Walk-mans, Big Wheels, giant Mickey phones, 8-tracks….these things are imbedded in pop culture and their symbolism of the decades they represent will forever bring us back to those times in our lives. Disney’s Pop Century Resort celebrates iconic memorabilia from the 1950s to 1990s by making them the focal point of this fan favorite resort!

Pop’s appeal is without question its cleanliness, affordability, style of rooms, bus service, proximity to Art of Animation, and fun culture surrounding each turn.

Rooms

Rooms are currently undergoing refurbishment. The updates make its functionality something families desire while sharing limited space on vacation. Walking into an updated room, you’ll see a small table, two chairs, coffee maker, mini fridge, spacious dresser and counterspace with a large flat screen TV hanging above and a lot of USB ports to charge electronic devices.

You’ll also see ONE queen size bed. But wait…pull down the handle near the table to reveal another queen size bed. Being able to fold it up daily, increases the room’s floor space and makes it easier to move comfortably in a smaller area.

The bathroom updates are the biggest seller for me. The sliding door between the sink/dressing area and the beds is a bonus for guests needing privacy while family relaxes and others get ready. There’s a small open closet, plenty of cubby space for toiletries, a large brightly lit mirror, large single sink, and an added side makeup mirror.

The shower area is separated via a pocket door. Inside you’ll find a glass shower door and two shower heads. Wonderful and contemporary updates!

Resort Amenities

There’s a single bus stop area at Pop with individual lines for each park. The buses are not shared which makes its transit a definite perk!

Three available pools give each guest the chance to get some needed R&R during their stay. Perfectly spaced out, you don’t have to travel far to get your feet wet. The Hippy Dippy Pool (main pool 1960s) is the focal point behind Classic Hall. With flower shaped water jets, games with cast members, and the Petals Pool Bar, this is the most interactive. It’s also where Movie Under the Stars is enjoyed on select nights. The other two (Bowling Pool – 1950s and Computer Pool-1990s) have decade specific music piping through and a more laid-back feel.

This resort also has an added bonus that many others do not…two quick service food options. Don’t be confused…everything POP is Pop’s on-site food location, but many guests love taking the 10-minute walk across Generation Gap Bridge to the Art of Animation Resort to dine at Landscape of Flavors!

Staying here is like a walk down memory lane. Remembering the happy moments in our lives is what Disney was built on. This is why Pop Century Resort is highly talked about in the Disney community!

COMING SOON!

Pop will soon have access to the NEWEST form of transportation on Disney World Property…the gondolas (opening date is TBD). Follow the Me and the Mouse Facebook page for daily announcements to not miss when the news hits!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

For fans of Disney’s Wreck it Ralph, or anyone with an imagination and a sweet-tooth…you’ll want to explore Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats aboard the Disney Dream! You’ll find this confectionary inside the Cabana’s, with limited hours.

Vanellope’s has a wide array of candies, ice creams, gelatos, and confections, that you’re sure to find something for everyone in your family to enjoy*.  It’s whimsically decorated to resemble “Sugar Rush”, Vanellope’s video game in Wreck it Ralph…complete with Sour Bill, King Candy, and Vanellope herself!

While I could gush about the insane amount of goodies I drooled over this summer while on board the Disney Dream, I want to talk about Vanellope’s specialty items! The menu for Artisan Sundaes is jam-packed full of movie-referenced concoctions for you and your family to enjoy. The BEST part??!!  You can special order ANY of these sundaes AND they will hand-deliver for your dessert any night you choose!  It was so exciting!

We chose the “Vanellope Von Schweetz – Race Car Sundae”, because who doesn’t want a replica of the race car that wins the Grand Prix!?  At $13, it’s quite a steal. Not only is the racecar yours to keep, but you get THREE choices of ice cream OR gelato (in any combination), your choice of FIVE extra toppings, whipped cream and a cherry on top!  For a family of 3, it was the perfect indulgence for all!

Our sweet shop chef not only took our order and dining time/rotation – but also guaranteed she would be the one to create and hand-deliver our dessert at our dinner that evening!  All we had to do was give our receipt to our server at dinner, he would place the call, and VIOLA! At dessert time, here she was!

It’s not just an ordinary sundae. Specially crafted chocolates adorned the sundae, and the awesome touches to replicate Vanellope’s car were so very memorable!  There are many custom sundaes you can order…but this one was the Sugar Rush-iest! 🙂

When you plan your next Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Dream with your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist, consider surprising your little one (or your own sweet tooth) with an awesome confection from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats!

*Please note: nuts, milk, soy and other allergens are used in the making of most items in Vanellope’s. There may be gluten free options, but one would have to ask while aboard.

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Leaning upon the success of Star Wars Day at Sea cruises, Disney Cruise Line recently launched Marvel Day at Sea cruises. We recently sailed on the Disney Magic and experienced this special day…and we were not into Marvel movies before the cruise.

Character Experiences

Character experiences are available through three different methods.

  • Advance tickets: When your booking window opens, Guests can reserve tickets to see Groot and the Heroic Encounter (Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Tony Stark/Ironman). Groot times are available throughout Marvel day and Heroic Encounter is available multiple days and times.
  • Posted times: Times are listed in the daily Navigator and on the DCL app for Thor, Loki, Black Widow, and Captain America meet and greets. They are held multiple times throughout Marvel day.
  • Roaming: Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, and Gamora roam decks three and four and are available for photos and autographs.
  • Most of the Marvel characters also roam the ship the following day and are available for impromptu photos, autographs, and a handstand contest even occurred between Spider-Man and my daughter in the atrium.

Activities

 

  • Games, activities, and arts and crafts are held in the Marvel Avenger’s Academy in the Oceaneer Club throughout the cruise. Kids can “Become Ironnman!” – and even adults can join the fun during open house sessions.
  • At the Costume Celebration, Guests show off their costumes and the Disney characters join the celebration with a short photo session at the end.
  • Several talks with Marvel creators, drawing classes, and trivia contests are held all day.
  • Movies are shown on Funnel Vision and in Buena Vista Theatre. We even had the opportunity to see Thor: Ragnarok before the rest of the US.
  • Journey into the Mystic Arts is a short participation show for kids on the stage of Walt Disney Theatre where they learn from Doctor Strange to master special powers. Children are selected by cruise staff once doors open, and they must have closed-toe shoes to participate. Certificates are delivered to participants’ staterooms the following day.

Evening Celebrations

The festivities stretch into the evening with a special Marvel Day at Sea menu in all main dining rooms. Between the early and late dinner seatings is a Mickey and Friends SuperHero Celebration deck party with the Disney characters and a great message. The night is capped off with Marvel Heroes Unite, an exciting 30-minute stage show with all Marvel characters and a short fireworks display.

Tips:

  1. As soon as your activity booking window opens, be sure to get your tickets right away. Groot tickets go the fastest. If you are not able to secure tickets, go to Guest Services once on board and check for openings. Plenty of Heroic Encounter tickets were available on board.
  2. Go to the early posted time character experiences – lines are much shorter in the morning versus afternoon.
  3. Order the pre-cruise gifts. The Marvel Hero Power package was our favorite (pillow with secret zipper and a super comfy throw). Lots of gifts are also available in the standard ship gift stores and in a special Marvel gift shop.
  4. Each stateroom receives a complimentary bed runner on Marvel day. It is yours to keep. Take a Sharpie and have it signed. Contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist to book one of these limited sailings happening on 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in January through April.

Jenniffer Sheldon
Guest Contributor || Disney Cruise Platinum Guest

 

 

Have you wondered what it is like to eat with a princess or several princesses? Dining for lunch in Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom is just for you. From the moment you walk in for your reservation to the moment, you leave, they treat you like royalty. When you first walk in downstairs, you are greeting by your host and introduced to Cinderella. She will then pose for pictures with you and your guests.

You are then escorted upstairs to begin your dining experience. When you arrive upstairs, you enter the grand hall of Cinderella’s castle and are shown to your table for a prince or princess. Princesses are given a magic wand, and princes get a magic sword. Each prince or princess is also given a wishing star.

You will feel like royalty through your entire meal as you are greeted by being called my lord and my lady. The food is delicious, some of what I consider the best in all the Disney lands. You start with an appetizer or salad, continue to your main entrée, and then have a special treat for dessert – all included in your price. Some entrée selections include beef tenderloin, shrimp, pork tenderloin and a summer vegetable couscous.

