Planning a Disney Vacation

So lately, I have been knee deep in making all the necessary reservations I can possibly think of for our trip to Disney World next month and boy has it been a whirlwind.

It can be a bit gut wrenching to strategize on which restaurants to make reservations to based on personal preference and location as well as fast passes that will help reduce traveling time to and from the parks and various Disney locations.

So let me start off by saying that I had entirely full intentions on limiting any plan making for this trip in order to not feel obligated to make any reservations I previously made. But once dinner reservation after dinner reservation was made, next thing you know, we had a schedule set up for going to specific parks each day.

It is extremely important to make any and all dinner reservations in as far of advance as possible due to them getting booked up extremely quickly.

Day 1

So for the first night, the only night I could get reservations for this particular restaurant mind you, my wife and I will be dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle at the Magic Kingdom which works well given we wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom first anyways. With that being said, we elected to make fast pass selections for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Day 2

On our second day, we really wanted to go to Hollywood Studios so we elected to make fast pass selections for Star Tours, Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania! However, at night, we will be meeting up with friends back at the Magic Kingdom for a character buffet dinner at the Crystal Palace. This shouldn’t be a problem given that we do have a park hopper option to go from park to park as many times as we would like per day.

Day 3

Our third day gets a bit more complicated. Originally we had planned on having a day at Epcot with having a little lunch followed by dinner at Chefs de France inside the France section of the world showcase. Given we have fast passes for late afternoon for Test Track, Epcot Character Spot and Spaceship Earth, our entire morning is pretty wide open. However, due to late scheduling changes, my wife and a few of her friends will be having Afternoon Tea at the Garden Room at the Grand Floridian Resort given it was the only day we could find reservations for this particular venue. With that said, I think we are going to do our best to get Animal Kingdom out of the way in the morning given we usually only spend half a day there anyways, followed by a trip to the Grand Floridian and then monorailing on over to Epcot to close out the day with rides and dinner.

Day 4

For this day, the group decided this would be the best day to take our Disney sabbatical by checking out Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. For Dinner however, we are going to take the cheaper route and cook dinner ourselves afterwards. If there is any time left at the end of the day however, we are going to check out Animal Kingdom at night considering it is a brand new concept to be open so late. So just as a precaution, we made fast passes for Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and DINOSAUR.

Day 5

My wife and I are going to head back to Hollywood Studios where we will have lunch in the extremely cool Sci-Fi Dine-In restaurant and will enjoy the following fast pass attractions: Toy Story Mania!, Star Tours and Tower of Terror. As for dinner, we are going to meet up with friends again at Disney Springs at Raglan Road Irish Pub, mostly due to its variety of gluten free options. However, once dinner is over, and possibly a little shopping is done, we are going to head over to Magic Kingdom for the late hours of the night given that Magic Kingdom hours are extended to midnight this particular day.

Day 6

For Day 6, originally this was the day we were planning on going to Universal Studios but due to one of our friends leaving early, we rescheduled. With that being said, we had previously set up fast passes at the Magic Kingdom in the even we left Universal Early. As it sits, we currently have fast pass selections for Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; all after 5pm. Therefore, I rescheduled a previous lunch reservation at Napoli within Italy at Epcot’s World Showcase for my all time favorite pizza! This is the one day where the first half of the day is still wide open for us to do whatever the heck we want! At night, my wife and I are scheduled for an amazing Wishes Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom for all you can eat dessert and amazing viewing angles of the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks show.

Day 7

For our final day, despite going there for the past 2 days, there is no better way to spend your last day at Disney than at the Magic Kingdom. We also have reservations for breakfast at Be Our Guest followed by fast passes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight. We hope to eventually make dinner reservations at Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

With all of this, it is extremely difficult to pick all your dinner spots and fast passes without having a plan in motion. After lots of meticulous thinking and luck with dinner reservation times, it seems like we will make the most out of our Disney Vacation.

There is also nothing wrong with just having quick service meals on the go while you are between fast pass rides and attractions.

Also do your research on which parks have extra magic hours every day and try to plan around that because the Magic Kingdom at midnight is one of the best times to go ever given all the children are tired and asleep and on their way back to the hotel!

My wife and I are extremely excited for this wonderful adventure and it will be even better having friends join us for the ride!

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Great Baseballs of Fire!

Well it has been one heck of a week for the Boston Red Sox which are currently on record breaking pace to have one of the most electric offenses in MLB history.

The Sox returned to Fenway this past Monday for a 7 game home stand verse the Oakland A’s and Houston Astros.

Khris Davis

Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis walks near the warning track during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Monday, May 9, 2016. Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray gave up six earned runs in the inning. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa). Image courtesy of MercuryNews.com

They started off with a three game sweep against the Oakland A’s by obliterating Oakland pitching outscoring them 40-15 thanks to excellent hitting from virtually everybody but especially Jackie Bradley Jr. who is well on his way to earning AL player of the week going 12 for 21 for a .571 batting average with 2 doubles, 3 home runs including a grand slam and 14 RBI’s raising his season average 51 points to a whopping .328.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Boston Red Sox’s Jackie Bradley Jr., center, celebrates after his grand slam during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park in Boston, Monday, May 9, 2016. At right is Oakland Athletics catcher Josh Phegley. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa). Image courtesy of NewsOK.com

They then welcomed the Houston Astros (14-21) into town to face the struggling 2015 American League Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel.

This would be no different.

The Red Sox got to Keuchel early and often starting with a 2 run blast off the bat of Xander Bogaerts in the first inning. Keuchel would pitch 6 innings giving up 10 hits and 8 earned runs while only having 2 shutout innings.

The Red Sox sent lefty ace David Price who happened to finished second last season in the same Cy Young race as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays (he was traded halfway through the season from the Detroit Tigers). Price rebounded after a few rough outings by going 6 2/3rds innings while surrendering only 1 earned run and striking out 12.

It is safe to say the Red Sox are currently at an absolute torrid pace and probably the most dangerous team to be facing right now in Major League Baseball given they have now scored 51 runs in their last 4 games!

Tonight will be no easier where the Red Sox will be sending knuckleballer Steven Wright to the hill with a 3-3 record but a 1.52 ERA. Bear in mind, his ERA worse to only Jake Arrieta (1.13 ERA), Jose Quintana (1.38 ERA) and Jordan Zimmerman (1.50 ERA).

The Sox could use a little help from Detroit though to beat the Orioles so they can take sole ownership of first place in the AL East but for now, the Red Sox look to continue their 5 game winning streak as well as JBJ to continue his 18 game hitting streak.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Opened on April 22nd, 1998, Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is the newest of the four Walt Disney World Parks and by far the largest at 500 acres. That is almost 5 times the size of the Magic Kingdom!

AK Tree of life

Image courtesy of DisneyWorld.com

The Animal Kingdom features one of the most original landmarks of any of the parks, the Tree of Life (pictured above). If you look closely, you can see many animals sculpted into the Tree of Life such as Lions, Tigers and Zebras.

The Tree of Life is also home to the 3D adventure, It’s Tough to be a Bug where you can see what it is truly like to live the life of a bug!

Upon entering the Animal Kingdom, you will see nature all around you, and even animals such as monkeys, birds, etc in the Oasis part of the park.

You can then proceed to Discovery Island which is the center point of the park where you can find the Tree of Life. The park is then broken up into five parts: DinoLand U.S.A., Asia, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Africa and Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Typically when I go to the Animal Kingdom, I like to start in DinoLand which is on the right side of Discovery Island. The main attraction at that section of the park is DINOSAUR, a thrill ride where you travel back in time to the Prehistoric era to help save a Dinosaur from extinction.

After enduring DinoLand, I then make my way over to Asia to one of my favorite rides in all of the Disney World Parks, a FastPass+ must, Expedition Everest. This is a high octane roller coaster where you travel through the Himalayan mountains while trying to avoid capture of the Abominable Snowman. The best part of this roller coaster is it actually will go backwards at some points! Also, if it is a hot day and you are looking to cool off, check out Kali River Rapids, an intense white water rapid ride that is sure to soak you throughout!

expedition everest

Image courtesy of DisneyFanatic.com. Photo posted by Mike.

After wandering through Asia, I like to make my way through Rafiki’s Planet Watch and on over to Africa, home to Disney’s largest attraction, size wise, Kilimanjaro Safaris. At 110 acres, this attraction is 3 acres larger than the entire Magic Kingdom! This attraction allows you to take an African Safari right in the middle of Orlando, FL where you can see hippos, giraffes, ostriches and if your lucky, lions!

