4th of July at Disney WorldDoes your summer vacation happen to fall on July 4th or were you wanting to celebrate Independence Day at one of the most magical places on earth?  Well, you’ve picked a great time and place to see something special!  Throughout all of the parks, Walt Disney World will be celebrating the 4th with all of the Disney touches.  

Only at Magic Kingdom can you celebrate July 4th on the 3rd.  That’s right, they will have 2 special firework shows.  Celebrate America – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky fireworks will be shown on July 3rd and 4th.  These fireworks are sure to amaze you as well as celebrate our country’s birthday.  

4th of July at Disney WorldThe flag retreat is another hidden gem that happens at Magic Kingdom every night at 5pm.  Make sure you put this on your list of must do’s as well. You’ll want to head to the town square on Main Street USA to watch Cast Members retire Magic Kingdom’s American flag for the night. This special event is specifically to thank veterans for their service, sacrifice and dedication to protecting our country. 

 

Hopping over to Epcot, you’ll enjoy some other festive 4th of July happenings.  Throughout the day, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy will appear in their patriotic costumes! You can find them near the promenade by The American Adventure in World Showcase.  While you are there, be sure to stick around for the various 4th of July concerts! These will be taking place at the American pavilion. Then following IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, there will be a patriotic firework finale! This special show is called, The Heartbeat of Freedom

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At each of the parks, there will be special Independence Day merchandise and treats available! You’ll not want to miss out on these limited editions! Since the celebration is so big, July 3rd and 4th tends to be crowded days at the parks. However, do not let that detour you from spending the holiday at Walt Disney World. {Arriving early to the parks can help you get in extra activities before the crowd gets big!} You won’t want to miss this special Walt Disney World 4th of July Celebration! 

Want to book your Fourth of July at Disney World? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! If you are a local Florida resident, we would still love to assist you in your planning!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

An Authentic German Experience

{& Perfect for the WHOLE Family!}

Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!One of my family’s top Disney dining picks is the Biergarten Restaurant. In our opinion, it’s one of Disney’s best kept dining secret.  It’s tucked away in Germany within the World Showcase at Epcot.  We found the podium outside of the restaurant, but we had no clue what fun was behind the front doors!
My family happened to discover it on accident.  During one of our Disney vacations, we decided that we wanted to try a new restaurant.  This is easy to do as there are so many options at Disney World.  However, when you’re a party of 12 wanting to eat dinner somewhere within the next 3 hours, this can complicate things.  One of the only places that could accommodate us was Biergarten.  Taking a chance, we all agreed to try this restaurant.  It turned out to be the best decision we made. Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

We walked in with no expectations.  What we encountered when we walked behind the doors was a restaurant located in a Biergarten during Oktoberfest.  There were tables that sat 12 guests centered around an Oktoberfest Stage and dance floor.  Every so often, an authentic German Polka Band would perform on stage and encourage guests to come down and polka along to the music.  This was great for all of the little kids to come down and dance with each other or with their family members.

Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

Another big hit was the authentic German cuisine.  We enjoyed the buffet selections such as bratwurst, rotisserie chicken, pork schnitzel and a variety of salads.  Oh, and don’t forget the Bavarian cheesecake and hand-pulled apple strudel that’s made fresh daily.  There was something on the buffet that everyone enjoyed, even the kids who have a more selective palate.

 

And if you’re 21 or older and would like to taste some specially brewed German beers or wines, you’re in the right place for that too.  With so many different options to choose from, you have the option to order a flight to sample some that peak your interest. Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

 

All of these things combined have made the Biergarten Restaurant one of our family’s top picks for dining at Walt Disney World and will be on our list of place to eat every time we go.  We hope that you will take a chance and enjoy the same things that we do at this restaurant.

If you’d like to add this to your next Disney World experience, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

There are a lot of choices when trying to determine where to stay during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  There’s also a lot of opinions that your friends and family have about where you should stay during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  Sometimes, you’ll hear that you’ll save a lot of money and that it will be a lot less hassle to stay somewhere that’s not a Disney Resort on Disney property.  While they are trying to be helpful, there are actually a lot of reasons as to why you should stay at a Disney Resort on Disney property.

Stay at a Disney World Resort

Some of the reasons to stay at a Disney resort on Disney property are:

  • 25 different resort options
  • Complimentary transportation to and from Orlando’s International Airport and from your Disney resort to the parks. {Yes, I know this is a great perk!!}
  • Early access to FastPass+ Planning
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Access to Disney’s Dining Plans
  • Complimentary MagicBands

 

As mentioned above, there are many different Disney resort options for you to choose from.  The resorts are put into three categories, deluxe, moderate and value.  This helps ensure that there’s a resort to accommodate almost every budget.  Not only are you staying at a Disney resort, but once you leave the parks, the Disney magic continues.  In all of the resorts, there will be touches of Disney sprinkled throughout so that you’re never far away from the magic!

 

Disney’s complimentary transportation means that you’ll never have to rent a car to get around while at Disney. {Yes, you read that right!}  While staying at a Disney resort, you’re also able to take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express.  It’s a complimentary bus service that will pick you up from Orlando’s International Airport when you land and return you there when it’s time to go home.  You’ll also learn some of the new things that’s happened at the parks during your ride to your resort.

Stay at a Disney World Resort
In addition to Disney’s Magical Express, Disney also provides complimentary bus service from your resort to all of the Disney parks and Disney Springs.  These buses arrive at the bus stop at your resort every 15 to 20 minutes, so you’re never waiting long.  Plus they will drop you off as close as possible to the parks, so it’s never too far of a walk to the main entrance. You don’t have to worry about parking or directions!

 

One of my favorite benefits is the early access to FastPass+ Planning.  FastPass+ allows you access to reserve select shows and attractions up to 60 days before you arrive.  You’ll be one of the first to select a FastPass to some of your favorite rides and attractions to make sure that you experience them during your vacation without having to wait in a long line.  If you were staying off property or not at a Disney resort, you’d still have the FastPass+ Planning available to you, but only at 30 days before you arrive.  This could mean that some of the newer or more popular attractions and shows will be out of FastPasses before you’re able to select them.

Stay at a Disney World Resort

Another favorite is being able to take advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours.  These hours are only available to guests staying on property at a Disney resort.  Certain parks on certain days will open an hour earlier or stay open later to guests staying at a Disney resort.  Additional hours at the parks each day provides more time for fun with family and friends at select attractions and entertainment experiences.

 

Being able to add a Disney dining plan to your vacation package can be a great benefit and savings.  On average, using a Disney dining plan, you could save up to 25% versus paying out of pocket as you go. Depending upon the dining plan you choose, you have use your table service credits to pay in advance for some of the sought after dining, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. The dining plans cannot be added if you are not staying at a Disney resort.

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the complimentary MagicBands that you’ll be able to pick out and personalize before you arrive at your Disney resort.  MagicBands hold all the magic to your vacation and keep everything together in one place that’s easily accessible. They are truly magical. You can use them to:

  • Unlock your Disney Resort hotel room
  • Enter theme parks and water parks {with valid admission}
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases {if you choose to set it up that way}
  • Connect PhotoPass images to your account
  • Check in at FastPass+ attraction and entertainment lines

 

These are some of the many benefits of staying at a Disney resort on Disney property during your Walt Disney World vacation.  I hope that they are helpful and provide you with a lot of good information as to why you’d want to stay in the heart of the magic! If you have any other questions or are ready to book, contact a Me and The Mouse agent. You can learn more about the Disney Resorts on our resort page!

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

Have you ever been at Magic Kingdom and wondered why all the special seating was closed by Cinderella’s castle?  Or have seen a group of people standing in a roped off area at Epcot eating some tantalizing desserts?  Those are just two of the special firework dessert parties that are available to enjoy!

 

Disney offers the chance to watch their famous fireworks from some of the best locations within or around the parks.  You have the opportunity to make special reservations on select days for these dessert parties 180 days before your vacation begins.  So what makes them so special?  Well, let’s take a look at each one a little bit closer.

 

At Magic Kingdom, there are actually two different parties to choose from.  Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace and Ferrytale Wishes: A Fireworks Dessert Cruise.  While you’ll be viewing the same firework show over Cinderella’s Castle, where you will be viewing them from will be quite different.  At the Tomorrowland Terrace’s party, you’ll have a reserved table and viewing area to share with other guests. This is just before you enter Tomorrowland.  You’ll be seated at your table and will be able to feast on all of the delicious mini desserts, ice cream and yummy non-alcoholic beverages.  Even though everyone has an assigned table, you can always stand up and get closer to the magic within the viewing area.  There’s plenty of room to move around!  And there’s a special guest that flies overhead to start the fireworks so have your camera ready!

 

Fireworks Dessert PartyThe other party at Magic Kingdom is Ferrytale Wishes. {Read an entire blog post about this party, HERE!}  This is an exclusive dessert party and magical cruise aboard the iconic General Joe Potter ferryboat.  You’ll be wishing upon a night full of stars, fireworks and magic as you sail the Seven Seas Lagoon in Style.  Here you’ll enjoy some decadent sweets, specialty beverages (with and without alcohol-in a special glow glass!) and one-of-a-kind views of Disney’s famous fireworks above Magic Kingdom.

 

Jumping over to Epcot, you can reserve your spot at IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party.  If fireworks with an international flair is something more your style, then this surely won’t disappoint! Located close to Mexico in World Showcase, you’ll enter your special viewing area that will have scattered tall top tables (without seating) along with your choice of amazing desserts from around World Showcase.  There will even be a refreshing assortment of beverages, including sparkling wines.

Fireworks Dessert Party

Lastly, for an out of this world firework dessert party with a Star Wars theme, check out Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party! This is located in Disney’s Hollywood! The party is directly located in front of Star Wars Launch Bay in Animation Courtyard. You’ll be able to stand and feast on some Star Wars themed treats and specialty drinks, including alcoholic beverage options.  Nibble on Darth Vader cupcakes as you’re escorted to a special VIP area to watch the enthralling firework display.

 

You won’t be disappointed, regardless of which one you pick.  It’s a great opportunity to reserve your spot for some of the best locations to view the fireworks and enjoy some delectable treats and drinks.  Adding these to your vacation is like adding an extra bit of pixie dust!

 

To add a firework dessert party to your Disney vacation, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

It’s not very often that new attractions will open at Walt Disney World let alone a whole new land!  Well, that is what’s getting ready to happen with the opening of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27th, 2017!  After watching the movie Avatar and then hearing the news that Disney was going to somehow incorporate this into Animal Kingdom, I’ve been very excited.  The movie itself is visually stunning and the special effects are amazing.  Now, combine that with the magic of Disney and this new land is sure to be a huge hit!

While visiting Walt Disney World periodically last year, it was pretty amazing to see all of the construction and work they were doing coming together.  It was pretty amazing to see the floating mountains in the Disney sky and try to imagine what the rest of Pandora would look like.  At nighttime, the jungle will be filled with bioluminescent flora.  It’s like the land has come to life with a glow that adds a magical feeling.  It will truly make you feel as though you’ve been transported to Pandora itself.  

In addition to all of the stunning visuals, themed dining and shopping, there will also be two expeditions to discover.  The first is AVATAR Flight of Passage.  This excursion will offer the jaw-dropping experience of riding on a Banshee over the world of Pandora. It will be sure to offer you the ride of a lifetime!  The other is the Na’vi River Journey.  This family friendly ride begins as you venture down a mysterious, sacred river that flows through the bioluminescent rainforest.  You’ll pass by the glowing plants and unforgettable creatures and encounter a Na’vi shaman, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora.
This land is set to open this summer, and I can’t wait!  As it gets closer, Disney will be releasing more information about all of the exciting details of Pandora.  While we anxiously wait for its opening, here’s a link to video to keep the excitement alive! 

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

The Star Wars Guided Tour

Star Wars has always had a large fan base.  With the release of two new Star Wars movies, one in 2015 and one in 2016, that fan base has grown. Star Wars is now more main stream than ever.  Until recently, there’s never been a place where Star Wars fans could go to meet and experience Star Wars….Disney style.  Since the ending of Star Wars Weekends, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has slowly been ramping up Star Wars experiences.  One of the more recent experiences added is the Star Wars Guided Tour.

 

Star Wars Guided TourThis 7 hour tour will give you VIP access to seeing stars during a screening of the movie, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi.  You’ll also have a reserved viewing area to watch 2 live stage shows – Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away and March of the First Order.  If you have younglings ages 4 through 12, you can enroll them in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. Here, they will learn the ways of the Jedi to use against the dark force.  This is a huge perk all on its own. Families typically have to be at the park before opening to stand in line to register their younglings.

Chewbacca Meet and Greet
You’ll also be launching into hyperspace aboard a Starspeeder 1000 on Star Tour – The Adventure Continues attraction where you might be the rebel spy!  You will also experience meet and greets with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. You’ll visit the Star Wars Launch Bay. There you will get to orbit around saga-centric exhibits featuring replica props, models, concept art and artifacts.

 

After all of this, you’re bound to be a little hungry.  Don’t worry, Disney has the covered too.  You will be sinking your jaws into a Star Wars-inspired dinner at Backlot Express.  They will have Star Wars themed eats like the Royal Guard Burger, Galactic Chicken Salad or even Dark Side Chicken and Waffle.

 

End your tour by chewy-ing on inter-stellar sweets at Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party. At the same time,  you will experience a reserved viewing of  Stars Wars: A Galactic Spectacular nighttime fireworks event.  No tour is complete without a Star Wars souvenir that you’ll collect at the end. Star Wars Guided Tour

 

If you’re looking for some extra special for the diehard Star Wars fan in your family, I think this is a “must do”! To learn more about when this tour is available and how to add it to your package, contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist.

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 


Use of image required:
©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd.  
© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

While vacationing at Walt Disney World, there are a lot of things on your must do list.  Some of the essentials are getting to meet your favorite Disney character, enjoying some good food, and making sure you’re building unforgettable memories.  There’s one place that you can achieve all three of these things at the same time.  It’s at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ!  It’s a seasonal dining event that can be sometimes overlooked.  We stumbled upon it a long time ago, and now it’s on our must do when we vacation at Walt Disney World.

Mickey's Backyard Barbecue

What makes is so special you ask?  Well there are more than just a few things.  When you arrive at the pavilion at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, you will have your choice of seating at one of many long picnic style tables.  Once the food is ready, everyone is able to get their food at their leisure.  It’s available throughout the entire evening and is a buffet of all of your BBQ favorites.  The food is outstanding! There also some frozen desserts available as well as all of the typical drinks, including beer and wine.  This is all included in the price of admission {or the 2 table credits from the dining plan}.

Mickey's Backyard BBQThere will also be times throughout the evening when you can venture off to the sides of the pavilion and get a quick autograph and picture with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, or Chip ‘n Dale, who are all dressed in their best Western attire!  Next, you will meet the MC’s for the evening who will be introducing a cowboy who will amaze you with his unbelievable rope tricks.  Followed by being able to dance with Mickey and friends to the music of a Country Western band.  The best part about all of this – the kids can come up close to watch the Cowboy or come out to one of the dance floors to let loose and have fun with their Disney pals.

It’s a great dining experience for the whole family.  One that the kids don’t have to sit still in their seat.  Actually, they are encouraged to get up and have some fun.  That goes for all ages of kids!  I would strongly recommend this if you are looking for something a little different, but something that will provide you with a fun, unforgettable evening.

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

 

Jock Lindseys Hangar BarAfter a busy day of exploring the parks, sometimes it’s nice to take a break with a relaxing dinner, unique drinks and great atmosphere.  Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is just the place.  Not only does it not take reservations and has a water front view, but the menu of eats and drinks are specially themed as the ex-home of Indiana Jones’ side kick.

Located in Disney Springs, the family friendly Hanger Bar is for walk-ups only.  There are no reservations taken and none needed.  While it has a water front location, there are plenty of tables inside the building as well as outside on the water.  If you’re lucky, you may be able to sit inside the helmet of a scuba diver or sit in the boat that’s on the side of the Hanger Bar that’s lifted above the water.  If you are sitting outside, you will be able to take in the performances that happen on the stage next to the Hanger Bar. Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar

The menu has some unique themed food and drink items.  In staying with the Indiana Jones theme, you can enjoy Rolling Boulder Sliders (brisket meatballs with tomato-bacon jam), Lao Che’s Revenge (Asian sticky wings) or Brody’s Brats. While it has all the usual beverages that a restaurant would have available, why not try something a bit more adventurous, such as the Fountain of Youth, Pancho’s Margarita or The Scottish Professor, a snappy blend of Scotch whiskey and gin. Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar

Feel free to stay as long as you’d like and enjoy the scenery inside and the entertainment outside.  It’s the perfect spot to refuel and refresh so you are ready to enjoy more of the parks the next day!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

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

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

 

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

 

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

The Boathouse at Disney Springs - On your own!

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

 

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

 

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

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

Experience the Magic of Interactive Activities

 

While the parks and resorts are filled with attractions to visit, shows to watch, and bike and water rentals, there are a lot of interactive activities as well. You can solve mysteries together, find treasure, earn your different wilderness badge or even trade some pins to add to your growing collection.

Trade Pins at Walt Disney World

Pin Trading is something fun that can be done all over Walt Disney World and with every cast member! It is a fun way to collect unique, special, and fun Disney pins.  To begin pin trading, you’ll need something to put your few purchased pins on, such as a Disney lanyard or in a Disney Pin Trading book. Disney Wold Pin TradingOnce you have a few pins of your own, you can ask to trade your pin with any Disney Cast Member! A good spot for pin trading is at Magic Kingdom in the Frontierland Pin Trading Post. Be sure to check with guest relations at each park, as they have a pin book that you can use to make trades. Remember, you can make two trades with each cast member, and be on the lookout for hidden Mickey’s on the pins.  These pins can’t be bought and you can only get them by making a trade with a cast member.

Become a Wilderness Explorer!

If adventure and earning badges is more your speed, then be sure to pick up an official Wilderness Explorers (W.E.) field guide from headquarters, which is located on the bridge between Oasis and Discovery Island.  You can also grab them at the W.E. stops in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland U.S.A.  You’ll soon be following in the footsteps of Russell and Dug from the Disney Pixar film Up! You’ll set out on a series of fact-finding challenges and learn nature skills and animal observation, and collect badges for your W.E. field guide along the way. Collect over 30 badges and earn the right to learn the secret Wilderness Explorer call!

Fight Disney Villains as a Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom

You can also join the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom help cast Merlin’s Disney Villains magical spells through Magic Kingdom Park to defeat the dastardly Disney Villains who get in your way!  This activity sign-up is at the Firehouse at Main Street, U.S.A.  You’ll receive one map and a package of spell cards per day.  You’ll use the clues on Merlin’s map to locate 9 Magic Portals situated throughout Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and along Main Street, U.S.A.  The missions typically take 20 to 30 minutes, but sometimes may take longer depending upon their difficulty.

Walk & Talk like a Pirate with Jack Sparrow

If a Pirate’s Life is for you, then you’ll really enjoy A Pirate’s Adventure.  You’ll join Captain Jack on an interactive adventure and end up bringing home a treasure of your own!  To get started, use your MagicBand or pick up a magic talisman – a special card for this attraction – at The Crow’s Nest in Adventureland.  You can then help Captain Jack raid 5 treasures hidden throughout Adventureland. Each of the 5 missions takes approximately 20 minutes to complete without any time limit to complete all of them.

Go Undercover with Agent P

If you’re headed to Epcot for the day, try to thwart the diabolical Dr. Doofenshmirtz during a sleuth worthy hunt around the World Showcase in Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.  Your mission beings by checking in for duty at either the Odyssey Bridge or International Gateway recruitment centers.  You’ll be Agent P’s World Showcase Adventuregiven an official FONE – code for Field Operative Notification Equipment – or your own smartphone to connect with the powers that be at OWCA, aka, “The Agency.”   You’ll receive a series of clues via text that must be solved before Dr. Doofenshmirtz wreaks havoc. Each of the 7 pavilions host a different spy-centric adventure that lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

 

There are a lot of options for you and your family to choose from.  Hopefully you’ll be able to try one or all of them during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  It’s sure a way to do some family bonding and have fun creating memories that will last!

 

Leigh Crowder

Disney Travel Agent