For many families, planning your vacation last minute is a necessary decision. When friends panic and tell you that you can’t do it – take a breath and go for it! A last minute trip to Walt Disney World can be filled with wonderful memories! We here at Me and the Mouse Travel want to make it a magical experience for you.

The first thing you need to remember when booking a last minute vacation to Walt Disney World is to be flexible. If you open yourself up to the options available you are going to find treasures of delight hiding around every corner.

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!Staying on property at Walt Disney World is a key component of a last minute vacation. This allows you to partake in extra magic hours, maximizing your fun each day. A last minute trip will have reduced resort and room selection but consider these options an opportunity to explore what makes each resort unique and special. While most of Disney’s promotional offers do not apply to last minute bookings, if your budget is tight consider staying at a value resort.

 

Many families are concerned that if they book a last minute vacation they will not be able to eat at character meals. Your agent will recommend the available character meals that include many of the characters you are wishing to see at alternate locations on property. You might also be one of the lucky families and get a reservation released from a last minute cancellation! Be sure to check each night at your resort concierge desk for any updates on cancellations for the following day.  

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!Looking for just a nice place to sit down for a meal? Consider eating at resorts as they are often hidden gems. A favorite place to eat is Epcot for its many international restaurants. Having a park hopper ticket, you can head to this park for a meal on any day. Disney Springs is also a FREE location with many different dining options. Stressed about trying for dining reservations? Skip reservations completely and eat at Disney’s many quick service restaurants that serve a wide variety of entrees. 

Lastly, if you book less than a month before your trip, some of the top FastPass attractions may not have availability. However, there are ways to still experience these rides with minimal wait. This is the perfect time to use extra magic hours. Another option is to head to those favorite attractions first thing in the morning when the parks open. Don’t forget to check the Me and the Mouse touring pages in your travel package for the must see attractions in each park.

Planning a Last Minute Disney Trip!A last minute trip can be one of the most stress-free vacations you’ve ever had! The reduced options allow you to focus on what is most important to you and your family. Remember to be flexible!! Let your travel agent work their magic! You are sure to have a great time on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Ready to book your last minute vacation? We’re here to help! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

A strategy for successfully navigating your next vacation!

Uncle "Tim" EffectOver the past several months, I have written many blogs about different strategies that my family has utilized to help make our visits to Walt Disney World successful {You can read those here & here!}. My oldest son, Matt, is living with Fragile X Syndrome. It is the leading cause of inherited mental impairment and leading known genetic cause of Autism.  My son often struggles with becoming overwhelmed by even preferred activities, and this can lead to less than desirable behaviors.  We have used many strategies as I have discussed in previous blogs.  This blog is focused on our most successful strategy.  We affectionately call it “The Uncle Tim effect”!


Over the years, we noticed a marked difference in my son. When we would have someone else visiting the parks with use, he would have a better ability to manage his environment and to keep the undesirable behaviors under control.  We have been very fortunate over the years to experience the parks with a wide variety of friends and family.  Our expectations are realistic {you can read about that, here}. W
e are continually aware and mindful that Matt may be reaching his limit and in need of a break.  

Uncle Tim Saves the Day

When Uncle Tim is with us, things are different. Uncle "Tim" EffectWhen a preferred person is with us, Matt is incredibly motivated to be a part of the experiences much longer.  For example, when we visit with my immediate family only we know 3-4 attractions/hours are his limit before he needs a break, a meal, a bus ride, or we have to pull out the ultimate reward, a ride on the monorail.  Although, Matt may not want to participate/ride all the attractions that others may prefer, when we have Uncle Tim with us he patiently waits.  On our most recent day trip, we visited two parks over nearly 11 hours!!!!  No undesirable behaviors, no extra breaks and not even one ride on the monorail!  

A vacation to a Disney destination, Universal or Disney Cruise Line is not inexpensive.  There is no value you can put on the experience, in my opinion.  The memories, the excitement, the wonder and awe we experience together as a family will be with us for the rest of our lives.  Bringing a support person(s) with you will only enhance your experience and well worth the additional investment.  This concept is not exclusive to families who have special needs and can be beneficial to a wide variety of visitors and families.  

Uncle "Tim" Effect

So maybe you don’t have an actual Uncle Tim in your life! However, I’m sure you have a family friend, a preferred peer, or even an Uncle Tom! They would love to accompany you on your next trip. It would be an honor to be asked to be the support person for your family. They would know they were making a difference in your family’s next vacation experience!  

I look forward to helping you plan your most successful strategy for your next vacation. I know my family has been able to experience more because of the careful time that has gone into planning each of our vacations.

 

Ready to plan your next Disney Destination Vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

Returning this Summer with NEW Magic!

A few of the iconic Disneyland attractions will be returning to the park this summer! Disneyland Railroad and the Rivers of America will both reopen with new magic and fun! Take a look at the artistic rendering {courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering} of the new north bank of the Rivers of America! It will feature a gorgeous new waterfront and an elevated trestle over which the classic Disneyland Railroad will travel. You will not want to miss out on this experience!Disneyland Railroad & Rivers of America

The Rivers of America will celebrate several famous rivers including the: Mississippi, Columbia, Missouri, Rio Grande, and Columbia Gorge! It will feature magnificent waterfalls and vegetation. The Big Thunder River Waterfall and Twin Sisters Waterfall will welcome five new, and incredible, waterfalls along the Rivers of America. Guests will be able to see these sights while on board the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes!

However, if you don’t want to experience these gorgeous falls up close on the water, you can still see all of the beauty while aboard the Disneyland Railroad. The railroad with travel across the new and magnificent trestle. You will experience a breathtaking view of the new waterfalls {be sure to have your camera ready!}. Disneyland Railroad & Rivers of America

While there are lots of new additions to these classic rides, there are still some familiar aspects that will make you feel right at home. You will see several familiar faces along the Rivers of America as well as throwbacks to Frontierland’s past. The Indian Village will return, but will be in a new location. It will include a more prominently featured Shaman! He will tell the story of how the hummingbird taught the Indian chief to make a flute.

We are so excited to see these new changes to a few of our favorite classic rides. Disney has yet to announce the opening dates for these attractions. We will keep you posted as soon as we know!

Ready to head to Disneyland right now? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’d love to help take the stress from your vacation planning!

We’re celebrating Fun Fridays at Me and The Mouse with a collection of our favorite PhotoPass moments. We love the PhotoPass services! They are offered at Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani, and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. If you didn’t know, PhotoPass allows you to preserve your magical Disney vacation. This special service provides you with professional photography throughout the different Disney destinations. We love that we don’t have to lug around a big camera! Plus, it also helps us have peace of mind that we won’t lose our new expensive camera! PhotoPass photographers are strategically placed throughout the Disney Destinations to not miss a moment of your fun. Take a look at the fun Me and The Mouse agents have had while using the PhotoPass!

If you’re considering using the PhotoPass services that are throughout Walt Disney World, we highly recommend purchasing the Memory Maker Package. If you don’t purchase this package, you will have to pay a decent charge for each photo. The great thing about the package is that once you purchase it, you can download as many pictures as you’d like! This is especially great if its your first time visiting, your celebrating something special on a trip, you have a young child and you want to capture every moment, or like we mention before you want to have tons of pictures, but you don’t want to carry an expensive camera around all day.

To add the Memory Maker Package on to your Disney Destination package, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Now, enjoy some of our fun photos!!

Disney Destination PhotoPassThe Beast - Disney Destination PhotoPassDisney Destination PhotoPassDisney Destination PhotoPassTinker bell - Disney Destination PhotoPassDisney Destination PhotoPass

I am not a runner…at all…but that didn’t stop me from joining friends in my first runDisney marathon weekend! Whether you are up every morning for that morning run, or if you simply want to experience a runDisney event, here are several reasons to love runDisney races!

The Challenge!

Hopefully all races are a challenge no matter your level of experience. For this girl, I’ll admit I didn’t train nearly enough knowing what I do now. Disney recommends a pace time of 15 minutes or under per mile whether you run or walk {or a combination of both}. “Balloon Ladies” {and sometimes Balloon Men!} keep the pace from the back and encourage you to keep going. If you fall behind, you will eventually get picked up and taken to the finish. I was able to stay ahead of them, but I saw faces of defeat on those who were not so lucky. The race itself is challenging, and there are so many people who attend these events who have personal challenges they are overcoming. My motto is simple –  Do your best and have fun!

Train with Jeff Galloway!  https://www.rundisney.com/training/running/

The Camaraderie!

It’s amazing all the people you will meet, everyone cheering each other on, and the excitement in the corrals and along the route. You have the opportunity to sit and chat with people from all over the world as you wait for your corral to be released for the race. You’ll meet plenty of first-timers as well as marathon pros who have been running the circuits for years.

For Your Health!

Whether you walk, run, crawl,….it doesn’t matter! Get out in the fresh air and get some exercise in! It does your body and your brain good! If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor prior to beginning training. Use a Fitbit or smart watch to monitor heart rate and have fun watching that step counter tick away!

The Outfits! runDisney event for Non-Runners!

It’s fun to see all the people who come dressed as Disney characters, Disney foods, or maybe even as an attraction! That’s a huge part of the fun – people get extremely creative and go all out which also makes for fun photos!

The Bling!

Because really…..don’t we all want that medal at the end? And the DISNEY medals? I’ve got my eyes on a Star Wars event just for that!

runDisney event for Non-Runners!The fun characters you’ll get to meet along the way!

I have always loved meeting Disney characters, and at a runDisney event, you’ll run into characters that aren’t often seen in the parks. For the 2016 Food & Wine race, we got to meet Remy and Emil from Ratatouille!

The After-Party!

If you still have energy the night of the big race, Disney throws a fun after-party which includes more characters and entertainment!

And let’s not forget…The Destination!

Disney races are held at Walt Disney World in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California, on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas during Bahamian and Caribbean Disney cruises, and even at Disneyland Paris!


These are all great reasons to participate in a runDisney event, and I did absolutely love my weekend. I did my best and had a blast!

For upcoming events, check the official runDisney website!  https://www.rundisney.com/

 

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

I mean who doesn’t want to look cute in their vacation pictures?

Denim & Capri Outfit at Disney I don’t know about you, but vacation week is the ONE time of year I can get out of yoga pants and put on clothing outside of spandex.  With busy days working from home and continuously entertaining my 2 boys, I have limited times when putting on something cute is practical.

I also look forward to wearing more stylish clothing on vacation because this is a week I take more pictures with my kids than I do ALL year.  It’s my chance to take candid or Memory Maker photos to replace the older pictures around my house.

Some say, “It’s Disney, I’m going casual, no need for the ‘cute’ factor”.  But why can’t you be practical AND stylish?

~My top style choices~

  • Comfortable lightweight shorts: I love elastic waist shorts in various colors!  Pair them with a solid or patterned top for a fun outfit.  In Disney, we tend to eat more than usual, so having shorts that do not push on your belly is key.
  • Loose fitting tops: With the heat and the amount of food consumed {again}, loose clothing is comfier!  With tighter shirts, you may also deal with unwanted stickiness from Florida heat.   Loose tops are more breathable!
  • Flowy dresses: Flowy dresses in summer are great!  Dress it up or down to wear to the park or dinner.  Again, flowy = breathable and expandable for food consumption.
  • Rompers: Don’t like dresses?  Try a romper!  They’re easy to wear to the parks or dinner for a night.  Material is light and cool and I love that they aren’t tight…all good things, all good things. If you’re concerned about trying a romper, take a look below at this extremely easy & carefree outfit I put together. This makes for easy packing & cute pictures!Wear Cute & Practical Clothes at Disney!
  • Cute shoes: Ok…you may not want my advice on this one.  Because I hate hot/enclosed feet in the summer, I always wear sandals!  The last couple trips, I’ve worn flat strappy sandals with zero support.  I don’t recommend this, but if you’re like me, I’d save them for a nice dinner or night where you plan on doing little walking {because my feet ached!}. I love Clarks sandals for park days which offer great support {just be sure to break them in before you go}.
  • Safety Sweater: Disney restaurants are COLD, which is great in Florida heat, but with less clothing, it’s….brrrr!  I take a limited amount of sweater options since I’m only wearing them at restaurants or on a cool morning/night.  Take a jean jacket {goes with everything} and a black and a white cardigan.  These options are light and easy to throw in a park bag.
  • Capris: I tend to travel in warmer months, so pants/capris are not something I bring a lot of.  I prefer a looser pair of boyfriend capris for days I need something heavier.

Take a Look at Some of My Outfits!


 

These are my top clothing styles for my Disney trips.  The clothing is light and minimal which also makes packing easier!  With a few accessories to tie it together, it’s easy to complete your outfit.

Putting “real” clothes on for this mom of 2 is just ONE of the highlights of my vacation…it’s the little things in life.

Looking for more than just fashion advice? We’d love to help plan your dream Disney or Universal vacation! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to help take the stress away from your planning!

 

Megan Thompson

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

If you’re a craft loving, DIY’er like me a fun way to add some magic to your approaching Disney vacation is to make your own Disney lanyard.  These lanyards can be used for multiple things on your Disney vacation:

  • As a pin trading lanyard (click hyperlink to learn about Disney pin trading)
  • To hold your park tickets if you don’t have magic bands
  • To hold a photo pass card

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Your Favorite Disney RibbonFun DIY Disney Lanyard
  • Scissors
  • Big Clasps
  • Fabric Velcro Tabs (if you want pull away lanyards)
  • Clear Nail Polish or No Fray Check
  • Sewing Machine, Hot Glue Gun, or Thread and Needle
  • Pins
  • Name Tag Holder

Step One:

Go pick out your supplies.  I found super cute Disney ribbon at: JoAnne Fabrics (best selection), Wal-Mart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.

I found big clasps in the Jewelry making section of my local JoAnne fabrics but I am sure each of the craft stores have them.

Fray check and Velcro tabs can be located at craft stores or Wal-Mart. The plastic name tag holders can be found easily at Staples or Amazon.com.

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Step Two:

Measure how long you would like the lanyard (I usually cut mine at 36”).

Optional Step: I like to make tear away lanyards for safety.  Match up the two ends you cut and then cut the opposite end so that you have one ribbon in each hand that are the same length. If you decided to do this optional step you will now add Velcro tabs to the ends you just cut.

Step Three:

So that the ribbon does not fray you will now use the clear nail polish or the Fray check on each of the cut end of the ribbon. Let the liquid dry before moving on to step four.

Step Four:

After the Fray Check has dried now is the time to add the clasp.  To do this I’ve found it best to put the lanyard on so that you can make sure it lays right when it is worn.  Once you have verified there are no twists, take it off.  Holding the end that the clasp is going on you will put both ends together and fold it about ½”.  If you are using hot glue you will want to glue the fold.  At this point you will slide the clasp on and then make another fold about 1” over.  Then pin the fold in place.  If you are using hot glue you will again glue the fold (I also recommend putting in a few stitches just to make sure it holds).

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

I used a sewing machine and that made it simple to sew the folds holding the clasp in place!  You then add the clear plastic name tag if you choose to use one and your lanyard is all ready for your Disney vacation!

Finish the lanyard and ready to go on your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Dance into Summer 2017 at Disney Junior Dance Party

This summer at the Disneyland® Resort, there is an all-new Disney Junior show that your little ones won’t want to miss!! The Disney Junior Dance Party is a fun, high-energy, live show experience! It combines inspiration from multiple, popular Disney Junior shows including: “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First” and “The Lion Guard.” The show includes several live appearance from fan-favorite characters, fun music from Disney Junior, and much more!!

This fun interactive concert-like event is perfect for your kiddo as it involves them directly in the fun experience! Be sure to have your camera out and ready because this will make for some adorable images! {Better yet, purchase the Disney PhotoPass!}

The all-new “Disney Junior Dance Party” show debuts in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park on May 26, 2017!

Interested in learning more about this new event? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!