Tips for visiting Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve. Find out about the crowds, how you can get into the park when it closes and the best place to watch the fireworks. Tips for New Year’s Eve at Disney’s Magic Kingdom I surprised by daughter with tickets to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on […]
Want help with ideas on how to travel cheap? Check out these 4 simple tips to save money on travel. Money saving tips for Disney World, Universal Orlando and other family vacations!
Simple Money Saving Tips for Disney, Cheap Flights and More!
We love to travel and have been all over the world! What’s even better is when we can save money on travel, so we can take more trips later. People always ask me for travel tips and ideas for saving money on family vacations, so I am happy to share some ideas with you today. We have used these tips when traveling to beaches, theme parks, national parks, and cities.
With so many great online tools to save money these days, travel can always be done on a budget. It just takes a few simple money saving tips and time! I will keep adding helpful websites and tips to save money on travel to this article as discover new ones. For now, here are my favorite tools for traveling cheap along with some time and money saving tips that will make you jump for joy the next time you plan a vacation!
1. Be Smarter When Searching for Cheap Flights
Airfare is often the most expensive part of travel, especially if you have a large family. Driving is not an option to many places I like to visit, so flying it is! Here are a few ways I save money on flights:
Finding the best deals on travel takes time. I feel like a private detective digging into the internet to find the best deals when I plan our vacations. Now I save a ton of time by using Airfarewatchdog for flights and hotels. It’s super easy to compare airfare prices on various websites all at once with Airfarewatchdog. My favorite feature of this website is you can set a low fare alert to get an email when the prices go down! If you type in your destination and dates, then scroll down the page, you will see suggested dates for the best time to travel.
Airfarewatchdog is awesome and searches for both airfare and hotel sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz all at once which saves a ton of time. Search for hotel deals and set alerts easily here too! I also like to search here for the best deal on Disney World Hotels.
Being flexible is a great way to travel cheap! When I feel spontaneous to travel somewhere for a long weekend and not sure where I want to go, I love using Google flights! You can enter your home airport, enter your travel dates, leave the destination blank, then click the map to see what flight prices are for any city on the map! Narrow down your search by stops, price, times, or airline.
When I entered some dates for this summer from Dallas, non-stop under $200 this is what I found. I think the beach is calling me to San Diego or Ft. Lauderdale with these flights!
2. Compare Theme Park Ticket Options
When planning a trip to a theme park, do your research and compare prices for annual passes vs daily tickets. I just got annual passes to Universal Orlando because it saved me money on our 3 day park ticket preferences! We got extra perks such as discounts at stores and restaurants, plus we could be much more flexible on the days we visited the park. It also made sense, because I feel like we are in Orlando several times a year. Now we can pop over to the park anytime we are in town!
3. Pack Your Own Drinks and Snacks
I really need to be better at doing this. It’s a no brainer that you will save money at hotels if you have snacks in your room, especially if you travel with teenagers! I have friends who will pack an entire suitcase with food when flying to expensive destinations. Then fill the suitcase with dirty clothes for the trip home! Just remember if you travel to tropical islands or southern states, pack things that won’t melt.
If you don’t trust your kids to not eat and drink the expensive items in hotel rooms, ask the hotel to remove them before you get there.
Did you know most theme parks let you bring snacks?
Disney Rules say this:
“Guests are allowed to bring food items—such as snacks or foods that do not require heating—into Disney theme parks.” Small ice chests are allowed in Disney Parks, but they have size requirements. Make sure to read the rules before you bring an ice chest with you. I suggest getting a backpack ice chest to easily carry it all.
Don’t buy water at Disney. Both Disneyland and Disney World’s counter service restaurants will give you a free cup of water or a free cup of hot water. Ask for a large cup!
Universal Orlando Rules say this:
Acceptable items: Bottled water (maximum 2 liters), Small snacks, Any food required for special dietary needs, Any food required for medical purposes and medically-indicated nutritional supplements, Baby food/baby formula and Soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5” wide x 6” high x 6” deep.
4. Buy Souvenirs Ahead of Time
We go to theme parks a lot and I save so much money by getting t-shirts, mouse ear hats and trinkets ahead of time online. This way the kids can use their own money however they want when visiting the parks. On our last trip to Universal Orlando, my son used his park money on only food and it saved us arguing about me spending $10 on a cookie!!!
Pack a small bag full of dollar store pencils, stickers, lollipops, light up toys, etc with the park theme to hand out at the hotel when you arrive. Young kids won’t know where you got the gifts and think you bought it for them at the park!
Here is a list of popular parks and their themes to help you shop for souvenir gifts ahead of time…
Universal Studios: Minions, Harry Potter, Men in Black, Jimmy Fallon, Shrek, Simpsons, Transformers, Fast & Furious, Revenge of the Mummy, E.T., Sponge Bob, Curious George, Hello Kitty, Scooby Doo
Island of Adventures: Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Marvel Comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, X-Men, Ant-Man) King Kong, Popeye, Betty Boop
Magic Kingdom: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Disney Princesses, Finding Nemo, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh
Animal Kingdom: Safari Animals, Dinosaurs, Yeti Monster, Avatar
Hollywood Studios: Star Wars, Toy Story, Muppets, Frozen, Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones, Twilight Zone
Epcot: Frozen, Race Cars, Space, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, America, Morocco, Canada, United Kingdom
Disneyland: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Disney Princesses, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Star Wars, Peter Pan, Toy Story, Dumbo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland
California Adventure: Cars, Toy Story, Black Panther, It’s a Bug’s Life, Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Guardians of the Galaxy
Other Theme Parks
Six Flags: DC Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern) and Looney Toons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, Porky Pig, Tasmanian Devil)
Sea World: Shamu, Sesame Street and ocean inspired
Busch Gardens: Sesame Street, Madagascar, safari and jungle animals
Legoland: LEGO toys
Silver Dollar City: Old fashion toys and candy, mining, wild west inspired
Dollywood: Old fashion toys and candy, black bears, Smokey Mountains inspired
I hope you enjoyed these money saving tips for traveling.
How do you save money on vacations?
Let me know in the comments below.
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Learn about the best Orlando day trips that are perfect for your family vacation with these five day trips from Disney World. Enjoy these Disney family travel tips and fun excursions to do with kids.
Best Orlando Day Trips To Take From Disney World
We are huge Disney World fans, but I’m always looking for fun Orlando day trips. Because, face it, Disney World vacations can be a ton of fun, but after a few days in a row of experiencing the parks, your family – and your wallet – might need a break. Whether you’re planning your very first trip to Disney World or you’re an experienced Disney visitor, you should consider what Florida has to offer beyond the parks. From inland springs to coastal towns, here are some favorite day trips to take from Disney World!
St. Augustine is a small seaside town situated on Florida’s east coast, located roughly two hours northeast of Disney World and the Orlando metro area. It holds the honor of being the oldest city in America, and for many folks, that’s enough of a reason to plan a day to see what St. Augustine has to offer. It’s home to Castillo de San Marcos, an old fort built by early Spanish settlers, as well as a number of family-friendly attractions to keep your crew entertained. Explore the city by trolley or take to the cobblestone streets and see what you can find on foot.
The closest beach to Disney World, Cape Canaveral is an hour’s drive straight east from Orlando. Spend the day soaking up the sun or head a few minutes north to Kennedy Space Center – a must-see for anyone who’s interested in space or science! You can take tours to view shuttle launchpads, view exhibits you won’t find anywhere else, and experience a shuttle launch simulator. Don’t forget to treat the kids to some Dippin’ Dots while you’re there!
Ponce De Leon Springs
Ponce De Leon Springs is a natural spring located approximately one hour northeast of Orlando. If your family is dying to spend some time in the water surrounded by nature, this is a great stop to add to your itinerary. You can swim or explore the water by kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade or grab a bite to eat at the Sugar Mill Restaurant, known for tables with built-in griddles that let you make your own pancakes.
Two hours southwest of Orlando, it’s easy to spend a fun-filled day in Tampa. Experience marine life up close at the Florida Aquarium, explore the Lowry Park Zoo, or check out one of the multiple museums in the area. Head across the bay and into St. Petersburg to visit the , Salvador Dali Museum, home to one of the largest Dali collections in the world. You’ll find beautiful beaches all around Tampa!
If you want to add another theme park to your plan, you can always pick up tickets for Busch Gardens. While this theme park has attractions and activities for people of all ages, it’s best suited for adults or older kids who love thrill rides – especially roller coasters.
Feel the need for speed? Head to Daytona Beach, roughly an hour and a half northeast of Orlando, to experience the Daytona International Speedway – home of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. If fast cars aren’t your thing, no need to worry! There are plenty of fun things to do and see in Daytona Beach. Stroll along the pier and you’ll find everything from thrill rides and snack bars to souvenir shops and arcades. Claim a spot on the beach and splash around in the water, or cross the street and have a blast at Daytona Lagoon, the local water park.
What day trips from Disney have you taken? Which were your favorite? Share your ideas in the comment section!
You might also like these tips for Universal Orlando!
Walt Disney World just opened Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Just don’t think the theme park giant will rest on the accolades of this new land.
Recently, the Disney D23 Expo fan convention was held in the Anaheim Convention Center, July 14-16, adjacent to Disneyland. Called “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event,” the D23 Expo brings together all the worlds of the Walt Disney Company. A host of new attractions at Walt Disney World were announced both in and outside the parks.
Building these new rides will keep Walt Disney Imagineers busy until Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2021. So when are you planning your next family vacation to Walt Disney World? Between now and 2021, whenever your family decides to visit, there’s bound to be something new.
Here are the latest details on all the new attractions at Walt Disney World in development.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Toy Story Land will open in time for summer 2018 welcoming families to Andy’s toy strewn yard. Toy Story Land rides include Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers, a spinner ride beneath.. The Claw.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be a ride into and through a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Surprisingly, it’s the first-ever ride through Mickey Mouse themed attraction. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will replace The Great Movie Ride inside the Chinese Theatre. Opening date for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has not yet been announced.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the name for the Star Wars themed land opening in 2019. The land includes two attractions. The first one is a ride on board the Millennium Falcon where your family must work together to complete a mission. The second attraction will simulate the escape from a battle inside the gaping hangar of an Imperial Star Destroyer.
Guardians of the Galaxy will take over the building occupied by Ellen’s Energy Adventure inside the Universe of Energy pavilion. Disney released few details as to what type of ride this “Guardians of the Galaxy” entails. However, it’s sure to involve a classic rock soundtrack. This Guardians attraction will be open by 2021.
Mission: SPACE will receive updated missions including a tamer Green training mission. In addition, a Mission: SPACE themed restaurant will open operated by the Patina Restaurant Group. There is currently not an opening date for the space restaurant.
The China Pavilion receives a new digital Circle-Vision film. Opening date for this new film has not been announced.
Ratatouille will open by 2021 in the France Pavilion of World Showcase. This attraction based on the 2007 Pixar film “Ratatouille” will be similar to the ride at Disneyland Paris Resort. Guests will “shrink” to the size of a rat and will be chased through Gusteau’s Parisian restaurant.
A TRON-themed ride similar to Shanghai Disneyland’s TRON Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster will be added to Tomorrowland. Just in time for the Magic Kingdom’s http://www.minitime.com/Magic_Kingdom-Lake_Buena_Vista-FL-attraction 50th anniversary in 2021.
Outside the Parks
A “Star Wars”- themed hotel will house your family of Skywalkers in an all immersive, 24 hour, role-playing type experience. Disney has not yet determined when this hive of scum and villainy will open.
