Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosIf you are like most Universal Orlando guests, you start your morning by running to the back of Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure to beat the crowds to see all of the Harry Potter attractions.  After some playing, you are bound to feel hungry.  Good news!  You can continue to feel the magic of the Wizarding World with meals and snacks inspired by the series.
On the Universal Studios side, immerse yourself in London, get all of your Wizarding supplies and grab a meal at the Leaky Cauldron.  This restaurant serves breakfast,  lunch and dinner in the setting of the famous pub right out of the movies.   I prefer to grab breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron just after my ride on the Escape From Gringotts and before heading over to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express.  On the Islands of Adventure side, head over to Three Broomsticks from some traditional English fare.  The ordering stations are laid out to look just like you are checking in as a guest of this famous inn.  This restaurant does a fabulous job of immersing guests into the movie while they enjoy a tasty meal.

 

Do I need to make reservations?

Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosNo!  Both of these restaurants are considered counter service locations so simply decide when you want to eat, walk up and order.  Prices range from a reasonable $9.99-$16.99 or 1 counter service credit on the Universal Dining Plan.  Both of these restaurants are pretty busy all day, but don’t let a line deter you.  They move people very quickly and there is always room to sit.

 

Leaky Cauldron - Universal Studios

If you are having way too much fun to take time to sit and eat, but still want to experience some Harry Potter treats, there are plenty of options.  If Butterbeer is what you crave, there are plenty of Butterbeer carts in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley served regular, frozen or my personal favorite, Butterbeer ice cream.  If you want a more magical snack to take home as a souvenir, visit Honeydukes in Hogsmeade.  You can fill your own bag of Bertie Bott’s, take home some Butterbeer fudge or surprise your friends with some Exploding Bon Bons!

 

Leaky Cauldron - Universal StudiosUniversal does an excellent job of immersing guests in the magic of Harry Potter.  Eating like a wizard here is a magical experience for both adults and kids.

 

For more information about Universal or to book your vacation, please contact a Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist. We are highly trained in both Universal and Disney destinations, and we would love to assist you!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

One of my fellow agents, Ryan Gross, wrote a blog on all that was sweet and savory in Walt Disney World {read it, here!}, and mentioned ‘poutine’ as one of his favorites.  If you’d like to know more about this savory treat, you’re in luck!

The Daily Poutine - Disney Springs Dining

The Daily Poutine is a small, brick, ‘snack’ stand in Disney Spring, located roughly behind the Lego Store in the Marketplace, but not quite in the Town Center. It overlooks a lovely fountain and the savory smells billowing from this stand will keep you close by.

 

Promoting ‘gourmet frites’, the Daily Poutine makes 4 different poutine dishes.  Served in a large bowl, you will find it filled with french fries and cheese curds, and topped with heavenly items.  It’s a great treat to share for two {or a great meal for one}!

 

Classic poutine is covered in brown, beef gravy.  Simple, delicious, and so filling. I had never had it before – and it was my favorite! Italian poutine tastes like a meatball sub on french fries. Mmm! French poutine reminds me of cream of mushroom on french fries…I didn’t like it, but it may be your favorite!

BRAND NEW: As of Memorial Day weekend 2017, The Daily Poutine has added a Cheeseburger Poutine to its menu! French fries are covered with ground beef, Beer cheese sauce, traditional burger toppings – including house-made pickles!  It’s topped with traditional poutine cheese curds as well!

The Daily Poutine - Disney Springs DiningIf you are looking for a ‘meal’, I suggest the Latin poutine.  It uses fried yucca instead of fries, however, you’ll get black beans, rice, melted cheese and pulled pork on top!  It’s just the right spice, warmth and texture to fill that comfort food void.

 

What’s a great thing about poutine, well, next to the comforting flavors?  Low prices for a snack that could serve as a meal; and if you’re on the dining plan, most drinks at this location are covered as a snack credit.  

 

If you’re looking for something quick, portable, and that ‘hit the spot’ taste…look no further than the poutine at The Daily Poutine at Disney Springs. Ready to take the stress away from planning your Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today, we would LOVE to help plan your next magical getaway!

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

I never thought I’d have the chance to travel to Disney World alone, however, my most recent trip presented an opportunity to explore Disney solo.  Since this was a once in a lifetime chance for me, I happily accepted!

What does one do when alone?  Anything they want!!  You may or may not have ideas of how to ideally spend your solo trip.  This is how I spent my unforgettable time!

  1. Stay at a new resort

Enjoying a Solo Day at DisneyI stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time {You can read about this interactive resort, HERE!}.  After a day of travel, I relaxed and explored this breathtaking resort. I…

  • Viewed the animals in the savanna
  • Relaxed on lush seating in the lobby, took in the detailed architecture, and enjoyed the smells that wafted from Boma {Read about this amazing restaurant, HERE!}
  • Ate a quiet dinner at The Mara (chicken corn chowder soup and mixed tomato flatbread)
  • Sat by the indoor fire pit with my feet up
  • Walked the outside path listening to the running water
  • Took pictures from the overhead bridge
  • Shopped at Zawadi Marketplace
  • Grabbed a Zebra cake for dessert to enjoy in my room
  1. Visit your Favorite Park Enjoying a Solo Day at Disney

    I visited Magic Kingdom and strolled down Main Street, watched the welcome show, rode my favorite rides, and took in the details of each land. Just because you’re alone, doesn’t mean rides won’t be fun!  Take this chance to talk to people from all over the world.  You can have some of the best conversations with perfect strangers.

  2. Share with others

    I loved being alone, but chose to share some experiences via social media throughout my day. Facebook Live was a great way to share my views and sites with friends and family.  You can share with everyone or a customized group of people.

**Read Facebook’s copyright rules before posting.  Things like music played for the fireworks are copyright material that you’re not allowed to broadcast.

  1. Eat what you want Enjoying a Solo Day at Disney

    I indulged in my favorites: corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner, beef nachos at Pecos Bills, my morning iced coffee and coffee cake from Starbucks in a quiet spot overlooking Cinderella’s Castle, and a bag of popcorn during the fireworks.

  2. Park Hop

    With less of an agenda, being able to enjoy my next favorite park was not out of the question! I visited Epcot and enjoyed Soarin’!

  3. Explore Enjoying a Solo Day at Disney

    I took this chance to see details at resorts I usually don’t have a chance to. From the Ticket and Transportation Center, I walked to the Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts.  I enjoyed views of the park, sandy beaches, and quietness along the way!  I then sat in the lobby of the Grand Floridian and listened to the piano while I rested my feet.  Exploration is endless at Disney….

If you ever have a chance to see Disney World alone for a couple hours or a full day, take it!  There is so much for the solo traveler to indulge in.  Enjoy…it is not a day you will soon forget!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

Tucked away at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, next to Echo Lake, you’ll find the kitschy 50’s Prime Time Cafe.  While this restaurant is easily noticeable, there’s a little hidden gem that not too many notice while walking past.  The Tune-In Lounge is a lovely, 50s style, bar/lounge where adults can grab a drink and beat the Florida heat!

Tune in Lounge Review

 

No reservations are needed for the Tune-In Lounge. Simply belly-up to the bar, and order a beer or a cocktail – or try one of their signature drinks (which change by season).  My personal favorite is the ‘Electric Lemonade’ – not only do the ice cubes light up, but the lemonade has an adult twist!  

 

Whimsical 50s style decorations adorn the lounge, the living room area, as well as “Dad’s Den”! You can enjoy clips from nostalgic 50s sitcoms on vintage TV’s scattered throughout the room, and sitting above the bar. This lounge serves as the waiting area for 50’s Prime Time Cafe. All are welcome in the lounge, but it is 21 and up only at the bar.  Whether you are passing through for a cocktail or enjoying a before-dinner drink, be sure to tip your bartender!
Keep the Tune-In Lounge on your must-do list of adult stops while visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort!

 

Amy Sowinski 

Disney Travel Agent

Everyone Is Family at Ohana’s!  
 
Welcome Cousin!  ‘Ohana is a Hawaiian for “family” and that’s how you will feel when you enjoy you Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, and their friends (usually Mickey in his favorite Hawaiian shirt and Pluto) at this beautiful Polynesian Village Resort restaurant.
 
‘Ohana’s is a popular dining destination for guests, so you will want to book early (dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance) to ensure this dining experience is on your itinerary    This restaurant is located on the upper level of the Polynesian Village Resort and easily accessible by the monorail.  This character breakfast  is all-you-can-eat and served family-style, which my family appreciates.  This allows us to enjoy our breakfast as a family and talk about our day without having to interrupt our conversations while someone heads off to a buffet.
 
Your “Cousin” will warmly greet you and show you to your table.  If you are lucky to be seated near the window, you will enjoy breathtaking views of Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon.  Guests will love the basket of Hawaiian “welcome bread”, which is  flavored with pineapple and coconut, as well as iced cinnamon bread.   Both were delicious and you will find yourself thinking about that warm, delicious bread months after your Disney vacation.  Next a plate of fresh fruit and melons arrives,  followed by the family skillet, which includes the traditional breakfast favorites: Hua Paka (Scrambled Eggs), Uala Kahiki (Fried Potatoes with Carmelized Onions & Scallions), Pua’a (Pork Offerings – Sausage Links & Bacon) and biscuits.  Everyone’s favorite Mickey Waffles are also included with this memorable meal.  Stitch’s favorite juice, a blend of Passion Fruit, Orange and Guava juice,  is a great compliment to the meal.ohana1
 
This delightful character breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch, as well as Mickey and Pluto, has been a family favorite and on our dining itinerary for our last 5 Walt Disney World vacations!!!  Stitch went “crazy” for our 5 month old son on our first visit.  He insisted on joining us at our table to hold the baby!  We have found the character interactions to be wonderful and not rushed.  My children love participating in the “Ohana Family Parade”, where Lilo, Stitch, Pluto, and Mickey form a conga line and dance and sing around the restaurant accompanied by a ukulele player. 
 
If you are looking for a delicious breakfast and a  great start to your morning, include ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast to your dining itinerary and your trip to Walt Disney World.


Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Looking for a delicious table service meal inside the Magic Kingdom?  Look no further than one our family’s favorite restaurants, Tony’s Town Square.  Inside this charming trattoria located on Main Street USA, you can enjoy your favorite Italian dishes, steaks and delicious desserts.

The theming of the restaurant centers around the Disney animated classic, Lady and the Tramp.  In the lobby waiting area, children and grown-up kids can enjoy a few minutes of Lady and the Tramp, which plays constantly on the television. Kids can also color Lady and the Tramp coloring sheets while waiting for their table.

The restaurant offers three distinct dining areas.  In the main dining room, guests will love the fountain of the canine couple, Lady and Tramp, that is the focal point of the room.  The main dining room offers comfortable family seating and is reminiscent of a classic New York City, family-owned, Italian eatery.

The sunroom gives you the impression of dining al fresco while you are still indoors with air conditioning!  It’s a bright and cheerful dining area that offers lots of sunlight and a great view of the activities happening on Main Street.

One of the biggest draws of this Magic Kingdom restaurant is the patio seating area. Tony’s is one of the few table service restaurants that offers an outdoor dining experience.  Specific seating requests can be made at the podium when you check-in.   If you are lucky enough to time your dining reservation just right or have extra time to wait, you can request patio seating and enjoy one of the parades as it moves down Main Street.

The menu is full of delicious Italian dishes, like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmesan, and cannelloni.  Guests will also find choices such as New York Strip Steak, Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Shrimp Scampi on the menu.  You will want to make sure to make room for dessert too.  Tiramisú, Crème Brûlée and Gelato are just the start of what awaits you for a memory-filled meal at Tony’s Town Square.

Step back into one of your favorite moments from Lady and the Tramp, and enjoy your next meal at Tony’s!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

lady_and_the_tramp_fountain tonys_town_square_resturant tonys_town_square_lady_and_the_tramp_dessert tonys_town_square_cannoli

 IMG_0620 IMG_0623

When my family started planning our recent August vacation to Walt Disney World, there was one place that I knew we would need to book.  While everyone has a favorite restaurant and character meal, The Garden Grill in Epcot’s Land Pavillion is always at the top of their list.  We have enjoyed dinner here on our last three visits to the parks.

What makes this restaurant so special?  EVERYTHING!!!  The Garden Grill is located in Future World of Epcot.  The restaurant slowly rotates as you enjoy your meal and interact with Farmer Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale.  By the time you have finished your meal, you have made one full revolution within the scenes of the Living with The Land attraction.  (**You will want to make sure that you enjoy this attraction that travels through the greenhouses before dinner.  Your kids will be amazed to see how they are growing and producing many of the fruits and vegetable served at the restaurant.)

IMG_0601I am a self-proclaimed “character junkie”, so I enjoy all the character dining that is offered at Walt Disney World.  My husband is not.  However, we all enjoy this restaurant as it is very relaxed and we always get extra attention from the characters.  We can always count on Chip and Dale to be overly excited about my second son’s lanyard full of their pins.  Pluto often gets silly, whether he’s playing peek-a-boo with his ears or a making his ears stand on end.   You just have to love seeing Mickey all dressed up in his overalls and plaid shirt.  We just can’t get enough of The Garden Grill.IMG_0610

The food at the Garden Grill is delicious.  Because the meal is family style, there are no repetitive trips to the buffet bar (I can hear my husband cheering!!!).  Chip and Dale’s Harvest starts with warm bread with maple butter followed by a Farmer’s salad (all grown in Epcot!).  The menu is subject to change, but the adult platter often includes char-grilled filet of beef with red wine butter, mashed potatoes, roasted turkey breast with stuffing and parmesan encrusted tilapia.  The children’s platter includes oven baked drumsticks, sweet potato fries, broccoli and macaroni and cheese.  In the past, desserts have included a warm apple crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, a harvest skillet cake with vanilla bean whipped cream or berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream.  There’s no doubt you will leave dinner with wonderful memories of a delicious meal and treasured moments with some of your favorite characters.

If you are heading to Epcot, this is one of my top recommendations. The restaurant counts as one table service meal on the Disney Dining Plan.  I hope you love Chip and Dale’s Garden Harvest as much as we do and while you’re there, be sure to look for those “hidden Mickeys”.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

 

citricos dessert compressed

 

Fine dining at Disney World is as easy as heading to one of many locations all around the resort where service and dining selections go above and beyond. Recently I was able to experience one of these amazing restaurants and I can tell you that this is a treat that everyone should enjoy.

Seemingly tucked into the corner on the 2nd floor of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon, is one of Disney’s great fine dining experiences – Cítricos. With an old world atmosphere, the American and Mediterranean infused menu served here is perfect for a food connoisseur. This is a restaurant where the service intentionally slows down to allow you to enjoy the moment, savor each course as it comes to you, and allow you to simply be in the moment. In a world where we are continually rushed, this calm time was definitely a refresher to not only the body but also to the soul.   

Tables in the restaurant offer one of many views. With an open kitchen you may watch the chef prepare your selections, overlook the manicured courtyard, or if your dining timing is perfect during the dinner only service, you can get a spectacular view of the Wishes fireworks over in Magic Kingdom. I loved how our dessert was timed with the fireworks and I was entranced by the display through the large scale window located at the far side of the dining room.

With multiple courses to enjoy, our group chose to sample as much as we could manage for an evening. For our first course, we sampled the Seafood Escabèche, a selection of seafood appetizers that were equally delicious. For the main meal, our choices were the Veal Shank and the Berkshire Pork Two Ways. The main courses were filling but not oversized in portion as they left room for dessert without feeling too full. As a chocoholic, the best dessert was the Warm Chocolate-Banana Torte, topped with a chocolate crown and for those wanting something extra refreshing, I recommend the Lemon-Scented Cheesecake.   Cítricos also offers to its patrons plenty of vegetarian selections that are equally delightful.

For groups that would enjoy a higher level of customization in their meal, there is a private chef’s table that seats up to 12 guests located in a private room, near the entry to the restaurant.

Disney’s fine dining experiences require 2 table service credits for those on the dining plan. If you would like a night out with delicious meal and wonderful views, be sure to head to Cítricos. You will not regret this night out in one of Disney’s fine dining restaurants.

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist