Welcome to Candice, our newest writer here at The Affordable Mouse! Candice will be writing regularly about visiting Disney with little ones, and we are thrilled to have her tips about making Disney easier with small children. Welcome to The Affordable Mouse family Candice!
My husband and I generally stick to a budget, not only to manage our day-to-day spending, but also to save for other goals. Retirement. College for our little boys. Home improvements. The list goes on. Saving for vacations, and Disney vacations in particular, are a priority in our finances. Children are young for such a short time and little kids experience the magic unlike anyone else. Since becoming a mom, I’ve found nothing more shocking than how fast time gets away. I want to make lots of Disney memories with my family that we will all treasure forever.
Sadly, annual trips to WDW just aren’t a reality for us. As much as we love it, we also enjoy other experiences and multiple big trips each year are not possible at this time. This means that we have to make a point to save towards our goals. So how do we overcome the I-miss-Disney blues between trips?
We keep the magic and the dream alive by saving and planning for our next trip! Who ever dreamed that saving money could be fun? A few weeks ago I created this Disney savings jar with stickers, ribbons, a hot glue gun, and a glass cookie jar.
My kids mention our last vacation to Disney World at least once a week and have asked when we’ll go back more times than I can count. The clear glass jar is a good visual for them to gauge our savings progress, increase their understanding of how long it takes to save a lot of money, and to remind all of us that a Disney vacation IS on the horizon – even if we don’t know exactly when…yet.
Whenever they find coins, they excitedly race to the jar, drop them in, and smile with delight. Just last week, my oldest was given 4 quarters by his grandfather and voluntarily put half in the jar and the other half in his piggy bank. I was proud! I try to put something in every day. Great opportunities for saving include spare change from purchases, emptied pockets on laundry day, and cash received from small items returned to the store. For example, I bought a sticker for the savings jar that I didn’t use. Mickey was adorable but I didn’t need him, so I made myself return the sticker. I got $4 back and dropped it into the jar. Four dollars might not buy a park-hopper but it sure will buy a Dole whip!
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.