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Are you looking for a special way to celebrate at Walt Disney World or surprise your family with some fun that many guests don’t even know about? You don’t have to break the bank to do something special. Here is a list of splurges and special treats that can increase the magic and provide the opportunity for even more amazing memories to take home with you from your Walt Disney World vacation.

Stay at a Deluxe Resort or Villa
If you are looking for luxury, comfort, convenience, and superior dining options, a Deluxe resort covers all of these. With larger rooms and queen-sized beds, you can simply spread out and breathe. Convenience is key at these resorts which are located closer to the parks and provide multiple transportation options for you. You’ll also find wonderful table service restaurants so you can opt for a day of relaxation and not have to go far for great dining options. Several of these resorts also offer entertainment or dinner shows. Most villas also offer a full kitchen and a washer and dryer!

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Pirates League
Little ones ages 3-12 can be made up like a princess, mermaid or pirate at one of these three locations. With different levels of packages, there is something for every budget. Reservations are highly recommended.

A PIRATE'S LIFE FOR ME!: The Pirates League is the newest buccaneer adventure in the Magic Kingdom, featuring makeovers that turn theme park guests into savvy swashbucklers. Depending on the pirate package, a trained Pirate Master can transform boys, girls (ages 3 and up) and grownups into pirates, buccaneers and maidens using facial effects, fake scars, removable teeth, hats, bandanas and other costume accessories. Included in each of the three packages offered: a sword and sheath, earring and eye patch, fake tattoo, exclusive pirate coin necklace, map case folder, a personalized pirate oath and a pirate portrait. Guests can make reservations by calling 407/WDW-CREW (939-2739). Theme park admission is required. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

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A Party!
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the seasons with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Get festive with your favorite Disney characters while you enjoy special entertainment as well as a holiday parade and fireworks. Tickets are limited which also means that lines for attractions and meet and greets are usually shorter.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Then a Dessert Party is just for you! These parties are offered on select nights and often offer special views of fireworks or entertainment.

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Take a Tour!
Disney offers many opportunities for getting a sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes, education or learning more about Disney culture, and they are designed specifically with every guest in mind. There are tours for the whole family as well as adults-only tour options. Go on a private safari, encounter dolphins, go behind the scenes to see how Disney creates some of the magic, take a custom VIP tour, and more!

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Specialty Cruises
There are also several options to enjoy Disney on the water. View the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom onboard a cruise in the Seven Seas Lagoon for a night to remember. For kids 4-12, let them sail the seas and search for treasure on a pirate adventure!

Relax at the Spa
Many of the Deluxe resorts and even some Moderate resorts have a spa on-site where you can relax with a massage or any of the other spa services to help wind down after a day in the sun. You do not have to be staying at that resort to make a spa reservation.

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Combine Land and Sea
How does your family choose between a visit to Disney World or a Disney cruise? Why choose? Do BOTH! It is easy to combine a visit to Disney World and have play time in the parks before setting sail from Port Canaveral for relaxing and fun days at sea. Both are completely different experiences and cannot replace the other, so combine a land and sea tour to get the best of both worlds!

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Take a tour with Adventures by Disney
Adventures by Disney offers a 7 day/6 night vacation in Central Florida which includes:
– a stay at a Deluxe resort
– a tour, VIP experiences and free time at the Magic Kingdom
– a private tour and guided safari at the Animal Kingdom, plus other VIP experiences
– fun and backstage and VIP experiences at Epcot and Hollywood Studios
– a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, including a tour and lunch with an astronaut
– exciting outdoor excursions in Central Florida, with options like kayaking, airboating in the wetlands, zip lining or horseback riding

There are so many ways to experience Disney that will make your vacation even more memorable. Let us help you find something special!

Nancy Wideman

Disney Travel Agent

will nancy mickey ears (1)Disneyland was always a huge part of my life, and I’d always dreamed of being proposed to at Disneyland – in front of the castle, in the canoes, on Tom Sawyer Island or under the fireworks,…

I knew a proposal was coming but wasn’t sure when or where until one day my Will and I were headed to Disneyland for the day. Of course, that morning I was having a bad hair day and couldn’t decide what to wear, and he was becoming more and more impatient that we leave. That wasn’t typical for him.

We finally got on the road, and all he could talk about was visiting the castle first thing. Really? Again…not the typical behavior of my boyfriend. Why the castle? Okay…something’s coming!

At Disneyland, there is a walkthrough of the story of Sleeping Beauty that winds you up a dimly lit staircase in the castle where you can view various scenes from the film. Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorites growing up, so this seemed perfect!

First window? Okay…pretty, but nope! Moving on. Next window? Well…no. It went on like this until we were nearing the end and I figured I must have read him wrong. Not here. Maybe not today. Until…

I had been distracted at the last scene when I turned and saw Will down on his knee, ring in hand. Yes! Well, not “yes” yet! Now, I was so very aware of all the people around us that I rushed him down the stairs and back out into the courtyard where he once again asked me the big question and slipped the ring onto my finger. I, in turn, pulled out the chain around my neck where I had hidden an engagement ring for him!

We have no big photos to show from our special moment. Just a wonderful memory of being in love in my Happiest Place.

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Walt Disney World is known for its ‘magical feeling’ that guests experience while visiting the parks. The magic is created in a variety of ways unbeknownst to guests. Many guests refer to their ‘magical experiences’ as getting sprinkled with Pixie Dust. How is this ‘magical feeling’ created? Where does the Pixie Dust come from? What are the secrets of Walt Disney World?

To help answer those questions and a few more, I booked a Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. This tour is a five hour walking tour around the Magic Kingdom park which details the creation of the park, hidden secrets and much more. You’ll need a park ticket and paid reservation for the tour to participate. This attraction is only for guests 16 years and older.

My tour started at the front of the park with meeting Walt Disney. We didn’t meet the ‘real’ Walt Disney but we got to listen to the story of how Walt envisioned his dreams while standing next to the iconic statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse.

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As we walked down Main Street, our guide explained the details about the writing on the main street buildings. Who are those people and why were their names painted on the windows? All of this was discussed along with a few more ‘magical’ pieces of information. Many guests have heard rumors about things that occur in the parks after guests leave like the tale of feral cats being released at night to keep the mice away. These tales of course are not true but the rumor of their being an underground tunnel under Main Street IS TRUE!

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On your tour you will get to travel down to the underground tunnels and see how some of the ‘magic’ is created. The tunnels are known as ‘utilidors’ (utility corridors) and are comprised of offices, wardrobe department, cafeterias, and salon. Before a character ever steps foot on Main Street, they are dressed, groomed and transported to the correct spot of the park using the underground tunnels. The map shows how the tunnels go through and around the entire Magic Kingdom.

Jessie on her way back to the tunnels after her meet ‘n’ greet with guests.
Jessie on her way back to the tunnels after her meet ‘n’ greet with guests.

You’ll also get to walk on to some of the attractions from an insider’s point of few! You can learn about the details behind the creation of those rides. Your tour will end with a delicious lunch. Then you’ll be presented with a special gift only given to those who take the tour.

On your next trip to Disney, take note of where the characters go when they are done greeting guests or how many Disney cast members you see leaving the park by the front gate. You’ll be surprised with what things you’ll learn.
To book your tour you can contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Agent at www.meandthemouse.com.

Roxanne Genovese

Travel Specialist

character magic bands
Now that Disney has made the Magic Band a needed component to your Disney vacation, why not enhance this feature with you’re own sense of style. The Magic Band is used for a variety of reasons at Disney World which include but are not limited to purchasing items in WDW, your resort room key or photo pass for your Memory Maker package. As a Disney World guest, you will be wearing you Magic Band the entire time you are on your Disney vacation. I highly recommend you keep your bands in your carry-on bag if you are flying just in case your luggage gets lost.

Many guests choose to pick out specific colors for each member of their family using their My Disney Experience account. You can even have a name placed on the underside of the band. If you forget, Disney will provide you with the generic grey bands at your resort check-in.

I’ve picked the colors bands and have also been given the grey bands. Any of these bands certainly aren’t something that I care to wear again. I would however consider wearing them after my vacation if they were decorated with my other favorite character or Disney print.

Disney has made decorating the bands a lot easier especially for those of us who can’t paint, draw or do a ‘rub on’. I can however slid things and snap-on items. Disney has created a variety of items for your bands that you can pre-purchase prior to your trip either through the Disney store or you can wait and pick out something special on your trip at one of the many shops at WDW. In Magic Kingdom in the store at the end of the Space Mountain Ride, Disney has D-Tech interactive boards which allow you to pick out and customize your own magic band. You can even customize your phone case.

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Disney has sliders and an item called ‘band-its’ that can be added to your Magic Band. Sliders are just what you think they are. They are an item that slides onto your band. The ‘band-its’ are more like snaps that fit in the holes of the Magic Bands. These items come in a variety of styles and characters. Disney also has Magic Bands with characters already printed on them. All of these items range in pricing depending on what you’re looking for.

Magic Bandits

Now many of us want to visit WDW without adding expense to our trip. Since the magic bands are free and will be sent directly to your house prior to your trip when you select them on your My Disney Experience account, why not decorate them yourselves for little or no cost. Your local superstores typically have rub-on stickers that can be purchased at minimal fee. You could also use tattoos. The tattoos can be removed with rubbing alcohol. You could do a different tattoo each day of your trip to match your outfit. HOW FUN!
*Nail Polish *Rub-ons

Pinterest has a variety of ideas and pictures showing how Disney fans have decorated their bands. Etsy also has vendors that will customize decals with your initials or a specialized design for you to adhere to your band.

Whether you choose to buy something or decorate your band yourself, you’ve created a momento of your Walt Disney World vacation that you can wear anytime.

To learn more about the features of your magic band and Disney vacation deals, contact an agent with Me and the Mouse.

Roxanne Genovese
Travel Specialist

With the new Pokémon GO craze sweeping the nation, it’s no surprise it has hit Walt Disney World too! What do you need to know about playing the game at Walt Disney World…

1. PokeStops are everywhere- including on rides! While you can find a ton of Pokeballs on Main Street USA, you might not know that there are a lot of PokeStops inside rides.

2. Accept there are some places where you can’t go. Be aware there are PokeStops, gyms, and even Pokémon to be caught in areas that are off limits. It may be tempting to wander behind a wall but stick to playing in public areas for your own safety.

3. If you want to battle in a gym, get comfortable! Many of the gyms are five and six levels deep, which means you need time and patience. And probably another battery! Unless you have no reservations, stick to catching Pokémon and visiting PokeStops.

4. Be respectful to other guests. Remember some guests are actually at Walt Disney World to enjoy the park. While it’s okay to play the game while waiting in line, it’s probably not a good idea to play during shows.

5. Don’t forget to take pictures! The screenshot feature can provide some truly unique vacation photos!

Remember to use common sense while playing Pokémon GO at Walt Disney World and have fun!

Lori Steinnerd

Travel Specialist

Working with a travel planner who specializes in Disney vacations can save you money and time, but how do you find a travel planner who will work well with your family?

  • Friends and family are a great resource – ask them how they planned their Disney vacation, and you might find they have a great referral for you!
  • You can search on the internet for travel agents specializing in Disney. There are a lot of them, so how do you weed them out? Look for a professional-looking website, certifications and affiliations, and even the Disney EarMarked logo (showing that the agency is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner).
  • Talk with an agent and ask if there are any fees. Most agents do not charge a fee unless you booked on your own and they are only providing planning services.
  • Be clear about the services you’d like the agent to provide. Some agents will do your dining reservations and FastPass reservations. Others will only make suggestions.
  • What happens if Disney offers a promotion after you’ve already booked with your travel planner? Will your planner be aware of any new promotions? and will they automatically apply the promotion to your qualifying reservation?
  • If you have any special requests or requirements, be sure to mention them at the onset of your discussions. Your agent may have information that may help you with your requests, or they may have recommendations that they might not have made had your requests remained unknown.
  • Understand the value of your travel planner. We are there to take the stress out of the planning process and do everything to ensure you enjoy your vacation. We spend many hours fine-tuning all the details. We will often include extra pixie dust for your family. The services and little surprises your agent can provide you with outweigh any small discount or gift card you might be offered by another company simply trying to get your business.
  • And don’t forget – even families who have been to Disney dozens of time can still find value in a travel planner. We make sure we are aware of all the newest rides and attractions, restaurants, and any changes. The World of Disney changes very quickly, even from month to month. When you are settled in your comfort zone with what your family enjoys at Disney, something new will be introduced that you might have otherwise overlooked!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was my favorite place above all else to visit if only for a short afternoon. I started sharing my love for Disneyland with each of my children at an early age, and we have developed some favorite traditions when visiting the parks.

Tigger Tails. You can find them back in Critter Country at Pooh Corner immediately next to the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction. Tigger Tails are an orange-flavored chocolate wrapped around marshmallows and caramel. Rest assured – no Tiggers are harmed in the making! They have lots of yummy treats here if you’ve got a sweet tooth as well as lots of Disney kitchen gadgets.Tigger-Tail-Whole

Upon entering Fantasyland from the drawbridge, look to your left for a very unassuming flight of stairs leading up into Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The story of Sleeping Beauty is depicted in several window scenes as you wind yourself around the narrow corridors. My husband proposed here, so I always have to walk through and smile when I visit.

Indiana Jones……it’s the best ride on this side of the Disneyland Resort! Thrills, suspense, and amazing scenery…..! There is a height limit, and I would suggest putting younger kids in the center seats of the vehicle in case it is too scary for them. My husband and I would drive down on a Sunday morning, enjoy the ride, have a bite to eat, and call it a day!

Shopping at the Emporium. When I was a child, I got to pick out one souvenir when we visited, so I started a collection of little glass figures that I purchased at the Emporium. My kids have chosen to collect trading pins and Vinylmation figures. While they no longer trade Vinylmations around the park, you can easily find guests and cast members at the ready for some fun pin trading!Mickey-Beignets-with-sauces

Mickey Mouse Beignets. When exiting the Walt Disney Railroad at New Orleans Square, just to the right of the stairs as you enter the courtyard is a small window. You can walk up and order your beignets here and grab a shady spot to people watch while you enjoy your sweet snack!

 

There is so much history throughout the Disneyland park. My kids like to find “hidden” objects in the park that are a part of Disneyland’s past. Can you find the old ticket booth in Fantasyland? or the Caterpillar’s shoe at the Alice in Wonderland attraction? The Disney family crest and coat of arms?

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For a quick bite, I love the Bengal Barbecue which is directly across from the Jungle Cruise/Indiana Jones attractions. The beef skewers are spicy but SO good!!!

For a casual sit-down lunch, the River Belle Terrace offers meals big enough to share, room to spread out, and a great view of the Rivers of America. This has always been my favorite spot to stop for a filling lunch and just take a breather.

Ending the day with a parade and a Mickey Mouse balloon. Always.

Mickey balloons
Create your own favorites to enjoy with your family and friends!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist