Disney Parks Launches First-Ever 360-Degree Panoramas on Google Street View

Did you know you can “explore” the Disney Parks down at the street level without ever leaving your seat, wherever that may be, by using either your phone or your computer?  [Read more…]

Disney Extravagances I Can’t Afford: Princess Dresses at the Grand Floridian Resort

I know Disney vacations are expensive, but every now and then the cost of some souvenirs shock even me. Get ready for the most fabulous princesses dresses I have ever seen, even if I can’t afford them… [Read more…]

When Disney Ticket Prices Go Up, What Can You Do?

Disney Ticket prices went up so what can you do?

Updated for 2018!

Last year, Disney raised their single day ticket prices for 2017 during certain times of the year. Company officials said they hoped this would prevent overcrowding during the busiest times at the theme parks. Ticket prices seem to creep up every year. So where does that leave you and your wallet? [Read more…]

Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Cabana Bay Cheapskate Princess Guide

Looking for a unique resort for your Orlando Vacation? Check out Cabana Bay Beach Resort, a Loew’s hotel located on site Universal Orlando Resort. Cabana Bay’s retro look will take you back to the sleek design of hotels from the the 50’s and 60’s. If you want to watch the lava from Universal’s newest theme park, waterpark Volcano Bay, you have rooms with a view! Whether traveling with the kids, or without, Cheapskate Princess Guide to Cabana Bay Beach Resort has all the information you need to decide if Cabana Bay is the right for your needs. [Read more…]

Pros and Cons of Staying Off Site at Disney World

disney-offsite-pros-and-cons

Planning a Disney vacation can be very overwhelming, especially considering where to stay in Orlando with so many options for all budgets and accommodation preferences. The first step in deciding where to stay should always be asking, “Do we stay on site at a Disney Resort or do we stay off site?” There are pros and cons staying off site at Disney World, while being in the middle of the magic at Disney World is fabulous and convenient, it comes with a price. On the flip side, off site resorts not operated by Disney or located outside the Disney World property can truly make a Disney vacation thrifty budget friendly, however sometimes offsite isn’t the best option.   [Read more…]

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

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Updated for 2017!

As the newest resort on Walt Disney World property, completed in 2012, the Art of Animation Resort will give you and the kids the feeling of being a character in some of your favorite Disney movies. Whether you are going under the sea with Nemo and Friends, swimming with The Little Mermaid, chilling out in Radiator Springs with Lightening McQueen and Mater, or enjoying the essence of the African savanna with Simba and his friends Timon and Pumba, Art of Animation has something for everyone of all ages.

This value resort provides the amenities and perks as other value resorts on property but can comfortablly accommodate larger families.

Compared to the other Disney value resorts, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are perfect for any budget. And while the Family Suites are higher priced than those found at All-Star Music Resort, your kids will definitely enjoy the adventurous feel of each differently themed area.

This list of pros and cons for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will help you decide if this should be your next choice for your magical Disney World vacation!

Read: A Cheapskate Prince$$ Guide: Top 10 Freebies at Disney World

7996404249_d7aeb790c2_zThe Inovabed in the Lion King Suite, one of 1,120 Family Suites available at Art of Animation

Art of Animation Resort Pros:

Standard Rooms: 

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms can accommodate up to four guests, plus one child under the age of three in a crib.

These rooms have two full beds.

Family Suites

For larger families, the Family Suites comfortably accommodate families of six.

While all rooms have a mini refrigerator, the Family Suites, also have a microwave and a kitchenette.

Family suites also have two bathrooms.

All Family Suites have three separate sleeping areas. The master bedroom has one queen, sleeper sofa with double bed, and the Inovabed that converts from a table to a double bed.

Pools:

There are three amazing heated pools; The Big Blue Pool (the largest at the resort and has an underwater soundtrack in the Finding Nemo Courtyard), Flippin’ Fins Pool (Little Mermaid courtyard), Cozy Cone Pool (Cars Courtyard).

The main pool and kids splash area have zero entry, which is perfect for little ones.

The Schoolyard is a water play area for the little ones; Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground and The Boneyard Playground are all play areas for your little animators.

 

Read: Prisma: The FREE App You Need for Your Disney Vacation Photos

Dining

Landscape of Flavors Food Court includes five distinctive food shops – The Soup, Salad and Sandwich Shop, The World Flavors Shop, The Pizza Shop, The Burger Shop and The Market.

The Drop Off is a poolside snack bar and delivery service.

Freebies included with your Reservation

Registered guests receive free resort and theme park parking.

Registered guests receive access to Extra Magic Hours in the parks when offered.

Transportation

Airport transportation is free using Disney’s Magical Express.

Free Disney Theme Park transportation is offered via service bus every 15-20 minutes.

There is a dedicated Disney transportation bus for Art of Animation guests only, as opposed to All-Star Value Resorts which all share the same bus line.

Fun Lobby

Animation Hall Lobby houses Pixel Play Arcade as well as, an interactive, hands-on area where a Disney artist teaches guests how to animate favorite characters.

Read: Disney World’s Memory Maker: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

7320062486_45965f6fb0_zFinding Nemo Courtyard features The Big Blue Pool, The Schoolyard, Squirt’s Righteous Playground

 

Art of Animation Resort Cons:

The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms are the farthest away from Animation Hall, like all standard rooms, so at the end of your day in the parks, it can be a long walk.

Finding Nemo suites are now considered a “preferred location” which means they are more per night than Cars or The Lion King Family Suites.

There are only a few Standard Rooms available with a King Bed.

While this is value resort, the price of the themed suites are more than the Family Suites at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort.

Because this resort is a great option for families, especially larger families, it can definitely be noisier during high peak travel times.

If you are a family of five, the themed Family Suites at Art of Animation Resort are not the least expensive option on property. If are trying to stick to a tight budget, certain room which accommodate five at the moderate resorts can be more cost effective.

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

102 (2)The Little Mermaid wing featuring 864 Standard Rooms

These pros and cons will help you decide if Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is the best fit for your family. My opinion is this is a great resort to try for your next Disney vacation. Whether you stay in The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms or any of the Finding Nemo, Cars or The Lion King suites, the pros outweigh the cons with this property.

With the right planning, you can avoid some of the cons of staying here.

7996401717_0aa4d48f04_zSleeper sofa in The Lion King Suite which converts to a double bed

108 (2) (1)Queen Bed in The Lion King Master Bedroom

AOA1The Little Mermaid Flippin’ Fins Pool

AOA2 The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

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The Inovabed as a table for four in the Finding Nemo Family Suite
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The 4.3 cu. ft. refrigerator and microwave in the Finding Nemo Family Suite Kitchenette

AOA5 The Master Bath in the Finding Nemo Family Suite

Art-of-Animation-Resort-040Squirt’s Righteous Reef Playground in the Finding Nemo Courtyard

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Read: Disney Springs’ Boathouse Restaurant: Tips for Dining Under $20

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Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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

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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.

Walt Disney World Locker Rentals: A Cheapskate Guide

Updated for 2018!

Many Disney park go-ers are not carrying in large bags or strollers will pockets galore. Sometimes, no bags to carry can trump paying a fee to rent a locker.  For your convenience, all the Disney theme parks and water parks offer paid locker rentals.  [Read more…]

Disney World Preferred Parking: Do You Need It?

preferred parking at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Disney World rolled out a preferred parking program back in 2016, allowing theme park visitors to get a closer parking spot at entrances to all four of their theme parks. Other theme parks in Orlando have charged for preferred parking for years. Regular car parking at Universal Studio’s garage is $20, with a preferred “Prime Parking” upgrade cost of $30(total). Universal offers valet parking ranging from $20 to $50 depending on how long you park your car. SeaWorld parking is $18, with a preferred parking upgrade cost of $23(total).

How much does Disney charge for parking and do you need to splurge on the up-charge for closer parking or take your chances just parking in the back? [Read more…]

30 Free Activities at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Free activities at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Updated for 2018!

Along with the Polynesian Village Resort, Contemporary Resort is one of Walt Disney World’s two original hotels. These are Deluxe accommodations, so what can you do there for FREE to go along with the high price tag! [Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #9: Why You Should Share Dessert

Updated for 2018!

Everywhere you look at Walt Disney World, you will be surrounded by incredibly sweet snacks and desserts. They are inescapable on Main Street at Magic Kingdom, restaurants, Goofy’s Candy Co. at Disney Springs, and now there are even dessert cases in the resort gift shops. I joke that you cannot walk more than about 100 feet without running into something with sugar as a main ingredient.

But man oh man, you have to see those desserts! Chocolate-covered caramel apples, brownies, ice cream sundaes, Dole Whips, tropical icees, pastries, turnovers… the list just never ends.

Should you eat the whole thing yourself?

[Read more…]

Disney World Food Tip #10: When to Schedule Table Service Meals to Save Money

Updated for 2018!

Headed to Walt Disney World? Chances are, you have several special restaurants you want to visit for a memorable meal. Table service meals, where a Cast Member brings food or drinks directly to your table, are a great way to add to your Disney dining experience, but it doesn’t come cheap. Table service meals are more expensive than counter service meals, sometimes by a rather large amount, and that’s before you even add in the tip.

Let’s say you ate breakfast in your room. Do you schedule your table service meal at lunch or dinner? 

[Read more…]

Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

save money at Disney World and Disneyland on Food
Updated for 2017!
 
If you ever ate half a Disney kid’s meal for lunch to save money for a character meal for dinner, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess!

You need to bring an empty stomach and a full wallet to Walt Disney World. Tickets, accommodations, food, travel costs, and souvenirs will all set you back a pretty penny. To help save you money both for and during your long-awaited Disney vacation, here’s our guide to a multitude of ways to save some cash, even if it’s not your first time to see the Mouse. [Read more…]