Walt Disney World is home to 27,000 acres of land. Spread throughout the property are resorts, theme parks, water parks and shopping districts. There are multiple ways to navigate these areas – busses, monorails, boats or cars. Today’s blog will explore the option Disney transportation or driving yourself.

First, I must declare that because I’m a former Cast Member, driving is my preferred option as I know the roads quite well. However, that wasn’t always the case. Prior to working for Disney I relied heavily on their transportation. I will focus this blog on the advantages of Disney transportation and driving rather than the disadvantages.

Let’s first take a look at the advantages of Disney transportation. Disney’s fleet includes over 400 buses, approximately 40 boats, 12 monorail vehicles and the new Minnie Vans by Lyft. Taking a bus, monorail, boat or Minnie Van will get you close the entrance of the park. You skip the step of parking and boarding the tram then going to the entrance. Knowing the roads and routes of Disney World isn’t necessary and you avoid the stress of driving in theme park traffic. Finally, you save money by not needing to rent a car and pay for fuel.

Now let’s take a look at the advantages of driving. You have complete freedom to leave when you want and go wherever you feel like it. You get in your car and you’re off! You can also go wherever you like on or off Disney property. (Outlet stores anyone!) When dining at other resorts there are no transfers of Disney transportation, you drive up to the security gate and they scan your MagicBand and you’re in! Plus, you get free parking. Here is the added bonus of driving yourself. You can explore Walt Disney World. That means driving past the new entrance to Hollywood Studios or seeing other construction take place, (both things that a Disney nerd like myself enjoy).

Lets recap! If you want dependability and convenience you stick to Disney transportation. There are few headaches here except for the occasional tired child who happens to be a little fussy on the bus ride back to the resort when the park closes. (Yeah can’t blame them and I’ll be honest I think that is me some nights!) If you want a little more freedom and exploration opportunities than you take the car. You’re in control with this option but you will walk a little more in parking lots and at the end of the night you will be asking “did we park in Goofy row 97 or Donald row 57?”

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

 

Walt Disney World’s newest attraction, Flight of Passage, is a like no other attraction at on property. This immersive ride will take you on breath-taking journey over the land on the back of a Banshee. This exciting new experience will leave you wanting to explore Pandora again and again.

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Like the Na’vi, guests can connect with these animals and form a lifelong bond with these magnificent creatures at The Rookery, which is located inside Windtraders, the primary merchandise location on Pandora.

The Rookery sits beneath a brightly colored hand-painted map depicting banshees soaring over Pandora. At the Rookery, a Naturalist from Alpha Centauri Expeditions will assist you in identifying a favorite Banshee from among 10 unique styles. Each interactive Banshee includes three ranges of motion – mouth, head, and wings – that are controlled by hand. Guests will also hear them make authentic banshee sounds, as they travel on your shoulder or sit on their perch.

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At the Rookery, guests can participate in a selection process where they are able to select their own Banshees to care for and take home. Guests are then asked to take the Banshee Pledge, which teaches the importance of the banshee as a symbol of their commitment to the environment.

Adopting a Banshee is a wonderful way to remember your adventures on Pandora. Banshees are $50 a piece and their perch can be purchased for $15. This unique keepsake has been in high demand since the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar in May 2017. Colors and styles are subject to availability.

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Want to know more about Pandora! Check out our blogs on this magnificent new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Oh my favorite thing…food on VACA!! What’s even better? Having a meal where you can get a great portion and awesome food for the money (or quick service credit) you are spending. Below is the top 5 based on food quantity and/or quality based on my personal experience along with our agent’s and guest’s favorites!

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Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

Have you ever walked into one of the parks at Walt Disney World and wonder who those people were wearing the same outfit taking everyone’s picture?  They are actually photographers that are part of Disney’s PhotoPass.  They will take your pictures at some of the most memorable places and in front of some of the iconic landmarks of Walt Disney World.  Once they take your picture, they will scan your MagicBand or park ticket to automatically link it to your My Disney Experience account.  From there you can browse through all of the pictures that were taken and decide if you’d like to purchase any to download.

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Instead of paying for individual photos, your best option is to include Disney’s Memory Maker with your vacation package.  The Memory Maker photo package lets you download all of the pictures that were taken by Disney’s PhotoPass photographers for one up front cost.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Now, here’s something special that can happen when a Disney PhotoPass Photographer takes your picture.  It’s called a Magic Shot.  It combines the great photograph of you and your family with some Disney magic!  Before these Magic Shots were sprinkled throughout the parks and were sometimes hard to find.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Disney’s now made them easy to find!  By visiting Disney PhotoPass Service Facebook page, and clicking on the Albums tab, there’s a photo album showing each park’s current Magic Shot offerings and where they can be found inside the parks.  It’s always updated and there will be more Magic Shots available during festivals and holidays.  

 

Whether you’d like to have a picture with Stitch, Figment or Sebastian, you’ll now be able to know before you head to the parks if they’re available and where to go to find them!  Magic Shots is certainly a great added feature to the PhotoPass service that you’ll surely not want to miss!

Are you ready to book your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and the Mouse agent today! All of our agents are highly trained in Disney vacation planning!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

To Infinity and Beyond!

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldHowdy, Howdy, Howdy!!!  Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies, and I am super excited to announce that coming summer 2018 Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to a new Toy Story Land!  The idea of this new land is similar to that of Cars Land at Disneyland, it is an all immersive land where you actually feel like you are walking around Radiator Springs {such a fun land to visit}!  The new Toy Story Land will shrink down guests and become Andy’s new toys!  

The new 11 acres of Andy’s backyard play area you will be full of Toy Story fun! You will find 2 new amazing attractions 1. The Slinky Dog Dash Family Friendly Rollercoaster and 2. Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania will continue in operation and has actually extend its track for a longer and even more entertaining ride.

The Slinky Dog Dash will be a coaster that the whole family can enjoy. The track {designed by Andy using his Mega Coaster Play Kit} will stretch, as long as Slinky Dog can, throughout the new land.

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldThe other new attraction will be Alien Swirling Saucers.  This attraction is inspired by the first film and Andy’s visit to Pizza Planet.  In the film, Buzz and Woody were stuck in the claw game.  The claw makes a big appearance during this new attractions as it looms over riders that are spinning and swirling in their toy flying saucers trying to keep away from the aliens as they try to catch you with “The Claw”.

Toy Story Mania is a beloved attraction by many and it will be getting even better.  The fan-favorite attraction will be adding even more track with the opening of this new Toy Story Land. Guests will also get the chance to travel under Andy’s bed. They will see an amazing carnival that Andy has built.  

If you’re ready to check out this new addition, 2018 packages for next summer are already being reserved!  Be sure to contact a Me and the Mouse Agent for more information and to get your families visit to Walt Disney World and Toy Story Land planned! We know you are going to love this new expansion!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatAs many of you know, Florida is quite HOT in the summer. When visiting the area, many families are trying to figure out the best way to CHILL out! On our last day trip to Disney Springs, we stumbled upon one the coolest new FREE things to do for the kids {and adults}! It was the Beat the Heat Dance Party!!!

This fun dance party is located at a water fountain area. It’s nestled near Once Upon a Toy, the Carousel and Earl of Sandwich! The Beat the Heat Dance party has a live DJ, umbrellas for the parents that need a little shade, hula hoops and water toys and of course WATER!!  Spinning the latest hits, the DJ’s keep the party going from 1pm – 5pm {and again in the evening from 6pm – 10pm} all summer long!  It reminded me of the Resorts’ pool interactive recreation activities they have for the kids! However, it has the flexibility of having it in the open marketplace, an unexpected surprise!!

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatIt was a great way for my 8 year old to be able to cool down and my 3 year old nephew to have some play time too, without feeling like they were crowded or had to take turns waiting in lines for slides and rides. It was so convenient, and we all loved it! Disney Springs continues to amaze me with all of the creative additions to their already spectacular revamp. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this FREE admission area then you certainly need to! There are always new activities and events that Disney plans for Disney Springs.

Ready to plan your trip {or DAY TRIP} to Disney?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We are highly trained and would love to bring a little extra magic to your vacation!

 

Amy Pattee

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

As the summer fun continues to rise at Walt Disney World, your family will enjoy the opportunity to cool down and enjoy some delicious tasty treats while visiting the parks.  We’re sharing  our list of Cool Treats to enjoy at Walt Disney World in 2017!!! Enjoy!!

 

  1. Night Blossom: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    This fun drink can only be found at Pongu Pongu inside Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom Park.  The Night Blossom is a non-alcoholic limeade slushy with apple and pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining plan}

 

  1. Dole Whip Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Identified as my FAVORITE snack on property, the Dole Whip Float should NOT be missed on a trip to the Magic Kingdom. You will find this amazing treat made up of pineapple soft serve surrounded by freshly squeezed pineapple juice only at the Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom. While Dole Whip ice cream can be found at the Polynesian Village Resort, I highly recommend the float version as you enjoy the sounds of the birds from the Tiki Room in the background. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Lefou’s Brew:

    Beauty and the Beast fans will certainly want to stop by Gaston’s Tavern located in the New Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom to enjoy Lefou’s Brew. This special treat is a no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. The Plaza Sundae:

    The All-American sundae at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA is a memorable treat that you will want to check out on your visit. You will enjoy your view of the Castle as you enjoy old-fashioned vanilla and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, peanut butter drizzle, whipped cream, and a cherry. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Root Beer Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Don’t let this classic treat pass you by!  The refreshing root beer crystalizes as it meets the cold vanilla soft-served! This makes it the perfect scrumptious treat to cool down with as you visit the parks.  While root beer floats can be found at multiple locations, my favorite is at Storybook Treats in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Apple Pie Sundae:

    This brand new dessert can be found near Test Track at the adjacent Taste Track beverage and snack kiosk. Currently, this location is only open seasonally. You will find several unique sundae options here, but the apple pie sundae is what caught my attention.  This large sundae is made up of soft vanilla iced cream drizzled with caramel sauce topped with vanilla beach whipped cream and Caramel popcorn and salted caramel pearls. All of this deliciousness is surrounded by three warm apple pie pockets pressed into the sundae. This treat is not on the Disney Dining Plan. However, the $6.50 charge is worth it to enjoy this special, tasty treat at EPCOT!

 

  1. Doughnut Sundae:

    This treat is new to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, but the doughnut sundae was a “must have” for my 16 year old! We were able to try out this incredible new sweet treat on his recent band trip! The doughnut sundae includes a glazed doughnut topped with your choice of hand-scooped Edy’s ice cream, hot fudge, a cinnamon apple topping, whipped cream, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and of course, a cherry.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Mickey Ice Cream Bar: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    A Disney vacation is not complete without enjoying a classic Mickey ice cream bar. This premium Mickey-shaped, treat is first made up of creamy vanilla ice cream. Then, it’s dipped in a thick, decedent chocolatey coating. You will not want to miss out on this classic, rich treat. Mickey’s premium ice cream bars can be found across the Walt Disney World property! You can find them at various ice cream carts, snack stands and quick service dining locations. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Citrus Swirl:

    Located at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, guests will find a tasty treat with the citrus swirl.  It’s a blend of orange slush with vanilla soft-serve ice cream! This sweet treat is a family favorite when we are visiting Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch Ice Cream:

    L’Artisan des Glaces is hidden gem tucked away in France at the World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot.  This ice cream shop sells sixteen different flavors of house-made ice cream and sorbet. While there are so many options, we continually go back for the apple & crumble crunch which reminds us of all the goodness of your favorite apple pie.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney WorldWhile menus are subject to change, the Disney Parks continue to offer amazing treats and dining opportunities to their guests.  Check out our website and visit our blog for additional information on the Disney Dining Plans and restaurant reviews!

Ready to give these 10 treats a try? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book your next Disney vacation today!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

The live action movie release of Beauty and the Beast brought a new generation to love this classic love story. Emma Watson’s character displays a beauty that stems from self-sacrificial love and looks beyond her circumstances to find true love. If you are ready to create your own Beauty and the Beast themed vacation when visiting Walt Disney World, visit these must see attractions as Disney beckons you to “Be our guest!”

Magic Kingdom

Start your day at Enchanted Tales with Belle. First, explore Maurice’s cottage and workshop, and then enter the wardrobe room. Some audience members will be selected before each showing to participate in a heartfelt retelling of the story along with the help of Lumiere and Belle.


Gaston’s Tavern is a great place for a snack during your day. Treat yourself to a warm cinnamon roll and LeFou’s Brew. You can then meet Gaston outside his Tavern and get ready to pose for your picture.

Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!

Looking for a souvenir? Bonjour! Village Gifts includes all types of merchandise that feature Belle, the Beast, and all the magical castle characters. Bring home a t-shirt, doll, Chip mug, or Belle’s favorite souvenir, a book.

Be Our Guest is one of most coveted dining reservations on property where you can eat in Grand Ballroom, the Castle Gallery, or the West Wing. Breakfast and lunch are quick service meals {reservations required} while dinner offers full table service. At dinnertime, save room for The Grey Stuff which is definitely delicious! While not an official character meal, the Beast will often greet guests in his private library after dinner service only. Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!

Epcot

Belle’s quiet village is located in France so it’s not a surprise that she often appears in France for meet and greets over in World Showcase. Perhaps, you’ll find her near the water fountain at the front of the country.

If you are looking for another dining opportunity, Belle is often not only a frequent visitor at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, but often the host princess at the front of the restaurant. Located in Norway, Akershus is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features multiple princess greeting opportunities. Please note that occasionally Belle has other royal commitments and does not guarantee her attendance at the restaurant.

Hollywood Studios

Create your own Beauty and the Beast Vacation!With multiple shows per day, the Theater of the Stars hosts a 25 minute musical production of Beauty and the Beast Live. Watching this Broadway style performance will bring you back to the first time you saw the movie and you will fall in love again with the tale as old as time. 

For one last meet and greet opportunity, you can look for Belle at Character Palooza. She some times appears at Character Palooza – an unscheduled character meet and greet from 4-7 located at Hollywood Studios on select days.

Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful story that comes to life in Wal Disney World. Step into the story retold as Walt Disney World invites you to be their guest!

Ready to plan your Beauty and the Beast vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We are highly trained in all things Disney, and we’d love to add a little extra magic to your next vacation!

Michelle Browne

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