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02
Mar 14

Day 1 – Carnival Dream Cruise Report – Western Caribbean

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean

Today I’m coming to you live from aboard the Carnival DREAM which is cruising along at 15 knots in between Key West and Cuba. We are on a Western Caribbean itinerary and today is our first of two Sea Days. Tomorrow we dock at the island of Cozumel in Mexico.

It’s 76 degrees and sunny. Ahhhh…can you feel the snow melting away?

We boarded the DREAM in Cape Canaveral, Florida yesterday at around 2pm and I wanted to share some of the photos from our first day aboard this glorious vessel.

Here’s a look at the Carnival terminal. As you can see, 2pm is a good time to board. No waiting at all!

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean terminal canaveral

We were assigned a balcony cabin on Deck 11 Forward, Port side.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

The last time I cruised Carnival was on my honeymoon…in 1999. My have things changed! Our room was large and bright with plenty of space for our family of three to maneuver around.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

The nice thing about the Carnival staterooms is that there are two twin beds that can convert into one large bed for couples, but if you are cruising with friends, each passenger can have their own bed. Our couch converted to a twin as well. Some rooms have an optional 4th bed that pulls down from the cieling.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

Robes inside one of the the three separate closets.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

A look inside the bathroom.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 bathroom 2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 bathroom 2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 bathroom2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 bathroom2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278

A look at the lower decks from our balcony.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 balcony2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 balcony2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean stateroom 11278 balcony

Our room is literally right outside one of the two pools on board. And bars….and Lido Deck food… I know…convenience! I may come back ten pounds heavier. I’m not mad atcha’ Carnival…

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean pool2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean pool

Pulling out of port…

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean pool

We saw turtles and flying fish and a pelican convention. Here’s a video.

Once we were out to sea it was time to explore the ship.  Here’s a look at the main atrium. Everything is gorgeous.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean atrium

We found the Taste Bar. This is a really cool concept to a foodie like me.  Each evening the Taste Bar serves up a small sampling of items that are served on board the DREAM. Last night it was from the Blue Iguana Cantina. NOM!

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean tasting bar2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean tasting bar

Our assigned dining room was the Scarlet Dining Room. I’ll take some pics of the dining room later on, but for now. A look at my dinner!

I started with a tomato soup with crisp croutons.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean dinner

…and because you can order more than one starter I also asked for the Chips and Salsa with Guacamole.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean dinner

My main entree was Braised Beef in Gravy with Root Veggies and Mashed Potatoes.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean dinner

And dessert was a Bing Cherry Chocolate Cake.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean dinner

All of these items were delicious and were brought to us with a little bit of sass and whole lotta love and humor from our amazing head server Ioan (sounds like John).

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean

He even brought me out a Cheese Board to take back to the room. Gotta love it!

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean

We made our way back to the room after dinner. I was beat…

Be back tomorrow with a recap of today’s activities…and food…you know I have to “eat all the things” and “share all the food”.

2014 carnival cruise dream report western caribbean

You can follow along with my adventures live via twitter, facebook and instagram where I am using the hastag #CruisingCarnival

Special thanks goes out to Carnival for hosting my family and I on this cruise. All opinions are my own.


01
Mar 14

2014 runDisney Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge Part 2 – The Princess Half Marathon Recap

If you missed it…you can check out my 2014 runDisney Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge Part 1 – The Disney Enchanted 10K Race Recap. This is the start of Part 2.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon   The mimosa finish line photo above pretty much captures the spirit of the runDisney Princess Half Marathon for me. Good times with your best girlfriends. What a whirlwind! 2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathonWhere to begin? Ah yes…2:30 am wake up call. Get dressed. Grab a banana. Board Bus. Head to race start.2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon Blogs you should read (far right) iRunForWine.net and (second from left) RunningatDisney.com Here’s a look at the corral setup. runDisney has done an amazing job of getting corral timing down. They’ve added more corrals and decreased the time in between each corral start which really spaces runners out properly. 2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathonHere’s what the start line looks like before the elites take off… Behind the orange mesh is Corral A.2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon elites starting line2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon starting lineEach corral is sent off with fireworks. This race was super foggy and humid and the firework smoke ended up blowing back down on us at the start. Here’s Barbara and Jeff Galloway taking a walk break. These two are gems!  Many first time half marathoners wouldn’t even try to complete a race if it weren’t for runDisney consultant Jeff Galloway and his run/walk/run method. It’s what gets me through every race I do. You can read more about it on runDisney.com. I asked Jeff if he had a time goal in mind and he told me he and Barbara just wanted to have a good time. See…mimosas and your best girlfriend! 2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon barbara and jeff galloway 2014 runDisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathonAnd this girl…this girl with me in the picture above. She would be my running buddy for the remainder of the race. We started the Princess Half Marathon with the goal of doing 60/30’s. Sixty seconds of running, followed by thirty seconds of walking. I was glad to be running my third Princess Half with my girl Sarah and I decided to let her set the pace. I was just along for the ride and to get a #PRinFUN. Not long after we started our run we ran into these two wack-a-doos. 2014 runDisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathonTwo more blogs you need to read! BamaGirlRuns.blogspot.com (far right) and CarrieBurows.com (the pointer). Bama aka Kristin is a “Perfect Princess”…meaning she’s run all 6 Disney Princess Half Marathons. And Carrie…well…homegirl has lost over 100lbs…TWICE! That’s inspiration. These two are fast…they were like “Peace!” 2014 disney princess half marathon magic kingdom toll plazaCaution runners speed bumps ahead…2014 runDisney princess half marathon disney glass slipper challengeAnd then there’s this guy. He was in #beastmode but we made him stop and take a picture with us in the Magic Kingdom Parking Lot area of the course.  You see…he ran with us in our very 1st Walt Disney World 5K…The 2010 Mickey’s Halloween 5K in the Magic Kingdom (yes…we used to have 5K’s in the Magic Kingdom. Can we please bring those back?) Shaene…We are so proud of you!

I’m not one to stop for character photos but this drumline was pretty sweet at the Transportation and Ticket Center. 2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon TTC drumsHere’s the entrance to “heartbreak hill” aka the water bridge. You run down a hill…yay gravity rocks and then up it…hills suck, hills suck!  This puts you in front of The Contemporary Resort.  2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon water bridgeWoop woop! Time to head into the Magic Kingdom. BEST part of the race! 2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Magic Kingdom is truly the best. Slow down and take it all in…or pull out your phone and run/tweet whatever makes your boat float.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Gratuitous back side of the castle shot…right before we ran through it.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Here’s a trick I wanted to show y’all. The bathrooms. Dees bathrooms are huge, clean and have NO wait.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

They are in Frontierland right past the Diamond Horseshoe near Mile 6. Glorious, spacious, non-port-o-potty bathrooms. You can go, wash your hands and even splash cold water all over your face and wipe off the sweat with a paper towel….ah, the simple pleasures.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

This race is primarily women and there still wasn’t a line. Here’s what it looks like when you exit the restrooms and head back out on the course…just for a frame of reference.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

See…right around Mile 6.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Boo…our time in the Magic Kingdom is coming to an end. Quick! Grab a great shot in front of the train!

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Um…OK. Lesson learned. Don’t ask a custodial cast member to take a picture…

Now we quickly hit the backstage area behind Splash Mountain.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon magic kingdom

Before zooming past the Grand Floridian Resort and the Polynesian Resort… Hey look! It’s Olaf!

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon olaf

He likes warm hugs. He was in the right place.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon olaf

World drive is a nice long shot with plenty of room to space out. We plodded along til the turn to go back to Epcot. Then this happened…

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon olaf

Oh, and we ran into another one of our blogging buddies you need to check out. SparklyEverEfter.com by our pal Nicole.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Almost ready to enter Epcot! We found more friends! Check out the WDW Radio Running Crew! They are always out to support the runners. Lou Mongello does an award-winning Disney Podcast you should check out.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Almost finished! Mile 12 baby!

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Sarah and I had to grab a shot with this Kathy Griffin Princess again this year.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Then for a run down to the World Showcase Lagoon.

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Girls…we run the world…

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

The finish line was in sight!

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

2014 runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge Complete!

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

Sarah will tell you this is her favorite runDisney half marathon of all. And I’d have to agree. The camaraderie between all the women is just amazing!  Everyone is just so encouraging and uplifting.

The medals are pretty sweet but it’s messages like these that really make my running and blogging worthwhile…

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

2014 rundisney glass slipper challenge disney princess half marathon

This is the stuff that really makes my heart sing!!!!

If you’re on the fence about signing up for the runDisney Princess Half Marathon you are truly missing out on moments like these. Just do it! You don’t have to be the fastest, you don’t have to even run the entire thing. Just sign up for it and get out there and try. You’ll be amazed at what your body can do. I believe in you and I want to see you out there on that course in 2015 giving me a high-five.

For more info on the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend visit runDisney.com and for more photos of my race weekend that I didn’t post here check out my review over at FloridaTix. #sponsored

I paid for my entry into the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. My room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was complementary. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.


27
Feb 14

A Look Inside the Private Chevrolet GM VIP Lounge Above Test Track in Epcot

test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot amanda tinney

It’s every Disney Nerd’s fantasy to be able to access the “restricted” areas of Walt Disney World.

After 5 years of blogging I’ve been able to unlock one more door to a VIP Lounge in Epcot.  Here are two of the others I have visited:

Siemens VIP Lounge at Spaceship Earth
HP VIP Lounge at Mission Space

This weekend I was able to enjoy the GM VIP Lounge at Test Track.  Access to the private lounges are reserved for employees and guests of the companies that sponsor each pavilion.  Test Track is sponsored by Chevrolet/GM so employees of these companies and their guests may access the private lounge. I’ve found most lounge hours are normal business hours with closures on the weekends. Each lounge may vary.  The lounges also allow Make-a-Wish children the opportunity to come in and rest and of course special events are sometimes held inside the lounges.

This was the case which afforded me the opportunity to access the Test Track Lounge this weekend.

Want to know where the door is?

test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot amanda tinneyAs you enter the Test Track pavilion, hook a right and make your way to the gift shop/attraction exit.

test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot door entranceThe gift shop is on your left. That light illuminates the entry door on the right.

test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot door entrance Once inside, we made our way down a long corridor towards the elevator which took us up to the lounge.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

Concept art for the reimagining…

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevroletprivate test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot ChevroletTake note of the box at the top right of the elevator frame which reads “Please Announce Your Arrival”. We did not have to use this, as they were expecting our group, but if the protocol is anything like the other lounges I’ve accessed, you would ring that bell and show your employee identification to access the elevator.

Once off the elevator, you enter the main lounge area.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

The window on the right looks out over the initial hill climb and break testing area of the attraction. It was so dark that I could not get a decent picture for you. There is also a fountain soda machine with free beverages available to lounge guests.  Two of the vehicle design stations were available for guests who would be riding the attraction after enjoying the lounge.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

This long hall led to another exit as well as the bathroom.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

Nothing too remarkable about the ladies room.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

Since the theme of the private event was “Frozen” there were chilly photo opps and character meet and greets.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet amanda tinney

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet amanda tinney frozen characters

After exploring the main lounge area we were led back to the function which was down another corridor that faced the front of the attraction.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

THE highlight of the evening, besides the booze soaked cronut, was this string ensamble playing music from Epcot‘s Tapestry of Nations Parade.  It almost made me weep.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet strings

Here’s a snipit for you…

Those floor to ceiling windows looked out over the Test Track entrance and Future World. I wish it had been day time so I could have captured better photos. The 65mph inverted portion of the ride went zooming by with ride vehicles at your toes every few seconds.

Trying to use my body as a shadow from the back light you can see Spaceship Earth as well as the Test Track entrance area.

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet strings

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

private test track VIP Lounge GM Epcot Chevrolet

I hope you enjoyed this little photo tour of the exclusive GM Lounge. If you enjoyed these photos consider giving me a follow on my social media channels where I post regularly.

Twitter: @amandatinney
Facebook: DisneyEveryDay
Instagram: @amandatinney and @officialdisneyeveryday


27
Feb 14

2014 runDisney Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge Part 1 – The Disney Enchanted 10K Race Recap

Did you know you can run a Disney 10K on an hour and a half of sleep? True story. I did it.

JetBlue held my race bestie (Running at Disney) hostage and didn’t release her from her snowy foggy prison of a terminal til late Friday night so we were functioning on very little sleep and lots of pixie dust Saturday morning for the Inaugural Enchanted 10K.

Sleep…we don’t need no stinkin’ sleep. Still all smiles at 5am.

runDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney amanda tinney sarah mcgovernrunDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney amanda tinney sarah mcgovern

runDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney corral C

runDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney corral C

Look who I finally spotted! The balloon ladies. Poor gals…so much loathing of these women and they really are just truing to help. No one wants to see the 16 minute mile balloon lady pacers. If you do…you better run!

runDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney balloon ladies lady

Time to start this 6.2 mile journey.

runDisney inaugural enchanted 10K 2014 disney start line

It was foggy and super humid for the 10K portion of the Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge.  Reminded me of the weather we had for the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

After heading out of the Epcot Parking Lot and before reaching Epcot Center Drive, runners were treated to an appearance by Princess Elsa from Frozen shouting sweet nothings from an overpass.

2014 inaugural enchanted 10k disney princess half marathon glass slipper challenge elsa frozen

We then hooked a right onto Epcot Center Drive and began the less than thrilling run towards the backstage area of Epcot. I hope that runDisney decides to add some more character spots and/or a DJ to this section of road. It was so boring. There was only one jumbo tron on this stretch and it really needed something else to liven it up. I didn’t even take any photos here cause there was nothing special to document.

After running about half of the 10K we made our way into the backstage area of Epcot and then out into World Showcase.

2014 inaugural enchanted 10k disney princess half marathon glass slipper challenge world showcase

2014 inaugural enchanted 10k disney princess half marathon glass slipper challenge world showcase

After a quick trip around the Boardwalk Resort area we headed back into Epcot and towards the finish line in the Epcot Parking Lot.

Here’s a little sneaky tip. If the line for a character is a tad bit too long and you don’t want to wait…stand on the opposite side of the character handler and wait for that split second that a runner is changing places with another runner and then BAM! Have your running bestie take that coveted photo. Sure, you may not be holding hands with Marie, but you still have that moment commemorated!

2014 inaugural enchanted 10k disney princess half marathon glass slipper challenge world showcase

10K’s go by so fast! Bling acquired!

2014 inaugural enchanted 10k disney princess half marathon glass slipper challenge race medal

I love that runDisney has added the 10K to some of their race weekends. It really is a fantastic distance. Just far enough to challenge you, yet not so far as to scare off newbie runners like a half marathon might do.  This race had a super relaxed atmosphere and I hope it encourages new runners to join the runDisney community. Sign up for the 2015 runDisney Enchanted 10K and grab hold of some of that bling for yourself!

I paid for my entry into the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge. My room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was complementary. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.


25
Feb 14

runDisney Adds New MARVEL Avengers Half Marathon to its Race Roster in Disneyland

runDisney race marvel smashthehalf

Last month at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend rumors were flying about the addition of a Star Wars race and/or an Avengers race being added to the race roster at the Disneyland Resort in California.  Social media was a buzz with the use of the hash tag #SmashTheHalf which pointed more to the possibility of a MARVEL race rather than a Star Wars Race. Smash = Hulk

Today runDisney confirmed via their social media channels that there will in fact be a new race coming to the Disneyland Resort this November.