Planning a Disney Dream Vacation is a lot like doing homework. there are many components and it takes time to put all the pieces together. I have been traveling to Disney for 27 years and one thing has always been ingrained in me, schedule, schedule, schedule. ok, those of you that are cringing at me right now, please stop, I will explain. the right planning will give you a ‘schedule’ that will flow from one exciting adventure to the next. and yes, relaxation is built in to a good plan, if you want it.
The first things you should consider are when are you going to go, how you are going to get there and determine your budget for the trip. Disney does not have to be expensive (although it can be) but if you plan correctly, your vacation dollars will go a long way.
When are you traveling?
Choosing a time to travel to Disney is very important. It will determine pricing on resorts and airfare in addition to determining approximate crowd levels. these all vary from month to month. the levels during the summer months, around the holidays and during school vacations are definitely in the higher numbers.
Cost of accommodations - Cost of accommodations is determined by ‘seasons’. these seasons include: value, regular, summer, peak and holiday.
How are you going to travel?
Airfare – traveling near the holidays and in the summer is generally more costly. School breaks also can increase the price dramatically.
Car - Depending on where you live in the country, your passengers and general preferences, you may be able to drive and save a substantial amount of money on transportation. most Disney Resorts charge a daily fee for vehicles on site. Check out the fuel cost calculator in my tools. however, this calculator does not take in to account wear on vehicle.
The other option is Auto Train. It is a full-service train with accommodations and room for your vehicle. the majority of vehicles on the Auto Train going south are from Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. Vehicles from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, and all the New England States and several Canadian Provinces also use this mode of transportation. It is a nice option if you are living in these states to give yourself a break.
What is your budget?
Determining the above factors (time of year, transportation, accommodations) will help you come up with a budget. If the cost is too high you can go back and change your time of travel to a less expensive season or change your accommodations for your party (maybe moving from a deluxe resort to a moderate or value). there are many ways to work your budget so you get the most for your money.
Melissa Gilbert goes to hospital
LOS ANGELES, April 10 (UPI) — U.S. actress Melissa Gilbert wound up at a hospital Monday night after getting hurt during the “Dancing With the Stars” competition, host Tom Bergeron said.
Gilbert left to seek medical attention shortly after completing her routine with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, People magazine reported.
“She injured herself, and as a precaution she’s gone to the hospital to get checked out,” Bergeron announced on air.
The nature of her injury was not revealed.
Gilbert, 47, who has had her share of bumps and bruises during the competition, and has a history of spinal surgery, told People before the show that this week’s competition “has been a killer.”
But judge Bruno Tonioli called it her “best performance by far.” The former “Little House on the Prairie” actress and Chmerkovskiy danced to The White Stripes’ “Conquest,” earning 22 points.
Sales spike in Kinkade paintings reported
SAN FRANCISCO, April 10 (UPI) — A co-owner of the Original Thomas Kinkade Gallery in Kinkade’s hometown of Placerville, Calif., says sales have spiked since the artist’s death last week.
Kinkade died last Friday at the age of 54. A cause of death has not been announced.
Nathan Ross, a part-owner of the gallery, told the San Francisco Chronicle he usually sells two or three canvas reproductions of Kinkade’s works a weekend.
Asked how many he has sold since Kinkade’s death, he replied, “I don’t think I am exaggerating if I said 200.”
Ross told the Chronicle he also sold two Kinkade originals he had on consignment — one for $24,000 and another for $150,000.
“In the last three days I probably sold more [Kinkades] than I have in the previous year,” the newspaper quoted Roger Plath, owner of Sherwood Fine Art in Owatonna, Minn., as saying.
Kim Perata, owner of Thomas Kinkade of Napa Valley, also reported a surge in sales.
She said she has sold more than 40 paintings since Saturday, compared with about 25 in an average month.
Ricki Lake weds Christian Evans
LOS ANGELES, April 10 (UPI) — Actress, producer and reality TV personality Ricki Lake confirms she has quietly married jewelry designer Christian Evans in southern California.
Lake, 43, and Evans, 40, wed Easter Sunday.
