A Runner’s Life Is Not For Me????

Lisa running dopey

By Frances

I had the honor of cheering on my friend Lisa in her quest to complete the Dopey Challenge. What is the Dopey Challenge? It is a challenge that includes 4 days of back to back races where the runners complete 4 races. A 5K on Thursday (3.1 miles), 10K on Friday (6.2 miles), 1/2 Marathon on Saturday (13.1 miles) & a Full Marathon  on Sunday (26.2 miles) totaling 48.6 miles. There photowere 7,000 runners that registered to complete the Dopey Challenge in spring 2013.

I was expecting the weekend to be fun with the exception of getting up at 3:00 am. I also was there to just support Lisa and to cheer her on in what I would have considered … well, A Dopey Challenge! Saturday morning was my first morning to be in full cheer mode for her. Lisa’s mom, Patty, and I devised a plan that she would see her off at the start. I would see her at the Magic Kingdom. Patty would try to make it to the Magic Kingdom but was unsure if she could make it in time & then back to the finish line to see Lisa cross the finish line.

As I waited in line to board the motor coach at 3:30am, the vibe of the runners and their supporters was almost palatable. There were people dressed up as Donald Duck, Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse and more. The crazy part was, it wasn’t just the women. Men were dressed up just as much! There was an excessive amounts of smiles and laughter that could have easily powered the city of Monstropolis for a week.

I parted ways with Lisa & Patty at Epcot to make my journey to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail. There were families boarding the monorail to cheer on their loved ones. There was a couple that live in Orlando that go to the Magic Kingdom every race to cheer on the runners. There were so many stories that I really became inspired. I always thought of running as a non spectator sport but here were a bunch of people going out to spectate at too early in the morning.

I saw families cheering on loved ones. Dads seeing their kids and picking them up for hugs. Wives kissing their husbands has they ran by. High fives given freely to anyone and everyone.

I also formed a few hour bond with the other spectators around me. We were all making sure no one missed seeing their friend or loved one. When they passed us, we were all cheering for them. It brought tears to my eyes to see all of the loved ones faces light up with the realization that they had their very own cheer section.

Here is a video of Lisa running through the Magic Kingdom: Click Here

Disney running events can be incredibly expensive but incredibly thrilling from the runner and spectators point of view.

I have never ran a race at Disney. But I plan to soon.

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Drinking Around the World at Epcot’s Germany Pavilion


I consider the Germany pavilion to be one of the World Showcases little hidden havens.  There is something about the fountain with the statue of St. George slaying the dragon and the faint sounds of Oktoberfest accordion music coming from the Biergarten buffet restaurant that make me immediately embrace my own German heritage and feel cozy and at home.

Sommerfest is a great stop for lunch and for one of my favorite beers: Altenmunster Oktoberfest.

If you like normal Oktoberfest brews it may not be your first choice, however, and I will explain why.

I first gave this a try as I like beers with a much lighter taste and at the time we stopped I saw the look of the beer the people in front of us had ordered.  I asked what they had and it was love at first sip.

With more of an ale taste, this was a perfect choice to compliment the brats we ordered for lunch on a bright and sunny Florida day.  Next time you are strolling through World Showcase, whether you are a beer connoisseur or just want something to compliment your meal (or the feel of the pavilion) I don’t think you will be disappointed!



By profession Melissa is a 9th grade World History teacher, but by nature she is a lover of all things Disney. She has always been a bit of a bookworm and has believed in fairytales since she was a little girl. (Her favorite heroine and princess is Belle.)

Melissa DonaldWhen she isn’t teaching, snapping pictures to post on Picturing Disney on Facebook, updating her photoblog Picturing Disney, or prancing around Disney Parks like a kid, she is lives her life filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after in New York with her husband and their adorable dog.

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Traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort from the United Kingdom Part 2

By Janine P.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant I had dreamed of taking my daughter Tink to the Walt Disney World Resort.  She did come with us inutero and caused me no end of grief including a trip to the emergency room where our first scan of her at just 6 weeks was performed by a Tower of Terror Cast Member (she was also employed by Celebration Hospital just to clarify!).
So as soon as she was born we began to think about when we could take her back.  We even snuck in a 2 night stay at Disneyland Paris.  But nothing prepared me for actually being at Walt Disney World with my husband and child.
Let me give you a heads up, I’m a crier.  I cry when we land in the US. I cry when I see the first Walt Disney World sign.  I cry on the monorail and I bawl like a baby when I’m on Main Street.  This was all amplified by about a million having Tink in tow.
We decided just to potter about Downtown Disney the first evening as it had been a long flight and I sniffled all the way round, culminating in a few good tears at Tinks first visit to World of Disney.
There were plenty of tears the first morning walking into Disney’s Hollywood Studios and even more when she had her first character experience, running up to Goofy and Pluto and giving them big kisses.  There was no shyness here, just pure excitement and pleasure.  But the biggest heart wrenching mama sobbing moment of that first day (and maybe the holiday?) was her meeting Mickey at Animation Courtyard.  Sorcerers Apprentice Mickey is my favorite anyway but add in the hugeness of the moment (and we were first in line) and the water works started good and proper.  Tink just ran into Mickeys arms and literally the whole crowd waiting collectively went ‘aw’.  Sniff.  This really was the moment when husband and I looked at each other and thought, that alone was worth all the months of saving and planning.
Every character interaction we had was amazing and we made full use of Photo Pass and now have over 400 wonderful photos to look at.  Tink was a bit more shy with the Princesses and Tinkerbell, mainly I think because they tried to engage with her and at just over 2 and half years old, although she doesn’t stop nattering at home she can be quite reserved with new people.  With fur characters she really came into her own, her favorite trick was to take a stuffed toy of that character to meet them, they loved that and we even ended up getting our Mexican Donald from EPCOT signed by the big duck which was pretty cool.
The character dining was a big hit too.  We did Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine, DHS with Handy Manny, Oso, June from Little Einsteins and Tinks firm favorite, Jake.  This was great fun and not as loud or hectic as I had been warned, just right as it is aimed at pre-schoolers.  We also ate at Cape May at the Beach Club breakfast.  This featured Donald, Goofy and Minnie and again it was just fab.  I’d love to stay here one day, what a wonderful resort.  We were however glad that we didn’t have to pay for madam to eat (they’re both buffets so under 3’s are free) as she was too busy looking at the characters to eat much, even the cakes didn’t tempt her.
Tink was also remarkably good and brave on rides.  Her favorite by far is It’s A Small World and we had to ride it hundreds of times.  I still have to sing her the song as part of her bedtime routine …
When we went to DLP in the summer she rode a couple of things, Buzz and Peter Pan, and didn’t really like them, in fact she said Buzz scared her.  So we didn’t hold out much hope in WDW.  But she was a changed child and even did Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion!!!  Now she was a little bit scared of those, but not in a get me out of here kinda way, just she cuddled into me a bit more during the dark bits.  Rollercoasters didn’t phase her at all, she held her arms up on Goofys Barmstormer shouting ‘weeeeee’ all the way round.  I’ll have her Space Mountain next time no prob 😉
She also LOVED the shows, especially the Disney Junior show.  I can just picture her now dancing all the way through, singing along and shouting to the characters on stage.  Well done Disney for a wonderful performance.
One of the things I really liked was the way the CMs interact with the little ones.  If she was wearing a Princess dress they’d call her Princess.  When she was dressed up like Tink they asked her about the fairies.  They were always waving at her and she got a couple of extra cookies.  I do believe WDW is a place for all people of all ages but I was 21 my first visit, I’m so glad Tink will always know she went when everything really was still pure magic and the CMs really do add to this.
We all really enjoyed taking our time and doing some rides and shows which were new for us too, such as the Disney Junior stuff and more sedate rides we had bypassed before (shame on us) such as Carousel of Progress and Jungle Cruise.  We also enjoyed exploring World Showcase through a 2 year olds eyes and spending time actually with the animals in the Affection Section in AK.  Everything about this holiday was focused on what Tink would want to do and indeed could do (although this mama did fit in one quick ToT ride) and it really worked for us.
This included getting to parks for rope drop, making the most of little or no lines, then heading back to our hotel for a quick rest and nap.  We would then either go back to the parks or shopping and dinner in the evening.  We didn’t make it out late enough to see any parades or fireworks and there was no way we did as much as previous years but this was very much a quality over quantity holiday for us.
One issue we did have (but would have had anywhere) was food and Tink not wanting to eat.  She is not the best eater, more of a snacker but she also doesn’t like to sit up and wait for her food, especially if there is stuff going on.  This did lead to a few ruined meals and tantrums but we always tried to keep in mind she is only 2, she has jeg lag and its like 100 degrees!!!  Bedtime was also an issue, as in she didn’t want to go!!!  Tink and I shared a bed and even when she was exhausted she didn’t go down without a fight a lot of the time, too excited and too much going on I expect but pretty frustrating at the time.  Only a week or so after we got home she dropped her day nap and now goes to bed no problem … typical, if only she’d done that there.  Oh well.
So there we are.  I’ve been totally honest about our first experience of WDW with a toddler.  There were many, many good times, a few did we make the right choice times but on the whole it was A-Mazing and we can’t wait to return in 2014 and do it all again.

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

Janine Pipe, married mom of 2 year old Tink, living in Swindon in the UK.  DLP shareholder and lifelong WDW fan.  Always planning the next trip and making the most of all things Disney in England.  Has been told her house resembles a Disney Store.

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Thankful Mouze Kateerz

Happy American Thanksgiving everyone! The Mouze Kateerz writers have so many things to be thankful for. Please allow us to introduce ourselves and share with you.

The picture above is of my family. I’m Frances Hedrick. I’m the editor of Mouze Kateerz. I’m a full time mom with my own Disney travel business called Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys. I’m an avid Disney lover and former cast member. I home school my daughter and love to use Disney things as examples in class and using the parks as living books. 🙂 My son has autism so I’m able to write about the special needs services that Disney offers first hand. My husband, Josh, is not as big of a Disney fan as myself. I enjoy creating new magic and new experiences for him at the parks to keep him enjoying the magic. I’m very thankful for all of my family and fellow Mouze Kateerz. I’m also thankful for all of the readers who enjoy and comment on all of our articles.

Brenda & Roger are Disney-Holics who visit WDW 3 times a year, including during the Holidays!

Thankful for all the Disney smiles, laughs, glee, and sharing it all with My Internet Bride, Brenda. Thankful for our Disney honeymoon, and our second honeymoon next month! And thankful to be able to help spread some Disney magic from us to other Disney lovers.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
I’m Teri Scavette.  I live in Runnemede NJ with my husband Dan.  We have a little cairn terrier dog named Skipper!!!  I spend my days at our window treatment store here in NJ making beautiful draperies.  I’m a seamstress and also enjoy creating stained glass artwork and love to travel to DisneyWorld!  Being part of the Mouze Kateerz family enables me to share my love of Disney with everyone!!!

I am so blessed to come from this great big beautiful Italian family.  This photo was taken at our family reunion. We all gathered in our home town of Monessen PA.  The eldest are in the center – my two beautiful aunts one of which is 93 and her sister who is 92 – my uncle is 81!!  We are all very close even though we live at different ends of the state and then some!!  Can you imagine having all of these cousins to share life’s experiences with????  Among us our occupations consist of a doctor, priest, nun, teachers, seamstress, entertainer, nurse, physical therapist, dentists, advertising, college professor, business owners and students. When we all get together no matter how many or not you can count on two things for sure – there is always  plenty of good food and music, music, music!!!!

Andrea Canaday, Brian (her husband) and three children (Brianne, Jackson and Shelby) live in Beaufort, SC.  She has a Direct Sales Home Business with ViSalus Sciences and the 90 Day Challenge and she recently became a Cast Member in March 2012 at the Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.  “I love ‘creating magical moments’ for the guests”.  She and her family love ALL things Disney!  Andrea has been going to Walt Disney World since the beginning in 1971 and has the fondest memories of being there as a child.  “I have instilled this love for Disney into my family.  We make approximately 3-5 trips a year to WDW and especially enjoy going to the Epcot Festivals.”   

This Thanksgiving I am particulary thankful for being a part of the magic that Walt Disney created.  It is a blessing to be a part of the Disney family and Mouze Kateerz!  I am thankful for my loving family and the blessing of each new day.  Make it a Magical Thanksgiving! ºoº

I’m Denny. I work for a great theater in Bradenton, Florida but spend my ‘quality’ time at Walt Disney World.  I grew up in Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati and moved to Florida in 1978!  I have been on stage at the theater where I work since 1982.  Here is a photo of me with ‘Smee’ from  PETER PAN.  I feel a special affection for Smee since I played him in the musical version of PETER PAN in 1995!  I hope you are enjoying the photos that I post!  Grins!

I’m Melissa Rhodes:

I am a stay at home mom of two Disney addicts, one princess and one pirate. I am also a Disney Vacation Specialist with Magical Memories Travel, where I help other families plan the Disney magic that I love experiencing with my own family. I made my first visit to Disney in 1978 and have made more than 40 trips since. You can find me at www.mickeybymel.com

I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends. I am also thankful for the amazing community of like-minded Disney people that I have found through Mickey by Mel and Mouzekateerz and being able to share my love of Disney with them

I’m Amanda C: I am thankful for these three little mouzekeeters. They make me proud daily and make me laugh. They love cuddles even though they’ve passed the preteen stage of life. Thy are my hearts.

I’m Amanda M. I teach public high school in an almost-coastal Alabama town. I have students that come to school hungry, with family problems that are beyond my comprehension. Bless their hearts, I see teens that face drug and sexual temptations, ward off bullies, and deal with personal issues that my generation never seemed to deal with on this level. Most have never been on a vacation, and the few that have don’t go very often. My students show me daily that I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my family, that while not perfect, is happy, healthy, and full of (often inappropriate) laughter. I am thankful for 20 years of marriage to a fantastic man who takes the moral high ground and exemplifies doing the right thing.

I am thankful for my job, and the opportunity I have to bring knowledge and hope into my student’s lives. Somebody says something that makes me laugh every day…

I am thankful for a Katrina rescue dog that loves unconditionally, reminding me I should aim for the same.

I am thankful for friends, and dreams, and travel, and opportunities I do not take for granted. In a year that multiple friends have been diagnosed with cancer and one suffered a heart attack, I am thankful for each and every day.

Lucinda: I’m thankful for the same things that many other people are thankful for…a loving family, a roof over my head, food in my belly and relatively good health. I’m immensely thankful for the opportunity to move to Florida and live my dream life with my family at Walt Disney World, sincerely appreciative of a wonderful caring boyfriend who takes good care of us all, and thankful also for people like Walter Disney and his Imagineers for dreaming up marvelously magical ideas for us to enjoy. Oh goodness….and my FRIENDS! I’m so lucky to know the good friends that I have. I’m tremendously thankful for you all!

Hi all! I am Melissa and you probably know me from my work here on Mouze as well as over on the Disney Moms and from my website Picturing Disney.  I started my photoblog because I needed a place to unleash all my Disney love and I wanted to share a little bit of Disney love every day.  I am so thankful for my readers and followers on my site and on the sites I guest post on.  Who would have thought I would get to produce work for a hobby that pays me back with so many others who want to hear what I have to say or see what picture I have to share next?! I am thankful for all the wonderful memories I have made at Disney and with friends who are kindred Disney spirits! Above all things in this wonderful world I am thankful for the love I have received every day of my life from my parents and my family and now my husband and our adorable adopted dog.  My cup runneth over when I think of all the love in my life and how lucky I am to have an overwhelming amount of happiness surrounding me at all times.  Happy Thanksgiving, Mouzies, and thank you so much for spending some time with us!

Hey there! I’m Shannan, owner and blogger of Addicted to Mickey. My family and I love Mickey Mouse because, without him, none of the rest would be what it is today. It all started with a mouse! I love that Disney offers me the opportunities to make ever lasting memories with my family. I am thankful that Walt followed his dreams.

This is a photo taken on our family vacation to celebrate my parents anniversary and 6 months since a surgery I had gone through. I am very thankful for the wonderful family that I have. They are the most supportive people that I know and have gotten me through many though times. I am blessed everyday. I am of course also thankful to be able to go to Disney and spend time in my happy place 🙂

“Everyone at My Dreams of Disney would like to take a moment to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends!  God has blessed us so much, and all the glory belongs to Him.  I am thankful that my family is safe, healthy, and able to be together.  I am also thankful that so many of my friends are doing well.  None of us is doing as well as we deserve, but I am an optimistic person, and I truly believe that God will deliver, and that’s all I need to know.

One of the biggest things about Walt Disney, both the man and the Parks, was that they enable us to be able to stop, take a breath, and escape reality for a little while.  Whether it be strolling down Main Street, U.S.A., taking a ride in the Wild West on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or flying to Neverland in Peter Pan’s Flight, the beauty of Walt Disney World and Disneyland is that we are able to slow down, smell the roses, and for at least a little while, remember what it was like to be a kid again.

My Dreams of Disney began as a way for me to document my memories of the past trips that I had taken to Walt Disney World, but it has grown up into so much more.  It gives me immense pleasure to know that so many of you take time out of your days to allow us to help you plan your next Disney vacation — or even just to escape the here and now for a few minutes.  Thank you all for stopping by and including us in your Internet travels, and God Bless all of us!  May you all have a safe, happy Thanksgiving, and may you find the time to relax and take time to slow down — at least for a day.”

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Make a Magical Memory: Disney Inspired Embroidery

By Frances

Have you ever been to the Walt Disney World Resort and seen a family all dressed alike in matching Mickey shirts and wished it was your family? In an effort to showcase some of the best work for Mouze Kateerz readers, I would like to introduce Make a Magical Memory.

Here is a note that Shannon wanted me to include:

I started Make a Magical Memory a little over a month ago, I had been thinking about it for a while now but with the addiction to Pinterest and Etsy I kept seeing all of these things that I would LOVE to take on my Disney Vacation. I thought to myself if I only had the time to make all this stuff, I would be in my glory. I have always been very crafty coming from a long line of “crafters”.  My mother the Home Economics teacher, my grandmother who when I was small made and sold porcelain dolls, and embroidered items as well as my great grandmother who hand embroidered some beautiful pieces I still cherish today. It’s only natural that I would carry the “crafty” gene. I thought if I could help people add magic to their vacations by making them items whether it be matching Tshirts or water bottles, then I have the best of both worlds. Doing something I love and helping people make more magic. Things are still very much in the starting stages, my Etsy Page is FAR from complete so much so I am embarrassed by it. I have been taking orders over Facebook for now https://www.facebook.com/MakeAMagicalMemory

It’s hard for me to give pricing as each design is different. It’s priced at $1.00 per 1000 stitches and the cost of the item which I don’t charge extra for, what I pay for the TSHIRT my client pays for the TSHIRT. I do have a few photos of items I have made for clients and the prices I charged for you to get an idea.
Donald Duck Bath Towel $20
Mickey “Mom” Water Bottle $7
Mickey Pilgrim Sweatshirt $18
Pluto Halloween TShirt $25
These are just some of the things I have done to date. My FB page has only been up for about a month live, and unfortunately I lost power with Hurricane Sandy and had a 2 week trip to WDW in there so I wish I had more to share but I am working diligently now to catch up for the holidays! If there is anything else you need from me please feel free to ask!
**** SPECIAL FOR MOUZE KATEERZ READERS ***** Orders placed before December 15, 2012 will receive a 10% discount on embroidery. Please tell Shannon that you discovered her on Mouze Kateerz.
You Can Reach Shannon at Make a Magical Memory on Facebook
By e-mail: shann0521@gmail.com
or on her cell: 732-547-9087
Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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“Top 5Must Do’s” at Walt Disney World During the Holidays

The Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The holidays are a beautiful time to go to the Walt Disney World Resort. The Mouze Kateerz writers have come up with our list of “Top 5 Must DO’s” during the holidays.

1. Resort Hop!

2. Osborne Family Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

3. EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional

4. Shop at DownTown Disney and the Resorts!

5. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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How to Survive Walt Disney World at Thanksgiving & Christmas Holidays

Castle Dreamlights, Disney at night, Disney Christmas at night, Disney Christmas castle, Disney Christmas vacation, planning Disney vacation at Christmas, Disney Cinderella Castle at Christmas

When Cinderella Castle lights up, will you forget the crowds? Just maybe…

The Mouze Kateerz writers have been to Disney more than 1,000 times combined. They have traveled to the Walt Disney World Resort during the value season and during high peak (AKA The Holidays). Here are a few tips to help you survive and be realistic about your upcoming trip. Our goal is for you to have the most magical vacation possible.

Lisa P: We have been there at Christmas and went in knowing we couldn’t do everything. We did EMH (Extra Magic Hours), and chose to more look at decorations at the parks that day and not worry about hitting a bunch of rides. Also did Osbourne lights at night. We had a boardwalk view room at the Boardwalk and could watch the fireworks from there. Also make sure to have ADRs  (Advance Dining Reservations) well in advance so you don’t have to worry that day.

Holiday decorated topiary at Downtown Disney

Amanda C: ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations)  is a must from that 180 day mark. Especially for the character dining, Liberty Tavern  and Le Cellier. Go in knowing lines are long and people are a little less magical because you are walking across the bridge to Adventureland nose to tail and hip to hip with complete strangers all wanting that magical experience just like you. Step back take a breath and people watch.
Mike E: I would think the key to any crazy busy time is to just take it slowly like Lisa mentions, absorb all that is there to see, not worry so much about the different must do rides, and most importantly, as my good friend Monica says: “Just be.”
Heather L: We have never gone in the crazy season!! Only way that I would is if I won a trip for free.  :) I know other friends that have and their best advice is to remain flexible, plan ahead, use fast passes, and take advantage of all the EMH (Extra Magic Hours). One friend who has been three times at Christmas and New Year’s says they enjoy visiting other Disney Resorts when the crowds are at their peak and Downtown Disney.

Pluto holiday topiary at Epcot

Melissa R: Ironically, I just booked a last minute Thanksgiving trip for a client and got a lot of ADRs that they wanted…but having said that…be flexible! We will be there Thanksgiving week (and we were there 4th of July week) so the crowds don’t really phase us that much. Go in with a plan, know what are your must dos and what are the optionals.
Teresa S: For many years we traveled to WDW the week between Christmas & New Year’s…. Take advantage of EMH – make sure your dining is booked way in advance and just go with the flow of the crowd. Patience is the key – there are long waits and so many people – but the atmosphere is full of holiday “sparks” and everyone is having fun! As Mike’s friend Monica said “Just be – just be in the moment” and enjoy the madness that is Disney at the holidays!!!
Denny M: Don’t try to Christmas shop in the parks! The shops are insane. Spend a morning at Downtown Disney shopping for all those Disney gifts you have in mind. And make sure you make a shopping list ahead of time. In the hustle and bustle you’re sure to forget someone if you don’t. Plus…Downtown Disney is the best place to visit Santa! They build a house for him! Grins!
Didi: We visited WDW during the 2 week period before and after Christmas and it was AMAZING! Planning is always important, but if you want to eat at all, ADRs are essential during this period! We did the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package on Christmas Eve (incredible), mass at the Contemporary Resort Christmas Day, and then did a complete tour of the resorts in lieu of a park day. Our favorite family trip ever!!
Andrea C: Don’t try to ‘do it all’ during this time. With all there is too do in Disney during this time, you just can’t get it all in. Make a list. Get to the most important things on the list so if you run out of time, it really isn’t such a big disappointment. Remember to account for the extra travel time due to the large crowds. My favorite things to do during Christmas is to visit the Worlds in Epcot, the Osborne Lights and Resort hop to see them theme decorated.
David D: I agree with Andrea… Each family member make a list of things they really want to do, and plan for those things—FPs, prioritizing when you ride, etc. Also on the really busy days, like thanksgiving or December 23, 24th, 25th, get to a park–magic kingdom especially–early and plan to stay there. When parks max out on capacity, you cannot get in!
SO here are great tips in a nut shell:
1. Be flexible
2. Have a Must Do/Like to Do List
3. Make Advance Dining Reservations 180 days prior to your vacation
4. Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours
5. Shop at Downtown Disney in the morning vs at a Theme Park
6. Have patients
Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com
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Can Tables in Wonderland Save You Money?

By Frances

Tables in Wonderland is a discount card that can be purchased by Florida Residents, Disney Vacation Club Members & Annual/Seasonal Pass Holders only.


  • 20% discount on all food and beverages at 99 participating Resort hotel and Theme Park restaurants (discount is valid for a party of up to 10 Guests).
  • Resort and Theme Park parking for dining purposes
  • Invitations to special member-only food and wine events, winemaker dinners and celebrity chef dinners
  • Discount is also available on most adult & specialty beverages.
  • And more!

Cost to you:

$100 for Florida Residents or DVC Members

$75 for Annual/Season Pass Holders

It’s good from the first day purchased for 365 days.

You can purchase it at Guest Relations at any Walt Disney World Theme Park or Downtown Disney. Annual/Seasonal Pass Holders can order it Epcot Le Cellier, Epcot Le Cellier sign, Epcot Le Cellier menu, Epcot Le Cellier pricesby phone or mail. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.

There are a few Block-out dates for the Tables in Wonderland: Mothers Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The Tables in Wonderland discount cannot be used in combination with any other discount and is not valid for Fantasmic Dinner Package, Food and Wine Festival dinners, Candlelight Packages, or any other special events / special dining experiences.

An 18% gratuity is automatically added regardless of how many are in your party. A 20% gratuity is automatically added at Victoria & Albert’s.

Don’t lose the Tables in Wonderland Card. There is a $50 replacement fee.

For more information:

Here is why, Mouze Kateerz writer, Lucinda purchased a Tables in Wonderland Card. She is a Florida Resident & Annual Pass Holder. “20% is a good discount…makes it easy to get your money back, so to speak. Meaning…that for our family, we only need to dine out four times a year for the card to be a good value. TiW makes it more feasible for us, as locals to dine on Disney property. I like that beverages are included as well…and I like that we can include up to 9 guests per visit. There’s a nice long list of participating restaurants.”

Here is my thoughts. If the Disney Dining Plan says that it will save you up to 20% off and this will save you 20% off plus you can save on adult beverages, I think it will save money.

Here’s a list of participating restaurants:

All Star Movies Resort

  • World Premiere
    Food Court

All Star MusicResort

  • Intermission Food Court

All Star Sports Resort

  • End Zone Food Court

Animal Kingdom
Lodge Resort

  • Boma – The Flavors
    of Africa
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place
  • Sanaa
  • Victoria Falls

Beach Club Resort

  • Beaches & Cream
    Soda Shop (excludes
    take-out shop)
  • Cape May Café
  • Martha’s Vineyard Lounge

BoardWalk Resort

  • Belle Vue Lounge
  • Big River Grille
    & Brewing Works
  • ESPN® Club
  • Flying Fish Café
  • Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Shutters at Old Point Royale

Contemporary Resort

  • California Grill
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Outer Rim
  • The Wave

Coronado Springs Resort

  • Maya Grill
Fort Wilderness
Resort & Campground

  • Crockett’s Tavern
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue (9:30 p.m.
    show only)
  • Trail’s End Restaurant (Excludes take out shop)

Grand Floridian
Resort & Spa

  • 1900 Park Fare
  • Citricos
  • Garden View Tea Room
  • Grand Floridian Café
  • Mizner’s Lounge
  • Narcoossee’s
  • Victoria & Albert’s (excluding the Chef’s Table & Queen Victoria Room)

Old Key West Resort

  • Olivia’s Cafe

Disney’s Osprey Ridge Golf Course

  • Sand Trap Bar & Grill

Polynesian Resort

  • ‘Ohana
  • Kona Cafe
  • Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Late show only)
  • Tambu Lounge

Pop Century Resort

  • Everything Pop Shopping and Dining (excludes merchandise from shop)
Port Orleans Resort
– French Quarter

  • Sassagoula Floatworks
    & Food Factory
  • Scat Cat’s Club

– Riverside

  • Boatwright’s Dining Hall
  • River Roost

Saratoga Springs Resort

  • The Artist’s Palette
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill
  • Turf Club Lounge

Vero Beach Resort

  • The Green Cabin Room
  • Shutter’s
  • Sonya’s (Excludes
    Sunday Brunch)

Wilderness Lodge

  • Artist Point
  • Territory Lounge
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe

Yacht Club Resort

  • Ale and Compass Lounge
  • Captain’s Grille
  • Crews Cup Lounge
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort

  • Il Mulino New York Trattoria
  • Kimonos
  • Shula’s Steak House
  • Todd English’s bluezoo
  • Garden Grove
Magic Kingdom® Park

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • The Crystal Palace
  • The Plaza Restaurant
  • Tony’s Town
    Square Restaurant


  • Akershus Royal
    Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Bistro de Paris
  • Chefs de France
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant
  • Restaurant Marrakesh
  • Rose & Crown Pub
    & Dining Room
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante
  • The Garden
    Grill Restaurant
  • Tokyo Dining
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante
  • Via Napoli

Disney’s Hollywood Studios™

  • 50’s Prime Time Cafe
  • Hollywood & Vine
  • Mama Melrose’s
    Ristorante Italiano
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In
    Theater Restaurant
  • The Hollywood
    Brown Derby
  • Tune-In Lounge
Animal Kingdom®

  • Flame Tree Barbeque
  • Pizzafari
  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Tusker House Restaurant

– Marketplace

  • Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant
  • Fulton’s Crab House

– Pleasure Island

  • Paradiso 37
  • Portobello
  • Raglan Road” Irish Pub
    and Restaurant

– West side

  • Bongo’s Cuban Café
  • House Of Blues®
    (Excludes Sunday Brunch)
  • Planet Hollywood®
  • Wolfgang Puck Café

ESPN Wide World
of Sports® Complex

  • ESPN Wide World
    of Sports® Grill

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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Sell Your Candy and Help the Troops!

Disney's Candy Cauldron, Downtown Disney candy, Downtown Disney Candy Cauldron

By Frances

When I saw the page “Halloween Candy Buy Back”, I thought it was a hoax. So, I did a little research and it’s absolutely true. I was thinking, how can you make money off of the Halloween candy! Click on the above link. Search your zip code for a local dentist that will buy back your candy for $1 per pound and they will send your candy to the troops. Downtown Disney, Goofy's Downtown Disney, Goofy snacks, Disney snacks

I know that this article is not directly about the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort or the Disney Cruise Line but I feel strongly about helping the troops out anyway that I can. An added bonus is that I will not be subjected to riffling through the buckets looking for treats for myself that will later trick themselves onto my hips:-)

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

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Photographing Walt Disney World: How to Bring the Magic a Little Closer to Home

One of our Mouze Kateerz writers, Amanda Major (www.cheapskateprincess.com), is one of the best Disney photographers that I’ve seen. She captures Disney Magic with every picture. She is one of the largest picture contributors to Mouze Kateerz. Here is an article that she wrote several months ago that I thought was worth rerunning for more readers to enjoy. ~ Frances

By Amanda M.

Every photo has a story.

One reason I am so enamored with Walt Disney World is the wide range of photographic opportunities I find when I vacation there. Photography can be both a tremendously rewarding experience and a maker of memories, but on the other side, it can be a journey into frustration and disappointment. Images don’t always turn out in print like you see them through your eyes.  Sometimes, I look at my photos and think, “Ugh!! It didn’t look like that!”  What to do…

Picture this…As photography has moved away from print film to digital, we now have the opportunity to clean up and fix a lot of images that would look better with a little nip and tuck. One of my most useful photo editing tools, Picasa in my case,  is the crop button. Simple. Handy. Crop.

Mouze Kateerz fan Randy Ash from Bloomington, IL,  dropped a photo off on our wall at Mouze Kateerz on Facebook, and it was so beautiful, I had to see if there was an original.  Apparently Randy didn’t need to crop his photo a for a closer view- he just zoomed up on his subject. In keeping with my theme of every photo has a story,  there was indeed a great Disney tale attached with his photo…romance, relaxation, and vivid colors.  Here’s Randy’s photographical memory:

disney photography, The Disney Moms, Tree of Life photo, Animal Kingdom photosThis past May, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with our first trip back to WDW since our honeymoon … without the kids. We decided during the planning for the trip that we would set no schedule, eat when we wanted to…not just when we could spare a moment between attractions. We took the time to look for the details that we so often rushed past in search of a character signing or fast pass.

Every trip for us to WDW includes a morning at Animal Kingdom. First destination… The Tree of Life to see A Bug’s Life. As we worked our way towards the tree, we stopped to take this pic with the tree in the background.

The vivid color of the simple pink flower struck me so I decided to take a close up. “

Animal Kingdom, It's a Bugs life, Disney Photography, The Disney Moms, Animal Kingdom safari
“This close up has become one of my favorites from this trip. It is a good reminder to me to slow down and look for the detail, it is all part of the Magic!

Mouze Kateerz fan Randy Ash from Bloomington, IL

The personal thing about photography is that sometimes a photo will have no meaning or emotional attachment to anyone other than the photographer. The picture belongs to you; the special meaning is all your own. But this doesn’t diminish the beauty you can find in photographs, even if you really have no idea where the photo was taken.

Bonnet Creet Resort, Windham Bonnet Creek Resort, Hollywood Studios, Bonnet Creek photosHere is a photo I took in 2011 at Windham Bonnet Creek Resort on the other side of the highway from Disney‘s Hollywood Studios.Our first stay here was fabulous, and included hot dogs for Christmas Eve dinner (a new annual tradition) and a swim in the heated lazy river on Christmas Day.

I took several shots of a sunset as the clouds were rolling in on Dec. 26th, the day before we returned home. Most people will not recognize this as Bonnet Creek.

There are no Disney characters in the shot, no iconic Disney architecture or logos, so you won’t recognize the location, but you are drawn in all the same.

photography, Picasa photo editing, Picasa photography, Disney Picasa, photo cropping, Disney photography, The beautiful thing about this photo is that I didn’t do a thing to change the color. I just cut out the distracting clouds and focused on the closer beauty of an Orlando sunset. I then fought off depression by telling myself in that every sunset does notlook like this when you are three miles from the Magic Kingdom. I remain unconvinced; I somehow suspect actually they do.

So if you can’t zoom, then crop. A little nip here, and a little tuck there can take a good photo and bring it a little closer to home, both to your eye, and to your heart.

Thanks for coming along for a photographical ride, and we’ll see you around the Disney parks with a camera!


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!

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