Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Flavors of Summer

Savor the Flavors of Summer at the

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Enjoy Hemingway’s Signature Summer Pre-Fixe Menu in July and August
 
Savor the flavor of the islands with Hemingway’s summer pre-fixe menu at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Designed by Executive Chef Kenneth Juran, the three-course menu is available in July and August and features many of “Papa’s” seasonal favorites including: 
  • Key Lime Caesar Salad
  • Florida Rock Shrimp Chowder with Zellwood sweet corn
  • Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cake
  • Duvall Street Shrimp Scampi featuring jumbo tiger shrimp
  • Cuban Criollo Chicken seasoned with a blend of fresh herbs and spices
  • Crispy Black Fin Snapper served with a coconut yucca cake
  • Key Lime Tart or Peanut Butter Bombe for dessert
“Our summer menu serves as a showcase for the high quality, fresh ingredients the season delivers,” Juran says. “Each course was designed to capture the essence of the islands and provide guests with a truly delectable experience.”
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cake
Starting at $64 per couple, the three-course #FlavorsOfSummer menu may also be paired with Canvas wines for $89 per couple.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
A TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence recipient, Hemingway’s also offers menu selections for young diners, as well seasonal vegetarian and gluten-free options including the Long Boat Key salad, vegetable truffle, pasta roulade, and vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
Located just minutes from popular Orlando area attractions, the 1,500 acre Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress boasts luxurious amenities surrounded by a tropical oasis that features the resort’s signature, half-acre lagoon pool. Florida resident rates, starting at $129 per night, are available now through Dec. 31, 2014.
 
About Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
The award-winning, 1,500 acre Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is located one mile from Walt Disney World® and close to Universal Orlando® and SeaWorld® Orlando with a host of amenities and activities including 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf and the award-winning Tennis and Racquet Club. Located along the 1,000 feet of white sandy beach of private Lake Windsong, the free-flowing lagoon pool boasts 12 waterfalls, heated and non-heated pools, two whirlpools, new Water Slide Tower Pavilion, new children’s Rock Climbing Stations, new interactive Water Jet Splash Zone, rope bridge, walking paths, and expansive, wrap-around sundecks.  New features complement the resort’s favorite activities including; S’mores pit, beach volleyball, tether ball, hammocks, watersports and marked jogging, walking, and biking trails.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is centrally located with convenient access to Orlando International Airport and Interstate 4 off Exit 68 in LakeBuena Vista. The resort’s address is One Grand Cypress Blvd., Orlando, Florida, USA 32836. For more information; call 407.239.1234; visitwww.GrandCypress.Hyatt.com; like Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress on Facebook; and follow on Twitter at @HRGrandCypress.
About Hyatt Regency 
The Hyatt Regency brand is an energizing hotel brand that connects travelers to who and what matters most to them. More than 140 conveniently located Hyatt Regency urban and resort locations in over 30 countries around the world serve as the go-to gathering space for every occasion – from efficient business meetings to memorable family vacations. The brand offers a one-stop experience that puts everything guests need right at their fingertips. Hyatt Regency hotels and resorts offer a full range of services and amenities, including notable culinary experiences; technology-enabled ways to collaborate; the space to work, engage or relax; and expert planners who take care of every detail. For more information, visit hyattregency.com or facebook.com/HyattRegency.
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Embark on one of TWO Member Cruises coming in 2015!

Disney Vacation Club

Disney Vacation Club will embark on two unique Member Cruise voyages in 2015 as part of Membership Magic: our traditional 4-night Bahamian sailing and our first 7-night Member Cruise to Alaska!

Both voyages will elevate the already spectacular Disney Cruise Line experience with added special entertainment, in-room gifts and more, all created with Members in mind. Here’s a quick look at the two itineraries.

Disney Vacation Club Disney Cruise Line Alaska

Up first on the calendar is the 7-night Alaskan voyage, sailing aboard the Disney Wonder from May 25-June 1, 2015, out of Vancouver, B.C. Members will enjoy scheduled port days in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, an awe-inspiring pass through the Tracy Arm Fjord and two sea days filled with Disney Vacation Club-created entertainment. Both the special entertainment and the in-room gifts for this sailing will draw inspiration from the voyage’s wild and wintery setting, creating a Member Cruise unlike any other.

Disney Vacation Club Disney Cruise Line Disney Dream

For Members who prefer sunglasses and sandals to scarves and sweaters, a 4-night Bahamian voyage will sail aboard the Disney Dream from Aug. 24-28, 2015, out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Two scheduled visits to Disney’s private-island paradise, Castaway Cay, will bookend an activity-filled sea day, with Disney Vacation Club-created entertainment celebrating Disney’s storied history and exciting future.

Disney Vacation Club Disney Cruise Line Alaska Mickey and Minnie

Bookings for both voyages will open on Sunday, June 22, 2014, with Member Services’ operating hours from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. EDT specifically for 2015 Member Cruise reservations. As previous Member Cruise voyages have quickly filled to capacity, calling early (at 1-800-800-9800 or 407-566-3800) is highly recommended.

In the meantime, click here* for more information about the voyages, including the associated Points Charts for each
sailing.

*Please note in order to view the link, you will need to login to your dvcmember.com account

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Happy 25th Anniversary Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Disney's Hollywood Studios

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite facts, fun times, and pictures from a park we love!

The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was and always will be.” – Michael Eisner May 1, 1989

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fun Facts!

I found these great facts on some sites that I love! Make sure you visit Studios Central and The Dis for even more facts!

1. The Disney’s Hollywood Studios entrance plaza outside the ticket booths forms a big Hidden Pluto. You can see his face with eyes, nose, and mouth. This is clearly visible on the park map.

2. The opening date for Disney’s Hollywood Studios is on the gas pump (if you get up close and look at the numbers) right when you first enter the park. 

3. All the pictures in the Brown Derby that are in BLACK frames are copies of the originals.  All The pics in the GOLD frames are the originals from the original Brown Derby…which no longer exists.

4. What is the significance behind the license plate number “021-429” on the car depicted in the gangster shoot-out sequence of “The Great Movie Ride?”  It is the date of the Valentine’s Day Massacre—February 14, 1929. 

5. Gertie the Dinosaur, on Echo Lake, pays homage to pioneering animator Winsor McCay and his revolutionary 1914 animated cartoon, Gertie the Dinosaur.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

6. The Earffel Tower is 130 feet tall with a diameter of 8 ½ feet and translates to a hat size of 342 3/8.

7. In Walt Disney:  One Man’s Dream, if you look closely at Walt Disney’s grade-school desk, you can see the initials “W.D.” carved into it. 

8. The belt buckle worn by John Wayne in the Western Scene is an actual buckle worn by the Duke in one of his movies.

9. At 40 feet tall, the larger-than-life stratocaster guitar that adorns the entrance of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has a 32-foot-long neck which is nearly 15 times the size of the neck on an average stratocaster guitar.

10. The golden idol is an exact replica of the one from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

11. You’ll see a long brick wall to your right as you approach the ride from Star Tours. Along the top of the wall are planters with flowers and such in them. If you follow them along to the very end, the last one has an ice cream sundae in it instead of the flowers.

12. It has been estimated that each day at Toy Story Midway Mania! guests may break over one million virtual plates using the spring-action shooters.

13. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the third theme park opened its doors in April 1989 and cost more than $500 million. It covers 231 acres, 77 acres of which is for parking. 

14. Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ first full length film to be produced at the studio was Mulan. 

15. When the Tower of Terror was being built, it was struck by lightning.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

16. The Sorcerer’s Hat in the center of the park weighs a wopping 150 tons and stands 122-foot-tall.

17. When you’re in line for Indiana Jones, you go past a well, I think to the right of the entrance.  If you pull on the rope, you’ll hear someone down in the well. 

18. Look for the key under the doormat at Muppets 3D.  Just after you go through the turnstile, go to your right and you’ll find a welcome mat.  Take a peek underneath it. 

19. A replica of the Colony Theater, New York, is at the Studios. The Colony Theater is where Steamboat Willie, Mickey’s first starting roll, debuted

20. It would take 5,026 toy soldiers lined up end-to-end to make up the total track length of Toy Story Midway Mania!

Disney's Hollywood Studios

21. In the preshow Muppet 3D room at Hollywood there is a net full of green Jell-O hanging from the ceiling.  It signifies Annette Funicello. 

22.Imagineers used the blue-prints of the original 1927 Meyer and Holler building for reference, when building the replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The facade is built to full scale. The 22 ft central roof section was constructed seperately and hoisted into place by crane.

23. Imagineers had mahjongg players set up the game in the lobby of the Tower of Terror so guests who know how to play the game can see that it is authentic. 

24. In 1995, the Earful Tower had blue goggles in honor of Orlando Magic player Horace Grant. The Magic went on to play in the NBA championships, but they lost the series.

25. The names on the windows on the Streets of America are those of the Walt Disney Imagineering people who designed the park

Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Leafy Greens Cafe in St. Petersburg

For my birthday earlier this month, I decided to go to Hard Rock Casino to play some slot machines.

I also wanted to explore the area more and go to a dedicated Vegan restaurant, I looked on Happy Cow and found Leafy Greens Cafe which is Located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Leafy Greens Cafe is a raw vegan and gluten free restaurant, they are also Non GMO foods.

As you can see from the pictures everything is prepared fresh and everyone enjoyed their food.

