Are you traveling to Disney World with gluten intolerance, celiac, etc? I started a new group for those traveling to Disney gluten free. I needed a place to ask to see menus, offerings and recommendations. I was not finding what I needed, so I created a page on Facebook to handle that very need.
There are some amazing websites that are dedicated to eating around the World gluten free, but they obviously cannot cover EVERY restaurant. My favorites though are Gluten Free in Orlando and Dairy Free & Gluten Free in WDW. My facebook group will, in my opinion, supplement those pages.
If you travel to, or will be traveling to Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Lines, or Adventures by Disney with celiac or are gluten intolerant, please check out Gluten Free Disney on Facebook.
Last year we were fortunate enough to cruise in concierge cabin 12006 on the Fantasy on Disney Cruise Line. This cruise was booked to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. We actually booked it on opening day and really wanted a concierge cabin and one on the bump out of the ship if possible (to give us a larger balcony.) The cabin did not disappoint.
The bathroom literally takes your breath away at first glance.
The balcony was awesome.
This was not a bad way to spend the week. In fact it was a pretty perfect way to spend the week!
We all could use a little magic in our lives, a little happiness and perhaps some fairytales. Maybe that’s why I love Disney so much. During those times that we are at the happiest place on earth, we get to experience that magic, those moments of happiness, fairytales and pixie dust! It’s a wonderfully magically place.
I can’t pinpoint why I’m so addicted. And it feels like an addiction. When I don’t have a trip planned, I start to really be focused on it. I become obsessed about returning.
What do you love about Disney World? I won’t lie, one of my favorite Disney qualities is that I can eat like a normal person at Disney. [I’m celiac so I medically have to eat gluten free.] I’m not left out of too much at Disney. Well, except the cronut. Disney, please make me a gluten free cronut. A cronut is part doughnut, part croissant. I do feel deprived missing out on the cronut. I can’t even stop saying that word. Cronut! However, there is so much amazing yumminess that I can maybe let the cronut go. (Well no. Disney, please just make the cronut gluten free.) But I do get to enjoy the best onion rings and fried chicken strips (they make a fish & chips, but I choose not to eat seafood) at Raglan Road in Disney Springs. This may be my favorite restaurant anywhere. There’s fun Irish dancing and great bands. I keep thinking we should try the many other wonderful places to dine in Disney Springs, but I keep going back to Raglan Road.
The eating aside, there are many other wonderful things about Disney World. It transforms you out of the real world. And who doesn’t have occasions where they want to be transformed out of the real world. It’s great that it’s entertaining for adults and children alike.
There are so many wonderful places in the world, and yet, I’m drawn back to one part of the world, Disney World. What keeps you interested? Why do you keep returning?
After all the planning we do, we certainly don’t want a medical emergency occurring during our vacations, but sometimes it does happen. We had a situation at the start of our most recent vacation that I hope no one experiences. We were set to leave for a 5 night cruise on the Disney Dream to celebrate my son’s fourth birthday. My mom was cruising with us, as were my brother and his family.
We were on board for about 30 minutes when my husband Dave started feeling pain in his abdomen. His appendix had already been removed so it wasn’t that. I didn’t even know the extent of it at first. He just said he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go lie down. He asked to just stay back from lunch and it had gotten so bad that he ended up going to the shipboard doctor. (I will cut to the end to say he is okay and was 100% by the end of the trip.) He went to the doctor around 12:25 or 12:30. He did message me, too, to say he was going there, but the cellphones weren’t being very cooperative so I ended up getting it much later than he sent it. Upon receiving the message, I went immediately to the medical center to see what was up. (I do recall charging past some front desk people that were potentially going to stop me to get into the room with my husband.) At around 1 pm they had an initial diagnosis of a kidney stone. (Due to urinary infection and some blood in the urine.) He was in a large amount of pain and they did an IV with some pain relief plus something to move the stone along. Then it was decision time. They recommended that we go to the hospital for a scan to see if it was a stone, the size and how severe. The alternative was to wait it out on the ship, but if there were complications, or it was something else, the next day we would be at Castaway Cay and getting to a medical facility would be hard from there so then we’d have to wait until Nassau. The doctor indicated an ultrasound would be ideal to determine if it was a stone and the size so that we could decide whether he’d need a constant hospital stay or just some pain relief and other medication.
We opted to get over to the hospital with the hopes that we could just have a quick diagnosis and be back on our way to our cruise. My husband really looked pathetic and the ambulance was called to transport us to the hospital. [They recommended an ambulance since a.)Dave was pathetic, and b.) the hospital would process him quicker since ambulance patients are given priority.) This involved the sheriff and fire department too as they are the first responders to a medical emergency. Thankfully my mom had Blake, my son, but none of the phones were working in this metal can and I couldn’t find them at first. But, ultimately, prior to the ambulance arriving, after I had gone to get our passports, per the ship’s request, leave Blake’s passport and some other things he’d need, plus grabbed water and stuff, I randomly found my mom in front of an elevator. (This was a thank you God moment as I had no idea where they were and I was impatient waiting on an elevator so I decided to just run up the stairs and figure it out from there. But I had made it up one or 2 flights and I heard them talking while they were waiting on an elevator.) I was able to bring Blake down to see Dave really quick before the ambulance arrived. We wouldn’t let Blake see the stretcher. After a couple of adorable moments with my son trying to make my husband feel better, we heard medical personnel had arrived so we rushed Blake off, and off to the hospital we went by ambulance. We were on our way at 1:53 (per my text messages to Dave’s family.) The hospital was like 20 minutes away or so. Oh and of course it was raining this whole time. (Making everything slower.)
We had 2 hours, essentially, to get back to the ship before the 4 pm last call. (We learned later that we could have easily had until 4:30 p.m.) Everyone thought it was impossible. At the hospital we were separated for awhile while they checked Dave in & determined he was stable. I used this time to confirm that I had trip insurance, oh thank God. (Because of course the policy I could find in my email was expired. I’m the one that buys it (we buy an annual policy) and it’s possible that I was busy with life and missed the purchase. But thankfully it existed.)
I was then able to see Dave. In the hour from the time he received IV meds until my seeing him in the hospital, he was like a new man. His color returned and he was able to engage in a conversation. The pain had apparently also moved a little which was confirmed to be the stone moving. I was told that when the nurse was first examining Dave that he did a good thing and ordered the urine sample and blood draw at the onset of the examination since he said the hospital would need that before Dave could be discharged. Dave and I started having a small conversation about what we would do if they hadn’t released us, etc. Someone came and took Dave to the CT scan. (We still don’t know why they did that over an ultrasound.) When the scanner guy (technical term) was wheeling Dave back I asked them to see how rushed they could be because our almost 4 year old, whose birthday we were celebrating, was on the Disney ship and we’d all like to do the cruise together. This was at like 2:45-3 pm.
At the point that we had determined we were going to the hospital, the ship had sent down a guest services representative, who was essentially our liaison with the ship. She was fantastic. She had given me a number to call to reach her on the ship, and had indicated that she was going to just start calling me around 3 to see where we were. She was also our contact to the Captain’s people if we were going to make it but be late, and then decisions would be made on how long they could wait for us. Man, the stress of an ill husband, a kid on the ship (that his parents weren’t on) and everything involved in both of that! I was thinking at some point, how do we tell our almost 4 year old who was excited about this cruise, that we weren’t going to be going on a cruise. But at 3:05 we heard talking near the nurses station, “who has 8. 8 gets to leave.” Dave was 8!! Oh my God. Oh my God! No one could believe how fast everything was going. The doctor came in and she said they did want to get us back on the ship with our son. She said that Dave had a small stone that everyone agreed was the best possible sized stone to have, apparently, and said we could sail.
There was paperwork stuff to leave the hospital. They removed his IV, gave us his check-out paperwork, and the radiology report which they said would be full of typos because typically these things get reviewed 3 times but because they were rushed no one reviewed it. Our liaison called and we told her we were being released from the hospital. She couldn’t believe it. She said to have our paperwork in our hand from the hospital to speed up the process plus the ship’s cards to get back on the ship. At this time we also learned we had to do another exam with the ship’s doctor for them to give him a ‘clear to sail’ because they don’t want a medical emergency on board, obviously, if it can be helped.
So at like 3:15 we were released and going to head back to the ship, and there were no Ubers available. We were like come on, so close, yet so far away. Our ship liaison called again and got us a good cab company. We had to wait on a cab and then we arrived back at like 4. It was crazy to be the only people anywhere in the terminal besides the workers. At this point the life boat drill had started, which we weren’t at. We had another ship personnel person waiting for us after security and she escorted us on to the ship for the second time and led us to our liaison from guest services. She in turn escorted us back to the medical center.
At some point in the medical center during Dave’s follow-up visit (to check his ability to sail) I realized I was starving. I had left to see Dave at the ship’s doctor when my lunch had arrived and I got 3 bites of it before we learned we were doing the hospital thing and I had to go run like crazy to get stuff, find my mom and child, etc. My guest services gal called the concierge (since we had that kind of room) and requested food from them. Which was a fun challenge as everything was closed for the emergency life-boat drill, and I’m celiac and I can’t just eat anything. [We missed the lifeboat drill which was funny later as we received notes and calls constantly about it the first 2 days of the cruise. But we did complete the drill. Dave actually got to do a private one that lasted 3 minutes around 5 p.m. and he was able to represent for the family while I unpacked and mom my was off with Blake again. (It may have lasted longer, but the guy asked Dave how many cruises we’ve been on and when our last one was (which was March) and so he was able to speed through it a bit.] She brought us 3 plates of food (one with fruit, one with carrots/veggies, one with some allergy safe chicken tenders, and a box of gluten free cookies.) Then she apologized that it wasn’t something better- my God these people are amazing. I was like you brought a 4 course meal in no time when all the ship’s services are closed (because of the drill), I think you’re good.
I ate some and then we were released maybe just before 4:45 with a clear to sail. And fortunately Dave was able to get any medicine needed from the ship’s doctor. The staff all were so amazing. Seriously, when he needed pain medication, they quickly put in an IV and got it started. They also were so quick with information about the best plan to get us back on this cruise ship. And my husband really did well on the cruise. He basically had pain pills that first day, but was totally normal. He took Motrin the second day and some of the pills that would help the stone move along but that was all he ended up needing. The pain turned into a small dull ache after that first day and he was totally normal by the end of the cruise.
Everything was all so quick. It felt long and yet only a total of 4.5 hours or so had passed for that entire situation. It was a crazy day.
As far as bills. So far we’ve received a $500 bill from the ship. And we still have the ER bill and the ambulance bill to contend with. Thankfully our trip insurance will cover it all. This does make me want to add more medical coverage to my trip insurance policies in the future. Have you ever had a medical emergency during a trip? Are you a regular trip insurance purchaser?
Here is a picture of our little birthday boy so happy that he was able to cruise with his family.
In January (2015) my family had the pleasure of staying in cabin 8602 on the Disney Magic. This is an handicap accessible aft one-bedroom concierge cabin. To say it had a large balcony/verandah is an understatement.
This verandah has no protection from the sun and is visible from cabanas above. The lack of sun protection was not ideal for my pale husband and son, but we still really enjoyed that balcony.
There will be more on this cabin and sailing concierge on Disney Cruise Line at some point in the future!
I love a good gift with purchase! While supplies last (and I have a good amount) you will receive this Mickey Bottle Opener Key Chain with your purchase of a Disney vacation. This includes: Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani, Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise Line.
I am a fee free travel agent meaning the companies pay me to book your trip. It’s the same price to book with me as booking on your own. You can still ‘control’ the booking, I just make the payments. I have extensive knowledge with Disney vacations; I travel there often and I am a “College of Disney Knowledge graduate,” (Disney’s training program.)
You can book with a travel agent and still use yourDisney rewardsorDisney Visato receive benefits offered by each of those programs.
I am a full service travel agent/planner. Which means I can (and do) book any type of vacation. This promotion is solely for Disney vacations at this time. Get your free gift while supplies last. Your item would be ‘earmarked’ for you and would be sent with your vacation documents.
ps- I have other gifts that are a surprise for more substantial bookings that you would receive in addition to the key chain. (While supplies last.)Contact mefor your quote!
(This post was previously published by Christy in May 2015 on another page that we are moving away from.)
This past winter (2015) I was able to cruise Disney Cruise Line (DCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line/Royal Caribbean International (RCI) within 6 weeks of each other. Cruising so recently makes a comparison that much easier. This comparison of Disney vs. Royal Caribbean will go through many of the main components of each cruise.
Cruising were myself, my husband, our 21/22 month old and his grandmother (my mother). The first cruise was on the Disney Magic and the second was on the Freedom of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean International ship. We all really enjoyed ourselves on both cruises but there were some standouts to each. [My family cruised the Disney Fantasy a year ago so that experience comes into the review as well.]
Let’s start with a comparison of the most important aspect of a cruise- the food! All joking aside, food likes are very subjective. For the most part we enjoyed our meals on both cruises.
Meals in the dining room. The food quality was slightly better on DCL, but we still very much enjoyed our RCI meals. My mom thought the lobster she was served on RCI was some of the best she had ever had, and she had several pieces. The service in the dining room for dinner was better on RCI. I have celiac and thus have to eat gluten free (GF). I had less problems for the most part with delays with my meal on RCI. One dinner, I waited over 45 minutes to receive my first course on Disney. There was one lunch at RCI that I had some gluten contamination in the dining room no less. [What makes this interesting is RCI told me to eat in the dining room in order to avoid cross contamination with gluten.]
Meals in the buffets. The service on Disney was better. They were really happy to walk me through to look for GF options. RCI tended to want to push me to the GF section that had one bland looking entrée and an even worse side dish (think plain white rice.) [I’m not sure why people confuse gluten free with no taste or seasonings.] My picky eater husband felt that he had more choices on DCL. The drink service at the buffet was better on RCI. They were terrific at getting you drinks while you were you dining in the buffet.
Other dining venues. RCI wins for the average eating with options for food throughout the day. One of my biggest complaints about DCL is the limited hours of operation of the buffet and the dining choices when the buffet is not open. The “quick service” on DCL is usually mediocre at best. RCI has several dining choices on the promenade as well as longer hours with offerings at the buffet. Disney wins however for gluten free pizza. It was fresh and amazing. Sbarros on RCI served me a “soggy mass”, as my husband described it.
As for the specialty restaurants – our experience was definitely effected by my need to eat gluten free. Disney was amazing. It was almost as if the chef at Palo made it his personal mission for the week to find me amazing food to eat. On RCI we dined at Giovanni’s Table for our specialty meal. I had to ask 3 times if something was GF only to find out that what they served me was not. We were also very unimpressed with the service at Giovanni’s which tainted the whole experience.
Room service. Neither line is great, but both were okay. You can get Mickey bars on Disney, and at one time, rice crispy treats (I don’t know if they are still offered though.) Both offer cheese plates. Neither offer gluten free crackers. Royal Caribbean is starting to charge for some items, but Disney offers less in the first place.
The cabins. People LOOOVE the split bathrooms on Disney. There is a shower (with a little tub in most categories) and sink in one room, and a toilet and sink in another. My family is not big enough, nor is my son old enough, for the split bathroom to matter. But I can see why people get excited about that. The little tub provided by Disney is awesome for those with little ones. To get a tub on RCI you need a suite. And those tubs are the large soaking tubs which does tend to make it more difficult to bathe a little one. The cabins are larger on Disney. In fact, the cabins on Royal Caribbean’s newest ships keep getting smaller and smaller. Disney also has a curtain to separate the kid’s sleeping area from the parents.
As far as amenities provided- in my opinion, Disney has the best body lotion of any line. They also provide every cabin with bar soap and a separate shampoo and conditioner. RCI does the combined bulk shampoo/conditioner attached to the wall in the shower. For the price point, I think this is a little cheap of them. [Suite guests are provided with a separate shampoo and conditioner.] I would say the cabins are close on both lines, but ultimately Disney slightly edges out RCI.
On to entertainment and activities. Both lines offered evening shows each night. The shows were past my son’s bedtime so we didn’t watch any in the theatres. We did watch the Disney productions on the TV in our cabin. For child orientated entertainment, Disney obviously wins by a landslide. Each evening there are shows that would be entertaining to both children and adults. RCI’s entertainment is not created with children in mind. I am sure older children will find the shows enjoyable but your typical toddler would not likely sit through it. Royal Caribbean does have an ice show on its ships with a rink. My son was mesmerized by the show. He sat through the entire 45 minutes. Both lines offered a Love and Marriage (Newlywed) show for adults that were equally entertaining.
Toddler organized activities. RCI has a great toy lending program where you can sign out a bag of toys. Disney didn’t have anything like that. Royal Caribbean also offered an open play with toys and books. It was in located in the teen night club. Disney takes the win though for organized toddler activities. They have staff there to play with the kids. They offer different activities at various times of the day. It is a scheduled event so some people may not prefer that, but we preferred it over just open play for the whole day. Disney also offered dance parties with the characters which were SO MUCH FUN. My son LOVED it. The characters would come out and dance to about 3 songs. Disney definitely wins on this area for us.
Kids Clubs. To get to the kids club or the toddler play areas on RCI you had to walk through the arcade. This is VERY irritating to me. Of course your child will want to play with the brightly colored arcade games while walking through. And then even if you limit charging privileges for your kids in other areas of the ship, those limits apparently do not apply in the arcade, per the sign on the machines.
Toddler outdoor water areas. The smoking section is very close to the toddler/infant wading pool on RCI. And the brightly colored splash pad for non-diapered kids is right next to and in full sight of the toddler section. This is a problem with older toddlers that can clearly see the fun brightly colored splash pad for bigger kids. DCL has a dedicated splash pad for toddlers. On the newer ships there is even a little slide in the Nemo’s reef area. On the Magic Donald’s nephews have a little splash pad that is adorable. The splash pads on Disney are definitely designed for toddlers and infants in mind. The theming is terrific. The win goes to DCL for sure, even on the smaller older ships.
Shore excursions: Cabanas. The only ‘shore excursion’ that we did on both cruises were renting cabanas for the day on the private islands. Disney’s cabana is 3 times the price of RCI, but there are so many extras and that was worth it to us. The main difference was that the beach was just for people in the cabana. Royal Caribbean allows the beach to be used by those in the cabana and everyone else. There was a lot of smoking on RCI’s beach (we were at Labadee). It was just crowded and people put their chairs everywhere! Just below the stairs of the cabana were people’s chairs we would have to walk around to get out of the cabana. This was not ideal. The definite nod goes to DCL.
Shopping. The shopping was all around better on RCI. We loved the promenade. There were many choices of things to purchase. Disney basically just had their own items for sale. The ship’s salespeople on the Freedom (RCI) in the jewelry shop were very PUSHY. That was the only real disadvantage of RCI. Overall though RCI definitely wins for shops.
Character Experience. RCI has the DreamWorks characters on board. Disney, hands down, is just better with the whole character experience. RCI offers a DreamWorks parade, which in concept is a great idea, it is just not executed very well. Disney wins with characters.
Taking our toddler out of the mix for entertainment, then RCI would be more competitive. The rock climbing wall is awesome and the ice skating rink is unique. They also offer a surfing experience. All of those neat extras are included in your cruise fare.
Extra miscellaneous comparisons. Royal Caribbean offers a drink package where you can prepay for your alcohol or coffee drinks. Disney allows you to carry on as much alcohol as you’d like to consume for the week (see the end of this paragraph for an update on this information), but it isn’t comparable. People don’t want to run to their room to get a drink; they want to drink by the pool, and drink at dinner, etc. The prices though to pay out of pocket for a drink on RCI seemed a little high this last cruise – it was $9 for a gin (Tanqueray) and tonic. On RCI, you can bring on 2 bottles of wine, but no liquor. [Edited in September 2015 to note that Disney has changed their alcohol policy for sailings after approximately Sept. 27, 2015 that liquor is no longer allowed to be brought onboard, beer in limited amounts is okay, and 2 bottles of wine per cabin is allowable. This does even the playing field as far liquor is concerned.]
The thing I disliked the most on Royal Caribbean – smoking in the casino. The smell would waft up from the casino on the 4th floor to the promenade on the 5th floor. According to my mom, the slot machines they offer in the smoke free section of the casino were “dumb.” Such a wordsmith my mother. Either way, she and my husband would have gambled more but for the smoky casino.
We really enjoyed both cruises. In fact we have future cruises booked on both lines. Disney is without a doubt more expensive. But they truly do cater to children, toddlers specifically. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the lines in the comments below or share your thoughts comparing both lines.
To see pictures of both cruise lines, check out my photos on Instragram.
I used to think that cruises were only to be taken in the late fall/winter when Michigan was too cold to be outside. I live in Michigan and it is beautiful in the summer here. I thought we should just be doing ‘up north’ vacations orstaycations. The other thought I had was that summer cruises were just for those people with school aged children that didn’t want to take their kids out of school, or finally it was for teachers that couldn’t get away for a reasonable rate any other time. I WAS WRONG on all of my assumptions.
This June I became OBSESSED with taking a summer vacation. My son had just turned 2 and except for meltdowns when he didn’t get his way, he was at a really fun age. I started thinking of all of the different options for taking a summer vacation- going to see family out of state, going up north, going to Florida. I determined that those options seemed either entirely too hot, or like too much work. I wanted to relax with my family and I wanted it to be the easiest possible vacation.
Ahhh, so was born the thought of taking a cruise as our summer vacation. On a cruise I don’t have to make my bed (as if I do anyway), I don’t have to cook, or do dishes, or pretty much anything. As a travel agent I am enabled the opportunity to take a last minute cruise at a discounted rate. I searched all the lines. We needed something which had a splash pad/pool where diapered babies/toddlers could play. [There is an regulation that requires children to be potty trained before using a pool, or any shared water. Swim diapers are not allowed.] We also wanted something before it was too late into the hurricane season. [Hurricane season technically runs June 1st – November 30th in the Atlantic. But the reality is there are rarely hurricanes that affect travel before mid-August. I find mid-late October to be safe, or less risky, but I am not a weather professional.] There were some options for us to cruise in early July but unfortunately those didn’t work with my husband’s work schedule or our previous family obligations.
We ended up choosing a week long cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy in mid July. It was a great week! We relaxed, we played, it was just all around fun.
The seas were the absolute calmest I have ever experienced in 30 years of cruising. (It saddens me that I can say that my first cruise was 30 years ago! I shouldn’t be old enough to have that long of a frame of reference. But I digress…) It was calm. I barely needed motion sickness medicine, I never had that feeling once we were back on land of still being on a moving ship. It was SO CALM!
It was also quite warm, as would be expected. But the Caribbean breeze did make things reasonable.
So that is how I came to take my first summer cruise. I would definitely do it again, and I would definitely recommend it to others.
Have you ever cruised in the summer? What were your thoughts?
Wish you were like the others and thinking about a summer vacation? Or were you unable to go on spring break this year, but wish you could have? Wish you had more money for vacation? Even if you don’t have the money this year, by next year at this time you could find that you have a lot more put away for vacation than you thought was possible. The key is saving up all year-long.
I used to be teased that I go to work to afford vacation. It is the motivation needed to get me through long work weeks, long workouts, tiring obligations, etc. I LOVE VACATION! It’s possible for me to go each year, and now even multiple times a year, because I save, and do with less during the rest of year, and it’s so worth it for me.
Below are some money-saving tips that you can use to enable you to have a vacation fund.
Save money going out to dinner – sign up for “deal of the day emails.” Groupons, or group coupons, are great. They even have same day groupons that you can purchase the day you want to use them. Save half off dinner out and put the other half in your vacation fund.
Another tip, if you are planning a getaway where you will have access to a car, sign up to receive groupons in that city as well. You and your family can get deals on bowling, dinners out, other activities, etc., at a great price. Restaurant.com is another great place to look for dining out deals. You can even get Character dining at Disney on occasion for as little as $2.00. (This would be for dining at off-property resorts.)
Get cash back for your shopping by using Ebates to do your online shopping. I recently earned around $23 just for doing my regular online shopping. To date I’ve earned nearly $415 from online purchases I was making anyway. It is FREE to sign up. You shop at your normal stores (Macy’s, Target, etc.) – they have pretty much every store (sometimes even Amazon offers you cash back.) Ebates pays you cash back each quarter via a check. There’s no catch, you just start your shopping from their site. You can use that check as a supplement to your vacation fund.
Sign up for a dining frequent flier club program. Delta has SkyMiles Dining. Likewise with online shopping, you can earn frequent flier miles for items you would purchase online anyway by signing up for Sky Mall, or a similar program with your preferred airline. There is no charge for either of these programs, and it does not cost any money if you were planning to go there already to eat/shop.
But to save money – eat out less. It is at least $35 for 2 people to go out for dinner, and that’s with coupons. Do this 3-4 times a week and that really adds up in a year. But if you have children and are going out to eat, dine where the kids can eat for free with a paying adult. Check out http://mykidseatfree.com/welcome.asp for places with free dining for kids. Bring a lunch to work most days of the week. Saving you $5-$15 a day for 3-4 days a week.
Limit the purchase of beverages as restaurants- pop/soda, liquor and wine add up over time. If you go out twice a week for dinner and each have a pop or an adult beverage with your meal you are spending an additional $15 with tax and tip each week for something you can wait and have when you get home. Only purchase extra drinks on special occasions. Same goes for coffee, unless it is a special circumstance – make your coffee before you go to work and save on the $4-$6 a day coffee habit. Even if you drink cheap coffee and spend $2 a day for each work day, you are spending approximately $520 a year on coffee.
Actually look at the sale ads that come with your paper or in your mailbox each week. Buy the things on sale that you use regularly. You do not have to do the extreme couponing, although you could, but just buying on sale saves you money. Similarly – observe the prices per items at the stores that you shop. If you find an item is cheaper at the grocery store, or big box store, go there are opposed to the drug store. Save money where you can.
A ‘goes without saying’ tip: pay off your credit cards at the end of each month! It will save you unnecessary interest payments. If you cannot afford it, do not buy it.
Use your local library. In addition to books, you can borrow (typically for free) movies, cd’s and video games. This could really cut down what you spend on rentals, iTunes music and trips to Game Stop. Check to see if your library has the item first before shelling out the money. Even a couple dollars adds up over time. Most libraries offer online search and request systems which saves time. Before my trips I download ebooks that go right to my kindle app. If you have a serious gamer in your family, they can eventually be converted to enjoy games from the library. Check out this blog by a gamer that did just that.
Buy a reusable water bottle. Yes, I am telling you to buy something. Take the bottle with you everywhere – car rides to visit grandma, the grocery store, the gym. Just fill it up with a drinking fountain, or before you leave for the day, and save the numerous $1 fees per day for water. Don’t forget to take it with you on vacation too. You can fill it up after airport security to save you the $3 for a bottle of water. And the best part – it is good for the environment.
The final tip, obvious but important, add a “Vacation” line to your existing budget. Even a small line item to start will add up. Then if you have a surplus at the end of the month/pay period, assuming that you do not have credit card debt that you should pay into, transfer any extra unspent money into your vacation fund. If you do have credit card debt, and still want a vacation fund, then divide it up – a portion of the surplus into the credit card payment, and a portion into the vacation fund.
For those of you who do not think you can squeeze any money into a vacation fund on your budget, then keep track of your spending and expenses for a month/2 weeks, and see where you are spending your money. You might have more than you think after you cut some coffees, pops, lunches out, etc.
Do you have a money saving tip to share? Post your tips in the comments below.
Now that you have learned to save money for your next trip, contact your Travel Agent to get some ideas on where to go. If you do not have one, contact, Christy.
I’m pretty excited about the adventures that we have planned for 2017. We have some cruises, some Disney World (well let’s be honest, a lot of Disney World) and hopefully some other fun mixed in. I would definitely say this is the year of Disney vacations for us.
January Disney World – Art of Animation. Our first trip is actually behind us. My son, mother and I spent 3 nights at the Art of Animation in Walt Disney World. This hotel is impeccably themed. This trip was the result of my being cold with below average temperatures in southeast Michigan and my husband needing to be in Europe for almost a week for work. I decided that I didn’t want to parent alone for the week here in the cold so we asked my son if he’d rather be in Disney without Daddy, or home without Daddy. Fortunately he chose the right answer. We were off to Disney World 3 weeks after I started thinking about it. Disney was kind enough to offer an annual pass deal that allowed for 13 months out of the annual pass for the price of 12. This worked out perfectly for us as our Disney trip started January 11th, and we intended to take another Disney vacation in early February 2018. Both of those outlying trips, plus as many as we put in the middle, will be covered under that AP. As for the trip, I was really excited for my son to experience the Art of Animation. He is really into the movie Cars, and all things Lightening McQueen. We stayed in a Cars Suite and it was a big hit for my kiddo.
End of January/early February Carnival Vista cruise to the Southern Caribbean. From the moment Carnival Cruise line released information on the Vista I was intrigued and knew that I needed to find a place for it in my vacation schedule. It has so much to offer. This is a ship for families or those without kids. There’s just so much to do. It’s a ship that has something for everyone. I’m really excited to visit new ports of call (Grand Turk and Aruba), and I just can’t wait to see what this ship has to offer. During this cruise we plan to take our son to the water park area and swim in the pools (this is the first cruise we will go on post potty training), we are planning on going to the aquarium in Curacao, checking out a beach in Aruba, and will probably stay on the ship in the Dominican Republic. We are all looking forward to this cruise and hopeful that we will enjoy ourselves during these 8 nights.
March Disney Fantasy to the Western Caribbean with a Star Wars day at Sea; and Saratoga Springs Resort at Walt Disney World. My husband is a HUGE Star Wars fan, and we as a family are huge Disney Cruise Line fans. We picked this cruise based purely on price. I looked for the least expensive 7 night cruise from February through April, and this one came back the winner. I can’t wait to cruise concierge once again on DCL. We plan to have a beach day in the Cayman Islands, visit a resort for a day at the pool and beach in Cozumel, and we may do a beach day in Jamaica or just stay on the ship. We will also spend the day at the beach on Castaway Cay.
Prior to the cruise we are spending 3 nights in a 2 bedroom villa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. I’m excited that we can walk, boat or quickly bus to Disney Springs. There are so many dining opportunities there and I’m looking forward to checking them out. We will for sure eat at my favorite, Raglan Road at least once during our stay as well. They have the most amazing gluten free options. Besides eating in Disney Springs we plan to visit the Magic Kingdom one day (those annual passes will come in handy) and we plan to swim with our son as much as possible.
June Disney Dream, Castaway Cay Double Dip; and the Polynesian Resort in a DVC studio. Disney’s Castaway Cay is my absolute favorite Caribbean location. They did such an amazing job with that island, it is always my favorite part of a Disney cruise. During the summer I turn 40 (in August to be exact) and when Disney was releasing their schedule for the summer I was hoping that it would include some double dip cruises! I was geeked that they offered several choices of cruises 5 nights long and several 4 night cruises. I knew I wanted to do a 5 night, and since one of the cruises overlapped my son’s 4th birthday, I was hoping that would end up being the least expensive week, and it was! That cruise is all about the island. We will try and secure cabanas for our days on the island. I haven’t decided if we will do a day pass at a resort in Nassau or just stay on the ship; my son will be staying on the ship with his grandma either way.
We are then spending 3 nights at the Poly. I have always wanted to stay here, especially during a time where we would for sure be able to have pool time. Well early June is sure to fit that bill. I decided that since we have AP’s and since our cruise is over on a Wednesday that it would only cost us 2 more vacation days and we could get another half week at Disney in during the year. It seemed like a no brainer. I’m really excited about this whole trip!!!
November Disney World- Beach Club Resort. Back in the fall this was our only planned trip for the year at Disney World, the rest of the trips just sort of happened. We are looking forward to enjoying mild weather (hopefully) and the Food & Wine Festival. We picked this resort so we could easily walk to Epcot via the International Gateway to enjoy food booths and yummy restaurants. It’s awesome that Epcot is just a quick 5 minute walk from this resort. This will be our longest trip to the World for the year. We plan to spend 6 or 7 nights here.
That’s what’s scheduled for the year. My husband will have to travel for work more and if he goes somewhere cool then I can tag along, or I suspect that we will sneak in an official adults only 40th birthday trip for me sometime this year. But first we have save money to pay for everything we have planned already.
Any questions about any of my travels? What do you have planned for the year??? Feel free to comment below.