Tips to Save Time and Your Sanity at the Walt Disney World Parks

By Frances

Here are some tips that I found that have helped me save my sanity while traveling to the Walt Disney World Resorts. [Read more…]

Looking to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Here’s Three MORE Simple Tips

bring food into Disney parks, can you bring food into Disney parks,disney snacks, disney snack costs

The cost of food just kills me on a Disney vacation. Each time we go, I keep my receipts and pour over them once we get home, searching for ways I could have saved money. We’ve covered some ways to save money on food at the parks (Want to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Try These Three Simple Tips) Now here’s three more ways that I have used to save money on vacation at Disney. [Read more…]

Saving Pennies for Walt Disney World!

Like most families, we are on a budget. When we go on vacation, there isn’t a lot of extra money for “extras”. We always go when there is a special promotion that is being offered. We usually get the Plus Dining meal plan and find that we save over $200 a trip on food using that. We love the snack credits. We usually get our Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars using them. However, my kids want a new toy (or toys) “to remember” each trip by. Souvenirs can add up very fast and my kids want two of each and three of most toys. Does that sound like your kids?

So here is what my husband & I do. Our kids have to pay for their own toys! Some people might call that cruel but we call it a life lesson! Our children are 8 years old & 4 years old. Loose change in our house is theirs! They have to take it and place it in the piggy bank. Even the 4 year old knows that he is saving for his Disney toys. Of course we encourage our 8 year old to save birthday and tooth fairy money to use for herself.

About two weeks prior to leaving, we uncork the pig and count it up. Our 8 year old has to help us count and roll the coins. This last time, we saved our coins for 5 months. We rarely will spend our coins when paying with cash, so that helps a lot getting to the grand total. We are always surprised at how much it adds up to. When the last pig was counted, we had saved $73.50 plus we have a few coins leftover to help us start saving for next time.

What kind of things do our children pay for?

1. The Arcade

2. Extra Mickey Rice Crispy Treats

3. Hair Accessories

4. Plush Characters

5. Extra Trading Pins (We usually give them 20 to start that we purchase off of EBay)

6. Extra Vinylmations (We usually give them 3-4 to start)

7. Extra swords, daggers, hooks (If he already has one, we make him purchase the extras)

You might not think a 4 year old understands money but they quickly learn. Especially when it’s “All Gone”.

Another general rule that we have is they can’t purchase anything until day 3 or 4 of an 8 day trip. This gives our kids an opportunity to really find something that they will enjoy.

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

Top Things for a Kid to Do at Disney World, by Who Else, a Kid!

By Julia, age 7.

There is so much to do at Disney World, that it’s hard to decide what else to do other than ride rides. What do kids like to do at Disney? I know – I am a kid. Here are some of my favorites. [Read more…]

Want to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Try These Three Simple Tips

magic kingdom photo, mponorail photo, Disney train photo,

I think about Disney vacations every day, and one of the biggest thoughts constantly running through my mind is, “How can I save money?” For what you will spend on your vacation, you could have purchased a big screen TV or a used car. Lots of people are looking for ways to cut those vacation expenses down. [Read more…]

GPS Addresses for Walt Disney World

Disney Entrance, Disney World sign, Walt Disney World Sign, Welcome to Walt Disney World

Disney World is a massive vacation complex. WDW is made up of over 44 square miles of resorts and hotels, water parks, miniature golf, golf, Downtown Disney’s entertainment/dining/shopping complex, a wedding pavillion, meeting space, a sports complex, oh, and those four theme parks you might have heard about. Even the most map-oriented of us can get turned around navagating the twists and turns of the Mouse House highways. [Read more…]

Important Life Lessons Kids Can Learn from a Disney Vacation

paying for Disney vacation, saving for a Disney vacation, stress on vacation, kids on disney vacation, things for kids to do at Disney, Disney kids, Disney kids

Disney World vacations are very expensive, very memorable, and they can be an excellent opportunity to teach your child life lessons before, during, and after the vacation. Here’s two simple, yet very important, life lessons I have tried hard to instill in my own children, and they can work wonders for yours too.

Save Your Money.

Money…you can’t go on vacation without it.  If I’m paying for the vacation, I can’t possibly buy my children everything they want. Even worse, if I did, I would be providing a false sense of reality. As adults, we know we don’t get everything we want in life. There’s always a nicer hotel room, a more expensive meal, a bigger gold bracelet waiting at the end of our Disney dream list. Vacations are expensive, and it takes a lot of money to fund your Disney dreams.  But do kids know this? Does your child really understand that your Disney vacation will cost a lot of money, and that without a money tree, that money has to come from somewhere?

Haunted Mansion, kids gifts, Disney, philosophy at Disney, buying gifts at Disney, disneystore.com

My kids can’t have it all, but they can do their part by paying for most of their own souvenirs. I know a lot of families spring last-minute surprise vacations on their kids. This makes for great Disney TV commercials, with happy little tykes opening pizza boxes with ‘We’re going to Disney!” messages drawn in Sharpie marker. But you can’t save for what you don’t know about. I have to save money to go on vacation, so my kids can save money to buy the goodies they want. My children know the exact date we leave for our next trip They know, to the penny, how much money they have, because it’s posted on our refrigerator door every day. If they buy an expensive toy two weeks before we make it to Orlando, they know I won’t swoop in to buy their souvenirs, no matter how much they beg. They know they have a choice, and I’m always subtly hinting for them to save, save, save their money. Everything, and I mean eve.ry.thing, looks good in those Disney gift shops. Save, save, save, because Sugar Daddy’s pockets are only so deep.

Encourage your child to start saving money for your vacation months before you leave. This opens up great dinner conversation opportunities, and they’ll be glad they had money to spend once they hit those gift shops.

disneystore.com, the Disney store, Disney Visa, Disney Monorail, saving for Disney, saving for vacation, what kids want on vacationPull up the Disneystore.com and let your child see how much Disney merchandise costs online. This will give them a realistic sense of how much Disney items cost (a lot) and how much money they will need to take with them (a lot). Now is the time to tell your child if you plan to pay for any souvenirs.

I usually give each of my three kids $20, and past that point, it’s up to them. Christmas $$, birthday $$, chore $$- I hope they’ve saved it.

In our fast food world of overwhelming credit card debt, the ability to save money for items you really want is a valuable life skill.

Be appreciative.

We pulled up to a cheap hotel in Orlando several years ago to groans and cries from my kids, “This is a dump!”  While I was not planning to spend a lot of time in the hotel room, I still didn’t take this hotel mutiny well. “You’re on vacation, and lots of people are not. Just be glad you’re here.”  It goes beyond how some people are not going on vacation now, because some people have never been on vacation to Disney. And some will never…

Peter Pan's flight, Peter pan photo, Disney peter pan,  Disney fastpass, Disney pastpass wait time,

I teach 250 different high school students each year, and when I ask them just who has been to Disney, very few hands raise. And it’s not my imagination that there’s a look of envy toward those who have. When I ask my pre-middle school age sons how many of their friends mention going to Disney, the answer through the years has been a small handful. Teach your kids to appreciate where you stay, the food you eat, the view you have, even if it’s not really the one you wanted deep down. We can’t all stay in Deluxe Resorts, eating characters meals twice a day, toting our Dooney & Bourke Mickey handbags over for our reservation at Le Cellier. Some of us had better be glad we made it to Disney at all.

Encourage your child to appreciate the Disney magic for what it is, an amazing opportunity that not every child gets. The fine art of appreciation starts at home, way before the Magical Express pulls up to the resort doors. Talk with your kids about how they can’t have it all, and that sometimes, they have to settle for less. Teach them how to be grateful for what they have. Just by saying, “We’re so lucky to be here. We’re so lucky to be able to do this” is a great way to show your kids you appreciate what you have. Teach them by example. The ability to appreciate what we have before us, as opposed to constantly wishing for more, is a valuable life skill.

Save your money. Appreciate what you have.

Life lessons with a Disney spin.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we’ll see you while spending our hard- earned money in the gift shops!

Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.

Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198.

6 Reasons to Use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for Your Next Vacation

Castle, Cinderella Castle, sunset, sunsets, beautiful sunsets, Magic Kingdom sunsets,

By Frances.

In the age of the internet, everyone thinks they are a pro at everything they can Google. They have instant access to pricing and blogs. Planning a Disney vacation is a huge undertaking, and scheduling character meals and purchasing tickets can be overwhelming  and confusing, especially if this is your first trip to WDW. The internet always offers the lowest vacation prices, right? Not true. A travel agent costs money to use, right? Also not true. What sort of benefits do you get from using a Disney Vacation Planner? [Read more…]

Is Disney just for kids? Here’s Some Tips for Adult Fun at Walt Disney World

Think Walt Disney World is a place where just kids have fun? Think again. We had three of our Mouze Kateerz writers take a look at what it takes for an adult to have a ball at Disney, without a child in sight, at least not a kid they brought with them!

Epcot Japan, Epcot China,

“Kid free Disney? Yes, I said it,” says Maleah Moskoff, a Mouze Kateerz staff writer from www.chachatea.net, who also provided many pictures for today’s article from one of her many adult-only trips“The Disney magic is not just for the little ones. Think about the architecture, food and night life. I have made several adult only trips to Disney World. Before I had a child, I brought my then boyfriend, now husband to Disney on a package. We stayed at the very adult friendly Yacht Club, walked slowly through Epcot, stopping for whatever food looked good, enjoyed late night strolls through Downtown Disney and quiet time in the adult pools. “

Epcot Paris

“As an adult, I have visited Disney World with my mom and aunt, and we have fun! It’s a foodie adventure, a photographer’s paradise, and I educate many adults who think there is nothing for adults at Disney. You can make the trip romantic, educational or relaxing. With the cool back stage tours, architectural walks and tours plus award-winning restaurants, think Disney the next time you plan your vacation without kids.

“Maleah Moskoff is a small business owner based out of Madison, WI. She is also known as the “Tea Lady” around town. Maleah’s business, Cha Cha Tea, is an online tea retailer and local tea educator.

An avid Disney fan since childhood, Maleah has been going to Disney World since 1991. Maleah can be found at www.chachatea.net.

Epcot Mexico, Epcot Mexican pavilion

Roger and Brenda from Going Back to Disney offer three great reasons to go to Disney without a child in tow.

“Our first visit to Walt Disney World as a couple was on our honeymoon. Since then, we have been about a dozen times in ten years. We have no grandkids, so all of our trips have been “Kid Free,” which allows us to indulge in Friends, Flowers, and Fun.

We meet new friends at Disney World. Sometimes it’s another Kid Free Couple, other times it’s a family with children. Either way, we enjoy transforming wait time into friend time. We are festooned with our Disney pins (Brenda has Tinker Bell, Roger has Goofy) and always carry a bag of pins to trade. We like to offer pins to the kids we meet to help boost their collections. We frequently buy pins on e-Bay to use just to trade and give away. And one day we met a couple who lived just a few miles from our house, so we’ve gotten together for dinner and relived our Disney fun!

Mickey Epcot topiary, Mickey MouseCheck out the flowers! Brenda is a serious gardener, so every year we attend the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

 Standing in the midst of the many viola flowerbeds is intoxicating to Brenda. She would love to have a small portion of the Disney Flower budget for her own garden.  From the 100+ topiaries to the floating gardens to the presentations by HGTV personalities, it truly is magical.

Watching 100’s of species of butterflies is incredible.  Being “Kid Free” means we can stay at any display for as long as we want, and change directions whenever it suits our fancy. And how much fun is it to see the new “toys” in the gardening world the vendors have to offer.

Waiting in line for fun? You bet. We like to wait in line. Really! We get to the early park opening an hour before the early opening, and we wait so we can be near the front of the line. That’s where we meet folks; sometimes new, sometimes “old”—we’re always amazed how many times we run into our new friends at Disney World!”

 Epcot Morocco

“We also like to Wait—Watch—Repeat. We love the Voices of Liberty show, and Brenda was even part of the show once. We’ll listen to their beautiful singing and hang around outside for a while.  Then we get back into the air-conditioned comfort and sit on a bench to be ready for another performance. We do that three or more times in a row!

While waiting we also search for hidden Mickeys, talk to Cast Members, plan our next move, and enjoy the pre-show.

We’re not sure how much fun meeting strangers, smelling flowers, and waiting in line would be with kids—but it’s a hoot when you’re kids free!”

Brenda & Roger are Disney-holics who hail from Franklin, NH. Their Disney adventures are chronicled at Back to Disney.  Roger is a professional resume writer and Brenda is a serious gardener. They are proud and excited to be part of the Mouze Kateerz staff.
Epcot Paris, Epcot France
Mouze Kateerz writer Lisa Petrarca has been going with her Mom to Disney World since she was two.Now that I am 29, Mom and I can both agree on one thing…going to Disney as two adults is much more fun! We still like the Magic Kingdom, but not nearly as much as the other parks. What we try to do is go to one of the after hours parties, such as “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” if they are going on , since we can get through all of MK in one night and have the rest of the trip for the other parks.  One thing we love to do at Epcot is go around the World Showcase. As a child I hated it, but now we can enjoy the shows, try the local cuisine and alcoholic beverages and not feel rushed. One of our favorite activities is after the parks close, we walk down to the Boardwalk and go to Jellyrolls. It is a dueling piano bar that is always a blast. Everyone is singing along, and the songs they play are all requested by the audience.  We have celebrated many birthdays and special occasions there. Lastly, we like to be able to relax! We have taken an afternoon to go for a massage at Saratoga Springs, which was wonderful. We spent the rest of the day resort hopping and just being able to enjoy all that Disney has to offer, without worrying about waiting for two hours to get on Dumbo!
Lisa Petrarca just moved to Nashville, TN, after spending 28 years in Ohio. She has been a huge Disney fan since her parents took her on her first trip at age two. 2. She has been to Disney over 70 times and worked at Blizzard Beach as part of the Disney College Program. She is now working on finding a way to move to FL,  so she can be closer to her favorite place on Earth!
So there you have it, lots and lots of ways to have fun at Walt Disney World without a child of your own in sight. Let us know if you have any ideas of your own, because we’re always looking for our next article.
Thanks for coming along for a photographical Disney ride, and we’ll see you on the sidewalk as you pass us with your stroller. That’s Ok, because we love those kids too!
Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.
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Which Disney World Resort Level is Best for Your Family?

Animal Kingdom Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Resort

By Frances.

Which Disney Resort is best for your family? All the Disney Resorts have magical theming and share the same inside-the-park benefits. The largest differences are found in pricing, dining and accommodations. Here is a quick snap shot of each resort level. [Read more…]