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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“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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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.

BENEFITS INCLUDE

  • 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:

DISNEY RESORT LOCATIONS
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
DISNEY PARK LOCATIONS
Magic Kingdom® Park

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

Epcot®

  • 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

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– Marketplace

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

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– Pleasure Island

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

DOWNTOWN DISNEY®
– 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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Be Our Guest Restaurant= More Magic

With the official grand opening of the Fantasyland Expansion being December 6, 2012… Disney magic has been gearing up for a some test runs. The Beast's Castle Disney, Beast's Castle photo, Beasts castle pictures, Be Our Guest menu, Fantasyland Expansion updatemuch anticipated Be Our Guest Restaurant will be opening to the general public officially on November 19th. It will be open with a Quick Service menu during lunch and a Table Service Menu for dinner. If you are on the Disney dining plan, it is one Quick Service credit during lunch and 1 table service credit during dinner.

One of the magical touches will be that you will order your ‘fast food’ lunch on touch-screen similiar to the ordering system at Pecos Bill’s. After you have paid, the cast member will give you an enchanted rose petal that you take with you to where ever you want to sit in the dining room. The server will magically find where you are sitting thanks to the enchanted rose petal!

Here is a glimpse at the dinner menu!

Dinner Menu

Signature Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Served in a Light Up Castle-themed Souvenir Goblet 18.99
Beverage only 4.19

All-Natural Fruit Punch
sweetened with Organic Cane Juice and Wildberry Extract topped with
Lemon-Lime Foam
-OR-
All-Natural Lemonade
sweetened with Organic Cane Juice and topped with a Wildberry Foam

Appetizers
Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages
served with Cornichons, Pickled Onions, and Toasted Baguette 14.99

French Onion Soup
topped with Crouton and Gruyere Cheese 6.99

Mussels Provencal
with White Wine, Tomato, Garlic, Onion, Basil, and Butter 10.99

Potato Leek Soup 5.99

Garden Salad
with Champagne Vinaigrette 4.99

Seasonal Salad Trio 6.99
Three individual bowls of:
Roasted Beet, Gold Raisin and Orange Salad
Green Bean, Tomato and Roasted Shallot Salad
Watermelon, Radish and Mint Salad

Entrées
All entrees include choice of dessert.

Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop
with Au Gratin Pasta, Seasonal Vegetables and Red Wine Au Jus 21.99

Rotisserie Rock Hen
with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables 15.99

Pan-seared Salmon on Leek Fondue
served with Creamy Saffron-crushed Potatoes 15.99

Grilled Strip Steak
with Garlic Butter Spread and Pommes Frites 29.99

Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops
with Seasonal Vegetables served with Puff Pastry with a Creamy Lobster Sauce 22.99

Layered Ratatouille
Oven-baked Zucchini, Eggplant, Mushrooms, and Caramelized Onions sliced and layered on Quinoa served with Bell Pepper Sauce 15.99

Desserts
Presented and served table side! 3.99
Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake
Vanilla Sponge Cake, Strawberry Mousse Filling, and Cream Cheese Icing

Triple Chocolate Cupcake
Chocolate Sponge Cake, Chocolate Mousse Filling, and Chocolate Ganache

Lemon Meringue Cupcake
Vanilla Sponge Cake, Lemon Custard Filling, Flamed Meringue Icing, and Crunch

Chocolate Cream Puff
filled with Chocolate Mousse topped with Whipped Cream

Passion Fruit Cream Puff
filled with Passion Fruit Mousse topped with Whipped Cream

Lemon – Raspberry Cream Puff*
filled with Lemon Custard
*Dessert is Gluten Free and No Sugar Added

Beverages
Fountain Beverages 2.99
Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, CokeZero®, Barq’s® Root Beer, Fanta® Orange, Sprite®, Minute Maid® Lemonade

Fresh-brewed Coffee (regular or decaf) 2.59
Fresh-brewed Iced Tea 2.99
Hot Tea 2.59
Hot Cocoa 2.59

Milk or Chocolate Milk 3.09

Orange Juice, Apple Juice, or Cranberry Juice 3.19

Evian 750 mL or Perrier 750 mL 6.75

There still are special packages available for the Grand Opening of the Fantasyland Expansion. Please contact our preferred travel agency Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys.  frances@distinctive-journeys.com  or 404-414-6198

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Disney World Guidebook Round Up

By Melissa L.

With such a huge costumer base, it is no wonder that there are entire shelves in bookstores dedicated to Disney World Travel Guides as well as website companions that offer online subscriptions to the company’s best planning tools.  How do you make your way through the stack in order to find which is best for you? Use the guide below to find what resources you are looking for in order to make the perfect pre-trip purchase for you!

Books

Most fun and personalized: Passporter

What makes the Passporter guide book my go to choice is the fun I have filling it up with personal information.  The moment after I book my next Disney World trip the first thing I do is order the most current Passporter! I pour over the pages for hours before planning trips, going over ever detail, adding every last minute that I have planned to my pass pockets and updating all of our personal trip information.  I am a Passporter addict! I even used leftover pockets on my honeymoon!

This innovative guide has excellent descriptions of the hotels, attractions, and restaurants at Walt Disney World, as well as, ratings and worksheets that help make your trip planning fun.  What I love about Passporter is that I can hold onto my guidebook as a memento after our trips and flipping through it feels reminiscent of flipping through a scrapbook or photo album.  The deluxe version is fabulous and they offer updated refills each year as well as Disneyland Resort refills.

Most comprehensive: The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

To use the singular of Unofficial Guide does not do this line of books justice.  Not only is the original namesake filled with a plethora of Disney Planning information for planning your vacation from beginning to end, but there are multiple companions which include a color companion, guide specifically for traveling with kids, one for traveling without kids, one for traveling around other parks in Orlando, and editions for Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

Best quick look for Disney pros: Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World

I have found myself with a small collection of Birnbaum guides over the years.  Planning a Disney trip is exciting and for some reason I usually find myself with a copy of this at some point in my planning.  It’s usually under $10, and I find it great as a guide when I am planning out where to eat or what new attractions to look forward to.  I carried it in my work bag for two months before our last trip.  It is slim and had lots of quick descriptions which are great for skimming through on a lunch break or when I have a few minutes here or there.

Best pictures: The Complete Walt Disney World

Like the other guides featured here, this has great descriptions and reviews of the parks, restaurants, hotels, and attractions to be found at Walt Disney World.  Unlike the other guides here this is so chock full of photos you may find yourself lost in a day dream before you make it through the first 20 pages.  There is so much not just to read, but to see in this book that its hard to resist once you take a peek inside!   There is also a really neat section that is a Disney encyclopedia of sorts called “Disney A to Z”!

Online Subscriptions

This is the digital age, so while there are plenty of books out there on the topic of Walt Disney World, there are also tons of websites out there  filled with Disney planning information.  There are also a small handful of online SUBSCRIPTIONS where you pay for a span of time to use a website’s own planning tools.  The Passporter guidebook has a company website which offers monthly access to their Passporter’s Club in which you can view any of their many available e-books for free.  This is great for getting companion information to their guide book.

Most fun, personalized, and comprehensive: Tour Guide Mike

Tour Guide Mike is a personal favorite as far as planning tools.  You begin by filling out a survey about your trip plans and aver a few minutes your Automated Vacation Planner is prepared for you with personalized trip planning information to fit you and your family’s needs.  It is amazing how spot-on the tour and dining recommendations can be! Furthermore, you can add reminders for making Advanced Dining Reservations, later on add your confirmation numbers, and are privy to being able to access the loads and loads of vacation planning articles on the website.  My very favorite feature: The Least Crowded Park Charts! They rock and are incredibly accurate! I plan my park days based around these recommendations and they are constantly updated if changes come from Disney!

Best quick look for Disney pros: Touring PlansDisney Wishes, disney photography, Picasa, Disney, Magic Kingdom photos, fireworks, Photoshop, photo editing

From the makers of the Unofficial Guides, Touring Plans is a site focused mainly on, well, Touring Plans! Here you can find comprehensive plans for touring all Disney parks as well as another super-accurate park chart.  The Touring Plans Crowd Calendar not only makes suggestions as to which parks to visit or avoid each and every day (for up to a year in advance) but you are also giving estimates on how crowded Disney will be!   Whatsmore, your Touring Plans subscription (available for Walt Disney World, Disneyland or both) allows you the ability to login to the smartphone app which gives you up to date and accurate ride lines and wait times!

What is your favorite guide? Did it make the roundup? Let me know in the comments below!!

When Melissa 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.

It’s All About The Mouse!

Please enjoy some of our favorite photos from around the Walt Disney World Resort.

 

 

Cinderella Castle Halloween, MNSSHP Castle, Cinderella castle

 

 

It’s a World of Laughter…

 

 

A Girls’s Weekend with Your Best Friend= Disney Magic

Aloha!!!

Aloha means hello and goodbye…. I couldn’t think of a more perfect resort to stay in WDW than the Polynesian for my dear childhood pal Kathy and me to stay . We said hello back in second grade and instantly became life-long best friends and needed to geographically say goodbye almost 10 years ago due to job relocations, marriages, etc. although contact had remainded through emails and phone calls. A recent play of cancelled travel events and a decision to enjoy a mutual Significant Birthday Celebration for us both led its reunion and celebration journey not to the familiar New Jersey beaches we once shared happy days upon, but to the door of Disney World in Florida. This trip to WDW was a true celebration of friendship.

With all of the magnificent themed resorts at Walt Disney World it was quite the challenge to pick the “perfect” place for our Girl’s Reunion and “Significant Birthday Celebration Trip” last week! The Polynesian was the the one for us. Transporting you instantly to the South Pacific setting of lush gardens and waterfalls and softly played Hawaiian music everywhere you go. The main building upon arrival is the Great Ceremonial House with its own tropical gardens and waterfall right in the center – this is where you check in. The resort consists of eleven different buildings called “Longhouses”. Each Longhouse has a unique tropical name and each is surrounded by lush gardens.

We chose to stay Club Level for our trip. (this is the concierge level). We booked a garden view room – outside our balcony stood the most beautiful palm tree we have ever seen!

Upon arrival you are presented with a beautiful lei and staying club level you are wisked away in a golf cart from the main building given a tour of the resort and then are taken to the longhouse“Hawaii”. This longhouse is located at the Volcano pool and a beautiful white sandy beach overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon.

The staff at concierge were extremely friendly, courteous and efficient. After check-in we were presented with yet another beautiful lei and wishes for a wonderful stay! We were escorted to the third floor to our beautiful BIG garden view room. The rooms here at the Polynesian are quite large in comparison to other Disney resorts as The Polynesian was one of the first resorts built at WDW. A noted feature is it’s amazing central location and transportation availability to parks with monorail and boat access. Guests staying club level have access a beautiful lounge . Daily lounge offerings bountied with several flavored coffee, teas and juice selections during continental breakfast in the morning, fresh fruits and cookies during the day and light hors d’oeurvres and hot appetizers in the early evening to include wines and cordials among favorite sampling of desserts that were offered later in the evening.

The Concierge Lounge has a three story wall of windows facing the Magic Kingdom and lagoon with a perfect view of Cinderella’s Castle. Each night guests gather here to enjoy viewing the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle – with the firework display music piped into the room directly from the Magic Kingdom.. We so enjoyed relaxing here each evening after a busy day exploring each park… Truly Magical!!!!!!!

ncluded into this easy chair view of the fireworks is the 9pm Electrical Water Pageant that passes right by the Polynesian on the lagoon!!! A beautiful way to end each amazing day at the parks sitting on the beach or sipping hot chocolate in the lounge!!!!!

This was my friend Kathy’s first trip to my favorite place and I think it has become one of her favorite places to visit now also!! We spent our first morning at Animal Kingdom. The Animal Safari Trek was so exciting. To be so up close and personal with the animals is beyond explanation. I will always treasure my memory of the magnificent lion who was surveying his domain from on top of a huge rock formation. We took in the Lion King Show that day also. Kathy was taken aback by the grandeur of the costumes and glorious music that produced this colorful breathtaking performance.

On our second day we visited The Magic Kingdom. Can you remember the first time that you stepped onto Main Street USA???? Think back, it feels like a great big hug just wrapping you in happiness and excitement. The Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates of the Caribbean were just a few of our favorites. Even seeing an outside street performance from the one and only “Capt. Jack Sparrow” up close and personal. After a quick lunch we headed back by boat to the Polynesian. We had dinner reservations at The Artist Point in Wilderness Lodge. If you have never experienced dinner here – it is a must!!! The cuisine is absolutely fabulous. I had a special order cake made for Kathy’s birthday and during dessert our server brought it out to her. The pastry chefs are true artisans and the cake was delicious!!! What a perfect way to end such an amazing dinner. After dinner it was just a hop –skip – and a jump back to the Polynesian for a quick change then on the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom for The Main Street Electrical Parade. This is a spectacle of lights and sounds like you have never seen. Float after float of your favorite Disney characters waving and dancing in the streets. Later that evening we found ourselves right in front of Cinderella’s Castle, directly in front of the bronzed statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse watching the grandest fireworks display set to music that we have ever seen. Truly an amazing sight.

Off to Hollywood Studios the next day. I so wanted to share with her Toy Story Mania. We raced over to the ride and waited 40 minutes. So glad we did – we laughed through the attraction the whole time. Such fun!!!! A trip to Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride rounded out our day. Thought we would leave the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster to the less faint of heart!!!!

EPCOT – of course, SOARIN first on the agenda!!! The sights and sounds and aromas of this experience are totally off the charts!!!!! As we were walking around we could hear “Mine – Mine – Mine” with our curiosity peaked we found ourselves at The Seas with Nemo & Friends.. Seagulls greeted us at the entrance with their call of “mine” and we ventured onto a Clam Shell fit for two for an undersea adventure with Nemo and his friends which brought both the real world of the sea and the fantasy world of Nemo. Dinosaurs???? Who doesn’t like dinosaurs???? Ellen’s Universe of Energy was our next stop of the day…. You are taken back in time to roam with all types of dinosaurs and saw how the earth’s energy began and how we continue to strive for a better tomorrow.

Included into this easy chair view of the fireworks is the 9pm Electrical Water Pageant that passes right by the Polynesian on the lagoon!!! A beautiful way to end each amazing day at the parks sitting on the beach or sipping hot chocolate in the lounge!!!!!

This was my friend Kathy’s first trip to my favorite place and I think it has become one of her favorite places to visit now also!! We spent our first morning at Animal Kingdom. The Animal Safari Trek was so exciting. To be so up close and personal with the animals is beyond explanation. I will always treasure my memory of the magnificent lion who was surveying his domain from on top of a huge rock formation. We took in the Lion King Show that day also. Kathy was taken aback by the grandeur of the costumes and glorious music that produced this colorful breathtaking performance.

On our second day we visited The Magic Kingdom. Can you remember the first time that you stepped onto Main Street USA???? Think back, it feels like a great big hug just wrapping you in happiness and excitement. The Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Buzz Lightyear, and Pirates of the Caribbean were just a few of our favorites. Even seeing an outside street performance from the one and only “Capt. Jack Sparrow” up close and personal. After a quick lunch we headed back by boat to the Polynesian. We had dinner reservations at The Artist Point in Wilderness Lodge. If you have never experienced dinner here – it is a must!!! The cuisine is absolutely fabulous. I had a special order cake made for Kathy’s birthday and during dessert our server brought it out to her. The pastry chefs are true artisans and the cake was delicious!!! What a perfect way to end such an amazing dinner. After dinner it was just a hop –skip – and a jump back to the Polynesian for a quick change then on the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom for The Main Street Electrical Parade. This is a spectacle of lights and sounds like you have never seen. Float after float of your favorite Disney characters waving and dancing in the streets. Later that evening we found ourselves right in front of Cinderella’s Castle, directly in front of the bronzed statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse watching the grandest fireworks display set to music that we have ever seen. Truly an amazing sight.

Off to Hollywood Studios the next day. I so wanted to share with her Toy Story Mania. We raced over to the ride and waited 40 minutes. So glad we did – we laughed through the attraction the whole time. Such fun!!!! A trip to Star Tours and The Great Movie Ride rounded out our day. Thought we would leave the Tower of Terror and Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster to the less faint of heart!!!!

EPCOT – of course, SOARIN first on the agenda!!! The sights and sounds and aromas of this experience are totally off the charts!!!!! As we were walking around we could hear “Mine – Mine – Mine” with our curiosity peaked we found ourselves at The Seas with Nemo & Friends.. Seagulls greeted us at the entrance with their call of “mine” and we ventured onto a Clam Shell fit for two for an undersea adventure with Nemo and his friends which brought both the real world of the sea and the fantasy world of Nemo. Dinosaurs???? Who doesn’t like dinosaurs???? Ellen’s Universe of Energy was our next stop of the day…. You are taken back in time to roam with all types of dinosaurs and saw how the earth’s energy began and how we continue to strive for a better tomorrow.

Across the lake in EPCOT you will find World Showcase… We set off for our little tour of the countries at EPCOT. The cast members in each country are from that area of the world. You get a true sense of what it is like to visit and live through their eyes. We so enjoyed our tour checking out each and every one comparing the different cultures and wares of each. We had dinner in Italy at Tutto Italia – what a wonderful time!! I felt like I was back in my grandmother’s dining room totally enjoying a most delicious plate of lasagna and cannoli’s for dessert. When the servers realized we were both celebrating a birthday they surprised us with a rousing song of Happy Birthday in Italian and each birthday girl was presented with a beautiful cupcake with a lit candle to blow out– oh yes and I cannot forget our after dinner cordial, Lemoncello, made directly from their represented region of Italy, outstanding in originality!!!!!!

Each evening EPCOT puts on a magnificent firework/lightshow on the lake between Future World and World Showcase. This is a show that will positively give you chills. The Illuminations and music is overwhelming. A perfect way to end an amazing time at EPCOT.

Polynesian Resort Disney waterfall, Polynesian Resort Lobby

As in all fairytales there is a beginning and an ending. So our Once Upon A Time came to an end full of new happy memories to go along with all those of the past. The ones that made us smile and laugh over our long extended weekend we were there together. Two old friends who got to be kids we once were again. No matter what your age while at Disney World time stands still and you are young at heart once more.

As we discovered, Disney and its Magic holds many charms, wishes and discoveries for all ages. It was within a matter of hours that we began to discover a light heartedness overtaking us. The transport of oneself back into a childhood as an adult, is one I strongly recommend for friends, sisters or siblings. It is an awakening of the magic that Walt understood. The living magic not limited to age but into finding the renewed child within ourselves no matter what the age that somehow is lost by everyday life.

Powerful emotions of saying goodbye to our time together overwhelmed and surprised both of us. We were both returning to our homes miles apart but feeling renewed by Walt and his timeless vision. Thankyou Mr. Disney, Thankyou!

We are already talking about when we can go back and enjoy all of the Magic all over again!!!!

What would you do with a $100 Disney Gift Card? Vol. I

By Frances

There are so many things that you can do with a $100 Disney Gift Card. Here are a few things that our Mouze Kateerz readers would do. Please comment on this post and you just may see your comment in a blog:-)

Kristen says: I am going to Disney in April, so I would use the gift card to pay for a character meal for my 3 toddlers, husband and I!!!!

Amanda says: I would love to be able to take my little girl to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique so she could be her favorite princess Rapunzel!

Lois says: I have a surprise trip planned in January (it’s going under the Christmas tree), so an extra $100 would really help!!

Julia says: I would buy all of the baby Tinkerbell and baby animals that I could afford for my daughter.

Click here for your chance to win the $100 Disney Gift Card.

Best of Luck to everyone!

Disney’s California Grill at the Contemporary Resort: Is it Worth the Big Buck$?

California Grill prices, California Grill menu, California Grill dress code, California Grill kids menu, California Grill photos, Contemporary Resort Photos

Every photo has a story.

High atop the iconic Contemporary Resort sits a Signature dining restaurant that rates among the best Disney has to offer. It’s also one of the most expensive restaurants on the Disney property. If you are looking for a fantastic Walt Disney World location that would be memorable for a special occasions or fine vacation-dining, the California Grill may be your place to start. Here are three reasons why, if you have it, dining here just may be worth the Big Buck$. [Read more…]