{We Love Disney} Avoid Those Pricey Souvenirs


Here is a past picture of the fairy surprises

Souvenirs at the park can cost a lot when going to Disney so I was on a mission to find a way to avoid this but still allow the kids to have the fun of getting souvenirs. Then the FAIRIES came to the rescue! You see, every night while we are at Disney if you are good that day the fairies will come to visit while you are sleeping and leave a wonderful surprise. Genius, right?! During the day when we are at the park and see things that they may want to buy, I remind her the fairies are coming to visit to bring them a surprise so we ought to wait and see what they bring. Of course, at the end of the trip we do allow them to use their spending money to buy a special surprise as well, but this saves us from those extra’s each day. Where did I get these items to make them more affordable than buying souvenirs?

  • Drug Store clearance finds (lots have Disney themed items in the toy section)
  • Consignment Sale
  • Target Dollar Spot
  • Dollar Tree
  • Target Toy Clearance
Stay tuned for more Disney tips as we prepare for our trip next week!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

Pin It


We Love Disney {Favorite Eats}


Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, I HEART MY TRAVEL AGENT. Guys, really that post is a must read because that is the FIRST step in my planning Disney. How often do you plan Disney, you may ask? We do an annual trip every year with our kids and pull out all the stops like staying on property, fun souvenirs, shows, and (you guessed it) DISNEY DINING!

Honest to you, eating in Disney is my favorite. I swear I wear my Joey-from-Friends stretchy pants and expect to live the following month in the local gym because I enjoy eating while there so much. We are such foodies, my family & I. My husband picks with me that as soon as we are through with one meal, I am already planning the next. So Disney is the perfect place for us to indulge because I get to plan and research all the fun, good food they have to offer and plan our trip accordingly around each meal of the day.

How do we afford all the dining? FREE DISNEY DINING


Look here, some people say it’s a scam and that the price is built in or whatever but every time I price it with free dining OH MY WORD there is a whole bunch of savings there! So I wait until FREE dining is on an offer (or my sweet travel agent adds it to our existing reservation when it’s released) and we SAVE THAT CASH! When you have 6 mouths to feed on a vacation, every penny counts right!? Free dining it is, saves me from packing a bunch of sandwiches each morning of our vacation plus we get to eat OH SO GOOD food that someone else has to do the dishes for. It is vacation, after all!

So what are our favorite places to eat at Disney World? Mmmmmm I am SO glad you asked!

The Wave (The Contemporary Bottom Floor)

Y’all. Shut your mouth good food! We actually ended up eating here by mistake on a girls Disney trip a few years ago and I have booked this one on our schedule ever since. We ate Christmas Dinner here last year during our Holiday trip to Disney. It’s such good food, fresh & local. They have a great selection of seafood, vegetables, & meats. Nothing we have eaten we have ever been disappointed in. Top Pick!

Mama Melrose (Hollywood Studios)

O boy! I hope you like Italian food because the portions are HUGE here! We could have all shared one lasagne, much less a full 3 course meal as the dining plan offers. We all ended up taking Doggy Bags & our desserts to go because no one could fit another bite into their stuffed bellies! The ambiance is good as well, like all Disney restaurants to service is incredible. It is one not on a lot of people’s radars so easy to get last minute reservations.

Hollywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios)

Surprisingly this restaurant has not so great reviews. We ended up here after plans went array  on our December Disney trip but I am so glad we did. We aren’t crazy about buffet style, for various reasons, so I was kind of leaning towards not even eating at all. But to my SHOCK the food was incredible! They have a lobster Mac-n-Cheese that we wrote home about (really- we wrote home!) and the fish & meat selection was cooked with amazing seasoning. Not bland at all like a lot of buffets! The dessert bar was of course a crowd favorite, we all had dunked marshmallows and fruits from the chocolate fountain (side note: the servers dunk it for you for health reasons-boo). Now they also have a Hollywood & Vine Star Wars character meal for 2 table service credits! Put this one on your short list for sure.

Sunshine Seasons (Epcot)

This quick service option is MY FAVORITE PICK for Epcot. Gosh, they have all sorts of different foods to choose from like Chinese (my favorite) and even a huge rotisserie style chicken leg! Options from all different types of cuisines, we really enjoy eating at this one after we ride Living with the Land & Soarin’

Wolf Gang Puck Express (Downtown Disney)

Another quick service favorite pick, we choose to eat at this one on our “shopping night”. After we let the kids go grab spend their money they’ve earned (more about that later) we relax and have a great meal at Wolfe Gang Puck Express. They have all sorts of options from sandwiches to salmon to pizzas, you can even choose to sit at the butcher block table by the kitchen to watch them cook! Such a cool place and a great value for just 1 quick service credit!

Tutto Italia Ristorante (Epcot)

Can you tell we like Italian food? Ha! This is another great one, and is voted “best value” to use on the dining plan because it’s entrees average about $36 but it is only 1 table service credit! The food here is incredible. Traditional Italian food, nothing we have eaten has been bad but we are especially fond of the lobster & cheese ravioli and the lasagne is also awesome. Just make sure you top off dinner with their Tiramisu or a Cannoli. Yum!

Honorable Mentions Include:

Chef Mickey (Contemporary)- We LOVE the characters and the atmosphere here, hard to get a reservation though.
Akershus (Epcot)- The food is a little odd, but the buffet of meats, seafood, and cheeses as your appetizer will fill you up! Plus the Princesses are always a pleasure to dine with.
1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)- This is our FAVORITE breakfast so far, just a good down home southern cooked breakfast with made to order omelets, grits, and bananas foster french toast! The seating here isn’t that great and it’s hard to get good pictures with the characters which is why it makes the HM list.
Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)- Options here are plentiful for breakfast, which is the only meal we have had here. The juice is awesome! Here is a secret for those that have had this juice and love it: you can buy it at the store! It’s Simply Orange with Mango, our local Publix carries it.

So what restaurants are on our list to try on our upcoming trip? I am going a little rogue and trying lots of restaurants that we have never been to! Those include:

Teppan Edo (Japanese Hibachi Style in Epcot)
Ohana (Polynesian Resort)
California Grill (Contemporary)
Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)

I am SO excited about our new foodie adventures that lay ahead of us on this trip! You better believe I will be reporting back to let y’all know which ones were keepers and which ones we will leave for the other Disney guests to enjoy. I may even have a few surprise food eats up my sleeve for this trip, so you’ll have to stay tuned. If I say it on here I may ruin my husband’s surprises! I always like to have some tricks up my sleeve.

Click to Enlarge Weight Loss Oils

Click to Enlarge Weight Loss Oils



So now it’s your turn, what’s your favorite Disney eats? Head over to the ESM Facebook page & share underneath this post! Now I am headed to go apply my weight loss trio of Young Living oils because after all this food talk, those brownies in the kitchen are calling my name REALLY LOUD!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

Pin It

We Love Disney {Planning Your Trip}


We love Disney. Yep, we are THAT family. In fact, I was tickled to death last week when my husband on a whim said “let’s go back to Disney” which was quickly followed by me thinking to myself, don’t ask questions just start planning before he comes back to his mind. So I did! But what you guys want to know is what is the first thing ESM does in her Disney planning  adventure. You want me to be honest? CALL MY TRAVEL AGENT

Why would you not use a travel agent when planning Disney, y’all? It is 100% FREE!



Why do I use a travel agent:

  1. Best Price- She pulls different resorts, dates, & options for me that would take me HOURS to do, plus she knows what dates are best when booking. Like if you travel Sunday-Friday it is much cheaper than Wednesday-Sunday. Without researching or knowing from experience, travel agents are the ones that know this. Don’t like your travel agent? Hang in there, I am almost there…
  2. Dining Reservations- There are many reasons we go to Disney, but eating is definitely in my top 5. I pack my “Joey from Friends” pants, you know the ones that stretch, because we eat and eat and eat. And it is good food! I’ll share my favorite restaurant picks with y’all in this series. You don’t want to miss that post if you are a foodie, because we are!
  3. Park Days- Travel agents have a special program, atop what you find online, that is an exact measure of what the park population is expected to be each day while you are there. Now there are charts that you could use online to help, but it isn’t as savvy as the one the travel agents have. A friend of mine who was a travel agent shared this with me and showed it to me, WOWZERS! Super cool! Now I trust my travel agent to plan my days because they just know you guys!
  4. Expertise- Do you trust a traffic light to tell you when to go or do you decide when to drive yourself without looking at the light? Well, some of you can’t drive so you don’t count but MOST of us use the traffic signals. They are free to use plus it is the expert, if you follow the traffic lights and signs you will have a successful trip, no wrecks or wrong turns. My travel agent is my traffic light & signs. She is free to use and makes my trip the most successful it could ever be! I am no Disney travel expert when it comes to dates, times, places, reservations, etc. I would rather focus on tips, tricks, discounts, and having fun with my family around the park than the hotel reservations!

You may have tried a travel agent before and had a bad experience or you may have never tried one, so for kicks and giggles next Disney trip you plan use Glass Slipper Concierge. They have planned my last 4 trips to Disney and I have never had one hiccup, speed bump, or roadblock. We have had the best trip each time and enjoyed our vacation so much.


You guys want to know my secret, my smoking gun, my right-hand Disney planning man? Her name is Tammy with Glass Slipper Concierge and you can find her planning page on Facebook. Guess what? You email her, and within the day you get a response back! From a person, not a 1-800 number, and she speaks english! It is a wonderful service that Tammy & Glass Slipper Concierge provides so USE IT! I promise, you will not regret it.

So what’s next in our series?

  • Saving on Souveniers
  • Favorite Eats
  • Favorite Resorts
  • How to fly?
  • How to drive?
  • Tricks to the buses & park closings
  • Behind the scenes & extras

Y’all, you don’t want to miss this. I am going to be writing my whole planning process to share with you guys so you can have all my tips & tricks. So set the page as your homepage, subscribe to our newsletter, heck-you can even add me to your family tree if it will remind you to keep up with this series! It is THAT important for all Disney lovers! See ya real soon!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

Pin It

Frugal Family Fun – More Disney Tips!

You guys know I love Disney – in fact if you follow me on Facebook – you know that I was just there!  What a magical place :)  This week for our Frugal Family Fun post Tracy talks about ways to save in Disney!  She’s going this weekend – Disney just must be in the air!

Check out Ways to Save in Disney!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

Pin It