Friday, November 8, 2013

USS Kittiwake Shore Excursion in Grand Cayman

There are so many great shore excursions in Grand Cayman - it's really difficult to choose which one to do!  There is a great Sting Ray encounter at Sting Ray City.  Or you could go to Hell.  Or a Turtle farm.  There are also some amazing beaches where you could laze in a lounger and wade into the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Caribbean.

My favorite excursions are ones that get me in the water - and especially when I can snorkel.  I love looking at the coral formations and all the gorgeous fish. But when I heard about this snorkel trip where I'd get to see the USS Kittiwake - it just sounded too cool to pass up.

The USS Kittiwake was a US submarine rescue vehicle that was in commission from 1946 - 1994.  In 2008 it was sold to the Cayman Islands.  The government of the Caymans wanted to use it to start an artificial reef near 7 Mile Beach.  It was sunk there in January of 2011 and rests in about 60 feet of water - resting on the sandy bottom.

Our excursion begins with boarding a catamaran right from 7 Mile Beach (in front of the governor's house).  We had a short ride to our snorkel spot.  We could even see our ship!

The day was cloudy and had rained earlier so the water was really choppy.  We had a couple of novice snorkelers onboard who were not able to handle the water.  One thing I do want to point out though is how easy it is to get on and off of a catamaran.  Being a larger person, a straight up and down ladder is really difficult for me to use - but the ladder on a catamaran makes it really easy to get in and out of the water if you have size or mobility issues.

Again, with the water so choppy, the visibility wasn't perfect - but I still got some wonderful shots of the USS Kittiwake.

We spent about 20 minutes here before we all got back on board and we moved a few hundred feet over to a coral reef.  The reef here was really cool in that it had rows of coral next to a sandy patch followed by another row of coral - probably about 20 rows in all.  Made for some fantastic scenery!

So - how about you? Are you a snorkeler?  Is this an excursion that you would try?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Disney News Round Up

Congrats to the winners of the Villains Make up - Cyndie L and to Jeanine L!

Have I helped you to plan a trip to Disney or with a cruise?  I am taking submissions for my Testimonials page.  Be sure to click on the tab to see what our families are saying about us!

Club Cool in Epcot is going to be experiencing some major changes - they are changing most of the flavors of sodas to be offered.  Staying are the drinks from Japan and Italy (the infamous Beverly!) and the rest will be retired.  New drinks will be from Europe (Fanta Pineapple), Thailand (Fanta Frosty Melon), South Africa (Bibo), South East Africa (Sparberry), Brazil (Guarana Kuat), and Peru (Inca Kola).

Other big news for Epcot beginning November 1st - end of the year (or it may last longer) - is that for fast pass plus - you can only select ONE headliner experience (Soarin' OR Test Track OR Maelstrom OR Character Spot OR Illuminations).  You may need to plan more than one day at Epcot to experience all that you want to do.

Disney Parks celebrates the 20th anniversary of Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas" with some cool new merchandise.  Be sure to check out my pinterest page for pictures.

Visitors from the UK - take note that your UK issued driver's license is no longer a valid option for ID when purchasing alcohol in Disney World or DisneyLand.  Be sure to bring your passport for ID purposes!

This is the last week for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - with the last party on November 1.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties begin next week on November 8th - and the first party is already sold out!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Disney Villains Makeup Giveaway!

Let's celebrate Halloween with a great giveaway!  I love Disney Villains - and this month ELF cosmetics teamed up with Disney and Walgreens to put out a line of fantastic villain themed makeup.  In this giveaway, you'll receive an Evil Queen bundle that includes:
  • An Evil Queen make up bag
  • An Evil Queen "Look book" - with eye shadow, mascara, eye liner pencil, and lip gloss
  • Disney villain nail polish.  It's a set of 12 with three colors for each villain (Maleficient, Ursula, the Evil Queen, and Cruella)
  • Evil Queen themed hair ties
  • Evil Queen eye lashes (set of 3 including the glue)
  • And to top it off a bag of Werther's original caramels - filled with apples!

Be sure to like my page on facebook and follow me on pinterest for an extra chance to win.  Also, I am doing a bonus giveaway - if you share my page on facebook, I pool those names and will give away a $25 gift card! (Be sure to let me know here or on facebook that you did this part!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Disney News Round up

Valet parking is coming to Downtown Disney!  Starting October 21, for $15, you can leave your car with the valet on the West side of Downtown Disney - by Cirque du Soleil.  If you are a Tables in Wonderland member with a valid restaurant receipt, your parking fee is free.  The valet will be available from 4pm to 2am seven days a week.  Congestion is high here so hopefully this will alleviate some of the frustration in finding a parking spot!

For the first time, Disney Quest is offering a Halloween party.  Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween party is already sold out for October 31 so this will be a great alternative.  There will be five floors of unlimited games, trick or treating, dance parties, characters, and even a costume contest.  Message me if you'd like to see if tickets are still available - I imagine this will sell out quickly!

The Jungle Cruise is turning into the Jingle cruise in early November!  I can't wait to hear all the new Christmas puns from the skippers when we ride in December.

Rumor Alert!  Kenny the Pirate (who writes a wonderful blog showcasing everything you need to know about finding characters at Disney) is reporting that there may be Fast pass + exclusive character meet and greets at each park.  It's also likely that fast passes will be an exclusive ticket for onsite guests.

In Disneyland's California Adventure - Soarin' over California is about to shut down in February for 6 months while they prepare Soarin' over the World!  I hear that they will be filming over Disneyland resort next week!

Are you headed to Disney with a child on the autism spectrum or with other cognitive disabilities?  Be sure to check out the Special Mouse podcast as they discuss and review the new DAS card.

Do you live in the Chicago area - or are you planning a trip there?  Be sure to check out the Museum of Science and Industry's "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives!"

At the Town Square in Magic Kingdom - when you meet Mickey - he now talks!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fort Wilderness Cabins

Fort Wilderness is an amazing resort - comprised of both campsites and rustic cabins - with LOTS to do and see.  There are nightly campfire sing-a-longs, movies, nature walks, a beach to see the Electric water pageant, 2 swimming pools, volleyball, biking, boating, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding  - and more!  There are two speciality dining experiences - Mickey's Backyard Bar-B-Que and the Hoop-dee-doo revue, a table service location - Trail's end buffet, and a counter service option.

If you'd like to camp at the resort, spots fill quickly - especially around holidays.

The cabins at Fort Wilderness are categorized by Disney as moderate resort accomodations - and are a great option for families with up to six people - and they are a great option if you want a separate space to relax in the evening after the kids go to bed rather than a traditional hotel room set up.

Each cabin has a parking spot, deck with a picnic table and a grill.

As you enter the cabin, you are in the kitchen and dining area.  It is a full kitchen complete with everything you'd need to make a meal.  And what's really cool - housekeeping will do the dishes for you!

The dining area has a bench plus chairs.

There is a living room - and there is a Murphy bed that pulls down from the wall.

Down the hallway you'll find the full bathroom.

And finally you have the bedroom. There is a full sized bed and a set of twin bunk beds.  You'll also find a closet and the vanity area where you can dry your hair (great idea so that someone else can be getting ready in the bathroom!).

Like all Disney resorts, transportation between the resort and the parks is provided.  However, at Fort Wilderness it's a little more complicated.  Because the resort is so large, there is an internal bus that will take you to either the front of the resort to catch a bus to the parks.  Or, there is a different internal bus that will take you to the marina area where you can catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Rather than wait for the internal bus, you can always walk (but it can be quite a trek), use your bicycle, or even rent a golf cart from the resort.  You can make reservations up to a year in advance and the costs are $59 a day plus tax.  Do note, the cabins sleep 6 guests, but only 4 guests will fit in a golf cart!

So...what about you?  Have you stayed at Fort Wilderness?  Have you visited to take advantage of all the activities there?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Disney News Roundup

Discounts for the first quarter of 2014 are still available - check out the current deals link for more information.

The first images of the imagined Avatar themed land at Disney's Animal Kingdom have arrived.  I love that so much will focus on night time entertainment at that park.  I think it's just going to be gorgeous!

For years during lunch at Les Chefs de France, you would be visited by Chef Remy from Ratatouille.  But no longer.  Chef Remy says good-bye on October 24, 2013.

Do you need to help an autistic child understand the new DAS card?  Here is a social story that you might use to explain how it works.

The Disney Christmas parade that is broadcast on ABC on Christmas morning is scheduled for filming in the Magic Kingdom on December 6 and 7.  You may want to join in the fun or stay really far away!

On Disney cruise line, the adult only restaurant, Palo, has increased their price from $20/person to $25.

There is a lot of construction going on at the Polynesian resort  which obstructs some views.   Also, the pool is getting a major facelift beginning in March of 2014.  Rumors are that the pool may actually be closed for 8 months - 1 year!

RUMOR:  What would you think about a "Lord of the Rings" land at Disney parks?!  


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

50's Prime Time Cafe

Eating a meal at the 50's Prime Time Cafe is like taking a small step back in time.  From the food to the decor to the antics of the waitstaff - it really does feel like the 1950's.

The 50's Prime Time Cafe is in Disney's Hollywood Studios - just across the lake from the American Idol Experience and next to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.  
When you walk in, you'll find yourself in a 1950's living room.  Complete with vintage furniture and kitschy decorations.  Do you see anything here from your childhood?

There are a number of living rooms to check out - all of them playing black and white tv shows - from "Dick Van Dyke Show" to "Car 54 Where are you?" to "The Mickey Mouse Club."  But my favorite are the public service announcements - with dating tips. 

When you are seated in Mom's kitchen - be sure to look around at the fabulous details in the theming.

Keeping it in the family, the waitstaff will be your aunt, your uncle or even your cousin.  And they are there to enforce mom's rules for sitting at the table.  Don't wear your hat to the table.  Make sure you don't put your elbows on the table.  And most of all make sure you eat all your veggies before you ask for desert.  

If you can't follow these rules, you might have to deal with things like: wearing a dunce cap; standing in the corner, your waiter making "chugga-chugga-choo-choo" noises while they bring a fork full of food to your mouth.  Then again, you might even get a commendation for being a member of the clean plate club.

And what is on the menu at the Prime Time?  It's traditional 50's comfort foods.  You can also order drinks from Dad's liquor cabinet!

We started with the beer battered onion rings (served pouring out of a cute frying basket) and the blue claw crab cake over succotash.

For the main course we had sampler of Mom's favorite recipes (meatloaf, pot roast and Aunt Liz's fried chicken) served with mashed potatoes and green beans substituted for the greens) and Cousin Barry's olive oil poached salmon.  They were both delicious - and next time I think I'll just get Liz's fried chicken - devine!!

On the dining plan, you can get a milkshake as your beverage - and I got the Peanut Butter and Jelly milkshake.  Oh.My.Word - so, so, good.  If you are a peanut butter lover, this is the drink for you. There was not much of a jelly taste to the shake (which makes me happy) - it was just creamy goodness.

And then we had dessert.  We had the 50's Boston Creme Parfait and the Apple cobbler a la mode.

This is a really fun restaurant - great themeing and some delicious eats! about you?  Have you experienced any of the antics at the 50's Prime Time?