Orlando City SC Draws in Home Opener

Orlando City SC Lions Draw Riverhounds in Final USL PRO Home Opener

Orlando City SC march 29 2014
Photo: Allison Petro

City draw back-to-back matches after conceding in second half

Orlando City SC opened their final US PRO season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday with a draw to the Pittsburg Riverhounds.

It is awesome to have the Lions playing at ESPN WWOS! 


Here is more information about the game! Go City!

Orlando City SC drew the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Saturday, March 29. Defender Luke Boden provided the equalizer in the 58th minute as City drew their second consecutive match in the early stages of their final USL PRO campaign.

“I have a lot of confidence in this group, despite the result,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We scored a lot of goals in the past three years and I guarantee that we’ll score more goals this year.”

In their first home game at ESPN WWOS, City began in typical fashion, controlling the pace of the game in the early stages. The Lions entertained large amounts of possession in midfield and the final third, but were also equally impressive in defence, allowing Pittsburgh very little time on the ball.

City’s cohesive high-pressure defending forced the Riverhounds to employ route one tactics and knock the ball long, rather than allowing them any threatening build-up play through the middle of the park.

On the other hand, Orlando’s midfielders were in complete control in the first 45, leading to several quality opportunities for the hosts. Orlando’s first MLS signee, Kevin Molino, provided the first chance for the Lions when he curled a dangerous effort that went just past the post.

Following Molino’s effort, Hertzog also added two close chances that kept visiting Goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap on his toes. Left and right fullbacks, Luke Boden and U.S. international Tyler Turner, also got involved in the attack and provided multiple crosses to the near-post for Hertzog from deep inside Pittsburgh’s half.

Luckily for Gilstrap, the Riverhounds’ defense did well to make several last minute clearances and prevent Hertzog from earning his first goal in purple and white.

On the other end, Pittsburgh’s few chances came primarily from set pieces as Orlando’s organized defending made it difficult for them to gain a real grip on the match. The visiting’s side’s best chance of the half came when lethal striker Jose Angulo almost nodded home a chance in the 27th minute, but saw it skip off the cross-bar.

Valentino and Rusin managed Angulo quite capably in the first period, but the poaching striker, who scored a team-high 13 goals last season, was able to break through in the second half. In the 48th minute, City fans argued for a foul as Angulo knocked Valentino to the ground and skipped past Gallardo to put the visitors up 1-0.

Nevertheless, City would continue to dominate the run of play and would fight back to level the score-line.

After progressing their way down the pitch, Orlando earned a corner in the 58th minute, which led to a cracking finish from Boden. Gilstrap was able to punch away Molino’s initial cross, but the former Sheffield Wednesdaydefender was left all alone inside the area and controlled the ball well before volleying a powerful strike into the top-corner.

Adding to Pittsburgh’s woes, Gilstrap was also injured during the set-piece and reserve ‘keeper Greg Blum was brought in for relief, giving City more of a reason to fire away at the target. In light of the Lions’ equalizer, Pittsburgh began to show a bit of attacking life but Orlando regained their first-half form and re-took control of the game.

In the waning moments of the match, Head Coach Adrian Heath also brought on Forward Dennis Chin for Aodhan Quinn and moved Ceren alongside Alvarez, providing attacking flare and defensive support simultaneously as Orlando kept probing for the winner.

In the 83rd minute, Chin came close to providing the second goal for City but his header went just wide of the post. With time ticking away, the Lions’ chances of gaining three points were beginning to look slim until the fourth official announced seven minutes of stoppage time.

As Pittsburgh bunkered in, Orlando continued pushing forward with multiple attacking players but key saves by Blum maintained a 1-1 score through 90 minutes. The draw against Pittsburgh marks the second consecutive match in which the Lions have conceded early before battling back to earn a point.

Orlando City will continue their home stretch, when they take on the Rochester Rhinos at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Team                              1    2    Final

Orlando City SC               0    1    1

Pittsburgh Riverhounds   0    1    1


Scoring Summary:

ORL- Luke Boden (unassisted) 58’

PIT- Jose Angulo (unassisted) 48’



Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Rob Valentino, Bradford Rusin, Luke Boden, Tyler Turner, M Yordany Alvarez, Aodhan Quinn (Dennis Chin 76’), Austin da Luz (Adama Mbengue 72’), Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Corey Hertzog


Pittsburgh Riverhound- GK Hunter Gilstrap (Greg Blum 62’), D Brian Fekete, Sterling Flunder, Andrew Marshall, Anthony Arena, Rob Vincent, Danny Earls, Matt Dallman (Brian Salazar 85’), Anthony Oboda (Mike Green 80’), Jason Johnson, Jose Angulo (Alfonso Motagalvan 89’)


Penalty Summary:

PIT- Andrew Marshall (Yellow Card) 33’


Match Facts:

Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. EST

Weather: — Clear

For more information, visit www.orlandocitysoccer.com

Orlando City Soccer - Weekly Review


About Orlando City SC:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. The club will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the league’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team has won two USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships and will continue play in USL PRO in 2014 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.

