10 Unique Activities at Walt Disney World

A Walt Disney World vacation is more than autograph books, character meals, and a spin around Space Mountain or Toy Store Midway Mania.  Did you know that Walt Disney World is brimming with unique activities to make your family vacation even more special?

And the best thing, is they are either FREE or fairly inexpensive.  On our annual trips to Walt Disney World, our family tries to enjoy something unique each time. Maybe eating at a different restaurant, taking in a new show or even trying a new snack.

Plus, when you book a Magic Your Way Package for 2015, there are SO many great discount vouchers included in your travel packet~which makes trying some of the activities outside the parks even more affordable!  So, today I am going to share with you 10 Unique Activities at Walt Disney World.

A Pirates Adventure~Treasure of the Seven Seas.  You can embark on this pirate themed scavenger hunt around Adventureland any time of day.  And the fun part, you can do it over and over again!  You enter the kiosk and are given a magic talisman.

The Castmember scans it, you choose a pirate guide map, and you are off!  Your magic talisman is scanned at various shops and props around Adventureland until you come to the end of the hunt.  When you are finished, you return your talisman to the CastMember and you can do another adventure.  This is a GREAT activity when your kids need a break from waiting in line, or your little on is napping and the older ones need something to enjoy.  Plus, the Pirate Maps make a fun, FREE souvenir.

Have your family picture taken.  Disney Event Photography will meet you at one of several resorts, or inside Magic Kingdom or EPCOT for a family photo session.  For $150, you can enjoy a photo session, as well as a CD of your photos.

This is a GREAT way to get some professional family photos taken, particularly when traveling with extended family.   They do offer other photo packages as well as a photo book.  The great thing, is you get the CD of your retouched photos to use for photo gifts, books, etc.

Learn to draw your favorite Disney character.   The Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the best kept secrets at Disney World.  I guess it’s not a secret anymore~I just told you about it!  Anyway, this FREE activity leads you through a drawing session of a Disney character.

It is led by an actual Imagineer at Walt Disney World!  Each person gets his/her own drawing backlit desk, pencils, and paper.  You vote as a group which character to draw.  I suggest taking a cardboard mailing tube to roll up your creation to tote around the parks, and bring it home safely to frame!

Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party.  This is a unique way to enjoy some great desserts and the Wishes Fireworks at Magic Kingdom.  One hour prior to the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, you are seated at the Tomorrowland Terrace for a desert buffet.  You’ll want to make reservations for the Dessert Party as soon as they are available for your dates.

Enjoy an outdoor movie.  Almost ALL of the Disney resorts offer Movies Under the Stars.  Since you are paying to stay at the resort, you might as well enjoy the free activities they offer!  Even if you aren’t staying at that particular resort, you can still visit there to enjoy the movie.  My personal favorite for Movies Under the Stars is the Beach Club Resort.  They show the movie on the beach, and sometimes even have a campfire with s’mores!

Play miniature golf.  Did you know Disney World is home to two fun miniature golf courses?  Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens are the mini golf courses on Disney property.  Included with your Magic Your Way Package for 2015 is two vouchers, valid for a round of miniature golf!  This makes a great activity for your arrival day or a “no park” day.

Take a ride on a horse.  At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, you can enjoy a horse ride!  They offer trail rides, as well as horse drawn carriage rides.  Not only that, but there are hay rides and seasonal wagon rides.  In the fall, they offer a Haunted Carriage Ride, and at Christmas a Sleigh Ride.  How fun!

Agent Ps World Showcase Adventure.  Your favorite Agent P from Phineas and Ferb leads you through the World Showcase at EPCOT to unveil clues and solve a mystery.  This interactive game is great for kids who want something to enjoy, while the parents want to enjoy the World Showcase.  Agent Ps World Showcase Adventure leads you through several pavilions in the World Showcase, and once you solve the mystery, you turn in your transmitter.  Like the Pirates Adventure at Magic Kingdom, you can do it more than once!

Enjoy some time at the spa.  This is a fun alternative for moms and daughters to enjoy some time together.  Sure, your little girl would likely enjoy a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get a makeover like her favorite princess.  But, a nice alternative to that is a visit to one of the spas on property.  Senses at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa offers massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc.  They even have a Kids Spa Menu, including a manicure or pedicure for children ages 4-12.

Pirate Cruises.  Your whole family can embark on the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise, departing from Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  You’ll enjoy time with Mr. Smee, Captain Hook, snacks, and a great view of Wishes.

Your children can also embark on a fun Pirate Adventure from one of several Disney Resorts.  These are for kids only, and give the parents some nice time together.  You have four to choose from.  They depart from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Disney’s Beach Club, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  


Black Friday Travel Deals

Are you ready for Black Friday?  Would you rather shop from home and give your family a gift to remember~a fun trip to make memories and enjoy time together?  Perhaps you need a change of scenery or will need a winter getaway?  If so, then check out these Black Friday Travel Deals!

Universal Orlando:  Book November 28-December 1.  Enjoy a Family Suite at Unversal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort for as little as $119 per night, a $50 Resort Dining Credit, and when you buy 2-Day Park to Park Tickets, you get the 3rd day FREE!

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line:  Cruising has never been more affordable!  Enjoy a 50% reduced deposit, 50% off the second adult in the room, and enjoy up to a $300 ship credit!  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is an affordable, family friendly cruise line!  Valid for most sailings and destinations in 2015.

Norwegian Cruise Line:  Book your Norwegian Cruise Line voyage November 26-December 2.  Enjoy a reduced deposit and up to a $250 ship credit!  Valid for 3 day or longer sailings to all destinations in 2015.

Walt Disney World Stay, Play, and Dine OR up to 30% off Resort Rooms for travel through March 28, 2015.  Book by December 29, 2014.  It isn’t too late to book a fun family getaway for Christmas or early winter with this great discount!

Sea World Orlando:  Book a room at a Sea World Neighbor hotel, and enjoy the Sea World All Day Dining Plan for FREE.

There will be more!  Keep an eye on the Carrie-Agent with Destinations in Florida Facebook page for more Black Friday deals as they are announced.  Check your calendars, and contact Carrie for a free, no-obligation quote for your favorite destination or family cruise!

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  



Universal Orlando’s 72 Hour EPIC Savings Event Starts November 4

Last week, I posted about the Buy 2-Days get the 3rd FREE for Universal Orlando Resort, and starting November 4th, you can combine that deal for the Universal Orlando 72 Hour EPIC Savings Event!

For 72-hours only—November 4 – 6, YOU can take advantage of our best offer of the year and lock-in savings on an amazing vacation right in the heart of Universal® Orlando Resort.  You will save on an escape to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort—the newest on-site hotel. Relax in classic retro-style with ultra-modern comforts! Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort is a GREAT affordable option for larger families with a lazy river, early admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal character appearances, and more!  For more information about Universal Orlando and what it can offer your family, visit the Universal Orlando Travel Brochure Guide.

A FREE Family Suite Upgrade so you can stretch out with handy amenities and space for up to 6.
AND Two FREE Blue Man Group Tickets to add even more fun.

Just be sure to hurry. Our first-ever EPIC SAVINGS EVENT—ends on Thursday, November 6.

Travel Dates: 11/4/14 – 11/25/14, 11/29/14 – 12/24/14, 1/4/15 – 2/12/15

Resort stay is a minimum 3-night stay, Sun–Thurs only, at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Must be booked during offer period, November 4–6, 2014. Booking must be for travel on select dates between November 4, 2014–February 12, 2015. New bookings only. No Cancellations/Refunds. Must be paid in full at time of booking. Hotel stay and Blue Man Group show for Sun–Thurs night only. Not valid for weekends and holidays. Blockout dates apply Dec 25, 2014–Jan 3, 2015.

Theme park admission is a 2-Day Park-to-Park Ticket with a 3rd Day FREE. Regular cost per ticket: $175.99 Adult/$165.99 Child. Blackout dates apply Dec 26, 2014–Jan 3, 2015.

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  


Universal Orlando 3rd Day Free Offer

Universal Orlando’s popular 3rd Day FREE Offer for U.S. and Canada residents is back!  When you purchase a 2-Day Park ticket, you are entitled to a 3rd Day for FREE!  That is more time to play and Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, where all your favorite big screen movies come to life!

Enjoy MORE time at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, including the awe-inspiring Wizarding World of Harry Potter, journey on the Hogwarts Express, TRANSFORMERS:  The Ride-3D, and Springfield-the home to the Simpsons.

This offer includes the following benefits:
· Three days’ access to both Universal Orlando theme parks
· Access to live entertainment at Universal CityWalk
· Or upgrade with the purchase of a combo ticket to experience either Orlando’s premier waterpark Wet n’ Wild or the Blue Man Group show, featuring incredible live performances and music.

Valid for purchase through June 7, 2015
Tickets are valid 14 days from first use; must be used in full by June 20, 2015.
Current price of a 2-day park to park ticket is $175/adult plus tax
Black out dates apply Dec 26 2014-Jan 3, 2015


· Visitors can make it a special vacation by adding a stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort with a discounted vacation package starting at $425 per adult, tax inclusive.
· Package also includes:
– 2-Day Park to Park Ticket with 3rd Day Free
– 3-nights stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
– Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens
· Special vacation package rates are also available at Universal Orlando’s additional resort hotels Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and select Universal Partner Hotels

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  




Making the Most of Your Disney World Character Dining Experience

Character dining at Walt Disney World is a must for a lot of families.  What is better than seeing your child’s face light up when Cinderella kneels down to hug her and sign her autograph book?  Or you little guy get a high five from Goofy at Chef Mickey’s?  When you book the Disney Dining Plan as part of your package, you are entitled to one table service meal for each night of your stay!  Many families, my own included, LOVE to use these for character dining experiences.  It allows my children to see their favorite characters, our family can enjoy a good meal, and it gives us a break from the parks.  As the resident “Disney expert” here at Family Friendly Frugality, I’d like to share some tips with you to get the most out of your Disney Character Dining Experience!

Dress the part.  Dining at Akerhaus, Cinderella’s Royal Table, or 1900 Park Fare with the princesses?  Then dress your little princess accordingly!  Let her wear her favorite princess dress or t-shirt with her favorite princess on it.  Even a tiara is fun!  With classic character meals, our family tends to all dress in Disney t-shirts with Mickey or Minnie on them.  This gives the characters something “in common” with your children, and the interactions are that much more fun!

Prepare your child to meet the characters.  Mickey Mouse is big when he’s standing right at your table. If your child seems unsure, be the first one to greet the character.  This will show your child that Mickey and Minnie are there to have fun, not to scare your child.  If your little one is still unsure and you want a photo, get in the photo with you child, and stand between your child and the character. Don’t force your child to get close if he or she doesn’t want to.  The characters are GREAT about sensing a child’s personality during an interaction.

Timing is everything.  Schedule a “face character” meal early in your trip, and a “costume character” meal later.  Akerhaus, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and 1900 Park Fare all have “face characters”.  These characters {Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter, and many princesses} will talk to your child, smile at them, and interact on a more personal basis.  This is a GREAT way to warm your child up to a “costume” character meal later in your trip.  If you can schedule an early breakfast at the Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom, this gives you access to a nearly empty park for photos.  Schedule a later dinner time, around 8PM, and the characters may have more time to interact since it is not prime dining time.

Take your time.  Most of the character meals are buffet or family style.  Also, it can take some time for the characters to make their way to each table.  Plan on about 75-90 minutes for a character meal experience.  Your children may have an especially long interaction with Snow White, or just a simple picture and autograph with Cinderella.  So be prepared for some “down time” while eating.  Many locations have a small parade for the children to join in, or a song for everyone.

Have your autograph book and camera ready.  There are no MemoryMaker photographers in the dining area of the restaurants.  So be ready with your camera.  Also, having the autograph book signed is a small distraction for my daughter, who can take awhile to warm up to characters.

Remember why you are at your character dining experience.  You are there to see the priceless looks on your children’s faces, enjoy a nice meal, and save time for attractions in the parks.  Some of our best Disney memories come from our character dining experiences.  Even my grown father in law loved seeing Eeyore at Crystal Palace, and my 11 year old twin boys will still give Goofy a high five at Chef Mickey’s.  Combine that with my daughter’s huge hug to Snow White, and our memories are priceless!

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  




10 Free Things to Do at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World and “free” in the same sentence?  Yes, there are free things to do at Disney World!  Many people who have not been to Walt Disney World don’t even know that so much free entertainment exists on Disney property!    Our family likes to enjoy these free activities on our arrival day, and one day during our stay.  This gives our family a change of scenery and saves us money!  Our arrival day doesn’t give us enough time in a park to warrant an extra park day, and our family LOVES seeing what Walt Disney World has to offer outside the parks!  I’m Carrie, aka the “Disney Expert” here at Family Friendly Frugality, and today I’m going to share with you Ten Free Things to Do at Walt Disney World!

1.  Disney’s Boardwalk Area.  I have been going to Disney for the last 8 years, and I didn’t even know about the Boardwalk until about our 3rd trip!  Now, it is a “must do” during every trip!  We even love it so much we’ve stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort which is right along the Boardwalk.  This area is especially alive at night with street performers and music.  Along the Boardwalk, you’ll see mimes, magicians, and if you time it right, the fireworks portion of Illuminations from EPCOT!  There are many great places to eat, a dance hall, and surrey rentals as well.

2.  Wishes from the Bay Lake Area.  Wishes is the nighttime spectacular show at Magic Kingdom-it’s more than fireworks in my opinion!  Once you’ve seen fireworks at Disney World, everything else pales in comparison!   Surrounding the gates of Magic Kingdom is Bay Lake.  This is home to Disney’s Polynesian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Grand Floridian Resorts.  The Polynesian beach and boat dock at the Grand Floridian are my favorite spots!  And, they pipe the soundtrack music so you get the full effect.  Just tell them you are there to visit the resort, and your parking is free.

3.  Campfire Sing a Long with Chip and Dale.  This fantastic and fun experience takes place at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.  Chip and Dale join you for a sing along and s’mores! You can purchase a s’mores kit, or you can bring your own s’mores ingredients!  After the campfire sing along, they show a Disney movie under the stars!

4.  Movies Under the Stars. Speaking of movies under the stars at Ft. Wilderness,  most every Disney resort shows movies under the stars during the week.  My personal favorite is the Beach Club Resort-the movies are on the beach of the Boardwalk Area.  There are chairs, or you can bring your own blanket or towel, and enjoy a movie for FREE!

5.  Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant.  While you are in the Magic Kingdom resort area for Wishes, you can enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant if you get there around 9PM.  This boat light parade floats a route on Bay Lake every night about 9PM.

6.  Downtown Disney.  Downtown Disney is full of fun props, shops, and entertainment for all of your family!  The LEGO store at Downtown Disney has all the building supplies you need to keep your children entertained for awhile.  They have building table and buckets of LEGOS out for building everywhere!  I also LOVE to pose my kids at Downtown Disney with all the fun props outside the shops.  Plus, you can take the boat over to Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter to explore those resorts!  There are also fun water spray fountains to run and play in at Downtown Disney.

7.  Monorail Resort Ride.  Disney’s Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian are all on the monorail loop.  More specifically, the Resort Monorail Loop will take you through these three fabulous resorts.  Anyone on Disney property can ride the monorail for FREE!  Just take the Magic Kingdom bus from your resort, and board the monorail at the Magic Kingdom gates!  The fun aspect is to stop at these resorts.  At the Polynesian you can sometimes catch a free hula lesson, or at the Grand Floridian a big band in the lobby!  Plus the beach areas of these resorts are very pretty!

8.  Animal Kingdom Lodge Wildlife Preserve.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to a unique wildlife preserve area.  Once you enter the lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can walk through to the outside and see the animals.  Or, walk around the lodge to the different viewing areas.  Not to mention, Animal Kingdom Lodge is GORGEOUS and a fun place to visit!

9.   Take a boat ride.  Disney is known for it’s three ways of transportation-bus, boat, or monorail.  There are boats everywhere!   One of our favorites, as mentioned above, is the boat ride from Downtown Disney to the Port Orleans Resorts.  Another fun ride is the boat from the Boardwalk area to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  If you are at Hollywood Studios and need a great ice cream break, head over to Beaches and Cream via boat at the Beach Club Resort.  Or, take the boat route from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

10.  Enjoy the pool at YOUR resort. Okay, maybe not 100% free, since you are paying to stay at that resort.  BUT, using the resort amenities such as the pool, playgrounds, and other entertainment gives you more bang for your buck.  Our family works in one full “no park day” to enjoy the pool, movie nights, and Downtown Disney-not to mention some of the other great fun I’ve shared with you.  A Disney resort is part of the vacation experience!  Enjoy it!

