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

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.

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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

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.

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Run, don’t walk to the Polite Pig at Disney’s Town Center!

My family and I recently tried the Polite Pig for the first time, and I guarantee it will not be our last!!  We were a party of 9 and I wanted to try one of everything, but we did have to leave a few items to try for the next visit!  We placed our order at the counter and then found a seat and a server brought the order to us.  They were then incredibly helpful and made suggestions of their available sauces and they were right!

As you enter the restaurant you are met with an amazing smell of smoked meats and spices!  It was difficult to choose from the expansive menu.  We did order a variety of entrees and sides.  You can even make a meal out of the sides!!!  You have the option of choosing three sides for $15!  They are plentiful and delicious.

We all happily shared the pretzel with beer cheese fondue, the brisket melt(I asked them to substitute the pimento cheese with the beer cheese fondue) and the ribs.  The brisket melt was a knife and fork sandwich, and it was tender and delicious!!  The ribs were well seasoned and tender with the meat falling of the bone.  The kids enjoyed chicken fingers and ribs and the portions were incredibly generous!

Now on to the sides, as I mentioned earlier, they could be a meal in themselves.  We enjoyed the smoked corn(with lime butter and bread crumbs), crispy brussels sprouts, mac n’ cheese, and sweet potato tots!  The Brussels sprouts were one of my favorites with a great seasoned char on the sprouts.  The lime butter added a delicious freshness to the corn.  The mac n’ cheese was good, but not anything special.  The sweet potato tots were my absolute favorite.  Slightly sweet, with the salty taste of the grated Parmesan cheese.  They had a slight crispiness of the exterior with a soft center.  Even my pickiest eater ate these and enjoyed it!!!

There were multiple sauce options at the counter.  The soft drink beverages were self serve, and they had a full bar with both indoor and outdoor seating!!  We were stuffed and unable to try any of the desserts on this trip!

I would recommend you add the Polite Pig to your list the next time you visit Disney Springs!  It will definitely remain at the top of mine!!

 

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Missy Zolecki

Travel Specialist.

It happens to all of us.  We LOVE a certain movie, animated feature, or Disney Channel show…and there’s that one character that has stolen our hearts.  We dream of traveling to Walt Disney World to meet our favorite character…and when we arrive, that character is nowhere to be found!  Don’t fret!

 

Tips to help you find your favorite character

{if they make appearances} or to cope with not seeing them!Tips for Finding Favorite Characters

  1. Use the My Disney Experience app!  Your FREE app on your mobile device lets you find characters throughout the Walt Disney World property.  Agent Missy gives you a step by step on this process HERE.

  2. Use our Character Dining blog – hard to meet characters can be found at our Character Dining locations, plus we are able to meet several characters at one location.

  3. Hollywood Studios tends to have the newest characters from the most recently released movies to meet and greet!  Checking this park out is a MUST if you have a recent character in mind!

  4. Visit an attraction or show based on the movie/tv show you love!  While you may not get up close and personal with them, you will get to see them in real life! Tips for Finding Favorite Characters

  5. Visit during one of our special holiday parties!  Both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party AND Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have special characters you cannot meet anywhere else!  {We’re looking at you, Jack Skellington and Sally!}

  6. Open a Disney Visa card with Chase! With special designated character meet and greet locations at both Hollywood Studios and Epcot, you never know what character will show up!

  7. Become friends with a Disney Vacation Club member!  Occasionally, DVC members will get special invites to DVC only parties where special and rare characters come out to greet!  Tips for Finding Favorite Characters
  8. Why not try a new destination?  Keep in mind, Disneyland on the West Coast has meet and greet for characters that Walt Disney World doesn’t (Marvel characters, Judy Hopps, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, etc).  Maybe you’ll find who you are looking for in a new location!

 

Asking guest relations would be your best bet in finding your beloved character after you’ve exhausted the above options.

 

Tips for Finding Favorite CharactersI met Robin Hood, Prince John, Little John, and Friar Tuck when I was 7…while dining in Cinderella’s Castle.  Yes, in 1987, those were the characters at the castle!  Skip forward to the 2010s…those are the characters my kiddo has been dying to meet.  While we haven’t been able to nail them down yet, we are hopeful we will in the future as they have been at special events around property.

 

The most important thing, however, is to NOT let this ruin your trip!  You’ll make magical memories with anyone you meet.  Enjoy your vacation!

Ready to start planning your next Disney {or Universal} vacation? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today!

 

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

 

Cruz has joined Lightning McQueen and Mater in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort. Cruz’s journey won’t stop there! She will then be taking a summer road trip down to Pixar Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort!

Get in on the action, and make sure that you’ve seen the newest Cars movie! In Disney Pixar’s Cars 3, Cruz Ramirez is a top-notch technician at the Rusteze Racing Center. She’s has been assigned to train the team’s talented rookies. Cruz has always wanted to compete in racing, but it isn’t until she meets Lightning McQueen that she realizes that she is still passionate about it. She finally has the chance to see if she’s got what it takes to win.

Don’t forget. You can catch Cars 3 in 3D in theaters, today! Let us know how excited you are for this new film and meet up!

 

If you haven’t stopped by Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the past few months then, you have haven’t noticed the big changes occurring in and around the park. With the addition of Star Wars and Toy Story lands, the park is undergoing extensive work. These two new themed lands will add approximately 20 acres to the park {& a LOT of extra fun}! We are so excited to see and experience the new extensions that will be happening in Florida. Here is an update of where things currently stand. P.S. You should get EXCITED!!

Starting inside the park and with the Star Wars addition, the Streets of America along with the backlot and car stunt show are no longer. A few buildings remain along the street but outside of that not much is there. There are mounds of dirt and the start of new ride buildings gearing up for the opening in 2019. Toy Story land is also under way with a planned opening in 2018, this section of the park will start near Toy Story Mania and circle around eventually to the Star Wars land. This should make a large loop around the park. 

 

There have been very few released details about each of the two lands and access inside of these construction areas are off limits for obvious reasons. However, there is a lot of information regarding the outside of the park including parking and the new entrance. Hollywood Studios has always had the smallest parking lot and has experienced issues lately with access off of Buena Vista Drive. That is all changing. {Wahoo!!} They are expecting a huge influx of attendance projected in the next two years. Disney has decided to add a new driving entrance that will be located off of Osceola Parkway. (See attached road drawings submitted by Disney)

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There will be a new interchange near Victory Way and Osceola at the ESPN Wide World of Sports entrance. This interchange will guide cards into the parking lot from an entire new direction. The parking lot is getting upgraded to accommodate the high traffic. By the looks of aerial photos the parking lot will nearly double in capacity with a private lot for Cast Members. Speculation is there will be a private bus route in the park too, limited entrance to guest cars only.

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As you can see, work is moving along quickly at the Studios. In the coming months, I will post another update as much will be completed this summer and further details. Star Wars and Toy Story lands are expected to be announced at the D23 conference in Anaheim in July. Stay tuned!

You don’t have to wait until Star Wars and Toy Story lands are opened to the public to visit Disney World! Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your trip to a Disney Destination!

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

Today, I am sharing with you 5 incredible places to meet Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World.  What is a “Meet and Greet” you ask?  It is a designated spot to find Disney Characters.  Your family is able to meet with them, take pictures and get their autographs. Meeting a character is one of the best things you can do on your Disney Vacation! It is so much fun to get your picture, but you also get to experience their personality in real life {the characters do some pretty entertaining things!}. Take a look at my favorite spots to meet the Mouse himself!

 

5 Favorite Spots to Meet Mickey Mouse:

 

  1. Magic Kingdom – located on Main Street USA in the Town Square Theater5 Favorite Places to Meet Mickey at Walt Disney World

Meet Talking Mickey dressed as a magician at this location.  It is so fun interacting with your “favorite” mouse. If you’re lucky, he might even show you one of his magic tricks. 

 

  1. Epcot – located in Future World at the Epcot Character Spot

At this location, you will find lovable Mickey Mouse in his regular dapper attire. If you’re someone that is looking for a classic Mickey Mouse picture, this is where you should go! 

 

  1. Hollywood Studios – located on Commissary Lane – Red Carpet Dreams near the New Star Tours

Meet Mickey all dressed up as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. 5 Favorite Places to Meet Mickey at Walt Disney World

 

  1. Animal Kingdom – located in Discovery Island – Adventurers Outpost

Meet Mickey the Explorer dressed as a safari guide to find a new adventure! This outfit might be my personal favorite {in addition to the classic}, and Minnie looks pretty cute as well! 

 

  1. Character Dining Location – “Chef Mickey” – located at the Contemporary Resort

Looking for a two for one opportunity? You can join Mickey {and Friends} while dining and celebrating! If you have a busy trip and want to make the most of your time, this might be right up your alley. You can enjoy delicious Disney dining and meet Mickey at the same time! Plus – Mickey is adorable dressed as a Chef. What more could you want? 

 

Ready to plan your trip to meet the mouse? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent, today!

 

Traci Perjak

Travel Specialist

Woohoo!! Your cruise is booked but now you are wondering how you’re going to get to Port Canaveral. No worries – we’re here to help! It is highly recommended that you fly in at least one day prior to your cruise!  This may impact the means of transportation you chose. Here are a few options to consider.

Disney Cruise Line Transportation

Transportation to and from Port CanaveralDisney Cruise Line shuttles passengers from the airport (MCO) to the port. The cost of the ride is $35/person each way, however it only runs the day of embarkation and debarkation.

If you are flying in the night before and staying at a local hotel and are utilizing this option, I would suggest staying near the airport. The Hyatt Regency is located inside the airport and will be an easy elevator ride down to the bus. Otherwise, a hotel that provides shuttle service to and from the airport is also an easy option. Simply catch the shuttle back to the airport the morning of the cruise.

Renting a car

Some rental car companies have rental locations near the port. This brings a few options. You can either rent the car at the airport and park at the port or you can return the car to the rental location in Cocoa Beach and then pick up another vehicle on your return. The second option will save on parking fees, but will add an additional step since you will need to get the rental shuttle to get to and from the rental location to the port. It’s a simple step, but does add a little time.

Private Transfer

If you have 4 or more people in your party, your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist will be able to arrange a private transfer company. It will be approximately the same cost as Disney transfers. The benefit of the private transfer company provides you flexibility to be picked up at a time that you want and arrive at the port at your convenience. Transportation to and from Port Canaveral

Also, if you fly in the night before, a private transfer company can pick you up at the airport and bring you to a hotel in Cocoa Beach. Your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist will be able to help locate a hotel that provides a shuttle from the hotel to the port the morning of your cruise.

All Me and The Mouse Travel Specialists are highly trained! They would love to help you find the best transportation option for your cruise vacation. Ready to make the move to take a Disney Cruise? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today! We’d LOVE to plan your dream Disney vacation!!

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

Quick Service Dining at Pandora – The World of AVATAR

The Satuli Canteen is a the Quick Service Dining location in Pandora:  The World of Avatar.  It has a unique menu of healthy dishes to satisfy all travelers exploring the Valley of Mo’ara on Pandora.
Situated between the Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey,  this former RDA (Resource Development Administration) mess hall is now a peaceful resting spot adorned with the art of the Na’vi and supplying travelers with all the comforts of home.  Travelers will find cuisine inspired by their journey through the Valley of Mo’ara.  Satuli Canteen is considered a fast-casual restaurant on the Quick Service Dining Plan. Our meals were served off a china bowls, reminiscent of flora of the natural habitat.  Guests will find silverware to dine with, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.  Self-serve drink stations are also available.

 

Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service RestaurantSince I do not have an adventuresome palette, I was hesitant that I would find a meal that I would enjoy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find multiple offerings for even the pickiest of diners.  The “Create Your Own Satu’li Bowl” seemed to be the most popular choice. Visitors first choose their PROTEIN, which include beef, chicken, fish or tofu.  Next, you choose your BASE (vegetable salad, potato hash, mixed whole grain and rice or Romaine and Kale salad).  Step 3 is to select your sauce:  charred onion chimichurri, black bean vinaigrette or creamy herb dressing.  I recommend the Creamy Herb Dressing.  The Steamed “Pods” Bao Buns were also very flavorful.  Guests will want to make room for “Ber’ri” (dessert) as the Chocolate Cake and Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse were both highlights of this dining adventure. Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service RestaurantPandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

 


For young guests traveling the valley, there’s an option of grilled chicken or beef, fish or tofu with greens or rice; cheese quesadilla, a hot dog wrapped in Parker House dough; or a steamed “pod” (cheeseburger bao bun). 

Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

Satuli Canteen is the first fast-casual restaurant to offer Mobile Order, a new convenient option to order and pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app.  Guests will be able to bypass the queue to order when they arrive at the restaurant. Using the app, guests can select menu items, customize their order and pre-pay for their meal with a credit card. When they arrive at the restaurant they will tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. Guests will be notified through the app to pick up their meal at a specific window.   While Satu’li Canteen is on the Disney Dining Plan, the Mobile Order only accepts credit card payments at this time. Pandora: The World of Avatar Quick Service Restaurant

 

Satuli Canteen is one of the best overall counter service restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With a great variety of options allowing guests to customize their dishes, there is something for everyone at this a former RDA commissary.

Are you ready to experience Pandora for yourself? Contact a Me and The Mouse agent today to book your next trip!

 

 

Tressa Krippel

Travel Specialist