Another new transportation service will soon be available to guests visiting the Walt Disney World property…….”Minnie Vans”. This new transportation service is now available for guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins, and Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge can now go to the front desk at the resort to activate the service for their use. Soon, the service will be available at all Walt Disney World resorts.

Minnie Vans will take you anywhere on Disney property you want to go that is open to the public. Exclusive to “Minnie Vans” is the access to Magic Kingdom. When servicing the Magic Kingdom, guests will be dropped off / picked up at the BUS area, NOT the Ticket and Transportation Center, like all other off-property transfer services. This will provide guests with the short walk to the park entrance without needing to use the monorail or ferryboat service from the Ticket and Transportation.

disney-minnie-van 1

Minnie Vans are Chevrolet Traverse mid-sized SUVs that can seat up to 7 or 8 passengers (including the driver) across 3 rows. Each Minnie Van comes equipped with 2 Graco car seats. These car seats are fully adjustable to convert from a car seat into a booster seat, and can be both forward and rear facing.

Minnie Vans will be available through Lyft. When guests open the Lyft app from anywhere in the Walt Disney World Resort the Minnie Van Service is unlocked. The Lyft app will allow guests to request a ride from their smartphone and pay directly through the app. The current price the service is $20 per trip, this includes gratuity. The drivers are all paid employees of Disney. Currently,the hours of operation are 6:30 am until 12:30 am.

Whether you are traveling by monorail, bus, boat or Minnie Van, Disney does recommend allowing up to 90 minutes of travel time to get to dining locations within the Walt Disney World property. The Minnie Van transportation is another great option for arriving for early morning dining reservations, as well as making it easier to travel from resort to resort for dining and shopping.

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist

Every summer Disney Cruise Line sails one of its ships to Europe for one of the most special sets of itineraries available. Disney Cruise Line separates their European itineraries into Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries. This summer my family was able to experience the unique 7 night re-positioning cruise that connected these guest experiences. We started in Dover, England and ended in
Barcelona, Spain and it was a vacation we will never forget and recommend to all interested in visiting Europe with their family.

IMG_2441

Visiting Europe on a Disney cruise allows families to visit multiple countries and cultures in a short time while keeping a home base on the ship. The tours offered by Disney’s port adventures team allow for the interests of all ages with varying tour lengths to accommodate your needs.

On our particular cruise, we docked in Le Havre, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Cadiz, Spain with 3 full days at sea. All of these countries were new to our family so we took advantage of the tours to see all we could while we were in port. Le Havre is located in northern France and about a 2 ½ to 3 hour drive from Paris. With a 16 hour stopover, there was plenty of time to take an adventure into Paris and see the main sights of the city. Lisbon’s city tour showed us how important the city and its inhabitants were to navigation of the oceans and the discovery of the new world. Cadiz’s town square, just steps from the dock, allowed us a walking tour of the city that dates from the time of the Phoenicians, about 1100 BC. Another amazing sight was seeing Africa as we sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar late one evening.

PicMonkey Collage

Families of all ages can be found on Disney’s European cruises. If you have young children, exposing them to the historical locations, introducing them to new languages, and giving them a fun time each day is a great introduction to Europe. Tweens and teens will get excited when they recognize places and people that they’ve studied in school and then when they are back on ship the excitement doesn’t stop when the meet up with new friends in Edge and Vibe.

What makes Disney’s cruises so special to experience Europe is the fun, family friendly atmosphere. From the shows, to the on board events, to the age appropriate port adventures, to characters that dress in the native clothing of the ports, you will find everyone young and old enjoying each day of the cruise from morning until night.

Going on a European Disney Cruise Line vacation is one of the most memorable vacations that a family can have. Disney’s European itineraries are available for booking by contacting your Me and the Mouse travel agent.

Michelle Browne – travel specialist

1061-1522814-Classic CL Mickey Sailor 4 FWD-25421_GPR

 

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.

IMG_4791

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.

IMG_4771

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

If you traveled to Universal Studios Florida recently you may have noticed some big additions to the property with Volcano Bay and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. You’ve also may have heard of a new thrill ride coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Here is what you need to know about each of them.

Let’s start right off with the big news about a new thrill ride coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Universal is billing this a new type of “highly-themed” coaster experience. It will replace the Dragon Challenge coaster and is said to take storytelling on a roller coaster to a new level. Speculation is this may be themed around the new Harry Potter Franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Little information has been given but some believe this will be a fast thrill ride that is well themed like no other coaster in the world. Creating a story and theming a roller coaster is a difficult task due to the nature of the ride but Universal has done a tremendous job with their current 4D Potter rides in bringing both thrills and an incredible sensory element of the movie to the ride. Like many of Universal’s rides this one looks like it will be geared toward thrill seekers which is a common theme from the company as it contrasts what Disney has to offer.

Universals-Volcano-Bay

Next, let’s take a look at the highlights of the recently completed Volcano Bay. This is more than just a water park it’s a theme park with water! Just a short walk from Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal is billing this as a third gate. It has all the great amenities of a water park such as the lazy river, pools, water slides and places to enjoy the sun but it also has some thrill slides that are in line with Universal’s coasters in the other parks. Take a 125 feet plunge down a 70 degree drop through on Ko’kiri Body Plunge or travel down the iconic volcano on Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides where two people stand on trap doors that open plunging the riders down clear interwinding tubes into a pool. The park still has some kinks to work out but Universal is hoping this will put them on the map along side Disney’s two big water parks.

Finally, let’s take a look at the highly anticipated Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. Once entering the building which looks like the actual entrance to The Tonight Show in New York, riders will go through a pre-show hosted by Jimmy and his gang. It’s well done and sets the stage for the simulation ride on the Jimmy’s Tonight Rider. Riders join Jimmy as he travels through the studio, around New York’s big attractions and through some crazy coaster like 3D experiences. If you are a fan of the show, New York or 3D simulation rides you will definitely enjoy this new ride.

On April 6, 2017, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon officially opened at Universal Orlando Resort. Hundreds of fans and Universal characters joined Jimmy Fallon in celebrating the opening with a ticker tape parade and ribbon cutting of epic proportions. The new attraction gives guests the ultimate “Tonight Show” experience and gets them up close and personal with the show’s most hilarious segments before taking off on an action-packed race through New York against Jimmy Fallon himself. More info is available at UniversalOrlando.com. © 2017 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.
On April 6, 2017, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon officially opened at Universal Orlando Resort. Hundreds of fans and Universal characters joined Jimmy Fallon in celebrating the opening with a ticker tape parade and ribbon cutting of epic proportions.
The new attraction gives guests the ultimate “Tonight Show” experience and gets them up close and personal with the show’s most hilarious segments before taking off on an action-packed race through New York against Jimmy Fallon himself. More info is available at UniversalOrlando.com.
© 2017 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist.

 

 

If you are sailing on a Disney Cruise and looking for adult onboard activities, Disney offers tasting events for guests that are at least 21 years old. This is a fun activity that you can experience on select days, generally sea days. I have personally experienced the tastings with a group of friends, but I have also signed up for wine tastings by myself. It is a fun and comfortable environment and a great way to meet other people on your cruise.

Disney Cruise Line Tastings!

Here are a few examples of the types of tastings offered, but they can vary by sailings and the length of the cruise:

 

  • Wines Tasting hosted by a sommelier
  • Beer Tasting
  • Martini and Tequila/Margarita tastings
  • Rum Tasting
  • Cognac Tasting
  • + A variety of other options based on availability

 

Beginning July 13, 2017, you are now able to reserve our tastings online after your booking window opens in the “Onboard Fun” portion of the screen. This is an easy way to start planning your activities prior to leaving home. If the sessions are booked when attempting to schedule them online, you can check with Guest Services after you board and they will direct you the location to see if spots have become available.

Disney Cruise Line Tastings!

Happy sailing and we hope you enjoy your cruise!

If you’re ready to book your next Disney Cruise, contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’d love to help plan your next voyage, and help you figure out the ins-and-outs of a Disney Cruise!

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Bon Voyage Breakfast- Trattoria al FornoA relatively new experience, the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno is a lovely alternative for  character meals.  Meet two of the most adventurous princesses out there – Ariel and Rapunzel! Accompanied by Prince Eric and Flynn Ryder {Eugene for those that know him well}, no less!  Introduced by royal decree – each couple comes to visit tables and bring adventure to every family!  Sometimes, Ariel may ask you to swim with her like her favorite fishy friends in a conga line!

This restaurant boasts a charming, dark-wood, tile-floor, open kitchen concept everyone is sure to love. The dining room is more intimate, and ordering off menu versus a buffet is a wonderful change of pace!  Every menu item is inspired by The Little Mermaid or Tangled.  

Before you start your adventure, each table has a “Bon Voyage Adventure Journal” to fill out. In it, your family will find a place to write down your favorite adventures, your favorite travel companions, and other fun items to commemorate your trip!

Bon Voyage Breakfast- Trattoria al FornoTo start your day, you are given a ‘glass of sunshine’ and an assortment of delicious pastries served in a frying pan {Rapunzel’s weapon of choice}. You can then order your drink of choice {even Mimosas!} and select a fruit cup or parfait.  Both are beautiful and tasty!

Entrées range from eggs to calzones!  Kiddos can enjoy traditional breakfasts if they wish – Mickey Waffles, however, are served as Ariel and Flounder waffles…and they are just as good!  Our family enjoyed a breakfast calzone fit for King Triton, a “tower of pancakes”, and those “Tangled” eggs.  Everything was beautifully served, and tasted delicious. My “Tangled” Eggs were served on top of roasted red potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and served with bacon. It was scrumptious – Rapunzel would have approved!

Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel visited us first…and of course, Flynn requested a new ‘wanted’ poster.  Then Ariel and Prince Eric came to visit.  I have to admit, Prince Eric was wonderful. He had so much to talk to everyone about and was able to bring most kiddos out of their shell….I guess that’s why Ariel fell in love with him!

amy5

Gluten free and allergy options were available – but it is so very important to make your dining reservations with those needs noted, as well as alerting everyone you encounter of your needs at your dining time. All special dietary needs can be met, however it does take a bit longer to prepare! Also, some dishes do not translate completely to the allergen free option.  Keep that in mind!

amy4

I LOVED this new experience. It’s calm since you are ordering off menu, the characters can be more interactive, and it felt less ‘busy’ than other meals. I would definitely recommend this breakfast on your next Walt Disney World adventure!

Contact a Me and The Mouse Agent today to book your next Disney vacation and to include this fun experience in your next adventure! 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

To Infinity and Beyond!

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldHowdy, Howdy, Howdy!!!  Toy Story is one of my favorite Disney movies, and I am super excited to announce that coming summer 2018 Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to a new Toy Story Land!  The idea of this new land is similar to that of Cars Land at Disneyland, it is an all immersive land where you actually feel like you are walking around Radiator Springs {such a fun land to visit}!  The new Toy Story Land will shrink down guests and become Andy’s new toys!  

The new 11 acres of Andy’s backyard play area you will be full of Toy Story fun! You will find 2 new amazing attractions 1. The Slinky Dog Dash Family Friendly Rollercoaster and 2. Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Mania will continue in operation and has actually extend its track for a longer and even more entertaining ride.

The Slinky Dog Dash will be a coaster that the whole family can enjoy. The track {designed by Andy using his Mega Coaster Play Kit} will stretch, as long as Slinky Dog can, throughout the new land.

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land at Walt Disney WorldThe other new attraction will be Alien Swirling Saucers.  This attraction is inspired by the first film and Andy’s visit to Pizza Planet.  In the film, Buzz and Woody were stuck in the claw game.  The claw makes a big appearance during this new attractions as it looms over riders that are spinning and swirling in their toy flying saucers trying to keep away from the aliens as they try to catch you with “The Claw”.

Toy Story Mania is a beloved attraction by many and it will be getting even better.  The fan-favorite attraction will be adding even more track with the opening of this new Toy Story Land. Guests will also get the chance to travel under Andy’s bed. They will see an amazing carnival that Andy has built.  

If you’re ready to check out this new addition, 2018 packages for next summer are already being reserved!  Be sure to contact a Me and the Mouse Agent for more information and to get your families visit to Walt Disney World and Toy Story Land planned! We know you are going to love this new expansion!

Beth Rodgers

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

We are so excited with the latest Universal announcement! A brand new, thrilling Harry Potter inspired ride will be making its way to Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2019. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade has already been a place of fun and excitement, but now this fan-favorite spot will offer more to guests!

We don’t know everything about this new thrill ride, but we have been informed on some special information. Take a look below at some of the latest details!

  1. This is a brand-new, thrill ride that will take you deeper into J.K. Rowling’s famous Wizarding World. You will become more engrossed in the Wizarding World as you journey along this ride. You will encounter some of your favorite characters and creatures. This new ride will be unlike anything Universal has ever created, and they are sure it will sure to be a favorite for the entire family!
  2. If you’re a Potterhead than this ride is for you! The new attraction will be one of the most highly-themed coaster experiences at Universal. This means lots of fun and exciting Wizarding World items and memorabilia. The ride combines a new level of storytelling with {of course} an action-packed adventure! There will also be a few surprises along the way that will have you coming back for more!
  3. Universal’s award-winning creative team has been collaborating with Warner Bros, and the incredible production design team from the Harry Potter films. You can be sure to see and experience a top-notch, fan favorite ride!
  4. This ride will be the absolute perfect addition to the thriving town of Hogsmeade. This new attraction will transport you into a new and thrilling place and will draw you into more exciting Wizarding World adventures!
  5. Universal will be permanently closing the Dragon Challenge on September 5th to make way for this incredible new thrill ride. The last day of operation for the Dragon Challenge will be Monday, September 4th. Be sure to take advantage of the last days of the Dragon Challenge before its closing.

Keep checking back for more updates! We can’t wait to hear more from Universal about this fun new attraction!

Ready to visit the incredible and amazing Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Contact an agent today to book your next Universal or Disney vacation! All Me and The Mouse agents are highly trained in both destinations!

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