Visit Anaheim on a Budget

Anaheim on a Budget

Chances are if you’re traveling to Anaheim, you’re going to visit Disneyland. There are many ways to do Disney on a budget, but that’s another blog post in itself! Disneyland isn’t the only thing to do in Anaheim. There are plenty of other ways to have fun on a budget – and even for free – while visiting.

The Great Outdoors . . .

Covering nearly 30 acres, this lush botanical garden is the largest in Orange County. Fullerton Arboretum was established in 1979 and boasts over 4,000 plants and trees. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $5.

Yorba Regional Park has a parking fee of $3 per vehicle, but admission is free. Yorba is a great park for families! A beautiful setting on nearly 150 acres, the park has 400 picnic tables (many with shade). If the fishing doesn’t wear the kids out, the playgrounds will!

Learn a Thing or Two

Bowers Museum is free for kids under 12, and tickets for adults are $13. Exhibits change but some recent ones include Frida Kahlo (who is amazing!), Sacred Realms, Ancient Arts of China, and more. This museum features more than 130,000 works of art!

Visiting Muzeo is kind of tricky: you think you’re just having fun, but in reality, you’re learning something! You’ll erts, entertainment, education, and culture. Muzeo Museum isn’t free; there are different prices for each event. Some are $5 while others are $35. Check the upcoming schedule of events to see if it’ll fit into your budget.

Have Some Fun!

World famous Huntington Beach is the largest in Southern California. It boasts 10 miles of sunny, sandy beaches and isn’t far from Disney. Catch a wave or chill on the beach. Either way, you could spend an entire day here!

Rock City Climbing is an indoor rock climbing gym. Admission is only $12 but check Groupon to see if you can get a better deal.

Training home to the Mighty Ducks, The Rinks is a great place to go ice skating. Cost is $10.

Love sports? See the Angels play for as little as ten bucks.

Anaheim Budget

Disney Alternatives

Nothing beats Disney, but if you’re on a budget or all Disney’d out, check out these two:

A season pass to Knott’s Berry Farm costs about the same as a 1-Day pass to Disney. Live entertainment and rides will keep you busy all day long!

Admission to Adventure City is less than $20, and it’s a great experience! The roller coasters, rides, and other attractions along with the family atmosphere is what makes people come to Adventure City year after year.

Have you visited Anaheim? What was your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments!

Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Doing Las Vegas on a Budget

Myrtle Beach on a Budget

Doing Maui on a Budget

Doing Key West on a Budget

The Orlando Area on a Budget

Secrets of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Secrets Animal Kingdom

Could you just imagine? Heading out on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and you don’t see one, not one, animal? How does Disney make sure you get to see some of their animals when you hop on board one of those jeeps?

The Imagineers spent a considerable amount of time and energy designing all of the details that make Disney’s Animal Kingdom such an amazing park and a great place to spend time. Never rush through your time there. Take a careful look at all there is to see so that you can get a full appreciation for all that has gone into the park. All the little hidden details are amazing.

If you are a Disney regular, we know you have you heard of DeVine – I love walking through the park and seeing the expression on a new visitor’s face when they see her for the first time!

Did you know the park, when viewed from above, is actually the shape of Africa?

Secrets of the Safari

The animals on the preserve are treated exceptionally well and the naturalists on the preserve use exercise and feeding to their advantage to help make sure guests get the best experience. To make sure the animals will be around for you to see from the jeep, staff of the park shoot raisins out of cannons to get the gorillas to move out and about by the safari vehicles. Honey is smeared in key locations for the elephants and my most favorite secret of all – when you see a lion lounging on the rocks during your safari – every single time! It must be magic! Or . . . the top rock is air conditioned to entice the lions to spend time there! Food is typically hidden in strategic places like rocks, trees and hollowed out logs in order to keep the animals entertained and to make sure the guests get to see them. When the safari is done for the day, different species of animals have been trained to respond to the sound of a whistle, a click, drum, horn, bell or even duck calls, which signal that they can return to their nighttime accommodations.

Don’t ride the safari just once. Different animals can be seen at different times of the day. Ride first thing in the morning and then again late in the afternoon and you will have two different experiences.


At one time,  “Beastly Kingdom,” was planned as a land of the park with mythical creatures, but was never developed. You may still see signs that have the silhouettes of various animals AND a dragon. The originally park design was supposed to include an area which would have mythical creatures (such as dragons and unicorns). This space is currently being used as Avatar Land.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is full of coded signs. The Boneyard sign in Dinoland U.S.A. is in the shape of a Stegosaurus bone. The Route 498 sign refers to the opening of the park in April 1998. The red, yellow and white pipes running along the loading area in DINOSAUR are stenciled with the chemical formulas for ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. 

There are 27 Hidden Mickeys in the mural in the Animal Kingdom Conservation Station. Can you find them all? 

The Tree of Life

Jane Goodall visited the park during construction at the invitation of Michael Eisner. He asked her opinion on the animals being carved into the tree of life. Ms. Goodall chose the spot for the chimpanzee, at the entrance outside of It’s Tough To Be a Bug, so that all guests would be able to see “David Greybeard” the first chimp she ever observed. Notice he is more detailed than the other animals – multicolored (grey beard), and there is a plaque next to his image describing him.

There are so many things and little details that I love about Animal Kingdom and it has become my granddaughter’s favorite park. What do you like best about Animal Kingdom?

You might also like to read the 10 Secrets of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

A First Look at the Specialty Cocktails of Pandora-The World of Avatar

Cocktails Pandora World Avatar

With the opening of Pandora-The World of Avator getting closer and closer, Disney is releasing more and more information about what we can expect on our next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

Food and beverage is part of the storytelling at Pandora—The World of Avatar, and the Disney beverage team put together a fun, creative menu of libations.

To match the “pods” (bao buns) and bowls at Satu’li Canteen, the Pandoran Sunrise is a non-alcoholic mix of tropical Juices blended with Powerade Melon – you can get in the souvenir Satu’li Canteen Flute Flask.

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Wine by the glass is Banshee, a small Napa Valley winery with a serendipitous name (guests fly on the back of a mountain banshee on the exciting Avatar Flight of Passage experience). A Banshee Chardonnay and Banshee Pinot Noir are on the menu by the glass. And there’s a refreshing Dreamwalker Sangria with a splash Blue Curaçao.

Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Two ales round out the beverage menu: Hawkes’ Grog Ale with a fruity hop character (a taste of apricot and peach, a hint of wheat on the finish), and Mo’ara High Country Ale, a malty amber ale with the aroma of herbal spice hops and tastes of caramel, toffee, and nuts.

Next door at the Pongu Pongu walk-up window, the Night Blossom frozen drink is a non-alcoholic mixture of limeade with apple and desert pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls (you can get in a souvenir Pongu Pongu mug with a glow cube).

The Mo’ara Frozen Margarita is another frozen drink with Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo Tequila with strawberry and blood orange flavor topped with strawberry boba balls (also available in a souvenir mug).

Both the Hawkes’ Grog Ale and the Mo’ara High Country Ale will be on tap here too, with the option of the souvenir mug.

Countdown is on to the May opening!

Doing Las Vegas on a Budget

Las Vegas on a Budget

Visiting Las Vegas on a budget is easier than you might think. If you’re traveling on an extremely tight budget, you’ll want to avoid the Strip. However, most people go to Las Vegas just for the Strip, so I’m not going to tell you to avoid all the fun!

Skip the Weekends

You’ll pay a fraction of the price for a hotel room on Tuesday and Wednesday compared to what you’ll pay on Friday and Saturday. Flights are cheaper, too!

It’s also a good idea to avoid fight weekends, and other busy event times, like when CES comes to town.

Check for Resort Fees

Most of the hotels on the strip charge resort fees. Be sure to factor that into your budget when planning how much you’ll spend on the hotel.


One of the best parts of visiting the Las Vegas Strip? Most everything is either within walking distance or it’ll cost just a few bucks if you call an Uber or Lyft.

Food: Split with a Friend

Restaurants serve huge portions, even for lunch. Splitting with a friend means you each pay half – and save half!

If you’re traveling solo, this obviously won’t work the same way, but you could save half of your lunch for dinner.

See a Few Shows

Just because you’re on a budget in Las Vegas doesn’t mean you have to miss all the fun! Check out the Tix 4 Tonight website before you decide on which shows you’d like to see.

Another way to save money is to use the Go Las Vegas Card. You can save up to 55% on nearly 30 attractions. That adds up fast, especially when you’re traveling with a large family!

Ask About Discounts

Hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other businesses offer so many discounts that most people don’t take advantage of. Whether you’re an EMT, an AARP member, a teacher, or member of the military, be sure to ask about discounts wherever you go!

Don’t Forget About Groupon!

Groupon isn’t always going to give you the best deal, but sometimes you’ll score some awesome savings. Some groupons expire faster than others, so be sure to check the dates before booking anything.

Check Reviews

The worst thing to do on vacation is waste money. Read reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor before you go anywhere.

Las Vegas Budget

Visit as Many Free Attractions as Possible

Some of my favorite free views and attractions include:

Fountains at the Bellagio
Conservatory at the Bellagio
Volcano at the Mirage
Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo
Gondolas at the Venetian
Aquarium at the Silverton
Waterfall Atrium at the Palazzo
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (downtown)
61 Pound Golden Nugget (downtown)

What’s your best tip for enjoying Las Vegas on a budget? Leave a comment below!

Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Myrtle Beach on a Budget

Doing Maui on a Budget

Doing Key West on a Budget

The Orlando Area on a Budget

Do You Remember the Magic Kingdom Swan Boats?

Do you remember the Magic Kingdom Swan Boats? I do! The Swan Boats were operational at the Magic Kingdom from May 20, 1973 through August, 1983 and were one of my very favorite attractions!

The Swan Boats used to sail around the canals in the Magic Kingdom. The boats could carry around 28 to 30 guests and toured the canals of Adventureland and around Cinderella Castle. The Swan Boats traveled the waters of the Magic Kingdom, offering very unique views of Cinderella Castle, The Swiss Family Robinson TreeHouse and other attractions along the way. The boats were named for some of Disney’s animated heroines. Among the names were Tiger Lily, Tinker Bell, Katrina, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather.

Originally there were 12 boats when the ride opened, but this was reduced to 11 when one of the boats was converted to clean the canals. By the end of the rides operation, there were only 5 boats operating. The reason for closing was because of the cost to keep the boats running. They constantly had issues with their natural gas engines and guidance system. Originally the guidance was done with an electronic system but was changed to use water propulsion to turn the boat. Eventually the boats were removed and sold.

Until  a redesign of the Magic Kingdom hub began in March of 2014, a noticeable piece of the attraction’s history existed between Cinderella Castle and Tomorrowland. A shady seating area at the water’s edge, with a green roof, which was originally built as the Swan Boat’s second and permanent loading dock. The former entrance to the attraction is what many guests recognized as the Rose Garden and the original loading dock for the boats was used as an outdoor seating area just outside the Plaza Restaurant.

The Ride

After boarding the boats near Tomorrowland, you took a seventeen minute guided tour through the main hub, into Adventureland, and back again. The pinnacle of the ride was to drive around the Swiss Family Robinson TreeHouse before heading back to unload. After closing, the boats were sent to a storage lot on property where they were all sold at auction with the boats and swans sold separately. Rumor has it that 6 of the swans are currently accounted for with one belonging to a man in Florida who also has the only known surviving boat.

Are there are Walt Disney World attractions that you miss?