Every summer Disney Cruise Line sails one of its ships to Europe for one of the most special sets of itineraries available. Disney Cruise Line separates their European itineraries into Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries. This summer my family was able to experience the unique 7 night re-positioning cruise that connected these guest experiences. We started in Dover, England and ended in
Barcelona, Spain and it was a vacation we will never forget and recommend to all interested in visiting Europe with their family.

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Visiting Europe on a Disney cruise allows families to visit multiple countries and cultures in a short time while keeping a home base on the ship. The tours offered by Disney’s port adventures team allow for the interests of all ages with varying tour lengths to accommodate your needs.

On our particular cruise, we docked in Le Havre, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Cadiz, Spain with 3 full days at sea. All of these countries were new to our family so we took advantage of the tours to see all we could while we were in port. Le Havre is located in northern France and about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive from Paris. With a 16 hour stopover, there was plenty of time to take an adventure into Paris and see the main sights of the city. Lisbon’s city tour showed us how important the city and its inhabitants were to navigation of the oceans and the discovery of the new world. Cadiz’s town square, just steps from the dock, allowed us a walking tour of the city that dates from the time of the Phoenicians, about 1100 BC. Another amazing sight was seeing Africa as we sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar late one evening.

PicMonkey Collage

Families of all ages can be found on Disney’s European cruises. If you have young children, exposing them to the historical locations, introducing them to new languages, and giving them a fun time each day is a great introduction to Europe. Tweens and teens will get excited when they recognize places and people that they’ve studied in school and then when they are back on ship the excitement doesn’t stop when the meet up with new friends in Edge and Vibe.

What makes Disney’s cruises so special to experience Europe is the fun, family friendly atmosphere. From the shows, to the on board events, to the age appropriate port adventures, to characters that dress in the native clothing of the ports, you will find everyone young and old enjoying each day of the cruise from morning until night.

Going on a European Disney Cruise Line vacation is one of the most memorable vacations that a family can have. Disney’s European itineraries are available for booking by contacting your Me and the Mouse travel agent.

Michelle Browne – travel specialist

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The live action movie release of Beauty and the Beast brought a new generation to love this classic love story. Emma Watson’s character displays a beauty that stems from self-sacrificial love and looks beyond her circumstances to find true love. If you are ready to create your own Beauty and the Beast themed vacation when visiting Walt Disney World, visit these must see attractions as Disney beckons you to “Be our guest!”

Magic Kingdom

Start your day at Enchanted Tales with Belle. First, explore Maurice’s cottage and workshop, and then enter the wardrobe room. Some audience members will be selected before each showing to participate in a heartfelt retelling of the story along with the help of Lumiere and Belle.


Gaston’s Tavern is a great place for a snack during your day. Treat yourself to a warm cinnamon roll and LeFou’s Brew. You can then meet Gaston outside his Tavern and get ready to pose for your picture.

Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!

Looking for a souvenir? Bonjour! Village Gifts includes all types of merchandise that feature Belle, the Beast, and all the magical castle characters. Bring home a t-shirt, doll, Chip mug, or Belle’s favorite souvenir, a book.

Be Our Guest is one of most coveted dining reservations on property where you can eat in Grand Ballroom, the Castle Gallery, or the West Wing. Breakfast and lunch are quick service meals {reservations required} while dinner offers full table service. At dinnertime, save room for The Grey Stuff which is definitely delicious! While not an official character meal, the Beast will often greet guests in his private library after dinner service only. Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!

Epcot

Belle’s quiet village is located in France so it’s not a surprise that she often appears in France for meet and greets over in World Showcase. Perhaps, you’ll find her near the water fountain at the front of the country.

If you are looking for another dining opportunity, Belle is often not only a frequent visitor at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, but often the host princess at the front of the restaurant. Located in Norway, Akershus is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features multiple princess greeting opportunities. Please note that occasionally Belle has other royal commitments and does not guarantee her attendance at the restaurant.

Hollywood Studios

Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!With multiple shows per day, the Theater of the Stars hosts a 25 minute musical production of Beauty and the Beast Live. Watching this Broadway style performance will bring you back to the first time you saw the movie and you will fall in love again with the tale as old as time. 

For one last meet and greet opportunity, you can look for Belle at Character Palooza. She some times appears at Character Palooza – an unscheduled character meet and greet from 4-7 located at Hollywood Studios on select days.

Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful story that comes to life in Wal Disney World. Step into the story retold as Walt Disney World invites you to be their guest!

Ready to plan your Beauty and the Beast vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We are highly trained in all things Disney, and we’d love to add a little extra magic to your next vacation!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

For many families, planning your vacation last minute is a necessary decision. When friends panic and tell you that you can’t do it – take a breath and go for it! A last minute trip to Walt Disney World can be filled with wonderful memories! We here at Me and the Mouse Travel want to make it a magical experience for you.

The first thing you need to remember when booking a last minute vacation to Walt Disney World is to be flexible. If you open yourself up to the options available you are going to find treasures of delight hiding around every corner.

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!Staying on property at Walt Disney World is a key component of a last minute vacation. This allows you to partake in extra magic hours, maximizing your fun each day. A last minute trip will have reduced resort and room selection but consider these options an opportunity to explore what makes each resort unique and special. While most of Disney’s promotional offers do not apply to last minute bookings, if your budget is tight consider staying at a value resort.

 

Many families are concerned that if they book a last minute vacation they will not be able to eat at character meals. Your agent will recommend the available character meals that include many of the characters you are wishing to see at alternate locations on property. You might also be one of the lucky families and get a reservation released from a last minute cancellation! Be sure to check each night at your resort concierge desk for any updates on cancellations for the following day.  

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!Looking for just a nice place to sit down for a meal? Consider eating at resorts as they are often hidden gems. A favorite place to eat is Epcot for its many international restaurants. Having a park hopper ticket, you can head to this park for a meal on any day. Disney Springs is also a FREE location with many different dining options. Stressed about trying for dining reservations? Skip reservations completely and eat at Disney’s many quick service restaurants that serve a wide variety of entrees. 

Lastly, if you book less than a month before your trip, some of the top FastPass attractions may not have availability. However, there are ways to still experience these rides with minimal wait. This is the perfect time to use extra magic hours. Another option is to head to those favorite attractions first thing in the morning when the parks open. Don’t forget to check the Me and the Mouse touring pages in your travel package for the must see attractions in each park.

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!A last minute trip can be one of the most stress-free vacations you’ve ever had! The reduced options allow you to focus on what is most important to you and your family. Remember to be flexible!! Let your travel agent work their magic! You are sure to have a great time on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Ready to book your last minute vacation? We’re here to help! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicIf you are a family dreaming of the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World resort but have a limited budget, Disney’s All-Star Music resort is a value level resort you should consider for your next magical vacation.

With a red carpet and backdrop to pose for pictures, your check-in experience at the All-Star Music resort turns into your debut as the newest music sensation. Walk outside and the fun starts for all. Pose for pictures in the Calypso section with the giant xylophone or bongos. Stop by the Jazz section to see the biggest drum set of your life. Are you more into country music? The banjo or harmonica might be calling your name. There isn’t anywhere you can turn outside without being reminded of the powerful influence music has on all our lives.Resort Spotlight: All-Star Music

All-Star Music features 2 different styles of rooms. The standard style room features 2 double size beds and accommodates a family of 4. The family suite features 1 queen-size bed, 1 twin-size sleeper chair, 1 double-size sleeper sofa, and 1 twin-size sleeper ottoman, accommodating a family of 6. The suite also adds a kitchenette including microwave and coffee maker and an additional bathroom to speed up getting ready in the morning. The rooms are quite comfortable and very functional. For families that do not spend much time in the room itself, you will find it a great place to lay your head at night.

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicSummer days require somewhere to cool off and the All-Star Music pools do not disappoint. The guitar-themed heated pool found in the Calypso section includes the Three Caballeros – Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito spraying water at everyone swimming. Closer to the back of the resort you can swim while tickling the ivories in the black and white grand piano themed pool.

The Intermission Food Court is the All-Star Music’s quick service restaurant serving food from 6:30 am until 12 midnight. Be sure try out their smoothies; you may find them your new favorite Walt Disney World treat.
Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicBus transportation to Disney’s theme parks from All-Star Music is extremely convenient. Although buses are sometimes shared between all three All-Star resorts, during busy times of the day, Disney runs a dedicated bus service to each of them. While waiting for the buses, you may even be entertained by a resort DJ hosting dance parties, singing custom lyrics to your family, or asking you to join in on songs from the past and present.

The All-Star Music resort brings memories for families filled with background music that speaks to the hearts of all. If this resort sounds like the perfect pitch to your ears, contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book All-Star Music for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Exactly one year ago, my family was enjoying Walt Disney World and the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. Spring Disney DIY ActivitiesThis year we are missing one of the most beautiful times to visit the parks but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring a little Disney and a little Flower and Garden Festival to our own home.

Crafting is a great way to spend time with your children and completing a Disney craft is always a fun way to spend an afternoon.  This year, my daughter and her cousins took an afternoon to complete Disney themed flower pots and a birdhouse. The results are fun and useful items! These are going to bring a smile to our home every time we look outside.

Spring Disney DIY ActivitiesMaterials:

  • Terra Cotta Flower Pots –I recommend at least 6” pots
  • Optional: Terra Cotta Flower Pot bases
  • Wooden Birdhouse
  • Pencil
  • Optional: Tape
  • Acrylic paint in your required colors
  • Acrylic paint sealer
  • Paint Brushes in different sizes

 

Spring DIY Flower Pot 2Step 1: Determine the pattern you wish to complete on your pot or birdhouse. Mickey and Minnie themed patterns are the simplest to complete! However, there are several other popular themes including: Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Pooh, and all of the Disney princesses. {Check out our Pinterest DIY Board for more ideas!}

Step 2: Draw your pattern on the flower pot or birdhouse with a pencil. If needed, use tape for straight lines which will assist you during painting. Painter’s tape is especially handy during this step as it comes off super easy!

Step 3: Paint your flower pot or birdhouse. Most colors will need 2-3 layers of paint for coverage so allow each layer to completely dry before applying another coat of paint. Entertain the kiddos with a favorite Disney movie while you wait for the paint to dry!

Spring Disney DIY ActivitiesStep 4: Once your paint has dried apply a coat of Acrylic paint sealer to seal your pattern from water damage.

Step 5: Plant your flowers, hang up your birdhouse, and enjoy!

Making these crafts brought laughter, encouragement, and deepened the bond between the girls.  You too can make your own versions of these crafts and have the joy of remembering your own Disney vacations when you see the flower pots and birdhouses outside your home.  Be sure to tag your pictures of your creation on your Facebook page with #MeandTheMouse! When you use our special tag, we are able to see the amazing creations your family creates.

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Day ActivitiesAre you looking for a new way to experience Walt Disney World on your next vacation? I’d like to recommend spending a day at Animal Kingdom Lodge. This resort is a destination unto itself with most activities are available to all guests and activities are available from morning until after sunset.

You can view the animals on the savanna throughout the day and into the evening hours. There are multiple overlooks of the savannas at both Jambo House and Kidani Village. Guides will teach you about wildlife and the African culture. After sunset, night vision googles will allow you to see the animals from a new perspective.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Day ActivitiesThe String of Memories is a favorite activity of children {and parents} that teaches them about African culture and wildlife conservation in a fun and memorable way. You will receive a unique bead as your reward for completing each activity. If you choose to complete all eight activities you will be rewarded with a special totem bead.

Animal and wildlife discovery activities include learning about the feeding strategies of flamingos and pelicans, how scientists track animals, how animal experts present interactive objects to the animals while on the savanna, learning the sounds of the animals on the savanna, the biodiversity that contributes to the African ecosystem, and general animal trivia. Cultural activities include learning how to play African instruments and general trivia on the African continent.  Completing all activities will require you to visit both Jambo House and Kidani Village. There is a walking path between both sections or you can take a shuttle between them. These activities are timed throughout the day, and they do not require reservations.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Day ActivitiesThere are several other African cultural activities. They are in the lobbies and restaurants of Kidani Village and Jambo house. These activities are during the afternoon and early evening.  Medallion rubbing, stamping, African face painting, drum playing, and storytelling are just a few of the events to immerse you in the African culture.

Looking for something more elaborate to enhance your stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Book the exclusive Wanyama Safari or Sense of Africa tour. The Wanyama Safari includes an afternoon safari followed by dinner at Jiko. While the Sense of Africa tour includes breakfast at Boma followed by behind-the-scenes animal encounters. These tours are held on select days for guests ages 10 and above. They require additional fee reservations.

Animal Kingdom Lodge is a resort worthy of a day to experience. Be sure to check it out on your next Walt Disney World vacation. Contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent for more details.

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Going to Walt Disney World on an adult only trip is an experience that must be enjoyed by all Disney fans. While you may miss the children for a few moments, there are some great experiences that you must try with your significant other or best friends. Here are some of my favorite activities on an adult only trip.

  1. Jellyrolls Adult only trip at Disney World

    This is a dueling piano bar located on the Boardwalk. Jellyrolls is the place to hang out with your friends and enjoy top entertainment. With 2 piano virtuosos taking requests from the audience, grab a drink, make a request, and sing along for an evening filled with fun. Be sure to get there early for a seat as the bar fills to standing by 9pm each night! Also, bring along small bills to give the players for those musical requests.

  2. Disney’s Tours Adult only trip at Disney World

    Touring Disney’s parks behind the scenes allows guests to see in depth all that goes into making Disney magic. One of my favorite tours for adults is the Keys to the Kingdom tour. This is available only to guests age 16 and above. Keys to the Kingdom reveals Magic Kingdom over 5 hours through its history, the development of the park’s technology, the daily workings of the park, and some of the parks secrets. Guests will get to see Magic Kingdom from below, in the Utilidor tunnels. This is where all the operations are centrally controlled.

  3. Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

    Adult only trip at Disney WorldA favorite time to visit Walt Disney World for adult only vacations is during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. This festival runs September through the first part of November. It features 30 global marketplace booths from which you can purchase food and beverage samples. Want to learn? The festival also offers demonstrations, seminars, and recipes. You will learn how to replicate the food back home! On the weekends, the Eat to the Beat concerts fill the night with song.

  4. Carriage rides

    Located at both Port Orleans Riverside resort and Fort Wilderness resort, carriage rides offer a unique way to see these resorts and the beautiful nature that they are located in. Listen to the water of the Sassagoula River or listen to the leaves in the woods while you cuddle with that special someone. During the month of December, the carriages are decorated for the holidays. They are  transformed into a sleigh ride, and travel through the festive resorts. Adult only trip at Disney World

  5. La Nouba

    A night watching Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba will mesmerize you from start to finish. Located in Disney Springs, this theatrical show features some of the world’s best entertainers in their crafts. Add on a fantastic dinner before or after the show at one of Disney’s Springs delicious restaurants for a full night with your friends or loved one.

 


To experience these activities and more on your next adult only Walt Disney World vacation, contact an Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist 

Pick a PearlHidden in the Japan pavilion in Epcot is a secret treasure you must discover on your next Walt Disney World vacation.

The Pick-A-Pearl adventure is part souvenir, part adventure, part learning all combined into one. As a person that loves to give unique Disney souvenirs to my daughter and nieces at our family reunions, I was excited to finally be able to experience this with five of my favorite girls in the world. While there are multiple Pick-A-Pearl locations at Walt Disney World, the most elaborate experience is in the Japanese pavilion gift shop located under the Teppan Edo and Toyko Dining restaurants. When you walk into the gift shop head to the area from which cheers, chants, and drumming are originating.Pick a Pearl

The first thing you will need to do is pay for the experience which starts at $17 an oyster. With your receipt you will get a customer number and then await your turn while watching other guests before you. The oysters are located in two different pools of shallow water. The advice I had been given was to pick the ugliest oyster I could find and inside would be some of the prettiest pearls one could receive. I passed that on to my daughter and nieces and they really did find some great treasures.

Pick a Pearl Once you’ve picked the oyster, the cast member will open it up for you. Here’s where the learning comes in. Before they open it, they have you count to 3 in Japanese! There is definite fun involved in the anticipation of what your pearl will look like and learning how to count in Japanese gives you a moment of thrill in that anticipation. “Ichi, Ni, San!”, the oyster is opened to reveal your souvenir! Sometimes, the oyster will open up and reveal twins are hiding inside – this was the case for 4 of the 5 girls in our group and it caused quite a commotion for everyone to have so many twin pearls revealed one after another.

Pick a PearlThe pearl is rinsed off and then with pomp and circumstance, the cast member will reveal the size of your pearl. The ceremony comes to an end with a drum roll and you have a souvenir you can keep forever. The store offers settings for your pearl including earrings {perfect for those with twin pearls or who have purchased two oysters as their souvenir}, charms, and ring settings or you can find some perfect Disney themed settings online on such websites as Etsy. Before our trip, I found a great deal online for Cinderella carriage pearl holders and presented them to the girls before we went in to pick the oysters.

Pick-a-pearl locations can also be found at Disney Springs, the Yacht and Beach Club resorts, and Typhoon Lagoon but the most memorable show happens in the Japanese pavilion. Be sure to check out one of these locations on your next stay and take home a beautiful souvenir!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

1…2…3…Say Cheese!

Photo Spots on AttractionsAs a huge fan of the Memory Maker photo package, I want to be sure to get some fun pictures from the rides that offer PhotoPass at Walt Disney World. Pictures are great memories of a vacation and these rides will give you enjoyable moments to look back on. Be prepared for that picture perfect moment!

Magic Kingdom

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – the room right before this picture is near the end of the ride and has a video of Zurg’s ship moving from side to side as you gather your last points. Your vehicle locks into a forward facing direction and then the picture is taken. Be sure that little faces are between the two blasters or their faces might be hidden in the picture. Photo Spots on Attractions
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – not one but two pictures are taken on this ride. The first picture is taken as you come out of the mine and into the light for the first drop. The next picture is taken later in the series of turns as you approach the end of the ride.
  • Space Mountain – when the ride first starts, you head down a tube of flashing blue lights. Right after the tunnel, you take a sharp turn and the picture is taken right after that turn.
  • Splash Mountain – your moment is captured right as you start the 50 foot drop. Say cheese! Photo Spots on Attractions

 Epcot

  • Frozen Ever After – part of this ride is experienced backwards. Your boat turns forwards when you see Marshmallow and the Snowgies and this is the time to get ready for your perfect pose. Your picture is captured as you start the decent that is also viewed from outside the ride.
  • Test Track – get ready to pose as you break through the barrier to the outdoor speed portion of this ride.

Hollywood Studios

  • Rock n Roller Coaster3, 2, 1, go! Not only is the countdown indicating the start of the ride, but it’s also a countdown to your picture taken at 57 mph.
  • Tower of Terrorwith no two rides the same, be ready for your picture as you are pulled down the hotel’s elevator shaft.
    Photo Spots on Attractions

Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everestthis roller coaster takes your picture after you turn back forwards and drop outside the mountain.
  • Dinosaurwatch out for the huge dinosaur on the right hand side near the end of this ride as your picture captures your reaction to it looming over you.

The front rows of the ride will give you the best picture of your family. If there are people behind you, don’t put your arms up as there is a good chance you will hide the people’s faces behind you. Have fun experimenting with poses. The memories you bring home will bring smiles to all for years to come.

 

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 Royal Dining at its Finest

Fit for royalty, Cinderella’s Royal Table is an exceptional dining experience for families, couples, and adults to enjoy during their Walt Disney World vacation.

Royal Dining Upon checking in, you will be escorted to the Grand Hall to meet Cinderella herself. After your family meets her, explore the Grand Hall while you wait to be called to the dining room. Disney has added many magical touches including hiding the mice Jaq and Gus up high.

When your family is called, proceed up the spiral staircase to the dining room where the children will be presented with their very own royal wands, swords, and wishing stars. Gothic details such as archways, stained glass windows, and more than 40 coats of arms will make you feel as if you have stepped back into the 1400s.

During your meal, Cinderella’s princess friends will greet each table. Be sure to have your autograph books and cameras ready when they stop by.

Royal Dining If the atmosphere isn’t enough to get your attention, the food served here most definitely will. From breakfast selections that include pastries, quiche, eggs, and more, to lunch and dinner selections of tenderloin, fish, and vegetarian couscous, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to savor dessert such as the “Clock Strikes Twelve”, a personal favorite.

Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent to book this dining reservation as part of your Walt Disney World stay.

 

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist