MATCH RECAP: Orlando Captures Inaugural I-4 Derby Title Over Tampa Bay Rowdies

Orlando Captures Inaugural I-4 Derby Title Over Tampa Bay Rowdies


                          Team                 1    2    Final (Aggregate)

       Orlando City         2    1    3    (6)

Tampa Bay Rowdies    1    1    2    (4)

Scoring Summary:

ORL- Kevin Molino (Adama Mbengue) 5th

ORL-Adama Mbengue (unassisted) 32nd

TB- Takuya Yamade (penalty) 41st

TB- Amani Walker (unassisted) 52nd

ORL-Dom Dwyer  (unassisted) 90th


Orlando City- GK: Jon Kempin, D Bryan Burke, Yann Songo’o, Rob Valentino, Luke Boden, M James O’Connor, Christian Duke, Kevin Molino, Adama Mbengue F Jamie Watson (Dennis Chin 73’), Dom Dwyer

Tampa Bay– GK Andrew Fontein, D Frankie Sanfilippo, Takuya Yamada, Daniel Scott Raphael Cox, M Evans Frimpong, Luke Mullholland, Stuart Campbell, Devin Del Do, F Georgi Hristov, Amani Walker

 Match Facts:

Time of Match: 7:30 p.m.

Weather: Clear


Orlando Captures Inaugural I-4 Derby Title Over Tampa Bay Rowdies

Lions win 6-4 on aggregate, capturing inaugural I-4 Derby Championship in St. Petersburg

Orlando, Fla.— Orlando City SC took down the Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-2 Saturday night at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., capturing the inaugural I-4 Derby presented by United World Soccer on aggregate 6-4. More than 150 Orlando City supporters travelled to see the Lions hoist the I-4 trophy, which wraps up the 2013 preseason for the Lions.

“It was an unbelievable atmosphere,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I’m pleased for our players as they worked really hard tonight, and I’m really pleased for the supporters as they’ve been unbelievable. This one is for them.“

The Lions didn’t take very long to get on the scoreboard, with a well placed through ball by Midfielder Adama Mbengue to a charging Kevin Molino giving Orlando the early advantage. The 2012 USL PRO MVP found the pass in stride right outside the 18-yard box from Mbengue, rounding Rowdies Goalkeeper Andrew Fontein in the 5th minute to put the Lions up 1-0.

Orlando kept pushing on the attack, with it paying off in the 32nd minute. Forward and Sporting loanee Dom Dwyer blasted a shot that was deflected by Tampa’s Fontein, only for Mbengue to put in the follow up – giving Orlando the two goal advantage.

Tampa responded just before halftime, with a penalty kick conversion by Defender Tayuka Yamada in the 41st cutting down the Lions’ lead to one. Defender Rob Valentino entangled with a Tampa striker inside the Orlando18-yard box, with the referee pointing to the penalty spot immediately after both fell from the collision.  Yamada slid it by Goalkeeper Jon Kempin, who made his first start for Orlando since being loaned from affiliate Sporting Kansas City, to give the Rowdies some hope before half.

Tampa kicked off the second half with another score, this time from Forward Amani Walker. The striker received a well-placed chip from a Rowdies midfielder, placing it past Kempin to tie the match at 2-2 in the 50th minute.

After the Rowdies quick two scores, Orlando’s defense tightened in the later part of the second half, not allowing Tampa to gain solid footing on the offensive side of the ball. A late goal by Dwyer secured the win and championship for Orlando, slotting the ball from 18 yards out in the 90th minute to give Orlando the 3-2 advantage and 6-4 on aggregate.

Orlando now turns their attention to the 2013 USL PRO regular season, with the Lions traveling to Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University to face expansion side Phoenix FC on Sunday, April 7. The match will be streamed on UNation. For more information leading up to the regular season opener in Phoenix, visit

OrlandoCityi4derby OrlandoCityi4derby OrlandoCityi4derby

Photo Credit: Matt May/Tampa Bay Rowdies, Austin Hittel/Orlando City SC

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier professional soccer sports franchise in the United States and is a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during their short time in Orlando. Outside of the pro squad, OCSC also has their own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U23s team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit and

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DVC Neighborhood News: Excitement Bubbles Up with Disney Springs


Greetings Disney Vacation Club Members!
In case you missed the big news from Disney this month, I want to let you in on the fun. And I do mean fun – ABSOLUTELY HUGE FUN – for you and everyone in the family.

The Walt Disney Company announced the planned multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney® area into Disney Springs, which will bring an incredible array of new shopping, dining and entertainment options to guests of Walt Disney World® Resort, area tourists and central Florida residents.

Even more notable is that this unique family destination, which ultimately will include more than 150 shops, restaurants and other venues, sits directly across a shimmering lake from one of our most charming DisneyVacation Club Resorts, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. That means Members vacationing at the Resort will be perfectly positioned to enjoy the magic of Disney Springs, literally just steps away. In fact, a pedestrian bridge will be added between the Resort and Disney Springs to create an easier and more convenient way for Members and Guests to travel back and forth (in addition to the boat shuttles operating on the lake). Of course, Disney Springs will be a welcome respite for all of our Members visiting the Walt DisneyWorld Resort.

I am especially proud to have been intimately involved in the strategic planning for Disney Springs while leading the team at Downtown Disney. Throughout the process, it was clear to me that Disney Springs would be enormously appealing to Members of Disney Vacation Club and that we had a fantastic opportunity to connect our Members to this great new experience in unique and innovative ways.

Disney Springs

Look for more information about Disney Springs inthe summer edition of Disney Files Magazine, scheduled to begin mailing in May, and watch future editions of the magazine, as well as the Disney Vacation Club Facebook page, for updates as new details become available during the multi-year development process. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about the plans for this project by clicking here.
I couldn’t be more excited about Disney Springs and how it will make your vacations with us even more memorable. By the way, construction is scheduled to begin next month with new areas opening in phases. The entire Disney Springs project is expected to be completed in 2016.

That’s the big news for now. On behalf of everyone at Disney Vacation Club, thank you for your Membership. We look forward to welcoming you home very soon!


Ken Potrock
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney

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Release: Soccer Foundation Aims To Build Soccer Fields In Downtown Orlando

Orlando City Soccer

Orlando City Soccer Foundation Aims To Build Soccer Fields In Downtown Orlando

OCSF kicking off 2013 with special initiatives that include Parramore area and player outreach

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando City Soccer Foundation (OCSF) kicks off 2013 with exciting initiatives to give back to the Orlando community through outreach programs and services targeted at children and families, including building two soccer fields in the Parramore area. The soccer fields, which would be lit, outdoor turf pitches, are meant to provide a safe place to play while promoting healthy lifestyles.

“Reaching out to our local community using the powerful platform of sport is imperative,” said Foundation Chair Kay Rawlins. “Our main focus is promoting a healthy lifestyle for children, such as eating healthy and engaging in exercise. The project is important because it will provide a safe place to play for kids in the community while also teaching them about a healthy lifestyle.”

Through an ongoing process with the US Soccer Foundation, OCSF has targeted Parramore, which is located near downtown Orlando. Providing a soccer facility in the neighborhood will offer children a free and safe place to play, and would be the only soccer facility located in the neighborhood. OCSF hopes to announce that funding has been secured by the end of 2013, with construction starting immediately afterwards.

Placing the two soccer-field facility in Parramore serves as a catalyst to other great benefits for the neighborhood. The Foundation will hire coaches and other necessary staff members to help facilitate soccer activities and maintain the fields. These coaches will provide free guidance and tips for children on the field as well as important life skills that they can use off it.

The Foundation plans on fulfilling other civic duties to the community, such as going to local schools and youth groups to advocate staying active and eating healthy. Many players have already partnered with existing non-profits and civic organizations including ROCK, Easter Seals Disability Services and New Image Youth Center (NIYC). Additionally, team members will provide free soccer clinics for children as part of an ongoing relationship with the NIYC.

“This year will be full of promise,” Rawlins added. “We want to start our initiatives in the heart of Parramore, which will hopefully start a trickle effect throughout Orlando. Preparing the children for the future is something that the whole city of Orlando should be involved in.”

OCSF is a 501 ©3 non-profit organization, and is dedicated to fulfilling the charitable objectives of Orlando City SC by providing outreach programs, services and initiatives for individuals and organizations in need. For more information, visit


About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier professional soccer sports franchise in the United States and is a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during their short time in Orlando. Outside of the pro squad, OCSC also has their own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U23s team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit and

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Disney’s Planes Reveals Full Voice Cast


Audiences worldwide are fastening their seatbelts as “Disney’s Planes” prepares to take off this summer. Joining Dane Cook, who provides the voice of Dusty, are Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, John Cleese, Carlos Alazraqui, Priyanka Chopra, Gabriel Iglesias, Roger Craig Smith, Colin Cowherd, Sinbad, Oliver Kalkofe and Brent Musburger.

Disney Planes

Adding some high-flying flair from a classic feature film are Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer.

Disney Planes

Inspired by the world of “Cars” and directed by Disneytoon Studios veteran and aviation enthusiast Klay Hall (“King of the Hill,” “The Simpsons”), “Disney’s Planes” is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty’s dream of competing as a high-flying air racer—and his decidedly unfortunate fear of heights. The film takes off in theaters in 3D on Aug. 9, 2013.

  • Stacy Keach (“The Bourne Legacy,” Alexander Payne’s upcoming “Nebraska,” Robert Rodriguez’s and Frank Miller’s “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”) provides the voice of Skipper, a reclusive old Navy Corsair who takes Dusty’s training to new heights.
  • Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life”) lends his voice to fuel truck Chug, Dusty’s buddy, coach and biggest fan.
  • Teri Hatcher (“Coraline,” ABC’s “Desperate Housewives”) brings life and charm to the say-it-like-it-is mechanic Dottie.
  • Cedric the Entertainer (“Barbershop,” “Larry Crowne, “Madagascar”) as Leadbottom, a puttering old biplane who has no time for Dusty’s far-fetched flights of fancy.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Seinfeld”) lends her voice to Rochelle, a tough and confident racer who is the pride of the Great White North.
  • John Cleese (TV’s “Whitney,” “A Fish Called Wanda”) is the voice of Bulldog, the oldest and arguably wisest racer on the circuit.
  • Carlos Alazraqui (James Garcia on Comedy Central’s “Reno 911”) brings to life the intensely charming El Chupacabra, a racer with more dramatic flair than is recommended at high altitudes.
  • Priyanka Chopra (“Barfi!”) voices the exotic, mysterious and ruthless Ishani, the reigning Pan-Asian champion from India.
  • Roger Craig Smith (Captain America in Disney XD’s “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” voice of Sonic The Hedgehog in “Wreck-It Ralph”) voices world champion racer Ripslinger—wings down, the biggest name in air racing—and he knows it.
  • Gabriel Iglesias (Comedy Central’s “Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-up Revolution”) provides the voices of both Ned and Zed, two not-so-sharp saboteurs who work for Ripslinger.
  • Val Kilmer (“Batman Forever,” “Top Gun”) provides the voice of Bravo, a member of the Jolly Wrenches and a fan of air racing.
  • Anthony Edwards (TV’s “Zero Hour,” “Top Gun”) is the voice of Echo, a member of the Jolly Wrenches and a fan of air racing.
  • Colin Cowherd (ESPN) gives play-by-play coverage as Colin Cowling, an affable blimp and an eye-in-the-sky reporter for the Racing Sports Network.
  • Sinbad (Comedy Central’s “Where U Been?”) brings to life Roper, an irascible race official pitty full of sly remarks and colorful commentary.
  • Oliver Kalkofe (“Neues vom Wixxer”) provides the voice of meek German minicar Franz and his brazen airborne alter ego Fliegenhosen.
  • Brent Musburger (ESPN, ABC Sports) brings Brent Mustangburger, the excitable 1964½ Ford Mustang sports broadcasting icon, back to the big screen.



From above the world of “Cars” comes “Disney’s Planes,” an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with dreams of competing as a high-flying air racer. But Dusty’s not exactly built for racing—and he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator who helps Dusty qualify to take on the defending champ of the race circuit. Dusty’s courage is put to the ultimate test as he aims to reach heights he never dreamed possible, giving a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. “Disney’s Planes” takes off in theaters on Aug. 9, 2013. For more information, check out, like us on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter:

Disney Planes Logo

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Disney’s Oh My Disney Blog Review

Disney's OMD
Disney’s OMD

Disney started a new blog several weeks ago that has quickly become one of my daily must visits. It is called Oh My Disney or OMD for short. This blog is one of the most fun and quirky things I’ve discovered of late. If you aren’t already ready this hilarious daily dose of Disney, what are you waiting for?

OMD is one of the newest official blogs put out by The Walt Disney Company. You can find fantastic offerings about Disney films, tv shows, music, parks and more. One of the aspects I love most is that this blog is written in the colloquial style, as if you were having a conversation with a late 20s to mid 30s Disney lover. It isn’t the traditional just the facts ma’am post that you get, and by all means that serve a purpose, from several other blogs. This is a lighthearted glimpse into some of Disney’s greatest pop culture productions, sometimes even crossing over into ABC and ESPN territory.

Check out this image Graphing Our Emotions: The Lion King Edition:

Lion King
Lion King

This is just one of many reasons why I love this blog. There are things that will make you laugh, cry and remember why you love Disney.

I am so glad I happened to catch a tweet from a friend who works for Disney who said he was working on a new project and that we should all check it out. This blog is something that I can honestly say has brought cheer and smiles to me every day since. It started just under two months ago with the first post titled “Everyone Should Listen to Chef Gusteau” released on February 4th. This blog is part advice column, part reminiscing about Disney’s fantastic history, and part let’s just have fun. Across the header of the site you will often see posts with themes if you don’t want to go through all posts daily (which I strongly recommend). These sections are labeled as Aww (mostly romantic moments), Oh, Snap! (a little snarkiness served up Disney style), Retro (things that are typically geared towards younger generations (than mine) that grew up in the 90s – side note, super scary to think of 90s things as retro, but I digress), Silly (pretty self explanatory), and Whoa (things you definitely need to check out – case in point, the fantastic new Mickey Mouse Short, Croissant de Triomphe). Croissant de Triomphe on Disney Video

Often times this blog says what I’m thinking, or at least what I’d like to think I thought of before they posted it. Some of my favorites include The Snuggly Duckling: Best Pub Ever, We Dare You Not To Cry: The Most Blubber Cry-Worthy Pixar Moments (SPOILER ALERTS), WALL-E: How to Win Every Argument Ever, and 10 Paperman GIFs to Make You Believe In Destiny. There are so many more, but I want you to discover them on your own.


Have you seen OMD? If so, what are some of your favorites? If you ever need a pick-me-up, this is the place to go! Hop on over and check it out and let me know what you think of this great new addition to Disney’s blogs. I mean how could you not love a site that features a fantasy edition of the Bachelorette based around the male characters of the Lion King or a video condensing Mulan to 60 seconds? I would love to see more like this from Disney in the future and can’t wait to see what else OMD has coming down the pike!

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

The second annual decorative Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel are up! But only for a few more days – through Sunday, March 31.

If you walk in the front door of the lobby, you will immediately see these gorgeous eggs. I didn’t get a chance to see them last year, so this was a huge treat for me to stumble upon.

The amount of work and detail put into each of these eggs is amazing. The fact that the Wall-E egg has lights kind of blew my mind. If you’re able to stop by the Grand Floridian before the eggs are egg-stict (sorry, I had to), be sure to do so!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

IMG_5196IMG_5195 IMG_5194 IMG_5193 IMG_5192 IMG_5197 IMG_5198 IMG_5199 IMG_5200 IMG_5201

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Wordless Wednesday – Water Lilies Galore

Wordless Wednesday – March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to the Land Pavilion to take a ride on Living with the Land.  To me, nothing says ‘Spring’ more than Water Lilies galore!                                                                         




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TrenD Report – Sometimes It Is Hit Or Miss, But Everyone Wins!

TrenD Report – March 26, 2013

This week’s TrenD Report is a tale of Hit or Miss!

Usually when I visit TrenD I can find a ton of new merchandise, however on my latest trip to my favorite Downtown Disney Marketplace store I didn’t find a lot of new items.

I think TrenD is starting to ramp up to get ready for Spring and Summer, so the new items out are a little miss-matched and random.

However with all this transition going on, I still found a few great new pieces to share that are super fun!

One thing to keep in mind is that the upside of seasons changing, is that great pieces will go on sale! This flowy Ariel top is a wonderful buy at $24.99!

I am really starting to come around to the stylized Princess pieces that are in the parks right now. The shirts are super fun and the double sided journal means no one has to pick just one favorite Disney Princess.

And on a totally selfish note, I am really glad to see the Mickey Flip Flops start making their way onto the TrenD Report!

While I am HUGE fan of the vintage shirts, I am always a little bummed that they’ve only been available in the men’s section…until now! I was really excited to see that the Dole Whip shirt is now available in a lady’s cut.

Finally, I was also glad to see more canvas tote options making their debut just in time for me to find a new beach bag! Whether it’s the vintage look or the neon Loungefly tote you really can’t go wrong with such a versatile bag style!

I hope that you enjoyed this short TrenD Report! In the next report I am going to announce a fun new change to the TrenD Reports!!!


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MATCH PREVIEW: Lions Face Rowdies In Second Leg of I-4 Derby Saturday

Orlando City Soccer

Lions Face Rowdies In Second Leg Of I-4 Derby Saturday

Orlando looks for inaugural derby title in St. Petersburg at Al Lang Stadium


ORLANDO, Fla.—Orlando City squares off against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the second leg of the I-4 Derby presented by United World Soccer on Saturday, March 30, at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Lions won the first match in the derby series between the two on March 9 at the Florida Citrus Bowl, rallying to down the visiting Rowdies 3-2. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m.

“We know we missed a good amount of chances in the first game against Tampa,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “It’s going to be a competitive game down at a tight field down there (in St. Petersburg). I expect a great game.“


Orlando has met Tampa Bay twice in franchise history, with both meetings coming within the last month. The Lions first met the Rowdies in the conclusion of the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic, beating the 2012 NASL champions 2-0 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The two then clashed in the first leg of the I-4 Derby just two weeks later, with Orlando rallying to clinch the victory 3-2 over the visiting squad. If Orlando wins or draws in St. Petersburg on Saturday, the Lions will take home the title of champions in the first of what both sides hope to be an annual series.

The 2013 Orlando City roster has seen change since the last time they squared off against the Rowdies. As per the agreement between Orlando and their Major League Soccer affiliate Sporting Kansas City, four players have arrived on loan and are now competing for starting spots. Those players include Dom Dwyer, Jon Kempin, Christian Duke and Yann Songo’o. All four have seen playing time in two collegiate friendlies since their arrival, making Saturday’s match even more crucial for each player as the 2013 USL PRO season starts at the beginning of April.


“Basically everybody is trying to get themselves into pole position before the start of the season,” Heath added.

The Lions play their last collegiate friendly of the 2013 preseason Monday, March 25, against the University of Tampa at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. Orlando has remained undefeated in the collegiate series in 2013, topping college teams from Stetson, Rollins, FIU and FGCU. Admission is free and kickoff is set for 7 p.m. For more information about the collegiate friendly against Tampa and Saturday’s game at the Tampa Bay Rowdies, visit


Training Times:

Monday          Tuesday         Wednesday                Thursday       Friday

Off                    Off                     10-1130**                 10-1130**     10-1130**


*Practices are held at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla, and are open to media. Times are subject to change. Please contact Chris Jones ( on confirmed times before attending training.

**times a.m.


About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier professional soccer sports franchise in the United States and is a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during their short time in Orlando. Outside of the pro squad, OCSC also has their own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U23s team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit and

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Hard Rock Hotel Velvet Sessions Taylor Dayne March 28

velvet session

Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando’s Velvet Sessions
Featuring Taylor Dayne Set for Thursday, March 28

Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando’s Velvet Sessions lobby concert series continues in March with Taylor Dayne performing her hits “Tell It To My Heart,” “With Every Beat Of My Heart,” “Don’t Rush Me,” “Heart of Stone,” “Love Will Lead You Back,” “I’ll Always Love You” and more!

Velvet Sessions is Hard Rock Hotel’s special rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party and lobby concert held the last Thursday of the month (January through October). Log onto to buy your tickets and to receive monthly updates on who?s playing.

A Velvet Sessions ticket includes: FREE specialty drinks, finger foods and warm-up tunes from 6:30 pm until show time, cash bars and live band from show time onward and complimentary valet parking*

Velvet Sessions is a 21 and older event.

Thursday, March 28, 2013, at 6:30 pm

Velvet Bar & Lobby Lounge
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
5800 Universal Boulevard
Orlando, Florida  32819-7834

Velvet Sessions tickets are $29 on-line or $35 at the door.

Purchase tickets on-line and receive early entry at 6:00 pm.

To purchase tickets and for more information, log onto or call 407-503-2401
*^Velvet Sessions is a separately ticketed event; ticket prices include Florida sales tax at 6.0% and Orange County discretionary sales surtax at 0.5%; on-line ticketing fees apply. **Complimentary and special parking rates not valid for overnight hotel guests. Dates, activities and entertainment subject to change without notice. Cameras are not permitted at Velvet Sessions. Hard Rock Hotel © Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2013 Universal Studios. © 2013 Universal Orlando. All rights reserved.

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My Favorite Walt Disney World Spring Break Tips

My Favorite Tips For Making The Most

Of Your Spring Break At Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World
My Family at Walt Disney World

With the mad rush of Spring Break at Walt Disney World upon us, I thought I would share some of my family’s tips for dealing with the large crowds at Walt Disney World at this time of year.

When it is super busy at the parks our goal is to try to make the experience as fun and stress-free as possible, while still getting to take in as many attractions and shows as possible in on a busy day.

So here are MY 7 Must Do’s to make a busy time of year fun for the whole family!

1. Have a plan of attack!

I know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but take inventory of everyone’s favorite rides and must see shows and prioritize them. When we visit, I often find that my ability to come up with a ‘Plan B’ on the fly is what really makes or breaks a great day at the Parks since you never know what your day is going to bring.

Make sure you visit our friends over at Touring Plans, because they REALLY know how to plan a day if you are looking to make the most of every minute of your day!

2. Make your day filled with games.

In ev’ry job that must be done 
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

Mary Poppins had the absolute right idea! Your job is to make the most of your day in Walt Disney World, so spit spot!

Why not see how many character shirts you see in a day with extra points going to the more rare characters? Or see if you can find Cast Members from all 50 states. Maybe you can even try your hand at becoming at Hidden Mickey Hunter!

3. Look for things you might have overlooked before that others might, too.

I know this one sounds a little weird, but stick with me!

I often get stuck in the rut of following a pattern of attractions and shows when I visit the parks; however I am now constantly on the lookout for the little things I didn’t see before.

My absolute favorite one of these activities is to go the Animation Academy thanks to Betsy! I will warn you that this will take up a good chunk of time, since classes are held every 30 minutes and you can sometimes have to wait as classes tend to fill up. While you are waiting there is a ton to do and fun trivia to keep you all company.

I promise that you will not regret dedicating some time to trying your hand at the Animation Academy.

4.  Pay a visit to the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.

The 2013 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot is an outstanding way to spend the day, but you can really make the most of your visit by taking your time to smell the roses!

While I’ve already shared a lot of my ideas for My Perfect Day at the Flower and Garden Festival, there are even more ways that you can avoid a lot of the crowds during the Festival!

Spend time in the garden exhibits and in the Flower and Garden Festival Center, take the Tea Tour offered in the United Kingdom Pavilion, stroll through the Kinsey Collection in the American Adventure Pavilion to escape the heat, and finally make sure that you find your favorite character topiary and pose for a great picture with them.

5. Take a visit to Fort Wilderness with the family.

If any tip could possibly get me into hot water with the ‘locals’, this might be it…

Fort Wilderness is the absolute best kept secret at Walt Disney World, and once you figure this out you will be hooked!

The recreation offerings at Fort Wilderness are amazing, and ideal for this time of year to take advantage of the great weather! Some of the more unique activities you will find at the resort are archery, horse and pony riding adventures, jogging trails through meadows and cypress groves, and wagon rides for the whole family to enjoy.

But you have to wait all day to get to my absolute favorite thing to do at Fort Wilderness, which is attending Chip ’N Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long followed by a movie under the stars. During the Campfire Sing-a-long you get to sing and dance with two of the best (not that I am biased or anything) characters…Chip ‘N Dale! And then you get to watch a great Disney movie under the stars, while you roast marshmallows (which are available for purchase at the campfire area) over the campfires that are always roaring thanks to great Fort Wilderness Cast Members.

6. Take a Tour!

It is absolutely astounding how many tours at Walt Disney World are offered!

Whether you are a history nut who wants to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour or walk on the wild side with a Wild African Trek, you are sure to find a tour that fits your interests at Walt Disney World!

A tour that I have taken many times and thoroughly enjoy is the Behind the Seeds tour in the Land Pavilion at Epcot. This tour is my favorite since it is extremely affordable (Adults $18.00/Children $14.00 with Annual Pass discounts available), appropriate for all ages (they even have special strollers and wheelchairs for use on the tour), and gives you the thrill of being backstage while being ‘in’ an attraction. The tour is also offered several times a day, so it is very schedule friendly!

I am really looking forward to making more time in my schedule for tours at Walt Disney World this year!

7. Be prepared!

I know I sound like I am out of the Festival of the Lion King with my final tip, but it is possibly the most important one I could give you!

The last thing you want on a busy day is to NEED something, and have to wait in long lines to buy something that you left in your room or didn’t think to bring. This is the one tip that I still struggle with and have to remind myself of on a constant basis.

When we visit the park as a family we always try to bring a ‘family bag’ that is full of essentials that we find ourselves needing every visit.

And here is a list of what our ‘family bag’ contains:

  • Umbrellas – It’s Florida, and it’s going to rain when you least expect it!
  • Snacks – We make sure to bring small snacks that won’t melt in the hot sun to help keep spirits high during longer than expected waits for kids and adults.
  • Trading Pins – It is always useful to keep a few of these babies handy!
  • Autograph Book and Sharpie – Zoe ebbs and flows on wanting autographs, but it is a better safe than sorry thing for us now.
  • Ziploc Bags – We carry them in several sizes to make sure that our electronics are safe from the rain (please see umbrellas).
  • Lip Balm & Sunscreen – Pretty self-explanatory for these two items.
  • Baby Wipes – You can get small packages with fun Disney prints, and baby wipes are good for anything…Baby wipes for Moms are like duct tape for MacGyver!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tips, and that if you are visiting Walt Disney World for Spring Break that you have an absolutely amazing time!!!

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2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Gets An Upgrade


For years, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend combination of receiving medals for the 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon was a 42.4 mile challenge unofficially dubbed the “Dopey” by fans.  Now with the addition of the new Walt Disney World 10K, the name “Dopey” becomes official with an additional new medal for the Dopey Challenge, but with one small change.  Instead of being 42.4 miles, Disney is including the 10K into the mix for a grand total of 48.6 miles.  That’s right, the old fan based Dopey was only 4 medals (5K, Half, Full, and Goofy), but now Dopey challengers will receive 6 medals total adding 1 for the 10K and 1 extra for doing all 4 races.

The cost to participate in this new challenge? $495 for participants who register before June 18, 2013.  This price includes all 4 races.

The new 10K will cost $95 for registrants by the same date.  With the 5K being $60, the Walt Disney World Full & Half Marathons costing $160 each, and the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge weighing in at $340.

Price increases for the Walt Disney World Marathon races will occur on June 19, 2013 and again on August 14, 2013.

Additional information can be found at

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Disney Easter Matching Game From Wonder Forge

I was super excited to receive the Wonder Forge Disney Easter Matching Game to review just in time for Easter!

Disney Easter Matching Game

This isn’t just your average matching game, because every so often you get a surprise glimpse of one of your favorite Disney Characters all dressed up and ready to celebrate Easter with your family. It was so fun to see Zoe’s face when she got a character that was as she called them ‘extra cool’!

Disney Easter Matching Game

The Disney Easter Matching game is played with the normal 72 cards, however instead of 2 of each card there are 4. While this took a little getting used to, Zoe found that it was easier for her to play.

Disney Easter Matching Game

The game is recommended for Children ages 3 and up, and is played like the classic matching game where the player with the most matched cards wins! If you are looking for a harder option, you can play with the rule that you must find all 4 matching cards. Playing Alone? Time yourself to see how long it takes to find and match all of the cards. Also, if you have a younger Disney Fan at home, you could play with half the cards for a less intimidating and faster matching game.

Disney Easter Matching Game

Disney Easter Matching Game

We really enjoyed playing the Disney Easter Matching Game together! It was a really fun twist on the classic matching game that I am sure we’ll be playing all year long.

Disney Easter Matching Game

If you’re looking for a really fun last minute goody to fill your Easter Baskets that is fun for the entire family, I suggest picking up the Disney Easter Matching Game from Wonder Forge.

Make sure you follow Wonder Forge on Facebook and Twitter for information on all their new games and giveaways!

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Dine With Shamu – A Dinner You Will Never Forget At SeaWorld Orlando

dine with shamuDine with Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando


Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld Orlando is quite possibly the most unique and memorable dining experience I have ever had.

We were invited by SeaWorld Orlando to take in this experience, and my Mom, Zoe, and I had such an amazing time!

dine with shamu
Our view for our Dine with Shamu experience

During a buffet that featured sustainable, organic, seasonal or locally grown ingredients that aim to minimize environmental impacts to animals and their habitats, we got closer than we ever expected to these beautiful and powerful whales.

dine with shamu
The trainers work with the whales in different places of the Dine with Shamu area for everyone to get a great view.

The buffet at Dine with Shamu changes seasonally, but features seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, certified sustainable seafood, all natural grain fed Beef Sirloin, oven roasted turkey breast, 100% natural pork loin with no preservatives or additives, seasonal accompaniments, fresh breads baked daily, signature desserts.

The beverages included in the price are assorted Coca-Cola® products, hot tea, coffee, beer, and wine

On the Kid’s Buffet you’ll find some of their favorite foods! Hot dogs, sea shell pasta with vine ripe tomato marinara and meatballs, mac and cheese , seasonal fresh fruits, and vegetables are offered in addition to the regular buffet.

The service at Dine with Shamu is amazing! My Mother is diabetic, and they even made sure she had a tasty dessert!

As we were eating, we noticed that the whales were slowly began swimming beside us. This was a great opportunity to get an incredible glimpse into the interactions that occur between the SeaWorld trainers and whales.

dine with shamu
Swimming before the fun really began

We got to watch them do fun tricks, how they are trained, conservation tips to help save ocean resources and habitats, and even learned what their favorite treats were (jell-o and ice cubes).

dine with shamu
Zoe and one of Shamu’s trainers

One of the best parts of the Dine with Shamu experience is that it is priced extremely reasonably! Adults (Ages 10+) $29.00 Children (Ages 3-9) $19.00, and there are Annual Passholder discounts available!

dine with shamu
This happened right next to our table…amazing!

Dine with Shamu is a behind-the-scenes experience that will increase your appreciation and knowledge of these amazing whales and their trainers. It’s only at SeaWorld Orlando, so I absolutely recommend that you take advantage of this unique dining experience during your next visit to the park!

dine with shamu
How whales say good-bye!

Additional Dine with Shamu Information:

  • Children under 3 are free but require a reservation.
  • A SeaWorld admission ticket is required but not included.
  • Proof of age (21) for purchase or consumption of alcohol beverages on these premises.  SeaWorld requires identification from anyone appearing 30 years of age or younger.
  • If you are concerned about food allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg or soy, please note allergens at time of booking.
  • Florida sales tax will be added to all taxable items.
  • Dine with Shamu will be refunded if cancelled 24 hours in advance of the scheduled dine.
  • All events are subject to change and/or cancellation due to animal availability.
  • Events are not cancelled due to inclement weather; programs will still be offered except in the event of lightning.
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Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Ye Olde Spring Country Faire

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores – Ye Olde Spring County Faire

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

Just in time for Easter, the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Ye Olde Spring Country Faire is a fun festival for the entire family!

The Faire and it’s activities are located in and around the stores, and include photo opportunities with Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry (character rabbits from Give Kids the World Village, donations accepted), clowns, face painting, a sidewalk sale, games, activities, great prizes and much more.

This event is totally Free to the public! The Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Ye Olde Spring Country Faire  festival will be held Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

15657 South Apopka Vineland Road (SRS 535)

Orlando, FL 32821

For more info:


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