Are you ready to book your Disney vacation?  If so, contact Carrie Hurst at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com or at 937.209.9473 for a FREE, no obligation quote and to get your vacation planning started.  All her planning services are FREE, and every reader of Family Friendly Frugality who books with Carrie receives a FREE gift!  



How to Travel on a Budget

Looking to travel on a budget? It can be done! Learn how to travel on a budget, all about saving money while you are traveling, tips and tricks to make your budget vacation (with or without kids) rock!

Whether you travel a lot or a little, chances are you want to save money. Saving a few pennies here and there as you travel means sticking to a budget. Check out these ideas for traveling on a strict budget.

Decide on Your Budget

Before you travel, decide upon your budget.

Sit down with pen and paper and figure out how much money you will need for your trip. You will need to account for gas, accommodations, food, and any other incidentals.

Once you have figure up those expenses, add 10 percent to that figure.

That’s your budget for your trip.

Take Food With You

Eating out during a trip can become very expensive.

Even cheap fast food can bust your budget.

Instead of eating out for every meal, take food with you.

You can take snacks and drinks for the drive and even boxed dinners to cook meals at your destination if there is a kitchen available. Take a cooler with ice to keep some food and drinks cold along the way.

While you may not want to eat this way for every meal, it will offer you a good savings and allow you to splurge on a dinner out during your trip.

Keep Your Vehicle in Top Shape for Better Gas Mileage

Have your vehicle serviced before your trip to make sure it is in the good condition and will get the best gas mileage possible. Check your owner’s manual for recommended tire pressures and make sure your tires are properly inflated.

Over inflated or under inflated tires can affect your gas mileage.

Remember to follow the speed limit and don’t do sudden starts and stops.

All of these things can suck up your gas and downgrade your gas mileage.

Start Planning Early

While you are planning your trip, call the hotel, resort, or time share you will be staying and ask about any discounts they can offer. Some hospitality services will offer special discounts on attraction tickets for guests.

In most cases, the earlier you book, the better rate you’ll receive (but not in ALL cases…see the next tip!)

(Use your calendar to mark important dates for booking purposes. Erin Condren Planners are the BEST! )

Ask for Discounts

Be sure to also ask about special discounts on accommodations. You may qualify for a senior discount, a military discount, or a special promotion discount.

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts off of prices you are quoted. Once you are quoted a price for your stay, ask if they can offer you a better price than that.

Call a week or so before you leave to see if any additional discounts have popped up. It doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they can do is tell you no.

Don’t let a tight budget scare you away from a trip and don’t think that a budget-friendly trip can’t be fun.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank. Plan accordingly so you can stick to your budget. Ask for discounts and you might be surprised at how much money you can actually save.

Keeping Safe at Walt Disney World

Hello, everyone!  Carrie here, your “resident Disney expert” on Family Friendly Frugality!  I join you here on Heather’s awesome blog to share my Disney planning tips, money saving ideas, and inside secrets to make your Disney World Vacation more magical!

Keeping safe at Walt Disney World is an important part of your vacation.  You want to enjoy all the moments, but then again, you also need to keep safety in mind.  I’m excited to share some tips with you today to help you keep safe, keep track of your kiddos, and enjoy all those wonderful vacation moments!  In fact, these may be easier than you think-most of them involve using your phone!  You are for sure taking photos of Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth, and your kids with Mickey Mouse.  But did you ever think about using your camera for safety?

Tip #1:  Take a picture of your Disney Resort room number.  I can’t find my car at the store half the time, let alone always remember what room I’m in at my Disney Resort.  Sure, I should know these things, right?  But I depend way too much on my husband who has a keen memory for such things, to lead us to to our room every time.  So, I take a photo of our room number with my iPhone.  With MagicBands, your room number isn’t anywhere on them.  It is written on the packet you get at check-in.  And if you are like me, that packet likely stays in your room while you are touring the parks.

