The Dark Side is not so dark afterall….

Be Universal

  We had gone through the process of picking a hotel and looking over and over the food choices and now it was time to pack the minivan and drive down. I think that is the true torture of any vacation for us waking up early and driving 7 and a half hours to the Magical Destinations of Central Florida. We were heading down with my sister and child who was 6 which added a new dynamic of not tall enough to ride certain things to our trip. We were determined this would be a fun experience for the 7 of us.

We arrived at Cabana Bay just after noon. The older kids took the younger one out to check out the pool while we checked in. The lobby was retro 60’s with the cute little chairs and funny looking tables. It’s a very large lobby with lots of natural light. Walking around talking to people was Lucille Ball. That was refreshing and rather funny as she sounded very much like the real deal. Check in is the same as at Disney, you wait in a line to go to a desk and speak with a pleasant person to get your room keys and information. We were surprised as a guest we had to pay to park our car. We asked our attendant about that and she explained that at all Lowe’s properties they charge for parking so to keep it universal they charged at Universal. That was a hit to the wallet right off the bat.

All checked in we rounded up the rug rats and back to the minivan to get to our room. We had one of the family suites in the Tower. Perfect since the 5 year old liked to run and this way he wouldn’t be running into the street or down stairs without one of us. cabana bay family suiteThe view to the left is what greeted us as we walked in. It was amazing and fresh. It was indeed a very retro look. The kids ran through checking the beds, sliding the doors for the separation and the bathroom. We always have to check out the bathroom. Again surprising as there’s the toilet has it’s own area and door closing it off from the the dressing area and then the tub and a sink are in their own area with a door so in all theories three people could be in different stages of getting ready at the same time.

Everything was thrown into the rooms and beds were claimed and we were flying out to get our tickets and head to Islands of Adventure for the afternoon. This was another difference than Disney. Cabana Bay only has bus transportation to the entrance of City Walk while the other three resorts also offer water taxi. With Disney you rarely get lucky to walk up to the bus stop and get right onto the bus, but that’s exactly what we did. Woohooo we were lucky! We spent our first afternoon in Islands of Adventure. Spiderman had an ally in my nephew and I since I was riding with him while the teenagers and my sister rode the Hulk a few times in a row.

The lines moved fairly quickly and we were able to accomplish many of the popular rides before they closed at 8pm. We were able to get our pictures taken with Megatron and Bumble Bee. Many of the attractions have photo booths at the end of them as Disney and you can purchase them individually or purchase a Universal Photo Pass. Family treasures for forever. We ended our first night with Men in Black and then dinner at Mel’s Drive-In and a half viewing of their nightly spectacular.


horror show

This was her happy place! Being chopped up :)

Something we found as our vacation rolled on. We weren’t dead on our feet exhausted as we moved through the two parks and City Walk. We attended shows and attractions all seemed to have good air conditioned que lines. As I mentioned in part one I have a drama major and we experienced the Horror Makeup Show more than once. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was AMAZING! But fair warning this is the most crowded area of the parks especially since the opening in both parks. The best drink also occurs in this area. BUTTER BEER!!! You can get it in a plastic cup (think red solo cup) or you can spend a little more and purchase an actual mug which can be refilled though not at a discounted price. This drink is better than any cola product you can give your child to help get them over the I didn’t get a nap and am getting crabby hump. A few sips and the nephew was wand fighting ready.

We made many happy memories as a family that we still talk about a year after the original vacation. The one that tends to send the teenagers into giggles is the fountain story. We were waiting for The Eight Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show to start so were out in front of it watching  the Mystic Fountain. This is an ingenious little time taker as the fountain spouts knowledge and jokes and occasionally squirts the smaller patrons standing to close. Well the boy (15 year old) decided to get a little feisty and made a smart comment and the fountain squirted at him and missed. Well the boy being a teenager says as we’re starting to head into the show ” HAHA You missed”. These words would later get him DiNozzo’ed in the back of the head, because the fountain proceeds to unleash all of it’s water in a huge spray and says “Teenager I never miss!” No he missed the teenager and drenched me!! Of course this is when the DiNozzo happened as the boy was doubled over in laughter along with the other kids. It is funny and we laugh.. Just be forwarned :)

Thank you for following the three part series!!!

DSCF9246Amanda Casey Travel Specialist

Planning Magical Vacations one guest at a time.


8 Ways to Save for Your Next Disney Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Katy Maxwell

The Dark side……… Part 2

the dark side

So With Islands of Adventure sufficiently looked at and a map of how to tackle the park in their heads we clicked the link for Universal Studios itself. I know I heard Duh Duh DUHHHHHHH when I clicked it (at least in my head). At the time we started looking The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley had not opened though it was previewed all over the page. What we did see again had the oooh’s and aaahhh’s going with three Disneyfied teenagers.

Transformers!! Oh did we geek out on this as they fell in love with Bumble Bee in the original movies so that went on the must do list (not a coaster, but a simulation 3D ride), along with Revenge of the Mummy and Rip Rocket Roller Coaster. It was all about the coaster factor again I said I’d wave and wait in the kid swap area.

I saw ET Adventure and said yup this is the one I’d be torturing them with at this park. I have at least one at every park. By far the ride that got the most hooting and hollering was Men In Black Alien Attack. MIB-Universal2Who wouldn’t love to shoot Aliens in a car that spins on it’s own!!

When you think Universal Studios you think Hollywood and shows and with one drama major both in school and in life we took a peak at a few of the descriptions of shows. She spotted Horror Makeup Show lick split. Myself I noticed another blast from my childhood The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. Sweet a couple of shows to get us out of one of Orlando’s sudden rain storm or crazy heat, because lets face it we’re in Florida and it’s going to rain at some point and it’s going to be warmer than home. The boy found Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Review and then asked me who the Blues Brothers were. I thought holy cow I’ve failed as a parent in not having my child sit down and watch this classic, score another Mom torture tool!!

Food is always a necessity with teenagers as if they are awake they are hungry. Click and a look at Universal Dining revealed amazingly food!! Burgers, dogs, pizza, the standard fair for quick service as at Disney. Happy teenagers! But along with those quick places I notice Margaritaville, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co and a place called Methos. Again a margaritavilleplace to get in out of the weather and into the a/c for something other than a burger and fries. At this point they were happy with thoughts of food and it was time to find a place to lay our heads. Being Disney experts we wanted a nice place but our expectations weren’t high as after all this was Universal and it couldn’t beat Disney.

There are 4 hotels on the Universal property : Cabana Bay, Lowe’s Royal Pacific, Lowe’s Portofino Bay and Hard Rock Hotel. Of course they ogled over Hard Rock and I being the Mom said “This is our budget” which at the time Hard Rock did not fall into. We looked at Portofino Bay and Royal Pacific next. Both beautiful resorts with amazing theming and within our budget. We looked at Cabana Bay last. We looked through the pictures of the resort 010-cabana-bay-beach-resort-entrance-lobby-1957-oiand the kids were like book it as the resort has a funky 50’s and 60’s theme with two pools and a lazy river!! “Mom Disney Value Resorts doesn’t have a lazy river!!” I didn’t tell them that there is a lazy river at the Yacht and Beach Club pool. They were sold and so was I. I kissed them goodnight and pulled out the credit card to book the vacation package with a few extra surprises. What’s a vacation without a few happy surprises?

To find out how our adventure to the dark side went stay tuned for part 3…..

mvbm dpi

Amanda Casey Travel Specialist

Planning Magical Vacations one guest at a time.


Take a Break at La Cava de Tequila


It was just recently that I had my first experience visiting La Cava de Tequila, a quaint little tequila bar inside of the Mexico pavilion at Epcot. And after visiting, I definitely had to wonder what had taken me so long! I now call this place a hidden gem of Walt Disney World and make sure that I mention it to all of my clients as a “must do” especially if the bar/lounge experience is of interest to them. Although the location is not exactly hidden, it is very easy to walk right past this bar when wandering through the Mexico pavilion and never even know that it was there. There is some great shopping inside, a boat ride with the Three Cabelleros, and a dimly lit intimate restaurant experience so it is hard to believe there could be more to do.

My drink of choice has always been the wonderful delicious amazing margarita. So it was only fitting that I needed to cross this off my Disney bucket list as soon as possible. And cross it off, I did! Not only did I manage to get there and try one of their delicious specialty margaritas, I got to try five different specialty margaritas! Slow down, before you stage an intervention, I did not drink all five and it wasn’t in one setting. My family and I were able to make it to La Cava twice during our trip (and got a seat both times). Each adult in my party made sure to order a different flavor both times so we could then in turn taste the different flavors.

So if are you wondering if a $14 margarita is any better than a margarita from Applebees for $5? The answer is an enormous …. HECK YES!!!!!
Ok so yes I agree, these margaritas are a tad overpriced so it certainly deters you from heavy alcohol consumption. And it’s difficult to justify it when you can get a frozen one outside for considerably less. But I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed every single one that we tried, and the atmosphere just could not be beat. If you can get a table, order some queso or chips and salsa and take a break from the crowds and the heat, it can be a really great memory on your already memory-filled magical vacation. Now that I am in on the secret, I will be returning on each and every trip. I liked it that much.So if you are looking for suggestions and an idea of their offerings, here are the drinks that we tried and my ranking from 1 to 5 in terms of my favorites (1 being my favorite, 5 being my least favorite).

1. Blood Orange – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart mix of blood orange juice and hibiscus syrup, topped with wild berry foam served on the rocks with hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

2. Wild Passion Fruit – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, passion fruit, mango nectar and fresh lime juice, topped with mango foam, served on the rocks with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

3. Cucumber – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, caramelized pineapple juice, fresh basil, cucumber and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim

4. Pineapple – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, caramelized pineapple nectar, fresh lime juice and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim

5. Avocado – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar and fresh lime juice, served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim


Cucumber Margarita pictured

The Blood Orange was hands down my favorite and just delicious. The addition of the wildberry/mango foam gave it such a unique taste and the salt used on each drink really makes a difference as well. At first glance at the menu I wasn’t so sure about the salt, but it had a hot spice to it that really gave a nice kick to the flavors. I contemplated asking for regular salt because I honestly thought I would hate it. I loved it and could not get enough. Cucumber was middle of the road for me. It had more of a refreshing taste than the others and I think the oddness of the flavor choice makes it a must try. Pineapple and Avocado were last for me. Pineapple only because although delicious, I feel I have had drinks of similar taste before at other places and for the price it was not really worth it. Lastly Avocado due mainly to the fact that it was frozen and not on the rocks. I need my margaritas on the rocks! But again, how many places do you go and see an Avocado margarita on the menu? It almost makes it a must try!

La Cava de Tequila is a must do for all Walt Disney World fans, especially those who like to drink tequila. Margaritas are not even the half of it! The bar offers over 200 different tequilas, Mexican beer and wine, and you can even order a tequila flight if tequila tasting is your thing. I can’t be more thrilled that I finally got to experience it after years of traveling to the World. The snacks, drinks, and cozy atmosphere make it such a fun way to get away from the crowds and heat and have a little relaxation.
Katy Maxwell – Travel Specialist





LOVE DOING THINGS FROM YOUR PHONE!!!!!!mickey cell phone cover

Have a passion for writing?

Hey Howdy Hey!!! Have a passion for writing and looking for a blog to join? Mouze Kateerz is looking for new writers as we gear up to start posting new articles on September 1st! Our writers have a love for Disney and traveling. Looking for energetic new writing with possible perks that are still in the works for those who write on a regular basis for Mouze… If you are interested please contact us at with your name and email with a sampling of your writing on Disney, Universal or family vacationing and one of our Administrator’s will review it and be back in touch with you.

Happy writing!!

quill and ink

Gaston’s Tavern


Nestled in the new Fantasyland expansion is Gaston’s Tavern.  As a girl who grew up with the new animated classics and could recite Beauty & the Beast for you line by line, this whole area is just perfect! The new storytime in Belle and Maurice’s cottage is fab and so is every detail at Be Our Guest restaurant.

However in all the excitement for this area plastered all over the internet, poor Gaston seems to be left out! And since Be Our Guest is so popular the lines here can be significantly shorter!! Here are my top 5 reasons you should add Gaston’s to your to-do list:
1- The fountain!! After all what is a Beauty & the Beast area without a fountain? It makes me want to sit and ready a fairytale like Belle does in her opening sequence of the film.

2- The attention to detail! Have a seat by the fire in Gaston’s chair, check out how he used antlers in all of his decorating, and even check out his winning dart game vs Lefou!
3- Surprises! The nods to Disney references worked right into the barrels!

4- Lefou’s Brew! I love signature drinks and this frosty apple frozen drink does not disappoint! And for an added charge you can get it in a souvenir mug!

5- The food! My cinnamon roll was bigger than Gaston’s bicep and I liked the lamb shank better than (gasp!) the Magic Kingdom turkey legs!!

EPCOT’s Flower & Garden Festival


By Frances

EPCOT’s flower and garden festival is amazing! It’s a must see for any Disney Fan. Here is a preview that you can find on the Disney Parks Blog site.


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Addresses to your Favorite WDW Resorts.

Disney car window decals, Disney stickers, Disney cars, Disney family stickers, balloon Disney stickers

By FrancesDisney's Boardwalk Resort, boardwalk Resort, Disney's Beach Club resort, Disney planning tips, Disney vacation

With so many people having GPS systems in their cars it’s important to have the correct address to follow. You can also use these addresses to send your clothes or special goodies ahead of time to your resort.

Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Polynesian Resort: 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Beach Club Resort: 1800 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort: 1700 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn: 2101 North Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, FL 32830

Moderate ResortsCoronado Springs Resort, Coronado Springs Resort lake, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: 900 Cayman Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort:1001 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter: 2201 Orleans Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside:1251 Riverside Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: 3520 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Value ResortsFinding Nemo, Cars, Lion King, the Little Mermaid, Disney Resorts

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: 1850 Century Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort: 1701 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s All Star Music Resort: 1801 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort: 1901 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Pop Century Resort: 1050 Century Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Deluxe Villa ResortsBay Lake Tower

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, FL 32830
Disney’s Beach Club Villas: 1800 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Boardwalk Villas: 2101 North Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Old Key West Resort: 1510 North Cove Rd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa: 1960 Broadway, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Theme Parksrain at Epcot, Rain at Disney, Epcot Spaceship Earth, Disney rain poncho

Magic Kingdom: 3111 World Drive Lake, Buena Vista, FL 32830
Epcot: 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd. Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 551 Rainforest Road Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 351 South Studio Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney: 1780 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Water Parks

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: 1494 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disney’s Blizzard Beach: 1500 W. Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

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The Fantasyland Expansion Continues

Disney Princesses, How to Look like a Disney Princess, Disney Princess Characteristics

By Frances

The Disney Princesses are getting a new meet and great area! It will open at the end of this year!

The seven dwarfs are getting their own ride that will be filled with twist and turns.

Be sure to watch the video on the Disney Parks Blog. I love how the cast members talk about how it’s a show vs a ride.


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