How to Keep a Good Disney Character Meal From Going All Wrong

character meals at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Ever taken a small child to eat dinner with a towering, walking, stuffed doll? There you have it…a Disney Character Meal. Many parents are understandably giddy at the thought of booking a character meal for their next Disney vacation, but is your child really ready to dine with Mickey and all his pals? [Read more…]

Telling Kids About A Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

When do you tell kids you are going to Disney World?Updated for 2018!

When should you tell the kids about your plans? There are really two ways to do it; tell them way ahead of time or wait until the last-minute. They get the fun (or stress!) of planning the vacation with you, or they get the surprise of a lifetime. Is there a preferred choice? [Read more…]

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

should you take kids out of school for vacation?

Updated for 2018!

Should we pull the kids out of school for a Disney vacation? We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Readers if they would take their kids out of school for a Disney trip, and the answer was a resounding yes and for several different reasons. [Read more…]

Renting a Pool Cabana at Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Can you afford a Disney World pool cabana

Updated for 2015!

A Disney vacation isn’t all about roller coasters.  If you decide to to schedule a free day away from the parks and stand-by lines, you may find yourself planning a day by the pool. There are several resorts on the Disney Resort property that have cabanas by their pools, but we’ll use the cabanas by the Contemporary Resort as our example.

Just steps away from the sandy beaches of Bay Lake and two fabulous pools at the Contemporary Resort, the Cabanas for rent here are every Disney Princess’ dream. Compared to just sitting on a deck chair, there are loads of fabulous cabana services and amenities that will make you feel like you are receiving Rock Star Treatment.

Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World

quiet pool at the Contemporary Resort at Disney Wor

Can’t Afford to Stay at This Pricey Disney Resort? Then Go Eat Here!

What Do You Get?

  • An exclusive tented-area just for you, family, and friends
  • Personalized service from your own Cast Member during your rental (No gratuities accepted)
  • Towels, two padded chaise lounge chairs, and two padded chaise beds, just in case you find yourself in need of a relaxing nap in the Bay Lake breeze
  • A 32-inch flat screen TV with cable
  • An iPod docking station for your favorite relaxing tunes
  • A mini-fridge stocked with complimentary bottled waters and sodas
  • A phone for calls inside the Contemporary resort complex
  • A complimentary fruit tray
  • For an additional cost, you can dine privately
  • A ceiling fan
  • Free Wifi

Pool cabana price for the Contemporary Resort in POrlando

what to do at a Disney pool? Rent a cabana

Disney World best pool

When it is available?

The Cabanas are available for half day rentals (morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and afternoon from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and all day rentals run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

price for Disney World pool cabanas

rent a Disney World pool cabana

bed pool side at a Disney pool

Disney World Resort Hopping: A Cheapskate Guide To Free Fun!

How much will the cabana cost?

Morning or afternoon rentals are $149 plus tax for each session, or the all day rental charge is $219 plus tax. All prices are subject to change without notice, and one person in your party must be at least 18 years of age.

The maximum amount of guests for the Cabanas are six. There is also a 24 hour cancellation policy, or the full charge will be applied, although you can cancel at any time due to inclement weather. For reservations, call (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.

You can also visit the marina at the Contemporary for same day reservations.

Disney pool cabana

flat screen Tv in Disney pool cabana

The Contemporary Resort’s Quiet Pool is close enough to watch the action at the pool with the slide, but far away enough not to be bothered if you are here for relaxation and to work on your tan.  The sounds of ducks, boat whistles, and happy vacationers walking  the dock all blend together into just the sounds of vacation.

So break out your designer sunglasses, that cute sun hat, your new Mickey Mouse string bikini, and unleash your inner Disney Princess at the Contemporary Cabanas. You’ll be the absolute envy of poolside vacationers throughout Walt Disney World!

Remember that walking around the resorts is free, as Disney has an open resort policy. But swimming in the pools where you are not a paying guest is not allowed except under one condition. Use this link:

A Guide To Disney World Resort Pool Hopping

lounge by the pool in a cabana at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Mickey towels at Disney pool and cabanas

rent a pool canaba at Disney World

Have you ever rented a cabana? Did you think it was worth the money? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you lounging on a chair by the Contemporary Resort, soda in hand, the smell of coconut suntan lotion in the air…

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.

Doing Disney World for Less: Rent a Surrey Bike

Updated for 2018!
Ever thought about renting a surrey bike on Disney vacation? They are not as expensive as you would think.

[Read more…]

A Personalized Disney-Themed License Plate – Can You Afford One?

can you afford a personalized Disney license plate?

Updated for 2018!

My family seems to spend a fair amount of time on vacation walking through Disney parking lots. When we arrive at Hollywood Studios, we have a 100% track record of being parked at nearly the absolute far end of the row. Other than wonder what you forgot to bring with you in your backpack, what else is there to do as you walk down the isle but look at cars?  More specifically at car decals and license plate tags. Next time you are walking to the trams or the parks, after you make note of where you parked, check out the car tags. [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Starbucks by the Lake

new Starbucks at Downtown Disney

Updated for 2018!

The first place I go on every visit to Disney Springs is the Starbucks located by the Characters in Flight balloon. Once you’ve visited, you’ll be hooked too! [Read more…]

Is Disney World’s Tomorrowland Fireworks Dessert Party Worth the Money?

Disney Fireworks Dessert Party cost

Updated for 2016!

I have wanted to experience the Tomorrowland Fireworks Dessert Party since I first saw pictures of the desserts. The number one factor holding me back? The price, but given how yummy those desserts appear and having a private place to watch the Wishes fireworks after stuffing my face, I probably could have justified the price for a family of five. In fact, we made reservations for last December. And then I read some reviews online, and we cancelled our reservations.

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans who had been to the Dessert Party to tell us what they thought. So let’s hear their opinions, because they’ve been there and eaten that! Did they feel this experience was worth the money?

 Top Ten Cheapskate Tips For a Fantastic Disney World Vacation

the cost of the Tomorrowland Fireworks Dessert party

Yes

Suzi,  “I’ve done it the past two years and just love it. It is worth the price for me simply to have assigned seats and a reserved spot to watch Wishes. With a grumpy husband having that space to ‘ourselves’ is totally worth it.  And the extra sugar actually helps us because we plan this for an Extra Magic Hours night, so its not like we are just going back to the resort for sleep after.  We need that energy.  Yes, it is true, people do run up to the railing when the show starts.  You just have to know that and get up yourself too. There is PLENTY of room along the railing for the 50-100 people in there.  I actually think there is a better view further down near the buffet.  Still way more room than on Main Street.”

Marissa, “We did it in December for the first time and we will do it again!”

Vonni,  “It’s so worth it! Awesome desserts, great location! We will do it every trip!”

Erin,  “This past October was our first time going to the dessert party, and I was afraid it wasn’t going to be worth it.  But it was worth every penny. Our 9-year-old son loved it also. He went back for more every time I turned around! And the view for the fireworks was perfect!”

Dawn, “We did it in August and had great seats. It was so good! We had front row viewing for Wishes fireworks on our first night. It was the perfect way to start our Disney vacation!”

Kristi, “Our main objective was to see the show in a relaxed, comfortable, and non- crowded atmosphere. The desserts were an added perk. It was much a much more pleasant way to enjoy the show.”

Karen“We all loved it! The desserts were great and the view is fantastic!”

Lisa, “We did it last year and loved it, and we’re doing it again this year and any other year after this that we go! Great desserts, great view! I’d pay the $22 again.”

Susan, “I did the dessert party last September. Great location, no crowd to deal with, and the desserts were good. They were still out after the fireworks for a while too. By the time we left the terrace most of the crowd was gone. Ww would do it again.”

 6 Reasons to Schedule a Haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland dessert party

No

Jeri, “We did this last April – except at Epcot. I was not impressed!”

Kaitlin“Did this in September.  It was cool, but I would not do it a second time.”

Traci,  “We did this way back when they first started. I won’t do it again. We waited in line for a long time and were seated at a great table upfront. As soon as the show started, everyone ran up to the railing in front of our table. We couldn’t see much or get one picture without half the fireworks cut off by people sanding in front of us. Also the dessert bar was like vultures at feeding time, and they were not quick to refill either. Kind of like a first come first served situation, and I didn’t care for it.”

Crystal, “I felt it was over priced. There were too many people in that small space, but they ran out of food and drinks. And people fight over standing at the railing. We did it once but never again.”

Caoimhne, “We did this in October, and it was the worst Disney experience ever. The coffee and tea was cold, the desserts were only OK,  and a lot them looked different but tasted exactly the same, which was weird! The Cast Members didn’t seem to know what they were doing.  They ran out of plates, and we waited ten minutes for them to bring out more. It’s true, people rush and  push to get to the railing, so we stayed at our table as my toddler had fallen asleep in her stroller. But the Cast Member’s insisted on walking over and back to clear tables.  We asked one Cast Member to please stop blocking our view, and her response was, ‘I don’t see what your problem is the show is in the sky.‘”

Sarah, “We did this once and while we mostly enjoyed it, we don’t have much desire to do it again. We lined up way early, and we had great seats, but when the Cast Member seated us, she told us to stand at the railing when the fireworks began. We did what she said, and the people at the front row table behind us took it very personally. The first several minutes of the show was spent listening to nasty comments at our backs. Also, we were not prepared for the way people would overload multiple plates with desserts, leaving nothing for the more civilized, who got a couple things with hopes to go back. They ran out of many dessert items, and it was disappointing to miss out on trying new things while seeing piles of uneaten items being bused away from greedy tables who were just interested in grabbing as much as they could as fast as they could.”

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

Disney dessert party

Maybe Not Again

Sharon, “We actually just did this on Friday evening. It was our first trip to Disney, and my parents went with us. Unfortunately, it was about 40 degrees out, so I don’t think I enjoyed the desserts as much as if it were warmer out. Though I certainly ate my fair share. I am glad we did it at least once, it made for some fantastic memories. I don’t know if we would do it again, we’d probably try for some other experiences we haven’t had.”

Allyson,In my opinion, the dessert is exceptional, however, I didn’t feel that the view was spectacular.  A side view is not the same as a view straight on. Also, I am basing it on the fact that even though we had a front row view from our table, we still had to ‘line up’ at the railing about an hour before the fireworks started to make sure we were able to see. I am also basing my opinion on the fact that we had to deal with an extremely rude mother who was trying to take the spot from our children. If I am going to pay that much for a good view and a dessert, that I don’t want to have to deal with other rude people, as we all pay the same amount to get in. I think standing on Main Street, U.S.A., is just as nice, and you have a much better view of the castle. And it’s FREE!!!  This is a great one-time experience for the desserts though!”

How much will this experience cost and what’s on the menu? We have that info. for you!

Can You Afford the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party at Disney World?

And there you have what some of our  Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans thought about the dessert party.  So let us know…have you been, and what did you think?! 

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.

If You Do This on a Disney Vacation, You May Totally Regret It Later

2 princess how to behave at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

The Disney Company are masters of commercials making their theme parks seem like magical lands where happy families come to laugh, smile, and enjoy each other’s company. In Facebook group after group, people rave about how fantastic their Disney vacations were. They talk endlessly about how they can’t wait to return again for more fun. If there were problems, you may hear about long lines, occasional service or reservation issues, and maybe rainy weather.

But most often lost among the happy Disney chatter is the rare discussion about how traveling to Disney World with friends, family, and children can be incredibly stressful.  And so, expecting  smiles and fun, many people are caught off guard by the reality of the situation. [Read more…]

“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…]

Five Pieces of WDW Advice, Straight From the Fans Who Have Been There & Done That!

Disney World advice for vacations

We asked our fans to send in their best advice for a Disney World vacation. Here we go…

1. Skip the Park Hopper

Rebecca, “If you have little kids, don’t waste your money on the hopper pass.”

Park Hopper passes will cost you more money, for one. You lose a lot of time changing parks. While Disney provides free transportation to the other parks, but getting there can take up a lot of valuable park time. And walking through the parks, walking to the transportation, is tough on small legs. And if children are in strollers, that doesn’t make it any easier on your feet.

It’s hard to do this for multiple days throughout a vacation.

Rebecca’s advice – pick a park and spend your time there. You’ll save money and walk less, spending more time in that park rather than transitioning to another.

2. Make a List

Tonia, “Make a list of priorities. No matter how much you plan and how long you have, you will NOT see it all! (But don’t over-plan your days either!)”

Disney is a huge place, and it’s almost an over-simplification to say that you won’t do it all. Unless you are staying for weeks, there is just too much to do. You need a plan. And a great idea for groups or families with kids is to involve them in the planning process.

Amber, “Take your time! You will not be able to see it all AND enjoy it. So relax, take in the little details, prioritize your experiences so you don’t over do it.  Let YOUR magic just happen!”

Pick what is most important to you, because time goes by fast, and even with great planning, you may struggle to see everything you are looking forward to accomplishing. Make a list of priorities.

3. Take the Kids Out of School

Micheal, “It’s OK to take the kids out of school! Creating family memories is JUST as important (if not more important) than whatever is going on at school. And going during school cuts down on cost and crowds making for a much better experience for all involved!”

There has been article after article written on the pros and cons of taking kids out of school. I know it’s tough to take older teens out of school. But those younger school-age kids, those five to 12ish age kids not prepping for the ACT- will have a blast during the low crowd seasons when school is in session.

Parents, try not to make this harder for their teachers. Get the work ahead of time. Have the kids do it on the car/plane ride to Orlando. Get it finished when you get back. Try to help the kids with the work as much as possible so teachers don’t have to do double work upon your return.

There is so much you can learn on a Disney vacation, from history to people skills.

Best Advise for a Disney World vacation

4. Don’t Do Too Much

Susan, “Plan one park a day with one table reservation at that park (or less). Don’t overextend. Try to go when you have 5-6 days (at least) to be there because chances are one of those days you will want to make it a short day at a park, or not go at all and just relax at Downtown Disney, swimming pool, ferry ride, etc.  Also, if you have a few hours to do something on your arrival or departure day, don’t try to go to a park – it always takes longer than you think and it will just cause stress. Save it for the next trip. And start planning it as soon as you get home.

When you tell people you are going to Disney World, if they don’t ask you why you are going again, they will probably offer some sort of planning advice. You should do this, see this, eat here, and ride this. I am guilty of this myself. But remember to

5. Rest!

Number four sort of Mickey Mouse Premium Ice Cream bar melts into number five. This advice almost seems counter-productive to enjoying an expensive vacation, but a rest is almost a necessity for a lot of families.

Crystal, “Rest! Just because a park is open, it doesn’t mean you have to be there. I mapped it all out very strategically, so we could utilize every available extra magic hour. One day we entered Epcot at 8 a.m., then hopped to Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and closed the place down at 2 a.m. We did this just to sleep and be at Hollywood Studios by 9 the next morning. My husband and both kids were all amazing troopers, and we made a lot of memories. We never waited in any lines, but I promised never to do that to them again. Luckily we DID take the advice to take a day off to recharge in the middle of the trip.”

Leave us your best advice for a Disney vacation. We love hearing from people who have been there and done that!

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.

1st Trip to Disney? Should You Give Kids Money for Souvenirs?

Money for Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Should you give kids money on vacations? This may add stress to your life, watching as your ever-increasing vacation budget reaches new heights. But ask any kid, and they’ll say it will add joy to their lives. [Read more…]