All the while you are eating, princesses are announced and enter the main hall, then come around to great each table and pose for pictures. In addition to princesses, a wish ceremony takes place with the your wishing start and magic wand or sword! Close your eyes and be dazzled!

After all the wishing and personal visits with each princess, when you finish you meal, you may bid adieu. Dining in Cinderella’s Castle has been one of my favorite places to eat in Disney World since my first visit when I was 4, and I have yet to miss a visit since.

Jennifer Lovell

Travel Specialist

The 1980’s saw a boom of Disney parks open across the world. In a 10-year span three new parks opened; Epcot, Disney/MGM Studios and Tokyo Disneyland as well as the idea for a park Europe. At this same time executives in Burbank, led by Michael Eisner, begin seriously planning for a second gate down the road in Anaheim.

In 1988, Disney purchased the Disneyland Hotel, which had remained under a licensing agreement with the company since 1955. They also looked at how to optimize the property around the park, including the purchasing of additional land. It was at this time the idea for the second park was finalized and in 1991 the company announced plans for WestCOT – a version of Epcot to built on the current Disneyland parking lot.

The park would feature familiar icons such as Spaceship Earth and the World Showcase. It would be much smaller than its east coast counterpart but still have eight city, country and continent destinations. London, New York, Africa, Asia, Paris, Tokyo, China and Toronto would be the stops in the World Showcase.

Spaceship Earth located near the entrance to the park was originally proposed to be gold not white or silver. Clones from Epcot would flank Spaceship Earth on both side, including Horizons, World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination, Universe of Energy, The Living Seas, Wonders of Life, and The Land.

A hub was planned to separate the entrance to Disneyland and WestCOT. Between the hub and the Disneyland Hotel would be a small lake and shopping district. The project called for improved transportation to the park and new parking lots in adjacent land.

So what happened? Neighbors felt Spaceship Earth would create too much of a light reflection and be an eyesore, the cost ballooned to an estimated $3 billion and financial issues at Disneyland Paris caused Disney executives to cancel the project in 1995. But the layout and foundation for the idea did not go away and at an executive retreat in Aspen, Colorado Michael Eisner and team came up with the idea for California Adventure.

The rest of the story is known. Disney’s California Adventure would open in 2001 and there would be an entertainment and shopping district. Parking would move off the main rectangle of property, transportation would improve and new resorts would open. Like many of Disney’s plans, WestCOT would be shelved only for elements to be used years later by the executives in Burbank and the Imagineers in Glendale.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

If you enjoy the hospitality that Disney offers but want something different and a little more relaxing than visiting a Disney park, our family discovered a hidden Disney gem. Last month, we had the pleasure of staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. The resort sits in two areas of the island.

The actual resort is located in-land adjacent to the Shelter Cove Marina and The Beach House is about 1 ½ miles away on the ocean. The Beach House is where your family can enjoy a day at the beach, an additional pool and a quick service dining location.

We stayed in building #31, which was the furthest location from the main building, but we loved it. We felt like we were tucked away but we biked around the resort and everything was a close walk to get to the pool and quick service dining.

The resort is filled with family fun activities including shuffleboard, cornhole, putting area, bocce ball, paddleboard and kayak tours, fishing and so much more. Each courtyard has their own activity area, so make sure you explore outside of your own area to find everything there is to do. For your swimming pleasure, you will find a pool at the resort and another pool at The Beach House.

We loved the beach, which we found was great for families because the beach had sandbars that created little “pools” of water that made it great for little ones to swim without dealing with the waves of the ocean. You can either bike, drive or take the shuttle from the resort to get to The Beach House.

For your eating pleasure, we were glad we had a villa with a full kitchen since there are not any sit down dining restaurants on the property, but there are plenty of options on the island. There is quick service location on the resort property in addition to the option at The Beach House. Within a short walk, you can find wonderful restaurants at the Shelter Cove Marina, which sits right across the marina from Disney’s resort. We found that biking is the way to get around the island with close to 100 miles of paved bike paths. Since Disney’s Beach House is about 1 ½ miles from the resort, we found biking was the way to go and Disney has plenty of bikes to rent during your stay. All bikes come complete with baskets to carry your beach bag or for a stop at the grocery store, which is nearby.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will go into activities to do around the island and day excursions.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

Pixar is part of the Disney company that has brought us the technologically advanced movies that we have come to love for the past 20 years including:

  • Cars
  • Toy Story
  • Up
  • Brave
  • The Incredibles
  • Finding Nemo
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Wall-E
  • A Bugs Life
  • Ratatouille

On April 13, 2018 Disneyland in California will become even more “Friendly”, as those lovable Disney Pixar characters come out to celebrate friendship in Pixar Fest! Pixar Fest will feature new entertainment and welcome back a favorite nighttime parade.

Together Forever is a new nighttime spectacular show at Disneyland Park, that is sure to quickly become a must-see favorite! This show celebrates the everlasting friendship of our favorite Pixar pals. Together Forever will feature amazing music, stunning pyrotechnics, a flyover by Buzz Lightyear himself as he goes “to infinity and beyond”, and projections that can be seen throughout these areas of Disneyland Park:

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • It’s a Small World
  • Rivers of America
  • Main Street U.S.A

Paint the Night is a Disneyland favorite that will be returning! This time it will be making its nightly appearance at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. This night-time electric parade boasts 1.5 million LEDs and features many of our favorite Pixar characters as they dance and light up the streets of California Adventure! This is a not to be missed night time parade and I highly recommend looking for your parade viewing location 90 minutes before the start time.

AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES PIXAR FEST COMING TO DISNEYLAND RESORT — Starting in 2018, this limited-time offering will include a new fireworks spectacular as well as special characters and entertainment moments.

Pixar Play Parade is another must see parade! With the onset of Pixar Fest the parade will now run down the streets of Disneyland Park! Leading that parade will be the famous Pixar lamp, Luxo! Sunset Showcase Theater located in Disney’s California Adventure will have showings of 2 of Pixar’s shorts:

  • For the Birds
  • Lava (my personal favorite)

Paradise Gardens will come to life with a Pixar themed musical troupe along with a chance to meet your favorite Disney Pixar characters. There will even be opportunities for younger guests to let their creative side shine.

A visit during Pixar Fest is one that will surely not disappoint so many new sights and sounds. If you are interested or have any more questions on this limited time engagement to Disneyland Park, contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Embarkation day for your Disney cruise is quite exciting. If you’re like me, you want to get to the port early even if you have a later check-in time. But where will you go? Is there food available? Will you have to lug your luggage around with you? These were all questions I had the morning we were to set sail from Vancouver to Alaska. I’m happy to tell you that Canada Place is in a great location set up to help keep you comfortable and entertained while you wait to board.

  • Food and a Quick Break: Immediately across the street from Canada Place is the Waterfront Centre Food Court, complete with Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, and plenty of other offerings where you can grab a bite to eat and relax. Restaurants open early, wi-fi is available, and youcan make a quick stop to the restrooms.
  • Stowing Luggage: Make sure you have secured your luggage tags to all bags you plan to check in. Cross the street to Canada Place and veer down the ramp to the right. You will find guests who have just come off their cruise and are exiting the port. As their luggage is cleared out, Disney Cruise Line will accept your luggage to check-in. You may be able to check your luggage in as early as 10 am depending on how busy the port is. Be sure to keep all your travel documents, id/passport, medication and all other necessities in your day bag that you will carry onto the ship with you.
  • What to Do: The port has great views across the bay if you like to sit and watch boats and sea planes go by.
  • Checking In: Have your documents and passports ready to check in. You will also be asked to fill out a quick survey regarding recent illnesses or symptoms. This is all part of Disney’s on-going commitment to guests’ health and safety.
  • Waiting to Board: Once you are checked in, you can advance into the general boarding area where you will sit until your group number is called. You can usually find Mickey and a couple of his pals for a quick photograph. There are bathrooms available, but there isn’t much else to do. Bring a book, a game for the kids, or talk to your neighbors.
  • Make New Friends: If meeting other people from all over the world is part of your fun while on vacation, take the time to chat with other guests around you. You will likely see many of them again on board, and you can compare adventures and highlights during your trip.
  • Just Have Fun! Getting all set and settled is just part of the process to getting to your adventure. As soon as you embark on your cruise, you can go straight to the buffet or the restaurant for a good meal before you start exploring the ship and the real fun begins!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

 

Christmas is always a special time of year. When you add in being at Walt Disney World in Florida during this time of year, you get something extra special and magical. This winter, Hollywood Studios is transforming into an enchanted winter wonderland. It’s going to be filled with new Disney twists and characters.

Taking place from November 9th through December 31 st , guests will get wrapped up in the season as snow falls and the lights twinkle on Sunset Boulevard. Not only will all of the billboards change to tell a tale of iconic characters sharing their love for the season, but the ominous Hollywood Tower Hotel, a.k.a. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, magically transforms bringing to life the characters’ stories. Some of these stories include Mickey and Minnie reminiscing about a hometown Christmas, Toy Story characters guessing which new toys are coming this Christmas, Olaf pining over his holiday wish as music from Frozen plays in the background.

The only thing that could make the happenings on Sunset Boulevard complete would be a visit with the big guy in red. Well, consider that checked off your list! At Once Upon a Time store, you’ll find Old Saint Nick greeting good girls and boys. Be sure to visit with him before Christmas, as he’ll only be available from November 9th to December 24th!

On the other side of the Boulevard, Echo Lake will also be getting a merry makeover. It will be decorated with extra-large ornaments, colorful garlands and a giant Christmas tree centered in the water. Dinosaur Gertie will even be donning some festive attire!

A perfect way to wrap up your winter wonderland experience at Hollywood Studios is to make your reservations for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party! Indulge in a jolly spread of specialty sweets and sips before settling in to watch a Santa-sized spectacular from a reserved viewing area. Relish holiday-inspired snacks, delicious desserts, wine, beer, specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages—and mingle with a VIP Disney Character.

You’ll then be able to enjoy 2 shows from your reserved viewing area, Disney’s Movie Magic and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, a holiday special hosted by elves Wayne and Lanny From Prep & Landing. They feature state of the art projections, iconic music, fireworks and special effects. Disney’s Movie Magic builds to a festive finale that must be seen and heard to be believed.

As you’ve read, Hollywood Studios is going to be one of the merriest places to be this holiday season. It will be sure to add more magic to an already magical experience. It’s one not to miss!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or prefer to kick back and relax, there is something for everyone at Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.  This newly opened park boasts some of the most technologically-advanced attractions ever featured in a water park.  With 17 attractions and a lot of square feet to cover, it’s important to go with a plan.  While every attraction is unique and worth trying, here are my top five favorites to experience at Volcano Bay.

  1. Krakatau Water Coaster: Without a doubt, this is my favorite ride not only at Volcano Bay, but at any water park I have ever been to.  This water coaster takes you on a wild journey up and down hills, through the volcano and ending in a waterfall.  While somewhat intense, it’s something that can be enjoyed by the entire family all together.  Keep in mind, this is not only my favorite ride at Volcano Bay, but also most guests’ so make sure you arrive to the park early or use your Tapu Tapu if you want to ride.
  2. TeAwa Fearless River:  Lazy river? Not exactly.  This winding river circles guests around parts of the park at a brisk pace making it the perfect attraction to enjoy while waiting for your Tapu Tapu to alert you for your next ride.  While this does move faster than a typical lazy river, it is still relaxing and shows you some beautiful views of the park.
  3. Ika Moana (the green one!): I love a team ride that you can all experience together and Ika Moana is just the right thrill level for the whole family to enjoy.  This tube ride has a fair amount of drops without being too drastic, sending your family on a winding adventure, in and out of enclosures down a gradual hill.  Its counter-part, Honu (the blue), however, is a bit more thrilling!  Try Ika Moana first and then those who are brave enough can conquer Honu.
  4. Taniwha Tubes:  Ride alone or with a buddy on this tube ride water journey.  Choose from 4 different slides with varying levels of intensity from leisurely to very adventurous.
  5. Vol, Spirit of Krakatau: Not everything is about water here!  Step off the lazy river and walk inside the volcano for some interactive entertainment with Vol, the spirit of Krakatau.  He can speak to you and you can even create light patterns with your Tapu Tapu on the inside walls of the volcano.  This is a truly unique “water park experience” unlike anything else I have ever seen.

On your next Universal vacation make sure to check out all that Volcano Bay has to offer.  It is truly more than a water park, but a completely immersive experience.  To ad Volcano Bay to your Universal Orlando package, contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist