Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hop Dee Doo Musical Review

If you are looking for a good old foot stompin kind of time, then the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review is the place to go. We had the best time there. I would suggest taking a break from the parks and enjoying the show. This dinner show uses two dinner credits, if your are on the dining plan. But it is well worth it.

The food is very good. I would rate it 9 out of 10. The meal is served family style. When we were there, they served fried chicken and BBQ pork ribs by the bucket. Corn was our seasonal vegetable. We also had baked beans, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and corn bread. For desert we had strawberry shortcake. The food items are subject to change at anytime.

One word of advice. I thought the seating was first come first serve. It is not. You are assigned a table before you check in, so don't rush to get checked in. This is what they told us. Enjoy the scenery.

It is so hard to explain this show in words. So I have uploaded several photos to show how the Dinner show goes.  There is several You Tube videos of the show out there. I don't suggest looking at them, because they will spoil the show.




Here is how the food is served. Sorry about the dirty plates. I did not take pics of a full plate.





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip # 8

If using the dining plan, make sure at the end of the day you check how many credits you have left and always keep your receipts. The last two vacations we have taken to the world, we have been charged more credits than we thought. If this happens just go to the front desk, show your receipts and the Cm's will make the correction. This is something I highly recommend you stay on top of.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #7


If going to any of the parks this Thanksgiving make sure you get to the park of your choice early. The Disney parks get very crowded on Holidays and sometimes they reach full capacity.

My Magical Place

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hollywood and Vine (Disney's Junior Play N Dine)

Hollywood and Vine (Disney's Junior Play N Dine) is an all you can eat buffet located in the Hollywood Studios Park. If you go for breakfast or lunch you get to experience the Disney's Junior Play N Dine. During that event you mingle with June from the Little Einstein’s, Jake from Jake and the Netherland Pirates, Handy Mandy, and Special Agent OSO. Each character comes to your table separately for autographs and pictures.  Also like every 15 minutes there is singing and dancing with the characters. I feel like you get more time and interaction with characters here. The food is typical buffet food for Disney. We have had breakfast and lunch there and I have enjoyed both.  Every time we go to this restaurant we have a blast. If you have little ones you must make a reservation for this place, you will not be disappointed.


OSO is cuddly

Yes the Characters are big and life like.

My Husband and I were celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary on our trip. This was brought out to us from the restaurant.

Please note that this is not a paid advertisement. I am writing this to help anyone who is planning a Disney Vacation. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience eating here, please leave comments. I love comments.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #6

When planning a Disney trip always check the Disney website for specials. Even if you have already booked your vacation either thru the Disney Travel Company or another travel agent, you can still add a special. Just remember when adding your special you might have to be flexible on your plans. You might have to change your hotel to another Disney Resort to get the special. Over the years I have learned, that when a special comes out, you better act fast. There is only so many rooms allotted per travel agency and resort.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kona Cafe


Kona Cafe is a table service venue that is located on the second floor of the Polynesian Hotel’s Great Ceremonial House. I feel like this restaurant is over looked by guests when they are planning out their meal reservations. Until our last visit, I had overlooked it many times. I had only planned on my family eating breakfast there our last trip, but we ended up one night having supper there, due to the rain. (thankfully we were able to get a reservation). The food is an Asian theme and is it so delicious.  For Supper I would recommend their steak, the New York Strip, it will melt in your mouth.  For breakfast they are known for their cinnamon sugar Tonga Toast that is covered with banana’s. I did not try this, but the reviews are always great. I had the ham and cheese omelet and it was very good.  If you get a chance to dine here either for lunch or supper you can not leave with out checking out their pastry bar. They have a desert there that is called the Kona Cone, it has ice cream with hot fudge, m&ms, sprinkles and cotton candy all around this cone. Do I have your mouth watering yet…LOL? I highly recommend this restaurant.

Please note this is not a paid advertisement. I am writing only about my experiences dining at this restaurant, because I want to help my readers understand the planning stage of a Disney Vacation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #5

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip # 5

When entering the parks make sure you get a location and times list of the characters. This should be beside the maps of the park.  I would suggest if you are wanting to see any character and get an autograph make sure to be in line at least 25 minutes before or earlier, depending on how busy the park is. The CM's will shut the line down after so many.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Coumbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

 If you are in the Magic Kingdom and in the mood for some fish, then the Columbia Harbour House is the place to grab some grub. It is located in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom and is considered a counter service meal. They serve fish and tuna sandwiches, lobster rolls, shrimp, chicken, grilled salmon, salad, and soups. I can personally recommend the fish basket, it is so yummy. The most expensive item on the menu is $10.19 + tax. This restaurant can get crowded at times, there is sitting upstairs that is usually very quite with very good views.

If you have ever have been to restaurant I would love to hear your thoughts on this restaurant.  I love comments and would  love to hear from you, even if it is a question. Please remember that this is a unpaid article. I am writing this out of my love for Disney and I hope you will utilize my blog for your Disney planning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #4

   Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #4

Fast passes are free. Yes I said free!!! Make sure you take advantage of them. When you utilize fast pass you free up more of your day because you are not standing in lines all day. Just remember to use your fast pass within the time frame given. WDW is cracking down on the time frames. Also remember that you can only have one fast pass at a time, so choose wisely.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Disney Pin




Today I received a Disney Pin Code in the mail today. It was for up to 35% off hotel stay or free dining. I think Disney is teasing me. I only receive these pin codes when we don't need them. Why can't they send them to me when we actually have a trip planned.  When I saw the envelope today in the mail I knew exactly what it was. Why Why Why?
Okay so if you don't know what I am talking about, a pin code comes either thru mail, email or is placed by your name in the Disney system. No one knows how these things are generated out. A pin code is a special that is only offered to a select group of people at different times of the year for Disney property hotels.
If you would like to try for one these pins. I would suggest the following:

1) Sign up at Disney.com for an account

2) Browse and price vacation packages and saved them for the future on Disney.com

3) Go to Disney on a trip and stay on property

4) Sign up for Disney mailing lists.

Like I said before no one knows how the pin numbers are generated, trying the four steps above may or may not get you a pin. Good Luck. If you get a pin I would love to hear about it, so I can be so jealous of you...lol  If you know of any other ways of receiving a pin, please comment and let me know so I can add it to the list. I will give you all credit for your tip. I will place your link beside the tip :) Can't beat that for free advertisement. Hope you all have have a hot dog day!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Our New Merida Doll

My love for Disney has grown so much since last week. Disney really knows how to make things right with their customers. Last May when we were in the world, we purchased our daughter the Brave Merida doll. We were not home for more than a week when I noticed that Merida's hand was missing. My daughter was very distraught about this and would not play with the doll anymore. So at one of our lasts visits to our local Disney store, I was just talking with one of the Cm's about what had happen and he told me to bring the doll in. Well with my busy schedule and the fact that we had lost all of the little pieces that belonged to the doll,  we never took it back to the store. The other day my daughter insisted we go get another one. Since we were going to that mall that day, I thought we would take the doll with us. I thought for sure they would not do anything for me. We did not have any of the pieces that went with it. We walked in and I talked to the main Cm, with no questions asked, he handed me a brand new Merida doll. I was in shock. I kept saying I just need the doll, we don't have all the pieces and he said it did not matter, all they needed was the doll. SCORE!!! So now we have a brand new doll. Disney is awesome!!!

Cosmic Ray"s Starlight Cafe

When Doing Disney who has time to sit down at a table service meal three times a day? I can tell you my family does not. We usually try to do two sit downs, one for breakfast and one for dinner. There is one counter service restaurant in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom that rocks, it is Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. We love eating there and the food is really good. It is the biggest counter service restaurant in Magic Kingdom and it can be very busy at times. This place has three different bays to order from. They also have Sonny Eclipse who sings and tells jokes in the lounge. What else do you need? If you do your research on this restaurant you will find out that the chicken and rib meal is so big that two people could share it and still walk away being full. Did I mention how good that meal is? I can also recommend the pulled pork sandwich and the hamburgers. You can not beat the prices either, all meals are under $15 and the dining plan is accepted.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #3

  Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #3

When buying autograph supplies make sure to buy a chunky writing instrument. It is easier for the characters to hold and write with.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chef Mickey's





                                                                        Chef Mickey's

Chef Mickey's is one of the must dos on our family list every time we go to Disney. I usually try to schedule breakfast there for our last day. We feel this usually sets a good ending tone to our vacation. We usually do breakfast about 9:30 and then we walk over to the Magic Kingdom to finish out the day. Chef Mickey's has the fab 5, Mickey, Pluto, Donald, Minnie and Goofy. (Please note characters can change at anytime)

Chef Mickey's is an all you can eat buffet that is located on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort. This restaurant is very loud and very fun. It is truly a family oriented restaurant. As you eat you can watch the Monorail move in and out of the resort. You also hear the soft noise of the monorail to. Breakfast is an all you can eat with pancakes, eggs, biscuits, gravy cereal and all the ordinary breakfast foods that is American fare.

When you arrive at the restaurant usually you check in and just wait. There is has been times when we have waited and other times we have went straight back. Before you get officially seated your group will get a professional picture taken around the statue of Chef mickey with a plate being the background . Don't forget to hand the CM  your personal camera, because the professional picture prints cost.

