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Animal Kingdom 2017

Animal Kingdom 2016 was Disney Darling's most popular post last year, and it's time to do an update! DAK definitely will have t...

Monday, March 28, 2016

500 PAGE VIEWS!


As of today, Disney Darling now has 500 page views! Thank you for visiting the site. Don't forget to check back frequently for more information and Walt Disney World news. In order to improve the site, please leave comments below the articles.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Top 5 Things To Do in Disney Springs

Disney Springs, formally called Downtown Disney, is must for any Walt Disney World Vacation. It costs no extra admission, it is not nearly as crowded as the parks, and there are plenty of fun activities, stores and restaurants to explore. Disney Springs is open late into the night, even after the parks close. Guests will usually go to Disney Springs on their "off-day", or they will spend half a day at a park and then the later half of the day at Disney Springs.  
Because Downtown Disney is making the transition to Disney Springs, some parts of the area may be under construction. Don't fret! Most of the shops and restaurants will remain open. 



5. Design your own tee shirt
Located next to the WDW Transportation bus stop is Design-a-Tee. The store is filled with touch-screen computers where the creating begins. Select the size, the color, images of your favorite Disney characters, and text. How cool is it that you can say you made your own souvenir? You can even make matching shirts for the whole family! After you submit your design, you will have to wait a bit while the shirt is being made. You can spend some time shopping in the other stores, and then swing by Design-a-Tee once your shirt is ready to be picked-up. 



4. Let's Go Fly a Kite Hot Air Balloon
Characters in flight is the world's largest tethered helium balloon. It can ascend to 400 feet! Please note that this ride is dependent on weather. If there is a chance of high winds or a Florida rainstorm, it might not be open. 



3. Watch a Movie
If you are looking for a relaxing night away from the parks, then catching a movie playing at AMC is a perfect way to do so. There is even a dine-in theater!




2. Go Bowling
Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a blast. Good music, good food, and a great atmosphere. It is also pretty inexpensive compared to other forms of entertainment on Disney property. The bowling alley is open from 10 am until 2 am, so you can bowl with kids in the day or with adults in the night.



1. Shop
Disney Springs is definitely one of the best places to shop for souvenirs at WDW.  In fact, a lot of guests will save a trip to Disney Springs for the last day of their stay. They will wait until they go to Disney Springs to being to souvenir shop. There are Disney-themed shops such as Once Upon A Toy, Disney's Days of Christmas, Art of Disney, and Mickey's Pantry. But there are other unique shops such as Harley-DavidsonB, Art of Shaving, Basin, and Happy Hound. Of course, there is World of Disney, the largest Disney store in the entire world. WOD is huge! Thankfully, the store is divided up into sections. So all of the plush toys are in one room, all of the kitchen wear is in one room, and all of the jewelry is in another. TIP: Look at the ceiling. You might find some Disney characters in flight! Disney Springs is also home to Pin Traders, the largest pin store in all of WDW. If you are looking for a specific pin, this is the place to look for it. 






If you liked this article, check out the rest of the Top 5 series!
Top 5 Things To Do in Animal Kingdom
Top 5 Things To Do in EPCOT
Top 5 Things To Do in the Magic Kingdom
Top 5 Things To Do in Hollywood Studios
Top 5 Things To Do on the Boardwalk

Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 5 Things To Do At The Boardwalk


The Boardwalk is one of my favorite hang-out places in Walt Disney World. I consider it a hidden gem because it's not usually crowded, but it's got a great atmosphere that is worth visiting at least once.

Please note: The beloved Boardwalk will be under construction during 2016 (like the rest of WDW. Seriously, who is the person planning to have all of the construction happening in 2016?). I will update the article as necessary. 

5. Resort Hop
The Boardwalk is surrounded by some of WDW's prettiest resorts. There is the Yacht and Beach club, Swan and Dolphin and of course, the Boardwalk Inn. If you are wanting to resort hop without the hassle of driving or catching a bus, you can always just walk around the Boardwalk from resort to resort since they are so close together! You can even rent a bike or surrey to travel around the Crescent Lake in style.

