Our friend Leo DeCandia recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World for the Flower & Garden Festival. I wanted to share a few shots with you that he took. This is Part III, so watch for more and in case you missed them, here are Part I and Part II.
On our ToaD Fantasy sailing, a small group of us decided to go sailing and snorkeling to St. John. We wanted to make this a private event so I checked with a number of different providers, finally setting on Sail with Captain Max. Right from the start we felt very comfortable with Captain Max. She answered all of my questions. I am always concerned about doing an independent excursion on a cruise because there are so many variables – will we get in to port, will we be on time, can we enjoy ourselves and still make it back before the cruise sails away? All legitimate questions. Max assured us that if we didn’t make it in, we wouldn’t be charged. We exchanged cell phone numbers so we could advise her of any issues at the last minute. She said we could arrange the same taxi driver to take us back. That works!
Here is Captain Max Continue reading
We are in the final count down! The bags are packed. We’ve been watching the weather forecast and looking forward to warmer temperatures. Facebook friends have been reporting soft openings of the New Fantasyland. All we need to do is get through one more day of work and then we are off to Disney World and the Disney Fantasy!!
We have been planning this trip for the last two years. Two years ago we decided we wanted to do a group cruise around Halloween, going to the Eastern Caribbean, on Disney of course! As soon as the dates were available to book, our date was set and the planning began. Now it is just three full days away, it almost seems unreal! People have been telling me that they wish they were going on the cruise. Others wonder what we are doing. We will be posting some updates and hopefully a blog or two from the cruise, but wanted to give you an idea of what we will be doing.
Friday night, we will be having an informal gathering outside at the Boardwalk. We’re hoping to see Illuminations without having to need tickets. Then it’s off to bed to get ready for our bus ride to the port in the morning! Yes, we have a bus coming to take many of us to Port Canaveral. The excitement on the bus will be monumental when we see the Disney Fantasy for the first time as I am the only one who has been on the Fantasy.
Once onboard, we will have various meets in Europa, for trivia, at the pool, you name it! We also have planned a ship tour, scavenger hunt, private beverage tastings, cabin tours, Twilight Fan meet, gift bags, mini golf tournament, a special 5k for Running for Rescues, and the ever popular AskTracy meet! We could have done so many other things but we want to focus on what Disney has to offer its guests.
In St Maarten, we have a large group going on a private tour with Bernard’s Tours. I’m sure there will be some great stories there! We will be going on the 12 Metre Regatta. This will be a first for us! In St. Thomas, we have a private sail and snorkel excursion.
As part of this cruise, we wanted to do some fundraising to help an organization. We chose Running for Rescues (RfR), a non-profit animal rescue organization. This started because RfR asked me to do a 5k on their behalf. I decided I would do the 5k on Castaway Cay. I started fundraising and convinced a few others to join me on the 5k. We had a t-shirt design made and formed a team with a common goal. To date we have 28 people walking or running with us! This didn’t seem good enough to me though. I proposed that Travel On A Dream secure the private dining rooms at both Palo and Remy adult restaurants. ToaD would pay for the dinners and our guests would bid to be in the room. To date all contributions as a result of this fundraising effort (including the amounts raised by our individual 5k participants) is nearly $3,000!! For you to contribute to our fundraiser, CLICK HERE.
Most of our cruisers haven’t been on a cruise longer than 4 nights so this will be very special for them all. We feel that Disney does a fantastic job entertaining guests of all ages. We want to be sure to showcase what they do best and leave our events to just taking advantage of Disney and experiencing all that we can.
For those that are not on this cruise with us, there is always another group! We have a sailing next April on the Oasis of the Seas and next September on the Disney Magic. Won’t you join us?
Editor’s Note: This blog comes to us from Todd Carrier on his review of the Inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler race last month. Thanks Todd!
A hauntingly good time or sinister loss of magic?
When this race was first announced, I was rather excited. I seem to be addicted to runDisney events. Due to financial responsibilities and lack of vacation days, I thought I would be unable to take part in the inaugural running of this event; however, the fates aligned and I was able to set it up and secure a bib just days before the race sold out. The ToT10M would be my 9th runDisney distance event. I arrived with plenty of expectations. Having done a fair number of long runs on Disney courses, I felt assured there would be plenty of on course entertainment. I was also aware that this was an inaugural race, so there would undoubtedly be a hitch or two.
The Health & Fitness Expo is a mandatory stop for all runDisney events, as it is where you pick up your bib, race shirt and assorted swag. It also gives you a chance to listen to presentations by experts in health and fitness (with a focus on running) and peruse assorted race sponsor’s displays and vendor’s wares. The offerings and booths were slim for this expo–even for an inaugural event. The volunteers were pleasant and picking up bibs et al went smoothly and efficiently.
In addition to the Winter discount released earlier this morning, Walt Disney World has released a Play, Stay and Dine promotion for the same dates, January 2 to March 7, 2013. This promotion is also the same as the Disney Visa offer released last week. For bookings through December 31, 2012, based on availability, save up to $600 on your Walt Disney World Resort package that includes tickets and dining.
Little Mermaid standard rooms at the Art of Animation and 3-bedroom villas are excluded from the promotion. Contact Travel On A Dream today for your quote!
Overlooking Paradise Pier, the Cove Bar at Disney California Adventure offers scrumptious snacks, lip-smacking libations, and arguably one of the best views in the park for the night-time spectacular World of Color.
If you’re planning a visit to the Cove Bar specifically for the World of Color viewing it should be noted that the venue closes to new guests 30-45 minutes prior to the start of the show, and the bar is only accessible during the first performance.
On the night we visited, there were 4 adults in our party and we arrived at the bar around 7:45 pm for the 9:00 show. There were 3-4 couples in line ahead of us and a host came out to explain to us that while there was no cover charge to watch World of Color, the seating was first-come, first-serve and there was no guarantee we’d get a table before they closed. I’ll admit, there was a quiet moment of panic among our group in trying to determine if we should stay or go. A couple of the people in line ahead of us decided to head elsewhere, so we opted to wait it out. Within 10 minutes we were seated, and apparently, we were sprinkled with a bit of pixie dust on our way in because we were given the best seat in the house. Check out that view!
There are two different seating options, either bar stools surrounding a counter or tables & chairs lining the perimeter. In keeping with the old-timey boardwalk theme, the bar has a lot of fun decor all over the walls.
Once we settled in, we dove into the menu. Like many of the bars & lounges at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, the Cove Bar has a menu that includes standard cocktails and beers, appetizers, and a few specialty offerings. Tracy and I decided to each try one of the Cove Bar’s exclusive cocktails.
I tried the Sideshow Novel-Tea, and while initially a bit on strong side, it was great once you mixed in the strawberry puree. I’d almost say it was refreshing. I tried a sip of the martini and it was very flavorful and Tracy seemed to really enjoy it, too.
Before we arrived, the four of us decided that we’d all share a few different appetizers from the menu and just make dinner out of it. The bar is well-known for their lobster nachos, so that was a definite. From there, well, it took a few minutes to decided because it all sounded so good.
We decided on another order of nachos, but asked them to swap the lobster for chicken (blasphemy, I know – I’m just not a big fan of seafood), Tri Tip Sliders, Barbecue Chicken Pizza, and the Bayside Fish Tacos,. Yes, we were hungry!
The nachos were spectacular and both plates quickly disappeared! Although I have to say, the chicken nachos were the clear winner over the lobster. The lobster wasn’t very fresh and was slightly fishy tasting (more so than it should be), while the chicken had a hearty char-grilled flavor. The toppings throughout both nachos were plentiful, and they were not at all chintzy with the cheese in the underlying layers. The chipotle sauce used in lieu of sour cream was a nice touch, as well.
The sliders were good, but the flavor balance seemed to be slightly off. The meat was tender, albeit not very flavorful. The Mojo Criollo sauce was very heavy with garlic, while I love me some garlic, it was just the only thing I could taste. They put the sauce on the meat rather than on the bread, leaving the bread a bit dry. These certainly don’t give the Carthay Circle Theater’s Kobe Beef Sliders a run for their money, but they weren’t bad either. I would order them again, I may just take a sec to swipe the sauce onto the bread myself.
Second only to the nachos, the pizza was a big hit with everyone. Everything about this was good; the crust, cheese, toppings, all of it. It was fresh and hit all of the right points. I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.
The only let down of all that we ordered were the Bayside Fish Tacos. While I readily admit I’m not the biggest fan of seafood, I do enjoy fish tacos. Unfortunately, these were not at all fresh. The meat was dry and extremely fishy tasting, the lime couldn’t even calm down the fishiness. Everything else about them was good, and I really wanted to enjoy these but I just couldn’t. The consensus of the table was the same.
About 10 minutes before show time, they did a final call for the bar. Once our bellies and our drinks were full, we chatted and enjoyed the atmosphere until the start of the show. At this point, we noticed that our panic was for nothing and most of the bar had emptied. I’m guessing because the seats closer to the bar’s main entrance don’t really offer a great vantage point for World of Color, being that the seats are further back and almost parallel with the show’s water screens. Our table, however, was furthest down the line and closest to Ariel’s Grotto, giving us the best seat in the house. It seemed that any of the tables along our row had a great view. I can’t think of any other place where you can sit comfortably (with a drink!) and watch the show. Heaven.
Credit the lack of wind that night, but we didn’t feel much over spray from the fountains at all. Although we could really feel the heat from the fire during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence.
To get an even better idea of the view, you can check out the video below featuring the show’s finale. Just a note, there was a lot of chatter at the table next to us that the microphone on my phone picked up. Thankfully, it wasn’t as noticeable to us while we were sitting there.
All of the cast members we encountered here were extremely friendly, as was our server, but I do have to note that he was a bit on the slow side. Luckily for us, the timing of everything worked out perfectly. If you intend to visit the Bar to view World of Color, I would recommend arriving at least an hour prior to the show if not earlier. I also want to mention that we were able to receive 15% off our bill (excluding alcoholic beverages) with our annual pass. After the show, although the bar was closed, we weren’t rushed out giving us time to finish up our drinks and grab some more shots of the gorgeous fountains.
Overall, the four of us really enjoyed our experience at the Cove Bar and found that it would definitely be a place we’d all go back to for the food, the drinks, and to see the show. Have you experienced the Cove Bar? Let us know your thoughts and best tips it in the comments!
All photos © Chrysty Summers.