At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness Resort

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

 

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

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

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

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

 

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

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando

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

 

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

 

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

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

At Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershus Royal Banquet Hall

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

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

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicIf you are a family dreaming of the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World resort but have a limited budget, Disney’s All-Star Music resort is a value level resort you should consider for your next magical vacation.

With a red carpet and backdrop to pose for pictures, your check-in experience at the All-Star Music resort turns into your debut as the newest music sensation. Walk outside and the fun starts for all. Pose for pictures in the Calypso section with the giant xylophone or bongos. Stop by the Jazz section to see the biggest drum set of your life. Are you more into country music? The banjo or harmonica might be calling your name. There isn’t anywhere you can turn outside without being reminded of the powerful influence music has on all our lives.Resort Spotlight: All-Star Music

All-Star Music features 2 different styles of rooms. The standard style room features 2 double size beds and accommodates a family of 4. The family suite features 1 queen-size bed, 1 twin-size sleeper chair, 1 double-size sleeper sofa, and 1 twin-size sleeper ottoman, accommodating a family of 6. The suite also adds a kitchenette including microwave and coffee maker and an additional bathroom to speed up getting ready in the morning. The rooms are quite comfortable and very functional. For families that do not spend much time in the room itself, you will find it a great place to lay your head at night.

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicSummer days require somewhere to cool off and the All-Star Music pools do not disappoint. The guitar-themed heated pool found in the Calypso section includes the Three Caballeros – Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito spraying water at everyone swimming. Closer to the back of the resort you can swim while tickling the ivories in the black and white grand piano themed pool.

The Intermission Food Court is the All-Star Music’s quick service restaurant serving food from 6:30 am until 12 midnight. Be sure try out their smoothies; you may find them your new favorite Walt Disney World treat.
Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicBus transportation to Disney’s theme parks from All-Star Music is extremely convenient. Although buses are sometimes shared between all three All-Star resorts, during busy times of the day, Disney runs a dedicated bus service to each of them. While waiting for the buses, you may even be entertained by a resort DJ hosting dance parties, singing custom lyrics to your family, or asking you to join in on songs from the past and present.

The All-Star Music resort brings memories for families filled with background music that speaks to the hearts of all. If this resort sounds like the perfect pitch to your ears, contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book All-Star Music for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

Experience this Deliciousness at Universal’s CityWalk

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

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

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

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

What was on the menu for us you ask?

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

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

 

See more pictures in the gallery below!

 

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

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

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

Disneyland changed my life!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Disneyland changed my life!

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


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

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Sprinkles at Disney SpringsLocated in the Marketplace Town Center right in the Heart of Disney Springs (across from The Landing) hides this hidden gem!  Sprinkles Cupcakes boasts a wide variety of sweet treats, including gourmet cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, shakes, and an assortment of specialty beverages.

Sprinkles opened its doors at Disney Springs May 15, 2016 and continues to command a crowd of sweet seekers nightly.  The hours of operation are 10am – 12am daily.  During peak seasons, they have a queue out front for guests, so the line doesn’t get out of control while they wait for their sweet treat.  For patrons on the go, the Sprinkles at Disney Springs even has a Cupcake ATM! {I know, it sounds amazing!} It’s restocked throughout the day and night. So you can purchase cupcakes and cookies 24 hours a day {again, this sounds like a dream!!}!  Guests can enjoy their cupcakes out on the deck overlooking the Disney Springs Marketplace and Walking Bridge in the heart of the entertainment district.
Sprinkles at Disney Springs

Sprinkles has an assortment of cupcake sizes: regular and mini and flavors: chocolate, vanilla, banana, coconut, lemon, salty caramel, and many more!  They also update their menu weekly, monthly and seasonly. So, anytime you go you can always try something different! My current favorite flavors are raspberry chocolate chip and maple bacon.  Sprinkles also caterers to a variety of dietary restrictions by offering vegan, sugar free and gluten free cupcakes. To top off the whole experience, you can watch the cupcake bakers make the sugary sweet treats while you wait! I am fascinated by the baking process, and watching it makes the wait much more fun!

Sprinkles at Disney SpringsSprinkles also has a perks program that offers deals and information about upcoming flavors and promotions.  You get a free cupcake for signing up AND one on your birthday!!  The more you visit, the more perks you earn.  Who doesn’t love FREE and CUPCAKES?!
So, the next time you’re at Disney Springs day or night don’t forget to stop by Sprinkles and pick up a cupcake or a dozen! P.S. Be sure to tag your photos on social media with #MeandTheMouse so we can see all the fun you’re having!
If you’re looking for more fun activities to do outside of the parks, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. We would love to help put a little extra magic into your next visit!

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

 

Inaugural 2017

This new Epcot festival debuted in January 2017.  The Festival of the Arts ran for 6 weeks from January 13-February 20, 2017 each weekend Friday-Monday.  There is so much to see, taste, and experience.  Everybody can get involved and become immersed in the art.  Disney makes it easy to get excited about art!

Disney Festival of the ArtsParticipating in the paint-by-numbers mural at the Expression Section sponsored by Glidden is interactive fun for the whole family.  Grab a sponge brush, small container of numbered paint, and step up to the mural to paint within the coordinating numbered squares.  This activity is so simple and so much fun! By making a small artistic contribution, you will be a part of something so much bigger. The end result is an amazingly huge mural!  Find your inner artist!

Disney Festival of the ArtsThe festival provides the opportunity to strike poses in larger-than-life walk-in paintings that Disney created for guests, inspired by famous artists.  Be a part of crossing the Delaware with George Washington.  Thanks to the Disney PhotoPass team, you will able to take home some unique, fun, unforgettable photos.

Disney Festival of the ArtsMany artists are on hand at booths to show off their work and talk to guest while having the opportunity to sell their art, including many Disney-inspired pieces.  When I attended, I was most impressed when I caught a glimpse of an amazing artist painting to music.  Starting with a blank white canvas, he created a masterpiece painting of Olaf from Disney’s Frozen by literally throwing paint at the canvas with his hands then using his hands to blend the paint.  It was so much fun trying to figure out what the end result would be as he continued to throw and blend the paint.
Disney Festival of the ArtsA festival at Epcot would not be complete without providing guests a culinary experience.  The Festival of the Arts allows guests to travel around Epcot’s World Showcase to sample cultural culinary delights similar to other Epcot festivals, but with more of an artistic flair.  The food at Epcot is always a highlight.

For entertainment, check out the Disney Broadway Concert Series featuring original performers from Disney Broadway musicals.

Contact a Me and The Mouse agent if you want help planning your trip to the Festival of the Arts in 2018. You won’t want to miss this new and unique festival!

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

Sweet, Savory and Scrumptious

Walt Disney World is full of amazing food. From full to quick service the options are endless. Today, I want to spend a little time on my favorite treats. Before I go any further, I first need to define what a treat is to me. When I’m on vacation anything I eat outside a meal is a treat and I like my treats! So anything from ice cream to a pretzel to a bratwurst is in my opinion, a treat! This blog post is for all of you food lovers out there, enjoy! Best Disney World Treats

Let’s start with the sweet treats! What may be the most famous refreshing dessert at Disney World is the Dole Whip. It can be found at the Polynesian Resort and in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom. The Dole Whip is a cool creamy pineapple ice cream type dessert. I lean toward the float in which the Dole Whip is surrounded by pineapple juice! {Can I just say, #heavenly!} Staying in the Magic Kingdom, let’s next travel to Gaston’s Tavern. Here you will find a LeFou’s Brew which is an amazing slushy type drink that I can only describe as fruity and butterscotchy! You must get a warm cinnamon roll to go with your LeFou’s Brew.  This warm and delectable treat is anything but small and is certainly full of flavor!

Next it’s the savory treats! At Germany in Epcot, you will find a little stop next to the buffet entrance where you can pick up a German bratwurst covered in sauerkraut and paired with paprika chips. To most this is a meal but to me it’s often just a snack! You can top it with mustard and sit in one of the tables next to the shops. You will feel like you are in Germany! My next savory treat can be found at Disney Springs. It’s poutine! I didn’t really know what that was until I tried it at Disney. It’s big combination of french fries, cheese curds and gravy! It’s a yummy carb filled treat that again is more of a meal, but again I call it a snack!

Best Disney World TreatsFinally, it’s the scrumptious treats! What is a scrumptious treat you ask? Well, it’s the treats that I couldn’t fit into the other categories. I start with one of my all time favorite beers. For this, we again travel to Germany. At the front, you can find an amazing pretzel cart! There will find the Schöfferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen. A refreshing light beer with a grapefruit twist! My other scrumptious treats are beer at Italy, beer at the United Kingdom, beer at Canada and well I think you get the point! Epcot is a beer lovers dream!

So that is my favorite Disney World treats! Well actually, it was only a few as it would take about 10 blogs to list all my favorite treats! If you are looking for some different options or in need of more suggestions, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

 

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Sweet treats. Delectable delights.
Gorgeous candies. Heavenly smells.
 

You will find all this and more at The Ganachery, located in The Landing at Disney Springs. This fancy chocolatier has a wide variety of sweet in which to indulge. Samples are often given of fillings to entice passers by…much like I was with an amazing peanut butter filling.

 

I was hooked.

The Ganachery at Disney Springs

The display case was filled with the fanciest squares of chocolates I had ever seen. We chose 6 chocolates to sample:  2 peanut butter chocolate, 1 mint, 1 raspberry, and 2 salted caramels.  We then took our delights into Jock Lindsey’s Hangar bar to enjoy with a cocktail.  It was a refreshingly wise choice!

Our chocolatier boxed our chocolates in delicate wrapping, within a designer box, which was then wrapped in special Valentine ‘end’.  Expertly crafted chocolates and presentation.  Unboxing our chocolates was almost as fun as eating them!  The loveliest part was discovering an inspirational quote on the back of The Ganachery’s business card.   The Ganachery at Disney Springs

While these chocolates are a bit on the expensive side, the presentation and taste of these treats are well worth the price. They are amazing – and even if you only visit for the heavenly smells and a sample, The Ganachery is one stop you don’t want to miss!

Want to learn more about visiting Disney Springs?  Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist today!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist