Sunshine Villa Florida

Help Name Giraffe Calf Born At Animal Kingdom

baby giraffe

A giraffe calf was born to parents George & Kenya at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and she needs your help with a name!  The parents were paired together as part of the Species Survival Plan by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The team at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums oversees the responsible breeding of endangered or threatened species.

Born Oct 1 she is already 5 feet tall.  This new calf will join the rest of her family and will be spotted in the Savanna portion of the Kilomanjaro Safari before the end of the year but she needs a name before that happens.

This is where you come in!  Disney is asking for help narrowing down her name from the options below:

  • Dafina (Treasure)
  • Milima (Mountain)
  • Amira (Princess)
  • Naima (Graceful)

These names are Swahili – the native language of Kenya. Which one is your favourite?

You can cast your vote here.


Disney’s Forgotten Park

Originally named Riles Island, Disney purchased the island on Bay Lake in 1965 as part of its strategic property acquisitions before building the Walt Disney World Resort.

The island opened as Treasure Island on April 8, 1974, as a place to observe wildlife, and was later renamed Discovery Island when it was recognized as a zoological park. Discovery Island’s name was chosen by a Disney employee who worked as a life guard at the Polynesian Village hotel in the late 1970s.

The island was rich in botanical settings and wildlife including flamingos, pelicans, eagles, alligators, peacocks, swans and more.  Discovery Island featured a walk-through aviary, bird shows, a flamingo pool and Turtle Beach. The “Thirsty Perch” snack bar was constructed and the island premiered the “Jose Carioca Flyers” bird show, which was performed in the CooCoo Cabana. There were also a scavenger hunt which was available to Guests as they arrived on the Island. The 20-question hunt had clues with answers that could be found on signs throughout the island. Successfully answering all of the questions entitled a Guest to a Jiminy Cricket “EnvironMentality” Earth Day button.

Attractions included:

  • Parrots Perch – The Discovery Island Bird Show, featuring macaws, cockatoos, and other trained birds.
  • Monkey Colony – Capuchin monkeys
  • Trumpeter Springs – Trumpeter swans
  • Bamboo Hollow – Lemurs from Madagasgar
  • Vulture’s Haunt – Vultures
  • Toucan Corner – Toucans
  • Cranes’s Roost – Demoiselle, sandhill and African crowned cranes
  • Avian Way – The United States’ most extensive breeding colony of scarlet ibis, Muntjacs and peacocks were also kept here.
  • Pelican Bay –  Brown pelicans
  • Flamingo Lagoon – Flamingos
  • Tortoise Beach – five galapagos tortoises
  • Alligator Pool – American Alligators
  • Eagle’s Watch – Bald eagles

Discovery Island officially closed on April 8th, 1999 and all of its animals had been relocated Animal Kingdom.  Although Disney never officially stated its reasons for closing the park, poor attendance and high maintenance costs, combined with the newer and bigger Disney’s Animal Kingdom being opened a year before, are the most likely causes.

Today, the island can easily be seen from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Resort as well as from boat trips between them. It is adjacent to Disney’s River Country, which closed in November 2001.

Since its closing, the island has sat largely abandoned, with no signs of development. As of 2018, all original buildings and attractions remain on the island, though several have sustained major damages from hurricanes and natural decay.  In 2017, a Youtuber named Matthew Sonswa gained access to the island and captured video footage of the abandoned park. There had only been 2 other documented explorations of the island before Matthew.  One in 2005 and 2007, but all that was captured at that time were still photos.  There had never been detailed HD video footage of the island and it’s interesting to see what’s been left behind this forgotten park.

We have attached a video which includes footage of Matthew’s exploration along with an old promotional video of Discovery Island.

Did you ever visit Discovery Island?


8 Dollar Store Must Haves To Save You Money On Your Disney Vacation


I think most of you will agree that Disney is super fun. But it can also be super expensive. I enjoy sharing my Disney tips so I’ve made a list of top 8 must bring items that will save you some money without sacrificing any fun!  The best part is, I purchase all of these items at my local dollar store.

  • Rain ponchos. We have yet to take a trip to Florida when it hasn’t rained.  And we go quite often.  Rain showers and storms can be fierce in Florida and happen quite frequently.  Of course you can purchase the Disney ponchos in the parks, but for much more than a few bucks. Stock up and consider extra for your stroller, bags etc.
  • Sandwich bags. Don’t forget that Disney allows their guests to bring in food and snacks to the parks. Packing your own snacks can add to a huge savings.  Bring some bags with you to pack lunch, or snacks.  The larger ones are also useful for wet swim suits, dirty diapers, trash etc.
  • Tissues and wet wipes. Expect the unexpected. Especially when you are going with kids. Boogers, dirt, blood – you just never know. Best to be prepared. These typically come in packs of 3 or more for a few dollars.
  • Glow sticks. When my children were younger, I would bring glow sticks with us for a couple of reasons. First off, because kids wants everything that glows or lights up. And as soon as night falls, Disney vendors will start appearing out of no where turning on every glowing and light up novelty. Sure to get kids attention. Secondly, safety.  I discovered that when they are wearing something that glows, it’s easier to keep an eye on them especially if they happen to wander off during the evening.
  • Hand sanitizer. Germs. Enough said.
  • Water bottles. Filling up your own water bottles could save you tons in drinks. It is important to stay hydrated and that could get expensive. You can fill up your water bottles at the fountains and if you choose, bring some squirt water flavouring that you may also find at the dollar store. The bottles pictured here from Dollar Tree even have a handy snack container on the bottom.
  • Souvenir’s. It’s easy to fall prey to the pricey Disney gift shops. Some rides even end up directly inside a shop. Clever.  But if you take a look at your local dollar store, they are full of Disney items from books, jewellery, flashlights, dolls, wands and much more.  Take them with you and hand them out while you’re in the parks. They will be just as excited and this could save you a pretty penny. Check out these neat Disney Halloween safety kits that I brought to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!
  • Cooling towels. If you’re heading to Disney during the summer months, this is a must. Believe me when I say it is SO humid during the summer in Florida. I purchased mine from my local dollar store, but these are a hit and miss so keep your eyes open and when you see them, snag ‘em.

Have I missed anything? What would you add to my list of dollar store must haves for a Disney parks trip?

Disney’s H2O Glow Nights

h2o glow nights

Rex and his Toy Story pals are throwing a glow party at Typhoon Lagoon during Disney’s H2O Glow Nights. The atmosphere transforms into an electric celebration overflowing with fantastic surprises. Along with shorter wait times for popular waterslides, you can look forward to a:

2018 Dates:

  • June:21, 23, 28, 30
  • July:5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
  • August:2, 4, 9, 11

Hosted by Rex from Toy Story, this hard ticket event allows access to some of Typhoon Lagoon’s water slides as well as a glow-filled party. The party runs from 8 pm to 11 pm on select nights although guests can enter as early as 7 pm to get some extra slides in.

In addition to the slides and the partying dino, there will be a DJ-hosted dance party on the sandy beaches of the Surf Pool, Toy Story-themed experiences including Character Greeting with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie Tempting, and limited-time food and drink offerings.  Special area—The Wharf—just for adult partygoers, featuring entertainment and a bar with refreshing libations available for purchase.

Tickets are $55 for adults and $50 for children ages 3-9, tax not included.  You can purchase tickets here

Toy Story Land Debut June 30th At Disney Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land is set to open June 30 at Disney Hollywood Studios.

Based on the hit Disney-Pixar films, Toy Story Land will make you feel as if you’ve been shrunk to the size of a toy and turned loose in Andy’s backyard. New attractions and dining options will also be part of the fun, including:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers: Board a toy rocket and hang on tight as you go on a spin through space with the films’ iconic aliens.
  • Slinky Dog Dash: You’ll twist around curves, hills and drops courtesy of Slinky Dog’s coils on this fun ride.
  • Toy Story Mania: At this midway-style, 4-D shooting game, you can ride and blast moving targets based on your favorite Toy Story characters.
  • Woody’s Lunchbox: Even toys have to eat, which is why Andy’s favourite lunchbox has been turned into a backyard walk-up window with tasty treats.

Get set for some Toy Story fun starting June 30th!

Disney Springs Lands Among New York Times’ Top Places to Visit In 2018

disney springs

Disney Springs is among several U.S. spots on a newly released New York Times list of the 52 Places to Go in 2018 coming in at number 41.

The focus of the New York Times article is how Disney Springs provides “an unexpected culinary destination with a focus on grown-ups. Rick Bayless, Masaharu Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck and Art Smith have all opened restaurants here, and George Miliotes is launching a wine bar in spring 2018 that will be the only master sommelier-ied wine bar in the state. There are boutiques, a House of Blues and partying opportunities aplenty — all giving adults a new reason to go to Disney,” wrote Nell McShane Wulfhart.

To read the full article Click here

What is Disney Springs?

Disney Springs is an entertainment complex brimming with unique boutiques, culinary experiences and live entertainment.  It’s everything from a brief visit to a full day—and well into the evening— experience. A fun break from the parks, and there’s enough going on to please shopaholics, foodies and picky children.  It’s free to access and divided into 4 main areas:


Family friendly area home to many shops & dining options including Lego store and T-Rex family restaurant.

West Side:

Ignite your senses with the sound of applause for world renowned shows and the tempting aroma of treats to be discovered. Be sure to check out a live band at The House of Blues.

The Landing: 

A waterside district with several new restaurants with beautiful waterfront views and new buildings designed to look like they’ve been there for years. Enjoy a dockside cocktail at The Boathouse.

Town Centre:

This area is themed after Florida’s turn of the Century waterfront towns and includes over 30 shops and a variety of dining options and a playful promenade that lets you relax, refresh and reconnect.

Whether you want to dine at a celebrity restaurant, do some shopping, listen to a live band or cruise Lake Buena Vista on an amphicar or Italian water taxi there is plenty to do for everyone! Visit their website here for a complete listing of all it offers.