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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > February 2013: Edition One

February 2013

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As we head deeper into February, love is in the air--and another edition of the INTERCOT Insider is in your mailbox.  In this love struck edition, we look at some deals that will have you fall head over heels, find out what couples can do at Disney World, snuggle up with a new book, and open a heart shaped box of Epcot trivia.  Hang on to them hats and glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride on the internet!

<<Love at First Savings>
with Magical Journeys Travel Agency

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<<Book Nook with Brownie>>
--From Dreamer to Dreamfinder--

From Dreamer to Dreamfinder: A Life and Lessons Learned in 40 Years Behind a Name Tag (Bamboo Forest Publishing, 2012, 294 pages) by Ron Schneider is a decent book. Schneider has spent his career performing live in theme parks, restaurants, and other venues. While it is interesting to hear about all his experiences, Schneider has been let go from positions on more than one occasion. He offers no explanation and simply leaves the reader with the impression that he bore no responsibility for losing any of his positions. My impression is that he may be good at managing an audience, but not so good at managing the politics of the work environment.

Schneider spent time working in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon at Disneyland (don’t look for a lot of details, though) and was the first live performer of Dreamfinder in Epcot, a job he managed to hang onto for several years. He also spent some years managing the impersonators at Universal Orlando.

Disney fans won’t find a lot of inside information in this book, though I did like reading the appendices, especially the Five Keys to Great Themed Entertainment. The Keys could be applied to a lot more than just themed entertainment.

>> Get the Book through INTERCOT Affiliate Amazon.com

<<A Trip Built for Two with DsnyGirl>>

When my husband and I first took our girls to Disney back in 2006, it was our second trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) together – we had only been as a “no kids yet” couple back in 1997. We had had a great time (even though we stayed offsite… hadn’t discovered anything like Intercot back then, and as general “newbies” who’d only been a few times as kids, we didn’t know any better. Shocking, I know…) But even on that trip, as fun as it was, we still were looking at Disney as more of a “you only go when you have kids” kind of place, and that trip was more of a “let’s check it out and get one last vacation in before we start our family” kind of trip.

Boy, were we wrong!!! Yes, we had a wonderful, magical trip with our girls in 2006… they were 4 and 7 at the time, and seeing the world through their eyes was nothing short of amazing. And of course, by then I had discovered Intercot and the addiction had begun. But later that year, the rumblings of a 10th anniversary party for Intercot had begun, and we began considering a trip down on our own. To be perfectly honest with you, we both had reservations about it… not about the party, but about travelling without our girls. We had had SUCH fun with them that we almost couldn’t imagine what it would be like just “us”, we thought we would miss seeing everything the way they did, and we hadn’t yet learned about all the wonderful things WDW has in store for the adult “children” who visit!  That trip down began our love affair with going to WDW on our own… we have been twice now, and are fully planning a third time… as long as our girls keep forgiving us for going!!

So, what do you DO there without kids?? EVERYTHING!! Okay, maybe you won’t go see Playhouse Disney Live, or hit the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground… but seriously, there is so little you won’t want to do, and so much you CAN do, that you probably never would have when your little (or not so little) ones are with you! Here are a few of our favorite things –

*Indulge in touring the resorts of WDW, taking in the ambiance and stopping in their various bars to try some of their signature drinks!! We found this to be such a relaxing thing to do… it is quiet & peaceful (okay, except maybe around the pools…) and gave us lots of ideas and dreams of places we’d like to stay in the future!!

A few favorite spots –

*Victoria Falls Lounge at Animal Kingdom Lodge – their signature drink, Victoria Falls Mist, is wonderful, although my personal favorite was a chocolate martini. Best I’ve ever had!

*Tambu Lounge and the Barefoot Pool Bar at the Polynesian – here you can get the one & only Lapu Lapu, worth it’s weight in pineapples!! The Tropical Macaw is fantastic, too, and the atmosphere? So relaxing, especially at the pool bar. Traditional Tiki bar feel, which we’ve found to be exactly what we’re looking for when we’re on vacation!

*There are so many more I could list, but I’d run out of room for anything else… just pick a new spot to try out, and be adventurous!

*Staying on the “adult beverage” theme, these can of course be explored at the parks, with the exception of Magic Kingdom. We really love trying different new drinks at Epcot, especially during the F&W Festival. Imagine being able to walk through Epcot, a drink in one hand, NOT your child’s hand in the other, and being able to talk to one another without being pulled towards everything your children want to go see… and tell you about… and ask you to buy… it truly IS magical! Another good place to take a break and have something cold is at the Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom… and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be there when the African drums are being played! SO nice!

*Since I mentioned the Food & Wine Festival, I’ll go to that next. If you have never been, or have only quickly made your way through with your children, I HIGHLY recommend trying to get down to a F&W Fest for a long weekend on your own. (Or at the very least, letting your children enjoy an evening at one of Disney’s Children’s Activity Centers at various resorts, or letting a “fairy godmother” come to your room and stay with your children for what is known as Kid’s Nite Out. Very much worth the time alone for a date night!!) The ambiance around the World Showcase is just… different during this event. Yes, I have heard that it can get a bit crazy at times, especially on Saturday nights… but we have never had a bad experience, and you can certainly move away from whatever might be going on. On the whole, we have had a wonderful time, sampling different unique foods, trying new exotic drinks and enjoying whoever is playing live for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. They really bring in some wonderful live music!

* Pick a restaurant you would normally NEVER try with the kids… whether for it’s ambiance, or it’s eclectic food… and enjoy a relaxing, quiet meal where you are catered to by attentive CMs, brought delectable entrees and even better desserts, and treated like adults who are out for a romantic night alone. My husband surprised me once with dinner at Narcoossee’s, and it was marvelous – worth every penny!!

Heading away from the food & drink topics… there are SO many wonderful activities you can choose to do, whether your leanings are towards a quiet afternoon in a hammock (highly recommended…) or more sports/activity oriented outings.

* Sammy Duvall’s Water Sports, located at the Contemporary Hotel’s marina, hosts a wide variety of activities you won’t find anywhere else on property. Parasailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, jet skiing, and tubing, just to name a few! At some of the other resorts, you can rent jet skis and water mice, paddle boats and even pontoon boats… but only at the Contemporary can you do some of the more “active” water sports. If you have small children, these are activities you won’t ever find yourself doing at Disney with them in tow… and even if your children are older, these are some of the more pricey activities, so it’d be a lot easier to indulge in them on a couple’s getaway, where the question, “Why can’t we do it, too??” won’t be happening!

*Keeping on the “active” theme, why not try a round of golf at one of Disney’s famed golf courses? (Or if a more low-key golf game is your thing, head to one of their two miniature golf courses, each with it’s own theming.) Maybe you play putt-putt with your kids at Disney, but my guess is that if you both enjoy golf, only one of you brings their clubs and heads out for a round when you’re travelling with the kiddos. (At least, that’s how it is in our house…) This time, you can both bring them and enjoy a few hours at a wonderful course!!

*Depending on where you are staying, don’t forget to avail yourself of your resort’s hot tub!! Although most of the value and moderate resorts incorporate theirs into their pools, if you are staying at a deluxe resort, the hot tubs are off on their own, much more private, and definitely a perfect break in late afternoon, or even better At night, once you get back to your resort and your muscles are begging for relief after the parks all day. And a little tip here – bring some non-breakable wine or beer glasses with you, stock the fridge in your room with a couple of bottles of wine from a favorite restaurant (or have a few bottles shipped down from a favorite winery – we’ve done this, and it was GREAT!!) or with a few beers you’ve enjoyed from your resort, pour yourself a glass and take it to the hot tub!! SO nice, and talk about relaxing! Of course, you can always grab a drink at the pool bar, but keep in mind that most close at 10pm or thereabouts, and I can tell you we never hit our hot tub before 11pm…

*Take one of Disney’s tours!! There are so many to choose from, depending on your interests, the amount of time you’d like to spend & the time of day you’d like to dedicate to exploring. Animal Kingdom Lodge hosts several for their guests, such as the Wanyama Safari & Dinner or their Sunrise Safari and Animal Kingdom itself is now host to a new safari, known as the Wild Africa Trek, which is open to everyone but must be signed up for ahead of time, and is getting rave reviews for letting guests get “up close & personal” with some of the animals. The Backstage Safari at AK is another option, at a lesser cost. At Magic Kingdom, there are MANY – a favorite is the Keys to the Kingdom tour, which highlights the history of WDW, as well providing backstage access to some of the secrets of MK. If you would like a more involved (aka much longer, like 7 hours) tour of Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot, try the Backstage Magic tour. We’ve never taken it, but anyone we’ve spoken with who has has RAVED about it! And these are just a mere sampling of what is out there… you can snorkel at Epcot in the

Living Seas, try various Segway tours… the sky is the limit on what is out there to get involved in!

* Enjoy the rides – by yourselves!! This was one thing that actually kind of stunned us… we were so used to riding everything with our girls, that to be able to ride, side by side, just us was SO fun & different! Our girls are talkers, and to not have the constant chatter throughout a ride, but to be able to just take in it’s themeing, it’s sounds…. It was wonderful.

*Check out some of the late-night activities that go on at the various resorts or clubs! Jellyrolls is a good place to start… dueling pianists, who can play ANYTHING you throw their way… sing along, dance, enjoy a new-fangled drink while people watching… it’s a whole new “kid free” kind of atmosphere. Stay late at Raglan Road or House of Blues to hear the music and have a dance… stroll the Boardwalk or Downtown Disney... we found that Disney at night without the kids had a whole new look and feel to it. With the kids, it’s nighttime… without them? It’s romantic! 

*I could go on with SO many more ideas, maybe I’ll save them for another article… but one last “Ahhhh…” moment of being on your own… the shopping. Stop for a moment and imagine… walking into World of Disney, the Emporium or even one of the little shops you find yourself in when exiting a ride. Nobody pulling on your arm to show you something, no one asking, “Can we buy this?? And this? And this??” No worrying over what might be dropped or knocked over, no distractions… in one word, it is bliss. Peaceful bliss. (Of course, it’s a bit more dangerous to your wallet, as it’s a lot easier to stay TOO long in a store and walk out with a few too many bags… but that’s a different article.)

So, the bottom line is, if you haven’t ever considered going on your own with your husband, wife, significant other… whoever it may be whose hand you would like to hold while walking down Main Street… I definitely recommend that you do. It will change how you see everything about Disney World, and open up a whole new realm of fun. One word of warning, though – it could also become an addiction! Trust me, I know….

<< Fun Facts with Imalismom>>

-- Epcot: Part One --

-In keeping with the spirit of global community, The innovations Plaza’s Fountain of Nations contains water from rivers and bodies of water around the world, with a gallon form each having been added to the fountain on opening day as a gesture of peace and togetherness. The water came from: Adriatic Sea. The Arctic Ocean, the Bodensee, the Caribbean Sea, the Cauca River, The Cho Jong Yak Soo Ian, Ise Shrine, Barbados, Lake Geneva, Lake Inari, The Manzanares River, The Meuse River, Sidi Ali, the Mississippi and Nile Rivers, The Philippine Sea, The River Thames, The Sea of japan, the Seine, Senegambia River, Tivoli Gardens Lake, Trevi Fountain, Xachmilco, the Yangtze River, and the Zeplin Dam.

-Space Earth is designed with a runoff system that prevents water from reaching the ground when it rains

-Mission space remains the only attraction in Orlando equipped with motion discomfort bags.

-Artists designed the mosaics on both sides of the walkway in THE LAND as representations of the layers of the earth exposed after a volcano eruption

-The balloons in the Sunshine Season Food Fair represent Earth with the four seasons surrounding it. The green balloon is spring, yellow is summer, orange is fall, and blue is winter.

<< Conclusion >>

Unlike true love, this edition has come to an end. We hope this edition has given you and a loved one some great ideas to make Walt Disney World a place for couples.  We'll be back in a few weeks with a look at how to make a spring trip to Walt Disney World blossom.   See ya real soon!

<< Thank You To Our Sponsors! >>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

All Star Vacation Homes
Website: Vacation Home Details Here
Choose from the finest selection of vacation homes and condos in the closest locations to Walt Disney World.

Magical Journeys
Website: http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
INTERCOT's Official Travel Agency.  An unconventional Travel Agency for the unconventional client, Magical Journeys is dedicated to finding the best pricing for your next magical journey. We work hard to save you money, and still give you the quality service you deserve.

The Official Ticket Center
Website: Buy & Price Tickets Now!
The Official Ticket Center is Walt Disney World's, Universal Studios and Sea World's #1 guest service provider for the last 3 years. The Official Ticket Center sells tickets only, at a discount price.

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation
Website: http://www.quicksilver-tours.com
Our drivers are the first personal contact you have when you arrive in Orlando.  No other transportation company goes to the lengths we do to ensure that your trip is exactly how you imagined it. At Quicksilver, we truly believe there's no such thing as going "above and beyond" for our clients. Instead, it's all part of doing our jobs correctly.

Strollers And Groceries
Website: http://www.strollersandgroceries.com
Strollers and Groceries is an online stroller rental and grocery delivery service. They provide daily service to all Disney, Universal, and Sea World area resorts/hotels, vacation homes, and neighborhoods in the Orlando area. All groceries are purchased from local businesses and delivered fresh directly to you.

The Timeshare Store
Website: http://www.dvc-resales.com
This Disney Vacation Club resale site offers the largest selection of DVC Resale's anywhere!  They are the number one Disney Vacation Club Reseller in the world. See how easy and affordable it is to purchase your very own piece of the "MAGIC".

Universal Orlando® Resort
Website: Universal Orlando ResortAdvertisement
Universal Orlando® Resort is more than a theme park. It's an entire universe of action and thrills featuring TWO spectacular theme parks unlike anything else in Orlando.

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