Episode 405: Welcome back to another exciting episode of the Traveling with the Mouse podcast. Today, we have an exhilarating lineup as we delve into our summer trip previews. Our first adventure takes us to the enchanting wilderness of Fort Wilderness, where our co-host, Jason, previews his memorial day weekend trip. We will hear more about that next week. Next, Jon is eagerly counting down the days until his visit to Orlando. With Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort on his itinerary, he will be staying at an Air bnb in the Windsor Hills area. I will also be returning in a few weeks with Jason back to Disney but this time we will be staying in a treehouse villa. Of course, we can’t forget the latest news from the ever-evolving world of Disney. In this episode, we’ll be discussing some exciting updates, including the upcoming VIPassholder days in June. This exclusive event is a fantastic opportunity for Annual Passholders to enjoy extra perks, unique experiences, and unforgettable moments within the parks. Star Cruiser is now sold out and the Pixar Place hotel concept art is interesting. So, fellow travel enthusiasts, join us on this episode of Traveling with the Mouse podcast as we embark on incredible journeys, discuss the latest news, and fuel our wanderlust. Whether you’re camping at Fort Wilderness, exploring the magical parks of Orlando, or eagerly awaiting your next adventure, this episode is sure to ignite your passion for travel and all things Disney.
404: Episode not Found
Welcome back, fellow travelers, to another exciting episode of Traveling with the Mouse podcast! Today, we have an episode packed with intriguing news from the magical world of Disney. In this edition, we explore the recent series of unexpected announcements that have sent shockwaves through the Disney community. Join us as we delve into the closure of the Star Cruiser, the cancellation of the Lake Nona project, and the mixed reviews for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Disney has decided to permanently close the Star Cruiser experience. While the closure itself may not be entirely surprising, what has caught everyone off guard is the decision to pull the plug by the end of September. The Star Cruiser, an ambitious and immersive Star Wars-themed hotel experience, was initially met with great enthusiasm and anticipation. Unfortunately, various factors have led to its demise, leaving fans disappointed. As we bid farewell to this unique venture, we reflect on the impact it has had on the Disney landscape and give our thoughts on what Disney should do with it in the future.
One of the notable decisions made during the Chapek era was the Lake Nona project which was going to move Imagineering to Florida. This week Bob Iger announced this project is now officially cancelled. The timing match up politically with what is going on in Florida but this project was most likely doomed the moment Chapek was fired.
With much anticipation, the last installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” has arrived. The Film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The early reviews, however, present a mixed bag of opinions. Harrison Ford did receive a standing ovation at the premiere and it is also John Williams final film score. Do we think that these early critics are wrong and the film will deliver to the fans? We all know that critics are often not in line with audiences…we’re looking at you Last Jedi….
5 Updates to Make Your Visit Easier in 2024
Episode 403: As the world recovers from the pandemic, Disney is making some updates to enhance your visit to the most magical place on earth. Here are the top five updates announced by Disney that will make your visit easier starting in January 2024. We discuss these and give our opinion on them. A few of these are pretty vague but we talk about what we hope these updates will mean.
Park Reservations Will Slowly Be Going Away in 2024
One of the biggest changes announced by Disney is the gradual phasing out of park reservations in 2024. Starting with dates based tickets on January 9th.
Annual Passholders and Cast members Will Have “Good to Go” Days
Annual passholders and cast members will have special days to visit the parks without making a reservation. This is a great perk for those who like to make spontaneous visits to the parks or for those who want to avoid the hassle of making reservations. However, no details are given as to how many “good to go” days will be available. It is a step in the right direction at least.
The Dining Plan Is Coming Back
After being suspended during the pandemic, the dining plan is finally making a comeback. This popular feature allows guests to prepay for meals and snacks at select restaurants throughout the parks and resorts. To start with there will only be 2 plans available to book.
Genie Plus Will Be Available for Advance Purchase
Genie Plus is a new feature that allows guests to skip the regular standby lines for select attractions by paying an additional fee. Disney has announced that Genie Plus will be available for advance purchase. No further details have been given about how far in advance and how many lightning lanes could be reserved in advance. Sounds a lot like they are going back to the way Fast Pass plus was but just with a price tag now.
Resort Guests Will Continue to Have Early Entry and evening hours for Deluxe resorts
If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you’ll continue to have the perk of early entry times. This means that you can enter the parks before the general public and enjoy shorter wait times for popular attractions. Deluxe resort guests will continue to have extra evening hours for select days. This isn’t anything new but at least they are extending this perk through 2024.
News and an AI generated game
Welcome to Traveling with the Mouse, the podcast that takes you on a journey through the magical world of Disney! In this episode, we bring you the latest news and have some fun with AI by having it write a game for us to play. But First up, we have some exciting news for all the Disney fans out there. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are now on sale! This is one of the most popular events at Disney World, and it’s not hard to see why. So if you’re planning a trip to Disney World this fall, be sure to grab your tickets before they sell out. Next, Disney has announced a new discount on lightsabers at Galaxy’s Edge. The Galactic Starcruiser has also extended its discounts this summer to Disney Visa card holders. Moving on, we discuss the latest incident involving the fire breathing dragon. This time during a performance of Fantasmic at Disneyland. Finally, we have the latest drama with the Reedy Creek Improvement District. We end the episode with a little game that AI created for this episode.
Double Trip report
Welcome to the 400th episode of Traveling with the Mouse podcast! Today, we have a double trip report for you. Jason and Adam share highlights from their recent trip to Walt Disney World. One of the main focuses of this trip was dining at signature restaurants, and they did not disappoint. Among the standout meals were Takumi-Tei, Le Cellier, California Grill, and Narcoossee’s. They also enjoyed drinks at the beloved La Cava del Tequila and tried out a new experience at Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ. Jason got to experience the Deluxe after hours where he got to ride Tron by himself. We also toured some friends around the parks this week. Thank you for tuning in to this special episode of Traveling with the Mouse podcast. Be sure to follow us on social media and stay tuned for more episodes filled with Disney travel tips and reviews.
Nathan Firesheets and the Disney Global Ride Challenge
Episode 398: This week we have a special guest and our first repeat guest to the show, Nathan Firesheets. You have probably heard by now that he just completed the Disney global ride challenge where he completed every operating ride at all 12 Disney parks across the globe in 12 days. The challenge itself is no small undertaking. Disney currently operates 12 parks across the globe, each with its own unique attractions and experiences. Nathan had to not only ride every operating ride at each park, but also navigate the logistics of travel between them. During the interview, Nathan shared some of the highlights of his journey. He talks about why he decided early on which route he was going to take and why this only recently became possible again. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the Disney Global Ride Challenge is the sheer variety of experiences that Nathan had. Each park has its own unique flavor, and we asked Nathan what his favorite ride is at each Disney park in the world. If you’re interested in hearing about Nathan’s Disney Global Ride Challenge from the challenge running perspective be sure to listen to our supersize episode of Traveling with the Mouse. We dive deep into the details of his journey, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to take on a challenge of your own, whether it’s riding every ride at a single park or exploring all 12 Disney parks across the globe.
Jason’s Disneyland Paris trip report
Episode: 397. Welcome back to another exciting episode of Traveling with the Mouse podcast! In this episode, we bring you the latest news from the world of Disney, and a trip report from Disneyland Paris. Our co-host, Jason, recently returned from a trip to Paris, and he has some fascinating insights to share about his experience at Disneyland Paris. From the rides and attractions to the food and atmosphere, Jason gives us a comprehensive overview of his time spent at the park.
In other news, we are thrilled to see that Happily Ever After is mostly unchanged. We cannot wait to see it once again light up the skies with its dazzling display of fireworks and music. We also have exciting news about new meet and greets that will be coming to the parks this year. In addition, we discuss the updated concept for Epcot, which is a bit underwhelming when compared to the audacious concept art from before the pandemic. This week we got a sneak peek of what the inside of Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ looks like. It is more elaborate than we were expecting.
What rides are worth saving?
Episode: 394 Welcome to another episode of “Traveling with the Mouse”! This week, we have some exciting Disney news to discuss, including the Tron preview for annual passholders, the start of the Flower and Garden Festival, and the construction of the new DVC tower at the Polynesian.
But first, let’s talk about a topic that’s near and dear to every Disney fan’s heart: rides that are worth saving. We’ve all experienced the heartache of seeing a beloved attraction disappear, only to be replaced by something new that doesn’t quite measure up. One of the most famous examples of this is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, which was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Now, don’t get us wrong – we love Winnie the Pooh. But there’s something about Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that just can’t be replicated. It was a classic dark ride that took you on a wild journey through Toad Hall and beyond, complete with a trip to hell (yes, really). The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, on the other hand, is a cute and whimsical ride that’s perfect for younger children, but lacks the thrills and chills of its predecessor. So, what other rides do we think are worth saving?
Best of La Cava bracket
Episode 393: In this episode of Traveling with the Mouse we delve into the world of drinks at La Cava del Tequila in Epcot, We debate which beverage reigns supreme in a bracket-style competition. But the podcast doesn’t just stop at drinks. We also cover some exciting news stories happening around the Disney parks, including the annual passholder preview for the upcoming Tron attraction, the return of Sonny Eclipse to Magic Kingdom, and a hologram of Walt Disney himself to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company.
Best Bathrooms at Walt Disney World
Episode 391: Today we discuss among other things, what are our favorite bathrooms at Walt Disney World. When you have kids like we do, it is vital to know where all of the good bathrooms are. We talk the latest Disney news as well. Cast member previews for Tron are in full swing. The back story for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has been revealed. There is also a rumor going around the Pacos Bill’s could be getting a re-theme soon. Jason also previews his upcoming day trip to Disneyland Paris. He gives us the details on their premiere experience to skip the lines at the top attractions.
Is the magic coming back?
Episode: 388 This week, we’re excited to bring you some of the biggest announcements that were made in the past week. First and foremost, the opening date for the highly-anticipated Tron light cycle Run roller coaster has finally been revealed – the attraction will officially open on April 4th! In addition to the opening date for Tron, Disney also announced that they will be eliminating the parking fee for hotel guests, which is a welcome change for those staying on-site. Another change that was announced is that Annual Passholders will no longer need to make reservations for afternoon entry to the parks. (with a few exceptions) Finally, Disney has announced that they will be adding free on-ride photos as part of their Genie Plus service. This means that guests will be able to capture memories of their favorite rides and attractions without having to pay extra for the photo. In other news, Disney has recently announced a new Chairman of the Board. Also this is the last week of operation for splash mountain.
Adam’s Christmas Trip Report
Episode 387: In today’s episode, we’ll be discussing Adam’s recent trip to Walt Disney World over the Christmas holidays. One of the highlights of his trip was riding the Walt Disney World Railroad. It is so good to have it back in service. He noticed that one particular station had the shortest lines while he was there. Another highlight of Adam’s trip was a visit to La Cave del Tequila. One of our favorite spots in all of Walt Disney World and the staff there is just amazing. He also got to sample Jock Lindsey’s “Holiday” Bar at Disney Springs and really enjoyed it. We also cover the Disney news and rumors that we missed over the past couple of weeks.
Jason’s Every Ride Challenge recap
Episode 386. Jason recaps his Every Ride Challenge run with his son Andrew. He talks about using Genie+ with the new modify feature. He used it with great results during his challenge. We do also cover some of the news. Te Fiti is now visible over the constructions walls at Epcot. The Journey of water is scheduled to open in 2023. Speaking of 2023, We discuss more about what we think the timing will be of the new things coming to Disney World in 2023. Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ, Tron and the WDW Railroad to name a few. We also took a detour by coming up with our own challenge to visit 10 lounges in a day. We just have to figure out what those 10 will be and then we will get right on that. Jason then goes into the details of his challenge run where he and his son finished 30 rides and 545 points.
Episode 382: This week’s episode got cut short by some technical issues. We did manage to discuss some news and two of us have trips coming up soon. Jason is in Walt Disney world this weekend to see Fantasmic and I will be there soon as well. We discuss some of the latest holiday happenings around Walt Disney World. Bob is at it again and we discuss the Q4 earnings call. We got some new details on the Disneyland treehouse redesign. It is going to be kind of back to the original Swiss Family Robinson but not quite. We have a date for when Guardians will add the holiday track to cosmic rewind. A rare hurricane in November impacted the Disney World resort this week. We also experienced some technical difficulties that cut this episode short.
Christmas time is here
Episode 381: It’s November now and that means that it is Christmas time at Walt Disney World. We talk about that transformation from a long Halloween season and then going directly into Christmas. The Galactic Starcruiser is having a major slowdown in bookings. What is the future going to look like for this pricey 2 day experience? In some happy news Fantasmic is back and we really like the updates to the show! I know we have given this show a hard time over the years but it was outdated and the changes that were made to this show have given it new life. On another positive note, the Toy Story meet and greets are coming back. The Jingle Cruise, one of my favorite holiday overlays, is also back! There’s a lot of fun things going on This holiday season.
Jason’s October Trip Report
Episode 378: Prices are on the rise once again at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We discuss our disgust with the particularly egregious price hikes. Like genie plus and some of the food and drink increases. We sadly predicted the increases at places like Baseline Taphouse. We know that prices will enviably go up over time but this increases are substantial at a time when Disney is well above inflation on most prices. undenounced to him, Jason got to visit on the last weekend before these prices were increased. He did a split DVC stay starting at Rivera and ending at Animal Kingdom Lodge. He tested out Magic Band Plus and met up with some friends who are non regular guests. We get to hear what they thought of all of the new things to experience at Walt Disney World.
Jason’s Trip Report
Episode 375: Jason just returned from a solo trip to Walt Disney World. He utilized some last minute DVC availability and stayed at the boardwalk. On this trip he experience a re-ranking of his favorite coasters at Disney as well as his favorite lounges on property. He was able to fit a lot into his 48 hour trip. He let’s us know his thoughts on the boardwalk and getting the most out of Genie plus during his trip. He visited all 4 parks and was able to get quite a lot done. We do also spend a few minutes talking about the news but there wasn’t much new to discuss at the time.
Our top 5 Lounges on Disney Property (blog)
On our podcast we talk a lot about these lounges. We thought it would be a good idea to talk more about them in depth and put together a pros and cons list of each. We haven’t visited every single bar or lounge on Disney property yet but there are several that we keep repeating because they have become staples of our Walt Disney World experience! If your favorite is not on our list, let us know! With that out of the way, these are our current top five and I am even going to throw in some honorable mentions at the end. Let’s get started…
In no particular order (because we can’t agree on the ranking) We are starting with…La Cava del Tequila. This lounge is located in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, So you need a park ticket and a reservation for Epcot to get here. It’s hard to beat the Mexico pavilion when it comes to theming but throw in some good margaritas and some queso on top of that and you have an unbeatable combination!
Pros: Excellent Drink menu, especially if you like tequila. The Theming here is arguably the best on this list. The atmosphere inside the Mexico Pavilion is some of the best in World Showcase. If you are lucky enough to score a table…the chips, quac, and queso are also top notch. Shoutout to Barbas as well who is one of the best servers anywhere in Walt Disney World!
Cons: It Can be very crowded depending on the time of day that you visit. It is tough to get a table here but it is so much better if you do. Most people will do the walk up bar and enjoy their drinks outside by the fountain. Drink are on the expensive side. ($16-$30)
The next one on our list is the Nomad Lounge. Located just outside of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (A park ticket and reservation at Animal Kingdom is required) We finally got to visit this lounge for the first time this year and it was an instant favorite! The theming here is also outstanding (here’s looking at you Joe Rhode). We also really enjoyed the food options and the drink menu is very diverse. This one has it all…so much so that this lounge won our twitter poll by a landslide.
Pros: The theme of world travel here is incredible and the cozy atmosphere just makes you want to stay here all day. (we practically did on our first visit). The food options are outstanding and the wide variety of drinks means that you can find something for everyone here!
Cons: This place is popular so get your name in early. We had to wait 30 minutes to get a spot not long after it opened. This lounge is at Animal Kingdom so it is out of the way for most of Walt Disney World. Just make sure to work this into your Animal Kingdom day. I did also find that the seating areas can be a little close together depending on where you get seated.
The next one in our top five is Dahlia Lounge. This spacious lounge is located at the top of Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort. (No theme park ticket or reservation required) This is another one that has it all…Good food options and a nice variety of drinks that will please just about anyone. The views from the top of the tower are also quite nice.
Pros: Great Views from on top of Gran Destino Tower. It is very spacious and spread out for a lounge. There’s good food and drink options. We have had top notch service here as well. (It also has a great name 🙂
Cons: Unless you are staying at this resort you will have to go out of your way to get here. Some of the food options are on the pricey side. (I’m looking at you $35 charcuterie) but there are other options.
In no particular order, the next one on our list is Bar Riva. This one is located at Disney’s Riviera Resort. (No park ticket or reservation required) This is our favorite skyliner bar maybe because it is the shortest walk from a skyliner station. (we did the math) It also has fantastic food options and next door is Primo Piatto, one of our favorite quick service locations in all of Walt Disney World! We also have a favorite bar tender here, Chris.
Pros: Excellent food, there’s good options at Bar Riva but Primo Piatto is also right next door and just a mobile order away! The drinks here are outstanding and the service we’ve had has been wonderful. There’s a nice wide open courtyard area around this bar so there’s plenty of room and space for kids to run around. This one may also be the least crowded of any of the bars on this list.
Cons: The bar itself is covered but it is open air. If you aren’t familiar with the resort it may be difficult to find at first. I am also not a huge fan of the theming inside the bar but there’s plenty of other areas that you can sit and take in the beauty of this resort.
Last but not least is Baseline Taphouse. This is located inside of Hollywood Studios on Grand Avenue, just outside of the entrance to Batuu. (Park ticket and reservation for Hollywood Studios is required) The vibe here is chill and the music really sets that mood. If you love beer this is the place to go in Hollywood Studios. Prices here are very reasonable for a Disney Bar. This one has been on our list for a long time and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon.
Pros: The chill music creates a laid back atmosphere that is much needed at Hollywood Studios these days. The prices here are very reasonable for food and drinks. ($10 charcuterie) They have a good selection of craft beers on tap.
Cons: It has mostly outdoor seating and can get very crowded at times. There’s not a lot of cocktail options on the menu and the food is good but limited options.
So there you have it. This is our top five list of Bars/Lounges on Walt Disney World Property. Is there anything missing that should be here? Let us know! We are going on our experience and these are definitely the top 5 for us as of right now. In episode 372 linked here we go through 11 bars and lounges and easily narrowed down that list to these five. I will include some honorable mentions that we definitely enjoy often. Trader Sam’s/ Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Banana Cabana at Disney’s Caribbean Beach report, and Brown Derby Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood studios. Those are all good but didn’t quite make it into the top 5.
What are the Best Lounges at Walt Disney World?
Episode 372: Today we answer the age old question, What is the best lounge at Walt Disney World. The only problem is we can’t agree on which one is the best. We listed 11 of what we think are the best top bars/lounges at Walt Disney World and we discuss the pros and cons of each. We then narrowed down that list to our definitive top 5. We all agreed on which ones made the top 5 but we all had our own reasons for picking the order that these should go in. Truthfully, this like all other top 5 lists can change with our mood or over time. See if you agree with our list or if we excluded your favorite altogether. We also cover some of the latest news and oh yeah, Jason is back this week and hosted this episode.
Monorail vs. Skyliner (Restaurant edition)
Episode 370: There is an ongoing debate in the Disney Community about which form of Disney transportation is best, Monorail or Skyliner. (sorry Bus) Well, in order to truly get to the bottom of that we must fully explore all of what makes them both great. There are truly some great restaurants that are on the monorail and if you include the boardwalk area there’s many more options on the skyliner. But which of these two forms of transportation has the best overall restaurants? We give our top 5 picks for each and then decide which one overall has the better restaurants. We do also cover some news stories. The Disneyland resort is finally allowing renewals of their Magic Key (annual pass) program. The prices are different though. We also talk a little about this year’s Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party!