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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Go to the Carnival!


We're thrilled to be featured once again in this great carnival style round up of fabulous Disney news and reviews across the web with our look at Walt Disney World's California Grill.  Hop on over and take a look at the diverse collection of 27 posts covering a broad range of Disney topics with offerings from favorite sites like the Disney Food Blog, WDW for Grownups, and Magical Mouse Schoolhouse. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

A huge thank you today going out to all of my friends who are Veterans and their families. There is no greater sacrifice one can make than in service to their country. Those who support and protect this nation and it's people are never far from my heart. As a Navy Veteran and former Navy Wife I understand the struggles and triumphs that go with the life. Every day, not just today, I thank you, and am in constant awe of your commitment.

A special shout out to my friend Erica at GuideToMilitaryTravel.com who works hard every day to bring the best of travel information to Military families so that they can enjoy the sometimes rare times together when not on duty. It's so important for military families to make the most of every day and Erica makes sure that the have great leisure information about discounts and specials at their fingertips. The service men and women of this country give their all and get the job done, but I never had a harder job than when I was a Navy Wife. You are one of my everyday heros.

I was browsing through a scrap book this morning and thought that I would share a couple pictures with you. That's me, 18 years old, skinny, blonde, and straight out of boot camp. It seems like several lifetimes ago.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Few Moments in Epcot's China

China Gardens

Dog

Dim Sum & Green tea plum wine

China Landscape

Ceiling

Panda





Disclaimer: 2011 Land/Sea Vacation was paid for and scheduled by DVCMom. I am not a Disney employee nor do I speak for the company. All activities, reviews and opinions expressed on this website are entirely my own.

Friday, May 27, 2011

2011 Eat to the Beat Concert Series Announced

Eat to the Beat Nothing goes better with great food and wine than fantastic music, and every year in the fall Disney gathers a line-up of stars to entertain the masses during it’s annual International Food & Wine Festival.  The Eat to the Beat concerts are included with regular Epcot park admission and take place in the middle of World Showcase at the America Gardens Theatre stage. Artists offer several performances nightly, but be sure to save a spot for your favorites early because seating often fills up. Though, if you’re like me, dancing with a drink in your hand in the standing room works just as well. This week Disney released it’s 2011 schedule of rock, soul, R&B, jazz and funk masters to get the party started.

09/30 - 10/02 - Taylor Dayne
10/03 - 10/05 - 38 Special
10/06 - 10/07 - Jon Secada
10/08 - 10/09 - Roger Hodgson
10/10 - 10/12 - Billy Ocean
10/13 - 10/16 - Starship w/ Mickey Thomas
10/17 - 10/19 - Sugar Ray
10/20 - 10/21 - The Orchestra (w/former members of ELO)
10/22 - 10/23 - Howard Jones
10/24 - 10/26 - Boyz II Men
10/27 - 10/28 - Gin Blossoms 

10/29 - 10/30 - Sister Hazel

10/31 - 11/01 - Hanson
11/02 - 11/03 - The Pointer Sisters

11/04 - 11/06 - Night Ranger

11/07 - 11/08 - Air Supply

11/09 - 11/10 - Richard Marx
11/11 - 11/13 - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy


Thursday, May 26, 2011

“Let the Memories Begin” Tour

Can't get to Florida this summer?  

“Let the Memories Begin” 
with this Interactive Photo Experience this summer!

"A recent nationwide survey of U.S. and Canadian families found that vacation memories hold a special place in family history. Nine out of 10 parents said they planned vacations with the hope that they would result in a lasting family memory."  My favorite place to make memories with my family is the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, but I can't just pick up and go anytime.  This summer Disney's memory makers are coming to me!


The “Let the Memories Begin” team is hitting the road to capture memories and spread some pixie dust in each tour stop city across the country.  This magical interactive photo experience gives you the opportunity to take virtual in-park photos and share them with others.  Visit the locations below to participate in an interactive Disney photo experience with your family!

WHEN/WHERE:                                  
Chicago, IL
5/30-5/31
Houston, TX
7/12-7/13
Seattle, WA
8/20-8/21
Boston, MA
6/5 - 6/6
Phoenix, AZ
7/19 - 7/20
Calgary, Canada
8/26 - 8/27
New York, NY
6/10 - 6/12
Denver, CO
7/26 - 7/27
Toronto, Canada
9/2 - 9/3
Washington D.C.
6/18 - 6/19
Salt Lake City, UT
7/30 - 7/31
Puerto Rico
9/23 - 9/24
Atlanta, GA
6/24 - 6/25
San Francisco, CA
8/5 - 8/6


Dallas, TX
7/8 - 7/9
Portland, OR
8/16 - 8/17




Details, locations and offerings subject to change
 For more information visit

Dealing with Post Vacation Blues

The more my family travels, the more difficult it seems to be to return home from vacation. The let down of dealing with every day life and it’s drudgery can be depressing. It’s important to learn how to cope with re-entry into your everyday life when the maid is gone, the monorail isn’t your main source of transportation, and the landscaping isn’t magically done overnight.

Castle from Main Street
It's the Journey
Understand the joys of vacation as valid parts of your life. Your trip is not a trinket that was bought and then disposed of. The memories and experiences you have while traveling become a part of you and shape who you are. When we appreciate what was and let it become a part of us, we carry that joy every day. You are a traveler, and it’s all about the journey. You may be home from your latest adventure, but there’s always a new path to take, and the next vacation to start planning.   When you acknowledge the dreaming and planning stages you've already started your next journey.  Sometimes the destination may be farther out than you would like, so look for the stepping stones along the way to boost your spirits.  How long until you can make ADRs?  When can you buy your plane tickets?  Is there anything great to buy now at the mall that will help you on your way?

Connect with people who share your interests, they’re probably dreaming and planning too. If you’re reading this you probably already do some of that. Look for other travelers to connect with online and in your local area. You can read trip reports on message boards, tweet about what’s going on now, and search through photostreams full of vacation pictures. Belonging to part of the greater Disney community may even open up whole new worlds of travel interests and opportunities for you. The following are just a few of my favorite Disney sites, where you can find a few of my favorite Disney people:
Integrate the best parts of your vacation into your routine existence. By doing this you bring home a little magic every day. Stop at the market and pick up some fresh squeezed OJ, or cook up some of your favorite Disney recipes in that cookbook you bought. Carry a momento with you, a touchstone that brings you back every time you see it. I have a small case that I keep my credit cards and id in, that I use every day. Many times it’s just routine for me to grab it and not really pay attention, but when I look down and see “Polynesian Village” written across it I always smile. It takes me back, just for a moment to when I bought it and how happy and relaxed I was on that vacation.

You can envision yourself enjoying the fun place as a stress reliever too. Studies have shown visualization to be an effective technique to reduce stress and improve your mood. Taking a few minutes each day to stop by your “happy place” with the power of your imagination can create a happier, more productive you.

Resort Marina
I love Palm Trees
What do you miss most about being on vacation? I've come to realize that one of the things that makes me happiest on vacation is palm trees. I don't get to see palm trees most of the year, and when I get off the plane in Orlando, they are one of the very first things that I look for.   How can you incorporate that into your career, social life, and living arrangement? My family has been talking about moving away from Rockford for years, but we had never quite agreed on where to go. We’ve looked at Arizona, California and even Virginia over the years.  Since we’ve been back from vacation this month we’ve been discussing Florida, this time everyone is onboard and there’s finally some real motivation to get a plan together. I’m not saying everyone should pick up and move; just because you move doesn’t mean your life is a vacation. I’m saying to use the joy you find on vacation to makes changes for the better that you keep putting off.

Most of all, don’t limit the happy times and things that bring you joy to vacation. Make an effort to add them to your everyday life and live in the magic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wine Wednesday at Disney Go To Girl

Today you can find me posting over at Disney Go To Girl 
as a guest for Wine Wednesday
 I'm profiling the delightful pink sparkler from Taittinger 
on board the Disney Dream.

Chillin' at Pink

Dream a little dream with me...

Sorcerer Mickey

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dinner at California Grill

Sunset from California Grill
The spectacular view of sunset brought tears to my eyes.

Sitting high above it all is a restaurant with some of the most coveted table seating’s at the Walt Disney World Resort. The 15th Floor of the Disney’s Contemporary Resort of home to the exquisite culinary genius of Chef Brian Piasecki, Chef de Cuisine, and his cutting edge show kitchen that highlights this Disney signature dining experience, California Grill. Stunning panoramic views of the WDW can be seen out every one of the floor to ceiling windows, and each night they offer a coveted view of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks spectacular.  The shades were drawn on the windows when we arrived, but shortly after we were seated they raised them so that we could watch the sunset.  The amazing view brought me to tears.  It was such an amazing way for us to start off our vacation.

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Asparagus Tart
Fresh, modern, creative American cuisine inspired by the Golden State is what’s on the menu. Erik and I perused online menus and reviews from others for months before we left, trying to decide just how we would indulge in the haute cuisine. California Grill is just one of the great stops to earn a badge from my Guide to Disney Signature Dining on Foodspotting.com.

I started off this amazing meal with Zuckerman's Farm Grilled Asparagus Tart with English Peas and Aged Sherry Vinaigrette which was delicate and beautiful.  The pastry was light  an flaky while the aged sherry vinaigrette gave the delightfully green dish the perfect pop of acidity.  Erik is a huge sushi fan and he had the Spicy Kazan Roll and enjoyed every moment of it.  The firey sauce was a stunning contrast to the soft flavors of the bay scallops and sushi.

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Spicy Kazan Roll
Bread service & Wine
Bread & Wine service


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with goat cheese polenta, roasted mushrooms, Zinfandel glaze, and sage
Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I ordered the Grilled Pork Tenderloin with goat cheese polenta, roasted mushrooms, Zinfandel glaze, and sage for my entree and it was absolutely delicious.  I've had this love hate relationship with polenta for years.  I want to love it, but I've hated just about every preparation I had tried until I ate at the California Grill.  The rich, thick goat cheese polenta was a delicious symphony in my mouth, and has changed my mind about polenta in general.  The pork was pinker than I like, but I had forgotten to say something when I ordered.  I was so soft and tender that it simply melted away in my mouth.  Erik ordered the Oak-fired Filet of Beef with Mascarpone Potatoes, Roasted Delta Asparagus, Spring Onion Oil, and Teriyaki Barbecue for his choice, however he ended up finishing off the last of my pork and very rich polenta as well as his own dinner.  We both agreed that the pork was the better entree that evening.

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Chocolate Creme Brulee
Dessert for me contained one of the most sublime things that I have ever put into my mouth.  I ordered Tanzanian Chocolate Creme Brulee with a Citrus Financier.  It was rich and decadent, the brulee gave the perfect crack when I tapped it with my spoon and added an amazing flavor component that rounded out the rich flavor.  Without a doubt it is the most sublime thing to ever cross my lips.

For us, this was a glorious last stop on our Monorail Crawl. The wine list offers over 100 fine California wines so that guests may explore how truly diverse the flavors are from this state that accounts for over 90% of America’s wine production. Our drink selections for dinner included a lovely Gewertraminer wine, and a premium sake.  It was such a wonderful leisurely meal of exceptional food.  The atmosphere is a little busy, but if you're not in a rush you can still sit back and enjoy the amazing panoramic view of the Walt Disney World Property while enjoying some the fantastic food at the Resort.


This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival #22. Head over to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.

Disclaimer: 2011 Land/Sea Vacation was paid for and scheduled by DVCMom. I am not a Disney employee nor do I speak for the company. All activities, reviews and opinions expressed on this website are entirely my own.

The Muppets: They're Closer Than You Think

Fozzie performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate... Out in the world living their lives for the past 11 years, who would have thought that the Muppets would have time to make another movie? Let alone one with Director James Bobin, of HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” fame. Secret, signature, celebrity cameos, big Muppet-style opening and closing numbers, and all of our friends gather together to takes us along for a hilariously good time this holiday season.





“The Muppets” hits the big screen Nov. 23, 2011.
I'm #GreenWithEnvy, aren't you?

Website and Mobile site: Disney.com/Muppets 
Become a fan on Facebook: Facebook.com/Muppets
Follow us on Twitter: Twitter.com/MuppetsStudio 




Disclaimer: 2011 Land/Sea Vacation was paid for and scheduled by DVCMom. I am not a Disney employee nor do I speak for the company. All activities, reviews and opinions expressed on this website are entirely my own.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Midwest Anime and Manga Convention

Party on the way to the ConThis past weekend the kids and I attended the Midwest Anime and Manga Convention, otherwise known as ACen, located in Rosemont, IL. One weekend each May this event takes over not only the Donald E. Stephens Convention center and Hyatt Regency O’Hare, but also includes programming at the Hilton, Doubletree, and Embassy Suites. We were staying about a half a mile down the road at the Hotel Intercontinental Chicago O'Hare.  A very nice hotel I recommend it to anyone coming into town.  However, next year we're going to try and  get a room a little closer to the programing locations.  With the massive numbers of attendees that come to this event it can be very difficult to get a room at any of the nearby hotels too. ACen is by far the largest Anime gathering in the Midwest Region, ACen is three packed full days of costumed fun.

Katie & King Mickey“As part of its mission, ACen brings fans together with guests from the Japanese and US sectors of the anime and manga industry, as well as gaming, cinema, and Asian culture personalities. The event includes a huge exhibit hall, a massive video game room, concerts, dances, educational panels and workshops, premiere screenings, autograph sessions, 24-hour video rooms, children’s programing, tabletop gaming and much, much more!”

This was my first year attending ACen with my kids and I was overwhelmed with the size and scope of the convention. I was very please to see Disney well represented in the Cosplay community (“Cosplay is short for “costume play,” where individuals create or have made costumes of their favorite anime characters and wear them to the convention. Cosplayers are creative and are proud of their work, and it’s common to see many of them walking the halls during an anime convention.”) The Disney crowd came out in mass wearing everything from Kingdom Hearts costumes to Princesses and Pirates.
Disney Princesses
A Mad Tea Party

I talked to several cosplayers that were in Disney attire and out to have fun with the family. This Aladin and Tink were family and seemed to be having a great time mingling with princesses and pirates alike. The detail they put into their costumes was great, and Aladin was joined for the day by Abu.
Aladin The Cutest Tink!

My oldest daughter was Cosplaying from her favorite Mob Anime this year, but Kirk and Katie went as Disney kids from the anime style Kingdom Hearts video games. Kingdom Hearts has a big fan base at the Midwest Anime Convention and we attended a meet up of folks dressed in fashion and characters from all of the Kingdom Harts games. Heroes and Villains mixed and mingled while admiring each other’s costuming skills and detail, while about all things Kingdom Hearts. Some of the kids even spend the entire weekend in character, and all of them have fun.
Kingdom Hearts Meet
Kingdom Hearts Meet

Katie & DuffyACen had a full schedule of children's programming for kids 14 and under as well. There were ample arts and crafts, video games, parties, and entertainment to make the younger set happy in an age appropriate manner. Katie entered a Teddy Bear Cosplay contest, she made her Duffy a costume to accent her own. He was a "Heartless" from Kingdom Hearts.

Though the love of Anime transcends all age groups and we saw people from about age 3 to 63, the attendees of the convention largely seemed to be about 16 to 26 years old. Attendees cover a broad range of interests and fun quirky personalities on display. It was a great adventure with my kids and I encourage parents to let their children explore this world of Anime, however it’s important to know that this convention is like a small city that pops up for one weekend, and many things can happen. Not all of the Anime genres are child friendly, and parents need to be aware.  It's a great time, and the people watching is spectacular.  The kids had fun and made many new friends with similar interests in games, manga, and anime that they will continue to keep in contact with and look forward to meeting up with next year.  It's a fun hobby for the kids to have, and an amazing weekend, however, I encourage any parent to attend conventions like ACen with their children, and not just let them go on their own.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Jack Sparrow On Stranger Tides

By now you all realize that we are big pirate fans in my house, so I loaded my crew into our vessel this morning and set sail for the local AMC Theater to catch a morning showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The adventure opens up with someone impersonating our dear Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) in the city of London. Puzzled by his own acclaim, our favorite pirate goes looking for the nefarious imposter gathering a crew under his name. Along the way we meet a Privateer Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and get fabulous cameo appearances by Dame Judy Dench and Keith Richards, before actually setting sail for strange waters.

This was the first film that I have seen in Real3D, and I must admit that the 3D effects were sharp and clear. If you haven’t yet caught a film in this format due to a previous distaste for 3D, it’s worth giving the new technology a try. I applaud the director for not overusing gimmicky “out of the screen” shots, none the less, I’m not sure that I got any benefit from the 3D format. “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is a great action adventure no matter what format it would be seen in. For those who love chases, sword fighting, and explosions you should go straight to the theater and buy your tickets.

The lovely pirate princess Angelica (Penélope Cruz) forces him aboard the mystical “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” the ship of the legendary pirate Edward Teach, otherwise known and feared as Blackbeard (Ian McShane). Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know whom to fear more: Blackbeard or Angelica, with whom he reluctantly admits his love, or at least a fabulous time with in Seville. I adored Ian McShane's portrayal of the legand and villain, it was a perfect casting. The chemistry between Jack and Angelica is supposed to border somewhere between love and hate, and for me fell a little short in passion. Taking off across the seas to find the fountain of youth (the location in which the fountain was supposed to be was never reveled) the pirate crew is in a race for the prize of immortality against both the Spanish and Privateer Barbosa.

There was some nuance of the plot around Blackbeard that was left open that left me wanting for more information. I look forward to the DVD release with the hope of filling in some of the more mystical blanks. How did Blackbeard turn his crew into zombies? Where did his powers come from? What story is behind all of the ships in bottles? How exactly is one “saved” by a mermaid? Did all of this just end up on the cutting room floor, or have we been set up for yet another installment in my favorite franchise?

Lovers of action and adventure will not be disappointed in this movie, seekers of romance will find enough love stories to go around, the mermaids entrance and seduce the sailor crew. What I seemed to miss however was laugh out loud fun. Though I enjoyed myself emmensly, many of the jokes and much of the “Jack-ness” seemed just a little forced to me. It wasn’t until the final scene (which may very well be my favorite scene out of any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies) that I truly had that fabulous laugh.

“Like” PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN on Facebook at:
http://www.Facebook.com/PiratesoftheCaribbean


P.S. Those who wait for through the credits are once again rewarded! Yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me!




Disclaimer: I am not a Disney employee nor do I speak for the company. All activities, reviews and opinions expressed on this website are entirely my own. No compensation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sparkly Wordless Wednesday

My favorite small chandelier.  It reminds me of a tiara.
This beautiful sparkling chandelier was in the Royal Palace onboard the Disney Dream and reminded me of a tiara.  The crystals truly glimmered like diamonds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

DVC Members Save 25% on EPCOT Dolphin Tour During May

Disney's Dolphins in Depth Tour - DVC Members can take 25% Off the regular cost of the tour ($194.00 per person) during the month of May. That's an extra 10% savings over the regular member price! If you're headed to Epcot this month and dream of dolphins, it's the perfect time for you.

"Members can take advantage of Disney Vacation Club exclusive 25% discount on this three-hour program that gives you the unique opportunity to be up close and personal in the water with a resident dolphin at The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot. You don't need to know how to swim or be scuba certified to enjoy this program."

Theme Park admission is not included in this tour, nor is it required, so if you have a non-park day that you're looking for an activity to fill this is a fabulous opportunity. Minimum age for the experience is 13 years and older. A participating parent or guardian must accompany anyone under 17. One very important piece of information when booking this experience is that the Disney Company highly respects the intelligence of their dolphins, and the animals are allowed to choose the amount of interaction that they have with the guests as well as if they participation in the research sessions on any given day.

Space is limited on the Dolphins in Depth tour, so call as soon as possible (407) WDW-TOUR, and remember this special pricing is only available throughout the month of May. After May DVC Member discount will return to 15%, which is still a great deal!

AquaDuck

The absolutely fabulous Disney Dream is home to the world's first cruise ship water-coaster. You can climb aboard a raft as a singe rider or in pairs to get the most amazing views ever as you zip around the 765ft clear acrylic tunnel. Start out your trip by swooshing 13 feet over the side of the ship, the ocean 150 feet below before the coaster's water jets propel you up, down, and around the ship's deck. It's a crazy adventure that you just have to try. Though we had heard some people had waited 45 minutes or more for their ride, we took a spin on the AquaDuck while the ship was docked at Castaway cay and waited only about 5 minutes.

The man who went down the Duck in front of me had a waterproof video camera strapped onto his head. It sure was cool, but I'm not that tech savvy. Anyhow, I still wanted to share my ride with you!

Aqua Duck

Riding the Aqua Duck

Best view ever!

View from the Aqua Duck

The worst thing about the AquaDuck, is that it's over so quickly!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Castaway Cay Jet Ski Adventure

Conquering my fear of fish?Going to Castaway Cay was a big adventure for me, you see, I’m afraid of fish. Snorkeling and swimming in the ocean just didn’t sound all that fun with the very real possibility of bumping up against some sort of sea creature and getting the heck scared out of me. Danger signs posted as you enter the beach area didn’t help that phobia any. As you can see from the picture though, once I started wading in, I managed to get far enough out that I had to swim. I didn’t encounter any frisky sea creatures around me either, though Erik saw a stingray swim by as well as some fish. The clear blue water wasn’t what I would call warm, but it was refreshing and comfortable.

After our brief swim, we headed over to the boat beach to head out on our jet ski (I kept confusing people by calling then wave runners) adventure. This was so much fun! I would book another cruise just to get to go out and play on the jet skis again.  The cost for this guided tour was $95 per person for a single rider, if you have control issues, the single rider is the way to go.  I think that I would have been terrified hanging on to the back of Erik across the waves, and if one of the kids had been with me I would have been worried the whole time that they might fall off, especially since I wasn't an experienced rider.  We were given a 10 minute safety talk and informed that we would have with us two guides, as well as a safety boat that would trail behind.  Other than that they just let you go and you follow the rider in front of you, staying at least 50 feet away from their craft.  Though this is considered a guided tour, it's only guided in the reasoning that you follow the guide, for those of us in the back of the line though, there were times that the guide was a good half to a mile in front of us.

Jet ski group heading out to sea :-)

We headed off the boat beach and out into the sea, and right around the shore until we were on the Serenity Bay side of the Cay. I must admit that when we first got out past the lagoon it was a little scary, the water was dark and it was choppy. Still figuring out how to handle the jet ski I encountered a couple of waves that engulfed the entire front of my machine. I kept repeating the instructions from on shore over and over in my head that I needed to hold down the throttle if I wanted to have any control of the jet ski. After a minute or two I got it together and moved forward at a comfortable speed trying to catch up with our group.

On a jet ski in the CaribbeanOnce we had gotten around to the Serenity Bay side of the island, we took a left out into open waters and toward the neighboring little patch of land. In this spot the waters were fairly shallow an dthe sea was more calm. The waters we were skimming across sparkled like jewels yet it splashed all around me and reached as far as the eye could see. Growing up on Lake Michigan I never dreamed that water could really be such magnificent colors of turquoise and aquamarine. It sparkled and danced along side us as we rode across the waves.

We took a short break out in the water and gathered the group together as our guide free dove to bring up some beautiful orange starfish.  Everyone who wanted to got to hold and touch the starfish before it was time for us to head back towards the boat beach.  On the way back our guide took off at full speed and it was up to us to catch up with him and get ourselves "home".  I figured out fairly quickly that the faster I went the bumpier ride I was going to have.  The thought cam into my head that I needed to post like I was riding a horse, and I was able to handle the jumps across the waves.  Indeed "Mom caught air."  The fast race was fun and exciting, but also exhausting for someone who had never before driven one of the watercraft (not to mention my screaming quads, obviously I need to do more squats) so after awhile I just slowed down.  I could see my destination so I left go a bit on the throttle and took a more leisurely pace back towards the ship.  Overall it was the most fun I've ever had on the water and I will be booking this fun excursion again on my next cruise!
Erik jet ski-ing across the most magnificent water anywhere.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Castaway Cay has Environmentality

Boat Beach & Ship
Like so many other aspects of the Walt Disney Company, the Disney Cruise Line practices environmentality.  Not only do they put environmentally friendly ideas into practice onboard their beautiful ships, but the responsibility extends to the private island of Castaway Cay as well.  Thinking green is smart on this small, remote, self sustained island, and shows that taking care of the environment can still produce a beautiful and fun resort escape. 

The crew members working in shipboard galleys are involved in a fantastic conservation program. They support the use of alternative energy sources by using cooking oil for all of the small vehicles on the island.  Since 2008, used, trans fat-free cooking oil from shipboard kitchens is offloaded and combined with diesel fuel to power the small island vehicals.  This non-traditional recycling program is having a big impact on Castaway Cay.  Not only does this reduce the direct use of fossil fuels, but it also limits the need for those traditional fuels to be transported to the island, since the cruise ship stop their regularly and offload their spent cooking oil. The program saves enough fuel to power up to nine homes in the United States for an entire year.

