Avengers Campus: Disneyland’s newest park

Disney launched Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, their Star Wars-themed park in June of 2019. On July 18, just over a year later they are opening an entirely new park with an Avengers theme called Avengers Campus. Marvel is a huge property for Disney, and considering the job they are doing with the Star Wars franchise, we should expect a top quality experience.

The park seems to be built around an existing attraction, that was launched in 2017, called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! But there is a ton of new stuff as well.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Characters you’ll find – Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, the cast of Black Panther, Ironman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-man and the Wasp, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Taskmaster, Thor, Doctor Strange. I am sure I missed some and I am sure they will add some more too.
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, which takes guests on an interactive escapade.
  • Iron Man in his new armour, the Mark 80.
  • An original story tying all the characters together.
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature this iconic Superhero.
  • Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts by bringing his ancient Sanctum to life with powerful spells.
  • Three new dining spots
  • Impossible™ plant-based large and micro meatballs with pasta served in a super-sized spoon with a tiny fork

That is just a taste of the fun Disney has in store for their newest park. Read the full press release below.

ANAHEIM, Calif., March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Avengers Campus, an entirely new land dedicated to discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of heroes, will open July 18, 2020 at the Disneyland Resort, inside Disney California Adventure Park. Guests who are lifelong fans of Super Heroes and those discovering them for the first time are invited to team up with the Avengers and their allies to live out their Super Hero dreams in this fully immersive land that mixes innovative technology and fun for all ages.

Avengers Campus brings together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the common good, and they’re calling all recruits to join the action: Team up with the Avengers and their allies; sling webs with Spider-Man, taste-test inventive food and drinks and become part of a bigger universe. Kids and guests of all ages will find their powers as they unite with family and friends to take an active role alongside some of their favorite heroes, with a chance to live out their own heroic story.

Avenger Campus Entrance

Guests will have the chance to witness Spider-Man swinging into action high above Avengers Campus with gravity-defying, acrobatic feats never seen before in a Disney park. That may inspire them to experience the new attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, which takes guests on an interactive escapade. And that’s just the beginning of the fun. Families and friends will train with Black Panther and Wakanda’s elite guards, the Dora Milaje; team up to save The Guardians of the Galaxy from The Collector’s Fortress; encounter heroes (and villains), and experience the thrills as Avengers hold off their foes and save the day. Those seeking provisions for their next mission will find them at Pym Test Kitchen.

While exploring Avengers Campus, recruits may encounter Iron Man in his new armor, the Mark 80, revealed for the first time at a Disney park. Ant-Man and The Wasp appear for the first time at the Disneyland Resort and Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts at an ancient Sanctum. The villain Taskmaster also debuts at Avengers Campus, and Black Widow, Black Panther, Thor, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and Captain Marvel are among those joining the action.

“When we set out to create these extraordinary Super Hero experiences across the globe, we designed a new Spider-Man attraction for Disney California Adventure park in an immersive land with amazing character experiences,” said Scot Drake, portfolio creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We also crafted an original story that ties all the experiences together in ways that are authentic to these characters. We worked side-by-side with teams that brought the Avengers films and comics to life to create a place that champions the next generation of heroes.”

“Avengers Campus will be a place where fans and guests can finally step into the universe they love, and stand alongside some of their favorite heroes,” said Dave Bushore, vice president of Franchise Creative & Marketing for Marvel Studios. “The optimism inherent in Avengers Campus captures the diversity, power and teamwork these extraordinary characters possess, and now they come together to unite people from all over the world under one guiding principle: We are stronger together.”

Step into a new place in the universe

The doors to Avengers Campus welcome all Avengers, their allies, and new recruits. Tony Stark offered up the site, formerly one of his father’s Stark Industries complexes, as a place to train the next generation of Super Heroes.

The story of the land unfolds with authentic detail as Avengers Campus is comprised of several heroic locations, each hosted by a different Avenger or their ally to share their unique powers, technology and knowledge with recruits. Optimistic and forward-looking, these represent galactic spaces, mystic places, modern architecture and sleek technology.

