#UniversalOrlando Resort and Warner Bros. Reveal Remaining Lineup of Experiences Coming to “A Celebration Of Harry Potter” this Weekend

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The Event Takes Place Jan. 26-28 and Will Feature Even More Magical Experiences, Including Q&A Sessions with Harry Potter Film Stars, New Immersive Displays at the Harry Potter Expo and more

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” kicks off this weekend at Universal Orlando Resort and will feature a variety of interactive and exciting experiences that will allow guests to celebrate their love for the stories from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Yesterday, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced the remaining lineup of experiences coming to the three-day fan event.

The final experiences added to the lineup include a special performance of highlights from the Harry Potter Film Concert Series at the Welcome Event, an in-park scavenger hunt, a costume showcase and even more exciting panels and activities in the Harry Potter Expo. See below for more details.

For a complete lineup and more information about events happening throughout the weekend, including the Q&A sessions with select Harry Potter film stars and more interactive panels and demonstrations, click here.

A CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER PANELS (Islands of Adventure theme park)

Guests will enjoy even more brand-new panels with Harry Potter film and creative talent. Admission into panels will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

NEW: Explore Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Get ready to experience Hogwarts like never before in the upcoming mobile game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery! Learn how you can explore your Hogwarts Story and join the creators of the game for a sneak peek at the visuals, story, and gameplay of this groundbreaking Harry Potter RPG mobile game.

NEW: Sound & Image: The Magic Behind the Music

In film, music represents the words that cannot be spoken. Join CineConcerts founder/conductor Justin Freer and co-founder/producer Brady Beaubien to discuss the magic behind the music throughout the Harry Potter film series. What makes the music so iconic? How can a single motif define the characters we love? Join in the dissection of music within a scene, and what it takes to create these complete scores performed live to picture by a full symphony orchestra. Learn about the complexity of specific melodies we all know and love, and how each film score has uniquely defined the Harry Potter series.

A CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER ACTIVITIES (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks)

NEW: The Celebration of Harry Potter 2018 – Scavenger Hunt

Throughout the weekend, guests will be tasked to search for the answers to a series of clues hidden in both magical and Muggle locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  A fun experience for all Harry Potter fans, families and kids alike!

NEW: Highlights from the Harry Potter Film Concert Series

At the Opening Night Event on Friday, Jan. 26, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will perform iconic music from the first four Harry Potter films live-to-picture alongside memorable scenes from the films.

Hogwarts Houses Rally and Costume Showcase

Fans will be able to shine onstage by dressing up as their favorite characters from the Harry Potter series. Each contestant who is selected will be judged on the quality and craftsmanship of their costume and will have the chance to win magical prizes.

HARRY POTTER EXPO (Universal Studios Florida theme park)

At the Harry Potter Expo, guests will be able to dive deeper into The Wizarding World with additional all-new and returning fan favorite booths and displays.

NEW: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Jam City is excited to present Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a new mobile game launching under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a label dedicated to creating gaming experiences inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Fans are invited to be one of the first ever to experience the magic with a gallery wall, enchanting giveaways and hands-on gameplay accompanied by the developers themselves!

NEW: The Harry Potter Film Concert Series – CineConcerts

Fans can learn more about the global sensation that allows fans to experience the magic of the Harry Potter films with a LIVE orchestra.  Guests will be able to take an exclusive selfie at the Harry Potter Film Concert Series photo booth and take part in fun giveaways.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Get ready to see the wizarding world as never experienced before with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Virtual Reality Experience.  Fans can step into Newt Scamander’s case and explore the spectacular world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in a breathtaking cinematic virtual reality experience. Meet and interact with 6 beasts, complete spells, and immerse yourself in the magic like never before. This unique virtual reality experience is coming soon to major virtual reality platforms.

Access to A Celebration of Harry Potter is included with regular theme park admission or with an annual or seasonal pass. Certain activities are first-come, first-served. Exclusive event vacation packages are also available for purchase and include special benefits and reserved sections for the panels and demonstrations.

