Nancy Bobby is the owner of The Affordable Mouse, a website focused on Walt Disney World trip planning. TAM, as her regular readers call the site, was created out of Bobby’s interest in Disney, writing and helping people. It offers ideas, tips, strategies and information on how to make Walt Disney World more, well, affordable.
The Affordable Mouse started out as a blog on Blogger.com and in late 2009, the expanded TAM the website and blog debuted. Other writers contribute to TAM, which provides new content six days a week. Posts cover a range of topics in addition to affordability and value, all with an eye to making a trip to Disney an enjoyable experience.
TAM offers readers free planning worksheets and a 50-page planning guide. In addition to these resources, readers can receive weekly updates of the site’s blog posts and a monthly newsletter. A Facebook page offers daily interactions with Bobby and between TAM readers.
In addition to offering planning worksheets and a planning guide, TAM has recently published the e-book “Magical Meals: A Guide to Affordable Dining at Walt Disney World.” After reviewing “Magical Meals” for this column, I asked Bobby if she would be willing to answer a few questions about TAM, “Magical Meals,” and her work as a Disney specialist travel agent.
This article covers part I of that interview, focused on The Affordable Mouse.
See Part II of my interview with Nancy Bobby of The Affordable Mouse for information on “Magical Meals” and her work as a Disney specialist travel agent.
Debra Peterson, Disney Travel Examiner: What is your response to “Why Disney?’
Nancy Bobby: “Why Disney?” Wow, this is kind of hard to answer because it’s not any one thing, or memory, or event that says “Disney” to me. It’s probably more of a feeling….
My first visit was as a girl not long after the Magic Kingdom opened, and my memories of that visit are pretty hazy. When our daughter was born, I knew that “some day” we would take her to Disney World, but we waited until she was 7 before we actually went because we wanted her to be old enough to experience this “trip of a lifetime.” Once we went though, we were all hooked and knew we wanted to go back again and again! We loved how “Disney does things,” we loved the Cast Members, we loved their dedication to spreading pixie dust, and we loved how it made us…and the other park guests….feel.
I think for me, that probably sums up all of the many, many things that I love about Disney….I love how I feel there and I love seeing how others feel. I love how people celebrate the big and little events of their lives at Disney. I love seeing how children’s faces light up when they see Wishes or their favorite character. I love seeing grandparents act like little kids with their grandchildren. I just love what Disney does to people.
Debra: Tell me a little bit about The Affordable Mouse (TAM). What was the inspiration for creating the site and how would you describe it?
Nancy: The Affordable Mouse was born as a response to the comment that I hear all the time: “I can’t afford to go to Disney World.” It’s a common perception, and while yes, a Disney vacation certainly can be extremely expensive, it just doesn’t have to be. Having personal experience with balancing the desire to visit Disney on a regular basis with being able to afford to do so, I know how frustrating it can be to try to find ways to “make the magic happen.”
Debra: What aspect(s) of the site are you particularly proud of?
Nancy: I love knowing that we are truly helping folks learn how to make a Disney vacation something that they can actually afford! People often write to tell me how much we have helped them, and knowing that we have been able to help is a wonderful feeling!
Debra: TAM offers a wealth of very affordable – meaning free! – information on the site, from finding discount Disney tickets to planning worksheets and guides. What is your one best bit of advice for making Disney travel affordable?
Nancy: My one best bit of advice for making Disney travel affordable is to be flexible and have an open mind. (That’s actually two…but they kind of go together.) There are a lot of ways to make a Disney vacation be affordable…but it’s not the same for everyone, and it may not be the same from one trip to the other. You have to be willing to look at all aspects of your trip and use your calculator to see what way will save you the most money. Having an open mind is important…because the cheapest way is not always the one you think it will be!
Debra: Tell me a little bit about your 50-page Affordable Disney Vacation Planning Guide.
Nancy: Many of our readers are first time visitors…and I know that planning a Disney vacation is totally overwhelming to so many: they just don’t know where to start! So I wrote this guide as a series of steps to take to plan an affordable Disney vacation: First do this, then look at this, next consider this and so on. It basically breaks down every aspect into easy to understand…and follow…steps.
Debra: TAM has a blog that includes posts by you and several other writers. Can you tell me a bit about the blog’s focus, some of its regular features, or the writers?
Nancy: We write about a lot of topics, but the focus is always on how to save money and/or how to get the most out of a Disney vacation. We often try to uncover little things that may be not as well known, or little extras that are free (or minimal cost) that can really add value to a Disney World vacation. And we have some wonderful writers!
Brenda does features on Tuesdays and Thursdays, focusing on tips and specific “thrifty” things about Disney World…maybe a little known attraction, or something that folks should know about so that they don’t spend more money than necessary. She is also now in the midst of planning her first Disney Cruise, so we’re excited about her new column focusing on how to do a Disney Cruise affordably.
Our other writers, Kelly, Jolie, Debbie and DeAnna write about a variety of topics, again with a focus on saving money at Disney. We are just now finishing a series where they wrote about the different Disney resorts, which was great because it helps people learn a little more about each one, as they decide which might be best for them.
And Jolie has a column that is very special, because she is currently planning a Disney vacation as a single mom…and so is writing about her experiences from that perspective. There is not a lot out there for visiting Disney as a single parent…so I am especially thrilled to have her writing about this topic.
Kungaloosh! Put on your set of ears and join me in stalking the Mouse. Read more of my Disney Travel Examiner articles or sign up for a free subscription.