Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark

The Traveling Gals at Opening Night of Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Dark

When we booked our Memorial Day weekend at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge last year, we had no idea how much extra magic we were in for!  All three of us gals arrived just in time for opening night of Disney’s Animal Kingdom AFTER DARK!  In the first phase of the massive expansion happening at Animal Kingdom, the park is now open until 11 p.m. with a spectacular nighttime transformation.  It is always so exciting to see everything you have read about come alive Disney style!

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Our first stop was the evening safari on Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We were able to get Fastpasses so our wait time was only about 5 minutes.  We had a very entertaining safari guide so the trek started out just right.  Being on the savannah in the dark is such a different experience than during the day.  It was not quite dark when we arrived, but just after sunset so there was a beautiful, dusky glow.  Disney added very unobtrusive lighting that allowed for great viewing.  The animals were so incredibly active after sunset.  It was like an entirely different safari than the daytime (which we also love!).  Some of the hippos were out of the water walking around, the baby rhino was actually running with its mother.  The cheetahs were awake and alert, the lion and lionesses were wide awake and actually walking around!  It was such a thrilling sight.  For us gals who go on the safari regularly, this was almost like going on a new safari encounter all together.

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Disney Springs Town Center
Disney

Review: Disney Springs Town Center

Updated February 6th, 2018

The new area of Disney Springs called the Town Center finally opened and it is beautiful. This is the second new area to open at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). First was The Landings which features: The Boathouse, Jock Lindsay’s Hanger Bar, STK and Morimoto Asia. Now we have the Town Center, which is the main shopping center that also has some unique dining locations.

Disney Springs Town Center

The Town Center features 23 stores and dining locations and new stores will be opening throughout the summer as well. The architecture and details in this area are amazing. It really is one of the nicest shopping centers. It is not all “Disney-ed” up, but it still has the high level of detail that Disney is known for. The buildings are styled after Spanish architecture and is bright and open. Disney also opened the second parking garage (so now there is Lime & Orange), and parking is still free! There is also valet parking (not free) if you so choose. If you are staying on property, your best bet is still to take the resort transportation because the construction makes for a lot of traffic in the area.

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Healthy Living

How to Stay Fit on Vacation When You Don’t Really Want to Work Out

How to Stay Fit on Vacation When You Don’t Really Want To Work Out…

Post by Kary

How to Stay Fit On Vacation

Stairs are your friend!

 

One of the best parts of taking a vacation is stepping out of your everyday routine. For most of us, working out while on vacation is probably the last thing on your mind. Even though you know you should, you really don’t want to.  For me, I work out extra hard and extra long the entire week leading up to going out of town.  This helps give me the boost I need to not have to maintain my early morning regimen while I’m away.  However, I still want to fit into my bathing suit, so I try to stay as active as possible while having a great time!  Check out some of these suggestions to stay active with having to “work out”:

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USA Travel

More Things to do in Sarasota, FL

More Things To Do in Sarasota

Post by Ashley

This is a follow-up to our Top 3 Must-Do’s in Sarasota post! There are so many great things to do in this small city on the Suncoast. After you’ve hit the main areas in Sarasota, you definitely have to check out these other great places in our beautiful city that we are lucky to now call home.

Ringling Ca'd'Zan: More Things to do in Sarasota, FL

Ringling Museum

The John & Mable Ringling Museum is one of our favorite places to go in Sarasota. The museum features two great sections, the circus museums and the art museum. We wrote a post about what to see and do at Ringling because it is so great!

Marie Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Gardens are located on the bay, right near downtown Sarasota which makes for gorgeous views while you are walking around the grounds. Some of the highlights are the Conservatory which features an array of tropical plants, Bamboo Garden, Banyan Grove, and the Children’s Gardens. Check out their website for more information.

Bridge Street - Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is actually about a 45 minute drive from Sarasota but is so worth it. This is a quant, charming area to walk around with excellent ocean views and no tall buildings or chain retailers allowed. You can even see the cruise ships departing from Tampa on certain evenings around sunset. Check out our post on how to make the most of your time in AMI!

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Uncategorized

[Guest Post] Fitness, Food & Fun in Costa Rica

Thank you to Ali Swank at aligoesthedistance.com for this great post and pictures about her recent trip to Costa Rica! Ali is one of my friends I met in college and she is very much into living a healthy and active lifestyle and helping others do the same. Now she has her own personal training business and teaches fitness classes in the Tampa area. If you are interested in running, workout tips, healthy recipes, or personal training definitely check out her website & blog.

Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

Fitness, Food, & Fun in Costa Rica!

I recently just took a vacation with my family on our first trip international trip to Costa Rica! Among a few other similar destinations, we chose Costa Rica for the many activities it offers such as hiking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), the diverse wildlife, and their beaches and laid-back lifestyle.  The food was fresh and healthy yet simplified, and very tasty. We ate at local “sodas” known as diners. Sodas and most restaurants are known for serving rice and beans with a choice of meat or a Casada, which includes rice and beans, meat, small salad or coleslaw, plantains, and a vegetable. These sodas were found through the country so we definitely got our fill of these!

 Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

We started our trip driving to La Fortuna, a small kind of touristy town near the Arenal Volcano. The area has a lot of history and culture, being settled near the Volcano, of which one of the peaks is still active. We did a self-tour in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, a park with six hanging suspended bridges among the rainforest canopy. It was also a botanical park with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees as well as birds and insects. They had beautiful walking trails throughout for a self-guided walk or the option to take a tour.

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Ringling Museum of Art
Uncategorized

Guide to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL

Guide to the Ringling Museum
Post by Kary 
Welcome to one of the many very pleasant surprises of Sarasota. For those of you who have traveled the world and visited museums in Europe and Asia, you are probably thinking, what could a museum in Sarasota have to offer? As it turns out, it has a lot to offer and is definitely worth a trip!
Set on 20 acres of waterfront property, the museum is the culmination of John and Mable Ringling’s love of Sarasota, art and Italy. There are several sections to the Ringling; The Museum of Art, the Ca’d’Zan, the Historic Asolo Theater and the Circus Museum.
Ringling Museum of Art
The Museum of Art
The 31 gallery Museum of Art is modeled after the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. It is an amazing slice of Italy in the heart of Sarasota. Leading up to the Museum building is a perfectly manicured landscape with the Lygia and the Bull sculpture. As you enter, the galleries are on either side of the building and the middle is a huge courtyard with a view of the gulf in the distance.
The courtyard is adorned with replicas of Greek and Italian sculpture with the highlight of a large bronze cast of Michelangelo’s, David. The galleries are a treasure of original paintings and objects largely by the Old Masters, Velazquez, VanDyke, Rubens and Poussin. As John Ringling was amassing his collection, he began educating himself on art and collecting. To this end, he accumulated many art books which became the foundation for the Ringling Art Library. The West Wing was added in the 1960’s to house special exhibitions. It is a modern building emphasized by Joseph’s Coat. Joseph’s Coat is a skyspace by James Turrell that allows visitors to gaze at the sky through a 24 foot opening in the ceiling designed in contemplation of light and perception. There is a continuous calendar of impressive exhibits. The current, Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is a rich and wide-ranging collection of exquisite objects from when Japan was ruled by the samurai military
class organized by Contemporanea Progetti in Florence, Italy. The Center for Asian Art is scheduled to open late February, 2016. It is an exciting expansion that will support teaching and research on Asian history and society through education, exhibitions and programs.
Traveling Gals Tip: The Museum of Art offers free admission every Monday throughout the year!

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Healthy Living

Roasted Corn Salad Recipe

Roasted Corn Salad Recipe Inspired by Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Post by Kary
Florida’s corn season is just around the corner. I am always on the lookout for dishes that can be turned into healthy, plant based recipes. Disney is not always the best place for healthy food ideas, but they are getting better!
Roasted Corn Salad Recipe - thetravelinggals.com
Roasted Corn Salad
Serves 4-6
  • 8 ears corn or 1 28 oz bag of frozen corn
  • 2-3 roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • Optional 1/2 cup plant based mayonnaise *
  • Ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place red peppers on sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Roast for 20 minutes then turn peppers to other side and roast another 20 minutes or so until the peppers are softened and slightly charred. After cooling, slice each pepper in half, remove the seeds, cut into strips and peel the pepper.
Heat pan to medium and roast corn for 10-12 minutes until tender.
In a bowl whisk together plant based mayonnaise and lime juice. If you prefer to make your own plant based mayonnaise, please see the instructions below.
Add roasted corn, red peppers, green onion, green pepper and stir well. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Roasted Corn Salad Recipe - thetravelinggals.com
* Quick Plant Based Mayonnaise
Combine 12 ounces of silken firm tofu, 1 ½ tbsp. lemon
juice, 1½ tsp apple cider vinegar, 1½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp stevia in a blender. Blend for approximately 1 minute until smooth. If mayo is too thick, add 1 tsp of nut milk until desired consistency.
Enjoy!
The Traveling Gals

World Travel

Vietnam in Photos

Vietnam in Photos

Post by Ashley

In 2013 we took a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia on a river cruise down the Mekong River and land tour. This trip was really interesting seeing both the developed cities and poorer rural areas. We started in southern Vietnam in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City and traveled around and ended in Northern Vietnam in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. The food, history, people, and culture all made for an excellent trip. We had a wonderful time and wanted to share some of our favorite pictures. Keep your eye out for our post on Cambodia!

Saigon: Vietnam in Photos

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City

 

Sofitel Saigon Plaza: Vietnam in Photos

Rooftop pool at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza

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Healthy Living

Quick and Easy Enchilada Casserole

  • 6-8 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) salsa
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans
  • 1 can (15 oz.) corn
  • 1½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • Taco Seasoning to taste
  • 1 package (12 oz.) firm tofu
  • 3 cups chopped baby spinach
  • ½ bunch green onion, chopped
  • 6-8 vegan shredded cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mash in medium bowl or pulse in food processor, beans, ½ teaspoon soy sauce,
1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning. Then add green onion and corn. Mash in medium bowl or pulse in food processor, tofu, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, 1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning.
In a 9×12 casserole dish, put 2-3 tablespoons of salsa on the bottom and spread evenly.
Place a layer of tortillas over the salsa. Spread ½ the black bean layer over the tortillas. Add another layer of tortilla.
Spread the tofu layer over the tortilla layer and spread 2/3 cup of salsa evenly over the tofu layer. Add a layer of tortilla.
Spread ½ the black bean layer over the tortillas.
Add another layer of tortillas and top with baby spinach.
Add another layer of tortillas and top with the rest of the salsa.
Bake for 45 minutes with tin foil over the dish. Add the vegan cheese to the top and bake another 10 minutes or so without tin foil until the cheese bubbles and serve. This is especially good served over or accompanied by brown rice.
Quick and Easy Enchilada Casserole
Comer Bien!
The Traveling Gals

Disney

Disney World Challenge: 4 Parks in 1 Day

For those who love Disney World, a popular challenge is going to all 4 parks in 1 day. While this may sound like an impossible task, with a little planning it can be done. And it is so much fun! It is important to keep in the back of your mind that you won’t be able to do everything. If possible, try to plan some Fast Passes to coincide with when you will be in the park, just to save time. Also bring some snacks like granola bars to keep the energy levels up!

Now we routinely can do 3 parks in one day (Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Magic Kingdom). The one that can cause problems is Animal Kingdom because it is not connected to any of the other parks. You can walk/boat/bus from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT and then take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. Because of this we suggest starting your challenge at Animal Kingdom. We also highly suggest you use Disney transportation and not your own car if you are not staying on property. The toll booth lines can get backed up and you may end up parking really far away from the entrance. You can park for free at Disney Springs and head over to Saratoga Springs to catch your first bus.(You can also try parking at a resort. If it’s not crowded they will usually let you, but don’t tell anyone that was our idea!)

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