Florida Day Trips – St Augustine

Living in Central Florida there is always something to do, or somewhere to go, it’s one of the many reason I love living here! Having said that, I do like to venture out a little bit, and the wonderful thing about Florida is that you don’t have to go very far to feel like you’re in another world. Whether its Miami, Naples, or Clearwater, or if you’re looking for scenery, culture, or shops there is so much to see and each place is unique in it’s own way.

St Augustine
St Augustine

 

There are some great Florida Day Trips, and my favorite place to visit to is St Augustine. The city is the oldest continuously occupied European established settlement and port in the Continental US, with a founding date of 1565. If you have a passion for history and or architecture, then this city is for you! Aside from that, it also has some wonderful stores, carriage rides, restaurants, and we can’t forget the famous ghost tours!

St Augustine  Clock
Clock

Speaking of Ghost Tours a few years ago i did one of the guided ghost tours, and one of the points of interest were the city gates. Legend has it that a ghost of a little girl (Elizabeth) who died due to yellow fever can be seen waving to passerbys. Others just capture orbs within their photos of the gates at night. While on the tour I was the only one who caught orbs by the gates, many of them in fact, so everyone wanted to look at my photo.

 

gate orb St Augustine
gate orb

I recently went back to St Augustine on a day trip and took another photo of the gates, this time in the day light. I didn’t notice at first, but on closer inspection I noticed that I captured an orb this time too by the gates. It was during the day light, yet its as bright as it were night, right by the gate. Whatever your beliefs are, it is a strange coincidence to get orbs in the same place, this time with my iPhone, and in day time.

 

St Augustine

 

The only other place I captured one that day was by the Old School house, which is the oldest wooden school house in the US. It was just as bright as the one I captured by the city gates!

 

school house St Augustine
school house
St Augustine  Old School House
Old School House

 

If you get the chance you should pay a visit to the St Augustine Lighthouse and museum out on Anastasia Island. Built in 1874 and standing at 165ft , the 360 degree views from the top are amazing! Some come back at nighttime for the haunted tour, but I have yet to be brave enough to do this!

Lighthouse St Augustine
lighthouse
Views St Augustine
Views

 

The shops here vary quite a bit from gift stores, unique jewelry stores, health shops, and clothing. We especially loved our visit to the Arcade of Professional Artisans and Craftsman!

 

Arcade St Augustine
Arcade

One of my favorite places to go for lunch is the Spanish Bakery right there on St George Street. Not only do they bake the best fresh bread, but they sell Empanadas, sausage rolls, soup, cookies, and a lot of carry out options. I like to buy 3 loaves of bread, one to eat when i get home and 2 to freeze. Although, the bread is so tasty they normally don’t even make it to the freezer!

St Augustine

If you haven’t been over Christmas time to St Augustine i highly recommend it, they have light shows, trolley rides, and the decor is just stunning all over!

 

Christmas
Christmas

We normally end up visiting the beach on the way home, as its pretty quiet and very pretty. Its also not far from the center of town.

I feel like there is something for everyone in St Augustine, and I haven’t even mentioned Castillo De San Marcos, Ripley’s Believe it or not, or the premium outlets! With so much to do in St Augustine, you could come back each week and still find things you haven’t done or seen before!

the mill St Augustine
the mill

 

Im already planning my next visit back, maybe it will involve another ghost tour this time since I haven’t done that in a while.

Have you had the chance to visit St Augustine?  If so, what were some of your favorite things to do or see when there?

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No App For That Family Event

No App For That

No App for That Event Will Encourage Parents to Set a New Year’s

Resolution of Less Screen Time and More Nature for their Kids

 

Screen time”- the time children spend in front of some sort of electronic device- has taken over an alarming portion of U.S. children’s lives. The No App for That Event in Orlando on Feb.1, 2014 will take a step to try and change that.

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates children spend an average of 7 hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

Studies have shown too much screen time has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep, behavior problems, impaired academic problems, violence, and results in less time for play.

No App for That is a three-hour interactive seminar for parents to help them evaluate the impact this is having on their families, and offer an alternative: exposing kids to the many benefits of more time with nature.

The event is the brainchild of Lake Mary’s Chad Crawford, creator and host of the Emmy Award-winning syndicated TV series “How to Do Florida.” Crawford- a father of four young children- read the best-selling book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv and felt immediately called into action.

That book smacked me in the head,” said Crawford. “This is information every parent needs. What they decide to do with it is up to them.”

Crawford contacted author Richard Louv and invited him to be the keynote speaker for the seminar. Louv, who has also authored the best-selling “The Nature Principle,” has sparked an international movement to reconnect kids and nature. He has influenced national policy and helped inspire campaigns in over eighty cities, states, and provinces throughout North America.

Louv coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder”- the loss of connection children increasingly feel with the natural world. He argues, nature-deficit disorder affects “health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas, including people’s ability to feel ultimately alive.”

“The future will belong to the nature-smart,” Louv says. “Those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

Other speakers will also highlight the seminar which runs from 9:00 a.m to noon:

– Dr. Angela Fals, Medical Director of Healthy 100 Kids at Florida Hospital for Children, who will speak on how to obtain a healthy balance for screened devices in the home.

-Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed. He serves as a spiritual advisor to President Obama and works with respected members of the religious and scientific communities to call attention to human-caused threats to the environment. He will speak on experiencing God in nature.

-Chad Crawford, Creator and Host of “How to Do Florida” TV series. Crawford, the ultimate Florida adventurer,” will have an interactive presentation with video on the top ten outdoor things to do for families in Central Florida.

Parents will walk away from this event with concrete ways to connect their kids to nature, set healthy boundaries for screen time, and how to create a culture of the outdoors for their families,” said Crawford.

No App for That” is being presented by Florida Hospital for Children and is being held at Northland Church, 530 Dog Track Road Longwood, FL 32750. Seating is limited and tickets are $10 and available at www.noappforthat.com. Free childcare is being provided for infants through 5th grade.

 

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Disney Movie Love Songs

It’s almost that time of year. Yes, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So, I thought I’d share some of my picks for the most romantic Disney music to set the mood for your Valentine or any date night. Some are quirky, some are traditionally sappy, but I love them all. Hope you do too!

Married Life (Score from Up) 

Hear me out on this one. I know it is practically enough to induce instant waterworks for me if I step onto Main Street and hear this song playing, but then I think about why. The beauty of it is, I cared so much about the love Carl and Ellie had for each other that in that montage of only a few minutes it was enough to make me love them and their relationship. It is a roller coaster ride of a piece of music that I adore.

Song
Up

I See The Light (Tangled)

Okay, another one of those sometimes tear inducing songs (it’s not just me, right?), I know, but it is so gorgeous. So before I heard him sing as now, possibly my favorite prince, Flynn Rider, I loved Zachary Levi for his role in the tv series Chuck. This song took my adoration for him to a whole new level. The lanterns still kill me when I see them in the film, on the castle projection or during World of Color. It is fear and love rolled all into one poignant song that I absolutely love.

Tangled
Tangled

Bella Notte (Lady And The Tramp)

This is one of those classic songs that has permeated pop culture and for good reason. The iconic image of Tony serenading Lady And The Tramp outside his restaurant while they share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs is indelible in many people’s memories. This was my picture of love as a child.

Lady And The Tramp
Lady And The Tramp

So Close (Enchanted)

A grown up love song for Giselle and Robert as they begin to realize their feelings for each other, while dancing at a ball all dressed up in New York City. And thinking of Patrick Dempsey doesn’t hurt the swoon factor for this song.

Enchanted
Enchanted

So This Is Love (Cinderella)

I’m not sure how many of you have picked out your wedding song before you’ve even met your spouse, but this is the one my Prince Charming would agree to if I had my way. Cinderella is my favorite and this song is two minutes and ten seconds of what I hope to someday feel for the man of my dreams.

Cinderella
Cinderella

Something There (Beauty And The Beast)

Another fantastic song playing out Belle and the Beast’s road to love. It isn’t love at first sight, but it takes a while to get there after a friendship blossoms.

Beauty And The Beast
Beauty And The Beast

Define Dancing (Score from Wall-E)

This isn’t the most traditional pick, but the love that develops between Wall-E and Eve is fantastic. I remember when the movie first came out that I was very apprehensive. How on Earth could I be entertained by a movie with very little dialogue that turns out to be a robot love story? Wow, was I wrong. The score does a phenomenal job of mirroring the “dance” between the two leads.

Wall-E
Wall-E

A Whole New World (Aladdin)

I recall purchasing this cassette when I was in middle school as a single with the Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle version on one side and as a bonus the Brad Kane and Lea Salonga version on the other. My love for Lea Salonga and her amazing voice grew deeper with this song, but it is really about Jasmine and Aladdin and finding each other when they are both running from their own worlds.

Aladdin
Aladdin

I’m sure I’ve left out some, but these are my picks for romance in musical form. They aren’t in any particular order, just that in which I remembered to write them down. Did I leave out any of your favorites? Let me know. I hope you all have a Valentine’s Day that is even half as romantic as these couples had in their movies!

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Tables in Wonderland Splitsville Dine Around

Splitsville Logo Family 2012 v5

The Splitsville Luxury Lanes™ Dine Around
At Splitsville Luxury Lanes™, Downtown Disney® West Side
Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:00-8:00pm
$90.00 per person, including tax and gratuity

ROLL IN and ROCK OUT, Tables in Wonderland! Please join us as we showcase a new spin on bowling! Tables in Wonderland Members are invited to enjoy a unique, interactive dine around experience at  Splitsville Luxury Lanes ™! This two-story, 50,000 square foot entertainment destination is the perfect backdrop to a unique culinary experience, complete with bowling!

Take in Splitsville’s upscale and nostalgic atmosphere as you taste some of the house specialties, including Fresh Rolled Sushi, Hand-Tossed Pizza, and Made-to-Order Salads! Enjoy your dinner with specially selected paired beverages – a true foodie’s favorite kind of Spare! Each party will be assigned a Bowling Team, so be sure to come ready for some friendly and fun competition!

We hope you are as excited as we are for this special event! Further details are listed below.

Menu Offerings:

Made-to-Order Rice Bowl Station
Grilled Chicken Breast, Sushi Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, and Tataki Sauce
Paired with Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

Sushi Station
A variety of fresh, hand rolled Sushi
Paired with Sake

Pizza/Slider Station
Cheeseburger Sliders:  Caramelized Onion, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle & Special Slider Sauce
Filet Sliders: Thick slices of Beef Tenderloin topped with an Onion Ring and Horseradish Cream
Margherita Pizza: Mozzarella, Roma Tomatoes, Basil, and Tomato Sauce on a Honey Wheat Crust
Meat Lovers Pizza: Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Bacon and Seasoned Ground Beef
Paired with a selection of Craft Beers

Made-to-Order Salad Station
A chef created Salad with your choice of Lettuce, Fresh Vegetables, Cheeses and Dressings

Dessert Table
Fresh Baked Brownies
Chef’s Carrot Cake- Fresh Baked with Cream Cheese Frosting

Reservations will be available beginning at 10:00am, on Friday, January 31, 2014

Price: $90.00, includes tax, gratuity, food & beverage, bowling, and a pair of socks!

To book, please call 407-938-PINS(7467) extension 104 or email kingpin@splitsvillelanes.com

When booking, please have the following information ready:

  • Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number (this number starts with a Park-Code (i.e. if you purchased your membership at Epcot, it will state WEC)
  • First/Last Name and Shoe Size of Everyone in your Party (maximum per party is 10)
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number
  • Personal Email Address
  • Special Dietary Needs, if any

Guest Policies:
This event is limited to 80 Guests, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland Members You must show your valid Tables in Wonderland Membership Card to gain entrance into the event

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A Visit to Franck’s Bridal Studio for Wedding Planning

My fiancé, Cliff, and I are currently in the beginning stages of planning a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding. I’ll have more posts about this process in the future, but as a sort of introduction to Disney Weddings I thought I would start with a sharing a little bit about Franck’s Bridal Studio.

Franc'ks   Franck's side

Franck’s Bridal Studio is right next to the Wedding Pavilion. If you’ve been on the monorail you’ve probably heard the spiel about the Wedding Pavilion as you approach the Grand Floridian hotel. This is the place where couples get to meet with their consultants and planners to plan their big day.  In fact, it was named after the ultimate wedding planner, Franck Egglehoffer, played by Martin Short in Father of the Bride.

Wedding Pavilion
Disney’s Wedding Pavilion

In August, Cliff and I met our wedding consultant there for our site visit to decide which venues we wanted to use for our wedding (more on that in a later post!).  I was so excited to be there on official wedding business!  Inside there are displays of wedding cakes, bouquet samples, and table settings. You can even check out some of the Alfred Angelo Disney-inspired wedding gowns. The meeting rooms are named after the fairies in Sleeping Beauty: Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.  Seating areas have photo albums full of wedding pictures to help inspire brides and grooms during their planning. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to see. I cannot wait until our planning session this summer!

Entrance featuring wedding ring door handles.
Entrance featuring wedding ring door handles.
Cute Cupid Mickey weather vane.
Cute Cupid Mickey weather vane.

We were the only appointment that morning (on a Saturday), so while we waited for our consultant to set up for us, I went around and took a few pictures!

Inside
Entering the studio. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Seating area
One of the seating areas. Looks cozy with some curtains for privacy if needed.
Seating
Another seating area with stacks of photo albums. Looks so inviting.
Window Close Up
Beautiful window details.
Banks House
Love this picture of the Banks family house from the Father of the Bride.
Table Setting
Table setting inspiration.
Bouquets
Bouquets and centerpieces.
Display
Display case with sample of wedding favors.
Cake Accessories
Cake servers and toppers.
Yellow Cake
Sunny yellow cake.
Mad Hatter Cake
Mad Hatter style cake.
Castle Cake
Showstopper!

I probably could have spent all day looking at all the details in the studio! Thanks for coming along on this little tour. Check out Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings recently redesigned site here for more information on planning a Disney wedding. Keep an eye out at On the Go in MCO for more of our personal experiences in the future.

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Vegan Valentine’s Day Restaurant Specials

Although I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, there are some great options out there for Vegans who want to take their loved ones out for dinner.

Here are some great Vegan Valentine’s Day specials for some great Local Orlando Restaurants!

Kindred Spirits Farm: February 15th!  Starting the evening at 5 with a tour of the sanctuary, followed by dinner and desert under the stars

kindredvalentine

Ethos Vegan Kitchen: 02/14, 5pm-11pm: Valentine’s Day Dinner. Join us for dinner, drink, and dessert specials starting at 5pm.

Infusion Tea 2/14 6:30pm seating and 8:30pm seating.  Four course dinner for $39.

infusionteaval

Cafe 118 on 2/14 Offering four course dinner Seating Limited RSVP ASAP 407-389-2233
first course
Zucchini Tartar

Second Course
Fennel Velouté with Tomato Seed “Caviar”

Third course
Golden Canelones, Red Pepper Marinara, Thyme-Parsley Pistachio Pesto, Heirloom Tomatoes and Black Truffle Ricotta

Forth course
White Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake with Raspberry Glaze

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Fun Photo Spots In Toon Lagoon

Toon Lagoon

A visit to Toon Lagoon at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure is quite different right now, because Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls is currently closed for rehab and the cold temperatures make riding Popeye & Bluto’s Blige-Rat Barges not really an option.

So as I spent some time this weekend in the now quiet Toon Lagoon area of the park, I found that I had been walking by a really fun and unique photo opportunity that was a lot of fun!

As you walk along the row of shops on Comic Book Lane in Toon Lagoon, look up and you will find several cartoon dialogue balloons above the stores and restaurants that make for some terrific photos.

Toon Lagoon

These balloons and thought bubbles can be found on lamp posts, trees, and are even part of the store signs in front of almost every location on this lane that’s full of ‘character’.

When you are taking the pictures, make sure that you take a peek at each side because they say different things!

I had an absolute blast taking these pictures!

I can’t wait to go back with my daughter and friends to see what kind of pictures they take!

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Theme Parks Reminders

This one goes out to all of the theme park regulars.

Actually, this one is to anyone that goes to theme parks.

theme park

Like many of you, I grew up in theme parks – Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal, Silver Springs (hometown shout out!)

I also have worked for Walt Disney World twice. My first time working for WDW was at Magic Kingdom turnstiles (you know, back in the day…when there were actual arms.) While I loved seeing people coming to Walt Disney World for the first time, it was also where I learned that people are all different. It’s also where I learned a lot of different ways to deal with some of the different types of people.

So…some things to keep in mind while you’re in any theme park.

IMG_3179

Patience
The first thing everyone needs to go to any theme park (or anywhere really) is patience. Everyone is trying to go to the same place. We’re all there for the rides, characters, etc. There is no need to push and shove. Take your time. You will get there, I promise! Getting off the monorail or ferryboat? Waiting in line to get through bag check? Take a deep breath and just wait your turn. You’ll be happier once you get into the park.

Lines/Parades
Lines are there for a reason. Everyone wants to go on rides, meet characters, and see the parades, it’s a given. With that being said, don’t get in line while the rest of your party eats/is in the bathroom/you’re waiting on them. You and your party will avoid getting dirty looks and/or having someone say something. Oh, and don’t stand in front of people during parades. More than likely, they have positioned themselves there for a reason. Having been a parade audience control cast member, I’ve seen people get really angry and there’s just no reason to put yourself in someone else’s view. There’s really no bad spot for a parade. Keep walking a bit and you should be able to find a decent spot.

Tourist groups
Remember, they paid their money just like you did. They are there to have just as much fun (or maybe more!) as you.

Cast members
They are people 🙂 Give them respect and they’ll respect you. And heck, they may even do something magical for you! Just remember that just like you and I, they have bad days as well.

