Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Haunted Mansion Handbags by Dooney & Bourke

Disney's Haunted Mansion Dooney handbag

Updated for 2018!

If you’ve been to a Disney theme park lately, you know it’s a fashion show, from Mickey Mouse themed shoes to Cinderella earrings and hats. 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?

Hang onto your wallets, Disney Princesses, while we check out the Haunted Mansion handbags by Dooney & Bourke…

These handbags were for sale at the Disney Store online in March of 2016. 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. 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

The Haunted Mansion Nylon Backpack by Dooney & Bourke – $298

Ready for a field trip? Pack-up your poltergeists in this large leather-trimmed backback. Made of silky nylon fabric, this pack features a grim grinning portrait gallery inspired by Disney’s The Haunted Mansion.

Disney Haunted Mansion Dooney backpack

Dooney & Bourke Haunted Mansion bags

While each piece is unique and pattern elements may vary, details include:

  • 13” H x 11” W x 7” D
  • Nylon shell with genuine leather trim
  • Contrast stitching
  • Zip exterior pocket with leather pull
  • Two open exterior side pockets
  • Flap top closure with fringed leather pull ties and magnetic snap
  • Zip interior pocket with leather pull
  • Three open interior pockets
  • Interior leather key strap with toggle clasp
  • Fully lined
  • Leather top carry handle
  • Adjustable textile fabric shoulder straps
  • Metal feet
  • Golden and silvertone finish hardware
  • ”Dooney & Bourke Since 1975” embossed leather label inside
  • ”Dooney & Bourke” embossed metal label on front

 

If a backpack is not your fashion choice, there is a complimentary shopper bag available, actually with a slightly lower price.

Items You Can NOT Bring to Disney Theme Parks: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

The Haunted Mansion Nylon Leisure Shopper – $248

Take those skeletons out of your closet and carry them along in this leather-trimmed Leisure Shopper, made of silky nylon fabric and featuring a grim grinning portrait gallery inspired by The Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion Nylon Leisure Shopper by Dooney & Bourke

Details regarding the shopper bag include:

  • Nylon shell with genuine leather trim
  • Contrast stitching
  • Zip top closure with braided leather pull
  • Zip interior pocket with leather pull
  • Three open interior pockets
  • Interior leather key strap with toggle clasp
  • Fully lined
  • Two leather carry handles
  • Metal feet
  • Golden finish hardware
  • ”Dooney & Bourke Since 1975” embossed leather label inside
  • ”Dooney & Bourke” embossed metal label on front

Haunted Mansion Nylon Leisure Shopper

And dropping the price just a bit further to the under $200 range, a cross body bag is available for purchase.

The Haunted Mansion Nylon Crossbody Bag – $188

Not only can you carry along the remains of the day, but you’ll have room for your make up as well,  in this leather-trimmed Crossbody Bag, made of silky nylon fabric, with the same grim grinning portrait gallery inspired by Disney’s The Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion Dooney & Bouke

Haunted Mansion crossbody bag

The details are very similar to the other two Haunted Mansion bags.

  • Nylon shell with genuine leather trim
  • Contrast stitching
  • Zip exterior pocket with leather pull
  • Zip top closure with leather pull
  • Zip interior pocket with leather pull
  • Three open interior pockets
  • Interior leather key strap with toggle clasp
  • Fully lined
  • Adjustable leather crossbody strap with buckle
  • Golden finish hardware
  • ”Dooney & Bourke Since 1975” embossed leather label inside
  • ”Dooney & Bourke” embossed metal label on front

Looking for a Disney Vacation Experience? Try Beaches & Cream Soda Shop for Ice Cream Fun!*

Haunted Mansion Disney Dooney

Haunted Mansion tote bag

When you purchase your bag at the Disney Store.com, many times they have a special offer for Dooney & Bourke purchases. Look for this symbol:

Dooney & Bourke free bag

The fine print from the Disney Store.com website.

$29 Cosmetic Case with any $100 Dooney & Bourke Purchase CODE: DOONEY. Limited-time offer, while supplies last. Purchase with Purchase pricing applies only with any qualifying $100 Dooney & Bourke Disney Parks Authentic Merchandise purchase. The $29 price of the Dooney & Bourke cosmetic case will automatically be applied to the order. Limit of one purchase with purchase per order. Merchandise must be exchanged for identical item or returned at discounted price with valid packing slip. No adjustments to prior purchases. Valid on phone orders, orders placed online at DisneyStore.com and Disney Store outlet locations. Discounts based on original retail prices. Intermediate markdowns may have been applied. Disney E-Commerce reserves the right to cancel or modify this offer at any time. Void where prohibited.

Dooney & Bourke Haunted Mansion bags

Just imagine yourself headed to the Contemporary Resort with your Haunted Mansion bag, with just enough time to make your Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) at Chef Mickey’s or the California Grill. 

*“Best of the Best” Walt Disney World Freebies*

Bay Lake Tower Disney World

Disney World vacation

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

Amanda, 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.

 

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Disney for Le$$: $8.95 Hand Sanitizers

best Disney vacation souvenirs

Updated for 2016!

I touch everything on vacation. How better to totally immerse yourself in the experience than by getting your hands a little dirty? The problem with dirty vacation hands is that they harbor nasty germs and viruses. And if you’ve ever traveled with children, you know those touch-feely hands will wind up in their mouths at some point during the day. We have always recommended packing and using hand sanitizer in case you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands with soap. 

Read: Easy Way to Save Time at Disney World? Buy This for One Dollar

 Decorative Disney-themed hand sanitizers are now for sale in the parks and resorts, and they are really adorable. 

cheap Disney World Disneyland souvenirs hand sanitizers

What do you get?

Each hand sanitizer comes with a specially designed one fluid ounce bottle and a key chain split ring with lobster claw clasp.

About 20 hand sanitizers will feature popular Disney characters and iconic locations including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Anna, Elsa, Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle.

The cost?

Hand sanitizers retail for $8.95 not including tax.

Disney parks hand sanitizers

Read: The Disney World Do-Over: Tips for Planning a Better Vacation

Refills?

Right now, refill bottles will not be offered. As if they read my cheapskate mind, Steven Miller, Disney Merchandise Communications Manager, said, “yet you can refill the bottle with your favorite hand sanitizer once empty.” Hello half used bottles of Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers, I’ll be coming to find you and put you to good use, only this time better dressed. 

The Fine Print

The Disney Parks Blog offered a reminder, “Please note that retails are subject to change without notice.” I took this to mean if they are über popular, the price may go up, which can happen with any product, and there is no guarantee they will be available for any certain amount of time.  

Why Purchase?

Disney merchandise is expensive, and priced at $8.95 including the actual sanitizer, that’s on par with one of my other favorite and  less expensive souvenirs, key chains. These would be great stocking stuffers come Christmas time, excellent souvenirs for neighbors and friends, and a somewhat inexpensive way for you to hold onto that Disney magic after your vacation.

Did I forget hand sanitizer can help prevent you and the kids from getting sick, which can keep your vacation on track?  You pay a lot for vacations, so that may be the best reason of all. 

Disney Star Wars hand Sanitizers souvenirs

Read: Why this $10 Item May Be the Best Disney World Souvenir Ever!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you touching the stone walls in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and then passing out the hand sanitizer. 

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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Mike Ellis

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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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…]

Create this Swirly Mickey Mouse Picture Frame for One Dollar!

how to paint Mickey Mouse craft

Updated for 2018!

Gather the kids around your kitchen table and get ready for a Disney-inspired craft. What supplies do you need? Some craft paints and a $1 craft/picture frame from Michael’s Craft Store. Google images is swamped with photos and clip art of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. When I paint these inexpensive frames, I pick an image I feel like I can fairly easily reproduce. As you will see from my photos, I am certainly not an artist. I never took a single art class, and as a high school teacher, when I draw anything on the board, students laugh, and not because what I drew was funny on purpose.

If I can do it, it’s time to grab your pencil and take a chance! [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…]

Characters in Flight at Disney Springs: A Cheapskate Guide

guide to Disney's Characters in Flight

Updated for 2019!

If you ever walked past the Aérophile Characters in Flight balloon at Disney Springs without purchasing a ticket, telling yourself you’ll do it the next time when you have a little more money, you just might be a Cheapskate Princess.

But did you know they offer an “early bird” special? Get there before a certain time, and you can save almost 50% off the regular ticket price. That was just the news my family had been waiting for! [Read more…]

Disney Springs Must Do: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX

Chocolate Extinction T-REX Disney World

Updated for 2018!

T-REX is a fantastic restaurant located in the heart of Disney Springs. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back 200 million years when you dine next to wooly mammoths, pterosaurs, a giant octopus, and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, the largest of which is a 15-foot-tall T. Rex. This dining establishment is a favorite of kids and adults alike, although see our warning at the end for small children. [Read more…]

Cheapskate Princess Extravagance: Disney-Themed Arribas Jewelry

Mickey Mouse Disney World jewelry

The price of Disney-themed Dooney & Bourke purses just kill me. I have a really tough time rationalizing the purchase of a $300 purse with the price of vacations climbing higher and higher. One company that has always made reasonably priced souvenirs of the Disney Princess caliber is Arribas, also known as Arribas Brothers.

Arribas Brothers Company Inc was founded in 1967. The company’s line of business includes the retail sale of combined lines of gifts and novelty merchandise, souvenirs, greeting cards, holiday decorations, and miscellaneous small art goods. You can find their jewelry in Crystal Arts at Magic Kingdom’s Main Street and in their store at Disney Springs. Even though the company has a website of their own, you can purchase their fantastic jewelry designs at the Disney Store.com.

The Best of the BEST Shopping at Disney World: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

So hang onto your Disney Visas, all you cheapskate princesses, while we look at how affordable Arribas  jewelry can be.

Mickey Mouse Double Icon Key Necklace – $65

It’s time to let a mouse lasso your heart with this rope-edged Mickey Mouse key necklace. The elegant silvertone key pendant features a beautiful setting of Swarovski crystals in the shape of our famed Mouse icon. The chain is 22″ and the pendant is 2 1/2″ L.  

Mickey Mouse Double Icon Key Necklace

 Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Icon Key Necklace – $55

This sparkley crystal key Mickey Mouse necklace features the famous icon with a floral setting of Swarovski crystals.  The chain is 17” L and the key is 2” H x 1” W.

Mickey Mouse Icon Key Necklace

 Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Crystal-Studded Key Necklace

If Mickey has the key to your heart, this inspired old fashioned key pendant will show the world. Our Key Mickey Mouse Necklace by Arribas features a Swarovski crystal-studded Mickey icon bow and a heart.

Mickey Mouse Crystal Key Necklace

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Mickey Mouse Key Necklace – $50

Unlock the heart of any princess with this romantic Mickey Mouse key necklace, featuring our famed Mickey icon cutout within a beautiful heart-shaped setting of Swarovski crystals. The chain is 16″ and the pendant is 1 1/2” L.

Mickey Mouse Key Necklace

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Necklace – $60

This Mickey Mouse pendant features the iconic image encrusted in clear Swarovski crystals. This necklace has a chainlink chain with a lobster claw clasp, plus a chainlink extension. The Swarovski crystal Mickey Mouse charm is 1 1/2” diameter with a 17″ chain. 

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

 

Mickey Mouse Necklace by Arribas

The “companion” Minnie Mouse Icon Necklace is $65. Use this link. 

Minnie Mouse Icon Necklace

Minnie Mouse Domed Icon Earrings by Arribas – $50

These pavé earrings feature Minnie Mouse’s iconic likeness, formed in a raised dome profile and encrusted with Swarovski crystals. You will notice the enamel cloisonné accent of her famous red bow.  

  • 1/4” H x 5/8” W

Minnie Mouse Disney World Icon Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

How to Pack the BEST Disney World Theme Park Bag Ever!

There is a necklace available that is complimentary with this set of earrings. 

Minnie Mouse Domed Icon Necklace – $50

Minnie’s iconic likeness is formed in a raised dome profile encrusted with sparkling Swarovski crystals. Similar to the earrings, this charm is accented with her famous red bow. The pendant is 1/4” H x 3/8” W while the chain is 17″ long.

Minnie Mouse Domed Icon Necklace

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

With a 16″ chain and a 3/8” H x 1 1/8” W pendant, this necklace is $90.  It is not intended for children ages 12 and under. Use this link.

Mickey Mouse Icon Necklace

Minnie Mouse Icon Bow Necklace – $55

Minnie’s signature bow sparkles with Swarovski crystal polka dots on this bow-tiful necklace. Created by the celebrated Arribas Brothers, the domed pavé icon setting is encrusted with crystals for added dazzle.  The chain is 16” L and the pendant is 3/4” H x 7/8” W.

Minnie Mouse Icon Bow Necklace

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Walt Disney World MagicBands: A Cheapskate Guide

There are many sets of earrings available. 

Mickey Mouse Domed Icon Earrings – $50

Mickey’s iconic likeness is formed in a raised dome profile and encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Hypo-allergenic post earrings are for pierced ears. 1/4” H x 3/8” W

Mickey Mouse Disney World Icon Earrings

 

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Icon Herringbone Chain Earrings – $65

Mickey’s iconic likeness forms the pavé setting for this pair of dangling earrings. These French wire earrings are for pierced ears.

1 3/8” H (inc. chain) x 5/8” W x 5/16” D

Mickey Mouse Icon Herringbone Chain Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Icon Half Crystal Earrings – $30

On these stud earrings. Mickey’s iconic silhouette is divided down the middle with one half of sparkling Swarovski crystals and the other a polished smooth finish.

Mickey Mouse Icon Half Crystal Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com.

Haircuts at Walt Disney World For $20: A Cheapskate Princess Guide*

Mickey Mouse Icon Crystal Ear Earrings – $30

Mickey’s ears sparkle with Swarovski crystals on this simple but elegant pair of earrings. These are not intended for children ages 12 and under, and they have hypo-allergenic post earrings for pierced ears.  1/2” W.

Mickey Mouse Icon Crystal Ear Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

Mickey Mouse Icon Stud Earrings – $30

Mickey Mouse Crystal Icon Earrings feature Mickey’s head with a Swarovski crystal set in a rhodium plate setting and Mickey ears. The setting has ”Disney” etched along bottom opposite of ears. Hypoallergenic posts with hypoallergenic clear rubber comfort clutch earring backs for for pierced ears.  5/16” L x 3/8” W.

Mickey Mouse Icon Stud Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

These earrings also come in pink and blue crystals.

Mickey Mouse pink Icon Stud Earrings

Mickey Mouse blue Icon Stud Earrings

Disney World’s Pick-A-Pearl: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Mickey Mouse Dangle Earrings -$50

Pavé crystals outline Mickey icons dangling on delicate chains on these Swarovski Mickey Mouse earrings. A larger crystal on the post of these elegant earrings add even more sparkle to your day. Hypo-allergenic post earrings are for pierced ears. 1 1/2” H

Mickey Mouse Dangle Earrings

Use this link for ordering information at the Disney Store.com. 

The Arribas pieces are even more beautiful close up.

Mickey Mouse jewelry
Mickey Mouse Disney World jewelry

At these prices, you could order two necklaces and three sets of earrings to meet the $100 order needed for free shipping. Look for this logo for more information. 

free shipping Disney Store

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you looking in the mirror at your new jewelry…

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

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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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.

Should You Purchase the Disney Dining Plan?

Disney Dining Plan recommendations

Updated for 2015!

Ask a group of seasoned Disney visitors about paying out-of-pocket for the Disney Dining Plan, and you are guaranteed to spark a pretty good debate. Many people love it, while others refuse to pay, only using the dining plan when they can get it during a free promotion. It’s hard to argue with that logic, as every Cheapskate Princess loves FREE! But what do you do if the free option falls outside of your travel window? Do you pay for your own food whenever you feel like it, or do you pay for the Disney Dining Plan in advance of your vacation?

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

Resort guests who purchase a Magic Your Way Package or book using Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points can purchase The Disney Dining Plan (DDP).  With the dining plan, you simply purchase a certain number of meals on a “voucher system.”  Every night of your stay, each guest on your reservation receives an allotment of quick service meals, table service meals and snacks. The number of meals you receive depends on the dining plan you choose.

Your Key to the World card (room key) monitors your group’s allocated meals.  After you finish your meal, your receipt will display how many meals you have remaining for each room (not per guest), which allows you to keep track of what you have left.  Meals and snacks may be redeemed in any order during your stay until the balance is at zero or until midnight of the night you check out.

The Disney Dining Plans come in three types. Magic Your Way Package Plus Quick Service Dining, Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining and Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining.

These are prices for the 2015 dining plans. Each price is per night.  Going by Disney rules, adults are people 10 years and over, and children are ages 3 to 9. A ten-year-old may not be an adult in your house, certainly not in mine either, but they are viewed as adults at Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s time to send grown up Jr. (age 10) out to mow the grass before you leave?!

Quick Service Dining

2 quick service meals, 1 snack, 1 refillable mug

$41.99 per adult, $16.03 per child

Regular Dining

1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack,  1 refillable mug

$60.04 per adult, $19.23 per child

Deluxe Dining

3 meals – any combination of table service and quick service,  2 snacks, 1 refillable mug 

$109.53 per adult, and $29.86 per child

I Completely Disliked Starbucks at Walt Disney World, Until This Happened…

should you get the Disney World Dining Plan

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans what they thought about paying for the DDP; their answers can help you plan your next Disney vacation!

No – Do Not Purchase the Plan

Vegetarian Options are Limited

Lisa, “No, we don’t because we are vegetarian, and the dining options are very limited. It’s mostly the meat dishes that are expensive.”

Too Much Food

Stefanie, “We tried the dinning plan, and we decided it wasn’t for us until our son decides to eat more. I ended up sharing with him a lot. Disney does know how to fill a plate! We never left hungry!”

Stacey, “We have done it both ways, and the dining plan is just way too much food for us. We don’t want a dessert with every meal. It is just cheaper for us to pay out-of-pocket and get what we want rather than purchase the dining plan.”

Food Costs Less with No Dining Plan

Erica, “I took my three youngest kids in April, and due to their ages, Disney wanted $200 a day for the dining plan. We spent less than that for the entire three days we were there.”

Tammi, “When we don’t get the dining plan for free, it just does not make sense. We normally never eat desert, etc. When we have it, we eat two times as much as we normally would.”

Liz,We didn’t even get it free this time. The Room Only discount made more sense financially for us. The first time we went, we paid for Deluxe Dining, and what a mistake that was! Way too much food and way too much time spent getting to and from restaurants. This trip in September, we are paying out-of-pocket for food. We made a few ADRs but not many.  We will eat breakfast in our room most days, and we will eat what we want, when we want, from counter service spots. My back-of-the-envelope calculations/estimates have us paying just over half what we would have for the dining plan.

Jennifer, “We don’t purchase the dining plan, because there’s just two of us. We feel like it’s not worth the price, because we share a lot of food, and we don’t want to be ruled by reservations and desserts! We end up eating wayyyy more when we have the dining plan, and it kind of drags me down. So we just eat when we are hungry, and we save a lot of money.”

Freedom from Constant ADR Scheduling

Salina, “We pay out of pocket for our food. We are big eaters, but we always do much better paying as we go! Then we can have a few sit down and character meals and not have to have a sit down meal every day. Our kids want to go go go!”

Where to Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples!

Disney Dining Plan Tips

Yes – Pay for the Dining Plan

Given the cost of the dining plan, it always somewhat surprises me people are willing to spend that much money on food. But the beauty of a Disney vacation is that no particular vacation plan is right for every family. Some people go to Disney to experience all the amazing cuisine WDW has to offer, and the DDP is a great way for Disney foodies to whoop it up.

Mendi and Nick, “The dining plan may be our favorite Disney perk. That is where they hide the magic.”

Tammy, “We’ve done it both ways – free and out-of-pocket. On our last trip, we did four nights at Disney World, (three days in park,) then Disney cruise, and then back to the parks for two days. So we got a Five day Magic Your Way with dining. The dining worked for the first part of the trip, but for the last part after the cruise, that was out of pocket. We were using the ‘leftover’ two days of park tickets and paid for a hotel at the Art of Animation. After always having the dining plan, paying out-of-pocket was very different. We said then that we would never pay out-of-pocket without the dining plan again ( if our stay allowed.) It just makes things so much more simpler and a little easier on your budget, if you plan on eating in ‘the world.'”

It Saves You $

 Jordan, “Last November we chose to go with the upgraded (free) dining. We kept receipts and did the math. If you plan to do character meals, and ever consider doing desserts (even though most of ours ended up coming back to the room with us,) then paying full price for the dining would be worth it.  You do come out saving some money. But if you pay for it, then for sure use it.  If you want that 25$+ steak, then have it because then you really get your money worth.”

Nancy, “Before we started staying on property, we paid for meals with cash. Now when we stay on property, we use the deluxe dining. It totally saves money! Especially since we do a lot of character and signature meals. We feel it is definitely worth it!

Disney World Food Tip #1: Why You Should Share Dessert

Relax- It’s Paid for in Advance!

One big reason many people choose to purchase the dining plan in advance is because it takes a lot of worry over pricing out of your hands. Why worry about looking at prices, because it’s already paid for?

Randy, “We have used the regular dining plan since our children reached their upper teens. We park hop and most days and nights, we plan to be back at Epcot for lunch or dinner, even if we are taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours at another park. For us, knowing that a table service meal each day is paid for allows us to try a new restaurant each time we vacation, and yet we still get to enjoy our favorites… LeCellier and Via Napoli.”

Amy, “Yes! We did character dining each day plus Ohana for dinner. That added up. We didn’t have to think about prices, we ordered what we wanted. It made dining so simple and care free.”

Julie, I have payed out-of-pocket because I love the dining plan; it affords me the opportunity to pre pay my food and eat whatever I want! The no-worries feeling helps us enjoy our vacation much more!

Melanie, “We just got back last week, and I did pay for it. I tracked all our expenses and we broke even, actually it was a little bit of a deal for us. I like the fact that my meals are paid for in advance. That’s one less expense to think about on the trip, since I have to think about tips.”

Are Disney World’s “Rapid Fill” Refillable Resort Mugs Worth the Cost?

Character Meals 

Most people who seem to really talk up paying for the dining plan are people who know for certain they will go to character meals.

Amanda, “We are making our first ever trip in December with our daughter. She will turn five while we are there. We are paying for the dining plan, because we plan to take full advantage of character dining and special dining. It would cost too much to pay for all of it without the plan.”

Melissa, “It depends. If you plan on doing character dining, then the dining plan pays for itself! I’ve done both; I think you can eat cheaper, and there are some really great quick service options. I’m not just talking burgers and fries here! My kids are spoiled though, and I must admit, so is their mom. We need our character interactions!”

Kelly, “We are DVC members, so we ALWAYS pay for the dining plan out-of-pocket. Going with two teenage boys, the dining plan is worth it. When they were younger, the dining plan allowed us to enjoy ALL of the character meals. The price of one character meal was usually equal to one person’s dining plan for our trip. When it is just my husband and I, we don’t usually purchase the dining plan because it isn’t worth it for just the two of us. We have friends that only go when there is free dining. So, my advice is, if it is only two adults and they aren’t big eaters, or not interested in trying some of the finer dining offered by Disney, then I say pass. But, if you have small children that love the characters it is worth paying for.”

What Are the Top Three Character Meals at Walt Disney World?

Disney Dining Plan

Bring Your Snacks Home

Bridget “We pay for the dining plan. We are DVC members, so I have to pay for it, but with character meals, it pays for itself.  My daughter loves Chef Mickey. If we have left over snacks or quick service items, we bring stuff home to enjoy once we are back to real life.”

Judy, “The last three times I have visited Disney, we have paid for the dining plan, and I feel it was totally worth it. If you look at the cost of what meals would cost without it, and compare it to what you get with the meal plan, you can see that it pays. At many counter service and table service meals, you can get a meal and a dessert, or an appetizer and a meal. When we didn’t use the dining plan, I would normally skip the appetizer or dessert. Then if you add in all the character meals that you can attend, it definitely pays for itself. If I didn’t do the meal plan, I would only do one character meal. But since we purchased the plan this last time we visited last summer, and it was kids first time visiting, we were able to do three different character meals. At the end if the week, we had so many meals left over, so we used them to get snacks for traveling home. The other advantage I have found is that we try restaurants and meals that we would not normally try if we were paying for the meal out-of-pocket, like Tandouri chicken at Sanaa in Animal Kingdom Lodge.”

information on the Disney Dining Plan

Remember the Tip at Table Service Meals

And remember, table service meals at Disney World come with a steep tipping cost added in for larger groups. Large by Disney numbers is any party over six people. 

Melissa, “We purchase the dining plan, but it’s almost impossible to figure out if it’s truly a cost savings. We kept all our receipts, but the problem is that we ordered differently than we would if we were paying out-of-pocket, so it was really impossible to do a cost savings analysis. There is one thing to watch out for; if you have a group of more than six people, you pay an 18% mandatory gratuity on the ticket price of the meal. So, all those free desserts and free drinks, etc., start to add up. For our group of nine people for nine days with 2-3 table service meals per day, the meal plan cost roughly $5,ooo, but we paid over $1800 on top of that in gratuities for the trip. It was NUTS! Again, the gratuity is based on the ‘ticket price’ of your meals, not the cost of the dining plan. (18% of the dining plan would only have been $900). I would never do the dining plan for large groups for this reason, because it gets out of control. The ‘freebies’ aren’t free.”

Also, an automatic gratuity charge may also be added to your bill for items you order that are not included in the Disney Dining Plan, like alcoholic beverages.

I’m all about being a cheapskate, but if you can’t afford to tip, then you should be dining at counter service restaurants. We travel with five “adults,” so that’s where you’ll find our family.

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

For a much more in-depth look at the entire Disney Dining Plan, use this link. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you waiting for your character meal reservation time.

Get a taste of the Dark Side

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.

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…]

Funny Stuff Overheard in the Disney World Parks!

DSCN9462

You will find yourself listening to other people’s conversations when you vacation at Disney World. It’s not that you’re being nosy or intrusive. There are so many people waiting in lines or riding transportation in such close proximity to each other, it’s almost impossible not to overhear what other people say. I overheard this on a monorail, “Look, Lauren, that little girl has three Mickey balloons. Her parents must love her a whole lot!” Those price-checking parents that know Mickey balloons cost nearly $20 each would get the joke. Poor ballon-less Lauren didn’t seem so amused, but I sure grinned!

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans to tell us something they overheard in the parks, and I picked out all the quotes that made me laugh. Vacations can be stressful, and I am not sure you can over-value a good laugh these days. So sit back and laugh along with us…

Where to Find FREE Disney World Snack and Drink Samples!

Disney World balloons

Samantha  My son was on the monorail sitting next to a woman.  He then got up, and we all overheard him saying, “She smells like farts!” Oh my God, the embarrassment. He was three, by the way. 

Joe On Main Street I heard a friend muttering, “I’m at the happiest place on earth, but I am not happy.” This was due to him fighting with his wife before arriving at the park for the day. In response, I said “SHUTUP!”

Erika  I was chatting with some kids on the monorail, and a younger sibling shouted across the car, “Stop talking to that old lady!” I am just 33!

Kimmy  From a little boy exiting the Haunted Mansion, “Mommy, why were the heads disappearing from all those pictures?” Mom, “Because it’s showing all her friends in those pictures had died.” Reply from the boy, “Wait, but when Gramdpa died, you could still see HIS head in our pictures.”  Mom “That’s because he didn’t die here.” When I heard this, I was like WHAAAAT?!??”

Avoid Kid’s Tantrums in Walt Disney World? Teach Them This Important Life Skill

funny things you hear at Walt Disney World

Jill  We rode the monorail through ALL the resorts with a three-year-old named Hailey. How do we know her name was Hailey? ‘Cause we heard, “Hailey STOP” “Hailey come back” “Hailey, the doors are going to close on you” “Hailey, please stop crying.”  We laughed and rolled our eyes, but three years later we now have a “Hailey” named Addison who is just as bad.

Clarinda From my own kid, “I just wanna go to bed.

Don Overheard on Splash Mountain, “Is that some kind of word: Brer?”

Sara  Overheard on the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, “Yeah, it was a real family who got in a plane crash and landed on a desert island!

Over 20 Disney World Tips for Parents With Younger Children

Moms and kids love Disney World

Alicia  In the Magic Kingdom, there was a child who was crying and throwing a fit. The father yelled at the child saying, “I spent thousands of dollars to bring you to the Happiest Place on Earth! NOW YOU’RE GONNA BE HAPPY!!!” We still laugh about that ’til this day.

Cheryl  We got off Tower of Terror, and there was a girl about eight crying hysterically. Both parents were on each side of her smiling with the camera doing a selfie. Mom said, “Say Tower of Terror” right before they took the picture. This was so funny!

Susie Overheard from my 4-year-old son on the monorail. It was the first time we stayed with the kids at the Contemporary Resort. He asked some people getting off at the Polynesian Resort if they were staying there. They responded that they were not; they were just having dinner there and were actually staying at Pop Century. He replied, “Next time you need to stay at a monorail hotel. It is sooooo worth the money!”

Jessica  Overheard a parent tell their small child, “It’s not about YOU” while at Magic Kingdom. My husband and I laughed and kept saying that the rest of our trip!

A Disney Cruise: Book It Now and Pay It Off Later!

Dapper Dans at Disney World

And Our Funniest Quote for the month, an award given by me to whomever made me laugh the most, for June goes to Deann.

Deann  Overheard on the train during the taping of the Christmas Day parade, “Hey honey, I heard that Regis AND Philbin are here!” 

Sometime you just gotta laugh!

A big thanks to all our Cheapskate Princess Facebook fans for posting their quotes. Stop by one day and see what we’re up to on Facebook. If you have a funny quote, leave it in the comments, and we’ll add it in to our July edition. Be sure to leave your name, and we’ll make you almost famous!

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.

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…]