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2014 Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

The 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is here, and I couldn’t be more excited because it is my favorite time of year!

There are some great new additions joining returning offferings making this year’s Festival even more fun (if that’s even possible)!


While there visiting the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is always a multi-day experience for us, here are some of my ‘Must Do’s’ if you only have a day to visit!

Must Do’s 2014 Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

1. New Topiaries

This year two new topiaries have joined the line-up for this year’s Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

The Muppets Most Wanted topiary perfectly captures the charm and spirit of Kermit and Miss Piggy! I love that Kermit has his banjo and that Miss Piggy is a fabulous as ever.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

I have to say that my favorite new topiaries and bonus photo opportunity at the Flower and Garden Festival is the World Cup area, where you can try your best to stop Goofy and Donald from scoring a goal! It was really fun to actually get into the display to be a part of the Festival. There are Cast Members there to help keep the area organized and help take your photo, because on the day we visited there wasn’t a Photopass Photographer available.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

You will also notice that some familiar favorites, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs have had a bit of a face lift. At first it was a little odd seeing this new technique being used on the them, but it has definitely grown on me!

2. Mike and Sulley’s Monsterous Garden

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Tthe play areas of the Flower and Garden Festival are where we spend a lot of time as a family, because it’s a great chance to let Zoe run off some energy! This year Mike and Sulley’s Monsterous Garden is full of fun, vibrant colors, and benches in the shade for parents to take a break. We really loved how close you could get to the Mike and Sully topiaries for pictures!

3. Flower and Garden Passports

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Make suer that you pick up this year’s Garden Passport, because it serves as your interactive guide to all the activities and delicious food that make up the Flower and Garden Festival. Plus collecting stamps is a great way to keep the kids involved in all there is to explore. Passports can be found at the Festival Welcome Center, at any Disney Vacation Club Information Center throughout the Park, at all Outdoor Kitchens, and at several merchandise locations.

4. Flower Power Concert Series

The Flower Power Concert Series is a great way to end your day at Epcot!

This year’s series is full of returning fan favorites, and two new-to-the-festival-acts: Gary Lewis and The Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”).

Performances are at America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and are included with Epcot admission.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Photo: Disney

Here is this year’s lineup (subject to change without notice):

April 4-6 Paul Revere & The Raiders “Good Thing”
April 11-13 Village People “Y.M.C.A”
April 18-20 The Grass Roots “Midnight Confessions” 
April 25-27 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”
May 2-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”
May 9-11 Chubby Checker & The Wildcats “The Twist”
May 16-18 NEW! Alan Parsons Live Project “Eye in the Sky” 


5. HGTV and DIY Network Stars

I love having the chance to see some of my favorite TV stars up close, and the Superstars of HGTV and DIY Network shows will be appearing at the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV until May 18, 2014.

The popular HGTV celebrities will meet festival guests and showcase expert tips and clever tricks at noon and 3 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday on The Designers’ Stage presented by HGTV at the Festival Center.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Here is the line-up of presenters:

April 4-6 – Taniya Nayak, ”House Hunters on Vacation”

April 11-13 – Amy Matthews, “Renovation Raiders”

April 18-20 – John Gidding, ”Curb Appeal”

April 25-27 – David Bromstad, “Color Splash”

May 2-4 – Chip Wade, ”Elbow Room”

May 9-11 – Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star

May 16-18 – Alison Victoria, ”Kitchen Crashers”

6. Food

With 11 outdoor kitchens and the Intermission Cafe in the Festival Center offering so many great dishes, it is hard to choose a favorite!

Make sure that when you walk up to the outdoor kitchens, you take a moment to look at the plants and displays around them so you can learn a little more about what they’re offering at each location.

I have to say that my early delicious dishes are the Land-grown eggplant “scallop” with romesco sauce and spaghetti squash from the Urban Farm Eats Kitchen and the Macaron à la fleur d’ Oranger – Orange blossom macaron with white chocolate ganache from Fleur de Lys!

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

I hope that you’ve enjoyed taking a look at some of our highlights of the 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! Make sure you keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for ongoing coverage!

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La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Discounts For Tables in Wonderland Members

la nouba

Tables in Wonderland Members to enjoy discounted tickets to La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

Discounts available April 1-May 10 and May 27- June 28, 2014

Performances on Tuesdays-Saturdays

Category 3: $49 plus tax

Category 2: $69 plus tax

Call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328) or click here to purchase tickets! Tickets may be purchased up to 30 days in advance of show date.

Must show current, valid Tables in Wonderland card to receive discount, when tickets are picked up at La Nouba Box Office Will Call window.

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Orlando City SC Home Opener At ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex Saturday

Orlando City SC to Play Final USL PRO Home Opener on Saturday

Orlando City Soccer - Weekly Review

Kick-off set for 7:30 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports


Orlando City SC kicks off their final USL PRO home opener at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, March 29. The match will kick-off at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re delighted to play in-front of our fans this weekend and we’ll be looking to come out of the gate strong,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath on the home-opener. “Pittsburgh is a good side and we know that we have a bigger target on our backs this year, but we’ll be up for it.”

The WWOS complex will serve as a temporary one-year home for the Lions and has increased capacity to allow approximately 5,500 fans to attend City’s home matches this season.

After starting the season on the road in South Carolina with a 1-1 draw against the Battery, the Lions will look for their first win of the season. Newly signed Midfielder Austin da Luz looked sharp in his debut with Orlando, recording the team’s first goal of the 2014 campaign.

“The fans that made the trip to Charleston were unbelievable,” da Luz said ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Pittsburgh. “I can’t imagine what the home opener is going to be like. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get our first win.”

Defender Rob Valentino should be ready to go for the home opener this weekend. Valentino and Rusin looked to be a formidable partnership during the Pro Soccer Classic, as the Lions only conceded two goals in the two games Valentino and Rusin played together.

However, during the off-season Pittsburgh added even more attacking firepower to their core lineup and will provide a solid test for the City backline. After resigning lethal Striker Jose Angulo, who recorded 13 goals last season, the Riverhounds also added former Fulham and Chicago Fire Forward Collins John. Pittsburgh’s squad also includes three loanees from MLS affiliate Houston Dynamo.

During the 2013 season the Lions went 1-1-1 against the Riverhounds, but defeated them in the USL PRO quarterfinals en route to City’s third USL PRO Championship.

Orlando City Soccer Orlando City SC

About Orlando City SC:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team. The club will begin play in MLS in 2015, becoming the league’s 21st club. The Lions’ first team has won two USL PRO regular season titles and two postseason championships and will continue play in USL PRO in 2014 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Outside of the first squad, OCSC also has a youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U-23 team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com and www.OrlandoCityYouth.org.

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Getting Ready for the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon Weekend

If you are anything like me, you are beyond stoked to #SmashTheHalf at the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon Weekend in November 14-16, 2014, at the Disneyland Resort in California!

runDisney Avengers Half Marathon Logo SmashTheHalf

The one thing that I am looking forward to the most is that this will be my first race showing my #DisneySide by running in a costume. I will be running as Thor and Kelly will be running as Loki.

With the race looming closer I have started my search for pieces for my costume, and I found some great Marvel tech shirts at SuperHero Stuff. The shirts have amazing details and are incredibly affordable as they start at $26.99!

Captain America runDisney Avengers Half Marathon

Also, a huge plus is that you can order either a men’s or women’s shirt. For me the arms on the men’s shirts are always so loose and they drive me crazy, because they rub my arms on my longer runs. So having the option to order a women’s cut will hopefully mean less training in costume. I can’t wait to run the streets of Celebration in my Thor costume!!!

And how can you not love the product description from their site?

Now you can preform in that USO show just like always wanted to with the 92% polyester 8% spandex Captain America Sublimated Costume Fitness T-Shirt! You just need to find some backup dancers, some Vita Rays, Super Solider Serum, and Hugo Weaving. Gotta have Agent Smith in there for it to count for anything! Intensely sheer and of the utmost quality, the Captain America Sublimated Costume Fitness T-Shirt emulates the First Avenger’s torso with an all over and right-up-to-the-edge print that even makes wielders of the Tesseract jealous!

Using the Captain America and Loki fitness shirts, as they call them, and some of our favorite brands (Sparkle Athletic, Oakley, and New Balance) I have created some ideas for running friendly costumes to wear at the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon!

Captain America runDisney Avengers Half Marahton Idea Collage

Loki runDisney Avengers Half Marahton Idea Collage

Are you considering dressing up for the runDisney Avengers Half Marathon or any of the upcoming runDisney races? Do you have any tips for this first timer?

Disclosure: I received nothing for writing this post, these are all just products that I find extremely cool!

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Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Spring Festival And $50 Giveaway

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

Disclosure: I received a promotional item from Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores in exchange for this post and giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Spring is here! I’m ready to freshen up my/my family’s wardrobe for seasonal holidays, beach outings and other warmer weather activities. And, I’m always looking for great deals to stretch my budget. That’s why I plan to head to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where shopping is hassle-free and you can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, there’s easy store front parking.

Join in on the fun at the mall’s upcoming 17th Annual Spring Festival on Saturday, April 12th. It’s a FREE festival for the entire family, including character appearances by Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry, rabbits from Give Kids the World Village; and superheroes from Heroes Alliance. You’ll also enjoy a farmers market, crafts, face painting, balloon sculpting, games and an awesome sidewalk sale.

Plus, the center is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win more than $6,000 in great prizes including attraction tickets, hotels stays, store gifts and gift cards. One hundred percent of raffle ticket sales benefit Give Kids the World.

Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, where you can select merchandise at over 50 spacious outlet shops and get great deals at the area’s only Old Navy outlet store, newcomers U.S. Polo Assn. and Lindt Chocolate, newly renovated Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh and Tommy Hilfiger Stores, plus other well-known outlets including G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Gap, Izod, Rack Room Shoes, and many more.

We are giving away one (1) $50 gift certificate to the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. This offer is only valid for one winner, one time, through 2014. No duplicate entries at multiple blogger websites, please.This contest is open to US residents 18 and older. You will be contacted by email about winning, and will have 48 hours to respond. pick up your gift certificate in the mall office any week day between 10am-5pm. Please be prepared to show a photo ID.Also, please note that gift certificates MUST be picked up between April 15 and May 15, 2014. Sorry, we are unable to mail gift certificates.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Many stores offer additional savings from 20-40% off to “Friends & Family.”  Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook and Twitter, as well as visiting www.lbvfs.com. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S. Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535), Orlando, FL 32821-6316, and two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Stores are open Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

Good Luck and Happy shopping!


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2014 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Kelly Christine Delaney wraps up our runDisney Princess Half Marathon recap day with the last leg of the Glass Slipper Challenge, the runDisney Princess Half Marathon! We cannot thank her enough for her guest posts!!!

runDisney Photo
runDisney Photo

The second part of the Glass Slipper Challenge was the Princess half marathon. This was my third half marathon and my second RunDisney race challenge and I was excited to have a great race and receive my two medals to complete my set of four from the weekend. My excitement continued as I rode with my race roommates and RunDisney newbies Tricia and Lauren.It accelerated as I met up with other running friends for a pre-race picture and headed off to the corrals.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

I didn’t have to wait too long for the race to start with the new corral/start system thankfully, and we were off pretty quickly. Less than a mile in, my excitement declined quickly as the weather was a bit brutal. I am used to running in the heat, especially for RunDisney races, but I wasn’t completely ready for the 100% humidity that came along with it. I quickly became overheated which slowed down my pace and frustrated me as it felt like my training was going down the tubes. At the water stops I was drinking one cup of water and pouring another on my head to cool down and it helped significantly.

runDisney Princess Half MarathonrunDisney Princess Half Marathon


Soon enough I hit the TTC and ran into an awesome friend Joanne who I stopped for a hug and a quick drink. From there I picked up my pace and was feeling pretty great. I ran into Todd in the Magic Kingdom for another hug and high five and enjoyed the trip down Main Street USA. The remainder of the time in Magic Kingdom went far too fast and I definitely enjoyed seeing the characters out in force. I always think I’m going to stop for a character while on the course and never end up doing so. The appeal of the picture never seems as high as the appeal to keep running and finish strong.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon


As I left Magic Kingdom I started to hear something absolutely beautiful down the road. Idina Menzel’s version of “Let It Go” was blasting through the speakers at the halfway point and I quickly became overwhelmed with emotion. For every RunDisney race I hadn’t been alone on the course, I always had someone with me. This race I was with friends for the first mile but then from there I was by myself. Hearing the song after just seeing Frozen for the first time brought the back the excitement I had lost due to the heat. I sent a voice message to my running buddy Shelley letting her know I was ok and we cried a bit together via voice messages. It’s good to know that despite being out there by myself, I was never really alone out there.

The next four miles were solid, especially after the Clif shot (I always recommend mocha as it tastes similar to chocolate frosting to me.) The humidity had cut down and I was enjoying the sights and sounds on the course. ….and then the sun came out and turned up the heat. I saw people around me were slowing down a bit except for one person. This runner and I had been passing each other back and forth while doing our intervals for awhile and finally ended up next to each other. We laughed a bit together that we were each other’s pace keeper and decided to make it official for the remainder of the race. It was nice to spend the last few miles laughing with a stranger who quickly became a friend.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

At mile 12 I ran into Joanne again for another hug and drink. I shared it with my new friend and she enjoyed having something that wasn’t water or a sports drink. Just before hitting the thirteen mile marker a song came on in my ears that made my day. “22” by Taylor Swift started playing and it hit me: I just ran 22.4 miles this weekend over the course of three days. I set a challenge for myself and I was doing it. This time two years ago I never thought I could do it and yet here I was. My joy led me to stop for my first and last picture on the course with my new friend at the gospel choir at mile 13. At this point she turned to me and said “you made this race for me, I wasn’t sure about myself due to the weather but you kept me going, especially after the heat hit.” Hearing this from a stranger was such an awesome experience, especially after having Deanna make my Tower Ten Miler bearable. We hugged just after crossing the finish line and went our separate ways to get our medals and meet our friends/families.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon


Getting my runDisney Princess Half Marathon and Gold Slipper Challenge medals was such an awesome experience, especially after feeling like I earned them more being out there by myself. I look forward to continuing to challenge myself out on the course, maybe even with a full marathon one day.

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runDisney Enchanted 10K Race Recap With Kelly Christine

Kelly Christine Delaney joins us in this second post of our runDisney Princess Half Marathon recap day!!! A huge thanks to Kelly Christine for this great post about a really great race!!!

A few weeks ago I participated in the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge as part of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The first portion of this challenge was the Enchanted 10K on February 22. I had participated in the 5K the day before with friends so thankfully the 3:30am wake up call wasn’t too painful. I stayed at my favorite Disney Vacation Club resort, Old Key West, for this race weekend so it was a short trip to the course. I met my friends for our regular pre-race catchup and warmup before heading to the corrals.

 Enchanted 10K

Thankfully in my corral were some awesome people and we decided to make this race less of a run and more of a quick walk to save our energy and pace for the next day. I had three awesome friends for my 6.2 stroll: Diana, Deanna, and the lovely Shelley (yes, that friend Shelley who retired from running after running 19.3 miles last September.)

 Enchanted 10K

It was a really humid morning which made it tough to get a solid pace going, but with the surprise of Elsa from Frozen in the first mile the excitement increased, as did our pace. After seeing Elsa, there wasn’t too much on the course until we hit the 5K mark at the entrance to Epcot. We passed Mushu and Mulan in China, Snow White in Germany, Jiminy Cricket in Italy, Jasmine in Morocco, and Mary Poppins in the UK.

 Enchanted 10K

After crossing the bridge from France to the UK, we made a left and headed out of the parks for a stroll past the Epcot resorts. We waved to Diana’s husband at the Boardwalk (while running past baseball Goofy) and saw a bunch of friends cheering us on outside of the Beach Club. From there we headed back into the parks and weaved our way through the remainder of World Showcase and Future World. The temperature was steadily increasing during those last two miles and it was getting a bit uncomfortable. I was remarking to my friends that a little bit of rain (that was expected that afternoon) would be nice…within 2 minutes my wish was granted and a light refreshing sprinkle started. A few minutes later we crossed the finish line and got straight to hydrating and refueling while congratulating each other on a fun race.

 Enchanted 10K

I went into the  Enchanted 10K race hoping for unique and fun pictures with some friends and it ended up being something different, yet still rewarding. RunDisney races are never a PR for me but they’re always an amazing opportunity to accomplish things I never believed I would do while making memories with awesome friends.

Enchanted 10K

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Cinderella Royal Family 5K

5kLast month a group of friends gathered to show support for our friend Chip who wanted to participate in the runDisney Cinderella Royal Family 5K in celebration of her 70th birthday. Spearheaded by Chip’s son Colin, we got together before the start of the race at Epcot during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend. There was a group of about ten of us who rallied around Chip as her Royal Entourage. Colin even had signs for us all to wear on our backs so everyone would know why we were there.

Chip wore a white shirt and most of us wore our race shirts which were dark blue so Chip would stand out and be the center of attention. The 5K started as usual in the Epcot parking lot, winding around then going backstage before emerging into World Showcase between Mexico and Norway. We walked at a pretty good pace, and did a commendable job at staying together as a dozen without interrupting the flow of traffic for those around us. Chip set the pace and we kept with her. Occasionally someone would peal away from the group for a photo, or they saw someone they knew along the course, or even for a pit stop, but we’d slow up if we felt they were too far behind and regroup.

For me, this was a really fun experience. I always run alone, so it was nice to be together with a group of some of my closest friends to be able to do this to honor Chip. We had a great time walking and enjoying each other’s company and the scenery along the course, which is one of my favorites as far as a 5K goes. There were even a few times we stopped and posed for pictures as a group along the way. My favorite part though were the other runners who came up to Chip and wanted to shake her hand and congratulate her and to say how proud and inspired they were. I may have shed a few hidden tears. It was beautiful to be in one of my favorite places with a group of friends enjoying an activity to celebrate the accomplishment of a fantastic person.

On top of all the good feelings that came from being there for Chip and completing another race, we got what is my favorite race shirt so far for this 5K. The medal is also one of my favorites by far. I love the entire vibe of race weekends, in addition to the fact that I have so many friends who run that I get to see a bunch of my best friends pretty much any time Disney hosts a race. I look forward to my next runDisney race in November for the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes 5K in Disneyland. This will be my first California race and I love the Avengers so I cannot wait!

Have you done any of the runDisney 5K fun runs with friends? Did you happen to see Chip’s Royal Entourage while on the 5K course this past February? Leave a message in the comments about your favorite race memory because this is definitely one of mine. Congratulations Chip on your great accomplishment! We are all so proud of you and were honored to be able to share in this moment with you!

Pre-race Cupid Shuffle warm up
Pre-race Cupid Shuffle warm up
Group shot courtesy of Colin Buchanan
Group shot courtesy of Colin Buchanan
Front shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Front shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Back shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Back shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Colin, Rich & Chip almost there
Colin, Rich & Chip almost there
Chip with the Finish Line in sight
Chip with the Finish Line in sight
Chip receiving her first medal!
Chip receiving her first medal!
Cinderella Royal Family 5K medal closeup
Cinderella Royal Family 5K medal closeup
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Baby Care Center- Magic Kingdom

This post is the third in a mini series, there will be four total; one for each theme park. If you have a Disney, Travel, or Mommy blog (or any other kind of blog you think this could fit into) and are interested in using this post and the ones that follow, please contact me!  Part one was Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and part two was Epcot. This time we will be exploring Magic Kingdom.


The Entrance

 The Baby Care Center at Magic Kingdom is located right next door to First Aid, between Casey’s Corner and Crystal Palace.

Unfortunately it is my least favorite location out of the parks, but, don’t get me wrong, I’m still very grateful that it’s there. Since I usually travel alone with the little one (while my husband is at work) I have to juggle all our stuff. That’s one super helpful perk of having a stroller, it’s a place to stow things & babies have a lot of things! Just like Epcot, the Magic Kingdom Baby Care Center does not allow strollers inside. You have to park them at the door. 




When you walk in the door, you’re greeted with a curio cabinet showcasing the baby products available for sale inside. 

Curio with merchandise


As you pass the display, the nursing room is on the right. Also like Epcot, this one is a community nursing room. Four padded rocking chairs in a very dimly lit room. It’s soothing, but I wish it was a tad brighter; it takes some time to adjust between that light level and  the bright Florida sun outside. Also in the room are two small tables and some outlets for pumping or phone charging. Unlike Epcot this one has 2 doors, an in door on one end and an out door on the other end. Be aware if you sit on the out door wall and the door opens all the way, you can pretty much see into the park. So if you are on the shy side when it comes to nursing in public, I’d stay away from that wall. 

Blurry, but a shot of the other 3 rockers from the 4th rocker.


The out door, see how your in line with it if you’re in the rocker on the left?


Continuing on from the nursing room is a very large feeding/play room! It has a TV, some books and a big layout. It has 3 high chairs, 4 kid sized tables, lots of child sized stools, and 8 full sized chairs. 


Feeding/play room

To the left of the feeding room is the changing room. They have 5 large padded changing tables, a hand washing sink and a restroom. 

One corner of the changing room.
Another corner of the changing room, with the sink.


The next, and final room is the kitchen. Just like the other Baby Care Centers, it has a sink, microwave, bottle warmer, mini fridge; and it also sells any baby necessities that you have run out of or forgotten.


List of items available

A fun fact- this Baby Care Center, then called Baby Services, has been around since the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort! “Facilities for changing infants, preparing formula, warming bottles. Babysitting not available in Theme Park. Babysitting services available at hotels.” 

Stay tuned for our last Disney installment of our Baby Care Center series, Disney’s Animal Kingdom! 

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New Star Wars Character Meals Added to Star Wars Weekends

Wordless Wednesday Star Wars Weekends


UPDATED – March 27, 2014

The new meals are able to be booked throughout the entire week starting on 5/4 though 6/15/14, not just on the weekends. Bookings should also be available online this week. Guests who booked Hollywood & Vine previously are being contacted to see if they’d like to reschedule elsewhere. Breakfast will include a choice of pastries and either yogurt parfait or a fruit cup along with a choice of entree. Taxes are included in the meal price, gratuities are not included. Guests on the Disney Dining Plan or Deluxe Disney Dining Plan may use two table service credits for this meal. Please contact Disney Dining directly at (407) 939-3463 with any additional questions.


Starting May 4th during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, two new character meal experiences will be available through Star Wars Weekends. Booking begins tomorrow, March 26th for the dinner at Hollywood and Vine and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine In.

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine dinner will feature Disney characters in Star Wars costumes like Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy and Stormtrooper Donald. Dates run from May 4 – June 15 on weekends. Seatings for dinner start at 4:15pm and go until either 8, 8:30, 9 or 9:30 to correspond with park close. Guests are able to do this experience as a Fantasmic dinner package for adults $59.99/kids $36.99 or just as the meal for $55.99/$33.99. The meals include a digital download of a photograph with Chip and Dale.

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast will offer reservations from 8am until noon and is $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids. This also includes a digital photo of the party on a commemorative photopass card. Characters for breakfast include Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett and Darth Vader. Instead of the normal sci fi movie clips, the big screen will feature trailers, clips and music from Star Wars.

To make an advance dining reservation for these Star Wars Weekends, you can call (407) 939-5277 from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. You will need to have a credit card to make your reservation.


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WWE Superstars For Kids Charity Auction

wwe-org-header  Superstars for Kids

Now through April 8th the WWE is hosting the WWE Superstars for Kids Charity Auction benefitting Drew Brees’s Brees Dream Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs.  The auction features many unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with WWE Superstars, celebrity entertainers, and international sports stars.

Some examples of what you can bid on in the

WWE Superstars for Kids auctions are:

  • Enjoy Lunch with WWE Legend Shawn Michaels & Receive a Backstage Tour of Monday Night Raw!
  • Serve as a brief case bearer for one of the 2014 Money in the Bank briefcase winners at the first WWE live event after Money in the Bank.
  • Bid to win the Ultimate Drew Brees New Orleans Saints home game package!
  • Enjoy lunch with celebrity Charlie Sheen on the set of his hit FX television series, Anger Management!

And many more.

For more information on the WWE Superstars for Kids auctions you can contact CharityBuzz at info@charitybuzz.com or (212) 243 3900.

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Sea Of Surprises Celebrates SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary

Sea of Surprises

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has launched a Sea of Surprises for guests of all of their parks to commemorate the opening of the original SeaWorld® in March 1964 on Mission Bay in San Diego, California.

And while SeaWorld Orlando opened nine years later, on December 15, 1973, we still to get to celebrate with them!

For the next 18 months the Sea of Surprises, SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration,will be highlighting the most memorable SeaWorld experiences in San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio Parks.

For nearly five decades, SeaWorld has surprised and amazed guests with unique entertainment, thrilling rides and up-close encounters with animals. During SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration visitors will be invited to take part in the excitement through new interactive experiences, shows and pathway performances, even more up-close animal encounters throughout the park and “The SeaWorld Surprise Squad” treating guests with prizes every day.


 SeaWorld Sea of Surprises Highlights

Sea of Surprises SeaWorld Orlando

  • Park pathways come to life with spontaneous entertainment. “Bubble Blowout” is sure to be a guest favorite with a fantastical vehicle creating bubbles of all sizes and shapes throughout Shamu’s Happy Harbor. Engaging performances with sea-inspired costumes and props will pop up at unexpected moments to surprise guests throughout the day, like “Splash Dance,” near Nautilus Theater.
  • On June 21, a new nighttime Shamu show, “Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night”, debuts.  The high energy show will include new, original music and production elements, as well as new killer whale behaviors.
  • The “SeaWorld® Surprise Squad” will roam SeaWorld Orlando on a daily basis giving away, at  random, prizes and special gifts, including exclusive access to rides, behind-the-scenes experiences, Shamu-themed merchandise, reserved show seating and more.*

Sea of Surprises

  • SeaWorld guests are often greeted by an animal ambassador, many of whom were orphaned or injured in the wild and given a second chance thanks to the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team. As part ofSeaWorld’s 50th Celebration, there will be more surprise encounters with animal ambassadors throughout the day.

Sea of Surprises

  • Share the wonder of close-up encounters with amazing animal friends and learn how SeaWorld cares for the natural world at the all-new SEA Garden. Completely re-designed, the SEA Garden is where guests can learn more about SeaWorld’s animals, many of them rescued, including eagles, spoonbills, opossums, and more.

Sea of Surprises

  • To showcase SeaWorld’s commitment to the environment and passion for protecting the ocean, four giant sea life sculptures will be displayed at the SEA Garden. SeaWorld commissioned environmental art group The Washed Ashore Project for a collection of larger-than-life sea-themed sculptures – many weighing more than half a ton. The material used to create these pieces comes from the billions of pounds of garbage – mostly plastics – that wind up in our oceans. These amazing works of art point to the urgent need to protect marine animals from such dangers and preserve their ocean habitats. On display at SeaWorld Orlando are a parrot fish, sea horse, sea anemone reef and octopus.
  • As part of its continuing commitment to new technology that enhances the guest experience, SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration will include new ways for fans to connect to the parks and each other though digital devices. The parks will be launching a variety of enhancements, from interactive apps that provide fun new ways to experience the park to new games and video content.

Sea of Surprises

We had an absolute blast at Sea of Surprises, and we can’t wait to go back to SeaWorld Orlando for even more fun!!!

Sea of Surprises

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Universal Orlando Resort And Give Kids The World Village Partnership Extended

Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations Will Continue to Donate $100 to

Give Kids The World for Every Package Booked
Cabana Bay Give Kids the World Village Universal Orlando Resort Logo Universal Halloween Horror Nights

Due to its popularity among visiting families, Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it will continue through 2014 to offer a one-of-a-kind vacation package allowing guests to spend cherished family time in its theme parks and then to create unforgettable memories for children at Give Kids The World Village.

Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort that immerses children with life-threatening illnesses and their families in joy, hope, laughter and non-stop fun at Central Florida’s world-class attractions.

“Give Kids The World Village is truly a special place and is our favorite charity to be a part of,” said Dr. Brian Lahmann who recently volunteered at GKTW with his family during their Universal Orlando Resort vacation.  “As a previous ‘wish family’…it holds a special place in our hearts, as we visited there just after our Nolan finished chemotherapy for leukemia.”


With this vacation offer, guests spend two days enjoying unparalleled thrills at the Universal Orlando theme parks and one day making the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses come true as they come face-to-face with their favorite storybook characters, get their faces painted, receive makeovers and more. Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations will also continue to donate $100 to Give Kids The World for every package booked.

The package details are below:




Give Kids The World Volunteer Vacation Package for
Universal Partner Hotels


**Pricing starts at $359 per adult, tax inclusive.  No additional fees to volunteer.

**Pricing for Universal Orlando’s On-Site Hotels starts at $625 per adult, tax inclusive.  No additional fees to volunteer.

Package includes the following benefits:

  • ·         Three nights of hotel accommodations
  • 2-day Park-to-Park tickets with 3rd day FREE – one theme park, per day (Must be used by May 22, 2014)
  • A four-hour volunteer opportunity at Give Kids The World Village
  • FREE scheduled roundtrip transportation to and from Give Kids The World Village
  • Early Park Admission to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the rest of the general public

Vacation package must be booked by December 12, 2014, for travel through December 17, 2014.


Families have the opportunity to add a whole new experience to their vacations with numerous volunteer opportunities at Give Kids The World Village, including:

  • Character Photos – Volunteers will share the special moment when children come face-to-face with their favorite storybook characters.
  • La-Ti-Da-Spa – Volunteers assist with makeovers, including face-painting, nails, makeup, hand massage and airbrush tattoos.  Volunteers 16 and older.
  • Gingerbread House – Volunteers engage in high interaction with special guests by serving breakfast, running food, refilling drinks, bussing tables and clean-up.
  • Express Breakfast – Volunteers serve breakfast food to-go and are responsible for greeting guests, taking orders and packaging food.

Volunteers must be a minimum of 8-years-old to participate and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.  Interested participants must complete an online application and waiver.  Volunteers 18 and older are required to complete a background check.

For more information on this Give Kids The World vacation and volunteer package or other Universal Orlando Resort vacation packages, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as 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.  And coming this summer: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.


Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels:  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, opening March 31; and Universal CityWalk – a nighttime entertainment complex featuring a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops.  And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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