Tip #2:  Photograph your children everyday before you leave for the parks.  This is a must for me.  If something were to happen and we get separated from each other, I know exactly what they are wearing and what shoes they have on.  Both of these are key in helping a Castmember identify them if they are lost.

Tip #3:  Take a photo of your luggage.  If you are flying into Orlando International, your luggage doesn’t even make it to the carousel.  It is taken directly off the plane and set aside to be loaded on Disney’s Magical Express.  Should your bags not arrive when you do, or get lost in another way, you’ll have your photo to identify it.

Tip #4:  Protect your valuables. Every Disney Resort room is equipped with a safe.  Use it!  If you are leaving for the day, and decide to leave one of your cameras in the room, or your handbag, etc., put them in the safe.  It’s a good place to put your laptop, iPad, and even the chargers.  That is why they are there.  As much as we’d like to think it would be safe in our locked resort room, that may not always be the case.

Tip #5:  Pack a small bag to take into the parks.  I say small, so it fits under your stroller, or in the safety net of the attractions.  Many attractions have room at your feet for your backpack or small bag.  We have left our bag in the stroller a few times, but only if it has nothing valuable in it.

Tip #6:  Be safe at the pools. I know that watching your children around water is very important.  Disney Resort pools have lifeguards, but after certain hours they are unstaffed.  Pay attention to those hours, so you can pay more attention to your children.

Tip #7:  Pay attention to your body. Are you tired?  Dehydrated?  Need some air conditioning?  Florida can be hot, and being in the sun all day can take its toll on your body.  Go into a shop and look around.  Get some FREE ice water from a Quick Service kiosk or restaurant and sit down for a break.  Did you know that the shops along Main Street USA and Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios run continuously together?  You can just keep walking from one to the next and enjoy the air conditioning while doing so.  Also, scheduling a Table Service meal in the heat of the day is a really good idea!

Tip #8:  Bring your own baby proofing supplies.  Disney resort rooms aren’t baby proof.  Slipping a small ziploc with outlet covers into your suitcase won’t take up much room.  Plus, be sure to secure the extra lock on your resort room door and attend to your children on the balconies.

Tip #9:  Dress your kids in bright colored clothes and/or coordinating outfits. Not only do these look super cute in those Disney photos, but you can easily spot your children in a crowd.

Tip #10:  Carry a small First Aid kit in your park bag.  Your kids may trip and fall and skin their knee, and you’ll want to have those Band Aids handy.  Even those snap and go ice packs can be handy in the parks.

Being safe at Walt Disney World can take a small effort on your part and a little bit of pre planning.  But, the end result of being prepared and having peace of mind is worth it!

Are you looking for ways to save money on your next Disney vacation?  Do you need planning tips, or are you overwhelmed with where to start?  Then contact Carrie-a Vacation Specialist with Destinations in Florida, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner-to get your trip planning underway.  You can contact her at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com for the best deals on your next Orlando getaway.  Mention Family Friendly Frugality and receive a free gift when booking your trip with her!  

What’s New Around the Universe!

Hello everyone!  I am sharing some great happenings around the Universal Orlando theme parks!  There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Universe.” This week’s Universal Orlando Resort News update features: the announcement of a new Universal Resort, Halloween Horror Nights 24 map reveal, new Beedle the Bard show in Diagon Alley and much more!

What’s New This Week?

Universal Orlando Theme Parks

New! Halloween Horror Nights Map: The 2014 Halloween Horror Nights 24 Map has surfaced online. Excitement is building as the first night of the event is in just 10 days! Thanks go to Orlando Informer for finding and publishing the map.

New! A New Tale of Beedle the Bard Debuts at Diagon Alley: Though originally described in the June press release, it wasn’t until this week that “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” debuted in Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley. During this show three witches and a knight meet in their attempt to reach the Fountain in an enchanted garden. This show is in addition to “The Tale of the Three Brothers” – featured in the seventh film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” – in which three wizard brothers come face to face with Death.

