+
upworthy
Joy

I’ve been on 10 Disney Cruises. Here are the top 5 most magical experiences.

"You’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all."

disney cruises, cruise tips, disney
via LAuren Passell (used with permission)

The very Disney obsessed Lauren Passell and Goofy.

I’m a Disney nerd in every sense of the word—90% of my wardrobe is Disney t-shirts, I named my company after Tinker Bell, I once won the Disney Princess half-marathon wearing a Tinker Bell costume and I try to hit up the parks as often as I can. Of all the Disney nerdery I participate in, cruising is my favorite.

For the tenth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report named Disney Cruise Line the Best Cruise Line for Families and the Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean. But that’s not why I love it. Everywhere you look, there are elements of magic and surprise. You’ll spot your favorite Disney characters hanging out…in their bathing suits…on board, and there’s so much to do that I think you’d have to be on board for a full year to take advantage of it all.


I’m a Dream girl (that’s my ship), so I’ll be referring to that a lot here, but just know that each Disney Cruise Ship (Dream, Magic, Wonder, Fantasy, Wish and Treasure) is special in its own way.

The Musicals

Almost every night on board, you can see Broadway-level musicals, like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” or “The Golden Mickeys,” an award show just like The Oscars but for The Disney obsessed. I cry almost every time I see one of these—the production levels are out of this world—with revolving stages, musical numbers with an entire cast of singers and dancers and breath-taking set design.

Shout-out to these actors, who not only put on one of the best shows you’ve ever seen but also do it on a moving ship! (Which seems dangerous to me, but what do I know?) There’s soda, candy, and popcorn outside, and if you buy a popcorn bucket on day one, you can enjoy $1.50 popcorn refills for the rest of your cruise!

The Parties

Almost all Disney cruises throw a themed party. On The Dream, it’s usually Pirate Night, a dinner and deck party featuring dancing, Disney characters, and fireworks. (Disney was the first cruise line to produce a fireworks show at sea.) People bring their best pirate costumes, but if you forget yours, you can wear the pirate bandana they give everyone onboard.

Stick around for those fireworks; they include music and storytelling that go above and beyond other fireworks shows. And get this: Disney uses fireworks shells made of special biodegradable materials, which Disney calls "fish food." For Disney Cruise Line’s 25th anniversary, Disney added a second night of fireworks to their trips, which more than doubles the magic.

The Movies

When a Disney movie, any Disney movie, premiers on land, you’ll immediately be able to see it on a Disney Cruise Ship. On The Dream it’s the beautiful, state-of-the-art Buena Vista Theater. Besides all the other brand spankin’ new Disney movies you can see for free, many new 3-D showings of Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars films. Sometimes, they’ll pull out old classics. I saw the original “Hocus Pocus” during a Halloween sail. And yes, of course, there’s popcorn.

disney cruises, cruise ships, disney

Lauren Passell hanging out on the beach at Castaway Cay.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

Disney’s Private Island, Castaway Cay

On The Dream and a few other Disney Cruises, you can disembark at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. There’s tons to do for the whole family, from youth programming at Scuttle’s Cove to an adults-only beach called Serenity Bay, where you can rent bikes, water trikes, paddle boats, and more.

And here’s the magical part: if you visit the 22-acre snorkeling lagoon just off the family beach area, you can rent snorkeling gear and search for sunken treasures like a shipwreck and hidden Mickeys, which Disney has dropped to the ocean floor. Castaway Cay also has a special lunch and bar spot if you need a break from the ship's cuisine.

The Ship Itself

One of the best things about a cruise is dropping anchor and exploring new places, right? On Disney Cruises, it can be tempting to stay on board because the ship is just that magical. Everywhere you look, you see artwork of your favorite Disney characters and hidden Mickeys. There’s even something called Enchanted Art, which looks like a regular art piece but is actually a framed LCD screen with technology that recognizes your face while you’re viewing. It will show you several different animations based on what the artwork knows you’ve already seen!

disney cruise, cruise ships, disney drem cruise

The pool on The Dream.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

If you’re ever lost on the ship, just look down. The stars on the carpet always point toward the front. And you can always remember what side of the deck your room is on by looking at the clip on your door—the starboard (right) side rooms have starfish clips and the port (left) side rooms have fish clips.

I can’t say enough about the water slides. On The Dream, the AquaDuck is technically a “water coaster” that has turns, drops, and g-forces similar to a roller coaster. It puts you on a raft in an acrylic tube so you can see out over the sea on your ride. Sometimes, instead of disembarking at one of the destinations, I’ll stay on board and take advantage of having the AquaDuck all to myself. (Also, at the pool, there are always Disney movies playing on a screen the size of a house, which I love to watch as I float or eat soft-serve, which is all-you-can-eat.)

I hope you get to set sail on one of these amazing ships. I’ll leave you with another tip: Do NOT forget to use the complimentary room service. They’ll bring Mickey Mouse-shaped chocolate ice cream bars straight up to your room for free!

disney cruises, book disney cruise, disney dream

Lauren Passell and her husband aboard The Dream.

via Lauren Passell (used with permission)

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.


The actual event occurred in a nano second, but the camera has the ability to slow it down to twenty seconds.

time, science, frames per second, bounced light

The amazing camera.

Photo from YouTube video.

For some perspective, according to New York Times writer, John Markoff, "If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years."


In the video below, you'll see experimental footage of light photons traveling 600-million-miles-per-hour through water.

It's impossible to directly record light so the camera takes millions of scans to recreate each image. The process has been called femto-photography and according to Andrea Velten, a researcher involved with the project, "There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

(H/T Curiosity)


This article originally appeared on 09.08.17

Pop Culture

Woman who moved to Italy lists the most basic human needs Americans now have to pay for

Remember when these things used to be free? They still are in some places.

Representative image from Canva

If you're feeling like everything is just out of reach, you're not alone.

How many times have you, or someone in your circle, made this joke:

“I can’t seem to go outside without spending money!

But, as with many jokes, there’s some dark truth layered in. Life just feels a little hard right now for many of us when it comes to finances. And one person has hit the nail on the head as to why. Spoiler alert: it probably has nothing to do with anyone being lazy.

Amber Cimiotti, a mom of two and expat living in Italy, begins her video by noting how America has removed naturally occurring activities like “exercise, talking to friends, connecting with people, spending time with our kids,” from everyday life. And so now, Americans only have access to these very necessary things if they are able to pay for them.


For example—let’s talk about exercise. Cimiotti notes how "there's not many places, neighborhoods, and cities where it's super easy to walk everywhere, where you can get a lot of natural exercise, whether it's walking to and from your house or to the grocery stores. This just doesn't exist for most people now, so you have to wake up earlier on your lunch break or after work; you have to go to the gym so you can get in your exercise." Which means someone has to have anywhere between $40 to upwards of $300+ a month to invest in their physical health in this way.

Next up—mental health resources, primarily in the form of real conversations in a supportive community. Cimiotti says “people are meant to share their struggles, their stories, everyday, constantly. And we’re not doing that. And what do you see happening? Nowadays, everybody needs a therapist. Yes, therapy is needed for some things but most people just need to be talking to people way more. And I don’t mean like trolling on the internet.”

Also—child care. "There used to be kids running around neighborhoods all the time. Parents didn't have to pay all this extra money to do activities so their kids can be involved in things; parents didn't have to drive all over the place... But now that doesn't exist. So we do need to pay for activities,” Cimiotti says.

Lastly—food. “Eating healthy food in America is a part-time job, if not a full-time job…it would all be so much easier if we just had healthy food in general.” I don’t think Cimiotti needs to convince anyone here that quality food (food in general, really) is definitely not accessible for many folks, and high prices are at least partially to blame.

“The point is when things don’t happen naturally in your day and you need to take extra energy to achieve basic things like healthy food, exercise, talking to friends, which helps regulate emotions and things like that…when you have to build those into therapy sessions, exercise sessions, hobbies, reading 17 books…of course you’ll be tired,” Cimiotti concludes with a big sigh.

@ciaoamberc #america #culture #family #friends #parenting #society ♬ original sound - Ciao AmberC

Down in the comments, people seemed to really resonate with what Cimiotti had to say.

One reader commented, “I’m totally convinced that a lot of therapy effects could be achieved by processing time with an array of friends in different stages of life. Which isn’t possible to mutually schedule like therapy.”


And while Cimiotti’s video might be sobering, she tells Buzzfeed that her hope is it can lead to more conversations that “help lead to a change.”

Judging by some of the viewer reactions, it seems she’s succeeded, at least in helping people not blame themselves for their challenges. One person shared, “It’s so validating to hear cause I feel like I never have enough time to just live well and not be completely exhausted and have space left to do fun stuff!”

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.


The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.

The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.

The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.

The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.

The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.

They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.

“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”

They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.

The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.

american kennel club, french bulldog, most popular dog

An adorable French Bulldog

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.

Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.

Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.

1 French Bulldogs

2 Labrador Retrievers

3 Golden Retrievers

4 German Shepherd Dogs

5 Poodles

6 Bulldogs

7 Rottweilers

8 Beagles

9 Dachshunds

10 German Shorthaired Pointers


This article originally appeared on 03.17.23

Tennessee state senator gives fiery speech on arming teachers

Every once in a while a state's bill will make a blip on national media that causes people to dig a little deeper into what's happening. One such bill made headlines last year for a brief time before a new bill from another state took it's place.

After a tragic school shooting in the state of Tennessee where six people were killed, including three young students, state politicians began talking about arming the teachers. The idea was if teachers were armed then they would be able to stop school shooters, but the bill was widely unpopular among teachers and many parents. That didn't stop the state legislature from drawing up the bill and putting it up for a vote April 2024.

Many parents showed up to Tennessee State Senate to protest the bill, but it was the fiery speech of State Senator London Lamar that has people talking.


The new mom held her infant son in her arms while she addressed her colleagues who saw fit to laugh after moms protesting the bill were asked to leave. Lamar did not hold back in not only expressing her disappointment in her colleagues behavior but their disregard for very real concerns that she also shares with the people asked to leave.

"We are literally talking about arming educators who took an oath to teach our kids writing and arithmetic and how they can one day contribute to Tennessee's great economy, and we're now turning them into law enforcement agents by arming them with guns. We think this piece of legislation is going to keep kids safe which is probably going to enable the next school shooter, and it's not going to be someone coming in from the outside. It's unfortunately going to be a teacher with this piece of legislation," Lamar declares.

You can watch her passionate speech below:

@iamcalledlucas/Instagram, used with permission

We need every Lucas version of Taylor's songs.

Sure, Taylor Swift did a great job at writing, performing in and directing her “Fortnitemusic video (which has only dropped a couple days ago and already at over 30 million views)…but you know what could make it even better? Having a dog perform all the parts, that’s what!

And that’s exactly the treat we received, thanks to an adorable dachshund named Lucas.

The clip (aptly titled “Fortnight (Lucas’ version)”) recreates the music video’s black-and-white typewriter scene, where the camera alternates between a moody Swift and Post Malone clacking as they lament about how much love is “ruining” their lives. you know, basic tortured poets stuff.


Only this time, Lucas plays both the roles—costumes as all! Major kudos to Lucas’ parent, who clearly has an eye for detail and camera angles. Both the original video and Lucas’ video play simultaneously so you can really see how similar they are.

“I look like @taylorswift in this light, i’m lovin’ it 🤭🤍,” the clip caption says.

Watch below. Spoiler alert: get ready to see little doggy paws in lace gloves.

Down in the comments, people were enthralled.

One person wrote, "THIS NEEDS MORE ATTENTION”

"Magical!!!!!!!" another added.

Though clearly Lucas’s is a whole ‘nother level of Swiftie, is he not the only dog to be a fan. In an experiment produced by WoofWoof, dogs were “visibly more relaxed” by her music than other artists in the study. Her songs got more tail wagging and even more “howls of approval.” That’s right, her music transcends species.

Just like Taylor Swift, Lucas has many, many more music videos where they came from, including “The Archer,” “Hoax” and “You Belong with Me.” And just like Swift, he outdoes himself with every new project.

Check out even more of his content on Instagram and TikTok.