Craving Dole Whip

Disney & museum obsessed, homeschooling mom of 3, parenting to focus on experiences, not possessions. Sharing Disney tips, educational adventures and a few reviews. Constantly craving Dole Whip.


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100 Experience Adventures–January Summary

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By now, most of my readers know that my daughters and I are attempting to complete 100 experiences during our 6 month sabbatical away from our home in Texas.

For newbies, click here.

And read this.

I am super happy to report we surprisingly completed 18 awesome experiences during the month of January and I kept a running list of the events and the cost for reference.

Below is a quick summary and each one is a clickable link to more information about the experience, in case you are curious. ūüôā

Experience 1:

The Pennsylvania Farm Show (Free to attend, $15 for parking)

Experience 2:

George’s Furniture in Marietta, PA (Free to visit, we donated $20 for the personal tour)

Experience 3:

Cinnaholic, Vegan cinnamon rolls in Lancaster, PA ($28.04 for four cinnamon rolls)

Experience 4:

The National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, PA ($8.40 for four tickets through Groupon)

Experience 5:

The Turkey Hill Experience in Columbia, PA ($45.75 for three people to attend the lab class and the experience)

Experience 6:

Burning Bridge Antiques Market in Columbia, PA (free to visit)

Experience 7:

The Lancaster Sweet Shoppe and Stroopie Co. in Lancaster, PA (free to visit)

Experience 8:

Lancaster Central Market in Lancaster, PA (free to visit)

Experience 9:

Beiler’s Doughnuts in Lancaster, PA ($11.25 for 2 dozen doughnuts through Groupon)

Experience 10:

Sledding in real snow in Carlisle, PA (free!)

Experience 11:

Maymont in Richmond, Virginia ($12 for three tickets to the nature center and $15 “donation” for three people to tour the mansion)

Experience 12:

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia ($24 for three tickets)

Experience 13:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA (free for military families, $10 for the audio tour for two people)

Experience 14:

The Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia ($32.10 for three tickets)

Experience 15:

The Museum of Science and History (The MOSH) in Jacksonville, Florida ($30 for three tickets)

Experience 16:

Hunting for fossilized sharks teeth in Nokomis Beach, Florida (free)

Experience 17:

Artisanal Spice Artistry Workshop at the International Festival of the Arts in Epcot, Walt Disney World ($166.16 for four tickets)

Experience 18:

Disney After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World ($476 for four tickets)

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What is next?!?

Many more adventures to explore in the month of February!

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Artisanal Spice Artistry Workshop–Experience Adventure 17 of 100

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When I planned our 2018 trip to Walt Disney World, I was SUPER excited to see that the International Festival of the Arts would be at Epcot during the same time.  (I will do a blog post all about the festival soon!)
The festival offers guests a chance to spend the day walking through and experiencing the arts–visual, culinary, music and theatre.¬† As an extra added fun bonus, Epcot hosts a ton of seminars, workshops and classes at an additional cost.
Hands-on learning at Disney??  Yes, please!  Sign us up!
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As Christmas gifts, I gave my children tickets to the P.S. Flavor! Artisanal Spice Artistry Workshop.  My son works in the food industry and my daughters love to cook and bake.  A class all about spices was a perfect fit for the 4 of us and we looked forward to doing something different while at Epcot during our vacation.
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Read the description of the class below (taken directly from the Walt Disney World website):
P.S. Flavor! Artisanal Spice Artistry
Pam Smith and Nicole Ramsland, P.S. Flavor! Artisanal Spice Blends
Odyssey Festival Showplace
Workshop begins at 11:00 AM
$39 per person plus tax
Blend your own spices with a “sand art twist” and learn the creative
process of bringing a beautiful artisanal spice blend to life
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Unfortunately, the class was not AT ALL what we hoped it would be.  BIG BUMMER.
First of all, the first 20 minutes of the workshop was filled with awkward banter
between the mother and daughter who were running the class.
We did NOT blend our own spices.  We took the spices provided and put them
in a jar.  That was it.  We moved the spices from small containers
into a glass jar.  The spices were pre-measured, so we just poured from the small, black cups into a jar.  FOR REAL.
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The “Blend your own spices” was the adobo spice blend sold by the presenter’s company, P.S. Flavor!¬† Essentially, we WAY overpaid and unknowingly packaged a bottle of the company’s spice blend, which was the only spice we were given.
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Pouring the spices from one container to another took about 5 minutes.¬† Next, and for more than half of the “workshop”, we made “paint” by adding water and painted with another set of spices.¬† Yes.¬† Painted a picture.¬† Where in the description does it
state that more than half of the class focuses on painting?
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My son was not thrilled.

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Pam Smith (the woman that owns the spice company) kept
“sharing” random and incorrect information about paint history–going as
far to say that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel with spices.
That is simply not true.
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The majority of the time was filled with what can only be described as
an infomercial for the personal spice company.  The class felt like a long, drawn-out infomercial, a desperate attempt to get everyone to buy the online spice and cooking subscription classes.  My children and I found the workshop uncomfortable and a complete waste of time and money.
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The WORST part–At the end of the class, we were left with these sopping wet paintings
and no place to put them.  HELLO!  We were in the middle of Epcot!
My son and one of my daughters just threw their paintings in the trash, which made my heart hurt a little bit.  So disappointing!
I had to take the other 2 paintings back to our car–a long, long walk that wasted at least another hour of my Epcot park time.
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We left the “class” with a small jar of spices and an informational card about the spice company–another sales pitch.¬† We were all very upset that we wasted our Epcot park time and spent the rest of the day trying to make up for lost time.
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We did NOT “Blend our own spices”.¬† We filled a jar, listened to an
infomercial for a spice company, received false information and painted
some palm trees.  This class was a complete waste of time and money and
we could not have been more disappointed in the false advertisement and
the way we were forced to sit through a sales pitch from the presenters.
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I try to find the good in a bad experience and honestly, I enjoyed the painting process–because, well…I am an artist.¬† But, I did NOT sign up and pay for a faulty art lesson (palm trees?!?) and I would NEVER commit part of our Epcot day for such, especially for my 3 children.¬† Disney dropped the ball on this one, for sure.
Even though this experience is our 17th of 100 adventures, I did contact Guest Experience Services at the Walt Disney World company and asked for a refund for the price of the 4 tickets to the workshop.  I am still waiting for a response.
UPDATE:
***I am very pleased to report that Disney did in fact refund the $166.16 for the 4 tickets to this event.  Thank you Disney for making this right.  We appreciate you and LOVE you!
Good or bad, our experience adventures continue!
Read about another adventure here!
And here.
And here.
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World soon?  You gotta read this!


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2018 Disney Dining Plan–Everything You Need To Know

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To Dining Plan Or Not To Dining Plan…that is the question.

It is the most common inquiry I receive and honestly, one of the more challenging to answer.

And, just recently,¬†Walt Disney World changed up their dining plan just a tiny bit for 2018.¬† So, even if you are familiar with Disney dining, read this and take a refresher course–Disney is always changing!

What is the Disney Dining Plan?¬† Basically, it is a prepaid meal plan that provides families with¬†the option to prepay for meals BEFORE they arrive at¬†Walt Disney World.¬† It is accepted at over 100 locations and more than 50 table service restaurants with in the Disney parks and¬†resorts.¬† The dining “credits” are scanned from your magic band at participating restaurants.

Whether the dining plan will save you money completely depends on your family, the ages of your children, where you plan to eat and what you eat. Everyone eats differently, especially on vacation and every family is different.

So many factors.  So many options.  So many questions.  So many different answers.

I will try to simplify. (Ha!  That rhymes!)

If you are just beginning the planning process, click here to see a list of questions to answer BEFORE you plan a Walt Disney World vacation.

Click here to learn how to plan a Disney vacation like a pro.

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The 2018 Disney Meal Plan

The Basics:

  • Guests must purchase a Magic Your Way Package through Disney in order to be eligible to purchase any meal plan.
  • Guests must stay at a Walt Disney Resort.¬† The dining plan is not available for the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, Shades of Green and the hotels of the Disney Springs Resort area.
  • Typically, a minimum 3 night resort stay is required.
  • Annual pass holders and DVC members can purchase the Disney dining plan.
  • Each person on your resort reservation must be on the dining plan.
  • Each person on your resort reservation must be on the same level of dining plan, too.
  • Plans are set based on the number of nights on your resort reservation.¬† i.e. If you book 5 nights, you get 5 days worth of the dining plan.¬† You can not get less days¬†and you can not¬†pay for¬†more.¬† I will explain in greater detail below.
  • The dining plan expires at midnight on the check out day.
  • Disney defines children as ages 3-9.¬† (Children 10 and up are adults.)
  • Children ages 3-9 on the Disney dining plan are expected to order from the children’s menu when one is available.
  • The dining plan is not available for children under the age of 3.¬† Children under 3 can eat off of an adult’s plate or a meal can be purchased separately.
  • Any¬†guest age 10 or older is a Disney adult.¬† (I don’t make the rules.)
  • Tax is included.
  • Tips and gratuities are NOT included.
  • 18% gratuity is automatically added to parties of 6 or more guests.
  • The refillable mugs can be filled an unlimited amount of times (during your stay) at Disney resort quick service restaurants only.¬† Not the theme parks.¬† Drinks include sodas, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, etc.
  • If you order something that the dining plan does not cover, you will be charged separately for that item.
  • Desserts and appetizers at breakfast are not included.
  • Alcohol is now included, if you are over 21.¬† (See details below)
  • Meals are considered quick service (QS) or table service (TS) or signature dining (SD).
  • Pricing for the dining plan can increase at anytime and prices did increase for 2018.
  • The dining plan is always changing.

Have you read my post about changes at Disney?  Click here my friend.

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Restaurant Credit Descriptions:

Snacks are a plethora of all kinds of things and are marked with a purple and white 4 point segmented square on all Disney menus offering snacks.¬† If you don’t see the symbol, there are no snacks on that menu.¬† 1 snack credit can be used for a frozen ice cream novelty, 1 scoop of popcorn, 1 piece of whole fruit, 20 oz. soda or water, Dole Whip!, soups, chips, puffed rice treats and so much more.

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This is the snack credit symbol

Quick service restaurants are just like they sound, quick.  Ordering is made at a counter or register and the food is casual, quick and easy.  Guests choose their own tables.

 

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Quick service breakfast

 

Table service restaurants are more formal than quick service.  Guests are escorted to their tables and menus are provided for ordering (if not a buffet).  A server will wait on the table.  Most buffets and most character meals are considered table service.

For a list of every character meal at Walt Disney World, click here!

For a list of every princess character meal at Walt Disney World, click here!

 

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Chef Mickey’s buffet is 1 table service credit.

 

Signature dining restaurants are more formal and elegant¬†than table service restaurants.¬† There is a “resort casual” dress code for signature dining.¬† Signature dining uses 2 table service dining credits.¬† Cinderella’s Royal Table is considered signature dining and uses 2 table service credits.

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Cinderella’s Royal Table is considered signature dining and uses 2 table service credits.

Dinner shows are just like they sound, dinner and a show.¬† Think Disney’s Spirit of Aloha or Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.¬† Dinner shows require 2 table service dining credits.

 

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The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort requires 2 table service credits from the dining plans.

 

The Three Options:

Disney offers 3 different dining plans:  Quick service, Dining, and Deluxe Dining.

***Pricing and beverage offerings changed for 2018!  See details below!***

The Quick Service Plan:

  • $52.49 per¬†night per adult (ages 10+)
  • $21.75 per¬†night per child (ages 3-9)
  • Includes 2 quick service credits per night per person (1 quick service meal is considered 1 entr√©e and¬†1 drink)
  • Under 21 years of age:¬† A drink is one non-alcoholic drink or specialty drink if diner is under 21 years of age.¬† A specialty drink can include artisanal milkshake, fresh smoothie, premium hot chocolate, soda, coffee and tea
  • 21 years or older:¬† A drink can either be non-alcoholic or alcoholic.¬† A single serve alcoholic drink can include beer or cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks and specialty cocktails.
  • Includes 2 snack credits per night per person
  • Includes¬†1 refillable mug per person

The Dining Plan:

  • $75.49 per night per adult
  • $25.80 per night per child
  • Includes 1 quick service credit per night per person (1 quick service meal is considered 1 entr√©e and 1 drink)
  • Includes 1 table service credit per night per person (1 table service meal is considered 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert (lunch and dinner)¬†and 1 drink or 1 buffet and 1 drink.)
  • Under 21 years of age:¬† A drink is one non-alcoholic drink or specialty drink if diner is under 21 years of age.¬† A specialty drink can include artisanal milkshake, fresh smoothie, premium hot chocolate, soda, coffee and tea
  • 21 years or older:¬† A drink can either be non-alcoholic or alcoholic.¬† A single serve alcoholic drink can include beer or cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks and specialty cocktails.
  • Includes 2 snack credits per night per person
  • Includes 1 refillable mug per person
  • 1 table service credit can be used for most character meals. (Cinderella’s Royal Table is considered Signature Dining and is 2 table service credits.)
  • 2 table service credits can be used to dine at Signature Dining Restaurants (meal includes 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert and 1 drink)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for dinner shows (category 2 or 3 seating)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for private in-room dining (meal includes 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert and 1 drink)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for pizza delivery (meal includes 1 pizza entr√©e, 2 desserts and 2 drinks)

The Deluxe Dining Plan:

  • $116.24 per night per adult
  • $39.90 per night per adult
  • Includes 3 meals (QS or TS) per night–3 quick service or 3 table service credits per night per person used in any combination.¬†(1 quick service meal is considered 1 entr√©e and 1 drink).¬† (1 deluxe dining table service meal is considered 1 appetizer (lunch and dinner), 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert (lunch and dinner), and¬†1 drink or a 1 buffet and 1 drink.)
  • Under 21 years of age:¬† A drink is one non-alcoholic drink or specialty drink if diner is under 21 years of age.¬† A specialty drink can include artisanal milkshake, fresh smoothie, premium hot chocolate, soda, coffee and tea
  • 21 years or older:¬† A drink can either be non-alcoholic or alcoholic.¬† A single serve alcoholic drink can include beer or cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks and specialty cocktails.
  • Includes 2 snack credits per night per person
  • Includes 1 refillable mug per person
  • 1 table service credit can be used for most character meals. (Cinderella’s Royal Table is considered Signature Dining and is 2 table service credits.)
  • 2 table service credits can be used to dine at Signature Dining Restaurants (meal includes 1 appetizer, 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert and 1 drink)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for dinner shows (category 2 or 3 seating)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for private in-room dining (meal includes 1 appetizer, 1 entr√©e, 1 dessert and 1 drink)
  • 2 table service credits can be used for pizza delivery (meal includes 1 pizza entr√©e, 2 desserts and 2 drinks)

 

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1900 Park Fare breakfast buffet is 1 table service credit.

 

Confused yet?

I am going to create several scenarios to help clarify.

Scenario #1

2 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 7) book 5 nights at a Disney resort and choose the quick service plan.  Total cost for dining:  $742.40.

The cost for each adult on the quick service plan for 5 nights is $262.45.

For 2 adults, the total is $524.90.

The cost for each child on the quick service plan for 5 nights is $108.75.

For 2 children, the total is $217.50.

Total cost for the quick service meal plan for this family of 4 is $742.40.

Each person is given 2 quick service credits and 2 snack credits for each night of the reservation.  That is 10 quick service credits and 10 snack credits per person for the entire vacation.

There are 2 adults.  So, they have a total of 20 adult quick service credits and 20 snack credits.  There are 2 children.  So, they have a total of 20 quick service (kids meals if offered) credits and 20 snack credits.

In total, this family has 40 quick service meal credits and 40 snack credits.  The math is getting ridiculous, right?  Are you following me?

Adult #1–10 QS credits, 10 snacks

Adult #2–10 QS credits, 10 snacks

Child #1–10 QS credits, 10 snacks

Child #2–10 QS credits, 10 snacks

These credits all expire on midnight of the check-out day.

***Between the check-in day and midnight of the check-out day, this family can use these 40 quick service credits and 40 snack credits any way they please and in any combination.  The credits are all lumped into one total.

These credits are not linked to a certain person, either.¬† If adult #1 only wants to eat snacks the entire vacation, then he/she can eat all 40 snacks and all of those snacks can be Dole Whips…hypothetically, of course.

If this family wants to eat 20 quick service meals in one day, they can.  All of these 40 QS credits and 40 snack credits can be used in any combination on any day of their vacation.

Guest can use these quick service credits for quick service breakfast, lunch or dinner.  When all 40 quick service meals and all 40 snacks run out, any food purchases must be paid out of pocket.  ***If this family decides to eat at any table service restaurant, the bill would not be covered by their meal plan.

 

Scenario #2

Same family, 2 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 7) book 5 nights at a Disney resort and choose the Dining Plan.  Total cost: $1012.90

The cost for each adult on the dining plan for 5 nights is $377.45.

For 2 adults, the total is $754.90.

The cost for each child on the dining plan for 5 nights is $129.

For 2 children, the total is $258.

Total cost for the dining plan for this family of 4 is $1012.90.

Each person is given 1 quick service credit, 1 table service credit and 2 snack credits for each night of the vacation.  That is 5 quick service credits, 5 table service credits and 10 snacks per person for the entire vacation.

Adult #1–5 QS credits, 5 TS credits,¬†10 snacks

Adult #2–5 QS credits, 5 TS credits,¬†10 snacks

Child #1–5 QS credits, 5 TS credit, 10 snacks

Child #2–5 QS credits, 5 TS credits,¬†10 snacks

The family in total¬†has 20 quick service credits, 20 table service credits and 40 snacks to use in any combination over the duration of their resort stay.¬†¬†This family¬†could eat at¬†3 different table service restaurants in one day, if they choose.¬† Or, they could use 2 table service credits each to eat at a signature dining restaurant, like Cinderella’s Royal Table.¬† If the family of 4 all¬†dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table, 8 of their 20 table service credits would be used.

If this family of 4¬†all ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at 3 table service restaurants in one day and then had breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table, their 20 table service credits would be gone.

***To get the most benefit, this family should use their snack credits for breakfast items, quick service for lunch and each table service credit for a character meal or buffet.

 

Scenario #3

Same family, 2 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 7) book 5 nights at a Disney resort and choose Deluxe Dining.  Total cost: $1,561.40.

The cost for each adult on the deluxe dining plan for 5 nights is $581.20.

For 2 adults, the total is $1,162.40.

The cost for each child on the deluxe dining plan for 5 nights is $199.50.

For 2 children, the total is $399.

Total cost for the deluxe dining plan for this family of 4 is $1,561.40.

Each person is given 3 meal credits (can be quick service or table service, in any combination) each night of the vacation.  That is 15 meal credits and 10 snacks per person for the entire vacation.

Adult #1–15 meals,¬†10 snacks

Adult #2–15 meals,¬†10 snacks

Child #1–15 meals, 10 snacks

Child #2–15 meals,¬†10 snacks

This family has a total of 60 meals that can be either quick service or table service, plus 40 snacks.  The 60 meals belong to the family as a whole.  Anyone can use the credits in any combination.

If this family of 4¬†all ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at 3 table service restaurants in one day and then had breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table, they would still have 40 meal credits left to use.¬† To get the most benefit, this family should eat all meals at table service restaurants and avoid quick service all together.

That’s a lot of math.¬† Yes, I used a calculator.

The Benefits:

All 3 meal plans are essentially pre-paid dining and are accepted at over 100 locations on Disney property.

It is a nice feeling to have dining costs already covered.

Guests using meal plans can save money if they choose wisely.

The Struggles:

The dining plans require pre-paying and must be paid in full when the final resort reservation payment is due.

Guests must actively keep track of how many dining credits have been used and how many are left. (Credits are printed on each dining receipt).

Children ages 10 and up are considered adults and are charged the adult dining plan fees.

At the time of this post, if you want the dining plan, Disney requires you to pay for the plan for every night of your resort stay.  There is no option for anything less and your entire traveling party (in your resort room) must be on the dining plan.

The dining plan is only available for Disney resort guests.

Thoughts And Things To Consider:

The quick service plan is pretty straight forward.  To avoid running out of credits, guests can use 2 snack credits to cover breakfast by getting a muffin for 1 credit and a piece of fruit for 1 credit and filling the refillable mug with coffee (at the resort).  Or guests can use the 2 daily snacks to cover a light lunch by using the credits for a cup of soup and chips.  Quick service meals should be used for the largest meals of the day to get the most bang for your buck.

Table service, character meals and buffets can cost anywhere from $35 to $59.99 per adult.  The dining plan is $75.49 per day per adult and covers 1 quick service, 1 table service and 2 snacks.

**An adult not on the dining plan eats 1 character meal that costs $59.99, a quick service meal for $17.99 and gets 2 snacks for $12 for a total cost of $89.98

**An adult on the dining plan would pre-pay only $75.49 for the exact same meals and snacks.

***We used the dining plan and saved a ton of money when my kids were younger than 10.¬† We used every table service credit to eat at buffets and character meals and we saved quite a bit of money.¬† Plus, knowing that our meals were essentially pre-paid helped quite a bit with “sticker shock”.

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Honestly, whether the dining plans will save you money completely depends on your family and your eating habits.

If you answer “yes” to these questions, chances are very high that the dining plan will save you money.

  • Do you plan to eat at only table service, buffets and character meals?
  • Do you eat a dessert at every lunch and dinner?
  • Does your entire family drink sodas or tea?
  • Do you want to dine at signature dining restaurants or dinner shows?
  • Do you have children under the age of 10?

How About My Family?

Like I said before, we were dining plan worshippers for many of our Walt Disney World vacations.  But for the last two trips, we chose not to use the dining plan.

Here are my reasons:

Now that my daughters are 12 and 14, all 5 of my family members are considered adults in Disney’s eyes and adults cost more $$$.

I drink tea, but the rest of my family only drinks water with meals.

We usually split 1 or 2 desserts at dinner time only and prefer to eat a very light breakfast and lunch.

My daughters have outgrown most character meals.

 

 

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1 quick service credit breakfast at Be Our Guest

 

If you are still uncertain, there are many Disney dining plan calculators available online to help determine if the dining plan will save you money.

Message me if you still have questions!

Happy eating, my friends!

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1 table service credit

 

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1 snack credit

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1 table service credit

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1 snack credit

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Be Our Guest is quick service for breakfast and lunch, but uses 1 table service credit for dinner (will soon become signature dining!!!)

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Akershus restaurant is 1 table service credit.

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Boma–Flavors of Africa breakfast buffet is 1 table service credit.

Click here to read about our favorite buffet at Disney!

Click here to read about our favorite character meal at Disney!

Click here to read all about the FABULOUS Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom!

Click here if you love animals!

 


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Best Disney Restaurants for Kids Ages 5 and Under

OH!¬† Disney Dining…you keep us coming back for more and more and more!

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With 7 Disney trips under their belts, my kids have eaten at a ton of WDW restaurants, ranging from simple snacks to quick¬†counter service¬†to almost every character meal to fine dining at Victoria & Albert’s.¬† They have seen and eaten it all–and at all ages–from 8 months to 23 years old!

Disney does a great job of¬†creating themed restaurants to serve all guests, kids and kids-at-heart.¬† Though almost all¬†Walt Disney World¬†restaurants offer a kid’s menu, some are obviously more geared towards the younger visitors.

My daughters and I chose the BEST kid¬†restaurants based on kid-centered theming, characters,¬†fun environments¬†and kid-friendly (not just kid’s menu) food.

 

These are the BEST of the BEST table service restaurants for kids ages 5 and under.

For a list every character meal inside the Walt Disney World theme parks, click here.

Put these table service restaurants on your ‘Must-Do’ list!

Magic Kingdom:

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The Crystal Palace–Read all details and a¬†review here

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Be Our Guest Restaurant–Read all details and a¬†review here and avoid the West Wing dining room if your child is afraid of the dark, simulated thunder and lightening.

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

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Epcot:

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Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Garden Grill Restaurant

 

Hollywood Studios:

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Hollywood & Vine

50’s Prime Time Caf√©–Read all of the details and a review here.

 

Animal Kingdom:

Tusker House Restaurant

 

Disney Springs:

Rainforest Caf√©–Avoid if your child is frightened by simulated thunder and loud noises.

T-REX–Avoid if your child is frightened by loud noises and large dinosaurs that move.

 

Resorts:

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1900 Park Fare–Read all details and a¬†review here

Chef Mickey’s–Read all details and a review here

‘Ohana

Cape May Cafe

Whispering Canyon Café

 

Click here to learn all about the 2017 Disney Dining Plan.

Click here to learn how to plan a Walt Disney World vacation like a pro!

Click here to read about our favorite Disney buffet!

 

 

 

 


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A Review of 50’s Prime Time Caf√©

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Among the glamour of Hollywood films, exciting stunt shows, Star Wars rebels and Toy Story mania, there is a magical restaurant offering guests an opportunity to step back in time to a by-gone era of poodle skirts and Ford Thunderbirds.

50’s Prime Time Caf√© is a retro-themed restaurant serving American comfort food to theme park guests inside Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.¬† And.¬† We.¬† Love.¬† It.

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The entire restaurant is perfectly and classically themed, including the large lobby, created to look exactly like a 1950’s living room.¬† Comfy, floral couches, vinyl chairs,¬†old fashioned wallpaper, wood bookcases, sunburst clocks¬†and vintage tchotchkes fill the retro-styled room.

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The¬†quaint decorations and considerable 1950’s knickknacks generate a familiar feeling of¬†visiting an old family friend or spending time¬†at Grandma’s house.¬† The waitstaff¬†conveys the delightful, old-school time warp by donning checkered dresses, scarves, dish rags¬†and simple aprons.

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50’s Prime Time Caf√©¬†highlights old-fashion theming throughout the restaurant, including the many dining rooms built as if each table is placed in a splendid 1950’s kitchen.¬† Antique refrigerators, decoupage art, fruit-themed items and copper Jell-O molds line the walls.¬† Dining areas are separated by open bookshelves displaying kitschy decorations and rooms are reminiscent of a simpler time in American history.

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In this Formica and vinyl heaven, diners can order hearty home-cooked comfort food while enjoying black and white popular vintage sitcoms on multiple retro television sets.

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Lunch and dinner have the same home-style, classic menu featuring familiar and family favorite dishes.

Appetizers include crispy beer battered onion rings, chicken noodle soup, and a delicious Cousin Amy’s iceberg lettuce wedge salad with thick blue cheese dressing, bacon and chives.¬† I can’t help it–I order the wedge every time.

