August 21, 2017

SeaWorld Orlando pass members can sign up now for beach cleanup in September


In honor of International Coastal Cleanup Day, SeaWorld Orlando is hosting a nearby beach cleanup for annual pass members on Saturday, Sept. 16. Sign-ups are taking place now, and there are a finite number of spots.

For years, SeaWorld has organized beach cleanups in Florida and California, and pass members are invited to join team members at some of these community events. This one, like the one my family attended last year, will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. at Cocoa Beach.

To participate, log into the pass member website and sign up there. Each pass member will need to be registered separately, and each also can bring a guest. I’d suggest doing this as soon as possible because spots fill up quickly, based on our experience.

Once you’re registered, you will be sent an email confirmation with directions and a safety waiver you are asked to print, sign and bring to the event.


When you arrive, you will sign in and complete additional waivers to allow SeaWorld to photograph and video participating pass members. You will be given a SeaWorld Cares T-shirt and asked to wear it for the event. The shirts last year were soft with an understated design – a nice souvenir after they served their purpose at the cleanup.

We also were provided with gloves, trash bags, hand sanitizer, bug spray and an ocean trash data form from the Ocean Conservancy. We were asked to keep track of the types of trash we collected on the beach. According to the form, we were most likely to find cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic and foam take out containers, plastic and metal bottle caps, plastic lids, straws and utensils. Sure enough, my family alone picked up more than 100 cigarette butts.


Our large group of SeaWorld pass members and team members fanned out in both directions on the beach and worked steadily for about two hours. During that time, we were given bottles of water and encouraged to take breaks as needed because it was a humid, hot 88 degrees that day.

At the end of our shift, we stacked our bags of trash on the beach and gathered for a group photo. We were told at that time that we would each be given a complimentary print of the group photo, which we could pick up during our next visit to SeaWorld. Another nice surprise!


Also, know that SeaWorld team members are happy to sign forms for students who are earning community service hours. My daughter, who loves dolphins and is interested in a career in marine biology, is in the process of doing this, so these beach cleanups are a way for her to be involved with the environment she enjoys and appreciates.

My family and I had a positive experience volunteering with SeaWorld Orlando and would encourage pass members of all ages to give the beach cleanups a try. Volunteering gave us an opportunity to see another side of SeaWorld’s conservation efforts and how small things can make a big difference to the sea life around us.

August 19, 2017

Costumes you can -- and can't -- wear to 2017 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party


It’s August, so that must mean Halloween, right? Well, for the first time, it does at Walt Disney World. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates begin next week --on the 25th to be exact.

For many guests, one of the most fun things about these parties is the ability to dress up during their visits to the Magic Kingdom. And while we’re used to seeing classic photos of little Disney Princesses and Mickey Mouses every day in the resort’s theme parks, there are some very specific rules that apply to costumes.


First, know that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and runDisney events are special because those are the only times that adults can wear costumes on property. As such, families often spend considerable time (and sometimes, expense) planning coordinating costumes.

If you are part of such a group, here are the official rules to keep in mind:

“While we encourage creativity, we also value safety and good judgment. If you’re planning to attend these special holiday events, take a moment to read over our latest rules and regulations:

** Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other guests.

** All guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.

** Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.

** Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.

** Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another guest.

Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/ or removed from, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.

For guests ages 13 and under:

** Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long as the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.
For guests ages 14 and older:

** Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.

** Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (e.g., full-length Princess dresses)

** Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.

** Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts, and hats are acceptable.

** Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face. Masks of any kind may not be worn.”

Especially with the earlier party dates this year, remember that the Halloween parties in Orlando will be hot and humid, so plan your costumes accordingly. It’s really still summer weather here, so trust me when I say you don’t want to be stuck in heavy or layered costumes – even at night.

Have a favorite costume you wore to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Share with us in the comments!

August 17, 2017

2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel selection process begins Sept. 6



Get ready, get set, type! The application process for the 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel begins at noon EDT Wednesday, Sept. 6, and those interested have until noon EDT Wednesday, Sept. 13, to express their interest.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel has evolved from its inception in 2008, but its goal remains the same: to provide vacation-planning advice from adults in families that are interested in and knowledgeable about the Disney properties. For the most part, the panelists' jobs are to answer a number of written questions each week, though there also are some public appearances by the group. In exchange, The Walt Disney Co. provides the selected panelists with family trip -- plus a second trip for training -- to one of the Disney properties. This year’s training session is at Walt Disney World Resort from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, 2017, and those selected must be able to attend.

Now, Disney Parks Moms Panelists not only help plan magical vacations for guests heading to Walt Disney World, but they also answer questions about Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Vacation Club. And they do it in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Despite the name, however, panelists are not just limited to those who are mothers -- dads and grandparents have been chosen, as well.

If you are the one all your friends turn to when they plan Disney vacations, this may be a golden opportunity for you! To get started, visit beginning Sept. 6. The application process is the same as in recent years. You can expect to answer short written questions in the first round. About a month later, applicants are notified whether they have been selected for the next round, which requires submitting a short video and answering more written questions. The final round consists of phone interviews. The 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be announced in January.

Competition for a spot on the Disney Parks Moms Panel is intense -- thousands apply each year and only about a dozen new members are chosen. But as the panel's creator, Walt Disney World Director of Social Media Leanne O'Regan, wrote on the Disney Parks Blog: "The most recent panelists to join the team include several who have applied every year, a few who applied for the very first time, and those in between. Dreams really can come true."

And there is no magical formula to being picked to provide the best answers about all things Disney. I can tell you, though, that several factors weigh heavily in the evaluation process:

** Writing ability. Your application must be flawless, with no grammar or spelling errors or typos. After all, your job is going to be providing written answers for the Disney website. (In fact, the moms panel's answers are not reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.)

** Accuracy. Double-check your Disney facts to make sure things haven't changed since your last experience. This will be vital when you are answering questions online for families planning Disney vacations.

** Your personality. Disney is not hiring publicists or copy writers for this panel. Instead, the company is looking for engaging personalities who can express themselves clearly in an enthusiastic way.

Get to know the current Disney Parks Moms Panel at You also can see the types of questions they answer -- which are pretty much about anything and everything!

To be eligible to apply, each panelist must meet certain criteria, in addition to being available during the time of the training trip. They include:

** Be 18 years of age or older.

** Have access to a computer and an Internet connection.

** Have visited either Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort at least once in the last 12 months. If applying to be a Disney Cruise Line or Disney Vacation Club Panelist, you must have experienced that vacation within the last 24 months.

** Be able to complete at least approximately 10 to 20 written responses per week.

** Provide their own opinions, tips and feedback on Disney vacations.

** Submit an autobiography and personal photo and/or video to be posted online.

** Not be current employees/ cast members of The Walt Disney Company or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, including Disney Internship programs, or of any operating participant located at the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts, must not be immediate family members of a current employee/ cast member of The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Internships participants, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates or of any operating participant located at the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts, and must not currently reside with a current employee/ cast member of The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Internship participants, or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates or of any operating participant located at the Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resorts. In addition, participants must not be employees, contractors, advisors or consultants for, must not hold more than a de minimis ownership interest in, and must not serve on the Board of Directors of, any entity of The Walt Disney Company or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates or of any entity which owns or operates any hotel, resort or theme park located in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk or Seminole Counties, Florida or Orange County, California.

** Not be currently employed in the travel, hotel or theme park industries (including being a travel agent or consultant); and not be an immediate family member of, or currently reside with, people currently employed in the travel, hotel or theme park industries (including being an immediate family member of, or currently residing with a travel agent or consultant).

Good luck to everyone who applies for 2018! Please let us know how the process goes and if you are chosen to advance in the application process.

August 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 bringing unique features to home videos Aug. 22


A week from today – on Aug. 22 -- fans of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will be able to get their hands on a copy of the movie and its unique bonus features when it is released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD.


“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is Marvel Studios’ first in-home title to be released in 4K Ultra HD format, which has next-generation visuals and Dolby Atmos immersive audio. 4K Ultra HD provides four times sharper resolution of HD with exceptional HDR which produces brighter brights, deeper blacks and richer colors than ever before, according to the press release.

Marvel describes the popular sequel this way: “Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, the film’s storyline continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians (Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket) must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.” (Read our review here.)

Both the Ultimate Cinematic Universe Edition (which includes a collectible poster while supplies last; 4K Ultra HD version of the film, a Blu-ray, and a digital copy) and the Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray, DVD, digital copy) will have the same bonus features. The DVD-only package does not include bonus features.

