Friday, January 30, 2009

Florida Deals

So I have had a few friends ask how we went on our trip while on a budget....I did lots of shopping around! So I wanted to share some of the deals I found.... some I used, some I didn't. Today I am going to cover a little on Disney World.

Disney World Tickets-
Disney world consists of 4 major parks: Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Each park can really take 1 full day each so we got 5 day tickets so we could have a day at each park and 1 flex day to go back to our favorite park ! There are also the water parks to consider (depending on the time of year)! There are lots of ways to get your tickets to the park

  • buy direct from
  • buy from a broker. There are a lot of different ones out there. Just google Disney world tickets. I used one my brother Rod (a Disney expert) suggested they had discount tickets and we were able to buy the 4 day tickets with a free upgrade to 5 days!
  • wait till you get there...there are booths everywhere!
  • This year Disney has a promotion that if you go on your birthday you get in FREE! If you already have tickets (like we did) you can choose from 3 other options like a $75 gift card to be used in the parks (this cannot be used for food) For more info. go to
  • This is Florida.....there are timeshare resorts every where! Many of them offer tickets as an incentive to sit through a presentation. Remember this will take at least 2 hours of you vacation time, not to mention a high pressure sales pitch, so think seriously about this before you do it!

Disney World Resorts-

Right now Disney has a pretty good deal if you want a package deal. It is buy 4 night package and get 3 nights FREE! Plus, when you travel between 3/1 - 3/9 and 3/17- 3/29, you'll also get a $200 Disney Gift Card. For more info go to

There are different levels of resorts to fit you budget or vacationing style and there are a few advantages to going with a Disney resort as well:

  • When you stay at a Disney resort you wont have to worry about waiting for your luggage at the airport, they will pick it up and deliver it to your room for you!
  • You can save money on a car rental because they have a shuttle that will pick you up from the airport and take you to your resort and it runs 24 / 7!
  • You will save money on Disney parking (which is $12 per day)! Disney are masters of transportation! They have complimentary transportation to all the parks.
  • You will also get more time to play during extended theme park hours. Each day one of the parks will open early or stay open late so you get more out of each day!


I found the whole planning part to be really over whelming. The parks are huge and I didn't want to miss anything! Again my brother Rod saved me by directing me to some great websites! Here are just a few of them, again google is always your friend to get more info!


  • Wear good walking shoes, you will be doing a lot of walking! If you are wearing new shoes or just got new insoles break them in first!
  • Having a poncho for some of the rides is a good idea so that you arent stuck in wet clothes all day plus you will be glad you have it if it starts to rain!
  • The great thing about all the parks is they will let you take in your own food! Take advantage of this to save some money! We always had fruit leather, granola bars and a water bottle, this way if we were hungry we could grab one of those! We also tried to limit our in park eating to one meal and maybe a snack a day, we would eat breakfast before we went and then had a late dinner after the park was closed!
  • Disney also offers a meal plan option when you are booking with them so look into that as well.
  • Take dramamine or some other motion sickness remedy before you get there and again during the day if you need it!
  • Take advantage of the Guest relations if you have any problems! When my hubby got so sick on a ride we had to leave I went to guest relations to see if we could get a parking refund or something so we wouldnt have to pay it again the next day. They ended up giving me 2 - one day park hopper tickets! That is worth over $150...well over the $12 I went in for!
  • Take advantage of the Photo Pass card! As soon as you enter the park look for a photographer in a kacki jacket, ask for a photo pass card. What this does is that every time you see a photographer in any of the parks you give them the card, they take your pictures (I always have them take it with my camera too) and then the pictures are available to view, download and purchase on the website!
  • The Fast Pass is great! There are certain rides in every park that have a fast pass machine. You put in your park ticket and it gives you a fast pass that gives you a specific time period to return for the ride. Your wait time will be cut down significantly becasue you are in a seperate line! You can only have 1 fast pass at a time so we liked to check the boards to see what the average waiting time was and when the fast pass return was. Sometimes it wasnt worth burning your fast pass if it was 11:00, your return time wasnt until 4:30 and wait in the line was only 30 min. Go get a fast pass for a different ride and then wait in line!

Well that is all I can think of for today! If you have any questions let me know I and I will do my best at getting an answer for you! Stay tuned for more tips on Hotels, car rentals and more!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Disney World Vacation

For my 31st Birthday Eric and I went to sunny florida for a week and went to Disney World! We were so excited for some fun in the florida get warm for a while...someone forgot to tell them! We happen to go during the coldest week in almost a decade! We are talking about 30's & 40's! We did have two days of 60's! So what if I didnt get to wear my new cute swim suit..we still had lots of fun! It was the honeymoon we never had!

Day One- Travel, travel, travel!

The first day of our six day trip was literally spent traveling. We left Boise at 8:00 am, flew to St. Paul, MN had a layover, flew to Detroit, MI, had a layover and finally got to Orlando at 12:30 am on my birthday! Note to self..never fly cross country using frequent flyer miles again!

Day Two- Animal Kingdom!

On my birthday we woke upat 8:30 after getting to bed about 3:00am and went to the amazing Animal Kingdom! Right now Disney has a promotion that if you go on your birthday you get in free....if you have your ticket already (which we did) you get a $75 gift card! (great for getting souveniers for the kids you left behind!) You also get a big button that announces to the world that it is your birthday! Believe me everyone is trained to watch for these buttons and you will get a happy birthday wish from everyone! It is great!

In Africa everything looks authentic and they have so many animals in such a "natural" environment! The animal safari in is really are in a kindof jeep driving in a "wildlife reserve" the animals are right there in front of you!

When you go to Asia you have to go on Mount Everest! It is sooo fun! It was well worth the hour wait! I have to say Disney knows how to do lines! While waiting you walk through a "temple" where you can throw money at idols, ( as if you aren't leaving enough money at Disney!) a Yetti museum and lots of beautiful bamboo!

After the park was closed we had dinner reservations at Bomas, which is in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is an African inspired buffet. We tried lots of new foods...loved the carrot / ginger soup..Yummy! The shredded watermelon salad..yuck! But the desert bar...O' my gosh! DELICIOUS! They also gave me a great birthday plate with yummy chocolate covered cake! The atmosphere was fun, the food was ok...but at $70 for two people this is a glorified chuck o'ramma!

Day Three- The Magic Kingdom!

All I can say is about when you walk through the gates of the Magic kingdom is...its Magical! You walk into mainstreet USA where they have all this great music playing, you look past main street and see Cinderella's castle gleaming in the sun! I seriously wanted to cry I was so happy and I really did feel like a kid again! We had a great day and finished it up with the SpectroMagic Parade and the "wishes" fireworks display!

Day Four- Epcot!
So on Tues. we went to Epcot. It was 40 degrees when we got there, we were wearing long sleeves, jackets, and gloves! First we went on the "spaceship Earth" (its the golf ball) which was cool. Then we went to get our fast pass for test track and then got in line for Mission Space. Now on Mission Space it simmulates what astronauts go through (g-force!) They have 2 ride options: Orange team or Red team, the orange team is the advanced training (and the shorter line) Being big tough thirty somethings we choose orange team. we didnt think anything about all of the warnings about motion sickness we took our dramamine while waiting ( we are getting old and these were like our daily vitamins!) Long story short...I felt great after I threw up...Eric not so much! We had to leave the park for the day!

After sleeping for a few hours Eric was able to get out of bed and we went shopping....for coats! After buying our new coats we went back to Epcot, walked around the World Shocase and ended our night in Paris eating chocolate eclaires, sipping hot chocolate while we watched IllumiNations! How romantic!

Day Five- Epcot....take 2!
We did Epcot again on Wed...we missed a lot on Tues. The World showcase in Epcot is really amazing! When you walk through the different counrties you actually feel like you are there! the buildings and landscaping are beautiful! While we were in Mexico enjoying a Churro this stupid bird came and took the whole thing right out of my hand!
The land and sea exibits are really cool. In Land you can take a ride through the greenhouses. They are doing some amazing a 9 lbs lemon...growing pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers from trees, soil free gardening. It was really interesting...Eric loved it! The highlight of the land exhibit is Soaring!....What an experience! I dont know how they do it (I would love to though) You fly over feels like you are smell what you are seeing....Its amazing!
Day Seven- Hollywood Studios!
Our last park was Hollywood studios which was Eric's favorite! This has lots of fun rides like Star tours, Aerosmith Rockin Roller Coaster, Beauty and the Beast show, and of coarse the Tower of Terror! It was soooo fun! We had dinner at the Sci-fi Drive in which is really fun. You are "parked" in a convertable car in what looks like a drive in theater. They play old cartoons, news reels, and previews for old sci-fi movies. The food was really good and not to badly priced (for Disney food). We capped off our night and our Disney experience with the Fantasmic! It was a wonderful way to end our was Magical!
Day Eight- More Travel!
We were able to hit the flee market before leaving town and get some more gifts for the kids! ( who us feel guilty?) Then it was off to the airport...but first get gas in the rental right? We went to a place by the airport, it was like going back in when gas was $3.99 a gallon! Forget that! This time we flew to Cincinati to St. Paul then got home at midnight. After paying the airline $30 to check to bags they lost them for us! When we got to my parents house and tried to start our van it wouldnt start! The best we can figure someone syphened the gas out while we were gone! Welcome back to reality!

So now you have the short (and long) version of our trip! Stay tuned for the little tips I learned for traveling on a budget! THANKS!