The Magic of Bounce Back Offers

Disney's Best PromotionMaybe you have heard the term “bounce back” on Disney chat boards but aren’t quite sure what that means. If you are someone who would love to be able to visit Disney World every year but can’t quite fit it in your budget, this tip could help make it more possible to make that dream come true.

Hidden in the literature in your Disney resort room will be a special offer for current guests to book a future trip.  You will have to look for the flyer as it is usually tucked away with other resort information. (If you cannot find an offer in your room, you can call 407-939-1923 from your room and ask what bounce back offers are currently available). Offers will vary as will timeframes. It might include free dining, a room discount, or some other incentive.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably not carrying your calendar around with you while on vacation. That’s okay! Choose a date that you think might work for you, and place the required $200 deposit on the reservation. Once you return home and can check calendars and work or school schedules, you can call back and adjust the dates as long as they fit within the offer timeframes and assuming rooms are available for the new dates.

The key is you must book your trip BEFORE you check out by calling the number on the flyer from your room. (You can also have your travel specialist call for you, but you must still be checked in at a Disney property).

Disney's Best PromotionThe benefit of booking in advance with the Bounce Back offer is that you have the opportunity for a great discount that you can determine later if it works or doesn’t work for you. If it turns out that the trip won’t fit into your schedule at all, you can cancel the reservation up to 30 days prior to your check-in date with no penalty. If a new promotion is announced to the public, and either the dates or the promotion end up working out better for you, you can adjust the reservation.

Without promotions like these, many of us could not afford to take Disney vacations as often as we would like. This is an excellent way to save money on a future trip!

Extra tip: Did you work with your favorite travel planner for your current vacation? Great! You can book the Bounce Back offer and request that your travel planner be rolled over to the new reservation. (If you forgot to mention it while you were making the reservation, you can easily transfer it to your travel planner so he/she can continue to provide you with great planning services. Alert your travel planner upon you return home while the transfer window is still open).

 

Nancy Wideman

Travel Specialist

Coming to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

The Frozen Summer Games return to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park at Walt Disney World Resort starting May 26th, 2017! You won’t want to miss out on this snowy, Frozen, summery fun!

When you get to Blizzard Beach you can join either Team Kristoff or Team Olaf, and you can participate in a wide variety of fun {& refreshing} activities. Choose to join in on the Ice Pail Relays, Snowball Toss, Ski Pole Limbo, and Slide Races!

 

Frozen Summer Games at Blizzard BeachThe fun really starts when you get to meet Kristoff! For the “first time in forever”, you can meet and take photos with both Kristoff and Olaf at their special character greeting location inside Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Blizzard Beach will be full of extra fun, laughter, and memories! There will be crafts, games, and a DJ spinning fun, uptempo tunes throughout the day! The Frozen Summer Games are sure to be a hit this summer at Disney’s Blizzard Beach, and you’re going to want to join in on all the festivities!

Interested in adding a day at Blizzard Beach to your trip this summer?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. We would LOVE to help you plan and take the stress away from you!

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlandoulie4Staying “on property” at Universal Orlando definitely has its perks, but what you might not expect is the high quality of their hotels.  I had the pleasure of staying at Loews Royal Pacific during my last visit and had one of my most enjoyable hotel stays to date in Orlando.

Loews Royal Pacific is a tropical, “South Pacific” themed resort just tenths of a mile away from the entrance of Islands of Adventure.  While you are just walking distance away from Universal Studios, you feel a surprising sense of peace and relaxation in this gorgeous resort hotel. Room types include water view and garden view rooms available with one king bed or two queens at 335 square feet as well as suites, including the popular Jurassic Park kids’ suites. Loews Royal Pacific at Universal OrlandoThese rooms provide an incredibly comfortable night’s rest so you are refreshed and ready for Early Entry to the Wizarding World the next day!

 

If you are looking for recreation and amenities, Royal Pacific offers some of the very best in the area.  The center piece of this resort is the huge lagoon-style pool with two hot tubs and an interactive water play area for little ones.  When you aren’t at the parks, you can take part in poolside activities such as ping pong, hula hoop contests, arts and crafts and poolside “Dive-In Movies” after dark.   If you aren’t too exhausted from enjoying your day in the parks, there is 5,000 square foot fitness center complimentary to guests.

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal Orlando

Another huge draw to this resort is the variety of shopping and dining located within the resort.  With two large Universal gift shops located within the hotel, all the souvenirs and items you may have left at home are at your fingertips.  You are also sure to never go hungry with a variety of restaurants located throughout the hotel.  Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, featuring Asian Fusion food, and Islands Dining Room for breakfast with some of my favorite Universal friends are some of the most enjoyable meals I have ever had in the Orlando area and are all very reasonably priced.

 

Loews Royal Pacific at Universal OrlandoWith any Universal Orlando resort stay, guests are treated to exclusive advantages to make the most of your time in the theme parks.  Guests can enjoy complimentary transportation to and from the parks and City Walk via boat, early entry into the Wizarding World and free Universal Express Pass for every member of your party.  Extras like these make this resort an excellent value that your whole family will be sure to enjoy!

 

To book a Universal package or hotel stay at Loews Royal Pacific, please contact your Me & the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

At Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershus Royal Banquet Hall

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located at Epcot’s Norway Pavillion. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet and greet with Disney Royalty on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
 
Join the Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining inside a medieval castle setting in heart of Norway.  When you arrive, guests are immediately greeted by Belle in her gorgeous yellow ballgown.  Don’t worry, a Photopass photographer is present! This means you will have a fantastic photo on your Memory Maker photo account. You will be able to enjoy later and send out to family and friends.
 

Akershus Royal Banquet HallAfter your visit with Belle, guests are are seated in one of two rooms reminiscent of great hall inside a storybook castle.  On my most recent visit, our waiter Paal explained the menu and made suggestions from the menu.  At lunch and dinner, every Guest’s royal feast begins with a “Taste of Norway”. This features Scandinavian seafood, imported cheeses, cured and sliced meats, and a wide selection of salads and fruits.  I went with Paal’s suggestions of  Tradisjonell Kjøttkake  (Swedish meatballs), which was very good.  
 
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
As we dined, many of our favorite Disney Princeses circulated the restaurant and visited with each table.  The Princesses spent amble time with each table allowing for conversation and multiple photo opportunities. By the end of our meal, we were able to meet with Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Mulan in addition to our formal picture time with Belle.  The Princesses also invite your own little Prince or Princesses to join in the fun. Your child will be able to join their Princess Parade through the restaurant.  I witnessed many smiles as the little princesses waved to guests as they followed the Disney Princesses through the restaurant greeting and welcoming guests to the hall.  
Akershus Royal Banquet HallAkershaus Royal Banquet hall is an excellent opportunity to visit with your favorite Disney Princess. {It only uses 1 table service credit on the Disney Dining plan!}  Lunch and dinner menus have more of an acquired palette. However, children will find traditional favorites like pizza and pasta on their menu.  Be sure to check out the menu here first to see if it fits your family’s taste.  Otherwise, my recommendation would be to book a breakfast here and enjoy traditional favorites like waffles, bacon and eggs.
 
Character dining is a great way to skip the lines and visit with multiple Disney friends as one time.  If your little one is anxious to meet their favorite Disney Princesses then a meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall will be a lasting Disney memory for your family.   Want to know more about character dining opportunities with the Princesses, you can read more in our blog, HERE or contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist for more details.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Experience this Deliciousness at Universal’s CityWalk

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumLooking for a unique experience while visiting Orlando?  So was I – on Valentine’s Day while visiting my daughter. What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps flowers and candy?  Perhaps chocolate?  Yes, indeed.

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal’s CityWalk is perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration.  Let’s be honest – this place is perfect to visit any day of the year!  If I lived closer – I would be sure to visit frequently so I could try practically everything on the menu.

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumThe Chocolate Emporium is a full service restaurant, bar and confectionary with a steam punk theme.  It is two stories with seating on both levels.  The menu offering is tremendous making it hard to choose just one item.  Their brunch menu is served all day featuring unique crepes, waffles, French toast and quiches.  Also served are soups and salads, sandwiches and burgers, flatbreads, pasta, and entrees such as steaks, pork chops and delicious chicken options as well. Unique milkshakes, sundaes and specialty desserts are offered to fulfill your sweet tooth. (Gluten Free options are available as well.)

Here are just a few of their unique offerings:  Black and Tan Onion Rings (Onion Rings with cocoa ranch dipping sauce.) – Pork Belly Sliders (Caramelized onions, mustard aioli, arugula, chocolate dipped bacon, pretzel bun)

What was on the menu for us you ask?

Toothsome Chocolate EmporiumFor starters, we began with their signature temptation of Warm Chocolate Almond Bread with Salted Carmel butter.  We continued our culinary journey with a ½ pound house-made hamburger patty, Colby andouile queso, cheddar cheese, grain mustard on a pretzel bun, and we upgraded our kettle chips to truffle fries.  Finally, we pondered how we wanted to finish our heavenly visit, and we decided to add a milkshake for dessert.   What did we choose?  The Salted Dulce De Leche {Salted Carmel ice cream, dulce de leche, salted pretzels, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate cigars.}

After all these choices, if you are still craving chocolate, visit the confectionary located on the lower level to enjoy later.  I give this Emporium two thumbs up.

 

See more pictures in the gallery below!

 

Trying to figure out your next Orlando vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’re specialized in Disney, Universal, and much more! We’d love to help take the stress away from your vacation planning.

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

Growing up in Western Nebraska, we took yearly trips to South Dakota or Colorado. I remember going on these vacations during my elementary school years. It was during my 5th grade year, my parents made the vacation decision that forever changed my life – a trip to Disneyland! This is the story of why that trip changed my life as a child and as an adult.

Disneyland changed my life!

We had never gone a trip of such magnitude. I remember going to our local travel agent with my mom and seeing that sticker of Mickey Mouse on the window that said “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.” As a child I thought to myself “wow, this is really happening!” After taking home a stack of Disneyland brochures and a few weeks of planning, we settled on our hotel and our tickets.

 

It was almost a year a way, but I was excited as if we were leaving the next day. I remember looking at those brochures every day and counting down until we left. I mapped out the park, the lands, the rides and the routes we were going to take to get around. At this time, my only perspective of a Disney park was seeing them on the Disney Channel.

 

After months of anticipation, we were ready to leave. My family and I were driving to California, and it was an adventure that rivaled that of Clark Griswold’s Walley World pilgrimage! {That is an entire story in itself.}

 

Fast forward to arriving in Anaheim. We drive down Katella Avenue and make the turn and there it is-the famous Disneyland sign. We made it! After a sleepless night, we park and make our way to the same gates that Walt Disney himself entered. It was a like a dream seeing the Mickey Mouse head flower garden and the train station then Main Street U.S.A. We made our way around the park: seeing, riding and eating! 

Disneyland changed my life!

Let me get to the part that changed my life. We were on the monorail and there is a place near Tomorrowland that when you look close you can see backstage. I remember this like it was yesterday. I proclaimed to my family “someday I want to work for Disney.” It was my childhood moment when I said I want to grow up and do this. And guess what? I did grow up and I did work for Disney, and it changed my life. I worked at Walt Disney World, traveled as a Cast Member to Disney headquarters in Burbank, walked Walt’s studio, held the first ticket to Disneyland, met with Imagineers, created magical memories, and bettered my career.
All of this started with a visit to the travel agent in Gering Nebraska and a stack of brochures. I ran into that same travel agent a year ago. She is now retired, but told me, “I remember how excited you were when I gave you those brochures! You were glowing with excitement.”


If you are ready to experience Disneyland for the first time, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Disney just announced the dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for Fall 2017! Get excited – you can enjoy 53 days of absolute fun this fall at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

 

dtnemail-MNSSHP-21b58Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, 32 spook-tacular dates include:

  • August 25, 29
  • September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
  • October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

Returning to the Magic Kingdom fright-fest are the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show in front of Cinderella Castle featuring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from the hit Disney film Hocus Pocus; Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade; and Happy HalloWishes. You won’t want to miss out on these fall fun activities.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, 21 holiday-tastic dates include:

  • November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
  • December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22

Returning favorites for the holidays include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes, A Frozen Holiday Wish and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.

 

Want to book?!

Tickets are currently NOT available for purchase, BUT contact a Me and The Mouse agent today. We will help you book as soon as they become available.

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

There are a lot of choices when trying to determine where to stay during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  There’s also a lot of opinions that your friends and family have about where you should stay during your next Walt Disney World vacation.  Sometimes, you’ll hear that you’ll save a lot of money and that it will be a lot less hassle to stay somewhere that’s not a Disney Resort on Disney property.  While they are trying to be helpful, there are actually a lot of reasons as to why you should stay at a Disney Resort on Disney property.

Stay at a Disney World Resort

Some of the reasons to stay at a Disney resort on Disney property are:

  • 25 different resort options
  • Complimentary transportation to and from Orlando’s International Airport and from your Disney resort to the parks. {Yes, I know this is a great perk!!}
  • Early access to FastPass+ Planning
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Access to Disney’s Dining Plans
  • Complimentary MagicBands

 

As mentioned above, there are many different Disney resort options for you to choose from.  The resorts are put into three categories, deluxe, moderate and value.  This helps ensure that there’s a resort to accommodate almost every budget.  Not only are you staying at a Disney resort, but once you leave the parks, the Disney magic continues.  In all of the resorts, there will be touches of Disney sprinkled throughout so that you’re never far away from the magic!

 

Disney’s complimentary transportation means that you’ll never have to rent a car to get around while at Disney. {Yes, you read that right!}  While staying at a Disney resort, you’re also able to take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express.  It’s a complimentary bus service that will pick you up from Orlando’s International Airport when you land and return you there when it’s time to go home.  You’ll also learn some of the new things that’s happened at the parks during your ride to your resort.

Stay at a Disney World Resort
In addition to Disney’s Magical Express, Disney also provides complimentary bus service from your resort to all of the Disney parks and Disney Springs.  These buses arrive at the bus stop at your resort every 15 to 20 minutes, so you’re never waiting long.  Plus they will drop you off as close as possible to the parks, so it’s never too far of a walk to the main entrance. You don’t have to worry about parking or directions!

 

One of my favorite benefits is the early access to FastPass+ Planning.  FastPass+ allows you access to reserve select shows and attractions up to 60 days before you arrive.  You’ll be one of the first to select a FastPass to some of your favorite rides and attractions to make sure that you experience them during your vacation without having to wait in a long line.  If you were staying off property or not at a Disney resort, you’d still have the FastPass+ Planning available to you, but only at 30 days before you arrive.  This could mean that some of the newer or more popular attractions and shows will be out of FastPasses before you’re able to select them.

Stay at a Disney World Resort

Another favorite is being able to take advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours.  These hours are only available to guests staying on property at a Disney resort.  Certain parks on certain days will open an hour earlier or stay open later to guests staying at a Disney resort.  Additional hours at the parks each day provides more time for fun with family and friends at select attractions and entertainment experiences.

 

Being able to add a Disney dining plan to your vacation package can be a great benefit and savings.  On average, using a Disney dining plan, you could save up to 25% versus paying out of pocket as you go. Depending upon the dining plan you choose, you have use your table service credits to pay in advance for some of the sought after dining, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. The dining plans cannot be added if you are not staying at a Disney resort.

 

Last, but certainly not least, is the complimentary MagicBands that you’ll be able to pick out and personalize before you arrive at your Disney resort.  MagicBands hold all the magic to your vacation and keep everything together in one place that’s easily accessible. They are truly magical. You can use them to:

  • Unlock your Disney Resort hotel room
  • Enter theme parks and water parks {with valid admission}
  • Charge food and merchandise purchases {if you choose to set it up that way}
  • Connect PhotoPass images to your account
  • Check in at FastPass+ attraction and entertainment lines

 

These are some of the many benefits of staying at a Disney resort on Disney property during your Walt Disney World vacation.  I hope that they are helpful and provide you with a lot of good information as to why you’d want to stay in the heart of the magic! If you have any other questions or are ready to book, contact a Me and The Mouse agent. You can learn more about the Disney Resorts on our resort page!

 

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

If you’re a craft loving, DIY’er like me a fun way to add some magic to your approaching Disney vacation is to make your own Disney lanyard.  These lanyards can be used for multiple things on your Disney vacation:

  • As a pin trading lanyard (click hyperlink to learn about Disney pin trading)
  • To hold your park tickets if you don’t have magic bands
  • To hold a photo pass card

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Your Favorite Disney RibbonFun DIY Disney Lanyard
  • Scissors
  • Big Clasps
  • Fabric Velcro Tabs (if you want pull away lanyards)
  • Clear Nail Polish or No Fray Check
  • Sewing Machine, Hot Glue Gun, or Thread and Needle
  • Pins
  • Name Tag Holder

Step One:

Go pick out your supplies.  I found super cute Disney ribbon at: JoAnne Fabrics (best selection), Wal-Mart, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby.

I found big clasps in the Jewelry making section of my local JoAnne fabrics but I am sure each of the craft stores have them.

Fray check and Velcro tabs can be located at craft stores or Wal-Mart. The plastic name tag holders can be found easily at Staples or Amazon.com.

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Step Two:

Measure how long you would like the lanyard (I usually cut mine at 36”).

Optional Step: I like to make tear away lanyards for safety.  Match up the two ends you cut and then cut the opposite end so that you have one ribbon in each hand that are the same length. If you decided to do this optional step you will now add Velcro tabs to the ends you just cut.

Step Three:

So that the ribbon does not fray you will now use the clear nail polish or the Fray check on each of the cut end of the ribbon. Let the liquid dry before moving on to step four.

Step Four:

After the Fray Check has dried now is the time to add the clasp.  To do this I’ve found it best to put the lanyard on so that you can make sure it lays right when it is worn.  Once you have verified there are no twists, take it off.  Holding the end that the clasp is going on you will put both ends together and fold it about ½”.  If you are using hot glue you will want to glue the fold.  At this point you will slide the clasp on and then make another fold about 1” over.  Then pin the fold in place.  If you are using hot glue you will again glue the fold (I also recommend putting in a few stitches just to make sure it holds).

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

I used a sewing machine and that made it simple to sew the folds holding the clasp in place!  You then add the clear plastic name tag if you choose to use one and your lanyard is all ready for your Disney vacation!

Finish the lanyard and ready to go on your next Disney vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

Fun DIY Disney Lanyard

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist