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

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

Tip #1

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

Tip #2

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

Tip #3

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

Tip #4

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

Tip #5

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

 

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

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

Today, I am sharing with you 5 incredible places to meet Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World.  What is a “Meet and Greet” you ask?  It is a designated spot to find Disney Characters.  Your family is able to meet with them, take pictures and get their autographs. Meeting a character is one of the best things you can do on your Disney Vacation! It is so much fun to get your picture, but you also get to experience their personality in real life {the characters do some pretty entertaining things!}. Take a look at my favorite spots to meet the Mouse himself!

 

5 Favorite Spots to Meet Mickey Mouse:

 

  1. Magic Kingdom – located on Main Street USA in the Town Square Theater5 Favorite Places to Meet Mickey at Walt Disney World

Meet Talking Mickey dressed as a magician at this location.  It is so fun interacting with your “favorite” mouse. If you’re lucky, he might even show you one of his magic tricks. 

 

  1. Epcot – located in Future World at the Epcot Character Spot

At this location, you will find lovable Mickey Mouse in his regular dapper attire. If you’re someone that is looking for a classic Mickey Mouse picture, this is where you should go! 

 

  1. Hollywood Studios – located on Commissary Lane – Red Carpet Dreams near the New Star Tours

Meet Mickey all dressed up as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. 5 Favorite Places to Meet Mickey at Walt Disney World

 

  1. Animal Kingdom – located in Discovery Island – Adventurers Outpost

Meet Mickey the Explorer dressed as a safari guide to find a new adventure! This outfit might be my personal favorite {in addition to the classic}, and Minnie looks pretty cute as well! 

 

  1. Character Dining Location – “Chef Mickey” – located at the Contemporary Resort

Looking for a two for one opportunity? You can join Mickey {and Friends} while dining and celebrating! If you have a busy trip and want to make the most of your time, this might be right up your alley. You can enjoy delicious Disney dining and meet Mickey at the same time! Plus – Mickey is adorable dressed as a Chef. What more could you want? 

 

Ready to plan your trip to meet the mouse? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

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

 

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

The Pandora Experience

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

The Pandora Experience

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

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

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

Courtney Rooney

Guest Blogger

 

Quick Service Dining at Pandora – The World of AVATAR

The Satuli Canteen is a the Quick Service Dining location in Pandora:  The World of Avatar.  It has a unique menu of healthy dishes to satisfy all travelers exploring the Valley of Mo’ara on Pandora.
Situated between the Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey,  this former RDA (Resource Development Administration) mess hall is now a peaceful resting spot adorned with the art of the Na’vi and supplying travelers with all the comforts of home.  Travelers will find cuisine inspired by their journey through the Valley of Mo’ara.  Satuli Canteen is considered a fast-casual restaurant on the Quick Service Dining Plan. Our meals were served off a china bowls, reminiscent of flora of the natural habitat.  Guests will find silverware to dine with, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.  Self-serve drink stations are also available.

 

Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service RestaurantSince I do not have an adventuresome palette, I was hesitant that I would find a meal that I would enjoy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find multiple offerings for even the pickiest of diners.  The “Create Your Own Satu’li Bowl” seemed to be the most popular choice. Visitors first choose their PROTEIN, which include beef, chicken, fish or tofu.  Next, you choose your BASE (vegetable salad, potato hash, mixed whole grain and rice or Romaine and Kale salad).  Step 3 is to select your sauce:  charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing.  I recommend the Creamy Herb Dressing.  The Steamed “Pods” Bao Buns were also very flavorful.  Guests will want to make room for “Ber’ri” (dessert) as the Chocolate Cake and Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse were both highlights of this dining adventure. Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service RestaurantPandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

 


For young guests traveling the valley, there’s an option of grilled chicken or beef, fish or tofu with greens or rice; cheese quesadilla, a hot dog wrapped in Parker House dough; or a steamed “pod” (cheeseburger bao bun). 

Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

Satuli Canteen is the first fast-casual restaurant to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app.  Guests will be able to bypass the queue to order when they arrive at the restaurant. Using the app, guests can select menu items, customize their order and pre-pay for their meal with a credit card. When they arrive at the restaurant they will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. Guests will be notified through the app to pick up their meal at a specific window.   While Satu’li Canteen is on the Disney Dining Plan, the Mobile Order only accepts credit card payments at this time. Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

 

Satuli Canteen is one of the best overall counter service restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With a great variety of options allowing guests to customize their dishes, there is something for everyone at this a former RDA commissary.

Are you ready to experience Pandora for yourself? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your next trip!

 

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosIf you are like most Universal Orlando guests, you start your morning by running to the back of Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure to beat the crowds to see all of the Harry Potter attractions.  After some playing, you are bound to feel hungry.  Good news!  You can continue to feel the magic of the Wizarding World with meals and snacks inspired by the series.
On the Universal Studios side, immerse yourself in London, get all of your Wizarding supplies and grab a meal at the Leaky Cauldron.  This restaurant serves breakfast,  lunch and dinner in the setting of the famous pub right out of the movies.   I prefer to grab breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron just after my ride on the Escape From Gringotts and before heading over to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express.  On the Islands of Adventure side, head over to Three Broomsticks from some traditional English fare.  The ordering stations are laid out to look just like you are checking in as a guest of this famous inn.  This restaurant does a fabulous job of immersing guests into the movie while they enjoy a tasty meal.

 

Do I need to make reservations?

Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosNo!  Both of these restaurants are considered counter service locations so simply decide when you want to eat, walk up and order.  Prices range from a reasonable $9.99-$16.99 or 1 counter service credit on the Universal Dining Plan.  Both of these restaurants are pretty busy all day, but don’t let a line deter you.  They move people very quickly and there is always room to sit.

 

Leaky Cauldron - Universal Studios

If you are having way too much fun to take time to sit and eat, but still want to experience some Harry Potter treats, there are plenty of options.  If Butterbeer is what you crave, there are plenty of Butterbeer carts in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley served regular, frozen or my personal favorite, Butterbeer ice cream.  If you want a more magical snack to take home as a souvenir, visit Honeydukes in Hogsmeade.  You can fill your own bag of Bertie Bott’s, take home some Butterbeer fudge or surprise your friends with some Exploding Bon Bons!

 

Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosUniversal does an excellent job of immersing guests in the magic of Harry Potter.  Eating like a wizard here is a magical experience for both adults and kids.

 

For more information about Universal or to book your vacation, please contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist. We are highly trained in both Universal and Disney destinations, and we would love to assist you!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

Looking for a Rootin’ Tootin’ good time?

Hoop Dee Doo Musical at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
If you want a different experience, head on over to Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for a night of entertainment and dinner.  Hoop Dee Doo Review is fun for the whole family.  This show is truly entertaining. You’ll love how the entertainers interact with the audience getting everyone engaged in the hand clapping, foot stomping, sing-along fun!

Grab your cowboy boots and then kick back and relax! You’ll enjoy a non-stop interactive Wild West performance which includes dancing, singing, and hilarious comedy. Your waiter will serve your meal family style while you and your family enjoy the show! The offerings are “finger-lickin’ good” and include: all-you-care-to-eat smoked BBQ pork ribs, crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, baked beans, salad, seasonal vegetable, delicious cornbread, and amazing strawberry short cake for dessert.  

Hoop Dee Doo Musical at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Non alcoholic beverages are included for the whole family! For the “young-at-heart,” {but over 21 crowd} unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria is included and served when you serve up proper identification!!  Yee Haw!

There are 3 Hoop Dee Doo shows per night and prepayment and reservations are required.  Three categories of tables and pricing are offered with two levels of seating available to guests.


Be sure to allow plenty of time for transportation.  You won’t want to miss any of this dinner show.

If you and your family want to experience the unique Hoop Dee Doo experience, contact a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist for assistance in making reservations. 

 

 


See More From Our Incredible Visit:

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

An Authentic German Experience

{& Perfect for the WHOLE Family!}

Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!One of my family’s top Disney dining picks is the Biergarten Restaurant. In our opinion, it’s one of Disney’s best kept dining secret.  It’s tucked away in Germany within the World Showcase at Epcot.  We found the podium outside of the restaurant, but we had no clue what fun was behind the front doors!
My family happened to discover it on accident.  During one of our Disney vacations, we decided that we wanted to try a new restaurant.  This is easy to do as there are so many options at Disney World.  However, when you’re a party of 12 wanting to eat dinner somewhere within the next 3 hours, this can complicate things.  One of the only places that could accommodate us was Biergarten.  Taking a chance, we all agreed to try this restaurant.  It turned out to be the best decision we made. Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

We walked in with no expectations.  What we encountered when we walked behind the doors was a restaurant located in a Biergarten during Oktoberfest.  There were tables that sat 12 guests centered around an Oktoberfest Stage and dance floor.  Every so often, an authentic German Polka Band would perform on stage and encourage guests to come down and polka along to the music.  This was great for all of the little kids to come down and dance with each other or with their family members.

Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

Another big hit was the authentic German cuisine.  We enjoyed the buffet selections such as bratwurst, rotisserie chicken, pork schnitzel and a variety of salads.  Oh, and don’t forget the Bavarian cheesecake and hand-pulled apple strudel that’s made fresh daily.  There was something on the buffet that everyone enjoyed, even the kids who have a more selective palate.

 

And if you’re 21 or older and would like to taste some specially brewed German beers or wines, you’re in the right place for that too.  With so many different options to choose from, you have the option to order a flight to sample some that peak your interest. Biergarten Restaurant at Epcot!

 

All of these things combined have made the Biergarten Restaurant one of our family’s top picks for dining at Walt Disney World and will be on our list of place to eat every time we go.  We hope that you will take a chance and enjoy the same things that we do at this restaurant.

If you’d like to add this to your next Disney World experience, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

One of my fellow agents, Ryan Gross, wrote a blog on all that was sweet and savory in Walt Disney World {read it, here!}, and mentioned ‘poutine’ as one of his favorites.  If you’d like to know more about this savory treat, you’re in luck!

The Daily Poutine - Disney Springs Dining

The Daily Poutine is a small, brick, ‘snack’ stand in Disney Spring, located roughly behind the Lego Store in the Marketplace, but not quite in the Town Center. It overlooks a lovely fountain and the savory smells billowing from this stand will keep you close by.

 

Promoting ‘gourmet frites’, the Daily Poutine makes 4 different poutine dishes.  Served in a large bowl, you will find it filled with french fries and cheese curds, and topped with heavenly items.  It’s a great treat to share for two {or a great meal for one}!

 

Classic poutine is covered in brown, beef gravy.  Simple, delicious, and so filling. I had never had it before – and it was my favorite! Italian poutine tastes like a meatball sub on french fries. Mmm! French poutine reminds me of cream of mushroom on french fries…I didn’t like it, but it may be your favorite!

BRAND NEW: As of Memorial Day weekend 2017, The Daily Poutine has added a Cheeseburger Poutine to its menu! French fries are covered with ground beef, Beer cheese sauce, traditional burger toppings – including house-made pickles!  It’s topped with traditional poutine cheese curds as well!

The Daily Poutine - Disney Springs DiningIf you are looking for a ‘meal’, I suggest the Latin poutine.  It uses fried yucca instead of fries, however, you’ll get black beans, rice, melted cheese and pulled pork on top!  It’s just the right spice, warmth and texture to fill that comfort food void.

 

What’s a great thing about poutine, well, next to the comforting flavors?  Low prices for a snack that could serve as a meal; and if you’re on the dining plan, most drinks at this location are covered as a snack credit.  

 

If you’re looking for something quick, portable, and that ‘hit the spot’ taste…look no further than the poutine at The Daily Poutine at Disney Springs. Ready to take the stress away from planning your Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today, we would LOVE to help plan your next magical getaway!

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

At Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershus Royal Banquet Hall

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located at Epcot’s Norway Pavillion. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet and greet with Disney Royalty on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
 
Join the Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining inside a medieval castle setting in heart of Norway.  When you arrive, guests are immediately greeted by Belle in her gorgeous yellow ballgown.  Don’t worry, a Photopass photographer is present! This means you will have a fantastic photo on your Memory Maker photo account. You will be able to enjoy later and send out to family and friends.
 

