Christmas On Main Street

What happens when you combine the most magical time of year with the most magical place on earth? You get Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party held every year at the Magic Kingdom!

Entering Mickey’s Party, is one of the most spectacular sights to behold. With snow falling all around you, garlands hanging down Main Street USA, Christmas music filling the air, and Cinderella’s Castle aglow in over 200,000 lights you will feel like you really have walked into a winter wonderland fairytale.

While the party officially starts at 7pm, you may enter the Magic Kingdom at 4pm with your specially designated ticket. Be sure to do so and take in as many of the regular park activities as you can before the party begins! Then it’s time for the wonder of your inner child to shine.

Mickey’s Christmas Party features some of the most unique opportunities for character greets you can find all year long. Characters are dressed up in their holiday finery and special appearances are made by Snow White’s seven dwarfs, Captain Jack Sparrow, the princes accompanying their princesses and of course, one can’t forget a visit with Santa Claus!

One of the most enjoyable shows can be seen on the stage in front of Cinderella’s castle. If you time your night just right, you can get a front row view of Celebrate the Season by waiting just a bit after the Holiday Wishes fireworks show. While everyone else clears the area, move towards the front of the castle for picture perfect sights of Mickey and his friends celebrating the season in song and dance. Don’t know what to do next? The second showing of Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will take place just behind you only a few minutes later and you can easily shift to get a front row view of the parade. From Mickey and Minnie dressed up in their holiday finest, to Santa Claus on his sleigh, and all the wonderful characters in between, this parade will be remembered forever!

A Tomorrowland Christmas Party is another delightful show filled with song and dance you won’t want to miss. Featuring Hailey Comet, experience an intergalactic party with Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch, and see if Stitch can find Santa before time runs out. Arrive a few minutes early for this show and your child could be picked helping the crowd during some old fashioned pre-show caroling.

As a final treat Christmas treat for all, be sure to stop for complimentary hot chocolate and snicker doodles or a healthy alternative, served all around Magic Kingdom. Then work off the extra treats with a dance party at Cosmic Ray’s or at Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only runs on certain nights during the Christmas season and is a separate ticketed event. Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent to experience this once in a lifetime must-do event!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

wdw20132443317682_6850654271

Looking for that extra “Magic” moment with your princess?  An hour spent with your own personal Fairy Godmother at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique may be that extra touch of pixie dust you’re looking for during your next trip to Walt Disney World.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is an opportunity to let your inner princess shine as your child is pampered by Fairy Godmother’s own personal apprentices.  Packages range from $59 for the Crown Package (Hairstyling, Shimmering make-up & face gem, Princess sash & tote, nail polish)  to $194 for The Castle Package  (which includes hair, make-up, sash, nail polish, complete costume and accessories of your choice, and photos).  Guests must be between the ages of 3 and 12 to participate in this magical makeover.wdw20132443318960_6850654306

Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and are highly recommended.  Princess transformations occur at both the Downtown Disney location and inside Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom, so you will want to know which location you prefer.    As a Me and the Mouse client, we are happy to make these reservations for you.  We  LOVE to plan a magical makeover of pampering with your personal fairy godmother, followed by a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. with your child’s favorite princess.

Meeting with your fairy godmother to prepare for your appearances with Disney Royalty is a magical moment for your little ones won’t forget.  And, you can be certain that the memory of your child meeting her favorite Disney Princess for the first time is one that you will both treasure for a lifetime.    

 Tressa Krippel

Disney Specialist

wdw20132443311471_6850654322 wdw20132443361114_6850654318

DCL dining

Cruises are known around the world for spectacular food choices but Disney Cruise Line takes it a step beyond and adds some of their pixie dust magic to make dining on any of their ships a special event every night!

Disney has so many great aspects to their dining but one of the things that make cruising with Disney so special is their rotational dining service. With 3 main dining rooms on board each ship, passengers rotate through each of them to experience the unique atmospheres, cuisines, and entertainment. Not only do you rotate through the main restaurants, your servers also rotate with you, allowing them to get to know you and your preferences. Take the time to get to know your servers too – they have some amazing stories they can share that will captivate you and your children.

 Animator’s Palate is the only main restaurant that appears on all four of Disney’s cruise ships. It’s not just a restaurant but a stage for a captivating show that you are immersed in. When you enter the room, everything you can imagine that would be in an artist’s studio is there. As the meal progresses, the room comes to life and color surrounds you. The newest of the ships have screens with character interaction and some ships even incorporate your personal art and give it life right in front of your eyes! The finale is spectacular to behold, but no spoilers – you’ll need to book a sailing to find out what makes it so magical!

For families seated at the second dining service, Disney offers Dine and Play for the children. This feature allows children to receive their meal quickly and then be whisked away to the various children’s programs, escorted by Disney’s youth staff. The adults are then left to dine leisurely on their own while their children are having a blast.

Adults that want a private meal, without any children, have the option of eating at Palo’s or Remy’s – adult only restaurants available for an additional upcharge. These upscale restaurants are the time to indulge in sumptuous cuisine and enjoy the high-class atmosphere as you take in the spectacular ocean views. Reservations for these restaurants go quickly but fortunately can be reserved before you even board your ship.

All of Disney’s cruise ships have snacks and meals available around the clock included in your cruising experience. During the day, the pool deck has multiple choices for quick bites to satisfy any craving, including those with an ice cream weakness. Also available is the free 24-hour soda station but we recommend you along your own refillable cup for larger servings. Buffets are open for breakfast and lunch and are filled with amazing high quality selections including unlimited seafood, sushi, and made to order selections. For anyone who gets middle of the night cravings, room service is just a call away and is also included in your cruise package. If you do call room service, be sure to order one of their cookies – they are perfect for any sweet tooth!

Enjoy your Disney Cruise dining experience but beware, you may need to work out when you get home after partaking of such amazing food!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Akershus Princess Dining Compressed

For families with little girls, booking a princess meal at Disney World is high on the must do list. My daughter is still eager to get dressed up in a princess dress, have her hair put up in a tiara and get ready to dine with the royals. With multiple princess meal options – which one is best suited for your family?

The most famous princess meal at Disney World is Cinderella’s Royal Table located in Cinderella’s Castle. Hosted by Cinderella herself, every family has their picture taken with the royal princess and a photo package is included to commemorate this special occasion. Your entry to the dining hall is a truly magical experience as you look around and immerse yourself in grandeur. While Cinderella greets all her guests downstairs, other Disney princesses stop by your table to visit, allowing for pictures and autographs. Those families with reservations before the park opens will be granted early access to Main Street in the Magic Kingdom but be sure to arrive early that you can stop and have your picture taken in front of the castle without families in the background! This extravagant meal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For those with a dining package, this meal will cost two table service credits and the cost per person for those without a dining package will be one of the more expensive meals on property.  I highly recommend this meal but know that obtaining a treasured reservation here may require some flexibility on preferred dining times.

Another favorite princess meal, located in Epcot, is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This meal, located in a medieval castle, also features multiple princesses that visit your dining table. At breakfast time, the American meal choices are served family style, with lunch and dinner featuring both buffet and a-la-carte choices for everyone to partake of. These lunch and dinner options have European-style dining selections for adults with common American food options also available for the children. This meal also comes with a photo package featuring the host princess for the day.  At a much more reduced price, and only costing one table service credit, this meal can be one of the more affordable selections for families seeking the Disney princess experience without losing the royal atmosphere.

A less common Princess meal available is for Cinderella’s biggest fans. Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, 1900 Park Fare features Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner each night, hosted not only by Cinderella but also by Prince Charming! Both Cinderella and Prince Charming take the time to visit each table for photos and autographs and will entertain you by dancing as they did the first night they met. While the meal is not located in a castle, the characters are the biggest hit with the guests. Lady Tremaine, along with Anastasia and Drizella are fabulous as they stay in character during interactions with diners but are still able to walk the fine line of not scaring or intimidating the young children. The dinner is served buffet style with a wide variety of selections to please all palates. The price of this meal is comparable to that at Akershus, and requires only one table service credit.

Your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist is happy to help you book any of these amazing princess meals. Simple practice your royal curtsy and bow and get ready to dine the way the royals do!

 

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 rsz_img_0323
 If you want over-the-top Disney fun, spacious rooms, and a great location to the parks then the Art of Animation may be the next resort for you to stay at Walt Disney World!
 
For our summer vacation my family stayed at the Art of Animation, Disney’s newest resort and new option for large families.  The Art of Animation are family value suites (with one section of the resort for standard rooms), that have a separate living and sleeping area (sleeps 6), two full bathrooms and a kitchenette that includes a small refrigerator, sink and microwave.  The attention to details in our CARS suite was fantastic!  Our boys loved finding all the safety cones used throughout the suite and the various references to the two CARS movies used throughout the suite.rsz_img_0328_1
 
Although considered a value resort, we found this resort full of amenities.  The specially themed areas centered around Nemo, CARS, Lion King and The Little Mermaid (standard room building) were fun to explore.  The main pool is the The Big Blue Pool (it has underwater speakers) and themed after Nemo.  In this area, you will find a zero entry access pool, a water splash area for little ones and even pool games hosted by Disney cast members.  We swept the Disney Guess Who? poolside game and proudly took home a beach ball for our outstanding efforts.  The pool in the CARS area of the resort  is surrounded by Cozy (cabana) Cones and a Little Mermaid pool is being watched over by King Tritan and Ariel.  In addition to the pools, The Elephant Graveyard soft play area is a must for any Lion King fan and the slides at Squirt and friends is a great place to run and have some fun.rsz_img_0324
 
Other fun perks of this fantastically themed resort include Disney Movies every night on the outdoor screen, pin trading boards each night in the Ink and Paint Shop, arcade games in the Pixel Parade Arcade, and sketching/drawing on easels with an Artist of the Day picked each night.  As for dining, you will find a variety of delicious choices at the Landscape of Flavors food court area in Animation Hall.  If you want more dining and shopping, you can walk over the Generation Gap Bridge that crosses Hourglass Lake and enjoy dining and shopping at Disney’s Pop Century as well.
 
rsz_img_0333The Art of Animation is a colorful, Disney themed resort full of personality.  We loved being situated right in the middle of Radiator Springs with Luigi, Guido and the Tower of Tires just outside our room.  Memories of  splashing with Nemo and friends in the Big Blue Pool, pictures with the characters from CARS and exploring Pride Rock will keep our hearts full until our next visit to Walt Disney World and our return stay to the Art of Animation.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

notsoscary

Lots of “spooktacular” fun awaits guests at this year’s  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween event at Walt Disney World.  This special ticketed event occurs on select nights with a limited number of tickets available.   Families (yes mom and dad too) are encouraged to dress up in family friendly Halloween costumes, as they trick-or-treat with some of their favorite Disney characters.  

 Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas will greet guests for the first time at the Main Street Square.  Phineas and Ferb return this year, but are now in charge of the Creepa Crew, the crew that gets the crowd ready for the parade on Main Street, U.S.A.   A Monstrous Scream-O-Ween dance party is being hosted by Mike and Sulley at the Rockettower Plaza in Tomorrowland, while “Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup” dance party with Woody, Jessie and Bullseye will be happening at the Diamond Horseshoe Review Square.

At the Halloween stage show located at the Castle Stage, classic Disney villains perform in a Halloween  show and will be available for meet and greets after the show, so be sure to stick around!  Guests are given Trick or Treat Bags to use to collect candy throughout the Magic Kingdom.  This year two treat trails have been added, as well as one or two surprise treat stations throughout the park.  You will delight in visiting with rarely seen characters like, Christopher Robin, the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion and ALL Seven Dwarfs!!!

 Mickey’s “Boo-to-YOU!” Halloween Parade begins with an entrance from the Headless Horseman followed by parade floats of your favorite Disney characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes, as well as your favorite Disney villains.   You won’t want to miss the Haunted Mansion Float, as well as the “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks show that is exclusive to this event and only offered once during the party.

Looking to create even more memories that your family will talk about for years to come?  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is just another “spooktacular”  memory your children will have from their trip to Walt Disney World.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

IMG_9417

The Candlelight Processional is a beautifully retold story of Christmas intertwined with holiday music.  The performance includes a 50-piece orchestra as well as a mass choir.  There is also an American Sign Language Interpreter provided so that everyone can take part.  The music is absolutely gorgeous and is a nice way to unwind and relax after a day in the park. 

Narrated by a celebrity guest host, this event is available every night at the America Gardens Theater (between the Japan pavilion and the Italy pavilion) from November 29 – December 30.  There are three performances available each night (5:00pm, 6:45pm and 8:15pm). While you will need a park entrance ticket to enjoy this performance, you do not need an event ticket to see it.  For more information on the celebrity guest hosts contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist.

Anyone in the park can enjoy the processional however, if you would like to insure a seat there are some fantastic Dinner Packages available.  The Dinner packages can be booked by your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist at no extra cost.  You will receive guaranteed seating at the outdoor theater.  This is a big plus since the seating is first come, first serve!  Just choose from the following list of participating restaurants to enjoy lunch or dinner.  When your meal is finished your server will present you with badges for everyone in your party to allow you into the theater seating.  You will also be permitted into the VIP viewing area for Epcot’s Illuminations.

Restaurants available for this package:

Biergarten Restaurant  

Chefs de France

Coral Reef

Garden Grill

La Hacienda de San Angel

Nine Dragons Restaurant

Restaurant Marrakesh

Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room

San Angel Inn Restaurant

Teppan Edo

Tutto Italia Ristorante

Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

 

mickey check compressed

I’m so happy to say that healthy eating at Disney World is absolutely possible for all ages!  Disney is accommodating for all dietary needs AND healthy diets have not been overlooked by their amazing chefs.

Disney first accommodates healthy eating by offering an abundance of fresh foods. In fact, Disney World grows many of the fruits and vegetables served on their premises, so what you eat is as fresh as fresh can be!  Not only will you be giving yourself a healthy option, you’ll be giving yourself the fuel that you need to really enjoy your day in the parks. Fresh fruits are particularly enjoyable as a midday snack and can be found all around the parks and resorts.

Sometimes eating healthy at Disney World simply requires asking. Talk to your server about substitutions in your meal. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how well your requests can be accommodated. Egg whites for your breakfast, veggies instead of fries, sauces and dressings on the side, the list is never-ending on what you can substitute in a meal.

Quick service restaurants also serve great healthy options for guests. You’ll find an abundance of salads, wraps, soups, and grilled delights to please all palates for any on-the-go meal.

Be sure you don’t overindulge when you eat. Portion sizes at Disney World can be very large but don’t feel you need to finish it all. When possible, share a meal with another family member.  Despite the fact that everything at a buffet will seem irresistible, only take what you can comfortably finish.

For children, Disney has started their Mickey Check program for kids. Meeting specific nutritional guidelines, Disney World puts a check beside any children’s meal that ensures they will be getting a balance diet. Baby carrots that have been Mickey approved tend to be gobbled up by many who wouldn’t touch them when at home!

Let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a vacation without an occasion splurge for dessert but Disney World even offers desserts that are healthier options. How about a smoothie, yogurt, fruit cup or even a Dole Whip?

If all else fails, be sure to partake of a meal at Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios. One of the long standing rules at this fun-loving restaurant is to always eat your vegetables. Trust me – you don’t want to be caught leaving any on your plate or you’ll never hear the end of it!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Disney World is in the process of undergoing one of the biggest high-tech makeovers in Disney history with the new My Magic+ experience.  I recently had the pleasure being in the test group for this experience and found it completely impressive and a huge way to help get the most of my time.

 What is My Magic+, you may ask?  This is Disney’s way of linking anything and everything concerning your reservation to one specific place: your Magic Band.  On my most recent trip, I checked in at my resort and was handed an Iconic Gray Magic Band.  All of my dining credits, room entry, my annual pass, Fastpasses for four days and charging privileges were pre-loaded onto the band, I set a 4-digit pin and I was ready to go! I couldn’t wait to try it out so I then picked up my resort refillable mug by scanning my Magic Band at the register, entering my pin number and that was all there was to it! I headed to my room, held up my Magic Band to the Mickey icon by the door and entered my room. 

 Now, onto the part I was really excited about: testing my Fastpass+.   I had pre-loaded Fastpasses for four days into the My Disney Experience app several days prior, but my plane was delayed and I ended up getting to Disney World later than expected.  It was no problem to go into the app and edit the times for my Fastpasses.  They can be edited as much as you need them to be.  Basically, you’re allowed to choose three Fastpasses for one park per day.  The first park I was visiting was Animal Kingdom so I chose the Kilamanjaro Safari (9-10 a.m. , Dinosaur (10-11 a.m.)  and the character photo opportunity at Adventurer’s Outpost (11 a.m.-12 p.m.).  I entered the park by holding up my Magic Band and was greeted a “Welcome Julie!” by a cast member and headed to my first Fastpass at the safari.  I went to the Fastpass return line and held my Magic Band up to one of the posts, it made a “magical” sound and again, the cast member welcomed me with “enjoy your safari, Julie!” I walked right on the ride with no wait. 

 After doing Fastpass+ for four days with three Fastpass+ passes per day, I found it to be a huge time-saver.  I was in and out of the parks by 1 p.m. each day feeling like I had accomplished all of my favorite E-ticket attractions with absolutely no hassle.  There was one point at which a ride was down during my Fastpass time.  I was e-mailed immediately with four other selections available to me and I didn’t even have to walk back to find a disappointing ride closure. 

 As of right now, the Fastpass+ and Magic bands are only available for testing at certain resorts.  A cast member said they would be rolling out at a few more resorts each month until the end of 2013, when they should be available to all guests staying at Disney resorts. Making selections beforehand can be confusing to even the most experienced Disney guest so  please let your travel agent help you.  If you have technical questions please call the help desk.

 407-939-7849 (7am-11pm EST).

I hope you enjoy using the Magic Band as much as I did!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist 

img_4774

For many young children, to meet their favorite characters and get their autograph is a dream come true!

Most families choose an autograph book for characters to sign. Disney sells these books at all their shops both at the resorts and onboard the cruises. Some books even include a spot for pictures to be inserted. The outside designs vary and your child will easily find one they fall in love with. If you adore crafting, you can choose to make your own autograph books and customize them with stickers, die cuts, and even pixie dust sparkles. Be sure to save room for 25-30 characters if you are making your own book so you don’t run out of space. Maybe you’re looking for something different for the characters to sign. Many great ideas include a pillowcase, picture mat, t-shirt, baseball cap, or wall poster. If you choose to have the characters sign something like a t-shirt or pillowcase, bring along a piece of cardboard that can give some sturdiness to the item while they are signing it.  Also, remember that clothing items can’t be worn when the characters sign them.

Now that you have something for the characters to sign, you’ll need something for them to sign with. Disney characters, especially those with thick gloves, prefer pens and markers that are chunky for their hands to hold. Sharpies, especially the retractable ones, are wonderful for this and can be found at local stores and purchased in many colors. Disney also sells many chunky pens in their gift stores that perfectly suitable for the characters to use.

Lastly, you need to find the characters you want signatures for. The best, easiest, and far most relaxing way to get a lot of signatures without waiting in long lines is at a character meal. At a character meal, each character in attendance comes by your table and will sign autographs and take pictures. I love that while I eat, the characters come to me instead of having to always head to them! But even character meals don’t always get you all the signatures you are looking for and you may need to stand in a few lines at each park to get what you are looking for. At each Disney park, the Times Guide lists the times and locations for characters in the park that day. If you go earlier in the day for signatures, the lines tend to be less busy. Onboard a Disney cruise, you can find character appearances listed in the daily Navigator’s Guide, on screens in the main lobby, and via a designated ship extension number.  

Autographs are a wonderful souvenir of a Disney vacation. Be sure to get out books and mementos when you get home with your children and see how they become animated just recalling these special times they had with their Disney heroes!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist