Times Have Changed: Welcome to the New Era of Walt Disney World

New Disney World

Updated for 2017!

A while back, author and freelance writer  wrote an article for Huff Post Travel called, “For the First Time in Forever… I Did Not Enjoy My Vacation to Disney World.” She described how, as a life long Disney vacation traveler, her most recent trip to the Mouse House was not as enjoyable as she hoped for. “It’s simply gotten too big, too commercial, too regimented.” She noted that through the years, changes have been made which many long time Disney fans haven’t enjoyed so much. I’m here to tell you that my most recent trip was neither efficient nor pleasurable.

She provided several reasons why she didn’t have fun-fun-fun at the Happiest Place on Earth. And even after time has passed since she wrote the article, people have problems with some of her same issues.

[Read more…]

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

hoop-de-doo-musical-revue-00Photo Credit: www.disneyworld.com

Updated for 2017!

It’s a rootin’ tootin’, not high falutin’, good old-fashioned family fun hootenanny! The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Walt Disney World has the distinction of being the longest running dinner show in America. It also is one of the more expensive dining experiences at Disney World. Let this guide help you decide if the Hoop-Dee-Doo is perfect for you and your family.

Read: Over 30 FREE Activities In Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

[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

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

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!

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.

Disney World Cheapskate Souvenir Picks: Fridge Magnets for Under $20

best Disney World souvenirs

Updated for 2017!

You may run out of time on your Disney vacation, but you certainly will never run out of souvenir options. Gift shop after shop, your choices are endless. They are also expensive; sticker shock is a common sight among shoppers. What can you bring home that won’t bust your souvenir budget? This may not sound too original of a purchasing suggestion, but you haven’t seen the pictures yet…

You need a fridge magnet! [Read more…]

Top 5 Souvenir Shops at Walt Disney World

top 5 Souvenir Gift Shops at Disney World

Every vacation budget has that one important line item…souvenirs. How much should you spend? What will we buy? What is the one (or two) perfect vacation souvenir to take home that could carry all your magical memories home with it? [Read more…]

Visiting Animal Kingdom at Night? Be Sure to Catch the Harambe Wildlife Parti!

Updated for 2018!

If you are visiting Animal Kingdom after sundown, be sure to catch the Harambe Wildlife Parti. This safari after-party fills Harambe, which is an African village located within Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, featuring a beautiful theatre district and a hopping marketplace. Busy during the day with local street musicians and entertainment, at night, it’s time to get ready for a parti! [Read more…]

Disney World Extravagance: Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Updated for 2018!

Food will cost a lot of money at Disney World. Food costs are a huge part of any vacation to anywhere, but you get what you pay for at Disney World, and you’ll be literally forking over a lot for Disney dining. Now if you’re looking for something extra special, a Disney extravagance fit for a princess, then say hello to the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  [Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Caribbean Beach Resort Guide

caribbean beach resort guide

Walt Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a large, with over 200 acres surrounding a 45 acre lake called Barefoot Bay. There is a 1.3 mile path around the resort and lake which connects all the villages that is great for jogging or walking. The lake provides sandy beaches for sunbathing with hammocks for relaxing, though swimming is not permitted in the lake.

The Custom House at the main entrance is where guests check-in and acts as the arrival and departure points for guests using Disney’s Magical Express airport service. Bell Services is located here too. Check in time is 3 p.m.; check out time is 11 a.m. [Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Disney Parks Icons Handbags by Dooney & Bourke

Updated for 2018!

There sure were some cute Disney Dooneys being released in 2017, although cute and cheap are obviously two different things. Paying hundreds of dollars for purses is certainly no cheapskate move. But Dooney & Bourke handbags are known for their excellent quality, so a purchase on this level can be an investment that will last indefinitely.

Do you buy a $35 t-shirt with a lifespan of five years or more, or do you splurge on an extravagant leather handbag that could last until your retirement? Disney certainly has a lot to tempt you with in every price range imaginable…

Check out the Disney Parks Icons collection, which was still being sold as of September 2018.

[Read more…]

Early Morning Magic in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World: a Cheapskate Guide

Updated for 2018!

With Disney World so insanely busy lately, it’s no wonder they started offering tickets to get into Magic Kingdom before the park actually opens. You can make your Magic Kingdom morning more magical than ever with a limited-entry, first-access experience in the park, but it’s going to cost you extra money.

Is it worth the price?

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How to Avoid (YUK!) Bedbugs at Walt Disney World

If you stay in hotel rooms on vacation, you often hear tales of the dreaded bedbug. The name even sounds horrible. Bedbugs are tiny creatures that look like ticks, and they feed off the blood of animals and humans. If you stay in a hotel room with an infestation, there’s good and bad news. [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…]