New! Free Wifi Rollout Complete:  Universal has completed its rollout of complimentary Wi-Fi access in the theme parks and Universal CityWalk. As a reminder, earlier this year Loews introduced complimentary in-room wifi for all registered guests with two levels of service. The Premium Wireless will be complimentary for up to 4 devices in the room which will be optimal for surfing the web and checking email – 512kb. There will be an option to upgrade to Premium Plus for $14.95 per day up to 8 devices – 3meg. This will be optimal for streaming music, entertainment, VPN and Large file transfers. Complimentary Premium Wi-Fi in the common areas will continue as normal.

Reminder! Meet the Boxtrolls at Universal Studios: From the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman comes a story of a young orphan boy named Eggs raised by a new breed of family called The Boxtrolls, a community of quirky, mischievous creatures! For a limited time, you can get your picture taken with some of the fun loving Boxtroll characters themselves! The Boxtrolls make daily appearances at the Character Party Zone located just outside The Horror Make-Up Show in Universal Studios. Check your park map for that day’s schedule, but they’re usually out there at 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm through September 26.

Reminder! Annual Passholder Early Park Admission in September: On weekdays in September (Monday thru Friday), Universal Annual Passholders have access to Early Park Admission at Universal Studios Florida for The Wizarding World or Harry Potter – Diagon Alley!

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

New! Universal and Loews Hotels Announce New Hotel Coming to Universal Orlando in 2016: When it opens in the summer of 2016, guests visiting the new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando will walk into a colorful Caribbean hideaway built around a lush, tropical lagoon and towering waterfall. The new hotel will become the fifth on-site resort hotel and its 1,000 rooms, including 77 suites, will bring the number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 5,200. More info.

Reminder! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Exclusive Vacation Package Dates Extended: Experience all the magic and excitement with this exclusive vacation package including admission to both Universal Orlando® theme parks, hotel accommodations, Early Park Admission? to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ and the new Leaky Cauldron™, receive an Owl Post Welcome Gift and more! Purchase now through December 10, 2014 with select travel through December 18, 2014. Prices starting from $109 per adult, per night, tax inclusive.

Universal CityWalk

Reminder! Retro Futura Tour at Hard Rock Live: See the Retro Futura Tour Wednesday, Sept 10 at Hard Rock Live. This show features Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins, Howard Jones, China Crisis, Ultravox’s Midgeure & Katrina of Katrina and the Waves. Tickets are $45 First 2 Rows and Balcony Tables, $35 Reserved Main Floor & Lower Balcony or $30 Upper Balcony $27.50 GA Standing Perimeter. Doors open at 7:00pm. More info: 407-351-LIVE (5483).

New! Dance, Dream & Inspire Fundraiser at Hard Rock Live: See the third annual Dance, Dream & Inspire fundraiser for foster children Sept 13 at Hard Rock Live. Eight pairs of ballroom dancers (think “Dancing with the Stars” as performed by local celebrities coached by their classically trained partners) will be judged on routines ranging from salsa to swing and tap to tango. WFTV Channel 9 anchor Jorge Estevez – who won last year’s competition – will emcee along with Orlando attorney Diana Tennis. Tickets are $17. The celebrity dance lineup includes:

  • Randy Ross, marketing director, Orlando Museum of Art
  • Amy Fields, foundation manager, Fields Auto Group
  • Beth Batten, director of licensing, Community Based Care of Central Florida
  • Debbie Platz, general counsel, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Orlando
  • Dennis Salvagio (aka “The Fat Guy” at the Orlando Magic games), local attorney
  • Mikael Audebert, president, MBA Orlando; CEO, Converge Orlando
  • Monique Yeager, vice president of marketing, Tijuana Flats
  • Nancy Alvarez, anchor, WFTV Channel 9

Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • None

Universal Studios

  • Fear Factor Live: Closed for seasonal maintenance
  • Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 9/4 – 9/6, 9/10 & 9/11 No shows scheduled

Are you looking for ways to save money on your next Disney or Universal Orlando vacation?  Do you need planning tips, or are you overwhelmed with where to start?  Then contact Carrie-a Vacation Specialist with Destinations in Florida, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner-to get your trip planning underway.  You can contact her at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com for the best deals on your next Orlando getaway.  Mention Family Friendly Frugality and receive a free gift when booking your trip with her!  

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