When you are seated the characters make their round to each table. Don't think you are going to get a lot of time with the characters. usually it is only a few minutes. Our first visit our daughter was afraid of the characters so the characters kinda stayed a tad bit longer waiting for her to warm up to them. The last time we were there Goofy seemed to be in such a hurry that he was motioning us to hurry up. I will say that made me very mad and I would have saw a manager and said something but my daughter was having a blast. That has been the only time ever that a character has done that to us.
 I have heard that going between breakfast and lunch you may get to spend more time with the characters due to restaurant not being so busy.

 Another tip is to have your camera and autograph stuff ready.

Overall my family and I enjoy this restaurant. We have only went there for breakfast, but I hear the lunch and supper is great too. 

I have added some pictures below what the characters look like.




Here is me with Minnie Mouse.
Please note
All views are my own. This is a non paid view. I wrote this out of my love for Disney.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #2

 Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #2

When using a stroller, either your own stroller or if you rent a stroller. Make the stroller stand out. Trust me, you want to be able to pick your stroller out from the sea of strollers parked by it.  Remember that your stroller may not be parked in the same parking spot where you left it. The Cm's is constantly moving and shifting them. So make it stand out. People use balloons, bandanas, name tags, etc.. I always place my plastic stroller cover over my  stroller. That way the stroller is safe from the unexpected rain shower and I can spot it out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

17 Week Dining Adventure

The Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney will be going on a 17 week Dining Adventure. Each Thursday I will be writing a review about one of the restaurants that my family has been to on Disney property. There will be reviews on 5 signature restaurants, 8 table service venues and 4 counter service places. Do I have your mouth watering yet? I know mine is. So make sure to follow the Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney blog at http://niftythriftyfamily1.blogspot.com or watch for the links on the Nifty Thrifty Family Facebook page. Don't forget you can also access the Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney thru the Nifty Thrifty Family Blog at http://niftythriftyfamily.blogspot.com and then look for the link.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #1

Disney Fix Wednesday Tip #1

When making Dining Reservations on Disney Property, don't forget you can make them 180 days from the start of your trip. If staying on property you can make them on the 180 day + 7 days out. If you are staying off property you can make reservations on the 180th day that the reservation will take place. The dining website opens up at 6:00 am EST and the phone lines (1-800- WDW- Dine) opens up at 7:00 am EST.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Void a Melt Down at Disney

Avoid a melt down with your toddler / child

When going to a theme park with a toddler or small child, you must plan the day around them. Today I thought I would share some tips with you that I have used to make our theme park adventures go smooth. These tips are not 100% melt down proof, but they can really help prevent one from happening.

1) Go to the parks during the time of day your child is going to be in a good mood and wanting to ride the rides. 
Our first trip with our daughter I planned early morning character meals. When I say early morning I mean we were in the park eating and done eating before the park before rope drop. This was wonderful the first couple of days. But towards the end of the week you could tell my daughter needed more sleep. 

2) Ride the rides your child wants to ride first.  
After many meltdowns it dawned on me that my child needed to set her own pace on trying different rides. So if that meant we would ride Dumbo, Magic Carpet ride and the Tea Cups over and over then that was what we were going to to.

3) If your child does not want to ride something do not force them. Always give them an out for a ride. 
I have a nervous little one. To get her to ride the barnstormer we had to give her a little nudge. As we stood in line she wanted to leave ever once in while, but I tried to keep the topic off the ride and onto train sitting at the station.  When we got to the top we asked her if she really wanted to ride and she said yes, if only she could be the line leader. So we set off to ride in the first seat with our hands in the air the entire time. After that little nudge she was ready to ride Splash Mountain and Soarin.

4) Set a spending budget for your child
Stress to your child that they only have so much money to spend for souvenirs and once it is gone it is gone.

5). Take a break thru out the day for naps and swimming. 

6) If your child wears a costume bring another change of clothes.
 It gets very hot in those beautiful dresses.

I hope you can take these tips on vacation and helps prevent a melt down. Please let me know if you have any tips. I love comments. 

Have a Wonderful Disney Vacation. 
 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Disney Dining Plan yes or no?

                                   Should you or should you not go with the Dining Plan?

This is the question I ask myself before every trip. I debate on this up until a few weeks before our trip has to be paid in full. Most family's like the dining plan for the peace of mind knowing that all meals are already paid for in advance.

Disney offers 3 dining plans that can be placed on your Magic Your Way Pass
  1. Quick Service -2 quick service meals and 1 snack per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
  2. Plus Dining - 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, 1 snack per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
  3. Deluxe Dining - 3 meals a day (They can either be quick service or table service), 2 snacks per night of staying on property and 1 refillable mug
This can be very confusing to most people. Sometimes I feel like I need a Disney Doctor Degree  to understand most things related to a Disney Vacation. I wished they made those degrees....LOL.

So if this is confusing hopefully I can help you understand it better.
Lets say one person is going on a trip for 3 days and 2 nights. Below you will see how many credits that person will receive when they check in for the meal plan they picked.

Quick Service - 4 quick meals and 2 snacks
Plus Dining - 2 table services, 2 counter services 2 snacks
Deluxe - 6 meals (can be either quick, counter or table)

Now lets say we have 2 people going on same type of trip, 3 days and 2 nights their dining credits would like this.

Quick Service - 8 quick meals and 4 snacks
Plus Dining - 4 table services, 4 counter services 4 snacks
Deluxe - 12 meals (can either be quick, counter or table)

Now the fun thing about deciding on how many credits you are going to need is deciding on where you want to eat. Go the the Disney website and search thru the menus and the restaurants.  If you plan on doing any signature meals or Cinderella Castle those type of meals take 2 table service credits per person. The big thing to remember is that you can make dining reservations 180 day out.







                  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Finding the right hotel

 Finding The Right Hotel

After setting a budget your next step should be finding lodging that you like. There is many hotels in the Orlando area. You will need to decide if you are going to stay on Disney Property or stay off property. I have developed a list below to show you what staying on property offers and staying off property offers. 

Staying off Property
No Disney Dining Plan
Disney Parks Magic Hours are not offered
Most hotels charge resort fees
Can only making Disney Dining reservation  in advance on the 180 day mark
No Magical Express
Some hotels offer park transplantation  the times are not the best
The packages you buy in the parks you can not have them shipped back to your hotel.
Hotels off property might not take payments before the vacation
Some hotels don’t have a good selection of food on property
You drive to the magic














Friday, September 14, 2012

Budget

The First Steps of  Planning a Disney Vacation

Budget


Planning a Disney Vacation can be very overwhelming. Some people go thru travel agents, travel websites and some people go directly thru Disney’s travel agents. First and foremost before booking your vacation a budget needs to be set. A Disney vacation can be very expensive if you don’t set a budget. You can add food, airline tickets, rental car, lodging, tickets and souvenirs to your budget. Setting a budget will set the tone for the type of lodging, ticket perks and how many days / nights for your vacation. 

Some families give the greatest amount of their budget for lodging, other families activities and so on. However you plan your budget remember it is your vacation and it is your magical memories being made.
You will find below a chart that I use to start building my vacation. Please note we this is for driving.


Item                                                                                                  Money Allotted

_______________________________________________________________________________
Gas                                                                                      _________________________
Car Rental                                                                            _________________________ 
Hotel on the way down to Florida                                         _________________________

Hotel first night when we arrive in Orlando                            _________________________   
Supper the first night in Orlando                                            _________________________  
Breakfast  2nd day in Orlando                                              _________________________  
Hotel on Disney Property                                                     _________________________  
Tips (Dining and Mouse Keeping)                                         _________________________  
Park Tickets                                                                         _________________________

Dining for the week (Dining Plan)                                         _________________________  Souvenirs                                                                             _________________________
Last official night in Orlando (off property hotel)                    _________________________ 
Breakfast for the morning going home                                    _________________________ 
Hotel (just incase we decided to break the 

driving up within 2 days)                                                      __________________________

                                                                 Grand Total:      __________________________



As you can see we drive and we usually break our driving up between two days. This is easier for our family. The reason why we do not stay on Disney property for the first night we get into Orlando, is that we usually get into Orlando so late that is not worth the money and the benefits of staying on property that night. I usually try to get a hotel near Downtown Disney so we can have supper there and able to stretch our legs a little bit. We usually stay in a Disney Deluxe hotel from Sunday - Friday, then due to the rates going up for the weekend and I am never ready to go home on Friday, we stay in another hotel close to Disney. On our last day we check out f our Disney hotel, load the car, go for a character meal then go to one of the parks all day and then around 5pm we go to our new hotel. This works for our family and it has saved me several hundreds of dollars not staying on Disney property for the weekend rates.

I would love to hear about your budget list.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney

 Welcome

Welcome to the Nifty Thrifty Family Goes Disney Blog. I hope this blog  will inform you on how to do a Disney Vacation that will make you want to come back for years to come. There is so much that I want to share with you, from planning, saving, ride critiques and more.
I found my true love for Disney several years ago, when I took my husband and daughter for their first time. I was a teenager on my first visit. That was many years ago and we did not know that this type of vacation needed so much research.  Each day we set out to conquer each park. We did not know that Disney World was built on 35,000 acres (47 square miles) and that most people who go to the parks walk over 10 miles per day. Wow if we only knew what we know now.
After that vacation it took me about 15 years to go back to Disney World and that is when I found my true love for WDW. Instead of being that teenager who wanted to conquer all of the park and every ride in one day. I planned for a whole year to make a 3yr old little girls vacation perfect. I found my love for WDW the moment we walked down Main Street for the first time. I got to see Disney World thru a child's eyes and the first timers eyes. It was magical. Now I am a Disney Addict.