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Tips & Secrets to Visit Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of Avatar immerses guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains and breathtaking rides in the entirely new land found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

It's the largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.

Based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, AVATAR, the new land welcomes guests to the lush world of Pandora long after the human conflict with the Na’vi has ended.

Besides the beauty of the imagined alien world come to life, the highlight is the thrilling new ride, Avatar Flight of Passage, where you can soar over Pandora on the back of a fearsome mountain banshee. It's an amazing 4D ride that really transports all of your senses. It's not a roller coaster, but more like Soarin, but taken up 100 notches.

11 Tips & Secrets for Visiting Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • The new quick-serve dining option at Satu’li Canteen offers healthy and tasty options like wood-grilled chicken over rice. You pick your protein and then select your base and your sauce. There are kids meal options too. The outside area is thankfully covered providing shade and inside has lots of tables too. I really liked the sustainability aspect with meals being served on real plates and silverware, which are then collected in bins near the garbages and washed and used again.

  • Order Your Meal on Your Phone Avoid the line to order and place your order using the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device. There is a separate line to pick up your mobile order.
  • Alcoholic beverages are served at  Satu’li Canteen too including wine. Order the green beer called "Hawkes Grog," which is definitely Instagram worthy! So is the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mouse for dessert.
Hawkes Grog (Green Beer) at Pandora Disney's Animal Kingdom
Hawkes Grog - Green Ale
  • Pongu Pongu is a drink stand selling colorful drinks. Meaning “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi, Pongu Pongu welcomes weary travelers to quench their thirst with "bioluminescent" frozen cocktail, indigenous beers and snacks you won’t find elsewhere.
  • The Na’vi River Journey boat ride is great for kids of all ages and there's no height limit, so perfect for little ones. I'd also recommend saving this ride for the middle of the afternoon when it's hot and you're tired because you can sit down and it's nice and cool -- a great way to recharge.
  • Ride Avatar Flight of Passage WITHOUT a FastPass+ Although traveling to the front of the line is convenient, you will, unfortunately, miss a really amazing queue and won't see an incredible looking Avatar floating in hibernation. So, do ride Stand By at least once.

Avatar seen while in the standby line

  • Rub the large "Flaska Reclinata" interactive plant near the entrance of Pandora and it will spray a water mist on those walking by.
  • Also, look for the Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments and drums playable by all for interactive play for kids with no lines. It's located in the middle before you walk underneath the floating rocks.
  • Be sure and visit Pandora at night too. The grounds and plants light up with bioluminescent lighting. It's a whole different experience and worth checking out.
  • Speak with tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) and scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two! These cast members know all there is to know about Pandora!
  • There are brand-new Wilderness Explorers challenges and badges to collect in Pandora too.

Tips & Secrets to Visiting Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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My mom super power? Changing toilet paper rolls

Living with Boys

Being in a house with boys means I'll often sit down in the bathroom and after it's too late, I'll see this:

An empty toilet paper holder. Sometimes, they are nice and will leave a new roll sitting right next to the empty one and sometimes not at all. Ugh!

It baffles me that my husband can go and get a new roll, yet he simply can't do the next step of attaching it into place. Apparently, not having a Y chromosome makes me more capable of loading a new roll onto an empty toilet roll ring.

Never Run Out Again

Luckily, with Cottonelle Mega Rolls I'm replacing empty toilet paper rings less now since 1 Mega Roll = 4 Regular Rolls (comparing number of sheets to leading Ultra 77-ct. roll). It's the biggest Cottonelle roll ever. Simply visit your local Walmart and grab Cottonelle Mega Rolls so you never run out this summer!
New Cottonelle Mega 4-1 Rolls
We actually made the switch to Cottonelle paper and their flushable wipes a couple of years ago, so now we just look for the Mega Rolls at Walmart for extra coverage.

Even better, we utilize Walmart's Mobile Grocery Pickup and that way I don't even have to take the twins out of the car when grocery shopping, sweet! Click here to see if it's available in your area! Estero, Florida offers it :)

Designated Walmart Grocery Pickup parking spots

Extra $avings

Save $1 now on Cottonelle Mega Rolls at Walmart starting 6/28. Stock up and save!

Save $1 on Cottonelle - Stock up and Save

5 Must Have Potty Training Tools

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Adagio Teas from Around the World

Each morning, I transport to an exotic place, simply by sipping from my tea cup. Thankfully, with sites like Adagio Teas, I'm able to buy loose leaf tea from around the world with at click of a button.

Adagio tea from around the world
Adagio tea from around the world
Adagio is actually my go-to and the easiest to order from. They make it simple to understand and navigate through the different varieties and provide Facebook messenger updates on your order along the way.

The site has a large collection of teas that are broken up by the type of leaf - green, white, oolong (my favorites), chai, black tea, pu-erh and herbals/roobios.

I especially enjoy their white blueberry tea, Jasmine yin hao, and fujian jasmine pearl master blend. You can also order sample sizes to see if you like it first before ordering more.

Adagio makes a great and reasonable tea maker for those looking to get started drinking loose leaf. Simply pour in the desired amount of loose leaf tea, add hot water, brew and then put over your mug and it drains instantly into your tea cup. I have two!

ingenuiTEA maker
If you don't have a tea maker or loose leaf container they also sell their whole leaf tea in mesh pyramid tea bags. I like the convenience of these for work and travel, so I can still get quality loose leaf without toting my tea maker around.

$5 Gift Certificate

If you'd like a $5 gift certificate to adagio, simply comment here with your email address or send me an email at Tara AT tarametblog DOT com

Adagio Teas from Around the World Review and $5 gift certificate

Disclaimer: I received a gift certificate in exchange for my honest review. Regardless, I have been an adagio customer for several years. 
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SWFL Dining Review: Bonefish Grill Bonita Springs

Bonefish Grill recently remodeled their Bonita Springs (26381 S Tamiami Trail) location with warm earthy tones and a sleek interior design. We went to check it out and as always were not disappointed.
Bonefish Bonita Springs fresh new look
What I like most about Bonefish Grill restaurants is I know that no matter what I order, I'm going to have a good meal. It's consistently good.

I also enjoy their Happy Hour, which is from 4:00-6:30 p.m. EVERY DAY! Even weekends! The happy hour menu offers $4 glasses of wine and bar bites and mixed cocktails for $6 each.
Happy Hour every day at Bonefish Grill
Our favorite appetizer is the Mussels Josephine, which we order whether we make it for happy hour or not. Be sure and save a piece of bread for dipping in the buttery sauce at the bottom of the bowl, yum!
Mussels Josephine from Bonefish Grill's bar bite menu
We also enjoy, an order of Edamame which comes with Matcha Green Tea favored Sea Salt, which is so unique. Even our boys tried some of the beans.

Bonefish Grill's Edamame with Green Tea Salt
We had never frequented Bonefish with our boys before, typically preferring to keep it as a date night location or for when other adult visitors are in from out of town. This time, the boys came with us and we were amazed at how child-friendly it was. They were provided with coloring mats and crayons. Their waters came with plastic tops to prevent spills (although it ended up being me who toppled over my water, opps!) and they have a reasonable Kids Menu to select from. We went with the fried fish fingers with broccoli and fries.

A kids menu and coloring is available!
A current summer special and fresh catch is a Crab Cake Topped Wood-Grilled Atlantic, which was outstanding.
Crab cake topped wood-grilled Atlantic Cobia
There is also a Naples and Fort Myers Bonefish Grill here in Southwest Florida as well.

Bonefish Grill restaurant review in Bonita Springs in Southwest Florida
Bonefish Grill in Bonita Springs

Disclaimer: I received complimentary Bonefish Grill gift cards to facilitate my dining review. However, we paid for our drinks, overage and tip. 

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Avocado Ice Cream Recipe

I hosted a fun mommy & me meet-up recently at Delicious Raw juice bar in Naples, Florida.

While sipping a yummy drink called Glow Raw (Carrots, Pineapple, Ginger, Parsley, Aloe, Coconut Water) I got to chat with other moms.
I also experienced for the first time a reflexology hand massage free from OMNI Balanced Life Center. It was super relaxing.

Best of all, we learned other ways to sneak veggies and fruits into kid's diets. TIP: Add pineapples, watermelon or oranges to a juice to mask the veggies.

Their new yummy Avocado Ice Cream is available at Delicious Raw’s Pine Ridge, Pavilion, Coconut Point and Davie locations, but their Chef Scott Boyd walked me through how it's done.

I think it tastes amazing! Their strawberry topping drizzled over it makes it that more enticing for kids. You could opt for honey or other natural syrups too.

In the Delicious Raw kitchen
Avocado is high in healthy fats and provides a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. So, grab your kids and a spoon!

Also, follow me on Facebook for more local SWFL events.

Yummy Avocado Ice Cream Recipe - Vegetarian and Dairy-Free

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Hanes Father's Day Giveaway

Just in time for Father's Day, Hanes is introducing ComfortBlend Superior Softness Undershirts — now with Modal fabric.

The brand has taken its ComfortBlend fabric and added the smoothing benefit of Modal to create its softest tee ever. Just touch it, and immediately you’ll know that softness has reached a new level.

Why Hanes ComfortBlend Superior Softness Undershirts?

  • Cotton-Modal blend offers superior comfort
  • Includes FreshIQ™ advanced odor protection technology
  • Hanes softest tee ever
  • Quick drying and durable fabric shrinks less and keeps its shape
  • Tag-free for itch-free comfort
  • Lay flat collar
  • $12.00 for 3 Pack, in Crewneck and V-neck, available at and
  • Sizes S-2X, in Crew Neck and V-Neck styles 

  • Enter the following giveaway to win a set of Hanes ComfortBlend shirts and more for the dad in your life. The Hanes prize pack is valued at $75. Good luck!

    Hanes Father's Day Giveaway

    Also, here are some gift ideas for the dapper dadValentine's Day Gift Guide for the Dapper Man & Tech Obsessed Guy. Gift Guide for Him

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    An Elegant Date Night at Ocean Prime in Naples

    On date nights, Raphael and I like to head to Downtown Naples' 5th Avenue, which has many luxury restaurants, but not all are worth the prices or withstand the hype. Fortunately, the recently opened Ocean Prime Naples is the real deal.

    Ocean Prime is an upscale chain known for its sophisticated decor, long wine list, and classic steak and seafood menu. Yet, we had not been to any of their 14 locations before from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. Their Naples location just opened last December.

    When you enter, your eyes are drawn immediately to the modern lighting fixtures and clear glass walls filled with various wine bottles from wall-to-ceiling.

    Speaking of drinks, they boast an inventive signature cocktail list as well. Berries & Bubbles is a champagne cocktail/cosmopolitan that is both a tasty drink and a show. Poured over dry ice and into a chilled glass, the drink comes to life bubbling to the surface and leaving a trail of water smoke. Definitely Instagram worthy. This looks like we sped up the video, but no, that is how quickly the drink was percolating.

    Once you place your drink order, your biggest problem will be deciding on limiting your order to just a few options. For appetizers, the Scallops with Short Ribs came recommended as did the Tuna Tartare. We went with the tuna, which was great, but now I can't wait to go back and try the former too. We also split a Burrata Salad.

    For entrees, you can go either surf or turf. We went with an off-menu Halibut option, which was a special of the day but should be appearing on the menu this summer; and the Chilean Sea Bass. Both white fishes melted in our mouths like butter.

    Chilean Sea Bass
    Don't forget sides! I immediately knew that I wanted the black truffle macaroni and cheese and Raphael wanted lobster mashed potatoes, so we got both and loved each. I want to go back and eat two orders of the mac, lol! Raphael would have to agree considering he didn't want to order it, but then ended up fighting over the last bite.

    Save room for dessert too. Although we didn't have much space in our bellies left at this point, we had heard amazing things about their Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake and Warm Butter Cake. We took what we couldn't finish home.
    Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dinner to experience Ocean Prime, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  
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    5 Ways to Save at Dollywood

    As a fan of Dolly Parton’s music and movies as well as being a theme park aficionado, I’ve always wanted to go to Dollywood, but with living up North I never had the opportunity until recently. Now, I know exactly what I’ve been missing – an amazing family friendly experience with thrilling rides and mouth-watering food.

    Savings at Dollywood Theme Park

    My First Time to Dollywood

    Dollywood home of the world’s best cinnamon bread. Dollywood is NOT hokey or little either. It's charming and quite big. I was actually shocked when I unfolded the theme park map and took in all the offerings.

    Personally, I also liked learning that 12% of the staff is over 70-years-old and 3 employees are over 90. The experience was very multi-generational and it's no wonder why it won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Friendliest Park. Be sure and say hi to 90-year-old Johnnie Crawford in the Chasing Rainbows Dolly Parton museum, she has been with the theme park since the beginning.

    Did you know Dollywood is home to the world's fastest wooden roller coaster? It's called Lightning Rod and it's awesome. Unlike other wooden roller coasters, it's not wobbly and didn't hurt my neck or box my ears like some coasters do. It was quite smooth. I went on it two times and tried to keep my hands up, but couldn't, lol. So much fun!

    Yes, the rides were impressive and the people nice, but my favorite part was all the amazing food! Make sure to visit The Grist Mill, home of the world’s best cinnamon bread.

    5 Ways to $ave at Dollywood Theme Park and Water Park

    5 Ways to Save Money at Dollywood Theme Parks

    1. Stay at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort - I have this as tip #1 for a reason, because guests and families staying at this affordable, yet upscale hotel, can save in numerous ways! Thre are more perks than you may even know about. Rates depend on seasonality but can be as low as $89 during the off-season (Jan-March). During peak season though, you can expect rates to start at $169, which I would still consider a bargain considering how luxurious the resort is. Basically, that's the same rate of a Disney budget hotel, yet offers the experience of a Disney luxury hotel (not even Disney's moderate range). I would also prefer these accommodations over the chain hotels in the area too. The pool is gorgeous, the beds plush and there is an outdoor playground for the kiddos. Oh, and their dinner buffet with fried chicken was amazing!

    Perks to staying at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort:
    • FREE TimeSaver Pass for all room occupants.  TimeSaver allows you expedited access to lines at select rides and shows. That is a savings of $35 (plus tax) per person, per day!
    • FREE Parking & Shuttle to Dollywood parks. If you were to park directly at Dollywood fees are $12 a day for a standard sized vehicle. 
    • Discounted park tickets. Two days for the price of one is a standing offer at the resort. However, if you’re buying single-day tickets, it’s $5 off the gate price.
    • Discounted tickets to Dollywood dinner attractions such as Dixie Stampede and Dolly’s new dinner theatre show Smoky Mountain Adventures.
    • FREE pink lemonade served in the lobby daily between 4-6 p.m.
    • So, a family of four, staying for two nights at DreamMore can potentially save over $300!!!

    2. Arrive late and get a free day - I’ve never heard of something like this before, but if you arrive at Dollywood after 3 p.m., the entire next day at the park is free. With this fabulous deal, you can squeeze in at least another half-day of fun at Dollywood without spending any extra money. Or you can even hit the park on your travel day for a bit. Simply save your ticket for re-admission the next day. (Note: During Smoky Mountain Christmas this offer is valid after 6 p.m.).

    3. Free Water & Soda Refill Options- Spending the day at any theme park will wear you out, especially at Dollywood since the terrain is hilly, after all, it is literally set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Luckily, Dollywood offers water—for free! Available at any food or beverage stand throughout the park. If you're a soda fan, the refillable soda mugs offer additional savings for families. The container costs $14.99 and is good for unlimited beverage purchases of $.99 fountain drink refills and $1.99 refills on all hot or frozen beverages for the entire season. Plus, it doubles as a nice souvenir.

    4. Sign-up for the Mailing List & Look for Offers - Those in the Dollywood database are offered discounts and specials first and sometimes, exclusively. A subscribe form can be found at the bottom of the Dollywood website. Also, be sure and check out the Special Offers page for the latest deals.

    5. Join the Founders Club Premier program - Premier members get exclusive benefits in the hotel and a whole lot of free! Like FREE nights, FREE upgrades and a FREE park ticket to Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country. This is obviously great for repeat visitors. Details can be found here.

    Bonus: Once you enter the park TXT Dollywood to 41411 and receive a special offer good that day. I discovered this tip on a sign at the Dollywood Express railroad station waiting area.

    More Tips for Visiting Dollywood

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