Royal Dining at its Finest

Fit for royalty, Cinderella’s Royal Table is an exceptional dining experience for families, couples, and adults to enjoy during their Walt Disney World vacation.

Royal Dining Upon checking in, you will be escorted to the Grand Hall to meet Cinderella herself. After your family meets her, explore the Grand Hall while you wait to be called to the dining room. Disney has added many magical touches including hiding the mice Jaq and Gus up high.

When your family is called, proceed up the spiral staircase to the dining room where the children will be presented with their very own royal wands, swords, and wishing stars. Gothic details such as archways, stained glass windows, and more than 40 coats of arms will make you feel as if you have stepped back into the 1400s.

During your meal, Cinderella’s princess friends will greet each table. Be sure to have your autograph books and cameras ready when they stop by.

Royal Dining If the atmosphere isn’t enough to get your attention, the food served here most definitely will. From breakfast selections that include pastries, quiche, eggs, and more, to lunch and dinner selections of tenderloin, fish, and vegetarian couscous, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to savor dessert such as the “Clock Strikes Twelve”, a personal favorite.

Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent to book this dining reservation as part of your Walt Disney World stay.

 

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

New this year to Hollywood Studios to help get you in the holiday spirit is the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!  Jingle Bell, Jingle BAMEach night from November 14 to December 31, 2016 you can experience this festive celebration! The celebration will be centered around Grauman’s Chinese Theater. You can expect state-of-the-art projections, lasers & lights, special effects, fireworks, and Christmas music. And there will be snow during Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! How exciting is that! The show will be hosted by Wayne and Lanny, the elves from “Prep & Landing”. There will be scenes from Disney holiday classics such as Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAMDisney is also offering a Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Dessert Party. What a sweet way to view this holiday spectacular! The dessert party will include reserved viewing, desserts, specialty beverages, and more! If you are a dessert party guest, you will receive a pair of 3D Holospex glasses to use while watching the show. The glasses create holographic illusions of gingerbread men, candy canes, snowflakes, and ornaments on any bright point of light.

Be sure to check out this limited time holiday celebration at Hollywood Studios!

Lori Steinnerd

Travel Specialist

With all the wonderful kid-friendly dining options at Disney World, why should your family choose to eat at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Resort?   The answer is:  for the unique cultural dining experience, of course.   You won’t find Disney character dining here, but you will have a dining experience with “character.” Sanaa at Animal Kingdom

From the moment you arrive at the Kidani Village lobby at Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort, you will understand what I mean.  As you enter, take a moment to take in all Animal Kingdom Lodge has to offer, you will be in awe of the grand lobby with an African safari-theme.  It has an inviting, comfortable, casual, warm and cozy feel the moment you enter.  It tends to be a little quieter than some of the resorts and is the perfect place to unwind.

Sanaa serves lunch and dinner offering unique themed dining.  African cuisine with an Indian flavor is served.  Don’t let this scare you! There are a variety of dining options.  Be sure to check out the menu before you decide to visit, but I am going to give you a few recommendations to keep in mind as you browse the menu for Sanaa.  Reservations are recommended and accepted 180 days prior to arrival.  Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent and ask them to book an advance reservation for your party. Sanaa at Animal Kingdom

As you check-in with the host or hostess, request to be seated at a table by a window.  My family was fortunate to snag one of window tables on our last visit.  My son has always had a love of animals and was thrilled to be seated at a table where the windows extend from floor to ceiling and he could watch giraffes, zebras and birds as we dined.  He was surprised when animals came up to the huge windows right next to us, pressed their noses against the windows, and watched our family as we dined.  I am not sure who enjoyed the experience more: my family or the animals as we all watched each other.  So keep your camera handy and ready to shoot some amazing photos.

 

What are some of my recommendations on the menu?

Sanaa at Animal KingdomMy family’s favorite item at Sanaa is an appetizer – the Indian-Style Bread Service.  We were not convinced this appetizer would suit our family the first time we enjoyed the Sanaa experience.  Our waitress highly recommended it and explained it was a specialty and a favorite of guests who visited.  We almost declined, but then the guests at the table next to ours overheard our conversation and informed us what we would be missing so we couldn’t resist at that point.  It only took one time, and now it is a tradition each time we go.   The appetizer includes 5 types of Naan breads featuring traditional, garlic-ginger and spiced just to mention a few.  You can choose a small serving with 3 accompanying sauces or larger serving with 9 sauces included.  I recommend all 9 for the best experience.  This is a treat the whole family can enjoy.

My entrée recommendations included Tandoori Chicken and the South African Sample Plate where you can experience a trio of meat dishes offered.  If you prefer a more traditional meal, a Grilled New York Strip is offered.  Kid’s choices include cheese pizza and cheeseburgers, and a more adventurous choice of Kids Butter Chicken.  Don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

Character DiningClients often ask “Where can I see Mickey Mouse or Cinderella?”   While most characters have Meet-n-Greet locations in one of the four theme parks that makeup Walt Disney World, Character Dining is a great way to spend a little more time with your favorite Disney character without having to stand in line or use one of your pre arranged Fastpasses

You will find character dining both inside the parks, as well as at select Walt Disney Resorts on property.  Character dining is very popular and can be booked up to 180 days in advance of your arrival.  As a Me and The Mouse client, your Travel Specialist is happy to make all your dining reservations for you.  (Please note that characters are subject to change without notice).  Below is a helpful aid in looking at and comparing the Character Dining experiences offered at Walt Disney World. You will find the following information listed:
  • Restaurant Name and Location

  • Meals Served: Breakfast (B) Lunch (L) or Dinner (D)

  • Type of Meal Served:  Buffet, Family or Pre-Plated

  • Number of Table Service Credits

 

 1900 Park Fare (located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa)

  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Characters:  Mary Poppins, Mad Hatter, Alice and Wonderland, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh
  • Meal:  Breakfast
  • Meal:  Dinner
  • Characters:  Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drizella, Lady Tremaine
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

 Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (located in Norway at EPCOT)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters:  Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Belle
  • Type of Meal:  Family Style
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

 Cape May Cafe’ (located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort)

  • Meal:  Breakfast
  • Characters: Minnie, Goofy, Donald
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

 Chef Mickey’s (located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner
  • Characters:  Chef Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

Cinderella’s Royal Table (located inside Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters:  Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Snow White, Jasmine
  • Type of Meal:  Pre-plated
  • Dining Credits:  2 Table Service Credits and Gratuity included

 Crystal Palace (located inside Magic Kingdom)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters:  Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeryore, Piglet
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

Hollywood and Vine (located inside Hollywood Studios)

  • Meal:  Breakfast and Lunch
  • Characters:  Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny and Jake the Neverland Pirate
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

Garden Grill (located inside EPCOT)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters:  Chip and Dale, Farmer Mickey, Pluto
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campgrounds)

  • Meal:  Dinner
  • Characters:  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale
    *please note that characters do not visit the individual tables at this dining experience*
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  2 Table Service Credits

 Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine  (located inside Hollywood Studios)

  • Meal:  Dinner
  • Characters:  Minnie Mouse and friends
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

‘Ohana (located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort)

  • Meal: Breakfast
  • Characters:  Lilo and Stitch, Mickey, Pluto
  • Type of Meal:  Family Style
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

Tusker House (located inside Animal Kingdom Park)

  • Meal:  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters: Safari Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy
  • Type of Meal:  Buffet
  • Dining Credits:  1 Table Service Credit

 Advanced Dining Reservations are highly recommended.  Let your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist know which dining reservations are on your “Dining Wish List”  and they will do their best to assist you in booking your desired dining reservations for your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation.

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

A Magical Evening You Won’t Forget!

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided that I wanted to view the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular {the firework show at Magic Kingdom} from a different view than before. I found out about the Ferrytale Wishes Firework Dessert Cruise and was hooked on the idea of combining a great view of the firework show with amazing desserts!

Our Night

We arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center approximately 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.  Smiling Cast members greeted and directed over to the check in area.  We were surprised to receive a battery powered neon glow necklace, a souvenir booklet and an exclusive trading pin!  The next cast member gave us a plastic glow glass filled with sparkling cider. Ferrytale Wishes at Magic Kingdom

Next, it was time to board the General Joe Potter Ferryboat. Cast member were now  passing out special flashlights and exclusive dessert plates.  There was a rush by other guests to the amazing display of desserts on the upper level.  The Cast Members informed us there is another table of indulgent desserts and a beverage station on the lower level.

Once everyone was on board, we departed from the Ticket and Transportation Center and enjoyed a lovely cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon!  We were able to enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant too!  We used the flashlight to look for special hidden clues on the boat to complete the activity in the booklet.  It was a warm, humid evening, but the boat maintained a very nice breeze.  There was also a photographer on board!

Ferrytale Wishes at Magic KingdomOur first stop was the beverage station.  There was a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options included in the price of the event ($99 per adult/$69 per child plus tax).  Next stop, the decadent table of desserts!  The cast members were continually refilling the table, so no worries that you might miss out on any of the options.  The table included:

  • “The Grand” Key Lime Tart
  • Polynesian De-constructed Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Contemporary “Traditional with a Twist” Spiced Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • “Main Street” Mickey Balloon Tarts
  • Mini “Fireworks” Cupcakes with a Pop
  • Cinderella’s Sugar Slipper with Orange Financier
  • Florida Mango Panna Cotta

Ferrytale Wishes at Magic KingdomThere was also a lovely cheese and fruit platter if you wanted a break from the sweetness.  I must report the Cinderella’s Slipper was stunning, but my favorite dessert was the Contemporary Flourless Chocolate Cake.  I may have had more than one of those!!!

The Ferryboat then positioned itself for prime viewing of Wishes Nighttime Spectacular!  The Cast members guided us to the side of the boat to be able to enjoy the best view!  The lights dimmed and the music began and it was nothing short of magical!

Cast members passed out frozen treats to enjoy as we disembarked the Ferry!  We also had completed the activity in the booklet and checked in with a cast member and received a special prize!

This experience did not disappoint, and I was .  It was full of surprises, with ample decadent desserts and beverages available.  Topped off with a beautiful fireworks display!  We left with smiles on our faces and bellies full of delicious treats!

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

Think Disney is just for families and couples, guess again!

Let me just say this, I love Disney!  I’ve been there more times that I can count with my family.  I’ve also been with my husband and our new family.  During each of these vacations, we were able to build some awesome memories that we will never forget.  Earlier this past year, I got to experience Disney in a way I’ve not experienced it before, on my own!

 

I spent quite a bit of time in Orlando this past spring and it took me away from my family and friends.  I suddenly realized, why not go and spend some time at Disney!  Even though I would be by myself, I knew I would be in a place surrounded by all of the happy memories that I’ve built over the years.  Once I arrived at the resort, I was so happy with my decision.

 

There are quite a few benefits of exploring Disney on your own.  The biggest one is being on my own schedule.  If I wanted, I could hop on a bus to Disney Springs and go explore all of the new shops.  My favorite shops were The Marketplace Co-op and Disney’s Days of Christmas. There are a lot of fun and unique Disney items to look at and buy!

The Boathouse at Disney Springs - On your own!

After shopping, I was able to decide where I’d like to eat at Disney Springs.  I didn’t have any reservations since I didn’t decide to go to Disney until the last minute, but when you are a party of one, that doesn’t matter too much.  Almost all of the restaurants in Disney Springs are able to accommodate walk in party of 1 guests by sitting at the bar or in the lounge area.  I was thrilled when I was able to walk right up to The Boathouse, take a seat at the bar, and have one of the best meals ever. You’ll have the same menu no matter where you sit in the restaurant. Also, sitting at the bar offers the opportunity to chat with some guests sitting next to you or even some of the Disney cast members.Enchanted Tiki Room Walt Disney World- on your own!

 

Being on your own schedule also carries over into the parks.  Sometimes when traveling with family, you tend to not do everything that maybe you’d like to do.  That happens!  When you’re there on your own, you’re able to see and do everything that you want to do.  My childhood favorite is The Enchanted Tiki Room.  It has been a long time since I’d been in that attraction.  It was one of those things that fell down low on the list of priorities when traveling with others.  I was pretty excited to go in for a visit by myself and see that it really hadn’t changed much from what I remembered from seeing it so long ago.

 

Even though I missed my family and friends, it was a great way to experience Disney.  Don’t be afraid to explore Disney on your own, you’ll create memories you’ll never forget!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

The best way to shop!

Souvenirs help us to remember our vacation – you get to take a piece of your trip home with you!  Kiosks filled with goodies catch your eye, a specialty boutique lures you in, or the smells from the bakery have you lighter than air as the smells make you hover through the streets! But lugging that stuff, those t-shirts, those mugs, etc., around all day can be a pain… What should you do with those souvenirs?

 

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Say you’ll “grab it on your way out”…{but you’ll forget}
  2. Think “oh maybe the hotel will have this in the gift shop”…{probably not}
  3. Say “Let’s buy it NOW and use Package Pick-Up or Hotel Delivery!”…{Yes, yes you should!} Package Pickup - The best way to shop

 

Package Pick-Up works like this:

First, you buy your souvenir when you see it. Then at the register, ask the Cast Member if you can utilize Package Pickup. They will have you fill out a form, and a copy will be attached to your package. Cast Members will then work some magic and deliver your package to a designated area at the front of that theme park in about 3 hours. Simply show your copy to the Cast Member to retrieve it, take it back to your hotel, and enjoy! {I know, isn’t this the coolest?!}

Package Pickup - The best way to shop

Hotel Delivery works like this:

Again, you buy your souvenir when you see it. At the register, ask the Cast Member if you can utilize Hotel Delivery – and only ask for this service if you do NOT check out the next day. They will have you fill out a form, and a copy will be attached to your package.  Between 1 and 3pm the following day, you will get a message on your room phone that your package is ready for pick up at the resort gift shop.  Bring your copy to the Cast Member working, and you’ll get your souvenir!    This service can also be utilized at Disney Springs!  With all the high-end and souvenir shopping offered there, Hotel Delivery is a perfect solution!

 

These services are completely FREE to use!  Why lug around your souvenir all day…possibly break it…lose it…or even forget to buy it because you wanted to wait?  Buy it when you want it, and take advantage of these great services.  It makes shopping at Disney so much more pleasant!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Package Pick-Up Runner…in a former life

Looking for a delicious table service meal inside the Magic Kingdom?  Look no further than one our family’s favorite restaurants, Tony’s Town Square.  Inside this charming trattoria located on Main Street USA, you can enjoy your favorite Italian dishes, steaks and delicious desserts.  Tony's Restaurant

The theming of the restaurant centers around the Disney animated classic, Lady and the Tramp.  In the lobby waiting area, children and grown-up kids can enjoy a few minutes of Lady and the Tramp, which plays constantly on the television. Kids can also color Lady and the Tramp coloring sheets while waiting for their table.

The restaurant offers three distinct dining areas.  In the main dining room, guests will love the fountain of the canine couple, Lady and Tramp, that is the focal point of the room.  The main dining room offers comfortable family seating and is reminiscent of a classic New York City, family-owned, Italian eatery.

The sunroom gives you the impression of dining al fresco while you are still indoors with air conditioning!  It’s a bright and cheerful dining area that offers lots of sunlight and a great view of the activities happening on Main Street.

Tony's RestaurantOne of the biggest draws of this Magic Kingdom restaurant is the patio seating area. Tony’s is one of the few table service restaurants that offers an outdoor dining experience.  Specific seating requests can be made at the podium when you check-in.   If you are lucky enough to time your dining reservation just right or have extra time to wait, you can request patio seating and enjoy one of the parades as it moves down Main Street. Tony's Restaurant

The menu is full of delicious Italian dishes, like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmesan, and cannelloni.  Guests will also find choices such as New York Strip Steak, Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Shrimp Scampi on the menu.  You will want to make sure to make room for dessert too.  Tiramisú, Crème Brûlée and Gelato are just the start of what awaits you for a memory-filled meal at Tony’s Town Square.

Step back into one of your favorite moments from Lady and the Tramp, and enjoy your next meal at Tony’s!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Best Age for DisneyI grew up going to Disney World. My parents took myself, my brother and two sisters multiples times while we were young. We went at different times and when we were different ages. The first time my brother (the youngest of the four of us) made the trip was when he was 4 years old. During that visit, I was 12 and it never crossed my mind if Jared was old enough to go or could have gone when he was younger.

Fast forward a bunch of years.

Just 10 weeks after I gave birth to my second child, my husband had a work trip taking him to Florida so the kids and I tagged along and we took them to Disney.  Some of my friends and family said my baby boy was too young while others said no you are fine. That is a question that so many parents face when deciding to go to Disney World. How old should a child be to head off to the Magic Kingdom? Now, unfortunately, I’m not going to give you the defining – all knowing magic answer but I will give you some thoughts on my experience as a mother taking four children at different ages. Best Age for Disney

Here are three thoughts on the topic from my experiences.

  1. Taking a child under the age of one isn’t that crazy. Financially, it is nothing extra. This child is young enough that they will get into the parks for free. Also, when you are taking a child under a year old, you are still able to do things that are on your wish list. You can do this while they are comfortably napping or looking around in the stroller or baby wrap (my personal favorite baby item for traveling). I will admit, you will have to be more go with the flow. You will have to stop for changes, feeds, naps or cuddles.
  2. Next let’s talk about taking a child who is 4 or 5. This is a great age for the first visit you get to experience all the Disney magic through the eyes of your child at this age. They can interact and choose things they want to do and see. You, as a mom, are able to experience all of the “picture perfect” moments -– cute Disney photos and amazing character interactions. While these children are a little bit older, I still highly recommend bringing a stroller.
  3. Lastly, taking a child who is 8 or 9+. This is the time they really get to get into things. They know what they want and they will tell you what they want. They are really excited about the trip, because they understand what is fully going on.  The memories of these visits will more than likely stick with them for the rest of their life.  To me, the only down side of waiting to take at this age is getting to the parks and wishing you would have taken them earlier. Best Age for Disney

Like I said, I didn’t give you the magic answer, but I hope I gave some insight and some things to think about. There are so many factors in deciding what is best for each family. What I think is most important is to do what you feel comfortable doing. You know your children the best. Also, if you would like one-on-one assistance on this topic, ask any of the Me and the Mouse Travel agents. We have booked thousands of trips and have seen it all. Several of our agents, have their own children at different ages to Disney World and can give first-hand experience!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialists

 

 

If you are weighing the idea of staying on property or off for a Universal Orlando vacation, consider the following list of benefits of enjoying one of Universals incredible properties.Stay on Property at Universal Studios

  • Early Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You are able to get in 1 hour prior to the public.
  • Shuttle busses to the theme parks and CityWalk, however, all of the resorts are within walking distance if you would like to take a leisurely walk to and from the parks.
  • It grants you charging privileges with your room key.
  • Complimentary transportation to Sea World and Aquatica
  • If golf is on your agenda, you are given priority tee times and complimentary transportation to select area golf courses.
  • Being on-site also provides easy access to and from the parks to your resort for a midday break. This allows you to hit the parks early, spend the afternoon at the pool and then head back to the parks and/or CityWalk for nighttime attractions. Stay on Property at Universal Studios

Staying at one of the deluxe resorts, (Lowe’s Portofino, Royal Pacific or Hard Rock), provides the most benefits, which includes all of the above, but the biggest advantages to staying at one of the deluxe results:

  • The ability to skip the lines at select attractions with a complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride pass. This is especially a huge plus especially during peak seasons. This is a savings of up to $89 per person per day. Depending on your party size, that could be the difference between staying at a value resort to upgrading to a deluxe resort. (You will still need to purchase a regular park admission ticket to take advantage of the Unlimited Express tickets.
  • Priority seating at certain restaurants at the theme parks and CityWalk.
  • Water taxis from the resort to the theme parks and CityWalk. Stay on Property at Universal Studios

 

Contact one of our Me and The Mouse Travel Specialists to help you plan a Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

 

Janene Jaroscak 

Travel Specialist