When it comes to transportation at Disney, a flying carpet, a pumpkin carriage, or some pixie dust with happy thoughts may seem like just the ticket to get from one place to another.  Making sure you know some of the basics of the transportation options is very important, that way when the clock strikes 12 you aren’t rushing out to your pumpkin (or late for a dining reservation).

Walt Disney World provides on-site transportation to ALL of their guests via:

  • Magical Express

  • Bus

  • Monorail

  • Ferry, water taxi, or boat

Also,

  • “Minnie Vans” by Lyft

Coming soon

  • Disney’s Skyliner

Magical Express

Walt Disney World Resort guests that will be flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO) will enter the magic of Disney soon after exiting their flight.  They will go to the main terminal and head down to Level 1, Side B and prepare to board the “Disney’s Magical Express”.  Disney’s Magical Express will transport guests to their resort from the airport and back again at the conclusion of their stay at Walt Disney World.

Magical Express Tips

  • Magical Express is complimentary although it is customary to tip your driver ($1-$2 per bag driver stored for you).

  • Do NOT pack your magic bands in your luggage.  They will be scanned to check you into the Magical Express and will be your room key when you arrive to the resort.

  • Disney will pick up any checked luggage for flights arriving into Orlando between the hours of 5am – 10pm.  It typically takes 3-4 hours for the luggage to be delivered to your room.

  • Make sure to pack anything you will need in your carry-on for the time before your luggage is delivered.

    • Swimsuits if you plan on swimming

    • An extra outfit for everyone

    • Medication

  • Car seats are not needed on the Magical Express but if you have one it will be stored under the shuttle in the luggage holding area.

  • If you have small children or babies be prepared with snacks or entertainment in case you have a wait.

  • It will take you about an hour to get to your resort from Magical Express.

  • You will receive a transportation notice from Magical Express the night before stating your pickup time back to the airport.  This is typically 3 to 4 hours before your flight.

  • If you are flying domestically you may be able to take advantage of your resorts airline check-in.  This allows you to check your luggage and print your airline boarding pass.  Make sure to do this at least 3 hours before your flight.

Disney Buses

Disney buses are the most common form of Disney transportation on property.  The buses are complimentary and will help save you the stress of navigating WDW.  Disney states that the buses run “roughly” every 20 minutes.  There are screens at the bus stops that will let you know when you can expect your buses arrival, which is very accurate.

Disney Bus Tips

  • Buses do not travel to the theme parks from Disney Springs.  You will need to take a bus to a resort and then take another bus to the theme park you are going to.

  • Bus service does not travel from resort to resort.  You will need to take the bus from resort A to a theme park and then take another bus (or monorail or water taxi) to Resort B.  Please allow up to 90 minutes when traveling from resort to resort via Disney’s bus system.  A good rule to follow when catching a bus transfer at a theme park is to go to a theme park that is closest to the resort you are trying to go to.

  • Disney buses ONLY travel on Disney property.

  • If you have a stroller with you it will needed to be folded up before you are allowed to get on the bus.

  • No food that is uncovered or liquids in an open cup are allowed to be brought onto the bus.

  • Allow an hour to get between resorts and theme parks via the Disney buses.

  • Bus service isn’t offered from resorts-to-parks when there are other means of transportation offered (monorail, ferry, etc).

Monorail

The monorail system operates on 13.6 miles of track on 3 different lines: Express Line, Magic Kingdom Resort Line, and Epcot Line.

Express Line has stops at:

  1. Ticket and Transportation Center

  2. Magic Kingdom

Epcot Line has stops at:

  1. Ticket and Transportation Center

  2. Epcot

Resort Monorail Line has stops at:

  1. Contemporary Resort

  2. Polynesian Village Resort

  3. Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

  4. Ticket and Transportation Center

  5. Magic Kingdom

The monorail starts running for the day 30 minutes prior to the earliest park opening and closes 1 hour after the latest park closing transporting on average 150,000 people daily.

Monorail Tips

  • Guests may no longer ride in the front car with the driver.

  • For guests with small children you may generally keep the kids in the stroller.  If it is during particularly busy time cast members may request that strollers be folded to be able to fit accommodate more guests.

  • The monorail does accommodate guests in wheelchairs or ECV’s.

Ferry, Water Taxi, or Boats

Ferry

The Ferry boats typically begins operation 30-45 minutes before park opening and cease operation 45-60 minutes after park closing.  When heading from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom, you have a choice of riding on either the monorail or a ferry (located to the left of the monorail).  I’ve found that although the timing is supposed to be similar,  I enjoy taking the ferry.  The ride is about 6-10 minutes long.  If you notice a long line at the monorail forming, I would head over to the ferry and take a nice relaxing ride, taking in the scenery across the Seven Seas Lagoon.  Seating options are very limited but if you are traveling with a stroller there is no need to fold it while on the ferry.

The ferry boats are named:

  • Admiral Joe Fowler

  • General Joe Potter

  • Richard F. Irvine

Water Taxi

Water taxis are available from some of the moderate and deluxe resorts on property to the theme parks and Disney Springs.  Each of the routes run on 15-30-minute intervals.   Strollers are required to be folded before entry.

There is a boat launch at Magic Kingdom that water taxis to the following resorts:

  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge

  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

Hollywood Studios and Epcot are both available via waterway from the following resorts:

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

  • Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

  • Disney’s Yacht Club

  • Swan and Dolphin Resort

  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas

Disney Springs is available from waterways via these resorts:

  • Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside

  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney Minnie Vans

Disney’s “Minnie” Vans by Lyft are a wonderful option for a direct way to get where you are looking to go on Disney property.  They are currently only running from certain deluxe resorts.  Check out our Disney Minnie Van’s article for more information!

Beth Rodgers

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

 

My ultimate favorite time to go to Walt Disney World is when they have “decked the halls” for the holiday season!  Between the stunningly, decorated Christmas trees, the lights, and the overall feeling of happiness in the air, it has all the makings for a truly magical Disney vacation!  Disney offers some extra “Disney Magic” during the holidays to make your trip even more festive.  These holiday activities include:

 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticketed event that takes place at the Magic Kingdom.  The special shows and attractions at the party include:

  • Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle
  • Holiday Wishes fireworks performance
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish stage Show
  • Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Show
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
  • Meet-and-greet opportunities with 15 of  your favorite characters throughout Magic Kingdom dressed in their holiday best
  • Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
  • A magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.

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The 2017 dates for the Very Merry Christmas Party are:

November 9th, 10th, 12th, 14h, 16th, 17th, 26th and 28th

December 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th,10th, 12th, 14th, 15th,17th,19th ,21st and 22nd

Ticket price ranges from $89 to $109

Talk to your Travel Specialist about adding tickets to the Very Merry Christmas party to your family’s holiday trip.

 

Sunset Season’s Greetings and Jingle Bell Jingle Bam

 New this year to Hollywood Studios is Sunset Seasons Greetings.  As dusk settles over Hollywood Studios Sunset Boulevard, the lights of Christmas will start to twinkle and snow will begin to fall.  Billboards will come into motion and the “Tower of Terror” will transform as Disney characters start to tell stories of Christmases past, excitement over gifts, foods of the holiday, and beautiful Christmas sights.  Special characters joining this event include: Mickey and Minnie, Toy Story Toys, Olaf, and the Swedish Chef.

Another Christmas celebration is Jingle Bell Jingle Bam.  This incredible night time extravaganza uses the technology of projections, fireworks, and holiday music to tell the story of how Kris Kringle is rescued by stars of Disney’s Prep and Landing.  Another option with the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam holiday show is to take part in the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Holiday party.  Talk to your travel specialist about adding a reservation onto your package and you will be able to dine on holiday sweets and drinks while enjoying the nighttime show in a special viewing area.

 

A Seasonal In-Room Celebration 

Disney floral gifts can transform your resort room into a holiday home away from home.  Imagine walking up to your Disney resort door to discover a Christmas banner welcoming your friends and family.  Once you step over the threshold you are welcomed by Disney Christmas décor and gifts from your favorite Disney characters.

For more information or to place an order please contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist and they will be more than happy to help you add a some holiday magic to your resort stay!

 

An International Yuletide Extravaganza

At Epcot during the holiday season, you can experience how each of the 11 nations around the world showcase celebrates the holidays.  Indulge in seasonal favorites, experience live musical productions and costumed performers as they bring seasonal traditions to life.  You may also visit Santa and Mrs. Claus as they visit the American Pavilion.

Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional includes a guest celebrity narrator and a 50 piece orchestra.  The narrator tells a moving story from the bible of how the Savior was born to a virgin in the city of Bethlehem.  Intertwined with the readings are choral songs of hope and joy making this a not to miss show!

The 2017 Celebrity Guest Narrator’s include:

TBD – November 24 to 26, 2017

Matt Bomer – November 27 to 28, 2017

TBD – November 29 to 30, 2017

Whoopi Goldberg – December 1 to 3, 2017

Pat Sajak – December 4 to 5, 2017

TBD – December 6 to 8, 2017

TBD – December 9 to 11, 2017

Warwick Davis – December 12 to 14, 2017

Trace Adkins – December 15 to 17, 2017

Neil Patrick Harris – December 18 to 21, 2017

CCH Pounder – December 22 to 24, 2017

Jaci Velasquez – December 25 to 27, 2017

Chandra Wilson – December 28 to 30, 2017

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Chip and Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree

Chip and Dale are looking for help as they collect ornaments for their Christmas tree!  Your family will need to make a stop at Epcot’s Disney Traders and World Travelers International Gateway and pick up a map (the price for the map is $6.99).  As you follow Chip and Dale around the World Showcase, learning how different cultures celebrate the Christmas holiday you will look for Chip and Dale.  When you spot them with their ornament you will place the corresponding ornament on your map.  After you have your map completed you can take it to Disney Traders and exchange for a special gift.

 

Joyful

At Epcot you can delight in inspirational holiday performances of Gospel, Jazz, R&B, and more.  These daily performances are located at the stage in front of the Future World Fountain.

 

Holiday Kitchen’s at Epcot

What is better than snacking around the World Showcase at Epcot?  Snacking on holiday goodies from around 11 different nations at Epcot!!!  Each marketplace will feature a festive holiday dining experience from each nation’s culture.

 

Illuminations

During Illuminations, Epcot’s fireworks and laser show, there are some holiday enhancements.  During the Holidays around the World at Epcot, the finale features the song, “Let there be peace on Earth”.

Disney’s Holiday D-Lights Tour

Disney’s Holiday D-Lights Tour is a 5-hour guided tour that will show you how Disney transforms into the most beautiful holiday wonderland!  Your tour guide or “Holiday Host” as they are called, will guide you on a journey with stops at Epcot to see the Candlelight Processional, Magic Kingdom to see the lighting ceremony of Cinderella’s Castle, and the star on top of the Christmas tree you will get to meet with some of the individuals responsible for turning Disney into a holiday wonderland.  You will also get to enjoy a family style barbeque dinner at Wilderness Lodge.

Tickets for this tour are $259 and you must be at least 12 years of age.

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Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy…A Backstage Adventure

During the Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy 3 hour tour you will meet at Epcot’s silver and blue guided tours Epcot location.  From there you will head backstage and learn about the logistics involved in the seasonal transformation of Walt Disney World Resort each year.  You will meet the Disney “Elves” that transform the resort into a Walt Disney holiday wonderland.  You will be guided through the World Showcase and learn how each country celebrates the holiday season.  You will also visit one of the resorts on the Disney property to see how Disney decorates on a grand scale using color, texture, attention to detail, illusion, and architecture.  You will also receive a special holiday keepsake.  To partake in the tour you must be at least 16 years of age.  Tickets for this tour are $99 per person. 

Disney Springs

At Disney Springs you can really dive into the spirit of the season.  The streets are decorated for a great family photo opportunity.  Your children can also visit with Santa Clause and you can stop at the Starbucks for some hot cocoa or maybe Ghirardelli for some ice cream.  You can also enjoy some live Christmas entertainment including christmas carolers, a tree lighting ceremony, a dance party, and you can take a walk amongst specialty decorated Christmas trees!

Just in case your kids weren’t exactly sure what they wanted on their Christmas lists there is plenty of shopping to be done at Disney Springs…including The Christmas Store!

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Victorian gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a beautiful place to visit and just look around if you don’t happen to be staying at that resort.  During the holidays there is another reason to make a stop on the monorail and visit the resort and the Victorian gingerbread house that they have on display!!!  The ingredients for the grandiose creation include: 1050lbs of honey, 140 pints of egg whites, 600lbs of powdered sugar, 700lbs of chocolate, 800lbs of flour, 35lbs of spices, and lots of Disney magic….oh did I forget to mention this is a fully functioning snack shop with actual cast members working inside!!!  Inside they sell creations such as: gingerbread men, gingerbread shingles, Mickey pops, and large gingerbread ornaments just to name a few.  Make sure to stop by and check this out!!!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

I thought it would be fun to explore what kid’s thoughts and reactions were in relation to visiting Walt Disney World! My expert panel of kids have all recently visited and were excited to share with us what made their Disney vacation so memorable!

A big step in planning a Disney vacation is a figuring out where you are going to stay. Disney’s on property resorts are amazing, they offer such a great continuation of the Disney experience. The kids were questioned about what their favorite aspect of staying at their Walt Disney resort was:

“All the art work”. (Art of Animation) Isabelle (14)

“The Herbie Car being at our resort”. (Pop Century) Ashton (11)

“The Pool”. (Pop Century) Hannah (11)

“The pool, theme, and monorail”. (Polynesian Village) Hunter (14)

“The beignets at French Quarter”. (Port Orleans French Quarter) Jonathon (16)

“I liked the headboards that light up”. (Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Room)
Kirsten (13)

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Disney World has 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. The kids were asked which of the 4 theme parks was their favorite? We had a tie for the favorite theme park being Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Magic Kingdom was the first of Disney World’s 4 theme parks. It opened in 1971 and is comprised of 6 different lands: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was Disney’s second theme park at Disney World opening in 1982. Epcot was created with the notion of future and technology in mind. Epcot is comprised of 2 themed lands: Future World and World Showcase and is the 2 nd largest Disney theme park coming in behind Animal Kingdom Park.

Walt Disney World has many fantastic attractions and among kids, who were questioned, this is a list of their top “must ride” favorites. Make sure that you can add these onto your family’s ride plans:

Pirates of the Caribbean” Gracin

Space Mountain” Hunter

“7 Dwarfs Mine Train” Hannah

Test Track” Ashton and Peyton

Dumbo” Meagan

Soarin” Isabelle

Under the Sea” Erica

Expedition Everest” Hunter

Spaceship Earth” Kirsten

While at Disney your family has an amazing opportunity to experience some of the best food and dining around. The snacks at Disney are simply not to be skipped. The favorite among the kids panel is the “Dole Whip”.  A Dole Whip is a non-dairy frozen masterpiece!

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It can be ordered in a cup or it can be made into a float (I recommend this). This not-to-be-missed snack can be found in the Magic Kingdom at Aloha Isle or The Polynesian Resort at Captain Cooks. A “Churro” and the “Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bar” were also frequently mentioned!

Picking where to dine while on your Disney vacation can be super exciting. There are so many great options! Chef Mickey was the favorite among many of the kids. These are some of the favorites:

Chef Mickey, I loved having all the characters come around to greet and take pictures
with you”. Erica (also enjoyed by Jonathon and Peyton)

The Polynesian Luau– the fire dancing was really cool”. Hunter

Sci Fi Dine”. Hannah, Ashton and Evan

Casey’s Corner”. Isabelle

T-Rex”. Gracin

Be our Guest, I liked the gray stuff”. Jillian (also enjoyed by Kirsten and Hunter)

When I was a child I remember my families first trip to Walt Disney World and even though I dreamt about what that visit would be like, the real Disney World surpassed everything I had imagined. When talking to the kids about their vacations, I asked them what was something that surprised them about the parks. Here are some of their reactions to Disney:

“How kind and helping the people that work at Disney are”. Erica

“How much there is to do at Disney. There is something for everybody”. Hannah

“That it’s not just for little kids”. Isabelle

“The rides are fast”. Ashton

“It’s very clean and the water slides at the pool were so much fun”. Gracin

“There is something new to do on every trip”. Kirsten

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One of the best parts of assisting families in planning their Disney vacation is helping them build wonderful memories! It was so much fun getting to hear some of the kid’s favorite memories from their Disney vacations:

“Going on Splash Mountain with my dad, and being able to ride in the front”. Hunter

“The Polynesian Luau”. Erica

“First time seeing the castle”. Hannah

“Building my own car on Test Track”. Ashton

“Riding Space Mountain with my dad” Evan

“Remembering the times in Epcot”. Peyton

“First time on Everest”. Hunter

“Playing at a Disney Band Workshop”. Jonathon“Getting Character Photo’s”. Kirsten

We look forward to creating more Disney memories with your family! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist to book your next Disney vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Lights, Camera, Action!  Welcome to Disney’s All Star Movies Resort.  The All Star Movies resort is one of three All Star value resorts on Disney property.  This resort will get your family into the scenes of some of your favorite legendary Disney movies.

All Star Movies3

I had the opportunity to stay at All Star Movies resort with my family.  My kids were enamored by the gigantic character scenes that were located in each of the 5 different themed areas of the resort.  These huge scenes are perfect photo opportunities for your family!

The rooms (both preferred and standard), are 260 sq. feet and have 2 double beds.  They can accommodate a family of four.  They can accommodate a family of five if one of the children is under the age of 3 and sleeping in a Pack N’ Play. The rooms do come with a mini fridge, flat screen TV, wireless internet, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.   

Preferred Rooms are located closer to the main building, dining, and transportation.  At the All Star Movies resort the preferred rooms are located in Toy Story, Fantasia, and 101 Dalmatians sections of the resort. The standard room are located further away from the main building, but many also find these rooms are more quiet, as there is not as much foot traffic. The standard rooms are located in the Mighty Ducks and Herbie the Love Bug Sections.  

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The All Star Movies resort features 2 heated pools always kept at a nice 80 degrees.  The first pool is called Fantasia and is located between the 2 Fantasia buildings and right outside Cinema Hall.  My kids loved that the pools were heated and that even though we were there at an unusually cold week in November, they could still enjoy some time swimming.  Located close to the Fantasia pool you can also enjoy a smaller “kiddie pool”.  The second pool is called Duck Pond Pool. It has a hockey theme and is located between the Mighty Duck buildings and not far from the 101 Dalmatians building.

 all Star Movies 2Within the Cinema Hall building you will find dining options at The World Premiere Food Court which features 5 marquee themed quick service restaurants opened from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is something for everybody’s taste buds at the Quick Service Dining locations at the All-Star Movies. From the typical child favorites of pizza and hamburgers to grilled chicken, pasta, and barbecue ribs! The resort also offers room service of pizza, salad, and beverages from 5 p.m.-midnight! Silver Screen Spirits is a pool side bar located next to the Fantasia pool and serves a continental breakfast in the morning and sandwiches and snacks the remainder of the day.

For more information on this or any of the other amazing Disney resorts contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist!

Beth Rodgers

Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist

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To Infinity and Beyond!

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldHowdy, Howdy, Howdy!!!  Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies, and I am super excited to announce that coming summer 2018 Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to a new Toy Story Land!  The idea of this new land is similar to that of Cars Land at Disneyland, it is an all immersive land where you actually feel like you are walking around Radiator Springs {such a fun land to visit}!  The new Toy Story Land will shrink down guests and become Andy’s new toys!  

The new 11 acres of Andy’s backyard play area you will be full of Toy Story fun! You will find 2 new amazing attractions 1. The Slinky Dog Dash Family Friendly Rollercoaster and 2. Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania will continue in operation and has actually extend its track for a longer and even more entertaining ride.

The Slinky Dog Dash will be a coaster that the whole family can enjoy. The track {designed by Andy using his Mega Coaster Play Kit} will stretch, as long as Slinky Dog can, throughout the new land.

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldThe other new attraction will be Alien Swirling Saucers.  This attraction is inspired by the first film and Andy’s visit to Pizza Planet.  In the film, Buzz and Woody were stuck in the claw game.  The claw makes a big appearance during this new attractions as it looms over riders that are spinning and swirling in their toy flying saucers trying to keep away from the aliens as they try to catch you with “The Claw”.

Toy Story Mania is a beloved attraction by many and it will be getting even better.  The fan-favorite attraction will be adding even more track with the opening of this new Toy Story Land. Guests will also get the chance to travel under Andy’s bed. They will see an amazing carnival that Andy has built.  

If you’re ready to check out this new addition, 2018 packages for next summer are already being reserved!  Be sure to contact a Me and the Mouse Agent for more information and to get your families visit to Walt Disney World and Toy Story Land planned! We know you are going to love this new expansion!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

{Or if it’s your first trip in a long time!}

I recently took my family on a mini vacation to an amusement park.  I had not been there since I was a child.  While I have planned 100’s of Disney vacations planning this destination for my family gave me a reality check to how my clients feel when they are planning for a first {or first time in a really long time} visit to Disney World! Today, I’m sharing my answers to the top questions I receive from first time guests or guest that are trying to get back into the swing of planning a Disney World Vacation.

Top 10 Questions From First Time Disney World Guests

  1. Why Use a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist?  I kind of joked with my husband that I wish I had a “me” to call when planning our trip to Cedar Point.  I had questions and spent hours searching for answers online.  The team at Me and the Mouse Travel is a wealth of information regarding Disney and Universal not only can we answer any question that you can come up with but we will save you that time you would have spent researching or on hold waiting to find out answers. If you’re a first time guest to Disney, Me and the Mouse would love to help iron out details and explain anything! We love serving our families! 
  2. Walt Disney World 101: First Time GuideWhen should I start planning my Disney Vacation?  I recommend starting your planning 6-12 months out if you have the luxury to do so.  With giving yourself plenty of time to plan you set your family up to:
    • Get the best price on your vacation package
    • Acquire the dining reservations you desire
    • Better room availability to choose from
    • Best selection to choose from for your fastpasses
  3. When do I need to make dining reservations?  180 days from the day you check in!  Yes, 6 months out.  I often hear how will I know what I want to eat 6 months out?  Your Me and the Mouse agent can help you with this we all have eaten at most of the restaurants on property and offer recommendations based on what we think your family will enjoy. 
  4. What are FastPasses?  Fastpasses are pre-set up time slots where you can go to an attraction or show and not have to wait in the standard line but you go through a FastPass cue.  There is not an extra cost for the FastPass.  You start off with 3 FastPasses per day.  Then you can add another from the My Disney Experience app on your phone.  If you are staying at a Disney resort you can pre pick out your FastPasses 60 days before you arrive.  If you stay off property you can still pre-pick out FastPasses but it is only 30 days out.
    Walt Disney World 101: First Time Guide
  5. What are Magic Bands?  When staying at a Disney resort you will receive a Magic Band which is a colorful wristband with a Mickey Logo on it.  The Magic Band links all your vacation choices on your wrist.  The Magic Band is your room key, park tickets, fastpasses, dining plan, Memory Maker, and you can use it to make purchases while on Disney property. The name says it all – it’s pretty magical! 
  6. What is at Disney World?  Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, 2 water parks {Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach}, Disney Springs, 3 championship golf courses, and close to 30 different resort options.  There are also more delicious dining spots than you can count, a wide variety of shops, and a countless amount of picture perfect locations. We’re kinda in love with this place, and we have a feeling you will be too! 
  7. How do I get around while on Disney property?  Disney World expands over 40 square miles!!!  Disney provides transportation everywhere on property via bus shuttles, monorails, and water taxi’s. If you plan to road trip to Disney, there are also different parking lots and garages to accommodate you. 
  8. What is Disney’s Dining Plan(s)? Disney has 3 different meal plans that your family can choose from: Quick Service Meal Plan, Disney Dining Plus (most popular), and the Deluxe Dining plan.  What I find great about adding this option onto my package is that my meals at Disney are now taken care of and at a discounted price then if I had not used the dining plan!  Your dining plan becomes active the day that you check in and ends at midnight the day you check out. {Read our blog about the 2017 Dining Plans: HEREWalt Disney World 101: First Time Guide
    • Quick Service Dining Plan
      • 2 quick service meals per person {This includes 1 entrée or 1 complete combo meal, 1 beverage.}
      • 1 snack per person
      • 1 resort refillable mug per person over the age of 3
    • Disney Dining Plus
      • 1 table service meal per person per night stay {including character dining}
      • 1 quick service meal per person
      • 2 snacks per person
      • 1 resort refillable mug per person over the age of 3
    • Deluxe Dining
      • 3 meals {table service or counter service} per person
      • 2 snack per person
      • 1 resort refillable mug per person over the age of 3 
  9. What are the different ticket options available? 
    • Base Tickets
      • You can choose the number of days you plan to be at Disney parks.  You have the flexibly to come and go to the same theme park during that days visit.
    • Park Hopper 
      • By adding the Park Hopper option onto your ticket it gives you flexibility to go to multiple theme parks during a single day!  So if you happen to miss the parade at Magic Kingdom on the day you planned to do Magic Kingdom you have the flexibility to go back on another day.  This option is an all or nothing it is the same price whether you have 2 days of park tickets or 10.
    • Park Hopper Plus
      • The Park Hopper Plus option you get the specified number of days to visit the theme parks {Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom} then you also get the same number of days to go visit the “Plus” visits to:
        • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
        • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
        • 1 round of mini golf at Fantasia Gardens mini golf course 
          • Must be before 4 pm 
          • Can’t be used the same day as Winter Summertime
        • 1 round of mini golf at Winter Summertime miniature golf  
          • Must be before 4pm
          • Can’t be used the same day as Fantasia Gardens
        • Admission to ESPN Wide World of Sports
          • Valid only on event days
          • Some sports may require an additional admission
        • One Round of Golf at Disney’s Oak Trail
          • Tee time reservations required
  10. How will I get to and from the airport to my resort?  If you fly into Orlando International Airport {MCO} you will be able to ride Disney’s Magical Express directly to your resort. This transportation service is complementary with your package. As a mom of 4, my favorite part of the Magical Express, they pick up your checked luggage from the airport and deliver it directly to your room within 3 hours of landing! {Make sure to take anything you are going to need during that time on your carry on.}  

 

Ready to let a Me and the Mouse agent take the stress away from planning your first trip to Walt Disney World? Contact one of our incredible, top-notch agents today!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

During discussions with my clients I often bring up visiting Disney Springs while on vacation.  I have uncovered that many Disney first timers were unaware of this not-so-hidden oasis at Disney World.  So the homeschool mom in me has put together today’s lesson: Disney Springs 101.

 

Lesson 1: The History behind Disney Springs

  • This area of Disney World opened on March 22, 1975 as Lake Buena Vista Village and was Disney’s first shopping area.  The shopping area was actually set up to serve residents who were supposed to be living on Disney property.  The plans changed and with that so did the name and purpose of Lake Buena Vista Village.  
  • The first name change took place in 1977 to Walt Disney World Village and the idea behind it now was to keep Disney guests on Disney property.  With that idea in hand Walt Disney World Village transformed into the entertainment district encompassing entertainment, shopping, and restaurant options that would not be found in any of the Disney theme parks. Disney Springs 101 
  • Then in 1989 Disney had seen another need arise, that to add more adult nightlife options.  This new area became named Pleasure Island and had celebrations nightly kicked off at midnight.  During that same year, Walt Disney World Village Market underwent yet another name change to The Disney Village Marketplace.     
  • In 1995, Walt Disney World Village went through yet another rebranding and combined both Pleasure Island and Walt Disney World Village to create the Downtown Disney District.  This turned out to be a very great option for this space for many years! (I know I loved visiting the area when I worked at Disney.)
  • The time had come on November 18, 2010 Disney announced their newest inspiration for this shopping and entertainment district a themed town built around the idea of a twentieth century water side town, Disney Springs.  Disney Springs would bring in even more shopping and dining options, nearly doubling its current size and adding not one but two parking structures. This space is still known today as Disney Springs!

 

Lesson 2: Geography of Disney Springs

There are 4 different themed areas that are combined to create Disney Springs:

  • The Landing
  • The Marketplace
  • The Westside
  • Town Center

 

Lesson 3: Dining while at Disney Springs

Disney Springs 101First and foremost, your dining plan can be used at many locations at Disney Springs! There are currently 55 different dining locations offered within the 4 themed areas.  There is something for everyone! You can find anything from amazing sandwiches {check out Earl of Sandwich} to waterfront fine dining at the Boathouse!  Let’s not forget all the dessert options!  Two of my favorite sweet stops are: Sprinkles Gourmet cupcakes and Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. This special Sprinkles location features a cupcake ATM. {You can read more about Sprinkles, here!}  

 

Lesson 4: Shopping at Disney Springs

Disney Springs 101Disney Springs really has stepped up the game on shopping options!  There are 110 unique shopping venues available!  Some of the stores have stayed post renaming such as:

  • The Lego Store
  • The Wide World of Disney
  • Basin
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Disney Days of Christmas

There are also SEVERAL new options of stores to check out such as:

  • The Coca Cola Store
  • Happy Hound
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Lefty’s the Left Handed Store

 

Lesson 5: Entertainment Opportunities while at Disney SpringsDisney Springs 101

Disney Springs is more than just dining and shopping! You can enjoy some family friendly entertainment at:

  • Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba
  • AMC 24 Movie Theater
  • Disney Quest Interactive Theme Park
  • Splitsville Luxury Lane Bowling {Read more, here!}
  • House of Blues
  • Market Place Stage Live Shows

 

Questions from the Class

  1. Does admittance into Disney Springs require a park ticket or any charge?

No, it’s FREE!! This makes it a great option to go to on a non-park day such as the first day you arrive or if you have an off day in your itinerary to rest around the resort.  A ticket is required if you plan to go to Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba (which your Me and the Mouse agent can help you with), Disney Quest, or to go see a movie at the AMC 24.

2. How can I get to Disney Springs?

There is bus transportation to and from your Disney resort to Disney Springs.  If you are staying at: Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, or Saratoga Springs you may also choose to take a boat over to Disney Springs.  Guests staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort may also walk from their resort using the pedestrian bridge which takes you directly into the Market Place area. Staying on the Disney Property will make it easier to get to Disney Springs, but it is not required to stay on property. Disney Springs 101

3. If I drive my car to Disney Springs, how much will it cost to park?

There is no charge for parking in either parking structure or in the surface parking lots. However, if you choose to have the valet service park your car there is a cost of $20.

4. Can I use my dining plan at Disney Springs?

Yes! {One of the many reasons why we love Disney Springs!} Many of the dining locations accept the Disney Dining Plan!  If you are curious if a restaurant choice is on the dining plan ask your Me and the Mouse agent, or look on your My Disney Experience account!

5. In your opinion is it worth it to visit Disney Springs?

Yes! {Is this even a question?!} There has not been one Disney vacation where we haven’t made the trip to Disney Springs to walk around, shop, and enjoy the dining and entertainment! It is such a great place to relax without leaving the fun of Disney!!

Are you ready to take a trip to Walt Disney World and visit Disney Spring?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We would love to help plan your vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

If you’re a craft loving, DIY’er like me a fun way to add some magic to your approaching Disney vacation is to make your own Disney lanyard.  These lanyards can be used for multiple things on your Disney vacation:

  • As a pin trading lanyard (click hyperlink to learn about Disney pin trading)
  • To hold your park tickets if you don’t have magic bands
  • To hold a photo pass card

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Your Favorite Disney RibbonFun DIY Disney Lanyard
  • Scissors
  • Big Clasps
  • Fabric Velcro Tabs (if you want pull away lanyards)
  • Clear Nail Polish or No Fray Check
  • Sewing Machine, Hot Glue Gun, or Thread and Needle
  • Pins
  • Name Tag Holder

Step One:

Go pick out your supplies.  I found super cute Disney ribbon at: JoAnne Fabrics (best selection), Wal-Mart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.

I found big clasps in the Jewelry making section of my local JoAnne fabrics but I am sure each of the craft stores have them.

Fray check and Velcro tabs can be located at craft stores or Wal-Mart. The plastic name tag holders can be found easily at Staples or Amazon.com.

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Step Two:

Measure how long you would like the lanyard (I usually cut mine at 36”).

Optional Step: I like to make tear away lanyards for safety.  Match up the two ends you cut and then cut the opposite end so that you have one ribbon in each hand that are the same length. If you decided to do this optional step you will now add Velcro tabs to the ends you just cut.

Step Three:

So that the ribbon does not fray you will now use the clear nail polish or the Fray check on each of the cut end of the ribbon. Let the liquid dry before moving on to step four.

Step Four:

After the Fray Check has dried now is the time to add the clasp.  To do this I’ve found it best to put the lanyard on so that you can make sure it lays right when it is worn.  Once you have verified there are no twists, take it off.  Holding the end that the clasp is going on you will put both ends together and fold it about ½”.  If you are using hot glue you will want to glue the fold.  At this point you will slide the clasp on and then make another fold about 1” over.  Then pin the fold in place.  If you are using hot glue you will again glue the fold (I also recommend putting in a few stitches just to make sure it holds).

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

I used a sewing machine and that made it simple to sew the folds holding the clasp in place!  You then add the clear plastic name tag if you choose to use one and your lanyard is all ready for your Disney vacation!

Finish the lanyard and ready to go on your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist