After you enter Epcot and take your picture by Spaceship Earth, the big golf ball, everyone rushes to their favorite attractions. Test Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After to name a few. What some people don’t realize is that there’s a lot of really cool hands on areas as well as having the opportunity to not only learn more about our world, but there’s also a lot to learn about some of the different countries that are part of our world.

Epcot consists of the World Showcase and Future World. Future World has pavilions that are dedicated to such topics as the ocean, space, transportation, agriculture, and innovation. Not only are their fun attractions at some of these pavilions, there’s also an area of hands on fun and learning. For example, after Journeying into the World of Imagination with Figment, you enter into the ImageWorks – The “What If’ Labs. It’s a sensory-inspired play space allows you to wave your arms like a conductor of an orchestra to create music, create a symphony of sound by jumping on squares on the ground, and record sounds and play it back in different speeds.

At Living with the Land, you’re able to sail through the greenhouses of The Land Pavilion on a boat to see firsthand how Disney’s horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops with the goal of sustaining our growing global population. And if you’re so inclined to learn more, you’re welcome to make a reservation for a walking tour of Behind the Seeds, which takes a deeper look at sustainable high-tech horticulture.

As if Future World doesn’t have enough to offer and experience, the World Showcase has even more. World Showcase is home to 11 countries. Each country will provide you with some learning about their culture, their people, and their community. Upon entering each country, you’ll be transported to another section of the globe by seeing familiar famous landmarks, smelling the cuisine specific to that country and even hearing the native language being spoken by cast members from these countries.

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Depending upon the country, you’ll also be able to learn more about that country, the culture, and the goods that they provide. For example, upon entering China, you’ll be able to journey through ancient and modern China by watching a short Circle-Vision 360 degree film called Reflections of China. You’ll follow along as the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai guides you through the sights and sounds of China.

After leaving Reflections of China, you might find yourself in the middle of a performance of the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, which is an acrobatic troupe from China that performs breathtaking feats of strength, agility and balance. You might also find that the film left you a little hungry for some authentic Chinese cuisine. Whether you’d like to sit, relax and enjoy a table service meal at Nine Dragons Restaurant or want to grab a quick bite on the go at the Lotus Blossom Café, you won’t be disappointed.

There are a lot of things to discover at Epcot both in Future World and World Showcase. These are just some highlights of the many ways to learn more about exploring our world and the other countries within our world. We hope you’ll have a chance to take advantage of all it has to offer the entire family. You might have fun learning something new along the way!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

Halloween decorations and parties are in full swing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It only seems fitting that another legend makes a comeback too! It’s the ‘Return to Sleepy Hallow’ that’s returning to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

If you’re a brave soul, this is definitely something you don’t want to miss! At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, if you dare, you’ll have a chance for a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman himself. Continuing with the night of thrills, you’ll also have a seat at a group viewing of the 1949 Disney animated classic film “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow” inside the resorts historic Tri-Circle- D Ranch stables.

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Not only will you have the priority photo opportunity with and be able to view a Disney classic movie with premium seating, but you’ll also receive a Halloween treat bag. All brave souls ages 3 and up will receive an exclusive limited edition pin.

Doesn’t seem too spooky, you say? Just be sure to watch for galloping ghosts and be ready for an up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman himself! To keep in the spirit of Halloween, they will only be taking place on select nights in September and October at 8 pm or 10 pm. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to visit on a full moon! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Agent to reserve your spot today!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

Have you ever walked into one of the parks at Walt Disney World and wonder who those people were wearing the same outfit taking everyone’s picture?  They are actually photographers that are part of Disney’s PhotoPass.  They will take your pictures at some of the most memorable places and in front of some of the iconic landmarks of Walt Disney World.  Once they take your picture, they will scan your MagicBand or park ticket to automatically link it to your My Disney Experience account.  From there you can browse through all of the pictures that were taken and decide if you’d like to purchase any to download.

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Instead of paying for individual photos, your best option is to include Disney’s Memory Maker with your vacation package.  The Memory Maker photo package lets you download all of the pictures that were taken by Disney’s PhotoPass photographers for one up front cost.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Now, here’s something special that can happen when a Disney PhotoPass Photographer takes your picture.  It’s called a Magic Shot.  It combines the great photograph of you and your family with some Disney magic!  Before these Magic Shots were sprinkled throughout the parks and were sometimes hard to find.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Disney’s now made them easy to find!  By visiting Disney PhotoPass Service Facebook page, and clicking on the Albums tab, there’s a photo album showing each park’s current Magic Shot offerings and where they can be found inside the parks.  It’s always updated and there will be more Magic Shots available during festivals and holidays.  

 

Whether you’d like to have a picture with Stitch, Figment or Sebastian, you’ll now be able to know before you head to the parks if they’re available and where to go to find them!  Magic Shots is certainly a great added feature to the PhotoPass service that you’ll surely not want to miss!

Are you ready to book your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and the Mouse agent today! All of our agents are highly trained in Disney vacation planning!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

At Disney’s California Adventure

Looking for something a little special to do while you’re at Disneyland in California?  The World of Color Dining Package is definitely something you’ll want to do.  The World of Color show is the most impressive and fanciful nighttime extravaganza Disney has ever produced.  It’s accompanied by momentous music as well as stunning fire, fountain, fog and laser effects.  Not only will you get a reserved viewing location, but you’ll also be treated to delicious food at one of the three restaurants that offer this package.

 

First, start off by selecting the restaurant you’d like to eat at.  There are three different restaurants with the World of Color Dining Package.  

  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant
  • Wine Country Trattoria

 

World of Color Dining PackageAt each of these restaurants, you’ll enjoy a full-service, 3-course meal during lunch and/or dinner plus a non-alcoholic beverage.  The restaurant that we selected was Ariel’s Grotto.  We were able to choose from a soup or salad and had a variety of options for our main meal, including a surf and turf option.  To end the meal, we were each brought out a dessert with a sampling of three different types of desserts.  The food was amazing and was just what we needed to continue our day at the park until it was time for the show.

 

When it was time to get ready to view the World of Color, we headed to our reserved viewing area.  We were ushered down to our choice of unobstructed viewing area.  Once the show began, it was amazing.  It was nothing like we had ever seen before.  To create the approximately 19,000 square-foot projection screen, nearly 1,200 fountains shoot water 200 feet into the air. Watch the water dance and the perfectly timed pyrotechnics explode!

 

As the show’s extraordinary elements are woven into a kaleidoscope of imagination, the spectacle sweeps and expands across Paradise Bay, while the astonishing soundtrack lifts your spirits, spanning decades of Disney movies―from the classics to the most recent releases.

World of Color Dining Package

This package is something our family will definitely be doing again during our next visit!  A word of caution when selecting your viewing area for the World of Color Show, the closer you stand to the water, the more likely it is that you’ll get a little wet!  

Are you ready to experience this one-of-a-kind show?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your next Disney Destination Vacation Package!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

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

 


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