 

 

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The Disneyland Story Presents Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln And Kelly

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln debuted 50 years ago at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, and Kelly Christine Delaney is back helping us celebrate this iconic attraction’s anniversary.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
The 1964 World’s Fair is something I’ve discussed with my dad many times. I have enjoyed all of the stories he has told me of what it was like and he kept repeating “it was nothing I had ever seen before. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln was definitely something that had never been seen before.
Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln
Walt Disney had the idea for a show that would pay tribute to the Presidents of the United States in Disneyland but wasn’t able to due to technology and space. Instead imagineers focused on a show about one of Walt’s heroes, Abraham Lincoln. While this was being worked on, interested parties discussed bringing the show to the World’s Fair. It debuted in the Illinois state pavilion on April 22, 1964 and was duplicated and opened in Disneyland on July 18, 1965.
Since it has opened, there has been some additions to the show and times that Lincoln was taken out completely. The first time I saw the show it included the Walt Disney Story. The pre and post show have since changed and now include history of the Walt Disney company and Disneyland.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
In The Disney Story you can find an model of Disneyland as it appeared on opening day.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
You can see the park bench that Walt Disney used to sit on while he dreamed of creating Disneyland.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
In the lobby of The Disneyland Story presents Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, you can find exhibits that feature pieces from the Disney Archives that change throughout the year.
Every time I experience the attraction I get goosebumps thinking of the influence Walt had on the attraction. As someone who has spent much more time in the Florida Disney parks, I rarely felt the direct connection to Walt. I really appreciate the amount of history and tradition that is throughout this attraction. I look forward to seeing the evolution of it in the next 50 years.
Have you experienced this attraction in any previous forms or the current form? What are your favorite parts of Great Moments With Mr Lincoln?
Earlier today we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of It’s a Small World, so don’t forget to take a moment to check that out!
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Finnegan’s Bar & Grill At Universal Studios Florida

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

Inside of Universal Studios Florida at the Universal Orlando Resort you can find Finnegan’s Bar & Grill which is one of my favorite places to grab a great meal in the parks!

Nestled among the park’s New York streets you will find this fun-filled Irish-American pub and full-service restaurant that specializes in pairing traditional Irish foods with great beers!

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

The restaurant décor is cozy, and while it is distinctly that of an Irish-American pub there are touches of Universal Studios Florida all around.

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

Finnegan's Bar & Grill Each meal starts off with Irish soda bread with apple butter that is served on a shamrock board for an extra special touch!

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

While Finnegan’s offers authentic Irish dishes such as Potato and Leek Soup, Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Guinness Beef Stew, and Fish ‘n Chips. You can also find salads, sandwiches, burgers, fish, steak, and more with an Irish twist.

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

You can take a peek at the Finnegan’s menu here.

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

My favorite meal starts off with the Potato Leek Soup, which is creamy and flavorful.

 Finnegan's Bar & Grill

As a main entre the Shepherd’s Pie is a savory and filling dish which has changed the way that I make my own at home! The cheese on top of the mashed potatoesmixed with the savory meat and the slightly sweet root vegetables pair nicely together.

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

In the restaurant and pub you can enjoy a wide range of imported and domestic draft beers, bottled beers, cocktails, and specialty drinks.

Finnegan’s has a 5-beer samplers, which includes a souvenir glass, which is a fan favorite.

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

The pub also frequently features live music so you can sing along to all your favorite pub songs – or learn some new ones. 

Finnegan's Bar & Grill

Finnegan’s Bar & Grill at a Glance…

Service Type: Full Service 

Location: Streets of New York in Universal Studios Florida

Dining Hours: Lunch and Dinner daily 

Price Range: From $10 to $18 

Food: Irish-American dishes with familiar favorites

Menu: Check here

Reservations accepted: Call Universal Studios Reservations at 407-224-3613 or make your reservations online

We love heading into Finnegan’s Bar & Grill for a great meal and nice break from the hustle and bustle of the park.

 

 

 

 

 

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Florida Film Festival Passes and Packages On Sale Now!

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Florida Film Festival 2014

April 4th – 13th, 2014

Every year the Florida Film Festival premieres the best in current independent and foreign cinema. And this year we salute our 23rd anniversary by bringing you more of the best. With over 170 cutting-edge films, 100 visiting filmmakers, plenty of special guests, and non-stop events, this festival will do everything to ensure 10-days of eye opening fun.

View Film Guide | View Full Schedule | Printable Purchase Guide

PASSES | BUY NOW

For the most access, purchase a Festival Pass. Passes allow you to see films without an advance ticket. Simply arrive at least 15 minutes before the film with your pass to guarantee priority access. There are 3 types of passholders which give you varying amounts of access. Limited quantities are available.

PACKAGES | BUY NOW

Purchase a Festival Package to select your films before the general public and get discounted tickets. Package holder voucher redemption follows announcement on March 12, and Individual tickets go on sale March 15, 2014. Pick the package that works best for your needs and reserve your seats before the general public.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS

Individual tickets go on sale March 15, 2014, and can be purchased a la carte in advance or day of show, based on availability. If you’d like to select your tickets before March 15, consider purchasing a festival pass or a package.  Individual tickets are $11 for Regular tickets after 5pm and $9 for Matinee tickets 5pm or earlier.

DAY OF SHOW TICKETS

Additional tickets are often available prior to the event based on passholder attendance and advance ticket sales. To gain entry to a “Stand-by” film, arrive at the theater at least 45 minutes prior to show time. Numbers will be handed out and available tickets will be sold, in numerical order, until the event is sold out.
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A Visit to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar- Part II

And now, for the exciting conclusion, let’s head back to another sunny and comparatively warm part of the United States during early February: Anaheim, CA…

All Iimages provided by Pearson Images
All photos in this article are provided by Pearson Images unless otherwise noted.

Welcome back readers!  In last week’s post, we covered some exterior and interior details, the backstory, and the Disney magic and drinks you can find inside Trader Sam’s. This week we’ll focus exclusively on some of the hidden gems the Imagineers have placed throughout and explore some of Trader Sam’s connections to Walt Disney World (as well as other Disney Parks) and what may be in store for Orlando when the jungle’s “Head Salesman” expands his operations to the East Coast.

When you enter Sam’s the skippers behind the bar yell “Aloha!” to all who enter that happy place. Find a seat, grab an illustrated menu , then sit back and soak up the sights and sounds of Trader Sam’s.

Skipper Ramiro makes another Uh-Oa.
Skipper Ramiro makes another Uh-Oa.

It’s in the Details

Alternating tropical tunes and antique diddies like you might hear waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise comprise the soundtrack of Trader Sam’s. Patrons inside are constantly ordering one of the handful of drinks which “awaken” the tiki gods and stir up a little chaos. But, amidst all the sights and sounds, be sure to wander around and inspect the ephemera Sam has “collected”, which decorate the walls and ceiling. Including the walls behind the bar!

As we mentioned last week, there’s notes, postcards, photos, artifacts , and more that give a nod –or flat out refer- to different Disney characters, rides, and places, including Disneyland Tokyo and a photo of a familiar sight from Typhoon Lagoon!

I was originally going to list my top ten favorite Trader Sam’s artifacts, but there’s just too many to pick from. Plus, a great deal of fun is exploring the place on your own.  So, instead, I’ll let some photos do the “talking.”

Trader Sam's-58

If you're looking for a hidden Mickey here, you're cruising down the right river... And if you aren't, then you're in "de Nile".
If you’re looking for a hidden Mickey here, you’re cruising down the right river… And if you aren’t, then you’re in “de Nile”.
The glass bottle that actually camer from the Adventurer's Club. Be sure to watch this when someone orders a "Shipwreck on the Rocks!"
The glass bottle that actually came from the Adventurer’s Club. Be sure to watch when someone orders a “Shipwreck on the Rocks!”
Even the beer handles are themed and enjoy a little Disney "magic."
Even the beer handles are themed and enjoy a little Disney “magic.”
This Glass case warrants taking a gander at. Anybody know what movie that SF newspaper is from? (Hint: there's a hardback clue on the far right side of the shelf in the picture with the White Hat mentioned further below.)  Take a close look with the flash on your camera at the inside bottom right corner to look for another hidden Mickey.
This Glass case warrants taking a gander at. Anybody know what movie that SF newspaper is from? (Hint: there’s a hardback clue on the far right side of the shelf in the picture with the White Hat mentioned further below.)
Take a close look with the flash on your camera at the inside bottom right corner to look for another hidden Mickey.
Can you find the letter from an Indiana Jones character? Or the Indy voodoo doll from Temple of Doom?
Can you find the letter from an Indiana Jones character? Or the Indy voodoo doll from Temple of Doom?

 

I showed the photo of Colonel Critchlow Suchbench last week, but patrons looking up at a crate hanging from the ceiling on the left side of the bar will note some other familiar Adventurer’s Club artifacts.

Slappy the puppets dangles from the top of the crate.
Slappy the puppet dangles from the top of the crate.

There’s a letter attached to the crate via wooden arrow. I took a close-up photo with flash so it was legible. Those familiar with the old Adventurer’s Club will find it amusing.

Take a read. This is the only way you'll be able to.
Take a read. This is the only way you’ll be able to.

See how many other Adventure’s Club connections you can find throughout Sam’s. I’ve never tried to count them all, but just from the ones I’ve observed, there’s at least 12 or 13 (counting the identifiable objects in the crate separately)

Last week I mentioned TWO hidden Mickey’s inside Trader Sam’s. Well, here’s a photographic hint to one of them, also related to the Adventurer’s Club. Can you identify where this Col. Suchbench Vinylmation is “floating” around?

HIdden Mickey "floating" around inside Sam's. You will NEED FLASH on a camera in order to see this, as it's otherwise obsucred by darkness.
HIdden Mickey “floating” around inside Sam’s. You will NEED FLASH on a camera in order to see this, as it’s otherwise obscured by darkness.

 

Orange Bird Alert! He showed up here a year before his "official" return to Walt Disney World.
Orange Bird Alert! He showed up here a year before his “official” return to Walt Disney World.

 

Tiki mugs, a pirhana, and some familiar tiki gods inside Trader Sam's.
Tiki mugs, a pirhana, and some familiar tiki gods inside Trader Sam’s.

Trader Sam's-39

A lot to see stashed here. That white hat on top of the container of “Gorilla Grog” is probably just meant to be a “period” hat from the early decades of the 1900’s, but given the penchant for Indiana Jones here, I like to think that’s the hat worn by the Man in the Panama Hat  in the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, whose hat we see floating with a hole in it at the end of the prologue.

panama hat This screen capture was taken from the Indiana Jones Wiki page.

After visiting more times than I can keep track of, I still notice new things. So, whether you’ve been before or haven’t been yet, there’s always going to be more eye candy for you to enjoy. Let’s hope the same imaginative and thorough approach is taken when Trader Sam’s comes to Orlando.

Trader Sam’s in Orlando

Not long after rumors first circulated about WDW engaging in a notable renovation of the Polynesian Hotel, rumors started to abound in late-2012 & early-2013 that Disney was actively planning to bring Trader Sam’s to Orlando. Not a huge surprise given its success in Anaheim. The joint is regularly packed, sits well with locals AND resort guests, and sells an average of 200 souvenir tiki mugs each weekend (according to one skipper, and that’s JUST the weekend).  It was all too natural to pair the impending renovation of the Polynesian with plans to bring Trader Sam’s to Orlando. But, no official announcement was made regarding Sam’s.

However, shortly after Disney “officially” announced  the renovation of the Downtown Disney area (soon to be “Disney Springs”) in March 2013, there was some initial confusion about the location of Orlando’s Sam’s. A logo banner with properties designed by one of the Creative contractors working with Disney leaked out with the Trader Sam’s logo. Quickly, rumor spread that WDW’s Trader Sam’s must be going into Disney Springs.  But, to date, that does not appear to be the plan. (Apparently, the logo banner only contained projects the Creative firm had worked on previously, one of which was Trader Sam’s.)

Although Disney still has not officially announced any plans for a Trader Sam’s in Orlando, there is strong sentiment among the Disney community on-line that Sam’s will eventually show up at the Polynesian. It could end up in the Great Ceremonial House building, but it’s still anyone’s guess. For more detailed coverage of the Polynesian renovations and “Disney Springs” project, I’ve been following the Atomic Grog here, and Tikiman, who maintains the Unofficial Polynesian Resort pages here.

Given the amount of space to work with at the Polynesian and the general trend to fit the needs for WDW’s larger crowd capacity, it seems likely that any port of Trader Sam’s built in Orlando will reflect a significant increase of patron capacity beyond Trader Sam’s mere “47 occupants” inside the bar itself. And, perhaps, there could be a whole portion of Trader Sam’s with dedicated wait-staff service in addition to the bar we have already come to love. Those who have experienced Sam’s firsthand know that the tight capacity is both a blessing and a curse. It can be hard as heck to find ANYWHERE to sit (or stand) inside the bar on a Friday or Saturday night, or when there’s a big conference in Anaheim. And, the noise amplifies pretty quickly in those close quarters. But, it’s the coziness of the bar and proximity to other celebratory patrons that gives Sam’s part of its character. It creates the sense being in a place where everyone is nobody, but everyone belongs. It’s something that is hard to create in a bigger, open space where groups can keep to themselves.

Over at The Atomic Grog, there’s some pondering over whether the Orlando version of Trader Sam’s might also include some sort of a dinner show, akin to the old Adventurer’s Club or even closer to Walt Disney’s original concept for the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland (which would have been a restaurant with animatronic bird show.) There’s been no indication of any such plan so far, but it sure does excite the mind to imagine the possibilities of what THAT experience could be like!

While planning his Orlando theme park, Walt Disney engaged in a lot of research, including sourcing inspiration for the Polynesian.  It’s not inconceivable that Walt might have visited the historic Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, giving further influence to some of the initial design of the Polynesian (perhaps?) I’ve been to the Mai-Kai and it’s an amazing mid-century style South Seas dinner and show experience not to be missed for anyone visiting Ft. Lauderdale. An Orlando Trader Sam’s that looked and felt like this could be incredible! Here’s a couple of pictures to get your mind spinning.

One of the bars inside The Mai-Kai (photo courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel).
One of the bars inside The Mai-Kai (photo courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel).

maikai2  Mai Kai photo above courtesy of The Tiki Chick blog (http://thetikichick.com/)

I’d also like to imagine a dining area or bar that took some inspiration from Don the Beachcomber. There’s only two Don’s left now (Southern California and Kona, HI), but in its mid-century hey-day, Don’s was one of the biggest inspirations for the kind of “wall of artifacts” style of décor employed at Sam’s.

DTB

 Don the Beachcomber image from the Don the Beachcomber Facebook page.

Hopefully the installation of former Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis, who oversaw the transformation of Disney California Adventure, will encourage Orlando to create their new Trader Sam’s with the same sensibilities, fun, and tongue-in-cheek references that make Disneyland’s Trader Sam’s such an amazing experience.

What do you all want to see in the Trader Sam’s that’ll hopefully come to Walt Disney World? Tell me in the comments below.

Well, that’ll round out the second half of our visit with Trader Sam’s. Hope you all enjoyed it. Please do leave comments below and let us know what YOU HOPE TRADER SAM’S IN ORLANDO will be like.

As they used to say at another Orlando Disney location that was imbued with fun and “magic”, “If you come in here a stranger, you will exit as a friend.” That, friends, is the Trader Sam’s spirit of “aloha” we hope will find its way to Orlando.

Cheers until the next time!

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Week In Review And News – January 3, 2014

With the start of a new year and with so much going on after the holidays, I thought it would be a great time to restart our Week in Review and play a little catch up on this week’s highlights and news from the Orlando and Central Florida Attractions and Venues!

Week in Review – December 30, 2013 to January 3, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort

The Disney Parks Blog announced a new contest where you can win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.

We’ve just launched disney.com/resolutions where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January.

 

On disney.com/resolutions, we are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not Minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (EST) on 12/31/13 and ends 11:59:59 PM (EST) on 1/31/14. Click here for Official Rules.

runDisney

With Walt Disney World Marathon weekend right around the corner, runDisney was everywhere when they released details about the Limited Edition runDisney 2014 New Balance shoes!

httpv://youtu.be/C8YXAZu9kCE

You can find out more about these shoes here.

Universal Orlando Resort

Harry Potter Diagon Alley Week in Review

With construction on Diagon Alley ramping up, A Celebration of Harry Potter drawing close, Cabana Bay opening reservations being taken, and CityWalk undergoing a HUGE transformation, the Universal Orlando Resort is buzzing with energy!

Diagon Alley Construction on December 29, 2013. Week in Review
Diagon Alley Construction on December 29, 2013.

Antojitos Update Week in Review

I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for everything that is coming to the Universal Orlando Resort!!!

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando

January is Passholder appreciation month at SeaWorld Orlando, and they are offering some great deals!

Bring a friend for FREE! SeaWorld® Orlando Pass Members receive a friend for free ticket*. Online registration is required. Valid for one single-day admission by January 31, 2014. Register Now.

Double Your Discount**

  • Save 20% on dining in all of our cafeteria-style restaurants
  • Save 20% on merchandise in our gift shops

*Pass Member must be present for guest to gain admittance. Free ticket offer valid for active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year and FL Platinum Pass Members. Not valid for Fun Cards, Teacher’s Study Passes or Friends & Family Passes. Free ticket is non-transferable, not for resale and may be revoked for misuse.

**Offer only valid between Jan. 1-31, 2014. Must present active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year, or FL Platinum Pass to receive savings. Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Not valid on All-Day Dining offers. Merchandise offer valid for in-park purchases only.

Amway Center

The Circus is coming to town!

Ringling

Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus LEGENDS is coming to the Amway Center January 9-12, but Monday the circus train rolls into Orlando.  Fantastic photo opportunities will be available as the Ringling Bros. pachyderm performers parade to the Amway Center. 

The Ringling Bros. animal performers will unload at 8:00 p.m. and walk beginning at 8:30 p.m. Animals will unload at railroad tracks near 1035 W. Amelia,  then travel east on Amelia, south on North Hughey Ave., then west on West South St. and enter the GEICO Garage behind Amway Center. (Note: route and time are subject to change without notice.)

Tickets are still available and start at $16. Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included.  All seats are reserved. Tickets are available atwww.ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone:407-440-7900).  For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.

LEGOLAND Florida

If your house is anything like mine, you have watched the trailer for ‘The LEGO Movie’ four times daily and I was excited to see that they are going to be having a weekend of activities in February!

httpv://youtu.be/fZ_JOBCLF-I

LEGOclubweekend [3]

February 8 & 9, 2014 Enjoy fun for all with activities to celebrate “The LEGO Movie”, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure featuring an all-star cast and set to open in theaters February 7. Guests will enjoy a special movie-themed building activity, movie-themed scavenger hunt in Miniland USA and meet and greet sessions with costume characters Emmet and Wyldstyle, who play leading roles in this epic movie.

Busch Gardens Tampa

BG Bring a friend for free Week in Review

January is also Passholder appreciation month at Busch Gardens Tampa!

Double the Fun – Bring a Friend for FREE

During January, Pass Members can bring a friend for free! Online registration required. Limit one free ticket per active Pass Member. Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply. Log in now to register your friend’s ticket and learn more about this limited time offer.

Triple the Savings – 30% off merchandise, food, and beverages

All month long, Pass Members get 30% off merchandise, food and beverages when you visit the park! Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply.

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

A Falcon 9 rocket is targeted to lift-off during a dramatic SpaceX launch scheduled for January 3, launch time is subject to change but the launch window of 5:05 p.m. to 7:17 p.m. EST. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests may view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area, or special areas at the Visitor Complex.

Launch viewing from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, located in Kennedy Space Center, includes live mission control commentary and is available for Visitor Complex guests for $20 plus the cost of admission. Admission to the Visitor Complex is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children 3-11. Bus boarding for the Apollo/Saturn V Center begins at 3:15 p.m.

Launch viewing, featuring live mission control commentary, also is available from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is included in regular admission.

Week in Review- Posts from On the Go in MCO

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Staycation

New Year’s Eve at the Walt Disney World Resort

Wordless Wednesday – Happy New Year

Merchandise Spotlight – Walt Disney World Resort

Thanks for joining us for this Week in Review, and if this is indication of how jam packed 2014 is going to be I am really excited!

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Merchandise Spotlight – Walt Disney World January 2, 2014

For this week’s merchandise spotlight, I take a peek at some of the new women’s shirts, jackets, and accessories that can be found at Walt Disney World.

I thought that I would start off this merchandise spotlight with my favorite merchandise…purses!

I am always up for a great tote, and there were a few new park and character totes that I really love.

Merchandise Spotlight
Hipster Minnie Mouse Tote? Check!
Merchandise Spotlight
A really fun vintage and sporty tote!
Merchandise Spotlight
While I love this tote, I wish it didn’t have both Walt Disney World AND Disneyland on the bag.
Merchandise Spotlight
This patriotic wristlet is a great size for phone accessories.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of the bowler bags that came out earlier this year that were made in a shiny red vinyl, I really like these new black matte designs!

Merchandise Spotlight
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mickey Parts in the red shiny vinyl, but I am totally digging this pattern!
Merchandise Spotlight
Even on a smaller item, like this wallet, the new pattern really works.

I also like how they tweaked the black and white design of this bag.

Merchandise Spotlight
I love that the black and white with the pop of fuchsia!

And finally, these structured purses are a great new option!

Merchandise Spotlight
Glad to see some more structured purse styles at Walt Disney World. Especially the grommet details.
Merchandise Spotlight
More structured purses, with some really great details and textures.
Merchandise Spotlight
I love both of colors of this neon, snakeskin, structured purse with metal details.

There were some new jewelry pieces, but I especially loved this simple broach and this ‘gold’ necklace.

Merchandise Spotlight
Such a pretty and simple broach!
Merchandise Spotlight
I’m totally into gold jewelry lately, and this necklace has great detail while not being overly ‘Disney’.

This new windbreaker/rain coat is a really high quality jacket with great pockets that is the perfect weight for both a summer rain that is sticky and layering when it is cooler.

Merchandise Spotlight
This rain jacket is BOMB!

There were a ton of new Mickey pajamas, but these were my favorites!

Merchandise Spotlight
These Mickey Mouse pajamas were SUPER cute

I found a few great shirts while I was in the park, too.

Merchandise Spotlight
This Minnie Mouse glow in the dark t-shirt is super fun!
Merchandise Spotlight
I saw this shirt out in California, but I absolutely love Ariel’s face!
Merchandise Spotlight
Can you go wrong with a sequin Mickey Shirt? Answer: No

What park merchandise are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m excited to find more great purses and accessories, and maybe even trying my hand at Disney Bounding!

 

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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex MAVEN Launch

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Offers Best Public Viewing

of Historic MAVEN Launch on Nov. 18

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Maven

4-Day Pre-Launch Celebration Includes Presentation by

Bill Nye the Science Guy®

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests can enjoy viewing the thrilling and historic launch of a massive United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvoultioN (MAVEN) orbiter on Monday, Nov. 18. The rocket will lift off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a launch window from 1:28 p.m. to 3:28 p.m. EST.

Launch viewing is included in regular Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex admission and features live mission control commentary. Visitor Complex guests may view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area, or specially designated areas at the Visitor Complex. Guests may bring blankets and compact “umbrella-style” folding chairs that are carried in shoulder bags. Space will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

The MAVEN mission will explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of vital compounds from the atmosphere to space has played through time. This data will provide insight into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, and whether the planet was ever capable of supporting life. MAVEN is the first mission dedicated to measuring the upper atmosphere of the planet.

httpv://youtu.be/aVPgxNUNHGk

The Visitor Complex will celebrate the MAVEN launch with four days of special launch-related activities, including a presentation on Sunday, Nov. 17 by Bill Nye of the Emmy award-winning TV show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy®.”  Nye will speak to guests, preparing them for the launch of the MAVEN spacecraft. Nye is the chief executive officer of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest group, as well as a scientist, former Boeing engineer, stand-up comedian, author, inventor and man on a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society. He is the host of three currently running TV shows including “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” on the Science Channel, “The Eyes of Nye” on PBS and “Stuff Happens” on Planet Green.

