Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe, & MORE!

This fall is full of fun in Orlando, FL. You can kick off the fall festivities with the 35th Disney Night of Joy! This year’s event will feature 15 of the greatest performers in the Contemporary Christian music industry. Join in on the JOY either Friday, September 8th or Saturday, September 9th, 2017!

 

Night of JOY at ESPNSeveral Country Christian Music legends like MercyMe, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Kirk Franklin will take the stage. However, you will meet new Christian hit artists like Danny Gokey, Jordan Feliz, and Rend Collective. The EPSN Complex will feature two nights of awe-inspiring music. And, we’ve heard that Amy and Steven might even sing a couple of songs together!

The concert experience doesn’t stop there. Matthew West will be the host for the two-night event this year. He will be running around the complex, introducing artists, and keeping everything moving!

You will not want to miss this year’s event. The Night of Joy features one of the greatest concert lineups in Contemporary Christian music history.

Take a Look at the Current Schedule:

(Entertainment subject to change.)

  • Friday, Sept. 8 – MercyMe, TobyMac, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Matt Maher, Colton Dixon, Rend Collective, Zach Williams.
  • Saturday, Sept. 9 – Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Jordan Feliz, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Tye Tribbett.

Tickets will go on sale in early June. Stay tuned for more information! If you are interested in adding this amazing concert experience on to your current Disney vacation, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. OR – if you’re looking to add a day {or two} at the parks, before the concert, one of our travel specialists would LOVE to help you plan a day full of fun!

Elizabeth Hollman

Owner & Travel Specialist

Should I really stay and watch the fireworks? Walt Disney WorldDisney is without a doubt one of THE best vacation destinations to keep you entertained from the instant you open your eyes in your themed resort to the moment you walk out of the parks waving good-bye to Cast Members.

Throughout the day, you have rides, shows, street performers, parades, fabulous dining and snacks, and character meet and greets to entertain you.  That is enough excitement, right?  What about the fireworks?  Being so busy throughout the day, are they really worth staying to watch?  The answer is YES, YES, YES! 

Disney Parks fireworks are like no other!  They are more than just beautifully colored explosions in the sky.  They tell a story, have a theme, include outstanding and memorable music, and put on a production that will keep you mesmerized from start to finish.  The fireworks are simply just ONE more added must see for Disney guests.

How can I stay late, the kids will be so tired!?!

We all know fireworks happen once it’s dark, so if you want to see them….simply plan for it!

I recommend arriving to the parks early in the morning before the crowds start and then take an afternoon break at your resort. {This is also when staying on property is extremely helpful! You can take a short ride back the resort without having to worry about parking!}

  • Swim
  • Nap
  • Have a relaxing drink
  • Get out of the sun and heat

This relaxation time will rejuvenate and prepare you for an amazing evening!

Plan the perfect spot to watch

Should I really stay and watch the fireworks? Walt Disney WorldHaving a great view of the fireworks will add to the enjoyment of watching them.  Many guests pick their favorite spots early, so you want to do the same.  As you wait, make this a fun part of your trip where you regroup as a family.  While you wait…

  • Grab your favorite Disney snacks
  • Talk about favorite attractions
  • Look at your Memory Maker pictures
  • Talk about the next days plans
  • Relive the funniest moments from your trip

Become Immersed

When the show starts, let yourself be transformed by the music, lights, projections and theming!  This is your chance sit back and enjoy some of the best entertainment on property.

What’s your rush? 

As soon as the fireworks end, the masses start to head out of the park.  Sit and relax!  Let the crowds walk passed you.  You can take this opportunity to view the park in a less crowded state.  You may have a new appreciation for its details.  You could also stop for a nighttime photo with one of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers!

Which Disney Parks have Fireworks?

  • Magic Kingdom: Starting May 12th, 2017, Magic Kingdom will debut its newest fireworks show, “Happily Ever After”!  “Wishes” fireworks will end on May 11th.
  • Epcot: Epcot fireworks take place around World Showcase Lagoon and are properly name IllumiNations.
  • Hollywood Studios: Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is the show that closes a fun day at Hollywood Studios.

The fireworks are NOT an experience to miss.  Have your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist incorporate these into your itinerary.  This will tie a perfect bow on a day already full of Disney Magic!

Don’t forget!!

Disney World also offers fireworks dessert parties and cruises for an added cost to guests who are interested (read more, here!).  They will get an array of desserts as well as great viewing locations of the fireworks.

For questions on pricing for one of these special parties and to book a reservation, please contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist!

  • Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom {Read more, HERE!}
  • Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing at Magic Kingdom
  • Ferry tale Wishes Firework Dessert Cruise {Read more, HERE!}
  • Pirates, Pals, and Fireworks Cruise {Read more, HERE!}
  • IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

 

At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

If you are looking for something literally “off the beaten path” on your next Walt Disney World vacation, your search is over! The Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is perfect for the younger crowd and is the perfect place for memory making!

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortBeing a local Floridian people think that we go to Disney every day. I’m sure that if it was up to my daughter we would!  However, in reality, and for the sake of the Magical experience becoming commonplace, we treat every trip like a mini vacation.  We stumbled upon the Tri-Circle-D Ranch on one of our many “staycations”.  My family of five found Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to be perfect. Our cabin was a great fit for all five of us. Our cabin had a full kitchen and an eating area both inside and outside.  It had it all, from the rustic campground feel to all of the comforts of home.  We have made going to “The Cabins” as my family calls them, an annual tradition.

 

On one of yearly adventures, after breakfast (at Trail’s End Restaurant), we wandered over to the stables near the entrance of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. There were about five or six mini ponies walking along a path with riders and my daughter fell in love.

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortWe found out there was only a small fee (currently $8.00 a ride). We were hooked! Now, we can’t pass up the chance to visit the ponies at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch every year we visit! This is one of our favorite places to make memories.

 

The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is located near Pioneer Hall.  It is perfect for pint sized pony enthusiasts (at least 2 years old and under 80 pounds and under 48 inches). Your child will be able to ride a pony guided by parents or guardians around a fenced path.  The Pony Rides are open daily from 10am – 5pm and you don’t even need a reservation!

 

In addition, to the pony rides, they also have a state of the art playground for the kids. This is perfect way to keep the kids busy as you wait for your dining reservation. There are many delicious dining locations nearby including Trail’s End Restaurant, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness Resort

So, if you are looking for a relaxing alternative or a break from the Parks for a few hours, Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is just the place to hang your hat!

 

This is perfect for local Floridian and who are looking for a FUN and EXCITING new experience close to home! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to ask any additional questions or add this into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!  The Magic is just a phone call away!

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlandoulie4Staying “on property” at Universal Orlando definitely has its perks, but what you might not expect is the high quality of their hotels.  I had the pleasure of staying at Loews Royal Pacific during my last visit and had one of my most enjoyable hotel stays to date in Orlando.

Loews Royal Pacific is a tropical, “South Pacific” themed resort just tenths of a mile away from the entrance of Islands of Adventure.  While you are just walking distance away from Universal Studios, you feel a surprising sense of peace and relaxation in this gorgeous resort hotel. Room types include water view and garden view rooms available with one king bed or two queens at 335 square feet as well as suites, including the popular Jurassic Park kids’ suites. Loews Royal Pacific at Universal OrlandoThese rooms provide an incredibly comfortable night’s rest so you are refreshed and ready for Early Entry to the Wizarding World the next day!

 

If you are looking for recreation and amenities, Royal Pacific offers some of the very best in the area.  The center piece of this resort is the huge lagoon-style pool with two hot tubs and an interactive water play area for little ones.  When you aren’t at the parks, you can take part in poolside activities such as ping pong, hula hoop contests, arts and crafts and poolside “Dive-In Movies” after dark.   If you aren’t too exhausted from enjoying your day in the parks, there is 5,000 square foot fitness center complimentary to guests.

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando

Another huge draw to this resort is the variety of shopping and dining located within the resort.  With two large Universal gift shops located within the hotel, all the souvenirs and items you may have left at home are at your fingertips.  You are also sure to never go hungry with a variety of restaurants located throughout the hotel.  Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, featuring Asian Fusion food, and Islands Dining Room for breakfast with some of my favorite Universal friends are some of the most enjoyable meals I have ever had in the Orlando area and are all very reasonably priced.

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal OrlandoWith any Universal Orlando resort stay, guests are treated to exclusive advantages to make the most of your time in the theme parks.  Guests can enjoy complimentary transportation to and from the parks and City Walk via boat, early entry into the Wizarding World and free Universal Express Pass for every member of your party.  Extras like these make this resort an excellent value that your whole family will be sure to enjoy!

 

To book a Universal package or hotel stay at Loews Royal Pacific, please contact your Me & the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

At Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershus Royal Banquet Hall

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located at Epcot’s Norway Pavillion. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet and greet with Disney Royalty on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
 
Join the Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining inside a medieval castle setting in heart of Norway.  When you arrive, guests are immediately greeted by Belle in her gorgeous yellow ballgown.  Don’t worry, a Photopass photographer is present! This means you will have a fantastic photo on your Memory Maker photo account. You will be able to enjoy later and send out to family and friends.
 

Akershus Royal Banquet HallAfter your visit with Belle, guests are are seated in one of two rooms reminiscent of great hall inside a storybook castle.  On my most recent visit, our waiter Paal explained the menu and made suggestions from the menu.  At lunch and dinner, every Guest’s royal feast begins with a “Taste of Norway”. This features Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and a wide selection of salads and fruits.  I went with Paal’s suggestions of  Tradisjonell Kjøttkake  (Swedish meatballs), which was very good.  
 
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
As we dined, many of our favorite Disney Princeses circulated the restaurant and visited with each table.  The Princesses spent amble time with each table allowing for conversation and multiple photo opportunities. By the end of our meal, we were able to meet with Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Mulan in addition to our formal picture time with Belle.  The Princesses also invite your own little Prince or Princesses to join in the fun. Your child will be able to join their Princess Parade through the restaurant.  I witnessed many smiles as the little princesses waved to guests as they followed the Disney Princesses through the restaurant greeting and welcoming guests to the hall.  
Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershaus Royal Banquet hall is an excellent opportunity to visit with your favorite Disney Princess. {It only uses 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining plan!}  Lunch and dinner menus have more of an acquired palette. However, children will find traditional favorites like pizza and pasta on their menu.  Be sure to check out the menu here first to see if it fits your family’s taste.  Otherwise, my recommendation would be to book a breakfast here and enjoy traditional favorites like waffles, bacon and eggs.
 
Character dining is a great way to skip the lines and visit with multiple Disney friends as one time.  If your little one is anxious to meet their favorite Disney Princesses then a meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall will be a lasting Disney memory for your family.   Want to know more about character dining opportunities with the Princesses, you can read more in our blog, HERE or contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist for more details.

Tressa Krippel

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

Maybe you have been to Walt Disney World numerous times and feel you want something new to do this summer since you’ve already done everything at the parks. Well stop right there! Disney has added some new attractions in 2017 that you will not want to miss.

 

  1. Pandora

    Top 5 Things To Do at Disney World this SummerThe World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom- Opening in May 27, 2017, this new land will transport you to the world of Pandora, home of the Na’vi. Inspired by James Cameron’s movie in 2009. The land is full of plants and centered with floating mountains that is sure to impress anyone. There are two main attractions to see. The Na’vi River journey where you will travel down a river hidden in the rainforest and have an encounter with a Na’vi Shaman and the other attraction is the Avatar Flight of Passage which will have you flying over Pandora. {Read more about it, here!}

  2. River of Lights at Animal Kingdom Top 5 Things To Do at Disney World this Summer

    This is the first nighttime show for the Animal Kingdom park. The kingdom is brought to life at dark with water, sound, dramatic lighting, and special effects. What a way to celebrate the beauty of all living things!

  3. Happily Ever After Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom

    Debuting in May of 2017, this new nighttime show will light up the sky above Cinderella’s Castle. This show will inspire guests to find their own “Happily Ever After” through storytelling, pyrotechnics, and classical characters.

  4. Top 5 Things To Do at Disney World this SummerThe Music of Pixar LIVE: A Symphony of Characters

    Opening in May of 2017, this amazing show features a live symphony playing music from Disney Pixar films. And if you are lucky, your favorite Disney Pixar character will make a magical appearance.

  5. Miss Adventure Falls at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

    What adult doesn’t like a good adventure? This family style raft will take on a white water rafting adventure past the lost and glittering treasure of Captain Mary Oceaneer. This ride is one of the longest water attractions at the two parks!

 

So as you can see there are many new attractions and adventures you will not want to miss this summer at Walt Disney World! If you’re ready to book or have any questions, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today.

Experience this Deliciousness at Universal’s CityWalk

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumLooking for a unique experience while visiting Orlando?  So was I – on Valentine’s Day while visiting my daughter. What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps flowers and candy?  Perhaps chocolate?  Yes, indeed.

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal’s CityWalk is perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration.  Let’s be honest – this place is perfect to visit any day of the year!  If I lived closer – I would be sure to visit frequently so I could try practically everything on the menu.

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumThe Chocolate Emporium is a full service restaurant, bar and confectionary with a steam punk theme.  It is two stories with seating on both levels.  The menu offering is tremendous making it hard to choose just one item.  Their brunch menu is served all day featuring unique crepes, waffles, French toast and quiches.  Also served are soups and salads, sandwiches and burgers, flatbreads, pasta, and entrees such as steaks, pork chops and delicious chicken options as well. Unique milkshakes, sundaes and specialty desserts are offered to fulfill your sweet tooth. (Gluten Free options are available as well.)

Here are just a few of their unique offerings:  Black and Tan Onion Rings (Onion Rings with cocoa ranch dipping sauce.) – Pork Belly Sliders (Caramelized onions, mustard aioli, arugula, chocolate dipped bacon, pretzel bun)

What was on the menu for us you ask?

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumFor starters, we began with their signature temptation of Warm Chocolate Almond Bread with Salted Carmel butter.  We continued our culinary journey with a ½ pound house-made hamburger patty, Colby andouile queso, cheddar cheese, grain mustard on a pretzel bun, and we upgraded our kettle chips to truffle fries.  Finally, we pondered how we wanted to finish our heavenly visit, and we decided to add a milkshake for dessert.   What did we choose?  The Salted Dulce De Leche {Salted Carmel ice cream, dulce de leche, salted pretzels, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate cigars.}

After all these choices, if you are still craving chocolate, visit the confectionary located on the lower level to enjoy later.  I give this Emporium two thumbs up.

 

See more pictures in the gallery below!

 

Trying to figure out your next Orlando vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’re specialized in Disney, Universal, and much more! We’d love to help take the stress away from your vacation planning.

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

Growing up in Western Nebraska, we took yearly trips to South Dakota or Colorado. I remember going on these vacations during my elementary school years. It was during my 5th grade year, my parents made the vacation decision that forever changed my life – a trip to Disneyland! This is the story of why that trip changed my life as a child and as an adult.

Disneyland changed my life!

We had never gone a trip of such magnitude. I remember going to our local travel agent with my mom and seeing that sticker of Mickey Mouse on the window that said “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.” As a child I thought to myself “wow, this is really happening!” After taking home a stack of Disneyland brochures and a few weeks of planning, we settled on our hotel and our tickets.

 

It was almost a year a way, but I was excited as if we were leaving the next day. I remember looking at those brochures every day and counting down until we left. I mapped out the park, the lands, the rides and the routes we were going to take to get around. At this time, my only perspective of a Disney park was seeing them on the Disney Channel.

 

After months of anticipation, we were ready to leave. My family and I were driving to California, and it was an adventure that rivaled that of Clark Griswold’s Walley World pilgrimage! {That is an entire story in itself.}

 

Fast forward to arriving in Anaheim. We drive down Katella Avenue and make the turn and there it is-the famous Disneyland sign. We made it! After a sleepless night, we park and make our way to the same gates that Walt Disney himself entered. It was a like a dream seeing the Mickey Mouse head flower garden and the train station then Main Street U.S.A. We made our way around the park: seeing, riding and eating! 

Disneyland changed my life!

Let me get to the part that changed my life. We were on the monorail and there is a place near Tomorrowland that when you look close you can see backstage. I remember this like it was yesterday. I proclaimed to my family “someday I want to work for Disney.” It was my childhood moment when I said I want to grow up and do this. And guess what? I did grow up and I did work for Disney, and it changed my life. I worked at Walt Disney World, traveled as a Cast Member to Disney headquarters in Burbank, walked Walt’s studio, held the first ticket to Disneyland, met with Imagineers, created magical memories, and bettered my career.
All of this started with a visit to the travel agent in Gering Nebraska and a stack of brochures. I ran into that same travel agent a year ago. She is now retired, but told me, “I remember how excited you were when I gave you those brochures! You were glowing with excitement.”


If you are ready to experience Disneyland for the first time, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Disney just announced the dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for Fall 2017! Get excited – you can enjoy 53 days of absolute fun this fall at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

 

dtnemail-MNSSHP-21b58Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, 32 spook-tacular dates include:

  • August 25, 29
  • September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
  • October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

Returning to the Magic Kingdom fright-fest are the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show in front of Cinderella Castle featuring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from the hit Disney film Hocus Pocus; Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade; and Happy HalloWishes. You won’t want to miss out on these fall fun activities.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, 21 holiday-tastic dates include:

  • November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
  • December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22

Returning favorites for the holidays include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes, A Frozen Holiday Wish and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.

 

Want to book?!

Tickets are currently NOT available for purchase, BUT contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. We will help you book as soon as they become available.