A Stroll Down Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

 

Christmas Tree Trail Disney Springs 2016 -

A stroll down the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs

This holiday season Disney has added a few new entertainment options to Disney Springs. One of them, the Christmas Tree Trail, debuted this past weekend. When the Disney Parks Blog first made the announcement, I was definitely looking forward to it. The description reminded me of the trees that used decorate the Camp Minnie Mickey area of Animal Kingdom before it was closed to make way for Avatar.

The new Christmas Tree Trail is located at the old Marketplace bus depot and you enter in between Once Upon a Toy and Earl of Sandwich. There’s a DJ set up in the area, along with the large Christmas tree that they light every evening at 6:00PM.

Tree Trail Trail Entrance Main Tree Trail at Night

We decided to walk the trail twice, before and after it got dark. During the day, it is much less crowded and easier to see some of the details on the trees. The snow machines run at night and of course the twinkle lights make it a bit more festive. My photos came out much better during the day too so that’s what you’ll mostly see here.

There are 15 trees and each one has a different Disney theme. The decorations went beyond just covering the tree in the characters. Some of them you even had to think about a little bit (like a spoonful of sugar on the Mary Poppins tree). It really reminded me of a hometown festival of trees.

Villians

Villains Villains Apple

Mickey & Minnie

Mickey & Minnie

Moana

Moana

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast Cogsworth Mrs Potts

The Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid Mermaid Lantern

Cinderella

Cinderella Cinderella coach Cinderella midnight

The Princess and the Frog

Princess and the Frog Frog Prince

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Spoonful of Sugar Chimney Sweep Umbrellas

Frozen

Frozen Sven

The Jungle Book

Jungle Book Kaa

Mulan

Mulan

101 Dalmatians

Dalmatians Dalmatian Coat

Tangled

Tangled at Night Pascal on lantern Tangled Paint Tangled

Muppets

Muppets Kermit

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Tea

The trail a nice holiday addition that fits with the hometown feel of Disney Springs. I hope they keep the tree trail for future years and even improve upon it. The area has a lot of space to add even more Christmas lights and decorations. Maybe even add some more activities. Have you visited the tree trail? Which tree is your favorite?

A Day Celebrating Holidays Around the World At Epcot

On Friday, November 27, Epcot began their holiday festivities with their annual Holidays Around the World line up. This post will be extra picture heavy as I think they tell the story better than I could.

Entrance Entrance2 Thumper Bambi StitchHoliday DonaldGoofy Snowflakes IMG_8704 IMG_8706

My family and I like to make a day of the special events each year. We always make reservations for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package and spend the day going around World Showcase listening to the different storytellers. I love looking at all the decorations that are country-specific too. We also make sure to sample some of the special holiday treats that are available – make sure to pick up a passport!

bûche de Noël
bûche de Noël
Gluhwein
Gluhwein
Frozen Peppermint Trifle
Frozen Peppermint Trifle

All of the countries feature a special holiday performer or storyteller (or two). We can never fit in all the storytellers in one day, but I have seen all of them at least once before. There are descriptions posted at each country that are worth a read even if you don’t catch the performer. Here is a description of all of them with pictures of the ones we caught over the weekend, plus some of the decorations in the countries.

Canada – The Holiday Voyageurs perform on the Mill Stage singing songs and describing holiday traditions of different regions in Canada.

Canada at night
Canada at night
Canadian Moose
Canadian Moose

United Kingdom – Father Christmas tell us what the holiday season is like in the United Kingdom and explains the mistletoe custom. There’s also a short sing-a-long of Deck the Halls, a song that comes from Wales.

UK Garland
UK Garland
Holiday Tea Set
Holiday Tea Set
Description Card
Description Card
Father Christmas
Father Christmas

France – Père Noël tells us the story of Babette and her Christmas wish. Through the story we learn about french customs.

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Morocco – Hear about holidays and festivals in Morocco, focusing on celebrating the harvests with dances and feasts.

Japan – Listen to the story of the Daruma doll and New Year’s celebrations in Japan.

American Adventure – Hear about the traditions of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and the histories behind them. Santa and Mrs. Claus also meet and Voices of Liberty wear Dickens style clothes and sing songs of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This year there is a gingerbread Capitol building and Washington Monument inside the rotunda.

Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
Gingerbread Capitol and Washington Monument
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Capitol Building
Voices of Liberty
Voices of Liberty
Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree
Santa and Mrs. Claus
Santa and Mrs. Claus

Italy – La Befana is a witch who brings presents to children in Italy on the Eve of the Epiphany. She tells a story of searching for the Christ child.

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IMG_8814Germany – Helga tells us all about the Christmas traditions in Germany, many of which we have adopted here in the United States like the Christmas tree and the nutcracker.

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China – The Lion Dancers perform and bestow good luck wishes for the New Year.

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Norway – Sigrid explains the holiday traditions of Norway while Julenissen tries to make her believe in the Christmas gnome, with a lot of help from the audience.

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Mexico – Mariachi Cobre and dancers perform traditional songs and dances. Musicians and dancers are fantastic in this and there’s even a piñata for the kids.

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The headliner of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World is the Candlelight Processional. A celebrity narrator reads scripture from the Christmas story surrounded by a choir and an amazing orchestra. Our narrator was Gary Sinise. It’s definitely a must-see. We like getting the dinner package at least once so we get seats without waiting in a long line. Other times we’ve stood in the back and still enjoyed it.

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Of course, we have to end the day with Illuminations, which features a special holiday ending at this time of year with the countries wishing for Peace on Earth.

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Spending the day at Epcot during the holiday season will definitely get you into the spirit.

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Easter Happenings at Walt Disney World

EasterIf you are going to be in Walt Disney World for Easter, there are some fun offerings at the parks and resorts to enjoy this spring holiday. Guests looking for religious services can attend Protestant service at the Contemporary in the Fantasia ballroom on Easter Sunday at 9am. Catholic services will be held at 8am and 10:15am. For other holiday services, resorts can assist guests in directing them to off property sites for Hindu, Muslim, Judaism and other religious services.

Table service restaurants across property have Easter meals for booking if you are looking for a special meal. Breakfast with a character buffet is offered at Disney’s Beach Club Resort at Cape May Cafe. A special Easter dinner is also occurring at Cape May with the addition of a Roasted Lamb to the carving station at the buffet. Next door at the Yacht Club, Captain’s Grille is hosting a brunch with Roasted Strip Loin and Baked Ham with assorted sauces with the buffet. Another character meal offered is Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Easter Brunch at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Also at the Contemporary at the Wave there is a brunch with a carving station featuring New York Strip Loin and Bone-In Ham. The Walt Disney World Swan offers a character dinner buffet at Garden Grove. Kouzzina at the Boardwalk and Olivia’s at Old Key West are also providing special dinner menus in addition to their regular dinner menus.

Cupcakes for Easter will be offered in locations at the Boardwalk Bakery, in the food court at Caribbean Beach, and at Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge.

Special Easter merchandise will be available for purchase at gift shops at Coronado Springs and the Yacht and Beach Club. Other resorts will have Easter baskets for purchase in addition to these at the Boardwalk, Caribbean Beach, Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge. Some will be pre-made and others will have the opportunity to create your own Easter basket. Consult the resort directly for further questions.

At Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, guests will have the ability to vote for winners of the Recycled Craft Contest in the dining room.

There will also be a chocolate Easter Egg display in the lobby of the Grand Floridian from April 5 – 22nd.

Stay tuned for more resort and theme park recreation activities to be updated in a future post in April as we get closer to Easter!

March Madness basketball at Walt Disney World

If you are at all a college basketball fan, like I am, your brackets for the NCAA basketball tournaments are already filled out and ready to go. This year there is a new offering at the ESPN Club at Disney’s Boardwalk for VIP seating during March Madness. Beginning March 20th guests have the ability to book reserved seating area. Prices vary based on the portion of the tournament they are attending. For the elimination rounds (March 20 – 23) adult prices are $50 and children are $25. The Sweet 16 Round is $65 and Final Four is $75 for adults and both are $25 for children. During the basketball tournament there will be two sets of seating times, one from 12 – 4:30pm and the other from 5 – 11pm. ESPN Club’s hours of regular operation are from 11:30am – 1am, but are subject to change during March Madness.

From the ESPN Club website: “ESPN Club VIP Premium Club Seats are available for $50 per adult and $25 per child, and include all food and beverage orders up to those amounts; additional charges will apply for orders exceeding the cost of each individual Guest’s admission. Tax and gratuity are not included.”

If playing is more your style, Walt Disney World has several locations on property where you can shoot hoops. At the Walt Disney World Dolphin you can find an outdoor court near the lap pool. Equipment can be checked out at either the Swan or Dolphin health clubs. The court and equipment rental are exclusive to guests staying at the Swan or Dolphin. The Campgrounds at Fort Wilderness also have six quarter quarts located in different loops throughout the resort. Balls are typically available in a box located adjacent to each court. In addition to these, a few deluxe villas properties have courts at Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Balls are usually available at Community Hall. When it opens in August, the new Four Seasons Orlando will also offer a basketball court in their recreation area Explorer Island.

basketball

For those looking to be completely immersed in a basketball theme, you may want to check out Disney’s All Star Sports Resort and check in to the Hoops Hotel section. This value resort is one where you can surround yourself in all things basketball with larger than life icons outside the buildings and the theme carries over to the room decor. Pennants decorate the outside of the building featuring college basketball teams from around the country. Basketballs also adorn the exterior of the resort buildings that are more than five feet in diameter and number more than 70. The megaphone giant icon is 45 feet tall and the whistles are 60 feet long and 20 feet tall. If you, or any family members, are fans of basketball, this is a fun resort to enjoy great sports theming in the rooms and throughout the lobby area.

hoops hotel baskets

hoops hotel whistle

Are you all geared up for March Madness or are you just a basketball fan in general? If so, I hope you’ll check out these resorts to live, eat, sleep and breathe basketball at Walt Disney World. Shout out to your favorite teams you’re routing for in the NCAA tournament in the comments. Go Vols!

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Schedule At ESPN Wide World of Sports

Atlanta Braves Spring Training Underway

at ESPN Wide World of Sports

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

This year’s Spring Training game lineup will showcase some of Major League Baseball’s marquee teams, including the reigning World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. 

This year’s roster retains many of the players on the 2013 National League East champion squad, including a core of strong young players, first baseman Freddie Freeman, right fielder Jason Heyward, left fielder Justin Upton and shortstop Andrelton Simmons. The Braves’ pitching staff remains mostly unchanged (excluding the loss of Tim Hudson) from the league-leading ERA lineup of last year. The projected rotation includes Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood, with Craig Kimbrel, Jordan Walden and Luis Avilan in the bullpen.

Atlanta Braves Spring Training

Information on the Braves’ Spring Training season tickets, suite/hospitality, group tickets and mini-plans is available by calling our Premium Sales team at 407/939-GAME (4263) and online at www.espnwwos.com/atlantabraves.  The popular mini-packs are now on sale, featuring four separate three-game options in 2014 and giving fans their first opportunity to purchase tickets to specific games on the Braves’ 2014 spring training schedule.

2014 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule 
Date 
Opponent Time
Tuesday, March 11 Philadelphia Phillies 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 12 Washington Nationals 1:05 PM
Friday, March 14 Tampa Bay Rays 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 15 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 PM
Wednesday, March 19 New York Yankees 1:05 PM
Friday, March 21 Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM
Saturday, March 22 Boston Red Sox 1:05 PM
Sunday, March 23 New York Mets 1:05 PM
Monday, March 24 Houston Astros 6:05 PM
Wednesday, March 26 Miami Marlins 1:05 PM

All times are Eastern and are subject to change

Animal Kingdom and Epcot Connecting Families With Nature

Animal Kingdom and Epcot

Connecting Families With Nature Series

Throughout the year Animal Kingdom and Epcot will be hosting Connecting Families With Nature Series of special events designed to bring attention to animals, their habitats, and what we humans can do to help them not only thrive but survive!

The events take place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot. The goal of each is to provide kids and families with a special opportunity to connect with nature, talk to our animal experts, and learn more about some of the fantastic creatures with whom we share our planet. Here’s the list of our 2014 events. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more detailed posts shortly before each one. We hope to see you at one or more of them!

We ventured to Rafiki’s Planet Watch for the first event in the year long series on March 4th to celebrate ‘Springing Forward’ a few days early by celebrating frogs, toads and other amphibians.

Once we arrived, we were greeted by Cast Members and found all sorts of great games, activities, and special examinations we could watch.

The first thing we did, as we listened to Guitar Dan, was to make our very own Toad Abode for the frogs and toads in our yard to be comfy as Cast Members told us about frogs that were native to Florida. You know that I HAD to have a few Mickey’s on there!

Connecting Families with Nature

Once inside we were able to try our hand at several games (who knew I could standing jump 7 ft!), watched an examination of a frog, and learned ways that we could do our part to help frogs.

Connecting Families with Nature

Did you know that, according to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species are threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease? To find out more about Disney conservation efforts, visit www.disney.com/conservation

 Connecting Families with Nature

 

These Connecting Families With Nature Special Events are a great way to make your trip to the park extra special, and I know that we will definitely be going to more throughout the year. We had so much fun!

Connecting Families with Nature

If you want to join in the fun with us, here are the upcoming 2014 events for Connecting Families with Nature! You always want to keep in mind that dates subject to change:

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

    • March 4: Spring Forward for Amphibians Day — Just a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, we’re “springing forward” to celebrate frogs, toads and other amphibians.
    • April 22: Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day — Every day is a Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as guests and cast members join together to celebrate the wonders of nature, but, on Earth Day, there will be even more natural magic. Included is a celebration of the release of Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears,” in theaters April 18, which showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two impressionable young cubs are taught life’s most important lessons.
    • May 6: International Migratory Bird Day — Time to celebrate of one the wonders of nature – bird migration – and the ways we can help protect birds on their journeys.
    • May 20: World Turtle Day — Turtles are fascinating creatures, and really cool dudes, too – just ask Crush! Both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Seas with Nemo & Friends celebrate turtles with special activities.
    • June 10: Pollinator Day — butterflies, bees and other pollinators are the stars of this celebration.
    • July 29: Big Cat Day — It’s all about the largest cats, like lions and tigers – cats to whom you wouldn’t want to say, “here, kitty, kitty.”
    • August 5: Primate Day — The perfect place to find out what a 400-pound gorilla and a one-pound cotton-top tamarin have in common.
    • September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day — Learn fun facts and important conservation information about magnificent and endangered elephants and rhinos.

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:

    • April 22: Earth Day Celebration — It’s an ocean of fun at The Seas on Earth Day as this Earth Day celebration focuses on marine animals.
    • May 20: World Turtle Day — See the magnificent sea turtles swim by in the main aquarium and find out what each of us can do to keep turtles safe in the wild.
    • June 4: World Oceans Day — Join Nemo, Dory, Crush and the rest of the gang in celebrating the wonders of the oceans.

 

Downtown Disney St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Invites Wearin’ of the Green at Downtown Disney March 7-17

Raglan Road
Shamrock-clad stilt walkers lean down to joke around with Downtown Disney guests Laura DuBose (left) and Corinne Molineaux (right), of Orlando, Fla., during the multi-day St. PatrickÕs celebration at Raglan Road in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The “Mighty Festival,” continuing through March 17, features Irish bands and pro dancers, beers on tap, specially crafted food, face painting, stilt walkers and plenty of St. Patrick’s Day memorabilia throughout Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

Music and merriment abound when the most authentic St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Florida comes to Downtown Disney March 7-17.

The celebration at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant and throughout Downtown Disney pays homage to Celtic culture with nearly 10 top Irish bands and pro dancers performing on three stages during select days of the festival. With performances starting nightly March 7-14 from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and daily 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. March 15-17 on stages indoors and out, guests can don their finest green duds and join in a jig or two.

Highlights of the celebration across Downtown Disney will include:

  • Performances by The Willis Clan, world-famous U2 tribute band Elevation, Goitse, Three Dollar Band, We Banjo 3, The Ragland Rebels, The Brazen Heads and Raglan Road house bands Creel and The West Coast Trio
  • The Raglan Road Dancers — seven full-time champion dancers, performing daily
  • Renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack of the original Riverdance cast, leading Irish Dance Workshops “From Roots to Riverdance”
  • Ceili (kay-lee) traditional music and structured set-dancing event, during which host Ronan McCormack invites guest participation
Raglan Road
The Willis Clan, a family of musicians and dancers from Nashville, Tenn. whoÕve won awards for their Irish music and step dance performances, performs during the multi-day St. PatrickÕs celebration at Raglan Road in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The ÔMighty FestivalÕ continues through March 17 and features multiple Irish bands on several stages, pro dancers, beers on tap, specially crafted food, face painting, stilt walkers and plenty of St. Patrick’s Day memorabilia throughout Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

Additional entertainment inspired by the Emerald Isle will include more than 50 musicians and dancers, face painting, stilt walkers, living statues and giveaways. Guests will find it’s easy being green at The Mighty Family Zone on the West Side, a new offering during the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival. Guests can snag a photo with Kermit, learn how to draw everyone’s favorite frog, take part in games and DJ dance parties, and more.

Miss Piggy and Kermit

Also new this year: the four Disney Food Trucks (Fantasy Fair, Namaste Café, Superstar Catering and World Showcase of Flavors) will serve delicious eats each evening of the festival at Downtown Disney West Side, including a special St. Patrick’s Day-themed cupcake. Guests can also purchase Fisherman’s Pie, a favorite dish from the Ireland kiosk at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, at the World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck.

Raglan Road St. Patrick's Day Downtown Disney

Guests can order from the popular Raglan Road lunch, dinner and bar menus throughout the event. Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon of Raglan Road will bring traditional Irish flavors to Downtown Disney with dishes such as loin of bacon and cabbage, and guests will find a hearty selection of beers on tap.

The restaurant’s Cooke’s of Dublin counter-service eatery will offer Irish favorites like fish and chips, battered sausages and deep-fried candy bars, and guests will discover additional food and specialty drinks created just for the festival at select Downtown Disney restaurants.

Raglan Road
Downtown Disney guests (L-R) Brenda Sievert, from Nova Scotia, Canada, and Dean and Lisa Nicholson, from New Brunswick, Canada, make a spirited toast during the multi-day St. PatrickÕs celebration at Raglan Road in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The “Mighty Festival,” continuing through March 17, features Irish bands and pro dancers, beers on tap, specially crafted food, face painting, stilt walkers and plenty of St. Patrick’s Day memorabilia throughout Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

On Monday, St. Patrick’s Day, guests will be seated at Raglan Road on a first-come, first-served basis with a cover charge of $10 for each guest age 18 and older. Reservations can be booked for other festival days by calling 407/938-0300. For more information visit Disneyworld.com/StPatricksDay.

 

Inaugural Disney Fit Challenge Coming To ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex

Jump, Squat and Press! Disney Fit Challenge Lunges into Competitive Fitness at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disney Fit Challenge

Inaugural event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex open to elite, intermediate and recreational participants; Three-day event will test competitors’ speed, strength, endurance, balance and power; Registration opens March 18th

 

The sport of competitive fitness, which is growing rapidly nationally and internationally, is coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, the site of the inaugural Disney Fit Challenge this September.

Disney Fit Challenge will be a three-day event (Sept 26-28) involving athletes competing in different fitness challenges that test a participant’s speed, strength, skill, endurance, balance and power.  Challenges are designed based on age and skill level with more experienced athletes competing in movements such as muscle-ups and double-unders while recreational participants compete in movements that may include box jumps, kettle bell swings, push-ups, squats and broad jumps. Competitors with the highest scores in their division and age group from the first two days advance to the final day of competition.

A Health & Fitness Expo will feature the latest fitness merchandise, products and apparel during the competition.

“Competitive fitness is one of the fastest growing sports domestically and internationally with hundreds of thousands of competitors with more and more getting involved every day,’’ said Mike Millay, Director of Sports Development for Disney Sports. “We have uniquely designed the Disney Fit Challenge so that there are a variety of skill levels and age groups which will allow every competitor to test their true fitness abilities while also having plenty of fun, and then celebrate their achievements with a family vacation at Walt Disney World Resort.’’

Disney Sports is collaborating with I AM CrossFit, one of the leading competitive fitness organizations in the Southeast, on the staging of Disney Fit Challenge. The event is the first of its kind held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 sports events each year, and builds on the complex’s wide variety of athletic events geared towards athletes of all ages and abilities.

Registration opens March 18, with competition slated for indoor and outdoor venues at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Daily admission for spectators is $16.50 for adults and $11.50 for children and can be purchased at the sports complex box office.

 ESPN Wide World of Sports Disney Fit Challenge

About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 350 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the nation, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries.  Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features multiple competition venues, including Champion Stadium, the HP Field House, the Jostens Center, the Hess Sports Fields, a track & field facility, a tennis complex and a baseball/softball sportsplex. It is also home to the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group that develops ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, which can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The ESPN Production Center produces over 700 hours of live sports programming for consumption around the world. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD Production Center with direct links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles.  For more information, visit www.disneysportsnews.com for press releases, photos and videos.  Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports and find us on Facebook.

Orlando City SC Finishes Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Third Place

Orlando City Soccer - Weekly Review Orlando City SC

Orlando City Finishes Pro Soccer Classic in Third Place

After a draw in regulation, both sides forgo routine penalty-kicks

 

In the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic third place match, Orlando City SC drew the New York Red Bulls 4-4 on Saturday, March 1, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With Orlando and New York electing to forgo a decision by penalty kicks, both sides will finish the Pro Soccer Classic in third place.

“Despite allowing two or three poor goals, there were a lot of pleasing moments for us, especially going forward,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the match. “As their coaches just said, we’re difficult to contain with the way we move the ball.”

After controlling possession early in the match, a miscommunication in the New York defense would provide a golden opportunity for new signing Corey Hertzog. Going against the club who drafted him in 2011, Hertzog was in pursuit of a long-floated ball from Darwin Ceren. 

Ceren’s ball seemed to be an easy clearance for the Red Bulls defense, but Defender Kosuke Kimura accidentally headed it past Goalkeeper Luis Robles who was on his way to clear the danger away. Hertzog was lurking in the area and slotted it home to give Orlando a 1-0 lead.

In light of Hertzog’s early goal, Orlando would get into their rhythm, and Molino and Hertzog would create a few opportunities that kept Robles honest. 

On the other end, the 2013 Supporter Shield winners weren’t shy of going forward either and showed why they were one of the best sides in MLS last year. In response to a cracking effort from Molino that hit the cross-bar, New York progressed their way down the pitch and equalized the match in the 28th minute.

After receiving the ball on the right-hand-side, Midfielder Lloyd Sam whipped in a driven cross to the near-post and Bradley Wright-Phillips was there to place it past Gallardo.

The equalizer from New York was arguably a fair reflection of the first-half, as neither side was ever in full-control of the game. Nevertheless, despite not having as much time on the ball in comparison to the matches in the group-stages, Orlando still looked dangerous in spurts.

Midfielder Darwin Ceren has quickly become a fan-favorite for his contributions on the pitch, and was a key facilitator in City’s attacking plays. As a result, Orlando would create the best chance of the match, in the 43rd minute, after several probing efforts.

After good build-up play on the left-hand side, City worked the ball across the edge of the area to Yordany Alvarez who hit a powerful volley that forced Robles to push it over the bar and into the supporters section.

The play leading up to Alvarez’s effort was almost an identical replication of Darwin Ceren’s first goal for the Lions against Columbus Crew.

Orlando City Soccer Disney PSC 2014 Orlando City SC
Photo: Alison Petro

To begin the second half, Heath brought on Dennis Chin for Hertzog as his only change during the intermission.

Within two minutes of entering the game, the Chin would score his second goal of the preseason. After Molino earned a corner, Alvarez whipped the ball to the near-post for Chin who nodded it past Robles Robles.

However, Orlando had very little time to celebrate as Wright-Phillips tapped home his second goal of the game in the 50th minute. Wright-Phillips, the brother of former England-international Sean Wright-Phillips, used his pace to get in behind the Orlando defense on several occasions but Gallardo maintained his excellent form with notable key saves.

But in the 68th minute, New York would get the better of the Mexican goalkeeper when Ibrahim Sekagaya scored a tap in. Gallardo made a quality save on the initial free-kick from Orlando-native Dax McCarty, but Sekagya was there to tuck it away after City failed to clear it away.

In the ensuing moments after Sekagya’s goal, Orlando would not lose their fighting spirit and Adama Mbengue, who came on as a substitute in the 57th minute, provided an equalizer in 76th minute.

Stemming from another Yordany Alvarez corner-kick, Mbengue blasted a screamer from the edge of the area that flew into the top-corner. 

Nevertheless, Midfielder Jonny Steele would respond with the Red Bull’s fourth goal of the match, only two minutes later.

Steele’s goal marks the second consecutive game in which Orlando has allowed four goals. However, similar to the Columbus match, City would respond and level the game at four goals apiece.

Orlando’s goal occurred after beautiful build-up play in the midfield that allowed Mbengue to release Molino in behind. The Trinidadian quickly latched on to the ball and dinked it by Robles.

“We played a pretty good New York side tonight and I think we made a good account for ourselves by finishing the tournament unbeaten,” added Heath. 

With neither side being able to break the dead-lock in regulation, the match would finish as a 4-4 draw. After the final whistle, both clubs opted to forgo the routine penalty-kicks and conclude the Pro Soccer Classic with a tie for third place.

Orlando City’s next preseason match will take place on March 8 against Florida International University (FIU). Kick-off is set for 3 p.m., and the match will occur at Seminole Soccer Complex.

For more information, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com

Orlando City Soccer Club Match Recap

 

Team                         1    2    Final

 

Orlando City SC              1    3    4

 

New York Red Bulls       1    3    4

 

Scoring Summary:

 

ORL- Corey Hertzog (unassisted) 7’

 

NY- Bradley Wright-Phillips (Lloyd Sam) 28’

 

ORL- Dennis Chin (Yordany Alvarez) 47’

 

NY- Bradley Wright-Phillips (Jonny Steele) 50’

 

NY- Ibrahim Sekagya (Unassisted) 68’

 

ORL- Adama Mbengue (Unassisted) 76’

 

NY- Jonny Steele (Peguy Luyindula) 78’

 

ORL- Kevin Molino (Adama Mbengue) 85’

 

Lineups/Substitutions:

 

Orlando City SC- GK Miguel Gallardo, D Mason Trafford (Trial), Rob Valentino, Luke Boden, Tyler Turner (Jordan Cyrus trial 48’), M James O’Connor (Anthony Pulis 57’), Yordany Alvarez, Austin Da Luz (Adama Mbengue 57’), Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Corey Hertzog (Dennis Chin 46’)

 

New York Red Bulls- GK Luis Robles, D Ibrahim Sekagya, Armando, Kosuke Kimura, Chris Duvall, M Lloyd Sam, Jonny Steele, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, F Peguy Luyindala, Bradley Wright-Phillips 

 

Match Facts:

 

Time of Match: 6:00 p.m. EST

 

Weather: — Clear

Orlando City Soccer

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

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

 

Raglan Road presents Mighty St Patrick’s Festival Dining Events

ragland_road

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant
presents the following events…

Modern Irish Food

Luncheon Demonstration
March 12, 2014 at 1:00pm
$49.94 + tax & gratuity

Off the back of his hugely successful PBS show Modern Irish Food based on his latest cook book of the same name, celebrity chef Kevin Dundon shares his inspiration for his first American public television series with a lunch-demonstration in the beautiful & unique surroundings of Raglan Road Irish Pub.

Showcasing an elaborate 4 course luncheon with wine pairings, Kevin will demonstrate how to successfully create each dish along with helpful tips for overall success in the kitchen. Kevin’s philosophy for food is simple — “use the best ingredients, treat them with respect and you get the best flavor and results…it’s about taking great Irish ingredients and great Irish recipes and giving them that international flair.”

Unveiling of The Raglan Road Cookbook

Signature Dinner
March 13, 2014 at 6:30pm
$115.00 + tax & gratuity

As part of Raglan Road’s annual Mighty St Patrick’s Festival celebrations, celebrity chef Kevin Dundon is hosting a very special Signature Dining Event. Those of you who have attended any of Kevin’s previous signature dinners will know he never fails to surprise and delight and this event will be no different with an amazing 5 course dinner with wine pairings.

The event is not just part of the Mighty St Patrick’s celebrations but also the unveiling of the Raglan Road Cookbook, a beautiful hardcover book that show cases some very special recipes and is filled with great stories about the history and the people who work and visit Orlando’s favorite Irish pub.

To secure a seat in either event, please call Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at 407-938-0300.
Tables in Wonderland discount applies.

Looking Forward Through the Year

I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I am looking forward to this year as it is almost time to spring forward.

This year I am hoping to participate in at least one race per month, and doing more local races too. This weekend I will be walking the 5K for the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. Next weekend I will probably also walk the Best Damn Race 5K in downtown Orlando near Lake Eola. April I think will be the 5K that goes through Legoland and the rest of the year is up in the air.

Cinderella Royal Family 5K medal

Spring Training is about to shift into high gear. Teams are practicing and I’ve got tickets to see my Braves play the Cardinals at home next month. I hope to catch at least one other spring training game and to make it to Atlanta once this year.

