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Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Game Time

Game on, sports fans!  Did you know that each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet have a dedicated sports pub onboard?  True that!  Diversions on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, 687 on the Disney Dream and O'Gill's on the Disney Fantasy are laid-back locations filled with screens airing a multitude of live events being broadcast at just about any time.  These spots are ideal for watching football, with up to six games shown at the same time - but it's also ideal for watching baseball, basketball and occasionally even hockey.  If there's a specific game you're interested in, be sure to ask about it at the door.  And oh yeah, there's even an occasional mini-buffet with great game-time food such as wings, hot dogs, and of course plenty o' beer to wash it all down with. The food is free, the suds are extra. Be sure to check it out the next time you sail with Disney Cruise Line!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Busy Week!

Another busy week has just passed by, and here we are, facing a new very full week.  So full, that I wasn’t even able to get to writing this until late Monday night… usually I write it over the weekend to post Monday morning. 

I spent my weekend in the woods at a Scouting event.  Specifically a Firecrafter event.  Firecrafter is a Fraternal Honor organization within the state of Indiana for the Boy Scouts.  It’s a really neat organization that I’ve been a part of for the past two years, and I always enjoy going to the different events.  The high ideals of the organization (friendship, leadership and service) all come into play in so many different ways throughout the weekend event.  The activities are fun, the hours are long, the memories are lasting.  I never get much sleep on these outings, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Needless to say, when I got home late Sunday afternoon, my mind was not on writing something for stopher’s stuff, especially since I wanted to watch the closing ceremonies of the Olympics!  Now that that’s completed, I can’t wait for the winter games in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.   

Next weekend will be another Scouting event, although that one will take up not just Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but also Monday.  It will be filled with Wood Badge training – the highest level of training an adult can get within the Boy Scouts - though I’m not going to receive training, rather to help provide the training.  I’m on staff.  I completed my own course in Wood Badge in 2010, and completed my ticket (or project) in early 2011.  It was an honor to be asked to be a member of the staff, and I’m looking forward to seeing it “from the other side” this time around.  Watching the participants as they arrive, and then working with a group of them throughout the two different weekend events and all that they need to do to complete their ticket, is something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  I love teaching and mentoring people, and this is a great way to give of my talents and time. 

So here we are once again looking at the start of school.  My kids are both excited and not-so-excited about it beginning once again. However moving back into the regular routine that the school schedule brings will be nice for all of us.  It was strange to my wife and I when we first came to Indiana for school to begin in the middle of August, but we’re very much used to it now.  Growing up in Southern California, our schools didn’t begin until early September – either the day or two after Labor Day, or even the week following Labor Day – so yes, mid-August was a bit strange at first. 

All in all, extremely busy weeks of late.  Here are just a couple of things that I wanted to share from the goings-on in the Disneysphere.   Old news to the various blogs and websites, but I’ll mention them anyway. 

Construction on Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire area is progressing nicely.  This new area replaces the long-standing (since 1956) Carnation Plaza Gardens.  Personally it was a sad day when the closure was announced (that’s where I got my start at Disneyland).  But the concept models, shown here, look really nice.  It will be strange seeing a bit of Fantasyland OUTSIDE the castle by the hub, but at least the imagineers have done a really nice job with the theming.  This new princess meet & greet area will no doubt be popular when it opens in early 2013. 

Construction on the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland is definitely progressing well.  The Grand Opening date of December 6th was set, which will officially debut the new attraction Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid; new restaurants Be Our Guest and Gaston's Tavern; new shop Bonjour! Village Gifts, and meet and greet locations Enchanted Tales with Belle and Ariel’s Grotto.   Add all of these to the already open Storybook Circus water-play area and the twin Dumbo the Flying Elephant spinners, and the soon to open Pete’s Circus meet and greet area, and you can see there are some very exciting things going on at Walt Disney World.  The final new attraction in the New Fantasyland project Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open in 2013, and with the new princess meet and greet area inside the now removed Snow White's Scary Adventures building will complete the massive undertaking of New Fantasyland.  

Alright, that’s about it for now.  As Mickey likes to say, see ya real soon!

Until next time,


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where in The World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Once again, in honor of the Summer Games, today we take a look at another destination within the United Kingdom.  This time it’s Britain’s most historic spa town - Bath.  A city that dates back to around 45AD, when the Romans first arrived in the region, and sports hot springs, which prompted the construction of elaborate saunas, bathhouses, and temples beginning in about 60AD.

The city is located about 115 miles west of London, in the southwest county of Somerset, at the bottom of the Avon Valley, and near the southern edge of the Cotswolds, a range of limestone hills.

1610 Map of the city
A Benedictine monastery was established in Bath in the 7th century, with Bath Abbey being constructed shortly thereafter.  During that time period, the old Roman layout of the city was lost as many structures fell into ruins, and King Alfred re-laid the city when it was taken under royal possession.   Later, in 973, Bath Abbey played a royal role as Edgar was crowned King of England. 

During the ensuing centuries, Bath rose and fell in popularity, as well as disrepair.  It was in 1702, during a visit by Queen Anne, that the city officially saw its rebirth as the country’s premier spa town.  Soon thereafter, Britain’s “high society” would journey to Bath to “take the waters”, as often depicted in the novels of Jane Austen.  The city was soon transformed into the preeminent architectural wonderland, filled with grand and beautiful Georgian structures.  Parks, theatres, hotels, and beautiful homes were built throughout the city, including the huge, semi-ellipse Royal Crescent – a massive structure of 30 identical stone houses overlooking Royal Victoria Park, on which construction began in 1775.  Today Bath is a shopping and dining paradise, and still known for the Roman baths.

The Royal Crescent
For more information about how you might be able to experience the splendors of Bath or other remarkable destinations throughout the British countryside, contact me at 317.776.1733 or simply visit my website.

Monday, July 30, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics

This past Friday night we watched the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  While many people have posted in various social media forums about how the ceremonies didn't live up to the splendor of Beijing in 2008 - I liked what London put together.  I found it enjoyable, for the most part. True I could have done with a much shorter sequence of teenagers dancing and demonstrating technology - but otherwise I thought they did a really nice job presenting aspects of their national history and such.  I loved seeing the Queen take part in it all, and the fireworks at the end were spectacular.  Including English literature in the "Second Star and On til Morning" sequence was cool - especially considering that three of the literary pieces have all made their way into the Disney pantheon... Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians, and Mary Poppins.

I love the Olympic games - both summer and winter.  Not being a huge sports person normally - I'm not one to sit and watch sports on television, nor do I participate in sports pools, fantasy leagues or anything like that, and I do not tend to talk about sports very often - so it's just not something that I get into.  Except for the Olympics.  I love watching the various sports and competitions.  I love watching the athleticism of it all; the drama and intrigue of watching the underdogs often out-perform the favorites - "upsetting" who people think will win.  

I've loved the Olympics since I was a little boy.  Every four years we would gather around our television set and watch the various games.  Growing up in Southern California it was exhilarating when in 1984 Los Angeles hosted the summer games, where the many different events took place all across the L.A. basin, including equestrian events taking place at the Santa Anita racetrack, just a few miles from the house I grew up in.  It was awesome.  

Both summer and winter have events that I love to watch... but it was only the winter games that saw one of my heroes actually get to coordinate, plan and produce the Opening & Closing Ceremonies for.  Who was it?  And what year?  Walt Disney.  Yes, Walt Disney.  

Walt Disney was selected as the Pageantry Committee Chairman for the VIII Winter Olympics in 1960, in Squaw Valley, California.  I knew about that as a young person, but never really investigated it all that much.  I've seen concept art from the Disney archives that show the two massive, 24-foot tall snow sculptures and the "Tower of Nations" that Disney Imagineer John Hench designed for Walt in his role as the Chairman.

In doing a bit of research online, I found this information on Wikipedia, as well as other information - but this says it really well.  

Opening ceremonies

A plaque on an official flagpole commissioned by Walt Disney for the 1960 Games
The chairman of the "Pageantry Committee" was Walt Disney, who was responsible for producing both the opening and closing ceremonies.[7] He planned on an opening that would include 5,000 entertainers, the release of 2,000 pigeons, and a military gun salute of eight shots, one for each of the previous Winter Olympic Games.[25][26] The opening ceremonies were held on 18 February 1960 at Blyth Arena in the midst of a blizzard. Heavy snow fell the morning of the 18th and caused traffic problems that delayed the ceremony by an hour. The festivities began with a sustained drum roll as the flags of each participating nation were raised on specially designed flag poles. As the Greek standard bearer led the 30 participating countries in the traditional Parade of Nations the weather broke and the rest of the two-hour ceremony proceeded in sunshine. Vice President Richard Nixon represented the United States government and declared the Games open.[27] The Olympic flame was lit by Kenneth Henry, Olympic champion of the 500 meter speed skating race at the1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo. The Olympic oath was taken by Carol Heiss on behalf of all the athletes. As the national delegations exited the stadium fireworks concluded the ceremonies.[28]

The Olympics have had such an impact on the world... but then - so did Walt Disney.  And every four years... (two years now since they separated the winter and summer Olympics from being held in the same year) you can be sure I'll be sitting in front of my television watching the games and enjoying the art of sport.  

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving this Life

London.  The city which is so utterly steeped in pomp and pageantry;  the city where history and tradition are not merely valued and prized, but rather are ingrained and integrated into daily life; the city of modernity in art, fashion, music, education, commerce, and entertainment; the city that claims itself to be the capital of the 21st-century Europe.  It is, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “the epitome of our times, and the Rome of today.”

London has served as the capital of England, and The United Kingdom since the 10th century.  It is the largest metropolitan city in England, and is generally considered the largest metropolitan city in all of the European Union.  It was originally founded nearly 2,000 years ago by the Romans, as Londinium. 

London has been awash in celebration through the first half of 2012, thanks in large part to the Golden Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who first aceeded to the throne 60 years following the sudden death of her father, King George VI.  Elizabeth is now the second longest-serving monarch in England’s history, behind Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years.  And now, in just a couple of days, will see the grand spectacle of the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics – the games of the 30th Olympiad of the modern era. 

Windsor Castle
London has always been a popular destination within Europe.  Given its’ age as a city, and the vast array of historical, political, and social events and movements that have taken place within the community, there is a dramatic number of museums, gardens, palaces, galleries, cathedrals, parks, concert halls, neighborhoods and shopping destinations to visit.   
Westminster Abbey
Buckingham Palace
Tower of London

Depending on the length of an individual stay, visitors to London will have ample opportunity to take in many of London’s most famous sites – including such historic places as:

  • Westminster Abbey (dating back 1066)
  • Windsor Castle (similarly dating back to the 10th century)
  • Tower of London (dating back to the 11th century)
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral (dating back to the 17th century)
  • Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens (dating back to the 1730s)
  • Buckingham Palace (dating back to 1705, expanded to its’ current size in the 1830s)
  • …and so many more.

The city has so much to offer, and now, once again, London will be the center of the world’s attention – at least from July 27th through August 12th while hosting the Summer Olympics once again.  The last time London hosted the games was in 1908.  The games were scheduled to be in London in 1944, but due to World War II, those games were canceled.  For more info on the games themselves, visit the official site here.  

For more information about how you might be able to experience the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia - or the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or to simply plan your vacation to England, contact me at 317.776.1733, or simply visit my website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today in Disney Parks & Resorts History - Walt Disney World Marathon

January 16, 1994 – Walt Disney World

On this cold January morning, a brand new sports tradition begins at Walt Disney World with the inaugural Walt Disney World Marathon, as nearly 12,000 participants from around the world line up for what would become an annual event.  The 26.2 mile race route takes runners along regular and backstage roads, passes resorts and literally goes through all three Walt Disney World theme parks. The overall winner is Leonid Shetsov, of Russia, with a time of 2:14:27.

Other 1994 winners are:
  • Paul Cummings, Lehl, Utah, 2:27:50 – Men’s Masters
  • Carol Virga, Delray Beach, Fla., 2:49:53 – Women’s Masters
  • David Bailey, Vista, Calif., 1:52:29 – Men’s Chair
  • Katherine Hunter, Orlando, Fla., 2:31:47 – Women’s Chair

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Five Great Winter Events

Sure it’s gotten cold outside but the following five events will get you going!  Why stay cooped up inside when there’s so much out there!  Once you're done reading about them, give me a call at 855.776.1733 and let's start planning one!

Superbowl XLVI
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium,
Indianapolis, Indiana
February 5th 2012 is the date of the 2012 NFL Superbowl. Lucas Oil Stadium is the home of the Indianapolis Colts and one of the game’s greatest players, Peyton Manning. The Superbowl is the final game of the NFL season and one of the most, if not the most, important sporting event in the United States. However, this is not a vacation opportunity simply for one day or for the fans of the two teams playing. There will be events for the ten days leading up to the Superbowl in downtown Indianapolis for fans of all 32 teams. This is an event for the avid sports fan or a family looking for a fun week of sports and other great festivities.

Mardi Gras
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
The weekend beginning February 18th and leading into Tuesday February 21st 2012 is the best time to visit the city of New Orleans. Let us make your travel plans now because finding a place to stay is not as simple as the “Big Easy” nickname would have you believe. Mardi Gras is a celebration which comes right before Lent and culminates on Fat Tuesday. It is one of the most fun events a person can attend because it includes floats, costumes, parades, and so much more. Be prepared while in the crowd and try and catch a “throw” which could be anything from beads to stuffed animals.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although Carnival is celebrated throughout the world, the widely accepted Carnival Capital of the World is Rio. In the peak of the warm and gorgeous Rio summer, you can enjoy the celebration that is Carnival. The same time as Mardi Gras, running the weekend of February 18th and finishing up on Tuesday February 21st, Carnival provides a South American experience in the final days before Lent. Carnival attracts upwards of 500,000 foreigners alone to this spectacular event. The main attraction of the parade is the Samba Parade, also known as the Rio Central Parade, which is filled with wonderful costumes and put all together with the beautiful Brazilian Samba music.

Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Miami, Florida
This four day wine and food showcase begins on February 23rd and ends on February 26th. The event is hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU). In 2011 there were over 55,000 guests and they were able to raise $2.4 million for FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. This is the perfect place for any wine or food lover because not only is it located at beautiful South Beach but it also boasts some of the biggest names in the food industry such as Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Bobby Flay.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Location: New York, New York
On December 31st there is no better place to be than Times Square. Over a million people come to Times Square to watch the ball drop and celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next one while billions of people nationwide watch their televisions closely to watch that exact moment when the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight. Filled with stars from all over the world this confetti filled event is a must visit at some point in a person’s life. People from all over the world flock to New York City and wait days in advance to get the best possible spot to watch the festivities take place. I realize that we just celebrated New Year's Eve a few nights ago... but honestly, hotels in NYC fill up early, so let’s start planning now for next New Year's Eve!

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