As you may or may not know, Caribbean Beach Resort, a Moderate Resort on Walt Disney World Resort property, has been undergoing some extensive refurbishments and construction over the last few months.  Construction is projected to continue through June 2018 to make way for fabulous new rooms, additional hotel buildings within the resort, new dining experiences, and some other surprise features as well {like deluxe resort quality mattresses}!

Caribbean Beach Updates

While we still encourage our guests to stay at this wonderful resort – to enjoy the ‘cluster’ housing design, great themed pools, and Island feel – we want you to be informed on the most recent updates to this resort.

 

In May 2017, many building clusters were sequestered from others by way of sidewalk. Other sections of the resort are only accessible by your own car, or by Disney internal bus system.  This is mainly a safety precaution due to heavy machinery working daily.  

Wondering about construction noise?  Work typically begins at 9am, and ends at dusk.  Evening work has been pushed to a minimum.  Construction has not been projected to interrupt your family time for sleeping!

Caribbean Beach UpdatesIt might be a little more difficult for travel to the main building {Centertown} for snacks, meals and quick drinks. So, Disney has created a room in each building cluster and designated it as an ‘Island Market’. The Market is staffed by a Cast Member to assist you with bottled drinks, coffee, grab and go style snacks, breakfast muffins and fruit. They are located in Aruba, Martinique, and Jamaica clusters. Coke Free-Style machines have been added to these markets and accept the resort refillable mugs! Some dining plan credits are accepted at these markets, but you will have to verify the dining plan logo.  This convenience has alleviated a lot of headache, and is a great addition to guest service!

Pool parties at the main pool have stepped up the guest interaction!  While not daily, a few characters have been known to show up and host a dance party with our younger guests! Weather permitting, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald have been making sporadic appearances at the main resort pool.  Appearances are not guaranteed, however.

Caribbean Beach Updates

The permanent dining experiences in Centertown are closed for refurbishment. However, a new breakfast buffet is now open at the outdoor eatery. Dining plan quick service credits are accepted.  Food trucks have also been set up around Centertown offering a variety of island inspired dishes for guests to enjoy in lieu of the traditional dining locations at Caribbean Beach Resort.  Room service options are still available as well!

Finally, a nice touch to a client room who just returned from a stay at Caribbean Beach – upon arrival, a gift basket was awaiting them on their bed.  The basket was filled with snacks, cereal and milk, a few drinks, and a Caribbean Beach lunch sized cooler bag.  ***It is unclear if this is a trend we will see in all rooms. This particular room’s view was of heavy construction, and a crane.  ***We cannot guarantee your room will have a gift basket***

 

Guests are still flocking to this resort, regardless of the construction. Disney is doing an amazing job to accommodate guests and to still provide world-class amenities and services.  We hope your stay at Caribbean Beach is a wonderful one!

 

Want to book a stay at Caribbean beach? Contact a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist today!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Disney Golf: SERIES TWO 

Disney Gold Junior Summer Camp 3I hope you are all having a MAGICAL day! I am back and excited to share the second installment of my Walt Disney World® Golf Blog! {You can read the first one, HERE!} As I mentioned in May, Walt Disney World® Golf  is located right on the Disney property across from Disney’s Polynesian and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resorts. There are two championship courses including Disney’s Palm, Disney’s Magnolia, and a 9-hole walking course, Disney’s Oak Trail.  Also across from Disney Springs is their third championship course, Disney’s Lake Buena Vista golf course.  

 

Walt Disney World® Golf has a wide range of activities for your family or groups traveling to Walt Disney World. This month, I am sharing about the great options for kids on the courses for the summer, Disney’s Summer Junior Golf Camps.  This exciting opportunity gives kids ages 7-17 a chance to learn the fundamentals of golf from a PGA instructor.  While this camp might seem like a locals choice, even vacationers can take advantage of the camp while they are in town, as they offer  multiple week long sessions.  Camp runs from June 5th – August 11th, with a break for the July 4th Holiday.  The hours for the camp are 9am – 2pm Monday – Friday. The camps are located at Disney’s Palm, Disney’s Magnolia, and Disney’s Oak Trail courses.  With their camp fee of $350 (per week), campers will receive complimentary lunch and beverages as well as being eligible to win great prizes in the daily contests and games. Your kids are bound to have a blast this summer hitting the greens! It doesn’t matter if they are a beginner or a seasoned pro. Their skills will grow while having a blast!Disney Gold Junior Summer Camp 2

 

You can register for summer camps by calling (407) WDW-GOLF. The spots are limited and some discounts apply!!

 

Make sure you check back with my blog in the next few months, you won’t want to miss out! If you are a local Floridian and are looking for a FUN and EXCITING new experience close to home, please do not hesitate to contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! The Magic AND GOLF is just a phone call away!

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

 

Handle the Crowds Like a Pro
& Experience All Pandora Offers!

Pandora: The World of AvatarWhether you loved the movie, hated it or have no clue what it’s even about, Pandora: The World of Avatar is a “must experience” land. All Disney guests should be sure to visit it during their vacation.  The breathtaking scenery, attractions, food and merchandise are bringing in guests by the millions, which means you better go with a plan!  After attending the grand opening of this new land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, here are some tips to be able to experience all it has to offer.

Tip #1

Plan on going during the Extra Magic Morning Hours at Animal Kingdom.  Since the hours are for resort-guests only, you will have the least crowded hour in the park before it opens to all guests. This will be one of your best times to visit the World of Avatar. If you are taking Disney transportation, plan on being on the very first bus, which departs the resort 45 minutes prior to park opening.

Tip #2

Reserve your Fastpasses 60 days out from your check in date if you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel.  Since there are two options for Fastpasses in this land and you can only pick one to Fastpass, I recommend Avatar Flight of Passage.  This ride has had wait times up to five hours since opening, so having a Fastpass for this attraction is like having a golden ticket.  If you have a morning Fastpass reserved for this ride, go ahead and get in the standby line for the Na’vi River Journey.  If you are there for the Extra Magic Hours, you will not wait in this line for more than 20 minutes.  Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tip #3

Explore! Once you have ridden the two attraction in this land, take the time to explore and take photos.  Never have I ever felt a part of a movie like I have here.  Every detail is carefully crafted and more than worth exploring.  

Tip #4

Find the Photopass Photographers!  The photo opportunities in this land are countless and one is more amazing than the next.  You can get a standard shot of your family with the floating mountains in the background and you can even get magic shots featuring flying Banshees and other characters native to this land.  Use your My Disney Experience app to locate photographers and make sure you purchase Memory Maker so you can download all of your photos. Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tip #5

Head over to the Situ’li Canteen to get some much-needed sustenance after a busy morning exploring this other world.  With create-your-own rice bowls and other healthy alternatives, the Situ’li Canteen is a great place to take a break and have a meal or a snack before heading back to Earth. You can read more about the Canteen, HERE! The World of Avatar has several tasty places you can try, but we love Situ’li!

 

For more information or to book your Walt Disney World vacation complete with a trip to Pandora, contact a Me and the Mouse Travel agent today!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

The Pandora ExperienceOn May 27, 2017 (The opening day for Pandora) lines for the rides were 250+ minutes.  Thankfully, we are Walt Disney World Annual Pass Holders.  We had the opportunity to sign up for an EXCLUSIVE Pass Holder Preview that took place a week before the land opened to the public.  WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE. The “land” is like none other at Walt Disney World. As soon as you step in, you feel as if you are on another planet or 4.4 light years away.   We were able to explore the “planet” and ride both The Flight of Avatar and The Na’vi River Journey without a wait.  You will be entertained on your way to the ride. As the line queues themselves are full of incredible sites.

 

The Flight of Avatar begins with a process in which an “Avatar” is made for each rider.  This will link you to a “Banshee” in order ride and become a part of the movie. You do have to be a certain height to ride so our 2 year old daughter could not come along.  Mooma (grandma) stayed with her as she is typically not a thrill rider.  Once we got off, we were so amazed that we told mom she NEEDED to do it! When will she have the opportunity to just walk right on again?!?!?! To her own surprise, she ENJOYED it. She did admit to having her eyes closed 20% of the time but is thankful we encouraged her to ride. You can find out more about this specific ride, here!

The Pandora Experience

The family friendly, Na’vi River Journey was nothing short of a spectacle of light, colors and sound.  For those Disney enthusiasts, think riding a boat much like the ones in Small World or The Land but through a bioluminescent forest full of creatures, sounds and plants featured in the movie. Yes, it is as dreamy as it sounds. Want to see more pictures and learn more about this incredible journey, here!

The Pandora Experience

As we finished the rides, Orlando finally received some MUCH NEEDED rain. We were “trapped” inside the gift shop for quite some time where we stocked up on all types of souvenirs.   We of course had to buy the exclusive pass holder pin (they had shirts as well), an ornament (we buy ornaments on every vacation), and we even got to bring home our very own Banshees.

Because of the rain, we did not get to fully explore the land and everything it has to offer. However, the sites are INCREDIBLE! It is a photographer’s dream. Our camera was full of photos of the gorgeous landscape. Even if we don’t score fast passes for our next trip, we will spend some time seeing everything there is to offer.  I’ve been told the food and drinks are also OUT OF THIS WORLD. You can read more about one of the quick service dining experiences, here!

Ready to book your trip to Pandora? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

Courtney Rooney

Guest Blogger

 

During discussions with my clients I often bring up visiting Disney Springs while on vacation.  I have uncovered that many Disney first timers were unaware of this not-so-hidden oasis at Disney World.  So the homeschool mom in me has put together today’s lesson: Disney Springs 101.

 

Lesson 1: The History behind Disney Springs

  • This area of Disney World opened on March 22, 1975 as Lake Buena Vista Village and was Disney’s first shopping area.  The shopping area was actually set up to serve residents who were supposed to be living on Disney property.  The plans changed and with that so did the name and purpose of Lake Buena Vista Village.  
  • The first name change took place in 1977 to Walt Disney World Village and the idea behind it now was to keep Disney guests on Disney property.  With that idea in hand Walt Disney World Village transformed into the entertainment district encompassing entertainment, shopping, and restaurant options that would not be found in any of the Disney theme parks. Disney Springs 101 
  • Then in 1989 Disney had seen another need arise, that to add more adult nightlife options.  This new area became named Pleasure Island and had celebrations nightly kicked off at midnight.  During that same year, Walt Disney World Village Market underwent yet another name change to The Disney Village Marketplace.     
  • In 1995, Walt Disney World Village went through yet another rebranding and combined both Pleasure Island and Walt Disney World Village to create the Downtown Disney District.  This turned out to be a very great option for this space for many years! (I know I loved visiting the area when I worked at Disney.)
  • The time had come on November 18, 2010 Disney announced their newest inspiration for this shopping and entertainment district a themed town built around the idea of a twentieth century water side town, Disney Springs.  Disney Springs would bring in even more shopping and dining options, nearly doubling its current size and adding not one but two parking structures. This space is still known today as Disney Springs!

 

Lesson 2: Geography of Disney Springs

There are 4 different themed areas that are combined to create Disney Springs:

  • The Landing
  • The Marketplace
  • The Westside
  • Town Center

 

Lesson 3: Dining while at Disney Springs

Disney Springs 101First and foremost, your dining plan can be used at many locations at Disney Springs! There are currently 55 different dining locations offered within the 4 themed areas.  There is something for everyone! You can find anything from amazing sandwiches {check out Earl of Sandwich} to waterfront fine dining at the Boathouse!  Let’s not forget all the dessert options!  Two of my favorite sweet stops are: Sprinkles Gourmet cupcakes and Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. This special Sprinkles location features a cupcake ATM. {You can read more about Sprinkles, here!}  

 

Lesson 4: Shopping at Disney Springs

Disney Springs 101Disney Springs really has stepped up the game on shopping options!  There are 110 unique shopping venues available!  Some of the stores have stayed post renaming such as:

  • The Lego Store
  • The Wide World of Disney
  • Basin
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Disney Days of Christmas

There are also SEVERAL new options of stores to check out such as:

  • The Coca Cola Store
  • Happy Hound
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Lefty’s the Left Handed Store

 

Lesson 5: Entertainment Opportunities while at Disney SpringsDisney Springs 101

Disney Springs is more than just dining and shopping! You can enjoy some family friendly entertainment at:

  • Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba
  • AMC 24 Movie Theater
  • Disney Quest Interactive Theme Park
  • Splitsville Luxury Lane Bowling {Read more, here!}
  • House of Blues
  • Market Place Stage Live Shows

 

Questions from the Class

  1. Does admittance into Disney Springs require a park ticket or any charge?

No, it’s FREE!! This makes it a great option to go to on a non-park day such as the first day you arrive or if you have an off day in your itinerary to rest around the resort.  A ticket is required if you plan to go to Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba (which your Me and the Mouse agent can help you with), Disney Quest, or to go see a movie at the AMC 24.

2. How can I get to Disney Springs?

There is bus transportation to and from your Disney resort to Disney Springs.  If you are staying at: Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, or Saratoga Springs you may also choose to take a boat over to Disney Springs.  Guests staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort may also walk from their resort using the pedestrian bridge which takes you directly into the Market Place area. Staying on the Disney Property will make it easier to get to Disney Springs, but it is not required to stay on property. Disney Springs 101

3. If I drive my car to Disney Springs, how much will it cost to park?

There is no charge for parking in either parking structure or in the surface parking lots. However, if you choose to have the valet service park your car there is a cost of $20.

4. Can I use my dining plan at Disney Springs?

Yes! {One of the many reasons why we love Disney Springs!} Many of the dining locations accept the Disney Dining Plan!  If you are curious if a restaurant choice is on the dining plan ask your Me and the Mouse agent, or look on your My Disney Experience account!

5. In your opinion is it worth it to visit Disney Springs?

Yes! {Is this even a question?!} There has not been one Disney vacation where we haven’t made the trip to Disney Springs to walk around, shop, and enjoy the dining and entertainment! It is such a great place to relax without leaving the fun of Disney!!

Are you ready to take a trip to Walt Disney World and visit Disney Spring?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We would love to help plan your vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

Learn all about The World of Avatar!

 

Alpha Centauri Expeditions {ACE} has made it possible for humans to explore Pandora.  Unique expeditions and breathtaking views are around every corner in the Valley of Mo’ara on Pandroa.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

Pandora features floating mountains, gentle waterfalls, bioluminescent rainforest and amazing, flying creatures known as Banshees or “Ikran” by the Na’vi.  Stepping into the land of Mo’ara, guests are immediately transformed by the beauty of the flora that surrounds them.   The plant life is diverse in both color and size, as well as in purpose.  For example, Vein Pods act as sponges and help maintain stability in the environment.  Puffball Trees are important plants on Pandora for detoxifying the atmosphere.  Panopyra resemble Earth’s jellyfish and captures water and minerals from the dew and fog.  Guests will have the opportunity to interact with different elements in nature as well. For example, when you rub a native plant, the Flaska Reclinata, it releases its spores into the air.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

There is so much to take in and enjoy as you explore Pandora.  A Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments, is available for guests to play.  Wilderness Explorers will find new challenges and badges to collect as they interact with the land in Pandora as well.  You may even encounter tour guides from Alpa Centauri Expeditions {ACE}, scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative {PCI}, or even a unique expat or two, who have opened a refreshing drink stand on Pandora {I recommend the Night Blossom}.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

In the evenings, the land transforms into an even more spectacular scenery with bioluminescent plants radiating light throughout Pandora.   You’ll notice sights and sounds from nocturnal creatures as you walk the paths and explore the mountains of the Valley of Mo’ara.   Animal Kingdom Park has become a full day park with the addition of the Pandora- The World of Avatar, as well as new nighttime offerings.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

 

If you are ready to take the expedition to Pandora, contact your Me and The Mouse Travel specialist to book your trip to Walt Disney World!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Nestled in the Valley of the Mo’roa on the moon of Pandora, explorers are invited on a mystic journey down the Na’vi River.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

At the water’s edge, explorers will board small reed boats to begin their journey.  As your travel begins, you are met by a Na’vi warrior, who grants you passage into the rainforest and your eyes are open the wonderment of Pandora.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

A spectacular bioluminescent rainforest surrounds you as you discover exotic flora and the sounds of Pandoran creatures in the distance.   As the voyage continues, you hear music in the distance and encounter unique creatures, like viperwolf, who seem to be traveling down river with you as you in search of the Na’vi “Shaman of Songs”.

Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

Finally, you see the Shaman holding a musical ceremony while playing an instrument and singing along.  Her music sends positive energy throughout the rainforest of Pandora. Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

 

Na’vi River Journey is one of two new attractions in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.  The slow-moving boat ride is a family-friendly attraction and takes 4 1/2 minutes to complete the journey.  FastPass are available for this new attraction.  Guests with disabilities must transfer from wheelchairs/EVCs to experience the attraction.   Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

 

Na’vi River Journey is a spectacular attraction that showcases the amazing technology that Disney posses in creating new, family-friendly attractions.  As you disembark your reed boat, you are awestruck with the beauty and spiritual connection between the Na’vi people and their environment.  Pandora the World of Avatar - Na'vai River Journey

Ready to journey to Pandora? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your trip! We’d love to help take the stress away!

 

Tressa Kripppel

Travel Specialist

Avatar Flight of PassageFlying on the back of a banshee is an important rite of passage for the Na’vi, and now visitors of Pandora: The World of Avatar have a chance to experience the thrill of this journey at Disney’s newest attraction, Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom Park.

 

Deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara, visitors can now climb atop a mountain banshee for a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s amazing landscape, explore the bioluminescent forests, and soar by the Na’vi living among the moon’s beautiful flora.  This attraction will immerse your all your senses as you feel the breath of your banshee beneath you, smell the aroma of the foliage of the rainforest and feel the crisp, cool feel of the waters of Mo’ara.

Avatar Flight of Passage

The journey begins in the queue as guests begin an uphill trek towards the mountains floating above the valley.  You will pass over a land bridge, travel near waterfalls and pass by amazing flora unique to this moon.  The trail leads you to the entrance of a cave, where the Navi had recorded their history of flight with the great–winged banshees, or Ikran as the Na’vis call them.  Next, guests cross through the bioluminescent rainforest and enter the laboratory  where scientific experiments are in progress.   Visitors are now met by cast members who direct the first 16 visitors to their genetic matching room, where they are given a number, scanned and genetic material is sampled to connect them to personal avatar.  Once explorers are matched, they given 3-D glasses and move onto the flight room where they board “link chairs”.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Link chairs are single-seat simulators (like a motorcycle) that a guest must straddle.  Once positioned on their machine, leg supports that rest on the back of your calves will lock in place and a back support will rise up to secure each explorer on their machine.  I found the that link chair very comfortable and not convining as some had described.  Taller guests may find it difficult to position their feet in place to allow the leg supports to lock into place.  Both leg and back supports must be secure for guests to ride.  Once the ride begins, guests will experience an immersive flight that delivers a realistic sensation of riding a banshee breathing beneath them as the soar over Pandora taking in the breathtaking views, smelling the flora of the forests, feeling the splash of the water and wind in your face.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Avatar Flight of Passage is available as a FastPass option. Guests must be 44 inches or taller to ride.  Guests prone to motion sickness or have a fear of heights, may find this ride to be too intense as you will experience the sensation of diving, plunging and swooping throughout the attraction.  Due the popularity of this much anticipated attraction, we highly recommend choosing a FastPass for this ride at  Animal Kingdom Park.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage is a like no other attraction at Walt Disney World.  This immersive ride will take you on breath-taking journey over a land that will leave you wanting to explore again and again.

See More from the Flight of Passage!

 

Ready to book your trip to Pandora? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

You won’t want to miss out on this incredible resort!

Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness LodgeI am so excited about Disney’s villas Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge Resort.  They are brand new and beautiful!  Rooms ranges from deluxe studios, one to three bedroom villas, and 26 private waterfront bungalows. If you’re looking to add some extra magic on your next Disney World vacation, this right up your alley!

One great thing about Copper Creek is that they are able to accommodate nearly any size family! The deluxe studio and one-bedroom villa can accommodate up to four guests. The two bedroom can sleep up to eight guests and the three-bedroom grand villa can accommodate up to twelve guests. These spaces will make you feel right at home. All of the villas come with a fully equipped kitchen, stacked washer and dryer, and jetted tub. It’s perfect for the whole family!Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Want to spend some time around the resort? You won’t be disappointed! Guests can enjoy two heated picturesque pools that include a 67-foot waterslide and both cold and hot whirlpool spas.  Children can also have a fun exploring the aquatic play area. Nearby is Geyer Point Bar and Grill which is an open-air lounge overlooking the bay. Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness LodgeDisney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek also offers a special spa-like oasis of its own.  Salon by the Springs are where guest can get pampered with a manicure, pedicure, and facial.

The perks of staying at Copper Creek don’t stop there! All Copper Creek guests will still be allowed to use all the amazing amenities at the Wilderness Lodge! This includes bike and boat rentals, jogging trails, movies under the stars, campfires, and the use of the health club. It’s like getting two resort experiences in one!

If you have any questions or are ready to book your trip to Copper Creek contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’d love to help plan your dream Disney vacation!

Elizabeth Hollman

Agency Owner & Travel Specialist

Golf at Disney WorldAnother one of Disney’s best {but one of the most exciting} kept secrets is Walt Disney World® Golf.  It is located right on Disney property across from Disney’s Polynesian and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resorts. There are two championship courses: Disney’s Palm, Disney’s Magnolia, and a 9-hole walking course: Disney’s Oak Trail.  Also across from Disney Springs is their third championship course, Disney’s Lake Buena Vista golf course.  All are an exhilarating yet relaxing way to take a break from the theme parks but still have an amazing time!

 

As a previous cast member with the Walt Disney World Resort, I had the awesome opportunity to experience all that Disney Golf had to offer! My department even surprised my colleagues and I for Administrative Professionals Week with a morning outing to the courses.  Not only did we get to have a world class tour of the property, but we were able to participate in a quick putt around the green! We even got to head out {on the Mickey golf cart} to the driving range and try our hand on some sweet swings! Golf at Disney World

 

Walt Disney World® Golf has a wide range of options for your family or groups traveling to Walt Disney World! If you’re looking for a way to get out and enjoy a few rounds of golf – Disney Style – then this is for you!

One More Thing…

Walt Disney World® Golf and Arnold Palmer Golf Management have teamed up to present these NEW Mickey Mouse logo MD3 wedges designed by Callaway Golf! The red, yellow, white, and green weight ports also represent Mr. Arnold Palmer’s famous umbrella logo. See more information, HERE!

 

Golf at Disney World

If you’re a local Floridian, and you’re looking for a FUN and EXCITING new experience close to home, contact a Me and the Mouse agent, today!!  The Magic AND GOLF is just a phone call away!

 

 

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

 

 

Photo Credit Courtesy of Anna Lazorchak Sales and Marketing Manager Disney Golf