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.

portofino

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

Get ready for Universal’s SCARIEST event of the YEAR! 

As summer winds down, fall quickly follows full of fun and its own kind of excitement. Although the end of summer saddens many, it does bring one of the most anticipated holidays for Universal Studios Orlando….Halloween!!  Universal hosts one of THE most frightening, but exciting events! We are so thrilled to talk about Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights!

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

 

What to Expect:  

The streets of Universal are transformed into the most terrifying location you’ve ever seen. 

  • Experience scare zones throughout the park, but BEWARE!  They’re filled with monsters and maniacs ready frighten you ALL night long.  
  • Walk through brilliantly themed haunted houses!  This year, American Horror Story is making its second-year return and NEW this year is The Shining…beware of room 237!  
  • Stop {and cover your eyes} during shockingly graphic live shows.
  • Also enjoy many of the park’s rides/attractions.  

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

 

Dates/Event Time:

  • September: 15 – 17, 21 – 24, 29 – 30
  • October: 1, 4 – 8, 11 – 15, 18 – 22, 25 – 31
  • November: 3 – 4
  • Begins @ 6:30 PM {closing times vary}

 

Event Tickets

There’s an array of options to get as much {or little} scare as you desire.  Below are ticket/pricing options to choose the amount of fright you prefer!  

**Pricing is advance purchase prices, per person, & NOT including tax

 

1. Halloween Horror Night Flex Tickets

Is ONE event all you can handle?  Choose the ticket that includes the day of the week you plan to take your chances.      

  • Flex Sunday – Friday:  $77.99
  • Flex Sunday – Saturday:  $85.99

Add On:  Express Pass

  • Get one-time express ride access for a specific event date.  
  • Enjoy a separate queue line with shorter wait times at ALL haunted houses and participating rides/attractions.
  • Pricing/night varies {$79.99 – $129.99}

**Looking to save money on one-day passes?  Save up to $50 on select nights with a Coca-Cola can product when you buy advance tickets!!  

2. Fear Passes

If being scared is your thing, these passes are for you.  They offer amazing savings for multiple nights of terror!

  • Rush of Fear:  Access to the 1st ten nights.
    • $91.99
    • With Express Pass: $299.99
  • Frequent Fear:  Up to 21 nights of Halloween Horror Night admission {Sunday, Wednesday, & Thursday event nights} plus the 1st weekend {September 16 & 17}.
    • $102.99
    • With Express Pass:  $339.99
  • Frequent Fear Plus:   Up to 28 nights of Halloween Horror Night admission {Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday event nights} plus the 1st {September 16 & 17} and last weekend {November 3 & 4}.  
    • $118.99
    • With Express Pass:  $399.99
  • Ultimate Frequent Fear:  Access to all Halloween Horror Night event nights!  
    • $199.99
    • With Express Pass:  $599.99

Halloween Horror Nights - 2017

Know before you go!

This event has so much to look forward to, but like anything, rules and warnings must be heeded.

  • NO masks or costumes allowed!!
  • NO food, drinks, bottles, recordings, flash photography, flashlights, or laser pens allowed in the Haunted Houses.
  • Motorized wheelchairs and ECVs are NOT permitted in any queue, haunted house, or on any ride vehicle.

BE WARNED!  This INTENSE event is NOT recommended for young children under age 13.

Anyone who enjoys the scare that Halloween brings should NOT miss this event!  Contact a Me and the Mouse Travel specialist for further details on planning for the fright of your life! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

If you’re a regular visitor to the Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney District than you probably have seen construction going on for the newest edition! Splitsville Luxury Lanes, a family-friend restaurant will open later this year! Splitsville has already been a huge hit at Walt Disney World with its unique combination of dining, bowling and live entertainment! It’s been a huge fan favorite, and we can’t wait to see the new unveiling this winter!

The Space!

 

Disney’s development team is creating another spectacular environment for families. It will fuse modern and retro styles for a lively, but comfy atmosphere for guests of all ages! This new space will be over 40,000 square feet and 2 stories of entertainment! It will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of outdoor seating to look out over Downtown Disney District. Plus as an added feature there will be live entertainment daily – lots of fun for the entire family!

Family Fun

Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney District will be an exciting destination offering families a unique combination of dining, drinks, bowling and entertainment! There will be 20 bowling lanes throughout the location, four dining areas {indoors and out}, two billiards tables, 25+ flat screen TVs, and the ability to host live performers and DJs.

Splitsville headed to Disneyland

Dining

It doesn’t stop there! Splitsville will also have a wide selection of menu items. It will feature classics like hand-tossed pizza and gourmet burgers, but it will also include specialities such as grilled avocado with ahi tuna and filet sliders. Last, but not least, don’t forget the Splitsville speciality the “Fantasy Roll”. This fresh-rolled sushi is sure to make you come back for more!

Ready to plan your next Disney Destination Vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

 

 

As you may or may not know, Caribbean Beach Resort, a Moderate Resort on Walt Disney World Resort property, has been undergoing some extensive refurbishments and construction over the last few months.  Construction is projected to continue through June 2018 to make way for fabulous new rooms, additional hotel buildings within the resort, new dining experiences, and some other surprise features as well {like deluxe resort quality mattresses}!

Caribbean Beach Updates

While we still encourage our guests to stay at this wonderful resort – to enjoy the ‘cluster’ housing design, great themed pools, and Island feel – we want you to be informed on the most recent updates to this resort.

 

In May 2017, many building clusters were sequestered from others by way of sidewalk. Other sections of the resort are only accessible by your own car, or by Disney internal bus system.  This is mainly a safety precaution due to heavy machinery working daily.  

Wondering about construction noise?  Work typically begins at 9am, and ends at dusk.  Evening work has been pushed to a minimum.  Construction has not been projected to interrupt your family time for sleeping!

Caribbean Beach UpdatesIt might be a little more difficult for travel to the main building {Centertown} for snacks, meals and quick drinks. So, Disney has created a room in each building cluster and designated it as an ‘Island Market’. The Market is staffed by a Cast Member to assist you with bottled drinks, coffee, grab and go style snacks, breakfast muffins and fruit. They are located in Aruba, Martinique, and Jamaica clusters. Coke Free-Style machines have been added to these markets and accept the resort refillable mugs! Some dining plan credits are accepted at these markets, but you will have to verify the dining plan logo.  This convenience has alleviated a lot of headache, and is a great addition to guest service!

Pool parties at the main pool have stepped up the guest interaction!  While not daily, a few characters have been known to show up and host a dance party with our younger guests! Weather permitting, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald have been making sporadic appearances at the main resort pool.  Appearances are not guaranteed, however.

Caribbean Beach Updates

The permanent dining experiences in Centertown are closed for refurbishment. However, a new breakfast buffet is now open at the outdoor eatery. Dining plan quick service credits are accepted.  Food trucks have also been set up around Centertown offering a variety of island inspired dishes for guests to enjoy in lieu of the traditional dining locations at Caribbean Beach Resort.  Room service options are still available as well!

Finally, a nice touch to a client room who just returned from a stay at Caribbean Beach – upon arrival, a gift basket was awaiting them on their bed.  The basket was filled with snacks, cereal and milk, a few drinks, and a Caribbean Beach lunch sized cooler bag.  ***It is unclear if this is a trend we will see in all rooms. This particular room’s view was of heavy construction, and a crane.  ***We cannot guarantee your room will have a gift basket***

 

Guests are still flocking to this resort, regardless of the construction. Disney is doing an amazing job to accommodate guests and to still provide world-class amenities and services.  We hope your stay at Caribbean Beach is a wonderful one!

 

Want to book a stay at Caribbean beach? Contact a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist today!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

The anticipation of a Disney Cruise can be grand. There’s so much to plan, and for most travelers, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist will guide you in the best options for your travel party: before, during, and after your cruise.  One such option, is visiting the Walt Disney World Resort for a few days before embarking on your cruise that leaves from a Floridian port!

 

There are benefits to visiting the Most Magical Place On Earth BEFORE your cruise… Here are the Top Five!

 

  1.  5 Reasons To Visit Walt Disney World BEFORE Your Disney Cruise!You will be too relaxed (and tired) to visit the Walt Disney Resort after your cruise!

Cruising changes your mood, and changes your routine, to a Hakuna Matata lifestyle!  To then switch gears and amp up for a theme park visit is exhausting. Rest your tired feet, be pampered, and end your vacation refreshed!

 

  1.  By arriving a few days early, you will not have to worry about trip delays with airlines or traffic.

Day-of arrivals for cruises can be extremely stressful, as any major delay could keep you from boarding your cruise on time, or could prevent you from boarding at all!

 

  1. 5 Reasons To Visit Walt Disney World BEFORE Your Disney Cruise!You will experience world-class amenities at the Walt Disney World Resort hotel of your choice!

Not only will you enjoy perfectly themed rooms and resorts to fit your needs, but if you are flying, you will experience free Magical Express transportation from Orlando International Airport to your resort.  Transportation from your resort hotel to the port can also be arranged, but for a nominal fee, either with Disney transportation or with a private car service.  All of which, your Travel Specialist can assist with!

 

  1.  Room and package discounts often make a WDW stay cheaper than an off-site hotel!

And who doesn’t like to save money on vacation?  

 

  1. If you are that close to the Magic…why not?

5 Reasons To Visit Walt Disney World BEFORE Your Disney Cruise!Get the chance to experience an attraction, dine at a restaurant, or meet a character you’ve always dreamed of!  There’s no better time to do so!  Whether your first visit or your umpteenth, your Walt Disney World memories will stay with you forever.  Kids, and the “Kids-at-Heart”, agree that the opportunity to visit WDW along with the Disney Cruise was a great decision.  Every Disney experience is unique and worthwhile! Why not combine the best of both worlds and make unforgettable memories on Land and at Sea?  Especially if this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

 

You’re never too old to experience all the Magic that Disney has to offer!  Let your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist guide you through a few easy steps to add your Walt Disney World experience to the start of your cruise vacation, and add more memories that will last a lifetime! If you’re not yet connected with a Me and The Mouse agent, visit our contact page, and we’d love to pair you with one of our incredible specialists!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

You won’t want to miss out on this incredible resort!

Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness LodgeI am so excited about Disney’s villas Copper Creek at the Wilderness Lodge Resort.  They are brand new and beautiful!  Rooms ranges from deluxe studios, one to three bedroom villas, and 26 private waterfront bungalows. If you’re looking to add some extra magic on your next Disney World vacation, this right up your alley!

One great thing about Copper Creek is that they are able to accommodate nearly any size family! The deluxe studio and one-bedroom villa can accommodate up to four guests. The two bedroom can sleep up to eight guests and the three-bedroom grand villa can accommodate up to twelve guests. These spaces will make you feel right at home. All of the villas come with a fully equipped kitchen, stacked washer and dryer, and jetted tub. It’s perfect for the whole family!Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Want to spend some time around the resort? You won’t be disappointed! Guests can enjoy two heated picturesque pools that include a 67-foot waterslide and both cold and hot whirlpool spas.  Children can also have a fun exploring the aquatic play area. Nearby is Geyer Point Bar and Grill which is an open-air lounge overlooking the bay. Disney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness LodgeDisney’s Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek also offers a special spa-like oasis of its own.  Salon by the Springs are where guest can get pampered with a manicure, pedicure, and facial.

The perks of staying at Copper Creek don’t stop there! All Copper Creek guests will still be allowed to use all the amazing amenities at the Wilderness Lodge! This includes bike and boat rentals, jogging trails, movies under the stars, campfires, and the use of the health club. It’s like getting two resort experiences in one!

If you have any questions or are ready to book your trip to Copper Creek contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’d love to help plan your dream Disney vacation!

Elizabeth Hollman

Agency Owner & Travel Specialist

Looking for a Rootin’ Tootin’ good time?

Hoop Dee Doo Musical at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
If you want a different experience, head on over to Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground for a night of entertainment and dinner.  Hoop Dee Doo Review is fun for the whole family.  This show is truly entertaining. You’ll love how the entertainers interact with the audience getting everyone engaged in the hand clapping, foot stomping, sing-along fun!

Grab your cowboy boots and then kick back and relax! You’ll enjoy a non-stop interactive Wild West performance which includes dancing, singing, and hilarious comedy. Your waiter will serve your meal family style while you and your family enjoy the show! The offerings are “finger-lickin’ good” and include: all-you-care-to-eat smoked BBQ pork ribs, crispy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, baked beans, salad, seasonal vegetable, delicious cornbread, and amazing strawberry short cake for dessert.  

Hoop Dee Doo Musical at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
Non alcoholic beverages are included for the whole family! For the “young-at-heart,” {but over 21 crowd} unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria is included and served when you serve up proper identification!!  Yee Haw!

There are 3 Hoop Dee Doo shows per night and prepayment and reservations are required.  Three categories of tables and pricing are offered with two levels of seating available to guests.


Be sure to allow plenty of time for transportation.  You won’t want to miss any of this dinner show.

If you and your family want to experience the unique Hoop Dee Doo experience, contact a Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist for assistance in making reservations. 

 

 


See More From Our Incredible Visit:

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

The Animal Kingdom Lodge SavannahDuring my time as a Cast Member at Walt Disney World, I had a role that allowed me to work in a different resort or park each day. It was great for many reasons, but I especially enjoyed my days at the resorts. I was able to become incredibly familiar with each resort and talk to the guests that visited and stayed at them. I can truly say I think they all have great features in their own way. However, there is one resort that I can say is my favorite: Animal Kingdom Lodge! The resort has many features that I absolutely love, but today, I will tell you three things that I separate it from any other resort on property. Here is why Animal Kingdom Lodge is the top of my list.

 

Location 

Some people will say it’s far away from the other parks, and I respond to that with “that is why I love it!” As a frequent guest to Disney World, I love this feature. After spending the day in the parks, I love traveling back to the resort. I feel as though, I’m being transported to tranquil destination away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Disney World. When you step off the bus, you are surrounded by tall trees and plants. These types of vegetation are not seen anywhere on property! You hear nothing but crickets and the ambient music of the resort it is instantly relaxing. 

 

The Lobby

Animal Kingdom Lodge LobbyThere are incredible lobbies at Disney resorts, but I believe there is nothing like the one at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is grand in a way that no others can compare. It rarely feels crowded, is set up wonderfully and smells incredible! Yes, I said smells incredible! That is because Boma, the buffet located near the lobby, is cooking up amazing wood fired dishes and the aroma feels the air. The lobby and corridors also offer an extensive collection of African art. You can easily spend hours looking at and reading about the deep African history. This space is truly unique, and it is a great fit for the safari lover in your family!

 

The View

The View at the Animal Kingdom Lodge looking at the SavannahThe view is where the resort really shines. There are multiple areas to view the savannah and animals that roam the resort. I’ve spent an hours sitting in rocking chair just taking in the sights of giraffes, zebras and other animals. Even if you aren’t into animal sight seeing, the view is peaceful and relaxing. The pool is another area that provides a special visual experience. It’s surrounded by the beautiful architecture of the resorts and greenery. It feels as if it’s an African oasis. There are incredible savannah viewing points, just steps away from the pool. However, I think the best view in the resort is actually one you can book! When you book a room that overlooks the savannah, the view is absolutely incredible. I have enjoyed this amazing view on my own visits, and I always look forward to it! 

 

If you’re looking for a memorable and magical experience on your next Disney World vacation, I would gladly recommend the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Ready to book? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

If you are looking for something literally “off the beaten path” on your next Walt Disney World vacation, your search is over! The Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is perfect for the younger crowd and is the perfect place for memory making!

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortBeing a local Floridian people think that we go to Disney every day. I’m sure that if it was up to my daughter we would!  However, in reality, and for the sake of the Magical experience becoming commonplace, we treat every trip like a mini vacation.  We stumbled upon the Tri-Circle-D Ranch on one of our many “staycations”.  My family of five found Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to be perfect. Our cabin was a great fit for all five of us. Our cabin had a full kitchen and an eating area both inside and outside.  It had it all, from the rustic campground feel to all of the comforts of home.  We have made going to “The Cabins” as my family calls them, an annual tradition.

 

On one of yearly adventures, after breakfast (at Trail’s End Restaurant), we wandered over to the stables near the entrance of Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. There were about five or six mini ponies walking along a path with riders and my daughter fell in love.

 

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness ResortWe found out there was only a small fee (currently $8.00 a ride). We were hooked! Now, we can’t pass up the chance to visit the ponies at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch every year we visit! This is one of our favorite places to make memories.

 

The Tri-Circle-D Ranch is located near Pioneer Hall.  It is perfect for pint sized pony enthusiasts (at least 2 years old and under 80 pounds and under 48 inches). Your child will be able to ride a pony guided by parents or guardians around a fenced path.  The Pony Rides are open daily from 10am – 5pm and you don’t even need a reservation!

 

In addition, to the pony rides, they also have a state of the art playground for the kids. This is perfect way to keep the kids busy as you wait for your dining reservation. There are many delicious dining locations nearby including Trail’s End Restaurant, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, and Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

Tri-Circle-D at Disney Wilderness Resort

So, if you are looking for a relaxing alternative or a break from the Parks for a few hours, Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is just the place to hang your hat!

 

This is perfect for local Floridian and who are looking for a FUN and EXCITING new experience close to home! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to ask any additional questions or add this into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!  The Magic is just a phone call away!

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist