Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day

 

Happy Independence Day

 

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Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They’d been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.
July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.
In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!

 

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How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?

For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation. By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.
By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.
After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.
Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

Interesting to know isn’t it??

If you need help planning a trip to the US then please get in touch it would be my pleasure to help you.

Thank you

 

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Service

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Service

Ever wondered if it was worth paying the extra to fly Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic. Well read on and I will tell you what I thought.

The whole Upper Class experience begins the moment you set foot in the Airport. We travelled from Gatwick Airport, and as soon as we began to head towards the Upper Class check in desks we were greeted by a Lady In Red!! Our passports were taken by the Check In staff and our cases taken from us, there was NO queue, there was NO stress, there was NO weighing our luggage or hand luggage. We were given our fastrack boarding passes, asked if we needed directions to the Clubhouse and away we went.

Fastrack at Gatwick is by invitation only and should by the name be fast. Unfortunately not this time. The queue wasn’t too bad when we entered but ten minutes later when we were still waiting to go through the turnstile, they were suggesting passengers go to the normal departures as it was quicker!! Suggestions to improve this, definitely more staff showing passengers how to use the gates, nobody was standing correctly and the machine sensors couldn’t pick them up.

We eventually headed to the Clubhouse. You can read my review of this here, it was so great it needed its own post!!!

When it was time to board the aircraft Upper Class passengers and Gold Cardholders boarded first. We had our jackets hung for us, our carry-on suitcases stowed in wardrobes and were offered champagne or juice before we took off.

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The cabin does have a more personal feel to it, its more casual and relaxed.

The seats which can fold down to make a flat bed were very comfortable. There was a large soft pillow and duvet stowed behind your seat. As soon as we took off my Daughter tested out the flat bed and stayed there for most of the journey cuddled in the duvet!!

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There is a 10″ entertainment screen that pops out the side of your area. Its on an easily moveable arm and the remote control is easily accessible too. You have a power point and a large sturdy tray to eat, work or play at. My son’s goal was to watch as many movies as possible. You get to use a nice pair of headphones.

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The seats on the aircraft we travelled on, a 747-400 are arranged in a herringbone shape allowing lots of privacy. It is so nice to have direct access to the aisle and not have to worry about climbing over your neighbour. You have an ottoman at the end of your seat to either put your feet up on or have a companion come and join you for a drink. I stowed most of my belongings in the ottoman as its hollow.

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Food, yum yum in this case I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

A few pictures of the views outside.

One thing I would say that dampened our experience and I must strongly advise you to check this every time is your seats numbers. I ALWAYS prebook our seat numbers beforehand if this facility is available. We did this months in advance and got four seats together. As we had an informal check in at the Upper Class Desk it never occurred to me to recheck the seat numbers and it wasn’t until we got onboard we realised our seats had been changed and we were split up. After being in contact with Virgin Atlantic Customer Relations I must warn you that that is NOT a Virgin Atlantic policy to advise customers travelling in ANY class if they change your seats for any reason. We are all aware especially those who have worked in the Travel Industry that when you book an airline ticket you are booking a seat not a seat number but out of courtesy it would be nice to be advised. Maybe its time for this policy to be changed? It would have certainly made a difference to the start of our trip. Nobody wants to spend a 9 hour flight split from their family!!

Overall we once again loved the Upper Class experience. Is it worth the extra? I would definitely do it again, if I can get a great deal on the fare or use our flying club miles. I never buy a full fare ticket, but who does nowadays??

Have you ever flown Upper Class? Was it worth it for you? Have you ever had your seat numbers changed by an airine? I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

Disney News: Fastpass+ and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

DISNEY HAS CONFIRMED THE OFFICIAL OPENING DATE FOR THE SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN RIDE IS 28TH MAY. THIS IS THE NEWEST ATTRACTION AT MAGIC KINGDOM.

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FASTPASS+ IS ALREADY AVAILABLE TO BOOK FOR THE RIDE.
I SUGGEST YOU START MAKING YOUR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS AS EARLY AS YOU CAN THERE WILL BE SOME VERY LONG QUEUES OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS FOR THIS ATTRACTION.

AN EXCLUSIVE FOR FASTPASS+ CUSTOMERS IS STARTING 11TH MAY (USA MOTHERS DAY).
THESE ARE ONLY ACCESSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BOOKED A FASSPASS+ NO WALK UPS WILL BE ADMITTED.


MEET DAISY AND DONALD DUCK AT CHARACTER LANDINGS IN DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM.

MEET MINNIE MOUSE AT THE MAGIC OF DISNEY ANIMATION IN HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS.

MEET WINNIE THE POOH AND FRIENDS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM IN EPCOT. JOIN FRIENDS FROM HUNDRED ACRE WOODS IN CHRISTOPHER ROBINS ROOM.
SO WITH MORE AND MORE BECOMING AVAILABLE ON THE NEW FASTPASS+ SYSTEM, ITS GOING TO BE HARDER AND HARDER TO CHOSE WHICH 3 ATTRACTIONS TO FASTPASS+ FIRST. JUST REMEMBER YOU CAN NOW ADD ADDITIONAL FASTPASS+ AT KIOSKS ACROSS THE DISNEY PARKS ONCE YOU HAVE USED ALL OF YOUR 3 PREBOOKED FASTPASS+

MORE DISNEY NEWS COMING SOON.

Disney News: SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN RIDE AND FASTPASS+

DISNEY HAS CONFIRMED THE OFFICIAL OPENING DATE FOR THE SEVEN DWARFS MINE TRAIN RIDE IS 28TH MAY. THIS IS THE NEWEST ATTRACTION AT MAGIC KINGDOM.

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FASTPASS+ IS ALREADY AVAILABLE TO BOOK FOR THE RIDE.
I SUGGEST YOU START MAKING YOUR FASTPASS+ RESERVATIONS AS EARLY AS YOU CAN THERE WILL BE SOME VERY LONG QUEUES OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS FOR THIS ATTRACTION.
AN EXCLUSIVE FOR FASTPASS+ CUSTOMERS IS STARTING 11TH MAY (USA MOTHERS DAY).
THESE ARE ONLY ACCESSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BOOKED A FASSPASS+ NO WALK UPS WILL BE ADMITTED.
MEET DAISY AND DONALD DUCK AT CHARACTER LANDINGS IN DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM.
MEET MINNIE MOUSE AT THE MAGIC OF DISNEY ANIMATION IN HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS.
MEET WINNIE THE POOH AND FRIENDS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM IN EPCOT. JOIN FRIENDS FROM HUNDRED ACRE WOODS IN CHRISTOPHER ROBINS ROOM.
SO WITH MORE AND MORE BECOMING AVAILABLE ON THE NEW FASTPASS+ SYSTEM, ITS GOING TO BE HARDER AND HARDER TO CHOSE WHICH 3 ATTRACTIONS TO FASTPASS+ FIRST. JUST REMEMBER YOU CAN NOW ADD ADDITIONAL FASTPASS+ AT KIOSKS ACROSS THE DISNEY PARKS ONCE YOU HAVE USED ALL OF YOUR 3 PREBOOKED FASTPASS+
MORE DISNEY NEWS COMING SOON.

My Disney Experience

 

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Nowadays the name of the game before you enter any Disney Park is Planning!!! And with the new My Disney Experience App it’s never been easier.

You can reserve your Fastpass+ selections before you even step onto the plane. Now you can book your favourite Disney rides, shows and parades. You can choose from more than double the previous experiences and skip all those long standby queues. Start booking your Fastpasses 30 days in advance. If you’ve never visited before recommendations are available to you on the app. At this present time you can pre book 3 Fastpasses and from tomorrow (28th April) you can have additional Fastpasses at kiosks scattered around the parks. The main rule is, you can only have additional Fastpasses once you have used your 3 prebooked passes. (Tip: Prebook for the morning) If your only going to the park for one day and want to see the Evening parade or fireworks this may not benefit you. If you book the Fireworks at the end of the night then you won’t be able to have additional ones until they finish. Have a think about whats more important to you.

I managed to keep my phone on Airplane Mode for nearly 3 weeks. I used it everyday, with FREE Wi-fi literally everywhere it wasn’t hard to keep in touch with Emails and Social Media. Checking emails on holiday you may say!! Well its worth doing, we turned up to Thunder Mountain at our allocated Fastpass time only to find it was temporily closed and we were turned away. Literally one minute later when we were still discussing what to do I received an email from Disney. It apologised that the ride was closed and gave us 8 alternatives that we could Fastpass from the allocated time slot until the park closed. Technology is great we walked straight onto Splash Mountain instead (Standby Queue was 90minutes!!)

You can also book your restaurants in Disney even further in advance six months to be exact. If your going in the height of the season it’s never too early to book that table. There’s nothing worse than seeing the kids disappointed faces when you can’t get in the T Rex restaurant!!

The Magic Bands are great and if your staying in a Disney Hotel not only can they be used for the Fastpasses but as a room key and to charge items to as well. It’s a great way to not spend the day fumbling in your bag for your keys, tickets (you need these every time for Fastpass+) and money to buy food, snacks and gifts. Even if you aren’t staying in a Disney Hotel they’re a great idea to have. Especially for the kids as you can buy accessorises to decorate them. They can be used year after year (the battery apparently lasts two years and can easily be replaced)

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Maybe if your trip is a once in a lifetime trip to Disney you should consider the Photo Package too. Throughout your Disney experience you will be able to have as many Disney Photopass pictures with the Photographers as you wish INCLUDING all the ride pictures. Prices start from $150. If your going to buy your rides photo’s anyway this is a great way to save money.

Waiting Times are shown on the app and they are literally spot on. I was checking them constantly. (TIP: If your in the park for 12 hours you may use your battery life before the end of the day. Buy a Charger stick in CVS Pharmacy and take with you they’re only $15 and handy to have at home too) You can save yourself a lot of queuing time by checking the Wait Times.

There is a lot to think about and My Disney Experience is a great app to help you out. If you need any help planning your trip and making the most of your time then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. If your confused about which tickets are best for you I’m happy to help.

Have you used the My Disney Experience yet? Let me know what you thought. Did it run smoothly for you too??

Coming soon. Universal Studio’s Theme Parks and Shopping Tips