Located in the heart of Africa is quick service restaurant, The Mara! OK, so you don’t need to travel that far to enjoy the amazing food this restaurant has to offer…although the scenery within its proximity is reminiscent of African lands. This restaurant is easily located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort.

What makes this hidden gem stand out the most? The taste of course! The Mara is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your breakfast offerings can range from the traditional fare (like bacon, eggs, and waffles) or you can be adventurous and try something beyond what you’re accustomed to. The bounty platter and Bobotie platter both offer Pap and Chakalaka as part of the meal. I also have never had a breakfast flatbread before, but it sounds amazing with sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, and cheddar. A perfect twist on traditional breakfast foods.

Lunch and dinner options, again, will offer the traditional foods we can find anywhere (burgers, chicken nuggets, and Caesar salads)…but what about their unique offerings? African Potjie (African stew), Braai Chicken Flatbread, or a Chef’s choice hand carved sandwich with Kool Slaai are just some offerings you will not find traditionally in other areas of Disney World. You may also enjoy a hearty meal like the oak-fired rotisserie chicken dinner that I loved or a filling mixed tomato flatbread if you are less adventurous but still looking for a lot of flavor. Lunch and dinner also offer the ‘soup of the moment’….can I just say, wow! The offerings of soup change daily, which allows you the opportunity to try something new and bold on various visits. I had the chicken corn chowder and it did not disappoint. Daily they offer the amazing butternut squash soup, a staple that is loved by those who frequent the location.

Do not forget dessert! There are a variety to choose from, like zebra cupcakes, Oreo cheesecake, and even Pina Colada cupcakes, but they’re most famously known for their zebra domes. If you are gluten free, there is no need to worry, because at special request, they will make these well-known domes for you to enjoy as well. They are so good, you do not even notice the difference!

Being that this location is in a Disney Resort, you won’t find a Disney bus that will take you from your resort directly here. Simply take a bus from any of the parks to Animal Kingdom Lodge and ensure you exit at Jambo House (not Kidani Village). From the lobby, go to the right and down the stairs and outside to the covered walkway to get there.

This dining location is hands down one of my favorites on property! From the theming inside of the wetlands and grasslands of the reserve to being able to make a 5-minute walk to the outside viewing area of the savanna, stopping here for a bite to eat and relaxing scenery afterward is my idea of a perfect evening in Disney World.

The Mara Menu

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

Innovation and change is a constant throughout Walt Disney World.  The Edison, recently opened at Disney Springs is the bee’s knee’s!  It is surrounded by 3 other recently opened venues as well.  Each with their own unique offerings, but the focus of this review is the largest of the group!

A larger than life clock tower greeted us as we entered the dining area. There was so much to take in as we were seated.  Even the uniforms of the cast members were reminiscent of a 1920’s Speakeasy!  We were greeted quickly once we sat down and our server pointed out interesting areas throughout the venue to enjoy.  There were tables throughout the upper and lower area of the restaurant.  She quickly pointed out that in the evenings, the lower area tables are removed and that area is used for dancing.  Although families are welcome for lunch and early evening to dine, after 10pm, the venue is an adults only location!  Please note, when visiting this location late night, you may be required to pay a cover charge.  A dress code is also followed: Men may wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts, jackets are optional. No ball caps, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops allowed.

Movies from the 1920’s are playing in various locations throughout the venue.  There is a trapeze apparatus hanging from the ceiling and our server shared with us that a performer will use the trapeze multiple times each evening over the weekend.  A live band will fill the restaurant with classic cabaret tunes and even dancers in their classic 1920’s attire will inspire guests to cut a rug!!!  There are several full service bars throughout the venue with 20’ inspired cocktails!

We are always excited to try a new dining location, and that is what drew us to enjoy The Edison on our spontaneous shopping day!  The menu is very succinct, yet intriguing.  I was thankful to have a dining partner who was agreeable to sharing, as I could not decide what to order.  Ultimately, we chose to enjoy the Organic Tomato soup and grilled cheese, as well as the Edison burger  with a side of fries.  The grilled cheese was indulgent and oozing with cheese, with a wonderfully crispy bread.  The burger was a mix of ground sirloin, short rib and brisket meat.  Flavorful and juicy, covered with a delicious cheddar cheese, with an onion ring, bacon and the standard lettuce and tomato.  We requested to have the “special sauce” on the side.  It appeared to be similar to Thousand island dressing.  Despite feeling ravenous when we were seated, we were unable to finish the entrée’s.

My daughter was connecting topics she had learned in school to various details throughout the venue.  Although, this is an in demand adult only location in the evenings, do not hesitate to enjoy this venue with your family into the early evening!  The food was delicious, and if you are an appetizer person, they offer candied bacon and dancing corn dogs. Unfortunately, we were wet blankets and were too full to entertain the idea of ordering dessert.

What are you most excited to experience at The Edison?

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

 

Rotational dining is a unique dining experience on Disney Cruise Lines, which allows all guests the opportunity to enjoy dinner in each of the restaurants onboard. Guests receive their specific rotation when they check-in at the port. Each evening, all guests will rotate to an assigned restaurant along with their wait-staff and tablemates to a new restaurant. Depending on the length of the cruise, some/all restaurants will be experienced at least once on each cruise. However, if a guest is scheduled for more than one night in the same restaurant, the menu will change, so every night truly is a unique experience.

The restaurants onboard each ship:

Disney Magic

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Lumiere’s
  • Carioca’s

Disney Wonder

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Triton’s
  • Tiana’s Place

Disney Dream

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Royal Palace
  • Enchanted Garden

Disney Fantasy

  • Animator’s Palate
  • Royal Court
  • Enchanted Garden

If you decide you do not want to visit one of the restaurants on the rotation, you are welcome to enjoy dining at Cabana’s or one of the quick serve restaurants on the pool deck or simply enjoy a quiet evening in your stateroom by ordering room service. All are included in your cruise fare. Enjoy your cruise and bon appetite.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I find it fitting to talk about the charming little French bakery that adorns Disney Springs. After a long afternoon of shopping, or even for a fun little date, Amorette’s Patisserie provides the perfect setting to tantalize the taste buds.

While sandwiches aren’t the first thing you think about getting at a French bakery, you absolutely should at Amorette’s. They only have three to choose from, but they are some of the most delicious sandwiches! They have Smoked Turkey on Focaccia, Smoked Ham, also on Focaccia, and a Vegetable Croissant. The first two are both delicious, but it is the Vegetable Croissant that steals the show. I am not a vegetarian at all, but I just couldn’t resist after seeing it in person. It comes on a multi-grain croissant with herb cream cheese spread, zucchini, mushrooms, roasted onions and tomatoes, arugula, spinach and red quinoa. Even though it sounds “healthy,” it’s bursting with flavor. Additionally, all three are accompanied by a salad dressed with a fantastic vinaigrette. The sandwiches are truly the perfect opening act for the vast amount of pastries and cakes they offer.

Now, onto why you are reading this… let’s talk pastries and cakes! There are glass cases filled with different types of pastries. From the key lime tart to the New York cheesecake with lemon curd, blueberries, and Chantilly whipped cream, to the Mickey Mousse (no, that wasn’t’ a typo) which is chocolate chiffon cake with both dark chocolate mousse and white chocolate mousse. Not only are these pastries delicious, but each one is intricately designed. They also offer macaroons, Crème Brûlée, chocolate covered strawberries, and even crepes, just to name a few. You can also enjoy these treats with a latte or some bubbly.

Now you remember when I said it would be a good place for a date? At this point you are probably scratching your head as to how a quick service restaurant would be an ideal date spot, or maybe you just assumed I was a cheap date (ask my husband, I am not…lol). But the reason that I said that is because Amorette’s offers a 90-minute cake decorating experience. In it, you will learn the process of cake decorating from design to completion and also learn how to pour glaçage and coat Mickey’s ears, tail, belt, and buttons with edible paint. Drinks, both alcoholic and non, are included and you get to take your cake home with you after the class. Classes are $149 for two people and reservations are required for the cake-decorating class so if it’s something you are interested in, make sure to talk to your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist to get it set up for you.

If you happen to be at Disney Springs, make sure you stop by the quaint little corner spot and I promise you won’t regret it!

Jen Morrison

Travel Specialist

With the continued hype of Jurassic Park movies, it’s no doubt that the T-Rex restaurant in Disney Springs is still as popular as ever!  This dinosaur themed restaurant is sure to excite the kids in your group and equally satisfy the taste buds of the adults.   

Open for lunch and dinner, T-Rex is a table service dining location with an extensive menu.  As simple as burgers and fries, to seafood and steaks, to salads and pastas, there is something for everyone!  The kids also have some of the most extensive menu options I’ve seen.

As you check in at the podium, you will not miss the 15 foot T-Rex proudly on display as you get ready for an exciting dinner.  To your left you will see the beginning of the themed rooms throughout the restaurant, a room and bar with giant octopus tentacles overhead and a fish tank as the back drop.  As you continue to walk though, other themed areas including a color-changing ice cavern and a fern forest with giant wasps will not go unnoticed.  To keep you completely immersed, every 20 minutes the entire restaurant comes alive as a meteor shower gets every prehistoric creature to react.

Such a variety of food will have you second guessing what to try this visit.  You may want to consider splitting with someone so you can try a couple of different tastes they have to offer.  From the Mega Mes-O-Bones ribs to the Prehistoric Pasta with Chicken, the portion size will not leave you feeling hungry.  There is also a variety of prehistoric drink options to enjoy as you dine, from a glass of wine to a Candy Apple Cotton-tini, there is a drink for satisfy all.  You do not want to skip dessert either!  My favorite (which is made to feed up to four guests), is the Chocolate Extinction.  With some fudge cake, ice cream, caramel and bits of Butterfinger crumbs, this dessert had me eating my husband’s portion as well….do not miss this!!

As you exit, stop at their Dino-Store to check out unique merchandise the kids will love. They are sure to find a great souvenir to bring home.  If they like Build-A-Bear, they will love the chance to Build-A-Dino as a way to remember this fun dining experience.  If you want to skip the shopping experience, at least check out the Paleo Zone, a hands-on experience where the kids will enjoy digging for hidden dinosaur fossils.  They can also pan for treasure in Discovery Creek or check out the interactive displays to learn about “the time before time”.

This location does take reservations starting at 180 days from your trip.  It can be quite the popular spot, so make sure you have your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist add this as one of your choices for dining during your stay.  I personally love to put it on our radar for an Animal Kingdom park day…it really ties in our day in the park and extends it to the evening hours!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

 

Located on the first floor of Disney’s Paradise Pier at Disneyland in California is a hidden gem of a dining experience. The only place on property where you can meet Mickey Mouse while you eat, the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the PCH Grill, is a treat for young and old.

The stars of the show are the characters themselves. Ready for a day at the beach, the characters have stopped by for breakfast before grabbing their surfboards and heading off for a day of fun. While they are there, the characters will stop by your table for pictures, autographs, and the occasional dance party. While Mickey is the official host, some of the characters that might visit your table include Minnie Mouse, Stitch, and Daisy. Pictures with Mickey’s official photographer occur near the entry under the PCH Surf Shack sign. If you wish to have these pictures included with your MaxPass pictures, be sure to have your breakfast scheduled after you have time to enter a park for the day to activate that day’s MaxPass. If you do not have time to activate your MaxPass, the photographer will be happy to use your own camera to take pictures.

The PCH Grill will not disappoint as delicious treats start your day in the most scrumptious manner. You know you are at Disneyland when you see the celebrated Mickey waffles and Minnie pancakes. The Bananas Foster French toast is decadent and the pastries are sublime. Build your own parfait, select one or more the flatbread selections, or enjoy a traditional breakfast of eggs and sausages.

The PCH Grill has a welcoming environment for all. The restaurant is open and airy with large windows showcasing the California sun overlooking Disneyland Drive. The buffet has a wide, curving aisle to move around with your children as they make their selections and the tables have fresh and lively colors to brighten your spirits.

The PCH Grill Surf’s Up! character meal is only available during breakfast hours. Standard dining vouchers, available as a package add on to your Disneyland reservation, are accepted. Dining reservations open up 60 days in advance and reservations are strongly recommended. Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent to book your breakfast and get ready to “hang ten” with Mickey and all his friends!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

When designing the perfect vacation package, there are a lot of questions to ask yourself? What resort would we like to stay at? Base tickets or Hopper tickets? Dining plan or no Dining plan? These are all important questions that your Me and The Mouse Travel specialist is ready to help you navigate and answer as we build a tailored vacation package for YOUR family.

Is the Disney Dining Plan worth adding to my vacation package? What’s included in the Dining Plan? Do we have to order from a select few entrees? These are just are a few questions about the Disney Dining Plan that we are asked from our clients.

YES!!! The Disney Dining Plans is worth it. With over 200 restaurants on property that accept the Disney Dining plan, you will find a wide variety of dining options on the menus at restaurants across the parks, resort properties and Disney Springs. Your dining credits are available from the moment you check-in to your Disney resort and are applicable until midnight of the night you check-out. This flexible plan allows guests options in using their dining credits.

The Disney Dining Plan can actually SAVE you money. In fact, it is about a 15-20% savings on the Disney Dining Plan and about 20-25% on the Deluxe Dining Plan. My family was recently on vacation at Walt Disney World and this is an example of one day’s dining for 1 adult.

Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe – $18.00 (entree and drink)

Snack (Dole Whip) – $5.00

Character Dinner at Chef Mickey’s – $60.00

Snack (The “Plaza” Ice Cream Sundae) -$6.00

Total Cost – $89

With the 2018 Disney Dining Plan (Disney’s most popular dining plan), you receive 1 table service restaurant, 1 counter service restaurant and 2 snacks per person for each night’s stay at your Walt Disney World resort. In addition, NEW for 2018 guests have several new beverage options available including non-alcoholic specialty beverages and, for Guests 21 and older, beer, wine and cocktails with their meal. The cost of the day’s worth of dining on the Disney Dining Plan would be around $70.00!!!

Whether your a family who is “on the go” and doesn’t want to be “too scheduled” with your day, a family that enjoys adding character meals to their itinerary to get that extra one on one time with multiple Disney characters, or a couple looking to experience the amazing Signature Dining experiences that Disney offers its guests, there is a Disney Dining Plan for you! Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist will work with you to determine which dining plan (Quick, Disney or Deluxe) is the perfect fit for your Disney vacation.

If you are like my family, you like having the details of your vacation taken care of. Adding a Disney Dining Plan allows you to save money, as well as lets everyone choose exactly what they want to eat without having to discuss: “How many drinks are we buying? Can I have dessert?” With the Disney Dining Plan, the details are already taken care of for you.

We love the ease and money savings that the Disney Dining plans add to a resort guests stay at Walt Disney World. Let your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist know that you want to include the a Disney Dining Plan to your resort vacation package.

2018 DISNEY DINING PLAN PRICING

*All Disney Dining Plans include a Resort Refillable Mug ($18.00 value) for each guest

**Guests 2 years old or younger do not have to be on a Dining Plan, but are welcome to share a meal with another family member.

Per Adult, Per Night Per Child, Per Night

(ages 10 years and older) (children ages 3-9 years old)

Quick Service Dining: $53 $22

Disney Dining Plan: $76 $26

Deluxe Dining Plan: $116 $40

Any other questions? Contact your Me and The Mouse agent!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

Walt Disney World is a very magical and the happiest place on earth. Everyone is happy and eager to help. There is a hidden gem of a restaurant that things just aren’t what they appear. The restaurant is Whispering Canyon Café located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort.

Walking up to the podium, you’re surrounded by headdresses of past Native American chiefs and other relics from past times. The restaurant’s theme has the same motif. It’s an Old Western eatery that has bottomless platters and chuck wagon favorites will please the whole gang.

Breakfast starts with an all you care to enjoy family platter that’s loaded with breakfast meats, eggs, potatoes and buttermilk biscuits. Lunch and dinner also have some finger licking delicious food. For lunch, there’s a very expansive menu to order from and come dinner time, the family platter isn’t to be beat. It has an all you care to enjoy selection of foods such as chicken, sausage, ribs and amazing sides.

If you’re lucky enough to be at Disney over Thanksgiving or Christmas, be sure to check out the special menu at Whispering Canyon Café. Be sure to make your reservations early, as they will fill up quick! Even though the food is spectacular, the hidden secret are the cast members. While these cast members have the same happy and eager to help attitude, they also have a reputation for sassing customers. They like to play along with the customers and get into some shenanigans. There’s also plenty of fun for the kids! They’re encouraged to play with Lincoln Logs, coloring, spirited sing-alongs and even hobby horse races.

Along with the rustic atmosphere, the fantastic food, and the good natured fun of the cast members, this is a restaurant that you don’t want to miss on your next trip. One tip though, be careful when you ask for refills!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

One of the most popular questions I am asked is “Where is the best place to eat at Universal?”  Unlike Disney, Universal’s in-park dining selections are fairly limited and if you are in the mood for something a little better than burgers, chicken fingers and fries, it is really convenient to leave the park and head to CityWalk.  With so many selections for table service restaurants with prices comparable to in-park counter service restaurants, I highly recommend a table service meal at CityWalk as a much-needed break from the parks.  On my last trip, I visited NBC Sports Grill and Brew and it was my absolute favorite meal.

Menu Selections: For a bar and grill, this restaurant had a huge variety of pastas, burgers, steaks and comfort food selections.  My table enjoyed the Chicken Mac and Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie and the Smokehouse Stack Burger.  As much as we each enjoyed our entrees, the star of this meal was the Large Warm Soft Pretzel.  This was the biggest, most buttery, delicious soft pretzel I have ever had.   Aside from food, you can’t miss the brew!  The beer lover in your family will be in heaven with more than 100 beer selections including one beer brewed exclusively for the restaurant.

Service: Next to the pretzel, I think the service was the next best part of the experience.  Our server made the meal so enjoyable with quick beverage refills and timing the appetizer and main menu service extremely well.  She was fast and very efficient, while also friendly and engaging with our table.

Environment:  If you are there to enjoy each other’s company, this may not be the place for you.  However, if you are trying to catch a game or have a sports-lover in your family, this is the dream.  The restaurant boasts 90+ HDTV screens with every sport/match imaginable.  In the bar, you can find glass-top foosball tables if you want to have competitive drinks with friends.  The theming even carries into the bathrooms with more screens and an athletic locker room feel.  You just can’t help but smile in this place!

During my visit, my family and I walked in during prime dinner hours and were able to get a table immediately so reservations are not required.  With prices between $10-$40 per entrée, and just a couple minute walk from the entrance of Universal Studios park, I highly recommend dining at NBC Sports Grill and Brew.  It’s not only a great meal, but it is an incredibly themed experience you are sure to enjoy.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

My husband and I decided to celebrate our birthdays by trying out a new dining experience. Despite our many visits to Walt Disney World, we continue to strive to have as many new experiences as possible!

We entered the restaurant and we felt as if we had been transported to the Pacific Northwest. The ambiance was very warm and comforting. The décor was rustic yet with notable elegance. We were promptly greated by our server and presented with a beautiful leather bound menu! There was also an extensive, award winning, wine list . They offered over 130 wines from the Pacific Northwest wineries!

We began our meal with a selection of artisanal cheeses all from the Pacific Northwest as well. Each cheese came with a delicious seasonal accompaniments. We had marinated pairs and grapes, a fig and nut bar, a fruit mustarda, and fresh honey. The Point Reyes Toma was my favorite. It was very creamy and delicious on its own, but when paired with the fresh honey it was a whole different flavor explosion.

Artist Point is known for using seasonal ingredients for their “farm to fork” menu. The menu offered many incredible offerings. We both ordered the filet mignon, however my husband added the blue cheese enhancement. The biggest debate of the evening was what sides we were going to order with our entrée! We decided on the mashed potatoes and the truffle macaroni and cheese. We made the right choice! The potatoes were light and creamy and there was plenty to share. The truffle macaroni and cheese was one of the best I have ever eaten. The creamy rich cheese sauce, with the perfectly cooked orecchiette pasta with a crunchy crumb topping. The steaks were perfectly cooked to our specifications and simply presented with a large grilled bulb onion! We were unfortunately too full to order dessert, but they were incredibly tempting!!

Our service was impeccable and we truly savored our celebratory dinner!! Artist Point is a Signature dining location and would require 2 dining entitlements per entrée. Guests are asked to adhere to a dress code, but no fear a jacket is not required! The next time you are looking for a unique dining experience, with a fresh seasonal menu, this is your
place to try. Your travel specialist is here to help you find your next delicious dining experience!

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist