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

I recently announced that my family is going through a MAJOR change.  We are moving to Florida! We are still in the transition process, but we recently had the opportunity to experience our first Zolecki family day trip!!  We are fortunate to have family living in the area we are moving to, and they are just as crazy about Disney as we are!!!

Florida Resident Day Trip

Until recently, the thought of only going to Disney for the day was hard to even imagine.  For the last 20 years, I have always been planning my next trip.  Where do we want to stay?  What restaurant reservations do we want?  What fastpasses do we want to get?  To ensure we obtain our desired itinerary, I would be planning months in advance, just as I do for my clients!  However, now I am a Florida resident.  I can hop in my car and be at a Disney park in a little over an hour!  What about the planning?  What I am quickly learning, the atmosphere of simply being at the park is what I most enjoy!  The attractions are simply icing on the cake!

 

I have the opportunity to slow down, enjoy the atmosphere and really experience the little details.  I am not in a rush to experience every ride and attraction.  If I miss it this time, I know I will be back very soon and will be able to enjoy that attraction the next time (read more about this, here!).  As far as dining at our favorite locations, I began checking a couple of days prior to our planned trip and wouldn’t you know it, there was a reservation that opened up!  If not, perhaps this would be a great opportunity to try out something new that does have availability.

Florida Resident Day Trip

Our first family day trip was a huge success.  We obtained fastpasses the night before. As we were driving onto Disney property the same excitement and awe filled our car as if this was our very first trip!  We enjoyed multiple attractions throughout Magic Kingdom.  Not to mention riding the Walt Disney Railroad all the way around the park in the afternoon when we all were ready for a little break!  In our family, even a ride on the monorail is a must and we accomplished that twice!!!

I will admit, it did feel a bit odd to leave the park and head back home instead of a Disney resort. 

How will this affect me as a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist?  I believe it will only enhance my ability to serve you!  I have the experience of long term planning , but now I have the experience of spontaneous short trips and the ability to experiencing the newest additions first hand!!  Incorporating my passion and interests is what dream jobs are made of!  I am here to share my knowledge and experience with you to help you enjoy your piece of the magic!

If you’re a Florida resident and are looking to make a short day trip, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We would love to help make your 1st trip or 111th trip as magical as possible!

 

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

Sprinkles at Disney SpringsLocated in the Marketplace Town Center right in the Heart of Disney Springs (across from The Landing) hides this hidden gem!  Sprinkles Cupcakes boasts a wide variety of sweet treats, including gourmet cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, shakes, and an assortment of specialty beverages.

Sprinkles opened its doors at Disney Springs May 15, 2016 and continues to command a crowd of sweet seekers nightly.  The hours of operation are 10am – 12am daily.  During peak seasons, they have a queue out front for guests, so the line doesn’t get out of control while they wait for their sweet treat.  For patrons on the go, the Sprinkles at Disney Springs even has a Cupcake ATM! {I know, it sounds amazing!} It’s restocked throughout the day and night. So you can purchase cupcakes and cookies 24 hours a day {again, this sounds like a dream!!}!  Guests can enjoy their cupcakes out on the deck overlooking the Disney Springs Marketplace and Walking Bridge in the heart of the entertainment district.
Sprinkles at Disney Springs

Sprinkles has an assortment of cupcake sizes: regular and mini and flavors: chocolate, vanilla, banana, coconut, lemon, salty caramel, and many more!  They also update their menu weekly, monthly and seasonly. So, anytime you go you can always try something different! My current favorite flavors are raspberry chocolate chip and maple bacon.  Sprinkles also caterers to a variety of dietary restrictions by offering vegan, sugar free and gluten free cupcakes. To top off the whole experience, you can watch the cupcake bakers make the sugary sweet treats while you wait! I am fascinated by the baking process, and watching it makes the wait much more fun!

Sprinkles at Disney SpringsSprinkles also has a perks program that offers deals and information about upcoming flavors and promotions.  You get a free cupcake for signing up AND one on your birthday!!  The more you visit, the more perks you earn.  Who doesn’t love FREE and CUPCAKES?!
So, the next time you’re at Disney Springs day or night don’t forget to stop by Sprinkles and pick up a cupcake or a dozen! P.S. Be sure to tag your photos on social media with #MeandTheMouse so we can see all the fun you’re having!
If you’re looking for more fun activities to do outside of the parks, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. We would love to help put a little extra magic into your next visit!

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

 

       Looking for a place to spend the evening? Check out the Boardwalk!

Many people are unaware of the activities, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment that are only steps away when you exit the back of the Epcot theme park. The Boardwalk is a quarter of a mile-long promenade created around Crescent Lake and designed to look like a quaint Mid-Atlantic seaside village from the early 1900’s.

Disney's Boardwalk Villas
Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

 

The lake is lined with 3 resorts (Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk), 11 eateries, and 3 entertainment venues.  If you’re looking for a relaxing and unique place to stay, any of the resorts on the Boardwalk offer this experience.  Along with amenities of the resort, you can stroll the Boardwalk anytime of the day and enjoy the extras that are only a few steps out your resort door.  If you’re looking for a close proximity to Epcot, especially during the Food and Wine Festival, any of these resorts give you the opportunity to walk straight into Epcot where all of the action is happening for the Festival.

 

If you’re looking for something to do after Epcot closes, check out the entertainment venues on the Boardwalk.  Guests who are 21 years or older can swing, rumba or sashay around the Atlantic Dance Hall to the tunes of the 80s, 90s or today. Enjoy dueling pianos and an energetic light shows at Jellyrolls. The two pianist entertain guests with whimsical commentary as they weave their fingers over the ivories.  It’s an adult only venue (21 and older) that shouldn’t be missed.  To round out your visit to the Boardwalk, the ESPN Club hosts live broadcasts with your favorite sports athletes. Schedules vary so check out ESPN Club when you visit for the current itinerary.

JellyRolls Restaurant at Disney's Boardwalk
Jellyrolls at Disney’s Boardwalk

 

Strolling the boardwalk wouldn’t be the same without a little something to eat.  There are a variety of eateries to please any palate.  If you looking for a sweet treat, check out the BoardWalk Bakery, Funnel Cake Cart or Ample Hills Creamery. Sit down dining is available, too!  Trattoria al Forno, Big River Grill and Brewery Works, or ESPN Club offer you time off of your feet and a delicious meal.  There are more places to catch a bite but there is also shopping.

 

Flying Fish Cafe at Disney's Boardwalk
Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk

There is one large gift shop that looks like several shops from the front.  The store fronts have various names above the entry doors (Screen Door General Store, Character Carnival, Dundy’s Sundries, Thimbles and Threads, etc.), but all the stores are connected on the inside.  The store has all the usual souvenirs along with some snacks.

 

There are several ways to get to the Boardwalk area (car, bus, boat, walking) but the easiest is to walk straight out of Epcot at the International Gateway in the World Showcase.  There are signs for the easy ½ mile walk leading you to the Boardwalk.  Come and experience the east coast boardwalk even in the middle of Florida.

 

Roxanne Genovese

Disney Vacation Planner

Choosing dining can be an overwhelming task for your family vacation.  At Disney World, it is not just about the food or the character interaction, but also about environment, location and convenience.   Coral Reef is one of my family’s favorites for these reasons:

1. Location:

When it’s possible to choose in-park dining for your park days, you absolutely should.  In-park restaurants can save your family a huge amount of time so you can enjoy the park more.  Coral Reef is conveniently located in the Seas building in Epcot’s Future World.  You can basically walk out of your clam shell from The Seas With Nemo or your interactions with Crush in Turtle Talk and into the restaurant without wasting any time.  If you schedule a Fastpass+ for either of these experiences, try to make it around lunch or dinner for the most time-efficient sea experience.

Coral Reef Restaurant - Review

2. Atmosphere:

Dining at Walt Disney World should be an adventure and Coral Reef does not disappoint.  Dining in the restaurant means feeling completely submerged in an aquarium. While dining, you can view over 60 species of marine life as well as the occasional scuba diver.  On each table, you will find a sea life guide detailing the species of each fish.  It is a wonderful way to keep your kids entertained and educated while you relax and enjoy your meal.

Coral Reef Restaurant - Review

3. Food Selection:

The top question clients ask is “It is only seafood?”  On the contrary, Coral Reef offers pork, chicken and steak as well as an array of seafood items.  You and your kids can be as adventurous or as safe as you like with kid-friendly favorites such as chicken strips and macaroni and cheese always available.  There truly is something for everyone on this menu.

Coral Reef Restaurant - Review

4. Dessert:

My favorite part of the meal is always dessert and Coral Reef has one of the best dessert menus in Epcot.  At the top of my list are the flourless Chocolate Wave (gluten free) and the Sea Turtle Cheesecake.  Your meal is sure to end in a most delicious way.

5. Value:

If you are on the Plus or Deluxe Dining Plan, this is a great use of one table service credit.  Factoring in the generous portions and excellent service, Coral Reef is an excellent value

 

Coral Reef is not just a meal, but a full and delicious experience for the entire family.  Try it on your next trip to Epcot!
Coral Reef Restaurant - Review

 

Julie Stewart

Disney Vacation Planner

Many visitors to Florida find that Florida water tastes considerably different than their water at home.  When you first try the water at a fountain or restaurant, you may find that it has an odd taste and sulfur smell.  Florida water is completely safe to ingest but it needs a little something to make it ‘drinkable’.

On our first trip to Disney, my children were young and drinking water was a big part of our daily routine.  I found that by using small flavored packets in our water bottles helped tremendously to drink Florida water.  We used lemonade, Kool-Aid and Crystal lite On the Go packets.  Now there are liquid drops for water bottles.  These packets and containers fit easily in a backpack or your pocket.

Water Flavors

We had purchased our packets prior to our trip and had our children try them.  I made a big deal out of having these special drinks.  Once I figured out which ones they liked, I packed the On the Go packets away for our Disney trip.  While at Disney, I surprised the kids with the ‘special’ drinks again.  It was a little extra magic that made their Disney trip that much more fun.  Who would have thought that flavored drinks could be such a treat!!

We brought empty water bottles into the parks and filled them at fountains, or at restaurants.  By doing this we saved our snack credits for more yummy and delicious treats.  One water bottle at Disney is considered a snack credit on the meal plan or it costs approximately $3 per bottle out of pocket.

Don’t forget your flavoring!!  Heat, humidity and a lot of walking can leave you feeling exhausted and under the weather. Making an effort to stay well hydrated will keep you cool, energized, and ready for your next Disney adventure.

Water Bottles

Roxanne Genovese

Travel Specialist

Raglan Road Irish Pub 

Raglan Road, nestled in the middle of the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs shopping and dining area, is one of the most unique and delicious restaurants on property!

For those of us who remember Pleasure Island, Raglan Road was one of the first new additions to Pleasure Island when it became more family-friendly in late 2005.  Built across from Mannequins, in place of what used to be an ice cream parlor, Raglan Road brought a new era of fine dining to Downtown Disney.

Raglan Road is an authentic Irish Pub – and when I say ‘authentic’, I’m not just saying they have shamrocks and shepherd’s pie.  What I mean is that every recipe is traditional Irish cuisine, the physical bar in the restaurant was taken out of an authentic pub in Ireland, live traditional music and Irish dancers grace crowds every evening, and beers and liquors traditionally served in Ireland are ready for your consumption!  

Although there is Cooke’s Window, an Ice Cream shop, and an outdoor bar at Raglan Road, the true deliciousness that is the atmosphere and food lies within, at the table service meal!  Raglan Road accepts reservations through Disney Dining, but also through Open Table as it is a third party.  Don’t let this deter you from making a reservation though! The Disney Dining Plan (1 meal credit), as well as Tables in Wonderland, are both accepted here.  

Your entire family will find something to enjoy on the menu, reasonably priced from as low as $5 to upwards of $55.  The menu boasts an amazing Portobella Burger, Bangers and Mash, as well as their famous Bread Pudding, among other amazing lunch and dinner options.  Brunch is served on weekends.  Beers, wines, and other adult beverages are plentiful.  We are certain you will walk away from this restaurant with a full belly and big smile 🙂

Raglan Road is open from 11am to 11pm and is family friendly.  Reservations are strongly suggested, but walk-ins are welcomed.  Let your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist book your next dining experience here!  You won’t be disappointed 🙂

Raglan-Road-Dancers-outside-7-2012

Amy Sowinski 

Travel Specialist

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Cruise right in for a memorable meal at Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Dine-In.  This Hollywood sound stage takes you back to the era of drive-ins and sock hops.  Your family will enjoy sitting underneath a sky full of your twinkling stars  in your “automo-booth or table” as classic black and white science fiction clips and commercials play on the big screen.

You will find classic 50’s drive-in foods, such as onion rings, milkshakes (be sure to ask about the milkshake of the day!) and build-your-own burgers, but that’s not all.  The menu hosts other memorable dishes, such as New York Strip Steak, Smoked Turkey sandwiches, and St. Louis-style Pork Ribs.  Your children will find a wide variety of choices on the kid’s menu, such as popcorn chicken, mac-n-cheese, cheeseburgers, and grilled salmon to just name a few.  You’ll want to save room for another milkshake for dessert or perhaps some warm cinnamon sugar donuts.

There are a few tables in the back that are picnic table-style. If you’d prefer one of those to the “car” set-up, be sure to request it. If you know you want a car, request it for good measure when you check in at the podium.  If you arrive early, please note that waiting area is not large and most families have to wait outside with their pagers.  Once inside, be sure to take time to explore the movie props and posters found throughout the restaurant’s “hallways”.

Whether it’s lunch or dinner, it’s always nighttime at the movies in this table-service restaurant built to look like a classic 1950’s drive-in theater.  Your family will be taken back in time when you hop in your car and allow your attentive carhop serve up a tasty meal at the local drive-in.  This is will quickly become a family favorite memory of your trip to Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.  Advanced dining reservations are encouraged and can be made up to 180 days in advance.  This restaurant is 1 credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

IMG_4091 IMG_4093

Florida Road SignCan’t decide which resort to visit? Here’s some information, which might help you determine what fits your family’s travel style and budget!

The Disneyland Resort (DLR) is Walt’s original theme park. It opened its gates to children, young and old, in 1955. It currently occupies approximately 510 acres. The DLR will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2015!

Walt Disney World (WDW) opened its doors in late 1971 with the help of Walt’s brother Roy who continued Walt’s dream after his passing in 1966. The entire WDW resort spans over 30,000 acres (about 47 square miles, with most of that land undeveloped), including resorts and theme parks.california road sign

Number of Theme Parks
DLR = 2    Disneyland (DL) and Disney’s California Adventure (CA) are in easy walking distance from each other and the DLR hotels.
WDW = 4    The Magic Kingdom (MK), Epcot (EP), Hollywood Studios (HS), and the Animal Kingdom (AK) are spread throughout WDW and require walking, monorail, boat, or shuttle to get to and from parks and resorts.

Additional Entertainment*
DLR – Downtown Disney (shopping, movies, restaurants, and entertainment), resort pools, a spa, and a Children’s Activity Center.
WDW – Downtown Disney (shopping, movies, restaurants, Cirque du Soleil, and more), 2 waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), shopping, pools, miniature golf, golf courses, bike rental, boat rental, fishing, archery, pony rides, movies under the stars, spas, and 5 Children’s Activity Centers.

* Additional entertainment and amenities require a stay at one of the many Disney resorts on-property.

Number of Attractions
DLR – 52 (DL), 31 (CA)
WDW – 40 (MK), 31 (EP), 20 (AK), and 13 (HS)

Attractions Unique to California or Florida
California’s DLR has CarsLand, Toontown, Sulley to the Rescue, Alice in Wonderland, and a great thrill ride – Indiana Jones’ Adventure. Although WDW also has “It’s a Small World,” the exterior of the attraction at Disneyland, especially during Christmastime, is something to see!
Florida’s WDW has Mission: Space and Test Track by Chevrolet, both great thrill rides. WDW also has Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, which is a free interactive game you can play at the Magic Kingdom.

Shows and Parades Unique to California or Florida
Both resorts have an amazing amount of entertainment, which includes special events around holidays.
California has the additions of Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular, and Mickey and the Magical Map.
Florida has the American Idol Experience, Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage, Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Resorts and Accommodations
DLR includes 3 on-site Disney resorts (1 Value, 1 Moderate, and 1 Deluxe), as well as 39 Good Neighbor Hotels.
WDW has over 25 on-site resorts (5 Value, 5 Moderate, 9 Deluxe, and 9 Deluxe Villas).

Dining
DLR has over 85 restaurants and quick-service locations, including character dining (5), family/buffet (2) and Signature dining (3).
WDW has over 275 restaurants and quick-service dining options throughout the resort, including dinner shows (3), character dining (14), family/buffet (18), and Signature dining (19).

Ticket Prices (as of November 2013)
DLR: A 1 Day Park Hopper ticket for an adult is $92, $86 for kids 3-9.
WDW: A 1 Day Park Hopper ticket for an adult is $154, $148 for kids 3-9.
The longer you play, the more you save!

If you like to Go-Go-Go!, or if you enjoy soaking up every amenity at the resort and taking advantage of quiet time poolside, Walt Disney World offers an immense amount of entertainment, attractions, and pampering. Plan no less than 3 days at the parks, but we recommend 6 days to be able to see everything you want and still be able to take a few breathers.

If you love your theme parks but also enjoy a more laid back approach to your experience, the Disneyland Resort is done magnificently on a much smaller scale. In less crowded seasons, you can see everything in the 2 parks in 2 days. In heavier seasons, we recommend 3 days to be sure to get everything in!

Of course, if you’re not a huge theme park person to begin with and would prefer to simply relax, why not try a Disney cruise or a visit to Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii?!

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Attention Swashbucklers!

 
Aye Matey!  Welcome to the Pirates League!!!  If you have a little Swashbuckler in your crew, then there is extra magic in store for them at the Pirate’s League at Magic Kingdom Park.  
 
Boys will beam while transforming into their favorite pirate from Captain “Jack Sparrow” to “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”.  Girls will delight in becoming “Empress” or a chance to transform into a mermaid while visiting the Pirates League.   Even parents can be recruited into the Pirate League!!
 
Aspiring pirates wanting to join the league, must be 3 years of age and accompanied by an adult.  Swashbucklers must bring their own comb or brush and have their nails bare (if they are getting polish).  Plan on spending an hour at the Pirates League with your child being recreated into their pirate alter-ego.  Packages start at $34.95 doubloons and up, with Deluxe packages at $79.95.
 
Ye pirate transformation begins when you receive your Official Pirate name and recorded in the leather-bound captain’s log.  Next, your swashbuckler moves to the Muster Station where the Pirate Masters create a marauder’s makeover.  As yer buccaneer beard, earrings, scars and eye patches are applied, the scurvy sea dogs will tell you tales of buried treasure and sunken ships.
 
Once fully transformed,  your buccaneer will take the pirate’s oath and then enter the secret room where hidden treasure will be revealed to them.  In addition, their official portrait is taken by a PhotoPass photographer.  (Guests are welcome to take photos during the transformation, but cameras are not allowed in the secret room)
 
Now as an official member of the Pirates League, your new swashbuckler can join the daily Adventureland Pirate Parade (weather permitting), meet Pirate Goofy nearby or learn how to sword fight at Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial.
 
Yo-ho-ho!  The entire family can enjoy the jolly good fun of a pirate’s life at the Pirates League experience at Magic Kingdom Park.

 

Tressa Krippel 

Travel Specialist