Where in the World Wednesday: Disney Resorts

So you’re heading to Walt Disney World Resort and you need a place to stay. So many options: Deluxe or Value? On property or off? Near the Magic Kingdom or the Animal Park? On the monorail track or is the water taxi more your speed?
So many to choose from, not sure I can get them all in this blog without it being three pages long.
First, do we want to stay on property. In my experience, I say yes. However, off property can be less expensive, you will give up many good reasons why to stay on property.
When you stay on property you get to enjoy all the free transportation options around the parks. You are able to add the dining plan to your vacation, take the worry out of spending while in the resort areas when you pay for your dining plan before you travel. You will also get early admission to one of the parks and to stay late at one of the parks. Enjoy grabbing your fastpasses 30 days before your stay and dining reservation 60 days before your arrival. Take the monorail and tour the other monorail hotels. Jump on the bus and head over to Disney Springs. So many options when you stay on property.
Looking with that, let’s start off with the Value resorts.
Value resorts:
The Art of Animation Resort – Disney’s newest Value resort, built in 2012, it has 1120 family suites (565 sq ft) and 864 regular rooms (277 sq ft) and has the largest swimming pool on Disney property at 12,000 sq ft. and 310,000 gallons of water (that’s a LOT of water). The Resort is themed around Disney Animation, from pencil sketches to the films close ups. The three buildings focus on one of Disney’s films, The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo. There is a food court at this resort with foods including Soup and Salad, World of Flavors, Pizza and Hamburgers. Be sure not to miss out on the Landscape of Flavors, you can get made to order fruit smoothies, pomegranate limeade and organic teas, just to name a few! Buses are the only Disney transportation to the parks and Disney Springs. This resort is located in the Wide World of Sports Resort Area.
There are four other Value Resorts; Disney’s All-Star Movies/Music/Sports and Disney’s Pop Century. Disney’s Pop Century is also located in the Wide World of Sports Resort Area and the other three are located in the Animal Kingdom Resort area and all have the transportation option of bus.
Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside – Built in 1992 as Dixie Landings and changed names in 2001. Divided into two sections; Magnolia Bend designed as two & three story plantation style mansions and Alligator Bayou two rustic, cajun style buildings. There are 2048 rooms (314 sq ft) with a max of four persons. There is a food court here, as well as, a full service restaurant, Boatwrights and the River Roost Lounge for some appetizers and a live comedy routine. Location here is Disney Springs Resort Area and transportation is Water Taxi and bus.
Other moderate resorts:
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Epcot Resort Area – Transportation – Bus
Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter – Disney Springs Resort Area – Transportation Bus & Water Taxi
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Area – Transportation – Bus
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness – Magic Kingdom Resort area – Transportation – Boat or Bus
Deluxe Resorts:
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort:
My favorite! I just love the woodsie feel.
In the Magic Kingdom Resort Area (where you can see the nightly fireworks from the park and catch the water parade every evening)
Transportation – Water Taxi & Bus
Standard view 160 rooms (340 sq ft)
Woods View 104 rooms (340 sq ft)
Woods/Bunk Bed 52 rooms (340 sq ft)
Courtyard View 225 rooms (340 sq ft)
Courtyard View w/Bunk Bed 81 rooms (340 sq ft)
Club Level –
Standard rooms 44
Deluxe rooms 25
Honeymoon Suites 4
Yosemite Vice Presidential Suite 1
Yellowstone Presidential Suite 1
Guests staying in the Club Level rooms have access to the Old Faithful Club. Open from 7am to 10pm  serving continental breakfast in the morning, light snacks in the afternoons, as well as hot and cold hors d’oeuvres in the evening. Dessert and spirits are also served later in the evening. Two concierge cast members on duty to assist guests with priority seating arrangements, the scheduling of FastPasses, and a many other fun services.
Dining Options:
Artist Point – Upscale setting, with some clothing restrictions
Whispering Canyon Cafe – Craziness and noise abound here! Don’t forget to ask for ketchup
Room Service – available 24 hours
Roaring Fork – Quick service offering breakfast platters, pancakes, salads, sandwiches, flat bread pizzas and much much more!
Territory Lounge
Geyser Point Bar & Grill – out near the water’s edge of the main pool area
Other Deluxe Resorts:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort Area. Transportation – Bus
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Magic Kingdom Resort Area – Transportation – Bus, Water Taxi, and Monorail
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Magic Kingdom Resort Area – Transportation – Bus, Water Taxi, and Monorail
Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Epcot Resort Area – Transportation – Bus and Water Taxi
Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Magic Kingdom Resort Area – Transportation – Bus, Water Taxi, and Monorail
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – Epcot Resort Area – Transportation – Bus and Water Taxi
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – Epcot Resort Area – Transportation – Bus and Water Taxi
***COMING SOON***
Announced at D23 Expo in 2017 a Star Wars themed Resort is in the works! This will be nothing like any other Resort! Stay tuned for more information.
Disney has many other Resort options, but for today, I think we have resort overload!
Disney World Resort Map
I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
Walt Disney
DK
*these photos are not mine, no copy write infringement meant”
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Where in the World Wednesday: Walt Disney World Resort Pt. 1

It’s almost vacation time! Have you planned your annual family vacation? Looking for something for the family or just the two of you? Maybe a solo trip is necessary. One of the most visited places on earth is Walt Disney World Resort.  I myself am a huge Disney fan and love going to WDW. I’ve been with the family and I’ve been by myself. I would love to go with just my hubby!
Let’s see what’s going on now and what happened in the beginning.
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Walt Disney, who was he? 
December 5, 1901, in Hermosa, Illinois, Walter Elias “Walt” was born to Elias and Flora Call Disney. Walt had three brothers and one sister and lived in Marceline, Missouri. He began to draw, paint and sell his pictures to family and friends early in life and he took drawing and photography classes in high school while taking night classes at the Chicago Art Institute. When he was just 16 years old, he dropped out of school to join the Army, but because he was underage, he was rejected. He instead joined the Red Cross and was sent to France for a year as an ambulance driver. 1919, he moved back to the U.S where he joined his brother Roy in Kansas City at the Pesmen – Rubin Art Studio. And in 1923 the brothers and another employee moved to Hollywood where they began the Disney Brothers’ Studio.
Fast forward 40 years and because of the success of Disneyland.  Walt decided he wanted to open a new park, west of the Mississippi river. He flew over a possible site of the future Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida: hoping to avoid a rush of land speculation, Walt Disney World Company used many different dummy corporations to acquire the 30,000 plus acres near the centrally located Bay Lake. Sadly, Walt died in 1966 just five years before his vision was realized, from there Roy took over the construction of the resort’s first phase. Roy passed in December of 1971, just three months after the parks opening.
On October 1, 1971 the Magic Kingdom, along with the Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian Village were opened. Two golf courses were opened near the Magic Kingdom a few weeks before the park and Ft Wilderness opened a month later. Just an FYI, park prices were just $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for children under 18 and a $1 for children under 12.
Let’s take a look at the entire WDW resort.
How many theme parks – there are four theme parks
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Magic Kingdom:
The Magic Kingdom is broken down in seven “lands”: Tomorrowland, Fantasyland (which as recently had a huge makeover) Frontierland, Liberty Square, Adventureland and of course, the iconic Main Street U.S.A.
–My favorite rides there? Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. Magic Kingdom has also changed many restaurants and I haven’t been privy to enjoy them, but my most favorite dining place here: Main Street Bakery.
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Epcot:
Epcot is broken down into two sections, Future World and World Showcase. I love the World Showcase, you can visit 11 different countries and you can eat different foods and drinks, learn history of the countries and enjoy some great music and productions. Favorite places here: La Cellier Steakhouse (in France) and Test Track.  Most disliked attraction, Mission Space (not good for those with weak tummies, enough said)
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios
First opened in 1989, under the name Disney – MGM Studios Theme Park. This was originally designed as a theme park and an operating production studio, which included  film and television production services, and a functioning backlot. In 2001 the name changed to the current, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. DHS has my most FAVORITE ride of all times here: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Least favorite: none
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Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The newest of the four parks, opening on April 22, 1998 (Earth Day) Disney’s Animal Kingdom park has a zoological theme, is the largest park in the world at 580 acres, and is dedicated entirely around animal conservation and a natural environment. This park is broken down into seven areas: Oasis, Discovery Island, Pandora (opened May of 2017 and themed after the movie Avatar), Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, DinoLand U.S.A and Asia.
Favorite attraction EXPEDITION EVEREST – LEGEND OF THE FORBIDDEN MOUNTAIN, Yeah, it’s just that good!!!! I can’t say I have a least favorite here, but I’m not overly excited about the Kilimanjaro Safaris. ONLY because, it’s usually a two + hour wait and it’s hot. Seeing the animals are amazing though! Favorite food: Tusker House. Least favorite: The Rainforest Cafe (just don’t like the idea of a chain in the parks)
I was going to cover everything, but I realized, as big as the “World” is, it’s going to take more than just one post. So. Next up, Resorts
When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.
Walt Disney
DK
*these photos are not mine, no copy write infringement meant”

Introverts: A gift that doesn’t need to be cured or fixed

I always thought I was shy, never really fit in anywhere, liked being by myself and up until a year or so, I figured out why. I’m an introvert and a highly sensitive person. But, what does that mean? I’m crazy? I’m rude? I do I just not get it? Let’s take a look at these because, being an introvert is very hard on your family and friends who are extroverts and vice versa.
Did you know?
Introverts don’t like to talk unless we have something to say. I’m not good at small talk, but get me started on something I am interested in, I won’t shut up.
Being an introvert, we take in “data” very quickly, therefore, I don’t need to be out long to get what’s going on. It drains me and I need to go home to recharge and process it all. Recharging is extremely critical for introverts.
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I think a lot. My brain is always going, I love to daydream and solve the world problems in my head. I love to color, knit, take photos, do crafts and bake, these help me recharge by creating something.
Most people love to get out and have fun. Being an introvert, I love to stay in or go to the mountains for relaxation, busy places exhaust me and if they are too large or noisy, I can completely shut down.
Add those four explanations to the highly sensitive person and you really get a mess.
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HSP:
We become easily overwhelmed – too much intensity, chaos, noise becomes overstimulation and we need a nice quiet room to go.
We have a heightened sense of smell or touch. Itchy fabrics or sudden sounds; scented candles or perfumes; buzzing lights and beeping noises can make an HSP shut down.
We handle emotions at a much deeper level and it may seem like we are making it a bigger deal than it really is. In reality, every word or action goes straight to our hearts.
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So, how does one deal with us? 
Love us for who we are.
Respect our need for privacy, quiet times, alone times.
Never embarrass us in public
Let us take in any new situation and give us time to think about it
Respect our introversion. I wouldn’t try to make an extrovert and introvert, please don’t do that to us
I’m glad I finally found a space for me and my “weirdness”, doesn’t make it easier, but I know how to cope a bit better now.
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“Don’t underestimate me because I’m quiet. I know more than I say, think more than I speak and observe more than you know.”
~ Michaela Chung
DK

Versatile Blogger Award Nominee

Good afternoon!
Just dropping in to give you a little news. Recently, I was nominated for another blogger award. So exciting to be chosen for such an opportunity. My friend Jessica from What’s Happening With Jessica has nominated me. She has been a great supporter, mentor and friend to me in the blogging world. Thank you Jessica!
7 Facts about me:
1. I am an introvert and empath. Lots of people and crowds frighten me
2. My bucket list is lined with traveling to different countries to take photos of churches, cathedrals, abandoned buildings and everything in the  middle
3. I have been married to my husband for 22 years. We dated for only 3.5 months before we married. Hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been the best thing ever!
4. I am a Ulcerative Colitis fighter and a J Pouch warrior. Things that are good for you to eat, are not good for me and my pouch.
5. I love playing Pokemon Go with my son
6. I love taking pictures of the sunsets and the moon.
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7. My dream house would be a spacious rancher on about an acre of land in the mountains.
That was fun! I love sharing with y’all. What did you think of my fun facts? I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I’m going to nominate some of my favorite bloggers.

Okay ladies, now it’s your turn!

+ Christina Arrigo ATPCreations

+ Aarti  Handmade Hearts

+ We Do What Works

1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and provide a link to their site.
2. State 7 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 15 others for the award. (Or as many as you can)

That’s it. Have a little fun and be sure to comment on my post so I know you have accepted.

 

Where in the World Wednesday: New Orleans Mardi Gras

I have to tell you I am a no nonsense kind of gal. Wear makeup only on special occasions, I keep my body covered, don’t like large crowds and haven’t drank alcohol in 23 years. So, when it came to me to write about Mardi Gras, I was a tad taken back with myself. I said, SELF…Are you sure?? Self said yup, go learn something! (a nod to NCIS: New Orleans)
So the task at hand today is to figure out what is Mardi Gras; besides the chest baring, bead slinging, week of drunkenness. Hold on tight, cause we are going to Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll)! Which, by the way, there is no reply to that saying!
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Mardi Gras began as a Christian holiday and cultural phenomenon, dating back 1000’s of years to the pagan spring and fertility rites. Often referred to as Carnival and celebrated in many countries all over the world with large Roman Catholic populations, is the day before the beginning of Lent: the season of fasting. Binging on the meat, eggs, milk and cheese which remained in their homes, they were preparing to fast. And if you wanted to know what the French called the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, well, they called it “Fat Tuesday”! Which is the day the huge parades are held!
Many historians believe the first American Mardi Gras was on March 3, 1699, celebrating the landing of the French explorers Iberville and Bienville in Louisiana. They held a small celebration and dubbed it Pont du Mardi Gras. Since then, the Orleans and French settlements have began to celebrate with road events, masked balls and lavish dinners. Sadly, when the Spanish took control of New Orleans, they abolished these festivities and remained in place until Louisiana became a state in 1812.
In 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets New Orleans, imitating the festivities they had seen while visiting Paris. 1837 marked the first Mardi Gras parade, a tradition which continues nowadays. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans, referred to as the Mistick Krewe of Comus, geared up a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future celebrations within the city. Many customs which remain today, including throwing beads (see, I told you there would be bead slinging) and other trinkets, carrying masks, adorning floats and eating King Cake.
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Let’s just check out what that King Cake is all about. King cake is eaten January 6th, in honor of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which marks the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem, delivering gifts to baby Jesus. (The plastic baby hidden inside king cakes today is a nod to this story.) King cake also appears on tables throughout the Carnival season, which runs from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent), at which point practitioners typically abstain from such indulgences as cake.
Back to the story of Mardi Gras…
Louisiana is the only state Mardi Gras is considered a legal holiday and plays host to one of the biggest public festivities,  drawing 1000’s of tourists and revelers each year. This year Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, February 13th (stay another night and celebrate Valentines in the Big Easy).
  So, let’s take a look at the main traditions of Mardi Gras:
Tossing of the Beads
Just what are these beads that are flung about? Traditional Mardi Gras beads are purple, green, and gold colors. The purple symbolizes justice; the green represents faith; and the gold signifies power. Just to let you know how many beads are flung…New Orleans gets around 25 MILLION pounds of beads. Given those little beads weigh next to nothing, that’s a LOT of beads! Now, ladies, baring your chest is a “recent” addition to the festivities; not really becoming a thing until the 1970’s, you know, Women’s Lib! It is has been said the parties on the floats throw beads to those how show off their goods. Guys, let’s be clear here, you can bare your chest, however, dropping your drawers for more beads is not a good thing and may land you in a jail cell.
Tradition of Masks
Those Masks! Have you seen them! Oh my goodness! Some of them are insane! This would be one thing I would partake in!  Masks are a huge part of the Mardi Gras culture. During early Mardi Gras celebrations, masks were a way for their wearers to escape their social rankings and demands. Mask wearers would mingle with people of all different classes and could be whomever they wanted to be, at least for a few days.
Note to self: In New Orleans, float riders are required by law to have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, it is legal for all Mardi Gras attendees to wear masks, however, many store owners post signs requesting those entering to remove their masks first.
The Flambeaux Tradition
Flambeaux, means flame or torch and was the tradition of carrying shredded rope soaked in pitch through the streets at nighttime so revelers could enjoy festivities after dark. Slaves and free African Americans were the original carriers of the torches as they were trying to earn a little money. Revelers tossed coins at the carriers, thanking them  for lighting the way for the floats.
Today’s flame carriers have turned the tradition into a performance, dancing and spinning their kerosene lights, something the original parade planners hadn’t done.
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Rex, The King of Carnival

Every year a king is crowned by the Rex Organization, and is always a prominent person in New Orleans. He is given the symbolic Key to the City by the Mayor. Who is this Rex? Well, Rex, was the first king of the Carnival ascending to the throne in 1872. History has it that the first Rex was actually the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia who, befriended U.S. Army officer George Armstrong Custer during a planned hunting expedition in the Midwest. The Duke’s visit to New Orleans was organized by businessmen hoping to lure tourism and business to their city after the Civil War.

BESTPIX New Orleans Holds Citywide Mardi Gras Celebration
NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 04: Rex, King of Carnival parades down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** ORG XMIT: 474210969

Handing Out Zulu Coconuts

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the oldest traditionally black krewes (parade hosts) in Mardi Gras history. 1910 is the first reference of these treasures, the Zulu Coconuts or Golden Nuggets, were left in their original hairy state, but years later, Zulu members started painting and decorating them. Getting a Zulu coconut is one of the most sought after traditions during Mardi Gras.

 

Finally…

Krewes (especially in New Orleans) a private social club that sponsors balls, parades, etc., as part of the Mardi Gras festivities.

Just to finish it up, let’s take a look at some more of the costumes

Sorry this one was a bit longer than most, but there was so much information! After learning all I did, I am still not hip on going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans; I do know that Walt Disney World does have a Mardi Gras parade, I may go there instead.

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“It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans.”
 Mark Twain
DK
*these photos are not mine, no copy write infringement meant”

Valentines Day – Dinner at Home

With Valentines Day just 15 days away, what have you planned?
When I was a kid it was great fun for the day: make your Valentines boxes for your classmates to drop off their card to you, and oh how cute where those cards? The little class party, homemade cupcakes from mom; punch, games, it was so much fun. When I got older there were fancy nights out, grilled steaks made at home, sometimes just Taco Bell.
I have put together a list of fun, easy, romantic, kid friendly and just because ideas.
We will start with kid friendly:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So let’s have fun with that!
I am not sure kids can take in homemade items anymore, but I am going to show you some pretty awesome cupcake & cookie recipes

 

Dinner ideas

Heart Shaped Pizzas

Heart Shaped Hamburgers

Drink UP! (non alcoholic)

Cupid Floats

Mocktails

 

Here’s a great way to decorate your dinner table!

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Romantic Dinner for two!! Ooh la la

A great looking dinner table is so easy to make. I love mixing different plate patterns.

 

menu

Simple Baked Cheese

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Dark Cherry Sauce

Irish Cream Brownie Trifles

Kiss on the Lips Cocktail

Starbucks (Copycat) Pink Drink

I hope these helped you get a fun dinner planned.

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.
Thomas Merton

 

DK

*these photos and recipes are not mine, no copy write infringement meant & are all linked back to the author**

 

 

 

 

 

Try it Thursday: Knitting

I have to say, I was totally stoked about me newest knitting project. It was a cute blanket for my future (which is just about months from her arrival) granddaughter. I have knitted the same blanket pattern for eight years, so I wanted a change: ventured into Pinterestland and found a simple but very cute blanket. It’s called the Mistake Stitch; right up my alley! Off to the craft store I went to find some very precious, cute, girly, dainty yarn.
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Settled into my knitting while watching TV, I was on a mission. That is until I ran out of yarn. Back to the craft store I went and they were OUT of the same yarn. WHAT???? Can you order it, I asked the cashier? No, but you can order it online (and the brick and mortar stores wonder why they are losing revenue to the Internet). Ordered the yarn (and some other cute yarn for another project) then had to wait almost two weeks. I am so used to Amazon, two weeks seemed like a life time! The day finally arrived for the yarn to arrive, I was in yarn heaven! If you are a knitter or crocheter, you know my delight!
Off I went to finish this off. It started getting bigger and bigger and decided maybe, I should finish this skein and be done. That’s exactly what I did. What I didn’t expect was to see the blanket was so long and narrow, it would be more of a shawl than a baby blanket. I am so sad, but, at least I have a shawl for mommy.
Of course the colors have been altered so mommy doesn’t see them before their time!
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So now we wait for the birth of baby Faith! She will have two amazing parents and two eager big brothers to welcome her into the world mid March.
A daughter is a bundle of firsts that excite and delight, giggles that come from deep inside and are always contagious, everything wonderful and precious and your love for her knows no bounds.
— Barbara Cage
DK