“It was a beautiful moment I will never forget,” Lake told People.com Tuesday. “I wasn’t anxious or nervous. I was really relaxed and excited.”
No other details about the small, private ceremony were immediately reported.
Lake has two sons from a previous marriage.
Bridges, Moore start work on ‘Son’
BURBANK, Calif., April 10 (UPI) — “The Big Lebowski” co-stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore have begun work on “Seventh Son,” the Hollywood fantasy action film’s producers said.
“The Big Lebowski,” a big-screen comedy by Joel and Ethan Coen, has developed a cult following since its release in 1998.
Its stars have reunited for “Seventh Son,” which began shooting last month in Vancouver, British Columbia, under the direction of Sergei Bodrov, Warner Bros. said.
Bodrov helmed the Oscar-nominated foreign-language films “Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan” and “Prisoner of the Mountains.”
Co-starring in “Seventh Son” with Bridges and Moore is Ben Barnes, a cast member of “The Chronicles of Narnia” films.
“In a time long past, an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind once more,” a synopsis said. “Master Gregory is a knight who had imprisoned the malevolently powerful witch, Mother Malkin, centuries ago. but now she has escaped and is seeking vengeance.”
Within the next few months parents everywhere will be making the decision of whether their children are ready for kindergarten in the fall, where they will send them and what to expect when they get there. Reading the newspapers these days and you think your child has to read, write and count to 1000 to start kindergarten. not true say the experts. Young children need to do a number of things including paying attention, listening to stories and recognizing numbers to 10 in order to be ready for kindergarten. Here are some additional readiness skills that are recommended by the Connecticut Department of Education. Every state and town are different, you should always check with your local board of education and elementary school for their recommendations.
- Follows adult directions
- Cooperates with a daily routine
- Potty-trained and can use the bathroom by him or herself
- Understands that actions have consequences
- Takes turns
- Maintains self-control
- Expresses feelings
- Works with others
- Walks/runs with control
- Hops, jumps, marches and climbs stairs
- Can throw and catch a ball
- Completes simple puzzles
- Cuts with scissors
- Walks on a straight line
- Dresses self
- Reads own name
- Draws simple pictures
- Copy and prints his or her first name
- Listens to a story and can tell something about it
- Look at a picture and tell a story about what is happening
- Share stories about family and themselves
- Recognizes colors and some words (blue, red, orange)
- Can pick out favorite books and describe why he or she likes it
- Identifies letters of the alphabet
- Recognizes sounds of letters
- Can rhyme or pick out words that rhyme when spoken
- Expresses feelings and speaks understandably
- Uses multiple word sentences
- Asks lots of questions
- Identifies some body parts
- Knows and refers to self using first and last name
- Answers when asked name and age
- Count up to ten items
- Recognize number symbols 1-10
- Recognize simple patterns and duplicate or extend them
- Describe and talk about objects that have different sizes, colors, shapes, and patterns
- Sorting items by whether or not they are the same
- Sort items from shortest to tallest, lightest to heaviest, smallest to largest
What are some things you can do to get your child ready for kindergarten?
- Send your child to preschool if possible. he or she will get used to routines, rules and gain basic skills. be sure that the school is a readiness program and is licensed by the state, if you are not sure check with your local Board of Education.
- Talk, talk, talk to your child all the time. Discuss everything in the car at home, family outings, etc. your child needs to hear you talking and them responding to what you are planning, seeing, doing, or thinking.
- Use new words often and explain them to your child.
- Ask your child questions and engage them in conversation. Listen to what he or she is saying. This is how their language and vocabulary develops.
- Sing with your child, they are fun to listen and dance to. Nursery rhymes are great for rhyming words.
- Read to your child every day.
- Let your child see you read.
- Go to the library and pick out books together.
- Have your child retell you stories your just read and what their favorite part was.
- Read your child’s favorites over and over. use different voices.
- Read wherever you are. Store names, restaurants, signs on the road (when in the car), cereal boxes, names of things in the supermarket.
- Speak and answer questions in complete sentences.
- Count when around the house and in the store. Count beads, blocks, cups, people, anything you can count.
What to do if you do not think your child is ready for kindergarten?
Contact your local school district or elementary school to talk to someone regarding your child. They can meet with you and your child (and do necessary assessments) to determine if your child is ready or needs an extra year. if he or she is already enrolled in preschool talk to the teacher regarding your concerns. if you decide to wait an extra year for kindergarten enroll your child in preschool. the early years of school are very important to develop a love of learning and getting along with others. Starting your child at the right time will make your child happier and more successful in the long run.
Note: if you child has been determined to have any special needs or a developmental delay, your child is entitled to special education services which includes preschool where they will work on the above mentioned skills. A meeting will be held and an Early Intervention Plan (EIP)will be developed to determine how the team can best help your child succeed.
Zach BraffActor Zach Braff (“Scrubs,” “Garden State”), 36, who is Jewish, and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, 63, a devout Mormon, seem worlds apart. nonetheless, Braff and Romney really are (very distant) blood cousins, and they are both direct descendants of Rebecca Nurse (1621-1692), a devout Puritan Protestant who was falsely accused of practicing witchcraft at the infamous Salem, Mass. witchcraft trials. she was hanged. Nurse is a central character in the play “the Crucible” by Arthur Miller.
A friend of mine found interviews with Braff and his brother, novelist Joshua Braff, 42, in which both said their mother, who was born into an old new England Protestant family, converted to Judaism before marrying their Jewish father. On a hunch, my friend looked far back in Braff’s mother’s family tree and Romney’s family tree and found Rebecca Nurse in both.
Braff is from a town next to Teaneck, N.J., and apparently a hometown friend sent him this column item, which appeared in the Feb. 10 new Jersey Jewish Standard. On Feb. 29, Braff posted a scan of the newspaper page on the social news website Reddit under the following title: “so I guess I’m related to Mitt Romney through a witch. Family reunions just got a little crazier.” Later he added, “Mitt Romney and I have nothing in common.” and then he joked, “Incidentally … buying a broom later today.”
About 1,200 people commented on Braff’s posting. when you combine witchcraft, politics and weird family histories, you can interest almost everyone.
The 14th season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” starts at 8 p.m. Monday, March 19. Melissa Gilbert, 47, of “little House on the Prairie” fame, is the sole Jewish (w/an asterisk) contestant.
Gilbert’s adoptive mother is Jewish, and she grew up celebrating Jewish holidays and wed one of her two (non-Jewish) ex-husbands in a Jewish ceremony. On the other hand, she calls herself “Jew-ISH” in her recent autobiography because she had no religious training, her family also celebrated Christmas, and she discovered as an adult that her mother never had Melissa formally converted to Judaism. (Actress Sara Gilbert, 37, is Melissa’s half-sister. Melissa’s adoptive mother is Sara’s birth mother).
Also dancing is William Levy, a beefcake actor born in Cuba who stars in Spanish-language soap operas. Levy’s paternal grandfather is his sole Jewish grandparent. Levy was raised without religion and formally converted to Catholicism in 2009.
Richard BooneThe Israeli film and TV industry has really come into its own. Israeli feature films now snare Oscar nominations, and Israeli TV shows are being adapted for American TV (like Showtime’s “Homeland”). Stars such as Brad Pitt and Jean Dujardin may make films in Israel.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Richard Boone (1917-’81) traveled to Israel at least eight times to help build up the young Israeli film industry. He also starred in the first film made in Israel that was set in a different location (the American West). in the States, Boone was a stalwart of Israel Bonds campaigns, and in 1979 was honored by Yitzhak Rabin as one of nine Americans who contributed to the rebirth of the Jewish state.
Yes, this was the same actor who starred in the huge 1950s hit Western show “Have Gun — will Travel.” his character (Paladin) lived in San Francisco. Boone was the son of a non-Jewish father and a Jewish mother. the classically trained actor and decorated World War II veteran was never religious and didn’t talk about his “Jewish side.” but his deeds showed where his heart was.