They include:

** The Making of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” – A four-part, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, done in the style of classic-rock album liner notes.

** Visionary Intro – Director James Gunn provides context on how he continues and expands the storylines of these beloved characters in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

** Guardians Inferno Music Video – Join David Hasselhoff and special guests for a galactic retro dance party.

** Gag Reel – Laugh out loud at all the hilarious off-script shenanigans and bloopers that took place on the set of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” featuring all your favorite Guardians.

** Four Deleted Scenes – Check out four specific scenes that had to be cut from the film, including two extended scenes and two deleted scenes.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was released digitally on HD, 4K Ultra HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Aug. 8. Those versions have the same bonus features, plus additional exclusive items:

** Three Scene Breakdowns – The anatomy of a few key scenes from the film is revealed. Discover the process in bringing these scenes to life. It starts with a doodle and the rest is film history. Audiences will be given the option to view 5-6 layers of specific scenes in the film. Scenes include “Eclector Escape,” “Gamora and Nebula,” and “Rocket and Ravagers.”

** Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (Digital Exclusive) – Get an exclusive sneak peek inside the most anticipated ride at Disneyland, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!. Hear about the concepts and inspiration and see what it took to bring the epic ride at Disneyland to life.

August 12, 2017

Catch Frozen Summer Games at Disney's Blizzard Beach this weekend


“Frozen” fans: Make tracks to Blizzard Beach if you want to experience some unique wintry summer fun before it melts away. The water park is hosting the Frozen Summer Games and the last day is Sunday. That means you have just today and tomorrow to get in on the action!

Guests can meet the team captains, Kristoff and Olaf, near the Beach Haus merchandise shop. (Walk to the end of the shop and you’ll see the queue ropes in front of you. The backdrop is set up to the left behind the store.) Blizzard Beach currently is the only location on Walt Disney World property where guests can meet Kristoff, so don’t miss this opportunity!

When we arrived this past week, it was mid-afternoon and there was no line to meet Kristoff. The ice harvester walked right out to approach my 12-year-old daughter and engaged her in conversation about Anna, Elsa and Olaf. A Disney PhotoPass photographer is stationed at this meet-and-greet, and, of course, you can take your own photos, as well.


Kristoff poses for photos and signs autographs at 10:05 a.m., 11:05 a.m. and 12:05 p.m. for 40-minute sets. After a lunch break, he reappears at 1:55 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. for 35-minute sets. Kristoff alternates meet-and-greets at the same location with Olaf. Everyone’s favorite snowman appears at 9:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. for 20-minute sets filled with plenty of warm hugs. After lunch, he returns at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., again for 20-minute periods. With Florida temperatures in the 90s, Olaf can’t risk staying outside any longer or he might melt! (Set times are unpublished and could change.)


Near Melt-Away Bay, guests of all ages can take part in the Frozen Summer Games four times each day: 11 a.m. and 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. A stage is located at sand’s edge not too far from the biggest restaurant, Lottawatta Lodge. A DJ who is set up there plays the coolest hits and also directs the games.


Guests at Blizzard Beach can join Team Kristoff or Team Olaf to participate in a variety of friendly competitions, including Ice Pail Relays, Ski Pole Limbo and Slide Races. On the day that my daughter competed, there were four games: a water balloon toss, two versions of passing or throwing giant snowballs (white beachballs) and the Ice Pail Relays. They all take place in the soft sand in front of the stage, and no advance signup is necessary. Each person who participates is given a wristband to indicate Team Kristoff or Team Olaf. Winning teams receive a commemorative card stock photo frame.


This is the second year for the Frozen Summer Games at Blizzard Beach. Admission to the water park is $57 or $62 plus tax for adults, depending on date, and $51 or $56 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9. (The cheaper pricing goes into effect August 28.) Guests also can purchase an annual pass with admission to both Disney water parks and no blockout dates for $125 plus tax per person, regardless of age. Florida residents can purchase an After-2 p.m. annual pass for $75 plus tax per person, regardless of age.

August 10, 2017

Miss Adventure Falls at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon offers gentle ride and water park firsts


Typhoon Lagoon’s newest water attraction, Miss Adventure Falls, tells the story of the fictitious Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure-hunting heroine who got stranded at the Disney water park years ago by a rogue storm. The attraction opened in mid-March of this year, but my family and I just had the opportunity to experience it this week.


