Have you ever started unpacking your suitcase only to find the handle snapped off your new Haunted Mansion mug? Or the brand new Minnie Ears snapped in half when you tried them on one more time? For us, it was the Donald Duck Hat, the back kept unsnapping, and we didn't know why until examining closely we realized there was a crack running the length of the adjuster.
So what happens? Are you totally out the money you spent? Are you stuck with a glued on handle you hope won't break when you drink your morning coffee?
Not necessarily. The same incredible customer service that Disney has IN the Parks and Resorts also often extends once you are back home. Stories of replaced mugs, ornaments and even toys like those light up bubble wands fill the internet. There's a bit of a trick though to make sure you have the best shot at getting your item replaced.
Let them know ASAP
You have a better chance if you contact Disney as soon as you find the item was damaged. Be sure to be polite. Sometimes an item just breaks. It doesn't mean it was anyone's fault. They usually will want to verify that you were shopping when you said you were, so also:
Save your receipts!
We needed to produce our receipt for that Donald hat. Luckily, I'd saved it along side of three zillion other ones. This proved to Disney that yes, I'd bought the item and that also, I had bought it recently, not a year ago. Next, be sure that you:
Take photos of the item's damage
It's easier to see the damage in a picture, and it shows that you are being truthful. I'm sure that the readers here wouldn't ever try and scam, but people do. Be truthful. Point out the chip, the crack, the torn seam in your spirit jersey, whatever. If you have it, also take photos of any item numbers or the tags. It's also helpful to say which store you got the item in. Then:
It can take a while to hear back. Patience isn't one of my strong points. When I want something fixed, I haaaate waiting. But be patient. It can take up to a week to get that first email from them. Follow ups are usually quicker though!
If all else fails
If you've done all you can and Disney can't help you, there are a few other ways to get your item replaced. A personal shopper, Ebay and even Amazon can help you locate a replacement.
While my fingers are crossed that you never arrive home with a broken item, if you do chances are good that Disney will take care of it for you. When it's all done and replaced, make sure you fill out a cast compliment for the person who helped you get the replacement so they can be thanked with a positive report on their work record.
Previously we talked about how much money you should bring to Disney World. Let's go a little more in depth on the souvenir budget. How much is enough? How much do you need to actually get a nice lasting souvenir or two?
Let's view a few budgets, then see what can actually be bought on those.
There isn't really one answer other than what you can afford. I know of families who give each kid $25. I know some give their kids $200. You might be in the middle, however, it is never too early or too late you get your kids saving up towards all of the extras that they will want. Here's seven tips that work great!
But what about you? What about adults? My husband and I each bring about $200 for spending money. Does it all get used? Not always, but it's Disney.
All magic has it's price, right?
What are the average costs of items at Disney?
Here are some of the typical items bought on a trip by most people, and their prices
T Shirts: Adult shirts start at $25
Mickey or Minnie Ears: Start at $18
Key chains and Magnets: Start at $8
Pins: Start at $8
Mugs: start at $15
Plush toys: start at $23
Notebooks and pens: start at $10
While there are some good deals to be found near the registers and often Disney stores offer a heavily discounted item with purchase, it's very easy to spend your money and often there's more than one thing that you like, especially since the prices above are the base prices and from there they jump up quite a bit.
(One thing I will say about Disney, is their quality is really good, in many items you do get what you pay for. I have a Disney wallet that I bought in 2014. I paid $50 for it. The most I've EVER spent on a wallet. Six years later, it still looks great. No tears, no major worn spots. Their t's last too if you aren't super rough on them)
So how much money should you bring? What is right for you?
One simple way to pre-check prices is with our friend, Youtube! Remember we talked about how it's a great planning tool? Type in a store instead of an attraction and you'll find a lot of videos, and prices mentioned too.
Another way is to visit the ShopDisney site and click on the Parks tab. Those are a small collection of items that you will find in the parks and so the prices will be current.
Lastly, overestimate. One thing everyone forgets about at Disney is the resort tax. It's HIGH! Like 12.5% or something. Whew! So, if you give your child a $25 gift card and say that's it, you might need to plan on an extra dollar or two for tax.
Stretching your budget
This blog is full of great ways you can stretch your budget, but if you want one without having to really do any work, this is my number one way to get free money. how does 5% more money sound to you? Paying $95 for $100 of stuff? Those $5's add up! Maybe you want more. Maybe you want to save 10%. that's in there too.
A good rule of thumb though is to always (if you can) plan to bring more than you expect, and to bring cash too. There are many things that you might want to do that you didn't know would be available. Henna or hair wraps, elaborate face painting or caricatures, tie dyed shirts, paintings and so much more.
What are some of your favorite Disney souvenirs you've gotten in the past? Or what's something that you'd really like to have? Stop by our Facebook and let us know!
Many parents pull their kids out of school for a Disney vacation. Is it the best idea though? While ultimately the decision needs to be between you and your child's teacher, if you are still in the early stages of planning here are a few things to check on before you book your dates.
Check to see what your school district's absentee polity is.
Most schools limit the number of unexcused absences. You wouldn't want to get in trouble by skipping school and not letting them know. In some districts, truancy officers will try and track you down.
Consider your child's age and grade level
While most teachers are pretty agreeable with a family trip during the school year, it's important to always ask and should be based upon your child's ability to miss school. For a younger child it might not make a difference, unless say, your child is at a critical stage in learning how to read, but testing, as well as semester projects do happen especially for the older children, and it could be a problem for their grades if your child misses those.
Look for holidays or extended weekends to go
Most schools put out their calendars pretty early. Look for parent teacher conferences, teacher work days or holidays where your child can just miss a day or two, instead of a whole week. It's easier to make up missed work, or even work ahead.
Have a plan to incorporate education in your trip
If you do go, let your child's school know how to plan to keep the learning going, outside of the classroom. The study of nature and animals at Animal Kingdom. World History at Epcot, engineering and behind the scenes skills at Hollywood Studios, and the history behind how Magic Kingdom came to be. Each park has amazing stories your child could learn and write about.
While going during the school year can be a little tricky, if you plan it right and communicate with your child's school there's no reason that your trip can't be filled with fun and magic with a dash of education thrown in, after all, the knowledge you get outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn inside of it, and memories and time with family are so important!
Tell us, have you ever ever pulled your children out of school for a Disney trip?
If you've ever been to Disney in the summer and not had the Disney Rash, count yourself lucky! A small percentage of folks get it and while not having had it myself, a friend once did while we were there and she was MISERABLE. As in, skipped a park day and stayed in bed with ice on the day both the internet and TV channels were down so she had nothing to do. That's how miserable she was.
The Disney Rash is technically called Exercised Induced Vasculitis. Maybe you've even heard it referred to as Golfers Rash. I spared you a picture because in mild cases, it just looks like a skin contact reaction, maybe a mild poison ivy reaction. In a worst case, like my friend had, it looks like you are turning into a zombie and your flesh is rotting off.
The rash usually starts around the sock line and works its way up your calf. It's easy to mistake at first for sunburn, or a reaction to the grass or your sunscreen.
What causes Disney Rash?
Well, it comes from a few things, heat and humidity being the main culprits. And Florida is a few combo of those things. The way it was explained to us at the First Aid Station, was that as the heat radiates up from the walkways, the moisture on your legs combined with swelling from heat and all of the walking causes the rash to appear.
The rash isn't contagious, and it's not harmful, it's just bothersome, itchy, for some people it burns and yes, it's an awful thing to have happen during your trip.
So how can you help prevent this?
There are multiple ways to help prevent the Disney Rash. You can:
* Wear sunscreen, high socks or pants to block the sun and heat
* Wear compression socks (go here to learn how much they help and how not to feel weird
* Drink plenty
* Stop for breaks when you need them
* Prop your feet up in the evenings
Well that's great, but I already have it. Now what?
Unfortunately, the only things that are going to help are elevating your legs and keeping cool. Once you are back home the rash should vanish. In the meantime, and other the counter anti itch cream might help, if your case isn't too severe. The First Aid Station at any of the parks should be able to hook you up with some. Chances are good, your resort gift shop will sell some too.
Luckily, the rash doesn't last too long, even it it might feel like it does.
Have you ever had the Disney Rash?
Anyone in your house like to play Fortnite? Whether that's you or not, you like Disney, that's why you are here! Did you know that Fortnite and Disney are actually similar in ways? Here's eleven ways they are like each other. I bet you smile at at least once!!
And for those of you with a Fortnite obsessed teenager who doesn't want to leave the XBOX behind to go on a family vacation, challenge them to find their own similarities between the game and your destination!
1. It's impossible to visit every location in one drop
Disney Parks are tough to do in just one day. Just like a drop in Fortnite, the round is over before you've had a chance to visit every location. The attractions, shows, shops and restaurants are just too plentiful, same as there's too many chests to loot and named locations to stop at in a single round.
2. Just like in squads, no one can agree where to go first
Am I right? It's Slinky Dog Dash for Jim, Rockin' Coaster for Bob, Jill wants to hit Toy Story Mania and Jess is determined to be the first one one Star Tours. That's the same in Squads. How many times have you given in and done the drop where you didn't want to? Or just headed out on your own? There's just no pleasing everyone!
3. It's way too easy to spend your money
There's always a new shiny bauble so spend your hard earned money on at both Disney and Fortnite! Whether it's a new shirt, mug or lightsaber, purse, snacks or pressed pennies,
you just want it all. Like those new skins and back blings, that wrap and emote and ohhh look at that new dance...!
4. It takes a long time to walk anywhere
Unless you've got a little motorized help or mom or dad pushing a stroller, the walk from one end of the map to the other isn't easy at all, no matter if you are in Magic Kingdom or Fornite. Whew. Gotta stop for a second. Too. Much. Walking. But, both Fastpasse Times and The Storm don't care, do they?
5. You reminisce about the places that aren't there anymore
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride! Maelstrom! Moisty Mire! Tilted Towers! Ahh the good old days. Those whipper snappers now days don't know what they missed.
6. Wherever you want to go, there's a crowd
Want to ride Expedition Everest or Space Mountain or Seven Dwarves Mine Train? Be prepared for a crowd! It's a lot like when you suddenly have eight squads descend out of no where at The Authority or Misty Meadows. If you stick around, it might not be pretty.
7. Storms move in, like it or not
It doesn't matter if you are a half mile away from your next ride, or right in the middle of some sweet looting. Storm's going to happen when Storm wants. It doesn't care about you. So always pack a poncho and grab some chug splashes.
8. There are endless Youtube videos of others having fun
Can't be there in person? Or want to learn some tips? Youtube is the place for both Disney fans and Fortnite fans. There's no end to the videos out there, but, like all videos, not all are rated G or PG, so be careful letting little kids have free reign.
9. Solo, duo, squad or team, there's always a good time to be had
Anytime is a good time at Disney, right? Same with Fortnite. If you go alone or in a group, you're going to have a great time. You wouldn't be there if you didn't!
10. Every time is different from the last
You might visit the same areas in the same order but that doesn't mean you're going to have the same experiences, or the same loot. Every time is different and that's part of what makes it fun. There's always someone or something new to see.
So what do you think? What similarities do you see between Disney and Fortnite? Can we find enough for a part two?