Head to the Amazon with Adventures by Disney this Fall!

Get in the learning spirit of the back-to-school season with a trip to the Amazon and Galapagos Islands this fall!

Fall time means back to school for some, but I think it should be back to school for all.  If lifelong learning and an adventurous spirit are part of your DNA, this trip is a perfect way to start your fall.  First, you’ll cruise down the Amazon River, surrounded by beautiful lush landscapes. Following that, you’ll spend time in the Galapagos where you can kayak and hike to discover unique wildlife. 

Ever since Charles Darwin studied evolution in animals in the Galapagos, this area has been regarded as an amazing display of evolution. The incredible diversity of this area is enough to pique the curiosity of even the least scientifically-inclined traveler! If you’re looking for an amazing experience this fall, my pick would be Adventures by Disney’s Ecuador: Amazon and Galapagos Islands trip. 

 https://www.adventuresbydisney.com/central-south-america/amazon-galapagos-tours/

Map of Adventures By Disney Ecuador: Amazon and Galapagos Islands travel route.

Boo-To-You Parade with the Headless Horseman

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

The Party

Have you ever been to Disney in the Fall? They sure know how to party at Disney. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is Mickey’s annual Halloween spook-tacular and promises to be a fun evening. You can dress up in your favorite costume and your evening will be filled with treats and thrills at Magic Kingdom.

The Parade

The evening parade is a must see, especially during Halloween! Right before the fun of the Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade begins . . . it gets silent . . . and all of a sudden the Headless Horseman comes galloping down Main Street with a jack-o-lantern in his hand. He is an awesome sight to see and is another one of the magical extras that makes traveling to Disney World in the fall one of the best times to go!

Enjoy a Summery Disney drink at Pongu Pongu!

Don’t miss out on these great frozen drinks at the Pongu Pongu lounge at Walt Disney World Resort!

Come to Disney World for the magic, and stay for the drinks! Once you try them, you’ll see what I mean. Inside Pandora – The World of Avatar you’ll find the Pongu Pongu Lounge where you can get some of the best frozen drinks the park has to offer! Pongu Pongu (literally translated to “party party”) serves two exciting and delicious frozen beverages, the Night Blossom, and the Mo’ara Frozen Margarita.

The Mo’ara Frozen Margarita is a frozen drink made with Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo Tequila, strawberry and blood orange flavor, and topped with strawberry boba balls. For a little extra, your drink will be served in a souvenir cup with a glowing Unadelta seed.

Looking for something non-alcoholic? They’ve got you covered! The signature drink at Pongu Pongu is the Night Blossom, a non-alcoholic frozen drink. This drink is a mixture of limeade with apple and desert pear flavors, topped with passion fruit boba balls. Just like the margarita, choose the souvenir cup and watch your drink glow from the Unadelta seed!

Maybe a trip to Disney World isn’t in the cards for you right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to enjoy a great summer drink! One of my personal favorites to make is Pineapple Iced Green Tea. Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients

  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 ounces iced green tea
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • Orange wheels for garnish

Directions

Place 4 fresh mint leaves in a shaker glass. Add ice and equal parts iced green tea and pineapple juice (approximately 3 ounces each). Shake well to bruise the mint leaves and strain into an ice filled wineglass. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, and orange wheel.

Don’t miss ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

My favorite restaurant is ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  So many favorite foods here, it’s hard to pick just one!!

In the morning, you can Hang Loose with Stitch and friends.  It’s so much fun watching and playing the different games they do here.  The crowd interaction is cool. Games such as coconut races and also hula contests, really make you feel like you’re part of the family while you dine here. Breakfast selections include scrambled eggs, Island-style fried potatoes, Hawaiian pork sausages, smoked bacon and a variety of fresh fruits and bread.

Dinner with Hawaiian Hospitality does not disappoint. Let the call of a conch shell welcome you to an evening of Hawaiian-flavored specialties, storytelling and more games. Watch in awe as the servers dash between tiki torches and tropical greenery to bring skewers of sweet and sour chicken, oak-grilled shrimp and steak to your table, as well as dumplings, stir-fried veggies, lo mein noodles and salad.

Halloween with Mickey!

When you think of Disney you probably think about rides and characters and food. But did you know that during the year they have special events and one of the events that takes place during the fall is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? This annual event takes place on select nights and promises to be a frightfully fun evening! Everyone gets to put on their favorite costume, even your favorite Disney characters, and trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom! You do need to purchase a separate ticket for this event and for guests who do not purchase a ticket they are asked to leave Magic Kingdom at 7PM. Bummer! Magic Kingdom is decorated with pumpkins and grinning ghosts so be on the lookout. And don’t worry, this event is called not-so-scary and that means children of every age can enjoy in the fun. Be ware, while Disney encourages you to be creative they also value safety and good judgment so there are rules that must be followed.

General

  • 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.

I know, rules are never fun, but you don’t want to be kicked out of the party! If you are traveling during this special time you don’t want to miss this event! And remember, nobody does it like Disney.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Jody’s favorite ride is the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Who doesn’t like Steven Tyler and the gang rockin’ and rolling to the fun music.  Enter the queue line through a small tent, with boxes designed like instrument cases decorating the scene.  Curve through the typical Disney ramp that takes you back and forth, around a building behind the giant electric guitar and into the “G-Force Records” recording studio.  Enter the circular room with a high ceiling and posters all around.  Check out the LCD screen and see if your name is displayed when you walk past.  (How does Disney doooooo that?)  Go through the small room of instruments and then join other guests to enter Aerosmith’s studio.  Of course, sing “Walk This Way”, while hand and fingers thrown up into the air!!!  And the rest………..well, you just have to ride this coaster to find out!

A Journey Down the Na’vi River

I was lucky enough to preview Pandora in May 2017.  Many people will tell you about the thrills of Avatar Flight of Passage, but I want to share about how cool the Na’vi River Journey was.  First of all, imagine “It’s a Small World” but with characters from Pandora.  It is a family friendly ride, but I do have to mention it is very dark but that allows the glowing plants and animals to really pop.  You feel like you are in a black light club with bright neon, but the atmosphere is serene with nature sounds, while on a slow moving raft ride through other worldly flora and fauna. 

When riding, you need to look up, down, and all around because the animals and insects of the jungle come to life around you. Disney has used incredible new technology so you can see the shadow a frog-like creature jumping on a lilypad over your head, while floating jellyfish obscure the view of larger animals in the background.  Near the end of the ride, you are blessed by the Na’vi Shaman’s song.  Only 4.5 minutes long, you’ll be in a raft that has 2 rows of seats each fitting 3 adults comfortably.  There is no real story to this ride, just an experience of the nightlife of the jungle on Pandora.

Don’t Miss the Grand Marnier Slush at Epcot

Disney Recipe: Grand Marnier Slush from France Kiosk in Epcot

One of my favorite things at Walt Disney World is the Grand Marnier Slush from the France kiosk in Epcot. This is one tasty treat you won’t want to miss … if you are of age. Please be careful though is this is one of those drinks where the booze is hard to detect and it’s VERY delicious.

You can make this at home too. Here is the recipe for you …

Ingredients

  • 1 part Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 part Grand Marnier
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 2 parts Quickway sweet and sour mix
  • Ice

Directions

1.) Mix all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. You can be a little more lenient with some of the alcohol to get it to your liking.

2.) To get the orange coloring such as seen at Epcot, simply add orange food coloring to the blend.

Now indulge!

Under the Sea … is the ride for me!

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite rides. I really enjoy the movie and I also don’t do the fast/scary rides any more.  This ride just makes me smile and has such great music. You get to go on an adventure “Under the Sea” and you don’t even get wet. If you like the characters and music in this Disney classic you will love Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.

On the lighter side….Disney’s Ohana Honey Lime Salad Dressing

I absolutely love trying new salads and new salad dressings.  It’s amazing what a difference in the taste of a leafy salad, when you change up the dressing!!!  I’m sharing my favorite Disney salad dressing here today!  I first experienced this at Ohana – located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida.  A quick monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom, this restaurant is top on my list and well worth the stop!

Honey Lime Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 C honey
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 C cider vinegar
1/4 C lime juice
1/4 C diced onion
1 C canola oil

Method:

Place all ingredients except oil in food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add oil until it is well incorporated into the dressing. Makes 2 Cups.

Summer Salad … Disney Style!

Summer is upon us!  If you are like me you’re always looking for a new dish to bring to all of your summer gatherings. Well you are in luck! I have one to share with you. And not only can you make this at home, you can also overindulge in it when you dine at 1900 Park Fare at the  at Disney World.

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb Broccoli florets
1/4 cup Cashew Halves
1/4 cup Cooked/diced Bacon
1/4 cup Red Onion- small, diced
1/4 cup Raisins
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sugar
A Dash of  Salt

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 4-quart pan.
  2. Add Broccoli florets and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until barely tender. Cool thoroughly in ice water. Darin completely.
  3. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in sauté pan until crisp. Drain off excess grease and cool.
  4. Add small red onion.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the diced red onion, raisins, mayonnaise, sugar, and cashews.
  6. Add the thoroughly cooked broccoli and cooked bacon.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Mix gently but thoroughly.
  9. Refrigerate until served.

Enjoy!!

 

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—Be Afraid … Be Very Afraid!

My favorite Disney ride is at Hollywood Studios – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

It’s a great attraction to ride either day or night and is based on a haunted hotel in old Hollywood. We love the queue up to the actual ride. In true Disney fashion the excitement builds as you get closer and closer to the elevator. My kids love it and look forward to the ride photo every year – they even know where to sit now (and will wait for that seat) so they can pose for the best shot. I do recommend warning everyone it is a thrill ride and it’s going to be a bit scary and dark – you must be 40″ tall to go on the attraction. They do offer a FastPass+ which I highly recommend.

Will you make it back or will you stay forever at the Hollywood Tower Hotel . . .

A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World Resort is the Carousel of Progress. This 20 minute carousel takes each guest back in time to learn about innovation and lifestyles of different time periods throughout the 20th century and into the early 21st. I am particularly fond of it, because it is one of the few attractions that Walt Disney actively had a part in creating – the Carousel of Progress first made its appearance at the 1964 World Fair, and has been widely adored ever since!

Every time I meander into Tomorrow Land in Magic Kingdom, I make my way over to this nostalgic attraction for a carousel ride of musical entertainment and a look into A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!

 

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rum!

What is my favorite ride at Disney World? Easy- Pirates of the Caribbean!! I can’t pinpoint what it is about this ride that makes it my favorite but it is a must do with every Disney visit.  You set sail on a voyage to a time when pirates ruled the high-seas and will escape through a shadowy grotto past the ghostly catacombs of fallen pirates. This ride is for everyone, any age and any height. There is one small drop down a waterfall towards the beginning of the ride so be prepared but after that just sit back, enjoy and sing along with the drunken buccaneers. Jack Sparrow pops up throughout the whole ride so be on the lookout, you just never know what he is going to be up to. When you are at Disney World next, head to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and try this ride out, you won’t be disappointed!!

Toy Story Midway Mania by Melissa (almost an expert)

My favorite ride at Disney World and Disneyland is Toy Story Mania!!!

At Disney World, this ride is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  At Disneyland, this ride is located at Disney’s California Adventure Park.

I’m such a nerd that I researched and read up on how to get more points on this fun little ride!!!

Here are a few of the things I have learned about the ride and how to improve your score:
(Most of the high scores involve uncovering the secret targets on each screen)

  1. Hamm & Eggs screen – shoot the fox and the hens, while also shooting the two pigs above the fox.  When the two pigs go down, a cat appears.
  2. Green Army Men screen – in the beginning, two 2000 plates will shoot up in the valleys, hit them both before they disappear.  Higher value plates appear.
  3. Woody’s Shooting Gallery screen – this one is a team effort, Hit the 100 point target to open the 5 more targets, then you have to hit them all.  When you do, the targets pop open worth 2000 points each

Yep, I love this ride and am just a tiny bit competitive….ha ha ha!!!