8 Ways to Save for Your Next Disney Vacation

If you are anything like me, you would take any chance you had to visit Walt Disney World or any other Disney destination in the world. You dream about it day and night, plan out dream trips that you may not really take, and count down the days until you can visit again. Unfortunately, if you are still anything like me, you can’t always afford it! Disney vacations can be expensive, especially if you are traveling during the peak seasons. I usually plan my vacations a year or more ahead of time giving me time to scrimp and save as much as possible to make those dreams a reality. As soon as Disney releases the rates on the dates I want to travel, I go into planning and saving mode. I have found the following 8 ways extremely effective over my many years of Walt Disney World vacation saving. Every little penny adds up when trying to get yourself just one step closer to the Mouse.

1. Spare Change
This is one of my most successful ways of saving money. Whenever I have cash on me and I buy something I ALWAYS break the dollar. I never use change to pay for anything, even if my bill comes out to $6.01. If you put all of that change in a jar, over time it will really add up! Even more fun is to decorate a “Walt Disney World Vacation Jar.” It will make it all the better to throw the change in there when you can get really excited about what it is going towards. I roll it up every couple of months and deposit it into my special vacation savings. Which brings me to money saving tip #2.

2. Vacation Savings Account
Open a savings account specifically for vacations. Make sure it is an account that does not charge fees if you have too low of a balance or when you take the money out to use for your vacation. When it’s all in this special account you won’t dip into it as much as if it is just money in your everyday savings or checking account. If your work offers direct deposit for their payroll and they allow you the option to deposit into more than one account, that is an easy way to put a little aside each payroll check. I have mine set up for a small amount of my check each week to go directly into the vacation savings account. It’s small as to where it doesn’t affect my life but nice to see the account grow over time. I also put all of the change that I’ve collected into the account each month. Instead of letting it all sit around in jar, I deposit it as soon as I have a good amount so I can also receive interest. The interest really is not much depending on the type of account you have opened but hey, it’s something!

3. Disney Gift Cards
Lots of retailers sell Disney gift cards and you can actually use these gift cards towards the payment of your vacation. Places like Target or Costco even discount the price of the gift card. For example at Target if you have their credit card you will receive 5% off the purchase of a Disney gift card. So if you buy one for $50, you will pay end up paying $47.50. Usually if I am in one of these stores and my budget allows, I will grab a gift card either to put towards the payment of my trip or to use as spending money while there.

4. Popular Grocery/Shopping Apps
There are several grocery and shopping apps that I have become obsessed with in the last year. They actually pay you to shop for items you already are most likely shopping for. Best of all, these apps are completely free and typically deposit the money directly into your paypal account (some still send paper checks). My absolute favorite right now is Ibotta. If you purchase any of the items shown on the Ibotta app, you simply scan the barcode, upload a picture of your receipt and they put the rebate into your account. For example, a bottle of Yellowtail wine will earn you a $1.00 rebate. Once you have earned $10 you are able to redeem it and send it to your Paypal account. I have already earned $125.00 in rebates just about 5 months of using the app. Other favorites of mine are Shrink, Checkout 51, and Ebates. Ebates so far has been my best earner. It is not grocery related, it is all shopping. I do a ton of online shopping and if you click through their app to go to your online store of choice, you earn a percentage back on all of your spending. For example, Old Navy frequently runs 8% back on purchases. They deposit any earnings to your paypal account about once a month no matter how much you have earned.

5. Bottle Returns
In the good ole state of Michigan, I have the privilege to return bottles/cans for cash. It is only 10 cents per bottle or can, but if you never spend any of that money and put it immediately away into your savings it will add up nicely.

6. Yard Sale & Auction Sites
Get all of your old stuff together that you no longer want and have a yard/garage sale. Not nice enough outside to do that yet? Try selling your things on Ebay. Most auctions will not be charged an insertion fee and you will only have to pay a small fee if the item sells. You can also use Half.com if you have books or media to sell. Unlike Ebay, you can list your books or media on Half.com for as long as it takes them to sell. The site will take a small percentage of the final value but there are no fees to list.

7. Extra Money
Any extra money that I receive other than my work paycheck, I will normally throw into the vacation savings. For example, when I switched phone service providers, I had a credit on my account from my old phone. They sent me a check for the balance that was remaining on my account. Before I began these saving techniques I would have put that into my checking account where most of my everyday spending money would go. Since this is money that I wouldn’t normally have, it makes much more sense to put it towards your vacation. I use this mentality with any type of “extra” money I receive. Other examples of this would be money from birthday cards/Christmas gifts, extra work you do for someone that they may pay you for, mail-in rebates, a bonus from work, etc.

8. Disney Visa Rewards Credit Card
Lastly, the Disney Visa Rewards credit card from Chase offers several perks to its cardholders. Most notable would be the reward dollars you can earn from everyday purchases. The current rate of reward dollars on the card is $1 per $100 spent. Once you reach an initial rewards amount of $20 you can then redeem for a gift card that can be used at the parks, the Disney Store, and the Disney Store online. Being a cardholder also gives you different perks at each of the theme parks such as private meet and greets, discounts on tours, exclusive pins and 10% discounts on merchandise at the parks, 10% discounts on select dining locations, and more. Now it is true that the rate of reward dollars is not great. There are a ton of other credit cards out there that offer better rewards. With that being said however, one of my favorite things about the card is when you use the card to pay for your Disney vacation, you are given 6 months to pay for the vacation with 0% interest. I do this every time we plan a vacation and then make sure the trip is paid off within the 6 month term. This helps my situation especially because I usually travel with family members who don’t live in my household. I charge the entire vacation and this gives them time to get me their money without demanding it right away. Also the reward dollars earned from the price of the trip are mighty nice! We usually use the gift card we received to pay for tips at our sit down restaurant reservations. Combine that with the free dining promo (if available) and you have actual straight up FREE dining.

Hopefully theses tips will be helpful when you plan your next vacation, and they might even make it a little more fun to save. How do you save for your Disney vacation?


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Katy Maxwell
katy@magicalvacationsbyme.com
http://www.facebook.com/magicalvacationsbykaty

10 Things Outside The Parks My Kids Always Want To Do.

My kids told me on our last trip down to Disney that they were done with the Parks.  I was shocked to say the least!!  I mean, how can you not go to the parks?!  They told me that they want to go to the Parks and hit their favorites and then go and then do some things outside the Park.

AOA

Here was their list:

1. Ride the monorail

2. Walk around at Art of Animation Resort

3. Head to Downtown Disney

4. Go to Goofy’s Candy Company and get some candy…duh! 🙂

5. Lego Store is always a must for both my kids

6. Eat at Cook’s of Dublin

7. Build a Mr. Potato Head at Once Upon A Toy

8. See what kind of entertainment is at Downtown Disney and sit and watch

9. Watch fireworks from the Beach at Polynesian Resort

10. Go to BoardWalk Resort and walk around

10 things to do at disney

Disney is our happy place as I am sure, it is for some of you.  So we try and make everyone happy by doing what ever we all want to do while we are down there.  The rules are simple, if  it is something we can all do as a family and everybody is good with it we do it!

 

What is on your list of things to do at Disney that is not in the Parks?  Do you change up the list every time you go?  Or is it pretty much the same every trip?

 

~Kim

If you are looking to book a magical vacation, please contact me at 678-449-6680 or kim@magicalvacationsbyme.com

Adventure Awaits with Tiki Handbags and 3wick Disney Inspired Candles!

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Back in January I shared my etsy shop with all you wonderful Mouzies and have since then revamped the candle section of my shop and added a really fun new product!

Enter: the Tiki Buttercup Bag!

I found this fabric not long after my Grandpa gave me my Grandma’s sewing machine and I decided to teach myself how to sew on it.  It is adorable and retro and the tikis bring back so many awesome Disney vacation memories I knew you would love it! Whether you just love the tikis found at the entrances to Adventureland in Magic Kingdom, are a huge fan of the Enchanted Tiki Room itself, or maybe just love the Polynesian Resort or Trader Sam’s at Disneyland Hotel.  I made multiple versions of this awesome bag with different linings: Orange lining with white pockets, Red floral lining with white pockets, Pink & Cream patchwork floral, and even a Pink & Cream patchwork floral with hidden straps!

And, of course, with summer at hand I couldn’t resist pouring some candles and restocking the shop- this time I’ve added 3-wick Candles to the mix in: Polynesian Resort, Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Mickey Waffles, plus a small jar of Yacht & Beach, Walt Disney quote illuminated candle holder with Poly votives, ceramic turtle holder with Poly candle, and a retro Poly Candle Mug!

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Come on by and check out all the Disney inspired crafts in my etsy shop and grab a little bit of Disney vacation at home! 😉

Save for Disney and Make Your Trip Stress Free!

Sally and Mcqueen

By Frances

A Disney vacation can be stressful before you ever set foot in the Orlando area. It can be a very expensive trip between airfare, lodging & food. You may choose to stay off property to save a few dollars but that too can add stress with making the shuttle in time, parking, etc.

Here is how my family saves for our Disney vacations.

Side Note: We are a mostly a cash family. We only put planned things on a credit card or for an emergency. Ex: We put our Disney reservation on  our Disney Visa because it’s 6 months same as cash.Disney Small World, It's a Small World after all, Fantasyland,

1) PLAN: Plan 6-9 months in advance. If you have a year… even better. (You can still use some of these tips even if you go in 1 month.) Disney gift cards don’t expire. They can be used online, at your local Disney store, on the Disney Cruise Line or at the Parks.

2) Purchase Gift Cards: When we go to the grocery store, we will pick up a $25 Disney gift card and add to the cart. At our grocery store we can also purchase gift cards for airlines, gas stations & restaurants. So depending if we fly or drive, we are covered. Plus we get reward points to save on gas while we are home. BONUS! We rarely miss the money on the gift cards but the gift cards add up quickly.

Disney Gift Card3) Gifts: Ask for Disney Gift cards for holidays & birthdays. Give them to your kids for rewards. The tooth fairy even hands out Disney Gift Cards at our home. It’s gotten to the point that our family will buy the kids a small toy for their birthday and then hand us a $50 Disney Gift Card. My mom says that she knows the gift card will make far more memories than the toy she just bought.

4) Get a dining plan: We have gone with and without a dining plan. We like the dining plan because we get what we want rather than the cheapest thing on the menu. It’s prepaid so we don’t have to come out of pocket 3 times a day or more (except for gratuity that we pay with the gift cards). We like the PLUS Dining Plan. It includes 1 table service, 1 quick service &  1 snack per person per night. We saved the receipts from our non dining plan trips and found out that we saved less than $100 on a week long trip. Ate some of the cheaper things on the menu and were stressed about money and having enough.Disney cast members, Disney parade, Disney parade schedule. Disney vacation planning

5) Stash Extra Money: We carry very little cash but sometimes I find myself with what seems like a million 1 dollar bills. I leave $5 in ones in my wallet but will stash the extras in a special hiding spots. We use them for tipping the Magical Express Driver, Valet, House Keeping, etc

6) Save Coins: All loose change goes into our piggy bank. Before we know it, there is $75-$250 in loose change. We’ve heard of people saving much more than that as well.

Money can really make your trip stressful. We have found that we usually have gift cards left over and we use those to book our next Disney Vacation.

Thank you for following Mouze Kateerz. We value your feedback.

Magical Vacations by Me LogoIf you are looking to book a magical vacation, please contact Magical Vacations by Me at 404-414-6198 or mickeyinfo@magicalvacationsbyme.com

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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

 

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

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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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!!!
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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!
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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!!
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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.
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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!
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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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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!

Amanda

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

See ya soon!

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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 Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be in Springfield, MO

Monday October 22, 2012, Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be at an Early Bird Holiday Shopping Event with multiple other vendors in Springfield, MO. If you are near by please stop by and plan your next magical vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Cruise line or Adventures by Disney. If you RSVP to frances@distinctive-journeys.com by Monday morning October 22nd, you will receive a special gift.

Event Location:

Panera Bread Company

500 South National Avenue

Springfield, Missouri

6pm-8:45pm CDT

Several vendors with lots of giveaways, including Thirty-One gifts, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Usborne Books, Celebrating Home, Party Lite and your Disney Travel Specialist. Bring a guest and get an extra entry into giveaways!

Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys will be giving away a model of the Disney Dream.

There are some appointments available prior to the event and the morning of Tuesday October 23rd. Please contact Frances @404-414-6198 to make your appointment.

 

 

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!!!!