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WDW Radio # 781 – Listener Email: More Muppets, Secret Disney Cruise Line Desserts, Tokyo Disneyland, Dinner Crawl & More!

Lou opens up the inbox this week and answer your emails about Muppets in the Disney Parks, secret Disney Cruise Line dessert experience, Fall crowds, Disneyland tours, visiting Tokyo Disneyland, and a dinner crawl idea where he turns to YOU for your input, and more!


Join Lou Mongello and special guest Beci Mahnken as they dive into the magical mailbag to answer your pressing questions in a delightful episode brimming with nostalgia, practical advice, and a sprinkle of pixie dust. From the whimsical reminiscences of the Muppets at Walt Disney World to the artisan dessert experiences aboard the Disney Wish cruise, this episode covers a plethora of Disney delights that listeners have been curious about.

We kick things off with a heartfelt discussion about the Muppets’ presence in Disney parks, sparked by Darren from Maine’s passion for Jim Henson’s creations. We explore the rich history of the Muppets at Disney, their once-planned theme land, and the lingering desire for more Muppet attractions and merchandise. Dive into potential updates for Muppet Vision 3D and the opportunities to enhance the Muppet courtyard area.

Transitioning to delectable dining, Lou shares his indulgent dessert journey at the Enchante restaurant on the Disney Wish cruise. Treat your taste buds to talk of creme brulee, lemon meringue, and the complexities of dining with dietary restrictions.

The episode shifts gears with savvy travel tips as Beci and Lou dissect the challenges and opportunities of visiting Disney World during the bustling first week of November, navigating Wine and Dine half marathon crowds, and leveraging holiday decorations to improve your park experience. Discover how strategic Disney offers can reveal the best times to visit and how a skilled travel advisor’s insights can enhance your vacation.

Attention turns to Tokyo Disney Resort as our hosts unpack the intricacies of planning a trip to this coveted destination. Explore the nuances of booking at the official resorts, deciphering Tokyo’s hotel availability grid, and valuing the good neighbor hotels as alternatives. Hear the first-hand experiences of planning a Tokyo Disney trip and why early planning is crucial.

For those enchanted by the storytelling prowess of Disneyland’s landscaping, Lou highlights the return of fan-favorite guided tours like the Disneyland Railroad and Cultivating the Magic. Immerse yourself in stories of Walt Disney’s apartment and his love for the railroad, and take home exclusive souvenirs from these uniquely intimate tours.

Don’t miss the playful banter as Lou and Beci toy with the idea of a Disney Springs dinner crawl episode, brainstorming an interactive dining adventure involving fan votes and a tantalizing array of eateries – from opulent restaurants to a trendy new cookie bar.

Packed with insider knowledge, stories, and insights, this installment of WDW Radio is a joyful journey through the mosaic of Disney fandom, where every listener’s query finds a home. Tune in to this week’s listener emails show, comment in the WDW Radio Clubhouse and be part of our ongoing conversation, with a touch of humor and the promise of Disney magic in every word.

Subscribe, recommend, share, and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and join the WDW Radio Nation to help support the show… and help make children’s wishes come true.

Create your perfect appetizer, entree, dessert, drink, and late-night snack menu! Use the form below, and I might use it on the show! You can also share your thoughts in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse
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Create Your Perfect Disney Springs Dining Crawl

Choose your favorite ONE of each to create your perfect evening in Disney Springs! Be sure to include the item name, and WHERE you can find it.
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  • There is a desire among fans for more Muppets in the Disney parks, and it is surprising that the property has not been leveraged more.
  • Disney is generally great at accommodating food allergies, but it is important to communicate any dietary restrictions in advance, especially for specialty dining experiences.
  • Crowd levels at Disneyland can vary depending on events like marathons and holidays, so it’s important to plan accordingly and consult a travel advisor for guidance.
  • Disneyland offers a variety of guided tours, including the Disneyland Railroad guided tour and the Cultivating the Magic guided tour, which explore different aspects of the park’s history and storytelling.
  • The Main Street Story Tour at Disneyland is the only tour that currently allows guests to visit Walt Disney’s apartment above the firehouse. Lou shares his experience sitting on Walt Disney’s toilet and reflects on the inspiration that Walt may have found in that space.
  • Planning a trip to Tokyo Disney can be complicated due to government regulations and limited availability of vacation packages at Disney hotels.
  • Disney Springs offers a wide variety of dining options, making it difficult to choose where to eat. Lou and Princess plan to do a future episode dedicated to a dinner crawl around Disney Springs.
  • Lou and Beci mention upcoming meetups and events, including one in London and Paris.

Sound Bites

  • “Joining me today is a special guest. Let’s just, she’s special. She’s very special.”
  • “We’re going to open up the inbox and it’s really full and I’m metaphorically going to stick my hand in and just grab one out.”
  • “I love the Muppets. What gives, man?”
  • “And I was like, come on baby, just give me the inspiration because you know, like that’s when you do your best thinking.”
  • “But you could sit on the patio and listen to all the people and listen to the conversations and listen to the families and watch the parade. And it’s a neat little hidden gem up there.”
  • “Tokyo Disney Resort is not really part of Disney. So you’re not gonna find Disney destinations packages selling Tokyo.”

Timestamped Overview / Chapters

  • [00:00] Discussing email segments, addressing park-related questions and ideas.
  • [05:44] Lou and his brother recreated Muppet Movie scenes as kids.
  • [06:33] Discussion of Muppets acquisition and theme park plans.
  • [11:53] $60 billion for park development, share your ideas.
  • [13:56] Dessert experiences at upscale restaurant, Enchante, explained.
  • [16:11] Notify Disney Cruise Line about food allergy in advance.
  • [21:09] Peak travel times now more strategic for Disney.
  • [23:17] Disneyland offers diverse guided tours with sensory experiences.
  • [27:42] Visiting Walt’s places for inspiration and connection.
  • [31:13] Tokyo Disney Resort is highly complicated to book.
  • [34:16] Booking Disney hotel: learning curve, plan ahead.
  • [38:18] Becky plans a Disney Springs meal episode.
  • [39:45] Plan mini roundtable, vote on best choices.
  • [43:04] Prepare answers and submit in advance. Live show.
  • [45:48] Add to show notes, you’re funny.

What is your perfect Disney Springs dinner crawl? Choose your perfect appetizer, entree, dessert, drink, and late-night snack.

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 (00:02.345)
It is time once again to dive into the mailbag to answer some of the questions that you have sent my way from Disney Dining, I hope because I love talking about food, to secret spots in the parks and practical and tactile advice. We, not me, have got you covered. And I say we because I cannot tackle these questions alone. And joining me today is a special guest. Let's just, she's special. She's very special, but she's also...

knowledgeable about Disney travel as Mickey is about magic, as I am about the boathouse, she is the Sultan of suitcases, the guru of getaways, and the only person I know who can out plan a Disney planner, she is of course the one, the only, the chief travel officer and magic maker over at Mousefan Travel and Meitravel.com

Princess (01:02.681)
This is like deja vu apparently. I feel like I've relived this moment. However, of course, in email segments, it's been a while, so I'm not quite sure where I'm getting that feeling from.

Lou Mongello (01:05.069)
Ha ha ha!

Lou Mongello (01:14.401)
I am not going, see I wasn't going to talk about your grandma technical issues before we started recording, but wait, listen, Becky, the one thing I, first of all, I love, I love email segments, not just because we get to do this together, but I love being able to not just share ways for people to enhance their enjoyment and appreciation of the parks, but I really love being able to get granular and answer the individual questions that people have, because I've always believed that

Princess (01:18.723)

Princess (01:28.354)
Gigglefest. Mm-hmm.

Lou Mongello (01:42.729)
If one person has a question or an idea, the chances are there's one, five, ten other people who are listening who may probably have that similar question or might get some ideas or inspiration from it as well. So we're going to open up the inbox and it's really full and I'm metaphorically going to stick my hand in and just grab one out. We don't go over these ahead of time. I think that's part of the adventure. It's part of the fun. It's...

Princess (01:58.486)
Which is really, really full, by the way, I'm sure, yeah.

Princess (02:10.594)
Yes. Why I'm terror. I have so much terror every time we do these. Like what could possibly go wrong?

Lou Mongello (02:11.529)
why you hate it so much because... But what I like to do is I will quickly skim like the subject line and see what, you know, what like pops up and that's why Darren from Maine is the first email we're going to answer because I saw one word and it was Muppets. And Darren says, listening to old episodes as I do in that thing called the gym,

Princess (02:33.518)
I thought it was food.

Lou Mongello (02:38.841)
There was a lot of talk about Muppets in the Parks, hopefully. The last episode I listened to on the topic was the 2016 Year in Review. I know it's 2024. And sadly, I don't think we've seen anything close to what many of us had hoped for in regards to more Muppets in the Parks. I'm a guy who, when I was a kid, my mom took me to the store to get a toy. I'm with you, Darren. I bought the Stretch Serpent. I know exactly what you're talking about because obviously I already had the Stretch Armstrong.

Princess (02:47.57)
That's a while ago. I know.

Lou Mongello (03:08.749)
Becky doesn't know what any of those words are. Raise your hand if you're listening at home and how to stretch Armstrong as a kid. Anyway, after a day.

Princess (03:10.903)
No idea.

Princess (03:15.002)
Oh wait, it was like Mr. Incredible, but you stretched him. Sorry.

Lou Mongello (03:20.705)
whatever you, whatever your free association, wherever that takes you is fine. Anyway, after a day of having it, Darren asked his mom to bring him back to the store so he could exchange it for something else. And he came home with a stuffed fuzzy bear. Aw. So what I'm saying is I love the Muppets. What gives, man? What I can really imagine is Muppets on the cruise ships, great characters and a fun alternate Disney space, right? Anyway, love what this WDW Radio family is all about.

Princess (03:24.54)

Lou Mongello (03:50.277)
And thanks to you and Becky for all you do. I have to read this out loud, I guess. Love the email shows the best. I give them a 33 out of 10. That was clearly all for Becky. Yeah, that was, that's playing to the, that's playing to the email reader. Oh. I was.

Princess (03:58.174)
Yay! That's a good number too. Yep. That's, that's awesome. We need to do this more often. Oh, like Muppets. What? Like, okay, I got to stop because when he said that and he's got, he's got his Fozzie bear, right? My first, when I, when I first went to Walt Disney World way back when, when my then fiance took me, I had him buy me a bean bunny.

stuffed bean bunny and I brought bean bunny home because I loved that attraction so much and I fell in love with bean bunny. Remember the stuffed bean bunny?

Lou Mongello (04:36.617)
I do, but all I can think about now is finding that, that man, that poor, sweet, broken man and getting him on the show to really sort of dig down deep into not just the, I have a lot of questions. I have a lot of questions for him. But, but back to Muppets. I like you and have always been a huge Muppet fan. You know what?

I will make up, I will embarrass myself, Becky. So I have a younger brother, he's six years younger than I, we've been like best friends since we were little kids. Every Sunday, as Italian families in New Jersey do, you go on the two hour drive down the Belt Parkway into Brooklyn to go to your grandmother's house for a nine hour Sunday dinner, and then stop at Nathan's and Coney Island on the way home. Anyway.

Princess (05:23.058)
You ate for nine hours, then you go to Nathan's?

Lou Mongello (05:25.493)
Yeah, whether you were hungry or not. Oh, you're not hungry here. Here's two pounds of pasta. And then my dad would stop at Nathan's on the way home, which was awesome, because she had another two hours on the Belt Parkway and the Verenzano Bridge, whatever. My brother and I were always huge Muppet fans, and I don't know why I'm choosing to share this, because I trust you and I trust you, my friend, the listener who's sitting here with us. My brother and I had Muppet puppets. We had like all of them, like we had Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie.

Princess (05:28.866)

Princess (05:51.51)

Lou Mongello (05:55.069)
Ralph and somebody else. And the way her kitchen was, it was like the kitchen and then there was like a pass through and then like the dining room, like with the long table with the 25, you know, fat Italian people screaming at each other on a Sunday. And my brother and I, who will now probably kill me if he hears this, we put on like a little Muppet puppet show, like, like we sort of like recreated the Muppet movie.

We sang all the songs. My poor family who had to sit through that. I don't know why this brought back that core memory.

Princess (06:27.986)
Maybe you should like reenact that for Darren so he can feel closer to the Muppets.

Lou Mongello (06:30.497)
I don't think so. Maybe I need therapy. But I agree with you, Darren. And, you know, when Disney bought the Muppets from the Henson Company back in 2004, which I can't believe is 25 years ago, and I think the number was like $75 million, which still sort of feels like it's a discount. We talked about on the show that our wants, our desires, our predictions for more Muppets

Princess (06:48.677)

Lou Mongello (06:58.805)
in the parks. We talked and we've done, I've done on the show, the Muppets that Never Were in Walt Disney World. I think I just did it relatively recently on an archive show. 723 was the Muppets in Walt Disney World that Never Were. Because our original plans for Disney's, Disney MGM Studios, where Sunset Boulevard is for a huge sort of Muppet themed land. And we did get it a little bit on the cruise line with the midship detective agency and some of the Muppet capers.

that you could do there. And we've had other iterations of shows in the parks in Walt Disney World, but I too have always been surprised that they did not lean into and leverage this property more. And maybe it's because Becky, the Muppets movie, the first Muppet movie was great, right? I'm having a me party, am I a man or a Muppet? The second one was okay.

Princess (07:52.533)

Lou Mongello (07:55.105)
the Muppet TV show that they tried to bring back to ABC did not necessarily perform as well. And maybe that's what has stalled or at least sort of the, they have not maybe come up with the idea yet as to how and where and maybe why to bring the Muppets to life in the parks again.

Princess (08:14.65)
That's so true, because there was a lot of anticipation for that return of the Muppet show, and it kind of fell flat. And I'm not sure why. What I would love to see, if there was any attraction that you could do a Muppet overlay, I would love to see a haunted mansion Muppet overlay. I think that would be so much fun after seeing the movie, obviously.

Lou Mongello (08:35.853)
I think that it's funny she said that because I think that the Muppets Haunted Mansion on Disney Plus from 2021, although I was like, was this last year? No, it was like three years ago. I think it is some of the best Muppets we've seen since the original like Muppet Show and Muppet movie.

Princess (08:54.846)
Yeah, it definitely is. And I would love to see more of them in the parks. I'm with him, I'm with Darren. It's a very underutilized IP for a company that really does try to stretch every dollar out of everything it's purchased and not having more than just what we're seeing now. I think that there's a lot of room for improvement there.

Lou Mongello (09:16.857)
there has to be something that we're missing, right? Because for a while they were leveraging the property. So do you remember the Muppet and Star Wars crossover figures that you used to be able to buy? Not only figures, but during Star Wars weekends, Princess Leia, you could see, God, like I'm trying to remember the different characters, I had those and I sold them on eBay, which now I'm regretting because I'd love to have them for, listen. Listen, Boathouse doesn't pay for itself.

Princess (09:29.246)

Princess (09:39.694)
You gotta stop. You gotta stop. Think about your purge. Think about the purge before you purge it.

Lou Mongello (09:47.021)
But they, but as they started to, especially with Star Wars, sort of make the franchise a little more serious and they sort of took away some of those crossovers, we did start to see less and less even of the Muppet figures in the park. The Stage One Company store is a shell of what it once was. Yeah, I mean, because not only was there a great Muppet merch and Muppet Babies merch in there, there was, there was great sort of Easter eggs and tributes to the movies and the Muppet show and, and

Princess (10:02.986)
Yeah. Of what it was.

Lou Mongello (10:17.989)
and some of the muppets that we've seen on the big screen over the years.

Princess (10:21.346)
Yeah. And what great Rome characters around the park. Those are two for meet and greets. I loved some of the things that they used to do and we just haven't seen anything. So yeah, now it's this whole question is making me sad because I would love to see more of this.

Lou Mongello (10:34.339)

We still have, right, Muppet Vision 3D and we still have the Muppet Courtyard. And I've always sort of, every time I go there, I'm like, is this the day that I see that the walls go up? Right. Does this attraction change? Can or do you update it for a next generation of audiences? Does Muppet Vision 3D go away? Look, the theater is not always packed, right, which is oftentimes sort of the death knell for an attraction going away.

Princess (11:03.597)

Lou Mongello (11:07.297)
The same thing would happen though. You take away Muppets, it's like taking away Maelstrom, it's like taking away the Adventures Club. All the Muppet fans will like revolt and start chaining themselves to the Miss Piggy fountain. But, you know, what do you do to potentially freshen up that, you know, that attraction and even that area as a whole? Because you have Pizzeria Rizzo there, so you still have that, that Muppet feel. But I think that you could really sort of lean into it, probably not at a huge expense too. Go back, make Mama Melrose's...

Princess (11:16.807)

Lou Mongello (11:35.201)
the Gonzo's Pizza Kitchen that it was supposed to be.

Princess (11:37.002)
Yeah, yeah, that would be so much fun. And now I'm sitting here wondering, why aren't they taking advantage of that investment? And do they have other plans in there that they're just not telling us about? Are we gonna hear something at D23 this year that might tell us that answer to that question? Yeah.

Lou Mongello (11:53.697)
$60 billion is coming into these parks. Let's see what that's gonna look like. But I'm sure that, I'm sure it's not for lack of creative ideas, not just from the folks over at WDI, but you who might be listening, how and where would you like to see the Muppets in the parks? I will post this question in the clubhouse. I would love to see your answer there. I'll post it on social or better yet, if you have an idea and you're screaming at your phone,

Princess (11:59.447)

Princess (12:07.564)
Oh and-

Lou Mongello (12:21.897)
or your car or your dog or your kids, whatever it is right now with the solution or the idea, call the voicemail at 407-900-9391. That's 407-900-WDW1 and I will play it on the air. Becky, I told you we were going to go fast and we're not.

Princess (12:36.835)
We need more Pepe the shrimp. So I just, just say it. So my favorite characters are in there and there's so much you could do with that development, just saying move on. Okay. I know, but I like, I like calling him a shrimp because it would make him mad if he, if you said it, can you see him go off if you call him a shrimp? What? Oh.

Lou Mongello (12:45.525)
I am and I'm on board with you and I say this out of pure love. He's not a shrimp, he's a king prawn. Get it right.

Lou Mongello (12:55.801)
Do not, wait, oh, wait, do not, wait, this is going to be so bad. Do not mispronounce who he is. Oh my God. I'm sorry. I have to cut that out. All right. Let's move on because I saw two more words that even though I'm not a sweets guy caught my attention. And this one comes, as a matter of fact, yes. My family and I are going on the Disney Wish for the first time in October this year. And I just learned today about how DCL,

Princess (13:12.728)

Lou Mongello (13:22.969)
has a dessert experience on each of the ships across the fleet. I want to book the dessert experience at Enchante, but I have an egg allergy. Do you know if the wish will accommodate food allergies for this type of specialty experience? Can't find anything, but that indicates that they will. I know Disney in general is great about accommodating food allergies, but I'm concerned because this is an exclusive event with exclusive desserts that's only meant for those who can eat desserts on the menu without making any modifications. You know, anyone who's done this experience who has a food allergy and has accommodated?

Thank you for your help. And that is from Laura Russell. So Laura, great question. A great sort of deep dive into something that a lot of people really don't know about, which are these dessert experiences at the more upscale restaurant. So on the Wish, it is held at Enchante, which if you've never been before, has menus by Michelin star chef, Arnaud, by that French Michelin star chef. I can't, I wanted to...

Princess (14:09.291)

Princess (14:20.435)
Wow, yeah.

Lou Mongello (14:22.677)
L'Element, it is a very small, very intimate experience where you get a tasting of I think five or six different desserts. But more importantly, you get the pastry chefs who will come over and normally the pastry chef and maybe the executive chef will come over, talk about not just the ingredients, but the history and the evolution and the creation of each of these.

different desserts that range from, I've seen things like a creme brulee beer pie, a strawberry sorbet with like a jam and a coulis, other words that I cannot pronounce that involve things like apples and chocolates. And I believe it's, I believe the pricing is still around $60 or so. And from folks I know who have done it, they've raised raved about it. Now to your question about accommodating food allergies,

I don't want to misspeak because you're right. These are specifically prepared desserts for this experience. However, because this is something that you do need to book in advance and these often do sell out, so book as far in advance as you can. Reach out to your mouse fan travel advisor in order to get some assistance with booking these. So one, don't eat a big meal because you're going to have a lot of desserts.

But two, I would ask in advance from Disney if they are able to accommodate any and all allergies, because I think because this is sort of a fixed menu of items, they might need additional time in advance or they might not be able to substitute depending on what your special dietary requirement might be.

Princess (16:11.546)
Exactly. So because this one is so specialized, obviously, you want to make sure that they're aware that you have a food allergy beforehand. It's possible that because I know that there are families where the husband may have an allergy, the wife may want to attend this, they may not be able to accommodate like desserts, obviously, that would fit within the parameters of your allergy needs. However, they might just substitute.

each of the different courses as they bring it in with something that can be paired to you. But as you said, you have to give them notice upfront well in advance so that they can properly prepare that. The hard part would be if you just booked it and show up and say, oh, by the way, I have an allergy. This particular experience, they probably would not be able to accommodate it that same day. However, going there or upfront when you first book it.

contacting the cruise line and letting them know or through your travel advisor because we would do that for you to be able to say, hey, we've got an allergy, is this gonna be something that you can accommodate? And Disney above many, many others do their absolute best and do it better than a lot to accommodate different medical and food allergy needs. So if they can, they will.

Lou Mongello (17:37.569)
Yeah, it's funny that you say that because I just had a conversation with someone who is visiting Walt Disney World and with a large group, excuse me, and said that their large group has a wide spectrum of different food related desires, allergies, and special needs. And they were concerned and then they were concerned before they got here and then realized by the time they left that this is like the only place they can go.

because every single one of those allergies was addressed, was able to be accommodated in some form or fashion and the same holds true for the most part on Disney Cruise Line, but for something like this, I would absolutely check in advance. Let's go on to a question from Nick Lucas, who is planning on going to Disney World with his family this first full week in November. What do you think the crowds are gonna be like? Before you answer, Becky Menken, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

Princess (18:17.942)
Yeah, absolutely.

Lou Mongello (18:35.957)
is the first week in November. And I know Becky loves that weekend because nothing gets Becky excited more than getting up at two o'clock in the morning to cheer for hours on end. However, traditionally, November in Walt Disney World, that around that time, historically has not been sort of the high season. As soon as you start getting closer to, once you get,

It's like the scene from The Jerk. It's in between the Chicklets and the Jujutsu. Once you get past Halloween, but far enough out from Thanksgiving, those first couple of weeks in November usually are pretty good. The marathon, the half, the one-on-one marathon weekend does throw a bit of a wrench in it. You might not necessarily see or feel this marked increase in the guests in the parks, but you will have to sometimes, especially if you are rope dropping parks.

Princess (19:08.928)
I'm gonna go.

Lou Mongello (19:33.729)
You do need to be aware of things like road closures, et cetera. This way it doesn't necessarily impact your bus route, your car drive in. But while there's a lot of guests that do come in for these events, Beck, I don't really feel that the wait times are, you know, exponentially higher than it would be, you know, throughout this time of the year.

Princess (20:02.166)
However, you have to be careful in November too, because you'll run into what is known as Jersey Week that you should know so much about too. That's when the teachers go on to their educational convention and the schools up in New Jersey and other areas up there do go on break. So sometimes that's that first week. Most times it's the first week of November. Sometimes it bounces into the second. So that with the marathon in there and...

The Jersey Week break, that week in particular, can be a little more in terms of people showing up. You also run into, that's the first week of when the holiday decorations go up too. So it's almost if you can miss the first week, do the second week, and then you get into the third week, which is Thanksgiving, you wanna avoid that. If you're trying to avoid crowds, avoid that week. But it's almost a surgical strike. You have to kind of look at all the dates.

Lou Mongello (20:58.638)

Princess (21:00.202)
and go, okay, this is when Jersey get when weekends. This is when the marathon is. And here's your six days that's kind of perfect before the Thanksgiving rush.

Lou Mongello (21:09.925)
because it has gotten a little bit more strategic in terms of when you have to try and go because you're right. It used to be you could generalize, you know, this block of time in February, this block of time in September, but now because of festivals, promotions, international guests, marathons, cheerleading, some of these other things going on, there's a lot of additional factors that don't necessarily reflect on the Disney calendar.

Princess (21:18.381)

Lou Mongello (21:39.021)
that you do sort of need to be aware of. And I think that's, again, I'm not trying to sort of shamelessly plug, but that is where, like a travel advisor can help you navigate, especially if you are not sort of a frequent visitor during a certain time of the year, your travel advisor will be able to help guide you through things to look out for one week over another.

Princess (21:58.114)
Yeah, absolutely. We can look at the calendar, we can try to figure out where it's gonna be best, and like right now, the one thing that gives it away really well is Disney's being very strategic about the dates that their offers are available. So when you look at the dates that their offers, right now there's a 30% offer, there's another free dine offer, but it's very strategic on specific dates throughout the calendar, that shows you that the hotels aren't as full as they want them to be.

that will then also give you that indicator that that's gonna be a slower time.

Lou Mongello (22:32.069)
All right. Let's move on to the next question. This one comes from Jenna. She says, I am a huge in all capitals Disneyland fan. Love the history. Love getting to go backstage on some of the tours that I've been able to enjoy over the years. I loved seeing you on the happiest haunts tour last year, which was very cool. Are there any new tours or ones that you would recommend? Jenna.

Princess (22:39.33)

Lou Mongello (22:56.057)
Timing is literally everything. And I think that's why I picked this one out because I literally just saw earlier this morning that Disneyland just announced the return of not one, but two of their fan favorite guided tours. There's the Disneyland Railroad guided tour and the Cultivating the Magic guided tour. If you go, and I'll link in the show notes, if you go, Disneyland has a guided tour page with all of the different tours that are available. But the Cultivating the Magic,

Princess (23:12.13)
All good.

Lou Mongello (23:24.385)
is really about how the plants and flowers play a role in the storytelling, right? We talk about how your experience is meant to be savored using all five senses and 360 degrees. So whether it's the flower beds on Main Street or the exotic plants as you see on the Jungle Cruise, you'll learn a lot more about landscaping and horticulture and how it contributes to the storytelling within the park from the floral Mickey at the main entrance.

through the plants, the jungle cruise, and a lot of different themed areas. You also get a keepsake memento at the end of the tour. This is an all-age tour, so kids can come and enjoy this one as well. And the Disneyland Railroad guided tour is amazing. And I love this, Becky, because it touches on Walt the man, right? And his love and passion for trains, and how that literally and figuratively helped shape the Disneyland Resort, plus...

somewhat of a spoiler alert. On this two hour tour, you get to go on the Lilybell, which was the sort of the presidential car on the railroad. So you're starting, you start your tour off with a little pastry, a little beverage, a little nosh to get your day going. You learn about Walt and his passion for trains and the influence on not just the railroad, but some of the other creations within the park. You get to go to the roundhouse, which normally is closed off to the public.

and then you go on the Lily Bell. Now, I will say as a qualifier and ask this in advance, the availability of the Lily Bell does depend on operational conditions, weather, so it's not necessarily available for every single tour, so definitely set your expectations accordingly and ask when you book, and you can start booking those tours.

depending on when you're listening, either in the past or right now, beginning on April 30th. And those tours are going to kick back up on May 11th. But Becky, there's also like, there's VIP tours, there's the Walt Main Street Story Tour. Yeah.

Princess (25:35.143)
And that one, the Main Street Story Tour, if you are really into Walt and his story and the history, that's the secret sauce because for that 90 minute tour, that's the one that actually takes you into the apartment. And it's the only tour that does that as a guarantee at this time. So a lot of people have always said, I really want to just see what's inside the apartment. And you and I have been lucky enough to have been able to see it on a camera.

few occasions and it really is a magical place to stand. It's so neat to be behind that lamp that you look up at and see what Walt looked at when he watched people come into the park to enjoy his creation. So that's one of my very favorite tips to give people is take 90 minutes out of your day and take that tour.

Lou Mongello (26:22.977)
Yeah, and that one runs, I know the Walt tour is about $160, I believe. And I don't see them. I just popped on the Disneyland website. They don't have, as of right now, they don't have, uh, pricing available for the two tours that are going to be coming back. But you're right, Becky. Like you talk about sort of walking where Walt walked, standing on a hollowed ground. There is something very special, uh, about standing inside.

Walt's apartment because you know it's where he not just walked but where he stayed and where you sort of imagine these conversations that get to happen. I've shared my story about our adventures by Dizzy. All right, so very quick story. So on the first time we ever did it on, it was called Backstage Magic at the time. We've already talked back to, quick tangent.

Princess (27:03.902)
Yes, I was waiting for that because, because I think it's because of you that they actually blocked that off now. Go ahead.

Lou Mongello (27:19.949)
We've talked recently, as we've talked about going to do this again, doing this tour again, and I think we need to do this Adventures by Disney to Hollywood and Southern California and Disneyland again. You walk into Walt's apartment, very, very small groups, just a couple of people at a time. You see, you know, Lillian's chair, you see the lamp from the inside looking out. You look at the view that Walt had. You see where he made his chili and his crackers.

And everybody's sort of looking around and going to these places that you know Walt stood and he said, not this guy. Uh-uh. I walked around the corner and I went where Walt, I know, did. I know where the best ideas came from. It wasn't from his office. It wasn't from the formal office over there on Flower Street, you know, or over by the studios. I went to Walt's bathroom and I wanted to sit where Walt sat and I'm like,

Princess (27:56.782)

Princess (28:12.466)
Yeah. Yep.

Lou Mongello (28:15.765)
And I was like, come on baby, just give me the inspiration because you know, like that's when you do your best thinking. You know, it's no, but now I regret not doing it.

Princess (28:21.794)
Do you have a, did you have a selfie there? Is that, did you sit there and take a selfie? Because I just, yeah. Yeah. I'm not sure if we took a picture of that or not, but I wasn't sure if I was embarrassed or if that was brilliant.

Lou Mongello (28:34.617)
jealous. You were jealous. You know, it's just, now to be clear, I sat on top of the lid. Let's not get, don't get weird about it. But I did. I was like, I can imagine this is where, you know, Walt had his quiet time and Walt did, you know, his best, you know, distraction free thinking. Doesn't have a cell phone. He was just, you know, doing his thing. Anyway, you can't do that anymore. I'm sorry.

Princess (28:40.622)
I'm gonna go.

Princess (28:45.898)

Princess (28:57.022)
Yeah. No, because they have this, this wonderful little stanchion. It's like, it tells you, do not walk in here. And I'm amazed they don't have a, do not let this man in this bathroom picture next to it or something. But, but a lot of people don't know too, that to the side of that, so the bathroom's to the right. And if you go off to the left, there's a little stairway that leads to the outdoor patio. And if you, it's really hidden by trees in the park.

Lou Mongello (29:09.429)
It's fine, I had my moment and I'm very happy.

Princess (29:25.526)
But you could sit on the patio and listen to all the people and listen to the conversations and listen to the families and watch the parade. And it's a neat little hidden gem up there.

Lou Mongello (29:35.033)
Same thing, you imagine Walt, you know, early in the morning with a cup of coffee or at the end of the day, watching over.

Lou Mongello (29:44.805)
seeing the joy that these families have in this place that he built and the realization of his dream. Not to sort of all get waxing poetic, but you do. You can't help but feel that way. All right. Let's move on. Tom Samoegi has a question that, again, one word made this one jump out for me and that word. No. Well, I mean, there's food there, but it was, he wanted to ask about Tokyo Disney because that trip is coming up on his family's radar.

Princess (29:54.058)
You do. You do.

Princess (30:03.638)
Food. Oh.

Princess (30:09.941)

Lou Mongello (30:13.433)
They're headed to Hawaii next summer and I'll maybe hit Japan in 2025 or 2026. Tom, let me stop you right there. If you're going to Hawaii, man, you're halfway there. Just keep going. Just lay over in Hawaii, get some food, get some poi, have some good tuna, and then just hop on over. It's like right across the street. Anyway, I wanted to ask if it's as crazy as we're hearing to plan this trip, where DVC members would be absolutely wanting to do a stay or want to stay at a Disney resort. But that being said, have you been hearing

Princess (30:31.402)

Lou Mongello (30:42.393)
that obtaining a room can be something of a nightmare. Looking for any type, Becky is nodding her head as if she's having some sort of grand mal seizure. Take care and keep up the great work. So yeah, Becky, Tokyo is a unique animal, not just because I think you're in agreement with me that it may be the best of the best of the best and most beautiful of all the Disney parks, but booking trips there does bring with it a little.

Princess (30:48.45)

Lou Mongello (31:11.001)
bit of additional complexity. Yeah.

Princess (31:12.942)
It's complicated. It's extraordinarily complicated. There's a few reasons why. First of all, I think most people know, but if you don't, Tokyo Disney Resort is not really part of Disney. So you're not gonna find Disney destinations packages selling Tokyo. The government also has their hands in who can sell when for any packages or hotels in Tokyo. So unfortunately for travel planners like myself,

It's almost impossible for us to buy and locate and find vacation packages staying at the Disney hotels. That's because of the complexities of the government and their rules and then the company that actually runs the Tokyo Disney Resort. So unfortunately, a lot of third party providers that we used to use it was so complex for them to get availability. They just kind of gave up and said, you know what? We're just not.

selling this right now. So it's been difficult for everybody. If you want a vacation package at one of the official Disneyland resorts there in Tokyo, the best thing to do is go to their website when it opens for your date. And it's like getting run Disney bibs. It's like getting D23 tickets, you have to be there and grab it when it opens.

because it goes that fast. And I think that that's one of the reasons why they don't make it easy, because there's a ton of demand and there's not a lot of availability. So they've decided just to kind of, we're just gonna put it on the website, people can then book it themselves and nobody has an advantage. I think that that's actually their thinking. There are some ways around it if you can't get it. There are hotels that are in the area and in the vicinity, but they're not the official.

Tokyo resorts. Now, it's gonna be less expensive, but you won't get some of the benefits on site. That's one thing that Tokyo Disney does really well, is they offer like early entry. If you stay at the resort, there's other perks. And while you look at it and say, 15 minutes isn't really a lot of time, you and I both know by looking at the lines, we had that 15 minute advantage to get in before the massive crowds that were standing out.

Princess (33:40.51)
in the Esplanade waiting to get in, that 15 minutes is huge. So there are strategies, there are things that you can do. You kind of have to weigh what your priorities are. Does that 15 minutes matter to you? Does cost matter to you? Because again, there's other hotels that you can and we can book obviously that aren't Disney hotels that we can do packages along the outside area, but it's complicated and the best thing to do is, is just log onto the tick.

Tokyo Disney Resort and learn a little bit about the things that are available and the window of when it's going to open when you want to go.

Lou Mongello (34:16.437)
Yeah. And there is a, you know, we're saying this not jokingly, like there is a learning curve to booking a Disney hotel even via the site. So when you go to the hotels tab on the English version of the Tokyo Disney Resort website, you don't go to a booking page. You go to a page that explains about advanced reservations for room only, vacation packages, some of the other options, restaurants and loud-

And it sort of takes you through that before you can even tap through to a hotel reservation site, which has this grid with check-in dates and reservation start dates, because you do have that window and it seems, you know, you're limited in terms of what you can book and when and where. So you do really have to plan in advance. If you think, listen,

Princess (34:54.613)

Lou Mongello (35:11.393)
If you think coming to Walt Disney World is complicated, Tokyo Disney Resort says, hold my sake. So it's absolutely, it's worth it. It is absolutely worth it. And getting assistance is very, very helpful, especially from people who have done it before because there are additional challenges and navigation things, but it pays dividends when you step foot on property.

Princess (35:13.782)

Princess (35:33.822)
Right. And if you want to stay on property, like I said, turn to the Tokyo Disney Resort, educate yourself. If you if you're OK with staying at one of the good neighbor hotels, they call it the exact same thing. Then a travel planner can help you with those. So I just want to make sure that that's clear. If you if you're not quite ready to step into the to the pool and you want some help, that's going to be where we can help.

Lou Mongello (35:50.198)

Lou Mongello (35:57.793)
Let's quickly let's hit a couple more. I don't think we've talked about food enough. So I would do a listen, I would do a breakaway like Tokyo Disney podcast.

Princess (36:04.613)
Or Tokyo. I mean, if there were more Tokyo questions, I'm okay with that.

Princess (36:11.318)
back to back to back to back to Japan, just saying.

Lou Mongello (36:13.913)
Bring it, bring it. My kids are in college, I'll stay in Tokyo forever. Um, so, I'm not, I don't love the empty nest. Anyway, so, Alexa, sorry if I just made your Alexa go off. Alexa says, I just got back from the world and I'm already questioning if I should just move down to Orlando so I don't have to fight the going home blues again. Alexa, I will answer that for you. The answer is yes. It is the best thing I ever did and I'm not the only lunatic that moved down here. Anyway, I spent.

Princess (36:17.23)

Princess (36:42.89)

Lou Mongello (36:44.033)
Well, and so wait, go back and listen to our moving to Disney shows, which are in the 500 somewhere. I promise I've been promising this for years. I am going to do a follow-up moving to Disney show very, very soon. Anyway, Alexis says, I spent a lot of time in Disney Springs this trip and feel like I still didn't get a chance to try everything I wanted to. My question for you and Becky is if you were to do a dinner crawl around Disney Springs.

Princess (36:47.939)
Ha ha.

Lou Mongello (37:14.361)
doing an appetizer, entree, and dessert at a different place. Becky is Googling Disney Springs right now, by the way. And maybe, maybe just for fun, a late night snack or drink. Where would you go and what would you order for each course? I want to do something like this next time I visit. Thank you for the incredible content and laughs. Alexa, I think it's a great question. And we sort of talked about this very superficially

Princess (37:20.885)

Princess (37:29.89)

Princess (37:36.406)
That's a great question.

Lou Mongello (37:44.193)
the years because this really, it's like, it's like the Sophie's choice of dining decisions, right? Because it, well, it's soul crushing. These are soul crushing decisions because some of the best food in Walt Disney World is found at Disney Springs. And

Princess (37:52.01)
My gosh.

Princess (38:01.773)

Lou Mongello (38:05.077)
I think you could wait a minute. Wait, wait, I have an idea. I don't think that we should answer this question.

Princess (38:09.591)

Princess (38:14.498)
Good, because it's hard.

Lou Mongello (38:15.721)
Right? Because I see, because Becky's waving her hands and panicking, so I don't know the answer. No, but I think not only, because I think this would, I think we could make something really fun out of this. Maybe what we'll do is we'll, we'll gather a couple of friends, right? And we'll do a show, I'll give people time to prepare in advance rather than just trying to wing it and look through all the menus, because this is very important, especially if Alexa is going to invite me to do this with her when she comes down. And we'll do it.

Princess (38:23.982)
I don't know if there's a...

Lou Mongello (38:45.609)
like building the perfect Disney Springs meal episode. And each person will choose their appetizer, their entree, their dessert, their drink, and their late night snack. And then we'll sort of talk about each one. And then maybe people can even vote on which one they think is the perfect ideal episode. So it's not just you or I. We have some time to think about it. We get some other folks in who. Well.

Princess (39:12.874)
And we get to try it. We get to go and say, you know what? I'm not, I need, I need to test my theory before I, you know, go public with it. Right. So you need to go a few times. What?

Lou Mongello (39:18.725)
I mean, I'm down. I mean, I'm always down. And then, wait, if this is not like a complete dumpster fire, we could do it in the other parks.

Princess (39:31.505)
You can do it in Disneyland. We're going back to Disneyland by the way. We can do it in Japan. Oh.

Lou Mongello (39:33.925)
We could do it to Japan for the month that we're going to be there. I love this. Maybe I'll grab a couple of folks from the nation or the clubhouse, right? And we'll prepare in advance, right? So we'll do like sort of a mini round table. Maybe we'll have like, you know, six or so people. We each go through our choices. We lay them out on the site and then people can come over and vote on which one they like the best or-

Princess (39:44.062)
This is my favorite question.

Lou Mongello (40:02.701)
You could also submit what you think is your perfect dinner crawl around Disney Springs.

Princess (40:03.15)
That would be fantastic.

Princess (40:10.154)
which is great. I'm sitting here looking at the Boathouse and of course, Chef Art Smiths and going, how would I even decide between the two of those? And that's just two. So they're, wow.

Lou Mongello (40:19.493)
Do you understand why I called it what I called it? It's like and it's only gotten better. Like it literally is.

Princess (40:26.562)
There's, yeah, there's places I haven't been yet, like EAT. I haven't been there. So I know we're going in June. We're going when I come back in June. So that's going to be one of our meeting locations. So I clearly have to make sure that I go to a couple of these new spots that I haven't been to before I can even possibly answer this question, just to say it. I am, we got to, we got to go and try them.

Lou Mongello (40:51.163)
You're such a giver. We all appreciate that about you.

Princess (40:56.)
I mean, I wouldn't do smoothies, but I do too.

Lou Mongello (40:56.109)
Yeah, I like this idea. I like this idea. So, so Alexa, we are going to table your question for an entire episode of the dinner crawl around Disney Springs. I will recruit some nation folks and we will make this an episode coming soon.

Princess (41:08.523)
Nice job.

Princess (41:13.486)
I mean, my gosh, between sprinkles. That's what I think of the donut shop. And then there's the other donut place and then there's the salt and straw. I mean, how do you find a dessert? And those are just the dessert places.

Lou Mongello (41:24.289)
And there's also, and there's a new cookie bar.

Princess (41:28.109)

Lou Mongello (41:30.309)
There's a new cookie bar. And I don't mean Gideon's at Summerhouse. I have not been there yet. If only there was somebody, anybody who would go review Summerhouse with me.

Princess (41:31.106)
What? And, and you haven't sent me a cookie from, I haven't been to Summerhouse. Oh, stop. Just stop. In June, we'll go there too. We'll have a, we'll have a breakfast meeting, a lunch meeting, and a dinner meeting, and we'll hit every single spot. I, I haven't been.

Lou Mongello (41:45.061)
Ha ha ha!

Lou Mongello (41:51.293)
see that's why I think they're building a hotel next to Disney Springs. What? I did not say that out loud. Whatever. We'll see at D23. I love this idea. I will reach out to some nation folks and we will do this soon and for you listening at home, start to prepare your list of your perfect crawl around Disney Springs. I'll also post this in the clubhouse to give you some time to prepare yours and then we will have some fun and pick.

Princess (41:57.77)
as they should.

Lou Mongello (42:20.409)
perfect meal that crawl at Disney's ring.

Princess (42:21.73)
Very cool. That's my favorite email, I think, in a long time. I'm stumped. I could not answer the question. Even if we started to try, I couldn't do it. Or I wouldn't do it justice.

Lou Mongello (42:32.033)
Yeah, as I was reading it, I'm like, okay, where do I put like Boathouse has a great appetizer menu, but then there's also things on that I might want to put as the main course.

Princess (42:41.139)
See, you gotta be careful because they might just pick up your chair and chuck it into the lake if you're not careful. So... Hahaha.

Lou Mongello (42:49.205)
And then I'm thinking like late night, like where would I go late night?

Princess (42:53.226)
Ooh, is it, is it jocks? Okay. La la la. Okay. Don't forget this though. Write it down now. Write it down. Okay.

Lou Mongello (42:53.877)
Yeah, I have ideas. I don't want to share them yet. I'm going to hold off. We're going to hold off. So again, get your, I'm not, not only am I writing it down, but I'm telling you who's listening to prepare your answers and I'll post it again in the, maybe I'll have you submit them in advance. I'll have people submit them in advance this way after we can read them as we are, as we are actually doing the show or we'll do it on a live show. I'll figure it out.

Princess (43:13.978)
Ah. So we can judge him. Ha ha.

Lou Mongello (43:23.201)
I'll figure it out, but start working on your list. And if you have a question that you would like us to answer on an upcoming episode of the show, you can email me, lou at wdwradio.com. And I promise I answer every single question personally, message, it might take me more time. Wait, do you know how, do you know what the solution is to doing them more often?

Princess (43:37.795)
Just make sure to tell him to do email shows more often so we can catch up. So it's not like we're sitting here in 2029 and we're reading something from 2024.

What's that?

Lou Mongello (43:49.433)
Take me with you on all of your little Johnson voyages and we will enter them from exotic destinations around the world.

Princess (43:51.723)

Princess (43:57.822)
You're on. You are on. I have two that we're, there are two that, that you need to go see. Absolutely. So you're going on that. But the next time we see each other is in London, Paris. I know I'm going to see you. I won't even see you before that. I'm going to see you in London.

Lou Mongello (43:59.517)
got a smile that's on my face.

Lou Mongello (44:08.327)
is London, Paris, in London, Paris.

Lou Mongello (44:13.889)
And hopefully we will see some friends there too. We're doing an on the road meetup in London while we were there. I am as well. This is something we've been sort of.

Princess (44:16.671)

So excited.

How long ago was that we did the last one? Was it, when was that? That we did the London meetup? That was so much fun.

Lou Mongello (44:28.805)
know. But this one's Sunday, May 19th at the, the Clinton Fitzroy at Byrne Company. You can go to the events page at WW Radio to find out more and hopefully join us there. Becky, always, it's fun, slightly frightening and interesting doing these email shows with you. And I appreciate you being there.

Princess (44:49.291)
I'm the one that's terrified every single time. I never know what I'm getting myself into. And then, you know, when I, when I call Pepe a shrimp, you just have to understand that there are reasons because you want him to come back at you with, I'm looking for the reply, just saying.

Lou Mongello (45:03.24)
I'm sorry.

Lou Mongello (45:07.863)
Yes, I know you. Of course you did that on purpose. Cough, cough.

Princess (45:10.31)
I did actually. And the other thing is, as I was waiting for, shut up, I was waiting for you to actually read the rest of the desserts that they, that they offer, um, on the wish because there are a couple that I was waiting for you to read it because I wanted to see if you would do it, but you just, you just couldn't do it. Could you? Yep. Uh huh. That's a doll by the way. Uh huh. And.

Lou Mongello (45:21.411)
I cannot.

Yeah, I pulled out the menu too and I got creme brulee, lemon meringue, strawberry shortcake. Short, not strawberry shortcake. Not the tolerance. It's also a food just so you know.

Princess (45:42.332)

Lou Mongello (45:43.327)
at mousefantravel.com for all your vacation planning needs.

Princess (45:48.995)
I'll put that in the show notes of what it was supposed to be so that you could, you're too, you're, you're funny. I know. Chicken.

Lou Mongello (45:54.306)
I'm famished by the way.

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