Oh My Orlando

A great place to be.

Month: July, 2012

Disney’s Wild Side


We couldn’t go any further. Through the dense tree cover we could see that the path ended in a primeval, alligator-infested swampland lake. Behind us we could hear the vultures crashing through the trees, over a hundred of them, getting closer with every wingbeat. The early morning mist added to the eeriness of the situation, taking us back to a time before Disney, a time before the arrival of any European settlers, a time before time.

It was a very different kind of rush to any thrill ride – and we loved every second of it.

This is a part of Disney’s world that most tourists don’t often visit; 12,000 acres of the kind of Florida Walt would have seen when he flew over the area in his plane, Ear Force One, looking for an East Coast location to turn his dreams to reality. It’s situated just outside Poinciana at the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, about fifteen miles to the South of the theme parks – an easy (even to a foreigner like me) half hour drive.

There are two walking trails open to visitors with the longest being about two and a half miles, and it’s very easy hiking, like walking through a meadow for the most part. However be warned that apart from the aforementioned lakeside section much of the property is open fields and scrubland with no shade at all. If, like me, Florida weather is much hotter than you get at home then I’d definitely recommend that you take a hat and some liquids with you.

What is there to see there? Well that completely depends on what nature wants to provide when you’re there. You’ll probably spot some birdlife along the way, as we did with those vultures. We had seen them gathering for quite a while before they dropped into the woods directly in front of us. Naturally they became a little curious when we followed them in and quite a few came down to ground level to have a look at us, but within a few minutes they were off again, no doubt searching for some easier and deader prey. Other birds occasionally ran out of the grasses or flew into the branches of the scant few trees dotted around: if ornithology is your thing then they provide an excellent leaflet listing what species visit the area at what time of year.

But the ground-based animals will mostly be resting up during opening hours. So while you may spot deer or bobcat tracks, the odds of seeing the creatures themselves are pretty slim. Not so the gators though; we saw a five footer hauled out in the midday sun. Naturally, we gave him a very wide berth. Many of the 1,000+ plants and animals that call the preserve home are endangered species, so ask when at the Adventure Center what to keep an eye out for when you arrive.

The preserve is not open to the public every day, so it’s worth giving them a call before you set off. Entrance is free (though they would greatly appreciate any donations) and apart from the friendly staff, we didn’t see another person in the four hours we were there.

Will you enjoy it? That’s completely up to you. If you like lonely walks through desolate natural environments then you probably will. However if you expect everything under the Disney banner to provide the same level of detailed entertainment as Walt Disney World then maybe not. But at least consider a visit. Sometimes we all need a little break from the magnificent madness of the theme parks, and by donating this land to The Nature Conservancy, Disney have provided it. But for us it was the vultures that made it extra special.

The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve
2700 Scrub Jay Trail
Kissimmee, FL 34759
Phone: (407) 935-0002

© Shaun Finnie 2012
Shaun Finnie is the author of ‘The Disneylands That Never Were’ and countless articles about the Walt Disney Company.

A short segment featuring South-Eastern Big Eared Bats. Jennifer Milikowsky talks and shows the research being done at The Disney Wilderness Preserve. This segment is part of the Kissimmee Basin: the Northern Everglades documentary. http://www.NorthernEverglades.com or FaceBook Kissimmee Basin Northern Everglades.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shaun_Finnie


Law Offices Of Frank Verdi Orlando FL Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you need legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Frank Verdi in Orlando, Florida. They are experts in dealing with medical malpractice, wrongful death, and product liability, as well as general practice. Contact them today.

Realty Round-Up

Oops, wrong time of year to set your house up for sale or purchase?  Find out what and what else you need to know over at 2smart4-u:

“It is true that you get back what you put into your real estate selling efforts. Sellers who are receptive to learning new things about the process are often the most successful. This article full of tips and strategies will make sure you are a well-informed real estate seller…. [Continue reading over at 2smart4-u]”

The Thrill Of The Hunt: Tips On Shopping For Real Estate — taxonweb has some excellent advice if you are looking to purchase a home…

“There are numerous strategies you can utilize to make sure that your real estate purchases end up being good investments. However, there are also many ways for you to end up making poor decisions when buying real estate. By reviewing the tips we present here, you can avoid paying too much for a home or losing money selling your home…. [Don’t miss the rest of the article at taxonweb]”

Bret Reaves gives it to you straight up:  5 Great Tips for Buying A Home:

“With great opportunities abounding in the housing market and historically-low interest rates still intact, consumers can secure record-breaking values on a home purchase, according to New York-based real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey…  [So with current interest rates in mind, get all five tips over at BretReaves]”

And finally, the ueber-cool iPad trend in Real Estate?  Judge for yourself… courtesy of eNotebook:

“When unveiled several years ago, many people did not fully understand the importance of the iPad.  How many of you have heard, “Basically, it’s just like my iPhone but bigger.”… [Yup, go on, I dare you to read on how Realtors are using the iPad… over at eNotebook]”

What other realty news do you think we should be sharing this week?

Toast My Buns


This makes my mouth water.

Can’t wait for parts ii and iii.  Did your favortie place make the list?



The Magic of Disney Customer Service Experience

What makes Disney parks such a magical place? Is it really magic? I think that we all know that Disney isn’t really magical. But Disney’s team, from management, to front-line park and service employees have mastered the process of creating magical customer experiences. Disney is famous for their customer-focused training regiment for all of their employees at their resorts and theme parks.

Disney isn’t just about catering to a specific niche of customer. People come from all over the world, and many plan years in advance before visiting Disney’s theme parks and resorts. Because of the expectation of a magical experience, Disney’s customer service focus HAS to be based on creating magical experiences for all of their customers (“guests”).

Service at Disney, involves 3 aspects of “Magical” guest experience.

The Magic of Setting

At Disney’s parks, guests are treated to re-creation of famous Disney settings. Visiting the various areas of the park, guests are immersed in the Disney experience and feel as if they’re a part of Disney. Every detail of the settings counts towards creating that magical customer experience.

Your customer experience setting will be wherever your customers interact with your people and systems. Every detail of the encounter sends a message to the customer. Phone calls, emails, live chat, even Web sites speak to customers. What’s the message you’re sending? Does it say “we care about the customer”?

The Magic of Cast

Think of your last Disney experience? What were the people like? At Disney, all “Cast” Members (employees at the park) are friendly, approachable, and helpful without being condescending or mechanical.

At Disney, every team member knows, studies, and understands the behaviors, mannerisms, terms, and values that are specific to his or her job function.

Every job function is measured against the core service values of the organization.

The Magic of Action

At Disney, team members are trained to look for combustion points. Combustion Points are where even finely tuned, positive customer experience processes break down, creating negative customer experiences.

Where are the combustion points at your organization and within your team? What are your positive customer experience creating areas where because of break downs, system failures, or poor performance by team members, negative experiences breed?

Disney focuses on uses cast-guest communication, guest-flow, and service attention processes to eliminate or control these points.

Your customer service can be magical too!

Disney sets the customer service bar high with their attention to every detail of the customer experience. But their successes are focused around effectively implementing these keys to creating amazing and magical experiences for all of their guests.

The Disney service model can be applied in any organization if management and team members are committed to creating magical experiences for their customers. The model isn’t expensive or complex. It simply requires commitment on the part of the individuals involved to creating a magical experience for each customers.

Flavio Martins is The Customer Service Management Coach. As a blogger and service fanatic, bad service keeps him up at night so he’s on a mission to show that excellent service can be consistent, simple, and easy.

For more free great customer service tips, resources, or to subscribe to the blog, visit: http://www.themana.gr/

Copyright and Pinterest


all these delicious photos of homes and interiors and other yummy stuff.

and who doesn’t get lost on pinterest for HOURS?

nowadays all you read about is this person or that basically deleting their whole pinterest boards because of what?


they are afraid.

turns out it is not that glorious after all.

used to be able to quote someone and give the citations:  name, source.  not so with pictures or graphics online.

here is what you can do to protect yourself and your pictures from being pinned:

you just need to add the following code to your <head> section of your web pages.

<meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />

and if you want to use pictures which are not your own?  you best ask the creator of that picture.

i hope i don’t forget.

A Courteous Communications Orlando FL Answering Center

Never miss a call, a client, a customer. A Courteous Communications, based in Orlando and serving all the U.S., makes that possible with 24/7 telephone answering services that include messaging, appointment setting, web order entry, and other office and receptionist duties. Working with everyone from surgeons to screenwriters, they have the experience, expertise and equipment to design a program that suits your communication needs.

Companies Can’t Find Enough Employees

You have just gotten your real estate license in Florida. However, everyone is telling you that real estate jobs are few and far between. After all, the real estate market has suffered a downtrend in recent years and many report they don’t see a significant improvement. However, real estate jobs in Orlando, Florida are plentiful at the moment. Real estate companies report they cannot find enough qualified agents.

A Competitive Market

Real estate jobs in Orlando, Florida are very competitive. First and foremost, potential real estate agents must complete educational courses and obtain their real estate license. Real estate firms are looking for not only experienced agents, but innovative individuals who can attract listings, work well with buyers, and close deals in a short period of time. As opposed to several years ago, today’s agents much be dedicated to technology and able to create lead generation. Each agent is expected to reduce agency expenses, yet increase the overall profit margin.

Shortage of Agents

Since the real estate market declined over several years, real estate jobs in Orlando, Florida became less attractive to those embarking on a new career or changing paths during middle age. Where once real estate seemed a viable alternative to making a considerable amount of money, the real estate bubble burst and many headed for a career in real estate turned in another direction. Therefore, even though the market is now on an upward trend again, many individuals not already working in the field have apprehension about entering a career where they feel a new bubble could occur and once again, the market potential could fall.

Positive Signs

Even though there are many positive signs for real estate success, the real estate jobs in Orlando, Florida are hard to fill. Agencies cannot find enough qualified professionals to fill open spots, yet houses are coming on the market every day and agents are needed to interact with sellers to gain listings and buyers to find their dream homes. In many cases, sellers are no longer afraid to list their homes, and agents are necessary to move these homes in the market. In fact, the real estate market is beginning to compete with other career fields in an effort to attract new agents and make them feel secure in this career choice.

Attracting New Agents

So, how does the real estate market in Orlando encourage individuals to choose a positive career path? Naturally, fear over the financial downturns in recent years can make potential agents skeptical. However, with many agencies hiring and willing to expand, it should give potential real estate professionals the confidence to embark on a new career with anticipated positive results. There are currently definite opportunities to begin a career in real estate and make a positive income at the same time. Search for real estate jobs in Orlando, Florida and discover new possibilities.

Considering a career change or always wanted to sell real estate? Now is the time. Take the chance, study the coursework, pass the test and you are off on a new career. For seasoned real estate professionals who found themselves out of a job in recent years, there is no time like to present to re-enter the market and let your experience lead your success.

Sand Hill Cranes

Video of Sandhill Crane chicks at The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve. http://www.NorthernEverglades.com

This is why I love Florida!

Andy Griffith – Father to a Generation

Lessons in honor, morality, hard work, and integrity can come from many different places. I was fortunate to learn many of these lessons from my parents, and from my church, as well as from teachers in the schools I attended long before the educational system turned completely liberal. My generation also received lessons in life from another source, one that could be counted on every week to deliver an entertaining sermon in the form of a 30 minute folksy television program mixed with Southern wit, wisdom, and charm.

There are few modern examples of the positive influence the Andy Griffith Show had on the children of the 60’s, and for another couple decades in regular reruns. The misleadingly titled Family Guy is possibly the raunchiest program ever broadcast with no known redeeming qualities. Do you really want your children exposed to the values that are promoted on 30 Rock, GCB (they’re not fooling anyone with those initials, and thank goodness the show has been cancelled), The View, Jersey Shore, The Cleveland Show, Bill Maher, etc.? The Cosby Show of the 80’s and early 90’s had a profoundly positive influence on America with it’s married professional one male and one female parent household and strong family themes, but it’s part of a disappearing minority of programs that provide a positive influence, and no show can compare to the morality play that unfolded on every episode of the Andy Griffith Show.

The character Andy was a devoted father, a widow who took in his Aunt when she needed a place to live. As the local Sheriff, Andy worked hard and provided the balance and stability that held the town together. He was law enforcement, but he rarely carried a gun, preferring to solve problems with reason and wit rather than with force. He showed compassion and mercy to the town drunk, he resolved disputes between neighbors, he valued friendship and integrity, he went to church with his family, and he set an example that each of us could follow.

My favorite episode showcased a harried businessman, Mr. Tucker, who ends up stranded in Mayberry (the home town featured in the Andy Griffith Show) for the weekend when his car breaks down. Mr. Tucker’s impatience to leave on a business trip nearly drives everyone in town crazy, and I’ll spare you the details, but in one of the final scenes he’s standing on the porch signing “Come to the church in the Wildwood” in harmony with Andy and Barney. Thirty minutes in Mayberry didn’t just change Mr. Tucker, it changed all of us.

The Andy Griffith Show existed in a time before the Internet, before texting, blogs, Facebook, HDTV, personal computers, microwave ovens, and cell phones. With only 3 or 4 television channels to choose from, Andy had our undivided attention. The actor Andy Griffith, who recently passed away, owned 50% of the Andy Griffith Show and was empowered to wield a strong influence over the content and direction of the program. His guidance and oversight of the show and its characters created a perfect storm of entertainment and fatherly guidance that helped raise a generation of Americans and teach them what it means to be a man, a father, a Christian, and a hard working citizen of our great country. Catch the show in reruns sometime, the lessons it teaches are just as valuable today as they were a generation ago. Rest in Peace Any Griffith, you are sorely missed.

Author and professional conservative businessman Alan Barrington is featured on http://www.EmperorsClothes.net, the web site that provides links to featured Conservative Thought Leadership.