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WDW Radio # 750 – Listener Email: Dining Surprises, Tips for Disneyland Paris and Special Disney Cruises, Traditions, & More!

This week, I’m opening up the inbox to dive into your questions and queries. We’ll explore surprise dining reservations, stroll down memory lane to Fulton’s Crab House and the present with Paddlefish, and chat about Disney traditions and enchanting superstitions… and how and why you can share yours. Plus, we have some quick tips for a day at Disneyland Paris and Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime cruise must-dos! We’ll also talk about what a not-so-typical day for me looks like… and have some surprise questions, including ones for you to answer!

In this episode, we explore the question of whether it’s better to stay on board or embark on shore excursions during your Disney cruise. We also discuss the significance of Castaway Cay, a port stop you won’t want to miss! From Disney traditions to creating lasting memories, we share our insights and invite you to join the discussion.

Discover the must-try experiences and mouth-watering dishes at Paddlefish, a seafood haven that caters to all tastes. From raw and chilled seafood to delectable appetizers, we’ll whet your appetite and leave you craving for more.

But that’s not all! We spill the beans on our upcoming four-night, very merry time cruise, where we’ll be sharing the joys of the holiday season and our favorite Disney moments with you. Get ready for live updates, behind-the-scenes experiences, and plenty of holiday cheer!

Join us as we unravel the mystery behind the jester statue at the French Quarter pool and answer listeners’ questions about Disneyland Paris. From unique park experiences to holiday festivities, we’ve got all the insider scoops to make your visit truly magical.

So, grab a Mickey-shaped snack and get ready to embark on a podcast adventure filled with Disney knowledge, traditions, and seafood delights. This episode of WDW Radio is all about creating memories, sharing secrets, and celebrating the magic of Disney!

Thanks to Beci Mahnken from Mouse Fan Travel for joining me this week.

The key moments in this episode are:

I. Introduction
A. Welcoming listeners to WDW Radio
B. Mentioning the guest, Beci Mahnken
C. Expressing excitement about sharing Disney knowledge and magic

II. Answering Listener Questions
A. Seeking suggestions for creating traditions at Walt Disney World
1. Discussing recent tradition and superstition discussion
2. Examples of possible traditions: rides, photos, foods, rituals
B. Suggesting Chef Mickey’s as a former must-do tradition
C. Sharing the tradition of riding Mater in California Adventure
D. Reflecting on the importance of creating lasting memories

III. Paddlefish Restaurant Experience
A. Describing multiple visits to Paddlefish
1. Enjoying appetizers and starters with family and friends
2. Appreciating the variety of raw and chilled seafood options
B. Unsure if Paddlefish still serves lobster fingers
C. Emphasizing fair, accurate, and up-to-date information

IV. Upcoming Cruise and Live Coverage
A. Planning to go on a four-night very merry time cruise
B. Going live on various platforms during the cruise
C. Excitement about trying the holiday menu and visiting Castaway Key

V. Favorite Disney Moments and Traditions
A. Reflecting on a family vacation as the favorite moment
B. Noting the impact of their involvement on the experience
C. Recognizing the role of Becky and the clubhouse family
D. Discussing the Empress Room and Fulton’s Crab House history
E. Sharing personal tradition of walking in and out of Magic Kingdom

VI. Building Traditions with Loved Ones
A. Encouraging finding common interests and letting traditions develop naturally
B. Personal anecdote about a photo taken in front of a watch shop
C. Expressing gratitude for doing what they love as an entrepreneur
D. Willingness to discuss further on a live show

VII. A Visit to Disneyland Paris
A. Sharing experiences from a visit to Disneyland Paris
B. Ideal length of stay for fully experiencing both parks
C. Making the most of a one-day visit
D. Advising checking for less crowded times

VIII. Answering Listener Question about a Statue
A. Discussing the jester statue at the French Quarter Pool
B. Mentioning James Miles’ question about the statue’s foot placement
C. Speculating on the connection between the jester and native pear trees

IX. Holiday Events and Decorations on Maritime Cruises
A. Describing special holiday events on cruises
1. Tree lighting magic ceremony
2. Santa’s winter wonderland ball with special guests and entertainment
B. Highlighting holiday decorations and treats at Castaway Key

X. Personal Opinion on Paddlefish vs. Fulton’s Crab House
A. Expressing personal preference for Fulton’s Crab House
B. Acknowledging the menu changes at Paddlefish
C. Appreciating the offering of land options for non-seafood lovers
D. Stating personal choice to not return to Paddlefish

Timestamped summary of this episode:

  • [00:00:00] Answering your questions, diving deep into Disney.
  • [00:04:53] OpenTable is friendlier and easier for Disney Springs reservations. Add a TBA name to bypass restrictions.
  • [00:06:48] Fulton’s Crab House: formerly renowned seafood restaurant.
  • [00:12:45] Disney tradition: Walk in a certain way, collect souvenirs
  • [00:16:08] Chef Mickey’s: Hello to characters, food, pictures, memories.
  • [00:19:50] Love what I do, flexible schedule.
  • [00:23:29] One day at Disneyland Paris is enough.
  • [00:25:15] Full day at Disneyland Paris, must-see highlights. Potential return for park expansion and new attractions.
  • [00:29:40] Jester statue resembles figure in New Orleans.
  • [00:32:16] Magical Disney vacation, cherished by all.
  • [00:37:25] Holiday cruises offer special entertainment and decorations.
  • [00:40:34] Costumed cast members create special experiences.
  • [00:42:39] Stuffing ballot box, sharing experience on cruise.
  • [00:47:56] Can I go back to Paris? Interesting question.
  • [00:49:02] Various Disney vacations and cruises available in future.
  • [00:51:59] Eating on cruises disguised as Wilson Fisk.

What is YOUR favorite reason to visit Disneyland? Is it an attraction? Show? Nostalgia? (“Snacks” is a perfectly good answer as well!)

Share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.

Episode Transcript

Click Here To Read The Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Lou Mongello: Today my friend, we're going to deep dive into the magical mail bag and answer your questions. That's right, it is all about you this week. My friend, listener, and member of the WDW Radio family who is sitting right next to me Virtually at the table, uh, you have sent in a cavalcade of curious queries and delightful doubts and whimsical wonders.

And I am here ready to sprinkle as much knowledge as I possibly can and share some Disney magic with you. But we are not alone for I cannot answer your questions. Well, I mean, I could answer your questions alone, but Disney is much more fun with family and friends. And that's exactly who I've invited to join me this week.

She goes by many names, princess, her majesty, insert your own name here. If you ever wondered like what it would be like if Mary Poppins had a. Slightly mischievous twin, notice I didn't say older, sister, who was obsessed with all things Disney. Wonder no more, because with her infectious laugh and boundless energy and a suitcase.

Or a carpet bag notice. I didn't say cauldron full of Disney knowledge and, uh, hopefully hilarious anecdotes. Let me welcome back. Or if you're a first timer introduce you to the one, the only the incomparably delightful and ever so amusing Becky Mankin of mouse fan travel.

Beci Mahnken: You're setting a really high bar for me here.

But then again, when packages arrive at my house and it says to Princess Becky, at least I know who it's from. When

Lou Mongello: packages arrive at my house from Princess Becky, I have to clear any children from the area because I don't necessarily know. You just never know.

Beci Mahnken: Now here's one thing I need to point out really quickly.

You started this out by saying we're going to take a deep dive. Well, of course we haven't done an email show in what, like a year and a half? So that's a really, really

Lou Mongello: deep dive. By deep dive, I also mean we're also going to try and go fast because there's a lot of emails in the inbox. So whether you are pondering about tips for the parks or you're musing over Mickey shaped snacks or just seeking a little bit of delightful Disney to brighten your day, um, sit back, relax, grab a snack, and let us, uh, let us sort of...

Unlock the box and and let the magic begin as we let it like

Beci Mahnken: fly out. There's going to be some food in there somewhere. That's

Lou Mongello: all right. I am going to because we don't talk about this ahead of time. I don't read these. I don't send these to Becky ahead of time. So I am metaphorically going to plunge my hand into the large and deep mailbag.

Just take care of me. Oh, it scares me too. Trust me. Whatever questions may come again, we're going to try and be quick. We're going to try and be thorough, but we never know what we're going to get and how long it might take. It's like a box of chocolates. It is. It's like, it's like JJ Abrams magic box.

Look it up. All right. I'm taking this one, Becky, because the first thing I saw was, Hey there, Becky and Lou. Which I know you you'd like. Oh, yeah, that's kind of question mark. All right. I first want to say thank you for everything you do for your listeners Thank you. I know it does more for us than you'll ever understand I for one have gone back I've gone through a lot of hard times in the past number of months and one of the things that have helped me smile through All this is your guys friendly banter back and forth.

So please keep it up as you really do Make a difference. Good night, everybody can only go. Thank you. That means a lot. I have two questions. And this, by the way, comes from, uh, Tom and Tom says, I want to surprise my wife with a dining reservation. The next time we're at Walt Disney world. However, because we're linked on my Disney experience, she would have visibility to anything that's booked.

Is there a way for me to make an ADR without seeing, without her? Yes, I think there's, we're going to take these one at a time. Like I, I think, yes, there's a couple of ways you could do it. One, you could make a separate, my Disney experience accounts or two. This is sort of a super secret, which is not really a secret, but sometimes it's a secret depending on if you're going to eat at Disney Springs.

Come closer. I have to tell you a secret check open table because sometimes you can't find a reservation on the Walt Disney world. Dining reservation system, but even for places like the Boathouse, Homecoming, Hall they're on OpenTable, and sometimes you can get a reservation there, and it is not connected to your MyDisneyExperience account.


Beci Mahnken: the anything in Disney Springs, I go to OpenTable instead of using the the Disney system anyway. It's, I actually find it friendlier and easier to use. But aside of that, if she doesn't have access to your My Disney Experience account, what you can do is just make a reservation under your name and then add a friend or family called TBA.

That's actually how I get around that, uh, if you're going to make a reservation for two, you make a TBA for the second person and you make the reservation under your name. Obviously, that only works if she doesn't have access to your account, because if she does, she'll see it.

Lou Mongello: Right. But I like the sneakiness.

I like the sneakiness. I like sort of the part of the fun of trying to surprise. I'm a surpriser. I like, I like doing that. I'm a surpriser. My daughter does not like that.

Beci Mahnken: You don't like being surprised, but you like to surprise other people. Let's be clear about that.

Lou Mongello: My daughter likes to be surprised if she knows about the surprise ahead of time.

So maybe the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree. All right. So here's a, here's a second part of these food related questions. He says, we have so many great memories of Fulton's crab house and I'm heartbroken to see it gone. I feel you, brother. Knowing paddlefish is now what's occupying that space.

How opinion and how, in your opinion, close is it to Fulton's crab house? All right, very quickly. Way back machine. So before, um, it was paddlefish. Um, actually before it was Fulton's crab house, it was the Empress Lily named after Walt Disney's wife. At least the, I mean, she wasn't, her name wasn't Empress Lily.

It was just Lily, but, um, there was multiple restaurants in there. There was three different levels. There was the captain's quarters. And it was the first place that you could have character dining in Walt Disney world. There was the Empress Room, which was renamed the Becky Mankin Suite, which was really sort of one of the high end dining experiences in Walt Disney World for a long time.

And then it became Fulton's Crab House, which was owned and operated by Levy Restaurants, the Chicago based Levy Restaurants. And that opened in early 96 ish, and then it closed to become Paddlefish in like 20... 16, I believe, but when it was Fulton's, it was sort of like the go to seafood place in, in like Orlando, like it was a, this people came from miles around Becky Mac and for the Fulton's crab house experience, because Orlando was not necessarily known for having the best seafood.

Again, this we're talking, you know, a number of years ago, and I remember. At least early on, the chef would post the shipping bills for the day by the front door. So, you know, that the specials that were on the menu literally were flown in that day. So it really was sort of a place not only to get, if you want a little bit of a higher end, sort of get dressed up experience, but really some of the best seafood and lobster and crab and oysters and things like that, not just in Walt Disney World, but sort of in the Orlando area.


Beci Mahnken: back, I think the only time that I was there once when it was Fulton's and then when it first or when the new version first opened, um, I think that's the only time I've actually been there and I do know that they do have a lot of great dishes there and what I really appreciate about it now is that the menu is seafood, but a lot of people don't really like seafood.

So they do also have, um, seafood. Options from the land, so they have some steak and chicken and other options, too. So it really does cater to different tastes, where if somebody really wants seafood, that's a great place to go in the downtown Disney area. But I like the options, too. But when I was there.

Um, I do miss Fulton's. I won't go back. I'll say I do really miss it. The menu was amazing. Um, but I, I do remember really liking the variety of food that was there when I was there for the opening.

Lou Mongello: So for me, so I've been to, I've been to Paddlefish, excuse me, a number of times. I've actually even done special events there before too.

And I, when I did a live dining review a long, long time ago, Um, I remember sort of remarking that for me, that the, the paddlefish play is getting together with family or a couple of friends and going in and ordering a bunch of appetizers and starters. And some of the, I actually loved the raw and chilled seafood.

So they have, they had a great, uh, ahi poke and a, and a table side crab guacamole. Um, and I think they have a crab ceviche as well, too, that was really, really good. I don't know if they have the lobster fingers anymore. They're not actually little tiny baby lobster fingers, but they were like It was like tempura fried lobster on a stick.

Um, they also had crab cakes and like you said too Becky, there was also a lot of non seafood items there.

Beci Mahnken: I'm that person. I'm not a huge seafood fan. I like, like three things. I like white fish that doesn't taste like fish and tuna.

Lou Mongello: I've dined with Becky. It is, it's the Melanie, like she goes to. Okay, so I want fish, but I don't really want it fishy.

And I don't want it sort of from this part of the ocean. I want it from the top part of the ocean. It's going to be white and flaky. It's a 45 minute affair. Just going to order. But I know what I want

Beci Mahnken: and what I like anyway, but like cod their shrimp is amazing that type of thing, but I will say that I do kind of lean more towards the land

Lou Mongello: myself.

I should just walk in and go Becky will have the pasta primavera just. Just make it easy. Let's just move on. It's fine. And then if there's tuna, she'll try.

Beci Mahnken: Hold on. You got to say though, that you're not too upset about the whole thing, because that means you'll look at it and go, Oh, you can eat that. Oh yeah.

Lou Mongello: Trust me. I remember going to an event. It was like a media invite for a restaurant that was opening. And I sat with a bunch of folks that I knew at the table. And nobody else at the table ate seafood, but me, so they just kept on pushing these families, and I'm looking around. I'm like, am I being punked?

Because this or am I dying? Because this may just be the best day ever. Like, you're all just pushing the seafood down to me. It was like a vat of ahi tuna. It was a good, it was a good day. That was, uh, we know how to make you happy. I'm a very easy man to please. All right. We said we're gonna go fast. Let's go fast.

Beci Mahnken: I was gonna say, was there a question in there?

Lou Mongello: I think we just asked. I hope we answered it. Um, this comes from Eric. He said, this could possibly be a show idea or maybe you've touched on it before. It's that subject line that intrigued me. My wife, myself, and my son have been going to Disney since July 27, when my son was 2.

He's now 9. We've been every single year. We all love disney, excuse me, but I don't feel like my son and I have any traditions when we go. I'd love tradition I'd love Suggestions on some traditions that my son and I could develop that will give him something to remember as we grow older Thank you for what you do eric.

I love this question. It's actually Super timely, but off by a couple of days, because just last week on our Wednesday night, WWL live show, this is exactly what we were talking about. We were talking about traditions and superstitions almost that we have when we go to Walt Disney world. And it's, it's funny because sometimes traditions are things that you do things that you buy, but sometimes.

You know, it could be like your first and last ride. It could be a photo that you take, something that you wear, certain foods or meals, or throwing a coin in a wishing well, or trying to pull the sword from the stone. Even like, I, I, I confessed one of my, and I don't know how or why it started, but like, I walk into Magic Kingdom a certain way, like a certain side, and I walk out of Magic Kingdom a certain time.

This, this could, this might be an actual show. Idea because I think sometimes whether it is, you know, collecting that, um, you know, that, that Christmas ornament or a pressed penny or a new Mickey ear or a pin every time you go, or your first and last ride, it's really interesting how these traditions.

Consciously or subconsciously develop. And I think to kind of answer your question as well, in terms of figuring out that tradition that your son and I have, I think it's part of the fun is letting that common interest, that common bond sort of form. Naturally, whether it is a place that you that that means something to the two of you that you want to sort of repeat that photo.

I told a story about the very first picture that my parents had of one of the first pictures that we had in November of 1971. Was in front of the watch shop. I've posted before really bad hair, really, really bad clothes, but it ended up being a picture that years later, not only did I start to repeat by myself and repeat with my family and my kids, but then other people from the community started and it sort of became affectionately known as like.

the spot. And it was this sort of WW sort of family picture, but it, it wasn't something that was given any sort of thought. It just sort of happened organically. And those are the

Beci Mahnken: best ones. It's the things that happened organically. You, um, returned to a special place because there was a memory. The first time that you did it, that you wanted to relive, you wanted to have that, that special surprise and delight feeling.

you know, when, when you walk into the gates of, of Disney land or Disney world or Magic Kingdom, you turn into a child immediately. And that bubbly feeling that you have of, of not a care in the world and just that magical. Feeling of being there. You want to relive, right? So you go in the first time for me.

I have several of them. I have, uh, when I walk out of Disneyland, when I walk into Disneyland, I have to wave at the lamp like it's going to wave back to me or something, but I have to wave at it and say, good morning, Walt. And then off you go to your wonderful day in Disneyland. And when I leave, yeah. I have to stop and just look at that lamp and say, thank you for whatever experience I had that day.

It was all due to the man that used to hang out in that apartment and watch the people walk in and out of his park, enjoying themselves. So for me, that's just something that I have to do. Because it gives me a feeling of joy. So much like that picture for you, um, being able to see it when you were a kid and knowing that your, your parents put you there and took that picture.

And then that picture just lived on. Um, I know others that they have one ride because. As organically, the family learned to love Pirates of the Caribbean, and that's the ride that they have to go on. So no matter going left or right, they're going to go in and find Pirates of the Caribbean to be that first ride of the day, because that's what they do every time they go.

There's others. It's not just what you do in the park. It's what you eat. So I know that, uh, Chef Mickey's for me used to be the thing that you had to go do every single time because that was your hello to the characters. That was your moment that you had to be able to get some food and hang out with the characters and take some pictures and now you're ready for the parks.

So I think that there's probably tons of different flavors of this memory or this tradition, uh, depending on the family. But I, I'm with you. I think it needs to be something that grows out of the organic joy that you have the first time. I mean, you and I were talking about our tradition in California adventure.

We cannot leave that park unless we ride mater. And it

Lou Mongello: just sort of happened like, because we had so much fun the first time we wrote it.

Beci Mahnken: Oh, um, I was laughing so hard. I was crying and just the amount of, again, Infectious, crazy giggle fest was what it was between the two of us and who was going to break a hip first, um, which we, we didn't accomplish.

But now every time we go back, it's like a thing, like we have to do that again just to remember that joy giggle fest that we

Lou Mongello: had. So two things came out of this. One, the fact that you call it Caribbean instead of Caribbean, fascinating. And two, I wonder if this is whatever. I wonder if this is something that could be.

A show we get a bunch of folks, maybe from the nation on a call together and share some of our Memories and traditions. If this is something you'd like to hear on a full show and sort of a longer conversation, let me know, go to the clubhouse. I'll post this question there where you can let me know by calling the voicemail.

All right, we're moving on. I'm trying my best to, to adhere to. The non existent clock. Good luck with that. I know. Listen, we're on our third question. This is, uh. And there's

Beci Mahnken: 743, 000

Lou Mongello: left to go. And I'm pulling this one for you because, again, Stephen says, hi, Lou and Becky, exclamation point, not question mark.

Beci Mahnken: Not a question mark. Not a question mark. Apparently, I'm, I'm like getting some credit in this whole thing after how many years?

Lou Mongello: My name is Stephen. I'm a longtime listener. I have to do it like a radio voice. A long time listener, first time emailer. Thank you so much for everything you do. You really are an inspiration.

Wow, thank you. So much so that I finally decided to start my own blog, combining my profession, physical therapy, with my passion for Disney. That's awesome. Send me the link. I'd love to check it out. Anyhow, my wife and I tried to meet you in person at D23 Expo, but we seemed to have the worst timing. Since someone else was with you every time we stopped by your booth, it was probably just the In N Out delivery guy.

We hope to be able to meet you in person very soon. Bye for now. Here it is. My question for you. Oh, wait, I can't answer this. My question for you, this is what happens when you don't read it ahead of time. What is a typical day in the life of Lou Mangiello?

Beci Mahnken: I think we need to answer that one with again, you not being on the show and Deanna

Lou Mongello: and I just talking about, well, you do it at my funeral because She doesn't even know she's never here.


Beci Mahnken: for the, for the guy that emailed, um, next time when we're at the D 23 expo, which isn't called the expo, but it's the longest name ever. If he's talking to somebody, just come find me and I'll make sure that

Lou Mongello: you, you know, definitely. And Steven, I'm coming in for a hug, man, because I owe you. Um, what does it, this is a longer question that I'm not sure anybody else even cares about, um, a typical day.

Is never the same day twice. Um, I don't sort of have a normal day, which is why I love, love, love what I do. Um, somebody asked me like, what's my exit track? I'm like, I have no exit strategy. Like I'm going to keep doing this as long as I like, love it. And then the day I don't, then I'll worry about it. But I still love what I do.

My days are very, very different because I don't sort of have a set schedule. It's part of what I love about entrepreneurship. It's why I like that. Help other entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and businesses like find that thing that they love and make it the thing that they do because I don't work. I work longer and harder now than I ever was when I was an attorney But I don't ever feel like I work a day in my life We're recording on a Sunday evening and I have been like I've been at my laptop all weekend And that's not a complaint like it's a blessing.

It's a gift to be able to do that So I won't I won't belabor this question Too much longer. Maybe we can, if anybody actually cares, we can talk about it on a live show. A lot of people

Beci Mahnken: care. And I think there's also a misnomer that you just hang out in the theme park every day. So, I mean, seriously, and I think all of us that, that kind of have our dipped our toe into this as a, as a living, get that all the time.

It's like, well, you're just hanging out on theme park or on a cruise ship. What are you, what are you really doing for a living? And so I think a lot of people would be interested in how you. Build a brand in how you, you know, turn this into the, the wonderful family that it

Lou Mongello: is. Uh, visit lu mon jello.com, click on the link for momentum and I invite you to attend my weekend workshop or a treat, or some of the things I have going on.

But this is not about me, this is about you. So I'm going to move on. He's gonna move on. Mm-hmm. , right? . Clearly I'm very awkward talking about myself. It makes me very uncomfortable. , clearly.

Beci Mahnken: Alright, we we're gonna have to do just a show where I'm just gonna ask you a whole

Lou Mongello: bunch of questions. You're gonna pull a Ridley Pearson, Ridley Rid Pearson.

Really quick story. We Ridley Pearson was a guest on our, one of our group cruises in 20 13, 14, 13, 14. And we had, uh, we had a venue. We were going to do sort of this conversation interview with Ridley. And he literally stands up on a chair and he's like, I'm turning the tables. And I got very frightened because that's what I do.

And he sort of turned it around and sort of Ridley interviewed me, but that was a lot of fun. Like that was.

Beci Mahnken: I was so proud of that, man. That was a great day. And we asked a lot of great stuff.

Lou Mongello: Yeah, you were beaming. And I love Ridley. We have to get Ridley back on. And back on the cruise, too, by the way.

Yeah. All right. Colleen Goldenfarb said, in all capital letters, Huge fan huge fan. I know you take listener questions, but I don't know where to send my questions unless this is it Colleen It's it you're on the air I'm going to Paris Paris is the word that stuck out of me with my husband and I cannot decide if we should try to See both parks in one day We only have one day as we'll be getting on a river cruise.

Yay. The next day I'm a Disney world kind of gal. So anything outside of Orlando is just icing. It's okay. If we don't get to see the second park in Paris, I just want to ride in a hundred mansion. Do you think we should try to cram? Both parks in one day. It is, is it even feasible? Is it possible? Also, do they have genie plus or any kind of a fast pass?

Thanks to your advice. And thanks for all the years of your pot of joy. Your podcast brings off. You're a good human

I literally like like slumped in my seat. I'm like, oh, that's like so nice Thank you. Colleen. You just made like my entire week. Um, you know, who's got four thumbs and loves disneyland paris These guys, I'm pointing to me and Becky, I love, love, love Disneyland Paris so very much. Um, I have my, I have an easy answer, I think, to this question, but I will let you go first, Becky.

Should they try and cram both parks in one day? Well,

Beci Mahnken: see, you're actually the perfect person to answer this because we kind of had to do that on the first visit when you visited for your very first time at Disneyland Paris because we had a similar thing. We had a one night layover. Before we came home, uh, for me, Disneyland Paris is a place that you need to go and spend four nights.

I really believe that so that you can take it all in, but if you only have one day and depending on when it is during the year as well, you can easily do a taste test around the two parks. Um, you're not going to see everything. You're not going to do everything, but there are. Enough things in both parks that are so unique to Disneyland Paris that I think if you're willing to, um, to just kind of do that little taste tester, two parks is not a bad idea in one day, again.

If you have, it's during the time of year, that's going to be a little bit slower and you're going to actually be able to enjoy it. If there's a chance you're going to be returning anytime soon, then concentrate on one, but I just really think that you can take that just real quick look at both of the parks so that you can plan your return.

Lou Mongello: I will, this is like the old Saturday Night Live in the 70s, point counterpoint. I'm going to go the opposite side. I actually think Disneyland Paris. is such a beautiful park. It has so much to offer and, and to be savored and enjoyed. While I still think Walt Disney studios park, unless you need to see something specific there, whether it's tower.

Avengers Campus, Pym Test Kitchen. I'm looking at you. Yeah, I would devote the day to Disneyland Paris. I would really make sure that I see and experience all of the highlights that this park has to offer. Um, hindsight being 2020 and I know we want it. We don't want to sort of like walk away. Knowing we didn't see the other side, but this is sort of a, maybe a taste test so that you can have reason to come back, especially because there's so much going on on the studio's park side in terms of expansion and frozen and some of the other things that are happening throughout that park, um, in terms of genie plus, um, they have something called premier access, which I like

Beci Mahnken: better.

Much better,

Lou Mongello: much better. It's easy. It's very straightforward basically. And, uh, and this is a very, very abbreviated version. You should, you could obviously look it up online. Basically it's their version of a fast pass system that you could buy individual fast passes between like five and 15 or so euros.

For one time access to select attractions, or you can do an ultimate option, which ran about like 90 to a hundred euros, about 90 to a hundred dollars, which gives you access to, um, premier access for, for the, for the entire day for the attractions. I will tell you, Becky, my daughter and I were there. We used it especially because we wanted to see the Lion King show.

The lines were always super long. It was the best 15 each I ever spent in a Disney's park, in a Disney park. We bypassed the entire line. We went in early. We had reserved like special seating. Like front and center for the show. I was like, I really, really, really like the way they do premier access in terms of execution and the way they use it on the app too, is, is very, very, very simple and straightforward.

Beci Mahnken: It's so much easier with what doesn't have that huge learning curve to. Kind of figure out like genie plus does. It's not as confusing part of the play. I'm going to come back to this for a second. So let's assume that they're not going to be coming back anytime soon. Right. And yeah, you're right. I would say Disneyland park would be the first priority.

So if you go there in the daytime, you rope drop Disneyland Paris park, right. And you go to waltz for lunch and then you hang out in the park and then in the late afternoon, then you go over to studios. You have Pim's test kitchen for dinner, and then you watch the, um, the drone show if it's there.

Otherwise, you end the date, end the day wherever the drone show is. There we go.

Lou Mongello: I will tell you, Disneyland Paris does a lot of things really, really, really well. Their nighttime experiences are possibly the best in any Disney park anywhere. Agreed 100 percent agreed there that the end and for the 30th and even what they've launched after it's spectacular To quote Jack from lost the best show ever on television.

We have to go back Becky. We have to go back I was gonna do a really bad Jack impression, but I'm afraid it would have

Beci Mahnken: just yeah Sorry, okay, we're

Lou Mongello: going back this question and I don't know why this fascinates me like when people say they listen to the podcast from like Japan or New Zealand. I'm like, that's so wild. Like it's across the planet. I don't know why the fact that this question comes from England is super cool to me, but this, and I was going to do a bad English accent too, but I won't because it's from James miles from Wiltshire or Wiltshire Wiltshire he's from England.

He says, can you answer a question for me? I'm gonna answer two questions because that first question is a question my seven year old daughter Freya. Hi Wants to know why the statue of the jester at the French Quarter pool It was French Quarter that caught my attention is standing with one of his feet on a pair I'm guessing there has to be some kind of reason for it.

Maybe something to do with Mardi Gras. We asked a few cast members, but there was no luck. If anyone who could find out, it's you. It's a lot of pressure, James, but thank you. Um, but I actually think I have a somewhat reasonable potentially answer or somebody can completely tell me that I'm way off base. I was going to say good.

Beci Mahnken: I hope you do because I have no clue what's going on

Lou Mongello: here. So. The, the jester that you're talking about that is located near, um, the blue lagoon is actually based off of, and it's very, very closely, very closely resembles a figure that is on a canal street by the, the. Um, ferry terminal in New Orleans, I was told that there's really sort of no special meaning to the shapes that are under.

It's just sort of almost, you know, um, it's sort of a device to allow them to sort of position these statues in the way that they want sort of raising the That foot up, uh, the only sort of connection that, that maybe I could make is that if you look around Not just port Orleans french quarter, but if you look around new orleans, you'll find a lot of A huge variety of trees, right?

You'll see the the magnolias and the oaks and the myrtles, but you'll also see pear trees so pear trees are Native to the New Orleans area that you can find them over at French Quarter as well. Maybe there's the connection there. That's the thing that makes sense in my head, whether it's correct or not.

I have no idea, but I think if you, Becky, if you say it with confidence and conviction,

I think that makes sense. I think, I think that makes sense. I'm,

Beci Mahnken: I'm totally in because I clearly had no clue that this even existed. Um, I've, I've seen the statue. I just didn't pay attention to what he was standing on. And so as you, as you were droning on with all of your wisdom, I just pulled it up to look at it like, okay, I'll buy that.

We're good to go.

Lou Mongello: You just said drawing on.

Beci Mahnken: With all your wisdom. Notice how there was a compliment on the

Lou Mongello: back end of that. It's a little backhanded, but that's fine. I'm going to move on. Um, all right, let me quickly go. I'm looking for ones that say, Oh, you'll like this. Hi, Becky. Dot, dot, dot. And Lou question mark.

But there's getting better all the time. But they're all from you. They're all from mouse fan travel. Email addresses. Um, Before I get to my cruise question, which is why it also resonated, I want to share our latest experience with you and I'll try to be brief. It's a 17 paragraph email, but he's going to try.

I'm kidding. I'm going to go. I'm going to read really fast. We have three adult children, one of which is married. They're scattered between Maine, North Carolina, and New Jersey. So an opportunity came up to be all together in Disney. It's kind of magical. This past March was one of those rare occasions for nine.

Count them nine times. What movie? Nine times. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In the world. At one point about mid vacation, one of the kids asked, Hey, what's been everybody's favorite moment so far? Each of our kids are in their 30s, mind you. So forget the fact that I tried to do a kid's voice. So each of them said how being together in Disney, doing this vacation, this family vacation again, Something got in my eye, dude, in my eye as well.

It like, um, our son in law who was a Florida resident said how doing Disney with us was so different and immersive than when he was a kid and just visited the park as something I do. So I bring this up because much of this is due to what you and Becky in big, bold letters and the entire clubhouse family have done for us.

Oh, wow. This is really like such a great. I'm like holding my heart. My daughter, Jessica, introduced me to your podcast several years ago, and it's been magic ever since. And I just want to thank you and Becky question mark for all that you do. I answered the question mark here. Okay, here we go. Uh, my question about the cruise is simple.

My wife and I are booked on the wish. In November, thank you, Sue Passauer and Mouse Fan Travel to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. I'm, I'm applauding Sue Passauer, Mouse Fan Travel, and the fact that you would marry 35 years. I've heard a lot of talk and comparisons to the other ships. We've been on the wonder and the fantasy.

So I wonder what are your thoughts about what not to miss on a four night, very merry time cruise. And should we forsake getting off in Nassau? We're in our early fifties, but not big excursion people, but want to make sure we aren't missing anything on something fantastic. Thank you again for what you both do regards Darren Boynton, Darren.

Thank you. You have made my day again with that question, but the bottom line is. What not to miss on the very merry cruise. And should we forsake getting off in Nassau? Let's take the second question first, because I know you and I have, have. Probably relatively strong ish opinions about getting off in Nassau.

I think if you've never been to Nassau, you have to get off once, put your feet on the ground and say. I've been to Nassau a lot of times you'll unless you go for a specific excursion or you want to go to, you know, diving or go to the beach or something like that. It's fine. It's not my favorite port.

Nassau is not my favorite port. And I know that they're doing a lot. They're investing a lot in Nassau to try and, um, really improve not just the port, but the shopping and some of the experiences there. I love Nassau days because I like having the ship to myself. I like sort of being in port and the ship isn't crowded.

The decks aren't crowded. Um, especially early in the day when everybody sort of gets off to enjoy Nassau. But I think it's a, especially because you're only going on a four night crew, not only, but like it's a, it's a shorter cruise. I would take that time to really leverage the opportunity to Enjoy and I don't think he said what ship that you've that you're going on.

No, but I would really take that time to enjoy the ship.

Beci Mahnken: Yeah, I'm with you as well. Now. So, I mean, it has some wonderful things about it does have some really fun excursions. It has some great history. A lot of people will go over and spend the day at Atlantis, do a beach day there or see the aquarium or some people go to gamble during the day over to the casino.

Um, However, for those people who are, who cruise a lot, NASA tends to be one of the ports the ship always goes, uh, ports in. So, just as you said, a lot of people choose to use that day as half the ship is off doing something else. So you got more space, um, by the pool. You have more space to go watch a movie.

There's a little bit more, um. Intimate feeling, because there's a lot of people on board, so if you don't have anything that is drawing you into NASA, if you don't care about the shore excursions there, if you don't want to go to NASA or to Atlantis, if it doesn't matter to you, I highly encourage you to stay on board.

If it's only for a day, and if it's one of the newer ships, I thought he mentioned the wish earlier, but maybe I was hearing that wrong. Um... If you haven't been on that ship before and you're just going to spend four days on it, spend as much time as you can, because clearly when you get to Castaway Cay, you're not going to want to stay on board for that particular port stop.

So take

Lou Mongello: advantage of it. Yeah. And I love the fact that you're going on a very maritime cruise. I think. I think that the themed cruises, especially if you've cruised before, are a really nice addition. And if you're going as a group, if you're going with your family and extended family and friends, whatever it may be, it adds this other layer of going back to one of the earlier questions, creating traditions, creating some of these wonderful memories.

You talked about things not to miss on a very merry time cruise. I think there's, what I love about the theme cruises like this, Becky, is that there's always another sort of layer of. Sort of special pixie dust on top, right? So the very maritime cruises has like the tree lighting magic ceremony. There's the Santa's winter wonderland ball, which is this, um, I won't ruin who the special guests are, but you can probably do the math and figure it out.

But there's great like singers and entertainment and holiday songs and, and characters. And it snows in the And even that, like, I'm not normally like a huge. Character person, but seeing like not just the fab five, but other characters in their wintery holiday attire makes me sitting there smelling the wonderful gingerbread house and probably noshing on a piece of gingerbread with possibly a hot chocolate in my hand.

Even more special and magical and even castaway key is decorated for the holidays, too So as much of you are a picture person in the character person, there's another reason to enjoy a little enhancement on castaway

Beci Mahnken: One hundred percent. The moment you said, very merry time, I was, the first thing that popped in my head was watching the Christmas tree lighting.

That is just one of the most special things to do on board and to share that with your friends and family and the extended family of all the people that are hanging out in the atrium to watch this whole thing go down. And for those of us who live in places that still has seasons, uh, it is also very, uh, unique.

To be in 85 or 90 degree weather and having hot chocolate and watching it snow in the atrium.

Lou Mongello: Florida has seasons! It went down to like 70 It does not have seasons! It went down to 70 today! It's freezing here in Florida! Don't even! Listen, it's not gonna last very long. The fall in Florida is a fleeting thing.

Beci Mahnken: I can't wait to get you on the Christmas markets cruise because you are going to freeze your little

Lou Mongello: tootsies off. I can't wait. I can't wait. Listen, I came from New Jersey. I've experienced winters. I've shoveled my fair share. How many years

Beci Mahnken: ago

Lou Mongello: was that? I moved from New Jersey in like 2008. So, but I visited snow.

We, when I took my family to Colorado and we played in the snow, I thought about leaving this Disney thing to become a professional sledder. Because me on that little best 15 I ever spent was on that little plastic disc as opposed to investing thousands of dollars to go skiing. I just had such a blast.

Um, but that being said, I love, again, I love the theme cruises. I love the maritime cruise. There's something and it happens very, we've been there, Becky, as they sort of. Turn the ship over and start decorating, whether it's for Halloween on the high seas or whether it's for Christmas time, all of the ships, no matter which one you're on, take on such a different festive feel.

Even if you do go up on deck and it's 812 degrees with a thousand percent humidity, it's like going to wilderness lodge. Like. You feel warm and toasty and like, so Christmassy, especially in the atrium and, and like, God bless you. Mickey Minnie, when you're walking around with your like big, thick, like Alpine sweaters on.

But when you're inside, it really feels a lot like Christmas.

Beci Mahnken: Yeah, and I was even thinking about the, the cast members who dress up and they have the, um, scarves on too. And it's like, I look at them and God bless them, man, because 85 degrees in this inside the ship, but they're wearing. scarves like they're in Denver, but it all adds to it.

And it's not just the very Mary, but like you said, the other themed times of year or the other themed cruises, they just have a way of making it so special and the surprises and delights and the, um, the way that it's not just a cruise ship and it's not just a cruise, but you're having experiences.

Lou Mongello: Yeah.

And it's. So there's two other asides that I want to add to that too. Speaking of themed cruises, I have to sort of make a quick plug. We are doing our very first group Halloween on the high seas cruise on the Disney magic. I love, love, love, love, love the magic. So very much October 26th. Sorry, October 21st through the.

2024, but wait, it gets even better because not only does it leave at a Fort Lauderdale, not only are we going to take the bright line train from Orlando and go down there and possibly do something before or after in Orlando too, but, but we go to lookout key at lighthouse points and. I'm already thinking about my costume.

Beci Mahnken: There was exactly where I was gonna go. If you show up as Lando Ian again, I am out . Wait, wait, what was that name? What

Lou Mongello: was that name? What was that?

Beci Mahnken: Lando What? Lando. What's his face?

Lou Mongello: No, it's not Lando. Lando Mello. It's Orlando. I'm his cousin. I'm his cousin, like a distant cousin. We did the Star Wars Day at Sea Cruise and I had my Orlando or my, my Orlando Calrissian costume on.

Yeah, but they were a ton of fun. They were a ton of fun. But what are you going to dress up as? I can't, I'm not going to tell you, but I'm already in training. Great. I'm going as Wilson Fisk. I'm going to try and gain 100 pounds. I want to ask,

Beci Mahnken: I think that we should ask the, the, the clubhouse.

Lou Mongello: What

Beci Mahnken: should Lou dress up as?

Lou Mongello: I'm going to stuff the ballot box with my own answers, but I can, and we'll share this. Because, Darren, I'm a giver, and I want to help you, and I really want to make sure, as always, that the information that I give on the show is, is fair and is accurate and up to date, uh, I'm going to go on a very merry time cruise just for you.

Uh, November 30th, I'm going to go on a four night, very merry time cruise. And I'm going to bring and share that experience to you and with you live ish, as I can not just doing Facebook live videos, but on Instagram stories and, uh, posts and reels, and certainly do. A podcast about it when we come back just to make Becky.

I just need to make sure See what's changed see what's new and just sample the holiday menu Like for four days straight. I'm probably not gonna get off this. That's not true I will get off and cast away key because I need to go to cookies too, but um This is I love. I'm so excited. Like I am so I am literally counting down because again, I just love there's such an added sense of we sort of we use the word magic so easily, but there really is something very special, something very magical about the themed cruises like those.

Beci Mahnken: Of course. And so you're gonna go and then you're gonna make sure it's all okay for us to do it again. You're just making sure that it's magical enough for the special people that belong to the WW radio

Lou Mongello: family, right? It's what I do. It's what I live for. Yeah.

So, alright, I think, um, I think that will do it for, uh, for this week. Um, I'm trying to see if there's a short question I could ask. There's never a short question. Even the questions that are written short, I'm quickly like, oh no, this is going to be like, this alone. Find

Beci Mahnken: a question that's like a yes or no answer.


Lou Mongello: I'm trying. I'm literally trying because any of the questions that I'm reading I'm already like, oh no, no, this is going to re... This requires like a historical perspective and a, uh, a very, very long answer. And some of the questions are really, really, some of the, wow. Some of the questions Okay, wait.

Beci Mahnken: Here, then. Tokyo DisneySea or Disneyland Paris?

Lou Mongello: Oh ho ho. I don't know what that was, but you just defended basically all of France and half of Canada. Um, I still, I'm, you know, I, my, my heart is very firmly rooted in Tokyo, Disney sea. I think it is the best of the best of the best of the Disney parks worldwide.

We're going to do a show as part of our celebration of the Disney 100 and a hundred years of, of the company and the Disney parks. We're going to sort of go through and talk about. We're going to sort of, um, I guess I'm answering a question with answering a question. We're going to take a look at sort of the best of the best from the Disney parks worldwide.

So we can really sort of talk about not just what we love from some of the, from some of the different parks, but why we think those aspects of them are the best of the best. But if you gave me a choice right now to snap my fingers and have mouse fan travel. com book me a trip to either of the locations, it would be Tokyo without a, even a second thought.

Beci Mahnken: Of course, right, Disneyland. Or Disneyland Paris,

Lou Mongello: Disneyland Paris, Ooh, because I just came from Disneyland.

Beci Mahnken: Okay. So that's it. It's a wishful thinking. It's a wishful

Lou Mongello: thinking, you know, because I listen, and we did a two part show where we talked about Disneyland Paris. I think Phantom Manor is exquisite. Um, I loved Walt. I mean, I think the castle is beautiful.

I think the park itself, just for a park, I would love to, even if I didn't have to ride anything, Becky, I really just liked sort of. There's a lot of exploration, I think, to be had, especially if you have never been there before, to a place like Disneyland Paris, and it's only going to get bigger and better, especially with the additions like Frozen coming to the studios.

Beci Mahnken: All right, fine. One more then. The Disney Wish or Disneyland Paris?

Lou Mongello: I contextual questions here. Am I going alone or are we bringing a group with us?

Beci Mahnken: No. All right. Alone. Alone. All you. Your personal preference.

Lou Mongello: Going alone on the wish versus how many days am I going to each?

Beci Mahnken: Let's, let's say a seven day, seven day cruise or seven days in Paris. What

Lou Mongello: ports am I going to? Oh, geez.

No, I'm stalling for time. I'm stalling for time

Beci Mahnken: because I thought you'd be able to like pick that one up really quickly. But no, you had to think about that one.

Lou Mongello: I really like Paris. I really, really like Paris a lot. Um, I love the Disney Cruise. Oh, but then there's 1923. And then there's Deck 11, the Festival of Foods.

And it's all included. And I like being at sea. All right, I'm going to say the Disney Wish. No, I want to go back. Can I do both? Can I take the wish to Paris somehow? That's an interesting question. We're going to post that in the clubhouse, right? If you have a choice between, I have to write this down because I'm going to forget.

If you had to go the wish or DLP for seven days, which would you choose and why? And that's the question we're going to leave you with. Our friend who is hopefully you finish your snack, uh, is still here, what would you do if you had seven days? And this is, I'm assuming this is an all expensive paid trip.

Like you're going to take care of like, of course. Okay, good. Cause that changes the dynamic of things. You've seen how much I can eat in Disneyland Paris. So that's going to change the financials a little bit. Full

Beci Mahnken: board dining plan for you.

Lou Mongello: Hello. Does this include Multiple changes of stretchy pants because I need my, my cruising and my dining,

Beci Mahnken: what you wear is totally up to you.

I'm going to have no say in

Lou Mongello: that. All right. The Disney wish or Disneyland Paris for seven days. And if you're looking to go to either of those destinations, or you want to come with us on our five night Halloween on the high seas cruise on the Disney magic, October 21st through the 26th, 2024. Or, better yet, in February 2025, from the 8th to the 15th, a seven night Western Caribbean cruise and WWE radio's 20th anniversary.

Oh, did I mention it's on the Disney treasure? Did I mention the Disney treasure? Yeah. Is it really

Beci Mahnken: going to be 20? Okay. Sorry. That just took me a moment. Go ahead.

Lou Mongello: It's technically it's 20 years of the podcast, but it's like 20. One years of like since I started but it doesn't matter because it sounds really good So we're going to do february 8th to the 15th on the disney treasure seven night western caribbean Cozumel grand cayman, jamaica castaway key if you want to come on either of those go to Www.

com slash cruises and mousetravel. com for any and all of your vacation Planning destination magic, which is what you do best.

Beci Mahnken: We certainly try

Lou Mongello: or do not

Beci Mahnken: do. There is no try. Fine. Okay, fine. We do. We absolutely do. We do, um, these wonderful. We're so blessed. I have to back up. We're so blessed to be able to do what we do to help people create and curate these wonderful vacation experiences with their families to create memories that last forever, including these traditions.

And it is at no cost to you. Our services are free.

Lou Mongello: Now I'm in the Christmas spirit. I, oh my gosh, I literally almost started doing my really bad Bing Crosby. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. You sing

Beci Mahnken: that? You do? Oh, when I'm alone? You sing something besides Blood on the Saddle?

Lou Mongello: Becky, whoa, too soon.

When I am alone, I am belting out, it's like... I'm, it's like belting out show tunes like a male Bette Midler, like I am, Oh, Christmas time. I'm all down. You give me like, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. You get me in the car. If you pull up next to me at the light, chances are I'm going to get something to eat. And you see me like, I'm not, I'm pretending that I'm on the phone.

Sometimes I'll literally pick up my phone and put it next to me. So people don't think I'm a crazy person, but I'll be belting out Christmas tunes.

Beci Mahnken: It does not surprise me

Lou Mongello: whatsoever. But like OG Christmas tunes, like OG stuff.

Beci Mahnken: Okay, good to know. We'll watch for that and we might actually have you sing somewhere.

No, no, no, no, no. So you'll never, I know, it's a, it's a social thing. Alright, so let's go back to something that's a little easier then. What's your Halloween costume gonna be again? How about Gaston or...

Lou Mongello: Nope. Sully? I already know what it is. And it'll hopefully Is it Marvel,

Beci Mahnken: Star Wars, or Disney?

Lou Mongello: It'll hopefully cover and hide the fact that I have been eating on cruises, like, to answer listener email questions.

Maybe I will have to go as Wilson Fisk from Daredevil. Because

Beci Mahnken: wow, I, I, I really think you could pull off queen of hearts. I mean, look at your face, the hair.

Lou Mongello: Why are you baiting me? Why are you baiting me into something that I shouldn't say?

Beci Mahnken: I know people in Disney costuming. We should get you like the queen of hearts dress.

You'd be great. It'd be great.

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