Disney Cruise Line Weekly Preview — Week of October 21

first_imgDisney Cruise Line: In The NewsCastaway CayThis week we have a few important itinerary changes to report, provided by Scott Sanders of the Disney Cruise Line Blog. The Caribbean islands of St. John and Tortola are still rebuilding from damage sustained by Hurricane Irma, which is delaying cruise activities returning to the island nations. Currently, the Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic are the only ships affected by these changes. If there are further changes, we will update you here with that information.Disney Magic – November 26th sailing from New York, New York will now visit Antigua in place of the scheduled stop at Tortola; via Disney Cruise Line BlogDisney Magic – December 1st sailing from San Juan may utilize scheduled Tortola stop as a Sea Day if the island is not ready for tourists; via Disney Cruise Line BlogDisney Fantasy – December 16th sailing is changed to a Western Caribbean Cruise visiting Cozumel and Grand Cayman in place of St. Thomas and Tortola; via Disney Cruise Line Blog Share This!Welcome aboard for this week’s Disney Cruise Line Preview for the week of October 21st! I’m Brandon Glover, and I’ll be giving you everything you need to know before cruising with Disney Cruise Line this week. We’re back this week with a look at some of the exciting events coming to the high seas in the next few weeks.Ports of Call (High/Low Temperature, Chance of Rain)Sint MaartenDisney Magic 21 October – New York (77/57, 0%)22 October – At Sea23 October – At Sea24 October – Charlottetown (66/59, 10%)25 October – Sydney, Nova Scotia (68/57, 20%)26 October – Halifax, Nova Scotia (65/60, 60%)27 October – At SeaDisney Wonder21 October – At Sea22 October – San Diego (80/60, 0%)23 October – At Sea24 October – Cabo San Lucas (89/76, 0%)25 October – At Sea26 October – Ensenada (85/63, 0%)27 October – San Diego (75/62, 0%)Sint MaartenDisney Dream21 October – Nassau (87/79, 80%)22 October – Castaway Cay (86/78, 20%)23 October – Port Canaveral (85/75, 20%)24 October – Nassau (87/78, 20%)25 October – Castaway Cay (85/74, 80%)26 October – At Sea27 October – Port Canaveral (77/69, 0%)Disney Fantasy21 October – Port Canaveral (83/76, 20%)22 October – At Sea23 October – Cozumel (86/76, 80%)24 October – Grand Cayman (86/81, 40%)25 October – Falmouth (89/77, 50%)26 October – At Sea27 October – Castaway Cay (83/76, 20%) Disney FantasyCondé Nast Traveler readers have voted for the 30th annual Readers Choice Awards, which netted Disney Cruise Line top honors in a couple categories. The Disney Cruise Line received the highest reader score for Large Cruise Ship Lines (Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy), as well as placing top six in the Medium Cruise Ship Lines category (Disney Magic and Disney Wonder). Over 300,000 readers participated in the voting, which spanned categories including destinations, lodging, transportation, and much more. Disney Cruise Line ranks remarkably high in most ratings circles, so it comes as no surprise that they would continue to receive top honors once again. Story via Disney Cruise Line Blog.The Disney Parks Blog has released the next installment of its “Beyond the Curtain” series, focusing on the rehearsal aspect of their Broadway-style productions. This piece specifically mentions Beauty and the Beast, which is set to debut in November exclusively on the Disney Dream.Disney Cruise Line is holding a Family Memories at Sea contest where you can enter to win a 3-night Bahamian Disney Cruise Line vacation for up to 4 people! All you have to do is follow the link and upload a photo or video of a special experience or adventure you had on a Disney Cruise. Best of luck to anyone who enters!Upcoming EntertainmentThe following films are being shown aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships this month:MoanaBeauty and the BeastBorn in ChinaGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCars 3Spider-Man: HomecomingFor future reference, films debut on the Disney Cruise Line the same day of their initial release in the United States. Show times are available in your Personal Navigator or the official Disney Cruise Line app.Disney on Broadway: Stars Set Sail will conclude its performance series aboard the Disney Wonder on October 27th, as Jenn Gambatese of Tarzan: The Musical fame takes the Walt Disney Theatre stage.Captain’s Log: Important Tips and InformationIn the past, we’ve mentioned our fondness for the cocktail tasting courses aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships. Now, we have learned of a new offering currently in testing aboard the Disney Magic. The Disney Cruise Line Blog is featuring a guest review of the experience, which pairs a traditional cocktail tasting with a painting course. Cocktails and Canvas – Beauty and the Beast is a two-hour painting class featuring three of Disney Cruise Lines’ signature cocktails. At the time of testing, the course cost $45 and required pre-booking. With the theme being Beauty and the Beast, attendees painted the iconic enchanted rose encased in its glass protector. Beauty and the Beast has been a major success for Disney as of late, with the Broadway style musical set to debut on the Disney Dream next month. It remains to be seen whether this test will lead to further implementation on the other Disney Cruise Line ships as a permanent addition, but with the popularity of cocktail tastings and painting classes in American culture, I feel this would be well received as a permanent offering.Did you know there are ten categories of staterooms on the Disney Cruise ships? On the TouringPlans blog, Tammy Whiting recently covered the Best Staterooms in Each Category. This is a helpful resource so you can find the best room for your needs.Are you deciding whether to book a Disney Cruise but are having a tough time deciding which ship fits all of your desires? Well, our own Laurel Stewart has put together a chart that makes it easy to compare all of the options in one place. Also available as a valuable planning and companion guide from authors Len Testa, Erin Foster, and Laurel Stewart is The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. The companion guide contains a complete overview of each Disney ship as well as Castaway Cay and includes valuable tips on how to save time and money during your cruise!That concludes this week’s preview of the Disney Cruise Line. Join us next Friday as we take a look at what happens in the world of Disney Cruise Line over the next week. In the meantime, check out the latest edition of The Saturday Six from author, illustrator, and masked luchador Derek Burgan. Special thanks to Derek Burgan, Julia of Best Week Ever fame, Rikki Niblett, and Scott Sanders of the DCL Blog for their assistance on this article. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TheDCLBlog for daily updates on the cruise line. Tune in to the Be Our Guest WDW Podcast to hear Rikki discuss topics covering all things Walt Disney World.last_img read more

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Keep Kids Entertained with an Epcot Passport

first_imgShare This!There are some kids who love wandering around World Showcase and others who need a little “encouragement” for their world travels. Regardless of which type of kid you have, the Epcot Passport can be a fun souvenir for your travels. Reminiscent of an actual passport, this kit contains the passport, an “Honorary Ambassador” button, and lots and lots and LOTS of stickers for the different countries. If you plan to visit the Kidcot stations throughout World Showcase, make sure to show your passport to the different Cast Members, who might add a bit of magic to your passport pages. The passport is $12.99 and can make for a wonderful souvenir of your trip “around the world.” We spotted this one at Mouse Gear, but the passport is available at many locations throughout Epcot.Have you purchased an Epcot Passport for your child? What do you think about this activity? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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We Saw a Kingbird, Cowbird, and a Tree Swallow or Two

first_imgThe U.S. election results coming in late in the night (and for my community, at 6:00am this morning), made for a challenging day today for many people.Personally, I needed a break from it all. After working on a client project, I spent time looking through old boxes and discovered something I was going to present at summer camp years ago. If you need a break from the political talk and comments about where our country is heading, I give you this poem. BirdsWe saw a lot of birds this weekI’d like to name a few.We saw a Downy Woodpecker,A Cedar Waxwing, too.A robin and an oriole,A bluebird, maybe three.We saw a White-Breasted Nuthatch,And a Black-Capped Chickadee.One Rose-Breasted Grosbeak we sawWas something to behold.We saw a Hairy Woodpecker,But he looked really old.This Yellow-Bellied SapsuckerThat flew from tree to tree,Looked nothing like the RedstartThat was riveting to me.We saw that silly Killdeer dance,And limp from where his nestWas built as if to tempt his fate,Location ain’t the best. A Red-winged Blackbird screeched at us,A Northern Flicker fleetly flew.We saw a kingbird, cowbird,And a Tree Swallow or two. We saw an Indigo Bunting,Alas, no hummingbird.Nor did we see the House Wren,At least that’s what I’ve heard.We saw a grackle and a crow,But they might be the same.We saw a pigeon and a gull,And some bird with no name. We may have seen some other birdsGo flying there and here.But what the heck, we’re coming back,We’ll save them for next year. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedPhoto of the Week: Northern Saw-whet Owl at Harley EnsignAs I pulled into the parking lot at the Harley Ensign Boat Launch in Harrison Township, I saw the man in a suit pointing up to the pine tree as his woman companion looked on. I quickly parked the car, grabbed my binoculars, and camera and walked toward them.  I knew those…In “Michigan”Photo of the Week: Gravity-defying White-breasted NuthatchOne of the most common winter birds you’ll find at feeders in southeast Michigan in the winter is the White-breasted Nuthatch, an acrobatic bird that defies gravity as it walks head down, spiralling a tree trunk. Or it perches perilously from a feeder as this White-breasted Nuthatch was doing at…In “Nature”Photo of the Week: Downy WoodpeckerCan you imagine any bird, let alone a Downy Woodpecker like this one, eating bird seed from your hand? Birds have been fed so often by hand at Kensington Metro Park in southeast Michigan that often all you need to do is stretch out your arm and birds will land…In “Nature”last_img read more

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Midmar Mile ‘sets the bar’: FINA expert

first_img14 February 2011 Age group races: men Steve Munatones summed up the allure of the Midmar Mile brilliantly when he asked what a marathon runner says after completing a race. The answer will be: “I did it in” and the runner then says what time he/she did it in. For a Midmar Mile swimmer, the answer is “I did it!”. The 2011 aQuelle Midmar Mile, which took place at the Midmar Dam near Howick in the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on the weekend, also benefitted from the attendance of former South African Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock, who will become the Princess of Monaco in mid-year when she marries Prince Albert. Afterwards, Wittstock and Van Almsick indicated that they would like to return to the race, with Wittstock saying that maybe next time Prince Albert would also be in tow! He was also very impressed with the gender breakdown of the event, which was 53% male to 47% female. This bucks the worldwide trend of two to one in favour of males. Munatones predicts (in fact, he first predicted it some years ago) that the narrowing of the gap will continue around the world until more women take part in the sport than men. Corinne Evans, at the age of 74, was the oldest female finisher. Gail Bristow, meanwhile, completed her 37th Midmar Mile. The only race she has missed out on was in its first year, when female swimmers were not allowed. Herman, with a lovely flowing stroke, took the early lead, with Britain’s David Davies, the fastest 1 500 metres swimmer in the field, and Alfie Howes pushing him. Unlike the women’s race, the field remained tight through the first 400 metres. By 800 metres Ho had surged to the front. Across the way, British national coach Sean Kelly was waving his hands, urging his swimmers to pick up the pace as the South African star powered towards the finish. Slovernia’s Rok Kerin, who was ranked eighth in the 2010 Fina Open Water Grand Prix, placed seventh and was asked for his thoughts on the Midmar Mile after his first visit to the event. He described it as the “greatest” he has ever attended. Lewis Pugh, the man known as “the Human Polar Bear” and a renowned campaigner for the environment, swam to raise money for Doctor Ian Player’s Wilderness Leadership School, and later spoke passionately about the need to look after the country’s rivers and water supply. He noted that the water in the Midmar Dam was, at 25 degrees Celcius, considerably warmer than when he swam in minus-1.7 degrees at the North Pole! Ho, the defending champion, was swimming incredibly strongly, a fact remarked upon by 18-time European champion Franziska van Almsick, who exclaimed: “Look, he’s not even kicking. Imagine if he was kicking!” Maintaining a fantastic stroke rate, she pulled clear at a remarkable pace and by the first hot spot at 400 metres her lead was 50 metres. By 800 metres, she was 75 metres ahead. Wittstock had invited former 10-time Olympic medallist Franziska van Almsick to accompany her, and the German beauty was followed by a German camera crew. Strangely, though, for the first time in a number of years there were no Germans in contention for line honours in the open events on Sunday. Herman, who was second in the 1 500 metres at last year’s Commonwealth Games, claimed the first hotspot at 400 metres, just ahead of Chad Ho, who had pulled up onto his feet. The fourth-oldest man to complete the Midmar Mile was 78-year-old Mike Arbuthnot, one of the founders of the race, and the only man to have officially swum it every year since its inception in 1974. He swam a total of four miles over the course of the weekend, leaving him with 74 miles in total, as he has previously also swum as a member of the Eight Mile Club. “Buthy”, as he is known, aims to have swum 80 miles by the time he turns 80. Age group races: women Saturday’s racing also included the Company Relay, the Non-Company Relay and the Family Relay. The men’s open race proved to be one of not only swimming ability, but also of tactics as the British swimmers adopted a line to the right of the course, while South Africa’s Heerden Herman and Chad Ho chose a line more to the left hand side. He clearly enjoyed his swim, using freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, and even stopping for a short interview along the way. Despite his laid-back approach, Neethling crossed the line in a strong 20 minutes and 38 seconds to finish 21 seconds ahead of the under-13 winner, Matthew Meyer, who was also the second swimmer over the line. Two events later, the brothers combined to win the Family Relay, with Gareth finishing second behind Ruan du Plessis, Shaun in third, and Paul in 15th. Steve Munatones, a FINA technical committee member for open water swimming, is also one of 28 people with voting rights for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. After visiting South Africa’s aQuelle Midmar Mile on the weekend, he told SAinfo: “It sets the worldwide bar in every category.” Achmet Hassiem, who is missing a lower leg, led the physically disabled swimmers in a time of 22:24, while Hendrik Nortje was the leading visually impaired swimmer. Joshua Grog claimed the Courage Trophy. Munatones, a former world 25-kilometre open water champion and coach of the USA’s national team at numerous open water World Championships, named a number of areas in which the world can learn from the Midmar Mile, including safety, hospitality, organisation, the inclusion of disabled athletes (he is involved with the Special Olympics), signage, awards, and the scale of the event. The Internationals produced the leading two swimmers, with Slovenian national champion Rok Kerin taking victory in 19:41, followed by rising South African star Abdul Malick Railoun. She put in one of the most dominating and outstanding swims in the 38-year history of the race to completely destroy the challenges of her nearest rivals. Cassie Patten, like Payne, a medallist at the Beijing Olympics, hit the water first, but the Johannesburg-born Payne soon hit the front and took charge of the race. Chad Ho the men’s open champion Looking back on his win, Ho said that after the first 400 metres: “I put my head down, caught up to Herman, just went for it and headed for home.” Wittstock raised the profile of the event with her presence and raised almost R600 000 for Special Olympics South Africa at the same time. On the Thursday preceding the weekend’s racing, she handed over a cheque to Special Olympics SA at a dinner to welcome her and other dignitaries.center_img Company, non-company, family relays In the men’s race, the 31-and-over group stood up well to their younger opposition, which was not surprising as the dominating winner was former three-times Midmar Mile champion Ryk Neethling, the only man in history to contest the final of the 100 and 1 500 metres freestyle at the Olympic Games. The ladies’ 13-to-30 race featured the British national open water swimming team, including 2009 10-kilometre open water world champion Keri-Anne Payne, who had previously won the Midmar Mile five times, as well as winning the 13-and-under title. Meyer had the crowd in stitches, describing how he had chased Neethling and would be back to beat him next year. He described the Olympic gold medal winner as his role model and wore a massive grin as Neethling joined him to shake hands. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material Behind Payne, her fellow Britons Patten and Charlotte Wooliscraft were battling South Africa’s Michelle Weber, the winner of the 31-and-under title last year, and Rene Warnes for the minor podium places. Another British swimmer, Abbie Henderson, swimming the Midmar Mile for the first time, also moved up into contention. To hearty roars from the crowd, Ho emerged from the water first and sprinted across the line to take victory in 18 minutes and 27 seconds. Britain’s Davies was second, 11 seconds later, with Howes in third in 18 minutes and 47 seconds, four seconds clear of Herman. Future Princess of Monaco in attendance Wittstock, Van Almsick, Olympic gold medallist Roland Schoeman, and Olympic silver medallist Terence Parkin all swam in race one on Saturday, which includes swimmers with disabilities and Ironman and Ironwoman competitors, as part of their fund-raising efforts. Gregg Price was the third man across the line and the winner of the 41-to-50 age group in 21:11. Mike Semple, a member of the Eight Mile Club, topped the 51-to-60 category in 21:48, while Charles Flesker led the 61-and-over men in 26 minutes and four seconds. Tiger Bulafkin, aged 81, was the oldest male finisher. The Non-Company relay was won by a Varsity College team that included 2009 Midmar Mile open champion Riaan Schoeman, Kathyrn Meaklim and Rohan Jacobs, who finished just ahead of the International All Stars. Payne raced on, claiming the third and final hotspot at 1 200 metres, and went on to cross the line to massive applause from the big crowd in 18 minutes and 51 seconds, a huge 38 seconds clear of Patten, who took second. Wooliscraft was third, a further six seconds off the pace. Weber was the leading South African, finishing fourth in 19 minutes and 34 seconds. By winning the open title for a sixth time, Payne equalled the record for the most victories by a women, which was previously held by Natasha Figge. Interviewed on the slipway afterwards by South Africa’s former Olympic breaststroke champion Penny Heyns, Payne said of her victory: “It means so much to me. I was born in South Africa, lived in Joburg. We’d always come and do Midmar every year when I was a kid. Loved it.” Dias and Sons Tool and Die, featuring 2008 Midmar Mile open category winner Shaun with his brothers Gareth and Paul, claimed victory in the Company Relay. Third place went to Kerry Hunter, who last year won a car in Halfway Toyota’s annual car giveaway at the Midmar Mile. Swimmers with disabilities For the 14th time in 14 attempts, Craig Groenewald, competing in the mentally-impaired category, won the first race going away in a time of 21 minutes and six seconds. Rachelle Isakov won the women’s 31-to-40 age group, Barbara Bowley was even faster and the winner among women 41-to-50, while Rita Townsend captured the title in the 51-to-60 age group, and Bev Shuttleworth led the women 61-and-over home. The prizes for swimmers with disabilities were presented by the future Princess of Monaco, who showed a heartfelt affection for them. Defending men’s open champion Chad Ho, who won the overall Fina 10-kilometre World Cup men’s open water title last year, used the race to get a feel for the water, but didn’t push himself at all, clocking a time of 23 minutes and 30 seconds. Sunday’s more competitive racing began with the girls’ 13-and-under and women’s 31-and-over event. As is usually the case, the younger swimmers trumped the older competitors, with Marlise Ross winning in 20 minutes and 49 seconds, 17 seconds clear of Sasha-Lee Nordengen. Also in the event was Chad Gifford, a winner of the Courage Trophy the previous two years. Gifford, who has no lower limbs, was swimming as a member of the Eight-Mile Club, which raises funds for charity by the members of the club swimming all eight miles. Incredibly, he achieved the feat. World champion Keri-Anne Payne At 1 200 metres it appeared that the gap Ho enjoyed over his nearest chasers had narrowed, but he possesses rare staying power and once again upped his stroke to move clear. The astuteness of Ho’s choice of line became clear as the course narrowed towards the finish and he enjoyed a clear lead. With the times of the top three finishers of each company counting, they ended in second, fourth, and seventh place overall to secure a convincing victory by about eight-and-a-half minutes over Waterbrats. Chris McGlynn crossed the finishing line first in 20 minutes and 47 seconds, three seconds ahead of Shaun Dias.last_img read more

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