snacks, and drinks)
  • deluxe suite options (which come with amazing prices as well as amenities)
  • interior corridors
  • compact locations, so less walking is required in most instances
  • largest sized standard rooms (344 to 440 square feet)
  • most standard rooms (except at AK Lodge) sleep 5 without being considered a suite
  • many resorts offer bus, boat and monorail transportation to theme parks (AK is bus service only)
  • you can walk to some theme parks from several resorts
  • meals: food courts, pizza delivery, room service, table service, fine dining, character meals
  • quiet and large pools with slides, hot tubs & spas,
  • other amenities: playgrounds, pool bar, boating, video game room, gift shop, kid clubs, babysitting, health clubs, valley parking, salons, some bunk beds,
  • amazing theming inside and out

 What do you get beyond this with the Deluxe Villas?

  • one, two, and three bedroom accommodations
  • children’s water play area
  • microwaves in studios, full kitchens in larger units

Where is the Best Place for a Disney World Proposal?

how to pick a Disney World Resort

I have taken a lot of information and condensed it down for time and organizational purposes. If you have any questions on specific perks or amenities, we recommend you get more personalized service by phoning Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Picking out a resort comes down to one simple saying…you get what you pay for. The more you pay for accommodations, the more you get. And then you have to decide how much you are willing to pay.

It’s easy to say just be a cheapskate and stay at the Value Resorts. Lots of people who stay at the parks all day long for multiple days just need a bed to collapse in at night. And this style of Disney vacationing, go until you drop, works for a lot of families.  But the reality is that the Deluxe Resorts and Villas are some of the nicest hotels many people will stay in during their entire lives. And by people, I mean me, and also many of you. Once I set foot in the Grand Floridian, I had no desire to travel to California to see the original hotel, and sitting poolside at Wilderness Lodge, I lost all inclination to drive 40 hours away to stay in a “real” lodge out west. I was home. But I also feel at home standing next to that mammoth Buzz Lightyear statue at the All-Star Movies Resort. Money talks, but it’s sure nice to go home with some of that money in your wallet.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

best Disney Resorts

Deciding between resort levels will come down to budget, personal requirements, length of stay, and then it often circles back around to your budget.  Will you just be staying in your room from midnight until 6 a.m.? Will you have a free day to swim? Do you want fine dining and character meal options within walking distance of your room? Do you need to pay Deluxe prices to have access to a microwave in the room?  Will your kids long for a pool slide or will you swim at all? Do you want to stay more days in a Value or less days in a Moderate/Deluxe to stay within your budget?

You get what you pay for, so how much are you willing to pay?

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.  Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with a calculator and a calendar, doing some adding and checking some dates.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

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

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

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

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