My Monsterous Summer Preview

Monsterous Summer

I had the pleasure of attending the Walt Disney World Monsterous Summer Media Preview last week, and it was great to learn so much about all the fun there is to be had this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort!

Disney’s Monstrous Summer is going to have a little something for everyone! It’s the first summer of fun in New Fantasyland, this summer the surprises of Limited Time Magic continue, and some all-new adventures begin around the Resort including the opportunity play pirate in the Magic Kingdom or becoming a wilderness explorer with badges galore in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Monstrous Summer lineup is inspired by the June 21 release of the Disney-Pixar animated feature, “Monsters University.” Mike and Sulley are dropping in from MU to scare up monstrous surprises! An all-new collegiate setting for meeting their favorite aspiring scarers will be on the Backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have a great view of the MU Campus. Also at the Magic Kingdom MU students have been studying new jokes to bring to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor!

But the event wasn’t just about Mike, Sulley, and their friends! It was an event full of some great announcements, so let’s take a look at what I learned all about…

Monsterous Summer – Special Events

May the 4th Be With You  – In honor of Star Wars day, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be hosting “May the 4th Be with You!”—a one-of-a-kind Star Wars-themed celebration for the whole family. During this Limited Time Magic Event, you will be able to meet iconic characters, parents will be able to join their fellow Padawans in a special family Jedi Training Academy, purchase special merchandise with messages like “May the Fourth Be with You” and “Revenge of the Fifth”, you can join DJ Lobot for a Star Wars-themed Dance Party, and at the end of the day you can take a seat on Hollywood Boulevard and settle in for “Symphony in the Stars,” a spectacular fireworks display set to close the celebration. Catch all the amazing sights and sounds, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the fall of the Empire!

Monsterous Summer

Pull an All-Nighter to Celebrate the beginning of Summer – A larger than life Mike Mike Wazowski joined us to tell us all about another 24 hour celebration coming to both coasts on May 24th. You can find all of the details about the All-Nighter here.

httpv://youtu.be/OBRYUUO29LM

Downtown Disney Revs Up for Car Masters Weekend June 14-16 -Car Masters Weekend, now in its third year, is the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day as Downtown Disney West Side hosts a classic car show with a modern twist June 14-16, 2013. Featuring all things “Cars,” the event showcases more than 150 classic, muscle and exotic cars; a chance for guests to meet “Cars 2″ stars Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissile; and special appearances by automotive designer Chip Foose and Disney-Pixar “Cars” filmmaker Jay Ward. Completing the car-nucopia of events, fans may purchase tickets for a ”Cars” & “Cars 2″ movie marathon at AMC Downtown Disney 24, “test drive” Ridemakerz “Cars” models, and enjoy caricatures, themed food and beverage, live entertainment and more. Entertainment subject to change.

Monsterous Summer – New Offerings

Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – Joining later this summer its sister spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, the new Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs will be inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. A completely redesigned space, Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, will feature 10 treatment rooms offering an array of services including water therapy, massage and facials. Senses will incorporate the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theming. For reservations and information, you can call 407-WDW-SPAS.

Wilderness Explorers Comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Coming this spring Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will be invited to become Wilderness Explorers and experience the park in engaging and challenging ways aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. When you sign up and take the official pledge, you set off with your field guide and in hopes to earn all 30 sticker badges of the Wilderness Exlplorers!  You will have to complete challenges as you explore the park and all of its rich details. While this activity is aimed at guests 7-10, it really looks like fun for the entire family! Who doesn’t love stickers? Wilderness Explorers will be self-guided and encourage more “up close and personal” time with the animal inhabitants of the park, and Wilderness Explorers will be included in Disney’s Animal Kingdom admission.

Monsterous Summer

New Meet-Up with Mickey, Minnie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are scheduled to welcome Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests to their new exploration headquarters, Adventurers Outpost, on Discovery Island, beginning this spring. The all-new indoor retreat is the perfect spot for guests to meet the globetrotting duo as they get ready to set off on their next adventure.

A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas – In testing now and scheduled to debut this Spring, “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas” will be a new interactive adventure where Magic Kingdom guests participate in pirate raids throughout Adventureland. Pirate maps lead to fabulous treasures as guests join Captain Jack Sparrow and fight off the Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, headhunters, curses — and the greatest threat of all, Calypso, the sea goddess. If they help Jack succeed in all the missions, they will be welcomed as part of his new crew. If not, they face the wrath of the cruel sea…alone. The adventure is divided into 5 different raids, each comprising a series of interactive tasks.

httpv://youtu.be/kUZOEV_k46I

Disney Dining – Coming by summer’s end: a re-imagined California Grill crowning Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Guests will experience a beautiful new dining room, onstage kitchen and new dining choices – chef Brian Piasecki will keep the focus on creative, fresh, seasonal dishes, and top-of-the-line sushi.  At Epcot, what says summer better than ice cream? The France Pavilion will be expanding with L’Artisan des Glaces, an artisan ice cream and sorbet shop, debuts in mid-June with 16 yummy flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients (with the option of adding a shot of liquor on top, for grown-up tastes).

Summer Latte, Anyone? More Starbucks Locations Coming to Disney Parks -Starbucks will be opening locations at Disney theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resortt. When it reopens in early summer, Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom will keep its name and theming and continue to serve Disney favorites such as cookies, brownies and seasonal cupcakes, in addition to Starbucks signature beverages and other menu items. At Epcot, Starbucks products will be featured when the Fountain View location reopens for midsummer. Each Starbucks location inside a Disney Park will reflect the theme of its surroundings.

New Summer Line of Disney Parks Cosmetics – In time for summer, fairy tale legends and secrets come to life with the captivating new Unlock the Spell collection from Beautifully Disney, Disney Parks’ line of cosmetics and beauty products. The new-for-summer collection — inspired by the spellbound Tiana, Belle and Rapunzel — is rich in lush colors: soft, pretty yellow, rosy golds, and punchy purples. Unlock the Spell will make its debut at Trend-D at Downtown Disney.

New Disney Dooney Pattern – This spring, a new pattern of Disney Dooney and Bourke purses will be released at TrenD. This coated canvas, features a bold and fun type spelling out Minnie and Mickey with Mickey and Minnie Heads.The colors are more of a neon/bright color and are really on point! It’s a really great and versatile pattern that is great for casual fun or taking to the office. I can’t wait to bring one home for myself!

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer

Disney Ray-Ban Sunglasses – Disney Ray-Ban sunglasses will be coming this spring, and they are adorable! Available in both original Wayfarer styles, they feature a black and white Mickey pattern. What will be really interesting, is to see if the black version with the Mickey pattern on the inside will be considered ‘Disney Look’…I have my fingers crossed for all my Cast Member friends!!!

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer – Announcements

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade – The Magic Kingdom will be replacing the ‘Celebrate a Dream Come True’ Parade with the Festival of Fantasy Parade that will be stepping off in the Spring of 2014. This all-new parade will bring a celebration of New Fantasyland to life through innovative parade floats, costumes, and an original soundtrack of familiar favorites and a specially crafted parade theme song. The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will specifically highlight the stories of “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,” “Peter Pan,” “Tangled” and the Disney●Pixar film “Brave” among others.

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer

Disney Magic Overhaul – There’s an extra dose of magic coming aboard the  Disney Cruise Line Disney Magic! The Disney Magic is the first ship of the fleet, and will be getting a “re-imagineering” transformation during dry dock from Sept. 7 through Oct. 10, 2013. The fleet’s flagship  will be receiving a new atrium, restaurant, improved dining experience in Palo, an update to the senses spa, additions in the kid’s club areas (I am most excited about the Avenger’s Academy addition),  new pool and water play areas, as well as two all new slides! It is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to take the plunge on the AquaDunk!

Monsterous Summer

httpv://youtu.be/qCmyUmJFp1s

As you can see from my crazy long pos (sorry) there is a lot of great new experiences coming to Walt Disney World this Summer!!!

In the next few days I will be sharing more information and pictures from the Monsterous Summer Media Preview!

What are you most excited about?

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TrenD Report – Sometimes It Is Hit Or Miss, But Everyone Wins!

TrenD Report – March 26, 2013

This week’s TrenD Report is a tale of Hit or Miss!

Usually when I visit TrenD I can find a ton of new merchandise, however on my latest trip to my favorite Downtown Disney Marketplace store I didn’t find a lot of new items.

I think TrenD is starting to ramp up to get ready for Spring and Summer, so the new items out are a little miss-matched and random.

However with all this transition going on, I still found a few great new pieces to share that are super fun!

One thing to keep in mind is that the upside of seasons changing, is that great pieces will go on sale! This flowy Ariel top is a wonderful buy at $24.99!

I am really starting to come around to the stylized Princess pieces that are in the parks right now. The shirts are super fun and the double sided journal means no one has to pick just one favorite Disney Princess.

And on a totally selfish note, I am really glad to see the Mickey Flip Flops start making their way onto the TrenD Report!

While I am HUGE fan of the vintage shirts, I am always a little bummed that they’ve only been available in the men’s section…until now! I was really excited to see that the Dole Whip shirt is now available in a lady’s cut.

Finally, I was also glad to see more canvas tote options making their debut just in time for me to find a new beach bag! Whether it’s the vintage look or the neon Loungefly tote you really can’t go wrong with such a versatile bag style!

I hope that you enjoyed this short TrenD Report! In the next report I am going to announce a fun new change to the TrenD Reports!!!

 

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Thanksgiving Dining at Walt Disney World

Mickey and the gang celebrating Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving image copyright Disney

If you are like me, and you are finding yourself at Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving and don’t have set plans yet, don’t fret. There are great dining options across property in both the parks and resorts. Some are even still available for dinner reservations at this point in time (11pm Wednesday, 11/14) (subject to change of course). Even if you don’t want to make a reservation for some of the restaurants for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, there are counter service locations that can still fill your craving for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Character Thanksgiving Meals

Some of the character meals across the parks and resorts are getting special treatment just for Thanksgiving. They offer holiday menus with many having traditional meals, with others focusing more on their own twist on the holiday fare. At the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s buffet is offering a Thanksgiving dinner. Across Bay Lake at Fort Wilderness, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ becomes Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving feast featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and many of your favorites. In the parks, Tusker House, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is having Donald’s Dining Safari Thanksgiving Lunch and then a non-character Thanksgiving meal for dinner. Walt Disney World Swan’s Garden Grove is having a character buffet dinner as well.

 

Table Service Thanksgiving Meals

Many of the restaurants in the parks are also providing meal options for the holiday. In the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern has both family style lunch and dinners. Also, the Diamond Horseshoe is hosting a table service dinner. At Epcot, the Biergarten in Germany has both Thanksgiving lunch and dinner options. Hollywood Studios has their buffet open for lunch and dinner as well as the Fantasmic dinner package. And, as already mentioned, in the Animal Kingdom, Tusker House is offering their dinner buffet.

At the resorts is where you will find most of the special holiday menus being offered. Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a special prix fixe menu. Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club has a dinner buffet and the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club is serving both lunch and dinner buffets. At the Grand Floridian, Citrico’s has a prix fixe dinner menu. Also with a prix fixe menu is Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk. For some a la carte menu options you could try lunch or dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Still at that resort for dinner you can have a Thanksgiving dinner at Narcoossee’s. Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness is having a lunch and dinner buffet. At the Polynesian you have lunch or dinner at Kona Cafe, Olivia’s at Old Key West is also serving both meals, as are Sanaa at Kidani Village, the Wave at the Contemporary and the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs. For more family style meals, check out either Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge for lunch or dinner, or dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club.

Are you staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin? If so, don’t worry, they have great options too! Fresh Mediterranean Market at the Dolphin is having a lunch buffet. The Swan’s Il Mulino is serving Thanksgiving dinner a la carte as is the Dolphin’s Todd English’s bluezoo. Downtown Disney even has some options for you at the House of Blues for dinner and Planet Hollywood for both lunch and dinner.

 

Counter Service Thanksgiving Meals

So, what if you, like me, have waited til the last minute and maybe there aren’t reservations available for your party of five? Don’t worry, Disney has that covered too. In Epcot, Sunshine Seasons, one of my favorite counter service options already, is supposed to be offering a special holiday menu too. Don’t want to go to a park, there’s a resort that has your name written all over it. At Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, the End Zone Food Court is even getting into the holiday meal spirit with a Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 10pm with turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and your choice of either apple or pumpkin pie for only $10.99 for guests 10 and up and $5.99 for children 3 to 9 (prices, times and menu items subject to change without notice).

 

All in all, it looks like Walt Disney World has some pretty great options of many varieties of cuisine and location for just about any appetite. Many of these options are on the Disney Dining Plan and as I mentioned, a few are even still available at this time. If you find yourself at WDW over the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!

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The Week in Review: August 19th – August 24, 2012: Halloween, Adventures, Movies, and More!

The Week in Review: August 19th – August 24, 2012: Halloween, Adventures, Movies, and More!

This past week here at On the Go has been full of great stuff, and now it’s time to look back at our Week In Reviews so we can see all that happened August 19th to August 24th!!!

Let’s Go!

On Sunday, we brought you news about Cohen’s Deli Opening a Kosher Hotel Near Walt Disney World!

There is a Kosher Hotel coming to the Walt Disney World Area!

Monday brought us news about the 2012 Halloween Merchandise at Walt Disney World! Halloween is my favorite time of year, and this year the merchandise is well designed and even better than last year’s offerings.

Duffy’s Halloween Costume

We are all really pumped for the Orlando Solar Bears to Come Out of Hibernation, and they have signed a new player!

Simon Danis-Pepin Orlando Solar Bears

Tuesday brought the first in our Girls Night Out in Orlando series, where a few of the gals had a fun night at Universal’s CityWalk!

Wordless Wednesday took us to Animal Kingdom at night for a look at the Tree of Life. Animal Kingdom is a beautiful park at night.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Tree of Life at Night

I also went shopping at DStreet, and found that the Mavericks of Mayhem line by Noah had arrived at Downtown Disney’s Westside!

Mavericks of Mayhem Teams

Thursday started with another installment of Betsy’s California Adventure!

Matterhorn

Then I reviewed Doc McStuffins: Friendship is the Best Medicine, available now on DVD.

Doc McStuffins: Friendship Is The Best Medicine Available August 21, 2012 on DVD

Nights of Joy are coming to Walt Disney World, and we look at the artists that will be performing this year!

We ended the week with Cheryl taking us along for her DVC stay at Bay Lake Tower for One More Disney Day.

Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers Couch Area
Disney Vacation Club Bay Lake Towers Couch Area (courtesy of Betsy Bates)

We also gave away two tickets for the Big Time Summer Tour with Big Time Rush with Special Guest Cody Simpson, coming to the Amway Center on August 28, 2012.

Catch Big Time Rush at the Amway Center with Special Guest Cody Simpson August 28th at 7pm!!!

And finally we took a look at two new logos that the Orlando Solar Bear will be using!

Orlando Solar Bears Opening Night Logo

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

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The Mavericks of Mayhem Have Arrived At D Street!

The Mavericks of Mayhem, an edgy lifestyle apparel line for men designed by Noah and presented by Disney Consumer Group, has finally arrived at D Street.

The line features Peg Leg Pete, Big Bad Wolf, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Beagle Boy in a way that they haven’t been seen before!  They have been designed to be rougher, tougher, and ready to race at the drop of a hat!

Shirts in this line are super thick and high quality, and seem to run more true to size than athletic.

I can’t wait to see the other pieces in this line!!!

I hope you enjoy these new shirts!!!

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The Week in Review: August 6 – August 10, 2012: Movies, DVC, and Orlando Sports…Oh My!

The Week in Review: August 6 – August 10, 2012

It has been another amazing week here at On the Go, and now let’s take a look back at how the first full week of August went down!!!

Let’s do this thing!

On Monday, Todd Perlmutter, of Disney Film Project fame, takes a break from taking the blame about everything around here to take a spoiler free look at The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Looking for an opportunity to volunteer in the UCF area? Or are you looking for a 5K to run? Are you a huge college sports fan? If you answered yes, you might want to check out the Inaugural Orlando Health Gridiron 5K Challenge, that our friends at the Central Florida Sports Commission have created!

2012 Gridiron 5K Challenge

Check out our review of the latest Disney Chanel Original Movie Let It Shine on DVD and enter for your chance to win a copy!

Let It Shine Comes to DVD August 7, 2012

This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us over to the Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal’s CityWalk!

Hollywood Drive-In Golf Golf at Universal Citywalk

Earlier this summer we told you about SeaWorld rescuing a pregnant manatee that gave birth to an adorable calf, and we updated you about their return to their home in Merritt Island, Florida.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue team prepares calf and mom for transport to Sykes Creek.

Thursday, we were really excited to let you know about Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month returning this year in September! This is definitely something you are going to want to check out!!!

We are all super excited about the Solar Bears returning to the ice in Orlando, and they will be returning under their 2001 Turner Cup Championship Banner!

And we wrapped up the week with Cheryl taking a look back at her DVC stay at the Beach Club Villas!

Beach Club Villas Studio Main Room
Beach Club Villas Studio Main Room (courtesy of Betsy Bates)

Then finally I took a look at the really cool tokidoki MARVEL merchandise that is available at DStreet!

Tokidoki MARVEL Men’s T-Shirt

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

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!!!

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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New tokidoki MARVEL Items Available At Downtown Disney Westside DStreet

Close up tokidoki MARVEL logo

When I wandered into DStreet, at Downtown Disney’s Westside, I was really excited to see that they had new tokidoki MARVEL T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and merchandise available…and this time in Women’s styles!

I excitedly walked over (maybe even a little bit of a run to be honest) to check out the new Women’s shirts. The last time that DStreet had tokidoki MARVEL items, they only carried men’s items so the addition of women’s items is amazing! My favorite (and MUST purchase item) was Thor riding a unicorn! The shirts are cut on the smaller side, but are printed on a very high quality shirt.

And then, of course, I had to check out the Women’s Sweatshirts. Much like the shirts, these are cut on the smaller side and are also on the heavier side of sweatshirts. The colors are great and vibrant, and the cartoon detail of the hood is a great touch!

But I couldn’t not look at the Men’s T-shirts and Sweatshirts.These, unlike the ladies, are cut on the larger side, and are printed on heaver shirt and sweatshirt material. The images on these are on the larger side this time, but they aren’t overwhelming.

And then I spied a really fun 59Fifty Spider-Man hat! I love the look of these hats, but they really aren’t my style…but if they are your’s you should take a peek at them!

Then, as we were at the register I looked to my left and found the tokidoki MARVEL Frenzies! These are about the same size that Vinylmation Jrs, and also come in blind boxes. There are 20 different Frenzies figurines to collect (Captain America, Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Magneto, Mister Fantastic, Punisher, Red Skull, Rogue, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Storm, Thing, Thor, Vision, Wolverine), and I want them all! They are designed as phone charms, but they could be easily attached to anything! These cute figures have only added to my tokidoki MARVEL obsession!!!

I was super proud of myself for not buying one of everything, but I can’t make that promise about my next visit!

I hope you enjoy this look at the new tokidoki MARVEL items at DStreet!

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Magical Dining Month Returns to Orlando

70 Restaurants Ready to Dish Out Savings During Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month

Newly-Updated Website Features Menus, Message Boards and Reservations

 

For the entire month of September, 70 of Orlando’s top restaurants will serve up three-course prix-fixe dinners for $30 during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. The newly-updated OrlandoMagicalDining.com features menus, message boards, reservations and a mobile version launching late August. In addition, the month-long event will benefit the Edgewood Children’s Ranch, with $1 from every meal donated to the organization.

Now in its 7th year, Magical Dining Month continues to grow with the addition of new restaurants to Orlando’s ever-expanding dining scene, including Fogo de Chão, Prickly Pear and Nick’s Italian Kitchen. This year’s restaurant list boasts a wide variety of unique atmospheres and cuisines spread across six unique dining districts:

  • Convention District – This area, encompassing International Drive, hosts the largest concentration of Magical Dining restaurants, including popular steakhouses like The Capital Grille, Charley’s Steak House and Vito’s Chop House.
  • Disney/Lake Buena Vista District – Known for its world-class theme parks and resorts, this upbeat district offers up upscale, fine dining restaurants including The Venetian Room, Todd English’s bluezoo and La Luce by Donna Scala.
  • Downtown District – In the midst of trendy neighborhoods and endless nighttime entertainment options, downtown Orlando hosts local favorites including Citrus Restaurant, Funky Monkey Wine Company, Le Coq Au Vin and The Boheme.
  • Universal/CityWalk District – Fully-themed, Universal area restaurants include Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Bice Ristorante at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and The Palm at Hard Rock Hotel.
  • Restaurant Row District – This one-mile stretch of Sand Lake Road is a mecca for upscale and casual restaurants, including Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, Timpano Italian Chophouse and Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine. Featured seafood restaurants in the area include Ocean Prime, Moonfish, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen and Fishbones.
  • Winter Park District – Signature restaurants – unique to the Orlando area – including Luma on Park and Chez Vincent make up this quaint, picturesque district just north of downtown Orlando.

As the 2012 charitable beneficiary for Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, Edgewood Children’s Ranch will receive $1 for every meal served. Edgewood Children’s Ranch provides residential, educational and counseling services for troubled children and their families. For more information visit EdgewoodRanch.com.

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Brittany Viola’s Patriotic Send Off Hosted By Planet Hollywood Orlando

On July 7th, I got to do something I had only dreamed about…I got to meet a real Olympian and I have to say it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had!

Can you tell I was totally geeking out to meet her???

I was lucky enough to be invited to Brittany Viola’s Olympic Send Off Party hosted by Planet Hollywood Orlando, located in Downtown Disney’s West Side. Brittany leaves this Thursday to be a part of the USA Diving National Team, and a member of USA Diving’s Olympic Performance Squad, pursuing a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic games to be held in London.

Brittany Viola waving from the balcony of Planet Hollywood Orlando.

Surrounded by young divers from YCF Diving and above a restaurant full of American flags waving, Brittany was welcomed into Planet Hollywood to celebrate her amazing accomplishment among her family, friends, and children that aspire to one day be in her position!

Brittany had a lot of friends and family in attendance as she celebrated her accomplishments before leaving for London.

In the few minutes that I was able to spend with Brittany, I told her about we all watched the diving competition, I am fascinated by diving since I have never been able to do anything other than a cannon ball off of a pool board, and how we would all be cheering her on as she goes for the gold. She said that the first thing she wanted to do was go to the Olympic Village and take it all in since she had worked so hard to get there (London).

It was really an honor to spend time talking with Brittany!

Brittany Ann Viola (born in Minnesota in 1987) grew up in Orlando, FL and attended Lake Highland Preparatory School.

 

“It’s been a hard journey, but I had a lot of love and support around me to help me persevere and get where I am right now.” Said Viola

 

Brittany is the daughter of Frank and Kathy Viola. Frank was the 1987 World Series MVP for the Minnesota Twins, the 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner and a three-time All-Star.

 

In addition, she is working for Athletes in Action as Part-Time Field Staff at the University of Miami. Her goals are to teach, encourage, and support the student-athletes through their collegiate experiences.

 

She graduated in May of 2011, from the University of Miami, double majoring in Electronic Media and Sport Administration.

 

Brittany began diving in 2000, but missed the 2010 season while recovering from two foot surgeries.

For more information about Brittany’s Career, visit her website at www.brittanyviola.com.

Thank you so much to Planet Hollywood Orlando for hosting this great event, and I am really looking forward to bringing you more information about this restaurant in the future!!!

 

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler at My Favorite Moderate Resort

French Quarter entrance

A while back I wrote a post about my favorite value resort, Pop Century. Today I’d like to share with you my favorite moderate resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. The first time I stayed there back in December of 2007, it wasn’t exactly the most magical trip, but that had nothing to do with the resort (you can read more about that horrible/wonderful trip here). Even though it wasn’t the greatest trip, I fell in love with the resort. Part of my attraction to this resort is the fact that I used to live near New Orleans, and if you aren’t aware, this resort is primarily themed after the French Quarter section of that city.

I love the fact that you are greeted by a Cast Member who holds to door open as you enter the lobby. This little touch makes it feel like you are being welcomed home. One of my favorite aspects of the resort is its intimate size. Also a little known fact is that the notes featured by the along the check in area at the front desk are from the song “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Because it is so compact, the resort does not even offer preferred room locations. The standard rooms feature two queen beds, as opposed to two double beds as some of the other moderate and all of the value resorts. It is conveniently situated near Downtown Disney with a complimentary water taxi that ferries guests down the Sassagoula River back and forth from the shopping and dining district to French Quarter and its sister resort, Port Orleans – Riverside.

Grounds
Courtyard fountain
Fountain
Fountain
Detailed architecture
Gate
Planters
Ivied archway

The resort is very quaint and neatly manicured in its exterior design. It is almost organized like in small neighborhood apartments with courtyards and parks intersected by cleverly named streets. As is to be expected, the decor in the rooms is influenced by French theming, with regal golds and blues, with a fleur-de-lis thrown in here and there with the furnishings matching. This is one of my favorite places to stay because it always feels so peaceful and relaxed. Everything seems to be conveniently within walking distance from just about any location from the boat launch to the pool, gift shop, bus stop, lobby, bars and food court.

Porte Cochere
Greeter
Front Desk
Lobby
Krewe of Port Orleans
Disney's Port Orleans Resort
Queen beds
Window treatments
Sitting area
Hidden Mickeys
Dresser
Artwork
Fridge and bench
Sink area of bathroom
Ironing board
Bathroom

Ah, the food court. I absolutely love Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory! Again, I used to live in Louisiana, so my affinity for cajun food may be greater than the average guest. Having said that, they have one of my favorite breakfast/snack/dessert items anywhere on Walt Disney World property: beignets!!! If you have not tried this heavenly treat, get yourself over to French Quarter ASAP! It is essentially a fried dough pillow (hollow inside) covered in powdered sugar. Be warned, it can be very messy, but can make for very fun pictures of friends and family trying to eat them delicately to no avail. My favorite lunch/dinner item is definitely the gumbo, but I always like to add some extra kick to it.

The food court is playfully themed to Mardi Gras with beads, jesters, kings and masks in larger than life form hanging from the walls and ceilings in the majestic golds, greens and purples that are often associated with New Orleans. Attached to Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, just off the lobby, you will find one of two bars at the resort: Scat Cat’s Club. This great little bar often offers live entertainment with a musician/singer playing some classic oldies, soul music and he also takes requests for Disney songs along with other pop music. It is a fun location with one of my favorite brews on tap in Abita’s Purple Haze, but also features a full bar with drinks like Hurricanes you don’t find many other places on property.

Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory
Food Court decor
Food Court decor
Beignets!!!

Port Orleans French Quarter is great for kids and adults alike in activities. There is an awesome pool with a waterslide shaped like a dragon named Scales. A kids water play area and playground are also featured nearby For the grown ups there is Mardi Grogs, the pool bar, and a nice hot tub for a relaxing evening after a day of playing in the parks. In addition to the water taxi to Downtown Disney and Port Orleans Riverside, there is also a nice walking path to Riverside if you want to go catch Yehaa Bob at River Roost. If you are looking for romance, not much beats a private horse drawn carriage ride along the beautifully lit shores of the Sassagoula River. The gift shop at the resort is named Jackson Square after the famous area in the French Quarter if shopping is more your style.

Path along Sassagoula River
Sign along the path to Riverside
Horse drawn carriage
Pool area
Pool and play area
Playground
Pathway to pool
Jackson Square gift shop
Walkway to lobby from rooms
Entrance to food court

Some of my favorite touches at the resort are street signs with the fun names going with the theme of jazz and New Orleans. I love the details at Port Orleans French Quarter and hope that you can experience this gem of a resort in the Downtown Disney area. It is a great moderate resort that offers convenience and fun for a value if you aren’t looking for a deluxe property. Have you stayed at or visited French Quarter? What did you think? What are some of your favorite things?

Neptune's Parade
Rue D'Baga
Esca Crepepe
Reveler's Row
LaSalle Street
Grand D'Toure
Rue D'Blue's
Jazz Alley
Pontchartrain Way
Cake Walk
Cafe au Lait Way
Ragtime Alley
City of Port Orleans manhole cover
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