Rent a surrey like this family

4. Catch a Game
One of the many restaurants located on the Boardwalk is ESPN Club. This is a sports bar-styled restaurant that is fit for the whole family. There are plenty of monitors surrounding the buildings with all sorts of games playing, so you never have to miss any action. 

ESPN Club

3. Grab a Sweet Treat
Located just across from the Boardwalk at the Yacht and Beach Club is Beaches 'n' Creme. This ice cream pallor is known for its Kitchen Sink sundae. It's made with several different ice cream flavors, hot fudge, caramel, cherries, brownies, angel food cake, sprinkles and an entire can of whipped crew,. Challenge your whole family or a big group of friends to finish it all.  If you would rather have a pastry, you can always stroll into the Boardwalk Bakery.

My friends and I attempt the Kitchen Sink

2. Watch Fireworks
The Boardwalk is located near the World Showcase Lagoon. At night you can catch a good view of EPCOT's Illuminations fireworks and laser lights. You do not need to pay for a ticket to see these. The best part is that you are away from all of the crowds. 

Illuminations from the Boardwalk

1. Go Dancing
The Boardwalk has the best nightlife entertainment for the adult crowd. There are two dancing halls next to each other. One is Jelly Rolls, which is a dueling piano bar. The second is the Atlantic Dance Hall which plays a mix of 80s, 90s, and 2000s music. 

Atlantic Dance Hall


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Top 5 Things To Do in Magic Kingdom


5. Ride the Mountains
Three of four WDW Mountain rides are located in Magic Kingdom. Big Thunder and Splash Mountain are right next to each in Frontierland. So when you are done riding one, you can hop in line for the other! Space Mountain is on the opposite side of the park in Tomorrowland. Every time I go to Magic Kingdom with a group of friends, we always ride at least one mountain. Between the classic Splash Mountain photo op, screaming on the wildest ride in the wilderness or goofing off of the moving sidewalk exit, memories can easily be made on these rides. The mountains are some of the most popular rides in Magic Kingdom, so the wait times are long. See if you can fit in all three in one day. Don't forget to visit Animal Kingdom to ride the fourth mountain: Expedition Everest.
Big Thunder Mountain from the queue

4. Mickey's Philharmagic
This is one of my favorite attractions in Magic Kingdom and what I consider to be a hidden gem. It is not the most popular ride, so I had no idea what to expect when my friend dragged me in the line. I ended up falling in love with it! It is a 4D film that takes you through some of Disney's best songs. Sometimes the audience sings along, which I love. Also, the attraction is indoors and air-conditioned, so it is a nice twenty minute break from the Florida humidity. TIP: After the curtains close on the screen, turn around and look to the back of the theater. You'll see Donald Duck!
philharmagic sign


3. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Some people think that this ride is overrated or that Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios is better. But I still have to add this to my list. When I took my boyfriend to Disney World for the first time, this was his favorite thing in all of Magic Kingdom. My parents and I had to ride it twice because my dad loved it, too. And one of my coworkers said that he would ride this just by himself anytime he was at MK to try to beat his high score. So if you're getting competitive with a partner or just wanting to have fun by yourself, this is a great option.

the sign for Buzz

2. Cinderella Castle
Okay, so this is the famous icon of the park. But it's more than just a backdrop for cheesy tourist photos. Cinderella's castle is breathtaking in person. There is a stage facing Main Street where shows are periodically performed. Inside is a restaurant, Cinderella's Royal Table and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where little ones can be transformed. During certain parts of the day, you can actually walk through Cinderella's Castle. You will see a mural depicting Cinderella's story. You can take the castle shortcut on your way to Fantasyland, Liberty Square or Main Street. Sometimes guests are even allowed to walk on the castle stage, which has the best view of Main Street. So go ahead and take as many cheesy photos as you want! 
Dumbo statuette in the hub

1. Festival of Fantasy Parade
This is my favorite parade in all of WDW. Filled with colorful floats, catchy songs and everyone's favorite Disney characters, this is not to be missed. The parade starts in Frontierland and ends on Main Street, so you can get a great view of FOF from anywhere.  Once, I even followed the parade from Liberty Square all the way up to the Main Street Train Station! What I love about this parade is all of the character interaction. Even though Ariel and Merida are perched high above the crowds on their floats, they still make eye contact with individuals. If you're lucky, Flynn Ryder will give you the smolder. The dancers are phenomenal, and also interact with guests in between choreography. The characters walking the parade on foot will go right up to you, talk to you or give you a high five. And the tune of the parade will be stuck in your head for months (Away we go...it's the festival of fantasy!). 



The dancers in the Rapunzel section and Alice and Snow White interacting with kids. 
Mickey Mouse in the finale of FOF.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Zootopia - a Review


SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers!

When I first heard about the movie Zootopia, I was a little apprehensive. The idea of anthropomorphic animals has been done countless times, even by Disney themselves.  I knew that in order for this movie to be successful, it's story needed to be unique to set it apart from all of the other anthropomorphic animal movies. I had high expectations of the movie from the very start.

I was not disappointed.

One of the first things I noticed about the movie was how contemporary it was.
There are CDs, cell phones, cars, voice recorders, apps, pop stars and the DMV. It reminded me of one of my personal favorite Disney movies, 101 Dalmatians. 101 Dalmatians was really the first contemporary Disney movie. It was set in the year it was released (1961) and featured technology of the time such as TV, radio and cars. Even the style of animation was based on contemporary art. While some people critized this movie for not feeling "Disney" enough, 101 Dalmatians is actually one of the most successful films Disney has ever done.
However, making a movie that is too of its time can be risky. For example, Aladdin, whose jokes are now lost on those who were born after the millennium.
The contemporary angle worked well for this movie! My favorite aspect of the movie being set in 2016 was the pop star, Gazelle. I loved the scene where she voiced her opinion on politics. It reminds me of how superstars nowadays will do the same, like how at the 2016 Grammys, Kendrick Lamar rapped about racial inequality and Taylor Swift made her acceptance speech about women standing up for themselves.

Buzzfeed wrote an article saying that the movie was about racial inequality. I skimmed the article before I saw the movie. Reading the article made me even more apprehensive about the movie. Racial inequality is a painful subject for a lot of people, and the Disney company has never really been involved in social issues. After I had walked out of the theater, I was surprised at how delicately Disney touched on the subject. And racial inequality is not the only thing the movie highlights. Judy also seemed to be the only women police officer in the city, as well as the only Bunny.  Nick made fun of Judy because of where she came from. This resonates with me because Americans tend to stereotype each other based on which geographical region they come from. Midwesterners are boring, North-easterners are too stuck up and Southerners are just ignorant rednecks. This is also a way that classifications and stereotypes can hurt people. And of course, the message of racial inequality was strong. Both predator and prey were oppressed throughout the movie, showing how reverse racism can be harmful, too. Judy was bullied by a predator, and Nick was bullied by prey. The mayor talked down to his assistant, and she threw him in jail. The only way to stop inequality is to really treat each other as equals, instead of lowering one or raising another. We all have to have equal ground in order to be peaceful.

My favorite thing about Disney movies is the character development. If I don't see it in the movie, I don't really like the movie. I absolutely loved Judy, the main character of Zootopia. Disney's female leads in recent years have gone one of two routes. They either try too hard to be bad ass (like Elsa) or they are too bubbly and ignorant (like Anna). Judy was the perfect blend of having a positive outlook and still being kick-ass. She reminds me of Mulan, in that way. Both have their flaws, but their strengths outnumber the weaknesses. They also are able to take their "weaknesses" and turn them into their strengths. Mulan is impulsive, and that's bad when meeting the matchmaker. But it's great to be impulsive on the battlefield. She doesn't stop to think about saving Shang, she just does it. Judy is looked down on by her coworkers because she is not as big as them. But she can hop to reach high places, as witnessed when she is writing parking tickets. I love Judy's character development. For the first time in almost a decade, we see a main character that messed up, admitted they were wrong and grew from it. The last time I remember a Disney character doing this was Stitch. Judy is an excellent role model for kids. She gets out of messes partly from her smartness, and partly from her kindness. For example, she runs into trouble with Mr. Big, the head of a gang. It just so happens that earlier that day, Judy saved Mr. Big's daughter. Because Judy was so kind to Mr. Big's daughter, Mr. Big becomes Judy's ally. It just goes to show you that kindness can get you far in life.

I also liked how Nick and Judy's friendship was just that - a friendship. Disney's romances can seem forced at times, like Pocahontas and John Smith. I'm glad they stayed friends. The romantic element would have been distracting as the plot already had a lot going on. 

The movie is hilarious. Even if you, for some crazy reason, are puke-warm towards the movie, you'll still get a good laugh. Everyone in the theater was busting up within the first 2 minutes of the movie.
I personally loved all the Frozen jokes. I think I was the only one who got the "Weaselton" joke and the "let it go" line. There is nothing better than an artistic company realizing its flaws in a funny way.

The movie is incredible, visually. Fellow artists will be making goo-goo eyes at the animation all throughout the movie. The flow of districts in Zootopia is reminiscent of how the themed lands in Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom flow together.

The sheep turning out to be the Big Bad (or should I say "Big Baaaaaad"?) was predictable, but the way they take her down was not. I knew from the moment Nick walked into the abandoned car with night howlers that he was going to be infected. I did not know that he was going to be FAKE infected. Clever fox. I, along with the rest of the theater, gasped when Nick bit Judy. And then we all laughed once we realized she was okay. 

Like any Disney movie, Zootopia was full of the feels. You will be moved by Nick's story, Gazelle's speech and Judy's apology. The Suburban Mom did a great article on how she is happy to have her kids learn from this movie. 

Everyone knows that Disney movies are not just for kids. The primary target, of course, is kids. But dare I say that Zootopia was directed more towards adults than kids? The adults in the audience were busting up over jokes about crooked politicians, the sexual nature of bunnies and of course, the DMV. And the message of Zootopia is well received by adults all over the world. We are not as innocent as Judy is when it comes to social exclusion. Adults have lived long enough to be affected by prejudice, like Nick was. That is why I believe Zootopia has been so successful. Everyone can relate to it. 

Zootopia did have one flaw. It seemed to drag out at points. It was very long. 
Zootopia is a very plot heavy movie, so of course with a plot that big it's going to be a long movie. I wonder if there were certain scenes they could have cut out or dialogue that could have been reworded to be shorter. 

I stayed to watch the end credits. I love watching Disney credits to look for familiar names. I did not recognize the writers, directors, animators or composer for Zootopia. There must be a new A-team in the Animation Studios, and I'm excited to see what they'll do in the future!

My prediction for Zootopia
I'm not sure if it's going to be a "classic". It's not a fairytale, and it's certainly not the kind of movie you think of when you think Disney. But it still pulls its audience in an a emotional way that only Disney can do. I'm sure it will be praised on its originality more than anything else.  It will, at the very least, develop a cult following, like Hercules or the Emperor's New Groove. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a nearly perfect score of 98%, while Frozen had only 89% (should've been lower, in my opinion). I can see Zootopia being added to the parks in EPCOT or Animal Kingdom (naturally). Maybe something Zootopia will even be put in Tomorrowland for Disneyland!



Saturday, March 5, 2016

Walt Disney World News - DAK AT NIGHT!


I am ecstatic to announce that Disney has officially set an opening date for Rivers of Light, one of the new night shows at Animal Kingdom! Earlier this year, I told you that Animal Kingdom is the place to be in 2016. And now you will see why!

Rivers of Light is set to open on Friday, April 22nd. But that's not all the park will have to offer at night! A huge celebration will be hopping throughout the park. On Discovery Island you will find musicians on a stage throwing a dance party. The Tree of Life Awakening will also be showing at certain times throughout the night. If you venture into Africa, you will see it also has its own musicians, including drummers. Join in on a soccer game with the Harambe Soccer Meercats. Just watch out for the Village Acrobats flying over your head! 

The Safari will be even cooler at night. So jump on a truck and search for the nocturnal animals - if you dare! 

And of course, your favorite attractions will still be open! Expedition Everest is a completely different experience at night. Disney has confirmed that Kali River Rapids will still be open at night, too. I believe that the attractions in Dinoland will remain open, as well. 

So far a schedule for all of these events has not been released. It is not known if character meet and greets will remain open, either. So check back with Disney Darling to keep posted! 

Remember when visiting Animal Kingdom to look closely, and keep an eye out. You never know what might appear, or whom, as you being a day of adventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom! 

For more information, visit Walt Disney World's website

Survival Tips for Disney During Christmas Week



My biggest tip for Disney during Christmas week is: don't. Don't do it. It is tempting because the kids will have off school and there will be special events going on all over the park, but do NOT do it. Christmas is absolutely insane. It is the busiest time of the year at the busiest place in the entire world. So that adds up to a lot of crowds. Crowds so thick that it will take you 2 hours to walk from the castle to the exit, a journey that normally takes 5 minutes. Attractions people detest, like Stitch's Great Escape will have hour long waits. And that means the rides you'll actually want to go on will be a 2 or even 3 hour wait.  The line to even get into the park will be an hour long. The parks will not let people in after a certain time because of capacity. You'll feel claustrophobic. You won't get to do much. And it's more expensive to go during Christmas. DO NOT DO IT.

You can still experience what the parks have to offer during the Christmas season before actual Christmas. Read more about that here.

However, if it is too late for you to cancel your trip or if you're a masochist, there are a few things you can do to survive the chaos that is Disney during Christmas.

Get to the Parks EARLY
By early, I do not mean at rope drop. I mean about an hour before rope drop. The security check lines will be huge. It may take a while just to get through those. So by the time you actually get into the park, it will be too late. So plan on waking up early and catching that first bus to the parks in order to beat most of the crowds. 

Utilize FastPass
Most people love to use FastPass to turn an hour long wait into a 15 minute wait. But during Christmas week, FastPasses will be CRUCIAL. The FastPass availability will close very early during Christmas week. First, book your FastPass reservations as early as possible.  If you are staying on property at a Disney hotel, you can book your FastPasses 60 days in advance. Do this. Second, make your FastPass reservations as early in the day as possible. Did you know that as soon as you have used all 3 of your allotted FastPasses, you can return to a kiosk and make one more? So if you finish all 3 of your FastPasses by noon, at noon you can go up to a kiosk and make one more reservation for that day. As stated before, the FastPasses will fill up very quickly. So the earlier you finish your first three, the better chance you have to snatch one extra one.

Pack your own food
If you want to save time eating, pack your own food. You can bring snacks such as granola bars, fruit snacks or pretzels into the park. Eat your snacks while you wait in line for an attraction. This way you can save time waiting in line for popcorn and trying to find a table to eat at. Besides, the lines for attractions will be long and eating a snack can be something to do. You can pack your own meals, too. Just don't bring too big of a cooler! This not only saves time, but money, too.

Eat at irregular times
It might be tricky, but do not eat during normal eating times. The restaurants will be busiest around noon and 6 pm. Some people will eat a big breakfast and have lunch/dinner around 3 in the afternoon. You can also eat a late lunch  in the afternoon and eat a late dinner in your hotel after the parks close. You can try training your stomach to this new eating schedule a week or two before your trip.

Make dining reservations
Just like FastPasses, you can book dining reservations in advance. You can book as far as 180 days out. Dining reservations will also assure that you can get into the park, even if it closes because of capacity. They will always allow someone in who has a dining reservation. 

Narrow down your priorities
Due to the extremely long lines, you may not get to do everything you want. So narrow down your priorities. You can make a Top 3 or Top 5 list (not including FastPasses). Or you can have each person in your party pick an attraction.

Stay flexible
If an attraction you have never been on has a shorter wait time over an attraction you have been on before, try the new one. You may end up enjoying it. Disney is all about trying new things. Have  backup plan in case the park you wanted to go to first was closed due to capacity. Or maybe the restaurant you wanted to eat at is too full. Try the one next to it.

Take breaks away from the parks
Lots of people will do this even when it's not Christmas. The Parks will be the busiest between noon and 3 pm. So head back to your hotel, recharge your phone, take a nap, grab some lunch. Then come back around dinnertime and stay until park close. Your park ticket is good for the entire day, so you are free to leave and enter whenever you wish. This tip is really helpful if you are visiting with little kids or older adults.

AVOID THE PARKS CHRISTMAS DAY
This is the MOST crowded day. I highly suggest avoiding the parks at all during this day. You may even want to skip Christmas eve. There are plenty of other things you can do on property besides go to the parks. You can book a reservation at a nice restaurant at your hotel. You can go resort hopping and look at all the Christmas trees, rent a movie to watch in your room, go swimming, play in the arcade, ride bikes at Wilderness Lodge, go mini golfing at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland, stroll down the Boardwalk, grab a Dole Whip at the Polynesian, sleep in, open any Christmas presents, read the Christmas story from the Bible, can call family members and friends to wish them a merry Christmas,take pictures of your resort. There are of plenty low stress activities to fill your Christmas day.

Watch fireworks outside of the parks
 If you want to further avoid the crowds, you do not have to watch the Christmas fireworks from the parks! My favorite spot to watch Holiday Wishes is from the Polynesian beach. My favorite spot to watch Holiday Illuminations is from the Boardwalk. Granted, you will not be able to see the castle light up, and you will not be able to see the projections on the globe, but it's better than being stuck in crowds for 2 hours after the shows are over (it's happened to a guest before!).

Be patient
Remind yourself that during Christmas, an hour long wait really isn't that bad. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, remind yourself that you came to Disney to make happy memories. Find things to do in line.

Stay together
If you are traveling with a big group, stay close together. Wearing matching shirts, while a little tacky, is a good way to spot one another in the crowds. Hold hands, especially if you have children. Decide on a meeting spot if you ever become separated from your party.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Quick Tips on How to Save Money at Disney World


1. Get H20 for 0
Most of the quick service food stands will give you a free cup of water if you just ask for it! I usually do this instead of bringing a water bottle because water bottles take up room in bags, on rides and can easily be lost. Once you finish your free cup of water, you can throw it away. If you are thirsty later, you can always get another one. Say you have a family of four and you each buy 2 plastic bottles of water every day and you're staying for four days. The park sells water bottles for $2.75 each. So 2.75x4x2x4=$88 that you'd save by asking for free water!

2. Skip the stroller

Instead of renting a stroller from the parks or outside companies, just have your kids walk. This is good for several reasons. Your kids will get exercise and burn off some energy before having to stand in half-an-hour long lines. If your child ever becomes tired, it's okay to take a break. Without a crouching in a stroller, your kids will be able to see more of the park. They will be able to take in their surroundings instead of staring at feet all day long. You won't waste time parking your strollers outside of every attraction you visit and then trying to find it when you exit the attraction. Strollers are also awfully annoying to other guests. They take up too much room on walkways and aisles in stores. Not to mention, you'll also save money! A single stroller is $13 per day. Let's say you're renting a stroller for 4 days. 13x4= $52. A double stroller is $27 per day. 27x4=$108. I'm sure your kids would want to spend that money on a cool toy instead of a stroller!

3. Consider alternatives to basic souvenirs

The least expensive souvenir is the penny press. It costs 51 cents per penny! Kids love watching the penny machines whirl and clink as they shoot out penny with the picture of a Disney character on it! You can try collecting a penny form each park you visit.
One of the most bought souvenirs are autograph books and pens. So I suggest to make your own autograph book. You can buy a sketchbook or notebook and decorate it with whatever crafts you have lying around the house. There are some really cool alternatives to the basic autograph book, too. Some people have the characters sign a t-shirt or baseball hat. Some have them sign a frame. Later, they can put a picture from the trip in the frame. I myself had Rapunzel sign a plush Pascal for my best friend's Christmas present. And don't forget to bring your own pen from home!

The Mickey autograph book I made using paint and buttons!


4. Make a shopping game plan
There are several shopping methods. And working in merchandise, I have heard a lot of them. One method is to limit your child to only one souvenir per park. Some people like to collect one thing from each park, weather it's T-shirts or magnets or mugs. Another method is to only do shopping on the last day of the trip. People usually decide to swing by Downtown Disney Springs to do this, as it contains merchandise from all of the parks. Parents will let their kids browse stores in the parks so they can get an idea of what they would like to buy. This way, kids are not running all over the store and taking forever to decide what to buy. And if a child has time to think about what to buy, they might not make impulsive decisions and end up purchasing something they don't really like. Another method is to actually give the kids their own spending money. Some parents will put a set amount of cash into a gift card, like $50. They let the child spend that money how they please. But once the $50 are up, they cannot buy anything else. This teaches kids financial responsibility and math skills. Whatever method you decide to use is totally up to your parenting philosophies and your children's personalities.

4. Bring your own food
WDW definitely has some amazing food that I don't encourage you to skip out on completely. But if you're wanting to save money, you might want to bring some of your own food. A good compromise is to pack lunch and make reservations for dinner at a table service restaurant. Or you could eat meals at restaurants and pack healthy snacks such as fruit or granola bars.  You save money and your kids stay healthy! Another option is to bring food to eat at the hotel. You could pack breakfast and midnight snack items and keep them in your hotel room fridge. Let's say you wanted to save money by packing snacks. A Mickey ice cream bar sold in the parks is $4.25 each. Let's say you have a family of 4, you each will want 2 snacks per day and you are visiting the parks for 4 days. 4.25x4x2x4=$136. You could save $136 by packing your own snacks. What about meals? The average quick-service lunch meal costs about $10. 10x4x4=$160. You could save $160 by packing your own lunch.

5. Stay at a Value Resort or off property

Let's compare a value resort with a moderate resort and a deluxe resort. All Stars is our value resort, Port Orleans is our moderate resort, and the Contemporary is our deluxe resort. All Stars costs about $100/night. Port Orleans is about $200/night and the Contemporary is about $600/night. So by staying at a value resort, you are saving between $100-$500/ night! Be sure to check hotel search engines for cheaper prices at other resorts in the area.  


Lucky at All Stars Movies - 101 Dalmatians


6. Do the math when purchasing tickets
Tickets are one of the most expensive parts of any WDW vacation. Adding extras to your tickets, like park hopper or water parks will be even more money. If you are planning on saving money, I suggest buying the 4-day ticket deal. This way you can spend an entire day at each park!


7. Travel during off-seasons

Hotel rooms will be priced lower than they are during peak seasons like during summer and Christmas. Also, you won't have to spend money on a Halloween or Christmas party ticket if you don't go during the holidays.