Category Archives: Disney Tips & Tricks

Thrifty Thursday – Ibotta Ap

As often as possible I like to share ways in which my family saves for Disney.  We have a modest income and utilize as many means as possible to make Disney vacations possible for our family.  This year in particular we are doing quite a few race trips so saving our pennies is important!


One tool that I use regularly is Ibotta*.   I’m a huge fan of the Ibotta ap because you receive cash back via PayPal for purchases you’ve made at the grocery store, as well as other clothing and electronics stores and online shopping.


Ibotta is easy to use.  I simply browse the available rebates prior to a trip to the grocery store and unlock the ones I’m interested in.  Then when I get home from shopping I redeem the rebates by scanning the bar code and a submitting a picture of my receipt.   Bonus points to Ibotta for making the process as easy as possible.  At Wal Mart all I have to do is scan the QR code and the rebates are automatically identified and the receipt submitted.

Before Princess I cashed out about $100 to my PayPal to use on my trip.  Since then I have earned an additional $26!   You guys, this is FREE money!  You earn it buying things you would normally buy.  All you have to do is two simple scan to earn it on items you buy.  I can’t wait to see how much I can save up prior to Wine & Dine.  What would you use the free money you earn on Ibotta for?  What are you waiting for?  Sign up for Ibotta today!

*This post contains a referral link.  When you use my referral link to sign up for Ibotta you’ll get a $10 credit after you redeem your first rebate!  And Ibotta will give me $5 as a thank you for referring you.  Win-win situation!

Thrifty Thursday

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a way to save a buck.  I figure what I save can be applied to my Disney fund and help pay for my Disney and runDisney obsession.


I’ve recently jumped on the gift card bandwagon after learning that my local grocery store, Winn-Dixie, offers fuel perks for purchasing gift cards at their stores!  I am able to purchase either $25 gift cards, or a gift card where I can add the amount of my choice!   The best part is, not only am I getting FuelPerks for purchasing a gift card, but I get FuelPerks for each $50 I spend.  So if I buy $500 in gift cards I’ve earned $1.00 off per gallon on gas!


17 Cents a Gallon for Gas???? Yes, please!

In paying off my upcoming trip I recently purchased $1,000 in gift cards ($500 over two separate transactions, but I had not redeemed my FuelPerks yet.)  This mean that I got some super cheap gas!

One large SUV filled up for $3.38!  What a bargain!

One large SUV filled up for $3.38! What a bargain!

The best part about it is, I can take the money from my gas budget and apply it to my Disney fund!  So whether it’s helping me pay off a trip, pay for that special souvenir or that extra dining reservation, earning Fuel Perks at your local grocery store is a great way to save money and add to your Disney fund!

What I Wore Wednesday

This is a what I will wear edition as I’ve been contemplating my outfits for Princess Half Marathon weekend.  The 5K and 10K this weekend are my first races and in an effort to distract myself from my fear I’m dreaming up costumes to sport during the races.

Ariel is my favorite princess EVER so I want to dress as her.  At first I wanted to figure out something with the sailcloth, but not being a seamstress in any way, shape or form,  I think I am going to go with “Kiss the Girl” Ariel from the village tour with Prince Eric.  I found a cute running skirt on Etsy that I’ll wear with running tights and a black tank top.  (I’d love to fashion a black corset and white top if I get crafty.)  Thanks to Polyvore, I put together a cute example of my race costume for the Enchanted 10K.

Enchanted 10K


Have you ever run in costume?  Do you have plans to dress up for any of the races Princess Half weekend?  Who do plan on dressing up as?

Disney Parks Extend Military Discount Into 2015!

castle patriotic

Disney announced today that it is extending it’s amazing military discount, otherwise known as the Armed Forces Salute, into 2015 for both Disney World and Disneyland.  Please note there have been some slight ticket price increases, but the percentage discounts are equal to what was offered last year.

At Walt Disney World:

August 25, 2014 through September 30, 2015 active duty and retired military (as well as active duty and retired members of the Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) and their spouses can purchase

  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $177 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $177 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $207 each, plus tax.

Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except that the tickets may not be used December 22, 2014 – January 2, 2015 and March 29 – April 9, 2015.

In addition guests can save 40% off Deluxe Resorts, 35% off moderates and Fort Wilderness cabins and 30% off values, including Art of Animation (excluding Little Mermaid Rooms).

At Disneyland:

From August 25, 2014 through October 1, 2015 active duty and retired military (as well as active duty and retired members of the Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) and their spouses can purchase:

  • Disney Military Promotional 3-Day Park Hopper Tickets for $132 each

Disneyland tickets may be used September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except that the tickets may not be used December 25, 2014 – January 4, 2015 and March 29 – April 9, 2015.

Guests can enjoy 40% off at the Grand Californian Hotel, 35% off at the Disneyland Hotel and 30% off at Paradise Pier.

Hotel discounts at both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts are valid most nights for stays September 28, 2014-October 3, 2015 with the following block out dates:

  • November 27 – November 29, 2014
  • December 24 – December 31, 2014
  • March 30 – April 4, 2015

Resort hotel rooms are limited so book your vacation as soon as possible!

For more information, or a quick, no obligation quote, please contact me today!

Disney Savings Ideas

I hear a lot of comments from guests, friends, and maybe even my husband that Disney vacations can take a while to save for.  Being a military family I know we are on a budget and save for each vacation so we can pay cash for it and enjoy the holiday.  We recently started saving with two clever ideas we heard about.   Here are some easy Disney savings ideas you can jump on straight away to make your dream vacation a reality!

Recently I heard that if you fill a two liter soda bottle with dimes you’ll have saved $700.  I thought this was a great way to save some cash for trips.  Whether we use it for tips and spending money or put it towards our trip balance, how easy is it to stick your spare change in a liter bottle.  I even added a little vinyl to the bottle to spruce it up and identify what we’re using it for.  I’ll be honest we stuck a few pennies and nickels in there as well.  I’m curious to see how much we’ll have saved when it’s full!


My husband started this weekly savings plan where you put a certain amount away each week of the year.  As an alternative you could easily just do for 52 weeks starting now!  I’ve also had friends who do it in reverse so that the big amounts come out first instead of around the holidays.  You can also double the amounts and same even more!

52 Week Savings Challenge

Of course Disney has now jumped on board with their own savings account you can deposit money into and apply towards your vacation.  You can sign up here for your own account.

What do you do to save for your Disney vacation?

Disney Family Movie Night – The Little Mermaid

We often joke about having PDD – Post Disney Depression in the Disney fan community.  So the question remains, how do you keep the magic coming at home?  I love planning themed Disney movie nights for my family.  I’ve done a few in the past that I am looking forward to sharing and will be planning more in the future as well.  Today I want to talk about our family movie night for The Little Mermaid!  (Which is my favorite Disney movie!)  I could not wait to share it with my boys!  (Yes, all of my boys actually enjoyed the movie!)

To start the night off I always make a menu to post for the kids.  They get a kick out of what’s on the menu, and sometimes in trying to figure out what certain items are!


Then we serve up dinner and settle in to watch our movie!


Once we’re done with dinner the kids get an extra special dessert normally!  This didn’t look as much like a boat as I’d hoped, but hey, they were tasty!IMG_0338You could even add in games and activities if you wanted.  (With a toddler there is only so much I can do, but I hope to incorporate games/activities beyond coloring sheets as he gets older!)

A Disney movie night is also a great way to surprise your kids with a trip to Disney!  Not to mention a fun way to “educate” kids on Disney classics prior to an upcoming trip!

Do you need help brainstorming a movie night and planning your next Disney vacation!  Looking for the perfect resort for your princess’ first Disney trip?  Whether you’d like to visit Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani or Adventures by Disney, I am here to help!  I love making magical memories one vacation at a time.  Contact me at or 818-519-0777 for more information on making your vacation dreams a reality!

Water Parks and More For Only $23?

typhoon lagoon

Have you ever wanted to try the Disney water parks?  Have hankering to visit Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon?  Upgrading your Magic Your Way Park Hopper tickets to the Water Parks Fun and More option is only $23 per ticket!  Not only will you get access to Disney’s two phenomenal water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, but you’ll also get access to Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, and DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park.  What are you waiting for?  Ask me about adding this option on to your existing package or when booking a new Disney vacation package today!

Make It Yourself Monday

This is the first of my many Disney oriented projects I’m working on for our trip to the World next month.  The joys of a surprise trip mean that I can only work on things when my oldest son is not home so I’ve been trying to check some of these off of my to do list while he’s gone so I can focus on the other projects when his eagle eyes and ears return!  I, of course, have a million Disney ideas pinned.  There’s one problem…I don’t sew.  For some reason in my home ec class we never learned how.  However, I CAN sew on a button so when I saw this project on Pinterest I knew I could handle it!

These adorable button shirts were so cute and so easy I couldn’t resist.  Plus, all the materials for these four shirts cost about $25 tops so I made four shirts for the price of one at Disney and they are much more unique.  As I said this project is so easy I can do it so here are some quick instructions in case you don’t want to click the link:

Little Man’s Shirt

1.  Cut out a Mickey silhouette shape.  I imported an image into my Silhouette Cameo, but you can google to find one online and size it as needed.

2.  Trace around the Mickey cut out with Tacky glue.  (The gold bottle in the craft section of Wal Mart or found at your local craft store.)

3.  Place buttons in colors & pattern of your choice on glue outline.  Wait for them to dry.

4.  Sew buttons in place permanently.

5.  Done.  You are the creator of a super cute Mickey shirt for your Disney trip or your Disney fanatic.

The Big Boy Shirts

The little brother’s shirt looks similar to the inspiration post, although it might be a wee bit crooked now that I’m staring at a picture.  But I don’t think he’ll care!  I decided though that my 12 year old and the husband may not want a giant Mickey made out of buttons so I got them polo shirts and put the Mickey on the breast of the shirt.  (Although according to my husband Mickey is ‘huge” so I guess it’s all a matter of opinion.)  For mine I put Mickey in the lower left corner of the shirt for a little something different.

The youngest counting buttons on Mum’s shirt

I wanted the shirts to be matchy matchy without being too matchy if that makes sense.  Even the husband says they’re cute so I think these shirts are crowd pleasers, even if they are cheesy!  My plan is to where them to our first day at Magic Kingdom.  Hopefully they’ll make for some cute pictures!  I’d better make sure I pack a Tide to Go stick since we’ll all be wearing white!   I just can’t wait to see my whole family in our shirts.  That will be the true reward, even if the almost teenager rolls his eyes at me!

How to Score a FREE Meal at Disney World!

I LOVE the Disney dining plan with a passion.  It makes meals and snacks at Disney effortless and stress free.  I don’t have to worry about how much that Mickey ice cream bar is going to cost when my kids “have” to have one!   However, we also like to enjoy a Signature dining experience on our trips, which requires more than one dining credit.  And like many other families we are all about getting the most bang for our buck!  I’ve been couponing to Disney with the help of my friend Kristin at the website of the same name so I want to make sure I get every pennies worth while I’m visiting Mickey and friends.

So how do I get a FREE meal at Disney?  Simple, I use SwagBucksSwagBucks awards you Swagbucks for simple things you do each day like searching the web or using print at home coupons.  You then redeem these points for prizes.  I like to save mine for gift cards.  Last year I used Amazon gift cards I earned for free with SwagBucks to buy Christmas presents and I just redeemed a slew of points for a $50 Landry’s gift card.

Available in $25, $50 & $100 increments!

Landry’s is one of our favorite restaurants, but better yet, they own The Rainforest Cafe, Yak & Yeti and T-Rex!  This means that you can use a Landry’s, or Rainforest Cafe, gift card to eat for FREE at Disney!  We plan to use ours at T-Rex in Downtown Disney since we have a toddler who loves dinosaurs.  However you can use it at Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney or inside Animal Kingdom Park.  You can also use it at Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom Park, which is delish by the way!
So, what are you waiting for?  If you haven’t already, sign up for SwagBucks and get searching!  If you print coupons at home, print them and redeem them to earn points towards your free meal at Disney World!  It’s free, it’s legit and it saves you money!  What could be better than that?

If you could eat anywhere at Disney World for free, where would your dream dining location be?