Disney World Planning Worksheet – first to come!

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Interested in a Disney Planning Worksheet for your Christmas Vacation?

Check it out! Click here!

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How to Squeeze in a Last-Minute Getaway Before Summer ENDS On a Budget!

Looking to get away but don’t have a lot of cash? Here is how to do it:

RESEARCH TOWNS SURROUNDING YOUR POINT OF INTEREST DESTINATION

We were interested in a quick beach trip last week as a quick little getaway. After all, being at Disney World the end of June put us in a bit of a money pinch lol – so we had to go cheap! We usually go to Wildwood Crest, NJ but the hotels are currently outrageously overpriced especially since they were having a huge Country Music Concert at the Wildwood Convention Center.

We decided to look about 30 minutes away from there and we found Ocean City, NJ and Somers Point, NJ. Somer’s Point was more than half the cost per night – of staying in Wildwood Crest, NJ. So we booked an Econolodge in Somers Point – through http://www.expedia.com and it was great! This little motel is conveniently located 8 minutes from the Ocean City Beach and about 30 minutes from Cape May, NJ and around 25 minutes from Wildwood.

When we travel to Hershey Park, PA – we do not typically stay inside of Hershey. We stay about 15 minutes outside in Grantville, PA and save a ton on hotel. When we visit Hershey Park we are never in our hotel room. So we only need a clean room for showering and sleeping. Why pay a lot for a room if you’re not going to be in it?!

THE POINT: a little travel distance can save a lot!

Here are some sites to price out motels and hotels but be sure to clear your history and cookies because I have noticed they like to bump up prices the more you are looking! Sneaky!

Expedia

Priceline

Hotwire

Booking.com

Do you have a tent for camping? This is a surefire way to save – if you can do it!

RESEARCH FREE THINGS TO DO

There are so many state parks located all over and near destinations that you wouldn’t even think of. The All Trails App also gives you a lot of free options for walks, scenic outlooks and more. I always enjoy researching Waterfront Trails.

Research free beaches if you live along the coastline. NJ has Wildwood which is a free beach.

If you are vaccinated and live in the State of NJ – you are able to access ALL State Parks for FREE by registering online and showing your ID with vaccination card.

CAPE MAY, NJ State Park is always FREE, as well as visiting Sunset Beach and just walking around the town of Cape May.

The Cape May Zoo is FREE – just a small donation. Research free zoo’s in the area to check out.

PACK BREAKFAST AND LUNCH

This here can save a lot just by doing a little. This way you can go out and enjoy a nice dinner. I know a lot of theme parks do not allow you to bring lunch inside, but you could leave some beach chairs in the trunk and picnic by your car taking a much needed break and rest. Some theme parks offer picnic areas.

It is super easy to pack sandwiches to bring to the beach!

I probably don’t even have to say this, if you’re a parent but PACK SNACKS and your own waters and drinks. Most theme parks let you bring in 1 drink per person and you can even store some in the car.

So far when we have visited LEGOLAND NY we were not told I couldn’t bring in food – not sure if that will change.

LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS

Make sure the company you work for doesn’t offer any type of ticket discounts like say “Plum Benefits”. I work for an elementary school and with the union I get all sorts of discounts on hotels and theme park tickets. Sometimes the actual site of the theme park can be cheaper – so it is always good to compare. I get discounts on purchasing a car by showing my union card, discounts on zoos, plays, etc.

Try looking on Rakuten before you book a hotel through a site like expedia for cash back!

You could also just look for discount codes for sites like expedia, hotwire, booking etc.

HOW DO YOU SAVE MONEY ON TRIPS?! I would love to hear in the comments.

Click here to learn how to save for Disney World!

DIY Winter Wreath Ideas

Front Door or Inside Wreaths

Adorn your front door or inside hallway with your own handmade beautiful winter wreath.

DIY motivational ideas!

Who isn’t interested in saving money and decorating their home just the way they like?! Embellish and garnish your own home furnishings just the way you like. These snow-kissed looking wreaths were so much fun to make!

I bought 4 plain green wreaths 2 days after Christmas for 75% off! So I only paid $1.50 for each wreath! (I have 2 saved to the side for spring/summer wreath creations!)

What was used from Walmart:

⭐️Rust-Oleum Paint + Primer Satin White Spray Paint

⭐️Blue tulle

What was used from Dollar Tree:

⭐️White * Blue * Purple * Turquoise Fake Flowers

⭐️ Blue Diamond Wrap

Trying to think of a fun non-Christmas “winter theme” wreaths for the front doors the colors that came to mind were silver, white, blue, purple and glittery sparkles.

Hot Glue was used to attach all flowers and diamond wrap to the wreaths.

I also have 2 Front Door Spring * Summer Wreaths in the making! To be continued….

What project are you working on?

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Iris Trail Rock on Lake Rutherford @ High Point State Park, NJ

Easy Family Friendly Trail in North Jersey with Breathtaking Views

Park for Trail Along Rt. 23 Heading into High Point State Park – it’s a trailhead before you get to the maintenance yard on the same side of the road.

Kid & Pet Friendly Wide Easy Walk

Most gravel-path with occasional mud and ice. Might not want to bring any strollers through the rainy snowy winter months. Path might be too hard to push a stroller in.

This is a flat trail since you are not hiking inside the woods; unless you venture off onto side trails.

Trail extends beyond Lake Rutherford where Geocaching is available.

If you have any energy after 1 miles to the beginning of the lake and then back to your car, High Point State park has so many amazing trails and during the summer swimming at Lake Marcia. High Point State Park also has many tables for picnicking.

Trail does extend beyond the beginning of this monstrous lake. All Trails App states this is a 6.2 mile loop.

Make sure to visit High Point’s Monument which is dedicated to New Jersey’s Veterans before you leave!

Winter Wonderland at Liberty Loop

This 2.8 mile walk in Pine Island, NY is just stunning no matter what time of the year you go. The sunsets call to me all spring and summer and it is so pretty even snow-covered!

Photos were taken early December 2022 after snowfall.

5 MUST HAVE ITEMS FOR VACATIONING IN DISNEY THIS SUMMER

Or vacationing anywhere really

Here are the 5 MUST-HAVE ITEMS for your park bag:

Cooling Rechargeable Neck Fans Necklace Battery Operated Fans

If you’re heading to Walt Disney World this summer, it is going to be hot and you will need help. I carry two different types of neck fans for each of my family members. The first kind are the new fun white bladeless ones (from amazon) that gently sit around your neck and blow air up into your face/ head.

Necklace Battery Operated Fans

You can use these in addition to your bladeless neck fans – because TRUST ME – you will want both. Especially when you’re standing outside in the burning sun and unbreathable humidity, these will be your saving grace.

Cooling Towels / Spray Fans

Yes these are a must – these can help lower your body temperature instantly to a comfortable point. My kids like to get the free ice water at Disney and fill the spray fans with the ice to make the spray nice and icy cold. I also will keep the cooling towels in a zip lock bag, so when we arrive to the Disney Parks, again we can grab from free ice water and put some of the ice into the zip locks making the towels cold. (Not to mention chewing on the ice is fun as well.)

Umbrellas

One for each member of your party – inside of your backpack. Umbrellas will really help you for those unexpected daily rainstorms that come out of nowhere! Sometimes wearing a poncho is so hot and makes you feel even more humid inside of the plastic. ***These also double for sun shade! When the sweat is dripping down your back among other places, you will appreciate some portable shade. I prefer to buy SPF Umbrella’s to block the hot sun’s rays and then also keep us dry!***

Ponchos

You’re going to need to need something to cover up that backpack full of things you’re carrying around and an umbrella alone won’t cut it. Also if you’re planning on riding Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, or maybe a water ride at another park and you don’t feel like being soaked this will come in handy!

Electrolyte Beverages

When the sun is so powerful and it’s so humid, you have to be careful to not dehydrate which will happen very easily walking so many miles each day of your trip. We save money by brining our own Gatorades, Powerades and Electrolyte Waters to keep everyone in your party hydrated and feeling good. Being dehydrated can put a huge damper on your trip! It can cause you to have fevers, nausea, become lethargic – who needs that when you’ve sacrificed so much, spent a significant amount of money and are trying to make the most magical memories.

What are your must-have items for your theme park bag? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Want to know what Disney is like with NO dining plan? CLICK HERE!

Reservations for Oga’s Cantina? Then you need to read this now! Click here!

Here are my 5 Pros and Cons of Staying at a Cabin in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort – read here!