Sara’s Snippets – July 23, 2014 – New Late Fall Room Offer

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Enjoy spook-tacular savings on Late Fall stays at Walt Disney World Resort®! Save up to 30% on stays most nights 10/4/14 – 11/25/14 and 11/29/14 – 12/23/14. *

Save up to 15% at slect Value Resorts
Save up to 20% at select Mdoerate Resorts
Save up to 30% at select Deluxe & Deluxe Villa Resorts

Book by 10/3/14 by contacting your Mouse Fan Travel Planner today!

http://www.mousefantravel.com/disney-destinations/walt-disney-world-re sort/latest-deals/late-fall-save-30

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner 

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian, Disney's Contemporary Resort – Bay Lake Tower, and 3-Bedroom Villas. 30% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings for other Resorts. 

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Sara’s Snippets – July 16, 2014 (Bonus!) – 2015 Packages Can Be Booked Beginning July 30, 2014

Greetings again fellow Mouse Fans!

Finally, after many long days and weeks of waiting, wondering, wishing and a little bit of whining… Disney has announced that Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, will begin accepting reservations for 2015 packages on July 30, 2014. (Reservations can be made for up to 499 days in advance, which means that technically we will not be able to book ALL of 2015 until August 19, 2014.) 

Contact your favorite Mouse Fan Travel Planner today regarding your 2015 vacation plans so that they can get you a quote on July 30, 2015!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo courtesy of Disney®

 

 

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Sara’s Snippets – July 16, 2014 – Trattoria al Forno

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Disney's Boardwalk area is getting a new restaurant – Trattoria al Forno - opening in December 2014. Trattoria al Forno will feature "Old World"-style Italian food, representing specialties from the different regions of Italy. Neapolitan-style pizza, Bolognesewith house-made cavatelli, and Pork Chop alla Milanese are just some of the regional cuisine to be featured at this new eatery, replacing Kouzzina by Cat Cora, which will close in September. 

Be sure to save room for dessert! Tiramisu, panna cotta, and bombolini are just a samplig of the pastries on offer to tempt you. And no Italian meal is complete without the perfect wine to accompany your meal (choose from over 60 varieties by the bottle and over 25 varieties by the glass) and an after-dinner coffee or cappucino. 

Trattoria al Forno will begin accepting Advanced Dining Reservations in a few weeks!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

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Image Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – July 10, 2014 – Halloween Is Better on the High Seas

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

We've all heard of Christmas trees but what the heck is a Pumpkin Tree? Guests sailing on the Disney Cruise Line this Fall in September and October will have the chance to find out during "Halloween on the High Seas." These Halloween-themed cruises onboard the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy will feature fun activites, costume parties, special entertainment, and the aforementioned Pumpkin Tree! 

Contact your Mouse Fan Travel Planner for more information on one of these Spook-tacular cruises!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

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Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – July 9, 2014 – Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages Now Available for Booking

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

In the heat of the July sun, it is pleasant to think of cooler days. Let us turn our thoughts to the holidays at Walt Disney World… 

The Candlelight Processional, a re-telling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a full choir and orchestra, is held nightly in the America Gardens Theater at Epcot. Showtimes are 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 pm. (Except for December 7 when there are only two shows at 6:45 and 8:15 pm.) A partial list of celebrity narrators has been announced:

11/28-11/29: Jodi Benson

12/5-12/6: Whoopi Goldberg

12/15-12/17: Sharon Stone

12/18-12/20: Ana Gasteyer

12/21-12/23: Marlee Matlin

12/28-12/30: Steven Curtis Chapman

Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages include lunch or dinner at an Epcot restaurant (all table service restaurants in Epcot with the exception of Akershus, Le Cellier, and Monsieur Paul), and reserved seating for one performance of the Candlelight Processional. Lunch starts at $35 per person, Dinner starts at $50 per person. This package can be booked by calling 407-WDW-DINE, online at www.disneyworld.com/dining or by contacting your Mouse Fan Travel Planner!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

CLP870631

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – July 3, 2014 – Happy Independence Day!

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

While you will be able to find fireworks displays all over the USA this weekend, there are none quite like the fireworks displays at Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios will all have special fireworks on the 4th of July. (The Magic Kingdom will actually hold their 4th of July fireworks on both July 3 & 4.) 

Have a safe, and wonderful 4th of July and, of course, be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – July 2, 2014 – Cinderella’s Royal Table Refurbishment

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

We can now confirm the rumor – Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for refurbishment January 5, 2015 – March 6, 2015. (Dates subject to change.) Guests wishing to dine with the Princesses should consider Akershus in Epcot for breakfast, lunch or dinner (multiple Princeses, subject to change) or 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian for dinner only (Cinderella is joined by Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and her Step Sisters) . 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Two princesses share a hug during "Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner"<br /><br />
recently at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

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Sara’s Snippets – June 26, 2014 – Keeping Attractions Running Smoothly

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Walt Disney World is a magical place where guests can escape from their humdrum every day lives and indulge in fun and fantasy. So it can be a bit jarring when the real world intrudes in the form of a malfunctioning attraction or slightly-the-worse-for-wear appearance. To minimize these interruptions to the magic, Walt Disney World performs periodic refurbishments to all of its attractions, shows, restaurants, pools, etc. 

When planning your Walt Disney World vacation, it's helpful to know ahead of time what will be closed during your stay. This will help to prevent sad faces and disappointment when your family runs eagerly to your favorite ride, only to discover it is closed for refurbishment! 

Where can you find this information? AllEars.Net of course! We all know and love AllEars.Net for the tons of Disney information they provide to us, but the Rehabs and Closing Schedule is one of the most useful tools available. Be sure to check it out before your next trip!

Be well and make magic wherever you go, 

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Cinderella's Royal Table -- Magic Kingdom

Cinderella's Royal Table is rumored to be closing for a rehab in January 2015. Keep any eye on the Rehab and Closing Schedule for confirmation! Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Celebrate Universal Moments at the All New Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

With such a strong community of Disney fans over at Mouse Fan Travel, it can sometimes be hard to convince or even interest us Mouse Fans to head down the road and check out Universal Orlando Resort. I know even personally, I did not experience Universal as a guest until a couple of years ago. Many of us have so much history with Disney Parks, it may feel as though we are "betraying the Mouse" by visiting another theme park. However, when I first visited Universal Orlando Resort, I was actually shocked at how much I loved it. The theming, the details, the fun, is all there. I realized that it is possible to love both resorts, for different reasons, just be being a fan of theme park design, story, and of course, attractions. {And being a huge Harry Potter nerd doesn't hurt either.} With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade section in Islands of Adventure, the park gained a whole new set of fans and visitors. The attention to detail and the dedication to the Harry Potter books and movies is quite simply, amazing. Add to the mix the beautiful hotels on property (we'll discuss those more later) and great packages with add-ons like the Universal Dining Plan, and Universal Orlando really IS a destination worth visiting. All of that is reason enough to visit these parks and hotels – but Universal just changed the game with their new Wizarding World of Harry Potter addition – Diagon Alley. We were recently treated to a preview of this new area and it's main attraction – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and to sum it all up in a word, it's AMAZING.  Below, we'll share some details of this new area and why, if you are on the fence about adding a Universal visit to your Orlando vacation, now is the very best time to jump on over and visit these incredible parks and resorts. 

If you are a fan of the Harry Potter series of books or even just the movies, you will fall head over heels in love (as I did) with Diagon Alley. The area is set up with London's King's Cross Station and surrounding buildings setting the stage for the Muggle (or non-wizard) part of London, with only a few details like the Knight Bus and Kreecher the House Elf peeking out from a window giving away that something magical is going on around here. But around the corner lies a very special alley – Diagon Alley which makes you feel like you are a wizard yourself, stepping foot right into the books or movie set. You can dine in the Leaky Cauldron. You can have a cone at Florean Fourtiscue's Ice Cream Parlour. You can pick up some parchment or a quill at Scribbulus. I could go on and on. Oh, and by the way, there is a giant dragon perched on the top of Gringott's Bank, which breathes fire every 10 minutes. I was overwhelmed, in the very best way possible, and did not want to leave. 

Escape from Gringott's is a ride unlike any other, and had me grinning from ear to ear (and hanging on for dear life) the whole time. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but I will say that while it's not quite as intense as Forbidden Journey, as far as scary parts go, but it is still packed full of thrills, surprises and fun. With a height requirement of 42", it will be more accessible to younger riders than Forbidden Journey – if your little ones like Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain, or The Mummy at Universal, they will love this. 

We were only able to go in to Diagon Alley at night, so we only have nighttime photos to share, but we'll be back as soon as we can to share daytime photos too. However, I must say that photos really cannot do justice to the feelings you experience when you first step foot inside the alley and are transported to the world of Harry Potter, surrounded by the sights, sounds and scents of the books and movies.

Right now, to celebrate the opening of Diagon Alley Universal Orlando Resort is offering an all-new Harry Potter vacation package: 

This EXCLUSIVE vacation package includes:

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket
  • Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron™ in Universal Studios Florida® – one per person
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Universal's Islands of Adventure® – one per person
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open
  • Special themed Welcome Parcel (This works in both parks Wizarding World sections!)
    • Souvenir owl plush
    • Welcome letter

I know I want to book myself a package right now! Stay tuned to the Cafe, @meitravel on twitter, @mei_mousefantravel on instagram and the MEI-Travel Facebook Page for more updates!

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Sara’s Snippets – June 19, 2014 – My Favorite Table Service Restaurants

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Moving on to Table Service locations… Since this is really about what restaurants give you the best experience (both taste and atmosphere) for your Disney Dining Plan credits, I'll restrict myself to locations that are only one Table Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan! Signature Dining locations (those that are two Table Service Credits per person) are probably their own topic anyway. 

Magic Kingdom

Once upon a time there was a restaurant that had my favorite character meal of all time – Liberty Tree Tavern. Sadly, the characters have not appeared at this location in many years but the fond memories remain. Perhaps it is this, combined with my New England heritage and my love of comfort food, that puts Liberty Tree Tavern at the top of my list in the Magic Kingdom. The Dinner is served family style and is all you can eat! Salad, turkey, beef, pork, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, stuffing and veggies – it is Thanksgiving every day here! Lunch is also a great option with an a la carte menu featuring a diverse menu of american classics. 

Epcot

Epcot is a much tougher place to narrow it down to one restaurant. This is where the good food lives!! So I'm going to go with my standout meal from last week – Via Napoli. This was my first visit to this restaurant and we were blown away. My guys started with the Prosciutto e Melone (prosciutto with canteloupe), I had the Mozzarella Caprese, and we split the Piccante Signature Pie (spicy sausage pizza). I am still dreaming of the fresh mozzarella and the perfect chewiness of the crust! But because there is so much great food at Epcot, I also have to give honorable mentions to the Garden Grill (an unsung gem of a character meal), and San Angel Inn. 

Animal Kingdom

This one is easy – Tusker House! Where did I choose to dine on my 40th birthday? Not Victoria & Albert's, not Artist Point – Tusker House! This buffet (with characters at breakfast and lunch) offers some of the best food around. Just try to keep me away from the Seafood Stew and Israeli Couscous… Oh and the plantains… and the Roast Beef with Horseradish Cream… and a saffron rice… did I mention the desserts? Ok so yeah, I like it. and you will too!

Hollywood Studios

I always leave this one for last. Actually, I usually just leave this park when it is time to eat! But if I do stay in the park, I am headed to the 50's Primetime Cafe. With a fun atmosphere, casual comfort food menu, and really interactive servers, this is my favorite place in Hollywood Studios. And the portions are BIG so you get a lot for your dining dollar! (But to be fair, chances are you will see me boarding a boat bound for the Epcot Resort area to grab dinner over there at Beaches & Cream or Captain's Grill!)

So that's it! My recommendations for snacks, counter service locations, and table service locations at each park. Bon appetit! 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Via Napoli

Via Napoli – My current favorite in Epcot. Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

 

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