From Thursday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 17, Visitor Complex guests can discover a wide array of displays, exhibits and models themed around Humans 2 Mars including:

  •  Learn about Humans 2 Mars by the 2030s; Mars past, present and future; recent scientific discoveries on Mars; and NASA’s Launch Services Program
  • Mark the 10th anniversary of Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity
  • View Mars as Art and a 3D Mars landscapes complete with 3D glasses
  • Take the exploration challenge playing interactive games
  • Stand next to a 30-foot tall inflatable Space Launch System and a six-foot tall Atlas rocket model
  • Explore the future of human space exploration through displays on the Space Launch System, Orion capsule, Commercial Crew Program and a manned Mars mission

Guests also have the opportunity to hear firsthand from experts about the fascinating science behind MAVEN during daily presentations including:

  • Nov. 14, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Kelly Fast, MAVEN program scientist, NASA Headquarters
  • Nov. 15, 11 a.m., Sandra Cauffman, MAVEN deputy project manager, Goddard Space Flight Center and 4 p.m., Dave Lavery, program executive for Solar System Exploration, NASA Headquarters
  • Nov. 16, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Jim Green, NASA planetary science chief, NASA headquarters
  • Nov. 17, 11 a.m., Sandra Cauffman, MAVEN deputy manager, Goddard Space Flight Center and 2 p.m., Bill Nye the Science Guy

All presentations and special displays and exhibits are included in regular admission to the Visitor Complex.

Launch date and time are subject to change. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 877-313-2610 and visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun and educational activities, including the new Angry Birds Space Encounter, Shuttle Launch Experience, 3D IMAX® space films, Astronaut Encounter, Exploration Space®: Explorers Wanted and many other interactive exhibits. The new $100 million home for Space Shuttle AtlantisSM opened June 29, 2013. Admission also includes the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, featuring historic spacecraft and the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut memorabilia, which opens daily at noon and closing times vary by season. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season.  Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

 

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TrenD Report: Window Shopping For The Holidays

Guess who’s back?

Back again.

Shelley’s back.

Grab a friend…

Cause it’s time to go window shopping at my favorite Downtown Disney store…TrenD!!!

While it has been awhile since I have posted a TrenD Report (my sincere apologies), I thought that this would be a great time to visit my favorite store to get some gift ideas for myself and my friends.

I was really excited to see that there were some new colder weather options available! While the Tink and Mickey sweatshirt ponchos are a little different, they are really cute on and super comfortable. And I absolutely adore the sequin Minnie Mouse bow sweatshirts (I am partial to the red one)!

It’s great to see more Harveys bags at TrenD! The new Minnie Leopard bags are in stock, and look great! I think the charm is a great touch on these bags!

And what screams trend right now more than chevrons? And there are some really cute bags and accessories that feature Mickey’s silhouette in a chevron pattern. The bags shape is super on trend with the double handles, but I wish that it was more of a ‘fall/winter’ fabric. It’s still cute, but with the weight of the fabric it seems more of a summer purse to me.

There were also tons of great new earrings!!! I am going to have to get the chocolate rhinestone Mickey earrings, but the Mickey silver studs with the LOVE cuff were totally different and neat!

While I am not a fan of the crop tops, I was happy to see that there were fewer of them to show on this TrenD Report!!!

Now that I shared a few of my thoughts on what I found, let’s get to window shopping!!!

TrenD Report: November 11, 2013

And if that wasn’t enough Downtown Disney shopping awesomeness, Did you see the news about the Marketplace Co Op that is coming to what is currently Team Mickey?

Beginning in early 2014, construction will begin on the Marketplace Co Op which will feature an innovative store design!

The Marketplace Co Op will consist of six new spaces at its opening, and they will be:

  • Beautifully Disney – A beauty destination for woman featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories.
  • Cherry Tree Lane – Accessories for the sophisticated woman with a passion for scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry.
  • D-Tech on Demand – A place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories.
  • The Trophy Room- Vintage inspired, lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles.
  • Centerpiece – Home product for Guests that want a splash of Disney in their room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware.
  • Zoey and Pickles – A girls’ destination containing the latest trends and glamour for the up and coming fashionista.

I am BEYOND excited about D-Tech on Demand, because I am hoping that they will expand their phone case customizations from the 12 options that they debuted at this year’s Star Wars Weekends!

So what do you think? I’d love to hear what you’ll be putting on your holiday Wish List and what Marketplace Co Op space you’re most excited about!!!

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