Akershus Royal Banquet HallAfter your visit with Belle, guests are are seated in one of two rooms reminiscent of great hall inside a storybook castle.  On my most recent visit, our waiter Paal explained the menu and made suggestions from the menu.  At lunch and dinner, every Guest’s royal feast begins with a “Taste of Norway”. This features Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and a wide selection of salads and fruits.  I went with Paal’s suggestions of  Tradisjonell Kjøttkake  (Swedish meatballs), which was very good.  
 
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
As we dined, many of our favorite Disney Princeses circulated the restaurant and visited with each table.  The Princesses spent amble time with each table allowing for conversation and multiple photo opportunities. By the end of our meal, we were able to meet with Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Mulan in addition to our formal picture time with Belle.  The Princesses also invite your own little Prince or Princesses to join in the fun. Your child will be able to join their Princess Parade through the restaurant.  I witnessed many smiles as the little princesses waved to guests as they followed the Disney Princesses through the restaurant greeting and welcoming guests to the hall.  
Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershaus Royal Banquet hall is an excellent opportunity to visit with your favorite Disney Princess. {It only uses 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining plan!}  Lunch and dinner menus have more of an acquired palette. However, children will find traditional favorites like pizza and pasta on their menu.  Be sure to check out the menu here first to see if it fits your family’s taste.  Otherwise, my recommendation would be to book a breakfast here and enjoy traditional favorites like waffles, bacon and eggs.
 
Character dining is a great way to skip the lines and visit with multiple Disney friends as one time.  If your little one is anxious to meet their favorite Disney Princesses then a meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall will be a lasting Disney memory for your family.   Want to know more about character dining opportunities with the Princesses, you can read more in our blog, HERE or contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist for more details.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

A Multicultural Treat for the Senses

Food and Garden Festival at Epcot in 2017Epcot is in full bloom every spring during my favorite time of year: The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!  From now until May 29, guests from all over the world can experience the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of Epcot in this sense-indulging experience.

 

Epcot is never more beautiful than during the Flower and Garden Festival.  Character topiaries not only greet you at the park entrance, but can be found all over Future World and World Showcase.  Food and Garden Festival at Epcot in 2017Fan favorites like Mickey and Minnie, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Anna and Elsa and many more are arranged beautifully with various plants and flowers.  My personal favorite is the Beauty and the Beast display in France.  Not only do they look gorgeous, but the aroma is every bit as tantalizing.  There are more than 100 topiaries all over Epcot, making for some wonderful photo opportunities.

Tip: Make sure you purchase Memory Maker if you are visiting Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.  Not only will the Photopass photographers take wonderful pictures of your family with these beautiful backgrounds or even do a Magic Shot or two, but the stock photos that you can download from your Memory Maker of the character topiaries are fabulous quality! Food and Garden Festival at Epcot in 2017

 

Like the Food and Wine Festival, one of the highlights of the Flower and Garden Festival are the outdoor kitchens.  There are 15 outdoor kitchen booths located throughout Epcot specializing in small plate samples, desserts and alcoholic beverages.  The outdoor kitchens range in offerings from “farm fresh” to French, Chinese, Moroccan and other international cuisine.  The Frushi (fruit sushi) in Japan is a popular favorite for guests every year.  Who can say no to fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon rolled with raspberry coconut rice with a side of whipped cream for dipping?

Food and Garden Festival at Epcot in 2017Tip: Add a Disney Dining Plan to your package and use your snack credits for treats from the various outdoor kitchens.  With food prices at $5-$6 per item, it is a wonderful way to use your snack credits!

 

Also during this time, Epcot is rockin’ with the Garden Rocks Concert Series.  During the Flower and Garden Festival, guests can enjoy free concerts at the America Pavilion in World Showcase.  Some of this year’s acts include the Plain White Ts, Pointer Sisters, Gin Blossoms, Little River Band and many more.

Tip: Add a Garden Rocks Dining Package to one of 15 different table service restaurants located in Epcot for guaranteed seating.  Food and Garden Festival at Epcot in 2017

 
If you are visiting Walt Disney World in the spring, Epcot s an absolute must do.  Alive with color, tasty cuisine and music, there is not a more beautiful time to visit. If you would like to visit the Epcot Flower and Garden festival, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today.

 

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist