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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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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Walt Disney’s Famous Words …. Quotes by Walt Disney

Walt and Mickey Mouse statue, Mickey Mouse statue, Walt Disney statue, Walt Disney

By FrancesWalt Disney, Walt Disney statue, Mickey Mouse photo, Mickey Mouse statue, Main Street statue

I consider Walt Disney a mentor in some ways. I may not have ever met him but I have read multiple biographies about the good & the bad things that happened in his life. He was told “No” more times than “Yes” in his youth. He had a passion for art and drawing that included painting on his parents house with his sister Ruth. He had more than one business that went bankrupt or was closed down. He had to learn how to be a better manager so he could create loyalty. Here are a few quotes of his that I have really shaped my life!

Walt Disney photo, Walt Disney Art of Disney, Downtown Disney art

Walt Disney painting from Downtown Disney’s “Art of Disney” store.

All quotes are by Walt Disney

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way,  implicitly and unquestionable.”

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to  pursue them.”

“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I  wouldn’t know how to get along without it.”

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and  obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a  kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other  things.”

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I  am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”

“When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to  do.”
Downtown Disney entrance sign, Mickey Mouse Disney, Mickey Mouse Disney sign, Disney, Mickey Mouse

“I believe in being an innovator.”

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating  those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”

Autism + Disney= A Great Match

By Frances

Having a child with autism/asperger/any sensory disorder takes special planning for any trip. Of all the places that I have taken my 4 year old son, Disney does special needs best. Here are a few things that I do to prepare my son for the trip and things that I do/take for him during any Disney Vacation.

Pre-Planning

1. YOUTUBE:  I watch videos with him of the rides and shows starting a few months out. This allows him to be more familiar with all of them and I can see what actually catches and keeps his attention.

2.Disney Junior /the Disney Channel/DVDs: The more familiar he is with all of the characters the better he is when meeting them. He has an older sister so he knows all of the “boy” shows and is also fluent in princesses:-)

Minnie Mouse doll3. Plush Characters: He sleeps with at least one stuffed animal each night.

4. Make Reservations for Character Meals:  It gives him a great chance to meet most of his favorite characters in a reduced stress environment. As much as I love Chef Mickey’s. I find that the monorail being above tends to be a little over stimulating for my son. I usually opt for Tusker House inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.  He still gets to meet his main favorites without the “MONORAIL” going over us every 5 minutes.

While we are at the Walt Disney World ResortDisney Guest Assistance Card, how to get a Disney Guest Assistance Card, what is a Disney Guest Assistance card

1. I get a Guest Accommodation Card (GAC) for him at Guest Relations when we enter. It allows us to have reduce wait times in line for rides. This has literally saved our vacations.

2. Go to the Baby Care Centers for a few moments to regroup. When he gets over stimulated and needs a break, I find the baby care centers are my best friend. There is one in each theme park. It is a room with a TV playing classic Disney cartoons. They are set up with chairs/furniture that make it nice for a break.

3. Disney chefs or managers will come out and tell me what is Gluten Free on the menu so I don’t have to guess.

4. My son is almost 5 years old but I still use an umbrella stroller. The cast members even place a “Stroller can be used at wheelchair” tag on it. This allows me to push him all the way to the ride. I get this at the same time as I get the GAC.

I hope you enjoy a few of my tips that have helped me make our Disney vacations more magical.

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

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Cooking with a Mouze: Whispering Canyon Cafe’s Little Nutty Salad Reciepe

By Melissa L.

I love cooking Disney food and when I found this recipe for Whispering Canyon Cafe’s Little Nutty Salad, I just had to try it.

This salad is very easy to make and was easily enough for me to have for dinner one night and lunch the next day! Hurray for leftovers!!!

Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/3 cup roasted walnuts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 onions
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350°F until golden brown. Place the roasted walnuts in a food processor with the honey, vinegar and onions. Mix until smooth. Add the olive oil in increments, mixing well between additions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Candied Walnuts

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

Mix the walnuts and maple syrup. Spread the walnut mixture on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350°F until golden brown. Cool and reserve for garnish on the Little Nutty Salad.

Little Nutty Salad

  1. 1-2 handfuls lettuce
  2. Mix 2 Tbsp. tillamook cheddar cheese, shredded 1/3 cup Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing, 2 Tbsp. Candied Walnuts, and 6-8 oz. grilled chicken breast

Prepare the Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing and Candied Walnuts as directed. Toss the lettuce mix with the Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Dressing and place in a serving bowl. Top with shredded Tillamook Cheddar Cheese and Candied Walnuts. Slice the grilled Chicken Breast into strips and place on top of salad. Serve with slices of toasted foccaccia bread.

The salad was yummy and I changed a couple of things.  I added some tomatoes and did not shred the cheese since I prefer bigger in my salad.  I also didn’t use quite as much chicken.  I didn’t  add the bread since it made a pretty well rounded meal.  I am a pretty picky salad eater so most people wouldn’t be such pains in the butt.  Either way, the dressing alone made this recipe worth making!

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.


Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or frances@distinctive-journeys.com

Melissa L.

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.)

When 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.

Stop by Picturing Disney, where we keep the Disney magic alive at home one snapshot at a time!

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Looking to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Here’s Three MORE Simple Tips

bring food into Disney parks, can you bring food into Disney parks,disney snacks, disney snack costs

The cost of food just kills me on a Disney vacation. Each time we go, I keep my receipts and pour over them once we get home, searching for ways I could have saved money. We’ve covered some ways to save money on food at the parks (Want to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Try These Three Simple Tips) Now here’s three more ways that I have used to save money on vacation at Disney. [Read more…]

Honey Coriander Wings from Disney’s Ohana Restaurant: the Make-It-Yourself Recipe

By Melissa L.

My husband and I are huge Ohana fans. Combine the fabulous Polynesian resort with Ohana’s authentic cooking, and I’m just over the moon about the whole dining experience. One of my favorite dishes at Ohana are the Honey Coriander Wings. I located this recipe over on  The Disney Chick‘s website. I followed her recipe closely, though I made a few small ingredients changes. Oh, that and the fact that I decided to make this the first time the week after the Super Bowl.  Of course, there were no wings anywhere to be found, so I made it with drumsticks, and really, that was just fine. [Read more…]

Want to Save Money on Food at Walt Disney World? Try These Three Simple Tips

magic kingdom photo, mponorail photo, Disney train photo,

I think about Disney vacations every day, and one of the biggest thoughts constantly running through my mind is, “How can I save money?” For what you will spend on your vacation, you could have purchased a big screen TV or a used car. Lots of people are looking for ways to cut those vacation expenses down. [Read more…]

Why Has Everyone Gone Crazy for Free Disney Dining?!

FREE dining dates at the Walt Disney World Resort for fall of 2012 were recently released, and for those who follow Disney on Facebook or the Internet, this topic was everywhere.  What’s the big deal? Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Free Disney Dining offer. [Read more…]

Is Disney just for kids? Here’s Some Tips for Adult Fun at Walt Disney World

Think Walt Disney World is a place where just kids have fun? Think again. We had three of our Mouze Kateerz writers take a look at what it takes for an adult to have a ball at Disney, without a child in sight, at least not a kid they brought with them!

Epcot Japan, Epcot China,

“Kid free Disney? Yes, I said it,” says Maleah Moskoff, a Mouze Kateerz staff writer from www.chachatea.net, who also provided many pictures for today’s article from one of her many adult-only trips“The Disney magic is not just for the little ones. Think about the architecture, food and night life. I have made several adult only trips to Disney World. Before I had a child, I brought my then boyfriend, now husband to Disney on a package. We stayed at the very adult friendly Yacht Club, walked slowly through Epcot, stopping for whatever food looked good, enjoyed late night strolls through Downtown Disney and quiet time in the adult pools. “

Epcot Paris

“As an adult, I have visited Disney World with my mom and aunt, and we have fun! It’s a foodie adventure, a photographer’s paradise, and I educate many adults who think there is nothing for adults at Disney. You can make the trip romantic, educational or relaxing. With the cool back stage tours, architectural walks and tours plus award-winning restaurants, think Disney the next time you plan your vacation without kids.

“Maleah Moskoff is a small business owner based out of Madison, WI. She is also known as the “Tea Lady” around town. Maleah’s business, Cha Cha Tea, is an online tea retailer and local tea educator.

An avid Disney fan since childhood, Maleah has been going to Disney World since 1991. Maleah can be found at www.chachatea.net.

Epcot Mexico, Epcot Mexican pavilion

Roger and Brenda from Going Back to Disney offer three great reasons to go to Disney without a child in tow.

“Our first visit to Walt Disney World as a couple was on our honeymoon. Since then, we have been about a dozen times in ten years. We have no grandkids, so all of our trips have been “Kid Free,” which allows us to indulge in Friends, Flowers, and Fun.

We meet new friends at Disney World. Sometimes it’s another Kid Free Couple, other times it’s a family with children. Either way, we enjoy transforming wait time into friend time. We are festooned with our Disney pins (Brenda has Tinker Bell, Roger has Goofy) and always carry a bag of pins to trade. We like to offer pins to the kids we meet to help boost their collections. We frequently buy pins on e-Bay to use just to trade and give away. And one day we met a couple who lived just a few miles from our house, so we’ve gotten together for dinner and relived our Disney fun!

Mickey Epcot topiary, Mickey MouseCheck out the flowers! Brenda is a serious gardener, so every year we attend the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

 Standing in the midst of the many viola flowerbeds is intoxicating to Brenda. She would love to have a small portion of the Disney Flower budget for her own garden.  From the 100+ topiaries to the floating gardens to the presentations by HGTV personalities, it truly is magical.

Watching 100’s of species of butterflies is incredible.  Being “Kid Free” means we can stay at any display for as long as we want, and change directions whenever it suits our fancy. And how much fun is it to see the new “toys” in the gardening world the vendors have to offer.

Waiting in line for fun? You bet. We like to wait in line. Really! We get to the early park opening an hour before the early opening, and we wait so we can be near the front of the line. That’s where we meet folks; sometimes new, sometimes “old”—we’re always amazed how many times we run into our new friends at Disney World!”

 Epcot Morocco

“We also like to Wait—Watch—Repeat. We love the Voices of Liberty show, and Brenda was even part of the show once. We’ll listen to their beautiful singing and hang around outside for a while.  Then we get back into the air-conditioned comfort and sit on a bench to be ready for another performance. We do that three or more times in a row!

While waiting we also search for hidden Mickeys, talk to Cast Members, plan our next move, and enjoy the pre-show.

We’re not sure how much fun meeting strangers, smelling flowers, and waiting in line would be with kids—but it’s a hoot when you’re kids free!”

Brenda & Roger are Disney-holics who hail from Franklin, NH. Their Disney adventures are chronicled at Back to Disney.  Roger is a professional resume writer and Brenda is a serious gardener. They are proud and excited to be part of the Mouze Kateerz staff.
Epcot Paris, Epcot France
Mouze Kateerz writer Lisa Petrarca has been going with her Mom to Disney World since she was two.Now that I am 29, Mom and I can both agree on one thing…going to Disney as two adults is much more fun! We still like the Magic Kingdom, but not nearly as much as the other parks. What we try to do is go to one of the after hours parties, such as “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” if they are going on , since we can get through all of MK in one night and have the rest of the trip for the other parks.  One thing we love to do at Epcot is go around the World Showcase. As a child I hated it, but now we can enjoy the shows, try the local cuisine and alcoholic beverages and not feel rushed. One of our favorite activities is after the parks close, we walk down to the Boardwalk and go to Jellyrolls. It is a dueling piano bar that is always a blast. Everyone is singing along, and the songs they play are all requested by the audience.  We have celebrated many birthdays and special occasions there. Lastly, we like to be able to relax! We have taken an afternoon to go for a massage at Saratoga Springs, which was wonderful. We spent the rest of the day resort hopping and just being able to enjoy all that Disney has to offer, without worrying about waiting for two hours to get on Dumbo!
Lisa Petrarca just moved to Nashville, TN, after spending 28 years in Ohio. She has been a huge Disney fan since her parents took her on her first trip at age two. 2. She has been to Disney over 70 times and worked at Blizzard Beach as part of the Disney College Program. She is now working on finding a way to move to FL,  so she can be closer to her favorite place on Earth!
So there you have it, lots and lots of ways to have fun at Walt Disney World without a child of your own in sight. Let us know if you have any ideas of your own, because we’re always looking for our next article.
Thanks for coming along for a photographical Disney ride, and we’ll see you on the sidewalk as you pass us with your stroller. That’s Ok, because we love those kids too!
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