Muster & Music Festival | Staying Local

Review of the Demonstrations at the 30th Annual Muster and Music Festival in Fort Pierce, FL

I mentioned on Monday, that we got to check out the Muster & Music Festival over the weekend.   What better day to share such a great event than on Veteran’s Day?  Scott recalls going to the festival when he was little, and to the museum; I’ve obviously been to neither.  However, we will be returning to the museum soon to get a better look, and surely the festival will be made an annual thing (of ours) to do.

Did you know that the SEALs originated in Fort Pierce, FL?  I sure didn’t!  The Frogmen were a group of volunteers who underwent specialized training down here during World War II.  The US Navy UDT-SEAL Museum houses artifacts from their inception, including the lifeboat that Somali pirates held Captain Phillips hostage on back in April 2009.  Complete with bullet holes from the SEAL snipers’ 3 shots that killed 3 pirates.   We are planning to go back soon, as we missed one entire side of the museum.

It had a full weekend of events planned for their 30th anniversary.  We just went to the demonstrations on Saturday, which turned out to be a pretty full day event.  The trip from Vero was quick, going south on A1A.  We could immediately tell that we were getting close to the festivities when traffic started slowing.  The demonstrations didn’t kick off until 11, and we had gotten there at about 10:30.  We didn’t have trouble finding parking, though we did have a short walk.

Once inside the festival area, we met up with a coworker of Scott’s and a friend of his.  A friend that was able to give us a pretty “behind the scenes” glimpse of the festival.  Thanks to him, we were hanging out in the staging area for the demonstrations.  Things kicked off promptly at 11AM with the LeapFrog demonstration.

Navy SEAL LeapFrogs in Fort Pierce, FL November 7, 2015

Navy SEAL Leap Frog landing in Fort Pierce, FL November 7, 2015

Yes, 5 Navy SEALs jumping out of a plane, in formation.  All landing on their feet and walking away like it was routine.  Very impressive!  While this was going on, the National Anthem was being sung- one SEAL had a HUGE American Flag attached to him for us to salute.

Navy SEAL Leapfrog at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, FL

Navy SEAL Leapfrog at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, FL

After the Leapfrogs got done, there was a welcome speech from the Director of the museum.  Then Titus O’Neil of the WWE gave the keynote (of sorts) speech.  He kept it relatively short, but a couple things he said just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  He kind of made it sound as if he, as an entertainer, is just as …badass (for lack of a better term!) as the SEALs.  I lost interest and kept sneaking looks at these two very well behaved young Belgian Malinois.  They are be SEAL Multi-Purpose Canines.  And put my little heathens to shame!  You can also follow them on Instagram!  Check out the_war_beast and Raven_MPC

Trident Fitness MPC at the Navy SEAL Museum Muster Festival, Ft. Pierce
After I posted a picture (of the Leapfrog & flag!) to Instagram, the dogs’ handler “liked” it.  Ya’ll check out Baden K9 for more information on the MPCs’ training and Trident Fitness for some crazy Navy SEAL-inspired workouts!

After that, it was time for St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department to do a demonstration with their working dogs.  We got a good view of this K-9 getting ready for action as soon as he heard gunfire.

Port St. Lucie Sheriff's Department working K-9 at the Muster Festival in Ft. Pierce

Soon it was time for the MPCs to roll out…

Navy SEAL Multi-Purpose Canine demonstration, Fort Pierce FL

And tear things up!

The demonstrations ended with the “Super SEAL” challenging Titus to… something.  I wasn’t too sure what was going on, as it was loud and I couldn’t hear well,  mostly because this was overhead and then landing….

Huey flight and landing at US Navy UDT-SEAL Museum

I think the only thing I missed a picture of was a plane doing a very low flyover.  It happened quite quickly!  And also, of the “bombs” that were set off in the tree line.  Pretty much right next to where we were standing.  We headed inside after all of this, to enjoy a little A/C and see the museum.

The museum itself has a lot of interactive features that are good for kids and adults.  You can look into the lifeboat that I mentioned earlier, take a seat in a Black Hawk, and see what the SEALs see when they use night vision.  There is also an obstacle course outside, which is also used in the Multi-Purpose Canines’ training.

One of the most interesting parts of the whole day was listening to our new friend tell us stories, and give us first-hand information on all the different guns, knives, and grenade launchers.  I topped the visit off with these two new shot glasses to add to my collection; one is actually a demilitarized shell casing from an A-10 Warthog.  Which means absolutely nothing to me, except for that it’s a big-ass bullet!

Demilitarized 30 x 173 mm ammo used in Avenger 6-gun system

Aside from everything that I got to see, they also held a 5k run on the beach on Saturday morning and a beach-side service Sunday morning.  There were numerous food trucks onsite, where we had one of the best burgers we’ve had in a while.  There was also a Celtic band that was still going strong when we left around 2pm.

I would encourage everyone in the area to check out the museum and the Muster & Music Festival when it comes time.  The volunteers from the museum to the vendors put on a top-notch event that truly honors our Veterans.

Linking with Painted Tea Cup, Jessi’s Design, and Home of Malones!

Orlando | Weekending

I’ve been out of the game for a full month.  Why?  It’s multi-part.  First of all, getting back into the Accounting game at my new job.  It’s a lot of re-learning of a lot of things I learned 8-10 years ago as well as learning new things.  I come home from work mentally exhausted, which I haven’t felt in a job in a long time.  The second reason is, that along with the new job- that I have the afternoon Thursday as well as Friday off with currently, I’ve had a little bug up my butt on doing house stuff.

House stuff that could have and should have been done when I had a month (more, actually) off.  But I had a weird internal struggle with myself.  I wasn’t working, and I had enough saved to pay my bills for the month, but everything else was coming out of Scott’s pocket.  While he told me we were fine financially, and to go ahead and get the stuff needed to do these projects.  I didn’t feel like I could.  So that resulted in a lot of my being in a funk and not getting much accomplished.  
Pretty much the day, or at least the weekend, after I started working again, I decided to get some of these things checked off the to-do list.  We’ve been at Lowes every weekend.  We have not been to Disney every weekend.  I’ve listened to approximately 3 audiobooks, which is my new favorite thing to do while undertaking the projects.  I got the purple guestroom painted, using one of the colors I mentioned back in August.  I’ve worked on getting that back together and can’t wait to show you guys… once I get some art and pictures on the wall!  So it still may be a while!  I’ve got my next project (the guest bathroom/ all of the tile in the house) underway. 
Now what’s been going on this weekend?  We managed to sneak away for the first time in a while…
Friday was a pretty relaxed day.  We had house guests at the beginning of the week in the form of my favorite father-in-law and uncle, as well as two German Shepherds.  When they hit the road Friday, I cleaned up a little, and then napped on the couch.  And by “napped” I mean slept for three hours.  I literally got nothing accomplished, except for a load of laundry and a whole lot of trashy t.v.
Saturday we stayed local and made our way down to Ft. Pierce and The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum for their 30th annual Muster & Music Festival.  I’m going to save the whole shebang for Veteran’s Day but ya’ll, if you ever get a chance, it’s a must see!

Sunday I took off with Scott for Orlando and got to watch him appraise some trucks for work.  Then we dipped on in to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for literally, lunch and a quick walk through.

We had lunch at Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Asia, and it was great.  I had tried to get reservations on our way into the park, but the soonest I could get was 3pm.  It was Noon.  So we decided, especially after the tasty aroma that was wafting out of the restaurant, to chance it.  We had a 25+ minute wait, which we spent at the bar, and was able to order a frozen lemonade and some pork egg rolls.  We both decided we could have order two plates of the egg rolls and have been satisfied with life.  However, once we got seated, he ordered the Orange Beef, and I got the Crispy Honey Chicken.  For $20 each, I would have thought there was going to be enough to share, but not the case.  We both liked my Crispy Honey Chicken more than the Orange Beef, which had a little too much sauce on it for our liking.  Overall, I’d give it a 4/5- mainly for the small portions, and for being told that they wouldn’t sit us at a four person table when it’s just us two.  Which resulted in families who came in after us being seated before us.  I understand not taking up a table of 6 or 8, but when the two person tables were barely big enough to seat two, anyway….

Now on to the good stuff…

Silverback Gorilla and infant at Disney's Animal Kingdom
No one could really figure out why Dad was eating his lunch facing the wall, but the kid was PASSED out the entire time we watched.  He lifted his head up once to look around, which is the only reason we knew he was real!  He’s 13 months old, while Mom is 25, and Dad is I’m not sure how old.  Scott remarked on the way he was eating his lettuce… very similar to how I eat mine- NOT eating the crunchy, stocky part.  To which I pointed out that the infant was sleeping in the same position Scott sleeps in- one hand down over his belly, and the other arm up over his head.  Probably snoring.
Female Silverback gorilla at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Another similarity between me and Mama- people are watching and she should be entertaining, but she says “meh, I’m taking a nap.”
Meerkats and Zebras at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Meerkats and zebras!  I swear one of our dogs are part Meerkat- he perches on the highest point he can get and acts as look out for the other two!

Monkies at Disney's Animal Kingdom
And this pretty well sums up Monday!  Time to get to it!

Linking with Biana and Erin!

Anniversary Weekending

We have definitely gotten some use after we got our Annual Passes to Disney!  We went back to Orlando for our 2nd anniversary last week, and had every intention of hitting the parks two days in a row.  That didn’t happen, and it further confirmed my belief that people that come to Orlando/Disney for “Vacation” for a week are insane.  12 hours or so and 2 parks later, we were in bed and had already decided to cancel our Fast Passes for the next day!

What else have I been up to?  I started a new job last week, which is why it was radio silence over here.  I came home from work every night exhausted (and with a small headache) from taking everything in.  Also, relearning things that I hadn’t done in 5 years or so!

Since this weekend has been used to (still) recuperate, and relax, I’m going to talk about taking a peak into the Magic Kingdom at night instead.  I promise the Disney posts will slow down… soon!

Reviews of Disney's Magic Kingdom Attractions at Night

I should start out by saying that we barely got there in time for the fireworks.  BUT we made it, parking was phenomenal, the monorail into the park was nearly empty, and the lines in were nonexistent.

Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.  4.5/5 stars- This was the whole point in us going, and they were amazing.  I had said to Scott last week, “I wonder what those cables are for?”  They ran from the castle to Tomorrowland (I think) and just looked out of place.  Turns out that’s Tinkerbell’s route!  The only downside to the fireworks was trying to find a spot, since we were late-ish getting in.  This was because all of the open areas, and some areas along bridges were not to be used as “viewing” areas.  So the Disney “security” kept on moving us.  Which, I get.  But then there’s this announcement that basically says, “we shutting the lights down so you can see the display better, please stay where you are.”  Then they shut down the park lights.  But we can’t “stay where we are” because they’re still herding people through the pathways.  If we hadn’t used our Fast Passes earlier in the day, I probably would have used one to get to a special Fast Pass only viewing area.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Castle during Fireworks show

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. 2/5 stars- I mentioned this in my last review post.  I decided that after the fireworks, since we didn’t have any rides we had to be on at a certain time, and the crowds were (kind of) thinning, it would be a good time to check out this… game?  You sign up to be a Sorcerer at the firehouse on Main Street, USA.  You get trading cards and a map, then you run around the park “defending” the Kingdom against evil beings.  The “map” is a terrible depiction of the park, so we spent about 30 minutes in front of “It’s a Small World” trying to figure out what the map’s showing.  When I first read about it, I thought it’d be a good way to explore the park.  It kind of reminds me of geocaching, and collecting stamps.  BUT two (almost) 30 somethings running around the MK when there are still a fair amount of people in there, made us feel odd.  I decided to give up on the quest once a 7 year old could “unlock a portal” faster than I could.  I would do it again, but not until we have a kid that we can include.  The other relatively annoying part was that it made you run back and forth between a couple of the same “portals.”

Haunted Mansion. 3.5/5 stars-  We saw there was no wait (because even at 11pm, there are 70 minute waits on some rides!) so decided to check this out.  Ya’ll I hate scary stuff, and creepy people.  I was fully prepared to throat chop a zombie if it snuck up on me.  But, this is a very low key, slow moving ride through a “haunted house.”  I believe the neatest part was in the library before the ride even started.  The holograms at the end of the ride are also neat, but I couldn’t get a clear picture!

Holograms during Disney's Haunted Mansion Ride

On our way out of the park, we saw that Big Thunder Mountain had a short wait, and decided to check that out at night, since I did enjoy it so much the first time around.  Scott and I both noticed some parts of it that looked different/ were different/ we didn’t notice the first time we went on it.  This was definitely one that was better in the night time!

We didn’t get out of the park until midnight, and things were still going strong.  There were lots of people still going on rides, and I’m not sure what time the park was actually closing.  It was funny watching all the exhausted parents coming out of the park with their kids sleeping in their arms or in their strollers.  While we were on the monorail back to parking, I decided to Google “how much money does Disney World make in a day” and found this site.  Per my math (which has been known to be wrong a time or two) Disney makes over $5.8 million a day, based on the $67.14/second figure they provided.

Think about that while ya’ll enjoy your Monday!!

Main Street, USA at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Linking with Biana today!

First Time at Magic Kingdom | Disney Review

I’m still on a high from our Magic Kingdom day on Saturday!  I’ve been on Disney’s website at least once a day, and have approximately 3 more visits planned at this point.  I figure I’d share with ya’ll, some mini reviews of what we did there!

For more tips on How to Survive Disney as an Adult (and without Kids in Tow!) and to see more photos, check out my guest post on Life in German on Friday!

Disney Reviews: Dining, Entertainment, Attractions from a first-time annual passholder

Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant.  2.5/5 stars.
This restaurant is a fast food-style hub, with 3 different bays.  Bays 2 and 3 serve the same food, while 1 has different options.  It definitely has a “Jetsons” vibe going on in there, and it works similar to the rest of Disney in that you don’t really choose where you sit; they have workers directing you to the next open table.
Husband and I both ordered their 1/3 lb Angus Bacon Cheeseburger with fries and split a drink.  The total came to about $27, and we forgot to slide our annual passes for a potential discount.  Service was quick, even though it was pretty crowded in there.  This wasn’t our first choice to eat at, but we soon discovered that reservations are a must in some of the sit-down restaurants and we were STARVING.  The burgers were edible, though the bacon-to-burger ratio was a little “off.”  They were also well-done- I assume that’s more of a safety thing as far as Disney is concerned.  The best part is that we add whatever toppings we’d like at a buffet bar after getting our food.  This is great for people (like Scott) who get plain burgers, as there is no risk in something being added that you didn’t want.  I like bunches of stuff on mine, and while I have no problem doing it myself, there wasn’t really enough room in the carton to take the top of the bun off and add the toppings.  There was plenty of room on the tray itself, but I’m weird about my food touching that tray!  Scott really liked his fries while I thought they were just okay- mine were pretty cooled off by the time I got to eating them.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  4.5/5 stars.
I totally would have given this a 5 star rating if we would have thought enough in advance to get Fast Passes.  But we didn’t, and we had approximately a 35 minute wait, which was not at all terrible.  The line was constantly moving and there were little activities to do inside (like setting of “dynamite”) to make the time pass.  Even though though the line was inside, there were plenty of fans and air conditioning going to keep the masses comfortable.  I’m not a big roller coaster person, and really dislike rides that go upside down.  I love that this one has small drops, and is dark in places, but is by no means a “thriller.”  I will definitely enjoy this one the second time around, now that I know what to expect.  Plus, there will be no need for a boy to record the experience!

Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade.  1/5 stars.
If there is a gun to be found in the Magic Kingdom, my husband will find it!  $1 will buy you 35 rounds in this laser-style shooting gallery.  There are no real lines for this attraction, and it’s a good little pit stop to get out of the heat.  I had fun reading the headstones, however it is definitely meant for younger kids.  I felt like I was transported back to grade school watching kids (assumably in the same family) fighting over whose turn it was, and parents feeding more quarters into the machine so their kid could keep playing rather than giving others a turn.  Scott had a kid of about 8 cut in front of him in line for quarters- we soon discovered when the boy was talking to his mom at his spot, that she had WATCHED him do it!  Scott’s only real complaint-  his gun was shooting “high and right” and they should totally zero them in!

