8 Ways to Save for Your Next Disney Vacation

If you are anything like me, you would take any chance you had to visit Walt Disney World or any other Disney destination in the world. You dream about it day and night, plan out dream trips that you may not really take, and count down the days until you can visit again. Unfortunately, if you are still anything like me, you can’t always afford it! Disney vacations can be expensive, especially if you are traveling during the peak seasons. I usually plan my vacations a year or more ahead of time giving me time to scrimp and save as much as possible to make those dreams a reality. As soon as Disney releases the rates on the dates I want to travel, I go into planning and saving mode. I have found the following 8 ways extremely effective over my many years of Walt Disney World vacation saving. Every little penny adds up when trying to get yourself just one step closer to the Mouse.

1. Spare Change
This is one of my most successful ways of saving money. Whenever I have cash on me and I buy something I ALWAYS break the dollar. I never use change to pay for anything, even if my bill comes out to $6.01. If you put all of that change in a jar, over time it will really add up! Even more fun is to decorate a “Walt Disney World Vacation Jar.” It will make it all the better to throw the change in there when you can get really excited about what it is going towards. I roll it up every couple of months and deposit it into my special vacation savings. Which brings me to money saving tip #2.

2. Vacation Savings Account
Open a savings account specifically for vacations. Make sure it is an account that does not charge fees if you have too low of a balance or when you take the money out to use for your vacation. When it’s all in this special account you won’t dip into it as much as if it is just money in your everyday savings or checking account. If your work offers direct deposit for their payroll and they allow you the option to deposit into more than one account, that is an easy way to put a little aside each payroll check. I have mine set up for a small amount of my check each week to go directly into the vacation savings account. It’s small as to where it doesn’t affect my life but nice to see the account grow over time. I also put all of the change that I’ve collected into the account each month. Instead of letting it all sit around in jar, I deposit it as soon as I have a good amount so I can also receive interest. The interest really is not much depending on the type of account you have opened but hey, it’s something!

3. Disney Gift Cards
Lots of retailers sell Disney gift cards and you can actually use these gift cards towards the payment of your vacation. Places like Target or Costco even discount the price of the gift card. For example at Target if you have their credit card you will receive 5% off the purchase of a Disney gift card. So if you buy one for $50, you will pay end up paying $47.50. Usually if I am in one of these stores and my budget allows, I will grab a gift card either to put towards the payment of my trip or to use as spending money while there.

4. Popular Grocery/Shopping Apps
There are several grocery and shopping apps that I have become obsessed with in the last year. They actually pay you to shop for items you already are most likely shopping for. Best of all, these apps are completely free and typically deposit the money directly into your paypal account (some still send paper checks). My absolute favorite right now is Ibotta. If you purchase any of the items shown on the Ibotta app, you simply scan the barcode, upload a picture of your receipt and they put the rebate into your account. For example, a bottle of Yellowtail wine will earn you a $1.00 rebate. Once you have earned $10 you are able to redeem it and send it to your Paypal account. I have already earned $125.00 in rebates just about 5 months of using the app. Other favorites of mine are Shrink, Checkout 51, and Ebates. Ebates so far has been my best earner. It is not grocery related, it is all shopping. I do a ton of online shopping and if you click through their app to go to your online store of choice, you earn a percentage back on all of your spending. For example, Old Navy frequently runs 8% back on purchases. They deposit any earnings to your paypal account about once a month no matter how much you have earned.

5. Bottle Returns
In the good ole state of Michigan, I have the privilege to return bottles/cans for cash. It is only 10 cents per bottle or can, but if you never spend any of that money and put it immediately away into your savings it will add up nicely.

6. Yard Sale & Auction Sites
Get all of your old stuff together that you no longer want and have a yard/garage sale. Not nice enough outside to do that yet? Try selling your things on Ebay. Most auctions will not be charged an insertion fee and you will only have to pay a small fee if the item sells. You can also use Half.com if you have books or media to sell. Unlike Ebay, you can list your books or media on Half.com for as long as it takes them to sell. The site will take a small percentage of the final value but there are no fees to list.

7. Extra Money
Any extra money that I receive other than my work paycheck, I will normally throw into the vacation savings. For example, when I switched phone service providers, I had a credit on my account from my old phone. They sent me a check for the balance that was remaining on my account. Before I began these saving techniques I would have put that into my checking account where most of my everyday spending money would go. Since this is money that I wouldn’t normally have, it makes much more sense to put it towards your vacation. I use this mentality with any type of “extra” money I receive. Other examples of this would be money from birthday cards/Christmas gifts, extra work you do for someone that they may pay you for, mail-in rebates, a bonus from work, etc.

8. Disney Visa Rewards Credit Card
Lastly, the Disney Visa Rewards credit card from Chase offers several perks to its cardholders. Most notable would be the reward dollars you can earn from everyday purchases. The current rate of reward dollars on the card is $1 per $100 spent. Once you reach an initial rewards amount of $20 you can then redeem for a gift card that can be used at the parks, the Disney Store, and the Disney Store online. Being a cardholder also gives you different perks at each of the theme parks such as private meet and greets, discounts on tours, exclusive pins and 10% discounts on merchandise at the parks, 10% discounts on select dining locations, and more. Now it is true that the rate of reward dollars is not great. There are a ton of other credit cards out there that offer better rewards. With that being said however, one of my favorite things about the card is when you use the card to pay for your Disney vacation, you are given 6 months to pay for the vacation with 0% interest. I do this every time we plan a vacation and then make sure the trip is paid off within the 6 month term. This helps my situation especially because I usually travel with family members who don’t live in my household. I charge the entire vacation and this gives them time to get me their money without demanding it right away. Also the reward dollars earned from the price of the trip are mighty nice! We usually use the gift card we received to pay for tips at our sit down restaurant reservations. Combine that with the free dining promo (if available) and you have actual straight up FREE dining.

Hopefully theses tips will be helpful when you plan your next vacation, and they might even make it a little more fun to save. How do you save for your Disney vacation?


Katy Maxwell

Soarin’ over California will close in January at EPCOT*


Soarin' over California, Epcot Soarin', Disney's Soarin', Disney's Soaring

Are you looking for reason to go to the Walt Disney World Resort?

Soarin’ over California is arguably one of the most popular attractions at EPCOT. It is not uncommon to have wait times that exceed an hour and a half. Rarely are you able to find last minute fast passes for the attraction. In March of 2015, Disney announced that they would be adding a third theater to help reduce the wait times. It is set to open in summer 2016. So in terms of Disney, that means sometime between June and September 2016. The two current theaters will get a full over haul. A new screen and sound system for each. If you look at google earth, you can see the new theater being built behind the Canadian Pavilion in World Showcase.

The film will also be refreshed to have a more global appeal. No official title has been given but it will include soarin’ over some of the most incredible places all over the world. It was rumored that in January 2014 is when the new Soarin’ scenes were filmed over the Walt Disney World Resort during the Marathon/Dopey Challenge Weekend.

All of these amazing experiences will take time to build and enhance. The back stage rumor mill is churning with dates that are all over the calendar; however, most are saying early January 2016 will be the end of Soarin’ Over California and it will reopen during summer 2016 with fan fare like only Disney can bring.

With the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights going away at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Soarin’ Over California leaving EPCOT, it is time to take that last minute trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. You could say good bye in one magical weekend.

If you would like more information please contact our friends at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.
http://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com info@magicalvacationsbyme.com 404-414-6198





LOVE DOING THINGS FROM YOUR PHONE!!!!!!mickey cell phone cover

Easy Ways to Save for a Vacation


gift cards

By Frances

Being a travel specialist, I have the honor of helping hundreds of clients a year plan their magical vacation whether it be to Disney or Australia or somewhere in between. Budget always comes up during a conversation and sometimes it’s followed up with “I really want to but just can’t afford”. YES YOU CAN! You may not be able to go on your vacation next week, but with some planning you will be able to make your dream vacation come true. Here’s how!

1. Do some research online: Go to some popular vacation destination sites and see how much your dream vacation is. Set a budget but searching your dream high end vacation, your dream realistic vacation and your dream minimal vacation. If you are lost or confused at this point, you can contact a Magical Vacations by Me agent. Be upfront with them that you are just setting a budget and just starting. They will be more than happy to help you. info@magicalvacationsbyme.com

2.Set your goal vacation dates: This date could be in 6 months or 3 years. Make it as realistic as possible.

3 Set your budget: Set your budget between the dream high end vacation and the dream realistic vacation. This will allow for some flexibility if pricing should increase. This also allows for “Life” situations to happen and if needed you can still go on your dream minimal budget.

4. Start Saving: Easier said than done, right? Here are some easy ways that make it easier.

~ Purchase Gift Cards: Sooo many places have gift cards at the check out or at kiosk in the middle of the aisle. Pick up a gift card each week that will help you get to your goal. Think about how you are getting to your dream vacation. How are you going to eat and where are you going. Gas Cards, Airline Cards, Fast food & Restaurant cards, Starbucks, Disney, Universal etc. Throw in a Target or Walmart gift card just in case something should come up that you need while you are on vacation. It is easier to add $25 a week to your budget than you realize. It doesn’t have to be $200 at a time. Also, when you are shopping think about things like “I really want those Oreo’s but that is $3 that I could put towards my vacation.” You will be amazed at what you won’t miss as far as your grocery budget goes. Many stores offer discounted gift cards or special incentives. Check with Costco, BJ’s, Target and your local grocery store.

**Tip: Purchase all gift cards in like amounts. Example: Purchase gift cards in $25 increments. That way you don’t have to remember how much is on which card. OR write on the back in with a sharpie how much is on there before you tuck it away in your dresser.

~ Grandparents, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy & Cupid are your best source for extra gift cards: Let all of them know that you have are planning a dream vacation. They can easily pick up a $10 gift card that can be used on the trip and a small toy. On www.Disneygiftcard.com, it’s free to personalize gift cards. there is a huge selection to choose from as well. If your child earns a great report card, you can send them a $10 personalized Disney gift card in the mail.

~ Save your change: Don’t spend the coins! Take all the change that you can get. If something cost $9.34, give the cashier a $10 bill and throw the change in your piggy bank. You will be amazed at how quickly it will add up.

~ Save your cash: If you have more than 5 $1 bills, take them out of your wallet and place in an envelope. Also do this when you just happen to have some extra cash from a friend that paid you back for lunch. This will add up as well.

~ Open a special banking account: A lot of banks are now offering free checking or savings accounts. If you have direct deposit, you can have $10 a week deposited into this special account. Make sure that it is a little harder to get to so you aren’t tempted to use that money for a new pair of shoes :-)  But it’s accessible if an emergency arises.


If you would like more information or discounted tickets to Universal Orlando, please contact our friends at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.
http://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com info@magicalvacationsbyme.com404-414-6198



What could you do with a $250 Disney Gift Card?


The final hours are fast approaching! The last chance to enter for your chance to win a $250 Disney Gift Card or other cool prizes.

There are so many things that you could do with the gift card if you won it.

What would you do?

Place a deposit for your next Walt Disney World Vacation?

Go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Get a spa treatment on the Disney Dream?

Buy the new Vera Bradley Disney Collection Hand Bag?

Splurge on matching T-shirts for the whole family?

You can share the post for an additional 10 entries each day

Enter for a chance to win here!!

If you would like more information or discounted tickets to Universal Orlando, please contact our friends at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.
http://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com info@magicalvacationsbyme.com404-414-6198

Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando wait times rival Anna & Elsa

Gringotts wait time

It is no surprise that the new Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando is already a huge hit. Due to the first days of demand, USO execs opened up the park at 5:45am to start allowing guests to line up inside the park vs outside. That helped keep the crowd tame and the line moving. With wait times for Gringotts being an estimated 7.5 hours, USO employees were handing out return passes so guests could enjoy other attractions through out the park.

One great way to get ahead of the crowd is to book a Universal Vacation Package. It allows you to enter the park one hour prior to opening so you are able to get ahead of most of the crowds. If you stay at one of the three Deluxe resorts at Universal Orlando resort (Hard Rock Resort, Lowe’s Royal Pacific or Lowe’s Portofino Bay) you are given an Express Pass which will allow you to skip most of the wait times for attractions one time per day. It is included in your resort stay.

If you aren’t staying at Universal Orlando Resort, you can purchase the Express Pass starting at an additional $39.99 per day per ticket. Pricing is based on the day you visit and the crowd levels expected. The more crowded it is expected… the more expensive the ticket.

Universal Studios Florida®
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit®
Universal Horror Make-Up Show
Animal Actors on Location!SM
A Day In The Park with Barney™
Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster®
E.T. Adventure®
MEN IN BLACK ™ Alien Attack™
Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue™
TWISTER…Ride It Out®
Revenge of the Mummy®
Shrek 4-D
Fear Factor Live
Disaster!SM A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU
The Simpsons Ride™
Transformers: The Ride- 3D
Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
Universal’s Islands of Adventure®

The Cat In The Hat™
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™
Poseidon’s Fury®
The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad®
Dragon Challenge™
Jurassic Park River Adventure®
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®
Storm Force Accelatron®
The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
Flight of the Hippogriff™
Universal Studios Florida
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
Hogwarts™ Express
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
Hogwarts™ Express
Pteranodon Flyers®

Date selection is required before entering ticket quantity
There are only a limited number of passes available for sale for each date.
Not valid for separately ticketed events, such as Halloween Horror Nights or Rock the Universe.
Limit eight (8) tickets per transaction.
Your ticket may not be copied, transferred, or resold.
Tickets are non-refundable.
Parking is not included.
NOTE: Applicable sales tax will be added to all ticket products.


If you would like more information or discounted tickets to Universal Orlando, please contact our friends at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.
http://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com info@magicalvacationsbyme.com 404-414-6198

$375 in Disney Gift Cards & other cool prizes giveaway


Disney Gift card beach

Mouze Kateerz has teamed with an awesome travel agency to bring you a very special giveaway! You could win a $250 Disney Gift Card or a $125 Disney Gift Card or a Sword & the Stone Blu Ray/DVD, or a Cinderella Blu Ray/DVD or a Jungle Book Blu Ray/DVD or a Frozen Blu Ray/DVD or a Minnie Chunkie necklace or a set of Chewie and Yoda Plush (AKA Stitch & Goofy). Entering is easy. Just click on the link below. Make sure you earn an easy 10 points by allowing Magical Vacations by Me to give you a complimentary quote at info@magicalvacationsbyme.com



Giveaway Details

The Giveaway begins at 12:15AM on Tuesday, July 9, 2014, and continues until 11:59PM on Sunday, July 13, 2014.  The winners will be selected from all the eligible entries on Monday, July 14, 2014, and will be notified via email to the email address specified in their entry information.  The winners will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to them to claim their prize, and if they fail to do so, another winner will be chosen.  The winners may also be notified via social media avenues, but they must claim their prize via email.

The giveaway is only open to people aged 18 years of age or older living in the United States only.  To enter, complete the entry details you find in the Rafflecopter widget , and good luck everyone!  There are entries for every day of the giveaway, so keep coming back to get your maximum number of entries!

Thank you for following Mouze Kateerz

If you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.

Magical Vacations by Me Logohttp://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com   info@magicalvacationsbyme.com  404-414-6198

Pictures of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs sign

The long journey for completion of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride for the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World Resorts Magic Kingdom is just around the corner. Here are some amazing pics of the ride by Mouze Kateerz’s very own Denny Miller. Please enjoy.

Seven Dwarfs Que

This is a picture of part of the que for the new ride. Lines are expected to exceed 4 hours this summer.

Seven Dwarfs que 2

This is part of the que. Disney is great with details.

Seven Dwarfs

This will be one of the iconic photos that will last forever. You are looking over the track. In the middle is the entrance to the new Fantasyland expansion with Cinderella’s Castle beautifully in the background.

Seven Dwarfs 2

Runaway cart?

Seven Dwarfs vultures

A little piece of history. You may remember these guys from the end of the old Snow White ride.

Seven Dwarfs test

Safety first! Cast Members are pushing the cart to make sure that no ones fingers will hit anything before they place guests on the ride.


Thank you for choosing Mouze Kateerz.


Magical Vacations by Me LogoMagical Vacations by Me is the travel agency we recommend. Please visit them at www.magicalvacationsbyme.com or on Facebook! You can also call them at 404-414-6198. Let them know that Mouze Kateerz sent you.

Things said to a Travel Agent #2

Magic kingdom Castle

By Frances

By popular demand, here is a second installment of Things Said to a Travel Agent. As a travel professional, I pride myself on knowing details about a destination and lot of ins & out. These are some more comments or questions that have taken me off guard in my years in the travel business. You can imagine my responses. Please enjoy with a great sense of humor. EPCOT Flowers

~ I would like to stay at a clothing optional resort at Walt Disney World. (I did giggle a little when asked this)

~ Client:  I would like my 9 year old to have charging capabilities on his Magic Band. I would like for him to be able to purchase things when I’m not with him and to able to use the dining plan. Me: {knowing it’s a single dad and only his son on this trip} Oh! Will another family be joining you? Client: No, I will find a good spot to sit and let him do all of the rides by himself. I would prefer to read my book and people watch than to ride rides.

~ I can’t afford to pay off my trip. My kids are super excited. Can you pay the balance and I can pay you back with my tax returns?

~ Client: Could you please tell me some of the best places to hide and smoke at the parks? Me: You don’t have to hide, there are designated smoking areas at each resort and at all of the theme parks. Client: They let you smoke pot at Disney?

Seven Seas Lagoon

Seven Seas Lagoon

~ I would like the garden view room at the Contemporary please. I will then find something wrong during my stay and raise hell. They will upgrade me then to an atrium room and I won’t have to pay for it.

~ Client: How many bottles of water can I take into the parks? Me: I don’t believe there is a limit on how many bottles you can take as long as you can comfortably carry them. Client: So you don’t think 6 – 24 ounce bottles is too many? Me: For the 4 of you, I think that would be fine but you can get free refills of water at any restaurant. Client: Oh, they won’t be filled with water. I’m filling them with vodka.

~ {A woman} I will go into the men’s restroom with my 5 year old son. I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable going into one with out me?  Me: The men’s restroom?  Client: Yes Ma’am!

~ I know Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club is only for their resort guests but can you tell me how to sneak in there?

~ Can you please tell me how to cheat the magic bands? I want my friends staying at the Hilton to use our passes too.


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If you would like complimentary travel planning services, Magical Vacations by Me offers it for their clients.

http://www.magicalvacationsbyme.com   info@magicalvacationsbyme.com   404-414-6198

The Disney Magic Cancels First Sailing & Pictures


The Disney Magic has been going through an extensive refurbishment on a very tight schedule in dry dock for the last 5 weeks. The weather has not been great in Spain and has caused Disney to cancel the first October sailing. It is still on schedule for the October 25, 2013 sailing.


Guests on the canceled sailing will receive a full refund as well as reimbursement of airline change fees.  Plus passengers also are being offered a complimentary sailing on the Disney Magic between now and May, 2014. If passengers would rather sail on another Disney ship, the will receive a 35% discount on any future Disney cruise in the Bahamas or Caribbean, taken within two years and excluding holiday sail dates, in lieu of the free Disney Magic sailing.

USA Today has great videos of the refurbishment for you to enjoy.


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If you are looking to book a magical vacation, please contact Magical Vacations by Me at 404-414-6198 or info@magicalvacationsbyme.com


Remodeled Spa Area


New Pixie Hollow


Oceaneers Lab on the Magic


The Disney Magic It’s a small world nursery.


Reimagined Cabanas on the Magic


Marvel is a welcomed addition on the Disney Magic in the Oceaneers Lab.


The atrium. We can say a collective AAAHHHHHHH.


Two story slink slide in the Oceaneers Club.


AquaLab on the Disney Magic!

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