Category Archives: TRAVEL

My Walt Disney World Vacation!

The castle was too beautiful and I had to get a photo!

Greetings all! It’s Joanna here and I’m happy to return back to work after my vacation! I was lucky enough to spend a week at the most magical place on earth- Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! This was my first time visiting in 20 years and it was amazing. I know there are a lot of fellow Disney fans out there and I thought it would be fun to share some of my trip highlights with all of you.

Here’s a little background story for ya…

(insert my best Sophia Petrillo voice here) Picture it. Summer of 1995. 4 year old Joanna and her brother are surprised by their parents with a Walt Disney World vacation. They have a great week and make lots of memories along the way. 

Flash forward to 2015. Joanna and her brother are now 24 years old and actually remember very little about their childhood trip to the Magic Kingdom. Sure there’s some old dusty Mickey Mouse ears in the attic and a faded character autograph book in the bottom of a junk drawer, but minimal memories come to mind. Joanna took it upon herself to take a trip back to Florida and re-do Walt Disney World as an adult with her best friend, Chrissy.

And here we are now! I have returned back to beautiful New Jersey ready to share my trip with all of you!

I had the pleasure of spending an entire week at Walt Disney World (for short, I will now simply refer to it as Disney) with my best friend. We flew into Orlando International Airport from New Jersey and hopped on Disney’s Magical Express. The bus took us to our resort and the trip had begun! We stayed at one of Disney’s Value Resorts – All Star Music. It was conveniently located near Animal Kingdom and fit neatly within our budget. The themed buildings were adorable and the 2 pools (yes, I said 2) were great for a late night dip after spending the days in the parks. We took advantage of the free bus transportation everyday and it made our commute to and from and parks quick and painless. I highly recommend staying at one of these resorts if you are looking to book a trip with a large group or family. Friendly staff, clean rooms, 2 large swimming pools, quick service food court, fully stocked gift shop, and free park transportation. What more could you want? It was great!

Over the course of 5 days we visited Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park hopper option gave us total flexibility and we were able to visit multiple parks in 1 day. It was well worth the money! The Disney Dining Plan also made meal times a breeze. Reservations were set and we were able to enjoy all kinds of cuisine. I could literally write an entire novel about my vacation, but I will keep it short and sweet for you, just highlighting my favorite parts of the trip. I took over 200 photos (yes, I really mean that) throughout the course of roughly 5 days, so the spark notes version is up ahead!

Downtown Disney was a fun place to start the trip. There was a huge array of shops, eateries, and attractions. The first purchase was of course my ears. These things have really changed since my last visit! Now you can get headbands instead of hats and there are literally hundreds of styles to choose from. A simple red bow and black ears combination worked for me. I wore my ears all week and everywhere we went, even to dinner! It’s totally necessary and I felt like a little kid again! After dinner at Paradiso 37, we made a quick stop at the Harley Davidson store. I bought t-shirts for my family and headed back to the hotel. It was a wet and rainy night!

Definitely one of the coolest shops in Downtown Disney!

While at Animal Kingdom we took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari and saw some really cool animals. The safari even came to a halt as we waited for a family of rhinos to cross the road. As a huge animal lover, I had a great time. There were giraffes, zebras, flamingos, and so much more! An ostrich even came right up to our tour vehicle. It was a really fun way to start the morning! The animals were a little camera shy though!

I was flooded with emotions as we approached the front gates of Magic Kingdom. I saw the beautiful castle and was almost in tears (happy tears of course!). It truly is the happiest place on earth. Throughout the week we made several trips to Magic Kingdom. I am not much of a roller coaster fan, but I made sure to test out all the kiddie rides. I think I enjoyed them way more than some of the little kids! Some of my favorites were Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and of course, It’s A Small World. If you haven’t noticed already, I truly am a kid at heart. I may be 24 years old, but I’m forever a little girl on the inside!

The cold never bothered this Jersey girl anyway!
The Little Mermaid was super excited to see our t-shirts. Yes, we totally planned this.

The best part of Magic Kingdom was all the character meet and greets! I got to meet most of my favorite Disney characters and take full advantage of the photo opportunities! Below are a few of my favorite shots. Let me tell you, the 1 hour wait to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen was certainly worth it! Breakfast at the Crystal Palace was great too. Winnie the Pooh and all his friends were there with us! And how could we not enjoy lunch at Be Our Guest? It was amazing! The fireworks show at the end of the night is probably one of the prettiest displays you’ll ever see.

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom!

If you’re a foodie like me, Epcot is definitely the park for you. I spent most of my trip wandering around the World Showcase. The cuisine is authentic and delicious. Of course I had to pay a visit to bellissimo Italia! My father was born and raised there, so Italy was #1 on my list. I was able to pick up a couple of my favorite Italian candies and treats from a small gift shop. It felt like I was at my Nana Rosa’s house! Mexico was my absolute favorite country to visit. Chrissy and I are both true Italians, but my goodness do we love Mexican food and culture. Donald Duck even made an appearance!

Bienvenidos!

Germany was so much fun too! They had some of the greatest beer I ever tasted and provided a very interesting dining experience. There was music and dancing and it was such a fun environment to be in. We even got a chance to meet the beautiful Snow White herself while strolling along Germany.

Snow White was just the sweetest!

I hope to visit the U.K. someday, but until then, this is the next best thing. We had way too much fun with the red telephone booths and talking in British accents. We made sure to pick up some Doctor Who merchandise for our dear friend, Jess and stop for a quick photo with Alice too! Not much of a fish and chips kinda girl, but it sure looked delicious!

We even had dinner with the big man himself at the Garden Grill – Mickey Mouse that is! I couldn’t leave Florida without getting a hug and kiss from everyone’s favorite mouse! …M-I-C-K-E-Y- M-O-U-S-E…

Mr. Mickey Mouse himself. He was a true gentleman!

The last park we visited was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was a blast from the past and I loved everything about it! We ate lunch at Pizza Planet, which was a childhood dream come true for me. Toy Story is one of my absolute favorite movies and it was super cool! We also had time to see the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at the Hyperion Theater. We may have been the oldest people in the theater, but we had a great time. I’m a little obsessed with Frozen and I had to belt out at least 1 rendition of “Let It Go” while visiting Disney World. (I’m so sorry to anyone who was sitting next to or around me that day.) It was a short afternoon spent at the park, but it was a lot of fun. The scenery was so nice to look at.

To infinity and beyond! (JK, just to Pizza Planet and back!)

Sadly, our vacation came to an end and we had to head back home to the Garden State. Way too much money was spent on souvenirs, but it was all in good fun. Walt Disney World is for children and adults of all ages. No matter who you are or where you are from or how old you are, it puts a huge smile on your face that you just cannot experience anywhere else. It is a really nice break from reality and it makes you feel good. I’m hoping to take my whole family for a visit next time!

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this blog! You kept on scrolling down and reading and you made it, so thank you! I absolutely love sharing my vacation and travel stories and I hope you find them enjoyable. It’s not all about fabric here ya know! We like to have fun outside of work too! Coincidentally, the day before I left for my vacation is the day our new Disney fabric delivery came in. Somehow it all comes back to Fabric Textile Products, Inc. I look forward to hearing about your Disney trips as well! Feel free to comment below! (PS- Thumbs up to those of you who totally picked up on my Golden Girls reference.)

With Warm Regards Always,

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

*Disclaimer: All personal images used in this post belong to Joanna Maruca and Christin Fimiani. They may not be reused or recopied without our permission. Peter Pan image is courtesy of Pinterest. Thank you.*

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Celebrate Independence! July 4th Fun!

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American Flag Stars Napkins by & Red Tavern Check Vinyl Tablecloth by Fabric Textile Products, Inc. (photo is property of Chrissy Fimiani and Fabric Textile Products, Inc.)

July 4th weekend is almost here! BBQ’s, fireworks, beach trips, & family fun have become staples of this American tradition. 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays since  I was a little kid. My family (large Italian-American family to be exact) would have a huge BBQ at our house every year. I was on decorating duty of course and would cover the backyard in red, white, & blue streamers. Mom would make every kind of salad known to man. Dad would grill every kind of meat the butcher could supply. My brother and I would go swimming in the pool for hours and then eat tons of ice cream until we couldn’t stomach anymore. (Yeah, Mom really “loved” that part.) At the end of the night, we would always watch the local fireworks display and go back to our house and make smores. If we were lucky, we would get to play with little sparklers too!

Our family tradition has changed since we are all getting older, but I still really enjoy the holiday. This year I have the opportunity to spend the holiday weekend in our nation’s capital, beautiful Washington, D.C. and I could not be any more thrilled! D.C. has become one of my favorite travel destinations and what better time to go than to celebrate our freedom and independence? It is going to be amazing. I will certainly do a follow up blog about my trip! I am looking forward to the parade and fireworks display. I’m sure the view from my hotel in Capitol Hill will be amazing!

To get in the patriotic spirit, I just wanted to share some pictures from my previous trips to D.C. with all of you. If you have not been there yet, I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip there with friends or family. The monuments are beautiful. The museums are excellent. The local food is delicious. The National Zoo has pandas! You don’t come across them very often! Most importantly, it is our beautiful country’s capital. It is a diverse city rich with culture and history.

I hope you enjoy celebrating 4th of July with your families! I will share photos from my trip with you in a few weeks!

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

All below photos belong to Joanna Maruca and may not be used or reprinted without my permission. Thank you.

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The United States Capitol was particularly gorgeous on that sunny day! We visited Memorial Day weekend in 2013 and left right from my college graduation!
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These cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake were TO DIE FOR! No wonder this place has been on national TV! Yum!
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Georgetown Cupcake can be seen on the hit TLC show, DC Cupcakes!
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One of the giant pandas at the National Zoo! He was chowing down on some bamboo for lunch! He was so cute! Unfortunately the indoor exhibit causes glares on your photos. It was great though!         

Oh those Wildwood Days…

NJI am a born and raised Jersey girl. I was born in Belleville and I currently reside in Bloomfield, just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 151. New Jersey is a small state with a larger than life personality. Our state is the home to many famous musicians (Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi just to name a few). You can find a good 24 hour diner in every neighborhood. We still have gas stations where attendants pump our gas for us. Don’t even get me started on the taylor ham and cheese sandwiches! I can talk for hours about how much I love New Jersey, but the greatest part about living here is our beautiful Jersey shore. Down the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May, you will find roughly 130 miles worth of gorgeous beaches and fun for the family.

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The Wildwoods welcome sign stands 17 feet tall and has become a popular spot for family photos! (please note above photo was courtesy of a google images search)

For as long as I can remember, my family has spent summer vacation at the shore. Growing up, my family had a small condo in Wildwood Crest and we would spend most of the summer season there. Even now at 23 years old, I would take a vacation to the Wildwoods (the name refers to Diamond Beach, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood, & North Wildwood) over a trip anywhere else. It is my favorite shore point and has become somewhat of a second home to me.

This past weekend was the first of 3 trips I have planned there for this summer. For those of you not familiar with the island I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of the Jersey shore with you! (Believe me, what you may have seen on MTV’s Jersey Shore TV show is NOT representative of this beautiful place I call my home.)

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My family always books trip accommodations with the Jolly Roger motel located on Atlantic Avenue in the crest. It’s a fun retro style facility dating back to the 1960s! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

The Wildwoods has a long-time attachment to the Doo Wop era which can be seen throughout every community. The resort area was built in the 1950s and is reflected in the architecture of the motels, restaurants, and landmarks. Funky colors, brightly lit neon signs, edgy designs, and retro decor is everywhere. Although most of the old motels and businesses have been since closed or turned into new developments, some of the original buildings still stand and function today. The Jolly Roger motel was built in 1960. The hotel has undergone renovations and new ownership, but still stays true to the Doo Wop roots. Just a block from the beach and a short drive from the boardwalk, this motel is the top choice of mine and my family. We love staying here and plan to do so for many years to come! (To learn more about the rich history and Doo Wop culture of the Wildwoods, be sure to check out the Doo Wop Experience Museum.)

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The Wildwoods is home to nearly 5 miles worth of gorgeous FREE beaches! There’s even a new Doggy Friendly beach too! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
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It was too cold for a swim, but a beautiful day for photos! Even the lifeguard was wrapped up in warm clothing! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

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Surfing is another popular activity! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk!
Surfing is a popular activity throughout the Jersey shore! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk! (photos courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
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There is a doggy-friendly beach for families to enjoy with their fur babies too! On a hot summer afternoon you will see plenty of playful pooches running around in the sand here! It was just a little too cold this weekend. (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

No vacation at the shore would be complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Maybe I’m biased, but I personally consider the Wildwoods boardwalk to be the best at the shore. The boardwalk is 38 blocks full of shops, rides, games, arcades, places to eat, and fun for people of all ages. Did I mention there’s a water park too? It’s amazing! You cannot possibly tackle it all in just a day. Each pier has its own identity and it makes the boardwalk so unique. The lights on the ferris wheel can be seen from miles away at night. There’s a free fireworks display every weekend too! Hop on the Tram Car and take a ride down the boards. Grab an ice cream cone from Kohr Bros. and a bucket of fries from Curley’s! Gateway 26 Arcade has games to keep the kids busy for hours and plenty of prizes to choose from too! Don’t forget to stop at the Boardwalk Mall to pick up souvenirs for friends and loved ones at home!

The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky!
The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards!
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
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Every trip to the boardwalk means a mandatory visit to Curley’s for a hand-shaken lemonade and bucket of fries! Yum! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

After a great weekend away, it was time to head back home to Bloomfield on Sunday evening. I’m so glad that the storm decided to wait until we got halfway home to begin! With temps in the 70s all weekend, it made for a pleasant trip away from home for a few days. After a 3 hour drive, I was back at home and ready to start the work week and already preparing for our next vacation!

I could literally write a book about all the amazing things that can be found in The Wildwoods. I have 23 years worth of memories. Every summer there is something new. New attractions, restaurants, motels, condos, shops, and so much more. I look forward to visiting again in July with my family. I will be sure to do a follow-up blog to this one as well. The jersey shore is definitely worth visiting if you have the opportunity to do so. A trip to any shore point will be worth it! My family has formed its own traditions in the Wildwoods and I hope your family can do the same!

For more information about the island, be sure to visit the Wildwoods NJ website. You can also request a free vacation planning guide! I’d love to hear all about your experiences!

Fun fact: In 1963, singer Bobby Rydell released the hit “Wildwood Days” and it has become to anthem of the island! Take a listen!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer season!

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos credited by Joanna Maruca belong to myself. All other images and photos used were acquired through a search of google images. Those photos belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.