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Hearty and tasty retro entr√©es include Dad’s Stuffed Pork Chop with gouda cheese, apples, herbs, roasted potatoes, carrots topped with¬†a demi-glaze drizzle and Mom’s Old Fashion Pot Roast, slow cooked and served with garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy and carrots.

My husband’s favorites are the chicken potpie and the traditional meat loaf.¬† My son (age 23) loved¬†‘A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes’ that included golden fried chicken, tender pot roast, traditional meatloaf and all the fixings.¬† He voted 50’s Prime Time Caf√© the best meal we enjoyed during our January 2017 trip.

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Try the vegetable lasagna, sustainable fish or the Caesar salad with chicken or salmon.

Kid’s meals include turkey meatloaf, baked chicken, meatless meatballs, mac-n-cheese, pot roast sandwich and fresh fruit.

Yummy old school desserts include warm apple crisp, a delicious pineapple upside down cake (My FAV!), ice cream sundaes and my kids (ages 23, 12 and 11) loved the PB & J milkshake!

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Familiar drinks and beverages are served, but there are also flavored sodas, like Coca Cola with vanilla or cherry!¬† Don’t forget to order a root beer float!

Classic 1950’s cocktails are available–Mowie Wowie, Grandma’s Picnic Punch, Long Island Iced Tea and a chocolate martini, to name a few.¬† There is a full bar with wine, craft and draft beers.¬† The Tune-In Lounge is next door and serves the same menu in a 1950’s vintage bar setting.

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The banter between the servers and the diners is just as entertaining as the delightful environment.¬† Just like momma always said, the waitstaff will yell, “Elbows off the table!” and “Eat all of your veggies!”¬† Our waiter sternly told my son, “No toys at the table!” when my son was checking his phone.¬† LOL.

If you eat everything on your plate, you might receive a “clean plate club” sticker.¬† My husband laughed at¬†the sticker and in conversation, mentioned how he would love to give the sticker to his dad.¬† Our server overheard us and came around the corner with a roll of extra “clean plate club” stickers, which we gave to my father-in-law when we returned to Texas.

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50’s Prime Time Caf√© is our favorite restaurant inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios.¬† The remarkable theming is second-to-none and the service has always been outstanding.¬† Eating at this super fun restaurant is a chance to step back in time and experience a splendid, by-gone era, while enjoying some delicious and old-fashion home cooking.


 

Yes, lunch and dinner menus are identical.

Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Dinner is served 3:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Operating hours for all Disney restaurants can change due to seasonal crowd levels and refurbishments.

Dress is casual.

A theme park ticket is required to dine at 50’s Prime Time Caf√©.¬† The restaurant is inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios¬†and remember, any restaurant inside a Disney theme park requires a ticket for entrance into¬†that specific¬†park.

To travel to 50’s Prime Time Caf√©, take any Disney transportation to Disney‚Äôs Hollywood Studios¬†theme park.¬† Parking is also available in the Disney Hollywood Studios parking lot for a fee.¬†¬†Walking from the park entrance, the restaurant is near Echo Lake on the left.

Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) are highly recommended and can be made directly on the Disney website, through the My Disney Experience app on a smart phone or by calling 407-939-3463.

Current and full menus for every Walt Disney World restaurant can be found on the Disney website.¬† Click on ‚ÄúThings to do‚ÄĚ, then click on ‚ÄúAll Dining‚ÄĚ.¬† Every restaurant is listed alphabetically.¬† Click on the name of the restaurant and then click on ‚ÄúView Menu‚ÄĚ off to the right of the middle photograph.

50’s Prime Time Caf√© accepts the Disney dining plan.

Both lunch and dinner are 1 table service credit on the dining plan.

Click here to find out if the Disney dining plan is right for your next vacation!

If you only learn one thing from my blog posts, I hope it is the fact that Disney changes every day.¬† That is exactly why Disney is so popular‚Äďthere is ALWAYS something new for junkies like me to experience!¬† It is also why I always say everything is subject to change.

Overwhelmed with planning a Disney vacation?  Click here and learn everything you need to know!

To read about how I save money on every Disney vacation, click here.

Want to know which restaurant is our fav in Magic Kingdom?  Click here!


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A Review of Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Restaurant

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Step into Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, where the Jungle Cruise crew serves up hilarious corny jokes, silly idioms and entertaining puns along side some creative and unique food.

Casually called Skipper Canteen, the¬†entertaining outpost restaurant is located deep inside the jungles of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Adventureland.

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An outdoor pavilion welcomes diners with an island vacation flair, showcasing comfortable wicker chairs, green shutters and a beautiful glass ceiling with cooling fans.

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Three uniquely themed rooms with quirky, British outpost decorations create a quiet escape from the theme park crowds.¬† The Crew’s Mess Hall is the largest dining area.¬† There is also a Jungle Room and the S.E.A. room–the secret meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

Take a minute and check out each room–there are some¬†silly and interesting finds!

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Walls are decorated with artifacts, sculptures, maps, photographs, masks and baskets collected from many high adventure explorations of the world’s¬†tropical jungles.

Muted, but colorful, the walls and moldings are painted to look like worn wood and fresco-style plaster, with plenty of shutters and exotic travel details.

Tables are comfortably spaced and can accommodate large parties or small intimate couples.  Seating is mostly cushioned chairs, but there are a few tables with one-sided, fabric-lined, booth seating.

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The restaurant servers are rusty, I mean, trusty skippers ‘taking a break’ from narrating tongue-in-cheek tours aboard Disney’s light-hearted Jungle Cruise expeditions.¬† Clever jokes and silly puns create a fun and entertaining interaction between diners and servers.

A creative, wandering menu, fusing exotic flavors of South American, Asian, Latin, and African spices and cuisines, represents the rivers visited on a Jungle Cruise journey:  The Amazon, African Congo, Nile and Mekong River.

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Skipper Canteen servers both lunch and dinner and the menus for these two meals are identical.

Appetizers include Baladi Salad, an Egyptian creation made with Romaine lettuce, red peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley served with coriander mint vinaigrette and Ambasha bread croutons.

Though the portion was too small, I¬†enjoyed the Falls Family Falafel made with chickpeas, garlic, onion, lemon juice and herbs served with white bean dip and a tomato and cucumber salad.¬† Try the Orinoco Ida’s Cachapas, which is corn pancakes, mojo-braised pork, black bean salad served with an avocado cream.

Entrees include Char Siu Pork served with Chinese broccoli and jasmine rice, noodle bowl with chicken, lamb chops and a sustainable fish option.

My daughter liked Skips Beefy Baked Pasta, an Egyptian dish with spiced braised beef, pasta, cheese and Béchamel sauce served with seasonable vegetables.

We also recommend the Curried Vegetable Crew Stew, served with coconut rice and seasonal vegetables.

Kid’s meals include sustainable fish, grilled flank steak, mac-n-cheese, chicken and fresh fruit.

Desserts are the artistic showstoppers at this Magic Kingdom restaurant.  The coconut bar with pineapple basil compote, vanilla ice cream, vanilla chiffon cake with coconut lime, white chocolate ganache was delicious and probably the reason we will return.

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The Kungaloosh is an African inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas, cashew caramel ice cream, topped with coffee dush.  Our favorite part was the cashew ice cream.

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Traditional sodas and teas are served as well as coffee, espresso, cappuccino and lattes.

Skipper Canteen also serves a few select beer and wines.

The bold menu also offers fun non-alcoholic beverages, like exotic Coca Cola Guarana Kuat from Brazil and Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand.

Yes, lunch and dinner menus are identical.

Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.

Dinner is served 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Operating hours for all Disney restaurants can change due to seasonal crowd levels and refurbishments.

Family-friendly, tongue-in-cheek narration mixed with clever jokes from the skippers makes this a fun and light-hearted restaurant.

The food plays second fiddle to the fun interactions with the servers.

Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen was very clean and the service was top-notch.¬† Though the food was original and bold, there wasn’t anything we desire to eat again, except the coconut bar dessert.¬† The food was underwhelming.

The ambiance is relaxing and since this is not a character meal, it is a peaceful escape from the chaos and crowds outside.

Skipper Canteen is a must for die-hard Jungle Cruise fans.

Dress is casual.

A theme park ticket is required to dine at Skipper Canteen.  The restaurant is inside the Magic Kingdom and remember, any restaurant inside a Disney theme park requires a ticket for entrance into that specific park.

To travel to Skipper Canteen, take any Disney transportation to Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park.¬† Enter the park and take a left¬†before the castle and head towards Adventureland.¬† The restaurant will be on your right.

Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) are highly recommended and can be made directly on the Disney website, through the My Disney Experience app on a smart phone or by calling 407-939-3463.

Current and full menus for every Walt Disney World restaurant can be found on the Disney website.¬† Click on “Things to do”, then click on “All Dining”.¬† Every restaurant is listed alphabetically.¬† Click on the name of the restaurant and then click on “View Menu” off to the right of the middle photograph.

Skipper Canteen accepts the Disney dining plan.

Both lunch and dinner are 1 table service credit on the dining plan.

Click here to find out if the Disney dining plan is right for your next vacation!

If you only learn one thing from my blog posts, I hope it is the fact that Disney changes every day.¬† That is exactly why Disney is so popular‚Äďthere is ALWAYS something new for junkies like me to experience!¬† It is also why I always say everything is subject to change.

Overwhelmed by the planning process of a Disney vacation?¬† Don’t worry!¬† I am here to help!¬† Click here to learn how to plan a WDW vacation like a total pro!

Click here for a list of all character meals at Walt Disney World.

 


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How I Save Money On Every Disney Vacation

Let’s just face it–a trip to Walt Disney World can be crazy expensive.¬† Most families save and save and save to make a Disney vacation possible.

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Is it worth it?

YES!

Is it expensive?

It can be.

But, don’t fret–I am here to help!

There are a few ways to save a little here and there…and every little bit helps, right?

Ask yourself these questions before you start planning–click here.

To learn how to plan a Disney vacation like a pro, click here.

Confused by the 2018 Disney dining plan?  No worries.  Click here.

Get out your spiral notebook and take notes, my friends.

These are all great ways to save some $$ on your next Walt Disney World vacation.

  • Be flexible with travel dates.¬† The greatest savings on a vacation to Walt Disney World can be found in the travel dates.¬† Peak travel times (like Christmas, other holidays and summer) will produce the highest prices for Disney resorts, dining and plane tickets.¬† Plus, crowd levels can get out of control.¬† Consider booking during slower weeks, when on-property resort prices can drop by 35%-40%.

 

  • The magic of a Disney pin code.¬† With no rhyme or reason, a pin code (think promo code) can magically show up via email or snail mail.¬† Pin codes are exclusively linked to your name–you can not pass it along to your Aunt Sally or best friend Jen.¬† And, no one is quite sure how to get one sent…but, I do have suggestions.¬† My pin codes appear after¬†I excessively¬†snoop around the Disney website.¬† (That’s like every day!¬† HA!)¬† But, seriously…I suggest¬†you create¬†a free My Disney Experience account on the Disney website (There is an app, too!) and then log in every time you visit the website, even if you are just playing around.¬† Visit regularly.¬† Visit often.¬† You can also request to have a free planning DVD sent to your home address.¬† If Disney knows you are interested and thinking of a WDW vacation, a pin code just might be the incentive you need to book a trip.¬† ***Make sure your email address and mailing address are correct.

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  • Disney Credit Cards.¬† Chase offers 2 kinds of Disney credit cards and the offers attached to those cards change regularly, so check it out for yourself and see what is current.¬† Traditionally, this is what I have come across:¬† Card #1 has no annual fee, $50 statement credit after the first purchase and 1% back in Disney reward dollars.¬†¬†Card #2¬†has a $49 annual fee, $200 statement credit if $500 is spent in the first 3 months and 2% back in Disney reward dollars for¬†gas, grocery, restaurants, most Disney locations and 1% back in Disney reward dollars on all other purchases.¬† The Disney reward dollars are transferred to a Disney gift card (transfer online once you have at least $10 in rewards).¬† The Disney gift cards can then be used to pay for all things Disney–resort, tickets, dining or souvenirs!¬† ***I do not love credit cards, BUT…if you promise to pay it off each month, I think this is a great way to save a little towards a Disney vacation.¬† I put all of our reoccurring monthly charges (that were originally coming from our bank account) on the Disney credit card–i.e. orthodontist, electricity, Taekwondo–and we don’t use the credit card for anything else.

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  • ¬†Discount Warehouse Shopping.¬† Sam’s Warehouse and Costco occasionally offer Disney gift cards at a discount.¬† Last Christmas, I was able to purchase $500 Disney gift cards for $476.¬† Check often and check online.

 

 

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  • My Savings Plan.¬† ***This is how I use the above suggestions.¬† Stick with me…it is slightly confusing, but I will do my best to accurately describe my plan.¬† I use my Disney credit card (the one that gets 2% back on groceries) to purchase the discounted Disney gift cards from Sam’s Warehouse.¬† Then, I enter the gift card numbers into the Disney website when it comes time to pay for my vacation.¬† These gift cards can also be used for dining, souvenirs, resorts and tickets at Walt Disney World!

 

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Other Ways to Save $$$:

  • Target Red Card.¬†¬†I read¬†a lot of talk online about the Target Red Card and Disney gift cards.¬† Honestly, I do not have a Target Red Card.¬† But, I do know Disney lovers use the Target Red Card to purchase Disney gift cards and get 5% off.¬† Suggestion:¬† Try to purchase the gift cards with some other items–I have read it doesn’t always work if you purchase the cards alone.¬† Let me know about your experience!

 

  • Presents and Gifts.¬† Ask for Disney gift cards for your next birthday/anniversary/holiday.¬† Put Disney gift cards in Christmas stockings or Easter baskets to be used during an upcoming vacation.¬† I write my children’s names on the back of the cards with a Sharpie marker and put all of them in a baggie during the year…and when our vacation finally arrives, we total the amounts and each child knows how much they have to spend on souvenirs–before we even leave!

 

  • An Extra $25.¬† Pick up a $25 Disney gift card each time you go grocery shopping and just throw all of them in a baggie (to¬†pay for meals or souvenirs)¬†or use¬†the cards¬†to make deposits into your¬†new Disney savings account.

 

  • Stop Eating Out.¬† Ok.¬† Ok.¬† Yes, we eat out too much!¬† I do a great job of cooking at home for awhile, but then…well…life…¬† So, we try to only eat at home for the months or weeks leading up to our Disney vacation.¬† It really does make a difference!

 

  • Garage Sale.¬† Seriously.¬† Go through your junk and host a garage sale.¬† Use the proceeds to make a deposit into the Disney savings account or buy Disney gift cards with your loot!

 

  • Money Jar.¬† Start a collection jar for loose change and coins.¬† Collect coins from every empty purse, car console, couch, junk drawer and school backpack!¬† Get everyone involved and watch those coins stack up!¬† When the jar is full, have the kids count it all out or use one of those change counting machines.¬† Turn the money into a¬†Disney gift card for souvenirs!

 

  • Water and Snacks.¬† Take bottled water and snacks into the Disney theme parks.¬† Empty water bottles can be filled at water fountains and cups of ice water are free at every quick service restaurant.¬† Save $$ by carrying a backpack with snacks and meals for your family.¬† Lockers are also available¬†for storing¬†a soft cooler or bag.¬† If you drive your own vehicle,¬†leave a large cooler in the car and go to the parking lot for a mid-day picnic!

 

  • Buy Souvenirs at Home.¬† Disney themed everything can be found everywhere!¬† Save some serious $$ by purchasing Disney items BEFORE you enter the parks!¬† Stash the goodies and surprise the kids with¬†“souvenirs” each day.¬† I call it ‘The Disney Fairy”.¬† Once you are in Orlando, the Walmart Supercenter and the Disney Warehouse outlet store are also fabulous places to visit for discounted souvenirs!

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Everyone likes to save $$$.  And we all love Disney!  So, saving $$ on a Disney vacation is a win-win situation!

I hope you guys can use some of these money $$ saving¬†ideas–Share your own Disney saving ideas below!

Best places to purchase cool Disney shirts?  Click here!

For a list of every character meal at Disney, click here!