Disney 2020 – The Memory Maker

Every time we go to Disney, we purchase Disney’s Memory Maker (previously Photo Pass).  This Photo Package not only includes all the pictures taken around the parks (including rides) and resorts by Disney’s photographers, but also any that are taken during a character/meal encounter.  You can link all members of your traveling party (even other reservations and groups) for everyone to use and it encourages people to keep their phones put away.

For us, it has always been worth every penny!  I also encourage my clients to make this purchase – some do it, others do not and regret it.  We have made an art out of doing funny things for our Memory Maker photos.  It is part of the fun in making the memories to last a lifetime.  And on par with Disney – they even throw in a little magic!

Here are our favorite Memory Maker photos from this trip!

Char and the photographer had a bit of fun!

The concentration levels are EPIC.  I always lost!  hahaha

Some of the best pictures come off Space Mountain!  From nose picking, T-Rexing, praising Tiki (that’s the “baby” Yoda doll you see sometimes), choking out, rockin’ out and shooting out – we have it all covered!


Seriously – T-Rex arms are classic!

And then there are the classic Group Shots! These are fabulous and make some of the best memories ever – I mean, that is the whole point of the Memory Maker!!!

And then throw in a little Disney Magic!

As you can see, we love our Memory Maker!!! We take full advantage of it every trip!!! Next time you go to Disney, you should totally think about adding the Memory Maker to your trip planning!!!

Disney 2020 – The Nitty Gritty

So many people were surprised when I told them we were going through with our planned trip to Disney last week.  I kept hoping Disney would remain open so we could go!!!

People were worried about the plane ride.

People were worried that Florida is a hot bed of COVID and that we were taking necessary risks.

People were worried that others wouldn’t follow the rules.

Some people just worry.

That’s not us!  And we knew that Disney would not only be the happiest place on earth; we knew it would also be the cleanest!

During our week at Disney we saw physical distancing markers at ALL the rides and we were encouragement to follow procedures from Cast Members when we forgot (it is easy to fall back on norms and crowd the people in front of you when you are excited).


The queue at Soarin.


Physical distancing on the monorails – quick and easy!


A great example of the physical distanced queues in line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster.


The queue at Expedition Everest

At every ride entrance and exit and ALL over the parks and resorts, there were not only hand sanitizer stations, but also hand WASH stations with soap.  Along with marked physical distancing queues for rides, food pick up and purchasing merch at stores, many of the loading areas and queue areas have physical barriers to promote distancing.

Every ride is sanitized in a rotation with specially formulated spray every two-ish hours.  We were able to witness this first hand on Flight of Peter Pan.

Character encounters were different, but we loved each one!!!


Our dinner at the Garden Grill in The Land at EPCOT was one of the best meals EVER!


And we had so much fun with our “friends”!!


A carriage full of princesses at EPCOT!!!!!


I met Alice at the Great Britain pavilion.


Even the Cast Members got into the fun!


A character “experience” with Captain Jack Sparrow!


Anna and Elsa at EPCOT!

Friends, life is full of calculated risks; smoking, sunbathing/outside sports, riding a bike or motorcycle without a helmet, jay-walking, being in a car without a seat belt.  The list goes on.  We gambled on the quality of the experience we have come to count on with Disney and we were NOT disappointed!!!

Is this a time for everyone to travel?  No.  You should not travel if you feel uncomfortable traveling.  You should not travel if you are unwilling or unable to follow the rules set forth by the airlines or your destination.  For us, this trip was a no brainer and we were rewarded for our adventurous spirit!!

Sangria by the Lake

While camping this year at Long Lake, I decided to make a “sangria a day” for tasting.

You see, I really do not like wine – GOSH – I TRY so hard to like wine, but I just don’t.  So I thought I would try many different “mixers” with wine to see if it helped.  Not only that, but I have had some lovely sangrias in Spain and wanted to try my hand at it.

I have enjoyed a fall themed sangria in the past (think caramel apple), but looked to Facebook to find some tried and true summer time refreshers for this little experiment.

Here is my picture diary, the recipe link and my assessment for each sangria I made!

Red, White and Blueberry Sangria

Red, White and Blueberry Sangria Recipe

I served this our first night along with a Maine feast of lobster rolls, corn on the cob, clam chowder and salad. This sangria was one of my favorites – it was light and I might have a little less Prosecco in mine, but overall it was light, bubbly and refreshing.


Red, White and Blueberry Sangria


Sparkling Rose Sangria

Sparkling Rosé Sangria

This sangria was again, very refreshing and had a little kick to it with the addition of vodka.  I served this for our anti pasta night (even though I made a putenesca) – meat, cheese, bread and yumminess!  This pared well with dinner and was fabulous after a long, hot day on the lake!


Sparkling Rose Sangria


Blackberry Sweet Tea Sangria

Blackberry Sweet Tea Sangria

This twist on two fab drinks really rocked!!!  I served this with a traditional summer meal – hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta salad.  My kids were feeling totally left out of this whole sangria experiment so they did get to enjoy the sweet tea before infusing it with the wine!


Blackberry Sweet Tea Sangria


Mystery Sangria – contributed by Jennifer Smith (a dear friend from HS who warned me not to drink this too fast – maybe it should be named Knock You On Your Can Sangria

Approximately 1/2 gallon of red wine

1 to 1 1/2 cup apricot brandy

1/2 cup to 1 cup triple sec

1 cup orange juice

1 cup apricot nectar

1/2 cup to 1 cup Sprite or equivalent

Half an apple, chopped

Half and orange, chopped


Combine the liquid ingredients in a large pitcher, chop the fruit into bite size pieces and add to pitcher.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the top.  Chill

My sister cooked this night and we had a Greek chicken and salad meal.  This sanrgia would kick you in the pants if you drank too much of it!  It was a bit too alcoholy for me, but others enjoyed it and luckily, I only made one batch!


Knock You On Can Sangria


Pink Sangria – contributed by my girl Cheriene who loves this recipe as her go to for summer sangrias!

1 Bottle dry white wine

1/2 cup pink moscato (sparkling)

1/2 cup peach liqueur

1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 large peach wedge

1/2 an orange, sliced

1/2 a lemon, sliced

Combine all ingredients, allow time for the flavors to mix and serve chilled.

We had this sangria pared with skewered Italian Meatballs and pasta!  It really hit the spot!


Pink Sangria – I know mine doesn’t look very pick, but it must have been the lighting!


Cider Beer Sangria


One wouldn’t think that beer and sangria would go hand in hand, but this one was delightful!  We had pizza this night for dinner and a Cider Sangria fit the bill!  It was a little fall tasting, but we did’t let that stop us!


Cider Beer Sangria


I do so love our time at the lake every year!  The sangrias added a fun touch and I have to admit, with a background like that, how could you go wrong?

Disney 2020 – Follow the Rules or Stay Home

I’ve always been a rule follower.  There have been a handful of times when I have not followed the rules and the the consequences were terrible – I will continue to follow the rules!

Right now, the world is full of extra rules.  For some people, that is comforting.  For others, it makes them stir crazy.  I would fall in between.

If you are unable or unwilling to follow the rules at Disney, please stay home.  Don’t ruin this once in a lifetime experience for the rest of us because you are too selfish do to what is asked of you.

When you agree to go to Disney during this time, you agree to the rules set forth by Disney to create a safer experience.  Here is an overview of some of the rules;

 1.  Masks must be worn at all times EXCEPT when you are ACTIVELY eating or drinking AND you must be STATIONARY (you cannot walk around and eat or drink with your mask off).

We had no troubles with this at all – only once when we were seated and not ACTIVELY eating or drinking did someone say (politely) we had to keep our masks on.  It was NOT – and if you have breathing problems or asthma, for example, going to Florida at the end of August would not be the best idea.  But EVERYONE we saw was compliant – even the 2 and 4 year old cousins we were traveling with – they did AMAZING!!!!!


Everyone wore masks ALL day except when eating or drink while STATIONARY.

2.  You must maintain physical distancing. 

I love the signage and people say PHYSICAL distancing, NOT social distancing.  This was easy for everyone to understand and for the most part, people did a great job at keeping space!  We were a large part – sometimes up to 10 of us, but we stayed together and were only questioned a few times about the size of our party.  This is one great reason to wear the same shirts!!!  Everyone knew we were part of the same group!


The queue at Expedition Everest

MK 1

3.  Your temperature will be checked every day before entering the park.  If y our temperature is at or above 100.4, you and your party will be asked to go to another tent close by for monitoring and additional steps may be taken.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t TOTALLY happy ever time we passed the temperature screening every day.  Let’s face it, you can have a temperature for a million other reasons than COVID, and all those reasons will keep you AND YOUR PARTY out of the park if someone has a sustained temperature.  I think this is great – because how many people force their sick family members into the park because they “paid a lot for this trip” and will endanger everyone else with their germs!  Is this method 100% fol proof – nope.  But it sure helps!!!

At Disney, there were plenty of rules we had to follow.  I thought they were acceptable rules to not only encourage a more hygienic environment, but also the get on with life during a pandemic.  We cannot reasonably remain quarantined forever.  Life must go on and Disney is making it happen.

Disney 2020 – Animal Kingdom

Friday, our last day at Disney World, was spent at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  We stayed for over 9 hours and packed in eso much!

We arrived when the park opened and headed to Pandora Flight of Passage and walked right on.  We hit Na’avi River, then headed to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Afterwards we did the Kalahari River Rapids 4 times, then Everest 3 times (my stomach was about to roll over).  We had lunch, did the jungle walk, then watched the “bird show”, rode Dinosaur, did the Gorilla walk, then headed back to Flight of Passage, where we walked on AGAIN!!


Here are the pictures to prove it!


It was as if we had the park to ourselves!!!!


Smith Day at Animal Kingdom!!!


This handsome fellow is “KJ” and he is the alpha male of the four bachelor group at Animal Kingdom.


Char gets her sugar fix!!!


A must-do picture every trip!


Kelton gets his turn!!!


The Tree of Life never looked so good!


Along with hand sanitizer stations everywhere, you can find simple hand washing stations with soap all over the parks.


Late afternoon – still a light crowd headed into “Africa”.