A Petrified Forest – Do you dare go?

Petrified Forest

 

So for people looking for somewhere different and a bit more off the beaten path to do for Halloween, you might want to consider visiting A Petrified Forest – Musuem of Mayhem in Altamonte Springs. The main attraction is a haunted trail, where you are literally walking through a forest with scare actors hiding along the way! There is even a real cornfield along it! Some areas feature elaborate scenes, some are just in nature. The fact that you are walking through a forest, tripping on tree limbs and rocks, feeling branches and leaves on your head and arms, all play to heighten your senses. You know you are in a real forest so instead of the typical haunted house, you feel exposed and vulnerable. Some parts of A Petrified Forest were so dark you start imagining people there!

Museum of Mayhem

There is one scene where they use fog and lasers to create a misty lake where the actors hide underneath and jump out as if from no where, it was such an amazing effect and one I’ve not seen used before! You have one more night to go and experience A Petrified Forest this way, or for the really brave there are two special nights to go. November 1st and 2nd are known as Total Eclipse Nights! Basically on these nights, your group is given ONE glow stick per group, and the whole forest is plunged into complete darkness! They tell you that if a monster should steal your glowstick, another one will NOT be provided! I had a hard time enough seeing through this forest WITH the lights, but with no lights?! This would be the creepiest experience ever, and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do it. Not this year anyway!

Eye See You

If you have never been to A Petrified Forest, I urge you to try it. It was very scary and the forest element really made everything so much creepier!

 

They also feature laser tag, which we tried out, it was more silly and funny than anything, and not something I’d do again but it was 10 minutes of giggles and laughter!

laser world

Another feature is their laser maze, where you have to dodge the lasers to collect artifacts from different rooms for prizes. We didn’t try this one as it didn’t look as fun, but people seemed to be enjoying it.

 

They had a live band on stage throughout the night, and food and drinks available for purchase. On the whole it was quite a fun night at A Petrified Forest, and I’m so glad we went as it’s something I had never experienced before. I am very very curious about the Total Eclipse night, the actors can even touch you then too, If anyone goes please report back, as we are not brave enough this year!

lazer tag

You can buy your tickets online before the event, or you can pay cash only when you get there.

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Halloween Spooktacular Fun For Little Ones

I don’t know about you, but I love Halloween! It is such a fun time of year with all the parties going on everywhere!

Last year was little man’s first Halloween, but at 6 months, he was more cute than anything else. We didn’t do too much more than a “costume” and some pictures. This year he’s big enough to go and have fun!

I jumped on the opportunity to take him to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular this year! Costumes, candy, dance parties and characters, what fun!!

 

Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando

 

We really had a great time at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular! Overall it seemed to REALLY be geared towards the little ones, and that was perfect for us. My favorite things are that this special event is included in your regular park admission, it is during regular park hours (i.e. no late nights!) and there are lots of activities going on during Spooktacular!

Little man’s favorite things are the bubbles everywhere, the trick or treat trail (where he could hold his bag closed and try to give his candy/snacks back to people), the dance party and the characters!

 

One of the things available at a small addition fee was cookie decorating. He had so much fun playing with his cookie and eating it!

 

It wasn’t very crowded at all while we were there, it was quite nice! Unfortunately this event is only available a few days in the season – just weekends in October, so we were only able to go once. Next year it is definitely on our must do list! Have you been to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?  What was your favorite part?

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Halloween Activities at Walt Disney World

Halloween

Halloween is upon us, and for some of you, you may be wondering what there is to do at Walt Disney World since Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is sold out for tonight. You’re on vacation, or maybe you live here and aren’t going trick or treating, but you’re still looking for something fun to do. Well, you are in luck! I’m here to help you take a look at the activities at Walt Disney World. If you are dead set on still making it to MNSSHP at the Magic Kingdom, as of right now (1am on Halloween), there are still tickets available for the last Halloween party on November 1st.

At Downtown Disney, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park is hosting a Halloween party of its own from 6 – 11pm. In addition to regular DisneyQuest access to all the games and attractions, there will also be trick or treating, costume contests, dance parties with DJs, games and characters. Tickets are $54. plus tax for guests age 3 and up.

image copyright Disney
image copyright Disney

Blizzard Beach Water Park is even getting into the Halloween spirit with their own party from 11am – 2pm. The party is included in the regular water park admission cost. Like DisneyQuest, there will also be a dance party, character meet and greets, and there will be a chance to judge a pumpkin carving contest.

Each of the Walt Disney World Resorts will offer some sort of activity for Halloween. These include Disney movies under the stars at night with a Halloween theme like Hocus Pocus, Tower of Terror, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloweentown, Monsters University, Haunted Mansion, or Frankenweenie. During the day, arts and crafts and games take place at each resort in some fashion. There are a variety of afternoon and evening happenings with several of the resorts offering costume contests, trick or treating and dance parties. For more information about the specific activities for Halloween, consult the recreation calendar at your resort or call 407-W-DISNEY to get schedules.

If you get an opportunity, I highly recommend spending time at Walt Disney World for Halloween. I’ve gone trick or treating at resorts, voted on pumpkin carving contests, attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and watched movies and played games under the stars. It is a lot of fun to spend Halloween at WDW and if I weren’t working tonight, that is where I’d be since it is frowned upon to go trick or treating elsewhere when you are in your mid 30s. 😉

Happy Halloween! Have a safe a fun time tonight!

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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal!

Halloween Horror Nights infected

 

So it’s almost upon us, Halloween! If you haven’t already made it over to the 23rd Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, fear not (lol) you still have some time! There are still three more days of fear to enjoy, the last night being November 2nd. This year’s theme is zombies, with The Walking Dead being the main theme, but also featuring houses such as Resident Evil, Havoc, Cabin In The Woods, Resident Evil, Evil Dead, La Llorona, Afterlife and American Werewolf In London.

zombie pets

Without giving too much away about Halloween Horror Nights, my favorite house this year was, by far, American Werewolf In London! I think it’s because it gave me the most scares! I literally screamed my way through this house from start to end, the effects were just so lifelike and the werewolf felt so real! The scenes were very well set up also, and I found myself pushing my way through to get away from it all! Loved it!

hungry zombie

I also really enjoyed the Cabin In The Woods house, as having seen the movie, it was really fun being able to walk through the scenes and feel like i was actually on the set, it was so elaborate!

Walker

Halloween Horror Night’s scare zones this year were all the same theme, zombies. Which was quite gory but not really very scary in my opinion, as they don’t move very fast and tend to just groan or scream in your face. I miss the variety of scare zones they used to have with roller skating aliens and creepy pumpkin men! But if you are into the whole zombie theme then it is perfect for you, it feels like they are everywhere!

zombie arm

I didn’t do the Rocky Horror Picture Show this year, but I always catch The Bill & Ted Show every year, and this year was no exception. I felt this year it had more pop culture references that I understood, so I found it very entertaining, and the music is always so fun and upbeat. Its certainly worth taking a break from the Halloween Horror Night houses to do!

zombie neck

I actually really enjoyed being able to do some of the new rides too, as most of the large rides are open during Halloween Horror Nights and you’ll find they have decent wait times as most people are going into the houses, so many are just 10-15 minute wait times! I enjoyed eating a Krusty Burger (a vegetarian version, which was yummy!) at Moe’s and checking out the huge pink donuts on sale in Springfield!

Springfield

The tickets we chose this year were the Rush Of Fear passes, which gave us access to the first 3 weeks of Halloween Horror Nights. This we found was a great deal, as the first 3 weeks are much quieter as they start in September, and they include Saturdays, so we will be doing this for next year also. The Frequent Fear passes are another good option if you are planning on going multiple days, these last longer but block out most Saturday nights, which tend to be busier anyway so they are a great deal also.

 

Parking at City Walk is $16 up until 8pm, after 8pm it’s $5 and after 10pm its free for Florida Residents.

pinkzombie

So what are you waiting for? Go check out Halloween Horror Nights 23 before November 2nd, but be prepared to scream, jump and run your way through the night!

 

 

 

Bodies

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Wordless Wednesday: HalloWishes For A Happy Halloween

Wordless Wednesday – October 30, 2013

 Wordless Wednesday

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to scene’s from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! May all your HalloWishes come true for a fun and safe Halloween!

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Preaparing for 2014: Orlando City Signing News

Orlando City SC Lions Re-Sign Gallardo, Boden and Pulis for 2014 Season, Preparing For 2015 Season

Orlando City Soccer

Club signing players who have potential for jump to MLS in Spring 2015

Orlando City SC announced Monday that Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, Defender Luke Boden and Midfielder Anthony Pulis have all re-signed with the Lions for the upcoming 2014 USL PRO season, pending USSF approval. The signings mark a continued effort by Head Coach Adrian Heath to retool the roster with talented players with an eye toward a 2015 entry into Major League Soccer (MLS).

“We are preparing a squad that consists of players who we believe might make that jump with us,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath.

Luke Boden originally signed with Orlando prior to the inaugural 2011 season and, along with Gallardo, is one of five players who have made their way onto the 2014 squad after joining the Lions in their first-ever season. Boden has been a consistent starter in Heath’s system over the past three seasons, playing in 61 regular season matches from 2011-2013.

In 2013, the defender started all of the matches he appeared in (22), playing 90 minutes all but one time.

Miguel Gallardo has been consistently been a mainstay between the nets over the past three seasons. The Torreon, Mexico, native has never had a Goals Against Average (GAA) higher than 1.00 during his time in Orlando, earning accolades such as 2011 USL PRO Goalkeeper of the year. In 2012, Gallardo led the league in GAA with a .780 average and recorded eight shutouts.

Gallardo played in 15 regular season matches for Orlando in 2013, totalling five shutouts and a .958 GAA in 1,221 minutes played. He also started all three postseason matches in the Lions’ run toward a 2013 USL PRO Championship.

Anthony Pulis re-joins the Lions after two successful seasons with Orlando, making 32 total appearances from 2012-2103.  Pulis has served as an anchor in the midfield for Heath’s club, playing alongside newly promoted Coach/Midfielder James O’Connor.

Before joining the Lions in 2012, Pulis spent time with premier English sides such as Stoke City and Southampton.

Heath has said multiple times that the club is searching for players that would make the jump from USL PRO to MLS in 2015. Gallardo, Pulis and Boden join James O’Connor, Rob Valentino, Dennis Chin and Jamie Watson as players from the 2013 season to make the 2014 squad.

For more information and signings, stay tuned to OrlandoCitySoccer.com.

Transaction:

Orlando City SC (USL PRO) signs Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, Defender Luke Boden, Midfielder Anthony Pulis

Orlando City

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier soccer club in the United States, aiming to be in Major League Soccer by 2015. The Lions recently captured the 2013 USL PRO Championship, the club’s second postseason title in just three years. 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 OrlandoCitySoccer.com and OrlandoCityYouth.org.

 

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Pick Six: Halloween in Celebration

 Halloween in Celebration

Celebrating Halloween in Celebration can be full of treats or tricks depending on how prepared you are, so join us for a Pick Six full of tips for making the most of Halloween in Celebration!

Pick Six: Halloween in Celebration

1. The Pirate Ship House

Halloween in Celebration

No visit to Halloween in Celebration is complete without a visit to the Pirate Ship House which is located on the corner of Mulberry Avenue and Celebration Avenue!

The Pirate Ship House is a private residence that completely transforms into a swashbuckling Trick-or-Treating experience with a detailed facade that runs along the entire front of the house that is full of pirate skeletons, treasures, cannons, and even a gangplank.

Halloween in Celebration

Lines to Trick-or-Treat here are almost as scary as facing the Kraken, so make sure you are patient and give the crew of this home an extra Yo Ho for all that they have created!

2. Community Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch

Halloween in Celebration

Community Presbyterian Church, located at 511 Celebration Avenue, is more than just a place to buy a pumpkin when you are experiencing Halloween in Celebration.

In its 6th year, the Pumpkin Patch is full of photo opportunities for kids of all ages, and most importantly proceeds benefit Help Now of Osceola!

Halloween in Celebration

The Community Presbyterian Church Pumpkin Patch is open daily!

Monday thru Thursday 9 am – dusk
Friday and Saturday 9 am – 10 pm
Sunday noon – dusk

3. Downtown Celebration

Halloween in Celebration

Downtown Celebration is full of great stores and restaurants with Halloween treats, so you will definitely want to take some extra time exploring this area!

4. Trick-or-Treating

There is no way to candy coat this…Trick-or-Treating during Halloween in Celebration can make even the best of us a little witchy!

Halloween in Celebration

The first thing to keep in mind is that families start haunting houses early, usually around 5:30 pm for the younger monsters, so don’t worry about being too early for the fun!

Now I warn you first about how early Trick-or-Treaters hit the pavement, because the streets of Celebration (especially in the Downtown Area) can get extremely congested!

It’s important to keep in mind that in Celebration there aren’t a ton of parking lots and street parking can be scare, so you will want to think ahead about your route and plan accordingly. My best advice is to get here as early as possible, grab a bite downtown, and take in all the fun you can!

And finally, lines can get bananas long for candy at houses in the Downtown Celebration area! One year our line went in both directions for a block with 4 of us handing out candy…I kid you not!!!

5. House Decorations

While we all can’t have Pirate Ship Houses, during Halloween in Celebration you’ll find a lot of houses decorated to the nines and most of them have at least one fun ‘Disney’ side!

6. Have fun

Happy Halloween from my family to yours!!!

Halloween in Celebration

We hope you have a fun night celebrating Halloween in Celebration, and if you are here make sure you share your pictures with us!!!

We’ll be posting more pictures from Halloween in Celebration on our Facebook Page, so drop by and let us know what you think!

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Beer And Bacon Festival Sizzles In November

 Beer and Bacon Festival

A festival of flavors with more than 30 unique craft beers and creative bacon specialties from local restaurant favorites at this year’s Beer and Bacon Festival

 

The Beer and Bacon Festival features more than 30 of the finest craft beers paired with delicious bacon-inspired specialties to tempt and tease every palate onSaturday, November 2.  This festival, presented by seasoned event producers CBS RADIO ORLANDO and hosted at Uptown Altamonte, showcases the growing love of craft beer along the scenic shores of Cranes Roost Park.

The Fest is presented and produced by CBS RADIO, led by Orlando favorites MIX 105.1, 1059 SUNNY FM, and 102 JAMZ in partnership with sponsors AutoNation Acura of North Orlando, Seminole Harley Davidson, and Wayne Densch Inc.  CBS RADIO  produces several signature events throughout the year including; Downtown Food & Wine Fest, Orlando Extreme Watersports Fest, and Pet-A-Palooza.

Dave Robbins, senior vice president, Orlando market manager at CBS RADIO said, “Through the power of radio and our expertise in offering and producing signature events in Central Florida, we are ready to create memorable experiences with an emphasis on beer appreciation.  The Beer and Bacon Festival is a place to learn about craft beers and pay homage to bacon-inspired culinary favorites – it’s simple, fun, and delicious.”

Beer and Bacon Festival
4 Rivers Smokehouse Features bacon wrapped jalapeños at the Beer and Bacon Festival.

Date: Saturday, November 2, 2013

Festival Opens at 3 p.m.

Craft Beer Sampling 4 to 7 p.m.

Experience: Your ticket includes sampling of more than 30 craft beers.

Restaurant small-plate offerings are available for purchase between $2 and $6.

Full-pour beer, wine, and soft drink beverages are available for purchase.  A limited number of craft beer sampling tickets will be offered.  This event is sure to sell-out to maintain a high-quality and enjoyable experience for all.

Location: Cranes Roost Park at Uptown Altamonte is located at 247 Cranes Roost Blvd,

Altamonte Springs, FL 32701.  The park is easily accessible from exit 92, SR 436

from Interstate 4.  Access to Cranes Roost Park is free and open to the public.

Parking: FREE parking is available for all festival and park guests throughout Uptown Altamonte and nearby at Altamonte Mall.

Tickets: Purchase tickets online at BeerAndBaconFestival.com

Beer and Bacon Festival

Craft Beer and Menu Highlights

Beer and Bacon Festival
Goose Island Honker’s Ale Featured at Beer and Bacon Festival.

Sampling Ticket: Sampling Tickets $35 per 21+ adult – at the Gate (Cash or Credit Card)

Craft Beer Ticket: $25 per 21+ adult – Advance Online Ticket Purchase

Craft Beer Purveyors: (subject to change and seasonal availability)

  • Blue Point Brewing (4 varietals)
  • Florida Beer Company (4 varietals)
  • Goose Island (4 varietals)
  • Kona (4 varietals)
  • Magic Hat (2 varietals)
  • Red Hook (2 varietals)
  • Shock Top (3 varietals)
  • Sweetwater (4 varietals)
  • Victory Brewing (4 varietals)
  • Woodchuck (5 varietals)

Restaurants / Menu Highlights: (subject to change)

  • 4 Rivers Smokehouse (Brisket or pulled pork sliders with bacon, Chicken on a biscuit with bacon and maple drizzle, Bacon wrapped jalapenos)
  • Cupcake Crazy (Bacon salted caramel cupcake and Amaretto custard)
  • Miller’s Ale House – (Fries with melted cheese topped with bacon, scallions, and ranch dressing, Watermelon and bacon salad, Tuna slider with chopped egg and bacon)
  • Omaha Steakhouse (Bacon and bleu cheese burger sliders, Bleu cheese chips with bacon, Bacon and caramel popcorn pops)
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Crab BLT, Prime beef slider with bacon and onion jam, Cheesecake with chocolate almond bacon clusters)
  • Tako Cheena (Chinese BBQ chara siu pork belly tako, Bani mi pernil tako with pickled daikon radish, Crispy smoked eggplant empanada, Bacon infused ice cream)
  • Terramia Ristorante (Rigatoni amatriciana with pancetta, Stromboli with pancetta, mushrooms and buffalo mozzarella, and Ravioli with prosciutto and vodka sauce)
  • The Hammered Lamb (Grilled cheese with bacon and side of bacon jam,  Bacon and lamb mash over a buttermilk biscuit, covered with a lamb reduction,  Bacon, maple and waffle cone  rice crispy treat)
  • Whole Foods Market (Cheddar bacon maple sausage topped with caramelized onions with a side of sautéed bacon greens, Vegan bacon and chocolate chip cookie, Gourmet cheese and olive sampler)

Beer and Bacon Festival

Activities and Information

  • CBS RADIO ORLANDO On-air Personalities Meet & Greet and Live Music Mixers
  • Interactive Games and Sponsor Displays
  • The Official After Party will be held at Miller’s Ale House in front of the Altamonte Mall.  Festival attendees receive $1 off craft beer (must show wristband).
  • Creative pretzel necklaces, welcome!
  • Orlando Magic RV with video games, two TVs, and giveaways
  • Several restaurants and full-pour bars will accept credit cards; all vendors accept cash. ATMs are available at the Festival.
  • Kindly leave your pets at home.
  • The Beer and Bacon Festival will be held rain or shine.
  • Tickets are non-refundable.
  • CBS RADIO ORLANDO encourages everyone to drink responsibly.  Don’t drink and drive.  Alert Cab, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch local beer distributor Wayne Densch Inc., will provide free taxi rides home for patrons in need.

The Beer and Bacon Festival features more than 30 craft beers, plus bacon-inspired menu items from local restaurant favorites. For more information visit BeerAndBaconFestival.com.

Stay Connected: Facebook.com/BeerAndBaconFestivalOrlando

Twitter: @BeerBaconORL  #BeerAndBaconFestival

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Shula Burger Restaurant Review

All this food was paid for by me! No compensation here!

When we saw a new place being added on 192 near 429/Target in Kissimmee and the other run of the mill restaurants, we just assumed it’d be just another place, thankfully we were wrong!

My boyfriend has been stalking Shula Burger since the sign went up, and when he saw it was open, he was more than ready to go.

Shula Burger
Shula Burger

IMG_8137

Guys, they had been open THREE days when we went. I am always skeptical when places haven’t been open too long because they probably haven’t gotten their stuff together.

Wrong again. We were proved wrong in the BEST way.

First of all, Shula Burger is not your standard burger joint. You order your burger, salad, chicken, sweets, whatever you want at the counter.

IMG_8133 IMG_8130 IMG_8131

From there you can get your order to go or eat in. They give you a number if you eat in and your food comes to you! Oh and if you want to call in and pick it up, you can do that too.

IMG_8129

We both ordered create your own burgers – garlic herb mayo, onions, mushrooms, bacon, cheese. The choices go on and on. I had sweet potato tots (which were AMAZING) and Jeff enjoyed his sea salt fries.

IMG_8134 IMG_8135

During our lunch I actually stopped and said, “This burger is cooked perfectly.” And it truly was.

Oh and if you’re wanting to enjoy the outside with your meal, you can sit in this huge patio area.

IMG_8140

Before we left I approached the kitchen window, some of the staff, and the manager to tell them how great our experience was.

When we left I heard “See you soon!” and that is 100% true – they will definitely see us soon!

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Be a STAR Rally At Lake Nona Middle School

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a Be a STAR rally at Lake Nona Middle School, and to say it was a moving experience would be an understatement!

Be a STAR

Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) was founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE in April 2011 to help take action against bullying! Be a STAR has also created a partnership with 58 alliance members, including National Education Association Health Information Network (NEA HIN), GLAAD, STOMP Out Bullying, The Ad Council and the United Federation of Teachers all working together to get the message out!

The mission of Be a STAR is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness. Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.

What is truly amazing is that since it’s launch of the Be a STAR website over 30,000 people from all 50 US states and from 91 countries have taken the pledge to put an end bullying!

In addition to a free anti-bullying curriculum for teachers created by NEA HIN and True Educator, Inc., online resources for parents to help their children deal with bullying, and local Be a STAR chapters in schools and communities, two to three times a month WWE Superstars and Divas visit communities with celebrities and local officials to reinforce the Be a STAR message at rallies!

And these Be a STAR rallies truly drive home the message that everyone can do something to help put an end to bullying!

Yesterday it was an honor to watch as WWE Superstar Sheamus, WWE Diva Summer Rae, and NXT Superstar Xavier Woods addressed hundreds of 6th grade students at Lake Nona Middle School.

Be a STAR
WWE Superstar Sheamus, WWE Diva Summer Rae, and NXT Superstar Xavier Woods

The atmosphere of the rally was pretty awesome! Kids who were relieved to hear that they weren’t alone and had no reason to be ashamed of the bullying they had experienced, WWE talent that opened their hearts to share their own experiences, and a Lake Nona Middle School faculty and staff committed to making sure that their students had every tool they could give them to make sure that they were successful in a healthy learning environment.

Be a STAR
NXT Superstar Xavier Woods

As Xavier Woods spoke about the different kinds of bullying, it was eye-opening to see how many of these children had been affected by cyber-bullying…even on Instagram.

Be a STAR
WWE Diva Summer Rae

Summer Rae shared how she felt when she was teased about being ‘too skinny’ while her friends were bystanders who would just watch it happen instead of speaking up out of fear. She also reinforced to the audience that while she plays a not-so-nice character in the ring, that she does not think that is the right way to treat others and that they should act like the person Summer Rae and not her on-air persona.

Be a STAR
WWE Superstar Sheamus

Then Sheamus took to the podium with cheers that were heard clear across town! Sheamus really hit home that even at his size, he was often bullied. Sheamus also spoke about not blaming yourself for being a target of bullies, and that through understanding and action we can all help put an end to bullying.

And among chants of Don’t be a bully, be a STAR the rally was over.

It was really nice to overhear the students talking about what they had just experienced and things they personally wanted to change as I waited for my chance to talk to Sheamus, Summer Rae, and Xavier Woods.

This was Summer Rae’s first Be a STAR rally, and she was really excited to have the opportunity to participate and make a difference!

Be a STAR

It was an important message for us today that speaking up and not being a bystander is very, very important! When kids are a bystander and say ‘I didn’t see it so I wasn’t a bully’, it’s helping show that it’s just as bad.

Xavier Woods really got the crowd pumped up and ready to hear his experiences when he was cyber bullied.

I did well in school, studied all the time, I was into comic books and video games, and I was the definition of a nerd. And people called me that in a derogatory sense, and so I think that the biggest thing for me besides the cyber-bullying was just completely cutting people off, blocking them, deleting messages, and ignoring them completely was being okay with myself. So once I accepted this is me, this is who I am, I don’t care what anybody thinks that was the last thing I had to get over before I was done with bullying.

Sheamus is a Be a STAR veteran, and I wanted to know if any of the children had ever reached out to him after speaking at a Be a STAR rally.

Be a STAR

It happens all the time. I get a lot of tweets from kids who have realized they were being bullies and why and now they’ve stopped and even kids who found the courage to speak up and help. They tell me stories and send me pictures.. They tell me how they felt hearing that even I have been bullied, and it is just wonderful knowing that I have helped make a difference to hopefully stop bullying.

People often ask my why I am such a huge WWE fan who wants to share my enthusiasm, and quite honestly this is a big reason why. The WWE has shown a dedication to help end bullying through education, resources, and reinforcement from the WWE Superstars and Divas who truly speak from their heart to these children!

I am also asking you to please help to spread the Be a STAR message! Find them on Facebook & Twitter, take action & the pledge to Be a STAR, and help make our communities and schools a better place!

Be a STAR

 

 

 

 

 

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Recreation Options at Westgate River Ranch

Last week I talked about the great accommodation options found at the recently reopened Westgate River Ranch. While we were there, my mom and I got to experience several of the fantastic recreation options available to guests and locals. I’d like to take this opportunity to review what we did, plus many of the other activities that we just didn’t have the time to fit in to our fun weekend at the Ranch.

When we first arrived a bit before check in time, our room was not yet ready, so we were encouraged to check out some of the recreation offerings the ranch has. Since we originally were not scheduled to arrive until that night after midnight, we really hadn’t looked too closely at what choices were even available for use as far as recreation for that Friday. Much to our surprise, the ranch was offering helicopter rides as a special activity just for the grand re-opening. I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter (I partially blame my love of Magnum P.I. as a child), and I thought this would be a great way to get an overview (literally) of the ranch. The helicopter ride was a great recreation treat, even at just about ten minutes. It was so cool to see the cows and other animals below as well as the layout of Westgate River Ranch.

Before our helicopter ride
Before our helicopter ride
Helicopter cockpit
Helicopter cockpit
Aerial view of shooting range
Aerial view of shooting range
Private airport runway at the ranch
Private airport runway at the ranch

After the helicopter ride, we settled into our rooms before we opted to explore a little on our own prior to dinner. The ranch has golf carts available for rent, but we found it easy enough to drive from place to place by car to get to our recreation activities. The ranch is 1700 acres plus, so walking in the 90+ degree heat was not on our to do list for the weekend. In cooler times of the year it would be a beautiful walk. We checked out the marina area where we would be catching the swamp buggy the next day. We could also see the airboat that was another option. I had taken an airboat ride a few months ago for a friend’s birthday, so we opted for the recreation activity neither my mom nor I had tried.

That night after dinner, we got to experience some of the great nightlife recreation at Westgate River Ranch. The brand new adventure park really comes to life at night, especially since it is directly adjacent to the saloon, bandstand and outdoor dance floor. There was so much fun stuff going on for guests of all ages. We watched others try their hand at the mechanical bull (I wasn’t dumb enough, nor had I imbibed enough alcohol to make that happen), then stumbled upon the miniature golf course. I love miniature golf, and we were still enjoying our beers, so one handed beer golf was born. For the record, I won by a stroke, even though mom did get a hole in one on the last hole. The band played a great mix of country songs, with some pop and classic rock mixed in. In between their sets, there was still music playing, I believe from a DJ. Kids seemed to love the bungee jump and rock climbing wall. The zipline was also one of the most popular recreation options by far. Adventure Park passes include unlimited access to the mechanical bull, miniature golf, bungee jump, rock climbing and two zipline rides per day. One day passes for adults are $39.00 and $29.00 for children, two day passes are $59.00 and $49.00.

Mechanical Bull
Mechanical Bull
Rock Wall
Rock Wall
Kids bungee jumping
Kids bungee jumping
Miniature golf with zipline in background
Miniature golf with zipline in background
Mom shooting skeet
Mom shooting skeet
Me shooting
Me shooting

The next day after breakfast, we headed off to our first scheduled recreation activity, which was the one we were both most excited about when we saw the list of choices: skeet shooting. Neither my mom nor I had ever fired a gun prior to this, unless you count BB guns at fair games. Skeet and Trap Shooting costs $30.00 per session. There was a couple in group who were experienced shooters and had also shot the day before. We were firing a 20 gauge shotgun at moving targets. The orange discs came flying out of a window behind us, and then we had to try to hit the moving targets as they sailed up into the sky at about a 45 degree angle. The man from the couple went first and hit four of his five shots, then his wife hit two of hers. Mom went next and didn’t hit any, but she didn’t expect to not having shot a gun previously. I was up last and hit my first target, missed the next four, but I hit the first one and I had witnesses! It was awesome! I guess all those years of playing Duck Hunt and Goldeneye really paid off. 😉

We had the Swamp Buggy as our afternoon recreation activity, and it was a large open air truck that seats about 12, up about 10 feet in the air. The Swamp Buggy ride is $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children. Being the last ones on, we were all the way in the back where the seats sit sideways and it is very hard to hear the driver. If you choose this option as one of your recreation activities while at the ranch, make sure you get on first so you can sit up front facing forward. We rode for about 45 minutes through swamp lands across the ranch property and saw some gorgeous scenery and even a couple of baby gators.

Swamp Buggy
Swamp Buggy
Ankole cattle as seen from swamp buggy
Ankole cattle as seen from swamp buggy
Baby gator in the swamp
Baby gator in the swamp
Beautfiul scenery from swamp buggy ride
Beautfiul scenery from swamp buggy ride

That Saturday night was the Rodeo, which is the longest running in the state of Florida. Admission is $15.50 for adults and $8.00 for children. There were amazing trick riders, bull riders, barrel racers, and even great fun for the kids under 12 where they could chase a calf with a ribbon tied to its tail to win a prize if they were able to pull off the ribbon. I had never been to a rodeo before and was pleasantly surprised by how exciting it was and how much fun I had getting in to cheering for the contestants. After the rodeo was over, there was a fantastic fireworks show to celebrate the grand re-opening. Once the rodeo was over, mom decided she was going to tackle the zipline. I had done ropes courses and ziplines before, so I passed this time so I could take pictures and video. She had a great time! In addition to the one and two day adventure park passes, you can pay for the individual recreation activities a la carte.

Rodeo host
Rodeo host
Trick riders before the show
Trick riders before the show
Bull rider
Bull rider
Bucking bronco
Bucking bronco
Kids chasing calf
Kids chasing calf
Trick rider with the flag
Trick rider with the flag
Barrel racing
Barrel racing
Rodeo recreation
Rodeo
Mom getting ready to ride zipline
Mom getting ready to ride zipline

Overall, we got to experience many of the recreation choices at Westgate River Ranch. We visited the petting farm to see all the animals there. Also, we checked out the ropes course, which would be fantastic for a corporate retreat or family reunion for bonding exercises. We passed on horseback riding and golf since these are activities we’ve experienced before, but the facilities looked great. I would definitely like to check out the airboat ride next time and revisit skeet or maybe try trap shooting. The helicopter ride was definitely a bonus treat, but it is great to know there is an airport there for private planes and helicopters if I ever marry a millionaire and want to arrive in style. The adventure park and saloon area were also favorites of mine, especially at night. There was such a fun atmosphere of electricity with families and adult couples enjoying different aspects of the nightlife. Prices for all activities are subject to change. Please contact the ranch directly for the most up to date pricing.

Baby calf
Baby calf
Buffalo at the petting farm
Buffalo at the petting farm
Goats
Goats
Rogue turkey
Rogue turkey

If you get an opportunity, I highly recommend visiting Westgate River Ranch to check out their amazing recreation facilities as well as accommodations. In case you missed it, you can check out my post from last week here describing the different types of rooms the ranch has.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary recreation activities in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Orange County Approves Funding For Orlando City Soccer Stadium

Orlando City Soccer Club Funding
Photo: Orlando City Soccer Club

Crucial vote passes Tuesday afternoon, funding for downtown Orlando City Soccer Club’s soccer stadium now complete

 

The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted through the approval of funds for a new downtown, multi-purpose soccer stadium Tuesday afternoon. With the funding plan now complete, Orlando City SC executives will now enter into final negotiations with Major League Soccer (MLS) to bring a franchise to Orlando.

“We are ecstatic about the positive vote,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins. “Our fans have been the driving force behind the effort to bring MLS to Orlando. This one is for them.”

The vote approved the use of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds for multiple venues, including a soccer stadium. The City of Orlando unanimously approved the funding on October 7, completing the financial structure of the proposed soccer stadium.

Club officials have stated that, with approval of funding for a downtown stadium, a franchise could be awarded as early as November. The Lions would begin play in MLS in Spring 2015.

“We’d like Orlando to be the next expansion team,” MLS Preisdent Abbott said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel Monday. “We have in place a number of the factors that we think are needed to be successful, a strong leadership group and a strong fan base. Once we finalize (a stadium plan), we will have a Major League Soccer team here.”

For more information on the effort to bring MLS to Orlando, stay tuned to OrlandoCitySoccer.com.

 Orlando City

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier soccer club in the United States, aiming to be in Major League Soccer by 2015. The Lions recently captured the 2013 USL PRO Championship, the club’s second postseason title in just three years. 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 OrlandoCitySoccer.com and OrlandoCityYouth.org.

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Synagogues Close to Walt Disney World

Since I’m Jewish, and live in Orlando I wanted to share your closest options if you want to attend Synagogue Services on Shabbat or other holy days.

Please note there are no synagogues within walking distance of Disney World.  Lynx offers bus service, but it can take a long time to get to your destination.  I recommend renting a car or taking a cab.  I don’t have recommendations for those that are Shomer Shabbos other than staying walking distance from the synagogue you are interested in.

Most of the larger synagogues are located north of downtown Orlando. Also, not all synagogues are listed, just those closest to Disney are listed.

Our local Jewish Federation has a Synagogue list here

Our local Jewish Newspaper has a Synagogue list

RabbiPhoto_small
Rabbi Skolnik of SOJC

For Conservative:

The closest Synagogue is SOJC (Temple Ohalei Rivka) located next to the South JCC which is 10 minutes away from Disney World.  This Synagogue features services for young children and weekly shabbat services.

Congregation Ohev Shalom, was just built within the last few years. They offer weekly shabbat services.

For Chabad:  Chabad of South Orlando is located near Universal. Their website provides hotel info, kosher information and they offer a daily minyan and weekly shabbat services.

For Egalitarian: Congregation Sinai in Minneola

For Orthodox:  Shul – Bait Ha’Kneset Cong. Ohel Rachel-Leah is Located next to the Lower East Side Restaurant

For Reconstructionist: Contact Celebration Jewish Congregation, they don’t have Shabbat Services listed, but may be able to give you a recommendation.

Inside of Congregation Shalom Aleicheim Synagogue
Inside of Congregation Shalom Aleicheim

For Reform:

Rabbi Engel
Rabbi Engel of CRJ

Congregation Shalom Aleichem is a small synagogue in Kissimmee
Congregation of Reform Judaism is a large synagogue in Orlando
Temple Beth Shalom is a small synagogue in Winter Haven

 

 

Orlando community weekday minyan: There is also a fully-egalitarian and traditional daily morning minyan at 7:45 am in the Chapel at the Jewish Academy of Orlando. The Chapel can be accessed through the Jewish Federation main entrance; the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando is located at 851 N. Maitland Avenue in Maitland.

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Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Spooktacular Path

Wordless Wednesday – October 23, 2013

 

Wordless Wednesday

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to a Halloween Spooktacular of fun that truly is an underwater FantaSEA full of unique characters, candy, and Family fun at SeaWorld Orlando.

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Roastie Toasties of Disneyland

Frontierland Roastie Toastie
Frontierland Roastie Toastie

Each day as I get closer to my Disneyland trip, I look more and more forward to the things I am going to get to see again. One of the more fun things that I enjoyed in Disneyland were the popcorn machines with hand turning little characters, affectionately nicknamed Roastie Totasties. You can check out a video here from the Disney Parks Blog about them.

There are about a dozen of these throughout the park in different lands. I thought I had gotten pictures and saw all the them, but it appears I may have missed a few or they added or changed some after my trip last August.

The first Roastie Toastie I encountered was in Frontierland. This one is made to look like Davy Crockett and fits right in with the theming of the land. I love the detail that was put in to this little guy and his coonskin cap.

Next up was New Orleans Square. This was one of my favorite of the Roastie Toasties I encountered. Outside the Haunted Mansion is a popcorn cart featuring an undertaker.

In Fantasyland I discovered two more Roastie Toasties. One was near the Matterhorn and the other was on the path towards Toon Town by It’s A Small World. Both featured clowns with different colored outfits, but similar looks.

My favorite Roastie Toastie is found in Tomorrowland. This one is themed after the Rocketeer from the movie of the same name from the early 1990s. The helmet and leather jacket look fantastic!

New Orleans Square Roastie Toastie
New Orleans Square Roastie Toastie
Matterhorn Roastie Toastie
Matterhorn Roastie Toastie
Fantasyland Roastie Toastie
Fantasyland Roastie Toastie
Tomorrowland Roastie Toastie
Tomorrowland Roastie Toastie

Have you seen the Roastie Toasties at Disneyland? I thought I had seen them all, but now I know I have a mission for my upcoming trip next month. I kind of wish they had these cool popcorn carts at Walt Disney World too. Do you have a favorite?

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