Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My sticker-shock experience at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

Over the Christmas holiday, my family and in-laws went to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.  It was a blast--something I highly suggest everyone to experience at least once . . . quite often.

I will expand on this more, with detailed information on each park, but for now I must share my sticker-shock experience when it comes to paying for meals.  This goes at both Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.  Now, I'm not mad or even remotely upset at the cost of food.  It's an experience and something you need to budget for.  Your average kids meal--I highly recommend this if you bring kids--at most places run from $4.99 to $6.99 (this would be at the "$" restaurants - the "$$" and "$$$" places are much more expensive).  For adults, double this.

My family of five had an average meal cost between $45-$55.  The portions are more than generous.  With this in mind, we budgeted between $100 and $150 each day for eating--this even included snacks.  Most places we found accepted cash and debit/credit cards.

Our other family members--those who didn't come with us--gave our family Disney gift cards, which would be used all over the parks.  This was also an added bonus, for it kept the amount of cash needed on us much lower.

So, when planning your Orlando vacation, over-budget for food.  I know there's a meal plan available at Disney World, and we elected not to do so because we could get by with less.  Shop around and compare if you feel your family could benefit from the meal plans or not.

And, most of all, have fun!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A sure-fire way to keep your car running in sub-zero temperatures

I live in northwestern Minnesota, and the past few days this entire state has been in the national news.  For what?  For being cold.


Cold is normal for us Minnesotans, but these past few days has been awful cold.  I know plenty of people who start their vehicles in the morning, just before going to work, and . . . guess what?  They don't run.

I sympathize.  I've been there and gotten the T-shirt.  However, after many failed winters and busted power steering hoses, I now have a sure-fire way to keep my vehicles running, even when it's forty and fifty below zero.  I start my vehicles every 2-4 hours, depending on the temperatures, and let them run about 15-20 minutes.  I don't have a car starter, but if you did, it sure would make life much easier.

Yes, it may mean taking up at two or three in the morning to start it, but wouldn't that be better than waking up to a dead battery?