ETT Blog

By: ETourandTravel

April 18, 2017

Love Strawberries? It’s Time for the Lowcountry Strawberry Festival!

Ah, spring! As the air defrosts and the trees get their color back, our minds turn to many things. Some will think of baseball, spring training, hot dogs with spicy mustard, and the impending Major League season this summer. Others may dream of a beach, a comfy chair under an umbrella, a good book, and an adult beverage. Then there are those of us who can think of nothing other than sinking our teeth into a juicy, red fruit picked fresh from the vine.

Yes, spring is strawberry season! This in and of itself is reason to celebrate. Strawberries are, arguably, the best fruit there is (no side eye from you, avocado enthusiasts). And when a bunch of like-minded people want to celebrate the same thing, in the same place, it’s called a festival. In this case, a Strawberry Festival!

That means if you have nothing but love for strawberries, you may want to head to the Lowcountry Strawberry Festival at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina.

The prime reason to attend is to head on out into the fields and pick your own strawberries. It’s impossible to get fresher strawberries – and the fresher, the better. You’ll be able to make strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, real strawberry milkshakes, strawberry cakes, strawberry pancakes, strawberry jam, roasted strawberry salad with strawberry tahini dressing, strawberry balsamic pizza with chicken and bacon, roasted strawberry chickpea and asparagus couscous, and strawberry ice cream. Or, whatever your favorite strawberry recipes happen to be. You may just like popping them straight into your mouth, and that’s alright, too.

There will also be all sorts of rides and such for the family to enjoy. You’ll find the world-famous K-9’s In Flight who will be performing a number of acrobatic dog shows. The kids will be able to get up close and personal with the friendly critters of the All American Petting Zoo. There’s more than enough to make a full day of it with the kids, cousins, and in-laws.

The festival will be held Thursday April 20th through Sunday April 23rd. Admission is $10 for ages 12 and up, $5 for ages 2-11, and children under the age of 2 will be admitted free so long as they have a grown-up escorting them. Tickets for the rides and attractions are separate and will be sold at the event.

Boone Hall Plantation was founded in 1681 and is one of America’s oldest working farms. It’s a real special place to visit. Enjoy!

Read More

By: ETourandTravel

April 7, 2017

Bands of Magic Filled with the Power of TapuTapu

There’s been an odd fashion trend cropping up lately at theme parks across Orlando. When you visit, you’ll notice that many of the park’s guests are wearing brightly colored wrist bands. Would it surprise you to know that this isn’t a fashion statement? It’s actually a device that can do all sorts of things around the parks.

Disney started the trend with their Magic Bands. For guests visiting Walt Disney World, they work as park ticket, fastpass, and credit card (and room key if you stay at a Disney hotel). Basically, the bands are linked to your Disney account online. Whatever you have in there, be it your park passes, fast passes, meal plans, etc. will be available on your Magic Band.

So, when you get to the park gates, you just tap the face of the band to the tapstile (Disney-speak for their new turnstiles) and when the Mickey turns green and chimes, the attendant lets you in. When it’s time to head to your next fastpass ride, get in the appropriate line, tap the face to the tapstile, Mickey turns green, and the attendant lets you on the ride. If you have a credit card or a meal plan associated with it, tap the face of the band to the little terminal on the counter, Mickey will turn green, and you get your food or merchandise. It eliminates the fumbling for a wallet or the pouch of the lanyard where people used to keep their passes.

And as a quick nugget of trivia, Disney sells limited edition Magic Bands with characters from their movies painted on them. If you buy a Star Wars Magic Band, whenever you tap it to a tapstile, it will turn a different color than green and the chime will be a song from the movie. Neat, huh?

The whole thing was such a neat idea, in fact, Universal has decided it’s the perfect solution for their new water park opening this year, Volcano Bay. Seeing as it’s a water park, and guests will be in bathing suits, carrying ID and wallets on their person will be difficult. So, every guest will be given a TapuTapu to use in the park.

It’ll function in much the same way as Disney’s Magic Bands. Guests will buy food, rent and access lockers, and use it for the park’s return ride system. Instead of standing in lines to their slides, you can get a return time that allows you to come back later and skip the line. That means you’ll be able to lounge in a pool, sunbathe, or grab a snack.

It shouldn’t be too long until most theme parks adopt wrist bands as the technology of the future because their convenience factor for guests is through the roof.

Pro-tip: learn to rotate your band from wrist to wrist every hour to avoid unsightly tan lines.

Read More

By: ETourandTravel

March 29, 2017

Avatar Land Coming May 27th, 2017 to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you’ve visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom over the last few years, you might have wondered what all of those construction cranes were up to on the one side of the park. Well, this summer, you and your family will be able to experience the fruits of all that labor.

Walt Disney World has partnered with James Cameron, the most successful filmmaker of all-time, to bring his fantasy world from the 2009 movie Avatar to life. The film, set on the fictional world of Pandora, introduced the world to the Na’vi, a race of tall, blue aliens, the planet’s natives, whose lives are nearly destroyed by the encroachment of miners from Earth. The film has grossed $2.7 billion worldwide and has sat at the very top of the world box office chart since its release in 2009.

With that type of pedigree, it’s no wonder Disney went further than just dedicating a single ride to the movie, and carved out an entire section of one of its theme parks to introduce rides and shows based on the fantasy world.

And, oh, what a fantasy world it is.

For the four or five people who haven’t seen the movie, the world of Pandora is awash in bioluminescent plants and creatures, which gave the film its distinct look and color palette. Dragon-like creatures fill the sky, mountains float, plants pulse with energy – all of which the Imagineers at Disney have recreated in exquisite detail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

With all of that visual eye candy to play with, Disney has dreamed up some amazing attractions.

Avatar Flight of Passage

A motion simulator ride that puts guests onto the back of a banshee (the aforementioned dragon-like creature) so they may soar through the strange and amazing landscapes of the planet Pandora.

Valley of Mo’ara

A walk-through experience that guests can explore at their own pace and interact with the flora and fauna that inhabits the world of Avatar.

Na’vi River Journey

A boat ride that takes guests through the glowing, bioluminescent world inhabited by the Na’vi.

And, of course, there will be dining stops that serve dishes crafted to look extra planetary and taste out-of-this-world.

The best part about the new Avatar land is that the park will be extending its hours every day. Animal Kingdom was notorious for closing early each day out of respect for the animals residing there. But, since so much of the new Avatar land glows, Imagineers thought it would be best for guests to experience the attractions at night. The park will be staying up until 11:00 p.m. most nights, with some extended nights stretching park hours until 1:00 a.m.

The entire experience keeps with Animal Kingdom’s greater theme of preservation and awareness of the nature, since the movie itself is an ecologists dream story. The attractions will deepen the parks educational focus by enlightening guests to the concept of ecosystems, even though it’s in a fictional setting.

Not to mention, visiting Pandora in person will get your family pumped and excited for Avatars 2, 3, 4 and 5 coming in the next few years. They promise to expand the world of Pandora in new and mind-boggling ways!

Read More

By: ETourandTravel

February 15, 2017

“Wishes” Fireworks Show to End at Magic Kingdom in May

Walt Disney World will be ending its popular nightly fireworks show, “Wishes”, in May this year and replacing it with a new show called, “Happily Ever After.”

If you’re a Disnerd like the rest of us, your heart just sank a little when reading that sentence. “Wishes” has been a tradition at the Magic Kingdom for 13 years. Continuity is part of the Disney Magic. For many of us, time spent in the parks is a cherished childhood memory that we want to visit upon our children – and we want that experience to be as identical as possible.

It’s more than a little painful to imagine that the same music, the same themes, the same feeling that first amazed and astounded my little girl as a toddler won’t be something to tickle her senses as a tween. It’s something that I wanted to share with her again and again and again.

Continuity is part of the Disney Magic. For many of us, time spent in the parks is a cherished childhood memory that we want to visit upon our children – and we want that experience to be as identical as possible.

It’s more than a little painful to imagine that the same music, the same themes, the same feeling that first amazed and astounded my little girl as a toddler won’t be something to tickle her senses as a tween. It’s something that I wanted to share with her again and again and again.

Then again, there’s also that look on her face when she discovers something new and amazing. And I can imagine that face intermittently lit up by the flashes of fireworks. That’s something to truly look forward to.

In the end, I guess that’s what Disney does best: they deliver time-honored traditions with fresh experiences. You get the satisfaction of sharing the same feelings while simultaneously experiencing the magic anew.

If you’d like to get one more look at “Wishes” before it disappears into the Disney ether, book your vacation before May 11th, which will be the last performance. “Happily Ever After” starts the next night (a trip for the 11th and 12th would be an excellent idea, if you’re looking for travel tips). Take a picture of it for us, and be sure to share it with the hashtag #ETTWishes so we can see your final memories of this cherished fireworks show!

Read More

By: ETourandTravel

January 4, 2017

New Year, New Travels, New Adventures

If you’ve taken a creative writing course, you’ve probably been treated to some variation of the advice, “don’t write about your life unless it’s as interesting as Indiana Jones’s.” The takeaway supposedly being that your life is boring, so don’t write about it.  

Talk about rotten advice. The true advice you should be listening to is that you need to get out and make your life as exciting as Indy’s! 

And what did Indy do? He travelled. A lot. Some would call him a globe-trotter. 

That’s your challenge for this fresh, new year. Travel so much that even Indiana Jones would tell you to slow down. Explore places that you never dreamed you would, and then head someplace new. There’s so much diversity in this world and you should experience as much of it as you can. 

Make this year about drawing red lines from one city on the map to the next, tracing your travel routes. 

Just avoid the snakes and hostile armies trying to kill you like Indy typically had nipping at his heels. Your vacations will be much more relaxing that way. 

Read More

Page 1 of 13

Displaying 1-5 of 64 results