Headed to Disney World with Preschoolers? Hollywood Studios should NOT be missed!!! There is lots of fun and experiences to enjoy with your preschoolers at Hollywood Studios.

Toy Story Mania is first on the list for preschoolers. For any Toy Story fan, this is the ultimate ride of fun. Stepping into Andy’s room complete with Candyland pieces, View Master slides, and Lincoln Logs, your kids will delight in seeing all of Andy’s oversized toys as the prepare for an interactive, midway-style 4D adventure. Be sure to head here first, grab a fast pass for later and get in line to take a ride. This is one adventure everyone in the family will want to ride more than once. You will find Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Andy’s Army Men also in this area for meet-n-greets.

Next, head over to Animation Courtyard to the enjoy Disney Junior – Live on Stage. Try to sit in the middle of the room to enjoy this new updated interactive show now featuring Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, as well as our favorite characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The kids will delight in some surprising special features that occur during the show. Also in this area, you will find the Voyage of The Little Mermaid. Be sure to stop in the Magic of the Disney Animation. At the end of this experience, you will exit out to a meet-n-greet with more great Disney characters. You can often find Sorcerer Mickey, the Incredibles and recent Disney film characters, like Wreck-It Ralph and Vanelope, who are ready to sign autographs and take pictures.

You will want to have a prime seat (we like sitting on Hollywood Boulevard) for the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade that happens every day at 3:00 p.m. Preschoolers will love seeing all their favorite Pixar characters from Monsters Inc., UP!, Toy Story and A Bug’s Life dancing and interacting with guests as they parade through the main streets of Hollywood Studios.

At the Streets of America, your little ones will love meeting up with Phineas and Ferb, Lightening McQueen and Mater, and Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. Muppet Vision 3D movie and the Honey, I Shrunk The Kid’s Movie Set playground is also located here. If your preschoolers are still up for more fun, there is the Beauty and the Beast live show, Star Wars flight simulator (height requirement) and Fantasmic!- the nighttime laser and light, fireworks spectacular event everyone will enjoy.

If your headed to Walt Disney World with your preschooler, you will find a lifetime of smiles and memories made at Hollywood Studios theme park.

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

Disney is known for its amazing entertainment. On your next Disney World Vacation, be sure to check out some of these live stage shows that will be sure to delight and amaze you!

At Magic Kingdom, Dream Along with Mickey is set in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Featuring not only all the classic Disney Characters, princesses and princes, many of their arch enemies show up to sing, dance and entertain you as the battle between good and evil  is reenacted.

Hollywood Studios stage shows are available for those young and old. For the littlest of your group, Disney Junior – Live on Stage! might be their favorite. Planning Minnie’s best ever birthday party, you’ll see Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates all come together to create a memorable day for Minnie. When the kids aren’t seated on the ground to watch, they will be jumping and dancing right along with their Disney friends and squealing with delight when bubbles start floating down from the ceiling.

Another favorite show at Hollywood studios is the reenactment of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The costumes and scenery will amaze you as they are able to recreate scenes from the movie with dancing plates and cutlery in such creative and spectacular ways.

If you are a fan of reality TV, be sure to check out An American Idol Experience and even try out for a coveted stage performance. Guests of Hollywood Studios are featured in this singing competition where the audience members become the judges of the day. The best of the day’s performances compete for a Dream Ticket performance at a regional American Idol audition. You might see the next American Idol when you are there!

At Animal Kingdom you will not want to miss Festival of The Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. At Festival of The Lion King, the audience is divided up into four animal groups for the celebration. You will be in awe watching the acrobats and fire juggler along with the other performers. The show appeals to all ages and you end up happily humming the songs all the rest of the day at the park.

The story of Nemo is weaved perfectly through puppetry and song in Finding Nemo – The Musical.  You feel a part of the ocean when sea life characters wind their way through the audience and bubbles float down from the above. Catch a seat right by the runway off the stage and Nemo may even come out and give you a good look in the eye!

Disney World is such a great place to see top of the line stage shows. Be sure to catch some of them on your next vacation and let us know what your favorite shows are!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Photo Pass

PhotoPass+

You never know when that perfect photo opportunity is going to take place so it’s nice to know that there are Disney PhotoPass Photographers at Disney World and Disneyland theme parks, resorts, water parks (May through September) and attractions. 

What the PhotoPass+ includes:

  • PhotoPass+ Card and Lanyard
  • Gallery CD with more than 400 Disney World stock photos
  • Code to create and order a Photo CD with all your photos online at DisneyPhotoPass.com; Print Packages at select Dining locations; Digital Downloads at select attractions (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Twlight Zone Towner of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur.

 This link shows when you can find photographers:

http://www.disneyphotopass.com/skins/100147/help/AboutDPP-Maps-Tips.pdf

Benefits of using PhotoPass:

  • By pre-ordering you’ll save money, just let us know when you make your final payment.  Cost is $199.95 at the parks but if your pre-order the cost is $158.69 (this includes tax).
  • Professional photographers are taking the pictures; they’ll help you get just the right pose in front of those iconic spots.
  • Not fumbling for your camera when your child runs up to give their favorite character that oh so sweet hug.
  • Go online for up to 30 days after your trip to order your pictures.  I’ve ordered the calendar in the past, and loved the quality.  After the year is over I then have pictures for scrapbooking.
  • Unlimited number of photos in your account.
  • Convenience, come home and take the CD to your local photo shop and have all the pictures you want printed AND you’ve already gotten a picture for your Christmas card!!!     

What to expect:

  • Add PhotoPass+
  • Receive voucher in your Disney Documents
  • Take voucher to Photo Center in any of the Parks, they will activate it and give you your lanyard and photo pass card
  • After vacation you have 30 days to modify, edit, add borders etc.
  • Upload your own personal photos and finalize
  • Disney will send your CDs along with copy-write permission to print photos

Also for all those Disney Visa Cardholders out there go to Character Connection in Epcot, show your Disney Visa and you’ll be taken to a private area where you can meet some Disney characters.  Go to the Camera Center and you can get your free 5 x 7 photo!!

 For all of the details:

http://www.disneyphotopass.com/specialoffers/wdwlearnmore.htm

My husband’s family lives all across North America and getting everyone together once a year was turning out to be a lot of work. We had 17 people that required transportation, lodging, food and activities appropriate and enjoyable for all ages and personalities. This took hours of planning and coordination with people working to cook or clean up around the clock and not having the time to really cherish those we were supposed to be spending time with.  But then we found the magic in a family reunion at Walt Disney World and reunions turned into the highlight of our year.

On a Disney family reunion, no single person in the family is responsible for food, lodging, entertainment, nor transportation. It allows each one to enjoy their gathering to the fullest. The Magical Express and Disney busses take away any need for separate car rentals. Linked reservations allow hotel rooms close to one another for visiting. Sharing meals together are simple and uncomplicated as Walt Disney World’s restaurants are well equipped to handle very large groups and everyone, including those with food allergies and picky appetites, are able to satisfy their food cravings. Different personality types are all accommodated as rides, parades, shows and shops for all ages can be found at each park within the resort. Even more special, a Disney family reunion allows the bonding between different generations. Watch a grandparent’s eyes light up when your child asks them to be their passenger on the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. Delight when your child overcomes some of their fears when their uncle convinces them to go on the Tower of Terror and they love it! Take the initiative and spend time with your relatives from far away and hear their stories of their first Disney related memory as you stroll around World Showcase Lagoon. Each moment will be a memory that you will treasure in years to come.  

So next time a family reunion is talked about in your family, suggest a Disney vacation. It may just be the best time you and your extended family have ever had together!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

When visiting Walt Disney World, Main Street U.S.A. is an area NOT to be missed.  With all the excitement of characters and rides, sometimes Main Street U.S.A. is quickly bypassed. However,  there are “magical moments” on Main Street at Walt Disney World.

One hidden treasure is the Harmony Barbershop on Main Street.  Reservations for resort guests can be made up to 180 day in advance, but walk-ins are also welcomed.  Early in the morning and during parades are a great time for walk-ins.  “First Haircuts” are their specialty, which includes a certificate to remember the experience, as well as “My 1st Haircut” mouse ears .  This package cost $18.00.  Confetti, colored hair gel and pixie dust for girls and pirate dust for boys are also available for an additional cost.  

This full-service barbershop shouldn’t be missed!  With the red and white barber pole outside to the antique cash register being used inside, the Harmony Barbershop is a treasure hidden among Main Street.  As you sit back and enjoy a haircut, a shave or a mustache trim, you may delight in seeing and hearing the Dapper Dans quartet singing outside the barbershop at various times throughout the day.

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

I can’t wait to experience Be Our Guest, the newest restaurant in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.  You can enjoy either a quick-service credit by day or a table-service credit at night (1 table- service credit). No reservation is needed for the daytime quick-service meal.

 The three dining areas include:

  • The Rose Gallery, where you will see figures of Belle and the Beast (this is the only dining room during lunch).
  • The West Wing, which features an enchanted rose.
  • The Ballroom, when looking up you’ll see a domed ceiling, chandeliers and softly falling snow.

 The menu at Be Our Guest is French inspired.  At lunchtime salads and sandwiches will be served.  Choices include the croquet monsier (ham and cheese sandwich); carved turkey sandwich, grilled steak sandwich with garlic butter spread and a tuna Nicoise salad.  Of course we can’t forget pommes frites, or as we Americans know them… french fries. 

At dinnertime you can expect a few heartier options like French onion soup, potato leek soup, vegetable quiche, braised pork, and grilled strip steak with pommes frites.  Another new happening at Fantasyland and in Magic Kingdom is that you can now order beer and wine.  Of course Mickey wouldn’t deny our sweet tooth in Fantasyland, where you can enjoy a variety of cupcakes and cream puffs. 

Several of us from Me and The Mouse Travel will be at Fantasyland for its official opening on December 6, so be expecting lots of fun stories and photos!

 

Can I visit Walt Disney World, enjoy all that it has to offer and still manage my child’s food allergies when it is time to eat? YES! Walt Disney World can be enjoyed and your food allergies can be easily managed while visiting the parks.

I visited Walt Disney World in May with my nephew, who has multiple severe food allergies, and found it easy to order tasty meals that he would enjoy.  Disney takes the stress and worry out of eating and snacking around the Magic Kingdom, even with a food allergy.  When making reservations at any of Disney’s table-service restaurants, it is quick and easy to note a food allergy with your reservation.  You can also contact a Dietary Specialist at (407) 824-5967 or email specialdiets@disneyworld.com about your food allergies, dining reservations and any concerns you may have in meeting your dietary restrictions.  While ordering at counter-service locations, binders are available at the cashier’s stand that show pictures of available meals and lists all of the ingredients.  Once we decided on our meal choice, the manager gladly took our order and personally supervised that our meal was cooked and made with our dietary restrictions in mind. While enjoying character meals and table-service meals, the chef joined us at our table to personally discuss my nephew’s food allergies and how he could accommodate us. 

At the Plaza Restaurant, our chef went above and beyond creating a “Mickeylodeon” ice cream treat just for my nephew to enjoy like the one that all of the other kids were enjoying. The same thing happened at the Cape May breakfast with Mickey and Friends, where our chef created the famous Mickey Mouse waffles minus the ingredients my nephew couldn’t have.

Walt Disney World serves kosher meals at table and quick-service locations.  Two days advanced notice is required for table service locations. 

Even if you have dietary restrictions, you can still enjoy all the yummy deliciousness that Walt Disney World offers at its’ numerous dining experiences.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

So, you think you have seen and done it all at Disney?  Maybe you have… but the next time you visit,  you must try some of our Top Ten favorite treats at Disney!  

1- The Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom: The authentic Dole Whip‘s core ingredient is soft serve Pineapple Sorbet, and it can be served float-style, with pineapple juice; or all alone. No matter how you get it, you’re spending under $5.

 

2- Mickey’s Ice Cream Bar located on Main Street U.S.A. Any kid that has been to Disney remembers their first Mickey Ears ice cream, whether it be the new completely chocolate dipped version, or the original version which had Mickey’s face in chocolate ice cream mixed with the vanilla ice cream.

 

3- Kaki-Gori located in Japan at Epcot: This delicious hand shaped, enoromous snowball is so refreshing on a hot day and it’s topped with fruit syrup!

 

4- Beignet at Port Orleans French Quarter

Beignets are a New Orleans staple.  They are a rich, buttery pastry fried in hot oil until it turns into a golden brown pillow of deliciousness.

 

5- Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Shop at Hollywood Studios: This super moist whoopie pie cookie is piled high with cream cheese frosting and it’s big enough to share. This is one of my favorite hidden Disney gem’s.

 

6- The Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls: This chocolate cupcake is so delicious with a suprise fudge center topped with vanilla frosting and crunched up Butterfingers.  To.Die.For.

 

7- The Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream: Multiple scoops of ice cream, oreo cookies, candy bars, cake, bananas, cherries, brownies, and an entire can of whipped cream.  Need I say more?

 

8- Caramel Ginger Ice Cream located in China at Epcot:  This ice cream has a very pleasant sweetness to it, with an added “pop” from the ginger, and the two flavors melded together is just a wonderful experience. Definitely another great “cool down” treat.

 

9-  Authentic Hand Twisted Pretzel located in Germany at Epcot: Disneyuses a different recipe for the pretzels in Germany, so don’t think you are getting just your average run of the mill pretzel.  These are always freshly prepared, in high demand, and one of the best soft pretzels I have ever had.

 

10- Ghiradelli at Downtown Disney:  You have to make a trip here.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  From fudge and candy to ice cream and soda floats, this is one of my favorite places to visit at Downtown Disney.