Shooting at Frontierland Shootin' Arcade in Disney's Magic Kingdom

Jungle Cruise.  1.5/5 stars.
This has apparently been an attraction since Walt Disney World opened, and was originally at Disneyland. In fact, per Disney Online, the only theme park that doesn’t have it is Disneyland Paris. The wait for this ride was about 45 minutes, and it was HOT.  While the waiting area was shaded, it make no sense to me why the areas at either end of the line were the spots with air conditioning and higher powered fans, yet the MIDDLE (where there are more people, and you spend most of your wait) had NO A/C and slower fans!  The corny jokes of the ship captain person were just terrible for a grown up to have to listen to, and the mechanical creatures were obviously very mechanical.  My two favorite parts were the pair of monkeys in a cave, one looked to be latched onto the other’s back (which reminded me of when I used to ride on the back of Scott’s motorcycle with him!) and the little baby mechanical elephant that sat on its haunches playing in the water.  That totally reminded me of a spoiled little princess pants that did not get her swim time that day!

Swiss Family Treehouse.  2.5/5 stars.
What caught my eye about this one was the “0 minute” wait time.  I was intrigued.  Turns out, it’s a giant man-made tree(house).  It was set up and furnished to include a study, a bedroom, and an outdoor kitchen area.  It had a pretty neat view of Space Mountain.  There is a fair amount of stair climbing (according to Disney, 116 steps) on this, so if you have kids, be prepared to carry them or bring them early in the day!  In all, it was a quick 15 minute walk through, and it definitely didn’t feel “6 stories high” as the info on Disney.com states!

Study in Swiss Family Robinson's Treehouse attraction, and view of Space Mountain in Disney's Magic Kingdom

Main Street Bakery.  4.5/5 stars.

I smelled it as we walked into the park.  Starbucks is near.  And we should have sought it out then, rather opting directly for food!  Really, I didn’t realize this coffee-shop / bakery combination served Starbucks products until we were making our way out of the Magic Kingdom.  We had entered on the other side of the road, so my eyes skipped right over the small sign that read “Starbucks Fresh Roasted Coffee.”  Ya’ll.  I think I found the parents’ hang out- plus it was right around 3pm, so people were preparing for the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  Overall, I’m had much longer waits and FAR less crowded Starbucks, and our drinks tasted phenomenal!  The only real shock was the $10+ for two venti drinks, and the $1+ difference for his frappe!  I’m not sure if I attribute the cost more to Starbucks, or to Disney!  I also loved their Disney Parks-specific mugs, and may have to go back for one!  I can’t even be mad at not spelling my name correctly- it only seems fitting in Disney!
Starbucks at the Main Street Bakery in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Festival of Fantasy Parade.  5/5 stars.
Ya’ll, we weren’t planning to stay for this, but on our way out, we noticed everybody lining up.  We decided to get our drinks, swing by the fire station in Main Street, USA to get our my “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom” cards (more on this once I get a chance to play!) and find a spot for this unknown (to us) parade.  We got a spot at the end of the route and it was fantastic!  I thought before it started, to take a short video for my niece to see.  But that turned into the entire 12 minutes!  I got a very happy Facetime the next morning, and my brother told me she’d already watched it twice!  The route winds around a round about, and we only a had a few people in front of us.  We had a clear view of the action and got to see some of my favorite characters including Snow White and the Dwarves, Ariel, and Beauty and the Beast!  Festival of Fantasy runs daily at 3pm, but it was about 3:20 or so by the time they made it to the “Town Square Viewing Area.”  I’ve read that I can get a FastPass for upgraded viewing, but not sure it’s necessary!
Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade the Magic Kingdom
Despite some less than stellar parts of the day, I’m glad that we went on the attractions we did, and can’t wait to go back this weekend to explore more!  I’m going to make an effort to stay awake past 8pm to actually see the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle.  I’m also hoping that the more I become accustomed to the Magic Kingdom, the less of a sensory overload it will be for me.  But then we have 3 other parks to explore!

What are some of your favorite attractions / shows / dining options at Disney?

Linking with Painted Teacup & Going the Distance