Tuesday’s Tip- Finding the right fish to start your aquarium

When Finding Nemo came out many people flocked to the pet store in search of purchasing a clown fish of their own.  Now that Finding Dory has hit the theaters conservationists are worried that people might rush to the stores in search of their own Blue Tang… aka- Dory.

The Blue Tang is a very delicate fish, so Disney is doing their best to urge inexperienced aquarium owners not to spring for a salt water tank.  A guide for setting up your own tank and choosing fish can be found on the back of the “Help Dory Find her Friends” at the Seas Pavilion at Epcot, as well as online.

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(Sorry that the page is a little wrinkled!!! It spent a few days in my drawstring bag!!!)

The PDF guide for selecting your own fish friends can be found here- ResponsibleFishOwnershipGuide

Please take these guides into consideration when selecting your own pets!

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Musical Monday- Soarin Around the World

So we had the opportunity to ride the new Soarin Around the World twice during our day at Epcot last week.  I will not post a video with the new footage, because I believe that the first time should be a surprise when you watch it!!!  But I will say that I was SOOOO happy that they used the same basis for the music.

Jerry Goldsmith wrote the original music for the Soarin Over California ride.  The music is so calm and peaceful!  It is probably one of my favorite compositions in all of the Disney parks.  Goldsmith passed away of lung cancer in 2004, so I knew that they wouldn’t be able to commission him to write a new piece for the attraction.  I was pleasantly surprised how they rearranged the original score to reflect the changes in the film, yet paying homage to the original composition.

The youtube clip above is a sample, not the full arrangement of the new music.  This is the only one that I could find that doesn’t show the new film as well, and as I stated I didn’t want to be a spoiler!!!!

Below is the original music.

I will also say that the addition of the third theater at the Land Pavilion for Soarin is AWESOME!  While we didn’t get to go into the new theater, it has significantly cut down on the wait time, making it accessible without a fastpass.  The first time we rode it, we had a fastpass, and the second time we had about a 20 minute wait.

If you’re interested in planning your own trip to Walt Disney World to check out Soarin Around the World, be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com for your free, no obligation quote.  As always, her booking and planning services are free of charge!

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Finding Dory, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush

Finding Dory’s new line of characters has found it’s way to the the “The Seas” pavilion at Epcot center.  You can now find the characters in the “Turtle Talk with Crush” attraction.

This was our very first time visiting Turtle Talk, and it was wonderful!  I was very very impressed with how Crush can interact live with the kids in the audience.  It was completely interactive, hilarious, and creative.  We’ve not visited it in the past because we thought it was more geared for kids, however we wanted to check it out to do something new and we were certainly not disappointed.  Turtle talk also included cameo appearances by Hank, Bailey, and Destiny.

While the Nemo and Friends ride does not include any new characters, but the pavilion itself has added some Dory based activities to cater to the new crowd of fans.  You can now pick up a small pamphlet on the lower level and “Help Dory Find her Friends”

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If you’re interested in planning your own trip to Walt Disney World to Find Dory and her friends, be sure to contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com.  She can help you with all of your booking and planning needs, and her services as always are free of charge!

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All good things must come to an end…

So we left home a week ago this morning and will be returning tomorrow evening around midnight.  It is true that all good things must come to an end. We’ve had an amazing adventure between Disney, Siesta Key Beach, and now Atlanta, Georgia!

Overview of Disney- We stayed at a new to us resort (Caribbean Beach Resort) and WOW, WOW, WOW!!!  It was HUGE!!!  We’ve stayed at all 3 All Star Resorts, Pop Century, and Port Orleans French Quarter, and those were just a fraction of the size of this resort (over 30,000 guest rooms!).

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Our first day at Hollywood Studios we were able to experience things we had never done before, as well as things we hadn’t done in a REALLY long time!  (More on that later)

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Our second day we headed to Epcot and again were able to experience new things!  Frozen forever after, Soarin around the World, meeting Joy and Sadness, and new (to us) dining experiences!

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Our final day we checked out and headed to Magic Kingdom.  Rather than trying anything new we enjoyed our old favorites!  Started at the park opening at 9am and stayed until about 2 pm before renting a car and heading to Siesta Key Beach!

We got to Siesta Key in the early evening and settled into “Hibiscus Suites.”  This hotel was such a great location!!!  It was about a 5 minute drive to Siesta Key Public Beach, right down the road from Publix (Florida supermarket chain), and right across the street from Siesta Key Water Sports!

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We of course enjoyed the beach, parasailing, and eating LOTS of seafood!!!

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Wednesday morning we drove from Siesta Key to Atlanta, Georgia.  We got settled into the Westin Hotel on Peachtree and headed to dinner at Pitty Pat’s Porch.  We LOVE Pitty Pat’s!!!   We visited this restaurant about 6 years ago and had the most amazing ribs.  We were afraid that we had over-hyped the taste in the paste 6 years, but we didn’t!!!  They were so so so good!  If you’re ever in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend checking it out!

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Today is our first and only full day here in Atlanta, so we spent a good chunk of time at the Georgia Aquarium.  It is expensive to get in ($40 for adults) but WOW, it’s absolutely incredible!  We spent about 2 hours there in the morning, left and had lunch, and then came back for another hour and a half in the afternoon.  There is so much to do and see at the Aquarium, and the Dolphin Celebration show was just excellent!  This evening we are having dinner at the Sun Dial restaurant (the top 3 floors at the Westin… and it revolves!) and then heading to ride the Atlanta Skyview.

Tomorrow we will be checking out the World of Coca-Cola and some other sites before heading to airport to fly home.

It’s been an amazing trip thus far, but I am looking forward to coming home sweet home!

 

 

I’m leaving on a jetplane… I do know when I’ll be back again.

It is 6:15 right now and I am getting ready to board my plane to Atlanta and then on to Orlando!  We should be arriving at Orlando around 11:25 and will hopefully be arriving at the Caribbean Beach Resort around 1 or 1:30pm.  We have never stayed at CBR, so I’m excited to adventure into a new resort!

Today we are not hitting a park (and believe it or not, I’m glad!!!  We got out of bed at 4:30 this morning and I didn’t fall asleep until after midnight! #travelanxiety )

So what are we doing since we won’t be at a park you ask?  Well we’re going to have lunch at our resort, go swimming at the resort , and then head to shopping at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney).  We do not have dinner reservations this evening because we want to check out “Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar.”  This new bar serves small plates and Indiana Jones themed.  We are quite excited to see the progress that has been made at Disney Springs since our last trip.  While we were at WDW in March we did not visit Disney Springs, so it’s been about 11 months since we last saw it.

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After dinner we will do some quick shopping and head back to the resort for an early bedtime!  I’m sure that I will be ready for bed tonight after my restless night last night!

Heading “Home” tomorrow…

Tomorrow we are heading “home” for a few days, and by “home,” I mean Walt Disney World.  Yes, we were just there for the Flower and Garden Festival in March of this year, but we just couldn’t resist going back!

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Our original plan was to go to the Bahamas for a week.  We were going to check out the Breezes all inclusive resort near Nassau (if you’re interested in booking a trip there, contact Ashley@charmingtravelsllc.com).  It’s a beautiful resort, the only problem is we couldn’t get our passports in time!  We started planning but were waiting to find out the future of my job before booking and getting the passports.  Seeing as we didn’t find out until May, we didn’t want to chance not having the passports in time.  (So word of advice, get your passport NOW!)

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So we still wanted to go on vacation, and we decided that we could still do Disney and the Beach.  So we will be at Disney from the 14th through the 17th, will be renting a car and driving from Orlando to Siesta Key Beach (about two hours away) and staying there from the 17th through the morning of the 20th.  For the last leg of our trip we decided we wanted some time in a city, so we are heading to Atlanta Georgia from the 20th through the 22nd, and will turn in our rental car and fly home from there.  This vacation has a little bit of everything!

Here are the top 3 things that I am looking forward to on this trip!

  1. We got a new 360º camera on Amazon Prime Day this week, so I am looking forward to trying it out at Disney and at the Beach! (Leave me a comment if you want a 360 shot of something in particular… note, we will not be at Animal Kingdom for this trip) Interested in purchasing an item on amazon?  Why not help out a great cause at the same time!  Visit- Amazon Smile and signup to support the Rubber City Roller Girls with qualifying purchases!  They are a 503c non profit and a worthy group to support!
  2. Getting out of Ohio during the RNC!  We live about an hour south of Cleveland and the RNC starts this weekend.  I am hoping to stay off facebook as much as possible and enjoy the week away while mayhem overtakes NE Ohio.
  3. Relaxing for a bit.  I love Disney, but vacationing there is not exactly relaxing.  I am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing on the beach for a few days.  I am generally a “go-go-go” type of person who likes to be constantly doing something on vacation, which is why Disney works well for me, however the break will be nice!
  4. Buying and eating peaches in Georgia!  I’ve eaten some good peaches from the store, but nothing can top a fresh peach in GA.

 

Trying to find good in a broken world…

Today I wake up after a restless night.  I stayed up way too late reading articles and trying to find out more about the recent tragic situations.  Instances of police brutality, instances of community retaliation, 30 heroin overdoses in my hometown in 3 days, and all less than a month after the Pulse club shootings, a boy being snatched by an alligator at Disney (my personal happy place), suicide bombers at an airport in Istanbul, a rapist getting a slap on the wrist, countless other world atrocities, and in my own life; my cousin taking his own life.

I am trying to make sense of it all.  What does this all mean?  Why is this happening?  Why is the world so crappy right now? What can I do to help?

At this point I know that this is a detour from my normal happy Disney posts.  I also know that I have not written for a long time.  I’ve struggled greatly with motivation to write about the happiest place on earth, when there is a so many awful things going on.

Today I choose to focus on the good, so here are the things that are good in my life.  I will celebrate those today.  Not to ignore the bad in the world, but to change my own outlook to a more positive one.  I am focusing on the good because I am exhausted from focusing on the bad.

Number 1- I have an amazing husband.  He is my best friend and we were able to have a great time this past week getting away and celebrating our 9 years of marriage.

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Number 2- There is beauty in this world.  Look at this sunset!  It is absolutely incredible!  I look at this and don’t see the bad in the world, but the intense beauty.

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Number 3- I have some amazing kids in my life, who give me hope for the future.  M and J are the sweetest, funniest, and kind little boys that I know.  They are thoughtful, caring, love sharing with their Aunt Ashley, and I can’t imagine my life without them.  I choose not to be a parent, but am blessed to be Aunt Ashley.  I mean come on… they’re adorable!

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Number 4- I am a relatively healthy and active individual.  I am overweight for sure, but I don’t let my weight hold me back from hiking, biking, and going on adventures with my husband, best friend, and family.  Do I need to lose weight, YES, but I can move and enjoy my life and health.

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Number 5– I have the privilege of advising a club where I teach who’s entire purpose is to SERVE others in the community.  We have had the opportunity to make blankets for Akron Children’s Hospital, pack food at the Akron Canton Regional Food Bank, help kids with cancer make holiday gifts for their families, clean up trash in the community, and so many other activities to better the world around them.  It is an absolute honor and pleasure to be their advisor.

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Number 6- Speaking of teaching, I teach so amazing students!  They’re fabulously talented and it is an honor to share and make music with them.  This past year alone I had approximately 160 students in my choirs that I was able to share joy and music, not to mention my amazing private lesson students that I have.  While teaching can be stressful, seeing my both my choir students and my private lesson students succeed, is a HUGE blessing.

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Number 7– As a Disney Travel Planner, I get to help families plan magical vacations.  Disney really is my happy place.  If I can help others find magic and joy in their life, that makes me happy.  I am honored to be a part of the Charming Travels team and thankful for the opportunity to help others plan.

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Number 8- While vacations are a temporary escape from reality, ours is coming up within the next week!  I am greatly looking forward to heading to Disney, the beach, and to Atlanta for a week to relax, enjoy life, and recharge.

Number 9- Not to brag or anything, but I have the world’s cutest dogs.  Yeah, they bark and do annoying things, but they’re my babies and they’re good.  The are part of the good in my world.

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Number 10- My hometown is full of amazing compassion.  Let me brag for a minute about how the small village of Lakemore and Springfield township came together to fill and entire semi-truck to send to the residents in West Virginia after the floods.  My community is full of giving, selfless people.

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Enough about the good in my world.  I challenge you today to love one another.  Be kind to each other.  Perform a random act of kindness today.  And find at least 10 good things in your life to focus on.

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