Kids
No matter how happy they are when they walk through the front gate (some are crying before they get in), there is a kid somewhere in your ear shot that is throwing a tantrum. They’ll get over it, hopefully sooner rather than later, but it will dissipate 🙂

Lost people
If someone looks lost/has their map upside down/is talking to their family about the “3:00 parade”, help them out! Use all that knowledge that you have stored in that brain of yours.

Crowds
You know the parks are going to be busy, so take your time. No one is going to win first place for getting everything done first.

Park time
Enjoy it!! We take advantage of the fact that we can go anytime. Stay off your phone and enjoy your time with your family and friends. Social media can wait. And those pictures can be posted later!

These are some of things that I’ve come across recently while in the theme parks. Please keep these things in mind and remember we’re all there for the same reason….

IMG_6971

Have fun!!

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A Magical Evening in the Magic Kingdom

Photo Jan 19, 9 40 39 PMRecently I went to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with my friend Laura from elementary school. She and her family were in town to visit family along with a friend of hers I had met on a previous trip. We didn’t really have any set plans, just to meet up at some point during the weekend. I made my way to the park a little after 4pm, and stumbled on my first bit of magic.

For those of you who know me, I can be a bit of a sap. Show me a commercial with a veteran coming home to surprise their family and I’m a mess. Put me in the Magic Kingdom for flag retreat with a group of active duty soldiers home on leave together, and there is no hiding the tears. My respect for the military and their service to our country runs deep. Both my brother and my dad served, and many generations in our family preceded them.

So, on this particular Saturday, I found myself at Town Square facing the flag retreat unprepared and unknowing what time it was. As the Dapper Dans started singing as the flag was lowered, the tears started flowing freely with pride, awe and respect for the men on the other side of the square. God Bless America just about killed me, but in a good way. As the retreat came to an end, I spotted my friends Kendra and Mark across the way. I composed myself, said hi to them and chatted for a few minutes before heading to meet Laura and company in Liberty Square.Photo Jan 19, 9 37 41 PM

Laura and her family were taking a break in Columbia Harbour House, so we just sat and caught up for an hour or so while they finished resting. As their fastpass window for Space Mountain rolled around, I split off to say goodbye, but couldn’t resist a quick ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. Any evening I can spend on the Peoplemover, especially around sunset, is a magic one.

Photo Jan 19, 9 39 43 PMWhen I finished my ride, I ambled toward Main Street and the front of the park, finding it especially beautifully lit this evening. There’s just something about the simple white lights that line the street that is just gorgeous. Assuming my nice evening was over, I took my time taking in the sights and  sounds around me. To my surprise, one of the most magical things I have ever heard caught me on the way towards the train station. A boy of about eight years old was walking with someone who I assumed was his grandmother. As they walked a few paces ahead of me, the grandmother said to the boy, “you’ve had a nice day at Disney.” The boy replied, “this really is a magic kingdom.” Instantly, my heart melted on the spot. You just don’t expect that, but when you hear it you know he is exactly right.

To top it off, I saw another one of my favorite things, the custodial artists creating magic with water and a broom. These cast members get to make magic by “painting” with water some of our favorite characters on the streets of the Disney parks. This often occurs when guests are waiting for parades, as was the case here. It is just one of those magic moments that is so simple, yet such a perfect way to cap off an evening in the park.

Photo Jan 19, 9 38 00 PM

This is what Disney magic is all about to me: bringing together friends, enjoying a ride or two, the beauty of the parks (especially at night), seeing unexpected moments of magic appear before your eyes. I will never stop believing in magic. Thank you Disney for reminding me of that.

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D23 Announces 2014 Events

 D23 Chip and Dale

D23 Unlocks the magic of Disney with a new year of Spectacular Member Events Across the Country

In 2014, The Official Disney Fan Club Will Travel to New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Other Cities as Well as Walt Disney World Resort

 

This year, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club  has an amazing line up of member events that criss cross the country, and there are SO many that I am really excited about!

I am a charter member of D23 and have had the opportunity to attend many events, but this year looks like it is stacking up to be an exceptional year!

If you aren’t a D23 Member, What are you waiting for? There are tons of membership options at different price points (even free)!

So let’s take a closer look at these exciting events!

 D23 Destination D Logo

DESTINATION D: ATTRACTION REWIND presented by H20 Plus: Walt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” It’s in that spirit that guests this summer will have the opportunity to visit—or revisit—some of the most beloved Disney attractions of yesteryear.Destination D: Attraction Rewind, held July 26 and 27 at Walt Disney World Resort, will bring Disney archivists, Imagineers, Legends and luminaries together to celebrate fan favorites such as Adventure Thru Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with rarely seen concept art and images; vintage video clips; and revealing stories. In addition, several presentations will be dedicated to the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, which spawned beloved attractions like it’s a small world and Carousel of Progress.

 

D23 Expo

MARY POPPINS 50th ANNIVERSARY SCREENING: On August 24, 2014—nearly 50 years to the day on which this beloved classic premiered—D23 will celebrate with a very special screening event.

D23 2014 Fanniversary Logo 

D23’S DISNEY FANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: For the third year in a row, D23 will hit the road, visiting cities across the U.S. to commemorate dozens of magical Disney milestones celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. Hosted by Disney archivists and the D23 Team, D23’s Disney Fanniversary Celebration events will be held in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York City, Seattle, and other cities in fall 2014. Fanniversary 2014 will revisit some of the most beloved theme park attractions, animated and live-action films, characters, TV series, and more than 90 years of Disney history including Donald Duck, the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, Sleeping Beauty, Haunted Mansion, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Little Mermaid, and many more. Fanniversary events will be open to the public, with special admission prices and surprises created for D23 Members in attendance.

 D23 Marty Sklar

D23’S LUNCH WITH A LEGEND: A limited number of D23 Members will join Disney Legend Marty Sklar for a private luncheon on The Walt Disney Studios lot, where Marty will talk about his extraordinary 54-year career with Disney. Look for additional “Legendary” lunches later this year.

 D23 Disney Store

DISNEY STORE MEMBER MIXERS: After giving members a peek at the reimagined stores in Florida, Kansas, New Jersey, California, and Nevada in 2013, Disney Store will once again invite D23 Members for exclusive mornings of shopping, discounts, games and goodies.

 D23 Mickey's of Glendale

MICKEY’S OF GLENDALE: The Walt Disney Imagineering employee store in Glendale, Calif., will open its doors to D23 Members on April 26, June 21, and other dates throughout the year, with special guests and surprises. Members will have an opportunity to purchase limited-edition merchandise and view the park-like grounds at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ creative “think tank.”

 D23 Jungle Book Vault

SCREENINGS ON THE DISNEY STUDIO LOT: Throughout the year, D23 will continue its popular movie screenings inside the historic Studio Theatre at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The 2014 roster includes Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, and The Little Mermaid.

 D23 The Walt Disney Studios Official Tour

D23 DAY AT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS AND ARCHIVES: D23’s members-only tours of the historic Studio Lot and Walt Disney Archives in Burbank return, highlighting historic moments from Disney film, television, and theme parks—as well as showcasing many of the external locations used for filming Saving Mr. Banks. Tours will take place March 22, May 31, August 2, and November 8.

D23 Disney and Dickens 

SIGNATURE EVENTS: Look for the return of some favorites, including the popular holiday offering DISNEY AND DICKENS (in Burbank in December), as well as other D23 traditions. 

 

The Dates, ticketing information, and more for D23 events will be announced throughout the year. I can’t wait!!! This is a great way to get prepared for the year of 2014 events, because tickets do tend to go extremely fast!!!

You can find full details on D23’s lineup of 2014 special events can be found on the Fan Club’s website at www.D23.com/events. All events and dates are subject to change.

D23 Mark your calendar

Current 2014 D23 Event Calendar:

  • January 31: D23’s Lunch with a Legend — Marty Sklar, Burbank, Calif.

  • February 15: The Jungle Book, Burbank, Calif.

  • March 22: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives, Burbank, Calif.

  • April 26: Mickey’s of Glendale shopping event, Glendale, Calif.

  • May 31: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives, Burbank, Calif.

  • June 21: Mickey’s of Glendale shopping event, Glendale, Calif.

  • July 26 & 27: Destination D: Attraction Rewind presented by H20+, Walt Disney World Resort

  • August 2: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives, Burbank, Calif.

  • August 24: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Celebration, Los Angeles Area

  • Fall: D23’s 2014 Disney Fanniversary Celebration, locations to be announced mid-2014

  • September 13: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Burbank, Calif.

  • October 11: Sleeping Beauty, Burbank, Calif.

  • November 8: D23 Day at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives, Burbank, Calif.

  • November 15: The Little Mermaid, Burbank, Calif.

  • December: Disney and Dickens, Burbank, Calif.

 

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s more than 90-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication,Disney twenty-three; a rich website at D23.com with members-only content; member-exclusive discounts and special events for D23 Members throughout the year.

 

Fans can join D23 at Gold, Silver, and Free Membership levels at D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

 

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8th Annual Wekiva PaintOut 2014

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March 3 – 8, 2014
At Beautiful Wekiva Island in Longwood, Florida

Come watch over two dozen internationally known artists paint in plein air during this year’s event. The PaintOut will begin with artists arriving at Wekiva Springs State Park on Sunday, March 2nd and events are scheduled through Saturday the 8th.

View the schedule and plan your attendance to this year’s event. Get tickets for the Gala at Wekiva Island on March 8th or the Art Auction on March 5th.

If you are interested in sponsorship, please complete this inquiry form. We also have a number of benefactors to whom you can make an online donation.

Environmental awareness, protection and restoration are of utmost importance at our workshops. Learn more about our history and our effort to bring change.

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Classic Albums Live meet up at Hard Rock Orlando!

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe

Friday night we had the opportunity to attend another great meet up at Hard Rock Orlando, hosted by Hard Rock Cafe Orlando. On The Go In MCO readers may remember the last one we attended that featured Classic Albums Live singing Queen’s “A Night At The Opera”. Well tonight’s event was Classic Albums Live singing The Beatles “Abbey Road” album.

Once we had signed in downstairs we were taken up to the balcony just off The Lennon Room, which personally is my favorite place here as the view of City Walk is so wonderful up there, especially at night!

Balcony

 

Up on the balcony they had a buffet featuring an array of foods to try, chicken, spring rolls, burgers, and my husband’s favorite burger that night was the one with fried mac & cheese!

The Buffet

 

There was another table to the side packed full of different cheeses, fruit, and sushi, which I think I definitely had my share of cheese that night!

IMG_2123

 

Once we got our food we then headed inside the Lennon Room to the bar, as they had kindly provided 2 drinks vouchers per person to get beer or wine alongside our meal.

 

Lennon Room

 

The Lennon Room is full of artifacts and memorabilia including the couch that he used to compose some of his songs on!

 

Piano
Piano

 

Close up
Close up

I couldn’t help but notice the huge cupcake display by the tea and coffee facilities inside, and thought it would be rude not to try them really, so I had the chocolate cupcake. It tasted just as good as it looked, and had I not filled up on all the food earlier I might have tried the other one too which looked like some sort of caramel, coffee, popcorn yumminess!

 

IMG_2191

 

We toured the Lennon Room a little after eating, and then it was time to get the elevator down to the Hard Rock Live to watch Classic Albums Live, singing The Beatles Abbey Road album.

 

Classic Albums Live
Classic Albums Live

One of the first songs they did was my favorite from that album “Come Together”, and since we were in the standing section, everyone was dancing and cheering them on!

The band
The band

If you haven’t already seen this band perform you can look up their tour dates and see where they will be coming next by visiting http://classicalbumslive.com/

They perform different albums from bands such as The Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and many more.

Once again we had such a wonderful night at Hard Rock Orlando, they host the best meet ups, and if you haven’t had chance already go pay a visit to Hard Rock Cafe, for not only some of the best food in town, but the best service also. Thank you Hard Rock Cafe Orlando, until next time!

Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe
Universal
Universal

 

 

 

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Universal Orlando Resort – 2014 Mardi Gras

Universal Orlando Resort Unveils 2014 Mardi Gras Celebration Details and Line-Up

Universal Orlando Resort

This Year’s Mardi Gras Celebration Delivers More Excitement Than Ever Before With an Extended Concert Series Featuring Robin Thicke, Nelly, The Wanted and More

First things first, I absolutely adore Mardi Gras at the Universal Orlando Resort!!! It is by far one of my favorite things to attend in Orlando!!!

Universal Orlando Resort
Last year, Beth and I had a blast at Mardi Gras!

On select nights February 8 through May 31, the Universal Orlando Resort comes alive with a Mardi Gras celebration featuring 20 nights of AMAZING concerts from popular stars and New Orleans bands, great food that takes you to the heart of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a parade full of fun floats and bead throwing, and a party atmosphere that is fun for the whole family! It is also one of my husband and  date night!

The best part??? All of these are included in your admission to Universal Studios Florida!!!

Universal Orlando Resort

There are so many great things to experience at Universal Studios Mardi Gras, but the concerts this year are AMAZING!!!!

This year’s powerhouse musical lineup features a diverse array of talent, from R&B superstar Robin Thicke, whose hit single “Blurred Lines” topped the Billboard chart for a near-record 12 weeks, to UK pop sensation The Wanted, who has sold nearly 10 million albums worldwide, to Latin idol Prince Royce, who reached number one on the U.S. Hot Latin Songs chart with “Corazón Sin Cara.” Also performing is rock band Daughtry, Grammy award-winning Hip Hop artist Nelly, and the classic rock group Foreigner, one of the best-selling bands of all time.

Universal Orlando Resort
2013 Mardi Gras Concert – Lifehouse

2014 Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Talent Line-Up

Mardi Gras Event Dates

Headliners

(performing in the Music Plaza)

New Orleans Bands

(performing in the French Quarter)

February 8 Daughtry Remedy Krewe
February 15 Barenaked Ladies Soul Project
February 16 Thomas Rhett Soul Project
February 22 Robin Thicke Rockin Jake
March 1 Collective Soul Big Al and The Heavyweights
March 8 Prince Royce Daddy Mac Blues Band
March 14 Cody Simpson Mississippi Rail Company
March 15 Foreigner Mississippi Rail Company
March 21 TBD The Big Easy Playboys
March 22 Gavin DeGraw The Big Easy Playboys
March 28 TBD Dirty Bourbon River Show
March 29 TBD Dirty Bourbon River Show
April 5 Skillet John Lisi and Delt Funk
April 12 Lynyrd Skynyrd Beth McKee & The Sliders
April 19 Kool & the Gang Gravy
May 3 Nelly Chris O’Leary
May 10 The Wanted T Bird & The Breaks
May 17 TBD Grady Champion
May 24 TBD Cha Wa
May 31 TBD Naughty Professor

 

Universal Orlando Resort
Mardi Gras 2013 Parade

Guests can also catch colorful beads by the handful during this year’s parade, which will feature 12 vibrant floats, including three new additions celebrating Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in Eighty Days.” All of the exquisitely detailed Mardi Gras floats are engineered by Blaine Kern Artists, the same company that has been hand-crafting floats for the iconic New Orleans celebration since 1947.

In addition to all that, at Universal Studios Mardi Gras you can visit a vibrant French Quarter Courtyard for delicious and authentic Cajun cuisine, street performers, and bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street performing.

Universal Orlando Resort
We spent a lot of time in the French Quarter area during Mardi Gras for great food and cocktails!

And when you are ready, you can keep the Mardi Gras party going at Universal CityWalk at their great bars and entertainment venues!!!

Florida residents have some pretty amazing special offer that they can take advantage of during Mardi Gras at the Universal Orlando Resort!

In addition to amazing deals on theme park Annual Passes, there are great deals on the three on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and a fourth on-site hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, opening March 31, 2014.

2014 Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Florida Resident Offers

Up to 3 months FREE on any Annual Pass For a limited time, get up to 3 months free on any Annual Pass:

  • Power Pass – $174.99 (plus tax)
  • Preferred Pass – $244.99 (plus tax)
  • Premier Pass – $369.99 (plus tax)
  • Offer is also available on FlexPay, Universal Orlando’s monthly payment option
  • Must be purchased and activated by April 30, 2014 with a Coca-Cola UPC code or promo code on specially-marked cups at participating Wendy’s.
  • Visit UniversalOrlando.com for full details and to learn about the benefits of each annual pass
Florida Resident Getaway
  • 2-night accommodations at a nearby Universal Partner Hotel
  • Florida Resident 2-day base ticket to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens
  • Complimentary scheduled transportation between hotel and Universal Orlando Resort
  • And more!
  • Starts at only $105 per adult, per night, tax inclusive
  • Upgrade to one of three deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort and stay in the heart of the party!  Plus, receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks (a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day)

 

Guests can also take advantage of this current special offer:

SAVE & Play Vacation Package

SAVE up to $500* with an On-Site Vacation Package
  • Deluxe On-site Hotel Accommodations at one of three AAA Four Diamond Award on-site hotels
  • Theme Park Admission
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens
  • Complimentary on-site transportation via water taxi or shuttle bus to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk
  • Receive complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks (a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day)
  • Book by March 31 and use promotion code UNIPLAY at time of purchase to save!
  • Valid for travel January 1 – May 22, 2014

* Restrictions may apply. Visit http://www.universalorlando.com for additional vacation package details.

I know that I will be at Mardi Gras several nights, and I hope to see you there!!!

For more information about Mardi Gras at the Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.universalorlando.com/mardigras.

 Universal Orlando Resort Logo Universal Halloween Horror Nights

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  With two incredible theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex, Universal Orlando is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending timeas a family.  Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on FacebookTwitterInstagramand YouTube.

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