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About Our Agent Bloggers

All Agents are College of Disney Knowledge graduates, with some also holding additional specialties like:   Accredited Cruise Counselor, Universal Specialist, Sandals & Beaches Specialist, as well as other destination specialties.   Our Agents are experienced travelers.  If your specific agent hasn’t experienced “it”, there is someone in the Agency that has; so you have access to first-hand, experienced advice.  That’s how we can provide you this experiential based travel planning service!  We are an entire Team working together!

Our Agents will ALWAYS, without fail, no exceptions – tell you the truth and do what they say.

Trained. Traveled. Trusted.  It’s Who We Are.

 

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Meet the Wine Maker Cruise Series is Back With a Fantastic Lineup

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Meet the Wine Maker Cruise Series is Back With a Fantastic Lineup

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Calling all wine enthusiasts and foodies! Norwegian recently announced the lineup for the much-anticipated 2020 Meet the Winemaker cruise series.

This exciting wine cruise series will give you the unique opportunity to pair breathtaking destinations with world-class vintages and gourmet cuisine. Through a variety of enriching seminars and activities on board—including open-forum discussions, meet-and-greets, intimate wine tastings and wine-paired dinners, interactive cooking demonstrations and educational sessions—guests will enjoy exclusive opportunities to learn from top winemakers and other industry experts. Each of the Meet the Winemaker cruises feature vintages chosen by the expert and brought on board for these exclusive events. The wine experiences range from $19.95 to $60 per person plus tax and gratuity and may be reserved once on board the ship.

Wine Cruises On Our Newest Ships

The Meet the Winemaker series will take place on some of our most innovative ships: Norwegian BlissNorwegian JoyNorwegian Escape and Norwegian Encore—our newest and most thrilling ship. In addition to having access to incredible wines and dining experiences, guests will enjoy all our ships have to offer, from hit Broadway shows and an award-winning spa to experiencing true luxury at sea in The Haven®.

Winemaker Cruise Lineup

Diane Flamand

7-Day Bermuda on Norwegian Encore: May 3rd, 2020
Diane Flamand, winemaker, Bordeaux Collection wine Domaines de Rothschild [LAFITE]. From 1997 to 2003, Diane assumed the role of Training Manager at Barton & Guestier (Blanquefort – Bordeaux) where she ran the B&G Wine Training Program and promoted the brand in France and abroad in South and North America, Europe and Russia. In 2003, she spent several months in California at the Sterling Vineyard and in South Africa before formally joining DBR (Lafite) in 2004 as Winemaker, Bordeaux Collection Wines.

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Salvatore Ferragamo

7-Day Alaska on Norwegian Joy: May 16th, 2020
Since 1993 Salvatore Ferragamo, together with his father Ferruccio, have been responsible for conserving The Il Borro estate Historical heritage but have also transformed the property into a 5 star Relais et Châteaux Hotel in a 1000 year old medieval village and converted all agricultural farming practice to organic farming, producing world class wines with a unique concept of terroir.

Rob Mondavi, Jr.

7-Day Alaska on Norwegian Joy: August 29th, 2020
A fourth-generation Napa Valley winemaker, Rob Mondavi, Jr. serves as the President of Winemaking for Michael Mondavi Family Estate. The son of Isabel & Michael Mondavi, Rob was raised in Napa Valley and spent much of his childhood playing among the vines and barrels at Robert Mondavi Winery, where he later served as Director of Marketing before co-founding Michael Mondavi Family Estate. Rob resides in Napa Valley with his wife, Lydia, and their two sons.

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Michael Mondavi

9-Day Baltic on Norwegian Escape: September 14th, 2020
Michael Mondavi is known as the “quiet icon” among his friends and colleagues and is widely credited with helping to establish and build the Napa Valley wine industry as we know it. Raised at the Charles Krug winery in St Helena, Michael’s wine career began in 1966 when he and his father Robert co-founded the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, Napa Valley. He served in many positions at the winery, including winemaker for the first eight harvests, including the celebrated 1974 vintage. In 1999, Michael, along with his wife Isabel and their two children, Rob, Jr. and Dina, founded Michael Mondavi Family Estate, creating a sustainable legacy to be passed down to the next generation.

Antonio Hidalgo

10-Day Baltic on Norwegian Escape: Oct. 11th, 2020
Antonio Hidalgo has a unique connection and commitment with the fascinating world of Wines. He is the 8th generation of family owned Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana, a worldwide recognized Sherry house, founded by his great grandfather in 1792 in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain. Born and raised in Sanlucar, with the winery as his playground, he endeavored every single job there was available from harvesting to production. By the age of 17 he became part of the winemaking team.

 

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Aarón Sanchez

7-Day Bahamas on Norwegian Encore: Oct. 13th, 2020
Award-winning chef and owner of Johnny Sánchez restaurant, Aarón Sánchez is the official chef ambassador for Terrazas de los Andes wines and one of the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.

Miguel Torres Maczassek

14-Day Transatlantic on Norwegian Escape: Oct. 26th, 2020
Founded in 1870 by Jaime Torres, Bodegas Torres (Miguel Torres SA) is a historical wine growing company located in Penedès. Torres is the family winery with the most extensive vineyards in the Denomination of Origin (DO) of Penedès and the largest winery in Spain. Torres is also Spain’s largest producer of DO wines under its own label, exporting to more than 140 countries. Under the Torres brand name they trade wine and brandy under on a range of different labels. Some of these are Viña Sol, Sangre de Toro, De Casta, Coronas, Atrium and Viña Esmeralda, with their best known brandies being Torres 5 and Torres 10.

Christine Wente

5-Day Mexico on Norwegian Bliss: Nov. 1st, 2020
In 2000, Christine Wente became the first member of the fifth generation to join the family business, bringing new perspectives to the country’s oldest continuously operated family-owned winery. She is an active spokesperson for the company, and a member of the Board of Directors.

Pierre Casenave, Director of Winemaking Development & Operations for Veuve Clicquot

7-Day Western Caribbean on Norwegian Encore: Dec. 12th, 2020

Pierre Casenave grew up in the Pyrénées Atlantiques renowned for tapas, ferias and rugby, a region closed to Spain. He recognized his passion for Oenology and obtained a diploma in Oenology at the University of Montpellier and has been enrolled at Bordeaux International Wine Institute in 2007 and graduated an MBA Wine. Professionally, after numerous practicals and internships, he has been appointed as winemaker for over six years in prestigious wineries in Saint Emilion, Pomerol as well as the South African Stellenbosch wine region and in the United States, California. Pierre joined Champagne Veuve Clicquot in 2008 as Oenologist. He is proud to belong to the tasting panel, taking an active part in the creation of the finest quality blends for all the House’s wines.

In 2019, he was appointed winemaking development and operations director. Pierre also plays a significant role in the communication efforts of Veuve Clicquot – tasting, promoting and training all over the world.

 

Originally Published: https://www.ncl.com/travel-blog/norwegian-meet-the-winemaker-cruise-series

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Shopping in Greenmarket Square, South Africa

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Shopping in Greenmarket Square, South Africa

Maggie Ballantyne
4.5.20

I made a promise to myself when I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa that I would only buy souvenirs (art, jewelry, etc.) from people if I had the chance to meet the artist. When you meet the artist, you get to learn more about the trade, the culture, and the business you are supporting. I may not be an artisan, but I do know the value and how much it means to someone when their small business is supported.

At Greenmarket Square in Cape Town, there are lines of vendors. It is a beautiful site to see between the paintings, wood carvings, beading, clothes, etc. Everyone wants you to buy from them, so if you go, be prepared to be approached. Also be prepared to barter. You do not have to, but know that prices are set high with the expectation that you will.

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My favorite part about my time in Greenmarket Square was talking to the locals. I bought three beaded necklaces, about twenty beaded Christmas ornaments, and a few wired- or beaded animals from a stand that was owned and run by a mother, and her two daughters, and their daughters. These ladies were so excited that I was asking about their work and they were eager to show me how it is they create the beaded necklaces and animals. Just as they continue to pass this trade down from generation to generation, they took me step-by-step through the process.

I will never forget the hug one of the women gave me when I made my purchases and brought my friends over to do the same. She thanked me by giving me an angel Christmas ornament and called me her friend. I know I will probably never see her again, but I do know that I will never forget her and I will cherish that ornament forever. It was a gift from the heart.

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I am an avid coffee drinker as are many of my friends, so when I saw hand painted mugs, shot glasses, tea cups, dishes, etc., I had to go up to that stand. The woman I met at that stand also couldn’t wait to show me her work. Each mug is individually designed, created, molded, and hand painted by her. I learned the process takes three weeks. I bought a few mugs for friends, myself, and a beautiful teapot for my mom. Again, she was so grateful that she gave me a cute little shot glass with a hand painted elephant and gave me hug. She will also not soon be forgotten.

The paintings I purchased at Greenmarket Square are phenomenal. One is an abstract piece of an elephant and the other is of women carrying water on their heads and babies on their backs. The artist was thrilled to learn I was from the United States. He and his friend have traveled to America a few times and plan to sell some of their art in a shop in Seattle. They are so excited for the opportunity and I am excited for them. I love Seattle and hope to return one day. I hope even more that I will see his art has made it!

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Another woman I bought from helped me with one of my most important purchases: a pencil. Unlike souvenir shops in the United States that typically have touristy pencils near the register, South Africa does not. My dad collects them for his office and I knew I needed to find a good one. This woman was selling unique, hand-crafted pencils that her students were making to help bring money home to their families. Another great purchase!

We spent hours in this market because it really was more than just shopping, but a chance to get to know people and their stories. One of our final purchases in the market was a suitcase because four women on a ten-day trip filled with exploring, shopping, fun, and a killer exchange rate means we were coming home with way more than we started with.

If you want more information about how destinations in South Africa or the Adventures by Disney South Africa itinerary, me today at maggie@wishesfamilytravel.com or follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wishesfamilytravelmaggie

 

 

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Behind-The-Scenes at ‘Drawn to Life’ by Cirque du Soleil & Disney: The Story

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Behind-The-Scenes at ‘Drawn to Life’ by Cirque du Soleil & Disney: The Story

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by , Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager, Disney Springs

In this week’s behind-the-scenes look at “Drawn to Life” by Cirque du Soleil & Disney, we share a little more about the story of the show and the special cast of characters who bring the magic to life. At its core, “Drawn to Life” is the story of the love between a father and a daughter. Delightful, mesmerizing movements of Cirque du Soleil acrobatic mastery pair with the magic of Disney animation to accentuate the story.

Our main character is Julie, a courageous and determined young girl. Her father, Tom, was a Disney animator who raised his daughter and surrounded her with Disney animated characters who helped her grow and played important roles in her life.

When Julie finds an unfinished animation piece and a letter from her late father, her imagination is awakened, and she embarks on an inspiring journey into the whimsical world of animation. Along the way, she meets characters like Mr. Pencil (her father’s favorite pencil), who help guide her. Julie also encounters Miss Hésitation, the story’s villain, who reflects Julie’s own doubts and fears as an artist.

Throughout her adventure, Julie is reunited with Disney characters from her childhood, giving her the encouragement she needs to animate with her own unique artistic voice. Let’s take a look at two acts from the show – The Inner World of Animation and Aerial Pencil:

For more show information, visit DisneySprings.com/Cirque. Keep an eye out for another behind-the-scenes video soon!

 

Originally Published: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/03/behind-the-scenes-at-drawn-to-life-by-cirque-du-soleil-disney-the-story/

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RECIPE: Confetti Milkshake from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

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RECIPE: Confetti Milkshake from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

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Whose taste buds are ready for a party right about now? I know mine are and what better way to treat yourself than with a milkshake from Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Penelope and Jacques have opened up their recipe vault and shared one of their most popular creations, the Confetti Milkshake. It’s easy to prepare at home and perfect for a birthday, milestone moment, a random Tuesday dessert, or dang it, just because you deserve it. Enjoy!

Confetti Milkshake Recipe

Serves: 1 if you’re looking to treat yourself, 2 if you like to share

Ingredients:

  • 3 large scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • ¾ cup milk (any kind will work!)
  • 3 teaspoons of rainbow sprinkles, divided
  • 2 slices of rainbow vanilla cake (box mix is great!)
  • 2 teaspoons buttercream frosting (recipe below if you don’t have premade)
  • ¾ cup whipped cream
  • 1 jumbo straw!

Directions:

  1. Bake the cake according to box instructions and set aside (cake should be fully cool)
  2. Now, make the buttercream frosting (recipe below) and set aside
  3. Grab a fun cup and spread one teaspoon of frosting on the rim of the glass (bonus points if you have a Toothsome glass!)
  4. Using one teaspoon of sprinkles, rim the frosted glass with sprinkles
  5. Next, grab your blender and place 3 large scoops of ice cream inside
  6. Pour 1 teaspoon of sprinkles, milk and 1 slice of cake into blender
  7. Blend on medium high until everything is mixed and smooth
  8. Pour milkshake into cup and top off with whipped cream
  9. Place remaining slice of frosted cake on top of whipped cream
  10. Garnish with remaining sprinkles and place straw into the shake to ENJOY!

Note: You can follow this recipe and use any combination of ice cream, cake and sprinkles!

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Yields approximately two cups

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. Cream ½ cup of room temperature butter with a hand mixer, paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy
  2. Gradually mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar until fully incorporated
  3. Mix in 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
  4. Pour in 2 tablespoons of milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes or until everything is smooth and creamy

We here at Universal Orlando (especially Penelope and Jacques!) would love to see your milkshakes. Share with us your whimsical creations with #UniversalAtHome and by tagging us on Twitter @UniversalORL and Instagram @UniversalOrlando.

 

Originally Published: https://blog.universalorlando.com/eat-and-drink/toothsome-confetti-milkshake-recipe/

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THE EXOTIC RESTAURANT MARRAKESH

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THE EXOTIC RESTAURANT MARRAKESH

Tara Mulkerin
4.2.20

The first thing to know about my family is that when in Walt Disney World we gravitate to old favorites. As a Concierge Vacation Architect, I always aim to try new restaurants on each trip. I prefer not to recommend something I haven’t tried myself.

I’ve never had a client ask for a reservation for Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion, nor had I ever eaten there. So, it was completely by chance that we ended up there. It was during Food & Wine Festival and we had planned to just eat around the “World” at the different food booths. We found ourselves wandering around Morocco, one of my favorite countries, looking at jewelry and exotic products from the shops. We happened to walk by Restaurant Marrakesh. There were two very friendly Cast Members at the doorway. Seeing how hot we were (it was SWELTERING that day) they offered us a respite in their lobby. The smells were wonderful. We asked if, perhaps, they could take us without a reservation. They laughed and said,” Absolutely”.

We were let into the beautiful restaurant to a table right beside an area with a dance floor and an area for a musician to play. Immediately, two servers came to our table and went over the substantial list of drinks. We had the Marrakesh Express and the Sahara Splash, while our daughters had Shirley Temples. The Marrakesh Express was yummy with two kinds of rum along with pineapple juice and orange juice. It was just a bit too strong for me but was immediately replaced once I mentioned this to our server. The Sahara Splash, basically Russian Vodka with cranberry juice was perfectly mixed and refreshing. The waiters were so friendly. We told them we’d like to spend a little time with the menu and then would have some questions as we were not familiar with Moroccan food. They managed to be readily available without being obtrusive while we studied the large menu.

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We were on Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan, so we were able to get appetizers. We decided to each get a different one and share for a broad variety. The server insisted that the two appetizers on the menu that were advertised as ‘for two’ guests to share only counted as 1 Credit on the Deluxe Plan. Ok, we thought, we are going to be so full! We ordered the sampler for two, (beef brewat rolls, chicken Bastilla and a Jasmina salad), Goat cheese with crispy bread, and a Taste of Moroccan Salads (green pepper & tomato, marinated olives, carrots, and potatoes and a cucumber salad).

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Once the appetizers arrived, we finally decided on our entrees. After we ordered the entrees we dug into the appetizers. It all smelled so wonderful. The beef brewart was sort of like a large taquito, deep fried with a savory beef inside. The chicken Bastilla looked like a hot pocket! The chicken lightly spiced was delicious. Both were covered with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon. The Jasmine salad of lettuce, olives, feta, diced tomatoes and green peppers was light and creamy with a refreshing dressing. None of us were very impressed with the trio of salads. They were good but seemed like typical backyard picnic food when we were going for exotic. The goat cheese with the crispy bread was my favorite. Deep fried triangle shaped dough was displayed standing up dipped into a goat cheese and olive mixture. It was so good I could have eaten it all myself.

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At this point the musician came out and played Middle Eastern music. Perfectly timed, the entrees arrived. Both my daughter and I opted for beef Shish Kebab. The beef was tender and cooked to our liking and paired with a yellow rice that was very tasty. My husband raved about his lamb shank that was served with vegetables and yellow rice. Finally, my other daughter (the picky one) did not care for her Meshoui style braised beef served with carrots and mashed garlic. But no worries, the rest of us loved it. Again, with the impeccable service our glasses were never empty. The servers “forced” us into dessert and while waiting we were treated to a belly dancer that was completely appropriate for kids.

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Dessert was delicious with warm beignets with sweet cream and a dessert Bastilla with was thin, crispy pastry filled with vanilla cream and sprinkled with almonds. This turned out to be the best dessert of the trip.

So, from this rigid schedule traveler, every once and awhile, its nice to get off the beaten path and stop to smell the cinnamon.

I would love to help you plan a trip including this and many other enjoyable eateries. Please email or call me to discuss you next vacation!

Tara Mulkerin
Concierge Agent
Wishes Family Travel
M – (412) 913-8652 
O – (864) 649-1489
F – (866) 222-4713
www.wishesfamilytravel.com

 

 

 

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Universal Orlando Team Member Shares His Story of Transformation and Tips for Running Universal

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Universal Orlando Team Member Shares His Story of Transformation and Tips for Running Universal

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When I first emailed Bob Page, one of the broadcast engineers working at Universal Orlando Resort’s Radio Broadcast Center, about the possibility of talking to him about Running Universal’s Epic Character 5K and 10K races, he responded with:

Of course…. I’d be happy to do whatever… pretty excited that two of my favorite worlds are colliding!!!

You wouldn’t guess it by looking at the Bob of today, but growing up in Connecticut, he was your standard gets-picked-last-in-sports kid.

He had always had an interest in doing radio some day, but it felt like a pipe dream. When he moved to Florida in 1991, Bob applied for a job at another theme park and was told there weren’t any costumes that would fit him.

“I was well over 300 pounds at the time,” Bob explains. “And so that hurt, it stung. I drove up the street and applied here and was hired in security. It was 1991, so the broadcast center at that point didn’t even exist, it was just a facade.”

By ‘94, the Radio Broadcast Center had been established and Bob had landed a weekend gig that eventually led to his current role overseeing the 400 or so different radio shows produced from our two in-park studios.

“One of my favorite things about working here happens at the end of every day,” Bob says. “The broadcast center sits in the theme park, so when I head home after work, I get to walk through the park. I see families completely enjoying themselves and smiling together. This is a place that brings people together and I get to be a part of that.”

The people closest to Bob would tell you that, for a majority of his life, he was more likely to be found on a couch than a running trail (and he definitely wasn’t the sneaker enthusiast that he is today). In many ways, Bob found himself using food as a salve to his problems. Bad days were remedied with a binge, vacations were planned around food, and Bob’s activity level was extremely low.

“I didn’t ever do anything,” Bob says. “I was just tired all the time.”

It wasn’t until a doctor’s appointment right before his fiftieth birthday that Bob received the news that would change his life.

Weighing in at 320 pounds at the time, Bob heard his doctor say it point-blank: “If you don’t change your ways, you will die young.”

“That struck a pretty good chord,” Bob says. “I felt like I had a very good life — a happy family, two daughters, three grandkids —and I just felt like I was in a good and happy place and I didn’t want any of it to end early.”

For Bob, this moment in the doctor’s office was an absolute epiphany moment. He knew it was time to make a change and he had a feeling he knew how he was going to make it.

“It was anything but as simple as it sounds, but it literally came down to eating less and moving more,” Bob explains.

At the time, Bob’s family had a trip planned to Ireland and he knew he’d have two options on that trip: walk a lot and experience all the sights with his family, or take his usual route and sit out on activities. Prior to the trip, Bob committed to walk a mile every day, which helped dramatically prepare him for the family’s time in Ireland. Returning home, Bob had lost some weight already and realized he was not only capable of change, but if he really committed he could make a drastic one in his life.

“I decided I would walk a 5K every day,” he says. “It took me about six months to run my first one all the way through, and then once I ran it the first time I was like, ‘well, if you can run it once you can do that every single time. You don’t walk anymore; now you run.’”

For 580 consecutive days, Bob ran a 5K. He never missed a day. He lost 150 pounds.

That first streak caused an entire momentum-shift in his life. He started posting his fitness story on social media in an effort to motivate others and he still runs 5-6 days a week.

Bob says that while it was never easy, he always felt committed.

“You have to commit to the end result,” he says. “This is not something you can do for six months, lose some weight, and then everything is going to be fine. It really does have to be a life change.”

With Running Universal coming up, Bob is looking forward to the event that he describes as “two of my favorite things clashing together.”

His advice for beginners?

“Make sure you have good shoes and remember any movement is good movement. You have to start somewhere, so if you want to come out and walk and enjoy the characters and the event — do that. It’s impressive and amazing to take that step.”

And as for you avid runners, Bob — who got a sneak-peak at the medals — wants you to know they’ll look great with your collection.

“For runners, medals are very important and these look so, so cool.”

In some ways, Bob wishes to a degree that he had prioritized his health sooner, but he aims to live his life without regret and to just keep up with what he started with that first of 580+ 5Ks.

“Changing used to feel insurmountable,” he says. “I was one of those people who didn’t fit on any of our rides and now I’m making plans to run the theme park. Running has helped me tremendously physically, but also mentally. Running is my therapy.”

Get more details and for Running Universal’s Epic Character 5K and 10K races!

 

Originally Published: https://blog.universalorlando.com/behind-the-scenes/universal-orlando-team-member-shares-his-story-of-transformation-and-tips-for-running-universal/

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In a Galaxy Far, Far Away (Part 2)

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In a Galaxy Far, Far Away (Part 2)

Megan Kline
3.31.20

Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars fans can immerse themselves in amazing experiences only Disney can engineer. I had to do an update to my blog post since Galaxy’s Edge has opened in Walt Disney World! Here is the run down on all the amazing things the Star Wars lover in your family can see and do in Hollywood Studios.

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Let’s start with the beginning of your day at the park! You will want to get to Hollywood Studios before the park opens. Once the ropes have dropped, grab your little Jedi and head straight to the Indiana Jones Adventures Outpost. Once you are in line join the boarding group to enter Galaxy’s Edge. Then you will register your child, between the ages of 4 and 12, for Jedi Training. Jedi Training is an interactive show that takes place several times each day in the park. Your child will train to become a Jedi, and even get to take on the evil forces of the Dark Side.

Once your child has registered they are ready to train! Make sure to arrive back to the Adventure Outpost earlier than your scheduled start time. The Cast Members will get your children ready by suiting them up with a robe and lightsaber. They will then line them up for a parade that takes you from the Adventure Outpost to the stage. I suggest one parent walk in the parade next to the child while the other parent or family member goes to get a good standing spot near the stage. The show is amazing and the Disney Photo Pass photographers capture photos of your child, these will load right up to your Memory Maker account. After you have completed Jedi Training you will want to take a photo of your child on the speeder located nearby. This is the same speeder that is used in Return of the Jedi.

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If you booked your vacation with me, you will most likely have a reservation for Oga’s Cantina which guarantees you access into the land. Once you enter Batuu you can make your way to Oga’s Cantina to check in for your early reservation. You immediately feel like you are a part of the movies while entering this lounge. Each guest can enjoy a two drinks in your allotted time of 45 minutes. This is not a place to eat a full meal, its simply about the experience only true Star Wars fans will love.

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You should be able to get on Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run within 35 minutes of waiting, give or take during peak season. There are no Fast Passes for either ride in Galaxy’s Edge. When you get through the line queue you are given a card to determine your role in the immersive ride. I have been both the Gunner, and the Pilot. Being the Pilot is so much fun! Rise of the Resistance is the newest ride that opened December 5th, 2019. I have not been on this one yet, but I am counting down the days until my next trip!

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After enjoying both rides take time to take in the amazing detail of Batuu. You may even meet a Storm Trooper or two! Many other characters roam the land offering wonderful character interaction. We have met—Kylo Ren, Rey, and Chewbacca. Galaxy’s Edge also offers fun experiences for both children and adults. You can build a droid at Droid Depot for $99 plus tax. An appointment is required and as your travel agent I secure this for you. The builder is allowed to bring one guest with them to experience the building process. The other family members can wait behind a wall but can still view their builders in action. You can also build lightsaber for a whopping $200 price tag. I recommend this experience for teens and adults. After building your droid or lightsaber head to the milk stand to try this tasty treat! Are you team blue or green?

The Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo is a wonderful quick-service location serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you are on the Disney Dining plan you are able to use one of your quick-service credits here. This is the only place in Galaxy’s Edge where you can use your dining plan.

Once you are doing exploring Galaxy’s Edge you will want to use your pre-booked Fast Pass for Star Tours- The Adventure Continues. This 3D adventure offers 96 ride combinations, including the newest battle from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is definitely a Do Not Miss attraction! Make sure to use Rider Swap if you have little ones who aren’t able or willing to ride this one. Once you exit the ride you will be whisked away into Tatooine Traders, a large store with Star Wars merchandise. Your little Jedi will love building their own light saber to carry around with them that day. This store features merchandise and clothing for fans of all ages.

Head over to Animation Courtyard and you will see Star Wars Launch Bay. You will find so much to do and see. Enjoy it all in the cool air conditioning. The characters that meet in the Launch Bay are always changing. On our last visit in September 2019 we met Chewie, BB8, and Darth Vader.

After a long day of Jedi mind tricks and evil Sith Lords you can kick back and relax and watch the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. This spectacular show will be the perfect way to end your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

To learn more about Disney’s Hollywood Studios email me at megkline@wishesfamilytravel.com Or check out my Facebook Page

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#VoicesFromHome: Dapper Dans Share Disney Magic, Take Requests

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#VoicesFromHome: Dapper Dans Share Disney Magic, Take Requests

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by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

With their happy harmonizing, the Dapper Dans are an iconic part of the Main Street, U.S.A., experience at Disneyland Resort.  Today, in a first-of-its-kind performance, the famed Dapper Dans are using their #VoicesFromHome to share a touch of Disney magic with everyone at home.

From Burbank, California to Houston Texas, the Disneyland Dapper Dans jumped online at home to sing one of their all-time favorite songs “When You Wish Upon A Star.”  The song is just one of many others from a Dapper Dans song list that includes the popular “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and “When I See An Elephant Fly.”

What song would you like to hear next?

Originally Published: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/03/voicesfromhome-dapper-dans-share-disney-magic-take-requests/

 

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A Galaxy Far, Far Away, But Close to my Heart

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A Galaxy Far, Far Away, But Close to my Heart

Tiffany Morse
3.29.20

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My recent trip to Walt Disney World was a thrilling adventure because we were going to experience Galway’s Edge, to see how the hype compared to what I had envisioned  in my mind.  The “Star Wars Galaxy” has always been close to my heart.  I was born in 1977, the year “Star Wars: A New Hope” was released.  From a young age, I have loved these movies and bonded with the characters.  With each movie, another layer of the saga is revealed, more details. 

I have always especially loved Princess Leia.  She was one of the first female heroines of my childhood.  I looked up to her and the way that she saved herself. Leia was a mix of princess and fighter. She stood up for what was right and helped others.  I would watch these movies over and over again with my Dad.  It’s one of our special things. 

When I met my husband, I introduced him to Star Wars, and we have since introduced our children to the Star Wars Galaxy.  As the new movies have been introduced, we have continued this tradition.  They have been released around Christmastime, so on release years that is our gift to my Dad. We treat him to dinner or lunch and the movies.  From my 95-year-old grandmother, to my nine-year-old-son, we all go and have a great time.  That’s what it is all about, family making memories, spending time together.

Now, Walt Disney World has created an entirely immersive experience and I have gotten to go.  I was so thrilled when this opportunity came up.  I have to say, being able to play out my own Star Wars Story, to be a part of the Resistance, to help the Millennium Falcon make her run, eat and drink with crazy creatures in Oga’s Catina, and be immersed in the stories I have loved for years left me speechless.  I am so excited to share this with friends and could not wait to see how everything works, and live out my Star Wars Story.

On our first morning, we got up at 3:30 and were at Hollywood Studios by 4:10 a.m.  Security was extra tight, but we made it through with no problems and were in line for Galaxy’s Edge by 4:30 a.m. They let us in rather unceremoniously, and led us toward the back of the park.  We rounded the corner and then walked under a stone archway and we then were transported into another land.  It was like nothing I had experienced in a park before.  It was however, like stepping into the Star Wars Movies.  We then proceeded into the marketplace area.  One of the first things we came across was a stand with a Cast Member demonstrating a new creature from Batuu, the fictional planet we were on.  There was also a pressing need to find the refresher (restroom).  They were well themed, but easily found.  Inside they looked the part and the sinks filled with old looking pipes and very much Star Wars looking.    

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The Market Place was amazing and had a lot of shops and fast food options.  There were odd looking Cokes with futuristic writing on them.  There were booths lining both sides of the marketplace street leading into the main circular area where the reactor core was.  As you passed through the center, you come out close to Oga’s Cantina.  If you go to the left you will pass through the First Order and eventually come to the Black Spire Outpost, the Resistance Outpost.  No matter which side of the force you choose there is so much for you to see and experience.  For any fan, “Star Wars : Galaxy’s Edge: is a must see experience.”  To book your galactic adventure today contact me at: tiffm@wishesfailytravel.com or 678-770-4144.

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Disney Cruise Line

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Disney Cruise Line

Kelly Rodriguez
3.28.20

At the beginning of November 2019 my family went on their first cruise aboard the Disney Dream, and it was the BEST vacation ever. I had been on several Disney cruises with my first time aboard in 8th grade. My husband has been with me, but it had been more than 10 years since our last Disney Cruise. Disney in my Opinion has to BEST service, entertainment, food, and amenities.

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Is a Disney Cruise worth the extra cost in comparison to other cruise lines? YES, YES AND YES!

When it comes to the full package, food, entertainment, and cleanliness, Disney has thought of it all. There is so much attention to detail everywhere- I swear they work around the clock to make sure everything has been cleaned, food prepared, your room turned over, and a cute towel animal has been created in every stateroom.

DISNEY CRUISE CABINS

What kind of cabin did you stay in? We were fortunate to stay in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with a Verandah. There was a Queen size bed, plus a sitting area that transitioned into a day bed and a pull down bed for night. I highly recommend this stateroom when traveling with kids who nap or go to bed before you do! It gave Brandon and I a place to escape and relax so that we weren’t stuck in the room in darkness with our children!

THE TOILET AND TUB ARE SEPARATED!

One of the best features of the DCL cabins is the toilet and the tub are separate with a sink in each space. The tubs are deep and wide, perfect for two kids, and the shower head is adjustable. When bath time is over, you can use the pullout clothesline to hang any wet bathing suits/clothes. There is a category in the interior staterooms that only have 1 bathroom.

IS THE DISNEY CRUISE SHIP CLEAN?

What, the boat clean? Sanitary? I cannot emphasize enough that Disney Cruise Lines truly care about the health of their guests. Not only were there hand washing stations in the buffet dining rooms, but everyone was handed a sanitary wipe before entering breakfast/lunch/dinner. There are also sanitizing stations near the dining areas on the pool deck, as well as the beverage stations. There were these really cool hand washing station where the kids stuck each hand in like a “hole,” and it washed their hands for them in the kids club.

Disney crew members tend to the ship’s cleanliness all day long. From vacuuming hallways to wiping down windows, from polishing stair rails to thoroughly cleaning the bathrooms, the boat was spotless at all times.

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WHAT IS THE BEST AGE FOR KIDS TO GO ON A DISNEY CRUISE?

My most asked question: What is the best age for kids to go on a Disney cruise? Kylie was 8, Parker was 6, Maddox 4, and Elijah 1.5. They all had so much fun and ask me every day when we will go back!

I saw families with children of all ages – from young babies to college age kids!

I loved going on this cruise as a teen. I was able to meet so many different people from all over the world. I spent a week hanging out with new friends and even had some visit me from New York when I returned home! I am still Facebook friends with some of the people I met over 15 years ago!

IS THERE A KIDS CLUB ON THE DISNEY CRUISE LINES?

The Oceaneer Club is an exclusive kids club for ages 3 and up and potty trained. You can drop the kids off ANYTIME and the counselors even pick them up from dinner at night if you want.

How does the Oceaneer Youth Club work? Every child registered in the Oceaneer club has a smart wrist band containing information about not only them, but their family as well. These look like MagicBands, if you are familiar with them from Walt Disney world. When you drop off your child, not only they, but you, are scanned into the system. The kids go in to wash their hands and join the fun, while you confirm you have the Disney App activated (or the provided room phone) so you can be notified when they want to be picked up. The kids tell the counselors when they’re done having fun – so you can rest easy while they play. Another nice feature of the children’s club is even though you may be on the pickup list you also need to know the secret password you created when registering them so you do have a second set of security. There were so many fun things scheduled for them to do in the kids’ club through out the 4 days – like special characters that would come do activities with them.

Note: There are Open House times in the Oceaneer Club throughout the week so the whole family can check out what is being offered.

ARE THERE BABY SITTING SERVICES ON A DISNEY CRUISE for under 3?

YES –It’s a Small World Nursery is a childcare center available for an hourly rate. Before your sailing date you can schedule childcare services or book when you get on board. They don’t require reservations, but recommend them. We Had sick kids on the trip so didn’t get to use the nursery!

I talk with a lot of clients who have reservations about a cruise with small children due to safety concerns. Before going on one myself I felt the same anxiety they experience when talking about a cruise with littles. Once I got onboard my fears were almost nonexistent. Our balcony room had a lock at the top of the door which was 6 feet up. There was no way my toddler or baby was able to unlock the balcony door- they were also very heavy and hard for me to even open. I loved having the balcony with the kids and will continue to do chose a balcony in future cruises. Once it was lights out for the kids, we would have no choice but to go to bed – there is a curtain in between but the tv was on the kids side and with no internet there wasn’t much else to do. My husband and I would go hang out and talk on the balcony and just watch the world go by once the kids went to sleep. It was a great way for us to connect and reflect on the day. There aren’t any guard rails for your child to climb. The Disney Cruise Line ships have a protective plexiglass on the guardrails and verandah.

If you would like a free quote or more details please contact me at KellyR@wishesfamilytravel.com

 

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