If you are visiting Disney Springs during your trip to Walt Disney World, Bongos Cuban Cafe is an exciting family-friendly dining option located in the middle of all the action.

Owned by the world-renowned entertainer Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio, this award-winning restaurant offers a fun, Old Havana style vibe plus authentic Cuban food, music, dancing, and atmosphere. You can choose to join in on the conga line or quietly take in the colorful surroundings from your table.  Just make sure you have some fun!

When you grab a table, start out with a Cuban chicken soup or one of the many different salad options provided. There is a lot of fun appetizers to pick from like the ham croquettes, savory empanadas, and unique stuffed plantain cups. After appetizers, dive into your main course ranging from beef and pork stylings to fantastic steaks. If you love chicken, you are in luck as it can be shredded, breaded, or roasted in pretty much any way you can think of. If you prefer surf over turf, there are a number of seafood selections to satisfy your taste buds.

If you are in a hurry for a quick bite to eat, Bongos also provides a quick service Bongos Express station attached to the outside of the restaurant. The menu here is a little bit different from the offerings of the inside restaurant. The express station does still offer the delicious empanadas and croquettes. Sandwiches, wraps, and flatbreads with unique Cuban flair can be ordered here that are not found of the inside menu. In addition, soup and salad is also available if you are feeling less adventurous.

A favorite menu item that my family and I love is the hearty Cuban sandwiches. It is great if you are looking for something quick and easy. These sandwiches are classic Cubans pressed with their award-winning slow roasted pork, topped in addition with ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard on Cuban Bread served with a crispy load of French fries.  Since these sandwiches are so colossal, my daughter and I have found this to be a great meal to share.  My husband and son’s big appetites may be a bit less willing to share though.  For the smaller appetite, order a Cuban sandwich off the kids menu and enjoy half a hearty sandwich with fries for a great value.

If you are looking to take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan, this would be a great place to use it.  Even if you do not have the Dining Plan, the menu is reasonably affordable for all families.

Need more information or help making a reservation, call your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist.

Traci Perjack

Travel Specialist

 

Located on the first floor of Disney’s Paradise Pier at Disneyland in California is a hidden gem of a dining experience. The only place on property where you can meet Mickey Mouse while you eat, the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the PCH Grill, is a treat for young and old.

The stars of the show are the characters themselves. Ready for a day at the beach, the characters have stopped by for breakfast before grabbing their surfboards and heading off for a day of fun. While they are there, the characters will stop by your table for pictures, autographs, and the occasional dance party. While Mickey is the official host, some of the characters that might visit your table include Minnie Mouse, Stitch, and Daisy. Pictures with Mickey’s official photographer occur near the entry under the PCH Surf Shack sign. If you wish to have these pictures included with your MaxPass pictures, be sure to have your breakfast scheduled after you have time to enter a park for the day to activate that day’s MaxPass. If you do not have time to activate your MaxPass, the photographer will be happy to use your own camera to take pictures.

The PCH Grill will not disappoint as delicious treats start your day in the most scrumptious manner. You know you are at Disneyland when you see the celebrated Mickey waffles and Minnie pancakes. The Bananas Foster French toast is decadent and the pastries are sublime. Build your own parfait, select one or more the flatbread selections, or enjoy a traditional breakfast of eggs and sausages.

The PCH Grill has a welcoming environment for all. The restaurant is open and airy with large windows showcasing the California sun overlooking Disneyland Drive. The buffet has a wide, curving aisle to move around with your children as they make their selections and the tables have fresh and lively colors to brighten your spirits.

The PCH Grill Surf’s Up! character meal is only available during breakfast hours. Standard dining vouchers, available as a package add on to your Disneyland reservation, are accepted. Dining reservations open up 60 days in advance and reservations are strongly recommended. Be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel agent to book your breakfast and get ready to “hang ten” with Mickey and all his friends!

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

Walt Disney World is a very magical and the happiest place on earth. Everyone is happy and eager to help. There is a hidden gem of a restaurant that things just aren’t what they appear. The restaurant is Whispering Canyon Café located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort.

Walking up to the podium, you’re surrounded by headdresses of past Native American chiefs and other relics from past times. The restaurant’s theme has the same motif. It’s an Old Western eatery that has bottomless platters and chuck wagon favorites will please the whole gang.

Breakfast starts with an all you care to enjoy family platter that’s loaded with breakfast meats, eggs, potatoes and buttermilk biscuits. Lunch and dinner also have some finger licking delicious food. For lunch, there’s a very expansive menu to order from and come dinner time, the family platter isn’t to be beat. It has an all you care to enjoy selection of foods such as chicken, sausage, ribs and amazing sides.

If you’re lucky enough to be at Disney over Thanksgiving or Christmas, be sure to check out the special menu at Whispering Canyon Café. Be sure to make your reservations early, as they will fill up quick! Even though the food is spectacular, the hidden secret are the cast members. While these cast members have the same happy and eager to help attitude, they also have a reputation for sassing customers. They like to play along with the customers and get into some shenanigans. There’s also plenty of fun for the kids! They’re encouraged to play with Lincoln Logs, coloring, spirited sing-alongs and even hobby horse races.

Along with the rustic atmosphere, the fantastic food, and the good natured fun of the cast members, this is a restaurant that you don’t want to miss on your next trip. One tip though, be careful when you ask for refills!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

 

What’s better than visiting Walt Disney World?   Celebrating your BIRTHDAY at Walt Disney World!!!  There are lots of great ways to celebrate your special day.

To start your birthday celebration, you will want to make sure to pick up a free Birthday button at Guest relations or at your resort front desk (if you didn’t receive once at check-in).  You never know what Pixie Dust may happen when wearing your birthday button.

There are amazing desserts and treats to enjoy during your visit to Walt Disney World.   We often get asked about birthday cake options for celebrating  a loved one’s special day.  Walt Disney World offers several options for families, who are celebrating! Personalized Disney Birthday Cake

If you would like to add a non-personalized birthday cake to your birthday celebration while dining on property, guests may the request at the podium when they check-in for their dining reservation.  A 6 inch cake is available in both chocolate and vanilla. No notice is necessary.  You can order upon arrival at most Disney table-service restaurants for approximately $21. Candles are available upon request.

A personalized cake can be ordered and delivered to almost any Walt Disney World restaurant.     To discuss options and dietary needs, guests can order by calling the Cake Hotline at 407.827.2253.  Cast members can discuss the various options for cake decorations, styles and icing with you.  Please note that any personalized cake must be ordered with at least 72 hours notice.

Walt Disney World guests can also have a cake delivered to their room from Disney Floral & Gifts. Guests can select a six-inch two-tiered round cake that serve 4-6 people in either chocolate or vanilla. Celebration Cakes will be delivered to your room after you check-in. Cost is $55.95.  Forks, plates, napkins, and a cake server are all included.

Mickey’s Celebration Cake can be enhanced with two different add-ons: Magical Celebration with balloons and birthday tray for $93.95 or Grand Birthday Party with Walt Disney World® popcorn tin, a pair of Mickey birthday ears (personalization available), Mickey Mouse crispy rice treats, and five helium balloons is $131.95.

Please note that pricing and availability are subject to change. Contact a Me and the Mouse Travel specialist and let them know if you would like to add specialized birthday celebration to your vacation package!

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

There’s extra magic to discover in Orlando!

Discovery Cove OrlandoNestled amongst the bustle of busy Orlando theme parks is an all-inclusive, secluded paradise, Discovery Cove!
When you arrive at Discovery Cove you will walk through a canopy of tropical plants and trees to a thatched roof registration building.  Once you are registered and walk out the door you feel as if you have been teleported to a tropical island fantasy!  Adding a day at the cove to your Orlando vacation has so much to offer your family!

  • Meals included (Breakfast, Lunch, and unlimited snacks and drinks)
  • Swimming with bottle nosed dolphins (which is an add on to your package and needs to be scheduled ahead of time) Minimum age is 6 years old
  • Relaxing on beautiful beaches
  • Floating down the Wind-Away River
  • Snorkeling in The Grand Reef with tropical fish and rays
  • Hand feeding birds in the aviary
  • Animal encounters in the Freshwater Oasis
  • Swimming
  • Private Cabana Rental (have your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist set this up before you arrive as there is limited availability).

 

Discovery CoveDiscovery Cove has really thought of everything when it comes to providing your family with a relaxing and enjoyable stay.  They have limited entrance availability every day, thus providing you with a more peaceful environment and minimal lines.  All you really need to bring is your swim suit!  Your wetsuits, snorkel gear, sun screen, lockers, and changing facilities are already provided!  If you will be celebrating something special on your visit make sure to talk to your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist about Discovery Cove’s special package enhancements to make your day even more memorable!  As an added bonus your admission to Discovery Cove includes with it unlimited admission to both Sea World and Busch Gardens for 14 consecutive days surrounding your day at Discover Cove.  I highly recommend adding a day of awe and relaxation in Discovery Cove to your Orlando Vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

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Character Dining for the Entire Family

You finally got your Disney reservations squared away and it’s time to make your dining reservations. Your little Princess wants to dine with a real Princess but your Prince is not thrilled with that idea and you are not too thrilled at the thought of using two dining credits for a meal. You still have options! And 1900 Park Fare is one of those great options! 1900 Park Fare Dining

1900 Park Fare is located at the beautiful Grand Floridian resort. The Grand Floridian resort is accessible via monorail or boat launch from Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian also provides spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Once arriving at 1900 Park Fare, you will have a photograph taken in front of a beautiful mural in the foyer. This photo is included with Memory Maker or you may choose to purchase it. Inside the restaurant, you will see the décor represents the Victorian era. Once seated, a waiter/waitress will come to your table and explain that the characters will come to your table once and only once. This means you will want to be at your table when it’s your turn. It would be best to head straight to the buffet if the characters are not close to your table.

1900 Park Fare DiningSpeaking of the buffet- it’s amazing! It provides a wide variety of options that will satisfy children and adults alike. While you are enjoying your fine cuisine, Cinderella and Prince Charming will make their way to the center of the room and entertain you with a beautifully, elegant dance. Once they have finished their dance, they will make their way out to the tables. Cinderella is as beautiful as ever and Prince Charming is as charming as expected. However, Lady Tremaine and her daughters usually steal the show. They provide a lot of entertainment, and I think this helps the fathers and brothers enjoy this character meal as well!

By having the characters come to your table, it provides a great opportunity for meet-n-greets as well as photo opportunities. Just remember your photos are not going to have the best backdrop. There will be lots of people and sometimes the buffet in the background. Try positioning yourself so these things are at a minimum. Once the characters have visited your table, be sure to check out the desserts!

As you can see this is a great family option for dining with the Princesses. And the value is amazing if you are on the dining plan!

Lori Steinnerd

Travel Specialist

Boma is located inside the Jambo House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This restaurant has a wonderful décor and African drummers provide a lively authentic atmosphere at the entrance.  Dinner is served buffet style with a wide variety of food choices and included is a soft-drink selection with refills.  Drink orders are taken by a waitress.  You may want to enjoy premium drink options with an African flair for an additional cost.  Disney characters do not make appearances here, but the restaurant provides character and charm.

Boma is paradise for food lovers.  You will need a big table to provide plenty of room to try all of the unique dishes along with the classics.  The food has an African flair and provides a unique dining experience.  A variety of favorite American classics are offered as well.  The food has amazing flavor without being overwhelming.  It is one of my top five favorite restaurants on the Disney property. Dinner at Boma Animal Kingdom Lodge

Do you have picky eaters in your family?  We did!  We avoided Boma for years because we had small children.  Once they became teenagers, we became adventurous and tried Boma for “the experience” and it did not disappoint!  It is on our “must visit” list every time we go to Disney.

Even if you do have picky eaters in your family, don’t despair!  Boma has so many choices; there is truly something for everyone.  Foods are grouped into sections:  salads, soups, hummus, meats, fresh fruit, desserts plus much more.  Two of my personal favorite sections are soups and desserts.  The best advice I can give to everyone whether you consider yourself a picky or adventurous eater is to PACE YOURSELF!

It is best to take a small portion of a variety of foods on your first trip.  You can always go back and fill up on your favorites.  There are less adventurous items to keep everyone happy.  My husband and son love the meat carving station for their hearty appetites.  There are safe options for kids to enjoy such as baked chicken legs, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes.  Mealie Bread is a Boma specialty along with Coconut Curry Chicken Soup.  Are you a pasta lover?  You will find Penne pasta with Meatballs and Marinara sauce.

Did you save room for dessert?  Probably not, but you NEED to have some anyway!  A variety of pastries are offered.   Warm apple cobbler, banana and butterscotch bread pudding with the options of vanilla and rum sauce should not be missed.  Be sure to try the coffee tarts and the zebra domes for something different.  In addition, chocolate brownies and cookies are on the menu too!

Boma provides family fun and you do not need to purchase a park ticket to enjoy this adventure.  Advance reservations are recommended so contact your Me and The Mouse travel specialist to make this a part of your Disney dining experience.

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

At Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, most major attractions have a strict ‘no loose items’ policy – and that encompasses change, wallets, purses of any kind, backpacks, sunglasses, hats, etc. There are a few solutions to this:  asking a party member to hold everything while you enjoy the attraction is one solution, but a better one is to utilize Short-Term LockersUniversal Studios

Various locations throughout the theme parks, strategically located close to attractions with these requirements, will house banks of lockers with a digital kiosk.  Using the kiosk allows you to ‘rent’ a short-term locker by either using a fingerprint and code, or your theme park admission ticket.  You will then be assigned a locker for your belongings, which are roughly big enough for a standard sized backpack.

What’s great about these lockers?  They are FREE for the first hour, typically.  The FREE use of the locker is based off of the current attraction wait time, the time it takes the ride to operate, with a cushion for you to get off the attraction, shop the gift shop, maybe find a restroom – regardless of your plan, there is a good window of time to utilize this FREE service.  

  • Want to use it longer?  No worries!  If you exceed that free time, lockers cost $3 per half hour, up to $20 max per day.   
  • Just missed your window by a few minutes and won’t need your locker any longer?  Contact the nearest Universal Team Member for assistance.

Some tips:

  • Utilize a lanyard to keep your theme park ticket on your person at all times. It can easily be tucked in your shirt.
  • Lockers near Harry Potter attractions are not quite large enough for wand boxes – some larger lockers are available, but are in short supply.
  • HP Forbidden Journey – you will pass through metal detectors, so be sure everything is off your person!
  • Most attractions will allow you to keep a rain poncho on, since it is worn like clothing
  • Lockers are available at Thrill Rides. Other attractions do not require them!

So where exactly can you find these lockers?

Universal Studios Florida Free Short-Term Lockers

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Islands of Adventure Free Short-Term Lockers

  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Dragon Challenge
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Using the lockers has always made my visits to Universal so much easier.  Free to a minimal fee to ride a few attractions without worrying about my ‘stuff’ is a very positive thing!

If you would like to add an Universal Day to your Disney World trip, contact your agent today!

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

If you are weighing the idea of staying on property or off for a Universal Orlando vacation, consider the following list of benefits of enjoying one of Universals incredible properties.Stay on Property at Universal Studios

  • Early Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You are able to get in 1 hour prior to the public.
  • Shuttle busses to the theme parks and CityWalk, however, all of the resorts are within walking distance if you would like to take a leisurely walk to and from the parks.
  • It grants you charging privileges with your room key.
  • Complimentary transportation to Sea World and Aquatica
  • If golf is on your agenda, you are given priority tee times and complimentary transportation to select area golf courses.
  • Being on-site also provides easy access to and from the parks to your resort for a midday break. This allows you to hit the parks early, spend the afternoon at the pool and then head back to the parks and/or CityWalk for nighttime attractions. Stay on Property at Universal Studios

Staying at one of the deluxe resorts, (Lowe’s Portofino, Royal Pacific or Hard Rock), provides the most benefits, which includes all of the above, but the biggest advantages to staying at one of the deluxe results:

  • The ability to skip the lines at select attractions with a complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride pass. This is especially a huge plus especially during peak seasons. This is a savings of up to $89 per person per day. Depending on your party size, that could be the difference between staying at a value resort to upgrading to a deluxe resort. (You will still need to purchase a regular park admission ticket to take advantage of the Unlimited Express tickets.
  • Priority seating at certain restaurants at the theme parks and CityWalk.
  • Water taxis from the resort to the theme parks and CityWalk. Stay on Property at Universal Studios

 

Contact one of our Me and The Mouse Travel Specialists to help you plan a Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

 

Janene Jaroscak 

Travel Specialist

A great option for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

If you’re heading to Disney World in the months of September or October to enjoy the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you may have already thought about the costume your son or daughter will be wearing while there. The Pirate's League -Disney

If you are worried about a costume that is too warm for the weather in Florida or if you are wanting to stay in the parks all day without having to go back to the resort to get ready for the night, there is a great solution right in the Magic Kingdom!

The Pirate’s League in Adventure is an affordable experience to transform your child into a pirate of their choosing or even a mermaid!  They do awesome face paint as well as add fun accessories to complete their look.  The cast members who work with the kids offer an unforgettable experience that will add to the magic of the night that is in front of them.  There are a variety of packages to choose from.


The Pirate’s League Packages:

  • The First Mate Package: Choose from a ghosted pirate, zombie, Captain Hook, Blackbeard, or Black Eyed Jack!  Get face makeup and hair done, receive a sword and a Pirate’s League logo sash, an official pirate name, and a personalized pirate’s oath.
  • The Captain Hook Deluxe Package: Includes a Captain hook costume (youth only), captain hook face paint and hair, receive a sword and a Pirate’s League logo sash, and a toy hook.
  • The Empress Package: Includes vibrant makeup, lip gloss, nail polish and face gem, an official empress name, and a personalized pirate oath.

**The above packages all include the following:  Pirate’s Key, a Unique Pirate Coin Necklace, the Pirate’s League Bag, temporary pirate tattoo, earring and eye patch, and a reversible bandana.

  • The Mermaid Deluxe Package: Includes a Mermaid Costume.
  • The Mermaid Package

**The Mermaid packages both include:  luminous mermaid makeup and makeup palette,                  mermaid hairstyle and color-changing hair clip, distinctive mermaid necklace, nail polish,               mermaid sash, and a mermaid bracelet.


The Pirate's League -DisneyWith any of these packages, your kids can choose elaborate or simple clothing that will best fit the weather and their style to complete the look!  It’s a great way to be sure you are in the park all day and have a some resting time for the kids while they have a talented cast member make them extra scary or extra sweet for their party.

Pirate’s League reservations are made 180 days out from travel, so if you are interested in adding this experience to your Halloween Party night, contact your Me and the Mouse Specialist to see about making a reservation.  If you are not traveling until next year and like this option, tell your Me and the Mouse agent you are interested!  They can note it on your reservation and help you pick a day and time to make it part of this fun filled Halloween party night!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist