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

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.

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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.

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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

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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

The relatively recent Fastpass Plus system is a great mystery to many Disney guests, even those who have been to Walt Disney World before.  Planning your Fastpasses too late, too spread out, or not doing them at all can completely derail your vacation.  Follow these tips to handle your Fastpass Plus reservations with minimal confusion and chaos so that your days in the parks go as smoothly as possible.

1) Stay on Disney property.   If you stay at a Disney resort hotel, you can make your fastpass reservations 60 days prior to your check in date for the duration of your vacation.  For offsite guests, the fastpass window will open up 30 days prior to your vacation and will require you to make fastpass reservations one day at a time.  If Frozen, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Avatar Flight of Passage are on your must-do list, you may be very disappointed if you don’t have a 30-day advantage by staying at a Disney resort hotel.

2)  Make your Fastpass Plus reservations for the mornings and as back to back as possible.  Once you use all three fastpasses, you have the ability to get more that day.  By having morning fastpasses, you are at way more of an advantage to get more throughout the day.  Since you have a one hour time frame for a fastpass reservation, make your reservations close together as possible.

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3) On your third fastpass reservation, get on your mobile app right after you scan your band.  While you wait to get on the ride, you can make great use of your time by immediately getting on your my Disney Experience app and securing your next fastpass.  For some of the less popular rides, you may be able to secure a Fastpass within the hour.

4) Use your Fastpasses on rides, not shows.  Whether you have a fastpass or not, you will still be waiting in the same line and the same amount of time for a show.   If Fantasmic, Rivers of Light, or the Festival of Fantasy Parade are on your must-do list, book a dining package instead.  Your seats will be better and you won’t be burning a fastpass.  Rides and absolutely must-see characters are the best use of your fastpass.

5) Make your Fastpass reservations for the rides that typically have the longest lines.  Do your research and check the wait times on your my Disney Experience app to see what rides have the longest lines.  Not only will you have short wait times for rides with longer lines, but rides with typically shorter wait times most likely have reservations you can make the day of (see tip #3).

Fastpass reservations can definitely be confusing for the Disney beginner, but if you use a Me and the Mouse Specialist, they will tailor your fastpasses to your family’s preferences so don’t forget to contact your agent!

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Julie Stewart

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.

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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

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

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatAs many of you know, Florida is quite HOT in the summer. When visiting the area, many families are trying to figure out the best way to CHILL out! On our last day trip to Disney Springs, we stumbled upon one the coolest new FREE things to do for the kids {and adults}! It was the Beat the Heat Dance Party!!!

This fun dance party is located at a water fountain area. It’s nestled near Once Upon a Toy, the Carousel and Earl of Sandwich! The Beat the Heat Dance party has a live DJ, umbrellas for the parents that need a little shade, hula hoops and water toys and of course WATER!!  Spinning the latest hits, the DJ’s keep the party going from 1pm – 5pm {and again in the evening from 6pm – 10pm} all summer long!  It reminded me of the Resorts’ pool interactive recreation activities they have for the kids! However, it has the flexibility of having it in the open marketplace, an unexpected surprise!!

Disney Springs Dance Party - Beat the HeatIt was a great way for my 8 year old to be able to cool down and my 3 year old nephew to have some play time too, without feeling like they were crowded or had to take turns waiting in lines for slides and rides. It was so convenient, and we all loved it! Disney Springs continues to amaze me with all of the creative additions to their already spectacular revamp. If you haven’t had a chance to check out this FREE admission area then you certainly need to! There are always new activities and events that Disney plans for Disney Springs.

Ready to plan your trip {or DAY TRIP} to Disney?! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We are highly trained and would love to bring a little extra magic to your vacation!

 

Amy Pattee

Travel Specialist

Incredible Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom ParkYak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

One of the best tips for making the most of your time at Walt Disney World is to stay in the parks for your meals.  While there are many great table service selections in Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, there are only a handful available in Animal Kingdom.  With the new Pandora expansion, more and more guests are wanting to spend time in Animal Kingdom so a table service meal inside the park is usually the best way to have a meal break without wasting time traveling to another part of Walt Disney World. I’m introducing you to one of my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat – Yak & Yeti!

 

Nestled in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom lies one of the most overlooked restaurants in all of Walt Disney World: The Yak & the Yeti. This restaurant is often overshadowded by Tusker House. However, this table service restaurants has one of the most diverse and delicious menus of any restaurant on property.  Since there are two Yak & Yeti locations within Animal Kingdom park {one table service and one counter service}, most guests think if you’ve experienced one, you have experience both, but that could not be further from the truth.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

Walking into this gorgeous, two-story restaurant, you immediately feel engrossed in the culture of Asia.  The Asian art and artifacts in this environment get you prepped and ready for the amazing meal you are about to have.  Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

 

We were seated in the quiet second story of the restaurant, and our friendly waiter greeted us! She offered several helpful suggestions!  Our tabled ordered the teriyaki chicken and the steak and coconut shrimp for our entrees and neither disappointed.  Both dishes had an Asian flair without being “too much” for the picky eater in your family.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The real star of the show at Yak & Yeti was dessert.  Our table ordered the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and the fried wontons! The cake was great! However, I cannot imagine this meal without the fried wontons. They were sweet cream cheese filled wontons on skewers with fresh pineapple, drizzled with honey-vanilla yogurt, strawberries and a side of vanilla ice cream. I can say it was  absolutely heavenly and so refreshing. It made for the perfect treat on an unbearably hot day.  If you are dining at Yak and Yeti, you cannot miss the fried wontons.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

The service and food were absolutely outstanding, but this meal is also a great value.  With prices ranging from $16 per plate, this is a great value if you are paying out of pocket.  Yak and Yeti is one credit on the Disney Dining Plan for one beverage, an entrée and a dessert.  Next time you are at Animal Kingdom, consider giving Yak and Yeti a try.  You will not regret it!

 

Ready to plan your trip to Animal Kingdom to try Yak and Yeti? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We can’t wait for you to join the Me and The Mouse family!

Julie Stewart

Travel Specialist

As the summer fun continues to rise at Walt Disney World, your family will enjoy the opportunity to cool down and enjoy some delicious tasty treats while visiting the parks.  We’re sharing  our list of Cool Treats to enjoy at Walt Disney World in 2017!!! Enjoy!!

 

  1. Night Blossom: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    This fun drink can only be found at Pongu Pongu inside Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom Park.  The Night Blossom is a non-alcoholic limeade slushy with apple and pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining plan}

 

  1. Dole Whip Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Identified as my FAVORITE snack on property, the Dole Whip Float should NOT be missed on a trip to the Magic Kingdom. You will find this amazing treat made up of pineapple soft serve surrounded by freshly squeezed pineapple juice only at the Aloha Isle in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom. While Dole Whip ice cream can be found at the Polynesian Village Resort, I highly recommend the float version as you enjoy the sounds of the birds from the Tiki Room in the background. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Lefou’s Brew:

    Beauty and the Beast fans will certainly want to stop by Gaston’s Tavern located in the New Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom to enjoy Lefou’s Brew. This special treat is a no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. The Plaza Sundae:

    The All-American sundae at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA is a memorable treat that you will want to check out on your visit. You will enjoy your view of the Castle as you enjoy old-fashioned vanilla and chocolate ice cream with hot fudge, peanut butter drizzle, whipped cream, and a cherry. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Root Beer Float: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    Don’t let this classic treat pass you by!  The refreshing root beer crystalizes as it meets the cold vanilla soft-served! This makes it the perfect scrumptious treat to cool down with as you visit the parks.  While root beer floats can be found at multiple locations, my favorite is at Storybook Treats in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Apple Pie Sundae:

    This brand new dessert can be found near Test Track at the adjacent Taste Track beverage and snack kiosk. Currently, this location is only open seasonally. You will find several unique sundae options here, but the apple pie sundae is what caught my attention.  This large sundae is made up of soft vanilla iced cream drizzled with caramel sauce topped with vanilla beach whipped cream and Caramel popcorn and salted caramel pearls. All of this deliciousness is surrounded by three warm apple pie pockets pressed into the sundae. This treat is not on the Disney Dining Plan. However, the $6.50 charge is worth it to enjoy this special, tasty treat at EPCOT!

 

  1. Doughnut Sundae:

    This treat is new to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, but the doughnut sundae was a “must have” for my 16 year old! We were able to try out this incredible new sweet treat on his recent band trip! The doughnut sundae includes a glazed doughnut topped with your choice of hand-scooped Edy’s ice cream, hot fudge, a cinnamon apple topping, whipped cream, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and of course, a cherry.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Mickey Ice Cream Bar: Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney World

    A Disney vacation is not complete without enjoying a classic Mickey ice cream bar. This premium Mickey-shaped, treat is first made up of creamy vanilla ice cream. Then, it’s dipped in a thick, decedent chocolatey coating. You will not want to miss out on this classic, rich treat. Mickey’s premium ice cream bars can be found across the Walt Disney World property! You can find them at various ice cream carts, snack stands and quick service dining locations. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Citrus Swirl:

    Located at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, guests will find a tasty treat with the citrus swirl.  It’s a blend of orange slush with vanilla soft-serve ice cream! This sweet treat is a family favorite when we are visiting Magic Kingdom. {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

  1. Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch Ice Cream:

    L’Artisan des Glaces is hidden gem tucked away in France at the World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot.  This ice cream shop sells sixteen different flavors of house-made ice cream and sorbet. While there are so many options, we continually go back for the apple & crumble crunch which reminds us of all the goodness of your favorite apple pie.  {1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan}

 

Top 10 Cool Treats to Enjoy at Walt Disney WorldWhile menus are subject to change, the Disney Parks continue to offer amazing treats and dining opportunities to their guests.  Check out our website and visit our blog for additional information on the Disney Dining Plans and restaurant reviews!

Ready to give these 10 treats a try? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent to book your next Disney vacation today!

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist