The Magic of Bounce Back Offers

Disney's Best PromotionMaybe you have heard the term “bounce back” on Disney chat boards but aren’t quite sure what that means. If you are someone who would love to be able to visit Disney World every year but can’t quite fit it in your budget, this tip could help make it more possible to make that dream come true.

Hidden in the literature in your Disney resort room will be a special offer for current guests to book a future trip.  You will have to look for the flyer as it is usually tucked away with other resort information. (If you cannot find an offer in your room, you can call 407-939-1923 from your room and ask what bounce back offers are currently available). Offers will vary as will timeframes. It might include free dining, a room discount, or some other incentive.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably not carrying your calendar around with you while on vacation. That’s okay! Choose a date that you think might work for you, and place the required $200 deposit on the reservation. Once you return home and can check calendars and work or school schedules, you can call back and adjust the dates as long as they fit within the offer timeframes and assuming rooms are available for the new dates.

The key is you must book your trip BEFORE you check out by calling the number on the flyer from your room. (You can also have your travel specialist call for you, but you must still be checked in at a Disney property).

Disney's Best PromotionThe benefit of booking in advance with the Bounce Back offer is that you have the opportunity for a great discount that you can determine later if it works or doesn’t work for you. If it turns out that the trip won’t fit into your schedule at all, you can cancel the reservation up to 30 days prior to your check-in date with no penalty. If a new promotion is announced to the public, and either the dates or the promotion end up working out better for you, you can adjust the reservation.

Without promotions like these, many of us could not afford to take Disney vacations as often as we would like. This is an excellent way to save money on a future trip!

Extra tip: Did you work with your favorite travel planner for your current vacation? Great! You can book the Bounce Back offer and request that your travel planner be rolled over to the new reservation. (If you forgot to mention it while you were making the reservation, you can easily transfer it to your travel planner so he/she can continue to provide you with great planning services. Alert your travel planner upon you return home while the transfer window is still open).

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Should I really stay and watch the fireworks? Walt Disney WorldDisney is without a doubt one of THE best vacation destinations to keep you entertained from the instant you open your eyes in your themed resort to the moment you walk out of the parks waving good-bye to Cast Members.

Throughout the day, you have rides, shows, street performers, parades, fabulous dining and snacks, and character meet and greets to entertain you.  That is enough excitement, right?  What about the fireworks?  Being so busy throughout the day, are they really worth staying to watch?  The answer is YES, YES, YES! 

Disney Parks fireworks are like no other!  They are more than just beautifully colored explosions in the sky.  They tell a story, have a theme, include outstanding and memorable music, and put on a production that will keep you mesmerized from start to finish.  The fireworks are simply just ONE more added must see for Disney guests.

How can I stay late, the kids will be so tired!?!

We all know fireworks happen once it’s dark, so if you want to see them….simply plan for it!

I recommend arriving to the parks early in the morning before the crowds start and then take an afternoon break at your resort. {This is also when staying on property is extremely helpful! You can take a short ride back the resort without having to worry about parking!}

  • Swim
  • Nap
  • Have a relaxing drink
  • Get out of the sun and heat

This relaxation time will rejuvenate and prepare you for an amazing evening!

Plan the perfect spot to watch

Should I really stay and watch the fireworks? Walt Disney WorldHaving a great view of the fireworks will add to the enjoyment of watching them.  Many guests pick their favorite spots early, so you want to do the same.  As you wait, make this a fun part of your trip where you regroup as a family.  While you wait…

  • Grab your favorite Disney snacks
  • Talk about favorite attractions
  • Look at your Memory Maker pictures
  • Talk about the next days plans
  • Relive the funniest moments from your trip

Become Immersed

When the show starts, let yourself be transformed by the music, lights, projections and theming!  This is your chance sit back and enjoy some of the best entertainment on property.

What’s your rush? 

As soon as the fireworks end, the masses start to head out of the park.  Sit and relax!  Let the crowds walk passed you.  You can take this opportunity to view the park in a less crowded state.  You may have a new appreciation for its details.  You could also stop for a nighttime photo with one of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers!

Which Disney Parks have Fireworks?

  • Magic Kingdom: Starting May 12th, 2017, Magic Kingdom will debut its newest fireworks show, “Happily Ever After”!  “Wishes” fireworks will end on May 11th.
  • Epcot: Epcot fireworks take place around World Showcase Lagoon and are properly name IllumiNations.
  • Hollywood Studios: Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is the show that closes a fun day at Hollywood Studios.

The fireworks are NOT an experience to miss.  Have your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist incorporate these into your itinerary.  This will tie a perfect bow on a day already full of Disney Magic!

Don’t forget!!

Disney World also offers fireworks dessert parties and cruises for an added cost to guests who are interested (read more, here!).  They will get an array of desserts as well as great viewing locations of the fireworks.

For questions on pricing for one of these special parties and to book a reservation, please contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist!

  • Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom {Read more, HERE!}
  • Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing at Magic Kingdom
  • Ferry tale Wishes Firework Dessert Cruise {Read more, HERE!}
  • Pirates, Pals, and Fireworks Cruise {Read more, HERE!}
  • IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Hollywood Studios

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

 

At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

If you are looking for something literally “off the beaten path” on your next Walt Disney World vacation, your search is over! The Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is perfect for the younger crowd and is the perfect place for memory making!

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortBeing a local Floridian people think that we go to Disney every day. I’m sure that if it was up to my daughter we would!  However, in reality, and for the sake of the Magical experience becoming commonplace, we treat every trip like a mini vacation.  We stumbled upon the Tri-Circle-D Ranch on one of our many “staycations”.  My family of five found Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to be perfect. Our cabin was a great fit for all five of us. Our cabin had a full kitchen and an eating area both inside and outside.  It had it all, from the rustic campground feel to all of the comforts of home.  We have made going to “The Cabins” as my family calls them, an annual tradition.

 

On one of yearly adventures, after breakfast (at Trail’s End Restaurant), we wandered over to the stables near the entrance of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. There were about five or six mini ponies walking along a path with riders and my daughter fell in love.

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortWe found out there was only a small fee (currently $8.00 a ride). We were hooked! Now, we can’t pass up the chance to visit the ponies at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch every year we visit! This is one of our favorite places to make memories.

 

The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is located near Pioneer Hall.  It is perfect for pint sized pony enthusiasts (at least 2 years old and under 80 pounds and under 48 inches). Your child will be able to ride a pony guided by parents or guardians around a fenced path.  The Pony Rides are open daily from 10am – 5pm and you don’t even need a reservation!

 

In addition, to the pony rides, they also have a state of the art playground for the kids. This is perfect way to keep the kids busy as you wait for your dining reservation. There are many delicious dining locations nearby including Trail’s End Restaurant, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness Resort

So, if you are looking for a relaxing alternative or a break from the Parks for a few hours, Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is just the place to hang your hat!

 

This is perfect for local Floridian and who are looking for a FUN and EXCITING new experience close to home! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to ask any additional questions or add this into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!  The Magic is just a phone call away!

Amy Pattee

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

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicIf you are a family dreaming of the benefits of staying at a Walt Disney World resort but have a limited budget, Disney’s All-Star Music resort is a value level resort you should consider for your next magical vacation.

With a red carpet and backdrop to pose for pictures, your check-in experience at the All-Star Music resort turns into your debut as the newest music sensation. Walk outside and the fun starts for all. Pose for pictures in the Calypso section with the giant xylophone or bongos. Stop by the Jazz section to see the biggest drum set of your life. Are you more into country music? The banjo or harmonica might be calling your name. There isn’t anywhere you can turn outside without being reminded of the powerful influence music has on all our lives.Resort Spotlight: All-Star Music

All-Star Music features 2 different styles of rooms. The standard style room features 2 double size beds and accommodates a family of 4. The family suite features 1 queen-size bed, 1 twin-size sleeper chair, 1 double-size sleeper sofa, and 1 twin-size sleeper ottoman, accommodating a family of 6. The suite also adds a kitchenette including microwave and coffee maker and an additional bathroom to speed up getting ready in the morning. The rooms are quite comfortable and very functional. For families that do not spend much time in the room itself, you will find it a great place to lay your head at night.

Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicSummer days require somewhere to cool off and the All-Star Music pools do not disappoint. The guitar-themed heated pool found in the Calypso section includes the Three Caballeros – Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito spraying water at everyone swimming. Closer to the back of the resort you can swim while tickling the ivories in the black and white grand piano themed pool.

The Intermission Food Court is the All-Star Music’s quick service restaurant serving food from 6:30 am until 12 midnight. Be sure try out their smoothies; you may find them your new favorite Walt Disney World treat.
Resort Spotlight: All-Star MusicBus transportation to Disney’s theme parks from All-Star Music is extremely convenient. Although buses are sometimes shared between all three All-Star resorts, during busy times of the day, Disney runs a dedicated bus service to each of them. While waiting for the buses, you may even be entertained by a resort DJ hosting dance parties, singing custom lyrics to your family, or asking you to join in on songs from the past and present.

The All-Star Music resort brings memories for families filled with background music that speaks to the hearts of all. If this resort sounds like the perfect pitch to your ears, contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book All-Star Music for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

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

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

 

Supplies Needed:

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

Step One:

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

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

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

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

Step Two:

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

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

Step Three:

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

Step Four:

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

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

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

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

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

{& Why These Cast Members Will Be
Some of Your Favorite Faces!}

 

Baby Care StationI have done what so many other moms like me have done and what so many others have thought me crazy for.  I have taken my very young children to enjoy the Disney parks. My kids were both under 1 year when we started taking them to the Disney parks regularly. I understand how we want to share our love of Disney and all the magic that that entails with our children, and I also understand how tiring that can be. Disney has created a place even for the smallest guests (and for those caring for them). It is called (*the sounds of angels descending* and cue the spotlight) the Baby Care Station.

With one Baby Care Station located centrally in each of the Disney theme parks (both at Walt Disney World and at the Disneyland Resort), you can find a quiet retreat to nurse or feed your baby, change diapers or visit the toilets, or just grab a quiet corner to escape the bustle and weather outside. They are staffed with the sweetest cast members who are there to help you take care of your little one.

The main room has tables and chairs, as well as high chairs. Forgot something? They also have a small area where you can purchase some of the essentials, such as diapers and baby food.Baby Care Station

When my kids were little, this was one (of many!) of the bright spots to our visit. They loved the pint-sized potties made just for them, and I loved knowing the wonderful cast members were always there for me to offer a smile (or help avoid a diaper emergency!).

Sure, it might sound silly, but when you spend a full day playing in the parks with your young ones, anything that can help keep everyone comfortable and happy is a blessing.

If you are traveling with Littles on your next visit to the parks, grab your map and locate the Baby Care Station for later. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Rider Switch PassEver wonder if you’ll miss out on riding an attraction at Disney World because you’re traveling with someone either not tall enough or who does not want to ride?
No worries! Disney offers a Rider Switch pass for guests in this situation.

 

What is Rider Switch?

Rider Switch (aka child swap/rider swap) allows an adult who has waited off the attraction with a child or guest unable to ride, the ability to enjoy the ride after the remainder of his/her party returns from the line.

 

Reasons for not riding

  • Height restrictions
  • Guests with disabilities
  • Child chooses not to ride Rider Switch Pass

 

How does it work?

  1. The entire party goes to the front of the line of the attraction they wish to ride (either the stand-by line or FastPass line, if they have one).
  2. Let the Cast Member at the front of the line know you need a Rider Switch for the adult waiting with the non-rider(s).Rider Switch Pass
  3. Depending on the ride, the process for obtaining the Rider Switch pass may vary. At some attractions, the pass may be given to the group waiting off the attraction immediately OR the riders may be given a green lanyard to carry as they enter the line.
  4. The non-riders find a place to rest outside the attraction, enjoy other areas of the park, shop, or enjoy another attraction as they wait.
  5. If given a lanyard, the riders will exchange it with the next cast member in line. That cast member will provide them with a paper pass for the other adult to use later.
  6. Once the riders meet back with the non-riders, the waiting adult can now go to the attraction’s FastPass line with the Rider Swap ticket. They can take up to 3 guests with them.

Rider Switch expiration

There is generally an expiration date on Rider Switch passes.  Some are SAME DAY passes (must be used by the close of the park that day) and some may be good for a few days/weeks (due to expiring at the end of the month).

Rider Switch Pass

This means non-riders do NOT need to use the pass immediately after the initial riders have ridden.  They can return before the expiration date to ride.

**If you choose to use the pass on a different day, park admission is required.

 

Rides offering Rider Switch

  • Magic Kingdom
    • The Barnstormer (35in)
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40in)
    • Space Mountain (44in)
    • Splash Mountain (40in)
    • Stitch’s Great Escape (40in)
    • Tomorrowland Indy Speedway (32in)
    • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38in)
  • Epcot
    • Frozen Ever After (no height restriction)
    • Mission: SPACE (44in)
    • Soarin’ (40in)
    • Test Track (40in)
  • Hollywood Studios
    • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (48in)
    • Star Tours (40in)
    • Tower of Terror (40in)
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
    • DINOSAUR (40in)
    • Expedition Everest (44in)
    • Kali River Rapids (38in)
    • Primeval Whirl (48in)

 

**If you want to know if a Rider Switch is an option on a ride, please ask a cast member.

 

Megan Thompson

Travel Agent

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

At The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Disney's Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg Hunt

Springtime is always a fun time to visit the parks, especially over at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival {read more here!}.  From beautiful gardens and amazing topiaries to specialty food booths, this is one of our favorite times to visit the parks.  Also returning this year is Disney’s Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg Hunt!

 

This year ‘s egg hunt is now on, and it is scheduled to last even longer than in year’s past! The Egg Hunt will end the same time as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, on May 29, 2017.

 

How does it work?

Disney's Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg HuntTo participate in the Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg Hunt, you will need to purchase a map and sticker sheet for $5.99 (plus tax) at Pin Central Future World, Disney Traders or World Traveler. As you discover the special, hidden eggs, be sure to record your discoveries! You will simply place the corresponding sticker on the specialty themed Egg-Stravaganza map that represents the location the egg was found. {This is a fun keepsake to look back on as well!}

 

Based on this year’s map, it appears that guests will be searching for Mickey and Friends, including Epcot’s favorite character, Figment. There are 12 eggs in all one in each country. Make sure you look EVERYWHERE because these eggs are hidden very well. Disney's Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg Hunt

 

When you’ve completed your hunt, return your map to the redemption location to pick up your surprise!  Enjoy making and collecting memories with your family this Spring at Epcot. If you’d like to visit Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival this spring, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist