Disney Vacation Planning

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Custom Disney On Etsy!

In case you haven’t ever gotten sucked into Etsy.com – let me break it down for you – it is a place where you can find basically any and every craft/hand-made custom item you could ever even imagine. Seriously – from jewelry and bags to clothes and home furnishings – if you want something unique and one of a kind, you MUST check it out.

Etsy has a LOT of Disney stuff available through the various shops they host – it’s a really great way to get something unique to wear or bring to the Parks. Check out these amazing items:

    Etsy Necklace

My husband actually got me this necklace for Christmas last year – and I LOVE it – I wear it all the time! Check out AOS Design for this and other great Disney baubles

EtsyShirts

This is a great idea for your Disney trip – not only will the shirts look great in pictures, but it makes it easier to keep everyone together too! Check out Creations By Jeanne for these awesome custom shirts

Etsy Bag

I have to say – I seriously LOVE this idea – to have your kids bring a tote bag for autographs is practical (they can carry their own stuff this way!) and unique! Available on Two Boys And A Tee

EtsyInvites

Ok so let’s say you’re planning your child’s Disney themed birthday party (or maybe it’s your own birthday party? No judgment) Find amazing invites, décor and more on Gardellas Global

Etsy Ears

Ok I must admit – these are my favorite! I actually follow Brooke on Instagram, and when I saw these amazing creations of hers, I was in awe! These are custom Mickey ears – available in a TON of amazing patterns and fabrics – the Haunted Mansion ones pictured are my fave but she has TONS more – check her out Here!

Can’t find exactly what you want? Most shop owners will create custom pieces for you – so don’t be afraid to ask!

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney in Pictures, Disney Vacation Planning, The World Outside Disney, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Five Ways We Will Be Cutting Costs On Our Next WDW Trip

AdultOneDay

My husband and I are expecting a baby in October – which is SUPER exciting and amazing – and we can’t wait to be able to take the little guy to Disney in hopes that he loves it as much as we do! However – since that is likely several years away, we have been talking about a vacation he and I might take just the two of us in a year or so – we are hoping to go to Disney (again, of course, what did you expect?!), but we know that money will be MUCH tighter with a baby to take care of, so I have been brainstorming and have come up with these top five money saving tips that we will be using on our next trip:

Pack Our Own Supplies: You can buy almost everything you could need at Walt Disney World – but it comes at a price, and I don’t know about you, but spending $18 on a bottle of sunscreen (that costs $8 at home) – doesn’t exactly thrill me – its not the best souvenir ever, that’s for sure. So we like to make sure we think ahead and pack stuff we know we will need: sunscreen (in small TSA approved bottles since we don’t like to check luggage!), ponchos, extra camera batteries and phone/tablet chargers, and another big one is medicine – I like to travel with a little mobile medicine cabinet – advil, tylenol, tums, NyQuil, and band-aids/neosporin are some things you might want to consider including in your “take to the Parks” bag – you’ll be glad you did, trust me!

Bring Food From Home: We like to pack snacks to help keep us tided over between meals – things that are easy to eat on the go work best – like granola bars, small packages of nuts/pretzels/trail mix, dried fruit, gum (not really a snack, but you won’t find it for sale at any WDW stores so best to pack your own!), water bottles – which we like to fill and freeze using our room fridge (perfect for those long hot days at the Parks), and most important of all – breakfast! It might seem strange to pack breakfast in your suitcase for the whole vacation, but its such a money and time saver – apples, bagels, peanut butter, fruit cups, cereal – these are items we have found to work the best over the years – you can usually purchase some small variety of these and some perishable items like milk, fruit, etc at your WDW Resort gift shop to supplement what you brought – and while the prices are high, they are still cheaper than a Disney breakfast (which can cost around $8-$15 a person – yikes!)

Share Meals: Being that we are a party of 2 adult travelers (for now, until our son is old enough to come with us!), we are lucky in that it’s easy for us to split meals – and many Disney meals and snacks are large enough to allow for this. Most meals include an entrée and a side, and then sharing a drink helps save money too – check out this article for more sharing ideas

Skip The Dining Plan: This might seem like a strange one – as the dining plan is hugely convenient, being that you pay for it before you even arrive and then just swipe your Magic Band when it comes time to pay, and you’re done! But – it isn’t always cost effective, especially if you have people in your party who aren’t big eaters or who can share most larger meals. This time around, we will be skipping the upfront cost (which is a BIG savings), and bringing our own breakfast, sharing lunch, and then splurging on 1 or 2 nicer sit down dinners – which will save us a lot in the long run (and still allow us to sneak in a few character meals too, which is imperative!)

Souvenirs: Disney souvenirs are pricey. Amazing, but pricey. I usually make myself a budget before I leave for any WDW trip regarding what souvenirs I want and how much they are and which ones I really want versus which ones aren’t really necessary. I do this by using the DisneyStore.com website to estimate prices and see what items might be available for me to buy at Disney. I mean – in reality, no one needs more than 1 or 2 souvenirs, and I always have loved trip photos so much that they end up being my favorite souvenir each and every time – a great way to relive the memories for years to come. So stick to 1 or 2 small things per person (and make that clear to the kids before you leave!) and then make sure you take tons of pictures – those are the most cherished souvenir anyway (in my opinion that is!)

You might have noticed that the majority of these money saving tips involve FOOD – and it’s not because we want to deprive ourselves of all the amazing Disney Dining options – but rather because the cost of dining at Disney is HIGH – meals are expensive, and yes the food is amazing – but it adds up quickly, especially if you are paying out of pocket for your whole party for every meal

Check out more money saving ideas here, and hopefully you will be able to make a WDW trip an affordable reality soon for your family!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Dining Plan, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney Quick Tips – Know Your Limits!

SadFaceBusStop

It’s easy to get caught up all that Disney Magic while you’re on vacation at Walt Disney World – so easy in fact that you might get so busy that you forget to eat, or put on sunblock, or sit down and relax, or drink enough water…basically, Disney is distracting. Mostly in good ways, but you’ll want to remember to take care of yourself too while touring the Parks – so I suggest you KNOW YOUR LIMITS:

-Food: This is an especially important one for me, with two diabetic parents, we have to keep on a pretty strict eating schedule – making sure we eat meals around the same times each day, and carrying snacks for those in between times helps too. Make sure you are listening to your stomach – and when it rumbles, feed it ASAP!

-Drinking: This applies to both alcohol and water – make sure you don’t drink too much alcohol (especially during the day!), and make sure to replenish very frequently with water (bring your own water bottles and refill them often!)

-Downtime: Disney has a tendency to make us rush – we want to see it all, and do it all, and we want it all NOW! Well – ok. I get it, I have been there, but guess what – its not possible. You just aren’t going to get to see every single little thing in one day – so stop trying. Take it slow, enjoy the scenery, and when you’re feeling tired – sit down and relax for a bit, or better yet – return to your Disney Resort for a nap or a quick dip in the pool after lunch (when it’s hottest out and the likelyhood of meltdowns and tantrums are highest!)

The urge to rush and run and do it all will definitely happen to you at some point during your WDW vacation – but try and fight it as best you can – make sure you know your limits, and stick to them. If you do, your vacation will be much happier and more fun for everyone!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Resorts, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Ways To Save For Your WDW Trip

TGIFCastle

Trips to Walt Disney World are so many things – amazing, fun, thrilling – but they can also be expensive (sorry to be the bearer of bad news…but its true!), which is why I like to do as much advance planning as possible to try and make sure I’m sticking to my budget. But there are plenty of great ways you and your family can save for your Disney trip:

Gift Cards: If you have a birthday coming up, or Christmas is coming, or you are planning a Disney honeymoon – then ask for Disney Gift Cards as wedding/birthday/Christmas gifts! They can be purchased at any store with a gift card center, and they can be used pretty much anywhere in the Parks – for food, souvenirs, and they can even be put towards your trip balance!

A Spare Change Jar: Put all those pennies/nickels/dimes/quarters to good use and toss them in a change jar to be used towards your vacation. Counting how much you have saved can be a fun family activity, and you can even decorate a container just for this purpose

Set Up An Automatic Transfer: Most banks that have online access (which is most of them these days!) have the ability to allow you to setup a recurring transfer – to move a certain amount of money from one account to another daily/weekly/on payday, etc. This is a great way to set money aside in a savings account or alternate checking account for all kinds of things – but I like to use it for a vacation fund! You probably won’t miss $10 a week, and $10 a week equals $520 a year saved for Disney!

One Less Meal Out: By decreasing the amount of times you eat out/order takeout by once a month, you can save a lot! It is much cheaper to eat at home (and usually healthier!) and you are looking at a savings of $20-$40 per month just by eating at home one more time a month

These are my top Disney money saving tips – mostly because they are EASY and EFFECTIVE and they help get me to that Castle sooner! But I would love to know how YOU save money for your trips to the Happiest Place On Earth?

Categories: Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Airline Carry-on Size Restrictions Can’t Ruin MY Magical Disney Trip!

Luggage

Between United Airlines enforcing their carry on baggage size limits, and the recent security checkpoint monitoring of luggage sizes, it’s enough to turn the start of any trip into a disaster! New rules even further limit the size of your carry-on luggage on major airlines like Delta, United, and American (with smaller ones being sure to follow suit soon, I’m sure!), and not only that, but they are actually enforcing the size limits too, which is something that was never really consistently done in the past.

Obviously I understand that people can’t be bringing huge bags on as carry ons – as its totally not fair to those of us who have always followed the (previously unenforced) rules – but now you’re telling me that the rolling luggage I have been toting for the past 5 years, that I purposely researched and scoured the internet for to make sure I got one that fit ALL airline size restrictions – is now too big to carry on? Well – ok. Breath, and regroup – I will NOT be letting this ruin my future trips to Walt Disney World – it just means I have to be smarter about how I pack. How will I do this? Well – I have a few tried and true tricks up my sleeve…

-Wear the big stuff: I always bring one pair of jeans, one pair of sneakers, and one hoodie to Disney with me – and I always wear them to the airport – even if it’s warm out, chances are good it will be cold in the airports/on the planes, and this saves me a TON of suitcase space!

-If I can get it online, I will WAIT to Buy it: There are so many great Disney souvenirs that I have serious trouble not buying ALL of them – and with even less suitcase space, I will be bringing even less home with me, but the good news is a lot of the same items can be purchased via the Disney Store’s website (they even have a Disney Parks Products section!). So I wait until I am home (or in the airport waiting for my flight home anyway…) and then I order some of the larger souvenir items online instead

-Keep it Casual: Disney isn’t exactly a fancy place, so there’s not much need for dresses or heels or button down shirts- t shirts and shorts will do for most people, and I like to stick to that idea when I am packing – nothing fancy, and just 1 shirt per day (you don’t need more than one, trust me)

-Don’t forget about your “personal item”: in addition to your carry on piece of luggage, each passenger is allowed 1 personal item too – basically anything that will fit under the seat in front of you is allowable – a large purse, tote bag, or even a backpack will all work – and I take full advantage of this and make sure I bring my biggest purse and stuff it full of snacks, books, magazines, and a change of clothes (just in case they make me check my 1 inch too large carry on suitcase…)

I stopped checking luggage a few years ago – so I have really been working on perfecting my carry-on packing – and I can say from experience that it really is possible to get everything you need for a week at Disney in a carry on suitcase and a purse/backpack. As for these new regulations, I say bring it on! I love a challenge, and I will do my best to get everything in my carry-on items, and even if I can’t or they tell me I have to check them – at least the end result is still the same – a vacation at the Happiest Place On Earth! What about you – do you avoid checking luggage when you head to WDW?

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Vacation Planning, The World Outside Disney, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – Cool Off This Summer With These Delicious Disney Frozen Drinks

Tomorrow marks the first official day of SUMMER – which means trips to the beach, cookouts, fresh cut grass, family vacations (to DISNEY WORLD perhaps?) and most of all – it means long, HOT days. I am always looking for ways to cool off in the summer, and one way I like to do it is with super cold frozen drinks – what could be better on a hot day than an ice cold slushy beverage? Oh – well, one thing that would make it better is if you happened to be enjoying said beverage while at the Happiest Place On Earth – and luckily, they offer quite the selection of delicious frozen drinks to choose from:

 FrozenLemonade

The classic frozen lemonade is available at all the Parks – from Disneyland to Disney World, you’ll find this in its classic lemon flavor, and strawberry, raspberry, and other varieties pop up from time to time too!

StoplightMargarita

Frozen margarita anyone? This adults only frozen beverage is not only super cold and delicious (times 3 different flavors!), but its fun to look at too! You can get this at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

LefouBrew2

Gaston’s Tavern is home to “LeFou’s Brew” – an apple flavored slush (available with optional souvenir cup!)

DoleWhipFloat

You could always stick with a classic and grab a Dole Whip Float – pineapple soft serve balanced on top of delicious pineapple juice – what a sweet treat

Glaciers

Over at Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney, you can customize your own frozen drink by picking from a bunch of flavors and mixing them together!

GoofysGlaciersCups

Oh, and you can make your own cup too – with a ton of awesome base/cup options!

Hopefully you’re gearing up for summer and all the great fun that comes along with it – and if you’re lucky enough to be heading to the Disney Parks this summer, be sure to keep cool with these delicious drinks!

TGIF

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Vacation Planning, Disneyland, Downtown Disney, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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