For more information about the event, tickets and available exclusive event vacation packages, click here.

 

 

Review: @RadioDisney Concert with @InRealLife & @SkylarStecker – Celebration, FL | #review #lifelines #irl

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Good morning, music lovers!

This past weekend (December 9-10), my niece & I headed up to Orlando from Miami, Florida to see In Real Life perform for Radio Disney at Celebration Town Center. Before I get to the review, let me give a bit of back story . . .

Over the summer, my niece became invested in a group of guys competing for a spot in the newest boy band. Every week, my mom & I sat with her and watched the performances and their Instagram lives, and became invested ourselves. As a lover of music, I enjoyed seeing this young group of guys with the drive and determination that most adults don’t possess. There was never drama between any of the boys, no petty controversies or bickering. Their families all got along and it just seemed like one big family. The final five ended up being Michael Conor, Sergio Calderon, Jr., Chance Perez, Drew Ramos and Brady Tutton.

The boys were swept into a mini promo tour as soon as the show wrapped and it was announced that they would be managed by Johnny Wright, who also manages Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys. Knowing this, we knew it was a matter of time before the boys would be making a trip to Wright’s compound in Orlando, Florida. Sadly, they made that trip in October, just ONE DAY after my niece and I left Orlando to return to Miami. She literally missed them by one day. (You can read more about our misadventures that weekend by clicking HERE). So, needless to say, I had to take another trip up to Orlando with her when it was announced that they would be performing for Radio Disney on December 9th.

Florida doesn’t get “winter weather” too often, especially not in Miami, so we were excited to hear that we’d be getting a cold front for the weekend! We drove up to Orlando Saturday morning, checked into our hotel and headed over to Celebration Town Center early so that my niece, Briana, would have a good shot at meeting the guys. She was also meeting up with another fan around her age, Cristina (aka tattoo girl lol). As soon as we met up with Cristina and her mom, Paige, we found out that she’d met the guys in Starbucks right next to where Briana and I had been sitting. She was so close yet again! (Side note: I tried to get in touch with someone about scheduling an interview with the guys for my blog, but it was such short notice and pretty much impossible to get in touch with someone from their team.)

Now let’s get to the review:

IMG_1510As we were sitting by the empty stage about four hours before the show, we heard a loud crash. The roof of the stage collapsed and missed the workers by inches. This made it impossible for the guys to come out for a proper sound check. Instead, they came out and did a mini sound check behind the stage with an audience of possibly 12 girls and their moms (& aunts). I felt like they probably could’ve come over to meet the few girls that were there in the cold so early, but they were rushed into a nearby hotel for a warmer rehearsal. They were able to give quick little hugs to a few of them before they left though. The rest of us stayed out in the cold while another stage was brought in. The girls all went over to get black wristbands that gave access to the meet and greet that would take place after the show.

After what seemed like forever, the show finally started with 15-year-old Skylar Stecker. I’d never heard of her before, but she actually has a great voice. I felt for her dancers because they looked like they were freezing the whole time. Her set was about 3-4 songs and then they took another break for what seemed like forever before In Real Life came back out to perform.

Their set was actually impressive considering they’ve only been together for a few months and only have three official songs released for download and streaming. This was their set list for the night:

That’s What I Like (Bruno Mars cover)
Tattoo
Feel This Christmas
I’ll Be Home This Christmas
Eyes Closed

The show sounded fantastic, the guys looked comfortable (despite the cold) and they seemed extra happy when they were able to point the mic out to the crowd and hear the fans singing the words back to them. That has to be one of the most rewarding parts of the music business. There is so much talent in this band, but there has even been a huge improvement with their vocals collectively since they were formed. Props to the guys for improving on choreo also! I give major credit to the people setting up the stage(s) who managed to reposition the sound equipment with no time setbacks or mishaps. It really was a great show and I’m glad I got to experience that with my niece.

There was another long wait between the end of the show and the meet and greet, and at that point the cold was almost unbearable for those of us used to Miami “winters” lol. They probably should’ve moved the meet and greet inside somewhere, but it took place out in the cold. Not many of the fans knew who Skylar Stecker was and, absolutely no disrespect to her, but I felt like they should’ve had two separate meet and greets. Instead, they had a joint one that ended up being more of a take-your-picture-and-then-keep-moving, as opposed to actually having a minute to actually meet the guys. In any case, the girls were ecstatic and the guys made them feel as special as they could in such a short amount of time.

Here are our pics with the guys & Skylar Stecker (sorry for the blurriness):

Here are some more pics from the day:

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Radio Disney for putting on this show (even though I wish it was in Miami), to In Real Life for coming out and giving 100% to their fans in the cold weather, to John Clubb for being so sweet to my niece and for giving the gifts she brought to the guys. Another shout out to the girls who became friends with my niece at the show and to Paige for being such great company! You have to love when unexpected experiences bring people together. That’s MUSIC for you!

If you ever have a chance to check out In Real Life in person, do it! They’re still extremely new, but they have such a great stage presence and they really appreciate the fans so much. That in itself proves that these guys still have that drive to succeed.

Keep it up, guys . . . the hard work is paying off!

Misadventures at Disney World

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We’ve all heard that Disney is the happiest place on Earth, am I right? I wanted to share my experience from this past weekend that disproves that theory. Don’t get me wrong, I know this place is full of magic, but it’s also full of stress and germs and bratty kids and thieves lol.

Let me start out by saying that I have anxiety that, for the most part, lies dormant until I have to drive on a highway or something. So in my 18 years of driving, I’ve never driven to Orlando for a trip to Disney. I spoke to my friend about this recently, so when her boyfriend asked if she wanted to go to Disney for her birthday weekend, she invited my niece and I to tag along. We’d be staying at different hotels and doing our own thing, and I took advantage of my first trip alone with the niece. Things didn’t turn out how I expected though…

My niece, Briana, didn’t have school the day we were leaving, so I requested time off from work so that we could leave early, get to Orlando early, and make it to the Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party on time. We were already packed and ready to go, but we had to wait for my friend and her boyfriend to get out of work. While we were waiting, we decided to start watching Season 2 of Stranger Things (which is AMAZING, by the way). I thought we’d be in Orlando by about 7-8pm, but we ended up getting there at 9:50 and still had to check in at the hotel. Briana and I checked in, ran up to our room, changed our clothes and ran back down to the shuttle pick-up/drop-off. The shuttles are supposed to run every 30 minutes between the hotel and the parks, but we sat there for almost an hour with no pick-up. A shuttle finally arrived to drop some people off, so I asked the driver if he was heading back to Magic Kingdom. He said he wasn’t, but that he would take us anyway. He veered off-route to transport us to the park. We ran from the bus to the monorail and then ran from the monorail to the entrance only to discover that the parade was taking place. That meant that we couldn’t maneuver our way through the park because the streets and crosswalks were blocked off. We literally got to the park, waited for the parade to finish, rode the Haunted Mansion ride and then had to leave back to our hotel. By that time it was about 2am and all food options were closed. We had to try Uber Eats for the first time and the only option was McDonalds. What should have taken 15 minutes took an hour because the driver got lost on her way to our hotel.

Briana was so excited about going to Disney and I felt terrible that we were only able to spend about an hour there, so we got tickets to Magic Kingdom for the next day too.

On Saturday morning, we woke up and walked over to Disney Springs for some shopping and then went back to the hotel to get ready for Magic Kingdom. We took the shuttle and monorail (again) only to be greeted with cloudy skies and ridiculously long lines. Have you ever been on the magic teacup ride?? This was my first time and I was convinced that part of the fun was watching people stumble out of the teacups. My brain was spinning inside my head for way longer than it probably should have been. While we were waiting for the Winnie the Pooh ride we witnessed a kid bite his mom because she told him he couldn’t do something, and another kid throw a tantrum because he clearly didn’t want to go on a ride but his parents were insisting. When we got off the ride it was beginning to rain, so we decided to go back to the hotel for a few hours and then come back in time for the fireworks.

What should’ve taken about 10 minutes on the monorail took about 30 minutes because one of the kids kept leaning on the doors causing the monorail to stop. Then we had to wait to catch the shuttle back to the hotel and the driver decided to stop at almost every park imaginable to pick people up. What should’ve taken about 20 minutes on the shuttle took about an hour. We literally got to the hotel, used the restroom and then had to run back downstairs to catch the next shuttle to Magic Kingdom.

As we’re getting off of the monorail for what seemed like the hundredth time, we realized it was pouring. Of course, Briana and I had no ponchos or umbrellas because why would we? We live in Florida! It never rains! I hope you caught the sarcasm there. We stood in the pouring rain for three hours surrounded by thousands of people in ponchos. Our hair was dripping, our clothes were sticking to our bodies, our glasses were unusable and we were freezing. When the fireworks were over, we TRIED to rush to the monorail to get back to our hotel, but apparently every single person at the park was leaving at the same time. We had to wait almost an hour for the ride and then ran to the shuttle parking area. We waited there for another hour, in the pouring rain, for a shuttle that never came because it had broken down on another route. My friend had to call an Uber for us.

I’ll spare the details on how we had to defrost ourselves in our hotel room, but when we finally did, Briana found out that a band she likes was doing a meet and greet in Orlando the day after we were leaving. She missed them by one day. ONE DAY!!

As we were packing our things to leave, Briana realized that her little stuffed hippo, Minty, was missing. We undid all of our bags, shook out the sheets on the beds and lifted up chairs, but Minty was lost. We checked out, called lost and found…still no luck. Briana was devastated. I’d bought this thing for her before she was even born. She took it on every trip and had to have it in any room she slept in. It was MINTY!! Someone actually picked up a 13 year old stuffed animal from a hotel lobby and kept it. In Orlando. Where everyone is probably going to spend all their money on stuffed toys and keychains after visiting the parks anyway. OR, someone’s kid picked up this stuffed animal that could’ve belonged to a young child who drooled and wiped sticky hands all over it and allowed them to keep it. I have strong feelings about this, ladies and gentleman! It’s crazy how much sentimental value could lie within a silly, old stuffed animal that had been washed a hundred times! Here’s a picture of the stuffed animal that someone robbed us of:

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Side note: Have you ever stood at one of these Disney parks and think about how much money is actually walking around it? There are literally thousands and thousands of people who have paid over one hundred dollars each to get in. Not to mention the souvenirs, food and drinks that are bought. So much money goes into these parks yet the prices keep rising. It’s insane!

Sounds like a disaster, doesn’t it?? Even though literally nothing went right on this trip, I still got to spend time with the niece and we had some crazy laughing fits. From the guy slamming his face into the plastic window on the bus as it took a wide turn, to the bratty kid’s mom’s reaction when her son bit her arm, to the missions we went on together. It was a beautiful disaster if you ask me!

 

TIM MCGRAW & FAITH HILL: Soul2Soul World Tour 2017 (Review)

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Hey there music lovers!! I’m back with another live show review! Yesterday afternoon, my niece’s mom sent me a text asking if I was a fan of country music. Now, admittedly, I love all kinds of music, but country isn’t my top choice. However, I love me some Faith Hill and Tim McGraw! When I heard she had tickets to their show last night in Sunrise, FL, I had to say YESSSSSSSS!

I invited my cowboy-boot-wearing, country-music-loving friend and we drove out in the rain to catch the show. This might’ve been the first time in my life that I went to a show where I didn’t know every song being played, but it didn’t even matter!

The show opened up with Locash, who I, personally, had never heard of before, but they sounded great. They did a fantastic job at hyping up the crowd before Faith & Tim came out, which is always a solid accomplishment for an opening act. I’m always open to new music, so I’ll definitely be checking them out now after seeing them perform live.

One thing I want to note about the show was that the visual effects and staging were SO good. I even want to say the whole set up was one of the best I’ve ever seen–and I’ve been to A LOT of live shows! There were hi-def lasers, floating lights, moving see-through banners and hi-def visuals on the huge screen on stage. I don’t think there could have been one bad seat in the house because most of the performances were put up on the screen like this:

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The vocals throughout the entire show were well worth the soggy shoes I was wearing for almost four hours (did I mention it was raining?). The two swapped off between singing duets and doing their own solo music, and everything really flowed nicely. The one thing I admire about these two is how they’ve been married for 21 years, they have three beautiful daughters, yet they still look (and act) like they’re dating. The fact that they did this joint tour together is a testament to that and it was adorable! They had so much energy throughout the entire show as well, which kept the energy in the crowd on fire the whole time!

SETLIST in Sunrise, FL – October 19, 2017

McGraw and Hill

“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” – Aretha Franklin and George Michael cover

McGraw

“Felt Good on My Lips”

Hill

“The Lucky One”

McGraw

“I Like It, I Love It”

Hill

“The Way You Love Me”

McGraw and Hill

“Like We Never Loved at All”
“Break First”
“Telluride”
“Devil Calling Me Back”

Hill

“Free”
“This Kiss”
“Breathe”
“Wild One”
“Stronger”
“Piece of My Heart”

McGraw and Hill

“Angry All the Time”

McGraw

“One of Those Nights”
“Real Good Man”
“Shotgun Rider”
“Humble and Kind”
“Live Like You Were Dying”

McGraw and Hill

“Speak to a Girl”
“It’s Your Love”

Hill

“Mississippi Girl”

McGraw

“Something Like That”

McGraw and Hill

“I Need You”

 

You can find additional tour dates, merch, and pre-order links for the couple’s upcoming duo album titled “The Rest Of Our Life” HERE.

For anyone wondering, the show lasted about 3 1/2 hours. I would definitely suggest checking out this show, and I’d like to thank everyone at the BB&T Center for keeping everyone safe last night.

Now I’ll leave you with one of the cutest pictures I took from the show last night:

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Claudia Sandoval sets sail abroad the MasterChef Cruise | #masterchef #cruise

MasterChef Cruise Sets Sail With Exciting New Lineup Of Onboard Entertainment and Interactive Cooking And Food Sessions

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  • Guests Can Participate in Mystery Box Challenges, Q&A Sessions, Chef Talks, Hands-On Demonstrations and Much More!
  • MasterChef Season 8 Winner To Join Previously Announced Winners: All-Stars Shaun O’Neale (Season 7 Winner), Claudia Sandoval (Season 6 Winner), Luca Manfé (Season 4 Winner), Brandi Mudd (Season 7 All-Star) and Tanorria Askew (Season 7 All-Star).
  • New Onboard Credit Available For All Bookings

MasterChef Cruise presented by Endemol Shine North America, producers of the hit culinary competition MASTERCHEF airing Wednesdays (8:00PM-9:00PM ET/PT) on FOX and global event production company Life Journeys, invite foodies and fans alike on a seven-day culinary adventure at sea with an exciting new lineup of onboard entertainment and interactive cooking and food sessions that will allow them to watch, learn and eat with their favorite MASTERCHEF All-Stars.

Experience MASTERCHEF Live!  Not only will guests dive into the pristine waters of the Caribbeanbut they will immerse themselves in culinary expertise, tips and tricks and hear stories, ideas and step-by-step demonstrations directly from the MASTERCHEF All-Stars. All-Stars scheduled to appear include newly crowned MASTERCHEF Season 8 Winner (to be announced during the MASTERCHEF finale on Sept. 20), Shaun O’Neale (Season 7 Winner), Claudia Sandoval (Season 6 Winner), Luca Manfé (Season 4 Winner), Brandi Mudd (Season 7 All-Star) and Tanorria Askew (Season 7 All-Star).

The MasterChef Cruise will offer engaging and interesting demonstrations perfect for the everyday home cook looking to explore their skills in the kitchen and inspiration with new culinary ideas including:

Mystery Box Challenges

Guests, alongside the All-Stars, will be invited to participate in the ever-popular Mystery Box Challenge (as seen on MASTERCHEF) where they can test their culinary capabilities and skills using mystery ingredients and mystery themes

Q&A Sessions

Guests will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the All-Stars– asking questions, interacting and learning with the All-Stars to become the best home cook on the block.

Chef Talks and Hands On Demonstrations

Guests will experience Cooking 101 Sessions with the All-Stars, who will give them insights to their top dishes, favorite ingredients, and secrets to becoming a success in the kitchen.

Pressure Tests

Guests will join the All-Stars for a themed and Caribbean-inspired culinary Pressure Test (as seen on MASTERCHEF) that will allow them to cook dishes mixed with classic and exotic ingredients in a timed, competitive setting.

Battle of the Home Cooks

Guests will be invited to participate in challenges judged by the All-Stars, including a baking challenge, a burger challenge, a taco challenge and more. They will also be encouraged to get their personal recipes ready for a chance to be selected to go on stage to test their culinary talents against fellow guests.

Extra Credit: Pop Quizzes, Games & Relay Races

Guests will challenge their culinary and MASTERCHEF knowledge with fun and informative games and trivia peppered throughout the week.

Soon, the MasterChef Cruise will also be announcing Premium VIP upgrade experiences such as Chef Inspired 5-course dinner and luncheons, intimate cooking demonstrations, cruise ship kitchen tours, and much more. Check the MasterChef Cruise website often for updates.

All programming is subject to change.

The seven-day cruise sets sail November 12-19, 2017 on-board Holland America Line’s first Signature-class cruise ship, ms Eurodam. Embarking from Fort Lauderdale, FL, it will visit Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas.

MasterChef Cruise is offering guests instant onboard dollars to use towards rejuvenating spa treatments, unique shore excursions, specialty restaurants, casino and additional onboard amenities the ship has to offer! From $50 to $150, per person, based on cabin category, guests can enjoy an extra serving of fun from MASTERCHEF. The following breaks down onboard credits:

Interior Stateroom: $50 per person

Ocean-View Stateroom: $50 per person

Verandah Stateroom: $100 per person

Signature Suites: $150 per person

Neptune Suites: $150 per person

Terms and conditions apply.

For more information and the full MasterChef Cruise itinerary, visit www.masterchefcruise.com.

 

SAIL AWAY TO THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN ON THE MASTERCHEF CRUISE RETURNING NOVEMBER 2017

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Sail Away To The Eastern Caribbean On The MasterChef Cruise Returning November 2017 With A Line Up Of MasterChef Winners And Fan Favorites From The Hit Culinary Competition Series

  • MasterChef Winners Shaun O’Neale (Season Seven), Claudia Sandoval (Season Six), Luca Manfé (Season Four) and Fan Favorite Brandi Mudd (Season Seven Finalist) among featured talent to appear.
  • Embarking from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the MasterChef Cruise will visit Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas.

Building on last year’s successful second run of the MasterChef Cruise, the MasterChef Cruise is returning to the Caribbean for a third serving of culinary delight at sea November 12-19, 2017.

Presented by Endemol Shine North America, producers of the television series and events company Life Journeys, the MasterChef Cruise will bring back current MasterChef season seven winner Shaun O’Neale, who’s exquisite flavors and thoughtful dishes won over the MasterChef judges and earned him the winning title. Former MasterChef winners Claudia Sandoval (Season Six) and Luca Manfé (Season Four) are also set to return. Fan favorite Brandi Mudd (Season Seven finalist) will join the winners circle. Each chef will bring to the table their individual specialties, techniques and the ultimate show experience for fans and foodies alike while visiting the beautiful islands of the Caribbean.

Guests can look forward to the week-long adventure at sea with opportunities to expand their own culinary skills. The MasterChef Cruise will offer 15 hours of theatre programming such as cooking demonstrations, mystery box challenges, pressure tests, audience participation and more inspired by the show, MasterChef. A number of premium events and dining experiences will also be available. All events and programming are exclusive to MasterChef Cruise guests and will be announced at a later date.

New in 2017, the MasterChef Cruise will sail to the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America Line’s first Signature-class cruise ship, ms Eurodam. Now, as part of a $300 million fleet enhancement initiative, Eurodam recently received enhancements showcasing a host of exciting updates, including a new lounge, dining and entertainment venues, and completely refreshed suites.

The 7-day cruise setting sail November 12-19, 2017 will embark from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and it will visit Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas.

To learn more about the third MasterChef Cruise and relive last year’s tasteful voyage, guests can visit www.masterchefcruise.com

Comedian @JeffDye at the @PBImprov – 9/19/15

IMG_9577I had the privilege of catching one of Jeff Dye’s shows at the Palm Beach Improv this weekend, and it did not disappoint!

Several months ago, I decided to watch a new show called ‘I Can Do That’ OnDemand and was hooked.  The show normally airs on NBC, and has just been renewed for a second season.  You can find more information about the show HERE.  It was this particular show that introduced me to my new favorite comedian, Jeff Dye.  Some of you might’ve seen him on shows like Girl Code and Money from Strangers on MTV, but, as mentioned in a previous post…I stopped watching MTV when they stopped playing music lol.  Jeff was also a finalist on Last Comic Standing (also on NBC).

When I heard Jeff would be doing some shows in Florida, I had to be there!  So I dragged my brother and my best friend with me and we drove up to West Palm Beach from Miami for the first of two shows he’d be headlining on Saturday.  Now, that was my first mistake lol.  Choosing to go to the early show rather than the later one!  The early show looked like a Century Village field trip!  Not that that’s a problem, BUT they didn’t seem to get a lot of the jokes.

The venue was great and so were the opening comedians, Jordan Garnett and Ramon Garcia (both locals).  As Ramon was making everyone cry of laughter, I noticed Jeff creeping behind us sitting at a table by himself.  Despite my best friend telling me to go talk to him, I didn’t.  I mean, I do think he’s awesome, but I’m sure he wanted time alone, right??  🙂

Anyway, Jeff went up on stage and made us laugh the entire time.  His jokes were on point, and even his banter with the drunk old lady in front of us was hilarious.  The crowd was slightly awkward as everyone looked around wondering what a NuvaRing was, but I don’t even care because I got it and thought he was great!  What makes him even more amazing is the fact that he took time out of his show to thank the wait staff at the venue.

When the show was over, my 31 year old self got nervous, hoping we’d be able to meet him.  Unfortunately, Jeff went right into the green room and the old folks all left right away!  My brother went over and asked someone who worked at the Improv if Jeff would be coming out to meet people, and the guy went to check.  He went to the green room and quickly returned with Jeff.  He came over and spoke to us for about 5 minutes, recognized me from Instagram (not sure if that’s a good thing haha), took pictures with my best friend and I, thanked us for coming and went back into the green room.

Needless to say, my night had been made!  It sucks to have high expectations for how someone would be in person without cameras on them and have them be douchebags, but Jeff exceeded my expectations.  He was so nice, and even though he didn’t have to come out to meet us, he did and was awesome.  Definitely gained him two new fans in my brother and best friend.

So, if you’re looking to have some laughs, please check him out on NBC’s ‘I Can Do That’, you can find hilarious interviews with him on YouTube, and he has a comedy album out on iTunes called,’ Welcome to my Brain.’  As if that weren’t enough, he just finished filming a new show on NBC (yes, he might be the new NBC poster child) called ‘Better Late Than Never’ which will also star Terry Bradshaw, William Shatner, Henry Winkler and George Foreman.  With that lineup, we’re sure to have some laughs!  Now that I’ve fully endorsed my favorite comedian, do yourself a favor and look him up!

Here is his Official Site.

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COMCAST ANNOUNCES INTERNET ESSENTIALS PILOT

Comcast also doubles Internet speed and offers Wi-Fi at no additional cost


Comcast today announced several significant enhancements and milestones for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program.  The company said it plans to conduct a pilot program for low-income senior citizens in Palm Beach County, and is doubling the service’s download Internet speed and providing a Wi-Fi router for no additional cost.

Now entering its fifth year, Internet Essentials has connected more than 275,000 low-income Floridians to online access at home, of which more than 182,000 live in the South Florida area. However disparities in Internet connectivity rates continue to persist and for the senior population the digital divide is wide.  According to Pew Research Center, just 47 percent, or less than half, of seniors (aged 65 and older) have high-speed Internet at home.  But when it comes to income level, only 25 percent of seniors with household incomes below $30,000 have home broadband, compared to 82 percent of seniors with household incomes at or above $75,000.

“We have made significant progress toward closing the digital divide for low-income parents and children across the country.  In less than four years, Internet Essentials has connected more than 500,000 families, or more than 2 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet at home,” said David L. Cohen, Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer.  “With the increase in the program’s Internet speeds and the addition of Wi-Fi, these families will have even easier access to the Internet and its life-changing resources for education, employment, healthcare, communication, and entertainment.”

The Internet Essentials pilot program for senior citizens is designed to better tackle the unique challenges of helping low-income seniors cross the digital divide and learn how to use the Internet. The first senior pilot program will take place in Palm Beach County, where Cohen was joined by City of West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa, and Urban League of Palm Beach County President and CEO Patrick J. Franklin to make the announcements.

“Senior citizens can be an afterthought when it comes to addressing digital literacy and use of the Internet,” said Franklin.  “However, the Internet has a tremendous power to help change their lives for the better by tearing down the walls that geography may have put between them and the ones they love.  It can also help restore a sense of community and inclusion, bonds that can weaken as we grow older.”

Comcast also announced it is doubling the speed for Internet Essentials to 10 Mbps downstream, which is enough to power multiple devices simultaneously. This is the third time in four years Comcast has increased speeds for customers. In addition, by offering Wi-Fi routers, customers will be able to connect any Internet-enabled device, such as a tablets or smartphone, which could help save money on monthly wireless bills.

To receive the faster Internet speed, customers simply need to reboot their cable modems.  Existing customers who would like a Wi-Fi router just need to call the dedicated call center and either request to have one shipped to them for free, or they can schedule a professional installation, also for no additional cost.  New customers will have the option to receive a Wi-Fi router when they sign up.

Internet Essentials Investments

In 2014, Comcast launched four new Internet Essentials Digital Learning Zones in South Florida at ASPIRA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, Chapman Partnership and Overtown Youth Center (OYC), which provide additional opportunities for low-income students and families to access the Internet and receive digital literacy training.    Comcast aims to help complete the continuum of connectivity, in which students spend the school day in wired classroom, stay connected after school in Internet Essentials Learning Zones and end their days connected at home, where families have online access through the Internet Essentials program. Comcast has dedicated $1 million in grants to create these zones across the country.

Through a partnership with The Urban League of Palm Beach County, Comcast offers a Digital Connectors Program that provides digital literacy training for students in Palm Beach County. Almost 60 low-income local youth have graduated from the program, which was launched in 2007.

Through Internet Essentials, Comcast has invested more than $240 million in cash and in-kind support to help fund digital literacy and readiness training and education, reaching nearly 3.2 million people through national and local non-profit community partners.  Through the end of June 2015, Comcast has:

  • Provided more than 41,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
  • Distributed for free nearly 46 million Internet Essentials program materials.
  • Broadcast more than 7 million public service announcements, valued at more than $90 million.
  • Welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors to the Internet Essentials websites in English and Spanish and its Online Learning Center.
  • Fielded more than 3.2 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
  • Offered Internet Essentials to nearly 48,000 schools and 5,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Partnered with thousands of community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.

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