Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Located in Fantasyland, Mickey's PhilharMagic is one of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World, a 12-minute 4-D production which completely immerses you in the sights, sounds, and smells of this animated adventure starring Donald Duck (yes - Donald Duck is the star here, even though Mickey gets top billing).

Put on your 3-D glasses, sit back, and enjoy the show.

While Mickey is getting ready for a concert, Donald decides to get the ball rolling by preparing the orchestra, but loses Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat in the process. Soon, he's thrust into a 4-D dream as he tries to get back Mickey's hat while being tossed through some of the best known Disney movies, such as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Peter Pan, Aladdin, and more, while also offering some special effects such as some light splashes of water and smells.

This is a truly delightful experience full of fun and excitement before a surprising end.  This is definitely one not to be missed.

Don't forget to look behind you at the very end to see what final mischief Donald gets into!

Until next time, don't forget to keep the Mouse in your house.


*** Helpful Hint - Mapping Your Trip

When planning your next trip to Disney, make sure to order your free customized Disney maps as a memento of your trip.

Go to and click on "Order Customized Maps" at the bottom of the page under the heading for "My Disney Experience".

You will then be prompted to check off your favorite rides and attractions for each of the four parks.

Once you're done, you fill in all of your mailing information, and that's it.  Your very own customized maps should arrive in the mail within 2-4 weeks at no cost to you.


Enjoying Some Disney Magic At Home

Hi, there!

In between our trips to Disney, I try to keep the Disney Magic going in our home, whether it's watching a Disney movie, reading a Disney book to my daughter, or whatever else we can think of.

Here's my latest discovery - and it's totally FREE!  What can be better?

Get to your local Disney Store about 15-30 minutes before store opening.  The first person to arrive, whether a child or adult, gets to open the store.  I did it as a surprise for my daughter, and she loved it.

We arrived about 10 minutes prior to opening time and were the first ones there. Yay!  In front of the store, stood a big lock on a stand.  We waited until opening time, and then one of the Cast Members came over and asked my daughter if she'd like to open the store using her imagination.

She said yes, and a second Cast Member walked over, procession style, holding a very large key up over her head which she then handed over to the Cast Member who was waiting with my daughter.  Then, both my daughter and the Cast Member inserted the key into the lock, turned it, and voila - the store was opened.

The Cast Member then gave her a smaller key to keep as a memento.  She plans to hang it in her room.

This was a lovely way to bring some of the magic into our home, and every time she looks at that key, she'll have a wonderful memory.

I hope you get the opportunity to surprise your kids (or do it yourself) with this little bit of Disney magic soon.

Until next time, I hope you remember to keep the Mouse in your house.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is our favorite resort - well, to be honest, it's the only one we've stayed at so far.  Every time we make our resort reservations, we always end up back at Coronado Springs.  And that's just fine with us.

This is one of Disney's moderate category resorts and is also a convention center, so it can tend to get very busy.  However, we've never had any issues in that regard.  The theming here is Colonial Mexican/American Southwest, and they do it very, very well.

The Cabanas
The Ranchos
The Casitas
The resort is divided into three village areas - the Casitas, the Ranchos, and the Cabanas.  During our first trip, we stayed in the Cabanas.  It was a beautiful area of the resort, but it was quite a far walk from our room to El Centro, the main building that houses the check-in desk, Panchito's Gift & Sundries, Cafe Rix, Rix Lounge, The Pepper Market Food Court, and the full service restaurant, Maya Grill.  The last two times we've stayed at Coronado Springs, we've been in the Casitas section of the resort.  Although it's still a walk to and from the main building, we can walk through the convention center which is a much easier walk, especially in the rain and heat.  

The resort's rooms were refurbished in 2009.  A typical guest room has 2 queen beds (or a king-sized bed) and a key-operated wall safe for valuables in the closet area. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi Service. There are handicapped accessible rooms available with a king-sized bed and a wheelchair accessible shower instead of a tub.  You can request bed rails and cribs from Housekeeping.  

Rix Cafe:  This is a grab and go coffee shop located near the main entrance and offers a selection of salads, sandwiches, and drinks, as well as pastries, muffins, fruits, and cereals.  This is also where you can get your refillable mugs for your water, coffee, tea and soft drinks.
The Pepper Market:  This is the resort's food court located in the main building. This is not your typical counter service place, but instead feels more like a sit down restaurant.  There is a good variety of food here - grilled, Mexican, hamburgers, pizza, fish, pasta, sandwiches, stir-fry, and baked goods.  We eat here a lot and have always liked it.  On our last trip, just days after being put on a gluten free/dairy free diet by my doctor, I found the chefs here to be very knowledgeable and helpful.  In fact, they took the time to educate me on my food choices, and one of the chefs actually took the time to check with me as to what time I thought I would be in for lunch on the days he was working so he could prepare my meals for me to avoid cross-contamination and make sure I had something that I would like to eat.  I had chimichurri chicken a couple of times which came with rice and black beans and was delicious, as well as a hearty grilled fish filet, nachos, and tacos, all of which were also very good.  Our family really likes this restaurant, and it is one of the reasons we return to this resort again and again.

The Maya Grill:  This is the resort's full service restaurant which offers Mexican and American Southwestern dining.  We have dined here twice over the last couple of trips.  My husband and daughter really seem to like it, however, I feel it has fallen short of my expectations in the past.  Both times, I've ordered their filet mignon, but felt that it wasn't the best steak I've had on property.  However, on our last trip, I felt the steak was a little better than the previous year, and I absolutely LOVED the dessert the chef made especially for me in light of my gluten free/dairy free diet.  I didn't really believe the waitress when she offered me dessert, since I hadn't had much luck getting gluten free/dairy free desserts on property, but she definitely surprised me.  She brought out a bowl of the most delicious ice cream.  I believe it was Tofutti with a homemade mango sauce that was absolutely delicious.  It absolutely made my vacation.  The only other place I was able to have a dessert that wasn't fruit was at Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios.  All things considered, I would definitely give this restaurant another try.  

The Registration Center
The Three Caballeros

Fuente De Las Palomas

Panchito's:  This is the resort's gift and sundries shop located in El Centro. There are also some groceries here, but beware, they are quite expensive.  We usually pack our own snacks from home, but we do buy milk to keep in our room's refrigerator for breakfast, as well as some soft drinks. Panchito's has a nice selection of gifts and clothing.


Pools:  The Dig Site is the large pool area at Coronado Springs with its centerpiece being a 50-foot Mayan pyramid behind which is a 123-foot long water slide that my daughter just loves.  Each of the three village areas have a quiet pool, and this was one we enjoyed on our last trip as it was relatively near our room, and we had it to ourselves every time.  

I hope you get a chance to enjoy this resort in the future.

Until next time, remember to keep the Mouse in your house.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

One of the three Walt Disney World fireworks shows, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, is absolutely stunning.  I simply cannot choose which is my favorite.  All three are spectacular and very different and will evoke different emotions.

Illuminations is viewed around the World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot and conveys the history of earth - just pick a country and enjoy the show.  You will want to arrive at least half an hour before the show to pick your viewing area.  I have watched it from the Norway, Japan, and American Pavilions - all have been great spots.  

Before the show starts, torches are lit around the lagoon, and the narrator welcomes you.  The flames are blown out and the lighting is muted throughout the lagoon followed by the sound of a drum beating slowly, then faster and faster, trailed by a blast of fireworks and flames which erupt over the lagoon representing the earth's beginning and then fade as a globe drifts across the water.  

The illuminated globe displays images of countries, landmarks, people, etc.  The buildings of the various countries around the lagoon are illuminated, as fireworks and laser lights explode in the center of the lagoon.  

The torches around the lagoon are then re-lit, and the globe opens to show a unity torch as 1,000 white fireworks are launched to illuminate the lagoon, as the song "We Go On" is played evoking the hope for peace on earth.  You might get a little mushy right about now....

Once the show is over, people start heading for the exit, but I've always enjoyed slowly making our way out of the park behind the crowds, stopping along the way for some pictures or to check out some kiosks for souvenirs.   

Note:  Since this is an outdoor show, it may be cancelled due to inclement weather.

As an Aside:
Disney offers the Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party for guests who want to enjoy the show from a special viewing area which also includes desserts such as tiramisu, shortbread cookies, baklava, sugar-dusted cronis with strawberry sauce, and a variety of ice cream treats from various countries around the World Showcase paired with sparkling wines.  
The cost is $49 per adult and $29 per child, including tax and gratuity.  These parties are held on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7:45 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., and advance reservations are recommended.  Separate admission to Epcot is required.  You can call (407)  WDW-PLAY for reservations or information.  

Until next time, I hope you remember to keep the Mouse in your house.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet Disney Dreams: Surprise! We're Going to Disney World!

"Good morning, Sweetie Pie!  Did you have sweet dreams?  I dreamt you and I were on the Pirates of the Caribbean..."  

This was my morning greeting to my daughter every day leading up to our second trip to Walt Disney World.  We were keeping that trip a surprise, but I still wanted to get her excited and remind her of the rides and shows she loved on our first trip, almost two years before.

So, every morning, I would tell her I dreamt about me and her on a ride, at a show, or at a restaurant which I knew she had enjoyed the first time around. She loved this morning ritual, and it always made for great breakfast conversation.

I loved watching her excitement each morning, and I couldn't wait for the day when we could finally wake her up and tell her we were going to Disney World!

I'm not going to lie - it was really hard keeping our trip a secret, but this morning ritual definitely helped to get me through it.

Finally, the big day arrived.  We were up at 4 a.m. (we've always taken the first flight out), and we knew it was going to be hard to get her out of bed.  So, there we were - my husband with the camcorder to make sure we captured that special moment and me trying not to get taped onscreen in my pajamas (come on, ladies, you know how it is - especially at 4 a.m.!!!).

Just as I had hoped for all of those long, long months, as soon as I told her we were going to Disney World, she jumped out of bed and was incredibly happy and ready to go!  It had been worth the long, long wait.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful trip.

Well, our morning ritual was so enjoyable that it's continued to this day.  Every morning, when she comes down to breakfast, I tell her, "Good morning, Sweetie Pie!  Did you have sweet dreams?  I dreamt that you and me were running down Main Street (or whatever else pops into my mind at the time)."

In between trips to the World, every day in our house starts out with a little bit of Disney magic - just another little way we keep the Mouse in our house...
I hope you'll share how you've surprised your kids with a trip to Disney World and how you managed to keep it a secret.

Until next time, remember to keep the Mouse in your house!



Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Haunted Mansion

♫ "When the crypt goes creak, And the tombstones quake.  Spooks come out for a swinging wake.  Happy haunts materialize, And begin to vocalize.  Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize..."

My absolute favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World, the Haunted Mansion is a combination of spooky and fun, full of special effects and, of course, the "999 happy haunts".
Spoiler Alert:  If you're expecting to be thoroughly scared, you're going to be just a little bit disappointed... this ride isn't terrifying in the least.  After all, it's still Walt Disney World!
Upon entering the portrait hall, we meet our "Ghost Host", who welcomes us and invites us to determine whether the ceiling is rising or the floor is dropping...
Note:  There is a moment of complete darkness at this point, so warn your kids ahead of time and hold them close so they're not startled.
Our daughter rode this for the first time when she was three years old.  I explained what was going to happen before we went in, I held her close when the lights went out, and then let her know that we were going to see some funny ghosts.  The first time we rode, she held onto my arm tightly while taking everything in.  And ever since, it's been one of her favorite rides, although she still hates when the lights go at in the portrait hall (I'll admit that I do too!).  We constantly talk about wanting to ride it again.

Once you leave the portrait hall, you begin your journey through the mansion in your "Doom Buggy", and the fun begins.  There is so much to see that I find something new each time.  The ride tells the story of a Black Widow bride and the many husbands she's lost.... just when you think it's the last dead husband, you discover she she got remarried...again....and again....
Make sure you don't miss the waltzing ghosts in the grand ballroom.
Your journey continues through a cemetery full of ghosts happily singing the contagious tune "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
At the end of your journey, beware - three hitchhiking ghosts await to follow you home...and don't forget - even though there are already 999 happy haunts at the Mansion, "there's always room for one more...."
There is absolutely so much to see, you'll want to ride this one over and over again.
Until next time, remember to keep the Mouse in your house!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dining at Be Our Guest Restaurant

The Be Our Guest Restaurant is a beautiful dining venue at the foot of Beast's Castle in the new Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom. When you pass through the gateway and walk across the stone bridge and through wrought-iron gates, you enter the restaurant, which is the inside of Beast's Castle.

My family and I ate here on our last trip in August 2013 - for both lunch and dinner. Both times the food was delicious.

We had dinner reservations on our first night at the World, and were very, very impressed with the design and decor, and my daughter was thrilled to be in Beast's Castle.  She loves Beauty and the Beast, and being in the castle was like being in the movie.  There are three dining areas - the grand ballroom where we were seated, the rose gallery, and the west wing.  Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see the rose gallery or the west wing.

My husband and I both ordered the grilled strip steak with garlic-herb butter and french fries for dinner, which was delicious - very tender and cooked to perfection.  I was particularly pleased, since I was put on a gluten free/dairy free diet by my doctor just three days prior to our trip. After letting our waiter know that I had a special needs diet, the chef came out to speak with me about what I could eat, which was pretty much every entree on the menu.  I didn't mention my dairy restriction - I cheated for a couple of days... what?  I was at Disney!... I wanted to enjoy it!

Our daughter had the grilled steak with fries, which she said was delicious. Nope - no hamburgers at this place.  Their children's menu was awesome and not the usual children's meals.  Kids' options include baked macaroni & cheese, chicken, grilled cheese and tomato soup, grilled fish, grilled steak, and meatloaf - much healthier options than some other table service restaurants.

Desserts offered a choice of various cupcakes and cream puffs (including a GF cream puff) which were delicious.

Some guests have reported being able to get the "grey stuff" as a special celebration dessert, but I'm hearing it is now available to everyone as a cupcake.  

What's the grey stuff, you ask?  As fans of Beauty and the Beast will recall, Lumiere and the dishes serenade Belle, suggesting that she:

 "Try the grey stuff, it's delicious.  Don't believe me?  Ask the dishes!"

It just wouldn't be right to not have the grey stuff for dessert in Beast's Castle!!!

After dinner, we were told that Beast was waiting for us in his study.  Our daughter got a thrill out of meeting him in his formal wear.  He couldn't sign her autograph book (his paws are too big), but he did pose for pictures with her.  She loved it!

By the way, if you're eating in the grand ballroom, take a look out the windows for a nice surprise.

Lunch is no less fabulous.  Imagine having a counter service lunch in such an elegant setting.

When we entered the castle on the last day of our trip, we were directed to a cast member or kiosk to place our order.  The options for lunch are incredible.  

Main Menu -- Click to Enlarge

My husband ordered the roast beef sandwich and said it was delicious, as was my carved turkey sandwich (the gluten free version).  If you didn't know it was gluten free, you just wouldn't have guessed!  Our daughter had the Mrs. Potts' Platter, and she loved it.

Desserts once again consisted of yummy cupcakes and cream puffs.

It was a wonderful dining experience each time and by far the best counter service meal we had.

I always recommend to family and friends that they have dinner there.  Or lunch.  Or better yet - both!!!

I hope you've found this restaurant review to be helpful and that you get a chance to enjoy a meal there in the future.

Until next time, don't forget to keep the Mouse in your house.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Our Blog Gets Its Own Website!!!

It's official!!! 

The Mouse In Our House now has its own website. 

Please go over and take a peek at 

I'd love to know what you think!

Until next time, remember to keep the Mouse in your house.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

* Helpful Hint - Waking Up With Olaf!

Hi, there!

I'm currently hearing that, if you're staying on property, you can schedule wake up calls from Olaf, the lovable snowman from the movie "Frozen".  Just hit the speaker button, and your kids will wake up quickly and happily looking forward to the rest of their day!

Let me know of any helpful hints you'd like to share!


Saturday, August 2, 2014


So, your family's excited for your upcoming Disney trip!

But.... it's still months away.

How do you keep the momentum going while you wait for the BIG day?

Here are a few ideas for your first trip:

Watch some Disney movies!  Get the kids excited to learn about the different Disney characters and their stories.  As our first trip neared, I made sure my daughter watched as much Disney as possible - the Disney Channel, Disney Jr., every movie I could get my hands on so that she could identify the different characters and know which ones she liked best.  Before every trip, I still make sure she watches some Disney movies - especially ones she hasn't watched before. My husband and I enjoy watching with her.  And it makes it more exciting for her when she decides which characters she wants to meet and greet and have sign her autograph book.

Get your trading pins ready to go (more on this on a later post).  Make sure you leave any special pins you don't want to trade at home to avoid trading any of those by mistake.

We take multiple trips to our local Disney Store to see if any of the character shirts are on sale (much, much cheaper than at the parks).  That way, we can wear our new Disney shirts on the plane.  My daughter loves when we all wear Disney shirts on our way down to the World.

Make your free customized Disney maps.  Yes - free!!!  Go to and click Customize Maps at the bottom of the page.  WDW will mail them to you before your trip as a free memento.  Or you can use them at the parks.  Your choice.

Call a family meeting and decide together what advanced dining reservations (ADRs) you want to make.  Look up restaurant menus online at and and decide together where you want to eat.

Last, order your free vacation planning video from the Disney website (web address above).  You'll get a glimpse of the different rides, restaurants, and characters you'll enjoy on your trip.

If this isn't your first trip, here are some ideas for you:

Make some popcorn and get the family together to watch some home movies of your past trip(s).  It'll bring back some wonderful memories and get the family hyped for your upcoming trip.

Bring out your Mickey Ears!  Of course you're going to take them with you and wear them at some time doing your trip!  Right???

Bring out the old autograph books.  Nostalgia will take over as you see how your kids have grown and changed over time.  Make sure you have some tissues on hand.

Look through your photo albums - it will remind you of your favorite rides or spots at the parks and all the fun you had.... and are about to have again!

What are some of your favorite things to do in getting your family excited for your upcoming trip?

Make sure to go over to our Facebook page - The Mouse In Our House and share your ideas with everyone.

Until next time, remember to keep the Mouse in your house!


*** Helpful Tip

Here's a helpful tip to go with a previous post.

When packing that carry-on bag, don't forget to throw in a tube of sunblock - you'll need it for your first day in the parks (in case your luggage doesn't make it to your room before you want to take off for the parks).  It's sometimes difficult to find a tube that corresponds to the 3-oz. limit set by the TSA.

Neutrogena makes a 3-oz. tube that's perfect to comply with TSA regulations.  I found it at CVS.

Just throw it in your carry-on and be on your way.

Until next time, be sure to keep the Mouse in your house.