Cap off your day at the animal kingdom with the amazing Festival of the Lion King at Camp Minnie-Mickey for an awesome puppetry based show that celebrates the new king of the jungle, Simba!

Brand new this year to the Animal Kingdom, a park that typically closes earlier than any of the parks close to 6pm on a daily basis, they will now be kept open even later where you can ride Expedition Everest or take a Safari in the dark if you wish. Animal Kingdom will also be featuring a brand new nighttime water and light show that will feature all sorts of special effects in the Rivers of Light.

With all that being said, the Animal Kingdom is a park that does not feature as many attractions as the previous three Disney World parks mentioned in my four part series due to how new it is.

When I travel to Disney World, I typically make my way over to the Animal Kingdom for about half a day to give myself plenty of time to enjoy Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR.

The Animal Kingdom would definitely be my least favorite of the four Disney World Parks but still a must to check out simply for the attractions it does have to offer.

So on your next Disney World trip, set your fastpasses for Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris and DINOSAUR given those are definitely the most popular attractions of the park and typically warrant long waits as result.

In terms of needing something to eat, there aren’t really any worth while restaurants inside Animal Kingdom in my opinion but on your way out, there is a Rainforest Cafe just outside the gates of the park.

The Animal Kingdom is certainly a park that I truly do not have any tricks really but do try to get to the main attractions that interest you most there before the crowds start coming in and check out all the animals you are not used to seeing on a regular basis.

This will conclude my four part series into my in-depth look at the four Walt Disney World Parks in Orlando, FL.

If anyone has any questions or needs any advice regarding the Walt Disney World Parks, please do not hesitate to reach out and I would love to help any way I can!

Hollywood/MGM Studios

Hi everyone! And welcome to my third installment of my four part series on the Wonderful World of Disney Parks!

Chinese Theater

Image courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com. Uploaded by Tom Bricker.

When you enter the amazing Hollywood Studios, previously known as MGM Studios, your eyes will first see the awesome Chinese Theater, home to The Great Movie Ride, a journey through some of the most iconic scenes from the greatest movies of all time!

In recent years, this beautiful replica theater based on the one in Hollywood, CA, was blocked by a large Mickey Fantasia Hat.

mickey fantasia hat

Image courtesy of TampaBay.com. Uploaded by Sharon Kennedy Wynne.

Before most people can make their way to the Chinese Theater however, it is typical and highly recommended to take a quick right at the beginning of the park to enjoy the two most iconic attractions at Hollywood Studios, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock’n Roller Coaster.

It is highly recommended that you grab fast passes for these attractions due to their high popularity!

Once you are done embarking your fast limo drive through downtown Los Angeles, and if you survived your stay at the Tower of Terror, you can then make your way back to the Chinese Theater and ride the Great Movie Ride, which I highly recommend. Afterwards, you can then enjoy Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!, an awesome stunt show based on scenes from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Beyond this incredible stunt show, due to a large amount of renovation at Hollywood Studios where Disney’s Imagineers are currently working on adding Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, there really only lies Star Tours, where you can take a tour around the galaxy with your favorite tour guides, R2-D2 & C3PO.

You can also find of my absolute favorite rides in all of Disney World, Toy Story Mania!, a fun interactive ride where you can compete with your parents, friends or significant others at an array of 3D games inspired by your favorite Toy Story characters.

I would highly suggest getting a fast pass for Toy Story Mania!, if there are any left that is…

Yes that is right, this attraction is so popular, fast passes sell out quicker than any other attraction. Without the passes, you will most likely find yourself waiting close to 2 hours.

As for dining options at Hollywood Studios, I would highly recommend, for lower cost options, The Hollywood & Vine, another awesome buffet option, or the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, a unique way to dine while inside an old style vehicle while watching trailers and scenes from old style Sci-Fi movies on the drive-in theater screen.

If you are looking for an upper end restaurant, I would strongly suggest The Hollywood Brown Derby, an excellent replica of the Hollywood, CA restaurant that features top of the line food choices.

As for my biggest secret for Hollywood Studios, I would highly recommend making reservations for either the Hollywood & Vine or the Hollywood Brown Derby with the dinner package for the great Fantasmic! show only offered on certain nights near the entrance of the Tower of Terror.

The dinner package will earn you preferred seating for this incredible water and firework show that incorporates the greatest Disney Villains and Heroes of all time while Mickey battles good and evil in his dream.

Hollywood Studios was once upon a time my second favorite park of all the Disney World parks but due to its renovations, it is hard to justify it as my second favorite at this point in time despite having Tower of Terror, Rock’n Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania! and Star Tours. However, the strides Disney is taking to incorporate a Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land could eventually make this park an extreme power house and for that, I find myself extremely excited.

In the meantime, I do recommend this wonderful park for what it has to offer despite the major renovations currently taking place because it still does offer the most thrilling rides that any of the parks have to offer.

And remember, you are always a simple boat ride away from Epcot if need be!

Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

epcot ball

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org. Photo uploaded by user chensiyuan.

Welcome to the 2nd part of my four part series into the wonderful parks of the magical Walt Disney World!

In this post, I want to take a deep look into Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or as most people know it as, Epcot.

Epcot was Walt Disney’s prototype of what he believed could be a city or community of the future. This park was eventually opened on October 1st, 1982 with the focal point being the great Epcot Ball, home to the attraction Spaceship Earth, a journey into the past that shows us the advances and discoveries in communication and technology that we know of today.

Epcot is broken up into two themed areas, Future World and World Showcase.

Future world is where you can find most of the rides you come to Epcot for such as The Seas with Nemo & FriendsTest Track and Soarin’.

Test Track gives you the test ride of a lifetime where you can get into a test vehicle to check how well the vehicle breaks, turns and how fast it can really go.

Soarin’ is a beautiful simulation where you can hang glide over the world’s most amazing landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and even Cinderella’s castle. Soarin’ was recently shut down in January of 2016 for some refurbishments which will include a third theater, a 4K resolution experience and a new journey to fly in.

It is highly reccomended that you get fastpasses for Test Track and Soarin’ given that these attractions typically harness around a 2 hour wait time but are absolutely musts for your visit to Epcot.

Once you finish making you way through Future World, you will then find yourself in the awesome World Showcase, home to 11 pavilions inspired nations from all around the world that include:

  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • China
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • United States
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada

Each nation represents beautiful architecture that is extremely representative of  it’s respected country as well food and restaurants that are native to that homeland as well.

My top 5 restaurants I would recommend in the World Showcase would be:

  1. Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Italy)
  2. Tutto Italia Ristorante (Italy)
  3. Rose & Crown Dining Room (UK)
  4. Chefs de France (France)
  5. La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico)

Of course, one thing you cannot miss whatsoever when visiting Epcot is the amazing firework show in the middle of Epcot that can be viewed from World Showcase, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth which tend to fire off every day at 9:00 PM.

illuminations

LIGHT THE NIGHT Spectacular fireworks customized to a symphonic score burst above Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon during IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Lasers, a revolving Earth Globe and leaping flames co-star in this 13-minute spectacle. IllumiNations is the nightly finale at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Computer-generated image). (Copyright 2001. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.). Image courtesy of DisneyWorld.com

The biggest question regarding where the best place is to watch the fireworks from is an ongoing debate, some say Japan, some say at the beginning of World Showcase. Personally, my favorite place to watch this show, and it is a little trick I picked up over the years, try to make dinner reservations at the Rose & Crown in the UK for around 8:00 PM, then you will be able to go to the waterside patio to watch an extremely unobstructed view of this wonderful firework display.

Another fun trick that not to many people are familiar with when it comes to Epcot, unlike any of the other parks, Epcot has a back entrance! If you are staying at Disney’s Boardwalk, Swan and Dolphin, Yacht Club or Beach Club Resorts, you are within walking distance of Epcot and you might not have ever known it! You can take a 10 minute walk and the rear entrance will get you somewhere between the United Kingdom and France.

I highly recommending checking out Disney’s Boardwalk Resort if you are going to use that entrance/exit, it to this day is my all time favorite Disney World Resort and features plenty of awesome restaurants and bakeries. It is also a good place to watch the fireworks from Epcot. Also, if you are feeling sport deprived on your vacation, it’s also where you can find the ESPN Club.

If the Magic Kingdom is your first stop on your Walt Disney World vacation, please make Epcot your second, it is an absolute beautiful park to visit with amazing and fun attractions and incredible food. It is also connected to the Magic Kingdom via the Monorail. Live in the now in this Community of Tomorrow.

Yankess v. Red Sox, Round 1

This past weekend marked the beginning of the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry for the 2016 season which featured the now first place Red Sox (15-10) and the team in the AL East basement, the New York Yankees (8-15).

If you are reading this post for an entirely, or even remotely, unbiased opinion on the matter, you should probably look elsewhere.

red-sox-yankees

Image courtesy of FifthPeriodLunch.com

After a strong start from Yankee Started Masahiro Tanaka pitching 6 scoreless innings, the Red Sox started to put some offense together for the first time all game after a Jackie Bradley Jr. 2-run double in the 7th to tie the game 2-2. Then in the 8th inning, Mr. Clutch, David Ortiz sent a ball over the Green Monster off of Dellin Betances to give the Sox a 4-2 lead where the score would stay to give Boston a win in game 1.

In game 2 of the series, it was the Red Sox who provided a strong pitching performance not only from Rick Porcello who pitched 7 strong shutout innings to improve to 5-0, but from the bullpen as well that led to an 8-0 win for the Sox thanks to another strong showing from the offense.

Game 3 was more of a seesaw game with teams trading leads throughout the game despite Boston’s ace David Price on the hill.Price struggled a bit giving up 8 hits and 6 earned runs but did managed to pitch 7 innings to earn himself his 4th win of the season. It was ultimately a 2-run home run from Travis Shaw off of Dellin Batances that wrapped around the legendary Pesky Pole to give the Sox lead and eventually the win thanks to an excellent save from Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel once again.

Thanks to a strong showing of both hitting and pitching for the Red Sox, and continued struggles for the Yankees, the Red Sox swept the Yankees in their first rivalry set of the season.

The Red Sox head to the Bronx this upcoming weekend from another series against the Yankees but unless something dramatic changes, it does appear that the Red Sox are going to have the upper hand over the last place pinstripes for the majority of the season.

It may be time for the Yankees to consider overhauling their team, and perhaps front office if they want to be in contention in future but in the meantime, the Red Sox will have no problem reaping the reward from playing a weak New York team throughout the course of the 2016 season.

Looks like the competition for the Red Sox this season in the AL East is going lie with the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.

But it sure is nice to see the Red Sox back atop of the AL East after a miserable 2014 & 2015 season.

What to look for in buying a DSLR

This past week, my wife and I have been dabbling a bit in this whole blog sensation and we thought, one of the most key elements to a successful and fun blog is having an excellent, well crafted camera, preferably a DSLR over a basic point and shoot.

You may be wondering, what the heck is the difference?

Canon t6i

Image courtesy of Canon.com

Canon Power Shot

Image courtesy of Canon.com

The Camera on the left is a DSLR camera or a digital single-lens reflex camera that is typically used for higher end photography where you have the ability to always upgrade a compatible lens as you wish. As for the camera on the right, which is a basic point and shoot, it is aimed more for beginners who are more into taking pictures closer up. This camera would be ideal if you are just trying to take pictures of family and friends, taking something light to a party or if you just want a camera with low maintenance, light weight and cheaper.

We knew for our needs that there was really no need for a point and shoot due to the fact that our cell phones basically are point and shoot cameras.

After determining we needed a DSLR to help capture every moment in the most perfect way possible, we had to do our research as to which one we wanted.

Sorry in advance to all Nikon lover’s, nothing against Nikon who makes an excellent line of camera’s, but we are definitely Canon people so we were looking strictly for a Canon.

I then decided to get a little aid from a friend of mine who has been a photographer for most of his life owning multiple high end camera’s. After much consultation, he and I agreed that the Canon Rebel series would be the best fit for us given that is a bit more affordable than most DSLR camera’s as well as a little easier to use given that I am only a bit moderate when it comes to knowing how to use them.

We then went ahead and did further research as to which Rebel would be best:

Obviously, just by looking at the pricing alone, I ruled out the Canon Rebel EOS T5 given it is the same price as the T6.

Canon Screen

Image courtesy of Canon.com

The biggest difference I found between the T5i & T6i with the T6 was that the T5i & T6i came equipped with a Flip Touch Screen which can be very handy when it comes to taking pictures that might be easier with the ability to tilt the screen for a better visual.

At that point, it came down to the T5i and the T6i. Obviously, the T6i is a newer model and more ideal, however it is $200 more than the T5i so we had to decided if the differences really outweighed the price.

When comparing, we found the T6i is a 24 megapixel camera as opposed to the T5i which is an 18 megapixel camera. Other than that, the only other main difference we could truly find was the T6i came with WiFi capabilities which in essence, we are able to connect our phones, computers or even printers to it wirelessly to transfer/print photos directly from the camera.

With all that said, we wanted an excellent camera and thought the extra $200 was worth those differences and ultimately elected to get the Canon Rebel EOS T6i.

So far, we absolutely love it and cannot wait to take it out on beautiful days to take wonderful and amazing photos of the world!

We highly recommend though that if you are going to buy a camera of this magnitude, look around, compare prices and even check places like Amazon.com for bundles that may include a bag, tripod, or even extra lenses.

Once again, we would like to thank a friend of mine who was very helpful in helping us determine the right camera for us. Please check out his website at CuddlebumDesigns.com!

Red Sock’n & Rollin’

After my trip this past weekend to see a disappointing loss in Houston for the Red Sox, it would seem the Red Sox have hit their groove winning 4 straight since.

I think it is safe to say the Sox have found their identity and are ready to cruise for another AL East title!

holt_dance_lo_vpknsjev

GIF courtesy of MLB.com

After a shut down performance Monday with Rick Porcello hurling a 1-0 shutout, and a dominant outing Tuesday from David Price who struck out 14, The Red Sox trounced the Braves back at Fenway Wednesday night 9-3 with another strong performance by the knuckleballer Steven Wright. Not to mention Big Papi’s 3 double night and Dustin Pedroia’s two home run night including a Grand Slam off the Pesky Pole!

It is clear that not only as the American League’s most dominant offense with 111 runs, 206 hits, 59 doubles, 7 triples and a .278 batting average through 21 games, but also have a rotation that is really starting to show the league how dominant it really can be.

The Red Sox pitching staff is currently leading the MLB with 220 strikeouts led by the MLB leader in strikeouts, David Price, with 46 strikeouts.

The Red Sox are striking out on average 10 batters a game! David Price is K’ing 1.5 batters an inning! He has pitched 7 1/3 innings less than Clayton Kershaw who has only 40 strikeouts on the season!

It is safe to say the Red Sox are starting to truly click with this team that was fantastically put together thanks to Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations and Mike Hazen, Senior Vice President and General Manager.

The two biggest deals done in the offseason was finally getting the Red Sox that reliable Ace they have missed since trading Jon Lester in 2014 in David Price who dominated the second half of the 2015 season with Blue Jays on their historic run all the way to the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox also went out and traded for one of the most dominant closers in baseball over the past 5 years from the Padres, Craig Kimbrel.

One of the more rockier sides to the season however has been the questionable bullpen. A few guys that have really stepped up to the plate however are Matt Barnes and without a doubt, Heath Hembree who in 3 games and 7 2/3’s innings is still posting a 0.00 ERA.

One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises however has been the incredible play that Hanley Ramirez has been showing in his first season at first base. That guy looks like he has been playing that position for 10 years! And his ability to show how well he can hit to the opposite field, in my opinion, makes me believe that he is going to be a very dangerous hitter to pitch to throughout the course of the season.

With all that being said, I also believe it has been an absolute blessing not to only have John Farrell back, and healthy, but to also have Torey Lovullo, who has interim manager last year in Farrell’s absence going 28-21, back in the dugout as well. Some day Torey will make an excellent manager in this league but we are more than happy to have him on our side in the mean time!

With the Yankees coming into town this weekend who are currently at the basement of the AL East with an 8-12 record thus far, this should be a fun and exciting 3 game series that can hopefully propel the Red Sox back into first given they are currently 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Hopefully there will be a lot more dancing in the dugout to come from Brock Holt!

The Wonderful World of the Magic Kingdom

When traveling to Walt Disney World, one of the great adventures is entering the fairy tale world we all know as, the Magic Kingdom, home to Cinderella’s Castle.

Magic Kindom Castle

Image courtesy of disney.wikia.com. Photo upload by Homer77

This post will begin my four part series going into each Walt Disney World Park where I will talk about park layout, popular attractions and even tips and tricks to maximize family fun!

Once arriving at the Magic Kingdom by either via Bus, Boat or even Monorail!

Monorail

Image courtesy of wdwinfo.com

After getting through the gates, you will first need to pass through one of two tunnels underneath the famous Walt Disney World Railroad. It is then you will now be walking down Main Street, U.S.A. where you will be able to see the signature landmark of the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle.

Main Street, U.S.A. consists of restaurants, shops, bakeries and even a barber shop! If you are looking for awesome Disney souvenirs, you can either wait until leaving to purchase so you are not carrying these goodies around all day, or if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you have the option to have any souvenir you buy sent to your Resort and available for pick up at the front desk usually by the next day!

Once getting to the end of Main Street, after dodging as many families having their pictures taken by Disney Photo Pass cast members in front of the castle as humanly possible, you can decide to go to any of the many wonderful lands the Magic Kingdom has to offer:

  • Tomorrowland
  • Frontierland
  • Adventureland
  • New Fantasyland
Magic Kingdom Map

Image courtesy of floridathemeparks.com

As you can see, the park is designed where you can enter any land via one of the 4 bridges located at the center of the park.

I typically like to start at my absolute favorite land, Tomorrowland (purple colored land), and work my way around the other lands counter clockwise.

Tomorrowland features my absolute favorite and Disney Classic ride, Space Mountain (23). This is a fun and exciting roller coaster that takes place in space! Well not really but it is a ride through pitch black with subtle lights and stars surrounding you.

However, most people to smart small and ride the famous People Mover (24) where you can take a futuristic ride throughout all of Tomorrowland.

Once finishing exploring the rest of Tomorrowland and riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (27) or watching Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor (26), I then head over to the New Fantasyland.

Fantasyland is home to the famous Mad Tea Party (19), “it’s a small world” (12) and Peter Pan Flight (11). However, after major renovations a few years ago, and a re-branding of “New Fantasyland”, it is now home to the Beast’s Castle from beauty and the beast which features one of my all time favorite restaurants inside, Be Our Guest. Another major addition in which I have not yet had the pleasure of riding yet is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a Snow White inspired Roller Coaster in the heart of New Fantasyland.

After moving on from New Fantasyland, you can find yourself in Frontierland, which ranks as my second favorite land in Magic Kingdom thanks in large part to attractions such as the Haunted Mansion (10) which is really in Liberty Square, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (5), and of course, Splash Mountain (6).

Splash Mountain

Image courtesy of wesh.com

As for the final land, Adventureland, this is probably my least favorite of all the lands despite having not only the Jungle Cruise (2) but also the ride that inspired the movie, but then the movie inspired the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean (3) where you can sail with Captain Jack Sparrow!

After a long day at the Magic Kingdom, three restaurants I would highly recommend would be Be Our Guest, as mentioned previously, The Crystal Palace (left of 28), which is a buffet styled meal with Winnie the Pooh characters, or Cinderella’s Royal Table which is inside the Castle itself. Please bear in mind, these three restaurants are among the most popular in all of Disney so please try to book reservations in as far in advance as possible.

Nothing however can top ending your day but with the wonderful fireworks at the Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Image courtesy of insidethemagic.net. Posted on March 22, 2016 by Adam McCabe

One extremely fun and exciting way to enjoy these fireworks is the prepaid event, Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party where you can view the fireworks from a private area near Tomorrowland (right of 28) and have all the Dessert you can imagine! This is something that also will require reservations and is roughly $50 per adult.

As for any tips I may have for the park, I would highly recommend trying to arrive early and going for Space Mountain first, that tends to have one of the longer waits out of any of the rides at the park. Also, try to save Splash Mountain for mid to late afternoon just in case you get to wet on the ride, a hot sun later in the day will help dry you off.

If you are setting up FastPass+, given you are only allowed three FastPass+ selections per day, I would recommend setting them for either: Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Mine Train or Peter Pan, those tend to be the most popular rides. The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion are also popular but they usually float around the 20-40 minute wait time which is manageable compared to Space Mountain that can be as high as 180 minutes!

Also, when leaving, if you are caught in the middle of a fireworks show or parade, given the streets are usually packed with people or blocked off due to a parade, one of the best tricks to avoid all the foot traffic is to walk through the stores on Main Street. All the stores and bakeries are connected giving you the ability to walk through it all to eventually get back to the front of the park  in time to beat everyone else trying to leave to catch a Bus, Boat or Monorail.

There is nothing better than an absolute wonderful day at the Magic Kingdom where dreams always come true, the cast members are the most polite people in the entire world and the food and rides are absolutely exceptional.

Please visit this park at least once in your life for one of the best experiences you can ever imagine!

How to buy an affordable PC

Recently, my wife and I visited her parents in Houston for the weekend and while visiting, we were in need of using a laptop. A few years ago, we upgraded my wife’s laptop from an older Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop to a newer 13″ Apple MacBook Air.

Rather than attempting to sell the old Dell, I thought I would upgrade the hard drive, install 2 more GB of RAM and replace the existing cracked shell with a sleek black casing around it and give it to my mother-in-law for personal use.

Well, 3 years later, the Dell appeared to be nearing it’s end with a battery, which can be replaced by the way, having roughly a 20 minute life to it and issues with the track pad.

My wife and I decided we would help to upgrade her mom’s PC as a Mother’s Day gift this year so she could go back to having a fully reliable laptop.

Bear in mind, the Dell provided my wife with 4 good years while in Undergrad and another pretty solid 3 years with her mother.

Now it was up to me to search for the perfect and most affordable laptop out there to fit my wife’s mother’s needs:

  1. Surfing the Web
  2. Word Processing
  3. Creating Spreadsheets
  4. Viewing and Storing Photos
  5. Watching Netflix

With that being said, I looked at a few options:

Asus 1

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

1. Asus – 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Celeron – 4GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive – Chocolate Black – ($250)

 

  • PROS
    • A PC with a reasonably sized screen
    • More than enough RAM and Storage
    • Lightweight
  • CONS
    • Processor with noticeable lag when using
    • Difficult to Multitask
    • Relatively Slow when surfing the Web, especially Facebook
lenovo 2

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

2. Lenovo – Ideapad 100s 14″ Laptop – Intel Celeron – 2GB Memory – 64GB eMMC Flash Storage – Silver – ($200)

 

  • PROS
    • Decent amount of RAM
    • Solid State Drive for a quieter and better way to store necessary files
    • Sleek design while very lightweight
  • CONS
    • Once again, using the same processor as the previous Asus, noticeable lag when using
    • Smaller Screen at 14″
    • Much smaller hard drive due to being an SSD (Solid State Drive).
Asus 3

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

3. Asus – 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Core i3 – 4GB Memory – 1TB Hard Drive – Silver – ($300)

 

  • PROS
    • Once again, very nice large screen
    • More than enough RAM, twice the storage than the previous Asus
    • Lightweight
    • Core I3 processor which has a very noticeable difference over the Celeron
  • CONS
    • A little more expensive than the previous 2 laptops mentioned

After narrowing the search to these 3 PC’s, I had to go to the store to give them all a test drive.

I personally am not used to using a PC with an Intel Celeron Processor, and after reading plenty of reviews, I had my doubts.

After attempting to try out the two laptops with the Celeron Processor, I found it to be quite irritating and frustrating to even do anything as simple as logging into Facebook.

Granted those two laptops are very affordable but in the end, I thought it would be worth the extra money to go with the Asus 15.6″ with the Intel Core I3 Processor due to the sizable difference it really makes. Even with the intention of needing a PC for only simple needs such as Web Surfing and Word Processing, I do believe that you need at minimum a PC with an Intel Core I3 Processor.

I also believe you will need at least 2 GB of RAM in case you are into multitasking.

As for storage, I do prefer SSD’s over traditional HDD’s due to it being lighter weight, quieter and cooler, however they tend to be a bit more expensive and have smaller storage. With that being said, I would advise at least a 128 GB drive of some sort, plenty of space to store photos, musics and any documents you may have with room to spare.

When it comes to screen size, I personally would never get anything less than a 15″ screen, but that’s just me.

With all of that being said, the 3rd option for the Asus 15.6″ with a Core I3, 4 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD was the most ideal PC to choose for the basic use of surfing the web, storing documents and streaming video.

So remember, especially now-a-days, it is very possible to purchase very high performing laptop to fit the most necessary needs for every day use when using a computer while not breaking the bank.

Always do your research and I strongly recommend before ever buying any computer to try out the PC or Mac and make sure it works for you! The last thing you want is a computer that is to bulky, to heavy, to slow or even to loud.

If you anyone has any questions or may need help picking out the right computer for themselves, please feel free to contact me with any concerns you may have.