Miss Adventure Falls is essentially a family raft ride – meaning each float can hold an average-size family rather than just a single rider. In this case, that means two to four people. Honestly, three adults can fit comfortably, but I think if your fourth person isn’t a child, you will be tight on space.


When the attraction first opened, Disney officials said two things set this ride apart: It’s the longest water ride at either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, and guests will be able to ride in the rafts up a conveyor belt rather than meet their raft at the top of the ride or even have to carry their own large tubes up the stairs. No climbing for those tired legs!


Another first is that Miss Adventure Falls features an Audio Animatronics figure, a talking and moving parrot named Duncan who is stationed inside Captain Mary’s shipwrecked vessel off the side of the ride’s conveyor belt. Duncan chats and sings, all while continuing to search for treasure.


Once your raft reaches the top of the hill, gravity and running water pull you into a very gentle ride. It’s so gentle that I feel comfortable saying that Miss Adventure Falls is appropriate for all ages; and Walt Disney World says the same thing. There are no age or height restrictions; however, no infants can ride because each guest must be able to grasp the handles.

This ride takes guests into two tunnels, which are not pitch black. Colored lights keep the tunnels from being too scary. Plus, the curve of the track allows natural light to quickly flood in, as well. In addition to the tunnels, the raft may slide up the embankments just a little and you may be splashed by a few curtains of water.

Overall, Miss Adventure Falls is a great ride for families with little ones or guests who do not enjoy anything with serious dips and drops. The thrill-seekers in your group are not going to find their next adrenaline surge on this attraction. My family members all agree that this was the tamest of the family raft rides we have experienced in Orlando, and that includes the other one at Typhoon Lagoon (Gangplank Falls), Teamboat Springs at Blizzard Beach, and WalHalla Wave SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park.


Miss Adventure Falls is located near Crush ‘n Gusher at the front of the water park. Admission for Typhoon Lagoon is $57 or $62 plus tax for adults, depending on date, and $51 or $56 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9. (The cheaper pricing goes into effect August 28.) Guests also can purchase an annual pass with admission to both water parks and no blockout dates for $125 plus tax per person, regardless of age. Florida residents can purchase an After-2 p.m. annual pass for $75 plus tax per person, regardless of age.

August 8, 2017

Dream Big, Princess campaign brings animated classics back to big screen at AMC Theatres


Disney Princess fans, rejoice! The Walt Disney Company is bringing its classic animated princess movies back to the big screen for a limited time this fall – and tickets are on sale now.

As part of the “Dream Big, Princess” campaign, the five-week movie marathon is a partnership between Disney and AMC Theatres. The campaign, which began in 2016, is designed to inspire girls in particular, and kids in general, “to realize their full potential and dream big.” The initiative celebrates with new themes each month tied to the Disney Princesses, such as kindness, friendship and adventure.


The movie marathon takes place at 304 theaters across the country, including AMC Dine-In Disney Springs 24, AMC Universal Cineplex and AMC Altamonte Mall 18 in the Orlando area. Each week a new movie will be shown with two daily showtimes of 2 and 6 p.m.

The Dream Big, Princess marathon kicks off on September 15. Here’s the full lineup:

** Sept. 15-21: Beauty and the Beast
** Sept. 22-28: Mulan
** Sept. 29-Oct. 5: Tangled
** Oct. 6-12: The Princess and the Frog
** Oct. 13-19: Brave

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the AMC Theatres website.

The “Dream Big, Princess” campaign launched last year with stories of real girls who share the qualities of other strong women, the Disney Princesses, and are role models themselves. The slogan is “For every girl who dreams big, there's a princess to show her it's possible.” The stories were showcased on the Company Clips channel at Disney Parks hotels and cruise ships.

The campaign has its own website, which features videos that highlight the positive qualities of each Disney Princess, quizzes to see how well readers know each princess, tutorials that show how to make Disney-themed foods and crafts, and links to purchase Disney Princess movies, costumes and toys.

Families can follow the Disney Princesses on Instagram (@thedisneyprincesses) and Facebook ( for inspirational images, videos and messages. Look for the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess on Twitter, too.


Disney used #DreamBigPrincess to promote the news it has inked a three-year partnership with England’s Football Association, the governing body of association football (or soccer, as we call it in the United States) in England. The partnership aims to increase girls’ participation in the sport. The campaign tweeted it was looking for followers to share motivational images of girls, sparking a debate over what a modern-day princess really is. You, too, can join the conversation online using #DreamBigPrincess.

August 5, 2017

Pandora restaurant serves up Satu'li Sampler Family Style Dinner


Satu’li Canteen in the Pandora area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom has added a great new menu option for groups dining together. The Satu’li Sampler Family Style Dinner allows guests to try all the different combinations of ingredients that can be purchased for individual signature bowl meals. My family and I were eager to try this new offering this week.


The Satu’li Sampler includes:

** 4 servings of protein. You can choose from slow-roasted, sliced grilled beef; chopped wood-grilled chicken; sustainable fish fillet; or chili-spiced crispy fried tofu. You can select any or all of the proteins. My family and I chose two servings of the chicken and two of the beef. My husband had tried – and enjoyed – the fish on a previous visit, but the rest of our family isn’t big on fish, and none of us were interested in the tofu.

** 4 servings of the base foods: quinoa and vegetable salad; red & sweet potato hash; mixed whole grain & rice; or romaine & kale salad. You do not have the option to mix and match these dishes; you receive one of each.

** 3 types of sauce: Charred onion chimichurri; black bean vinaigrette; or creamy herb dressing. Your table will receive all three sauces, and they are refillable. Although we all tried each one, the creamy herb dressing, which was similar to a ranch dressing, was the most popular with our group so we did have to ask for a second bowl.

** 1 large serving of the vegetable slaw topped with yogurt boba balls.

** 4 non-specialty drinks. Choose from sodas, iced tea, lemonade, Powerade, orange juice, bottled water, coffee or tea.


If you’ve never been to the Satu’li Canteen and you have a group of three or four adventurous diners, the Satu’li Sampler Family Style Dinner might be a good option for dinner. There are, after all, almost 50 combinations of signature bowls that can be created from the various proteins, bases and sauces. That many delicious options can be overwhelming for some people, and the Sampler Dinner eliminates the need for menu debates. Then, if you return to dine at Satu’li Canteen again, you know what you like and can order accordingly.

My husband, 12-year-old daughter and I all enjoyed trying the various components of the platter. My daughter has some digestive issues and, for her, the fresh food at Satu’li Canteen is ideal. She was able to sample everything and not worry about the rest of her night being spoiled by stomach pain.

However, my 14-year-old son is a pickier eater and wanted to hog all the chicken and rice. He would have been better off to have gotten his own meal because he was unwilling to try different combinations. (As it turned out, we did let him get another meal in addition to his share of the family platter because he’s a competitive swimmer and needs more fuel for all that exercise.)

The price for the Satu’li Sampler Family Style Dinner was $74.99 plus tax. When you do the math, the sampler does end up costing more than ordering four individual Satu’li bowls ($11.49 to $12.99 each depending on your choice of protein) and four fountain beverages ($3.29 each). Plus, if you prefer a specialty drink or an alcoholic beverage, that’s not included. You could, of course, opt for a bottle of water to take out into the park, though, if you don’t want the selection of a fountain beverage to go to waste when you pay for a an adult beverage.

For my family, it was worth it to try the Satu’li Sampler Family Style Dinner at least once. In the future, I imagine we’ll each order our own meals. (You can read my previous review of other dishes here.)

Know that when you order the sampler platter, you also receive extra assistance from cast members. They will bring your dinner to your table, as well as get your silverware and drinks for you. During the course of your meal, a dedicated cast member will check on your table, asking if he or she can bring you refills and inquiring if you need anything else. This is not the norm at Satu’li Canteen because it’s a quick-service restaurant, not a table-service restaurant.

The Satu’li Sampler Family Style Dinner is only available from 5 p.m. to closing time.

August 3, 2017

3 sweepstakes offer Disney Cruise Line vacations as grand prizes


Have you been dreaming of a Disney Cruise Line vacation? Well, why not dream a little bigger and imagine that the vacation would be paid for by someone else! There is still time to enter three different sweepstakes that have grand prizes of Disney sailings.

Be Our Guest Dream Cruise Sweepstakes

Members of Disney Family Movies rewards can enter this sweepstakes, which has a grand prize of a four-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream ship. It’s free to register on the Disney Family Movie website, and entrants who have already registered on any of the Walt Disney Company sites also are eligible.

The grand prize is the cruise for four people including airfare to Orlando, ground transfers, stateroom accommodations and all meals (except Palo and Remy fine dining and any alcohol). The grand prize vacation must be taken by November 1, 2018, and it must be booked at least 45 days in advance.

To enter, you must be at least 13 years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. You can enter once per day per person at The last day to enter is August 7, 2017, and winners will be randomly drawn on or about August 9, 2017. Official rules can be found here.

May the Force Sail With You Sweepstakes

In this sweepstakes, one person will win a grand prize of a seven-night Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy. You must be a member of Disney Family Movies rewards (or have already registered on any of the Walt Disney Company sites) for this contest, too.

The grand prize is the weeklong Disney cruise for four people including airfare to Orlando, ground transfers, stateroom accommodations and all meals, including one dinner for two adults at Palo fine dining, and a $200 credit at Senses Spa & Salon. The grand prize vacation must be taken by April 28, 2018, and it must be booked at least 45 days in advance.

To enter, you must be at least 13 years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can enter once per day per person at The last day to enter is August 30, 2017, and winners will be randomly drawn on or about September 5, 2017. Official rules can be found here.

Disney Make Every Day Magical Sweepstakes

This sweepstakes also offers a grand prize vacation of a four-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream ship. For this one, you must be a member of the Disney Movie Rewards Loyalty Program. This is different than the program in the previously mentioned sweepstakes. Membership is free.

The contest rules describe how to enter this way: “Once you are logged into your DMR member account, you may enter the Sweepstakes by navigating to the "Sweepstakes" tab, clicking on the Reveal The Magic icon on the Website (“Instant Win Play”) and to instantly see a message on-screen telling you what instant prize or reward points you have won (each, an “Instant Prize/Rewards”) AND to automatically receive one (1) entry into the Grand Prize random drawing (each, an “Automatic Entry”).

The grand prize is the shorter cruise with the extra goodies: A Disney cruise for four people including airfare to Orlando, ground transfers, stateroom accommodations and all meals, including one dinner for two adults at Palo fine dining, and a $200 credit at Senses Spa & Salon. The grand prize vacation must be taken by October 1, 2018, and it must be booked at least 45 days in advance.

To enter, you must be at least 13 years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. You can enter once per day per person. The last day to enter is August 7, 2017, and winners will be randomly chosen on or about August 8, 2017. Official rules can be found here.

August 1, 2017

Experience Pandora culture, hear Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde speak at Orlando art event


Orlando residents and visitors alike have the opportunity to hear Joe Rohde, the renowned Disney Imagineer who led the creative team responsible for designing Animal Kingdom, speak this week at the Orlando Museum of Art during it 1st Thursdays series.


Rohde will be giving two presentations that focus on the important role that art plays in bringing a Disney theme park from concept to reality. The event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 3 at the museum in downtown Orlando.

Specifically, the evening will emphasize its theme of “Celebrating the Beauty of the Natural World” with various aspects related to the new Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. Participants will sample complimentary food and treats inspired by Animal Kingdom, featuring select items from Satu’li Canteen inside Pandora – The World of Avatar. They also can enjoy listening to live entertainment inspired by the theme park. Rohde’s presentations will take place at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Rohde’s art aesthetic is one he has relied on for decades of designing attractions at Disney Parks. He was interviewed earlier this summer by the Los Angeles Times about how Pandora was conceived, and Rohde said, “The research that goes into these parks is not merely research into the real world,” says Rohde. “It is research into the great works of art of all those who have come before. That’s how it works. This is art.”

And when deciding how Pandora would be designed, Rohde explained that even the tiniest details that guests would observe were deliberately chosen. “In theater, there are principles, principles of design, and one of those principles is if something is on stage, it is on stage for a reason,” he was quoted in the Times as saying.

The 1st Thursdays event costs $15 for adults and $5 for children. It’s free for kids ages 3 and younger. Orlando Museum of Art members also have complimentary admission. Tickets can be purchased on the website.

The Pandora event will have a cash bar serving wine, beer, soft drinks and water. Parking is free at Orlando Loch Haven Park, and overflow parking is available at the Orlando Science Center's parking garage for $5 per vehicle.

Attendees can register to win four Walt Disney World Park-Hopper tickets at the end of the event.

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