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13 Magical Disney Park Secrets To Know Before You Go

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With the school year ending and temperatures rising, vacations are on the brain. And for many families, that means a trip to a Disney park.

If you’ve ever been to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Disneyland in Anaheim, California, you know the entire visit can be quite the production, from the “cast members” (Disney speak for employees) to the rides to the tiniest Disney-centric details surrounding you. We rounded up some secrets and fun facts about the parks to make your visit even more interesting. Check them out below.

You can actually stay in Cinderella’s castle ― but only if you’re lucky

These special accommodations at Disney World are what the company calls the Cinderella Castle Suite, and it’s typically reserved for contest winners or other special occasions. It’s just as fancy as Cinderella would like it, with its stained glass, lavish furnishings and fabrics, and a mirror that turns into a television. You can sneak a peek on the Disney Parks site.

There’s a reason cast members point with two fingers

Keen visitors will notice cast members typically point with two fingers instead of the usual one. Walt Disney smoked cigarettes, resulting in photos taken of the entertainment mogul pointing to various attractions at the park with two fingers and a cigarette in between them. Tom Hanks, who portrayed Disney in the 2013 film “Saving Mr. Banks,” noted the detail in an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Some photos even have the cigarette airbrushed out in an attempt to separate the company from smoking.

Pictorial Parade via Getty Images

Walt Disney was a heavy smoker, and there’s a theory that his habit inspired the signature “Disney point.”

In an interview with HuffPost in 2015, a Disney employee, who requested to remain anonymous, confirmed that the two-finger point “is part of our training upon being hired in,” and that employees are told it’s both a gesture that is considered less rude than the usual point and an homage to Disney.

Epcot represents Disney’s desire to explore the future

Epcot at Disney World is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It represents Disney’s vision for a functioning city that relied on continuous innovation and exploration of the future, which never came to fruition before he died in 1966. Instead, his company paid homage to its visionary by building a park with futuristic attractions.

You can now keep an eye out for a female pirate on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride

This month, Disneyland reopened its “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride with a new buccaneer: a woman. Disney describes Redd as a “pirate who’s just pillaged the town’s rum supply.” She’ll also be an actual character walking around to visit with guests.

Digital First Media Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images via Getty Images

Changes to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland include a new female character named Redd.

Disney changed the ride’s auction scene, too, which formerly conveyed tied-up women waiting to be sold as brides. As reported by The Orange County Register, the red-headed woman from the old auction scene is now Redd, and the auction is now focused on goods to be sold, not women.

There are “hidden Mickeys” throughout the parks

Of course, the iconic shape of the Mickey Mouse head is frequently seen in the parks’ decorations and food, but there are several more strategically placed throughout the attractions. Some are easy enough for a Disney rookie to spot, and others are a bit tougher to find. There are sites and social media accounts dedicated to this fun hunt that can sometimes make the long lines a bit more bearable.

Some visitors get around the “no costume” rule in a clever way (and you can, too!)

The Disney World and Disneyland sites clearly state that guests 14 years and older aren’t allowed to wear costumes. Since the Disney magic isn’t just for kids, older visitors have worked their way around this rule through “Disneybounding,” which means putting together an outfit that’s inspired by a character, mainly through color coordination and accessories.

Cast members use secret tunnels beneath the parks

In an interview with Business Insider, Mike Fox, the author of several books about Disney park secrets, said that cast members use underground “utilidors” to move about the Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Disney World and that Disneyland features a smaller, similar system.

Jonathan Blair via Getty Images

For more efficient travel away from the guests, cast members sometimes use “utilidors” under the parks.

“It’s nothing that Disney’s trying to hide from people, it’s just a very efficient tool for maintaining the story,” Fox told Business Insider of the feature.

The singing busts in the Haunted Mansion have names

Their names are Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock. Because “Yo Ho Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” was such a hit for visitors on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Disney decided to give the Haunted Mansion a signature tune as well.

There’s a barber shop in the Magic Kingdom

Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is designated with a classic striped barber pole. According to the park’s site, “little ones can even enjoy the special ‘My First Haircut’ package, which includes commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate.”

You can actually order the “Grey Stuff” from “Beauty and the Beast”

In the 1991 film “Beauty and the Beast,” Lumiere sings during “Be Our Guest” that Belle should “try the grey stuff, it’s delicious.” The restaurant known as Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland also encourages guests to give it a try. On the menu, the dish is described as “Chocolate Shell, Cookie Crème topped with Lumiere’s special ‘Grey Stuff.’”

The Mickey Mouse floral portrait that welcomes you to Disneyland was done in less than a week

Loomis Dean via Getty Images

According to the Disney Parks blog, more than 3,600 annuals make up the Mickey Mouse floral portrait at Disneyland.

Less than a week before Disneyland’s opening day in 1955, horticulturist Jack Evans received a memo from Joe Fowler, a retired admiral whom Disney personally asked to help with the park, that read, “When are you going to plant Mickey Mouse in the entrance? Looks to me like the time is getting pretty late.”

Luckily, the floral project was ready in time. In 2014, the Disney Parks blog informed fans that more than 3,600 annuals make up the mouse’s happy expression.

Julie Andrews has a carousel horse at Disneyland dedicated to her

In 2008, acting legend Julie Andrews, who portrayed Mary Poppins in the Disney classic film of the same name, had a horse from Disneyland’s King Arthur Carrousel dedicated to her. It is the lead horse named Jingles. Another fun fact? The horses are in a galloping position and painted white because of a request from Disney himself.

Disneyland is home to a bunch of cats, and the internet loves them

In 2015, a Disney rep confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that its parks in Anaheim have a feline presence, but wouldn’t comment further about the creatures. There’s a site dedicated to the furry friends, which are said to help with rodents scurrying around the parks, and the Cats of Disneyland Instagram account currently has more than 64,000 followers.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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