New Writers Wanted!

Hey Howdy Hey!!! Have a passion for writing and looking for a blog to join? Mouze Kateerz is looking for new writers as we gear up withg new articles for the new year! Our writers have a love for Disney and traveling. Looking for energetic new writing with possible perks that are still in the works for those who write on a regular basis for Mouze… If you are interested please contact us at Dreammaker1974@gmail.com with your name and  a sampling of your writing on Disney, Universal or family vacationing and one of our Administrator’s will review it and be back in touch with you.

Happy writing!!

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Photos by Amanda Casey

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Disney Fantasy is a masterpiece of design and engineering boasting Art Nouveau allure alongside modern technological advancements. Set sail for exotic destinations aboard this 130,000-ton marvel while enjoying Disney magic at sea.

Amanda@MagicalVacationsbyMe.Com

The Unofficial Guide-Universal Orlando Book Review

Photo provided by Amazon.com

Photo provided by Amazon.com

I just love a good book, don’t you?  I’ve been a pretty voracious reader ever since I was tall enough to slide a library card across the librarian’s desk.  I’ll admit that I don’t seem to find as much time as I once did to devote to reading but I still love it.  Aside from actual travel, there’s no better way to explore new lands and experience new things than we do when we lose ourselves in a book.  Maybe I’ll do a post someday on my absolute favorite travel books….. (back in a sec, making a notation on my blog post to-do list…..).

Anyhoo, today I’m bringing you a quick review of The Unofficial Guide’s new travel tome on Universal Orlando, written by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger & Len Testa.  If you haven’t perused your local bookstore in the travel section, then you may not have come across The Unofficial Guide before.  There are many titles to choose from and one of the most comprehensive (re: thick and heavy) TUG’s out there is The Walt Disney World edition.  There is a new edition published yearly and it is an amazing resource in planning a Walt Disney World vacation.  The 2016 edition devotes a mere 70 pages to Universal Orlando; there is also a book titled “Beyond Disney: The Universal Guide to Universal Orlando, Sea World, and the Best of Central Florida” that is written by the same team.  These and several other books by these writers are available for purchase in most bookstores, and online in both paper and e-doc format.

As Universal Orlando has grown in size and scope, the writers decided to expand upon their previously written material to offer a more in-depth guide to the other big draw in Central FL.  I wanted to focus on a few of the pros/cons and my general impression of this guidebook.  I’ll start with the Cons first:

  1.  The biggest disappointment I have with this book is the lack of photos.  First let me say that I absolutely understand why photos are not included in this guide.  I believe the writers intend for you to be able to carry this book with you while touring if needed.  The addition of photos would add more pages, more pages equals more heft.  I totally get it.  But, I am a visual person; I learn information better when I can see it so not having any photos as a frame of reference is a little disappointing.  Can I search on Google Images or You Tube?  Sure, but if I’m feeling lazy or don’t have a computer or smart phone, I’m not going to do that.  Minor complaint, but a complaint nonetheless.  I’ll note that there are several drawings of property maps.
  2. As with any travel destination, Universal Orlando is not static; more so than any theme park in recent years, Universal Orlando is ALWAYS changing, always updating in its bid to stay current and exciting.  So, this is a problem that plagues every travel guide out there.  Despite being published in August, some of the information is already dated.  Again, this is a very minor issue that typically a few Google searches can correct (in terms of attraction closures, new attractions, etc.)

There’s very little I have to complain about with this guide.  Let’s get to some of the Pros:

  1. The size is right.  At 12 ounces and 8 inches tall/5 inches wide, there should be little problem in fitting this guide in your back pack or touring bag if you need it.
  2. The ride descriptions are easy to read and informative.  For example, here is a snapshot of the initial ride description for Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit:  USO Guide Ride Review  They give stars to indicate not only the popularity of the ride but they also break it down by age group.  I have a 4-year old so I know that our ride selection will be limited (as USO is pretty transparent about its suitability for the 8+ crowd).  With an attraction like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, it’s pretty evident in the title that this will be one to skip with a young kiddo.  But, not all titles are as discernible so I appreciate the heads up so that I can better plan our touring beforehand (the height requirement in the description is a big help also).
  3. An honest review is important for any guide-book.  Granted, everyone is going to have an opinion that may not jibe with yours and services reviewed will have good and bad days so I guess you can take it or leave it.  But, I appreciate a guide-book that will tell me what to explore and what to avoid, particularly when it comes to food.  One of my favorite aspects of travel is dining.  I love reading dining reviews and planning my meals for a vacation.  As the designated cook extraordinaire in my household, I relish the opportunity to spend a week being showered with other’s delectables.  If a restaurant sucks, I want to know about it before I’m $20 into a dish my 4-year old could have made.  Here is an example of the book’s review for Moe’s Tavern:  Moe's Tavern Review  Again, the simple header gives you an idea of the value by telling you the average portion size and a grade.  You can read the full description but when you’re sitting on a bench with a screaming child and/or irritable hungry teens, it helps to have a short, bold reference to refer to quickly to help you make a decision.
  4. The last big pro I want to discuss are the touring plans.  What I believe makes this and the WDW Unofficial Guide truly stand out are the touring plans.  Simply put, they give you a step by step guide on how to spend your day in the theme park.  There’s an explanation in the books about how they developed these plans.  There are formulas, equations, perhaps some crystal ball gazing (not really), but it’s a basic predictor of how the crowds typically manifest during the day and gives you a guide to hopefully avoid standing in line.  Len Testa, a contributor to this book, runs the Touring Plans website (found here), which is another incredible resource in Disney/Universal vacation planning.  I will admit that I use this site in planning vacations both for myself and for my clients.  I believe the touring plans are an indispensable part of touring effectively and can attest to their helpfulness in moving through a park efficiently.

    Touring Plan 2

    One Day Touring Plan for Adults at Universal Studios.

Each touring plan has a map with numbered dots on top of the attractions listed in the order in which they suggest that you tour.  These maps are meant to be “clippable” for even easier portability but keep in mind that there are no perforations so either rip them out or get your scissors to work.

There is so much more to this book than can possibly be covered in a single blog post.  Bottom line, I believe this book is worth your time and cash when planning a Universal Orlando vacation.  I purchased the paperback version of this book for $13.49 from Amazon.com here.  As of this writing, it is listed for $13.27 so you never know with Amazon’s pricing; it could go up or down.

If you have any questions about this post or would like assistance in planning a Universal Orlando vacation, feel free to comment below and/or contact me at any time for more information!  You can find me on Facebook at Magical Vacations by Tracy or email at tracy@magicalvacationsbyme.com.  You can also follow me on Instagram HERE.  See you soon!

Tracy PhotoTracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent.  She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.

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What is there to do at Disney World as an Adult?

Epcot Mission Space

By Frances

Disney is just for kids, right? WRONG! There are so many things to do that are amazing experiences that an 8 year old wouldn’t like to do or enjoy.

Top Answers:

Drink around the world at Epcot: One drink from every country. Epcot Paris

Dine at Victoria & Albert’s

Shop

Spa

Here is what our readers had to say:

Lisa Petrarca:  Drink around the world at EPCOT, sit down for a nice meal at Narcossee’s, take a day to just resort hop, spend an afternoon at the spa, go to all the shows at EPCOT around the world.

Melissa Rhodes: Dine at Victoria and Alberts – other than that, we pretty much bring the kids with us.

Teresa Scavette: I like to hang out in Downtown Disney into the wee hours enjoying the street musicians while having a drink or two.

Mike Ellis: Cindy and I would eat at a Victoria & Alberts, and we would try parasailing!

Teresa Scavette: I’ve eaten at Victoria & Alberts – an amazing dining experience for sure!!!! Best part – at the end of the meal – I got a rose and my husband – the bill !!!!!

Amanda Casey: Drinks in a couple of the countries in EPCOT, A 2 ticket dining service at one of the Deluxe resorts, or all of them An afternoon at one of the spa’s. Wake up late instead of being at whichever park opens early.

Kim Ziemer-Gerdes: Food and Wine Festival and drink my way around the world!Epcot Mexican Pavillion, Epcot San Angel Inn

Didi Marie : Shop! Buy something small in every pavilion in the World Showcase. (Of course, that would mean going without my husband too!!)

Kay Drenth: Enjoy all the “street performances” without someone asking if it was over yet.

Becky Mensing-Kimmet:  I would do the same things as if my kids were with me because I will always be a kid at heart and LOVE Disney World

Se Crippen: The all-day behind the scenes tour–don’t want to take the kids on this one and spoil the “magic”

Erin Haust: Downtown Disney bar hoppin!

Gail Linzmayer Devine:  Drinks around the world in Epcot… just me though, my husband doesn’t drink – so i’d get wasted and let him take care of me, lol.

Sue Moyer:  The last two years I have gone to opening day of the Flower and Garden Festival all by myself!

Pam Tolland Patrone:  Walk slower.

Chrissy Ott Morrison:  Ride Rock N Roller Coaster over and over and over…

Christie McGuire Struck:  Eat at Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table!!Downtown Disney  1

Cindy Phillips Travis: Browse the shops in all the countries in the World Showcase…

Sarah Wiegand Thomas:  California Grill- Did it without kids in January & enjoyed the fireworks from the balcony!

Rene Gaudet:  Hit the spa.

Rebecca Comunale:  We are doing Victoria & Albert’s before we have kids.

Ruth Lindsey Haney:  Sleep in

Joanne Stoverchy Gullo:  Eat the”kitchen sink”

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Kristin Martin: Probably skip some of the rides but other than that, the trip would be largely the same.

Michelle Baldwin Peek: Run Disney! which we will be doing in November. Disney’s wine and dine half marathon

Susan Silvis VanSlyke:  I always go to Disney without my children…until she was 26. Then we went together

Kristy Bogardus Purcell:  Eat at Victoria & alberts.Epcot Japan, Epcot China,

Debra Klein Pagliasotti:  Victoria & Alberts, Wild Africa Trek

Joanne Smith:  I wouldnt go without my daughter!!!! I love having her with us, she loves everything there and is a joy to take out to dinner!! She loved exploring the worlds at Epcot!! She was 5 when we went!!!

Brandi Pettit Walstrom: Eat good food! NO QUICK SERVICE MEALS! That’s what my hubby and I did for our 10 yr Anniversary

Tammy Beasley: Spaaaaaaaaahhhhhh…

Sara Lehner: Take my time through Epcot World showcase! That is my daughter’s least fave part and the one I’d love to explore more!

Chrystie Wojcik:  Well said Becky Mensing-Kimmet! I did all the same things before I had my son and I love taking him to my favorite things… Last summer I did go out myself back to Hollywood studios in the rain and did all the grown up rides, though!!!

Rebecca J Hodges Morris: ROLLER COASTERS!

Melissa Moody:  Wild Africa trek

Gail Linzmayer Devine:  oooh- spa!!! yes, that, too!!!!!

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Picturing a Disney Tattoo

By Frances

Over the past year, we have had some amazing Disney inspired tattoo pictures sent to us. We have featured them in a few articles. We thought that it would be neat to see pictures of some of them all in place. Please enjoy  these Disney Tattoos from Mouze Kateerz readers.

Heather Tattoo

Mickey Tattoo

snow white evil queen tattoo

tattoo

Photo courtesy of disneyink.tumblr.com.

Photo courtesy of disneyink.tumblr.com.

Minnie Mouse tattoo

 

You might be a Disney Super Fan if…

You might be a Disney Super Fan if you prefer this to the subway!

Disney has so many different kinds of “Super Fans”. Some fans call themselves Disney Addicts, Mouse Fans or even Mouse Crazy. No matter what they may call themselves they have a love for Mickey Mouse that runs through their veins. Here are a few ways that the Mouze Kateerz writers thought you may identify if you are a Disney Super Fan.

You might be a Disney Super Fan if…

~ Your four year old son sees the Olympic rings and screams “Mickey”.

~ You uproot your entire family and relocate to Cinderella’s backyard.

~ You’re planning your honeymoon at Disney!

~ You’re answer to not being able to go to Disney for spring break is so you can save up to buy more Disney Vacation Club points.

~ Instead of exchanging anniversary gifts with your spouse, you purchase more DVC points.

~ If you ask your children if they want a birthday party and they ask if they can just go to Disney for their birthday “like normal”.

~ You turn your love of a mouse into a career.

~ Majority of your home decorations are Disney related.

~ If you call the DVC or your travel agent to book your next Disney vacation while you are sitting at Disney on vacation.

~ You purchase a pet just because it has a hidden Mickey on it.

~ People call or email you when they are planning a Disney vacation since they say “that’s the only place you go!”

~ Wherever you go you don’t hesitate to talk “Disney” to strangers and help them with their vacation plans.

~ When you are a fan of more Disney Fan Pages than anything else.

Some of our favorite Facebook Fan Pages:

Addicted to Mickey   Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys    My Dreams Of Disney   Picturing Disney    Mickey by Mel

~ More than half of your wardrobe has a mouse on it or says Disney.

~ You always have at least one Disney CD in your car – just in case you need to hear some Disney music.

~ You keep your internet radio set to one of the Disney parks music station so that “you can feel like you are at the parks even if you are stuck in [insert home state]”

~ The only thing you are excited about when you move to Tennessee is that they don’t require front license plates like your old state did…You can finally put a DVC plate on the front of your car!

There are many more ways that you can identify if you are a Disney Super Fan. Please let us know and we just may post an updated story.

Thank you for taking this magical photo journey with us. If you need help planning your next Disney Vacation, please contact Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys

Planning Your 1st Trip to Disney World? Use This to Get You Started…

The Disney Moms, Cinderella castle photo, Magic Kingdom photo, disney photography, disney princess

Every photo has a story.

Planning a first time trip to Walt Disney World?  It’s no secret that Disney vacations are expensive,  and planning can get complicated with all the different options for so many fabulous locations. So if it’s your first trip, or 21st time to visit the Mouse, here is one of my favorite online resources for planning information to get you started on your way to a fun-filled vacation to sunny Orlando: Disneyworld.com

Disneyworld.com is a great web site with all sorts of resources that make vacation planning easier. This site covers

  • theme parks and water parks
  • places to stay
  • things to do on property
  • places to eat
  • prices for tickets and packages
  • Florida resident discounts and Annual Passholder programs

Dumbo ride, Disney annual pass, Disney photography, The Disney Moms, disney food, disney snacks

This website will look familiar to many Disney travel veterans.  This is Disney’s main website for vacation planning, and the site that pops up when you Google for information. It’s a good site, and I personally use it a lot to look at prices and restaurant menus. You can get price quotes for vacations, make reservations, and check on existing reservations.  Disneyworld.com is loaded with bright-colored  photos to get you doubly excited about your future trip. My kids enjoy cruising around the parks pages just to look at the photos.

Because the site is interactive, you can order a FREE planning DVD, print out FREE customized maps, and using the Vacation Package Guide, get personalized recommendations on vacation packages. I’m all about FREE!  With a high quality production value, kids will love watching the planning DVD before you leave for your trip, and you will too.

Right now, there are two specials worth mentioning on the website.

  • For $68 per person, per day, you can enjoy a six-night package for a family of four at Disney’s All Star Resorts.
  • You can save $40 and get special vacation financing when you apply for the Disney Rewards Visa.

Mickey balloon, Hollywood Studios photos, disney theme park photography, disney world photography

Have I ever booked a reservation straight from the website? No.  I actually like calling the Disney’s number, 1-407-WDI-SNEY so I can talk to a knowledgable Cast Member.  But as more and more vacation are booked online, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this route to someone else.

So with this many resources at hand in one spot, it’s time to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation today at Disneyworld.com. Once you get your trip planned and booked, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook for Disney World photos each day. Just what you need to get you all excited about your next vacation…

Love Disney World photography?  Join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouzekateerz.com to take a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs.  You can see even more great pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest. 

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride!

Amanda

Love Disney World photography? For a virtual Disney vacation in pictures, join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  If you have some fabulous Disney photographs you’d like to share, send an email of your favorite Disney location to mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

See ya soon!

Indulging the Disney Diva: You CAN Afford a Wedding at Disney World!

Disney, Disney Wedding Pavillion, Disney Wedding

 Every photo has a story.

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, and what better place for lovin’ than Disney. Have you ever thought about getting married, or even renewing your vows, at Walt Disney World?  Here’s the scoop to help you plan your nuptials or renewals, because at these prices, there’s a good chance you can afford one of these Disney weddings.

Disney classifies weddings in three different pricing plans for three different budgets.  From low to high, they are the Escape Package, the Wishes Package, and the Couture Package. Here are the 2012 price list from Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding website for the lowest and most affordable wedding packages Disney has to offer, which are called the Disney “Escape” weddings.

Plan 1: the Disney Premium Escape Wedding

  • Disney Wedding Pavillion – $5,750
  • Canada Pavillion at Epcot – $6,200
  • Saturday and Sunday Escape Weddings – $7,500 minimum

Plan 2: the Disney Deluxe Wedding, $4,750 each

  • Sea Breeze Point at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
  • The Wedding Gazebo at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Sunrise Terrace at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Sunset Pointe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Saturday and Sunday Escape Weddings – $7,500 minimum

Plan 3: the Disney Memories Escape Collection, $1,991 to $2,495 each.

  • Conch Key Marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort 
  • Sunrise Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Luau Beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Disney Wedding, Disney Fairy Tale Weddings, Disney Wedding Planner

For a Saturday or Sunday wedding at any of these locations, there is a minimum cost of $7,500.  Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings allows you to reach this minimum amount through a combination of the Escape Package itself, food, beverages, any floral items and decorations, entertainment, photographs, videos, additional transportation, and venue rentals. Prices will be higher during holidays, and of course dates are subject to availability.

Disney wedding prices can change at any time without notice, so you should contact a Disney’s Fairy Tale Wedding specialist to discuss your options. That’s the job I want when I retire- booking fabulous weddings at spectacular Walt Disney World resorts. Now that would be a Disney dream come true.

The Disney Wedding website offers interactive tools like a collection comparison, design studio, detailed pricing, and information about accommodations. For a look at Disney’s wedding information website, click here.

Disney wedding, Disney wedding prices, Disney wedding prices, Disney World,

When a budget is not something you are particularly worried about…

Disney also offers wedding packages for the Disney Princess not so much worried about a tight budget.  I think I hear harp music when I say these names out loud. These are called the Wishes and the Couture packages. The Wishes package range prices from $12,000 to $20,00, and the Couture package starts at…you might want to sit down…$65,000. But that’s a true Disney Princess story for another Disney day.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride!

Amanda

Love Disney World photography?  Join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Google + to take a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs.  You can see even more great pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  If you have some fabulous Disney photographs you’d like to share, send an email of your favorite Disney location to mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

See ya soon!

Disney Romance: Three Memorable Places to Woo Your Valentine

San Angel Inn, Epcot, Romance at Disney, Disney World, Disney Food, World Showcase

Epcot's romantic San Angel Inn photographed by Shannan of Addicted to Mickey

Every photo has a story.

Romance is in the air, and while our thoughts randomly turn to Disney , we can easily blend the two. Romantic places at Disney – where should you go?  Here’s three suggestions, from a romantic dinner to a walk down a beach, to get your heart racing for Valentine’s Day or to just enjoy being with your Valentine any day of the year.

1. San Angel Inn at Epcot’s Mexico Pavillion

Disney writer and photographer Shannan Wright from Addicted to Mickey took this excellent photo of Epcot’s San Angel Inn. Intimate lighting, fabulous food, and a river on a Mexican voyage flowing in the background all combine for a memorable evening.  Shannan said of her dining experience there, “San Angel, with it’s warm, dim lighting set under a starry sky, provides a totally romantic atmosphere.  Coupled with its world-class service,  it’s not a question of whether you should go, it’s more like a question of why haven’t you been there yet?!”  Thanks, Shannan, for stopping by the Mouze Houze today.

Downtown Disney balloon ride, Downtown Disney, Disney World, Disney food, Disney resorts

Cast your fate to the wind...Disney style.

 
2. Downtown Disney’s Characters in Flight
 
It’s not your traditional Disney dark ride, but it’s still way cool.  Climb aboard the world’s largest tethered balloon that takes you 400 feet off the ground.  As you travel straight up for an 8-10 minute flight, you’ll have 360 degree views of the Walt Disney World resort.  Prices are pretty sweet for this ride as well.  Including tax, you’ll pay $18 for an adult ticket, and in case you have to take the kiddies along, tickets are $12 each for children ages three to nine.  Kids under three are free.  Though lacking the nighttime ambience, the balloon operates in the daytime as well.
 
 Click here for Disney’s website for additional information and to purchase your tickets online.
 
Polynesian Resort beach, Polynesian Resort, Disney vacation, Walt Disney World photos

Take a romantic stroll on the Polynesian Resort beach.

3. The Polynesian Resort

Is there a square inch of the Polynesian Resort that doesn’t just ooze romance, and most especially at night? From the Great Ceremonial House atrium, with soft lighting and ambient noise created by a waterfall, to tiki torches leading you along the pathways to the beach, it’s pure romance.  Head down to the Polynesian Resort beach area for a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, one of the best fireworks spots of any Disney resort property. The Polynesian Resort is a romantic feast for the senses.

Grab a lounge chair and take the hand of the one you love. You’ll hear the sounds of the Seven Seas Lagoon gently lapping against the sandy shore. There are ducks sometimes quacking in the dark, the occasional sounds of  giddy children playing in the pool, and the sounds of transportation boat horns across a wide expanse of lake.  You’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of utter vacation relaxation.  And hopefully love as well, as you wait for Disney‘s “Wishes” fireworks to begin.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and here’s to spending time with the ones we love!

Amanda

Love Disney World photography?  Join Mouze Kateerz on Facebook and Mouze Kateerz on Google + for a virtual Disney vacation each day in photographs.  You can see even more great pictures by visiting Mouze Kateerz on Pinterest.  If you have some fabulous Disney photographs you’d like to share, send an email of your favorite Disney location to mouzekateerz@chipandco.com.

See ya soon!

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