I recently announced that my family is going through a MAJOR change.  We are moving to Florida! We are still in the transition process, but we recently had the opportunity to experience our first Zolecki family day trip!!  We are fortunate to have family living in the area we are moving to, and they are just as crazy about Disney as we are!!!

Florida Resident Day Trip

Until recently, the thought of only going to Disney for the day was hard to even imagine.  For the last 20 years, I have always been planning my next trip.  Where do we want to stay?  What restaurant reservations do we want?  What fastpasses do we want to get?  To ensure we obtain our desired itinerary, I would be planning months in advance, just as I do for my clients!  However, now I am a Florida resident.  I can hop in my car and be at a Disney park in a little over an hour!  What about the planning?  What I am quickly learning, the atmosphere of simply being at the park is what I most enjoy!  The attractions are simply icing on the cake!

 

I have the opportunity to slow down, enjoy the atmosphere and really experience the little details.  I am not in a rush to experience every ride and attraction.  If I miss it this time, I know I will be back very soon and will be able to enjoy that attraction the next time (read more about this, here!).  As far as dining at our favorite locations, I began checking a couple of days prior to our planned trip and wouldn’t you know it, there was a reservation that opened up!  If not, perhaps this would be a great opportunity to try out something new that does have availability.

Florida Resident Day Trip

Our first family day trip was a huge success.  We obtained fastpasses the night before. As we were driving onto Disney property the same excitement and awe filled our car as if this was our very first trip!  We enjoyed multiple attractions throughout Magic Kingdom.  Not to mention riding the Walt Disney Railroad all the way around the park in the afternoon when we all were ready for a little break!  In our family, even a ride on the monorail is a must and we accomplished that twice!!!

I will admit, it did feel a bit odd to leave the park and head back home instead of a Disney resort. 

How will this affect me as a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist?  I believe it will only enhance my ability to serve you!  I have the experience of long term planning , but now I have the experience of spontaneous short trips and the ability to experiencing the newest additions first hand!!  Incorporating my passion and interests is what dream jobs are made of!  I am here to share my knowledge and experience with you to help you enjoy your piece of the magic!

If you’re a Florida resident and are looking to make a short day trip, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We would love to help make your 1st trip or 111th trip as magical as possible!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

Do you have a character that you or your family MUST meet and get a picture with?  They are not always easy to locate.  Your My Disney Experience(MDE) App will make your search much easier!!! Grab your phone and open your app and follow along! P.S. Your life is about to be changed!

How to Find Your Favorite Characters:

  1. Select the character icon at the top of the app. It will open the map. {FYI: If the park is closed and you select a park, it will tell you the characters are all sleeping!}

    Step 1
    Step 1

 

  1. Select the locator icon in the bottom right corner.

    Step 2
    Step 2

 

  1. Select which park you are looking to locate.

    Step 3
    Step 3

 

  1. If you select the icon on the bottom right it will list the characters available for a meet and greet

    Step 4
    Step 4

 

  1. OR… You can look at the map, which shows how many characters are available at each park. Select the park you are in or plan on going to. You will see the icons throughout the park that indicate there is a scheduled character meet and greet.  Select the icon and it will tell you exactly which character is in that location.

    Step 5
    Step 5

 

  1. Once you select a character you have the option to get directions to their location! {This is a major time and stress saver!}

    Step 6
    Step 6

 

  1. You have the option to type in your location or enable location services and the app will locate you!!! Then it will provide directions to the character.

    Step 7
    Step 7

 

  1. You can also select the icon on the bottom right and it will pull up an alphabetical list of the possible characters!

    Step 8
    Step 8

 

  1. Here is the alphabetical list of characters.  You can also select the icon on the bottom right and it go back to locating the characters on the previous picture.  Your other option is to click on the particular character.

    Step 9
    Step 9

 

  1. Tarzan is one of our favorites and not always easy to find. Now we would know where and when we could meet him!!

    Step 10
    Step 10

 

Next time you are looking for your favorite character, now you know how to locate them efficiently!!  If you’re needing help using Your My Disney Experience(MDE) App or in need of de-stressing your vacation planning contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist. We’d love to take all the worries and the stress away for you to enjoy your magical vacation!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

 

 

Tackle Sensory Overload at DisneyLast month, I discussed tips on how to prepare and items to bring to hopefully avoid sensory overload. {You can read about it, here!} As a mom of a son living with Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited intellectual impairment and leading known genetic cause of Autism, I feel as if I am always anticipating what could be a potential trigger for overload.  Sometimes, even the best-laid plans don’t work out.  A storm can pop up, a ride can have a temporary closure, or fireworks can suddenly go off from a show that you didn’t even realize was taking place!! I have put together a list of tips/suggestions for managing overload once it has reached near overflow!

 

  1. Baby Care/First Aid Station:

    Although you do not “need” any aid, this is often an area with air conditioning, seating and simply a quiet place out of the hustle and bustle.

    Tackle Sensory Overload at Disney

  2. Snack/Meal/Treat Break: 

    There are endless options. Look for an air conditioned location and often you can find a quiet corner, out of the way, to decompress.  Ask a cast member for suggestions if you don’t readily see a quiet place.

  3. Park Specific Options:

    This is not a comprehensive list, but giving you some options and ideas:

Magic Kingdom – Railroad (we often ride it around, sometimes more than once when overload is peeking), TTA- People Mover, Garden Area behind the Ye Old Christmas Shop

Epcot – The Land (Ride and Sunshine Seasons), Friendship Boats in the World Showcase, Garden Area in France, Fountain Area Outside of the Pixar Shorts Attraction

Animal Kingdom – The Safari (There is some talking and stopping, but a great place to decompress.), Restaurantosaurus has many quiet corners to cool off and relax

Hollywood Studios – Frozen Sing Along (Yes, there is music and singing, but it is cool and the music is familiar.), Benches Outside the Hollywood Brown Derby (Extra Bit: There are restrooms nearby too!)  ABC Commissary/Backlot Express

Tackle Sensory Overload at Disney

  1. Transportation:

    For my family, leaving the park before the dreaded meltdown occurs is essential. Riding the monorail or bus provides a slow rhythmic option to help decrease the overload.  I am ashamed to admit how many times I have gotten sleepy on the trip back to the resort!  There are also boat options to select resorts from all parks except Animal Kingdom.

  2. Resort Pool:

    Even a quick trip to the pool can be beneficial! This is one of our best strategies for managing sensory overload.

  3. Nap/Sleeping in:

    We all want to maximize our time when visiting a Disney destination. Detouring from the schedule to rest may be just the right thing to do! Fatigue makes it even harder to manage sensory overload.
    Tackle Sensory Overload at Disney

  4. Cast members:

    If you are in need of assistance, difficulty finding a quiet place or you fear you are nearing the brink of overload, ask for help!

 

I am mindful about sensory needs/overload and am happy to help you plan your next trip to a Disney Destination with your needs in mind! Visit our Contact Page to speak with one of our amazing and talented agents!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

It wasn’t until my oldest son, who is living with Fragile X, was almost 3 that I began to have a greater understanding of his sensory integration challenges.  Fragile X is the leading cause of inherited intellectual impairment and the leading known genetic cause of Autism. I was attending an education workshop, and I participated in an exercise that helped me understand what someone with Fragile X/Sensory integration challenges experiences. I began to view the world with a different perspective. Sensory Overload

On our next trip to Walt Disney World, It was as if I was experiencing it for the first time.  Guests are immersed in their experience even before entering the gates.  Our senses are constantly bombarded.  As my son grew older, it was clear that the sensory input, at times, was too much.  If we wanted to continue to enjoy traveling to Disney destinations, we needed to come up with a plan.

Over the years, we have used many strategies to lessen the sensory bombardment. Trial and error is worth the effort and can lead to developing a great plan.  Try to utilize strategies that are used at home/school/work and modify them for use while on vacation too! Here are a few of the strategies that we have used over the years.

  1. Social Story:
    Search the Internet for examples or reach out to your speech therapist to help develop one for your upcoming trip.
  2. Videos:
    There are many options available.  Disney Park’s has a wide variety of video’s to help those of us who are visual learners! Check out Disney Parks’ YouTube Channel, here!

  3. Review Disney resources throughout the planning process:
    Check out the WDW Cognitive Guide, here!

  4. Visual schedule:
    Search for “images” of Disney destination attractions/dining/parks/transportation. Many digital applications allow you to add photos to create the schedule on the go.  Prior to having a digital device, I pasted those images into a word document, printed them out, laminated and then placed Velcro on the back.
  5. Noise cancelling headphones/ear phones.
    This allows your child to either eliminate overwhelming sounds or decrease the level of auditory input.
  6. Biting options:
    If your family member tends to bite on items, chew on gum, or has a preferred snack, bring those items with you. Gum is not sold on property.  If your family member has brand specific preferences, I suggest bringing your own snacks.
  7. Downtime/waiting activities:
    Bring some preferred activities to help pass the time: pictures (of preferred people works for us), digital devices (wifi is available for FREE), card games, travel size versions of games (magnetic options), coloring book/crayonsSensory Overload
  8. Back pack.
    Utilizing a back pack (moderately weighted works best for us) helps to provide the needed sensory input that helps your family member combat the overwhelming input. It is also a great place to keep all your items above.

 

The key is to integrate a familiar strategy with new options and modifications, and your next trip will be a success!!!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

For families like mine, the Disability Assistance Service has allowed us to navigate and enjoy the many attractions and characters throughout Walt Disney World.  My oldest son was diagnosed at birth with Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the leading known genetic cause of autism.  Although he enjoys all that Walt Disney World has to offer, it can quickly overwhelm him.  My family is incredibly appreciative of this service.  I have compiled a list of what are the most frequent questions {and answers} that I have received while assisting guests in planning for their vacations.

Disability Assistance

What is the Disability Assistance Service (DAS)?

A service for guests with a disability to schedule a return time that is comparable to the current standby wait for the given attraction.

 

Where do I obtain the DAS?

You may visit Guest Services at Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios or City Hall in Magic Kingdom the first day.  The Cast member will ask you several questions to make certain you are receiving the most appropriate assistance based on your/family members needs.  They will also provide you with information and answer any questions you may have.

 

Do I need to stop into Guest Services every day?

No, the Cast member will ask you how long you will be visiting Walt Disney World and the DAS will be active the entire stay (up to 14 days). Disability Assistance

 

Do I need documentation of a disability?

Due to HIPAA regulations, the Cast Member will not read any physician letter or medical documents.  They will ask you several questions as well as take a picture of the Guest with a disability.

 

How many guests can be included?

Up to 11 additional guests can be included.  All guests must be present when obtaining the DAS.

 

What if we have family that will only be spending part of the trip with us?

If they were not present when you obtained the DAS and you have not exceeded the limit of 11 additional guests, go to Guest Services or City hall and speak with a Cast member.  Every guest, including your original party, must be present when increasing the number of guests eligible to utilize the DAS.  They will need to have their magic bands or park tickets scanned.

 

How is a return time obtained?

Any member of your party who is included in the DAS party can approach the selected attraction to be assigned a return time.  The return time will be approximately 10 minutes less than the current standby time.  Only guests currently inside the selected park can be included in the return time.  **Ask the Cast Member if they could make your first return time when obtaining the DAS the first day.

 

Our return time is here, now what?

Approach the attraction fast pass line entrance.  The person who was assigned the DAS needs to scan their ticket/magic band first to activate the entitlement for the entire party.  Then the rest of the party will scan their magic band/tickets just as they would for any fastpass entitlement.

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Can I use the Fastpass system AND the DAS?

Yes!  You can add a DAS return time concurrently with your previously scheduled Fastpasses.  Please note on the picture the Disability Access Return Time has a bold green banner above it to allow the guest to recognize the difference between other fastpass entitlements or dining reservation times.

Can I schedule more than one DAS return time?

No.  You are not able to schedule another return time until your current entitlement is used or cancelled.

 

Disability Assistance

When does the DAS return time have to be used?

Anytime from the designated return time until the park closes.  All unused return times will expire at park close.

Can my family member stay in their stroller/wheelchair?

Waiting queues accommodate wheelchair/strollers.  Some attractions require the ability to transfer. Discuss the specific attraction requirements with a cast member.

 

**Guests whose disability is based on the necessity of using a wheelchair/scooter are not eligible for a DAS.  Guests with additional needs should discuss them with Guest Services/City Hall.

 

What if I am still unsure how to use the DAS?

Please see a Cast Member at the selected attraction.  They will be happy to answer your questions. Disney also offers both an email and phone number to ask additional questions.
Contact: Disability.services@disneyparks.com or (407) 560-2547.

 

Your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist is here to help! Contact your agent if you have any other questions.

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

La Cava del TequilaAs much as I enjoy the tradition and nostalgia of long standing attractions at Walt Disney World, I also enjoy trying something new!  Somehow, over the many trips, I missed the opportunity to enjoy , until now!

I was planning a girls weekend at the Food and Wine Festival and stumbled upon information about this hidden gem!  I was instantly intrigued! We knew this would certainly be at the top of our list!

The entrance is just inside to the right in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot.  When we arrived there was a lengthy line, but after all of our research, we knew it was worth the wait.  After being in the line for only a minute or two, we realized we were in the line to get a margarita to go!  We then noticed there was a cast member near the entrance and she was seating guests inside.  We were immediately seated!

La Cava del Tequila The seating area was very intimate and a great place to cool off!  The cast member who greeted us asked if we were “on twitter”?  He then told us if we “followed” @cavadeltequila we could purchase the “house” tequila for only $5!  We each ordered a margarita and the “house” tequila.  As I have come to learn, tequila is not only an addition to a drink, but can be sipped.  Our tequila arrived with a side of tomato juice, as well as a slice of lime and salt.  We both ordered a traditional margarita on the rocks, and I will admit, it was amazing.  It was made with fresh juices and had the classic salted rim.  We also ordered the queso and tortilla chips!  They do offer a trio of dips that include the queso, guacamole and fresh salsa. They had an extensive tequila menu (I had no idea there were so many types)!  My friend who is a tequila aficionado enjoyed the opportunity to sample different tequilas.  Before we knew it, we had been there for 3 hours!!!!  We enjoyed a very relaxed afternoon. My husband and I also made sure to stop in here as well on our recent weekend away.  It did not disappoint either time!!! La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila is open every day from 11:30am-9:30pm.  Advanced reservations are not accepted.  If you are seeking a fantastic and possibly unique (avocado, pineapple, jalapeno and many more) margarita this is the place for you!  Don’t forget you also have the opportunity to purchase a fresh made margarita to enjoy as you explore world showcase.  We are now hooked!  This will be a part of our tradition and we will continue to make sure to stop in for a delicious margarita!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

A Magical Evening You Won’t Forget!

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided that I wanted to view the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular {the firework show at Magic Kingdom} from a different view than before. I found out about the Ferrytale Wishes Firework Dessert Cruise and was hooked on the idea of combining a great view of the firework show with amazing desserts!

Our Night

We arrived at the Ticket and Transportation Center approximately 45 minutes prior to the scheduled departure.  Smiling Cast members greeted and directed over to the check in area.  We were surprised to receive a battery powered neon glow necklace, a souvenir booklet and an exclusive trading pin!  The next cast member gave us a plastic glow glass filled with sparkling cider. Ferrytale Wishes at Magic Kingdom

Next, it was time to board the General Joe Potter Ferryboat. Cast member were now  passing out special flashlights and exclusive dessert plates.  There was a rush by other guests to the amazing display of desserts on the upper level.  The Cast Members informed us there is another table of indulgent desserts and a beverage station on the lower level.

Once everyone was on board, we departed from the Ticket and Transportation Center and enjoyed a lovely cruise on the Seven Seas Lagoon!  We were able to enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant too!  We used the flashlight to look for special hidden clues on the boat to complete the activity in the booklet.  It was a warm, humid evening, but the boat maintained a very nice breeze.  There was also a photographer on board!

Ferrytale Wishes at Magic KingdomOur first stop was the beverage station.  There was a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options included in the price of the event ($99 per adult/$69 per child plus tax).  Next stop, the decadent table of desserts!  The cast members were continually refilling the table, so no worries that you might miss out on any of the options.  The table included:

  • “The Grand” Key Lime Tart
  • Polynesian De-constructed Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Contemporary “Traditional with a Twist” Spiced Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • “Main Street” Mickey Balloon Tarts
  • Mini “Fireworks” Cupcakes with a Pop
  • Cinderella’s Sugar Slipper with Orange Financier
  • Florida Mango Panna Cotta

Ferrytale Wishes at Magic KingdomThere was also a lovely cheese and fruit platter if you wanted a break from the sweetness.  I must report the Cinderella’s Slipper was stunning, but my favorite dessert was the Contemporary Flourless Chocolate Cake.  I may have had more than one of those!!!

The Ferryboat then positioned itself for prime viewing of Wishes Nighttime Spectacular!  The Cast members guided us to the side of the boat to be able to enjoy the best view!  The lights dimmed and the music began and it was nothing short of magical!

Cast members passed out frozen treats to enjoy as we disembarked the Ferry!  We also had completed the activity in the booklet and checked in with a cast member and received a special prize!

This experience did not disappoint, and I was .  It was full of surprises, with ample decadent desserts and beverages available.  Topped off with a beautiful fireworks display!  We left with smiles on our faces and bellies full of delicious treats!

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

My husband and I had the privilege of having a weekend at Disney, WITHOUT our children!!!  {GASP!!!} We attended Disney’s Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom.  This is a limited entry, early access event. It takes place from 7:45am-10am on select mornings, with only select attractions open in Fantasyland and an all you can eat breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus. Please keep in mind, regular theme park admission is required in addition to your reservation for this event.

Check-In Early Morning Magic at Walt Disney World

My husband and I arrived approximately 20 minutes prior to the start. We were allowed in to the park at 7:45am, sharp.  We checked in and were given a wristband and a sticker for the event!   It was an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll down Main Street, taking in the wonder of this beautiful park.  There were several photographers along Main Street and in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

Rides, Rides, and More Rides!

Our first stop was Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  We walked in via the FastPass line and walked directly onto the ride. We proceeded to ride it 7 more times, in a row!!!! {Crazy, right?!}  We experienced the ride from the front, back and in the middle!  The back seat was our favorite!  Next up, we rode Peter Pan’s Flight, and we walked directly on to Early Morning Magic at Walt Disney Worldthe ride as there was no line. We ended up riding 2 times in a row, after a Cast Member asked us if we wanted to remain seated and ride again! {Of Course!} We then headed to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  We entered through the FastPass entrance, walked directly on to the ride and rode it 2 times in a row, without exiting the ride!  It was now about 8:45 am and we had already completed 12 rides and taken several pictures along the way and it had only been an hour!!  We realized the park would be opening soon at 9am and regular park guests would be entering!  One last time before breakfast, we decide to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine for our 13th time!

All You Can Eat at Pinocchio’s

Next up was the exclusive breakfast at Pinocchio’s Village Haus!  It was a buffet with ample selection!  We were offered a Early Morning Magic at Walt Disney Worldvariety of eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, waffles, pastries and fruits, and in addition to that, a wide array of beverages!  We were able to sit, eat and watch guests enjoying Small World.  There were Cast Members readily available and happily engaging guests in conversation.  They were more than accommodating and even went above and beyond to locate a fountain soda for us as we were leaving!

 

This was an incredible morning, and something we plan to do again! Next time, it will be with the family! If you are interested in adding this special event to your Disney vacation, contact your Me and The Mouse agent today! Admission is $69{adult} and $59{children} plus tax.  Reservations are limited.

 

And yes, we did end up using our Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass later in the day. 😉

 

Missy Zolecki

Disney Vacation Planner

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Planning a trip to a Disney destination is VERY exciting. Many, including myself, have idealistic visions of walking into the Magic Kingdom, and strolling hand in hand along Main Street. Your senses are bombarded with wonderful music, amazing smells, and Cinderella’s beautiful castle is in your sight! The family photo is a “MUST DO” with the castle in the background! It sounds magical, but in my family not always realistic. My family is not typical, and that is our reality. My oldest son was born with Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the leading known genetic cause of Autism. I also have 2 typically developing children. Obtaining what many may think is a “simple” task, typically involves significant planning, prompting and encouragement. We are pleased if we get a photo with all 5 of us looking at the photographer, and if we were all smiling, that would definitely exceed our expectation.

How many times in your life did you anticipate an event happening a certain way, but in reality that wasn’t what happened? Not even close to your vision? How did you handle that? Did you adjust your expectations? Were you disappointed or were you appreciative for the events that did occur?

As a parent of a special needs child, I have always had to be prepared, planning and anticipating the next step. In reality, anticipating the next 10 steps!! Great training for becoming a travel specialist!! Yet, even with the ultimate plan in place, there is a lot of unpredictability that can occur. A ride breaks down, as we approach the pool an unexpected storm pops up, or heaven forbid the monorail is not running!! Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist is here to help you prepare, prioritize and develop realistic expectations.

Here are a few questions to start the discussion with your family and your MATM travel specialist!

What are your expectations and goals?

  1.  Are you an early riser or a night owl?
  2. What attractions, characters, and dining experiences are your priority?
  3. Are you interested in enjoying all experiences together?
  4. Is spending time at the resort pool, watching the night time outdoor movie, taking an afternoon nap, etc. part of your expectation?
  5. What would an alternative option be if despite all of your planning, your plan simply didn’t work out the way you anticipated? What is plan B?

In my family, we try to set realistic expectations. It is NOT realistic for us to be able to be at the park from open to close. Realistically for us, 3-4 attractions are my son’s limit before we provide a high interest “reward”. That can vary from a snack, a ride on the monorail/bus, or enjoying a meal. My other children are not always agreeable to leaving the park so soon. My son with fragile X can become overwhelmed by all of the sensory input of the park, yet he wants nothing more than to be there. Please note, I am sharing this because despite the hard work and challenges, we have many wonderful memories and have developed new eXpectations. We will frequently divide and conquer to allow our son to leave the park in a positive state of mind, while allowing our other children to experience more attractions. We will typically rejoin each other back at the hotel to allow for swimming or a nap, and then return to the parks late afternoon/early evening.

Success is a relative measure, and the simpler your goals, the greater your experience of success! Although my experiences/challenges are related to having my feet in both worlds (special needs and typical), setting realistic expectations and goals applies to everyone. This is not intended to be a blog about life lessons, but when we were told our son had a diagnosis, we had a choice. We could dwell in what we can’t do, or we could celebrate what we CAN do! We choose to celebrate and recognize our incredible privilege of being able to travel and enjoy the Disney Parks. Although we may enjoy the parks for shorter durations and strive to make sure we leave the park before a dreaded meltdown occurs, we have had the privilege of experiencing a lot of Disney Magic over the years. If we aren’t able to tolerate waiting in a long line for an attraction, or we don’t obtain a reservation at one of our favorite restaurants, we have a choice, feel the disappointment, or move that to the top of our list for a future trip. Do you know what that means? It means I am planning my next Disney trip before I even finish the trip I am on!!! YEAH!!!

Everyone sets expectations and goals, even when we don’t vocalize them. For my family, shared experiences and time spent together is our simple and ultimate goal. No matter what we “accomplish” during our vacation, our trip was a success because we have created memories to last a lifetime!

The Me and The Mouse Team is ready to help you plan for success!!!

Missy Zolecki
Travel Specialist 

Quick service dining is an often over looked opportunity to have an amazing dining experience.  There are many quick service options that offer selections that most wouldn’t typically expect and are a great way to maximize your entitlements.  By no means is this a comprehensive list, but in my humble opinion some of the very best!

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  1. Resort quick service: Various

The resort quick services offer something for everyone.   All serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snack options. You will find the standard burger, chicken nuggets, hot dog and pizza, as well as resort specific specialties.  For example, jerk chicken at Carribean beach or a variety of Mexican offerings at Coronado Springs.   Your dessert options can be used for a danish, croissant, muffin or a piece of fruit that you can save for breakfast the next day.  You can also select a bag of Disney bagged candies or Mickey rice cereal treat.  Don’t forget your beverage!  If using your refillable mug, you are still eligible to select a beverage (milk, powerade, juice, vitamin water, bottled water or soda).  Cast members will be happy to answer any questions about which items are eligible for a dessert/beverage entitlement. 

  1. Sunshine Seasons: Epcot Future World – The Land

Looking for a grab and go, traditional or a unique breakfast Panini?  This is the dining option for you.  Breakfast items are served from park opening until 11am.  After 11am the lunch/dinner/snack options are nearly endless.  A variety of seasonal salads, soups and sandwiches are available to satisfy your hunger.  There are entrée’s including salmon, rotisserie chicken and Asian inspired dishes.  Make sure to select a dessert from the plentiful and delectable options!

  1. Casey’s Corner: Magic Kingdom

This is a quintessential nostalgic dining location that transports you to the ballpark!  It offers hot dogs, polish sausages and the irresistible corn dog nuggets!!  Casey’s  offers a toppings bar with a variety of classic hot dog “fixings”!  Don’t forget to  complete your order with crispy, salty French fries.  There are dessert options unique to this location, and I must admit, I can’t pass up the cotton candy or Cracker Jack!  There is limited indoor seating and some standing tables, with many outside seated tables.  This is a must do for my family!

  1. Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles France: Epcot – World Showcase

At 11am when the world showcase opens, go directly to this location.  Although this blog is about the quick service meal options, this location offers many amazing snack entitlement options.  Indoor seating is limited, and due to the popularity you may need to request to have your meal “to go”.  Additional outdoor seating/benches can be found throughout the world showcase.   Expect to experience rich flavors of traditional French offerings: Quiche, Croque Monsieur, cheese plates, soups, salads,  Croissant Jambon Fromage (ham and cheese with a yummy cream sauce).  I saved the best for last, the desserts!!!  If your travel party is willing, I highly recommend selecting a variety of desserts to share.  Classic Macaroons, crème brulee, eclairs, tarts, chocolate filled croissant and so much more!!!  Yummmmmm!!!

  1. Earl of Sandwich: Disney Springs Marketplace

 When I am looking for a great place to eat and I see a line 25 people deep it peaks my interest.  This option is open throughout the day, serving breakfast and lunch/dinner.   The salads and sandwiches are made to order.  There are many enticing soup options too!  The desserts are hard to choose from, but I am partial to the cookie and brownie bites.  There is seating both inside and out, but you are welcome to eat on the go too!   Even the pickiest of eaters will find it hard to resist the pizza sandwich from the children’s menu!!    

  1. Smokehouse: Disney Springs Westside

This option is located just outside of the House of Blues.  Trust me, you will be drawn to the amazing smell of the smoked offerings!  Traditional barbeque items can be found here: ribs, pulled pork, brisket and pulled chicken.  The meat has a delicious smoky flavorful spice rub with an accompanying barbecue sauce and coleslaw.  The desserts are standard fare of cookies or packaged candy.  While we dined on our delicious meal, we were fortunate to have been entertained with live music.  This was a wonderful location to recharge from all the hustle and bustle, with a full bar available too!

  1. Flame Tree Barbecue: Animal Kingdom Discovery Island

As I mentioned with the above location, you will most likely smell the aromas from this dining location before you see it.  The portions are more than generous and honestly enough for 2 hungry adults to share!  They offer ribs, chicken, pulled pork, smoked turkey sandwiches and the legendary turkey leg!!  The seasoning on the chicken was one of the most delicious I have ever tasted and there were a variety of sauce options available.  The food was hot and the meat was incredibly tender and juicy.  The ribs, chicken or combo was served with a delicious and generous portion of jalapeno corn bread and baked beans.  We chose to get an order of onion rings and French fries as an alternate selection to the desserts.  The desserts were a standard cheesecake with a strawberry topping or chocolate mouse.  Instead of the standard fountain drinks, we were able to select the mandarin orange lemonade!  It was incredibly refreshing on a hot and humid afternoon!  There was plenty of covered seating available and although this was a very popular dining location the service was incredibly quick. 

  1. Boardwalk Bakery

Of course, this is a great place to grab a quick breakfast pastry and a coffee on your way to EPCOT in the morning or a great stop for an indulgent sweet treat!  However, most don’t realize they offer more than that, a lot more!!  From a unique breakfast cone (eggs and bacon served in a portable waffle cone), egg sandwich, to biscuits and gravy served with fruit.  After 11am, the bakery offers a variety of salads, 2 cheese focaccia, the soup of the day in a bread bowl, and a variety of sandwiches.   My family enjoyed the lobster roll, roast beef and the meatball sub sandwich.    The cast members were incredibly helpful and informed us we could choose from the hummus and pretzels or mixed fruit option as an alternate to the indulgent cupcakes, brownies and my favorite tiramisu!  Don’t forget about your beverages!  We were able to use our refillable mugs and selected bottled water/Powerade to take with us and a refreshing iced mocha!  Seating is located outside the bakery and offers a scenic and relaxing atmosphere!  Don’t forget to leave time to take advantage of renting a surrey bike and work off your scrumptious meal while riding along the boardwalk.

  1. Be Our Guest: Magic Kingdom breakfast/lunch only

Yes, this location does offer a table service option for dinner, but that Priority seating reservation can be a hard one to obtain.  However, breakfast and lunch are offered as a priority seating option and it’s a quick service!! Breakfast includes pastries that are to be shared by everyone at your table.   There are unique options including an open faced egg sandwich, a savory meat and cheese platter, and an indulgent croissant donut with a banana-caramel sauce with a chocolate ganache.  Lunch offers a wide variety of French inspired selections including: Braised pork,  tuna nicoise salad, and chuck roast beef sandwich with pomme frites(French fries).  There are too many tasty options to list them all here.  I would be remiss to not talk about the soup options!  You are able to select either the French onion soup or the potato leek soup as an alternate choice for a dessert.  However, if you can’t pass up the chocolate cupcake with the “Grey stuff”, you can use one of your snack entitlements for the soup.  One of the unique features of this dining location is you can pre-order your food!  On your My Disney Experience account, you will see under the priority seating reservation what day you may place your pre-order.  Once you have ordered your food or checked in if you completed a pre-ordered, you can then select one of three dining rooms in the castle, my favorite being the West Wing.  Once you are seated, a server will magically locate you and deliver your food on a beautiful tray.  There are many delicious dessert options that make a wonderful ending to an amazing experience!

  1. Wolfgang Puck Express: Disney Springs Marketplace and the Westside

Elevated comfort food can be found from breakfast to dinner at both locations.  The breakfast options were plentiful and incredibly filling.  The potatoes that accompanied our breakfast were crispy and delicious!  We also enjoyed the lunch/dinner options more than once on our most recent trip.  The pizzas are generous in size, with selections from the standard margherita to a barbecue chicken pizza.  The half roasted chicken, bacon wrapped meatloaf included fluffy mashed potatoes.  There were also a wide variety of soups, salads, sandwiches as well as pasta options.  The desserts included amazing cookies, brownies and my daughter’s favorite, frozen yogurt with a variety of yummy toppings!  They do offer alcoholic beverage options for an additional fee.  Although this is a quick service location, they do have cast members that will help you find seating (both inside and outside available), deliver your order to the table (all items made fresh to order) as well as obtain any condiments and refill your fountain beverage, tea or water.  Please don’t forget to leave a gratuity for their service.  The food options, portions and taste will NOT disappoint.  Make sure to add this to your list!!!

What is your favorite quick service location/meal?

Missy Zolecki 

Travel Specialist