Disney Parks name tags have become an icon much like many other seemingly random Disney items like the famous Disney trash cans (an interesting story for another day)! What started as method to identify employees in 1955 of the newly opened Disneyland, name tags quickly took on a life of their own within the company. This is the fascinating story of a little badge and the names on it.

The first name tags at Disneyland were metal with Disneyland in blue written across them and a number. The number represented the employee. All Cast Members were issued a badge. During the first few years most were seen with only a number on them. Some employee such as executives received a badge with their full name in place of the number.

It wasn’t until 1962 that the Cast Members first name was standard on all name tags. And it was only the first name. Why you ask not the last too? That is because of Walt. Walt believed his company was a first name company where it didn’t matter if you were at the top of the ladder or in an entry level job. To the guests of his Magic Kingdom you were known by a first name and there to help. A side note on Walt, he did not like being called Mr. Disney. Those who would meet him and call him Mr. Disney were often replied to with “call me Walt, Mr. Disney was my father.”

So in 1962, the gold metal name tag went away and what appeared was a plastic thin oval version. Through the years the oval changed some and eventually around 1985 took the shape of what we have come to recognize today – an oval with an icon bump out on top. This current look is an homage to the original Disneyland version. There have been a variety of other shapes also used for many different departments, people and celebrations but the most common is what is used today.

There literally have been hundreds of styles of name tags over the years. Today, they have been simplified and are uniform by department, park (Disneyland, Disney World, oversees parks), business line and employee recognition. They typically all contain the hometown the Cast Member printed below the name. They also contain service pins signifying the years the Cast Member has been with the company. Some showcase different languages the Cast Member knows.

In recent years you may have noticed blue name tags which represent Cast Members who have received the Disney Legacy Award, the highest honor for a Cast Member. One thing that is common among nearly every employee of Disney is that they are worn over their left chest. I say nearly all Cast Members wear them over the left chest because there is one department that is given the freedom to wear them on their lanyards and that is Walt Disney Imagineering. When I worked for Disney I could always spot an Imagineer because not only did they have a special Mickey icon on their name tag they typically were wearing them on their company ID lanyard.

A side note on working for Disney and forgetting your name tag. You don’t forget it. If you do you get one issued to you for the day and in my case I got to be Eric. That day was the one and only time I wasn’t Ryan!

Walt was insistent his employees at Disneyland were easily identifiable and proudly wore a badge in 1955 and later one with their name on it. He made sure they were worn on their left side and they always had it on while in guest areas. The only person to not be required to wear a name tag was Walt himself. I guess that is the perk of being Mr. Disney.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

 

at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Bon Voyage Breakfast- Trattoria al FornoA relatively new experience, the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno is a lovely alternative for  character meals.  Meet two of the most adventurous princesses out there – Ariel and Rapunzel! Accompanied by Prince Eric and Flynn Ryder {Eugene for those that know him well}, no less!  Introduced by royal decree – each couple comes to visit tables and bring adventure to every family!  Sometimes, Ariel may ask you to swim with her like her favorite fishy friends in a conga line!

This restaurant boasts a charming, dark-wood, tile-floor, open kitchen concept everyone is sure to love. The dining room is more intimate, and ordering off menu versus a buffet is a wonderful change of pace!  Every menu item is inspired by The Little Mermaid or Tangled.  

Before you start your adventure, each table has a “Bon Voyage Adventure Journal” to fill out. In it, your family will find a place to write down your favorite adventures, your favorite travel companions, and other fun items to commemorate your trip!

Bon Voyage Breakfast- Trattoria al FornoTo start your day, you are given a ‘glass of sunshine’ and an assortment of delicious pastries served in a frying pan {Rapunzel’s weapon of choice}. You can then order your drink of choice {even Mimosas!} and select a fruit cup or parfait.  Both are beautiful and tasty!

Entrées range from eggs to calzones!  Kiddos can enjoy traditional breakfasts if they wish – Mickey Waffles, however, are served as Ariel and Flounder waffles…and they are just as good!  Our family enjoyed a breakfast calzone fit for King Triton, a “tower of pancakes”, and those “Tangled” eggs.  Everything was beautifully served, and tasted delicious. My “Tangled” Eggs were served on top of roasted red potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and served with bacon. It was scrumptious – Rapunzel would have approved!

Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel visited us first…and of course, Flynn requested a new ‘wanted’ poster.  Then Ariel and Prince Eric came to visit.  I have to admit, Prince Eric was wonderful. He had so much to talk to everyone about and was able to bring most kiddos out of their shell….I guess that’s why Ariel fell in love with him!

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Gluten free and allergy options were available – but it is so very important to make your dining reservations with those needs noted, as well as alerting everyone you encounter of your needs at your dining time. All special dietary needs can be met, however it does take a bit longer to prepare! Also, some dishes do not translate completely to the allergen free option.  Keep that in mind!

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I LOVED this new experience. It’s calm since you are ordering off menu, the characters can be more interactive, and it felt less ‘busy’ than other meals. I would definitely recommend this breakfast on your next Walt Disney World adventure!

Contact a Me and The Mouse Agent today to book your next Disney vacation and to include this fun experience in your next adventure! 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Starting November 18, 2017 and running through January 6, 2018, you can celebrate the holidays at Universal with special entertainment, including an exciting new transformation in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Hogwarts

Included with your admission ticket to the Universal theme parks:

  • Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is extra magical. It will include festive decorations, special sweets and treats, entertainment, and a beautiful new projection show up on Hogwart’s castle that is sure to delight all Muggles.
  • Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s as Santa Claus is joined by the Minions. You’ll also see some of your favorite characters from Madagascar and Shrek!
  • A live re-telling by the Grinch of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
  • Mannheim Steamroller returns with live performances of Christmas classics on select nights.
  • Holiday activities and exclusive benefits at Universal’s on-site resorts.

A separately ticketed New Year’s celebration, EVE, is sure to be the biggest party of the year at Universal’s CityWalk.

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Minions

Included in your Universal package:

  • A stay in one of Universal’s beautiful on-site resorts. Choose from Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
    • Guests staying at the Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, or Portofino Bay hotels also received unlimited Express Passes for participating rides and attractions.
  • Early Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – one hour before the general public!
  • Free transportation within the resort. A water taxi is a convenient and fun way to explore other resorts. The parks and CityWalk are all in close proximity to each other.
  • Charging privileges throughout the resort.

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Grinchmas

BONUS inclusions if you book the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package.:

  • 4 night hotel accommodations
  • 3-Park, 4-Day Park to Park ticket
  • Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • One Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio session in Diagon Alley.

Packages for the holiday celebrations include visits to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s exhilarating new water park, Volcano Bay.

Holiday packages are booking now, so contact a Me and the Mouse travel specialist to reserve your favorite resort! To make your visit even more magical, combine visits to Universal Orlando with Walt Disney World and get the best of both resorts during the holidays!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Planner

We are so excited with the latest Universal announcement! A brand new, thrilling Harry Potter inspired ride will be making its way to Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2019. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade has already been a place of fun and excitement, but now this fan-favorite spot will offer more to guests!

We don’t know everything about this new thrill ride, but we have been informed on some special information. Take a look below at some of the latest details!

  1. This is a brand-new, thrill ride that will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s famous Wizarding World. You will become more engrossed in the Wizarding World as you journey along this ride. You will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures. This new ride will be unlike anything Universal has ever created, and they are sure it will sure to be a favorite for the entire family!
  2. If you’re a Potterhead than this ride is for you! The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences at Universal. This means lots of fun and exciting Wizarding World items and memorabilia. The ride combines a new level of storytelling with {of course} an action-packed adventure! There will also be a few surprises along the way that will have you coming back for more!
  3. Universal’s award-winning creative team has been collaborating with Warner Bros, and the incredible production design team from the Harry Potter films. You can be sure to see and experience a top-notch, fan favorite ride!
  4. This ride will be the absolute perfect addition to the thriving town of Hogsmeade. This new attraction will transport you into a new and thrilling place and will draw you into more exciting Wizarding World adventures!
  5. Universal will be permanently closing the Dragon Challenge on September 5th to make way for this incredible new thrill ride. The last day of operation for the Dragon Challenge will be Monday, September 4th. Be sure to take advantage of the last days of the Dragon Challenge before its closing.

Keep checking back for more updates! We can’t wait to hear more from Universal about this fun new attraction!

Ready to visit the incredible and amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Contact an agent today to book your next Universal or Disney vacation! All Me and The Mouse agents are highly trained in both destinations!

Get ready for Universal’s SCARIEST event of the YEAR! 

As summer winds down, fall quickly follows full of fun and its own kind of excitement. Although the end of summer saddens many, it does bring one of the most anticipated holidays for Universal Studios Orlando….Halloween!!  Universal hosts one of THE most frightening, but exciting events! We are so thrilled to talk about Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights!

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

 

What to Expect:  

The streets of Universal are transformed into the most terrifying location you’ve ever seen. 

  • Experience scare zones throughout the park, but BEWARE!  They’re filled with monsters and maniacs ready frighten you ALL night long.  
  • Walk through brilliantly themed haunted houses!  This year, American Horror Story is making its second-year return and NEW this year is The Shining…beware of room 237!  
  • Stop {and cover your eyes} during shockingly graphic live shows.
  • Also enjoy many of the park’s rides/attractions.  

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

 

Dates/Event Time:

  • September: 15 – 17, 21 – 24, 29 – 30
  • October: 1, 4 – 8, 11 – 15, 18 – 22, 25 – 31
  • November: 3 – 4
  • Begins @ 6:30 PM {closing times vary}

 

Event Tickets

There’s an array of options to get as much {or little} scare as you desire.  Below are ticket/pricing options to choose the amount of fright you prefer!  

**Pricing is advance purchase prices, per person, & NOT including tax

 

1. Halloween Horror Night Flex Tickets

Is ONE event all you can handle?  Choose the ticket that includes the day of the week you plan to take your chances.      

  • Flex Sunday – Friday:  $77.99
  • Flex Sunday – Saturday:  $85.99

Add On:  Express Pass

  • Get one-time express ride access for a specific event date.  
  • Enjoy a separate queue line with shorter wait times at ALL haunted houses and participating rides/attractions.
  • Pricing/night varies {$79.99 – $129.99}

**Looking to save money on one-day passes?  Save up to $50 on select nights with a Coca-Cola can product when you buy advance tickets!!  

2. Fear Passes

If being scared is your thing, these passes are for you.  They offer amazing savings for multiple nights of terror!

  • Rush of Fear:  Access to the 1st ten nights.
    • $91.99
    • With Express Pass: $299.99
  • Frequent Fear:  Up to 21 nights of Halloween Horror Night admission {Sunday, Wednesday, & Thursday event nights} plus the 1st weekend {September 16 & 17}.
    • $102.99
    • With Express Pass:  $339.99
  • Frequent Fear Plus:   Up to 28 nights of Halloween Horror Night admission {Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday event nights} plus the 1st {September 16 & 17} and last weekend {November 3 & 4}.  
    • $118.99
    • With Express Pass:  $399.99
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear:  Access to all Halloween Horror Night event nights!  
    • $199.99
    • With Express Pass:  $599.99

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

Know before you go!

This event has so much to look forward to, but like anything, rules and warnings must be heeded.

  • NO masks or costumes allowed!!
  • NO food, drinks, bottles, recordings, flash photography, flashlights, or laser pens allowed in the Haunted Houses.
  • Motorized wheelchairs and ECVs are NOT permitted in any queue, haunted house, or on any ride vehicle.

BE WARNED!  This INTENSE event is NOT recommended for young children under age 13.

Anyone who enjoys the scare that Halloween brings should NOT miss this event!  Contact a Me and the Mouse Travel specialist for further details on planning for the fright of your life! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

Incredible Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom ParkYak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

One of the best tips for making the most of your time at Walt Disney World is to stay in the parks for your meals.  While there are many great table service selections in Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, there are only a handful available in Animal Kingdom.  With the new Pandora expansion, more and more guests are wanting to spend time in Animal Kingdom so a table service meal inside the park is usually the best way to have a meal break without wasting time traveling to another part of Walt Disney World. I’m introducing you to one of my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat – Yak & Yeti!

 

Nestled in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom lies one of the most overlooked restaurants in all of Walt Disney World: The Yak & the Yeti. This restaurant is often overshadowded by Tusker House. However, this table service restaurants has one of the most diverse and delicious menus of any restaurant on property.  Since there are two Yak & Yeti locations within Animal Kingdom park {one table service and one counter service}, most guests think if you’ve experienced one, you have experience both, but that could not be further from the truth.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

Walking into this gorgeous, two-story restaurant, you immediately feel engrossed in the culture of Asia.  The Asian art and artifacts in this environment get you prepped and ready for the amazing meal you are about to have.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

We were seated in the quiet second story of the restaurant, and our friendly waiter greeted us! She offered several helpful suggestions!  Our tabled ordered the teriyaki chicken and the steak and coconut shrimp for our entrees and neither disappointed.  Both dishes had an Asian flair without being “too much” for the picky eater in your family.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The real star of the show at Yak & Yeti was dessert.  Our table ordered the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and the fried wontons! The cake was great! However, I cannot imagine this meal without the fried wontons. They were sweet cream cheese filled wontons on skewers with fresh pineapple, drizzled with honey-vanilla yogurt, strawberries and a side of vanilla ice cream. I can say it was  absolutely heavenly and so refreshing. It made for the perfect treat on an unbearably hot day.  If you are dining at Yak and Yeti, you cannot miss the fried wontons.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The service and food were absolutely outstanding, but this meal is also a great value.  With prices ranging from $16 per plate, this is a great value if you are paying out of pocket.  Yak and Yeti is one credit on the Disney Dining Plan for one beverage, an entrée and a dessert.  Next time you are at Animal Kingdom, consider giving Yak and Yeti a try.  You will not regret it!

 

Ready to plan your trip to Animal Kingdom to try Yak and Yeti? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We can’t wait for you to join the Me and The Mouse family!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

IMG_1201The official opening of Star Wars Land is still a few years away. However, you can still find an abundance of Star Wars themed experiences awaiting you at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can hurdle through space on a galactic adventure with Star Tours, watch in awe as your youngling participates in Jedi Training, and end your night with a bang by marveling at Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular – and that’s just the beginning of the Star Wars fun! There are so many awesome adventures to choose! It’s hard to pick a single favorite.  However, one of the best parts of Star Wars is the characters and getting to interact with them is every fan’s dream come true.

 

Disney is all about creating magical character meet and greets for guests and Star Wars fans will not be disappointed. While on your vacation, make sure you head over to Star Wars Launch Bay to see for yourself. As you make the journey from the front of the park, make sure to be on the lookout for a Stormtrooper or two. They may want to check to see if you’re a rebel spy while you snap a quick selfie. Once inside Launch Bay, you’ll be able to meet more of your favorites. Have your Magic Bands or PhotoPass cards on hand because there will be a photographer at each of the meet and greet locations ready to capture your memories. However, I suggest passing your cell phone off to one of the character attendants at each experience so they can capture the exchange on video as well, since these are some of the most memorable meet and greets on property.

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Chewbacca will welcome you with open arms {and the best hugs in the galaxy} when you join him in his control room. Kylo Ren will pace menacingly in the corner and question your loyalty to the First Order as you join him for a picture. It’s always fun to convince him that you’re part of the Rebel Alliance and see his reaction! The newest addition to Launch Bay’s offerings is BB-8 who wins the prize for cutest interaction of all time. His attendants and photographers are trained in droid language and will gladly translate for you as he whirs and beeps in friendly conversation. Last, but definitely not least, stop by and say hello to the Jawas as they roam. They enjoy trading with travelers, so make sure you bring something interesting to offer them. If they accept your trade, you will receive a mystery item in return!

The lines for Chewie, Kylo, and BB-8 are all separate, so you can pick and choose or see all three! Meanwhile the Stormtroopers and Jawas roam and have no set times or lines! They make for fun experiences if you’re short on time or with young ones who aren’t a fan of lines. No matter the path you choose, may the force be with you!

Are you ready to experience an out-of-this-world meet and greet? Contact us today! We’d love to help you plan your next Disney or Universal vacation!

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

At Disney’s California Adventure

Looking for something a little special to do while you’re at Disneyland in California?  The World of Color Dining Package is definitely something you’ll want to do.  The World of Color show is the most impressive and fanciful nighttime extravaganza Disney has ever produced.  It’s accompanied by momentous music as well as stunning fire, fountain, fog and laser effects.  Not only will you get a reserved viewing location, but you’ll also be treated to delicious food at one of the three restaurants that offer this package.

 

First, start off by selecting the restaurant you’d like to eat at.  There are three different restaurants with the World of Color Dining Package.  

  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Carthay Circle Restaurant
  • Wine Country Trattoria

 

World of Color Dining PackageAt each of these restaurants, you’ll enjoy a full-service, 3-course meal during lunch and/or dinner plus a non-alcoholic beverage.  The restaurant that we selected was Ariel’s Grotto.  We were able to choose from a soup or salad and had a variety of options for our main meal, including a surf and turf option.  To end the meal, we were each brought out a dessert with a sampling of three different types of desserts.  The food was amazing and was just what we needed to continue our day at the park until it was time for the show.

 

When it was time to get ready to view the World of Color, we headed to our reserved viewing area.  We were ushered down to our choice of unobstructed viewing area.  Once the show began, it was amazing.  It was nothing like we had ever seen before.  To create the approximately 19,000 square-foot projection screen, nearly 1,200 fountains shoot water 200 feet into the air. Watch the water dance and the perfectly timed pyrotechnics explode!

 

As the show’s extraordinary elements are woven into a kaleidoscope of imagination, the spectacle sweeps and expands across Paradise Bay, while the astonishing soundtrack lifts your spirits, spanning decades of Disney movies―from the classics to the most recent releases.

World of Color Dining Package

This package is something our family will definitely be doing again during our next visit!  A word of caution when selecting your viewing area for the World of Color Show, the closer you stand to the water, the more likely it is that you’ll get a little wet!  

Are you ready to experience this one-of-a-kind show?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your next Disney Destination Vacation Package!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

It happens to all of us.  We LOVE a certain movie, animated feature, or Disney Channel show…and there’s that one character that has stolen our hearts.  We dream of traveling to Walt Disney World to meet our favorite character…and when we arrive, that character is nowhere to be found!  Don’t fret!

 

Tips to help you find your favorite character

{if they make appearances} or to cope with not seeing them!Tips for Finding Favorite Characters

  1. Use the My Disney Experience app!  Your FREE app on your mobile device lets you find characters throughout the Walt Disney World property.  Agent Missy gives you a step by step on this process HERE.

  2. Use our Character Dining blog – hard to meet characters can be found at our Character Dining locations, plus we are able to meet several characters at one location.

  3. Hollywood Studios tends to have the newest characters from the most recently released movies to meet and greet!  Checking this park out is a MUST if you have a recent character in mind!

  4. Visit an attraction or show based on the movie/tv show you love!  While you may not get up close and personal with them, you will get to see them in real life! Tips for Finding Favorite Characters

  5. Visit during one of our special holiday parties!  Both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party AND Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have special characters you cannot meet anywhere else!  {We’re looking at you, Jack Skellington and Sally!}

  6. Open a Disney Visa card with Chase! With special designated character meet and greet locations at both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, you never know what character will show up!

  7. Become friends with a Disney Vacation Club member!  Occasionally, DVC members will get special invites to DVC only parties where special and rare characters come out to greet!  Tips for Finding Favorite Characters
  8. Why not try a new destination?  Keep in mind, Disneyland on the West Coast has meet and greet for characters that Walt Disney World doesn’t (Marvel characters, Judy Hopps, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, etc).  Maybe you’ll find who you are looking for in a new location!

 

Asking guest relations would be your best bet in finding your beloved character after you’ve exhausted the above options.

 

Tips for Finding Favorite CharactersI met Robin Hood, Prince John, Little John, and Friar Tuck when I was 7…while dining in Cinderella’s Castle.  Yes, in 1987, those were the characters at the castle!  Skip forward to the 2010s…those are the characters my kiddo has been dying to meet.  While we haven’t been able to nail them down yet, we are hopeful we will in the future as they have been at special events around property.

 

The most important thing, however, is to NOT let this ruin your trip!  You’ll make magical memories with anyone you meet.  Enjoy your vacation!

Ready to start planning your next Disney {or Universal} vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

 

Taking a vacation at sea does not mean it will be a vacation without your daily gourmet coffee. Disney Cruise Line has the Cove Café, which is an adult only location on each of their cruise ships which offers gourmet coffees such as lattes, cappuccinos, espressos and hot tea. One of my favorite ways to start the day on a Disney Cruise is to stop in and grab a pastry and an Americano. This is also a great place to try something different from your typical routine! You can find the Cove Café, on the Disney Magic and Wonder, on Deck 9, and if you’re on the Dream and Fantasy, it is located on Deck 11 adjacent to the adult pool.

Cove Café - Disney CruiseThe Cove Café isn’t just for morning coffee and breakfast treats. You can visit it all day long for different delightful treats! Throughout the day, they offer snacks and desserts as well as light hors d’oeuvres prior to dinner.  It is also a great way to end the day with their full bar service in a quiet setting.

The Cove Café is the ideal place for any adult looking for a quiet space to relax. This is the perfect place to visit and watch the news, read the newspaper or log into the internet. Outside are comfy cushioned chairs that make the perfect spot to enjoy a warm day and curl up with a good book.

If you’re on the Wonder, the Outlook Café is located upstairs from the Cove Café. This is the perfect spot to visit when sailing on an Alaskan cruise. The Outlook is surrounded by windows and ideal for watching the scenery and keep a look out for whales while staying warm inside.

It is important to note that beverages are an additional cost, but the food items are complimentary. One tip we can suggest is to pick up the “coffee card”, which entitles you to your 6th coffee free after you purchase 5.

Cheers and happy sailing! 

Are you ready to plan your next Disney vacation? Contact one of our incredible travel specialist today!

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist