Sunday, June 29, 2014

10 Important Facts about Disney Cruise Line


  1. If you’re 21 or older, you can bring alcohol onboard as long as it fits in your carry-on bag (cannot exceed 22x14x9.) You are NOT allowed to drink your alcohol in public areas onboard, so drink it up in your cabin. If you want to bring your own champagne or wine to the dining room, they’ll charge you a corking fee. ($20) Hubby & I will be fully loaded, in more ways than one, lol!
  2. You are not required to have a passport if you’re a U.S. citizen & traveling a closed loop cruise (cruises that begin and end at the same port in the U.S.) However it would be wise to have one. If for any reason you need to fly home from a foreign port, it’s required.
  3. You don’t have to book your Port Excursions through Disney at a premium. You can book them on your own for half the price, research peeps! The positive aspect of booking a Disney port excursion is “peace of mind” in knowing that IF the Disney port adventure runs later than planned, Disney will wait for you or they’ll arrange travel to the next port at their expense.
  4. Until recently I had no idea what a “Fish Extender” was. Peeps would talk about them all the time and I’d just pretend I knew what they were talking about. So here it goes folks, don’t be in the dark like me. Each of the Disney Cruise Line staterooms has a small silver fish or seahorse to the right or left of the door. Usually, it’s for the ship’s correspondence with you during your cruise, but those participating in a fish extender exchange hang a bag or special holder to the “fish” to serve as a mailbox. If you want to participate, you sign up, provide your information and stateroom number, and make little goodies for each person or each cabin. I unfortunately missed the cutoff date on our cruise because of my late booking, but snagged a great rate on my room instead. Woot!
  5. DCL is NOT totally all inclusive~ NOPE, your cruise fare includes a lot, but you'll pay extra for a host of amenities. Alternative restaurants like Palo & Remy, specialty coffees and alcoholic beverages, shore excursions, spa treatments and gratuities.
  6. Disney Cruise Line has a "cash-free" system on board the ship. When you arrive at the DCL terminal you will present a credit card or if you don’t want to give them a CC, give them cash or you can use both for your purchases, gratuities (if not prepaid) spa treatments, etc. If you applied cash & a credit card towards your onboard purchases. They will use all cash before charging your cc. They do this in increments of $350, once you reach that amount, they’ll retrieve it from your onboard credit.
  7. Alcoholic beverages aboard most ships including Disney Cruise Line automatically charge an 18% gratuity included in the price of the drink. Don’t double tip, unless you feel their service was “to infinity & beyond” or you just like to give your money away & if that’s the case, send it my way, lol. 
  8. Seasickness~ Over-the-counter medication like Dramamine or Bonine will help. If you are very prone to seasickness, ask your doctor before you leave home for the Transderm patch, available by prescription. Alternative remedies include ginger capsules and acupressure wristbands, available at most pharmacies. I’m usually prone to motion sickness, but I’ve never been seasick on a cruise ship, just sailboats-and I was a wee bit intoxicated, UGHL
  9. Parking at the port can be expensive, you can choose to park at a local Park & Cruise parking lot for half the price, I’ve done this at Port Canaveral on previous cruises & I had a nice experience. If you prefer to park at the port, here are the prices: 3-night cruise $60, 4-night cruise $75, 5-night cruise $90, 7-night cruise $120.
  10. Let’s be real sometimes we want private adult-time & wish our own children would magically disappear- especially other peeps children(sorry). I have great news, adult exclusive areas actually exist on Disney Cruise Line. Activities such as; nightclubs, dining, pools & entertainment, etc~ all for guest 18 & older. I foresee R&R in your future & mine too, ahhh.  

Words associated with Cruise Lines

Embarkation~ To board a ship or aircraft

Debarkation~ To disembark a ship or aircraft.

Bow~ The bow is the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat. Aka, the “pointy end” lol!

Port (referencing side of ship)~ The left-hand side of a vessel or aircraft, facing forward.

Forward~ Toward the bow or front of a vessel or aircraft.

Starboard~ The right-hand side of a ship or aircraft as one faces forward

Aft~ Situated toward or at the stern or tail of a ship or boat.

Terminal~ A station with a public carrier, where passengers embark or disembark and where freight is received or discharged.

PORT~ a city, town, or other place where ships load or unload.

DCL~ Disney Cruise Line

Midship~ The area of the ship generally halfway between bow and stern along the length of the ship.

Muster Drill~ a safety drill run at the beginning of every cruise. Passengers are shown where to find their life vests, and where to assemble to prepare to enter their assigned lifeboats (muster station).

Tender~ a small boat used to get passengers ashore when a ship is at anchor instead of alongside a dock. Tenders are used regularly in islands with no dock facilities. Tenders often look like lifeboats.

Key to the World Card or Sail & Sign Card~ a magnetic stripe plastic card that works as your room key, boarding pass, identification card and onboard charge card during the cruise. For energy efficient ships like Disney Cruise Line, you also use to turn on lights in cabin.








Saturday, June 28, 2014

Splitsville, a Great Disney Hangout!

     Splitsville is one of our favorite places to get together as a family or with friends!  If you have not been it is a definite Walt Disney World must do!  We have thoroughly enjoyed Splitsville as a family and meeting up with friends that are staying in the Orlando area. 
     Splitsville is a Downtown Disney attraction on the Westside.  Splitsville takes bowling, playing pool and just plain old fun to new levels.  You will be welcomed to a two story retro styled adventure that offers 30 bowling lanes, first class food, dancing and entertainment.  The billiard tables are awesome and of course who doesn't like a gift shop and much much more.
     Some people come to Splitsville for the bowling or the billiard tables and some just go for the fun!  Our family has really enjoyed all of it. It is an awesome place for families to get together while the adults sit and talking and have a few drinks the kids can play pool or go bowling.  With the hot summer days at Walt Disney World this provides a perfect option for daytime or evening entertainment.
     The food at Splitsville is amazing!  They offer food such as fresh hand rolled sushi rolls, hand-tossed pizzas, burgers, and of course who doesn't like a big plate of fries!  The pizzas are amazing, a definite must do for our family! They also offer a wide selection of draft beer to go along with your pizza or other adult beverages.  I mean, what is pizza without beer, Right! 
     This is the perfect hang out for the family or meeting up with friends.   So during these hot days this summer if you find yourself needing a cool place to have fun check out Splitsville!  You can schedule all kinds of parties for Splitsville.  Make sure you reserve a lane as soon as possible.  The billiard tables are on a first come basis.  Let the food, games, and dancing begin and don't forget to Show your DisneySide! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

“Frozen” Fun Coming to Walt Disney World Resort This Summer!

This summer the world of Disney’s instant classic “Frozen,” takes center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, coming to life like never before in a full range of all-new, immersive experiences through the park.
From July 5-Sept 1, 2014, you can enjoy “Frozen Summer Fun – Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” daily. And, most activities are included in regular theme park admission.
Some of the fun and highlights include:
Olaf on Summer Vacation – Olaf the snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures. Plus, the best part is that you can pick up your very own Take-Along Olaf from locations in the park, so he can join you on your summer vacation. Share the fun with your photos with Olaf on social media and tag them with #OlafSummerVacation, and who knows- you may just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!
Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – At 11 a.m. each day, Anna and Elsa arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland. 
For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration –Now you can cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.” Guests will be invited to join in special sing-along moments from the film’s chart-topping soundtrack
Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a Frozen Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
“Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ and live band. The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!
“Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!

So now the only question left to answer is “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Universal Studios Presents Diagon Alley!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley Is Coming!!

Attention Harry Potter fans and all other Muggles!! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley is coming to Universal Studios Florida. Opening on July 8th, Diagon Alley is an expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter set in Universal Studios Florida nearby the existing Harry Potter attractions of Hogswort and Hogsmeade in the Islands Of Adventure Park. The two areas are connected by the Hogswort Express, but more on that later.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley starts at the Muggle version of a London waterfront which completely masks the magical Diagon Alley, Gringotts Bank and the rest of the attraction. You will find King’s Cross Station which houses the terminus of the Hogswort Express. You’ll also see the Black family home which also served as the meeting place for the Order of the Phoenix at 12 Grimmauld Place, the Eros Fountain from Piccadilly Circus and a full size replica of the Knight Bus which Harry rode in the Prisoner of Azkaban. Finally you’ll see Leicester Square which houses the entrance to Diagon alley.

Once through the moving brick wall you’ll find yourself in the magical world of Diagon Alley, an exact replica of the movie and book versions. You’ll see a variety of shops and eateries on either side leading to Gringotts Bank at the far end. The famous Leaky Cauldron has been exactingly recreated and serves traditional English fare such as bangers and mash and fish and chips. Other dining choices include Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlor featuring such wizarding world flavors as butterbeer ice cream, chocolate chili ice cream as well as a host of more muggle style flavors. There are also a number of shops including Quality Quidditch Supplies offering sweaters, brooms and other Quidditch props, Madam Malkin’s Robes For Al Occasions for the discriminating witch or wizard searching for a new robe, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, an exact duplicate of the three story shop featured in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And definitely not to be forgotten, you’ll be able to go into Ollivander’s Wand Shop, purchase a wand and cast spells at various specified locations throughout Diagon Alley.

For those wizarding fans with a darker streak, Diagon Alley wouldn’t be complete without a walk down Knockturn Alley. Perpetually in the dark you’ll be able to explore Borgin and Burkes where you can buy a Death Eater mask and other dark magic items.

The centerpiece of the Diagon Alley experience is Gringotts Bank with it’s huge fire breathing dragon perched open its’ top. Upon entering the bank you’ll see goblins working away and finally you’ll come to the entrance to one of the most incredible rides ever, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. You’ll sit down in a car similar to those ridden by Harry and company in Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The ride itself is a spectacular combination of roller coaster, dark ride and 3D technologies as you navigate the underground vaults of Gringotts Bank and see many characters  both good and evil as well as magical creatures in the depths.

When you emerge from Gringotts, hopefully whole and unscathed, you’ll be able to explore two entirely new streets Horizont Alley and Carkitt Market. These brand new areas were named and designed with the help of Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling herself and include more shops and a space for stage productions of fables from The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Once you’re ready to leave Diagon Alley you can go to Kings Cross Station back on the waterfront and board the Hogswort Express to Hogsmeade Station inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure park. You’ll need a Park-To-Park ticket to get to Hogsmeade and Hogswort. You won’t be able to see outside the train as you travel. Instead you’ll see landscapes, scenes and characters from Harry Potter stories through the windows as you travel to Hogsmeade and a whole different set of scenes on the return trip to Kings Cross Station. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida is a spectacular addition to the already incredible Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Now Harry Potter attractions span both parks connected by the Hogswort Express. The excitement level is being ratcheted up to nearly unbearable levels. There’s no doubt that the Universal Studios Parks are a must see for any trip to Orlando. 

Don’t forget to book your trip with Jenn at Destinations in Florida. Jenn and all the experienced agents there are always ready to give you the most accurate and up to date information as well as help you plan the perfect trip to Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruises and other great destinations. And remember, working with your own travel professional is always free. Isn't it time for you to discover Diagon Alley?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A View From the Front-The Disneyland Monorail

As part of our series of articles for the Adult Side of Disney, here is this month's installment of free and fun things you can do at  Disneyland® simply for the asking. This month we are riding up front as we hop on board the Monorail.

My first trip aboard the Monorail was in 1959 when it opened as both an attraction that took you on a guided tour through Disneyland.  Originally scheduled to open as part of the original Tomorrowland, Walt Disney himself originally envisioned this sleek transport as the practical form of public transportation of the future.  While at D23 last summer, world renown Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr told the story that The Monorail was one of the original park attractions that he and Walt Disney and worked on. Gurr went on to tell the tale that he was only able to test it one lap around before former President Nixon visited. Nixon and his family went two laps around, accidentally without his secret service. Luckily for all, the Monorail was off and running and continues to thrill visitors to this very day.  I can vividly remember back in 1961 when the tracks were extended and it became a true transportation system as I stepped on board at the station directly in front of the main lobby of the Disneyland Hotel for our ride directly into the Park.  Today there is still no better way for your first glimpse of the Disneyland Resort but did you know that you can do it from the front of the Monorail?   Unlike it’s counterpart in Walt Disney World, although you can no longer ride in the back of the train, the thrill of riding in the front of the Monorail is still available to Disneyland guests merely for the asking. Here are some easy tips to help you along your amazing journey:

Like many other of Disneyland’s Hidden Secrets, it all starts by asking the Cast Member stationed at either the Tomorrowland Station or the Downtown Disney Station. There may be other people who have asked ahead of you. If so, let the cast member know that you are willing to wait for multiple trains in order to be able to ride in the front. Trust me, the wait will be worth it. Before asking, make sure that your party size is within the limit. There is a strict limit of four people, no matter their age or size. If your group is larger than four, not everyone will be able to ride up front.
When given the green light from the Cast Member, make sure that wait in the spot where you are directed to. Wait until the train arrives, and the cast member will check to see if space is available. If so, you will be directed into the front cab of the monorail.

Want to boost your chances of riding in the front quickly? Ride during non peak times, For example, the monorails generally are full to capacity at park opening and closing times, but not many people go to the parks in the middle of the day. Off-peak times offer the best opportunity for a prompt ride in the monorail's front. Then sit back and enjoy the ride and one of the best views in all of Disneyland.  

 There are many insider secrets of free and fun things to do merely for the asking at the Disneyland Resort-from piloting the Mark Twain to sitting in the tinder car of the Disneyland Railroad to sitting in the front of the Monorail, the choices are endless. The only decision you have to make is which one to start with first!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Camp- Let's Make Elephant Toothpaste!

This week at Summer Camp we’re diving into a new way to answer that classic children’s elephant joke:
         How do you fill an elephant’s tooth?” “Very quickly”
To keep our elephant out of the dentist’s chair, this week at Kid’s Korner Summer Camp edition we’re making Elephant Toothpaste with the help of Gabby.  What exactly is this time honored children’s science classic? Elephant toothpaste is the result of a chemical reaction that creates a rapid expansion of foam. It looks like a volcano of foam that produces so much foam it looks like an amount of toothpaste an elephant could use.

 Like everything found at Summer Camp, this activity can be for little of no cost with materials and supplies you probably already have on hand. 

·      16 oz. empty plastic bottle (preferably with a narrow neck)
·      ½ cup 20 volume (6 %) hydrogen peroxide (found in beauty supply stores-note 3% isn’t strong enough for this)
·      Squirt of Dawn dish soap
·      3 to 4 drops food coloring
·      1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of very warm water
·      Funnel
·      Foil cake pan with two inch sides
·      Goggles, Disposable Gloves and Smock or something to cover your clothes

1.  Set a soda pop bottle in the middle of a pan to catch the toothpaste.

2. Mix these in a separate container and swirl together for a minute.  
2 Tablespoons warm water
      1 Teaspoon yeast

3.  Mix these in your soda pop bottle:
      1/2 cup 6% hydrogen peroxide. 
      4-5 drops food coloring
      A squirt of Dawn dish soap

4.  Pour the yeast mixture into the soda pop bottle. Stand back and listen from the squeals of delight!

The Science Behind the Magic:

  • Elephant toothpaste can stain!
  • The resulting substance is called elephant toothpaste only because of its appearance. Don't put it in your mouth or swallow it.
  • The foam will overflow suddenly and quickly, Make sure you do this fun activity on a washable, stain-resistant surface, or better yet, outside and do not stand anywhere near the bottle when it foams.
  • This experiment cannot be done safely without goggles and gloves.

Why It Works-The Science Behind the Magic:
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) naturally breaks down into water (H2O) and oxygen over time. But you can speed up the process by adding a catalyst such as the enzymes found in the yeast. When the hydrogen peroxide releases a lot of oxygen at once in the presence of detergent, millions of little bubbles form quickly.  You might notice that the reaction produces  a small amount of heat. That's because the chemical process is exothermic, meaning that it releases energy.

Now the only question is, where will you find an elephant! Special thanks to Gabby and her family for allowing us to feature this wonderful up and coming scientist.  

Looking for the links on previous Summer Camps so you can relive the fun? Check out these links and keep checking back each week for more Kid’s Korner Summer Camp activities