Disney Skyliner will use a gondola system to alter the Walt Disney World skyline. The transportation system will run between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme parks. It will connect four different hotels including the newly announced Disney Riviera Resort. Opening date for Disney Skyliner will be announced later.
Dave Parfitt of Adventures by Daddy contributed this to MiniTime. He is a father of two and a runner with a PhD in neuroscience who chronicles his family adventures as well as offer family travel advice and escapist fun from Dad’s perspective.
More from MiniTime:
If you’re dreading your upcoming trip to Orlando with the kids, most likely you are not alone. Not everyone is a Disney fan. 19,000,000 people may visit the parks every year. However, it is probable that a percentage of these people are parents like you who have little interest in Disney. You only do it for the kids. Still, the trip requires a great deal of time, money and energy, so while there, it’s best to make the most of it.
There are things to do in Orlando that will improve the quality of your visit. This way, it’s not just the kids that have fun while visiting Orlando, but you as well. Happier parents makes a happier child, and in this case, the statement holds true to its meaning.
Here’s a short list of tips to ensure that you, the most reluctant of parents, enjoy your time at Disney and have a great trip to Orlando with the kids.
Be a Big Kid
Chances are, you went to Disney with your family while growing up. And you have vivid memories of seeing Mickey and Minnie for the first time. Head to the ones you rode growing up like Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain for nostalgia. Or go on Soarin’, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest and EPCOT’s Test Track. They are sure to provide that added sense of thrill. Also definitely hit Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, It’s a Small World, and other rides in Disney’s Fantasyland. They will also fill that nostalgic hole.
To skip the lines, invest in Fastpass tickets for the family, which allow guests to avoid long lines at the attractions. Research the rides before you head to the parks, and plan what you want to ride.
Focus on the Park’s Innovations
A pioneer since it opened in 1955, there is no question that Disney has the epitome of technology and innovation. Even the greatest cynic will be impressed by Disney’s use of technology while touring the parks.
There’s the Magic Band, a digital wristband that acts as a ticket, hotel key, credit card and tracker all in one, to start. Plus, there are those very creative and extremely interactive rides like Toy Story Mania! or Mickey’s Fun Wheel, a ride where guests can use their mobile devices to access a Wi-Fi network that leads to an interactive pre-show game. Newer rides such as Frozen Ever After and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train also feature innovative technology. And don’t cop out in the evening. The Magic Kingdom’s nighttime light show begins with a fanciful flight by Tinker Bell directly over Cinderella’s Castle, making the biggest curmudgeon happier.
Don’t be Frightened by the Food
Food at Disney can be bad, and it can be expensive. But if you know where to go and what to look for, you’ll find items that are interesting and delicious. Try the Grilled Chicken Skewers at Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Market, the platters at Tangierine Cafe in EPCOT’s Morocco pavilion, or the falafel at Mr. Kamal’s in Animal Kingdom. The Fixins Bar at Pecos Bill’s at Magic Kingdom is good for vegetarians.
If you venture out of the parks to Disney Springs, stop by Homecoming Florida Kitchen by Chef Art, which features gourmet Southern cooking. Be adventurous, particularly at Epcot. However, definitely don’t judge your family for munching on Disney fare everyone loves. Those Fruit and Nutella Waffle Sandwiches or Strawberries and Creme Macaroon Ice Cream Sandwiches are a treat. Let the kids be kids.
Make Adult-Worthy Stops
If you get tired of doing everything the kids want to do, know that Disney has stops for you. The Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios is a ride back in time through the history of classic movies. It’s a great reprieve. There also a lot of shows throughout the park to sit back and unwind to. Even the princess tales are escape-worthy. Indulge your Star Wars obsession by experiencing “Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular“. Spend a day at Epcot.
In the evening, plan a dinner at one of the fine international restaurants in World Showcase> at Epcot. Grab a drink at the Rose & Crown British Pub any time of day, also in Epcot. Visit the Italy Pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, and check out the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. Each evening, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris is lit up so guests can explore Disney’s Animal Kingdom at night. It’s a spectacle for one of any age. Lastly, if you want an alcoholic drink, head to the Be Our Guest restaurant in Fantasyland.
Stay in a Great Hotel, with Great Amenities
Choose a hotel that’s just as good for you as it is for the kids. Adults like the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Boardwalk Villas, Port Orleans Resort, Old Key West Resort and Port Orleans French Quarter.
The further away you go from the parks, the more you upgrade your hotel experience. Reunion Resort is tasteful and an absolutely beautiful resort a few miles away. Be sure to have dinner at Eleven, their rooftop restaurant, during the fireworks at Disney in the distance. Also have a cocktail by the one of their ten pools during the day, ride in the lazy river, and have a luxurious spa treatment.
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If you’re going to take your family to Disney World, you’re bound to end up with loads of family pictures, am I right? The Enz family from Indiana recently went to Disney World with extended family members for a reunion. Here is the family of six with good buddy, Donald. Totally typical family picture.
But this family completely upped their picture-taking game with their hilarious faces during rides. After every ride, there was something new to laugh at. Having tried to pull a face on Splash Mountain when I was there last, I know this is no easy feat. From smelling a shoe to a fatherly noogie, this family came through with photo gold. All photos shared with permission of Sarah Enz.
The guy in yellow WINS.
WHERE DID THEY ALL GO?! No. Really, I need an answer.
The shirt thing is the best.
See what I mean?!
This one might be my favorite…
The only person as exciting as Santa is Mickey Mouse. It’s science. So taking the happiest day on the calendar and combining that with the happiest place on earth?! That’s mind-melting-scream-your-guts-out-BLISS.
We want to give you the chance to experience that Christmas morning meltdown for yourself, by wrapping up a Disney Vacation for Four under your tree. (And we mean “meltdown” in the very best sense of the word.)
You could win, 4-two day ParkHopper Passes and 3 nights hotel accommodations at your choice of Disneyland or Walt Disney World from ParkSavers.com!
All ready dreaming up a trip of your own?
Want to know how to save a little cash planning your own trip? Check out ParkSavers.com!
Be sure to check out some of their current deals:
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Enter To Win!
Note: Hotel selection based on availability at booking. Hotel will be a standard room (sleeps 4) at a Disney or equivalent neighboring property.
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More Holiday Giveaways From TodaysMama.com!
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Easy No Bake Mickey Mouse Halloween Cookies made with OREO cookies! Such a fun Disney themed holiday party dessert idea. Easy Mickey Mouse Halloween Cookies Mickey Mouse Halloween Cookies are simply spooktacular treats! We recently visited one of our favorite places… Disney World! After enjoying the fall decorations and Halloween treats, I was inspired to make […]
Minnie Mouse has been around for many years, 88 years to be exact! For years, girls have loved her sweet voice and fantastic fashion sense. She could be your best friend, the girl you chat on the phone with for hours or meet at the mall for a fun shopping spree.
Everyone loves her, so it’s no surprise that there are tons of ideas to bring Minnie into just about everything! From party decor and food to clothing and home décor, the ideas are endless. We’re excited to head to Disney World again this summer and had the best time rounding up some of our favorite Minnie Mouse DIY Craft Ideas. So grab some glitter, a pair of mouse ears and let the Disney magic begin!
“Remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine!”
~ Minnie Mouse
We love anything Disney and last fall after going to Disney World, I was inspired to make cute Mickey & Minnie Mouse Oreo Cookies! I shared my festive Christmas Themed Disney Cookies last year, and almost forgot that I had not shared the everyday version.
This simple version is perfect for a Disney themed birthday party or everyday celebration. What I love about making these no-bake Mickey and Minnie Oreo Cookies is you can make two or twenty! It just depends on the amount of time you want to spend or how many cookies you need.
How to make Mickey & Minnie OREO Cookies
All you need is OREO cookies, candy melts, frosting, sprinkles and candy bows. I found the adorable candy bows at Walmart, but you can order them online here.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS RECIPE: