How my daughter saves for Disney!

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By Frances

My family goes to Disney more than the average family. We travel to the Disney resorts & the Disney Cruise Line at least 3 times a year. Most years a few more. My 8 year old daughter doesn’t need any souvenir. Her closet is full of clothes. If one more stuffed animal comes into the house….. Well, you get the drift. When she was 6 years old, we stopped buying her souvenirs and we made her purchase all of her own souvenirs. We had several trials and errors on how to allow her to save some money. How do we make the chores worth the money but not too easy but easy enough?

We started with $5 per week if she does XYZ and she has to do XYZ. All or nothing. That didn’t last long. It was too rigid.

Then all chores were worth 50 cents. Well, she would make $12 a week or more because she did all the easy stuff and none of the tougher items.

Here is what we have settled on:

Cleaning her room, making her bed and bringing her laundry to the laundry room and putting away her clean clothes properly are not chores that she is paid for. We feel that she should do those things because she is part of the family.

All other chores are worth 25 cents to 75 cents. Some she can early daily. Others she has a max on how many times a week she can do them to earn money.

Here is a sample:Minnie Mouse doll

Cat Duty: Feed him & give him fresh water 25 cents (daily)

Cat Duty: Clean the litter box 25 cents (daily)

Bathroom: Clean tub & floor 75 cents (2x per week)

Bathroom: Clean toilet & sink 50 cents (3x per week)

Assist with Dishes 25 cents (daily) we don’t have a dishwasher

Clean TV Room: 75 cents (3x per week)

Clean School Room/Office: 25 cents (3 x per week)

Assist with laundry (other than her own): 10 cents – $1

We also have a “Sass Tax” where she can lose money for misbehaving or sassing back to us. It starts at 10 cents.

She is allowed to use this money for things other than Disney. She saved to earn a Katniss doll, extra scoop of ice cream etc.

We keep track of all her money on her chore chart. Each sticker is worth 25 cents unless other wise noted.

We know there a tons of ways to teach our kids responsibility. Here is the way that works for us.

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Drinking Around the World at Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

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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!

Prost!!

 

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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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

 

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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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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Quick Service Breakfasts on the Disney Dining Plan

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By Melissa L.

With so many people taking advantage of the free Disney Dining Plan promotions each year, a lot of questions seem to pop up about counter service options in Walt Disney World.  Breakfast seems to be the most sought after quick meal (and I don’t blame you, I love to eat but I don’t let food come between me and my park time either)!

I find that it is much easier to snack a breakfast than to grab a quick service one, as aside from food courts the best options tend to be bakeries that offer muffins and other pastries that can utilize snack credits.  You can also get coffee, tea, juice, and water here.  In the long run it may work in your favor to “snack” breakfasts and save your counter service credits for bigger meals!

Here’s a quick overview of counter service stops in the parks:

Magic Kingdom – Main Street Bake Shop is my fave choice for breakfast here.  Currently there are no quick service breakfasts offered at the Magic Kingdom restaurants, however, snacking one of the tempting selections here is a great choice (and this may change with the opening of the new Fanstasyland expansion)!

Epcot – Boulangerie Patisserie in World Showcase is my fave choice and they offer both snack and quick service options for all meals.  You can also grab a quick service breakfast at Electric Umbrella and  Sunshine Seasons in Future World.

Hollywood Studios – Starring Rolls is not only your best choice in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, its the only breakfast-offering stop!

Animal Kingdom – Kusafiri Coffe Shop or Tamu Tamu Refreshments are your best choice here, although both take snack credits and not counter service ones and the menus do change.

Don’t forget almost ALL Walt Disney World Resort Hotels offer a food court of some sort and Disney changes things up sometimes based on crowds so you may find a coffee cart or that you can grab a quick service meal in places that you though were only snackable!  While some require you to leave your hotel to grab a meal, this is an important fact to check up on before you plan your meals!

Happy Touring (& eating)!

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.

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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!