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is starting in a couple of weeks and this is always a fun special event. Last year I got to meet one of my HGTV personalities, David Bromstad. I look forward to trying to see him again this year and to try out some of the new food offerings.

I would love to get to Busch Gardens as it has been almost a year since I last visited, despite this being the closer theme park to where I live. I need my coaster fix and to feed some kangaroos too.

A first for me this year will be to visit Universal Studios Mardi Gras. I haven’t been to Universal since 1992 other than a few trips to City Walk over the past decade. I am long overdue and hope to finally get to taste butterbeer and maybe one of those giant donuts from the Simpsons.

Summer will bring the return of Summer Nightastic at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, both of which are a lot of fun. I would like to get back to SeaWorld to see their Viva La Musica celebration.

Coming soon, hopefully, will be the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom. This new coaster will be something between the thrill level of the Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but with some dark ride elements I’m hoping similar to Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

Late spring into summer brings the return of the beloved Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Last year I missed out on Hyperspace Hoopla in its entirety and I won’t let that happen again this year.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom I am looking forward to the new nighttime spectacular that should be arriving sometime this summer. I also really want Festival of the Lion King to come back soon, but I know it is still a few months off.

July will bring the WWE Raw live in Orlando from the Amway Center. I hope to see this and compare it to my recent experience for WWE Live.

Also in July will be the Destination D event at Walt Disney World for D23. I hope this is as fun if not more so than the event in 2011.

Of course the fall will bring back the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot that this year is extended to even more of September. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts up again in September into October. November and December will see Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom as well.

One of the things that is on the back burner, but I’m still trying to work into my schedule is a trip back to Disneyland sometime in the next few months or so. Also, a cruise, or two, will be happening this year!

 

What events are you looking forward to this year? Did I miss any of your favorites?

New MagicBand Accessories

I am always on the look out for new MagicBand Accessories, and I was really excited to find a few that I had never seen before as I was walking around the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

I really love the new MagicSliders!

Who wouldn’t love to have an R2D2 MagicSlider???

MagicBand Accessories

The newer MagicSlider characters are really fun with a slight Japanese influence in their shape and design. Also, I appreciate that they have less parts that stick out far enough to get caught on sleeves. I think that Mike Wazowski is my favorite!!!

MagicBand Accessories

MagicBand Accessories

MagicBand Accessories

It’s also great to see the Princesses get some love, too! And the set of three would be great for siblings to split up.

MagicBand Accessories

Seeing Star Wars MagicBandits made my day! I like how their look and that they are here before Star Wars Weekends, because I can now match my bandits to my outfit. (I know…I am matchy-matchy!)

MagicBand Accessories

MagicBand Accessories

The jelly sparkle Mickey heads are also a welcome addition to the MagicBand accessory line, because these look like a vast improvement from the first set of MagicBandits that came out last year. The colors are more vibrant and the glitter seems to be a better quality.

MagicBand Accessories

Don’t forget to check out and subscribe to our YouTube Channel with great tips for utilizing FastPass+, accessorizing your MagicBands, and even how to make a box to keep your MagicBand Accessories organized!

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

What do you think? Will you be buying any MagicBand accessories for your upcoming trip to Walt Disney World?

 

Celebrating National Engineers Week In Epcot With Raytheon

National Engineers Week

Every year Raytheon, sponsor of Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East, helps guests National Engineers Week in Epcot, but this year they have really taken it to the next level!

For the week of February 17-21, 2014, Raytheon is presenting ‘Science Thrills Live’ show in Innoventions West.

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

In ‘Science Thrills Live’, which is part of Raytheon’s Math Moves You program, Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle leads a group of three scientists who demonstrate various scientific concepts with experiments that involve and engage even the youngest members of the audience!

National Engineers Week

I had the chance to speak with Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle before the show, and this former Miss Massachusetts is also a Biochemist who founded Science for Scientists with a passion for education and firing kids up about STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) to show them the real world applications of science.

Dr. Angle said that ‘Our goal is to dispel stereotypes of science, while also showing kids that science and engineering are awesome, fun, and engaging.’

National Engineers Week

The energy of the show was really fun, and as an extra bonus they used a lot of music from Meet the Robinsons during the show.

“Science Thrills Live” show is 20 minutes long, and will occur daily all week with shows at 11 a.m., 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m. in Innoventions West near the Great Piggy Bank Adventure.

National Engineers Week

I suggest showing up 30 minutes early, because it is not a huge space. While you are waiting there are experiments to do and a really great pre-show that gives you a taste of what you can expect once the show begins!

In addition to ‘Science Thrills Live’, Raytheon employees will be on hand to lead Guests in hands-on experiments, again located in Innoventions West, to share kid-friendly activities while they share their passion for education and engineering.

National Engineers Week

And after the show and experiments, you definitely have to take the chance to experience science first hand by designing and experiencing their own thrill ride at The Sum of All Thrills presented by Raytheon

We look forward to celebrating National Engineers Week every year with Raytheon, but this year is especially memorable so be sure to drop by Innoventions West this week! 

National Engineers Week

Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Places At Walt Disney World

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We thought that to celebrate the day, we would share some of our ideal places to celebrate at Walt Disney World!

Valentine's Day

Beth

A fun unique way to spend Valentines Day at WDW for me is to take a stroll around the Boardwalk. Grab some dinner & drinks while taking in a view of Illuminations before ending the night at Jellyrolls for a fun sing-a-long. 

Betsy

One of the most romantic things I love to do at Walt Disney World is stroll around with that special someone. I have a few places in particular that I enjoy. One of my favorites is Epcot at night. The parks transforms when the torches are lit before Illuminations and the ambient noise from guests seems the die down. I especially love finding a quiet spot in France by the back gardens or tucked away while everyone else is getting ready for the fireworks and listening to the beautiful French accordion music. Enjoying a toast with an adult beverage or even a snack from the patisserie is a great way to cap off a romantic stroll around World Showcase. 

 

If you are looking for romance outside the parks, also in the evenings I really enjoy walking around the gardens at Port Orleans French Quarter, maybe after enjoying some beignets! After all, the French do seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to l’amour <3!  I also would never turn down a romantic walk around the Polynesian with the palms swaying in the breeze, ukelele and steel guitar music gently wafting through the air, sand beneath my toes, and a view of Wishes fireworks from the beach would make almost anyone swoon. 

 

Dining options around Walt Disney World are prevalent, but it can sometimes be hard to picture a romantic place that is quiet and sans children. Of course if I had the choice, I’d pick dressing up with my man to go to Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian where no children under 12 are admitted and the tones are decidedly hushed. I’d also prefer not to pay that bill ;). Looking for something a bit more affordable, but still with a nice atmosphere, I like Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge or Flying Fish at the Boardwalk. Both are quieter than most other restaurants I’ve found on property and have a nice ambiance, great food and wine to match. 

Gail

There are many restaurants and places to go for Valentines day, depending on how extravagant one is willing to go.

 

For me, if I’m not planning on going to a restaurant or park, one of my favorite things is fireworks. So my recommendation would be to go to The Polynesian, pick up a coffee and a sweet snack and head down to the beach area. If it’s chilly be sure to take a blanket, which can be used to sit on too. 

 

The view from the beach at the Polynesian is special as you don’t need park access, and the view is stunning as you get the reflections off the lake too.  Just be sure to get there around 15/20 minutes before they begin so you can secure a good viewing spot. 

Watching the fireworks with your loved one can be so romantic, especially snuggled up with a hot beverage by the beach! Don’t forget a selfie to capture your night! 

Jillian

I’d love to spend Valentine’s Day with a nice meal at Yachtsman Steakhouse followed by a night time stroll around Crescent Lake or World Showcase. Then cap the evening off with any of the firework spectaculars. 

Kelly Hicks

My ideal Valentine’s Day at WDW would have to be in the World Showcase at Epcot. I especially love wandering around at night when the pavilions are lit up. Maybe grab an ice cream cone at L’Artisan des Glaces in France – my favorite flavor is profiterole! – and do a little window shopping. Of course the night wouldn’t be complete without a viewing of Illuminations!

Kelly Walker

When I think romance (which I hardly ever do in general) around Disney World, I immediately think of Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Not only is it one of our favorite restaurants, but it tends to be quite one-on-one. It’s normally not loud and while it’s “fancy”, it’s got a laid back feel to it as well. And if you’re not looking to spend a bunch of money on dinner, a favorite of mine is to get a good spot on the train station and watch Wishes from there.

Mike

If I could pick somewhere to spend Valentines Day in Walt Disney World it would have to be experiencing a romantic candlelit dinner at the California Grill located within the Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Not only does this location have excellent food and atmosphere, but it also provides for some of the greatest views of the entire Walt Disney World property. Located on the 15th floor, the California Grill provides views of the Magic Kingdom, the Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake and numerous other landmarks on Disney World property. There’s nothing quite like being able to catch a Florida sunset from the top of the Contemporary Resort while enjoying an excellent glass of wine and top notch cuisine. At the end of the night you can head out onto the balcony and top off your romantic evening with a breathtaking view of Wishes, the Magic Kingdom’s night time spectacular. In my opinion the California Grill is one of the most romantic dining options on Walt Disney World property and an excellent way to spend your Valentines Day. 

Shelley

My favorite date night with Dave is a little bit corny, but we love to head to the Magic Kingdom. We have a ‘light’ dinner of appetizer’s at Tony’s Town Square, take a stroll through the park as the sunsets, and then settle into our favorite spot for the rest of the night. We head over to Sleepy Hollow Refreshments to grab a funnel cake and a table near the castle. Sleepy Hollow is an awesome spot, because you can watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and Celebrate the Magic before heading to the castle to watch Wishes! I love our Magic Kingdom nights, because it’s a great chance to slow down and I don’t have to share my treats with Zoe!!!

Wherever you are celebrating today, we hope that your Valentine’s Day is awesome!