Flashback Friday: My First 5K Race

RaceA little over five years ago, I completed my first 5K race. To some this may not have been a big deal, but to me it was huge. I had just had major knee surgery two years before and really had to train and work hard to be able to complete the race in close to the “required” 16 minute per mile pace.

Why do I bring this up now, you ask? It was a Halloween themed race, the inaugural Mickey’s Halloween 5K, and to my knowledge, the only 5K to go through the Magic Kingdom. Plus, we are on the verge of back to back runDisney race weekends starting next week.  This was also one of the most fun races I’ve ever done out of my almost twenty races to date.

So, I thought I’d share some of my pictures and memories from the race since it is almost Halloween. It started at the Transportation and Ticket Center, then the race course went on World Drive under the water bridge and up to the Contemporary. The course took a left along the bus loop and into the Magic Kingdom.

Not ready for the race
Not ready for the race
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Entering the Magic Kingdom
Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale

Stepping onto Main Street for the first time as a part of a race was magical to say the least. Cast members greeted us and cheered as we approached the castle. There were even a good amount of characters like Chip, Dale, and Goofy  dressed up in Halloween costumes meeting guests along the course. There were also villains like Jafar, the Queen of Hearts, as well as Tweedles Dee and Dum, Buzz, and Woody.

Castle
Castle
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Queen of Hearts and Tweedles
Grave digger
Grave digger

I loved running down Main Street, through Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, the Hub, and out through Tomorrowland. My second favorite part of the race aside from running through the park was seeing the Haunted Mansion grave diggers posing with runners pretending to be dead in front of a grave on the ground complete with headstone. One of my biggest race regrets was not stopping for this photo op. Luckily, I was able to do it a few years later during another 5K.

Running under the water bridge
Running under the water bridge
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Mickey and Minnie at the finish
Finished!
Finished!

 

I don’t know how many others of you got to experience this 5K through the Magic Kingdom, but it was definitely my favorite 5K here. Happy Halloween!

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Party for the Senses at Epcot

Party for the Senses
Party for the Senses

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival once again plays host to the Party for the Senses in World Showplace each Saturday night in October. This Grand Tasting Event is one of the most popular events of the entire festival and has been for years now. This past weekend was my first chance to experience this party first hand. The event is from 7:00 until 9:30pm and does require admission to Epcot in addition to the party ticket. It is a sensory experience, with the party focusing on smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. From dozens of different food and beverage offerings to music and performances by Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba cast, your senses will certainly be stimulated by the Party for the Senses.

Some things to know before you go to the party that might be helpful: There are three types of tickets to this event. First is general admission, which runs $169. including alcohol for guests age 21 and up and taxes. This gives you access to the party starting at 7pm, but no seating guaranteed. There are high top tables, but not necessarily seats to go with them, so if you are going with this option, get here early so you can be first in line to get in. Guests were checking in around 5:30pm when we arrived, so be prepared to stand and wait for a couple hours before the party starts if you want to be first in line to get a table. The next option, which is what I’d recommend, is to get a reserved table for $199. per person. In addition to guaranteed seating, you also get early access at 6:45pm, and a cocktail to kick off the party. The third option is the Wine View Lounge, which is a separate section in the middle of the floor, right in front of the stage. These tickets are $319. each and include early access at 6:45pm and the special cocktail to start. Also included is a private reserved table, premium bar access, and an artisanal cheese station.

Waiting area before the Party
Waiting area before the Party
Stations set up in World ShowPlace
Stations set up in World ShowPlace
Reserved area for Wine View Lounge
Reserved area for Wine View Lounge
Menu and place setting
Menu and place setting

My guest and I were seated in a reserved section just adjacent to the main stage where we found it to be convenient to the stations spread out around the World ShowPlace building. We decided early on that we would attack this like we do Food and Wine kiosks where we pace ourselves and split all of the tastes between us. This allows us to enjoy more and not fill up since we are doing half of everything. We then went back for some favorites to get seconds since some were that amazing.

The party features prominent chefs from all over the country as well as Disney chefs from all over property to showcase individual tastes. Some were quite simple with just a taste of one or two items together, and others were magnificently constructed compilations of almost a dozen ingredients combined. If you get a chance to go, remember to pace yourself. This is a two and a half hour event and I didn’t see any of the dozens of stations run out of food or drink.

Pistachio macaron
Pistachio macaron
Chocolate display
Chocolate display
Chefs at their station ready to serve
Chefs at their station ready to serve
View of the floor
View of the floor

One thing that we found extremely helpful was the menu that we got that was color coded to the location on the floor, which made finding specific items you hadn’t tried yet easier to track down. We tried every main food item, missed one of the cheese stations, the dessert with pistachios was skipped since I’m allergic, and I think I skipped the chocolate station. Other than that, we tried everything in the way of food at least once. Since I was driving I limited my alcohol intake to the cocktail at the beginning, which was a nice dry white sparkling wine, and a fantastic strawberry-lime cider from Sweden. My guest on the other hand, took it upon herself to sample quite a few of the wines.

For those who have any food allergies, it is very important that you ask at each individual station if you have any concerns. I mentioned I avoided one of the desserts since it was labeled on the menu with pistachios, but I did find one other location that didn’t list them as an ingredient, but I saw green nuts and figured I’d ask. I was glad I did because they were able to make me the dish without the pistachios and it ended up being one of my favorites of the night.

We grazed through the night sampling dozens of great food items and eventually musicians from Cirque du Soleil took to the stage to sing and perform selections from La Nouba. Later into the evening some of the clowns and other performers mingled on the floor interacting with guests. Towards the end of the night, about six or so of the La Nouba gymnasts and acrobats joined the clowns on stage to replace the musicians. They put on parts of the show, if you’ve ever seen La Nouba or commercials for it, the section with the trampoline and gymnasts going into the house facade with windows, bouncing in and around them and up to the roof. It is quite amazing to see them perform this inside the smaller height of the World ShowPlace building compared to their auditorium at Disney Springs.

Cirque du Soleil musicians
Cirque du Soleil musicians
Cirque du Soleil gymnasts
Cirque du Soleil gymnasts
Clowns bouncing around
Clowns bouncing around
I liked how they also had screens all around the room so you could see the stage no matter where you were seated
I liked how they also had screens all around the room so you could see the stage no matter where you were seated

Once we had completed the list of all the bites we wanted to try, we went back for a few of our favorites before heading out. The party allows you to take home your wine glass, which is the 20th Anniversary edition for the Food and Wine festival. We felt completely full, but not overstuffed with the many appetizers we had tried. Some of our favorites were the Lobster Lo Maine, the roasted cauliflower, the bison, and the lamb with roasted potatoes.

Lobster Lo Maine
Lobster Lo Maine
Roasted cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower
Bison
Bison
Roasted lamb and potatoes
Roasted lamb and potatoes

Overall it was a fantastic evening of friends, food, fun, entertainment, and trying new things. I am not particularly a fan of lamb or cauliflower, but these ended up being two of my favorite dishes of the entire night. I got to try a sip of the Chewtini that is being offered at the Food and Wine kiosks to celebrate the show the Chew. The music was great, and I didn’t get too scared of the clowns since I knew what to expect having seen La Nouba before.

This is a fantastic way to spend an evening with friends or family enjoying sips and bites from different restaurants all over the country and even world. We even timed our exit just right to come out a few minutes before Illuminations started, and if you come early, you also get the chance to see the Eat to the Beat Concert. I highly suggest that you try to book this soon if it isn’t already sold out, and if it is, add it to your calendar of must dos for next year. The Party for the Senses is a great way to experience Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival in a unique way where you can sit in air conditioning, and enjoy many different offerings for food and beverages while being entertained by the Cirque du Soleil cast.

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Fall 2015 Round Table

Even though the official start of fall is still a couple of weeks off, here in Orlando it is definitely in full swing.
Fall decorations have made it to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is only days away. Previews have started for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, while Halloween Spooktacular is only a few weeks away at SeaWorld. Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND Florida starts the first weekend in October. Howl-O-Scream kicks off at Busch Gardens on September 25th. With all these awesome events just around the corner we thought we’d share some of our fall favorites.
What are you most looking forward to about fall outside the parks?
Betsy – This was a tough one for me between pumpkin flavored everything, cooler weather, but ultimately, football wins out. I love college football season and enjoy playing in a Fantasy league for NFL, so it brings that extra competitive edge to the fall.
fall
Cole in a Corn Maze last year
Jillian – I love all the smaller fall festivals the different towns hold, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides! I love fall!
Shelley – Watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and carving pumpkins with Dave & Zoe.
Dave and Zoe Carving a Pumpkin Fall
Zoe and Dave Carving a Pumpkin
Dana – Pumpkin yogurt at Menchies
Jacqui – I’m ridiculously excited about dining at Morimoto Asia in Downtown Disney! A huge fan of Iron Chef ( and all cooking shows) I can’t wait to experience another new culinary gem at Walt Disney World.
Kelly – Cooler weather!
Gail – What I’m most looking forward to about fall outside the parks is not only the cooler weather and layers, but the food and the sense of family. The tasty fall drinks at Starbucks, the many yummy pies, the feeling of families starting to plan to get together for thanksgiving time. Once it gets cooler I enjoy going outdoors more and seeing the change of colors to the landscapes.
Cheryl – Looking forward to farmer’s markets

 

What is your favorite thing about fall in the parks?
Betsy – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is my favorite special event at Walt Disney World, so I always look forward to it. This year I hope to check out Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND for the first time, and get to Spooktacular at SeaWorld again.
Jillian – The decorations all over the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular.
Shelley – The decorations at the Magic Kingdom! I love seeing all the pumpkins!
Dana – The decorations!
Jacqui – The thing I love most about Fall in the parks is EVERYTHING….lower crowds, cooler weather, a decked out seasonal display at MK….and of course, my fave at EP, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
Kelly – I love the decorations in the Magic Kingdom, especially the themed jack-o-lanterns on Main Street.
Gail – My favorite part of fall in the parks is the decor! Disney magically transforms to leaves and pumpkins and orange all around! Universal Studios has Halloween Horror Nights which is my favorite! Then all the local haunted houses are so fun to find. Not forgetting the pirate house at Celebration that he decorates every year, it’s truly a sight to see AND hear!
Cheryl – I love the Fort and the Halloween decorations

 

What are you planning on dressing up as for Halloween or what was a favorite past costume that you wore at any point in your life?
Betsy – I will probably not dress up this year because I find it still a bit warm, but I can usually be counted on to wear a fun t-shirt. My favorite costume growing up was probably when I was a Smurf when I was about four. I’m short and blue is my favorite color, so it works.
 Smurf Betsy Fall
Smurf Betsy looks Smurfy
Jillian – Haven’t decided what we’re doing for costumes this year. Past favorites have included Snow White, and Kaylee from Firefly (and Serenity).
Shelley – You’ll just have to wait for this year’s costume!!!
Dana – My favorite past costume was Dr. Facilier, a female version.
Jacqui – I’m still deciding on a possible costume for this year, but my fave costume was Snow White. My toddler and I both dressed as her and the memories of that day are nothing short of magical.
Kelly – Not planning on it this year, but if I was I would probably be Sadness or Disgust from Inside Out. In the past, a group of friends and I dressed as Wizard of Oz characters. I was Scarecrow.
Gail – I don’t tend to dress up much for Halloween, just accessorize but my favorite outfit is my pumpkin outfit, it’s so silly but I love it!
Pumpkin Gail Fall
Pumpkin Gail
Cheryl – I have no idea.

 

What is your favorite fall food or drink?
Betsy – Almost anything pumpkin flavored, especially my beloved Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. I also really enjoy a nice glass of apple cider with a hint of cloves and cinnamon either hot or cold.
Jillian – homemade pumpkin pie & hot apple cider
Shelley – My favorite fall food is the Halloween Sugar Cookies that Zoe and I make every year at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular.
Halloween Sugar Cookie SeaWorld Orlando Fall
Can you see the cookie underneath all that candy???
Dana – Hot apple cider
Jacqui – Fave Fall food in general is roasted squash! Caramel Apples are a close second.
Kelly – I love the pumpkin waffle that they have at Sleepy Hollow during MNSSHP. And I never turn down apple cider.
Gail – My favorite fall food is the pies, sweet potato or pumpkin pie, I love how much pumpkin flavored stuff they do! My favorite drinks are the spiced ones, so pumpkin spice or apple spice, they really taste like fall to me!
Cheryl – Mashed potatoes

 

What is the movie you are most looking forward to seeing in theaters between now and the end of the year?
Betsy – My heart is completely torn in half on this one. Two of my greatest loves in Star Wars and James Bond, also two of the best film franchises in history, are both releasing films between November and December. SPECTRE looks like it is going to be amazing, but The Force Awakens will probably win the year’s box office if it is half as good as the previews look, plus BB-8!
Jillian – Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
Shelley – Star Wars: The Force Awakens! It will be Zoe’s first Star Wars movie on the ‘Big Screen’!!!
Dana – Star Wars, of course!
Jacqui – Love Bill Murray and love The Jungle Book, so I can’t wait for this one in October.
Kelly – Other than the obvious, Star Wars, I’m looking forward to seeing The Martian.
Gail – A movie I’m looking forward to is Ant Man, I know it’s terrible I haven’t seen it already! I am almost out of time but hoping to catch it, it looks fun!
Cheryl – The Force Awakens
Snow White Jillian
Snow White Jillian
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Top 10 Rides and Attractions at Disneyland 

Having just come back from Disneyland a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d reflect on some of my favorites. I put together this list of my Top 10 Rides and Attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Some of these are sentimental favorites, others are great thrill rides, but I love them all for different reasons. For listing purposes, I have split up the list into two parts, one for traditional rides, and the other into attractions/shows/entertainment. I’m sure many will disagree, but hopefully I’ve got some of your favorites here, or maybe you’ll come to appreciate a new attraction from my lists.

 

RIDES

10. Indiana Jones Adventure – The theming of the thrilling dark ride is spot on. The queue is amazing and the story is great.

9. Casey Jr. Circus Train – I love the simplicity of this, which is one of two Dumbo rides, and how you get a great view of the canal boats and Matterhorn.

rides

8. Storybook Land Canal Boats – Rides are always better when they’re on a boat. This slow moving trip through Monstro and around the houses and castles of many of our favorite characters is most beautiful at dusk with the twinkle lights.

7. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride – I think I move this up on the list a bit since we used to have it here in Florida, but don’t anymore. I used to love to ride it as a kid and now get to ride it again as an adult.

6. Disneyland Railroad – I love that there are different styles of seating and scenes to see while riding the train all around the park.

Matterhorn5. Matterhorn Bobsleds – Although this can be one of the roughest Disney rollercoasters or rides overall, I love the new upgrades to Harold. To me, this is the icon of Disneyland. It was the first thing I saw from almost a mile away on my first trip, and a trip is not complete without Matterhorn Macaroons from Jolly Holiday Bakery.

4. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – This is one of those rides that is just dadgum fun! It is one of my must rides every trip and is the ride I tend to see the most smiles on across the board in either of the two parks. Plus it has an awesome soundtrack.

3. Radiator Springs Racers – Another must do for every trip. This one I prefer at dusk or at Racersnight. It is an amazing combination of a racing ride and a classic dark ride, with some competition thrown in for good measure. I’d love if they made a ride of similar nature in Walt Disney World.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean – A classic. That smell. Those drops. The fireflies. The song. Despite the fact I get soaked every single time, I adore this ride and love that Walt got to work on it.

1. Alice In Wonderland – If I don’t get to ride any other rides at Disneyland other than this, it will still be a great day. I think I built an emotional and sentimental attachment to this ride since my first trip. I did no research before I came to Disneyland, but had seen things and was aware of a picture I had seen of Walt riding back in the 1950s. I don’t really even like the movie, but I absolutely adore and cherish this ride. The updates were handled with care and I think mirror the spirit of the original attraction.

Alice

Honorable mention: Haunted Mansion Holiday – This is a fantastic overlay with The Nightmare Before Christmas taking over the Haunted Mansion for the last few months of the year. I could ride this over and over with the holiday version.

 

SHOWS/ATTRACTIONS

10. Fantasmic – The Disneyland version is far superior to the one at Hollywood Studios, in my opinion. Between the dragon and the use of the Mark Twain and Columbia, it is an awesome improvement.

9. Aladdin – I enjoy the Genie’s up to the minute changes on his jokes in this Broadway style show. Flying carpet is pretty sweet too.

8. Animation Academy – This is not just an awesome place to cool off on warm days, but now the only place on either coast where guests can learn to draw classic Disney characters for free.

7. Red Car News Boys – Part of my appreciation for this live act comes from my enjoyment of Newsies. Another is my love of the Red Car Trolley itself and Buena Vista Street in general. But much of it is attributed to the addictive earworm that is A Suitcase and a Dream.

6. Five and Dime – Yet another fun live musical group that performs outside Carthay Circle in DCA. I love their fun take on classic songs.

5. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln – A classic attraction that combines parts from the Hall of Presidents and the American Adventure, but focuses on the 16th President and his life.

4. Enchanted Tiki Room – One of Walt’s attractions that still lives on today. The outside waiting area is so charming and beautiful at night, plus you can get dole whips quicker on the inside line usually, and the attraction has its own bathroom.

3. Mickey and the Magical Map – This show is one of my new favorites. I really enjoy the combination of projections and live performers from some of my favorite musical moments in Disney movies.

2. Disneyland Forever – I love these fireworks, but it was mostly in conjunction with the projections on Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the Matterhorn that made this amazing. I go back and forth between preferring this or Paint the Night, but they’re both amazing. I can’t wait to watch it again by It’s A Small World.

1. Paint The Night – I am not a huge parade person usually, but this one blew me away. I stood watching this with my jaw dropped and a stupid grin on my face. The technology is incredible and the music is great.

PaintMackDonaldMickeyVortex

Honorable mention: World of Color – The original version was my everything. I would watch it every night if I could. I am still astonished and appreciate the technology behind it, and I like the parts of the Celebrate show with Walt. I miss the other incarnation, but like the new one over Winter Dreams.

 

These are just my opinions at this moment in time, and I will admit, my own Top 10 rides list shifts around based on my mood. But as the wind blows right now, these are where they stand. Did I hit any of your favorite rides? Do you have a completely different Top 10? Leave me a note in the comments with your thoughts.

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MagicSliders Watch for MagicBand

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

While in MouseGear at Epcot, I noticed a nice item for sale by the MagicBands, a MagicSlider watch.

httpv://youtu.be/X7Cbx-Eiqqw

I’m sure there are quite a few of you out there who have checked their MagicBands for the time more than a couple times. I especially run into this challenge since I usually wear my MagicBand on my left wrist where I typically wear my watch. It seems the touch points at all the guard gates are more conducive for guests wearing bands on their left too, so a lot of times I find myself not wearing my watch.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

The MagicSlider is $17.95 plus tax and slides very easily onto a MagicBand like any other slider. The color matches the gray trim exactly, so the watch will coordinate with any color MagicBand you have. It is lightweight and not bulky at all. The watch has three display modes: time in hour:minute format (both 12 and 24 hour options), date with the month and day, and seconds.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

I tested the MagicBand with the MagicSlider watch at touch points in Epcot. It worked great without any change in how I used the MagicBand for charging without the slider. I also checked to make the band functioned at the resort gate to get in, the door to my room, and also for charging at my resort food court. I had no difficulty whatsoever using the MagicBand with the watch attached.

MagicSliders Watch MagicBand Accessory

I am happy to see this great addition to the MagicBand for its practical use. My mom and I both bought one as we’ve been saying for months and months that they needed to add a watch to the MagicBands. I hope they eventually add more fun watches like they have for MagicSliders, MagicBandits, and CoverBands.


  

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Sharing The Holiday Spirit With Christmas In The Shire

If you are looking for a new family holiday tradition, you may want to consider checking out Christmas in the Shire!

Christmas in the Shire Logo

Christmas in the Shire is the largest, private holiday display in Orlando! It has also been voted one of the top displays by local event guides.

httpv://youtu.be/2FgFtUsgdIA

The display is open daily until December 27th and includes tens of thousands of lights, over 40 trees outside, and almost 50 themed trees inside that you can view during their Open House times.

This year there are two new trees featuring a Wizard of Oz themed rainbow tree and a News Years Eve theme.

If you have been before or if you are new to the display, like myself, it is important to also know that Christmas in the Shire has moved to a new address in the Grand Cove neighborhood of Falcon Trace.

For the new address, schedule, and more information about Christmas in the Shire check out their Facebook page!

 

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Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas

Halloween on the High SeasI know Halloween was last week, but I wanted to share some of my experiences and pictures from my Disney Cruise last week. Halloween on the High Seas was a new celebration added this year by DCL to some of their fall itineraries. Having not been on a cruise before, I thought this was a cool added bonus to be able to experience Halloween on the Disney Dream.

When I boarded the ship I was so excited to see decorations right as we entered the atrium in the form of the Pumpkin Tree. I also noticed quite a few decorations on decks 3 and 4 in particular in the common areas. There were several activities spread out over the four day cruise to the Bahamas for Halloween that I wanted to see. As much as I wanted to, I could not get to them all, but the ones I went to were quite fun.

The characters were featured in Halloween costumes in the atrium for Mickey’s Mousequerade Party, which was great fun. Kids and parents alike participated as well, dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, and playing fun games and having a dance party. I also got to see the first part of the story of the Pumpkin Tree, which was quite a fun addition. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it back to see the second half of the story due to a conflict with show schedules, but was able to see the Pumpkin Tree in bloom. Also, each of the three rotational restaurants had really cool pumpkins carved and Halloween decorations at their entrances.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend booking a cruise for next year over the fall season with the hopes that Halloween on the High Seas will occur again on the Disney Cruise Line ships. As always, things are subject to change, but I hope they will bring back this fun celebration in the future.

