Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Window Wednesday!

Public Relations

Disney Legend Charlie Ridgeway promoted Disneyland as a news reporter even before he became a Cast Member.  In 1954-55, he wrote some of the first articles about Disneyland and even covered the grand opening.  He became a cast member in 1963 and in 1966, he was promoted to Disneyland's publicity supervisor.  Many titles later, he helped launch Walt Disney World in 1971, Epcot Center in 1982, Disneyland Paris in 1992, and more.

For other Worldess Wednesday posts, make sure to check out:

Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

I'm so excited for Jodi's - Magical Mouse Schoolhouse Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia blog hop!  I LOVE Disney trivia (hopefully you already had noticed that) and I'm excited to be one of 3 cohosts, along with Mike from My Dreams of Disney and Heidi from What's Going On In Heidi's Head

Did you know:
The queue for the Living Seas with Nemo and friends is designed to make you feel as though you are walking into the ocean?  You start on the beach, with a lifeguard's chair, sand, and water warning signs and slowly enter into The Big Blue World.  Near the end of the queue, the queue is mostly blue and if you look up, you'll notice a boat floating overhead.

Thanks to a computer crash/lost hard drive, I don't have any inside pictures to share - but make sure to slow down and really look around next time you're there!

Building Excitement!

We're just now (yesterday) 5 months until our next trip.  We head to Florida on February 22nd for our week-long Princess (half) Marathon excitement, and I already have the Disney countdown widget going strong on my phone (who am I kidding already? I've had it up since we got back from our last trip)!

I can't wait to walk down Main Street, U.S.A. again - though I'll be running through days before I actually walk it.  5 months to normal people is a long time, but to Disney people?  It's hard-core planning time.  ADR's (Advanced Dining Reservations) have been made, confirmation numbers for all reservations, dining, room, and flight, are all listed on my spreadsheet, and now we start to build excitement.

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to pull of a surprise trip with my kids - we go at least once a year, so it would have to be a 'random' time of year trip if we would have a chance.  But really, I love sharing my Disney love with them, so it would be very hard to pull off!

Just last week, I turned on the 2012 planning video, that I was sent by my fabulous travel agent, Kelly at The Disney Guru, sat Noah (he will be 3 in December) down at my computer, and created our maps for this trip.

Jack Sparrow doing his thing
More recently, I decided it was time I actually downloaded some Disney music on my phone.  I have Disney radio apps, but haven't figured out how to make them work thru the USB cord to play in my car.  And, though I mostly listen to podcasts, Noah doesn't pay attention at all and then I miss half of what was said... so, Disney Parks music it is!  Thanks to Amazon MP3, I have a new Disney album in my collection!

Yesterday morning, on our way to our normal weekend routine - farmers market then to lunch, I plugged in my phone and turned the music on.  My husband just doesn't get as into the trip planning as me - he enjoys Disney, but not quite on the same level.  Until the Pirates of the Caribbean ride music came on.  It starts with a few minutes of instrumental music with the words "Dead Men Tell No Tales" before the lyrics "Yo-Ho" come on.

Within a few seconds, my husband admitted that listening to the music made him excited for our trip.  And a few seconds after that?  Noah started singing along.  When I joined him, I was told "No, not you mommy."  And he continued to sing.

At a play date later in the day, he ran around playing and singing Yo Ho.  I can't wait for him to actually go on the ride and sing along!

How do you build excitement for your trips?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tickets, tickets, and more

I was recently asked buying tickets for a Disney trip - where/how/discounts/etc...

There are few different ways to buy tickets, but I'll say that the discounts are given sparingly.

  • Annual Pass - I've heard the break-even amount for an annual pass is about 10 days - if you're considering free parking and hotel discounts.  But, that was before they seriously upped the price.  I'm not sure of the break-even point now, but if you're going for more than 2 weeks, it's definitely the way to go.
  • AAA discounts - if you're a member of AAA, the old favorite for roadside assistance, they generally offer discounts, both room and resort.  I'm not sure of the specifics, but if you're a member, definitely check it out!
  • 3rd Party Vendors - There are several different places that sell official brand new Disney World park tickets.  The trick?  My understanding of 3rd parties is that they purchase tons of tickets and hold on to them, so they paid for them in 2008 at the 2008 price, can mark them up now, and still save you a LOT of money from WDW directly.
  • Walt Disney World - Another option - if you're willing to pay the money up front, consider buying a 10 day WDW ticket with the no expiration option.  Instead of $80 per day, you end up around $30 per day.  The problem is paying for the money up front.
    • Along the same lines - consider buying multiple tickets to save for later on!  Ticket prices will always go up, but until you start a ticket (unless you pay extra for no expiration), it remains valid!
    • Buy before you go so you can avoid standing in line at the TTC (or any entrance of the theme parks)
  • Special deals - 
    • Military Discount - WDW has been offering amazing Disney discounts for military service men/women and family for the past few years.  As a member of the Army, I'm hopeful they continue this.. but if they don't offer the special amazing salute...
    • Military ticket booths - Sell tickets, similar to 3rd party vendors.  Disney's Shades of Green also offers discounts as well.
To find the best option for you, Touring Plans has a "best ticket calculator" that helps you figure it out, included in your Touring Plans subscription!  Make sure to click my link to take you over to Touring Plans (and if you've been listening to recent episodes of WDW Today, they've been giving out 20% discount codes almost every episode!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Considering the Hard Ticket Events

If you're visiting Walt Disney World in the fall/early winter months, you have probably heard about the different "hard ticket" events that are offered.

When reader Deann wrote on facebook asking for my opinion on going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) with her 11 month old, I had to actually think about this.  Sadly, we haven't been to WDW in the fall since before our children were born (come to think about it, I'm not sure I've been in the fall since before I met my husband!), this hasn't been an option.

Let's start back at the beginning:
  • What are the hard ticket parties?
    • For an extra price, you buy a "hard ticket" for special entrance to a party.
    • The current parties are Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP).
    • From around $55-$75, depending on the date, you are allowed entrance to the park (Magic Kingdom only with the current parties) from 4p.m. through midnight, though the party starts at 7 p.m. (Again, children under 3 are free)
    • A limited number of tickets are sold and there are special activities, parades, characters, fireworks shows, and more just for these parties.
  • When are the offered?
    • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is on select nights in September and October, leading up to Halloween, and even one night in early November (November 2, 2012).
    • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held on select dates in November and December
Based on the fact that Deann would have an 11 month in tow, I recommended skipping this party.  Why?  Because you are essentially paying about 80% for 2 adult tickets that may only cover a few hours beyond what a normal night would offer.  Maybe with an 11 month old, you can have them asleep or they are used to staying up late.  But, if you're like me and your little ones have an early bedtime, this might not be worth the risk!

With the special parades and shows starting after 8 (MNSSHP has 2 parades- 8:15 and 10:30) with the fireworks show taking place around 9:30, you're risking an overtired child with a late night and loud noises!

While I normally say "YES! THEY'RE FREE UNDER 3!!" This definitely doesn't apply to late night parties.  Even on a "Disney" schedule, when we're out several hours later some nights, staying out late enough to make this hard ticket price worth it is unlikely.  This is one case that I would recommend waiting until they're old enough to stay out until 11p.m. at least! 

I can't wait to experience this party.  I've heard from many sources that the Boo To You Parade at MNSSHP is the best parade at Walt Disney World. 

What are your experiences with the party?  Did you stay late enough to fully enjoy it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homeschooling With The World - Review and Giveaway!

I may not be a homeschooler - heck, my children aren't old enough for public school yet - but I know that they will be in the public school down the street when the time comes.  Nevertheless, I love taking lessons from homeschoolers to apply on the weekends and after school.  Obviously, right now they're preschool lessons, but the ideas are the same.

Several years ago, Blogger, Mom, and Homeschooler, Jodi Whisenhunt began homeschooling her kids and using Walt Disney World as inspiration for her lessons.  If you've ever read her blog, the Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, you've probably read some history, trivia, or general Disney knowledge, while also realizing that each post has a "take away"  - a lesson with an assignment related to the topic at hand.

After years of writing such a fantastic tool, Jodi compiled her lessons into a fantastic book "Magical Mouse Schoolhouse; Learn While you Play at Walt Disney World Resort."

When I first received my copy of this book, I was instantly won over - the first lesson, about Cinderella's Royal Table had an amazing takeaway - a recipe for a single serving cake in a cup!

In Magic Kingdom alone, there are lessons based on Cinderella's Royal Table, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Wishes, the Utilidors and so much more.  While the reader gets to learn fun facts and details about the history of the parks or how the parks work, we also get to apply the lesson to something else, whether it be science or home economics.  

Let me skip forward to something that makes perfect sense, but I would have never thought to do this on my own:

Based on Toy Story Midway Mania - Jodi describes the how the movie inspired such a crowd pleasing (and ridiculously long lined) attraction, and turns it into a lesson of Engineering and Physics (two things I can honestly say I never studied.  This particular lesson takes the ride and brings it home, by creating a homemade catapult and analyzing the physics of the shooting to shoot a ball in a cup.  Pretty cool lesson, don't you think?

And, I absolutely adore the lesson on the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) and Walt's vision of the future.  This particular lesson has several options for different age levels - make a model with legos, discuss Utopian Society, study architecture and city planning, etc...  

So, as a mom of a two year old, how is this book being used in my house?  

Well, there are several home economics projects (baking!) that Noah loves to help with.  He loves to help pour in flour and mix while baking cookies, cakes, or pretzels.  There is also the science lesson that goes along with the section on Disney Junior: Live on Stage that involves 3 different version of making your own bubbles..  and both of my boys love bubbles!

Whether you are a homeschooler, mom of young or school aged children, this book is a great resource.    As a parent who plans, at least for the first several years of formal education, to take my kids out of school for a few days for vacation, this is a great resource to help them learn while on vacation, or put their vacation experience to use in an educational manner, or even before you leave to get excited about the trip in an educational way.   Plus, it offers a lot of fantastic information about Walt Disney and the theme parks!  I'm sure I'll be using this book for years to come.

This book can be purchased at Amazon.com and CreateSpace - OR you can enter to win below (with 2 chances to win!)

**Thanks to Jodi for the review copy.  All opinions are my own!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 17, 2012

Run for the Mountains!

As many of you know, training for Walt Disney's Worlds (runDisney) Princess Half Marathon in February. And while that run is... 160+ days away, I also have a half marathon in October.. sort of a "get off your butt and get moving/lose the baby weight and get in shape the hard way" run.
WDW Marathon Weekend Family Fiesta 5k 2012 - 6 months pregnant

Today (okay, last night) begins the Jewish year 5773.  Good Yom Tov to those of you celebrating!  And instead of waiting for January to make my New Years Resolution, I like this second chance to restart and really get a grasp on my goals.

With running, that means accepting that it's okay to take time for myself to run or practice yoga.  I'm a better mom, wife, and human when I have my "happy" endorphins!  Plus, being military, that whole running thing is literally required for work, so it has to be a priority.

Plus, it gives us an excuse to visit Disney!

If you've never runDisney, you're missing out.  Well, you're saving money, but you're missing out on a great experience!  The Disney races are very pricey, but that's expected at Disney.  Plus, they're the most fun you'll ever have running!  From 5k to Full marathon (26.2), you run through and around the parks, have entertainment along the way, and meet the characters!
WDW Marathon Weekend Half Marathon 2011

I've runDisney twice - have you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Window Wednesday!

Every time I think I'm out of windows or tombstones to uncover, I find another!!

Little Gremlins
Mechanical Toys

Toy Makers
We Build 'em
You Run'em

Neil Gallagher
(not pictured: Bob Booth, Roger Broggie, Jr., John Franke, John Gladish, Rudy Pena, Dave Schweninger, Dick Van Every, Jim Verity)

This group of Imagineers was responsible for many of Disney's Attractions animatronics! 

They also had a special title: MAPO (Mary Poppins but also Materials and Production Operations).  A very important group of Imagineers!  They worked on everything form the monorail to the tiki birds and so much more!

For more great Disney pictures, check out:

Focused on the Magic

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Renting DVC!

I am so excited!  For our February trip, we're doing something new to us: renting DVC!  Friend of a friend type of thing for us, but there are several well reputed brokers who do the in-between work for renting points..

This may be a confusing process..  Let me break it down a little (again, this is new to me, too!)

  1. What is DVC? Disney Vacation Club is Disney's take on timeshare.  
  2. How do I buy into DVC? Have a lot of extra money laying around and give it to DVC straight up, or through a secondary source by buying resale (I've been told over and over, if you have to finance it, it's not worth it!)
  3. What are points? Instead of a standard timeshare that says you own a specific week at one place, DVC sells by the point.  Depending on what time of year and which resort, you'll find a different amount of points per night.  Take Animal Kingdom Lodge for example.  In January 2012, a studio will cost 9 points per night/12 points for weekends or 69 points per week.
  4. How do you rent points?  Points brokers go in between DVC owners and renters to help find points.  They assign a price, take a 'small' fee, and do the work for you!  Renting can save a lot of money from staying Deluxe through Disney.  Again with AKL, a standard rental through a broker is $12-$13 per night.  69 x $12 = $828 for a week at the Animal Kingdom Lodge by renting these points, as opposed to an average of $300 per night renting a hotel room.
  5. What are the draw backs? Whether you're dealing with a broker or a complete stranger, you're handing over money to someone you don't know.  The broker does the dirty work, but the risks are about the same.  To avoid broker fees, you can always look on the DisBoards or other friendly sites - look for people with good reviews.  I've heard you can sometimes find rentals for $8-9 per night!
  6. Why doesn't everyone do this all the time? Because there is something about the security of simply booking through Disney (or through your friendly Travel Agent).  Also, you lose out on perks, such as free dining, though you can purchase the dining plan along your room reservation.     
  7. Can I still use the Magical Express?  Yes!  Absolutely.  Along with the point fees, you pay a small fee (I think it's $95) and that covers transportation fees, magical express, etc... 
  8. Do they know I'm a renter and not an owner?  Nope!  Well, I've heard some people have complaints, but no, they shouldn't know.  All perks open to DVC members are (should) be open for renters.  
So, I'm taking my money into my own hands and renting points for our February vacation.  I'm very excited about staying at Disney's Old Key West resort!  I keep hearing great things about all the perks, and I'll be sharing some of those with you in the coming days!

Have you ever rented points?  What have your experiences been like?  Please share!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week In Review!!

Since I've been SO bed about trying to promote my posts, I've decided to start a Week in Review - you can find links to all the weeks posts in one quick post!  Hope you enjoy!

  • Monday, I shared some of the dangers people may find when following bad advice that I've read when it comes to traveling to Walt Disney World!!  
  • I jumped aboard the Magical Blogorail Peach on Tuesday, where we talked about which character we would love to be, or experience being if for only one day!
  • On Wednesday, guest blogger Lynn talked about her first trip with kids - deciding when to go, how long, tickets, strollers, and much more!
  • Thursday I talked about the Animal Kingdom Lodge, since I will finally be able to see the inside of a room!
  • On Friday, I discussed how I'm trying to Resist researching everything about the Fantasyland Expansion, in hopes of really being able to experience everything for the first time in February!

Hope you enjoy the week in review and look forward to more posts to come!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fighting the Urge

As a Disney blogger, I find myself staying up-to-date with all the latest news about Disney - the parks, movies, heck - I even get updates about the stock options (wish I had bought some as a child!).  And now, with the Fantasyland Expansion gearing up for it's official grand opening on December 6th, there are pictures everywhere.
I'm guilty of taking pictures as well!
Twitter, facebook, podcasts - people are talking about it wherever I turn (maybe not you - you may not listen to Disney podcasts.  But, why don't you?  They're awesome!).  I'm curious to see dining reviews - should I keep my dinner ADR for Be Our Guest, or will lunch be sufficient?

But from here on out, I'm going to try to ignore all the pictures of the updates.  I've seen the new Casey Junior Splash and Soak - amazing water play area - and I've heard about so much, but I want to see it for the first time in person.

I know starting with the soft opening in mid-November, there will be pictures and reviews everywhere, but I'm going to try to wait.

Who's with me?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Excited to See...

The current trip that we're planning is going to be different from our past trips in several ways.  The past 4 trips, we've had just the 3 of us.  My parents usually come for 1 day (S. Florida residents - it's a 3 hour drive) or enough to babysit while we run.  And, like the past race weekends, my parents will stay with us in a villa at Old Key West (hooray for renting DVC) until the day of the race, when they will head back to their home, sans parks.
Marathon weekend 2011
BUT, for this trip, my in-laws are coming!  They live near us here and Noah is very attached to his Nana.  They won't be joining us until after the race, but Noah has already talked about riding on the monorail with them!

And, having them come, I had the pleasure of helping them decide wear to stay - and convinced them to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge - in a Savannah View room, of course!

Though I don't get to sleep there, I'm excited to see the inside of one of these rooms!  The resort itself is stunning.  Plus, from the room (instead of out back in line with everyone else), you can use the resort's night vision goggles.  And, can you imagine waking up to the view of the animals?
Well, if you're not fortunate enough (or ready to splurge) to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it's a great place to visit for meals - Sanaa, Jiko (Signature), or Boma (buffet), or just to walk around!  There are plenty of great viewing areas for those not in the fancy rooms!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Blogger - First Time With Kids!

Heading to Disney World for the first time can be overwhelming to anyone.  Throw a child (or two or three) into the mix and the stress rises to a whole new level.  With so many things to do many parents hold off on a Disney trip until the kids are “older”.  When are they old enough?  It’s like waiting to have kids until you think you can afford it - does that time ever come?  Our first trip to Disney was one that I had just a couple of days notice to plan.  My husband came home from his new job that we moved 1,000 miles across the country for and said “let’s go to Disney this weekend”.  Having never been to Disney before, I was excited and very anxious about taking a fifteen month old and three year old without doing much research.

One of the first things I researched was cost.  As I said, we’d just moved across the country with two young kids, so we certainly didn’t have a ton of money saved up for a fancy trip.  For this trip, we stayed at a cheap local hotel near Disney and it worked out for us.  If you have time to plan: decide if staying on property is worth the cost to your family.  Disney’s got some awesome resorts on property - there are lots of options there! - but there are also some great places off site that may better fit into your budget.  If you’re on a deadline: see what’s available on and off site and decide what’s best for your family.

Tickets were another thing we needed to consider.  We were only visiting for a long weekend so we settled on three day park hopper tickets so we could try and fit in as much as we could.  If you have time to plan: look into the costs of the different tickets offered and see what you’d like to see in each park.  If you’re on a deadline: start off with admission for each full day of your visit.  You can always upgrade your ticket if you need additional days or want to “hop”.

A stoller was another big consideration for our family.  I was worried about taking two strollers so I started searching for a double stroller that would work for us.  I found one at Target that worked out and fit into our budget but it certainly wasn’t anything fancy at all.  If you have time to plan: read through threads on Disney sites and take a look at reviews from other people who have used the stroller in the parks.  Even better - if you can try out the stroller, do that!  Once you load it up with kids and stuff, it gets very heavy.  Make sure you can still handle it for several hours while you’re in the parks.  If you’re on a deadline: Check out some reviews and see what your local stores have to offer.  I wouldn’t suggest purchasing anything without actually trying it if you won’t have time to exchange it before your trip if you don’t like it.

I will proudly say that I’m an over packer and going to Disney is no different.  That means having a good bag for the parks is a must for our family.  Disney allows you to bring in snacks, food, drinks and other items (check here for the complete list) which is both a curse and blessing.  If you have time to plan:  look over the list of items not allowed and figure out what you’d like to take into the parks.  Once you know what you’d like to take, you’ll know what type and size bag you will need.  If you’re on a deadline: generally speaking, a backpack type bag should work for your family.  Try to find one with lots of space (pockets are good to keep you organized) and comfortable straps.

Lastly, but probably most importantly, is food.  Disney offers tons of options from counter service to table service to snacks.  As I mentioned, you’re allowed to bring in your own food and beverage as well which can help save quite a bit of money.  This will also help save your sanity if you’ve got a picky eater or someone with specific dietary needs.  If you’ve got time to plan: take a look at Disney’s offerings.  There are sites out there with the menus from Disney’s restaurants and snack carts to give you an idea of what’s available as well as the costs.  Take a look at the Disney Dining Plan to see if it can save your family some money during the trip.  If you’re on a deadline: plan on eating one meal a day in the parks and figuring out the rest - either off property or on your own with food you’ve brought with you.  If you want to try and eat at table service restaurants, make a stop at Guest Relations when you enter the parks to see if they can make an Advanced Dining Reservation for your family.  Sometimes you can have great luck this way!

There are so many more things that could go into planning the “perfect” Disney trip but these things were the most important for our family and are a good starting place for your family as well.  One thing I read over and over and made the mistake of discounting was that you won’t be able to do everything on the first trip.  I truly had no idea how big Disney was and all the things for us to do while we were there.  You won’t be able to do it all and if you try, you and your family will be miserable.  Take time to enjoy yourselves and know when to take a break.  Enjoying the time with your family is the most important part of the trip.

Lynn Wiltse is the mom of two boys and a princess and is always planning a Disney trip. Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Lynn is also the creator of My Pixie Dust Diary.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What A Character!

Welcome to those of you joining me from 400 Miles to Disneyland and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney in Our Blood.

Putting on a costume and being a Disney character.  That must be a dream of the majority of children that visit Walt Disney World.  Well, once they are old enough to realize that they are characters in costume as opposed to only one Mickey Mouse forever.  I've personally never wanted to be a costumed character - to be "friends with Mickey" as they about the person inside the costume.  Can you imagine how hot it would be inside that costume?
Pooh must be melting!
For me, this is an easy choice.

One of the Women of Main Street.  Main Street, U.S.A. is probably my favorite place to be - I love the atmosphere, music, smells, and the shows.  The shops are friendly, but I love the mornings when they are lined with cast members wearing Mickey Mouse gloves waving, the horse-drawn trolley is pulling people down the street. 

I love the Main Street Trolley show, the Dapper Dans, and the Mayor, but the Women?  They're living in Mary Poppins!

In January, we stopped to watch the show, as Mayor Christopher George Weaver announced his plan to run for re-election.  That's when the women step up and declare it is time to "Cast off the shackles of yesterday" (and I even got to participate!) and sing their own song.

I love this bit, but even better?  Watching the Women of Main Street at 6 a.m. in a dark Magic Kingdom as the first runners of the runDisney races pass by.  Not only were they there to cheer on the runners, they were making many comments as well..

And, you can't even imagine the embarrassment these turn of the 20th century women faced when the runners ran by shirtless...

 Unfortunately, I have no improv experience.. maybe I should find a local theatre!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney in Our Blood .

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stopalong the way and want to reboard:
**3rd Stop - Disney Babies Blog** You Are Here

Thanks to the Magical Blogorail Peach for letting me join in on the fun - I can be normally found sharing with the Magical Blogorail Blue!

Monday, September 3, 2012


When it comes to Disney (well, everything), there are a more opinions out there than you can imagine.

And thanks to social media, there are too many ways to get information.

Recently, thanks to my (possible) favorite source, Pinterest, I read some of the worst information I've seen for scheduling a Disney trip.

  • Renting Park Tickets
    • The author of this particular article, rented a ticket from a glorified scalper and hoped that the cast members wouldn't be bothered by the finger printing not working.
    • Disney uses fingerprinting "biometrics" that are stored on the ticket and I found this:
      • The owners of the Walt Disney World Resort reserve the right to revoke the Annual Pass if it is presented for admission by anyone other than the Passholder of record or if the Passholder violates park policies
    • So, you are not only taking it upon yourself to rent a ticket that may not work, if it's taken away, you might be charged for the leftover days (check this before you consider renting.  Again, don't).
    • These ticket scams can also be found at local rest stops.  Don't by used tickets - while some cast members may let you in, you are not guaranteed to be let in!
  • Save Money at Cheap Local Hotels
    • Yes, of course this is a possibility.  You could easily stay in a fleabag hotel close to property.  Then, you can pay the $15/day for parking.  Or, as one person suggested, hop on the hotel shuttle, or any nearby shuttle.
      • Why is that a bad idea?  1 - you're on a Disney Vacation.  Unless you're there during the most popular times of year, the value resorts are under $100 a night.  That's a clean room with a mini fridge, free wifi, and a nice safe area to be around.  Plus, even the values are fun and themed.  While you may be paying a few more dollars a night, be assured that you are less likely to find bed bugs than at a local flea-bag.  
    • ****There are MANY nice hotels to stay at off property.  Many that can save you money.  Just make sure if you're trying to stay for less than $100 a night that you read reviews and do your research!!
    • If you rely on off-property shuttles, they are rarely on regular schedules - maybe once an hour.  Expect to wait.  And waste time waiting and in commuting.  And on vacation, time is money - especially with children!  Make sure that $20 a day is worth it!
    • Staying on property gives you access to Disney's Magical Express - a free shuttle to and from the Orlando Airport.  If you're considering a taxi when you stay off, make sure to add in the fair each way to your savings.. may even out!
  • Bring Your Own Food
    • I'm all about saving money when it comes to food - we bring snacks (bars, goldfish, applesauce) and often eat breakfast in our room.  But, not eating any meals?  That's missing a huge part of the Disney experience.
    • If you're not into food, than fine - go ahead and pack PB&J.  But, if you like food, there are some amazing restaurants and to not experience them turns your vacation into a trip to the mall.  It's a special vacation, try to enjoy it!
    • Plenty of restaurants have almost affordable meals.  Yes, everything is more expensive than it should be.  It's a theme park.  Expect and plan ahead by..
      • Check menus before you go - splitting entrees/appetizers is a great way to save!
      • Plan what counter service/table service meals.  Eat at the resorts for slightly less over-priced options!

To make sure you're taking advantage of all the discounts offered by The Disney Parks, be sure to book with an official Disney Travel agent, like Kelly, the Disney Guru.  As a fee-free travel agent, she will apply all discounts as they come to make sure you have the best rate available without you paying her at all!! Make sure to tell her I sent you!