Sunday, January 25, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 1/19/15 - 1/25/15


News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.

News

Disney Springs

  • A few of the stores have been released for Disney Springs.  They include: 
    • APEX by Sunglass Hut - Range of high end sunglasses with a focus on sports from the Luxotica group, including Ray-Ban ,Oakley, Maui Jim and more
    • Havaianas - Designer flip-flops, including a station where Guests can create their own flip-flops.
    • Art of Shaving - A high end shaving supply store.
    • Sanuk - Creatively inspired shoes.
    • Chapel Hats - Hats and headwear.
    • Sound Lion - Digital music products.
    • Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC - A gluten-free, vegan bakery from BabyCakes NYC. 
General Walt Disney World News
  • New Starbucks cups are available that are inspired by each of the four theme parks. 

Rumors

  • The "For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration" show could move to the former American Idol Theater as early as February at Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Starbucks at Disney's Hollywood Studios should open on February 3. 
  • Ticket prices could increase at some point in February.  Rumors indicate that the "No Expiration" ticket could be disappearing for good at this time.
  • Olaf is rumored to be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, taking the place of Hiro and Baymax when they eventually leave. (They are rumored to leave sometime in March.)

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Walt Disney World Travel Tips: The Great Piggy Bank Adventure



Epcot is known as the edu-tainment park.  It's filled with lots of fun and practical bits that guests can take into their own lives.  This edu-tainment works for both adults, as well as children.  While many of the edu-tainment aspects of Future World no longer exist, there is one such edu-tainment area that guests can visit which teaches all.  I'm talking about Innoventions. 

Innoventions is often overlooked by both newbies, as well as regular park-goers.  I know...I'm guilty of walking right past the entrance to either side (there are two sections of Innoventions, East and West) and moseying on down to either Test Track or Soarin'.  Worse yet, I'll use the areas as cut-throughs...an air conditioned means to an end. 

This is exactly what happened on my last trip...I walked into Epcot and started towards Innoventions West  where I was just going to simply walk through on my way to Soarin', Living with the Land, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. On my way over though, I passed by The Great Piggy Bank Adventure and I thought, I've always heard this was fun...I'm gonna do it!  (I was by myself at the time, so I could freely decide to do what I wanted!)

This game, which is presented by T. Rowe Price allows guests to learn the importance of financial planning to help us get what we want from our money. In the game, guests will play three interactive games where they attempt to save up enough money (loading up a piggy bank in the process...yes you are given a piggy bank to carry and yes, he is darn adorable!) and avoiding the wolf who is there to attempt to stop you from achieving your goals.  The attraction/game is designed with kids/families in mind, but I'm gonna be honest...even as a 30 year old adult, I had fun! 


I immediately got in line, where the story began to unfold. There are portraits of the Pig family, as well as enjoying some of the activities and perks you will be attempting to save up for in the process of the game.  After waiting just a few minutes was escorted into the first section.


Here, you interact with a touch screen, giving you an explanation of the game, asking how many players, and you are asked to pick your goal.  You can choose from a bedroom remodel, college education, retirement, or a vacation.  Of course, I'm always looking for vacation, so that's the one I chose!

Once all these questions have been answered, you are surprised with your very own piggy bank (called PIG, which stands for personal investment guides) that will be utilized to help you play the game!  Oh my god! He's so stinking cute! 



The next station we come across teaches us about the importance of saving money.  If we don't have any money to save, well, we can't make our goals come to reality. You place the pig on a conveyer belt, where he then comes to live on a touch screen, and he asks you to help him save.  You do so by watching as coins fall from the sky and you are given the task of making sure they fall into the savings buckets.  Be aware though that this isn't a set it up and leave it alone type game.  You remember how I mentioned that there was a wolf?  Well the wolf comes into play as he switches your savings buckets around for things like candy and clothes, meaning you aren't saving anything!  You must change things around so that your money is being saved, not spent! At the conclusion of the game, our pig is returned to us with the "money" in his belly. (Shake him...you'll hear it!)

The next game teaches us about inflation and the dangers that inflation pose.  Here, your pig floats from balloons as he attempts to manage the up and down wind drafts. Your goal is to collect money by utilizing both a lever and the drafts to get you where you want to go. Be aware that the wolf is there with obstacles that will get in your way. (Inflation.)  Your pig is then returned to you and you head to the third and final game.



The final game is all about diversification.  You should never put all your eggs in one basket, and this game teaches you all about that.  On the touch screen in front of you, you'll see different areas labeled with a growth factor.  That is how much your money can grow by.  One would think it would be the smart thing to just put all your money in the highest grossing area.  But that's not the best option.  You see, every so often, the wolf will come in and steal money from some of your hiding areas.  If you put all your money in one spot and he steals all your money, you are left with nothing. You have no idea where the wolf will decide to take the money from, so it's best to spread it around the room and keep it safe.  (Diversify your money into different assets and if one area tanks, you'll still have money growing in the other areas.)



From there, it's time to see how we did.  At this point, you must say good bye to your piggy bank.  You'll put him in the weigh station and see if you succeeded in the game, or if you failed to save enough money to achieve your goal.  The good news for me, I achieved my goal!  Disney Dream cruise here I come!  (If only that money were real...darn!)

The best part is that the game can continue once you return home!  You'll be able to play various games by heading to www.thegreatpiggybankadventure.com.

Also, did you know you can now purchase a piggy bank that looks exactly like your pig from the game?! 

The Great Piggy Bank Adventure really is a fun game for all ages to enjoy.  I personally love that it's got that edu-tainment factor that's missing in so much of Epcot nowadays.  Don't pass this attraction next time your visiting Epcot.  You'll have a blast doing it too! 

What are your thoughts? Have you played this game in Innoventions?  Have you taken part in any of the fun that Innoventions has to offer?  Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. 

Also, if you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about us here at A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 1/12/15 - 1/18/15







News


Magic Kingdom

  • A new FastPass+ viewing location will be available for guests at the Town Square area, near the flag pole on Main Street USA.  This will replace the one in the main hub.


Epcot

  • A new building is being constructed for the Norway Pavilion on the site of one of the former "future country" locations (located between Mexico and Norway). The building will house a meet and greet, as well as women's restrooms. 
  • The Epcot Food and Wine Festival dates have been announced.  They are September 25 through November 16.  
  • The Garden Rocks Concert Series artists have been announced for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  (The concert series was formerly called the Flower Power Concert Series).  The line up for this year is: 
    • March 6-8: Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
    • March 13-15: Pablo Cruise “Love Will Find a Way”
    • March 20-22: En Vogue “Free Your Mind”
    • March 27-29: Starship “We Built This City”
    • April 3-5: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
    • April 10-12: Village People “Y.M.C.A.”
    • April 17-19: Jon Secada “Just Another Day”
    • April 24-26: The Guess Who “These Eyes”
    • May 1-3: Taylor Dayne “Tell It to My Heart”
    • May 8-10: Little River Band “Lady”
    • May 15-17: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”


Rumors


  • Could there be more changes in the characters that meet at the Art of Disney Animation? Seeing that The Incredibles could be leaving there area. 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean may be going down for a lengthy refurbishment beginning in the summer and lasting until around the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. 

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 1/5/15 - 1/11/15



News


Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Guests will be able to catch a sneak peek of Cinderella from January 17 until March 21 at the ABC Sound Studio. In addition, guests will be able to take photographs with the coach from the movie on the Streets of America from February 1 through April 11.
  • Wondering Oaken's Trading Post has closed.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • During Flame Tree Barbeque's refurbishment, guests can pick up the treats sold at this location normally in other areas around the park. 
    • Jumbo Turkey Legs and Pork Sandwich are available at Trilo-Bites
    • Half Chicken, St. Louis Style Ribs can be found at Beastly Kiosk and the Garden Kiosk 

Disney Resorts

  • The Disney Vacation Club property located at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will go on sale beginning January 12 for current DVC Members and on February 9 for all other guests.  The first phase of the DVC will open April 1. 
General Walt Disney World News
  • The print photo packages have been discontinued now at Cinderella's Royal Table and Akershus.  Guests will now receive their photos online in their My Disney Experience account, since these photos will be associated with a guest's MagicBand or RFID enabled card. 


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 12/29/14 - 1/4/15



News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


News


Magic Kingdom
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish has been extended to last until January 12. The show takes places at 6:30 p.m. each night.
  • Jungle Cruise will see a refurbishment from April 13 through May 8.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern will have a lengthy refurbishment From July 6 through November 20. 
  • Dream Along With Mickey will not be performed from April 13 through May 20.


Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • The Sorcerer's Hat will begin being dismantled on January 7.  No word on how long the demolition will take, not whether there will be any other enhancements made to the area.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • An updated tour is being introduced called Backstage Tales. (It will be replacing the Backstage Safari.)  The tour will take guests backstage to experience animal housing, the nutrition center, and the veterinarian facilities. The Backstage Safari tour will last through to February 27 and the new Backstage Tales tour available from March 1.


Rumors

  • Baymax could only be meeting until sometime in March. 

Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic delights the parks have to offer!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review: The Good and The Bad of Walt Disney World 2014





It's that time again.  The time for a brand new year to swoop down upon us is here.  When the clock strikes midnight, we all say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015.

Again at Walt Disney World this year, we saw a lot of change, but most of this change was done to make way for future change, it would seem.  We saw so many things ending their run, as well as a few nice new full scale additions.  So, without further adieu, here is a look at some of the things that I think we’ll all remember this past year for.  As always,I thought I'd  rate them in a system that is lovingly borrowed from the former Betamouse crew…Win, Fail, Meh. (We miss you Betamouse!)

Win


  •  Festival of Fantasy Parade:  Wow!  This parade is fantastic!  (And this is coming from someone who hates parades.)  The new parade, themed after New Fantasyland was a fantastic new addition and a well needed upgrade from the previous parade.  It's kinetic, colorful, got tons of characters, and well...it has a fire-breathing dragon.  That's cool.  While it isn't my favorite parade (that goes to Boo to You) it is up there and something that I'd actually stop and watch, as opposed to seeing it as I'm walking past.  

  • Rivers of Light Announced:  While it won't officially open until 2016, the announcement that Disney's Animal Kingdom is finally getting its very own nighttime spectacular is a big deal.  The show will include water screens, lighting, and more!  It's surely gonna be gorgeous.  Now we just have to wait.   


  • Harambe Nights:  While I'm pretty harsh on these extra cost events that Disney seemed to roll out for every stupid thing this year, this one was actually a win for me.  I liked the vibe that it had and it seemed like a no-brainer experience for Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I'm hopeful that they do something similar to this next year, because I think it could potentially be a great annual event. 
  • Marketplace Co-Op:  Oh my gosh...this store!  I could really spend a ton of money here, if I didn't watch it.  The store is 6 separate boutique stores all under one roof and it features some great merchandise with something for everyone.  

  • Memento Mori:  Another great merchandise shop, this time especially for The Haunted Mansion.  (It feels weird to praise places designed to make me part with my money.)  This shop again features creative and unique merchandise that I would like to spend all my money in.  Plus there are some fantastic special effects that happen periodically that make it even better.  Take a gander around...I promise you'll find something awesome.

  • Frozen Summer Fun Live:  So yes, I know it was a rush job to get this event into Disney's Hollywood Studios; the fact is that it was a pretty darn cool event.  I mean how can you go wrong with the ability to ice skate, build a snowman, see Anna and Elsa in a special parade, sing with the Arendelle Historians, see a kick-butt fireworks show, and more?  Kudos to Disney on this one.  No matter whether or not you have Frozen Fatigue, this event was more or less a home run. (I mean some parts of the event have stuck around even after it disappeared.  That's impressive.)  

  • Changes at Disney's Hollywood Studios:  We lost a lot of attractions here.  Bye bye American Idol Experience, AFI, Backlot Tour, and Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow.  It's clear there are big changes in store for all of us here and while the rumors are flying, we don't know exactly what they are just yet.  Also, it's pretty cool that the Sorcerer's Hat will be going away and The Great Movie Ride will get a sponsorship, featuring updates, thanks to Turner Classic Movies. 


Fail



  • Spice Road Table:  Wow did this one not go as planned.  The restaurant, which served tapas sized portions had exceedingly high hopes when it opened.  It was supposed to be another great new place to watch Illuminations from and the cuisine from Morocco has always been regarded highly by many, so how could this one not be a hit too?  Well, it wasn't a hit.  It was a big dull dud.  The food was expensive for the sizes that you received and the view for IllumiNations, to me, was not the greatest.  Even offering deep discounts for Passholders did nothing to entice people to dine here.  Disney is attempting to hopefully fix this dud, having recently added it to the Advanced Dining Reservation System and adding a few dishes that have more substances. (The tapas are actually appetizers now.)  Maybe this will make a difference in the fledgling restaurant, but truth be told, I actually doubt it. 
  • PUSH:  This one goes in the fail category not because the talking trash can was removed from the parks, but actually because of the way the whole thing went down.  You see, it was all because of contract negotiations.  One minute we get word that PUSH will be removed, the next Disney is claiming that everything is fine, and then two days later, PUSH goes bye bye.  Whether you think that it was appropriate that the information that the contract negotiations weren't going well (rumored to have been leaked by the creator of PUSH in hopes that Disney would give them what they were asking thanks to outcry), what really was the fail was the way Disney handled it.  They should have never gone on record to say that PUSH was staying to have that not being true two days later.  That was a mistake on their part, which made them seem like, well, liars.  

  • Villains Unleashed:  This was just a terrible event that had so much potential.  It was so bad that Disney actually gave refunds....something they never do.  There were too many people, not enough to do, terrible shows, a too late fireworks show, and it seemed very understaffed.  If Disney tweaks this one, it has the potential of being a huge success, but in it's current form, it failed miserably.

  • Maelstrom:  Ok, so this was the major fail for many this year by Disney.  Maelstrom was dated and extremely odd, don't get me wrong, but it was also a classic Epcot attraction that was one of the few attractions left within the park that upheld the original intent of Epcot.  With the addition of a Frozen attraction, many felt the icy stab that yet another classic part of what made the park they fell in love with would be Disneyfied.  (Which if you remember, the park didn't have characters in it begin with and was mostly about the edu-tainment.)  Maelstrom, while you were a strange and dated attraction, you will certainly be missed. 


Meh


  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train:  After all the hype, the attraction opened, and the hype quickly died down.  While the roller coaster does have some fantastic aspects--such as the AudioAnamatronics and the intense attention to detail, the ride could have used at least one more show scene and really just seems to end rather abruptly.  While people are still talking about the other big attraction that opened this year (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts), I hardly hear anyone talking about Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  

  • Festival of the Lion King:  Ok, so the new Harambe Theater is gorgeous.  And the fact that the attraction is now located in the Africa section of the park is fitting, but I do kind of wish they would have updated the show, even a little bit. Instead, it's the same it's always been.  That's not necessarily bad, but they had the opportunity to make changes and they didn't take it.  Not even a little bit. 

  • Changes in World Showcase:  This year we said good-bye to many entertainment acts, including the Ziti Sisters,World Showcase Players, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, Mo’Rockin, and Off Kilter.  With those being removed we got new acts by way of The Paul McKenna Band in the UK, B’net al Houwariyate in Morocco, the flag-twirling Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro  in the Italy Pavilion, and The Canadian Lumberjack Show in Canada. Most acts are pretty decent switches, however, the removal of Off Kilter for The Canadian Lumberjacks clearly didn't go well.  And those of us who love improv lament the loss of The World Showcase Players. Overall though, most changes weren't too bad.
  • Every other "special hard-ticket add on":  This was the year of the add-on.  If Disney could find a way to milk money from people, boy did they!  It's not necessarily a problem when done right (ie: Harambe Nights) and of course, people have the right to choose to spend the money if they would like on these types of things.  The thing that was a bit annoying was that it was literally done for every single special event.  How many premium packages can be offered?  Disney tested it and found out that people caught on really quickly.  Matter of fact some of the events, like one for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival got cancelled due to lack of interest. 
  • Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade:  Due to construction, the parade ended this year after more than 10 years of rolling down the streets of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It was an ok parade, but it's still sad to see a parade go when it's one of the few offerings the park has for guests to experience.    


  • Disney's Polynesian Resort:  This one had many pluses this year, but one big minus.  On the plus side, it was announced that the resort would be called Disney's Polynesian Village Resort once again, Captain Cooks got a refurb, they added the Pineapple Lanai which is where you can get Dole Whips (though they are no longer all you can fill in a cup), the pool is being upgraded with a hot tub, and Trader Sam's is on its way.  The minus--the removal of the large fountain that made the Poly, the Poly.  While the new lobby is beautiful, the fountain is what made the resort special for many. It will be missed.

  • Trattoria al Forno:  Earlier this year, we saw the closure of Kouzzina at Disney's BoardWalk.  In it's place is the recently opened Trattoria al Forno.  While I haven't heard anything bad about the new restaurant, one does wonder if it's too much Italian within the Resort overall.  I plan to dine here at some point in 2015, so hopefully it won't disappoint. 
  Ok! That's gonna do it for this year, but I'm sure I missed something or you disagree with where I put something.  So don't be shy, let me know!  You can do so via Facebook or the comments section. 

Also, if you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about us here at A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 12/22/14 - 12/28/14


News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.

News

Magic Kingdom
  • Island Supply shop to reopen as Island Supply by Sunglass Hut in Adventureland on January 8. 

Epcot
  • Two changes will take place at Innoventions. IBM's THINK exhibit will close on January 1.  In addition, the Test the Limits Lab will end on January 6. 
  • The Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party will be taking place in January and February. Cost is $49 for adults and $29 for children ages 3-9.


General Walt Disney World News
  •  Contactless Payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet are now able to be utilized throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Most stores, quick service restaurants, bars and ticket sales booths take the contactless payments. Locations that use portable payment terminals, like table service restaurants, will be added later.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!



I would like to send out a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family!  May you spend the day with family, friends, and have good cheer and laughter throughout the day.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 12/15/14 - 12/21/14






News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.

News

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • In the ABC Sound Studio this holiday season, until January 4, guests will be able to enjoy holiday Disney animated shorts from 10:30 a.m. until park close.


Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Creature Comforts will close January 4. The location is expect to roeopen as that park's Starbucks. 
  • Kali River Rapids will have a brief closure from March 10 - 13.


Downtown Disney


  • A brand new steakhouse has been announced for Disney Springs called STK Orlando.  The restaurant is expected to open in the Spring of 2015 in The Landing. 


Walt Disney World Resorts


  • Trattoria al Forno has opened at Disney's BoardWalk 
  • The Polynesian lobby has reopened with an open look, large balled light fixtures, and a smaller fountain that is reminiscent of the old larger one.


General Walt Disney World News

  • ApplePay will be available this week.


Rumors


  • Inside Out characters will be meeting at Disney's Hollywood Studios this Spring.


Download the brand NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to the 2014 Holidays.  Find out about this year's holiday festivities.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Complete Guide To the Holidays at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom



The Holidays are a magical time at Walt Disney World and both Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios have great offerings for guests.  Disney's Hollywood Studios takes holiday Hollywood glamor to the next level. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, it's a wild time, yes even around the Christmas season. 

Let's start with Disney's Hollywood Studios, as this one of the most magical are the experiences that you can participate in.  While this park has only a few things that they do for the holiday season, what they do do is ridiculously awesome!


What's New

  • A new Frozen package, called the Frozen Holiday Premium Package is available for the holiday season. The cost of these premium event is $89 per adult and $59 per child (age 3-9). Gratuity is included. Tax not included. Guests purchasing the package will get:
    • Reserved seating for your choice of a performance of "For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration."
    • Reserved Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights viewing section.
    • Frozen-themed dessert party.
    • Holiday themed lithograph
    • "Frozen" pin.


Disney's Hollywood Studios Events


The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

This is one of the best Christmas experiences and the best part is that it's included in the price of admission! While it's the common definition of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, it really is like experiencing Clark Griswold's house from Christmas Vacation, but on steroids!  The entirety of the Streets of America are filled with thousands and thousands of lights, decorations, and more.  You really won't believe your eyes and huge apparatuses twirl and spin high in the air. In addition, every 15 minutes or so the lights will dance to special music! It's truly a sight to behold. Oh and did I mention that it snows?! (Ok, it's snoap, but still...it's cool!)

The lights take place from November 7 until January 4, 2015

Miscellaneous

  • Meet Santa Goofy on the Streets of America beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

  • Take a look at the decorations that line Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard.  They are made of tinsel to represent Tinsel Town.  I love that little touch.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Events


Unfortunately, with the removal of the Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade earlier this year, Disney's Animal Kingdom doesn't have a lot of events for the Holidays.  One wonders what the park will have in store for us in the next few years with the expansions going on in the park.

Character Meet and Greets
  •  At the Adventurer's Outpost, guests can meet Mickey and Minnie in holiday attire.
  • In Dinoland, guests can meet Santa Goofy, as well as Pluto, who's dressed in his holiday finest.

Miscellaneous


  • The decorations here are great. Some are even animal themed! So be on the lookout!


The holiday season at these two parks is a lot of fun.  While they aren't nearly as elaborate as they are in the other two parks, they are still a great way to get in the festive mood.  

What's your favorite part of either Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom? Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!