Inexpensive Disney Souveniers


I save a lot of tips that I’ve picked up from‘s newsletter, if you don’t subscribe to it, and you are a Disney fan, you should.  Here was one tip that we used on our 2012 Trip.

‘Pressed Pennies are some of the cheapest souvenirs at Walt Disney World. You can plan to buy these! Buy and consume a tube (or multiple tubes!) of mini M&M’s. Save the tubes! Then stack sets of two quarters and a penny in order in the tube. Carry the tubes with you and you’ll always be ready with the exact needed coinage for each pressed penny machine.’

There are even portfolios to keep your pressed pennies in.  For more of my favorite Passporter tips, click here.

Vacation 2012 — Trip Report #4!

So a brief delay in finishing the trip report. I made Jennifer a Disney Memory book of our trip for mother’s day, so I knew I had these memories written down and would eventually get it online.

Tuesday we went to Epcot. We got Fastpasses for Soarin’ (a multisensory attraction that simulates a peaceful hang-gliding flight over California), then rode The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and spent some time in the viewing the massive aquarium that holds one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world.

Next we headed to The Land Pavilion and watched the Circle of Life short film, followed by riding Soarin’. We had a late lunch at Via Napoli, at Italy in Epcot’s World Showcase then stopped at Spaceship Earth on the way out of the park.

Once back at the hotel, we rested, then enjoyed the Bay Lake Tower pool and water slide. Caden initially didn’t want to go down the water slide the second time, but after trying the “kiddie” water slide and proclaiming that “it is too slow daddy” we insisted on going down the regular water slide at least 3 more times.

We spent Tuesday morning and Thursday evening at Epcot. Caden loved riding the monorail to Epcot. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was being held, so there were character topiaries throughout the park .

Wednesday morning we ate breakfast in Animal Kingdom at the Tusker House with Donald Duck and Friends, followed by the Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest. A little time with Fossil Fun Games, the TriceraTop Spin, Dinosaur and then back to the room for naps.




We went to Downtown Disney and met friends that live in Orlando for supper at the Rain Forest Cafe.  While the food was ok, the fellowship was great!

Thursday morning we tried out Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney’s two water parks. They had a huge kiddie area, and we loved the lazy river which flows around the entire water park.  In the middle of the park is a huge wave pool, and the boys loved the waves.

After an afternoon nap, we went back to Epcot and had supper at the Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast at The Garden Grill in the Land at Epcot. The restaurant rotates durning dinner allowing scenes from the Living with the Land attraction.

The food was really good and we would recommend it.

We started Friday morning with a Supercalifragilistic breakfast at 1900 Park Fare with Mary Poppins and friends, which included Alice from Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.

We went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We got FastPasses for Toy Story Mania, then headed to Star Tours, taking a detour for the Studio Backlot Tour and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure (playground).

Neal and Caden rode the re-imagined Star Tours, then pizza at Pizza Planet, followed by The Great Movie Ride. Jennifer and Caden rode Tower of Terror and Caleb took a power nap.

We ended the day at the park with Toy Story Mania, an amazing 4D action ride that has to be experience to be truly amazed.

We went back to our room, rested, then went to Magic Kingdom one last time and stayed until the fireworks were over.

On Saturday we took our time leaving, it was 12:30 pm before we left WDW. We stopped by Saratoga Springs Resort on our way out to do a little shopping. They have more Disney Vacation Club merchandise than any of the other resorts.

Vacation 2012 — Trip Report #3 Magic Kingdom!

By 9 am on Monday, we were headed to Walt Disney World where we spend 5 full days, enjoying Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Hollywood Studios and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s, which was our nice home durning our stay.


Once we were checked in, we grabbed lunch at the Contemporary’s Contempo Café which is their “Quick Service” restaurant.  It isn’t a normal “quick service experience, from ordering on touch-screen kiosks, to the actual menu items.

Jennifer and I split a hot turkey sandwich that was topped with Brie, apple butter, apples (tasted like Granny Smith),  and arugula on Challah bread with home made potato chips.  We had another one later in the week it was so good!

Once at Magic Kingdom, it was time for Caleb to get his first haircut. He did really well, despite the “what do you think you are going to do with those” looks he gave the lady throughout the haircut.

We also found that the barber shop was a great place to watch the afternoon parade. It starts right by the barber shop.

After the parade, we road the train to FantasyLand (which is still under expansion construction, but Dumbo was now open. We road it and then Caden and I rode his first roller coaster, The Barnstormer (Goofy’s Roller coaster).  Jennifer and Caleb headed to get Fastpasses for Space Mountain.  Caden LOVED the roller coaster, and Jennifer returned with FastPasses for 8:40 pm.  We were planning to be back at the room by then, but we figured we would keep them and see what happened.

The Haunted Mansion was next, Caleb was taking a power nap so Jennifer and Caden rode it while Neal hung out with Caleb.  Pirates of the Caribbean was next, so maybe it wasn’t a power nap, Caleb was still asleep, so first Neal rode with Caden, then Jennifer rode with Caden (obviously he liked it to ride it twice!)

We ate at Liberty Tavern for supper and if you have never eaten there, just do it.  Supper is family style, no menu to order from, we had roasted turkey, carved beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, to name just a few items. It was really good.

Other rides we rode at Magic Kingdom (on Monday and on Friday evening) included: Snow White (for the last time, it will be replaced ins 2014 with the “Seven Dwarf Mining Train,”  Winnie the Pooh (we had a Fastpass for this ride, but Caden wanted to stand in line after seeing the interactive line (we didn’t though), It’s a Small World (twice) and Peter Pan (only once we tried to ride it a second time, but it was too late and the line was too long. It is our favorite of the “kiddie” rides).

On Monday night, Caden did indeed ride Space Mountain… TWICE!  I rode with him the first time, he rode in the seat in front of me and when we took off, he uncontrollably giggled, then laughed, then screamed with laughter. These three reactions continued through the entire ride!  When we got off, he started skipping (at 8:45 at night) and said, “Daddy I want to ride it again!”  So he did, with Jennifer.

After Space Mountain we headed to the room. The fireworks were going on as we left the park, so we stood outside the park for a few minutes and watched them before walking back to Bay Lake Tower.

Here are a few photos from taken from our window and balcony:

The Avengers Monorail was running most of the time we were there

From our balcony we could see the Castle and Space Mountain, along with the fireworks every night.

More Photos:


Vacation 2012 — Trip Report #2

A day and a half after we had left, we pulled up in the swagger wagon to mom’s in Stuart, FL. Mom had lunch waiting for us, which included garlic knots from Luna’s

After a short nap, a trip to Downtown Stuart and a stop at Kilwin’s Chocolate Fudge shop for homemade chocolate ice cream.  After a short walk out on a dock and further down on the board walk we found a small playground where Caden and Caleb had lots of fun.




Once back at mom’s swimming in the pool and then to bed, because the next day we

went to the Indian Riverside Park which had a walking path, a beach on the Indian River Lagoon, a fishing pier, and an interactive play fountain.

After afternoon naps, we went to Shrimpers for supper and sat right by the water.

A few photos from this much of the trip: 


Vacation 2012 — Trip Report #1

So no updates since Christmas, as you might imagine, that would because two little boys keep us really busy, but not too busy to go on vacation… and where else to go except DisneyWorld, by way of visiting mom, who now lives in Stuart, FL (which is actually a couple hours South of DisneyWorld.

So on Friday, April 27 with two kids and two kids at heart, together for their first family vacation we were on our way.  We were up at 4 a.m. and had the boys up by 5 a.m. and on our way by 5:45 to Ocala, FL (our first stop). We stopped in Vicksburg, MS and ate breakfast at McDonalds. Shortly after sitting down to eat, a busload of kids showed up. Little did we know, this was going to be the theme of the day.

The next stop, just to get out and walk around was at a fruit stand on the side of the road somewhere west of Mobile. The boys were needing to get out and walk around, and we needed a little stretching as well.

After getting back into the van, we decided to see how close a Chik-fil-a was, so Jennifer looked it up on her iPhone. We were using my iPhone for navigation. If one iPhone with TomTom is good, doesn’t that make two better? Right?

 TomTom sent us through a golf course, that was having a golf tournament, but eventually got us to a Chik-fil-a, about 12:10 PM. The place was packed, but to my surprise, an employee came over and ask me if the empty table behind me was fine for us to sit out? I was holding Caleb (14 months old). I said, “sure, but I haven’t ordered yet.” She replied, “I know, I’m going to take care of you, I take care of my customers with small babies. And she did, we sat down, she took our order and we were eating without standing in a really long line.

Part of the long lines was because of a busload of kids that was there.

We made various stops durning the rest of the day, to get gas, snacks, and supper and made it to Ocala a little later than planned. I will add, we stopped at a FastTrack gas station that had a Wendy’s, Dairy Queen and a Subway in Madison, FL (Exit 258 on I-10). Shortly after sitting down to eat, up rolled a bus load of kids.

We arrived at the Hampton in Ocala about 10:40 p.m. (9:40 p.m. before the time change), but it still was a long day. Both boys traveled really well, and we would have made a little better time without our Chic-fil-a detour, since it took us about 30 to 40 minutes to get back on course.  Ocala was having BikeFeast so the hotel was full of bikers, and everyone we met was really nice.

Go to Part 2