Other environmental programs in place on Castaway Cay include:
Disney's Animal Programs: This internal department of animal care experts and researchers works to uphold high standards of animal care, professionalism, ethics, conservation and education. Disney Cruise Line partners with this team to monitor and review all shore excursions featuring animal experiences, oversee educational excursions highlighting native animals and conduct research on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.
Coral Reef Restoration: Researchers at Castaway Cay are currently engaged in a multi-year project focused on restoring the health of coral reefs through the study of transplanted long-spined sea urchins native to the area.
Castaway Ray's Stingray Adventure: Guests visiting Castaway Cay in The Bahamas can take part in a hands-on training experience with live stingrays during a 60-minute, instructor-led educational program created through partnerships with animal care experts from Disney's Animal Programs.
Sea Turtle Protection: Crew members partner with experts from Disney's Animal Programs to protect and monitor loggerhead sea turtle nests on Castaway Cay. Their efforts have helped protect this endangered species.”

Resources:
Disclaimer: 2011 Land/Sea Vacation was paid for and scheduled by DVCMom. I am not a Disney employee nor do I speak for the company.  All activities, reviews and opinions expressed on this website are entirely my own.

Drinking Around World Showcase

We had a great time on our Monorail Crawl. Drinking Around World Showcase proved to be a little harder, but we gave it the old college try.  The heat got to me by mid afternoon, and I had forgotten that Tequila makes my arms and legs go numb.  Yea, that wasn't the smartest way for me to start off.  I think we were semi-sucessful, but I'll try harder and have a much better plan of attack for October at Food & Wine Festival!

Lime Margarita
Mexico
Lime Margarita with lunch at La Cantina de San Angel


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China

Green Tea Plum Wine Slushie of course we needed some Dim Sum to go with it.


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Germany

Gewürztraminer Wine, I paired this with a chocolate & caramel covered strawberry

Gray Goose Citron Slushie
France
Grey Goose Citron Slush!  My favorite drink at Epcot.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fez are cool - Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Castaway Cay

I’m not really a beach person, and my little dark secret is that I’m afraid of fish, but I couldn’t help but take advantage of spending the day on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  It was so much fun and we didn't see very much of it on this trip.  I'm looking forward to going back so that I can have even more fun and adventure on this very Disney tropical isle.  Perhaps next time I'll head to the adults inly beach for a rest and massage in a private cabana. 
Welcome to Castaway Cay!

The Disney Dream docked at Castaway Cay, you can see the stingrays in the water.

Erik in the hammock
We booked a 10:00AM Wave Runner Tour and after a brief safety lesson we took off for the adventure of our lives.  Jetting over the blue ocean I couldn’t help but think of the “Mom caught air” commercial for that other cruise line. It was absolutely crazy exciting and I had *so* much fun zipping across the shimmering blue waters.  We  made our way out to open waters and stopped for a few moments in a shallow area, when our guide hopped off the wave runner and dove down into the water.  No one was really sure what was going on, however everyone gathered around where he was.  Soon he came up with Starfish in his hands!  Big beautiful red starfish that lived right there below us.  It was really neat.  After about 45 minutes we headed back to shore flying across the waves at top speed.  Hanging on for dear life as my wave runner hit waves and caught air before hitting back down and taking off, the sea spray was coating my glasses and I laughed and laughed.   I'm taking the wave runner pictures to Walgreens for processing today, hopefully I'll have some shots of that adventure soon. 
Boat Beach

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OOps! What's that on the boat beach? Arrghhh.. I guess Jack is pushing off in his dingy to get to the nearest theater in time for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opening on May 29th! Well shoot, I would have let him stay in my cabin.  In the past the ship set for the Flying Dutchman has been docked at Castaway Cay, however it wasn't there during our trip.  Cast members told us that it was moved out for filming of the new movie.

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There was so much to see and do on Castaway Cay, but we were exhausted and hungry after the tour on the sea.  Erik and I hopped on board the tram that took us back to the ship.  As we returned we noticed crew members taking part in personal survival training near the back of the ship.  They were floating in dry suits, entering and leaving rafts, and assisting other crew members who were in different stages of pretend distress.  It was pretty interesting to watch.

Crew Training