It's Time for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

It’s Time for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World

We are visiting Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party as part of this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing the Fall events happening at the Disney Parks.

It may only be the beginning of September, but Disney is already helping guests celebrate Halloween. A great way to ring in the season is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, a separate ticket event on select nights at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort®. This is a really fun way to spend time with one’s family. Here are my top 5 reasons we attend. Continue reading

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

I’m going on a cruise in a few weeks and once again, there’s the question of do I need travel insurance? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple yes or no answer because so much depends on what coverage one already has, where one is traveling, how much money has been spent, and more. Here are the questions I had to answer for myself before determining whether or not I should purchase travel insurance. Continue reading

Are You Only Scratching the Surface of What There Is to Do at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends?

Go Under the Sea Figuratively (or Literally!) at Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking a closer look at the fun you can find in Future World at Epcot.

Odds are, if you’ve been to Epcot, you’ve visited The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Many visitors, though, barely scratch the surface (or the deep) of this amazing pavilion.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Copyright Disney, Used with Permission

Photo courtesy of and copyrighted by Disney Parks

We’ll start with the main attraction, The Seas with Nemo & Friends. This is a darling slow moving ride in which guests climb in a “clamobile” to enjoy scenes from the movie.  In addition to the animated scenes from the movie, due to the magic of Disney, Finding Nemo characters can be seen swimming among real fish.

Another popular attraction is Turtle Talk with Crush. It often takes a few minutes for new visitors to realize that yes, Crush is actually talking to the people in the auditorium!  He answers the audience’s questions about life in the ocean and refer to people’s shirts as their shell. Kids and adults alike love this interactive show, which lasts about 15 minutes, and it’s a really great way for kids to learn about sealife. New this summer, Crush will also be introducing  friends from Finding Dory so now he’ll also be answering questions about whale sharks like Destiny, beluga whales like Bailey, or octopuses (or septopuses) like Hank.

Are You Only Scratching the Surface of What There Is to Do at Epcot's The Seas with Nemo & Friends?Most visitors will also wander around SeaBase to see the animals. Disney participates in manatee rescue and conservation and the resident manatees are always a hit. Love dolphins? They have those, too. There is also the giant coral reef home to numerous fish, several species of shark, sting rays and sea turtles. If you’d like to see something extra, catch a fish feeding at 10:00am or 3:30pm daily. There’s also an area for kids to explore. My son loved hanging out in Bruce’s mouth!

Want to dine among the animals? There is a great table service restaurant, the Coral Reef Restaurant. There are huge windows that look into the same aquarium with the fish, sharks, sting rays, and sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a scuba diver or even a scuba Mickey.

Of course, these are all the locations that most people visit and like I said, this barely scratches the surface (or the deep) of this amazing pavilion. There are also several tours (for an extra charge) that will take you behind the scenes and as I’ve been on all of them at least once, I can tell you these tours are absolutely amazing and worth the extra money. Before discussing the individual tours, though, I just want to mention that being behind the scenes at this pavilion is incredible. You’ll see the massive filtering system, animal care areas, how they move the manatees in and out, kitchen and feeding schedules, and more. It truly gives a much more in-depth explanation of what all is involved to keep this pavilion running and the animals healthy.

In addition, there is nothing like seeing the aquarium from its surface. It is huge!!! All of the water areas are actually just walled off sections of one giant tank. Since 5.7-million gallons is difficult for most people to picture, look at it this way, its diameter of 203 feet would easily accommodate Spaceship Earth with 20 feet on either side to spare. The water pressure is so great that the acrylic viewing panels are at least 6 – 8 inches thick, which is much more noticeable from in the water. Now, on to the tours.

Guests 13 and older can interact with those lovable marine mammals on the Dolphins in Depth tour. Guests will visit the dolphin areas learning how these mammals are cared for and what they eat. This is done down to a science as each animal has their own diet. The highlight of the tour, of course, is the 30-minutes spent in about waist-high water interacting with the animals. While the dolphins have to “choose” to come to the guests for the interaction, they must love it because they always do and with a limit of 8 guests on the tour, each guest is sure to have a great experience. Best thing about this tour compared to the others? Nonswimmers can enjoy it, too.

Love to snorkel? Want a guaranteed view of lots and lots of animals? Then the Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour may be for you. Guests 8 and older can snorkel in the coral reef area of the tank. Yes, that’s the section with all the fish, the stingrays, and the sharks. Don’t worry about those last ones, though. While guests can easily see the sharks, they usually hang out closer to the bottom. I really loved this tour until I got SCUBA certified and then there became nothing like the…

Photo taken by my friend Amy of Pixie Dust Delivery Service and the Daily Pixie Dust Blog

Photo taken by my friend Amy of Pixie Dust Delivery Service and the Daily Pixie Dust Blog

Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest. I’ve gone SCUBA diving in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and there just is no way to see the collection of marine life in the wild that can be seen here. It truly is incredible. The first time I did this tour, I was a little leery of the sharks, but after a few more times, I’ve gotten more daring. Touching them is prohibited (and ill-advised), but if one kneels at the bottom of the tank near their swim pattern, they will swim right around you. My other favorite thing to do on this tour? Interact with the guests outside of the tank! Kids seem to love SCUBA divers and they are constantly waving to you and wanting to interact with you. For me, it’s a great way to share my experience with them. I often spend a lot of my dive around the viewing windows for that exact reason. If a diver’s family is available in the viewing windows, the videographer (divers can purchase a DVD of their dive at the end of the tour) will make it a point to film the diver with his or her family. One of my favorite moments was when my son was small, he put his hand to the window on the outside and I put my hand up to his on the inside and the videographer caught it. Of course, to enjoy this tour guests must be SCUBA certified and at least 10 years old.

I’m sure you can now see why I’ve spent hours and hours inside Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Many guests only give it a walk-through and miss out on some amazing memories and learning experiences. I hope you’ll give it more time and even take one of the tours on your next visit.

For more about Future World,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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My Son's Review of the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World

The Best Pool at Walt Disney World Resort (According to My 12-Year-Old)

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today the kids are answering the question, which Disney pool is the best?

It’s summer so what a perfect time to do a pool review! This one is going to be a little bit different, though. Instead of a review from me, I asked my son to tell me about his favorite pool at the Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s what he had to say.

Continue reading

A Treehouse Villa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Glamping – When You’re Not Quite Ready to Make the Rustic Leap

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing some ways for your family to participate in the Great American Campout.

Glamping - When Youre Not Quite Ready to Make the Rustic LeapIn honor of the Great American Campout on June 25, I had to write something about camping. I used to love to go camping in my early adult years. I was even a counselor at a camp one summer. For personal trips, we camped in a tent with our sleeping bags on a tarp, no cots or air mattresses. We cooked over an open fire. That made the food taste so good, and heated our water for washing dishes over the same fire. It was so great to be able to connect with nature. Plus, back then, it was about the only way I could afford to travel!

Now that I’m older, sleeping on the ground or even a cot or air mattress no longer holds much appeal, but I do still love being in nature and the taste of food cooked over a campfire. That’s where glamping comes in! Continue reading