This Spotlight Sunday I'm telling you my favorite two tricks to make your dream vacation cheaper!
Do you know the fourth Ferengi rule of acquisition? Never pay retail. Remember that! Even a special deal from Disney can be improved on.
Trick #1 Disney Gift Cards
Make sure you are getting the Disney gift cards that can be used ANYWHERE, not just at the Disney Store.
How will the Disney Gift Cards help you save?
Because you’ll be buying them for at LEAST 5% off.
Target classifies it’s Disney gift cards as “entertainment cards” not, “gift cards”. Using a Target debit card, or Target credit card, when you buy a $100 Target gift card, you’ll actually be paying $95. Use that for your tickets, or resort, your food, and souvenirs, and you’ve got a fancy little discount that other’s don’t know about. 5% right off your vacation cost. Sure, it's not huge, but on a $4000 trip, that extra $200 can buy a lot!
It gets better though!
In the fall, near Black Friday, Target also does a one day Target Gift Card sale of 10% off. Buy those Target gift cards, turn them into Disney gift cards...10% off, easily.
Watch for other gift card deals at grocery stores, every now and them I will see $5 off a $50 gift card, pair that with a 1% cash back reward from your credit or debit card, that's a great deal!
Trick #2 Get some free money!
Who doesn’t like free money? I know I love it! that’s why I use a few things like Swagbucks to earn points that I can trade in for gift cards to apply towards our trip. Loads of people make $100 or more a month, I average around $10 a month when I apply my lazy self, without spending a dime, but that’s all going to Disney money! If you aren’t part of Swagbucks already, you can use my referral code below to start off with extra Swagbucks.
Right now, they even have a QR code you can scan at Best Buy to get $5 in points credited to you, on top of one point per dollar, then whatever percentage your credit card would give you. Go in, buy a $50 Disney gift card, and you'll save 12% on it...!
I also got the Disney Chase Visa two years ago, because they GAVE me $200 on a gift card, (though it looks like now for some people it’s applied as a credit on your account,) when I spent $500 in the first 3 months, PLUS I get 1 point per dollar that they load onto a Disney Gift Card I can cash out anytime over $10. You also get a 10% discount on Disney stuff at the Disney store, or in the parks. If you want to check it out, you can use my Disney card referral, and get the same offer. (I do get the points equivalent of $25 as a referral bonus)
There's one more great way to get free money! Do you ever buy groceries? Ibotta is a free app you put on your phone that gives almost instant rebates on groceries. I don't use it all the time, but in the last year, I've gotten about $200 back in gift cards! A lot of times you get offers for something completely free, after the rebate. Recently, I got 20 packages of 6 count fun sized Caramel M&Ms FREE after the rebates that popped up a few minutes after I bought and scanned my receipt. Those are going to be great treats for Mr. Disney Magic's students and coworkers!
Sign up now, and get a $10 bonus! You can cash out once you get to $20, and it won't take you long to get there! (I will get a $5 bonus also if you signup)
It's little tricks like this that you can find, that will make your Once Upon A Dream trip come even sooner! There are loads of great money savings apps and sites... what else do you use?
Are you like me? You get to your hotel and realize you forgot to pack something really important. I think the worst was a few years back, when I didn't realize my toddler was "helping" when I packed. Every time I packed something for my oldest, the youngest would pull it out it when I turned around. The result was we got to our hotel, and my oldest had no pants, or shorts or in the suitcase and the youngest stood there giggling at my panic. That was not a very fun late night trip to the nearest Walmart in an unfamiliar area with a very picked over children's section.
Despite the occasional adventure like that, or those little things I always inevitably leave behind, there is one thing that usually goes into the suitcase first. Sunscreen.
You know you'll need your sunscreen at some point, Disney doesn't have a lot of shade at it's parks, and it won't take long for the sun to start baking you, but I've got 5 not so obvious reason's that you'll want to pack your sunscreen before you head to Disney that you might not have thought of!
1. Sunburn makes you feel so much hotter!
Ever noticed that when you have even just a tiny bit of sunburn, you feel so much hotter? Who wants that, when you are already spending you summer in a southern state? It's hard sometimes to make yourself take a break when there's so much great stuff to see, but trust me! You'll feel a lot worse with sunburn! Stop and put it on at least every 2 hours.
2. Sunscreen costs way more at Disney
One trip, I thought out 2 bottles for a family of 4 would be enough. It wasn't, so I ended up getting some while at Magic Kingdom. It was at LEAST 50% higher than what I had paid at Target. I bought it anyway, it was important we had had it, but now, I always pack at least 4 bottles, because with sales and coupons, I can usually get the brands and style we prefer, for much less than retail.
3. You might not find your preferred style or brand of sunscreen
We usually are a Banana Boat family, but that day at the Magic Kingdom, the only thing for sale, was Coppertone Baby, and I had no idea how the family's skin would react (I have two very sensitive skinned boys) and there was only a choice of the lotion type, no spray or sticks. Luckily, they did okay, but if you know for a fact, like we do, that there is a brand that will give you a rash, or make you burn even if you've applied it, make sure you are packing your favorite!
4. You're going to use more sunscreen than you think
If you really put on your sunscreen every 2 hours, you really are going to use more than you think, especially if you use the spray sunscreens. This is part of why we ran out so quickly, I think. It seemed like every time we tried to use the spray, the wind would start blowing it anywhere but on us, and I swear, half the bottle was gone the first day just because of that. Now, we use spray for the legs, and lotion for the face, neck, ears and arms. No eye stinging, (because it will hurt terribly, with spray) and the sunscreen gets on you, instead of the person nearby.
5. Disney sunscreen isn't at Disney!
Disney sells the plain sunscreen. It's not super cute, it's just plain functional, which is great, but if a little ahead of time prep (and yes, fun shopping for your trip!) can add a little more Disney in your day, why not do it? Check out these AWESOME sunscreens, all available RIGHT NOW at Target (maybe other stores too, but that's where I just got ours). These will put a little Disney into wherever you are, and whatever you are doing this summer! Hey, I'm not above suggesting to my wiggly 5 year old that maybe if he wears the superhero sunscreen, maybe he'll soak in some super powers!
No matter what type of sunscreen you use, just make sure to reapply it! It won't do you any good if it's in your backpack, and not on you!
Do you have any Uhoh no sunscreen adventures, or other packing mistake stories to share? I'd love to hear them!
Animal Kingdom is without a doubt tied with Magic Kingdom as my favorite park. It's peaceful, relaxing, doesn't ever feel crowded (once you get through the main gates) and it's just incredible. A lot of people think of it as a half day park, but I think those are the people there for the rides, not the educational things, like the Wilderness Explorers, or the behind the scenes animal areas.
The Tree of Life is also a favorite, it's the first thing your eyes see as you walk into Animal Kingdom and words do no describe how magnificent it is. At 145 feet tall, and 50 feet wide, there are over 300 animal carvings on it. It's beautiful to see from all angles, and something I just love to pause and admire, each time we see it.
Next time you go, take a few minuites to walk on the Discovery Trail to an area where not too many people ever go. In all the times we have one, it's rare anyone else was there. You might meet a special character, (last summer it was Tarzan!) but I promise you the views are breathtaking. Just look at a few of them!
Do you have a favorite spot at Animal Kingdom?
If you want to read more of our Animal Kingdom Posts, we've got some rounded up for you!
Cick here to join us on the Kilimanjaro Safari!
Click here to get a FREE touring plan with 10 attractions in just 3 hours!
Click here to read about the Best Quick Service restaurants at Animal Kingdom!
Click here to join us on the Na'vi River Journey!