I thought it would be fun to explore what kid’s thoughts and reactions were in relation to visiting Walt Disney World! My expert panel of kids have all recently visited and were excited to share with us what made their Disney vacation so memorable!

A big step in planning a Disney vacation is a figuring out where you are going to stay. Disney’s on property resorts are amazing, they offer such a great continuation of the Disney experience. The kids were questioned about what their favorite aspect of staying at their Walt Disney resort was:

“All the art work”. (Art of Animation) Isabelle (14)

“The Herbie Car being at our resort”. (Pop Century) Ashton (11)

“The Pool”. (Pop Century) Hannah (11)

“The pool, theme, and monorail”. (Polynesian Village) Hunter (14)

“The beignets at French Quarter”. (Port Orleans French Quarter) Jonathon (16)

“I liked the headboards that light up”. (Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Room)
Kirsten (13)

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Disney World has 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. The kids were asked which of the 4 theme parks was their favorite? We had a tie for the favorite theme park being Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Magic Kingdom was the first of Disney World’s 4 theme parks. It opened in 1971 and is comprised of 6 different lands: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was Disney’s second theme park at Disney World opening in 1982. Epcot was created with the notion of future and technology in mind. Epcot is comprised of 2 themed lands: Future World and World Showcase and is the 2 nd largest Disney theme park coming in behind Animal Kingdom Park.

Walt Disney World has many fantastic attractions and among kids, who were questioned, this is a list of their top “must ride” favorites. Make sure that you can add these onto your family’s ride plans:

Pirates of the Caribbean” Gracin

Space Mountain” Hunter

“7 Dwarfs Mine Train” Hannah

Test Track” Ashton and Peyton

Dumbo” Meagan

Soarin” Isabelle

Under the Sea” Erica

Expedition Everest” Hunter

Spaceship Earth” Kirsten

While at Disney your family has an amazing opportunity to experience some of the best food and dining around. The snacks at Disney are simply not to be skipped. The favorite among the kids panel is the “Dole Whip”.  A Dole Whip is a non-dairy frozen masterpiece!

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It can be ordered in a cup or it can be made into a float (I recommend this). This not-to-be-missed snack can be found in the Magic Kingdom at Aloha Isle or The Polynesian Resort at Captain Cooks. A “Churro” and the “Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bar” were also frequently mentioned!

Picking where to dine while on your Disney vacation can be super exciting. There are so many great options! Chef Mickey was the favorite among many of the kids. These are some of the favorites:

Chef Mickey, I loved having all the characters come around to greet and take pictures
with you”. Erica (also enjoyed by Jonathon and Peyton)

The Polynesian Luau– the fire dancing was really cool”. Hunter

Sci Fi Dine”. Hannah, Ashton and Evan

Casey’s Corner”. Isabelle

T-Rex”. Gracin

Be our Guest, I liked the gray stuff”. Jillian (also enjoyed by Kirsten and Hunter)

When I was a child I remember my families first trip to Walt Disney World and even though I dreamt about what that visit would be like, the real Disney World surpassed everything I had imagined. When talking to the kids about their vacations, I asked them what was something that surprised them about the parks. Here are some of their reactions to Disney:

“How kind and helping the people that work at Disney are”. Erica

“How much there is to do at Disney. There is something for everybody”. Hannah

“That it’s not just for little kids”. Isabelle

“The rides are fast”. Ashton

“It’s very clean and the water slides at the pool were so much fun”. Gracin

“There is something new to do on every trip”. Kirsten

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One of the best parts of assisting families in planning their Disney vacation is helping them build wonderful memories! It was so much fun getting to hear some of the kid’s favorite memories from their Disney vacations:

“Going on Splash Mountain with my dad, and being able to ride in the front”. Hunter

“The Polynesian Luau”. Erica

“First time seeing the castle”. Hannah

“Building my own car on Test Track”. Ashton

“Riding Space Mountain with my dad” Evan

“Remembering the times in Epcot”. Peyton

“First time on Everest”. Hunter

“Playing at a Disney Band Workshop”. Jonathon“Getting Character Photo’s”. Kirsten

We look forward to creating more Disney memories with your family! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist to book your next Disney vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Halloween decorations and parties are in full swing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It only seems fitting that another legend makes a comeback too! It’s the ‘Return to Sleepy Hallow’ that’s returning to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

If you’re a brave soul, this is definitely something you don’t want to miss! At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, if you dare, you’ll have a chance for a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman himself. Continuing with the night of thrills, you’ll also have a seat at a group viewing of the 1949 Disney animated classic film “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow” inside the resorts historic Tri-Circle- D Ranch stables.

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Not only will you have the priority photo opportunity with and be able to view a Disney classic movie with premium seating, but you’ll also receive a Halloween treat bag. All brave souls ages 3 and up will receive an exclusive limited edition pin.

Doesn’t seem too spooky, you say? Just be sure to watch for galloping ghosts and be ready for an up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman himself! To keep in the spirit of Halloween, they will only be taking place on select nights in September and October at 8 pm or 10 pm. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to visit on a full moon! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Agent to reserve your spot today!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

On October 1 will be the 35th anniversary of Epcot. Today’s blog is dedicated the past, present and future of one of Disney’s most unique parks.

Walt Disney’s original plan for Epcot wasn’t what it is today. He envisioned it as a community where companies could innovate and people would live in a harmonious utopia. The original name was EPCOT meaning Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt dedicated the end years of his life to this project. Unfortunately, shortly after announcing plans for the Florida Project that included EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom, Walt passed away. Page after page could be written about Walt’s original plans for the park so I will focus on what was actually built.

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Nearly 16 years after Walt’s death the park opened. It was a mix of future and technology and world culture. A “sort of world’s fair” as Disney executives would call it. Much of the Future World we know today is not what was opened in 1982. The Land and Imagination Pavilion are the only untouched areas left of that portion of the park. Many of the structures are still there but now feature different attractions and themes.

This is where I think the park is truly unique. It is the only Disney park to open that, from the beginning, was all original. That means, for the most part, there were little to no existing Disney characters or movies that the rides, shows and areas were based on. Walking into the park in the early days was a complete new Disney experience filled with new sights and stories. For me that is what makes Epcot different and one of the best Disney parks.

As the years passed the park struggled with attracting younger visitors. It was thought as of an adult park more than a place for the entire family. Disney noticed this and started to introduce rides that were attractive to teenage audience such as Test Track and Mission Space. They also created festivals such as Food & Wine and Flower & Garden to attract locals.

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The next wave of updating the image of the park came with the introduction of Nemo to The Living Seas followed by Frozen in Norway. This changed Epcot to be a destination for younger children.

What is next? The additions of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille. Both aimed at a different audience than the decades before. I believe Frozen is an incredible ride and I love The Seas with Nemo. I have no doubt Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille with make us say “wow!”

AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES E-TICKET GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ATTRACTION COMING TO EPCOT -- Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek announced exciting plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before, including a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockinÕ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy.
AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES E-TICKET GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ATTRACTION COMING TO EPCOT — Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek announced exciting plans across Epcot to realize the original vision of the park while making it more timeless and relevant than ever before, including a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockinÕ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy.

The one thing that will never change about Epcot are the memories. I will forever remember my first visit to the park because it was so different to what I knew was a Disney park. That may change a little with the new additions but I’m sure that when children visit Epcot now and in the future they too will be in awe at seeing Olaf, Elsa, Anna, Remy, Crush, Nemo and Peter Quill!

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Who in your family would enjoy seeing Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire? Why everyone, of course. This is a show for the whole family. Please be sure to bring mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Children of all ages will love this entertaining performance so make sure Grandma and Grandpa tag along too! Join Mickey Mouse and his pals in this dazzling stage show at Magic Kingdom.

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Where can you find this performance by Mickey and his friends old and new? Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire is performed in front of Cinderella’s Castle on the Castle Forecourt Stage, and is presented several times daily. Please check for exact times on the My Disney Experience mobile app and/or pick up a Times Guide located at the entrance of Magic Kingdom. Just be aware because this show is held outdoors, it is subject to cancellation for inclement weather. Performance times are subject to change so be sure to use the above resources for up-to- date performance times.

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Why should you take time out of your busy day at Magic Kingdom to see a show when there are so many fun rides waiting for you? Because Mickey and his friends want you to experience everything Magic Kingdom has to offer. Mickey has invited so many of his friends to help him entertain you and your friends in this magical musical extravaganza. You can be sure that Minnie will be there along side of Mickey. Mickey has made so many friends through the years, you will get to see Donald and Daisy shake their tail feathers and Goofy adds a little comedy to the mix! Mickey has had these friends for years so they wanted to invite some new friends too. We know that Mickey always has new pals. So if any of you are Frozen fans, you will want to arrive early to get close to the stage because Anna and Elsa will be there and they would not dream of performing without their good friend, Olaf. While Olaf is so adorable and adds “cool” touches to the show, I wanted to reach out and give him a “warm hug” because he is one of my favorites. Olaf loves the attention he gets while performing Frozen favorites.

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Who else can you expect to come and sing-a- long? Tiana and friends arrive from the Bayou to entertain with music from The Princess and the Frog. A fabulous part of the show features Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder providing a lively singing and dancing performance that will make you want to clap your hands and stomp your feet and sing along with them as they share their “dreams” and memorable music from Tangled.

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This show is so cute, fun and entertaining, you will dance away from the stage singing the songs you just heard and will have a happy heart as you continue your adventure through Magic Kingdom. The costumes are amazing so be sure to have a camera ready to snap lots of photos. This show will add a lot of “Disney” magic to your day. If you have additional questions, please be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Agent. We are always here to help you!

Traci Perjak, Travel Specialist

Even though my husband and I have visited WDW dozens of times, he had NEVER had the privilege of enjoying MNSSHP!!! We remedied that by attending OPENING NIGHT 2017!!!

We arrived about 3:30pm and there were already party guests lined up to enter. Although the MNSSHP starts at 7pm, guests can enter the park as early as 4pm with their party tickets! We were able to enter using our annual pass, but later we checked in with a cast member in Tommorowland and receive our party bracelet, guide map and trick or treat bag! As we entered Magic Kingdom, the decorations put you in the Halloween spirit and many guests were dressed in their party bests! Make sure to read the costume rules here when you are planning:
(https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/parks/dress/). Our first stop, the confectionary on Main Street to discover the Halloween themed treats. There were delicious cupcakes, cookies and rice cereal treats, but the pumpkin Mickey cake pop was our choice!! There were many special treats that were available during the party ONLY! Don’t worry if you have allergy concerns, they offer allergy friendly options too!

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When the party officially began, access to attractions were only allowed for guests with party wristbands. Cast members were dressed in Halloween themed attire. The treat locations were open and the lines were lengthy. We made the decision to walk back to Fantasyland to view the exclusive merchandise and pins that were being offered. I saw Daisy and Donald duck and Minnie in her Halloween costume and I had to get my photo with them. There are endless character meet-n- greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom, including meeting all 7 Dwarfs!!! The wait for the Dwarfs or Jack Skellington was averaging 3 hours!!!

The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular was about to begin on the stage in front of the Castle. We chose to watch a later performance and decided to visit some of the treat locations while other party guests were lining up for the first performance of the Boo to You parade (9:15pm)! We did enjoy the Monstrous Scream-O- Ween Ball at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland. Who doesn’t love dancing with Mike, Sulley and Boo?!!??

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We then headed over to the Main Street area to view the Happy Hallowishes Fireworks Spectacular! The projections on the castle, along with the fireworks and music make this a not-to- miss item for this party! Many guests leave after the fireworks, which allows for more availability for great viewing spots for the 11:15pm parade! It began to rain and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular was cancelled, but we were awaiting the parade. We had an excellent view of the parade. The parade music gets in your head and I am still singing it! The character interaction was one of the best I have ever experienced in a parade!

My top 5 not to miss activities at the MNSSHP are

1. Character Meet-n- greet
2. Boo to You Parade(11:15 pm)
3. Hallowishes Fireworks Spectacular
4. The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show
5. Treats(specialty desserts, popcorn in a mickey pumpkin refillable container
and trick or treating candy)

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Your Me and The Mouse Travel specialist is ready to help you plan your immersion into the Halloween Spirit!

Missy Zolecki
Travel Specialist

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The Hyatt Regency at Orlando International Airport is a lovely alternative for a 1 night stay surrounding your full vacation.  Located on B side terminal, the Hyatt provides restaurants, bars, waiting areas, free lobby wi-fi, conference rooms and ballrooms to guests and visitors.

To those staying at the Hyatt, free in-room wi-fi, plush bedding, in-room fridge, flat screen tv’s, room service, and a rooftop pool (with poolside room service!) are just some of the luxurious amenities provided. Surrounding the terminal, large rooms provide guests with a soundproof experience, black out curtains for uninterrupted sleep, and valet service for bags and/or your car.  

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Soundproof rooms is not a misnomer. While there are some terminal sounds you may hear, if your balcony faces it (other rooms face the outer perimeter of the airport), you will have a quiet night sleep.  My family could not tell we were at the airport! The rooftop pool has a family friendly pool with waterfall, and a smaller ‘kiddie’ pool. Pergolas covering lounge chairs, umbrellas, and seating abound. Poolside towels are also available and a great amenity.

Room service at the Hyatt is one amenity we took advantage of a lot.  A pre fixe menu can be ordered from, or from the in-house restaurant, and is brought to your room on a fancy tray or roll cart.  The wait staff will inform you of their shift, and you can personally request them again if desired.  It was also especially nice for breakfast! Door hangers are provided, and you can place your order before midnight with a desired delivery time. It is a lovely feature!  While the convenience is a little pricier, we found it worth it to not have to fight through airport crowds, and to have a better and healthier meal than typical airport fast food.

Those returning from a cruise can also take advantage of ‘day rooms’ – rooms rented for the day to relax, nap, or swim before your evening flight. The convenience of printing your boarding pass at the business center, a concierge on staff for your every need, and a short walk to check your baggage makes this the perfect ‘post vacation’ stay.  

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It is also convenient to all theme park shopping, other high end stores located at the airport, as well as the food court.  Need a spa treatment? A haircut?  A new suit?  The Hyatt is just a few steps away from all of these airport amenities and sure to cover all your needs.

The Hyatt Regency at Orlando International Airport is a hidden gem you may not have realized was an option. Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist can set you up with the exact pre- or post- vacation night you need!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

 

Happy August everyone!  I can’t believe summer’s about to wrap up and kids are ready to head back to school soon!  It feels like just yesterday that I was sending everyone information on how to Beat the Heat on their summer vacations.  As we wind down our last few weeks of the fun in the sun, my family and I we are looking to find exciting ways to finish off our break with a bang.  What better than hitting the parks and refreshing our knowledge with an old favorite!

When my family and I visit the parks, we like to make sure we maximize our time by reserving the thrill rides for our choice fast passes and supplement our wait time with rides that are less likely to have too long of a wait.  One of our FAVORITES is Living with the Land, located one the first floor in the The Land Pavilion near Innoventions West in Epcot.

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We have been on Living with the Land many times and I personally have never seen the ride with over a 10 minute wait, which is why we use this particular attraction as a filler to Soarin’.  The day that my daughter and I went, however, was a surprisingly busy day and we ended up waiting around 30 minutes in the queue for our boat.  The extra time didn’t annoy me in the least, as it gave me more time to take in the queue, which I would have completely missed had we not “stopped to smell the roses.” The Living with the Land queue, has a number of inspirational quotes from many different individuals, in addition, has beautiful murals of farmers working with the Land! (see photo).  The ride itself always seems to surprise me, each and every time I ride, I notice something new that I had never seen before.  The greenhouse, where the ride goes straight through, takes you by a multitude of plants, vegetables and trees and shows guests the innovative ways to grow them using the most space efficient techniques possible.  Some examples of the items they are growing at Living with the Land are, Canna, Pineapple, Bougainvillea, Golden Lotus Banana, Java Apple, Fluted Pumpkin, Japanese Maple, Papyrus, Dragon Fruit and Cacao (to name a few).

They are also involved in Hydroponics and Integrated Aquaculture, where they showed how the plants/water provide nourishment to the fish and in turn the fish in the tank provide fertilizer to help the plants grow, the “Circle of Life” alive and well at Epcot!

All in all, the Living with the Land attraction is always worth the trip, as even though you might think you know everything there is to know about the attraction, you might be surprised and see something you never even knew existed (aka see hidden Mickey planter).

If you are ready to experience the Magic up close, contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist!

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Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

A huge part of our family’s experience when we visit any Disney destination is enjoying so many amazing restaurants. Good food allows us to relax and simply enjoy the moment together. Great food keeps us coming back!

When we’re back home, we’ll think back on that special something and wish we could have just one bite! For me, the bread pudding at Ohana’s at the Polynesian Village is one of those “aaaaah” foods. Lucky for my family, it’s also pretty easy to make!

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Nancy Wideman
Travel Specialist

Another new transportation service will soon be available to guests visiting the Walt Disney World property…….”Minnie Vans”. This new transportation service is now available for guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, and Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge can now go to the front desk at the resort to activate the service for their use. Soon, the service will be available at all Walt Disney World resorts.

Minnie Vans will take you anywhere on Disney property you want to go that is open to the public. Exclusive to “Minnie Vans” is the access to Magic Kingdom. When servicing the Magic Kingdom, guests will be dropped off / picked up at the BUS area, NOT the Ticket and Transportation Center, like all other off-property transfer services. This will provide guests with the short walk to the park entrance without needing to use the monorail or ferryboat service from the Ticket and Transportation.

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Minnie Vans are Chevrolet Traverse mid-sized SUVs that can seat up to 7 or 8 passengers (including the driver) across 3 rows. Each Minnie Van comes equipped with 2 Graco car seats. These car seats are fully adjustable to convert from a car seat into a booster seat, and can be both forward and rear facing.

Minnie Vans will be available through Lyft. When guests open the Lyft app from anywhere in the Walt Disney World Resort the Minnie Van Service is unlocked. The Lyft app will allow guests to request a ride from their smartphone and pay directly through the app. The current price the service is $20 per trip, this includes gratuity. The drivers are all paid employees of Disney. Currently,the hours of operation are 6:30 am until 12:30 am.

Whether you are traveling by monorail, bus, boat or Minnie Van, Disney does recommend allowing up to 90 minutes of travel time to get to dining locations within the Walt Disney World property. The Minnie Van transportation is another great option for arriving for early morning dining reservations, as well as making it easier to travel from resort to resort for dining and shopping.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Every summer Disney Cruise Line sails one of its ships to Europe for one of the most special sets of itineraries available. Disney Cruise Line separates their European itineraries into Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries. This summer my family was able to experience the unique 7 night re-positioning cruise that connected these guest experiences. We started in Dover, England and ended in
Barcelona, Spain and it was a vacation we will never forget and recommend to all interested in visiting Europe with their family.

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Visiting Europe on a Disney cruise allows families to visit multiple countries and cultures in a short time while keeping a home base on the ship. The tours offered by Disney’s port adventures team allow for the interests of all ages with varying tour lengths to accommodate your needs.

On our particular cruise, we docked in Le Havre, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Cadiz, Spain with 3 full days at sea. All of these countries were new to our family so we took advantage of the tours to see all we could while we were in port. Le Havre is located in northern France and about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive from Paris. With a 16 hour stopover, there was plenty of time to take an adventure into Paris and see the main sights of the city. Lisbon’s city tour showed us how important the city and its inhabitants were to navigation of the oceans and the discovery of the new world. Cadiz’s town square, just steps from the dock, allowed us a walking tour of the city that dates from the time of the Phoenicians, about 1100 BC. Another amazing sight was seeing Africa as we sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar late one evening.

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Families of all ages can be found on Disney’s European cruises. If you have young children, exposing them to the historical locations, introducing them to new languages, and giving them a fun time each day is a great introduction to Europe. Tweens and teens will get excited when they recognize places and people that they’ve studied in school and then when they are back on ship the excitement doesn’t stop when the meet up with new friends in Edge and Vibe.

What makes Disney’s cruises so special to experience Europe is the fun, family friendly atmosphere. From the shows, to the on board events, to the age appropriate port adventures, to characters that dress in the native clothing of the ports, you will find everyone young and old enjoying each day of the cruise from morning until night.

Going on a European Disney Cruise Line vacation is one of the most memorable vacations that a family can have. Disney’s European itineraries are available for booking by contacting your Me and the Mouse travel agent.

Michelle Browne – travel specialist

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