Editor: I am so pleased to welcome Leigh Anne to The Affordable Mouse! Leigh Anne will be sharing some of her favorite ways to save money at Disney, and I know you will find her “thrifty” tips to be helpful…and fun!
Since this is my first blog for The Affordable Mouse, I’m giving out more than one thrifty tip this week!
My husband introduced me to Disney Vacation Club (DVC) ownership and all its perks several years ago. In fact, he will tell you I am spoiled because of DVC! DVC ownership has so many perks but one of the biggest for me is that I get to stay onsite at a Disney Resort and our trips can be planned as far ahead as 11 months! DVC membership is not required for all perks; being a guest of a Disney onsite resort also gets some great perks! No matter which resort you call “home” it is beautiful and has the advantage of free transportation to all the parks by boat, tram, or bus. Resort guests also receive a parking pass upon arrival. This is even good for parking at the parks! This is a definite thrifty plus since parking fees at the parks are about $15 per day.
I first came in contact with Disney’s special occasion buttons back in 2002 on my honeymoon! My husband with Mickey’s help made my 2nd trip to Disney extra special, starting with our celebration buttons given to us when we checked in at the Beach Club Resort. During the course of our stay, we wore our buttons everywhere. Cast members well as other guests greeted us with Congratulations and well wishes! Every year since, during our annual “honeymoon” trip, we have gotten “Happy Anniversary” buttons. We wear them throughout our trip and always receive good wishes for many more years of marriage! In addition to the well wishes, we have even received free desserts when dining at various restaurants when wearing our special buttons. Recently, we celebrated my graduation from graduate school at Disney. Our server at Boma’s restaurant brought us a darling truffle dessert plate with a special note of congratulations from the chef! These little buttons are available at the Resort front desks and at any of the parks. These special occasion buttons are a great keepsake and can provide their own little free perks. Just member the freebies are subject to the cast member’s goodwill.
My third thrifty tip this week is snacks in the park! While snacks can certainly be bought inside all the parks, the thrifty minded will soon see that is an expensive snack to say the least! I’ve found through the years that carrying a backpack with water bottles, nuts, granola bars, or crackers is a must. Water bottles can be frozen the night before so cold water is readily available by the time you have worked up a thirst. Since water bottles are about $2.50 at snack vendors inside the park, you can save a lot by bringing your own bottle and refilling it as needed. Nuts and granola bars travel very well in a backpack. They don’t melt in the heat like candy (also healthier) so they keep you a bit cleaner too!
Leigh Anne, originally from Mississippi, lives in North Alabama with her husband and a menagerie of furry kids (FIDS), including dogs, cats, exotic birds, fish and a lionhead rabbit. Figment, her African Grey parrot, is named after Disney’s small purple dragon, Figment. She works as a motivational speaker and pastoral counselor. In 1974, Leigh Anne marched with the Enka High Marching Band in the Magic Kingdom daytime parade. Leigh Anne fell in love with Disney while on her Disney honeymoon with her husband in 2002. They have made an annual trip back to Disney to celebrate their anniversary every year since. Since they own a piece of the mouse with their Disney Vacation Club (DVC), some years they go twice! She also plans to be the grandmother that introduces all her grandchildren to Disney World first. She has a great start ~ 2 out of 3 so far! As a DVC member married to the best Disney shopper in the world, Leigh Anne has lots of experience in finding the most frugal way to have the most fun in the parks and resorts! Leigh Anne admits to being spoiled as a DVC member but is always on the lookout to keep their WDW vacations fun and frugal! She blogs at Queen of Hysteria and tweets @la_haygood