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Calling all Disney fanatics … The Midship Detective Agency needs your help!  You can play along with this free interactive game when cruising on either the Disney Fantasy or the Disney Dream. This activity will keep even the littlest passengers entertained. 

The game begins when you “sign up” at the Midship Detective Agency desk.  You then receive your detective badge card.  This card will activate the game at different locations throughout the ship.  The goal of the game is to figure out which villain has committed the crime through the process of elimination.

 Not sure your littles will be interested yet?  Here’s the best part: In order to play you must locate the Enchanted Artwork onboard.  Once you hold your badge card in front of the art the magic really begins.  The art comes to life in spectacular fashion using scenes from your favorite new and classic Disney animations!

When my family visited the Disney Dream we played this game over and over, especially on the days at sea.  It was a hit with all four of us.  I was thrilled to see the classic artwork, my husband thought the animation was amazing and our kids loved the idea of working along with Mickey to solve the crimes!  Another great feature of these activities was how quickly it helped us to learn the ship.  We went from deck to deck, forward to aft looking for the clues we needed.  The kids really enjoyed doing this even until late into the evening.

On the Dream you can choose from two different scenarios for the game.  Either “The Case of the Missing Puppies” or “The Case of the Plundered Paintings” can be played at any given time.  Once you have finished one of the games you can always go back to the desk and choose to play the other.  The game can also have a different outcome every time you play.  On the Fantasy you can play these games as well as a new game featuring the Muppets called “The Case of the Stolen Show”.

Schedule your Disney Cruise Vacation with your Me and The Mouse Agent today and start planning this and a multitude of other fun activities onboard!

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly like your favorite Disney characters?  Peter Pan, Dumbo, Jasmine and Aladdin and many others?  That’s what Characters in Flight is all about!

Step aboard this hand painted, helium filled balloon for an all new view of the theme parks and Resort hotels in the distance.  You’ll get a 360-degree view of Downtown Disney from up to 400 feet in the air.  Operated by Ae’rophile S.A., the basket holds up to 29 passengers and 1 operator.  From this height you will be able to walk the entire circle of the basket to get views from every angle.  You really can see as far as 10 miles away!  It’s truly stunning at night!IMG_0080

The operators love answering questions about the balloon too so feel free to ask away.  Once you reach the maximum height you will spend about 10 minutes looking out over the Walt Disney World Resort in wonder and amazement.  It’s a great place to play “I spy”, get a beautiful picture, or take a romantic moment to kiss your sweetie while floating above the world.  Once your journey has ended you will slowly be lowered, via a cable attached to the balloon, back to the ground.

Ticket prices are $12 per child and $18 per adult.  If you are interested in experiencing this one of a kind flight contact your Me and The Mouse Agent for more information.

 

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When booking packages for clients I always mention the Memory Maker. Why? Because I personally think it is totally worth it! There are three major factors that lead me to this conclusion:

1. User Friendly

2. Photo Options

3. Budget Minded

 

1. User Friendly:

During my last trip to Disney I purchased the Memory Maker option for our vacation package. It was so incredible easy to use. After entering a park, we would look on a map to see where photographers were stationed. If we passed by one of them, we would take a few quick family photos, scan our MagicBands, and we were good to go!

Want to capture the photos taken on attractions like Splash Mountain or Buzz Light’s Space Ranger Spin? Your MagicBand automatically links these to your account. Just jump off the ride and head on your merry way!blog - Memory Maker 3a

Every evening when we were back in our room we would go to “Disney PhotoPass” online to view our photos for the day. It was awesome to immediately see photos from our trip.

https://mydisneyphotopass.disney.go.com/

The “Disney PhotoPass” website is very easy to use. Since our trip was to Walt Disney World, our photos were organized by what park we visited.

 

With one click of a button you can automatically download a digital copy of all your photos—as long as you are within your download window of time.

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2. Photo Options

If you are interested in adding some extra Disney magic to your photo, you can ask the photographer for a Magic Shot. With Magic Shots, extra surprises will be added to your photo after it is taken, like including Tinkerbell in your hand, or Stitch busting out of the pavement in front of you!

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After photos show up in your PhotoPass account, they are also very easy to edit. Simply click on the photo you wish to edit, within My Disney PhotoPass. Choose a photo size, change orientation, make a black and white version, or add Disney borders and stickers. This makes your pictures even more special.

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Within Disney PhotoPass, there are also many different products you may purchase if you wish, including prints, greeting cards, calendars, books, ornaments, mugs, mouse pads and more!

3. Budget-Minded:

 Save $20 when you purchase Memory Maker online or with your travel agent, at least 3 days before your first photo is taken. Memory Maker cost  $149 when you purchase in advance, compared to the regular price of $169 sold at select locations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Photos remain in your account for 45 days after they are taken. During this time you may download your photos with no additional cost beyond the price of the package.

 In conclusion is the Memory Maker worth the $149? My answer is, “Yes!” Everyone gets to be in the photos, the interface is easy to use, you may customize with fun Disney extras, and you get to download digital files. This is a great deal in my family’s opinion!

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For the last 25 years, Disney guests have been splashing around at one of the greatest overlooked experiences on Disney property.  Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is home to a wide range of mild to wild water attractions, and is a great place to cool off during the hottest Disney summer months. 

Disney is known for its great theming and Typhoon Lagoon does not disappoint.  The details show evidence of the island paradise once wiped out by a typhoon; most notably, Miss Tilley’s shipwrecked shrimp boat on the top of Mount Mayday which erupts into a geyser every 30 minutes.

Typhoon Lagoon is full of attractions ranging in intensity.  At the center of the park is the surf pool, which is the largest man-made wave pool in North America.  Guests can even take surfing lessons at this wave pool when the park is closed.  The huge waves of the surf pool is one of the biggest draws to Typhoon Lagoon.  Circling the entire park is Castaway Creek, a relaxing “lazy river” loop around Typhoon Lagoon with over 2,000 feet of surf carrying you in and out of caves, shade trees and other surprises along the way.

Along with the awesome surf pool and lazy river, Typhoon Lagoon is also home to some of the most fun and thrilling body and raft slides in the world. 

*Humunga Kowabunga: Fast body slide dropping at a 60 degree angle. 

*Crush ‘n’ Gusher: Wild water coaster thrill with climbs and dips. 

*Storm Slides: 3 mild body slides winding around beautiful tropical scenery. 

*Mayday Falls and Keelhaul Falls: Raft slides from the top of Mount Mayday for 1-2 riders at a time. 

*Gangplank Falls: Bring along three other friends and make some memories on this team raft ride.   

Small guests 4′ and under have their own area with slides, wading pools and interactive water play. Ketchakiddie Creek is sure to delight your littlest swimmers!  

Typhoon Lagoon Crush N GusherWhat separates Typhoon Lagoon from all other water parks? Other than the creative theming and massive wave pool, the shark reef.  Guests can swim with sharks, stingrays and several types of tropical fish, such as the Blue Tang (like Dory).  

Because all that swimming is bound to make you hungry, Typhoon Lagoon has several options for food.  There are several counter service restaurants serving hot dogs, chicken, burgers and basic American cuisine, most of which carry Disney Dining Plan quick service and snack options.  Grab a few friends and share my personal favorite treat at Typhoon Lagoon!  The Garbage Pail Sundae found at Happy Landing Ice Cream is complete with chocolate and vanilla soft serve, waffle cone pieces, sprinkles, hot fudge, caramel, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry layered into a sand pail to be scooped out with a shovel.  Truly, an ice-cream lover’s dream!  Typhoon Lagoon Keel Haul Falls

Want to visit Typhoon Lagoon on your next visit to Disney? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your water park experience: 

*Add the Water Park and More option to your ticket.  A one-day ticket to Typhoon Lagoon is $54+tax.  Adding the Water Park and More option to your base ticket is $63.90 and you will get the same amount of entrances to the water parks as the amount of days you have for your base tickets.  For example, if you have a 5-day base ticket, you will get 5 entrances to the water parks.  This makes it ideal for an afternoon cooling off time or a great way to use your days off from visiting the 4 theme parks.  What a terrific value!  

*Bring your own towel and save yourself a $2 rental fee.   

*If you must bring valuables to the park, be prepared to rent a locker.  Smaller lockers are $13/day and larger lockers are $15/day.  Both require a $5 key deposit.   

*Wear bathing suits without metal or rivets. 

*Life jackets for kids are free to use.  Just be ready to leave your ID at guest services. 

*Your magic band is safe to be worn in the pools and all the slides and is extremely convenient for scanning at the food locations and with the several photographers there to add to your Memory Maker! 

Remember Typhoon Lagoon to add some wonderful magic to your family’s next Disney summer vacation.   

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

 

 

Club Cool

When you visit Future World in Epcot, be sure to check out Club Cool.  It’s located in Innoventions West where you’ll find Epcot’s Character Spot.  Club Cool is an air-conditioned store sponsored by Coca-Cola.  There are lots of Coca-Cola products to purchase and best of all there is FREE soda to drink.

 Disney and Coca-Cola have teamed up to offer 8 different flavors from around the world to sample. 

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 Sparberry  – This raspberry cream-flavored soda has been a favorite in Africa

since 1955.  It’s also my kids favorite.  Give it a try. 

 Inca Kola – This Peruvian favorite offers a sweet, almost bubblegum-like taste.

Beverly– a favorite among many for two reasons, it’s flavor and it’s origin, Italy.

Fanta – Fanta started in Europe in the 1950s and is now sold throughout the US in a variety of flavors. 

Guarana Kuat -This Brazilian drink is flavored with the guarana berry.  It’s surprisingly good. 

VegitaBeta – This drink is a combination of passion fruit and apricot.  It originated in Japan. 

Melon Frosty Fanta – Thailand’s favorite soda is this melon-flavored drink. This was far from my kids favorite.  It’s a unique flavor. 

Bibo –   This is a fruit flavored juice drink that comes from South Africa. 

 So If you are needing to cool down for a bit and want to quench your thirst, try Club Cool.

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Roxanne Genovese

Travel Specialist

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.51.47 AMI have to admit I was really skeptical about the face painting at Walt Disney World. It seemed like such a waste of money for something to last just one day. However, during my last trip to Walt Disney World I have changed my mind!

 I have two girls, ages five and two. Both of them had grandparents give them spending money at Walt Disney World, and they both began talking about how they wanted to spend their money on face painting before they even got to Disney World. I had a discussion with my girls, and we decided that we would get our faces painted at the Animal Kingdom.Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.52.33 AM

 We decided that first thing in the morning would be best for the experience, so we would not have to wait in line. We walked up to the booth right outside of the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Three young lady cast members were working the booth. They were very sweet with my girls. After my kids picked out their designs the artist got quickly to work. My kids held more still than I’ve ever seen them. They were so excited.

 While the artists were painting, they told me that touchups were free during the day they were purchased anywhere on Disney property, including Downtown Disney. Just show your receipt and you are good to go. This really sweetened the pot for me! We ended up having three touchups on the girls that day. We paid $16/painting and I really feel like we got our monies worth!Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.49.18 AM

 A couple days later, we were at Hollywood Studios during Star Wars weekend. My girls once again wanted to use their money for face painting, because they loved it so much. Since we had such a wonderful experience with it at Animal I quickly agreed. Again, I was not disappointed.Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.49.34 AM

 My girls had arrived in costume that day as Yoda. The face painting really completed their outfit and people oohed and aahed all day. Again, we had several touch ups with no problems, and the cast members were always happy to help.

 The thing I liked most about the face painting is it really made for some great photo ops during our trip!

 

IMG_2935I was lucky enough to be at Disney World within the first week of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening. It opened May 28th and I arrived June 1st. I was unable to secure my family a Fastpass, because the announcement of the opening of the Fastpass for the ride did not coincide with my availability to be online when it first opened. When I went to book them for our trip the Fastpasses were gone! I knew at that moment that it would take a large amount of strategy on my part to get on this ride  without waiting.

Why without waiting you may ask? The first reason is I have two small children ages 2 and 5. The concept of waiting has not yet developed. The second reason is I live in Missouri and my husband is a teacher, which means we are able to get to Disney once a year as a family. I do not want to waste my day in line when we could be having fun and building those precious memories with our children. Waiting in line? Not an option for this girl.IMG_2933

 I followed these four easy steps and I was 12th in line for the hottest ticket in town that day. With no waiting and no Fastpass.

  • Stay on property: Disney loves all their guests, but they especially love their onsite guests. Disney provides onsite guests with extended theme park hours – Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours give guests access to the park before the designated park is scheduled to open or after the park is scheduled to close. 
  1. Be there on time: Be at the Magic Kingdom gates one hour before Extra Magic Hours opening.
  2. Know the right path: Many people think the shortest way to The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is through Cinderella’s Castle. However, this is incorrect. Right before the castle there is a bridge to your right that appears to lead into Tomorrowland. This pathway takes you by Cosmic Rays Starlight Café and the Cheshire Café. After the bridge, take the first path to the left. Head up the hill past the Mad Tea Party. If you kept walking straight you would run right into the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
  3.  Watch the Cast Members: Cast Members will be standing at the opening of this bridge making it appear as though you may not enter. Just approach them with a smile and they will fall back and allow the crowd to enter. Follow their lead, they are making sure there are no stampedes and everyone behaves. They always appreciate a smile and friendly conversation.

 In regards to the ride, it was everything I hoped it to be. The biggest surprise was how smooth it was. My family did the “Rider Switch” option and I took my 5-year-old daughter on with me. She found the ride to be a little too intense for her. It wasn’t the “drops” but the speed of the ride is incredible for its size. The carts also swing to almost make you feel like you are going to tip over. When we got off she had the option to get back on with my husband with the “Rider Switch” and even though she enjoyed it she did not want to get back on it a second time.  Her exact words were, “I think once is good enough for me.” My husband also loved it and came off the ride smiling ear-to-ear. Reflecting back on our trip, my husband and I both agreed this ride is our new favorite in the Magic Kingdom.

 The strategy above could be used for any hot ticket item during your trip. To discover the fastest way to your destination, ask a Cast Member. Remember they always appreciate a smile and friendly conversation. Good luck, have fun and most of all be safe!

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I feel one of the best kept secrets on Disney Cruise Line can be found on the Disney classic ships  (Wonder and Magic) and are the secret verandah staterooms. 

If you want to enjoy a verandah stateroom but prefer the rates of an oceanview stateroom, the best option is in one of the 4 secret verandah staterooms. They are listed as an obstructed view stateroom, but they actually have very little obstruction. There is a small portion of the top corner of the verandah that is slightly obstructed, but otherwise, it is the same as any other non-obstructed verandah.  These staterooms are very very popular and go quickly so give your Me and The Mouse travel agent a call and get your stateroom reserved.  

 Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

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Walt Disney World is full of excitement and fun for everyone.  While every family has their family “favorites”, there are many overlooked attractions and activities that are worthy of working into your Disney itinerary.  Below is our list of 10 “Overlooked Attractions and Activities” at Walt Disney World.

1.  Hayrides at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds:  Take an old-fashioned, horse-drawn hayride which offers an hour-long tour around the Fort Wilderness Campground. Hayrides depart at 6:00pm and 8:30pm nightly from the front of Pioneer Hall. Hayrides are on a first-come, first-served basis only (no reservations!)  These 45-minute wagon rides cost $8 for Guests ages 10 and up, and $5 for Guests 3 to 9 years of age.

2.  Movies at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel:  Complimentary Disney movies screenings are available to resort guests only.  Whether on the beach, poolside or surrounded by Floridian woodlands, enjoy your favorite Disney film with your family after a fun-filled day at the parks.  For movie schedules, please check with the Front Desk at your Walt Disney World Resort.

3.  Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise:  Walt Disney World offers its guest another memorable experience just outside the entrance of Magic Kingdom with its Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise.  Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruises launch from the boat docks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, located just outside the Magic Kingdom and conveniently located on the monorail system.  Cruises go out on Fridays through Mondays and are limited to 60 people, so advanced reservations are encouraged.  The voyage costs $53.99 for adults and $30.99 for children and characters are subject to change without notice.  Read more about it in our Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/pirates-pals-and-fireworks-a-magical-memory-for-the-entire-family/

4.  Water Pageant Parade:  The Electric Water Pageant Parade has been a tradition since 1971.  This parade is a nightly display that makes its way around Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake for the Magic Kingdom area resorts.  The beaches of these resorts make ideal locations for viewing this longtime tradition.  The Electric Water Pageant Parade occurs about 10 minutes following the Wishes! fireworks show at Magic Kingdom.  Check with Guest Services for an updated time schedule for this attraction.

5.  Splitsville:  Disney opened Splitsville in the west side of Downtown Disney in December of 2012.  Disney describes this unique venue as a retro-style bowling alley with a fresh spin on music, dining and entertainment.  Read more about it in our blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/splitsville-luxury-lanes-at-downtown-disney/

6.  Hidden Mickeys:  Did you think you saw a familiar face when walking down the sidewalk or in the rug at your Disney resort?  The fact is there are 100’s of Hidden Mickeys throughout all of Walt Disney World properties.  Searching and discovering Hidden Mickeys while you wait for your turn on a ride or attraction can be a great activity for the whole family.  Read more about Hidden Mickey’s here in our blog:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/hidden-mickeys-game/

7.  Pressed Pennies:  One of our favorite activities and souvenirs is collecting pressed pennies throughout Walt Disney World.   Children of all ages will find this to be an entertaining quest as they tour the parks, visit the shops and explore the various resort properties.   Pressed  pennies (and quarters) can be found throughout all four theme parks, Downtown Disney and all Walt Disney World resorts.  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/pressed-pennies-remember-the-memories-for-51-cents/

8.  Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom:  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive trading card adventure that kids of all ages will love.  This game is free with your park admission and allows guests to use their cards to help battle various Disney villains throughout Magic Kingdom’s themed lands (except Tomorrowland) using special spell cards.  Read more about this fun, free “extra” here:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/sorcerers-of-the-magic-kingdom/

9.  Animation Academy:  Don’t miss the chance to learn to draw different Disney characters at the Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios Park.  The class is offered every 30 mins. Guests are seated at large tables with a piece of paper and a pencil and a Disney illustrator will walk you through the steps of drawing a Disney character.  Your drawing makes a fantastic, free souvenir!!

10.  Agent P’s World Showcase Missions:  Help Agent P defeat Doofenshmirtz’s evil plan within the World Showcase at EPCOT.   Using an interactive handheld device, guests serve as undercover agents and complete missions with the help of Major Monogram and Carl (from Phineas and Ferb).  Tasks may include taking photos with your interactive, handheld device, speaking the native language (say ‘fromage!”), and special effects, like talking statues.  Each mission has between five and ten assignments with code names and your entire mission will take 30 to 40 minutes to complete within the country.   This free, fun and educational activity is free to all guests with a valid park admission.  Read more here:  www.meandthemouse.com/blog/agent-ps-world-showcase-missions-the-agency-needs-your-help-at-epcot/

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Wilderness-explorersCalling all Wilderness Explorers!  Are you ready to journey through the jungle, find your way through the forests and make your way through Animal Kingdom Park to earn your wilderness badges?

Follow in the footsteps of Russell and his faithful dog, Dug from the movie UP! as you tackle dozens of self-guided activities that get you exploring and experiencing Animal Kingdom Park in a new way.  With over 30 badges to earn and collect, this is a great activity to continue to enjoy on multiple visits to the park.  Every challenge is different and once you complete an activity, you collect a new sticker badge to put in your official Wilderness Explorer field guide.Photo0232FourBySix

To register as a Wilderness Explorer, head to the bridge near the Oasis to Discovery Island.  Your explorer will be given instructions and a map showing the park location for each task to be completed.    The first task you will need to complete is to learn the Wilderness Explorer call.  You are taught “The wilderness must be explored!”  Then you learn the “Caw Caw” and finally the “”Roar!”  Pay attention and remember because the Team Leaders at the different stations may require you to give the special call.   Scouts must also say the Wilderness Explorers’ Motto, which is a short pledge to be “a friend to all, be it plants or fish or tiny mole.”

wilderness handbookWilderness Explorer activities may include solving a puzzle, going on a scavenger hunt or learning about a culture.  Activities are based on the age of the child playing, so Wilderness Explorers of all ages can enjoy earning their badges at the WE stations set-up throughout the park.

When you earn 5 badges, you achieve the rank of Tadpole.  When you earn 10 badges, you are a Minnow.  At 20 badges, you are a Fish.  When you earn all the badges you become a Senior Wilderness Explorer!!!  Remember, you don’t need to earn all your badges in one day.  (That would be very difficult to do.)   You can continue to earn your badges and fill up your Wilderness Explorer field guide on your return trips to the park.

Who’s ready to go exploring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park?

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist