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Mike Scopa

Top Disney Web Sites: Money Matters at Mousesavers

Friday, March 21, 2003
by Mike Scopa, MousePlanet staff writer

Our journey through the sea of Disney Internet sites is turning the corner and in this session, let's look at a Disney web site that is quite different from the others we have discussed. The site is Mousesavers (at www.mousesavers.com), and its charter is to educate and help visitors get the most out of their Disney vacation dollars.

Mousesavers founder Mary Waring

Mary Waring, the founder of Mousesavers, brought the idea of providing money–saving ideas to the Internet as recently as February 2001. The idea originated after Mary had returned from a trip to Orlando. Having loved Walt Disney World, Mary immediately started thinking about planning a return trip. However, as her trip was still fresh in her mind, so were the costs. She decided to do some research into how to reduce the overall expense of a Walt Disney World vacation.

When Mary found deals that helped lower costs, she shared this information with friends and relatives by posting them on a special page on her business Web site. This page became quite popular. Within three months, the site had logged over 150,000 visitors. Requests soon came in for more information. What about Disneyland? What about all things Disney? What about airfare? What's the best deal on rental cars?

Mary knew she not only had an audience craving for this information, but she also realized that it was necessary to separate this information from her business site.

With that, she launched Mousesavers.

A Star is Born

Mousesavers first appeared in April 2001. This time, the information was open to the entire universe, and not just Mary's friends and relatives. The site became very popular to the point that it was featured in a front-page article in the Orlando Sentinel, as well as mentioned in the Miami Herald.

MouseSavers home page screen shot
Used by permission of MouseSavers.com

Word spread fast regarding Mary's site, and last year, Mousesavers was mentioned in Bob Sehlinger's popular book, 2002 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

The popularity of the site continued to grow. By the fall of 2001, Mousesavers was enjoying as many as 100,000 visitors every month.

Mary began adding information on other Disney destinations like Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Disney's Vero Beach, and others. She also provided money–saving information on Disney software, magazines, music, and videos.

It got even better. Mary was able to negotiate and get special Mousesaver rates at many of the Walt Disney World-area hotels. On her sitem Mary says, "My motto became 'a first-class vacation at the best possible price.'"

Mousesavers has received mention in such places as PassPorter Guide to Walt Disney World, The Cheapskate's Guide to Walt Disney World, Family Fun magazine, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Southern Living magazine.

As of January 2003, MouseSavers receives over 350,000 visitors per month and maintains a newsletter mailing list of nearly 35,000 opt-in subscribers

The Appeal

So why has this site taken off in such little time? The explanation is simple: The site is straightforward, with a very simple navigation design. Mary has constructed the site to allow her visitors to get to their specific area of interest as quickly as possible without having to visit some unnecessary stops along the way. Best of all, the information is fresh and constantly updated.

Maybe one of the site's greatest draws is its ability to satisfy the needs of its guests in such a speedy fashion. It's a quick trip — you're in and out in no time. Mousesavers is a no–nonsense Web site. No glitz, no fancy banners, no expensive Web layout — just information.

The site has conveniently placed links in all the right places. As Mary describes the latest information, she also provides you with a link for more information usually right there where you would want it. You can then whisk yourself right to the details you need.

Mary is constantly revising Mousesavers to satisfy her guests and their needs. You can find information on resort codes to all Disney sites, codes for hotels not owned by Disney, car rental information and rate codes, great deals on meals, admission media, entertainment, and even hints on finding the best airfare.

Mousesavers also has an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section that just about answers every question you can imagine on saving money.

When you visit Mousesavers, be sure and visit the money section where Mary offers her readers extra information on planning sites, planning software, time saving hints, and advice on equipment and tips on clothing for your vacation.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Mousesavers

When I'm asked questions on the latest best deals for Walt Disney World, the first word out of my mouth is "Mousesavers." When anyone decides to go to WDW, the first place to go for information on saving money is Mousesavers. I've been a fan of Mousesavers from the beginning, and without Mary's help I certainly would not have gotten such great car rental deals.

I'm sure you've heard about the Imagineers sitting in a table tossing around ideas and wondering, "What would Walt think?"

Well, if you think you've got the best deals on your vacation you may want to check out Mousesavers and ask yourself, "What would Mary think?"

Next time

We are not quite finished with our spotlight on Disney Web sites. Next time, we'll be looking at a site that offers a little bit of everything.

Class dismissed.


Contact Mike at mike.scopa@mouseplanet.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.

Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.

Mike brings his experience to MousePlanet in a series of lessons to help you with all the phases of planning a WDW trip.

Mike pays special attention to all the details that ensure your family has the best possible time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

You can contact Mike here.

OTHER LINKS

Here are trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives:

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, “The Trip Planner” for more travel planning information.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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