4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and a themed retail, dining and entertainment center called Disney Springs provides endless choices for you to spend your vacation.  It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with all the options.  Guests want to make certain they maximize their time and have the opportunity to enjoy everything on their wish list!  I have often heard guests say they need a vacation from their vacation!

When you plan a vacation, most are intending to take a break from the hustle and bustle of work and routine.  However, we often forget the rest and relaxation part of vacation when visiting Walt Disney World.  There are many options for fun and unique activities to bring the R & R back to your vacation.

  • Spa services: Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing manicure, pedicure, facial or a massage?  Spa services can be scheduled at Saratoga Springs Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort
  • Horseback riding or Horse Drawn Carriage Rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Watersports – Sammy Duvall’s Watersport Centre is located at the Contemporary resort.   You can choose from personal watercraft, tubing, water skiing or wakeboarding.  Parasailing is also available as an individual or tandem.  This will provide an amazing birds eye view of the Disney property.
  • Disney’s Waterparks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon lagoon both have unique themes and waterslides as well as a relaxing sandy beach area.
  • Golf – There are 3 outstanding champion courses and a par 36 walking course located on property.  Forgot your clubs?  Not to worry, you can rent clubs at the course!  Don’t forget, there are 2 miniature golf courses available: Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland
  • Resort Pool – with 25 uniquely themed resorts, each resort offers multiple pools.  Although pool hopping is allowed at select resorts, there are black out dates as well as certain resorts that restrict the use to resort guests only.
  • Shopping – Each resort and theme park have multiple shopping locations.  Disney Springs offers several locations where you can find Disney souvenirs and home goods, but it also has multiple widely known retail locations.  Don’t forget while you are shopping to enjoy the vast dining/dessert options or even have a glass of wine at Starbucks!
  • Enjoy the music – There are often musicians performing throughout Disney Springs, the House of Blues, Piano Bob at Port Orleans Riverside, or my most favorite….Jellyrolls Dueling Piano Bar  at the Boardwalk Resort
  • Movie – You can watch the latest movie release at the AMC dine in movie Theatre at Disney Springs!  A movie theater and restaurant all wrapped in to one!! Many of the resorts offer outdoor evening movies.  Check with your individual resort.
  • Bowling – Splitsville at Disney Springs offers both bowling and an expansive menu!  From traditional snack food (nachos, cheese fries) to more eclectic(sushi) and everything in between!

Take a day during your vacation to sleep in, take a nap, or simply take a relaxing stroll throughout your resort!

Your Travel Specialist is here to help you plan your own downtime day!

Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist

 

 

Disney Parks name tags have become an icon much like many other seemingly random Disney items like the famous Disney trash cans (an interesting story for another day)! What started as method to identify employees in 1955 of the newly opened Disneyland, name tags quickly took on a life of their own within the company. This is the fascinating story of a little badge and the names on it.

The first name tags at Disneyland were metal with Disneyland in blue written across them and a number. The number represented the employee. All Cast Members were issued a badge. During the first few years most were seen with only a number on them. Some employee such as executives received a badge with their full name in place of the number.

It wasn’t until 1962 that the Cast Members first name was standard on all name tags. And it was only the first name. Why you ask not the last too? That is because of Walt. Walt believed his company was a first name company where it didn’t matter if you were at the top of the ladder or in an entry level job. To the guests of his Magic Kingdom you were known by a first name and there to help. A side note on Walt, he did not like being called Mr. Disney. Those who would meet him and call him Mr. Disney were often replied to with “call me Walt, Mr. Disney was my father.”

So in 1962, the gold metal name tag went away and what appeared was a plastic thin oval version. Through the years the oval changed some and eventually around 1985 took the shape of what we have come to recognize today – an oval with an icon bump out on top. This current look is an homage to the original Disneyland version. There have been a variety of other shapes also used for many different departments, people and celebrations but the most common is what is used today.

There literally have been hundreds of styles of name tags over the years. Today, they have been simplified and are uniform by department, park (Disneyland, Disney World, oversees parks), business line and employee recognition. They typically all contain the hometown the Cast Member printed below the name. They also contain service pins signifying the years the Cast Member has been with the company. Some showcase different languages the Cast Member knows.

In recent years you may have noticed blue name tags which represent Cast Members who have received the Disney Legacy Award, the highest honor for a Cast Member. One thing that is common among nearly every employee of Disney is that they are worn over their left chest. I say nearly all Cast Members wear them over the left chest because there is one department that is given the freedom to wear them on their lanyards and that is Walt Disney Imagineering. When I worked for Disney I could always spot an Imagineer because not only did they have a special Mickey icon on their name tag they typically were wearing them on their company ID lanyard.

A side note on working for Disney and forgetting your name tag. You don’t forget it. If you do you get one issued to you for the day and in my case I got to be Eric. That day was the one and only time I wasn’t Ryan!

Walt was insistent his employees at Disneyland were easily identifiable and proudly wore a badge in 1955 and later one with their name on it. He made sure they were worn on their left side and they always had it on while in guest areas. The only person to not be required to wear a name tag was Walt himself. I guess that is the perk of being Mr. Disney.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

 

Oh my favorite thing…food on VACA!! What’s even better? Having a meal where you can get a great portion and awesome food for the money (or quick service credit) you are spending. Below is the top 5 based on food quantity and/or quality based on my personal experience along with our agent’s and guest’s favorites!

Captureblogblog 2

Wolfgang

Capture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan Thompson

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.

IMG_9090

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.

Capture

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.

Capture

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.

Capture 1

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!

Capture 3

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?!!??

Capture 2

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)

Capture

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

Missy Zolecki
Travel Specialist

IMG_0257

Have you ever walked into one of the parks at Walt Disney World and wonder who those people were wearing the same outfit taking everyone’s picture?  They are actually photographers that are part of Disney’s PhotoPass.  They will take your pictures at some of the most memorable places and in front of some of the iconic landmarks of Walt Disney World.  Once they take your picture, they will scan your MagicBand or park ticket to automatically link it to your My Disney Experience account.  From there you can browse through all of the pictures that were taken and decide if you’d like to purchase any to download.

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Instead of paying for individual photos, your best option is to include Disney’s Memory Maker with your vacation package.  The Memory Maker photo package lets you download all of the pictures that were taken by Disney’s PhotoPass photographers for one up front cost.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Now, here’s something special that can happen when a Disney PhotoPass Photographer takes your picture.  It’s called a Magic Shot.  It combines the great photograph of you and your family with some Disney magic!  Before these Magic Shots were sprinkled throughout the parks and were sometimes hard to find.  

Walt Disney World Magic Shots

Disney’s now made them easy to find!  By visiting Disney PhotoPass Service Facebook page, and clicking on the Albums tab, there’s a photo album showing each park’s current Magic Shot offerings and where they can be found inside the parks.  It’s always updated and there will be more Magic Shots available during festivals and holidays.  

 

Whether you’d like to have a picture with Stitch, Figment or Sebastian, you’ll now be able to know before you head to the parks if they’re available and where to go to find them!  Magic Shots is certainly a great added feature to the PhotoPass service that you’ll surely not want to miss!

Are you ready to book your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and the Mouse agent today! All of our agents are highly trained in Disney vacation planning!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

To Infinity and Beyond!

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldHowdy, Howdy, Howdy!!!  Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies, and I am super excited to announce that coming summer 2018 Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to a new Toy Story Land!  The idea of this new land is similar to that of Cars Land at Disneyland, it is an all immersive land where you actually feel like you are walking around Radiator Springs {such a fun land to visit}!  The new Toy Story Land will shrink down guests and become Andy’s new toys!  

The new 11 acres of Andy’s backyard play area you will be full of Toy Story fun! You will find 2 new amazing attractions 1. The Slinky Dog Dash Family Friendly Rollercoaster and 2. Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania will continue in operation and has actually extend its track for a longer and even more entertaining ride.

The Slinky Dog Dash will be a coaster that the whole family can enjoy. The track {designed by Andy using his Mega Coaster Play Kit} will stretch, as long as Slinky Dog can, throughout the new land.

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldThe other new attraction will be Alien Swirling Saucers.  This attraction is inspired by the first film and Andy’s visit to Pizza Planet.  In the film, Buzz and Woody were stuck in the claw game.  The claw makes a big appearance during this new attractions as it looms over riders that are spinning and swirling in their toy flying saucers trying to keep away from the aliens as they try to catch you with “The Claw”.

Toy Story Mania is a beloved attraction by many and it will be getting even better.  The fan-favorite attraction will be adding even more track with the opening of this new Toy Story Land. Guests will also get the chance to travel under Andy’s bed. They will see an amazing carnival that Andy has built.  

If you’re ready to check out this new addition, 2018 packages for next summer are already being reserved!  Be sure to contact a Me and the Mouse Agent for more information and to get your families visit to Walt Disney World and Toy Story Land planned! We know you are going to love this new expansion!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatAs many of you know, Florida is quite HOT in the summer. When visiting the area, many families are trying to figure out the best way to CHILL out! On our last day trip to Disney Springs, we stumbled upon one the coolest new FREE things to do for the kids {and adults}! It was the Beat the Heat Dance Party!!!

This fun dance party is located at a water fountain area. It’s nestled near Once Upon a Toy, the Carousel and Earl of Sandwich! The Beat the Heat Dance party has a live DJ, umbrellas for the parents that need a little shade, hula hoops and water toys and of course WATER!!  Spinning the latest hits, the DJ’s keep the party going from 1pm – 5pm {and again in the evening from 6pm – 10pm} all summer long!  It reminded me of the Resorts’ pool interactive recreation activities they have for the kids! However, it has the flexibility of having it in the open marketplace, an unexpected surprise!!

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatIt was a great way for my 8 year old to be able to cool down and my 3 year old nephew to have some play time too, without feeling like they were crowded or had to take turns waiting in lines for slides and rides. It was so convenient, and we all loved it! Disney Springs continues to amaze me with all of the creative additions to their already spectacular revamp. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this FREE admission area then you certainly need to! There are always new activities and events that Disney plans for Disney Springs.

Ready to plan your trip {or DAY TRIP} to Disney?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We are highly trained and would love to bring a little extra magic to your vacation!

 

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

Incredible Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom ParkYak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

One of the best tips for making the most of your time at Walt Disney World is to stay in the parks for your meals.  While there are many great table service selections in Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, there are only a handful available in Animal Kingdom.  With the new Pandora expansion, more and more guests are wanting to spend time in Animal Kingdom so a table service meal inside the park is usually the best way to have a meal break without wasting time traveling to another part of Walt Disney World. I’m introducing you to one of my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat – Yak & Yeti!

 

Nestled in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom lies one of the most overlooked restaurants in all of Walt Disney World: The Yak & the Yeti. This restaurant is often overshadowded by Tusker House. However, this table service restaurants has one of the most diverse and delicious menus of any restaurant on property.  Since there are two Yak & Yeti locations within Animal Kingdom park {one table service and one counter service}, most guests think if you’ve experienced one, you have experience both, but that could not be further from the truth.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

Walking into this gorgeous, two-story restaurant, you immediately feel engrossed in the culture of Asia.  The Asian art and artifacts in this environment get you prepped and ready for the amazing meal you are about to have.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

We were seated in the quiet second story of the restaurant, and our friendly waiter greeted us! She offered several helpful suggestions!  Our tabled ordered the teriyaki chicken and the steak and coconut shrimp for our entrees and neither disappointed.  Both dishes had an Asian flair without being “too much” for the picky eater in your family.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The real star of the show at Yak & Yeti was dessert.  Our table ordered the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and the fried wontons! The cake was great! However, I cannot imagine this meal without the fried wontons. They were sweet cream cheese filled wontons on skewers with fresh pineapple, drizzled with honey-vanilla yogurt, strawberries and a side of vanilla ice cream. I can say it was  absolutely heavenly and so refreshing. It made for the perfect treat on an unbearably hot day.  If you are dining at Yak and Yeti, you cannot miss the fried wontons.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The service and food were absolutely outstanding, but this meal is also a great value.  With prices ranging from $16 per plate, this is a great value if you are paying out of pocket.  Yak and Yeti is one credit on the Disney Dining Plan for one beverage, an entrée and a dessert.  Next time you are at Animal Kingdom, consider giving Yak and Yeti a try.  You will not regret it!

 

Ready to plan your trip to Animal Kingdom to try Yak and Yeti? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We can’t wait for you to join the Me and The Mouse family!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

As the summer fun continues to rise at Walt Disney World, your family will enjoy the opportunity to cool down and enjoy some delicious tasty treats while visiting the parks.  We’re sharing  our list of Cool Treats to enjoy at Walt Disney World in 2017!!! Enjoy!!

 

  1. Night Blossom: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    This fun drink can only be found at Pongu Pongu inside Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom Park.  The Night Blossom is a non-alcoholic limeade slushy with apple and pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining plan}

 

  1. Dole Whip Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Identified as my FAVORITE snack on property, the Dole Whip Float should NOT be missed on a trip to the Magic Kingdom. You will find this amazing treat made up of pineapple soft serve surrounded by freshly squeezed pineapple juice only at the Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom. While Dole Whip ice cream can be found at the Polynesian Village Resort, I highly recommend the float version as you enjoy the sounds of the birds from the Tiki Room in the background. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Lefou’s Brew:

    Beauty and the Beast fans will certainly want to stop by Gaston’s Tavern located in the New Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom to enjoy Lefou’s Brew. This special treat is a no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. The Plaza Sundae:

    The All-American sundae at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA is a memorable treat that you will want to check out on your visit. You will enjoy your view of the Castle as you enjoy old-fashioned vanilla and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, peanut butter drizzle, whipped cream, and a cherry. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Root Beer Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Don’t let this classic treat pass you by!  The refreshing root beer crystalizes as it meets the cold vanilla soft-served! This makes it the perfect scrumptious treat to cool down with as you visit the parks.  While root beer floats can be found at multiple locations, my favorite is at Storybook Treats in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Apple Pie Sundae:

    This brand new dessert can be found near Test Track at the adjacent Taste Track beverage and snack kiosk. Currently, this location is only open seasonally. You will find several unique sundae options here, but the apple pie sundae is what caught my attention.  This large sundae is made up of soft vanilla iced cream drizzled with caramel sauce topped with vanilla beach whipped cream and Caramel popcorn and salted caramel pearls. All of this deliciousness is surrounded by three warm apple pie pockets pressed into the sundae. This treat is not on the Disney Dining Plan. However, the $6.50 charge is worth it to enjoy this special, tasty treat at EPCOT!

 

  1. Doughnut Sundae:

    This treat is new to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, but the doughnut sundae was a “must have” for my 16 year old! We were able to try out this incredible new sweet treat on his recent band trip! The doughnut sundae includes a glazed doughnut topped with your choice of hand-scooped Edy’s ice cream, hot fudge, a cinnamon apple topping, whipped cream, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and of course, a cherry.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Mickey Ice Cream Bar: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    A Disney vacation is not complete without enjoying a classic Mickey ice cream bar. This premium Mickey-shaped, treat is first made up of creamy vanilla ice cream. Then, it’s dipped in a thick, decedent chocolatey coating. You will not want to miss out on this classic, rich treat. Mickey’s premium ice cream bars can be found across the Walt Disney World property! You can find them at various ice cream carts, snack stands and quick service dining locations. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Citrus Swirl:

    Located at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, guests will find a tasty treat with the citrus swirl.  It’s a blend of orange slush with vanilla soft-serve ice cream! This sweet treat is a family favorite when we are visiting Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch Ice Cream:

    L’Artisan des Glaces is hidden gem tucked away in France at the World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot.  This ice cream shop sells sixteen different flavors of house-made ice cream and sorbet. While there are so many options, we continually go back for the apple & crumble crunch which reminds us of all the goodness of your favorite apple pie.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney WorldWhile menus are subject to change, the Disney Parks continue to offer amazing treats and dining opportunities to their guests.  Check out our website and visit our blog for additional information on the Disney Dining Plans and restaurant reviews!

Ready to give these 10 treats a try? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book your next Disney vacation today!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist