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.

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

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

Stay at a Disney World Resort

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Stay at a Disney World Resort

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

“The perfect spot to view the Magic Kingdom Fireworks”… is a very subjective opinion. For those who have seen Wishes before, they might suggest to you, “Why not…”: Main Street by The Plaza Restaurant?  The Hub?  The Rose Garden? Tomorrowland Terrace? Main Street USA near the Train Station?  Liberty Square bridge?  These are all amazing spots…but I’m suggesting you take a different and more adventurous approach to your fireworks viewing experience!

 

***this is a suggestion for those who have seen the fireworks before, or don’t feel like grabbing a spot early to view them in their entirety***

 

First, check the times guide to see when the evening Fireworks will be offered the day you will be visiting the Magic Kingdom. “Wishes a Nighttime Spectacular” will be offered until May 11, 2017. Then, starting May 12, 2017, the new show “Happily Ever After” will debut!

 

Watch Fireworks at Disney
Second, arrange a Fast Pass+ for a time that overlaps evening fireworks for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  (Or if lines are short that evening, you can hop in line shortly before the fireworks begin.)

 

Third, mosey over to Frontierland and board Big Thunder Mountain just after they start.

 

Finally, enjoy fireworks in a way you never have before!  I promise that this experience will change your perspective on the nighttime spectacular!   Over every peak, every drop, a new firework will catch your eye.  It’s serene, surprising…just magical.

 

Once your “ride in the wilderness” has ended, there are many options to where you can watch the remainder of the show. The docs in Frontierland give a beautiful view or you might even want to take advantage of another attraction in Frontierland, Adventureland or Liberty Square. If the lines are short enough, you might even want to hop back into line at Big Thunder Mountain! {Don’t worry, I won’t judge! That’s where I’d want to be!}

 

No matter where you are at the Magic Kingdom, or any Walt Disney World theme park, the experience during a fireworks show is something you will remember and treasure forever. They are beautiful, expertly planned, and have something to ‘WOW’ everyone!  

 I hope this new idea makes your next Magic Kingdom Firework experience a memorable one! If you’d ready to visit the castle again, contact a Me and The Mouse agent. We’d love to take the stress away from your vacation planning. 

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

If you’re a craft loving, DIY’er like me a fun way to add some magic to your approaching Disney vacation is to make your own Disney lanyard.  These lanyards can be used for multiple things on your Disney vacation:

  • As a pin trading lanyard (click hyperlink to learn about Disney pin trading)
  • To hold your park tickets if you don’t have magic bands
  • To hold a photo pass card

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Your Favorite Disney RibbonFun DIY Disney Lanyard
  • Scissors
  • Big Clasps
  • Fabric Velcro Tabs (if you want pull away lanyards)
  • Clear Nail Polish or No Fray Check
  • Sewing Machine, Hot Glue Gun, or Thread and Needle
  • Pins
  • Name Tag Holder

Step One:

Go pick out your supplies.  I found super cute Disney ribbon at: JoAnne Fabrics (best selection), Wal-Mart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.

I found big clasps in the Jewelry making section of my local JoAnne fabrics but I am sure each of the craft stores have them.

Fray check and Velcro tabs can be located at craft stores or Wal-Mart. The plastic name tag holders can be found easily at Staples or Amazon.com.

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Step Two:

Measure how long you would like the lanyard (I usually cut mine at 36”).

Optional Step: I like to make tear away lanyards for safety.  Match up the two ends you cut and then cut the opposite end so that you have one ribbon in each hand that are the same length. If you decided to do this optional step you will now add Velcro tabs to the ends you just cut.

Step Three:

So that the ribbon does not fray you will now use the clear nail polish or the Fray check on each of the cut end of the ribbon. Let the liquid dry before moving on to step four.

Step Four:

After the Fray Check has dried now is the time to add the clasp.  To do this I’ve found it best to put the lanyard on so that you can make sure it lays right when it is worn.  Once you have verified there are no twists, take it off.  Holding the end that the clasp is going on you will put both ends together and fold it about ½”.  If you are using hot glue you will want to glue the fold.  At this point you will slide the clasp on and then make another fold about 1” over.  Then pin the fold in place.  If you are using hot glue you will again glue the fold (I also recommend putting in a few stitches just to make sure it holds).

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

I used a sewing machine and that made it simple to sew the folds holding the clasp in place!  You then add the clear plastic name tag if you choose to use one and your lanyard is all ready for your Disney vacation!

Finish the lanyard and ready to go on your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Dance into Summer 2017 at Disney Junior Dance Party

This summer at the Disneyland® Resort, there is an all-new Disney Junior show that your little ones won’t want to miss!! The Disney Junior Dance Party is a fun, high-energy, live show experience! It combines inspiration from multiple, popular Disney Junior shows including: “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First” and “The Lion Guard.” The show includes several live appearance from fan-favorite characters, fun music from Disney Junior, and much more!!

This fun interactive concert-like event is perfect for your kiddo as it involves them directly in the fun experience! Be sure to have your camera out and ready because this will make for some adorable images! {Better yet, purchase the Disney PhotoPass!}

The all-new “Disney Junior Dance Party” show debuts in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park on May 26, 2017!

Interested in learning more about this new event? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Ready to learn about some extra adventures you can take on your next Aulani Getaway?!

Things to do on Oahu - Aulani ResortAulani is a fabulous destination with many activities on the property to pique the interest of all age levels. But there is also so much to do on the island of Oahu. The excursion desk in the lobby has a variety of planned tours, but if you would like to venture out on your own, you can also rent a car through Alamo with a location on the Aulani property.

  1. Hawaii Plantation Village

    Learn the history of a sugar cane plantation and the island. You will leave with an understanding of the culture and life on the plantation. It is a short 11 mile drive from Aulani. Tours start on the hour between 10:00 and 2:00 and last roughly 2 hours.

  2. The Dole Plantation

    Another plantation tour that is highly recommended is the Dole Plantation Tour, which is located 16 miles from Aulani. You can take a train ride through the plantation and see how to pick and cut a pineapple. You will also learn about all the tasty treats to make with pineapple. After a visit to the plantation, continue driving up the north shore and experience the beautiful beaches, which are less crowded than those in Waikiki.

  3. Golf

    The Ko Olina Golf Club is a short walk from the Aulani resort. As a guest of Aulani, discount rates are also available. The pro shop is a great place to pick up gifts/souvenirs from your vacation.

  4. Pearl Harbor Things to do on Oahu - Aulani Resort

    Visiting Hawaii would not be complete without a visit to this historic site. Tours include the USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship and Bowfin Submarine Museum.

  5. Hawaiian Railway

    The boarding area is about 5 miles from Aulani. The train runs on Saturday’s at 3:00 PM and Sunday’s at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. You ride along the coast and make a stop for ice cream. A perfect leisurely way to spend a weekend day. It is a great experience for young and old.

  6. Diamond Head State MonumentThings to do on Oahu - Aulani Resort

    Pack your hiking shoes and grab a bottle of water and head out on the trails on Diamond Head. The views of the ocean and the island are spectacular. Diamond head is 36 miles from Aulani.

 

With so much to do at Aulani and throughout the island, you will certainly want to book a second stay to take advantage of all the sites. If you’re interested in booking an Aulani vacation, or want to learn how you can include this fun in your current trip, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specidalist

Summer 2018 Itineraries
Book Now!

Disney Cruise Line is offering some amazing destinations and experiences in 2018. DCL will be offering new itineraries and new ports, in summer 2018. For the first-time, they will offer destinations to Italy and Ireland. Disney Cruise Line offers incredible tours of Europe and special visits to the Mediterranean, northern Europe, Norway, and Iceland. They will also offer their classic cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas.

Disney Cruise LineGuests, will be able to become more engrossed in the incredible culture of Barcelona and unique history of Rome in one cruise. For the first time, on June 16, 2018, the Disney Magic will set sail on a cruise from Barcelona to Civitavecchia {Rome}. Then, on June 23, 2018, it will set sail again on a seven-night cruise from Civitavecchia {Rome} to Barcelona. Also, making its first appearance on a Disney Cruise is Genoa, Italy. Genoa is an incredible historic port is the passageway to the gorgeous, Milan and the beautiful, Portofino.

The fun doesn’t stop there, the Disney Magic will also visit Cork, Ireland. This incredible adventure is a seven-night British Isles cruise. It departs on September 2, 2018. There are several additional ports visited on this sailing, including: Dublin, Ireland; Greenock, Scotland; and Liverpool, England. The summer will hold several other European adventures on the Disney Magic. It will include: Baltic, Norwegian fjords, British Isles and the Mediterranean.

Don’t forget, the newly re-imagined Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer as well!

If the Caribbean is calling your name, the Disney Fantasy will be embarking on special 11-night itinerary. It will depart on June 30th and visit the dreamy and tropical destination of: Aruba, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico and Disney Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay has been consistently rated as a top-destination location. The Disney Dream will sail on a series of cruises. It will include two stops at Castaway Cay {double-the-fun}! This is such a fun and incredible opportunity as guests will be able to enjoy more of the beach, sand, and sea, and they will also see more of the pristine island paradise!

Contact us to learn more about these incredible cruises or to let us take all the stress away from your planning! We’d love to help plan your dream Disney cruise.

Elizabeth Hollman

Owner & Travel Specialist

{& Why These Cast Members Will Be
Some of Your Favorite Faces!}

 

Baby Care StationI have done what so many other moms like me have done and what so many others have thought me crazy for.  I have taken my very young children to enjoy the Disney parks. My kids were both under 1 year when we started taking them to the Disney parks regularly. I understand how we want to share our love of Disney and all the magic that that entails with our children, and I also understand how tiring that can be. Disney has created a place even for the smallest guests (and for those caring for them). It is called (*the sounds of angels descending* and cue the spotlight) the Baby Care Station.

With one Baby Care Station located centrally in each of the Disney theme parks (both at Walt Disney World and at the Disneyland Resort), you can find a quiet retreat to nurse or feed your baby, change diapers or visit the toilets, or just grab a quiet corner to escape the bustle and weather outside. They are staffed with the sweetest cast members who are there to help you take care of your little one.

The main room has tables and chairs, as well as high chairs. Forgot something? They also have a small area where you can purchase some of the essentials, such as diapers and baby food.Baby Care Station

When my kids were little, this was one (of many!) of the bright spots to our visit. They loved the pint-sized potties made just for them, and I loved knowing the wonderful cast members were always there for me to offer a smile (or help avoid a diaper emergency!).

Sure, it might sound silly, but when you spend a full day playing in the parks with your young ones, anything that can help keep everyone comfortable and happy is a blessing.

If you are traveling with Littles on your next visit to the parks, grab your map and locate the Baby Care Station for later. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist