Planning Your 2016 Disney World VacationAre you planning your 2016 Disney World Vacation and don’t know where to start?  You are not alone.  Those who have never been to Disney can easily get overwhelmed by all the information out there. Disney Insider Tips is designed to be a one stop source for all things related to Disney.

You can find pretty much everything you need to plan your 2016 Disney World vacation on Disney Insider Tips.  Use our navigation menu at the top of the site for reviews on Disney Resorts, Disney Restaurants, and information on all the Disney World Theme Parks.  We even have tips to save you time & money!   Use the search bar on the right to look for more specific items. Have questions and you can’t find the answers? Feel free to contact us or ask us a question on Facebook.

For your convenience, you will find a list below of the posts readers find most valuable when planning a 2016 Disney World Vacation:

Disney TIcketsTICKETS

Current Disney World Ticket Prices

What You Should Know Before Buying “Discount Disney Tickets”

Pink Magic BandMAGICBANDS

How MagicBands Work

FastPass+ Rides & Attractions

FastPass+ Kiosk Locations

Disney RestaurantsDINING AT DISNEY

What you want to know about the Disney Dining Plan

Dining at Disney on a Budget

Character Meals

Mickey Mouse LuggagePACKING FOR YOUR TRIP

Packing List for a Disney Vacation

Packing List for a Day at the Parks

Best Shoes to Wear to Disney

Mickey Mouse EarsAT THE PARKS

Free Disney World Souvenirs

Disney Character Meet & Greets

Disney World Parades

Please know that we don’t get paid for our advice (just our advertisements), so you are getting an honest perspective from a real Disney insider!

The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Tips for Dining at Disney on a BudgetLet’s face it, Disney World isn’t cheap, especially when it comes to dining. If you have never been to Disney before, let me tell you that a family of 4 can easily drop $40 on a simple quick service lunch and a table service meal can be more than twice as much! Who wants to spend hundreds of dollars a day on food? Not me. If you plan ahead of time, there are ways to save money while dining at Disney:

  • Set a food budget (and stick to it). Allocate a certain amount of money to be spent on the food each day at the park. Research restaurant prices ahead of time to plan out where to eat before you even get to the park!
  • Pack snacks to save money and to save you from having grouchy kids at the park. Keeping kids sugar levels even though out the day will help avoid unwanted temper tantrums. You can make a great trail mix from goldfish, pretzels, M&Ms and raisins that will keep your kids satisfied while waiting in long lines.
  • When it comes to meals, it is a waste of money to buy kids a huge meal. Most of the time they won’t eat half of it because they are so filled up on treats and excitement! Instead of spending $5-6 per kids meal, bring your own food from home (like those frozen PBJs)! Even though they don’t promote it, Disney will allow you to bring in your own food & water bottles into the park.
  • Did you know you can get a complimentary water cup for FREE at any service counter? While this is great, I think it is a better option to bring your own bottled water which can be refilled at any water fountain found throughout the park.

These are just a few ways to save money on food at the park. If you have something you do to save money on dining at Disney, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Art of Animation ResortIf you are looking for  a reasonable-priced resort to stay that offers a little more than the typical value resort but not as pricey as the moderate, Art of Animation Resort might just be what you need. This resort has four differently themed sections: Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Three of the four sections (Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King) have family suites that will sleep up to 6 people, while The Little Mermaid rooms comfortably sleep up to 4.

Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation What makes the Art of Animation Resort better than the other Value resorts is the Big Blue Pool.  It  is the largest pool among the Disney resorts and it is spectacular. It features a zero-entry design and state-of-the-art underwater speakers!Many of the value resort pools are lack luster in my opinion, but Disney really did it right with the Big Blue Pool. Besides the Big Blue pool, there are two other smaller pools located near the Cars Suites and Little Mermaid Rooms. While not as large, they are themed and just as nicely decorated.

Art of Animation Big Blue PoolThe Big Blue Pool also has an adjacent kid water play area that is a big hit for the preschool kids. Lots of sprouting water fountains and Nemo friends for the kids to play with.

Art of Animation PlayGroundOn the other side of the pool and kids water area is Righteous Reef playground. It is a great place to let the kids work off some energy. Kids from ages of 2-12 will enjoy the multiple slides and caves!

Art of Animation Check In Area

Art of Animation Sketch AreaThe hub at Disney Art of Animation Resort is in the main check in area.  You can spend time looking at all the sketch artwork on the wall or might even catch a Disney Cast Member teaching a drawing class right inside the lobby!

Art of Animation Pixel ArcadeJust past guest services, you will find the Pixel Play Arcade. There are many games to keep the kids busy and it has a lounging spot for parents to kick back while the kids play.  Also located just off the main lobby is the Ink & Paint Shop Gift Shop (really large with lots of good stuff)  and the quick-service Land of Flavors (great quick service options).

Have you been to Art of Animation Resort? In which part did you stay? 

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Anna and Elsa Meet and GreetIf you want  a chance to do the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet, you will have to start planning early.  Here are a few Tips:

  •  You can book a fast pass for Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom 60 days before your stay if you are staying at a Walt Disney resort!  Can’t get in because the Fast Passes are gone already?  Try the next tip.
  • Book breakfast in the Magic Kingdom before the park opens.  If you are able to get out of breakfast before the rest of the general public are let in, you can grab a spot in the front of the line at Princess Fairytale Hall.
  • Can’t get a reservation for early breakfast in Magic Kingdom? Just be sure to get there for Rope Drop. Run (and I mean it) over to see if you can score a spot near the front of the line.  And FYI:

Princess PortraitsThere are some benefits to actually going through the line at Princess Fairytale Hall, like seeing the princess portraits, that you don’t get to see if you go through the FastPass line.

Have you been able to see Anna & Elsa at Magic Kingdom? How did you do it?

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Have you had a chance to visit LEGOLAND Florida yet? Here is a great LEGOLAND Florida deal I want to share with you; When you book a LEGOLAND Hotel package you will get a 2-day ticket to LEGOLAND  (2nd day is FREE!). This deal includes FREE breakfast and exclusive early admission to LEGOLAND.

The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Pop Star MinnieMickey Mouse Clubhouse: Pop Star Minnie is the newest set of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse series to come out on DVD. In the featured episode Pop Star Minnie, Minnie’s dream of singing onstage is about to come true — until her Clubhouse back-up band pals discover that their musical instruments are gone!
It is up to the gang  to find the missing instruments.  And even once they do,  they are going to need Mouseketools and help from you.   How can you help? Well, each DVD comes with an inflatable guitar that you can use to help Minnie and the gang Rock it out!

Also on the DVD are these Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Episodes:

Mickey’s Clubhouse Rocks
Minnie & Daisy’s Flower Shower
Minnie’s Mouseke-Calendar
Mickey’s Big Band ConcertPLUS Bonus Episodes from Minnie’s Bow Toons
• Rooftop Repair
• Alarm Clocked Out
We just love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and this DVD is full of fun songs and adventures that your kids are sure to love!  This DVD is focused around music and kids will have the chance to learn about different types of music as well as instruments.  The free inflatable guitar is a nice bonus accessory that will provide endless hours of imaginative play.
Here is your chance to win a copy of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Pop Star Minnie

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You might find that your kids will also enjoy some of these free activities that go along with the movie:

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Disney Magazine DealsRight now you can get a great deal on your favorite Disney magazine  from Groupon.  Shipping is FREE!  Choose one title for only $14.99 a year.

Here are the Disney magazines you can choose from:

Disney Junior
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 2–7
  • Storytelling from Mickey, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and more
  • Filled with playful activities, games, and coloring pages
Marvel Super Heroes
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 6–12
  • Challenging activities, puzzles, and games, with exciting comic strip stories to read
  • Each issue themed to a different hero and villain
Peppa Pig
  • One-year, six issue subscription
  • Kid’s magazine for ages 2-7
  • Each issue contains short stories, educational workbook and a poster
  • Based on the popular TV show Peppa Pig featured on Nick Jr.
Thomas & Friends
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 3 and up
  • Features charming stories, a collectible poster, and an activity workbook
  • Familiar faces from the Island of Sodor
Fun to Learn Friends
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 3 and up
  • Familiar friends like Curious George, Clifford’s Puppy Days, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, and more
  • Stories, collectible poster, and activity workbook in every issue
Ultimate Spider-Man
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 6–12
  • Features an action-packed comic strip
  • Challenging activities, puzzles, and games
  • Collectible Spider-Man pull-out poster
Scooby-Doo!
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 6–12
  • Challenging 14-page Scooby-Doo! workbook with bonus collectible pull-out poster
  • Spooky mystery stories featuring Scooby-Doo! and the gang
Disney Princess
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 3–9
  • Filled with stories, coloring pages, and activities
  • Read along with Belle, Cinderella, and more
Frozen
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids’ magazine for ages 3–9
  • Features beloved characters Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and more
  • Filled with fairy-tale stories and fun, challenging activities
  • Includes a collectible poster
Sparkle World
  • One-year, six-issue subscription
  • Kids magazine for ages 3 and up
  • Features familiar characters as My Little Pony, Rainbow Magic, Care Bears, Dora and Friends, Barbie, and Mia and Me
  • Stickers, games, crafts, puzzles, and posters
Which Disney Magazine deal will you choose?
The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Pecos Bill Tall Tale CafeLocated in the heart of Frontierland is Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn & Cafe.  This quick service restaurant is a nice air conditioned spot for your family to grab a bite to eat.  You will find that there is plenty of seating both inside & out along with bathrooms for your convenience.

Tex Mex Food at Magic KingdomThe menu is Tex Mex.  You will find some delicious options such as Burrito and Fajita Platters, all served with Cilantro Rice & Beans.  They also have Burgers &  salads.  Those looking for something besides Chicken Nuggets for the kids will appreciate the kids meal that features Quesadilla’s.   If you are on the dining plan, you will also get a dessert option.  Be sure to get the Churro’s!!

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20 Disney World TipsAre you going to Walt Disney World for the first time? If so, you will want to have the jump on others by knowing some of the best Disney World Tips.  We hope these tips will help you navigate the parks with ease and give you a heads up on things you might not already know about when it comes to Disney!

Here are 20 Walt Disney World Tips you should know about:

  • Snap a picture of the parking lot marker to remember where you left your car.
  • Disney Photographers will take pictures with YOUR camera/phone for FREE.
  • Get a free dusting of pixie dust at the Barber Shop on Main Street USA.
  • Instead of standing in line for hours to meet your child’s favorite characters, choose a character meal. You will pay a premium, but you avoid wasting time in lines and get one on one time with each character!
  • If you stay at a resort, you can have your purchases from gift shops delivered to your resort. If not, you can have them delivered to the front of the park where you can pick them up (given that you shop early in the day).
  • Buy the cheapest Disney pin and then trade with Cast Members for the more expensive ones!
  • Get to Magic Kingdom before the park opens for the Rope Drop Ceremony. It is pure magic.
  • Think outside the box in terms of Disney Souvenirs. There are plenty of FREE ones!
  • If your kids pop their Disney Balloon, they will replace it for FREE.
  • Some rides (like Test Track) have a line for those riding solo. The line is MUCH shorter!
  • Ask for a kids swap if you are traveling with kids who can’t ride. One  adult rides while the other waits (at the front of the line). Then they swap places for the second adult to ride.
  • Adults can eat off the kids menu at quick service counters.
  • Disney Visa card holders get special perks, like FREE photos, discounts at some restaurants & % off your purchase at gift shops!
  • Gift shops stay open 1 hour after the park rides are shut down.
  • You can get a complimentary cup of ice water for FREE at any counter.
  • You can order food a la carte on just about any quick service menu. Just ask and they will accommodate.
  • Just about every Disney World resort does a FREE campfire in the early evening where you can roast marshmallows. They also have FREE Movie nights!
  • Parking is FREE at Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon.
  • You can walk right through the center of Cinderella’s castle. You will find some beautiful mosaic murals telling her story.
  • As you walk into Haunted Mansion, look for the Headstone for Leota. Watch it carefully.

What other Walt Disney World Tips would you share for first time goers?

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Mickey Mouse Anchor MagnetIf you are getting ready for your Disney Cruise, you should definitely think about joining a Disney Fish Extender Exchange group.  While there are plenty of great fish extenders gifts you can buy, you can also make your own gifts.  All staterooms on the Disney Cruise Line ships are magnetic. You will find that many seasoned cruisers will have their doors covered with Disney themed magnets. This is what inspired me to create my own Disney Cruise Line Mickey Mouse Anchor Magnet.

DIY Mickey Mouse Anchor magnetThis DIY is simple enough for a non-crafty person.  You can find these wooden anchors at most craft stores for about 50 cents (I got mine at Michaels) and paints are usually on sale for less than $1 each.  Also, not shown, is a roll of sticker-backed magnetic tape (also found at Michaels).

Disney Mickey Mouse Anchor Fish Extender GiftMaking this magnet is simple enough. Just paint it in the pattern that is shown.  Allow enough time for it to dry and adhere the magnet to the back.  If you are doing multiples (to give as fish extender gifts) then I would suggest painting all anchors with one color at a time.

Do you have a favorite DIY Fish Extender Gift idea? I’d love to hear about it!

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LEGOLAND Florida

by Kristi January 27, 2016

If you are looking to do something other than Disney parks while you are in Orlando, check out LEGOLAND in Winterhaven.  It is a 45 minute drive from Orlando, but if you have a Lego fan(s) in your family, you will want to make the trip!  With over 5o different rides, you can easily spend an entire day […]

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