Disney Trip Update

I was able to snag “Free” dining for our upcoming Disney World vacation! I literally pulled an all-nighter to be among the first to catch this deal. It was intense! Guess who hung in there with me? My sweet Jayden Baby. We even ordered pizza at around 11PM.

Disney released the free dining promotion at 3AM CST, and the package offerings were extremely limited. I actually have changed my resort/package 12x, and yes, you have to pay a $200 deposit each time. It’s refundable, of course, but you can only imagine what my statement looked like with me changing multiple times daily.

Our trip total is just over $2,000 for 8 days! This includes a moderate room on-site, park hopper tickets, 1 quick service meal, 1 counter table meal, and one snack per day. Because we saved so much by getting free dining, we also opted to fly instead of drive. Renting an SUV for 10 days would have been $360 (not including gas). The flight was $1,000 but it saves time because instead of 16+ hours, we will arrive in just 2.5 hours. We also won’t be exhausted beyond belief by the time we arrive. We are flying with Southwest so we will also get a total of 8 checked bags for FREE. “If it’s free, it’s for me. If I gotta pay, no way!”

I actually think I may be more excited about the trip than the kids. Whenever RaShad is bored, he asks, “Can I watch Disney World stuff?” My face lights up! Music to my ears lol. I’ve also purchased him a few Disney World books as well as our continued Disney movie nights every Friday. By the time September rolls around, he is going to be extremely knowledgeable about Disney and the characters.

Another way I plan to save money is by giving the kids Tinkerbell gifts (also will help with behavior). Whenever I see something Disney themed, specifically with Mickey Mouse, I purchase it. I’ve found amazing deals from Party City, Target (dollar spot), and Dollar Tree. I’m hoping the kids will get these gifts and not feel the need to buy so many souvenirs. I do have a few gift cards left over so they will each get $50 to spend on whatever they want.

Only 120 days until Disney

TAW

Disney Themed Teacher’s Appreciation Week

This week was Teacher’s Appreciation Week, and I wanted to do something really special for RaShad’s teacher. She is AMAZING, and our family really appreciates her. I started brainstorming ideas over a month ago and changed my mind just 2 weeks before. I mean, it only makes sense to do a Disney theme since we are planning a Disney vacation in a few months and have Disney on the brain. She knows we’re in Disney mode as RaShad is constantly talking about our trip, and we have a Disney movie night every single Friday night. I took some of my favorite quotes from Disney movies and tied them together with a gift.

Monday: Alice in Wonderland
Quote: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” 

Gift: Breakfast – banana, muffin, yogurt

Alice in Wonderland themed gift | GirlGoneHouston.com

Tuesday: Cinderella 

Quote: “Well there’s one thing. They can’t order me to stop dreaming. “

Gift: Sleeping Kit – slippers, nightlight, towel, eye mask, loofa 

Cinderella themed gift | GirlGoneHouston.com

Wednesday: Ratatouille  

Quote: “This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.”

Gift: Mickey Mouse decorated chocolate covered Oreos

Ratatouille Themed Gift/ Mickey Mouse Chocolate Oreos | GirlGoneHouston.com

Thursday: Frozen

Quote: “Some people are worth melting for” 

Gift: Ice Cream Kit – cones, wooden spoons, “Frozen” decorated bowls, caramel & chocolate, blue and silver candies, sprinkles

Disney's Frozen themed gift; DIY Ice Cream Kit | GirlGoneHouston.com

Friday: Snow White

Quote: “Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine”

Gift: Basket of sunshine – everything I could find that was yellow

Snow White themed gift\Box of Sunshine | GirlGoneHouston.com

Our Weekend Trip to San Antonio

This weekend, my family had the most amazing time in San Antonio. Everything was absolutely perfect! We left Houston late Saturday morning and arrived in San Antonio at around 1:30PM. The best part of the trip is the huge amount of money we saved!

This is an instance where waiting until the last minute really paid off. On Friday, I was searching for hotel near Sea World, and they were quite expensive (around $200/nt). I then wandered to PriceLine to bid on a hotel. From searching, I knew there were only two 4 star hotels available through Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool, the Hyatt Hill Country resort and the Hilton Hill County Hotel & Spa. Those were the two hotels I had my eye on anyway (how lucky!). The price was a bit of a determent, however. Priceline rejected all of my bids and insisted I bid at least $150. My plan was to try again from a different browser, but I got side-tracked. Fast forward to Saturday while we were on the road, I bid $125, and it was accepted! We booked one night at the Hilton San Antonio Hill County hotel, and that was such a wonderful decision. We were upgraded upon check in, as always. The room was huge and very clean and comfortable.

Our reason for going to San Antonio was to visit Sea World, and this hotel is located about a mile from Sea World. The Hilton also offered free shuttle service to any location within 3 miles of the hotel. Preferred parking at Sea World is $25 so we got to relax, ride over in an air-conditioned shuttle that we had all to ourselves, and keep our money.

I also waited until the morning of to purchase the Sea World tickets. This is because I had such a hard time deciding which package to select. This paid off also because that morning when I checked my email, I had a message from Groupon alerting me of 14-day admission tickets to Sea World San Antonio for only $35! Win!!! Tickets are $55 for a single day. To make the deal even sweeter, I had a coupon for 25% off.

On the first day, we took the shuttle to Sea World immediately after checking in. It was a short 3 minute drive. The park was EMPTY. There were no lines. No lines for admission, food, rides, anything! We also got great seat for the shows. Our favorite show was Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High. It is hilarious! We stayed for about 2 hours then went back to the hotel for a small 30 minute break. I attempted to go bag-less, which wasn’t the best decision, but it was just a quick ride back to the hotel to collect our items. After our break, we went back to Sea World and visited all of the attractions and watched the final show of the evening, staying until closing time.
We told the driver we would be staying until closing so as we walked out, he was outside waiting for us! As soon as we got back to the hotel, I ordered dinner and we got ready for the outdoor movie. They were showing Despicable Me, one of my favorites. It was a bit chilly out so we asked the front desk for a blanket. They had housekeeping send up the softest, most comfortable blanket I’ve ever had held! Dinner arrived about 30 minutes after ordering, and we just took it outside to eat by the fire pit. I also bought the kids a s’mores kit so they could roast marshmallows. The s’mores kit is completely a rip-off btw, but I knew the boys would love it so I didn’t mine forking over the money to see them smile. Next time, I’m bringing my own supplies though🙂

On the second day, we decided to sleep in. After checking out, we had the shuttle driver take us to Sea World for one last visit. No parking fees and no wasting time trying to find a parking spot! We didn’t have to spend money on food because we packed snacks in our day pack and brought re-fillable water bottles and flavored drink mix. We stayed for about 4.5 hours then decided to hit the road. I really wanted to take the kids downtown to the River Walk so we drove there for dinner. Parking was a bit pricey at $17, but I guess it was worth it. We had dinner right by the river then got on the river walk cruise. Afterwards, we walked around for a bit, admiring the rich, history and culture then took the drive back to Houston. This was such a perfect weekend getaway!
Trip Cost – $358.20:

  • Gas – $19
  • Hotel – $148.20 ($71.32 savings)
  • Sea World Tickets – $78.75 ($116.25+ tax; Groupon didn’t charge tax)
  • Parking – $0 ($50 savings – $25/day) We tipped the driver each way though.

Day 1

  • Lunch at Buc-ee’s $22
  • Snack at Sea World – $12.75
  • Dinner – FREE (mystery shop; I actually earned $23)
  • S’mores kit from hotel – $5

Day 2

  • Breakfast – FREE (packed from home)
  • Lunch – FREE (snacks packed from home; Snacks were FREE btw thanks to Amazon)
  • Downtown parking – $17 (yikes!)
  • Dinner on River Walk – $35 including tip
  • River Walk cruise – $20.50