The Oceaneer’s Club onboard the Disney Cruise Line fleet is a special themed area for children (ages 3 -12).  It’s a wonderful place to explore, play, and have fun in a secured area while cruising onboard your Disney Cruise.

We recommend you register your child for Disney’s Oceaneer Club online after booking your cruise, but you can register at the terminal or once onboard your ship as well.  On Embarkation Day, parents are invited to tour the facility, meet the counselors, and learn more about the exciting activities hosted at Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab throughout the cruise.

On your first visit to the club area, your children will be given a MagicBand to use to enter the Oceaneer’s Club. You can decide who is able to check your children in and out of the club area.  On our cruise, my husband, myself, and our 17 year old son were allowed to pick up and drop off our younger two boys.  You will also have a personalized code word to give the counselors before your children are allowed to exit.   Photo images also appear on the computer screen for the counselors to check identities.  Parents may also give older children the option to check themselves in and out of the Oceaneer’s Club.  Counselors will be able to test parents on the Navigator’s app or reach you by your Wave phone that is in your stateroom if any questions or needs would arise.   After touring the Club and seeing the security in place, I felt very comfortable allowing my boys to stay and play in this special themed activity club.

Each Oceaneer’s Club onboard the Disney fleet have special themed areas.  For example, on the Disney Dream, Stars Wars fans sill love to join the Rebel Alliance while they cruise the galaxy on the Millennium Falcon.  Here kids can do Star Wars arts and crafts, watch the large-screen TV, design a starship, and train like a Jedi.  When you sail onboard the Disney Magic, kids will love being a part of the MARVEL’s Avengers Academy.  This to-secret command post of S.H.I.E.L.D. includes Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield, and Iron Man’s armor!

Pajama parties with Goofy, making slime in the Oceaneer’s Lab, and playing with Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog in Andy’s room, are all part of the fun onboard your Disney Cruise when your kids spend time in the Oceaneer’s Club.  Kids will love making friends and enjoying special themed activities while you enjoy a quiet visit to the Adult Only deck and pool, or visit the Senses Spa for the Rainforest treatment.  A Disney Cruise has something for everyone and your little ones will LOVE having the Oceaneer’s Club as their own special area.

Want to know more about a Disney Cruise and all the entertainment included onboard?  Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist can help answer your questions and help you book and plan an amazing Disney cruise.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

Located in the heart of Africa is quick service restaurant, The Mara! OK, so you don’t need to travel that far to enjoy the amazing food this restaurant has to offer…although the scenery within its proximity is reminiscent of African lands. This restaurant is easily located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort.

What makes this hidden gem stand out the most? The taste of course! The Mara is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your breakfast offerings can range from the traditional fare (like bacon, eggs, and waffles) or you can be adventurous and try something beyond what you’re accustomed to. The bounty platter and Bobotie platter both offer Pap and Chakalaka as part of the meal. I also have never had a breakfast flatbread before, but it sounds amazing with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and cheddar. A perfect twist on traditional breakfast foods.

Lunch and dinner options, again, will offer the traditional foods we can find anywhere (burgers, chicken nuggets, and Caesar salads)…but what about their unique offerings? African Potjie (African stew), Braai Chicken Flatbread, or a Chef’s choice hand carved sandwich with Kool Slaai are just some offerings you will not find traditionally in other areas of Disney World. You may also enjoy a hearty meal like the oak-fired rotisserie chicken dinner that I loved or a filling mixed tomato flatbread if you are less adventurous but still looking for a lot of flavor. Lunch and dinner also offer the ‘soup of the moment’….can I just say, wow! The offerings of soup change daily, which allows you the opportunity to try something new and bold on various visits. I had the chicken corn chowder and it did not disappoint. Daily they offer the amazing butternut squash soup, a staple that is loved by those who frequent the location.

Do not forget dessert! There are a variety to choose from, like zebra cupcakes, Oreo cheesecake, and even Pina Colada cupcakes, but they’re most famously known for their zebra domes. If you are gluten free, there is no need to worry, because at special request, they will make these well-known domes for you to enjoy as well. They are so good, you do not even notice the difference!

Being that this location is in a Disney Resort, you won’t find a Disney bus that will take you from your resort directly here. Simply take a bus from any of the parks to Animal Kingdom Lodge and ensure you exit at Jambo House (not Kidani Village). From the lobby, go to the right and down the stairs and outside to the covered walkway to get there.

This dining location is hands down one of my favorites on property! From the theming inside of the wetlands and grasslands of the reserve to being able to make a 5-minute walk to the outside viewing area of the savanna, stopping here for a bite to eat and relaxing scenery afterward is my idea of a perfect evening in Disney World.

The Mara Menu

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

Innovation and change is a constant throughout Walt Disney World.  The Edison, recently opened at Disney Springs is the bee’s knee’s!  It is surrounded by 3 other recently opened venues as well.  Each with their own unique offerings, but the focus of this review is the largest of the group!

A larger than life clock tower greeted us as we entered the dining area. There was so much to take in as we were seated.  Even the uniforms of the cast members were reminiscent of a 1920’s Speakeasy!  We were greeted quickly once we sat down and our server pointed out interesting areas throughout the venue to enjoy.  There were tables throughout the upper and lower area of the restaurant.  She quickly pointed out that in the evenings, the lower area tables are removed and that area is used for dancing.  Although families are welcome for lunch and early evening to dine, after 10pm, the venue is an adults only location!  Please note, when visiting this location late night, you may be required to pay a cover charge.  A dress code is also followed: Men may wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts, jackets are optional. No ball caps, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops allowed.

Movies from the 1920’s are playing in various locations throughout the venue.  There is a trapeze apparatus hanging from the ceiling and our server shared with us that a performer will use the trapeze multiple times each evening over the weekend.  A live band will fill the restaurant with classic cabaret tunes and even dancers in their classic 1920’s attire will inspire guests to cut a rug!!!  There are several full service bars throughout the venue with 20’ inspired cocktails!

We are always excited to try a new dining location, and that is what drew us to enjoy The Edison on our spontaneous shopping day!  The menu is very succinct, yet intriguing.  I was thankful to have a dining partner who was agreeable to sharing, as I could not decide what to order.  Ultimately, we chose to enjoy the Organic Tomato soup and grilled cheese, as well as the Edison burger  with a side of fries.  The grilled cheese was indulgent and oozing with cheese, with a wonderfully crispy bread.  The burger was a mix of ground sirloin, short rib and brisket meat.  Flavorful and juicy, covered with a delicious cheddar cheese, with an onion ring, bacon and the standard lettuce and tomato.  We requested to have the “special sauce” on the side.  It appeared to be similar to Thousand island dressing.  Despite feeling ravenous when we were seated, we were unable to finish the entrée’s.

My daughter was connecting topics she had learned in school to various details throughout the venue.  Although, this is an in demand adult only location in the evenings, do not hesitate to enjoy this venue with your family into the early evening!  The food was delicious, and if you are an appetizer person, they offer candied bacon and dancing corn dogs. Unfortunately, we were wet blankets and were too full to entertain the idea of ordering dessert.

What are you most excited to experience at The Edison?

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

 

Rotational dining is a unique dining experience on Disney Cruise Lines, which allows all guests the opportunity to enjoy dinner in each of the restaurants onboard. Guests receive their specific rotation when they check-in at the port. Each evening, all guests will rotate to an assigned restaurant along with their wait-staff and tablemates to a new restaurant. Depending on the length of the cruise, some/all restaurants will be experienced at least once on each cruise. However, if a guest is scheduled for more than one night in the same restaurant, the menu will change, so every night truly is a unique experience.

The restaurants onboard each ship:

Disney Magic

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Lumiere’s
  • Carioca’s

Disney Wonder

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Triton’s
  • Tiana’s Place

Disney Dream

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Royal Palace
  • Enchanted Garden

Disney Fantasy

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Royal Court
  • Enchanted Garden

If you decide you do not want to visit one of the restaurants on the rotation, you are welcome to enjoy dining at Cabana’s or one of the quick serve restaurants on the pool deck or simply enjoy a quiet evening in your stateroom by ordering room service. All are included in your cruise fare. Enjoy your cruise and bon appetite.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

When I’m vacationing at Walt Disney World I like to find time to decompress and escape into some of Disney’s more relaxing activities. For me one of the those ways to enjoy the world class amenities and services that Disney World offers is to spend a few hours on the golf course. I’m sure some of you are now saying you don’t golf or you are a bad golfer. Well, then this blog is for those you know who like to golf and the great news is Mickey doesn’t care how good you are.

I must first say that the courses spread throughout Disney property are fantastic. They offer a way to break from the crowds while taking in some amazing views. The many times I’ve played one of the courses I’ve seen players ranging from great to those who look like they’ve never swung a club before. These are high end courses that welcome all players. For me that is a nice feeling. I can golf with my dad who is far from good but don’t have to worry about looking out of place.

There are four courses to choose from. Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista and Oak Trail. All four have their benefits. If you want to feel a little more removed from the rest of property try Palm or Magnolia. These two courses are nestled in the trees near the Polynesian Resort and Grand Floridian. They are beautiful, laid out well and offer holes that are fun to play whether you are a long time golfer or newbie. Near Palm and Magnolia is Oak Trail is a par 3 nine hole course. It’s a family friendly course that doesn’t take a long time to play.

Now to my favorite course on property. That is Lake Buena Vista. Located at Saratoga Springs this course offers great views Disney Springs, Old Key West Resort and Port Orleans Resort. Playing this course offers a view of these properties that you can’t see while at the resorts or Disney Springs. You see Disney all around you but feel you are in a separate world. One of my favorite aspects of this course is you get a up-close view of Disney’s Treehouse Villas.

The prices of these courses vary depending on the time but range from $39 and up. For a few hours of amazing scenic views and peace I believe they are well worth it. To get the most from your golf outing I recommend speaking with your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist to see how you can fit in to your schedule and the best time to play.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

 

 

I am a true believer in loyalty points whether it is a credit card with rewards, airline frequent flyer miles, or a store loyalty program, and the Chase Disney Visa is no exception.

First, have fun selecting one of several cute Disney designs for your new card!  Choose a classic Disney character, like Sorcerer Mickey, Cinderella’s Castle, or a favorite Star Wars character.

Next, select a card with or without an annual fee. For a card with no annual fee, you can receive 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all your purchases. Upgrade your card to one with a $49 annual fee, and you can earn 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations; earn 1% in Rewards Dollars on all other card purchases.

By using this as your primary card for all your purchases, you will be surprised how quickly the points add up! It is possible to pay for a Disney vacation in Rewards Dollars by simply putting all purchases onto the card (and paying off monthly so as not to accrue interest) and save up the Rewards Dollars. You can use Rewards Dollars to pay for a Disney World or Disneyland resort vacation, park tickets, a Disney cruise, and even to use while shopping and dining around the parks.

Other great perks of the card:

  • Certain Disney vacation purchases can be financed for six months with zero interest. These will be separated on your monthly statement.
  • In the parks, you can save up to 10% on select dining locations or merchandise purchases when you use your Disney Visa with a minimum purchase.
  • As an extra incentive, you might receive a statement credit with a minimum purchase on the card during the first few months from account opening.
  • Enjoy special cardholder character Meet and Greets in both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
  • Receive special offers for booking a Disney World or Disneyland vacation package.
  • and more!

If you use a credit card, you should be using it to your advantage by earning rewards for purchases you are already making.

* Offers and conditions may change without notice. Visit Chase Disney for more details.   

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

 

“This will be so much fun”, “Let’s see if my sisters, brother and parents want to go too.”  Planning a group trip can be so exciting and at the same time overwhelming!  Whether you are taking your larger than “average” immediate family, friends, or a multi-generational Disney trip I have some great tips that will help in experiencing Disney as a large group.  

Timing

When planning to go to Disney as a large group I try to go during a discounted or off peak travel time (if you have any flexibility in your travel dates).  Going during an off peak travel time can help save  money as well as help you go during a less busy time of the year.  Some off peak travel times to consider include:

-Mid January – mid February

-First 3 weeks in May

-Late August and September

-First 2 weeks in November and First 2 weeks in December

The downside of going during an off peak travel time is that this may be the time Disney uses to do refurbishment work on some attractions.  You can talk with your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist to inquire about any attraction closures during your travel dates.

Resorts

I prefer to stay on property.  I love that I am close to everything and if one of the little ones in our family needs to go back and take a mid-afternoon nap we can do that without any inconvenience.  Disney has many resorts that will accommodate families of all sizes.  If you have a child the age of 2 and under,  a pack and play can be requested, and they are not counted in the max number of individuals in the room.

If staying in multiple rooms, requests can be made for rooms near each other or rooms that are adjoined by a door.  Disney does their best to honor requests but they are not guaranteed.  

Another benefit to staying on Disney property is that when you fly into Orlando International Airport you can take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express transportation to and from the airport.  For more information on all the benefits of Disney’s on-site transportation and how it would benefit your group click the link.

Dining

Disney has different dining plans for nearly every budget and taste.  A perk of the dining plan is that you will get a discount on the meals by pre-purchasing the dining plan versus paying for your meal the day of service.  I also like how adding the dining plan onto your package gives it an all-inclusive feel.  

When traveling as a large group it is important to make your dining reservations as close to the 180 day mark as possible!  You may need to be flexible with your seating preference as some restaurants may need to split your group between different tables.  

Make sure to show up early to your dining reservations.  Since you are dining as a large party you want to give yourself plenty of time to get get where you need to go.  

Also, keep in mind that when you are dining with a party of 6 or more gratuity is automatically added onto your bill.  

Memory Maker

If this is a large group trip to Disney I highly recommend getting the Memory Maker Photo package.  More often than not these are once in a lifetime trips and by adding the Memory Maker Photo Package you will have wonderful photos, with everyone in them, to remember your trip!  When going in a large group only one person needs to purchase the Memory Maker  but everyone in the group can get linked via the My Disney Experience app and use the Memory Maker.  

Be Flexible but Organized

When you are traveling with a large group unpredictable things can happen; kids need naps, some in your group won’t like certain rides, others may want to go back to a different park.  It is very important to talk before you go about your expectations.  Are you expecting that all of you will do everything together?  Are you okay with splitting up and meeting for meals or rides that you have a fastpass for?  If you are splitting up make sure you are very specific on where and when you are going to meet up.  Also, if splitting up make sure everyone has a cell phone and a cell phone portable charger  to help in the event you need to change plans.

Your Me and the Mouse travel specialist will be able to help in creating an itinerary that will best benefit your group.

Fastpasses

I touched on fastpasses above but make sure to pre-pick out your fastpasses.  Fastpasses can be picked out 60 days before you travel if you are staying on Disney property.  If you are staying off  Disney property they may be chosen 30 days before you go to Disney.  You are able to split up fastpasses so if some in your group would prefer to use their fastpass allocation on thrill rides and others would prefer a slower pace that can be done!  

My Disney Experience App  

Make sure those in your group that have a smart phone all download the My Disney Experience App.  This app will link all of your Disney vacation plans into one place.   This app will allow you to make and see your dining plans, fastpass choices, maps of the theme parks, wait times for rides, and more!  Your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist can help so that you all are linked, and will be able to see everyone’s plans!

So to review it is important to be flexible in your days but also very organized taking advantage of Disney’s fastpasses and My Disney Experience app.  Your travel specialist will be a wealth of information with putting all your pieces together for your group’s vacation needs!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

  

I must admit when I think of Disneyland I do not think first of fine dining experiences. But Steakhouse 55 has completely changed my mind about high end dining at the Happiest Place on Earth and I hope it changes your mind as well.

Located beside the famous Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, Steakhouse 55 is a classic old-Hollywood style restaurant with high end service, style, and food. Named after the year that Disneyland opened, the restaurant has a cozy atmosphere filled with rich furnishings and black and white pictures of celebrities from years past enhanced by the dimmed lighting.

Arrive early to your reservation and grab a drink at the Lounge before your table is ready. Steakhouse 55 has many signature cocktails including The French 75 and The Aviation. If you prefer something without alcohol, the restaurant serves Press Pot coffee, supporting sustainable coffee growth, and full-leaf tea with white sugar swizzle sticks.

When you think back on your meal at Steakhouse 55, what you are going to remember is your dining experience and you may even be salivating when you do so! From appetizers, to the main entrée, to dessert, the food is beyond delectable. The highlight of my meal was the 8 oz Filet Mignon accompanied by the Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and the Green Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon. Coming from Texas I have had great steaks at top restaurants but this might have been the very best steak I have ever had. The Cabernet Demi-Glaze amplified the cut of meat and the chef grilled the steak to perfection. The end of the meal included Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee with fresh raspberries and mint. It was as creamy and rich as what I had imagined and the perfect way to cap off an evening meal.

Children are not forgotten on the menu of Steakhouse 55. From salmon or chicken with pasta, to a hamburger or grilled cheese sandwich, there is something to please your younger family members. Children are welcomed warmly to the restaurant and treated as young gentlemen and ladies. I recommend this location as a wonderful way to introduce fine dining to the next generation.

I cannot thank the servers at my table enough. They were attentive to our needs, courteous, and offered the Disney magic in the classiest way imaginable.

The walk back to my hotel room at the Grand Californian Resort and Spa was just what was needed after a night of yummy. I can’t wait to head back to Disneyland and experience another delicious meal at Steakhouse 55.

If you are ready to enjoy a high end dining experience in a wonderful, classy environment be sure to tell your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist that you would like to include a reservation at Steakhouse 55 on your next Disneyland vacation. Reservations are accepted 60 days in advance and highly recommended.

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist