Category Archives: Vacation Budgeting

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!

Stay, Play and Dine Discount Announced for Early 2015 at Disney World!

first time he meets his fav character

You’ve been asking, and waiting, and it’s finally arrived!  The first Disney discount offer of 2015 is Stay, Play and Dine!

The Stay, Play and Dine offer is valid for travel December 14-20, 2014 and January 5-March 7, 2015.  A minimum stay of 3 nights and 2-day tickets is required to take advantage of this fabulous offer!

Booking Windows are as follows:

  • Visa Cardholders: October 6-December 29, 2014
  • General Public: October 9-December 29, 2014

This offer excludes Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Poly Villas, Campsites and 3 bedroom Villas.

If you prefer to skip the bundle discount Disney is also offering a Room-Only discount as well.  Save up to 30% on rooms most nights during stays January 5-March 28,2015.   Discounts are limited and rates vary

  • All Star Sports, All Star Music, Pop Century and  Art Of Animation Family Suites 15% off on weekends, 20% off on weekdays
  • All Star Movies 10% off on weekends, 15% off on weekdays
  • Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, POR-Riverside, Wilderness Cabins 20% off on weekends, 25% off on weekdays
  • Port Orleans French Quarter 10% off on weekends, 15% off on weekdays
  • Coronado Springs Suites 10% off all nights
  • Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Polynesian, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge {standard and pool view only at AKL}  30% off all nights
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level and Savanna View 20% off all nights
  • Deluxe Suites at all Deluxe Resorts 10% off
Villa Resorts:
  • Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Beach Club, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas 30% off all nights
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo and Kidani 20% off

This offer excludes Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Poly Villas, Campsites and 3 bedroom Villas.

Are you ready to save while you Stay, Play and Dine at Walt Disney World?  Contact me at or through my contact form for more information and a quick quote!

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 World Marathon Registration Opens with Great Room Discounts!

Howdy runners and aspiring runners!  Today is the day that early registration opens up for the Disney World Marathon weekend!  Get ready to rumble at noon EST today!  Regular registration opens at noon EST on April 22nd!  Are you planning on registering for a race weekend event?  Or are you just looking for a great deal?  Look no further!  Destinations in Florida has great rates for race weekend to create the most magical racecation you can imagine!  Contact me at or 818-519-0777 for more information and a quick, no-obligation quote!


Secret Santa Sale On December Disney Trips!

Santa Goofy

Are you looking for a special way to ring in the holidays with your family?  What could be better than celebrating the holidays at Disney World?  Destinations in Florida has special rates available to add some extra magic to your holiday season!

From Dec 5th-8th stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Coronado Springs Resort or Animal Kingdom Lodge with rates from $111 per night, plus tax!   Add tickets (at the lowest prices you can find!) and the Disney Dining Plan for a perfect vacation package!

Contact me at for a quick, no-obligation quote to add some extra magic to the holiday season!  (You can always use the contact form at the bottom of the page as well!)

This flash sale is for a limited time only!  You must book your trip by this Thursday, October 31st!

What are you waiting for?  Contact me today to plan a magical holiday getaway to Disney World!

Disney Gift Card Giveaway!


What would you do with $25 free Disney dollars?   Hop on over to our Facebook page and check us out!  Like the page and share it with your friends and family because when we hit 250 “likes” we’re going to give away a $25 Disney gift card!  That’s $25 dollars you can spend at the store, online, at the parks or to help pay for your next Disney vacation!  What are you waiting for?  Visit us on Facebook 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?