Disney Food

My Top 5 WDW Money Saving Tips

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As much as I love Walt Disney World, I am the first to admit – it is NOT a cheap place to visit – Resort room, park tickets, food, souvenirs, transportation, incidentals…it all adds up QUICK. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help lessen the financial burden that comes with planning a WDW vacation. Check out my top WDW money saving tips:

Sharing Is Caring: WDW has some seriously amazing food – they serve up every style of cuisine you can imagine, and it’s all delicious. Much of it is also very LARGE – their portions tend to be big, and this can be a big plus for you budget-conscious travelers. Many meals are so large that they can be easily shared by two children or even two adults. Check out some sharable meal/snack options here

Stay at a Value Resort: Walt Disney World has a TON of hotels on property, and all offer amazing service and helpful staff, but some are definitely fancier (ie – more expensive!) than others. There are Deluxe, Moderate, and Value level Resorts – with corresponding price levels as well. If you’re on a budget, the Value Resorts are the way to go for you and your family. They are all great places to stay (I should know, as I have stayed at all 5!), and while the rooms are pretty standard (nothing fancy, no frills), they are quite a bit cheaper than the other WDW Resorts, so if cost is your bottom line, the Value Resorts are worth checking out
*Bonusstaying on property will also help save on transportation costs – as Resort guests get complimentary shuttles to/from the Orlando airport via Disney’s Magical Express, and they are also able to utilize all on-site transportation options (boats/monorails/buses) free of cost as well

Plan Ahead: Anything you can do in advance will help you in the long run – researching restaurants (including costs, menus, etc), making lists of things to bring, checking out which rides/shows/foods your family might like, and just overall knowing the lay of the land will help avoid impulse purchases and unnecessary spending (buying a $4 bottle of water when there’s a bathroom/water fountain right around the corner, for example…)

Set A Budget: Use that research and those “planning ahead” skills to come up with rough estimates for costs of: airfare/gas, rental car, food, drinks, hotel, park tickets, and incidentals. Set a souvenir budget for your kids, and one for yourself too – and then make sure you stick to it – no matter HOW much they beg for “just ONE MORE PIN!”, or that giant balloon/stuffed animal/hoodie – trust me, your wallet will thank you – as souvenirs are pretty expensive at WDW, and the cost of just “one more thing” per person adds up QUICKLY

Pack Smart: In addition to making a list FAR in advance of items to pack, I suggest you start packing way in advance too. A few weeks before my trip I will print out my packing list (yes, I type it – don’t judge), and set my suitcase out with items I know I won’t need again before my trip. I also have some “must pack” items – ponchos, sunscreen, park-friendly snacks (trail mix, granola bars, etc – another big money saver!), a water bottle, and comfortable sneakers
Packing Tip – I wear all my “bulkiest” items when flying to save precious suitcase space: sneakers, jeans, and a hoodie are all a part of my standard travel attire, which leaves me more room for other necessities in my bags

Hopefully you can use some (or all!) of the above advice to help you save money on what can otherwise turn into a VERY costly Walt Disney World Trip – and even though I try and save money whenever possible and am all about budgeting, I know that a Disney vacation is worth every penny in the end – the fun you’ll have and the memories you’ll make are items you can’t put a price tag on

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Top 5 Tips For Saving Time At WDW

Magic Bands

Walt Disney World is a busy place – there are hardly ever any non-busy times at the Parks anymore, which means you can expect to wait for everything from bathrooms to rides and everything in between, too. No one wants to stand around in lines all day, so I suggest you use my top WDW time saving tips to help avoid some of that waiting:

Use The Fastpass+ option: Disney allows you to essentially “Reserve” your spot on 3 rides each day – you pick a time online (you can do this up to 60 days before your trip!), and the information is stored on your Magic Band. You then go to the ride at the designated time, scan your magic band, and go through the (MUCH SHORTER) fastpass line and are on your favorite ride in no time! No 3 hour wait times for you (yes, wait times for rides can get that long – and trust me, it’s not pretty) – this can be a MAJOR time saver for sure!

Make An Itinerary: I know some people hate planning out their days and want to just go with the flow while on vacation – and that will work sometimes at Disney, but I find that it’s good to have even just a basic “what Parks you want to go to which days” type of plan – that way you can plan fastpasses and meals around what park you will be at, and you can avoid having to spend time traveling to another park to try and get there in time for your dining reservation….been there, done that – and that’s why I make an itinerary now!

Hook Up Your Credit Card To Your Magic Band: Magic Bands are amazing – the tiny chip in this bracelet holds the key to your room, your dining reservations, your park tickets, your fastpasses, and your payment information if you want – and trust me, you DO want! Pay for drinks, snacks, souvenirs, meals with just a wave of your wrist! Plus that way you don’t even really need to carry around your credit cards with you when you head to the Parks – win, win!

Make ADR’s: ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation – which means you can book what table service meals you want to eat at before your trip (180 days before, to be exact!), and when you arrive at the restaurant at the reservation time, you’re put on the list for the next available table for your party. Disney is so crowded these days that walking up to a sit down restaurant and expecting to get a table is near impossible – so I HIGHLY recommend you make some ADR’s before your trip, or else you might end up waiting a LONG time to eat, or waste time trying to find another less busy place to eat

Eat at “Off” Times: Avoid the noon hour and the 5-6pm hours for lunch and dinner – as pretty much ALL Disney dining spots are SUPER crowded at this time, and you’ll end up waiting in long lines for food, and might have to fight someone for an available table too – not worth it, in my opinion. Have a late breakfast, so that you can wait to eat lunch until after 1pm, you’ll save time this way for sure!

Basically – I recommend you plan ahead – and use the ALL the technology Disney has to offer – Magic bands, fastpasses, ADR’s, their mobile app, pre-trip booking via computer – use them, and you will for sure save time and frustration on your next Disney Trip

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Vacation Planning, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week: My Favorite Disney Moments With My Favorite Birthday Boy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVE to my amazing husband – he is not only all around awesome at being married to me (not always an easy task I am sure), but he’s a great dad and friend too! We have had a lot of great times together, and we have been blessed enough to be able to travel to Walt Disney World 4 times together – here’s a recap of some of my fave Disney moments with my fave guy:

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There were many delicious meals shared at WDW with my man – we both love trying new foods, and Disney has some amazing restaurants – so it’s the perfect place for foodies like us!

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There’s no better place to be than The Magic Kingdom, am I right?

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Posing with characters is fun no matter how old you are

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The couple that rides Star Tours together, stays together (or something like that…)

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Ok, I know this one isn’t a Disney picture – but the cuteness makes up for that, right? I am so grateful for my family and can’t wait to make more Disney memories with them

TGIF – and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW – may your day be as amazing as you are!

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

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – 2016 Disney Vacation Must-Do’s

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope you all had a great time ringing in the new year, and that you are looking forward to starting fresh today and having the best year yet!

If you’re planning on heading to Walt Disney World in 2016, then you will definitely want to add these to your list of “Disney Vacation Resolutions” – as they are ALL Must do’s:

Norway   Epcot’s Norway is being expanded to include the new Frozen meet and greet attraction – where your little princesses will get the chance to hobnob with royalty – none other than Anna and Elsa!

Soarin

Soarin’ is getting overhauled – a third theater and new ride experience that takes you “around the world” make this one a must-see

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Toy Story Midway Mania will be getting a third track in 2016 – which will help cut down on the (sometimes REALLY LONG) waits, so if you haven’t checked this one out yet, 2016 will be a good time to give it a try

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Any steak fans in your family? You’ll definitely want to check out the new STK steakhouse in Downtown Disney that’s opening in Spring of 2016

As part of the largest expansion in its history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will be adding all-new entertainment experiences including a new after-dark spectacular centered around and above Discovery River, new nighttime entertainment including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured) and a new night version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Animal Kingdom will be adding a “Rivers of Light” nighttime show, which will be just one of the many changes aimed at turning the park into an “after dark” destination

There are so many amazing changes coming to the Happiest Place On Earth in 2016 – and I don’ know about you, but I can’t wait to experience them all! Here’s hoping I can stick to my Resolutions this year….

TGIF – and HAPPY 2016!!!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney News, Disney Restaurants, Disney Rides/Attractions, Disney Special Events, Downtown Disney, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – In Honor Of Christmas (Part II)

Last week I wrote about how lucky I am to have traveled to WDW TWICE at Christmastime – and I shared some of my favorite memories from those trips with you. Since today is Christmas Day – I thought it would be fun to share some pictures from our Christmas day in Disney World:

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Posing in front of the Grand Floridian’s Christmas Tree before breakfast

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Posing with Tigger at Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare

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This giant Gingerbread tree looked good enough to eat (thankfully it was blocked off or else I might have tried to take a nibble…)

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Mickey shaped snacks are the best ones, aren’t they?

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Getting ready to light the Osbourne Lights!

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It’s sad this is the last year for the Osbourne Spectacle of Lights – I am SO GLAD we got to see them be lit on Christmas Day – it was the best experience of the whole trip by far!

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TGIF – and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Special Events, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

T.G.I.F. Pic Of The Week – In Honor Of Christmas (Part I)

Christmas is just ONE WEEK AWAY – hard to believe that another holiday is here, and that 2015 is quickly coming to an end!

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It’s been quite a year for us – watching my baby boy grow from a 3 month old to a running, screaming, smiling, cuddling toddler – it’s been the most amazing thing, and I am so grateful for it

I am also so grateful for the memories I have of Christmas’ past – especially my Disney Christmas memories from our 2 trips to WDW in December 2011 and 2013 – there’s nothing quite like waking up at Walt Disney World on Christmas morning! Here are some of my favorite memories from those trips:

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Cinderella’s Castle gets a gorgeous Christmas makeover

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Mickey, Minnie, Duffy, and SNOW – what a perfect night!

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We were lucky enough to get to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party back in 2011 – it was so fun!

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The Christmas Trees at all the Resorts and Parks are so beautifully decorated

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…Gingerbread Mickey, anyone?

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Lights, trees, gingerbread – all the elements of a classic Christmas combine at WDW to make an amazing holiday!

While I know I can’t spend every Christmas at Disney, I hope that someday we can bring our son there and let him have the thrill of waking up to breakfast with Mickey on Christmas morning – I couldn’t think of a better present!

Here’s hoping you’re out there making memories, enjoying family, and that your shopping is all done (and if not, don’t worry – you still have a week. And overnight shipping options)

TGIF!

Categories: Adult Walt Disney World, Disney Food, Disney in Pictures, Disney Special Events, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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