IMG_2935I was lucky enough to be at Disney World within the first week of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening. It opened May 28th and I arrived June 1st. I was unable to secure my family a Fastpass, because the announcement of the opening of the Fastpass for the ride did not coincide with my availability to be online when it first opened. When I went to book them for our trip the Fastpasses were gone! I knew at that moment that it would take a large amount of strategy on my part to get on this ride  without waiting.

Why without waiting you may ask? The first reason is I have two small children ages 2 and 5. The concept of waiting has not yet developed. The second reason is I live in Missouri and my husband is a teacher, which means we are able to get to Disney once a year as a family. I do not want to waste my day in line when we could be having fun and building those precious memories with our children. Waiting in line? Not an option for this girl.IMG_2933

 I followed these four easy steps and I was 12th in line for the hottest ticket in town that day. With no waiting and no Fastpass.

  • Stay on property: Disney loves all their guests, but they especially love their onsite guests. Disney provides onsite guests with extended theme park hours – Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours give guests access to the park before the designated park is scheduled to open or after the park is scheduled to close. 
  1. Be there on time: Be at the Magic Kingdom gates one hour before Extra Magic Hours opening.
  2. Know the right path: Many people think the shortest way to The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is through Cinderella’s Castle. However, this is incorrect. Right before the castle there is a bridge to your right that appears to lead into Tomorrowland. This pathway takes you by Cosmic Rays Starlight Café and the Cheshire Café. After the bridge, take the first path to the left. Head up the hill past the Mad Tea Party. If you kept walking straight you would run right into the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
  3.  Watch the Cast Members: Cast Members will be standing at the opening of this bridge making it appear as though you may not enter. Just approach them with a smile and they will fall back and allow the crowd to enter. Follow their lead, they are making sure there are no stampedes and everyone behaves. They always appreciate a smile and friendly conversation.

 In regards to the ride, it was everything I hoped it to be. The biggest surprise was how smooth it was. My family did the “Rider Switch” option and I took my 5-year-old daughter on with me. She found the ride to be a little too intense for her. It wasn’t the “drops” but the speed of the ride is incredible for its size. The carts also swing to almost make you feel like you are going to tip over. When we got off she had the option to get back on with my husband with the “Rider Switch” and even though she enjoyed it she did not want to get back on it a second time.  Her exact words were, “I think once is good enough for me.” My husband also loved it and came off the ride smiling ear-to-ear. Reflecting back on our trip, my husband and I both agreed this ride is our new favorite in the Magic Kingdom.

 The strategy above could be used for any hot ticket item during your trip. To discover the fastest way to your destination, ask a Cast Member. Remember they always appreciate a smile and friendly conversation. Good luck, have fun and most of all be safe!

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I feel one of the best kept secrets on Disney Cruise Line can be found on the Disney classic ships  (Wonder and Magic) and are the secret verandah staterooms. 

If you want to enjoy a verandah stateroom but prefer the rates of an oceanview stateroom, the best option is in one of the 4 secret verandah staterooms. They are listed as an obstructed view stateroom, but they actually have very little obstruction. There is a small portion of the top corner of the verandah that is slightly obstructed, but otherwise, it is the same as any other non-obstructed verandah.  These staterooms are very very popular and go quickly so give your Me and The Mouse travel agent a call and get your stateroom reserved.  

 Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

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Walt Disney World is full of excitement and fun for everyone.  While every family has their family “favorites”, there are many overlooked attractions and activities that are worthy of working into your Disney itinerary.  Below is our list of 10 “Overlooked Attractions and Activities” at Walt Disney World.

1.  Hayrides at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds:  Take an old-fashioned, horse-drawn hayride which offers an hour-long tour around the Fort Wilderness Campground. Hayrides depart at 6:00pm and 8:30pm nightly from the front of Pioneer Hall. Hayrides are on a first-come, first-served basis only (no reservations!)  These 45-minute wagon rides cost $8 for Guests ages 10 and up, and $5 for Guests 3 to 9 years of age.

2.  Movies at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel:  Complimentary Disney movies screenings are available to resort guests only.  Whether on the beach, poolside or surrounded by Floridian woodlands, enjoy your favorite Disney film with your family after a fun-filled day at the parks.  For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort.

3.  Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise:  Walt Disney World offers its guest another memorable experience just outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom with its Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise.  Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruises launch from the boat docks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, located just outside the Magic Kingdom and conveniently located on the monorail system.  Cruises go out on Fridays through Mondays and are limited to 60 people, so advanced reservations are encouraged.  The voyage costs $53.99 for adults and $30.99 for children and characters are subject to change without notice.  Read more about it in our Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/pirates-pals-and-fireworks-a-magical-memory-for-the-entire-family/

4.  Water Pageant Parade:  The Electric Water Pageant Parade has been a tradition since 1971.  This parade is a nightly display that makes its way around Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake for the Magic Kingdom area resorts.  The beaches of these resorts make ideal locations for viewing this longtime tradition.  The Electric Water Pageant Parade occurs about 10 minutes following the Wishes! fireworks show at Magic Kingdom.  Check with Guest Services for an updated time schedule for this attraction.

5.  Splitsville:  Disney opened Splitsville in the west side of Downtown Disney in December of 2012.  Disney describes this unique venue as a retro-style bowling alley with a fresh spin on music, dining and entertainment.  Read more about it in our blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/splitsville-luxury-lanes-at-downtown-disney/

6.  Hidden Mickeys:  Did you think you saw a familiar face when walking down the sidewalk or in the rug at your Disney resort?  The fact is there are 100’s of Hidden Mickeys throughout all of Walt Disney World properties.  Searching and discovering Hidden Mickeys while you wait for your turn on a ride or attraction can be a great activity for the whole family.  Read more about Hidden Mickey’s here in our blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/hidden-mickeys-game/

7.  Pressed Pennies:  One of our favorite activities and souvenirs is collecting pressed pennies throughout Walt Disney World.   Children of all ages will find this to be an entertaining quest as they tour the parks, visit the shops and explore the various resort properties.   Pressed  pennies (and quarters) can be found throughout all four theme parks, Downtown Disney and all Walt Disney World resorts.  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/pressed-pennies-remember-the-memories-for-51-cents/

8.  Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom:  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive trading card adventure that kids of all ages will love.  This game is free with your park admission and allows guests to use their cards to help battle various Disney villains throughout Magic Kingdom’s themed lands (except Tomorrowland) using special spell cards.  Read more about this fun, free “extra” here:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/sorcerers-of-the-magic-kingdom/

9.  Animation Academy:  Don’t miss the chance to learn to draw different Disney characters at the Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios Park.  The class is offered every 30 mins. Guests are seated at large tables with a piece of paper and a pencil and a Disney illustrator will walk you through the steps of drawing a Disney character.  Your drawing makes a fantastic, free souvenir!!

10.  Agent P’s World Showcase Missions:  Help Agent P defeat Doofenshmirtz’s evil plan within the World Showcase at EPCOT.   Using an interactive handheld device, guests serve as undercover agents and complete missions with the help of Major Monogram and Carl (from Phineas and Ferb).  Tasks may include taking photos with your interactive, handheld device, speaking the native language (say ‘fromage!”), and special effects, like talking statues.  Each mission has between five and ten assignments with code names and your entire mission will take 30 to 40 minutes to complete within the country.   This free, fun and educational activity is free to all guests with a valid park admission.  Read more here:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/agent-ps-world-showcase-missions-the-agency-needs-your-help-at-epcot/

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist