I want to share one of Walt Disney World Resorts “Best Kept Secrets” for a mouthwatering Steak Dinner Introducing: Yachtsman Steakhouse located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort in the Epcot Resort area.

Yachtsman Steakhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan in 2017, you will need to use 1 Table Service Credit for breakfast and lunch and 2 Table Service Credits for dinner. In 2018, the Dining Plan can only be used at Dinner and will take 2 Table Service Credits. Advance Reservations are recommended and can be made 180 before your vacation begins so be sure to contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Agent for assistance with your dining.

This Signature Dining Experience, guests are asked to abide by a dress code. Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. The following items are not permitted: tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.

During our visit, we were impressed with how friendly and helpful everyone was. The high- quality, grain-fed beef is aged in-house. As our gracious hostess seated us, we were able to watch butchers hand cut steaks to perfection and we also checked out the chefs preparing dinner on an oak-fired grill in the open kitchen. We were fortunate to be seated by the window and got to enjoy the view of the Stormalong Bay pool. If you choose to experience this fine dining location – after being seated, be sure to look up so you don’t miss seeing the exquisite and intricate woodwork on the ceiling.

Paul was our waiter and had a warm and welcoming personality. He was very helpful making suggestions to enhance our dining experience and was happy to answer any and all questions we had. We could not have asked for a better dining experience! Paul added his own special “magical” touch to our meal.

My adult children and I each selected the Filet Mignon served with Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Wine Sauce. My husband chose the New York Strip steak served with Potato Gratin with Peppercorn Brandy Sauce. Each steak was partnered with the perfect sauce and potato choice. I could not resist adding a side of Truffle Macaroni and Cheese and it did not disappoint. I reluctantly shared with my family. It was a “winner” by a unanimous vote. Other tempting choices offered on the menu for starters were French Onion and Lobster Bisque soup. Salad choices include a Caesar Salad and the Yachtsman Wedge Salad.

Appetizer choices included: Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Artisanal Cheeses, Tuna Tartare, and Quick-friend Shrimp and Calamari to name a few.

Steak choices were: Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Prime Rib-Eye Steak, Roast Prime Rib of Beef, Kansas City Strip Steak and a 32 ounce Porterhouse for two people. Additional Entrée selections included: Elk Tenderloin, Live Maine Lobster, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sea Bass, All Natural Roasted Chicken and Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato-filled Pasta.

In addition to our favorite Truffle Macaroni and Cheese side dish, the Yachtsman’s Twice-baked Potato was very enticing as a side option. Caramelized Onions, Creamed Spinach, Spring Pea Risotto and Sautéed Mushrooms and Sautéed Vegetable Fricassee were also available.

We ended our meal very full, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to try (and share) The Admirals Cake. The Admirals Cake consisted of Valrhona Chocolate Brownie/Sponge Cake Layered Banana’s Foster Jam/Caramel Crisps/Sea Salted Ganache. We just couldn’t stop eating.

Additional dessert choices included: Chocolate Peanut Cake, Lime Semifreddo, Carrot Cake (a no sugar added dessert), Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, The Yachtsman Sundae (a trio of Gelato), Seasonal Sorbet Trio, and Crème Brulee.

If you are bringing children, don’t worry, you are dining at Disney so children are not forgotten here. Yachtsman offers diverse kid menu options: Grilled Chicken Breast, Baked Fish of the Day, Macaroni and Cheese, Oak-grilled Steak Skewer, and Orecchiette Pasta and Meatballs.

I am excited to share my family’s experience with you and I hope you will consider visiting Yachtsman Steakhouse on your next visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Agent to assist your family with a “magical” dining experience at Yachtsman Steakhouse.

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

 

Walk-mans, Big Wheels, giant Mickey phones, 8-tracks….these things are imbedded in pop culture and their symbolism of the decades they represent will forever bring us back to those times in our lives. Disney’s Pop Century Resort celebrates iconic memorabilia from the 1950s to 1990s by making them the focal point of this fan favorite resort!

Pop’s appeal is without question its cleanliness, affordability, style of rooms, bus service, proximity to Art of Animation, and fun culture surrounding each turn.

Rooms

Rooms are currently undergoing refurbishment. The updates make its functionality something families desire while sharing limited space on vacation. Walking into an updated room, you’ll see a small table, two chairs, coffee maker, mini fridge, spacious dresser and counterspace with a large flat screen TV hanging above and a lot of USB ports to charge electronic devices.

You’ll also see ONE queen size bed. But wait…pull down the handle near the table to reveal another queen size bed. Being able to fold it up daily, increases the room’s floor space and makes it easier to move comfortably in a smaller area.

The bathroom updates are the biggest seller for me. The sliding door between the sink/dressing area and the beds is a bonus for guests needing privacy while family relaxes and others get ready. There’s a small open closet, plenty of cubby space for toiletries, a large brightly lit mirror, large single sink, and an added side makeup mirror.

The shower area is separated via a pocket door. Inside you’ll find a glass shower door and two shower heads. Wonderful and contemporary updates!

Resort Amenities

There’s a single bus stop area at Pop with individual lines for each park. The buses are not shared which makes its transit a definite perk!

Three available pools give each guest the chance to get some needed R&R during their stay. Perfectly spaced out, you don’t have to travel far to get your feet wet. The Hippy Dippy Pool (main pool 1960s) is the focal point behind Classic Hall. With flower shaped water jets, games with cast members, and the Petals Pool Bar, this is the most interactive. It’s also where Movie Under the Stars is enjoyed on select nights. The other two (Bowling Pool – 1950s and Computer Pool-1990s) have decade specific music piping through and a more laid-back feel.

This resort also has an added bonus that many others do not…two quick service food options. Don’t be confused…everything POP is Pop’s on-site food location, but many guests love taking the 10-minute walk across Generation Gap Bridge to the Art of Animation Resort to dine at Landscape of Flavors!

Staying here is like a walk down memory lane. Remembering the happy moments in our lives is what Disney was built on. This is why Pop Century Resort is highly talked about in the Disney community!

COMING SOON!

Pop will soon have access to the NEWEST form of transportation on Disney World Property…the gondolas (opening date is TBD). Follow the Me and the Mouse Facebook page for daily announcements to not miss when the news hits!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

If you enjoy the hospitality that Disney offers but want something different and a little more relaxing than visiting a Disney park, our family discovered a hidden Disney gem. Last month, we had the pleasure of staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. The resort sits in two areas of the island.

The actual resort is located in-land adjacent to the Shelter Cove Marina and The Beach House is about 1 ½ miles away on the ocean. The Beach House is where your family can enjoy a day at the beach, an additional pool and a quick service dining location.

We stayed in building #31, which was the furthest location from the main building, but we loved it. We felt like we were tucked away but we biked around the resort and everything was a close walk to get to the pool and quick service dining.

The resort is filled with family fun activities including shuffleboard, cornhole, putting area, bocce ball, paddleboard and kayak tours, fishing and so much more. Each courtyard has their own activity area, so make sure you explore outside of your own area to find everything there is to do. For your swimming pleasure, you will find a pool at the resort and another pool at The Beach House.

We loved the beach, which we found was great for families because the beach had sandbars that created little “pools” of water that made it great for little ones to swim without dealing with the waves of the ocean. You can either bike, drive or take the shuttle from the resort to get to The Beach House.

For your eating pleasure, we were glad we had a villa with a full kitchen since there are not any sit down dining restaurants on the property, but there are plenty of options on the island. There is quick service location on the resort property in addition to the option at The Beach House. Within a short walk, you can find wonderful restaurants at the Shelter Cove Marina, which sits right across the marina from Disney’s resort. We found that biking is the way to get around the island with close to 100 miles of paved bike paths. Since Disney’s Beach House is about 1 ½ miles from the resort, we found biking was the way to go and Disney has plenty of bikes to rent during your stay. All bikes come complete with baskets to carry your beach bag or for a stop at the grocery store, which is nearby.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will go into activities to do around the island and day excursions.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

Old Key West. Simply put, this charming resort is a hidden gem. As the original Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort, it can sometimes be overlooked because of newer villa resorts Disney has built or expands upon. This is a do not miss resort! All the charm and small community feel you want is wrapped up for you here.

Theming

As the name of the resort would suggest, this resort’s theme takes in the feel of the Florida Keys! You’re surrounded by villas laid out in a sub-division style, great views of water and golf-course fairways, tropical sounds piped through, and a small community feel of the Conch Flats.

Rooms

The rooms at this location can be described in one word…spacious! Although this isn’t the only word I’d use, it was a key factor for me and my extended family.

It offers 4 room types:

1. Deluxe Studio: Sleeps up to 4; kitchenette; 376 sq ft
2. 1 Bedroom Villa: Sleeps up to 5; 942 sq ft**
3. 2 Bedroom Villa: Sleeps up to 9; 2 full bathrooms; 1,333 sq ft**
4. 3 Bedroom Grand Villa: Sleeps up to 12; 4 bathrooms; 2,022 sq ft**

**Full kitchen

That’s A LOT of room to spread out! With combinations of king beds, queen beds, sleeper sofas and sleeper chairs, there’s a cozy place for each guest to rest after a long day in the parks. They all have their own private balcony with views of the fairways, water, or woodland areas (no noisy street views)!

Only three of the 49 buildings have elevator access, so if you prefer the ground floor for ease, have your Me and the Mouse Agent make this request! Elevator buildings are reserved for DVC guests first.

Grounds

Size and Transportation: This resort is large, so walking casually to the lobby may not be something you will do, depending on the location of your building. Bus transportation to the parks and Disney Springs (boat transportation also available) stop at all 5 bus stops on property starting with Peninsular Road and ending at the Hospitality House. **The Disney Springs bus starts at the Hospitality House.

Hospitality House: This is where check-in, Olivia’s Café (table service), Good’s Food to Go (quick service), Gurgling Suitcase (bar), the Sandcastle pool, the boat to Disney Springs, and Conch Flats General Store are located. To get here, internal shuttles loop through OKW’s bus stops or take a park bus (last stop is the Hospitality House).

Pools: The Sandcastle Pool (main pool) is at the Hospitality House. There are also 3 smaller leisure pools located at South Point Road, Miller’s Road, and Old Turtle Pond Road (which has the Turtle Shack Snack Bar with a lot of the same offerings as Good’s Food to Go).

If you’re looking for less of a resort feel and more of a small-town atmosphere, this is the place to stay! The laid-back feeling while staying here can’t be beat. Especially larger families looking for more space, look no further than Old Key West!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

 

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

 

 

Lights, Camera, Action!  Welcome to Disney’s All Star Movies Resort.  The All Star Movies resort is one of three All Star value resorts on Disney property.  This resort will get your family into the scenes of some of your favorite legendary Disney movies.

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I had the opportunity to stay at All Star Movies resort with my family.  My kids were enamored by the gigantic character scenes that were located in each of the 5 different themed areas of the resort.  These huge scenes are perfect photo opportunities for your family!

The rooms (both preferred and standard), are 260 sq. feet and have 2 double beds.  They can accommodate a family of four.  They can accommodate a family of five if one of the children is under the age of 3 and sleeping in a Pack N’ Play. The rooms do come with a mini fridge, flat screen TV, wireless internet, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.   

Preferred Rooms are located closer to the main building, dining, and transportation.  At the All Star Movies resort the preferred rooms are located in Toy Story, Fantasia, and 101 Dalmatians sections of the resort. The standard room are located further away from the main building, but many also find these rooms are more quiet, as there is not as much foot traffic. The standard rooms are located in the Mighty Ducks and Herbie the Love Bug Sections.  

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The All Star Movies resort features 2 heated pools always kept at a nice 80 degrees.  The first pool is called Fantasia and is located between the 2 Fantasia buildings and right outside Cinema Hall.  My kids loved that the pools were heated and that even though we were there at an unusually cold week in November, they could still enjoy some time swimming.  Located close to the Fantasia pool you can also enjoy a smaller “kiddie pool”.  The second pool is called Duck Pond Pool. It has a hockey theme and is located between the Mighty Duck buildings and not far from the 101 Dalmatians building.

 all Star Movies 2Within the Cinema Hall building you will find dining options at The World Premiere Food Court which features 5 marquee themed quick service restaurants opened from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is something for everybody’s taste buds at the Quick Service Dining locations at the All-Star Movies. From the typical child favorites of pizza and hamburgers to grilled chicken, pasta, and barbecue ribs! The resort also offers room service of pizza, salad, and beverages from 5 p.m.-midnight! Silver Screen Spirits is a pool side bar located next to the Fantasia pool and serves a continental breakfast in the morning and sandwiches and snacks the remainder of the day.

For more information on this or any of the other amazing Disney resorts contact your Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist!

Beth Rodgers

Me and the Mouse Travel Specialist

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Step back to a simpler time in this retro style resort. Depicting the feel of the 1950’s and 60’s, this resort makes you feel you have walked onto the set of Mad Men and the Brady Bunch. Cabana Bay may be considered a value resort, but it is fabulous well-appointed and clean resort and perfect for families with their spacious family suites, that sleeps up to 6 people or their 2 Bedroom suites, that sleep up to 8. All family suites make dining more convenient for busy families with each suite fully equipped with kitchenettes complete with microwaves, mini-refrigerators and a kitchen sink. Each living area also has its own flat screen TV.

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If water fun is on your agenda, you can enjoy two large pools, one is complete with a lazy river. In my opinion, the best part of Cabana Bay is the fact it is adjacent to the all-new Volcano Bay Water Park. Universal recently opened the tower portion of the resort and some of the suites in the brand-new tower provide a spectacular view of Volcano Bay.

For your dining convenience, there are plenty of quick service dining options throughout the resort including pizza delivery and a Starbucks to help kickstart your day. If you are looking for fun and a table service option, take in a few rounds of bowling at the Galaxy Bowl and grab dinner at the Galaxy Bowl restaurant.

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If you didn’t get enough exercise walking around the parks, stop by the Jack LaLanne Fitness area. Yes, for those of that age group, that Jack LaLanne in the one-piece workout suit. The fitness club has state of the art equipment, but you can also see Jack LaLanne memorabilia.

As with any of the Universal resorts, you will enjoy early park access to enjoy the parks before the crowds arrive.

Enjoy your time at Universal Studios!!!

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

A huge part of our family’s experience when we visit any Disney destination is enjoying so many amazing restaurants. Good food allows us to relax and simply enjoy the moment together. Great food keeps us coming back!

When we’re back home, we’ll think back on that special something and wish we could have just one bite! For me, the bread pudding at Ohana’s at the Polynesian Village is one of those “aaaaah” foods. Lucky for my family, it’s also pretty easy to make!

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Nancy Wideman
Travel Specialist

Loews Portofino Bay Resort is my resort of choice while visiting Universal Studios in Orlando. The beautiful re-creation of the famed seaside resort village of Portofino, Italy truly gives you the feeling of a piece of Italy in Orlando. I have stayed here on several occasions and continue to come back because it is exquisite in every way. The rooms are spacious and luxurious designed with superior quality and make you feel like a V.I.P. while you are a guest. You will feel the grandeur as you enter the lobby.

The service here is impeccable. This upscale resort is worth every penny because it includes complementary Universal Express passes for each guest in your party. The Universal Express pass allows you to skip the lines on many of the popular rides at the Universal Parks, including all of the Harry Potter attractions. You will also receive one hour early entry into the parks allowing you to beat the crowds. Water taxi service is available from this resort which provides easy access to the parks.

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If you are looking for a fun hotel catering to children, try a Despicable Me-themed Kid Suite with a Garden or Bay View. Parents can have privacy in a beautiful master bedroom with a king bed and the kids will have a connecting room with 2 twin beds shaped like Minion missiles.

The grounds and pools are always beautiful and well kept. Portofino Bay offers 3 swimming pools. The Beach pool is a lively pool ideal for families. It has a waterslide and a sandy beach. The Villa pool has a more serene atmosphere. Lastly, the Hillside pool offers more privacy. It is great to be able to return to your resort for some poolside relaxation after spending an active day at the parks. The Mandara Spa promises blissful renewal of both mind and body and offers a variety of spa services and treatments, a complimentary fitness center, and exclusive steam and sauna facilities.

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Each evening at sunset, the Harbor Piazza hosts nightly Italian musical performances, including Opera Singers, which really adds to the ambiance of this magnificent resort. It is a delightful way to end the day.

There are many restaurants onsite at Portofino Bay serving a variety of menus, including Mama Della’s Ristorante, Trattoria del Porto, Sal’s Market Deli and the superb Bice Ristorante. Dining and ambiance at this onsite resort is part of the wonderful experience at staying at a Universal resort.

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This resort holds a special place in my heart because of the incredible memories my family has made there. Loew’s Portofino Bay Resort offers onsite guests the opportunity to enjoy time away to rest, relax and enjoy a little piece of Italy.

Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist to book your next vacation to Universal Studios Orlando!

Traci Perjak
Travel Specialist

Starting November 18, 2017 and running through January 6, 2018, you can celebrate the holidays at Universal with special entertainment, including an exciting new transformation in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Hogwarts

Included with your admission ticket to the Universal theme parks:

  • Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is extra magical. It will include festive decorations, special sweets and treats, entertainment, and a beautiful new projection show up on Hogwart’s castle that is sure to delight all Muggles.
  • Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s as Santa Claus is joined by the Minions. You’ll also see some of your favorite characters from Madagascar and Shrek!
  • A live re-telling by the Grinch of the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.
  • Mannheim Steamroller returns with live performances of Christmas classics on select nights.
  • Holiday activities and exclusive benefits at Universal’s on-site resorts.

A separately ticketed New Year’s celebration, EVE, is sure to be the biggest party of the year at Universal’s CityWalk.

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Minions

Included in your Universal package:

  • A stay in one of Universal’s beautiful on-site resorts. Choose from Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
    • Guests staying at the Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, or Portofino Bay hotels also received unlimited Express Passes for participating rides and attractions.
  • Early Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – one hour before the general public!
  • Free transportation within the resort. A water taxi is a convenient and fun way to explore other resorts. The parks and CityWalk are all in close proximity to each other.
  • Charging privileges throughout the resort.

Universal Orlando Resort Holiday Activities - Grinchmas

BONUS inclusions if you book the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Exclusive Vacation Package.:

  • 4 night hotel accommodations
  • 3-Park, 4-Day Park to Park ticket
  • Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron in Universal Studios
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • One Shutterbutton’s Photography Studio session in Diagon Alley.

Packages for the holiday celebrations include visits to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s exhilarating new water park, Volcano Bay.

Holiday packages are booking now, so contact a Me and the Mouse travel specialist to reserve your favorite resort! To make your visit even more magical, combine visits to Universal Orlando with Walt Disney World and get the best of both resorts during the holidays!

Nancy Wideman

Travel Planner