Marilu Henner Makes Her Mark on Disney MGM Studios!

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In the early days of the Disney MGM Studios long before the Sorcerers Hat and the name change to The Disney Hollywood Studios the tradition of placing hand and sometimes footprints of celebrities in cement was a regular occurrence. This was done right out front of the Chinese Theater for all to see and included a small parade and band. Seen in these photos is Marilu Henner who is best known for her role as Elaine O’Connor Nardo on the sitcom Taxi from 1978 to 1983. This photo was taken in the summer of 1998 as she left her mark on the Disney Hollywood Studios!

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Goofing Around on Seven Seas Lagoon

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Today we thought it would be fun to go way back and take a ride in a Water Sprite on Seven Seas Lagoon. This photo taken in the Summer of 1998 shows Mickey and Goofy on a banana boat and gives you a idea of just some of the great entertainment that happened daily in the 90′s at The Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, Goofy could also be found waterskiing every afternoon in Bay Lake.

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Wayback Wednesdays….Fishing in the Magic Kingdom

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In todays Wayback Wednesday’s we look back to the Summer of 1998 and one of the many activities that happened daily on Tom Sawyers Island. In addition to searching for the hidden paintbrush or having lunch at Aunt Polly’s you could go fishing with a cane pole in The Rivers of America. Cast menbers had everything needed and anyone that came along could give it a try. Another interesting thing seen in this photo was the Bertha Mae, one of the Mike Fink Keelboats. This excursion on the river left the dock just at the entrance of The Haunted Mansion on the very unique double decker keel boat. Sadly, the Keel Boats, fishing, the paint brush scavenger hunt and eating at Aunt Polly’s all have long gone from The Magic Kingdom!

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Exclusive Pass Member Ride Nights at Busch Gardens Va!

cropped-wdwrld01201Busch Gardens Va has announced two exciting new events, Pass Member ride nights. These new events are open to to active Busch Gardens 1-Park, 2-Park and Platinum Pass Members.

The first event on May 10, from 8–10 p.m. is in Oktoberfest and will includethe following rides: Verbolten®, Mäch Tower®, Curse of DarKastle, Der Autobahn, Der Wirbelwind and KIDsiderate® rides: Der Autobahn Jr., Wirbelwindchen, Der Roto Baron.
In addition a DJ will keep the party hopping. Several shops and restaurants will stay open late, too!

The second ride night will be May 17, from 8–10 p.m. in Festa Italia & Da Vinci’s Garden of Inventions. Rides
will be: Apollo’s Chariot®, Trade Wind, Da Vinci’s Cradle, Battering Ram, Flying Machine with KIDsiderate® rides: Elephant Run, Little Balloons, Little Gliders, Turkish Delight.
They will also have a DJ spinning the tunes as well as several shops and restaurants.

Event not available to Fun Card holders. To remain in the designated event area, you will be asked to show your Pass. Ride availability subject to change without notice and event dates/times subject to change and/or cancellation. For all the details visit Busch Gardens official website of the official Busch Gardens Va Facebook page.

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Disney Magazine Summer 1998 “Disney’s Animal Kingdom Opens”

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Today as we honor Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary we look back at the cover of Disney Magazine from the summer of 1998. The long running magazine was initially for members of the Magic Kingdom Club but later started charging a cover price which was discounted for members. It began as Disney News in December of 1965 but changed names in March of 1994. The publication ended with the Summer 2005 issue and subscribers were offered subscriptions to either FamilyFun or Disney Adventures, as well as the option of a refund.

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Easter at Disney World, Reliving a Trip to the Magic Kingdom

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With Easter just around the corner today I was thinking back a few years to a trip to Walt Disney World over Easter Weekend. We stayed at Fort Wilderness Resort in the 400 loop located close to Pioneer Hall and the Magic Kingdom dock. On Easter Morning we woke up early to see that the Easter Bunny had made a visit to our site.

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After a fun little hunt around the site we headed over to meet Mr Easter Bunny at Pioneer Hall before heading to the Magic Kingdom. We arrived there just in time as we were near the front of the line that quickly grew all the way to the Settlement Bus Depot. While we waited for Mr Bunny to finish his trip on the bunny trail, cast members playing Easter themed games with all the kids.

After the short trip across Bay Lake we arrived at the Magic Kingdom to see all the beautiful pastel colors of Easter. First thing we came across were the many ladies dressed in large frilly dresses in colors of Pink, Lavender, and Baby Blue. There were a few with parasols and poodles all wandering town square.

Further up Main Street was Mr and Mrs Easter Bunny and a festive variation of the Main Street Trolley Show. Later in the day was the Magic Kingdom Easter Day Parade. This special parade was once a Easter Day tradition, but sadly it was last broadcast around 1999. Springtime in the park is a beautiful time, with the fresh air and blooming flowers, its a great time to visit.


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Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival

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The world’s most beautiful theme park will soon be the most delicious theme park as Busch Gardens Va kicks of it’s very first Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival. This all-new event will feature sample-sized portions of superb foods, wines and other refreshments not usually found at Busch Gardens. Stroll through France to enjoy coq au vin with rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, linger in Spain for venera con jamón with saffron rice and romesco sauce, and then stop in Germany for pork schnitzel and fine-crafted brews. Bon appétit!

Austria
Hungry from all the alpine air? Spend an afternoon in our gazebo gardens, where traditional Austrian paprikash (a sweet paprika chicken stew) and Tafelspitz mit Apfelkren (a slow-braised beef sirloin with apple horseradish sauce) pair perfectly with linzer torte and refreshing draft beer. Or try our schnitzelwich—a pork schnitzel slider with lemon and capers—that’s a unique twist on the classic Austrian schnitzel.

Menu

Paprikash
Sweek Paprika Chicken Stew with Sour Creme
Schnitzelwich
Pork Schnitzel Slider with Sliced Lemon & Caper Sauce
Tafelspitz mit Apfelkren
Slow Braised Beef Serloin with Apple Horseradish Sauce
Linzer Torte
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Canada
Explore the culinary wonders of the great north woods! Try a hearty helping of sharp cheddar and lager chowder, or a venison sausage and corn porridge cooked over a wood-burning fire and finished with apple cider and caramelized onions. For dessert, enjoy creamy pumpkin caramel mousse. And while we can’t guarantee a Canadian moose sighting, you will find Moosehead lager—plus assorted wines.

Menu

Cheddar & Lager Chowder
Sharp Cheddar & Canadian Lager Chowder with Smoked Paprika Oil
Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge
Wood Fired Venison Sausage & Creamy Polenta with Apple Cider & Carmelized Onions
Pumpkin Carmel Mousse
Beer & Wine Parings Available

France
There’s a very good reason why the French are world-famous for their food. At Busch Gardens, we’ve created two kiosks dedicated to the French culinary arts. The first kisok, you can find an assortment of liquor and wine can be found here, along with French favorites like Coq au Vin, chilled Vichyssoise soup, and Tomates Farcies a la Ratatouille. And no trip to France is complete without Moules Provençales avec Rouille, the incredible mussels simmered in tomato-fennel broth and served with lemon-saffron mayonnaise. Bon appétit!

Menu

Coq au Vin
Red Wine Braised Chicken Stew with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Vichyssouise
Chilled Sweet Onion, Leek & Potato Puree with Truffle Essence
Tomates Farcies a la Ratatouille
Tomato stuffed with Roasted Vegetables & topped with parmesan bread crumbs with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Moules provencales avec Rouille
Mussels Simmered in Tomato Fennel Broth with Lemon Saffron Mayonnaise
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Germany
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Germany, where gourmet sausage is the star. Traditional knockwurst gets an inventive update with curry-spiced tomato ketchup and roasted potatoes, while Schinkennudel noodle bake with cured ham and cheese is classic comfort food. Enjoy Rahmgulasch, a creamy veal stew with mushrooms and onions served in a flakey puff pastry shell, followed by sweet Griess pudding with blackberry compote. And it wouldn’t be Germany without great beer—and we’ve got eight unique drafts brews on tap.

Menu

Schinkennudel
German Style Noodle Bake with Cured Ham & Cheese
Currywurst
Knockwurst with Curry Spiced Tomato Ketchup & Roasted Potatoes
Rahmgulasch
Creamy Veal Stew with Mushrooms & Onions served in a Puff Pastery Shell
Griess Pudding with Blackberry Compote
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Greece
In Greece, you’ll find bright flavors inspired by sunshine, warm sea breezes, and the cool blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Start with halloumi, a griddled Greek cheese topped with sweet clover honey and crushed pistachios; then enjoy a salata with lemon-oregano vinaigrette and crispy pita bread. A souvlaki tzatziki features a skewer of marinated roasted pork and sweet peppers, alongside a refreshingly tangy cucumber, dill, and yogurt sauce. Assorted wine is available here, as well as the beloved Greek baklava—a traditional treat featuring layers of flaky pastry, nuts and honey.

Menu

Halloumi
Griddled Greek Cheese with Clover Honey & Crusted Pistachios
Souvlaki Tzatziki
Marinated Roasted Pork & Sweet Pepper Skewer with Cucumber Dill & Yougurt Sauce
Salata
Traditional Greek Salad with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette & Crispy Pita Chip
Baklava
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Italy
Looking for a taste of la dolce vita? You’ll find the sweet life in Italy, where delectable desserts are king. Sample the panna cotta and a cannoli (or two or three), but leave room for the tiramisu—featuring lovely layers of ladyfingers, coffee, chocolate and whipped cream. Assorted liquor and wine is available, as well as glasses of bubbly champagne.

Menu

Tiramisu
Panna Cotta
Cannoli
Assorted Alcoholic Beverages Available

Scandinavia
Step into a traditional fisherman’s village and experience a taste of Scandinavian culture and cuisine. Start with cured salmon-topped potato pancakes and sweet mustard and dill sauce, or try classic Swedish meatballs in cream sauce with lingonberry jam. Cream-filled krumkake is a tasty treat. Assorted liquors and wine can also be found in our Scandinavian kiosk.

Menu

Gravad Lax Rarakor
Cured Salmon on a Potato Pancake with Sweet Mustard & Dill Sauce
Kottbullar
Swedish Meatballs Braised in Cream Sauce with Lingonberry Jam
Krumkake
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Scotland
Discover a taste of Scotland, no kilt or tam o’shanter required. Now’s the time to try a world-famous Scottish egg, a delicious delicacy featuring a deep-fried, sausage-wrapped hard-boiled egg. Our hearty shepherd’s pie combines lamb stew topped with a mashed potato crust, while chilled sweet pea bisque with minted cream is the perfect way to cool down on a warm summer day. Assorted wine and Scottish toffees are also featured.

Menu

Scottish Egg
Breaded Sausage Wrapped Hard Boiled Eggwith Sweet & Spicy Mustard Sauce
Shepherd’s Pie
Lamb Stewed with Port Wine & Rosemary Topped with Mashed Potato Crust
Chilled Pea Soup
Chilled Sweet Scottish ToffeePea Bisque with Minted Cream

Beer & Wine Parings Available

Spain
Spaniards are known for their mastery of tapas, the delicious appetizers that pack big flavor into small bites. Enjoy a sampling here—with paprika-roasted Marcona almonds, marinated olives, and Manchego cheese with quince paste. Want more? Our spicy chorizo empanada pairs perfectly with cilantro lime cream; or, try the Venera con Jamón, a scallop wrapped in cured ham and served with saffron rice and Romesco sauce. And what Spanish holiday would be complete without hazelnut custard and a thirst-quenching fruity sangria?

Menu

Chorizo Empanada
Spicy Pork Sausage Pastry Pocket with Cilantro Lime Cream
Tapas
(Small Bites Sampling)

Paprika Roasted Marcona Almonds
Marinated Olive Medley
Manchego Cheese with Membrillo
Quince Paste

Venera con Jamon
Scallop Wrapped in Cured Ham with Saffron Rice & Romesco Sauce
Hazelnut Custard
Beer & Wine Parings Available

Dates: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 31 2013- June 23 2013
Time: 11 a.m. until one hour before park closing

Festival admission is included with park admission, and individual tastings range in price from $3-$7.

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Busch Gardens Live and Glory at the Gardens is back for 2013!

Newsboys  Glory at the Gardens performance in 2012

Newsboys Glory at the Gardens performance in 2012

**Update** An additional night of Busch Gardens Live on June 30th and two new acts, Michael W. Smith and Scotty McCreery have been added to the Busch Gardens Virginia website. The current lineup with dates is listed below. So far no new acts or dates have been added to Glory at the Gardens.

Again for the 2013 season Busch Gardens Virginia continues with two very popular concert series, Busch Gardens Live and Glory at the Gardens. Concerts will be held select weekends starting in May and running through August.

Busch Gardens Live heats up the night with concerts from some of today’s hottest performers, including pop, classic, rock and country. Not all acts have been announced but so far this years lineup is looking pretty good.

May 12 – Styx
May 25 – Coco Jones
May 26 – TBD
June 29 – Michael W. Smith
June 30 – Scotty McCreery
Aug. 17 – KC and the Sunshine Band
Aug. 24 – Bridgit Mendler
Aug. 25 – Hot Chelle Rae
Aug. 31 – Billy Currington

Glory at the Gardens returns to Busch Gardens with a fantastic lineup of the top contemporary Christian and Gospel artists which combines the best Christian-inspired performances with Busch Gardens family-friendly atmosphere. This event is sure to be popular again this season.

May 19 – Mary Mary
June 30 – TBD
Aug. 18 – Third Day
Sept. 1 – Casting Crowns

Admission is inclused with park admission and full deatils can be found at the Official Busch Gardens Va website.

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Packing for the Port, Planning for Embarcation Day on a Disney Cruise!

The Disney Dream at Port Canaveral

The Disney Dream at Port Canaveral

Many people ask “What should I bring or wear when I board a Disney Cruise ship?”. First off, you will have your luggage that is checked with a porter when you arrive at the cruise terminal and will have your clothing and any personal toiletries. Today we are discussing those things you should physically have on you when you board the ship.

Your Day Bag – You should have a small bag that you will carry when you board the ship. It should be as small as possible but large enough to fit in everything that you will need untill your cabin is ready later in the day. Remember you will have to carry this where ever you go until your cabin is ready.

Clothing – Carry a change of clothing that could be worn to dinner that night if necessary. It does not happen very often but it could, your bag could be misplaced and delayed in getting to your cabin.

Valuables – You should never pack anything of Value or that is fragile in your checked baggage. Your luggage isnt spending the day at the buffet and relaxing by the pool. Cameras, iPads, money and wine….yes you can bring your own wine onboard Disney Cruise Line, are some of the items that you will want to have so you will want to put those in your day bag also.

Medication – Pack your medication with you, dont risk needing it and not being able to get to it.

Sunscreen – If you are out exploring the upper decks you are out in the sun. You dont want to get sunburn before you even leave the dock because there will be plenty of time for that at Castaway Cay!

Sail Away Party on the Disney Wonder

Sail Away Party on the Disney Wonder

Now that we know what to bring and how to get it there lets discuss what to wear. When you get to the port you will see people dressed in many ways. But for me I suggest wearing your swimsuit. Thats right, after you hit the buffet and while everyone else is killing time wandering the decks waiting for that message that the cabins are ready, head to the pools or if you are on the Fantasy or Dream the Aqua Duck. This will be the least crowded time that you will get to take a ride on this amazing water coaster and you will be able to tell all your table mates at dinner how great it is!



Waits of 30-40 minutes are not uncommon during the day at sea or in the afternoons. I would suggest a change of clothing in your day bag to quickly change into in case of storms or to make unpacking easier without being cold and wet. One other thing to make sure you do if you have small kids before the ship leaves the dock is visit the kids clubs. After the ship sails parents are not allowed in the areas that the chirldren are.

Now the only thing left to do is find out what the drink of the day is and get ready for one of the best vacations you could imagine….See Ya Setting Sail Real Soon!

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The Pitfalls of Crusing Without a Passport

Its the question that is heard over and over again by everyone thinking of a cruise vacation, “do I need a passport to go on a cruise?”. Officially not all cruise ports of call require you to have a valid U.S. passport. Many stops in the Caribbean only require a birth certificate and valid U.S. drivers license. This is where this becomes a huge risk, if for any reason you must fly back to the United States you will be required to present a valid passport for re-entry into the country.

There are a number of things that could go wrong and require you fly home, if there is a catastrophic failure of the ship and it is taken to a foreign port and can not continue you will most likely have to fly back home. Also if you go off on a excursion and lose track of time or are detained for any reason that you are not back onboard at depature time the ship will leave you. You are then on your own to find transportation home and if it requires a flight, again you will need a passport. Medical Emergencies are another one of those events that you never plan on but if you or a family member become ill and are either air lifted from the ship or transfered at a port of call, will also need a passport to fly home.

The list of reasons requiring you to fly home could go on and on, additionally many travelers will never have a problem with this, but for the small additional cost a passport offers that peace of mind that you could get home in the “I never thought it would happen to me” occurance. Don’t let getting a passport discourage you from crusing, it really is a painless process and crusing is one of the best vacations you can take.

Information on how to obtain a passport and where they are required can be found on the Travel.State.Gov website.

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