Photo Oct 27, 5 00 42 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 29 07 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 29 13 PM Photo Oct 27, 7 35 51 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 31 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 36 PM Photo Oct 27, 9 46 40 PM Photo Oct 28, 2 03 07 PM Photo Oct 28, 8 26 39 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 19 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 30 AM Photo Oct 28, 8 28 35 AM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 16 PM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 21 PM Photo Oct 28, 9 25 26 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 47 06 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 48 45 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 49 05 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 50 13 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 52 46 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 53 43 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 53 56 PM Photo Oct 29, 4 59 49 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 00 11 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 02 39 PM Photo Oct 29, 5 02 45 PM

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First Time Disney Cruise Planning

Photo Oct 15, 6 21 01 PMAs some of you may know, I am planning my first Disney Cruise coming up in a couple weeks. This was a very last minute trip, but I had kind of set aside the time off from the beginning of the year in hopes I’d be able to snag a cruise deal. I have literally dozens of friends and family members who have been on Disney and other cruises, but my mom and I have never been. The internet and friends have been a great source of knowledge, but I still feel like a fish out of water.

For someone who considers themself somewhat of a Walt Disney World expert, it is more than a little humbling realizing how different cruising is and how much I don’t know. What kind of cruise should I book? What stateroom type should I reserve? Should I start out with a shorter cruise since I’ve not been before? What is rotational dining? How much should I expect to spend above and beyond the cost of the cruise, taxes, tips, etc.? What are the absolute must dos on a Disney Cruise (where is Stacey when I need her)? These are just a fraction of the questions that are flying through my mind with under two weeks left to go before my cruise.

We decided on a four night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream that leaves on 10/27. I am so stoked to be going over the Halloween on the High Seas celebration to see what kind of fun extras are going to be added to the ship. I think the one tip that has been more prevalent than any other is to not miss out on brunch at Palo on my sea day. It isn’t available to book online since we booked so last minute, but we are hoping to get the chance to book it as soon as we board the Dream. I’ve found the FAQs on the Disney Cruise website to be helpful in answering a lot of my questions, but I’m still undecided on some things like whether to drive and park nearby or to have a friend drop us off and pick us up at the Port. I have been told not to bother getting off the ship in the Bahamas, but I’ve never been out of the country, so I want to go and explore at least for a few hours before heading back to the almost empty ship to explore.

I’ve looked at sample Personal Navigators from recent sailings on the Dream, so I at least have some idea of what to expect for onboard entertainment and such. One of the cooler things that is brand new that I’m looking forward to checking out is the Navigator App for Apple or Android devices using the ship’s complimentary wifi for the exclusive use of this app. They have just added new functionality where guests can use the app for messaging, I’m assuming similar to texting, to be able to communicate with others in their party while on the ship. I can’t wait to sit on our verandah with a book, or a glass of wine, watching the sun setting over the horizon.

There is so much I want to see and do on the cruise, like the stage shows, catching first run movies, pirates night, riding the Aquaduck, checking out the Rainforest Room in the spa, enjoying fantastic food, checking out activities like wine tastings, relaxing in the hot tub, and much more. It will be interesting as this is my first real vacation not going to a theme park or specifically to visit family or friends. I will try to balance my desire to do it all with the need to relax above all else. Do you have any tips for this first time cruiser? What do you wish you had known before taking your first Disney Cruise?
Photo Oct 15, 6 20 47 PM Photo Oct 15, 6 21 04 PM Photo Oct 15, 6 21 07 PM Photo Oct 15, 6 21 10 PM

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Fireworks Flashback

Yesterday marked the anniversary for both Walt Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom (43rd) and Epcot (32nd). I had the great fortune to be able to celebrate these parks’ respective 40th and 30th fireworks celebrations. For the 40th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom in 2011, a group of friends and I had a spectacular experience renting out the Grand 1 Yacht from the Grand Floridian for a unique perspective of these special fireworks. In 2012, I also had a great view of the fireworks at Epcot thanks to friends from the upper level of the Japan pavilion. To commemorate these two great parks and their anniversaries, I’d like to share some of the fantastic fireworks pictures I was able to capture.

First, a few shots of the Grand 1. If you aren’t familiar with this beautiful yacht, it is docked at the Grand Floridian and guests may reserve it for a fee for a specialty cruise scheduled in the evening for the fireworks, for a private lunch with a butler, or just a cruise around the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. The yacht can accommodate up to 18 guests plus the captain and deckhand. If you get a chance to do this at any time, but especially for a special fireworks occasion like Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, I highly recommend getting a group together to experience this awesome vessel. We had the yacht for a couple hours before the fireworks, so we cruised back and forth around Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary, Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian before settling in to watch the Electrical Water Pageant just feet in front of us. We then were positioned almost directly in front of the train station for the fireworks with some slight drifting with the current it was a magnificent view!

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Epcot’s 30th was a fantastic combination of Illuminations and then paying homage to classic Epcot attractions and music with gorgeous fireworks.

 

 

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Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp

petty_camp

Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp October 11-14, 2014!

Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp will take on THREE NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks!
Designed as the ultimate stock car experience for racing enthusiasts, The Richard Petty Fantasy Racing Camp gives YOU the chance to experience the thrill of driving hundreds of laps on three of NASCAR’s most historic tracks; Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Martinsville Speedway over the course of three days, with feedback and coaching provided by industry experts … and legends.

Plus…you and your guest will take in the Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the comfort of a VIP trackside suite.

PROGRAM TRACKS:
  • The legendary Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • The historic ‘Lady in Black”, Darlington Raceway
  • The challenging short track at Martinsville Speedway
     
CELEBRITY INSTRUCTION AND APPEARANCES BY*:
  • Dale Inman, winningest crew chief in NASCAR history
  • Randy LaJoie, two-time Nationwide series champion
  • Our accomplished team of Petty instructors
  • … and, of course, rubbing elbows with “The King” himself, Richard Petty!
 
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
  • VIP treatment (for camp participant and one guest) during Saturday’s Bank of America 500 race
  • Lunch and dinner events (for camp participant and one guest)
  • Luxurious four night accommodations (for camp participant and one guest)
  • Exclusive tour of original Petty Enterprises race shop in Level Cross, NC hosted by Dale Inman
  • Great gifts that will include custom apparel, in-car video and commemorative photos
  • …and the racing tales that our team of legends and experts will share, throughout the camp
     

The registration fee is $9,500 (plus tax). Experience Rewards members receive a $500 discount.Contact us at 704.454.6224 or rick@drivepetty.com to secure your place! 

*Scheduled to appear. Subject to change. Rules and Regulations apply.Visit www.drivepetty.com/FantasyRacingCamp for complete details.

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Wordless Wednesday – Christmas in Orlando

Wordless Wednesday – December 25, 2013

We want to wish everyone celebrating today a very Merry Christmas!

We hope that you all have a day full of family, fun, and love!

Merry Christmas from Orlando!!!

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Richard Petty Driving Experience Florida Resident Discounts

Richard Petty Driving Experience

25% Off Driving Experiences at Daytona International Speedway and Walt Disney World Speedway for Florida residents – This year join the Richard Petty Driving Experience and bring out the PETTY in your loved-ones and get all the people on your list what they really want for the Holidays – an experience that will last a lifetime – and the opportunity to drive a NASCAR race car! Florida residents can reserve driving experiences at Daytona International Speedway or Walt Disney World Speedway and receive 25% off, click here for details. Driving Experiences start at $449 – your price only $336.75!

$59 Ride-Alongs – Youre in the passenger seat riding shotgun for 3 thrilling laps at speeds up to 165mph with our Ride-Along Experience. Now for a limited time we are offering our Ride-Along, valued at $99-$135, at special Holiday pricing starting at $59! Click here to save! 

Experience Rewards Members 2-for-1 Holiday Special Current Experience Rewards members receive 2 Driving Experience reservations for the regular retail price of 1!  Now is the time to come back and DRIVE FASTER… FASTER with our Right Seat Instruction (RSI) Driving Format! Click here for complete details!

Rules and regulations apply. To receive your 25% off a reserved driving experience please click on the button above to continue to our site. Your discount will be displayed at time of checkout. Must present your Florida driver’s license at the track during check-in of your driving experience. Discounts are not valid on Driver Release fee, applicable state sales tax, gift cards, group events or previous purchases. Offers can also be purchased by calling 1.800.237.3889 with promotion code Holiday13RPDE25. To purchase a Ride-Along please click on the button above or call 1.800.237.3889. Offers expire 1/2/14.

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Halloween Spooktacular Fun For Little Ones

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

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

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

 

Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Weekly Review September 17-21, 2012 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Week And More

Weekly Review September 17-21, 2012 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Week And More

Weekly Review time!!! This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and it has been a little different since we double posted with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party information about week!!!

Also, we added a new contributor, Beth, to the site! Welcome Aboard!!!

Now it’s time to look back at all that happened September 17-21!!!

Let’s Go!

The Winter Park Sip and Stroll is coming up on September 27th, and it will celebrate the city’s 125th Anniversary of Incorporation!

Winter Park - Weekly Review
The Winter Park Sip and Stroll – September 27, 2012

We started our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party coverage with Tip, Tricks, and Information. There is so much to do and see at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!!!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Merchandise - Weekly Review
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Map – Weekly Review

Tuesday we looked at how LEGOLAND Florida is now partnering with the Dream Village to help make other’s dreams come true!

Legoland Florida and Dream Village Ground Breaking - Weekly Review
Legoland Florida and Dream Village Ground Breaking

Then we looked at the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Merchandise with prices. These tend to go quickly, so if you are attending a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you will want to definitely go in search of these items early!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Merchandise - Framed Pin Set - $200.00 - - Weekly Review
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Merchandise – Framed Pin Set – $200.00

Wordless Wednesday took us to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a Warning!

Wordless Wednesday - Weekly Review
Wordless Wednesday – Warning!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Wordless Wednesday was of my new favorite MNSSHP sign!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party - Weekly Review
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Ghost Relations

The P!nk Truth About Love Tour is coming to the Amway Center in February 2013! I am soooo excited!!!

P!nk The Truth About Love Tour - Weekly Review
P!nk The Truth About Love Tour 2013

Thursday we shared our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Videos of Boo-To-You, Happy HalloWishes, and the Villains’ Dance Mix & Mingle .

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPlW0LHKIs0

Friday, Cheryl shared her experience at the Star Wars Celebration VI Star Wars: The Clone Wars Panel.

Star Wars Celebration VI - weekly review
Star Wars: The Clone Wars

And our final Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party post for the week is our Roundtable where we discuss our favorite parts of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party - Weekly Review
Pooh and Friends in their Halloween finest for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Thanks for joining us this week at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!!

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Weekly Review – Our Week On The Go September 3-7

Weekly Review – Our Week On The Go September 3-7

Weekly Review time!!! This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and now it’s time to look back at all that happened September 3-7!!!

Let’s get this party started!!!

We started the week with a look at SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team’s efforts to save stranded pilot whales. SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team, along with several local agencies, responded on September 1, 2012, to 22 short-finned pilot whales that stranded at Florida’s Avalon State Park Beach in St. Lucie County.

SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team Weekly Review
SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team, along with several agencies, responded to 22 short-finned pilot whales that stranded at Florida’s Avalon State Park Beach in St. Lucie County.

Tuesday, Aurora looked back on our time with the Orlando City Soccer Club this season.

Orlando City Soccer Weekly Review
Orlando City Soccer shoots and SCORES during their last game of the 2011-2012 Season!

Wordless Wednesday took us to one of my favorite moments in Wishes!

Wordless Wednesday Weekly Review
Wordless Wednesday – Wishes!

Scared Shrekless Family Fun is coming to the Gaylord Palms Resort this Halloween offering guests the opportunity to scare up some fun with their favorite characters from Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda!

Scared Shrekless at Gaylord Palms Resort Weekly Review
Scared Shrekless at Gaylord Palms Resort – October 13th and 27th

Betsy took us along on the final leg of her Disneyland in this amazing Trip Report!

httpv://youtu.be/O11z4CWTpqc

We also took a look at the adorable The Tigger Movie that is out now on Blu-Ray.

The Tigger Movie Weekly Review
The Tigger Movie is available now on Blu Ray!

And we ended the week with a giveaway that would make any woman happy…A chance to win a pair of Custom Christian Louboutin shoes! In honor of Disney’s global release of the classic animated masterpiece “Cinderella”, which will be available in Blu-ray™ Diamond Edition on October 2, 2012, Walt Disney Studios, in collaboration with Christian Louboutin and Glam Media, today reveal details of their national quest to find a modern-day Cinderella. One lucky woman whose style and fashion sense best embodies the Cinderella fairytale will ultimately be awarded with a pair of original Cinderella slippers re-imagined by world-renowned shoe designer Christian Louboutin during a private event at Disneyland, CA taking place on September 27th.

Cinderella Christian Louboutin Giveaway
Enter the Cinderella Christian Louboutin Giveaway Today!

Thanks for joining us our Weekly Review at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!! We’ll be covering Nights of Joy at the Magic Kingdom, Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After, LEGOLAND going to galaxies far away, and a ghostly Titanic Experience!

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If you love pinning as much as we do, please make sure that you also follow us on Pinterest!

And if you don’t already, follow us on Twitter!

 

 

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