Walk-mans, Big Wheels, giant Mickey phones, 8-tracks….these things are imbedded in pop culture and their symbolism of the decades they represent will forever bring us back to those times in our lives. Disney’s Pop Century Resort celebrates iconic memorabilia from the 1950s to 1990s by making them the focal point of this fan favorite resort!

Pop’s appeal is without question its cleanliness, affordability, style of rooms, bus service, proximity to Art of Animation, and fun culture surrounding each turn.

Rooms

Rooms are currently undergoing refurbishment. The updates make its functionality something families desire while sharing limited space on vacation. Walking into an updated room, you’ll see a small table, two chairs, coffee maker, mini fridge, spacious dresser and counterspace with a large flat screen TV hanging above and a lot of USB ports to charge electronic devices.

You’ll also see ONE queen size bed. But wait…pull down the handle near the table to reveal another queen size bed. Being able to fold it up daily, increases the room’s floor space and makes it easier to move comfortably in a smaller area.

The bathroom updates are the biggest seller for me. The sliding door between the sink/dressing area and the beds is a bonus for guests needing privacy while family relaxes and others get ready. There’s a small open closet, plenty of cubby space for toiletries, a large brightly lit mirror, large single sink, and an added side makeup mirror.

The shower area is separated via a pocket door. Inside you’ll find a glass shower door and two shower heads. Wonderful and contemporary updates!

Resort Amenities

There’s a single bus stop area at Pop with individual lines for each park. The buses are not shared which makes its transit a definite perk!

Three available pools give each guest the chance to get some needed R&R during their stay. Perfectly spaced out, you don’t have to travel far to get your feet wet. The Hippy Dippy Pool (main pool 1960s) is the focal point behind Classic Hall. With flower shaped water jets, games with cast members, and the Petals Pool Bar, this is the most interactive. It’s also where Movie Under the Stars is enjoyed on select nights. The other two (Bowling Pool – 1950s and Computer Pool-1990s) have decade specific music piping through and a more laid-back feel.

This resort also has an added bonus that many others do not…two quick service food options. Don’t be confused…everything POP is Pop’s on-site food location, but many guests love taking the 10-minute walk across Generation Gap Bridge to the Art of Animation Resort to dine at Landscape of Flavors!

Staying here is like a walk down memory lane. Remembering the happy moments in our lives is what Disney was built on. This is why Pop Century Resort is highly talked about in the Disney community!

COMING SOON!

Pop will soon have access to the NEWEST form of transportation on Disney World Property…the gondolas (opening date is TBD). Follow the Me and the Mouse Facebook page for daily announcements to not miss when the news hits!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

For fans of Disney’s Wreck it Ralph, or anyone with an imagination and a sweet-tooth…you’ll want to explore Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats aboard the Disney Dream! You’ll find this confectionary inside the Cabana’s, with limited hours.

Vanellope’s has a wide array of candies, ice creams, gelatos, and confections, that you’re sure to find something for everyone in your family to enjoy*.  It’s whimsically decorated to resemble “Sugar Rush”, Vanellope’s video game in Wreck it Ralph…complete with Sour Bill, King Candy, and Vanellope herself!

While I could gush about the insane amount of goodies I drooled over this summer while on board the Disney Dream, I want to talk about Vanellope’s specialty items! The menu for Artisan Sundaes is jam-packed full of movie-referenced concoctions for you and your family to enjoy. The BEST part??!!  You can special order ANY of these sundaes AND they will hand-deliver for your dessert any night you choose!  It was so exciting!

We chose the “Vanellope Von Schweetz – Race Car Sundae”, because who doesn’t want a replica of the race car that wins the Grand Prix!?  At $13, it’s quite a steal. Not only is the racecar yours to keep, but you get THREE choices of ice cream OR gelato (in any combination), your choice of FIVE extra toppings, whipped cream and a cherry on top!  For a family of 3, it was the perfect indulgence for all!

Our sweet shop chef not only took our order and dining time/rotation – but also guaranteed she would be the one to create and hand-deliver our dessert at our dinner that evening!  All we had to do was give our receipt to our server at dinner, he would place the call, and VIOLA! At dessert time, here she was!

It’s not just an ordinary sundae. Specially crafted chocolates adorned the sundae, and the awesome touches to replicate Vanellope’s car were so very memorable!  There are many custom sundaes you can order…but this one was the Sugar Rush-iest! 🙂

When you plan your next Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Dream with your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist, consider surprising your little one (or your own sweet tooth) with an awesome confection from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats!

*Please note: nuts, milk, soy and other allergens are used in the making of most items in Vanellope’s. There may be gluten free options, but one would have to ask while aboard.

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Leaning upon the success of Star Wars Day at Sea cruises, Disney Cruise Line recently launched Marvel Day at Sea cruises. We recently sailed on the Disney Magic and experienced this special day…and we were not into Marvel movies before the cruise.

Character Experiences

Character experiences are available through three different methods.

  • Advance tickets: When your booking window opens, Guests can reserve tickets to see Groot and the Heroic Encounter (Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Tony Stark/Ironman). Groot times are available throughout Marvel day and Heroic Encounter is available multiple days and times.
  • Posted times: Times are listed in the daily Navigator and on the DCL app for Thor, Loki, Black Widow, and Captain America meet and greets. They are held multiple times throughout Marvel day.
  • Roaming: Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Star Lord, and Gamora roam decks three and four and are available for photos and autographs.
  • Most of the Marvel characters also roam the ship the following day and are available for impromptu photos, autographs, and a handstand contest even occurred between Spider-Man and my daughter in the atrium.

Activities

 

  • Games, activities, and arts and crafts are held in the Marvel Avenger’s Academy in the Oceaneer Club throughout the cruise. Kids can “Become Ironnman!” – and even adults can join the fun during open house sessions.
  • At the Costume Celebration, Guests show off their costumes and the Disney characters join the celebration with a short photo session at the end.
  • Several talks with Marvel creators, drawing classes, and trivia contests are held all day.
  • Movies are shown on Funnel Vision and in Buena Vista Theatre. We even had the opportunity to see Thor: Ragnarok before the rest of the US.
  • Journey into the Mystic Arts is a short participation show for kids on the stage of Walt Disney Theatre where they learn from Doctor Strange to master special powers. Children are selected by cruise staff once doors open, and they must have closed-toe shoes to participate. Certificates are delivered to participants’ staterooms the following day.

Evening Celebrations

The festivities stretch into the evening with a special Marvel Day at Sea menu in all main dining rooms. Between the early and late dinner seatings is a Mickey and Friends SuperHero Celebration deck party with the Disney characters and a great message. The night is capped off with Marvel Heroes Unite, an exciting 30-minute stage show with all Marvel characters and a short fireworks display.

Tips:

  1. As soon as your activity booking window opens, be sure to get your tickets right away. Groot tickets go the fastest. If you are not able to secure tickets, go to Guest Services once on board and check for openings. Plenty of Heroic Encounter tickets were available on board.
  2. Go to the early posted time character experiences – lines are much shorter in the morning versus afternoon.
  3. Order the pre-cruise gifts. The Marvel Hero Power package was our favorite (pillow with secret zipper and a super comfy throw). Lots of gifts are also available in the standard ship gift stores and in a special Marvel gift shop.
  4. Each stateroom receives a complimentary bed runner on Marvel day. It is yours to keep. Take a Sharpie and have it signed. Contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist to book one of these limited sailings happening on 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami in January through April.

Jenniffer Sheldon
Guest Contributor || Disney Cruise Platinum Guest

 

 

Have you wondered what it is like to eat with a princess or several princesses? Dining for lunch in Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom is just for you. From the moment you walk in for your reservation to the moment, you leave, they treat you like royalty. When you first walk in downstairs, you are greeting by your host and introduced to Cinderella. She will then pose for pictures with you and your guests.

You are then escorted upstairs to begin your dining experience. When you arrive upstairs, you enter the grand hall of Cinderella’s castle and are shown to your table for a prince or princess. Princesses are given a magic wand, and princes get a magic sword. Each prince or princess is also given a wishing star.

You will feel like royalty through your entire meal as you are greeted by being called my lord and my lady. The food is delicious, some of what I consider the best in all the Disney lands. You start with an appetizer or salad, continue to your main entrée, and then have a special treat for dessert – all included in your price. Some entrée selections include beef tenderloin, shrimp, pork tenderloin and a summer vegetable couscous.

All the while you are eating, princesses are announced and enter the main hall, then come around to great each table and pose for pictures. In addition to princesses, a wish ceremony takes place with the your wishing start and magic wand or sword! Close your eyes and be dazzled!

After all the wishing and personal visits with each princess, when you finish you meal, you may bid adieu. Dining in Cinderella’s Castle has been one of my favorite places to eat in Disney World since my first visit when I was 4, and I have yet to miss a visit since.

Jennifer Lovell

Travel Specialist

If you enjoy the hospitality that Disney offers but want something different and a little more relaxing than visiting a Disney park, our family discovered a hidden Disney gem. Last month, we had the pleasure of staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. The resort sits in two areas of the island.

The actual resort is located in-land adjacent to the Shelter Cove Marina and The Beach House is about 1 ½ miles away on the ocean. The Beach House is where your family can enjoy a day at the beach, an additional pool and a quick service dining location.

We stayed in building #31, which was the furthest location from the main building, but we loved it. We felt like we were tucked away but we biked around the resort and everything was a close walk to get to the pool and quick service dining.

The resort is filled with family fun activities including shuffleboard, cornhole, putting area, bocce ball, paddleboard and kayak tours, fishing and so much more. Each courtyard has their own activity area, so make sure you explore outside of your own area to find everything there is to do. For your swimming pleasure, you will find a pool at the resort and another pool at The Beach House.

We loved the beach, which we found was great for families because the beach had sandbars that created little “pools” of water that made it great for little ones to swim without dealing with the waves of the ocean. You can either bike, drive or take the shuttle from the resort to get to The Beach House.

For your eating pleasure, we were glad we had a villa with a full kitchen since there are not any sit down dining restaurants on the property, but there are plenty of options on the island. There is quick service location on the resort property in addition to the option at The Beach House. Within a short walk, you can find wonderful restaurants at the Shelter Cove Marina, which sits right across the marina from Disney’s resort. We found that biking is the way to get around the island with close to 100 miles of paved bike paths. Since Disney’s Beach House is about 1 ½ miles from the resort, we found biking was the way to go and Disney has plenty of bikes to rent during your stay. All bikes come complete with baskets to carry your beach bag or for a stop at the grocery store, which is nearby.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will go into activities to do around the island and day excursions.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

Pixar is part of the Disney company that has brought us the technologically advanced movies that we have come to love for the past 20 years including:

  • Cars
  • Toy Story
  • Up
  • Brave
  • The Incredibles
  • Finding Nemo
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Wall-E
  • A Bugs Life
  • Ratatouille

On April 13, 2018 Disneyland in California will become even more “Friendly”, as those lovable Disney Pixar characters come out to celebrate friendship in Pixar Fest! Pixar Fest will feature new entertainment and welcome back a favorite nighttime parade.

Together Forever is a new nighttime spectacular show at Disneyland Park, that is sure to quickly become a must-see favorite! This show celebrates the everlasting friendship of our favorite Pixar pals. Together Forever will feature amazing music, stunning pyrotechnics, a flyover by Buzz Lightyear himself as he goes “to infinity and beyond”, and projections that can be seen throughout these areas of Disneyland Park:

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle
  • It’s a Small World
  • Rivers of America
  • Main Street U.S.A

Paint the Night is a Disneyland favorite that will be returning! This time it will be making its nightly appearance at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. This night-time electric parade boasts 1.5 million LEDs and features many of our favorite Pixar characters as they dance and light up the streets of California Adventure! This is a not to be missed night time parade and I highly recommend looking for your parade viewing location 90 minutes before the start time.

AT D23 EXPO 2017, DISNEY PARKS CHAIRMAN BOB CHAPEK ANNOUNCES PIXAR FEST COMING TO DISNEYLAND RESORT — Starting in 2018, this limited-time offering will include a new fireworks spectacular as well as special characters and entertainment moments.

Pixar Play Parade is another must see parade! With the onset of Pixar Fest the parade will now run down the streets of Disneyland Park! Leading that parade will be the famous Pixar lamp, Luxo! Sunset Showcase Theater located in Disney’s California Adventure will have showings of 2 of Pixar’s shorts:

  • For the Birds
  • Lava (my personal favorite)

Paradise Gardens will come to life with a Pixar themed musical troupe along with a chance to meet your favorite Disney Pixar characters. There will even be opportunities for younger guests to let their creative side shine.

A visit during Pixar Fest is one that will surely not disappoint so many new sights and sounds. If you are interested or have any more questions on this limited time engagement to Disneyland Park, contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or prefer to kick back and relax, there is something for everyone at Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.  This newly opened park boasts some of the most technologically-advanced attractions ever featured in a water park.  With 17 attractions and a lot of square feet to cover, it’s important to go with a plan.  While every attraction is unique and worth trying, here are my top five favorites to experience at Volcano Bay.

  1. Krakatau Water Coaster: Without a doubt, this is my favorite ride not only at Volcano Bay, but at any water park I have ever been to.  This water coaster takes you on a wild journey up and down hills, through the volcano and ending in a waterfall.  While somewhat intense, it’s something that can be enjoyed by the entire family all together.  Keep in mind, this is not only my favorite ride at Volcano Bay, but also most guests’ so make sure you arrive to the park early or use your Tapu Tapu if you want to ride.
  2. TeAwa Fearless River:  Lazy river? Not exactly.  This winding river circles guests around parts of the park at a brisk pace making it the perfect attraction to enjoy while waiting for your Tapu Tapu to alert you for your next ride.  While this does move faster than a typical lazy river, it is still relaxing and shows you some beautiful views of the park.
  3. Ika Moana (the green one!): I love a team ride that you can all experience together and Ika Moana is just the right thrill level for the whole family to enjoy.  This tube ride has a fair amount of drops without being too drastic, sending your family on a winding adventure, in and out of enclosures down a gradual hill.  Its counter-part, Honu (the blue), however, is a bit more thrilling!  Try Ika Moana first and then those who are brave enough can conquer Honu.
  4. Taniwha Tubes:  Ride alone or with a buddy on this tube ride water journey.  Choose from 4 different slides with varying levels of intensity from leisurely to very adventurous.
  5. Vol, Spirit of Krakatau: Not everything is about water here!  Step off the lazy river and walk inside the volcano for some interactive entertainment with Vol, the spirit of Krakatau.  He can speak to you and you can even create light patterns with your Tapu Tapu on the inside walls of the volcano.  This is a truly unique “water park experience” unlike anything else I have ever seen.

On your next Universal vacation make sure to check out all that Volcano Bay has to offer.  It is truly more than a water park, but a completely immersive experience.  To ad Volcano Bay to your Universal Orlando package, contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

 

Kon’nichiwa! Greetings from Japan! Whether your family loves eating out at your local hibachi restaurant or you’ve never tried hibachi before, on your next Walt Disney World vacation be sure to have your Me and the Mouse travel agent reserve for you a lunch or dinner at Teppan Edo, a table service meal located in Japan on the far side of World Showcase Lagoon.

Check-in for Teppan Edo is located at the bottom of the stairs to the restaurant which is above the Mitsukoshi department store. After check-in, head up the stairs (an elevator is available for those that require it) and enter a calm and peaceful environment away from the hustle and bustle of Disney. Meals are served in one of several smaller rooms located along a hallway that overlooks Japan with a glimpse of World Showcase Lagoon. Four tables of 8 are located in each room and if your group does not fill a full table you will be seated with other Disney guests. Since everyone loves Disney, it’s a perfect ice breaker and before dessert you will become the best of friends.

Drinks, appetizers and sushi requests are the first thing offered after you sit down. The sushi options come with 8 pieces, perfect for sharing and they even have a sampler plate if you can’t decide between the various types of sushi. Please remember that appetizers and sushi are not included if you are on the standard Disney Dining plan but if you are interested in some of these I highly recommend the sushi sampler.

Once you have your appetizers and drinks, it’s time to pick the type of entree that appeals to you. Beef, chicken, salmon, shrimp, and vegetable options will all tempt you. Can’t decide? Select a combination meal. Garden salad, vegetables, and sukiyaki beef rice will accompany all choices. Now it’s time for the show! If you haven’t experienced a hibachi meal before, you are in for a treat. Each table will have their own amazing chef who will show off knife skills, toss food into the air, make a volcano from the sliced onions, and of course, being at Walt Disney World, you may also get treated to a hidden Mickey during your meal’s preparation. Once the show is over and your meal fully prepared, the food itself is delicious – a favorite on property for many.

Dessert is a choice between 3 different types of mousse cake and 3 different types of ice cream. My favorite is the mango mousse cake – a refreshing and light option.

Next time you have a day at Epcot, try something new and reserve a meal at Teppan Edo. You will not only have a great meal but an experience you won’t soon forget!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

As a Floridian, fall means enjoying a pumpkin spice latte in 90-degree weather, instead of the normal 95, but luckily, it also means the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT! Now those who know me, know that I love food, especially cheese (so much so that my husband wrote about it in our wedding vows, oy vey!). With that being said, I was really excited to see the return of one of my favorite kiosks, The Cheese Studio, which is hosted by Boursin this year. If you’ve never had Boursin cheese, you are missing out! It’s a creamy cheese that originated in France and it has a consistency similar to, but lighter than cream cheese, that melts in your mouth. Boursin boasts several different varieties, but my absolute favorite is garlic and fine herbs. The kiosk this year has three unique dish offerings utilizing several of the flavors.

The first dish, Braised Beef Stroganoff with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushroom, and Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce, could probably be skipped despite how delicious it sounds. We loved the idea of this one, but the flavors, unfortunately, just come out a little boring, even using the Garlic and Herb Boursin, which I think is hard to do.

The second dish, however, A Cheese Trio: Profiterole topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Orange Apricot Jam; Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese and Everything Seasoning; and Strawberry Macaroon with Boursin Pepper Cheese, is really good! The Smoked Salmon Pinwheel is as expected and quite tasty. But the Profiterole and the Macaroon steal the show. I was hesitant because the sweet and savory combination can be hard to master, but these both are really fun and delicious combinations.

My favorite dish by far though is the Savory Caramelized Onion Boursin Garlic and Fine Herb Cheese Tart with cold Arugula Salad and Aged Balsamic. Let me just start off by saying that the Tart has dethroned the Grilled Lamb with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (potato chips for the lay person) from Australia as my favorite dish at the Festival, which is saying a lot. Upon first bite, you immediately taste the great flavor and creaminess of the Boursin cheese, then from there, a slightly sweet flavor develops from the caramelized onions, and finally, there is a delicious tartness from the aged balsamic salad. If you are not a super adventurous eater, but want to delve into the spirit of expanding your horizons at the Food and Wine Festival, then this is a great item to start with. We’ve had it several times now and it has consistently been delicious. The other thing that I love about this dish, is that it’s one of the best values for your money ringing in at $4.50 for a very filling serving. I actually suggest sharing it if you want to eat your way around the countries.

Get to EPCOT to try a Tart before it goes away, but feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about the Food and Wine Festival or any food at Disney!

Jen Morrison

Travel Specialist

“It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow……………”  If you are singing along at this point, you are familiar with my favorite classic attraction at Walt Disney World.  While some may walk by this classic attraction, this is a “MUST DO” on every visit to the Magic Kingdom for my family.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress was personally created by Walt Disney for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.  In 1975, the attraction moved to its current location in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom.  This nostalgic attraction holds a special place in many people’s hearts because it is one of  the only attractions at Walt Disney World to have been touched by Walt Disney himself.

The Carousel of Progress exemplifies Walt’s love of history and progress.  This attraction highlights the industrial advances over the past century and how they have changed everyday living for the American family.

While this show does not typically have a long wait, take time to watch the pre-show video before entering the theater.  The video talks about the history of the attraction and includes clips of Walt explaining the attraction on his tv show.   If the theater isn’t full, I recommend sitting in the center section of any available row.  The show has innovative seating, where the audience’s seats rotate around a stationary central stage from scene to scene like a carousel.

After the brief introduction, the audience begins to move to the first scene as the attraction’s theme song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” begins to play.  Feel free to sing along!  As the scene opens, we meet John, the father of a typical American family living at the “turn of the century”.   We learn how advances like gas lamps, cast-iron stoves, iceboxes and a gramophone have made the pre-electric era an easy time for families.

As we move to the next act, we find ourselves in the summer of the 1920’s.  John shares modern conveniences like the electric iron, the radio, the sewing machine and the light bulb!  Life doesn’t seem like it could get any better.

John explains to the audience that he is now part of the “Rat Race” as we move the next scene which takes place in the Autumn of the 1940’s. Automatic dishwashers, televisions and refrigerators that hold more are just some of the wonders that make life in suburbia even easier for the American Family.

In the final scene that takes place in the Present, the entire family is enjoying high-tech innovations include virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances.

The Carousel of Progress is a classic attraction and is on my list of “Favorite Attractions”.  This 20-minute Audio-Animatronic show is a great opportunity to get out of the sun (or rain), as well as great place for little ones to rest.   As you look back in the past and take a glimpse the future,  sit back and enjoy Walt’s vision and feel free to sing along ………. “There’s a great big beautiful of tomorrow and Tomorrow’s just a dream away….”

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist