Disney World Extravagance: Keys to the Kingdom Tour

Updated for 2018!

Sometimes Disney fans need something different to propel a vacation to the next level. There are many Disney World special events you can attend by purchasing tickets that feature food, fun, and entertainment. You can also take tours of parks and resorts that provide backstage knowledge of Disney World and Walt Disney himself. These additional tickets are not necessary for a fun vacation, in fact many are pricey, but they can also create memories that last a lifetime. There’s really nothing cheapskate about purchasing an additional ticket on top of theme park admission, so we call this a Disney World extravagance.

Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour provides a five-hour, in-depth look at the history of Magic Kingdom, along with backstage access to legendary hidden areas, and lunch. [Read more…]

Looking Back at ALEX AND ANI’s “Precious” Disney Jewelry Collection

Alex and ani Disney jewelry


Updated for 2018!

ALEX AND ANI released new jewelry pieces to their Disney-themed jewelry line in October of 2015. Gift shop locations throughout the parks and resorts now offer the “Precious” collection, as well as the Disney Store.com. So when you Disney Princesses want to treat yourself to something nice, splurge on a really special souvenir from a fantastic vacation, where should a Cheapskate Princess spend her money?

There are Disney Dooney & Bourke handbags, plus Vera Bradley bags with Disney icons, but should you go the handbag route?

Hang onto your wallets, Disney Princesses, while we check out the ALEX AND ANI “Precious” collection in beautiful fall colors.

2018 Update: These designs are no longer being sold online at DisneyStore.com. I would suggest searching eBay at this point for these jewelry designs, but this article will give you an idea about prices.  [Read more…]

Disney World’s Crystal Palace Restaurant: Is it Worth the Money?

Updated for 2018!

Have you or the kids wanted to dine with Winnie the Pooh and a few of his pals? Crystal Palace is where you’ll find Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore. [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…]

Vancaro’s Titanium Disney Inspired His & Hers Rings

Mickey Mouse wedding rings

I found these great Mickey and Minnie inspired rings at Vancaro.com. I have spent a lot of time staring into souvenir cases in Walt Disney World gift shops, and I’ve never spotted anything quite like these, so get ready to stand out from all the other Disney vacation souvenirs. In October of 2015, they were on sale, which beats another set of t-shirts by a mile!

[Read more…]

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

earn money for a vacation

Mike, our Pixie Vacations travel consultant, has a simple way for Cheapskate Princess readers to earn money for bills, vacations, whatever you choose.  Get paid without doing any back-breaking work… sound too good to be true? It’s actually very easy.

We call it…

Mike’s Vacation Referral Program

When you refer your acquaintances, friends, and family to Mike, our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations , if they book a vacation with him*, you will receive a $20 check OR a $20 vacation credit when they return from their full paid trip. You get to choose if you want cash to pay some bills or if you want a room credit toward your next vacation.

What will your referrals get?

Mike’s travel agent services are 100% FREE. She can make your referral’s travel reservations, including accommodations, dining, and she can even help with advice on Fastpass+, purchasing tickets, what to do on free days, and show suggestions.

How this works…

1. To receive the $20, your referral must book a travel package of $2,000 or more with Mike.

2. You must mention Cheapskate Princess. This is a special deal for our readers only. If you don’t tell Mike that the Cheapskate Princess sent you, then you will not be eligible for the promotion. So don’t forget!

3. You will not receive your $20 check OR vacation credit until your referrals have returned from their fully paid vacation. Sometimes plans change, and we can’t reward you if your referral doesn’t actually travel.

4. There is no limit to how much referral money you can earn. Pixie Vacations clients have benefited from referrals before. But please refer friends and family that actually want to travel. We don’t want Mike to call and surprise anyone with no travel dreams.

5. Your referrals can contact Mike directly and mention YOU referred them. Your referrals just need to say they are participating with the Cheapskate Princess rewards program, and provide your name and contact information.

Start Planning Your Walt Disney World Vacation at Pixie Vacations today!

Get Started!

Contact Mike and give him your referrals.

Call 919-606-6725 or send an e-mail to mike@pixievacations.com

Make sure the people you refer are actually wanting to take a vacation. The trip could be to Disney or any other travel destinations; Mike plans trips worldwide. We don’t want to shock or surprise anyone.

Read: First Trip to Disney World? What You Probably Don’t Know

get money for a vacation

So you feel assured your referrals will receive the very best in service…

Why Use an Pixie Vacations Travel Consultant?

Mike gives you a lot…for FREE!!

1. There is no cost for you to use Mike at Pixie Vacations.  No cost. Zero. Totally Free.

2. As soon as discounts are released, Mike will update your current reservations to apply the discount, so you get the best deal available.

3. We can make dining recommendations for you, and then he can make all of your dining reservations. No work for you, no phone calls to make, and this service is FREE.

4. You can contact him by phone, email, text, or live chat.

5. He will create a free trip itinerary for you. This can save you valuable time, and you know that saying about how time is money.

6. Special Payment Program Available:

Pay a $200 deposit to hold your package, and then schedule payments toward your reservation using a major credit card at an interval that works for you and your budget until you make your final payment (30 days prior to arrival).  This makes a Disney World vacation much more affordable for many families.  

This special program is for Disney World, Disney Springs and Disney Good Neighbor packages.  You can e-mail Mike at mike@pixievacations.com for more details about the program.

7. Again, there is no cost for you to use Mike at Pixie Vacations.  No cost. Zero. Totally Free. What cheapskate doesn’t love FREE!!



Mike is a Disney College of Knowledge Graduate and a Universal Orlando Resort Specialist.  He is also a Certified Sandals Specialist and can plan trips for you to any destination.

Mike’s first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1979 when he was eleven years old.  In the 38 years since, Mike has visited countless times, and has introduced his love of Disney to his wife and daughter as well. In 2010, Mike started his own blog to document the memories of his trips online and to share his passion for Disney with all of you. Now, Mike is helping you plan a wonderful trip here at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess!

Whether it is a family’s first visit to Walt Disney World, an extended family coming together from all across the country, or something else, Mike specializes in making sure everyone gets the most magic out of their vacation!


When you are ready to plan a Disney World or Universal Vacation, we can save you money!

Use this link to have our articles e-mailed to you directly, delivered absolutely for free!   Use this link for TRAVEL DEALS, the latest Orlando discounts and promotions.

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our official Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations.

Give Mike a call at 919-606-6725, or send an email to mike@pixievacations.com.

Start Planning your Disney Vacation with Pixie Vacations!


Walt Disney World MagicBands: A Cheapskate Guide

MagicBands information and prices

Updated for 2018!

When we got back from our summer Disney vacation, my 7th grade son wore his MagicBand every day for nearly four months. And let me assure you, he’s not alone. After wearing the bands all around Disney World, what better way to hold onto that vacation magic a little longer than to continue wearing the band day after day! For those who need a little more information on the bands, what they do, and some free vs. cost information, we developed this Cheapskate Princess Guide to send you off on vacation in the know.

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

What are MagicBands?

MagicBands are these cool plastic bands you can wear on your wrist while you are on a Disney vacation. MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands – resembling a watch or bracelet – that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a ”touch point.”

MagicBands contains an HF Radio Frequency device and transmitter which sends and receives RF signals through a small antenna inside the MagicBand. This enables the band to be read by long-range readers used to deliver personalized experiences, as well as provide information that helps Disney improve the overall experience of our Parks.

MagicBands are not currently used at the Disneyland Resort, however, people are guessing they will eventually be used there as well as other Disney parks overseas. 14 months after this article was published in 2015, these MagicBand features are still exclusive to Walt Disney World Resort. 

Not only have they become a fashion statement in the parks and resorts, but they serve a huge functional purpose on your vacation. MagicBands connect choices you make on the My Disney Experience mobile app. and the website.

  • Use the MagicBand and a valid park ticket  to enter theme parks and water parks.
  • Redeem your FastPass+ selections.
  • Connect your Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account.
  • Enter your Disney resort rooms, as this is the new room key, having replaced plastic key cards.
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases to your room.
  • Identify yourself when you pass through theme park parking plazas.

Read: Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

When are they free?

And I mentioned before, when you stay at Walt Disney World Resort or if you are an Annual Passholder, MagicBands are given to you for free.

When are they not free?

If you are not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel and are not a Passholder, you will receive a card when you purchase park admission. You then have the option to purchase a MagicBand at the theme parks, Disney Springs, or at DisneyStore.com. You can link your park admission ticket using My Disney Experience and then use your MagicBand to enter the parks.

In addition to solid color, plain bands, ShopDisney.com and the resort and park gift shops also have graphic MagicBands available for purchase. In 2015, graphic MagicBands retailed for $19.95 each. In 2016, bands retail for $22.95 to $27.95 in lots of colors and designs. Jump to 2018 and prices are still @22.99 to $27.9 for specialty bands. The purchase price for a band as of May 2018, without shipping costs is $12.99 for plain bands to $22.99 for specialty character bands. So if you need to purchase a band, or your children wear out their bands over time and need a replacement, it may be easier to just order new bands online. Use this link to the Disney Store.com for ordering information. 

Read: Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

And of course, because those Disney magic makers are merchandising geniuses, there is all sorts of extra “bling” you can order for your bands.

MagicBandits Sets – $6.99 per set of three, $8.99 for a set of 4

MagicBandits decorate any common band when you simply pop the design into any available holes. The bandits are small parts, and they are not designed for children under three years.

These little additions have a reputation for falling off occasionally, so keep an eye on them if they start to work their way out of the holes.

You can use this link to the DisneyStore.com for more MagicBandits. 

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


Answers to Common Questions

1. What if we don’t have the free bands when we arrive?

If you plan a last minute vacation and don’t have time to order your MagicBands before you leave, you should be able to get them once you arrive at your ersort, but you may not get the color you want based on supply.

2.  If you have an old admission ticket, (hand date-stamped with no magnetic strip) will this ticket link to a MagicBand? 

Yes. As you enter the parks, go to Guest Relations to exchange your old ticket for a new plastic card containing an RFID chip. That ticket information will then be linked to your MagicBand.

3. How many MagicBands can you have?

While you can have up to seven, you won’t need that many. You will link, activate, and/or deactivate them on the My Disney Experience website or using the phone app.

4. What happens if I lose my MagicBand? 

If you should lose your band, deactivate it using your My Disney Experience account online or using on the mobile app.  Notify Guest Relations or your hotel’s Lobby Concierge if you are on resort property, where you should have a replacement band issued. If you are off property/finished with your vacation when you lose the band, deactivate the band using the same methods, but realize you may have to purchase a replacement.

5. Do you have to use MagicBands?

No, because you can always use a plastic RF card for park admission and resort room entry. The only issue may be that the RF cards cannot be detected by long-range readers like the MagicBands can. Just let a Cast Member know your preference when you check in.

6. Will the band get ruined if it gets wet?
No. MagicBands are waterproof, so you can wear them swimming or showering.

How fun would a box full of these be?!

Disney World MagicBandits

Given how many people are now wearing the bands throughout their vacations, and how many of the MagicBands and accessories stations are now found in gift shops everywhere, chances are your children are going to either buy the accessories and specialty bands or certainly ask about purchasing them.

Now you will be prepared pre-trip with details and prices. Financial information allows you Disney moms and the kids to make a plan.

One of these days, you’ll look up and find your arm decorated just like this…

magicband Disney world overdose

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you blinging out your bands, or explaining to the kids how much money is left in their budget for MagicBand bling!

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.




One of the Best Disney World Snacks Under $10? Try a Cupcake!

best Disney World snacks under $10

Updated for 2018!

If you’ve been to Disney World before, there are several really yummy snacks that cost under $10 that would easily qualify for the “Best” snack you can buy on vacation.

I’m going to make my pitch for cupcakes as one of the best items, because they are colorfully appealing and large enough to share, which can help in cutting your snack costs. [Read more…]

FREE Disney Minnie and Mickey Mouse Holiday Paper Dolls

Planning a future Disney trip or simply looking for an afternoon Disney themed craft? Say hello to these FREE Mickey and Minnie paper dolls by Cory Jensen. [Read more…]

Space Mountain…with the Lights On!

Updated for 2017!

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, you’ve undoubtedly seen Space Mountain. It remains one of the most popular rides in Disney World, despite the fact that it is not the fastest ride in the park. [Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #8: Avoid Eating Too Much Sugar

stay healthy on a Disney vacation

Updated for 2018!

My son and I have a little verbal game we play on walks when we are not visiting Disney parks. You know on those mundane days when we are surviving non-Disney reality, because somebody has to walk the dog in reality-ville. He likes to ask me, “What snack would you eat at Disney World right now?” I answer based on how long ago I ate a meal and which resort or park I can re-call to mind first. He always starts off with that same question, “What snack would you eat at Disney right now?” He doesn’t ask that repeatedly because he lacks imagination, but rather he asks because snacks occupy a HUGE part of our Orlando trips.

Ask anybody…Disney snacks and goodies are the stuff vacation legends are made of.

Read: 5 Steps for Planning a Disney Vacation: A Cheapskate Guide

sharing snacks at Disney World

I remember like it was yesterday. Several years ago, our children all went to the video arcade at the Contemporary Resort, leaving me and my husband to explore without kids. We wound up at the Contempo Cafe, so I could watch the monorails zip through the building. I bought a Black Forrest cupcake, and knowing my children wouldn’t be around to beg, I proceeded to eat the entire thing. That cupcake was as big as my fist; pretty soon after finishing it, I felt sick as a dog. And what should have been a lovely adult-quiet-time snack turned into an all too common occurrence on vacations. I had a sugar crash.

Wait, wait. I thought sugar was supposed to make you feel good?

Livestrong.com explains that eating sugar gives you an instant surge of energy, but this doesn’t last very long. Your blood sugar will surge to respond to the sugary snack you just ingested, your metabolism will burn through it, and then your “system crashes.” Now you wind up feeling sluggish and tired. You could feel yucky after eating too much sugar because your fullness sensors become impaired. When this happens, you may wind up eating more food or snacks than your body needs, and again, you feel uncomfortably full and sluggish.

I now call this phenomena “cupcake crash.” 

Read – Differences in the Disney World Resort Levels: A Cheapskate Guide

cupcakes at Walt Disney World

I don’t eat sugary treats on vacation for energy; I eat them because, for the most part, they just simply taste amazing!  Assuming these snacks and desserts are sometimes about equal to what I can purchase at home in terms of quality, home food 100% of the time remains unmatched by Disney atmosphere and theming. I swear that cupcake truly tastes better than the average home-made cupcake when eaten outside by the pool at Coronado Springs. A Goofy’s Glacier icee is definitely better than the absolute best Slurpeee I ever slurped, because it was consumed outside the Word of Disney Store, Tinker Bell lights twinkling in the trees, Disney music piped in from the bushes. A hot fudge sundae during Wishes? Man, oh man…

Any of those treats seriously trumps a Zinger eaten at my back yard table any day.

The key to vacation snacking dining success is to examine the type of sugars you are consuming.

Read: Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

caramel apples snacks at Disney World

Bodybuilding.com explains there are two types of sugars, simple sugar and complex sugars.

Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are those that can get absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. They are sometimes called “fast sugars,” and foods containing these types of sugars are high on the glycemic index. This sugar can be sucrose, glucose, maltose, fructose, or different types of natural sugar.

Simple sugars can be disguised as jams, sweets, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chocolates, biscuits, ice creams etc. They can also be found in mass quantities at the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Confectionary. I can just imagine the sweets counter now, with a Cast Member asking what I need today…

Complex Sugars

Complex sugars are those that release sugar slowly into the blood, thus they are referred to as “slow sugars.” Foods containing complex carbohydrates are generally low on the glycemic index. Fairly common examples of these foods are apples, peanuts, strawberries, lentils, green vegetables and mushrooms.

Low glycemic foods release sugar into the blood in quantities that the body can cope with without having to release high levels of insulin. Also these foods provide the body with nutrients it needs to burn sugar effectively.

Read: Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg; Gotta Have It or Skip it?

best snacks at Walt Disney World

Eating more of the slow sugars (complex) and less of the fast sugars (simple) ensure your energy levels stay constantly ramped up. When there is no huge sugar crash, this usually means you are less likely to crave another instant sugar hit.

So what are you to do, surrounded by all those delectable treats and desserts? Because like Mickey t-shirts and key chains, there are desserts, ice creams, and pastries everywhere you turn. If you don’t see them, chances are you can smell them as you walk down the sidewalks. And darling, they smell fantastic!

Try to eat more fruits and vegetables than sweets while you are at Disney World. That’s a simple concept that most of us learned in high school health class, but it’s easier to say than actually to do on vacation. You can bring healthy snacks with you or spend more for them on property.

And yet sometimes you will just need to give in to that yummy Disney treat-temptation.

Go buy that cupcake, purchase that Glacier drink, order that chocolate pie with a Dole Whip on the side. But then in true Cheapskate Princess style, you are going to share it.

Grab a knife ands split it in half, fourths even if you are traveling with a larger party. Divide it up, and have a “snack sample.” I tell my children all the time that a Disney snack isn’t meant to be a meal, it’s a sample. And some of those Disney muffins, pastries, fritters, cakes, pies, ice cream bars, and frozen drinks have enough substance to make you as full as if you had just consumed a meal.

Your vacation problem arrives when you overindulge on sweets, because a “cupcake crash” can be right around the corner.

Read – Walt Disney World’s Giant Turkey Leg: Gotta Have It or Skip it?

Mickey Mouse cake pop at Disney World

Buy three snacks, cut them up, and make your own dessert sampler. Just get a taste, and your body will thank you later. Trust me, your kids will LOVE this idea if you present it the right way. Hey kids, you get to try more desserts with the Cheapskate Sharing Plan, just in smaller amounts. You get what you pay for at Disney World, and sometimes it’s more about quality than quantity.

Ok, maybe they won’t thank you immediately, but you’ll be glad their little stomachs aren’t aching after consuming a cupcake built for four.

If you ever divided a cupcake into four parts because another snack time is only several hours away, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you with a knife in hand, explaining to the kids the differences between a snack and a meal.

how to save money on food at Disney parks

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.




Love Disney Kid’s Crafts? Check Out These FREE Maleficent Paper Dolls!

Maleficent Paper dolls by Cory Jensen

Updated for 2015!

At Cheapskate Princess, we love anything FREE, no matter how big or small. It’s pretty difficult these days to find something that is honestly truly free without some sort of string attached. After spotting Paper Dolls by Cory Jensena Facebook group featuring paper doll designs you could print off for free, I was tripping over myself to get permission to supply these paper dolls to our readers. And here they are, our third set of dolls. You’ll find links for the other sets of dolls at the bottom of this page. 

These paper dolls would be perfect for a rainy day craft you could do with your girls or a project they could do at the kitchen table while you cook dinner. You can find Paper Dolls By Cory using this link.  [Read more…]