The first key address is the Worldwide Engineering Brigade – also known as WEB. It brings together bright innovators like Peter Parker who have been assembled by Tony Stark to invent new technologies and equip everyday people to become heroes. WEB is home to the new WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, the first Disney ride-through attraction to feature this iconic Super Hero.

Avengers Headquarters is the heart of the land, an iconic building where guests may catch a glimpse of the Avengers springing into action ready to save the day.

Sling webs with Spider-Man and unite with the Guardians of the Galaxy

Tom Holland will reprise his role as Spider-Man in the land’s new attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. This new, action-packed adventure invites guests to put their web-slinging skills to the test, a feat accomplished with innovative technology adapted specifically for this attraction. The mission: team up with Spidey and help capture the out-of-control Spider-Bots before they wreak havoc on the Campus. During an open house at WEB, Peter Parker and the aspiring inventors ask guests to wear 3D glasses and test drive their latest invention, the WEB Slinger vehicle, which allows them to sling webs like Spider-Man and experience what it’s like to have super powers.

Avenger Campus at night

This family-friendly attraction blends physical sets and virtual environments to take new recruits on an interactive escapade. There is no height requirement for this attraction, allowing aspiring young heroes to join the fun.

Looming high above the land is the towering citadel of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, a fan-favorite that opened in Disney California Adventure in 2017. Guests are the protagonists of this rockin’ adventure as they help rescue a cosmic gang of misfits. Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector, has brought his unique collection of fantastical fauna, relics and species from across the cosmos to Earth. To their misfortune, Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot were recently made a part of Tivan’s “collection” and are being held captive within his Fortress. It takes some raucous mayhem, music inspired by the soundtracks from the movies and thrilling free-fall drop sequences for this adventure to break out the Guardians.

For the first time: Taskmaster, Ant-Man and The Wasp join a land full of heroes

Throughout Avengers Campus, Super Heroes come to life in ways that are more exciting than ever.

At Avengers Headquarters, guests have a chance to witness epic action as Captain America, Black Panther or Black Widow face their villainous foes. Or, they may see Spider-Man defying gravity as he flips 60 to 65 feet in the air above the rooftop of the WEB building. Following those stunning moves, Spider-Man will swing down off the building to ground level to meet up and say hello to new recruits.

New recruits at Avengers Campus may have heroic encounters with Iron Man in his new armor, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and Thor, some of whom are making their first appearances at the park. Loki gets into mischief, and Groot continues to roam near the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

The villainous Taskmaster, who will have a role in the upcoming film “Black Widow,” is seen for the first time at a Disney park at Avengers Campus. Taskmaster’s abilities include photographic reflexes. Taskmaster can replicate Super Hero moves, making this new villain a balanced foe for the Campus heroes.

Recruits can train with Black Panther’s loyal bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, to learn wisdom from Wakanda and what it’s like to be a member of this elite royal guard. Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje, also debuts for the first time in a Disney park as she leads this training encounter.

Exploring the overgrown ruins of an ancient Sanctum, guests can learn mysterious secrets from Doctor Strange and discover ancient, magical artifacts. Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts by bringing this ancient Sanctum to life with powerful spells. At night, the Sanctum glows even more vividly with majestic colors and lights, pulsating with mystic energy.

Pym Particles produce tiny treats and big bites

When it is time to take a break from the heroics, three new dining spots will offer sustenance.

Pym Test Kitchen: Just as Ant-Man and The Wasp used “Pym Particles” to grow and shrink just about anything, the Pym Test Kitchen applies this innovative science to the food creation. This unbound potential allows Pym Test Kitchen to showcase normal foods at unusual scales, including shareable bites, inventive-sized entrees and tiny treats. As guests watch the Pym food scientists at work in the kitchen lab, they will see a conveyor belt transport a regular-sized pretzel into a quantum tunnel – and it comes out big!

Guests will be able to taste-test foods like the Impossible™ plant-based large and micro meatballs with pasta served in a super-sized spoon with a tiny fork. Another choice is the “Pym-ini,” a panini on toasted focaccia with meats, cheese and marinara dipping sauce, which can be served by the slice or as a long, multi-portion sandwich. Those will go well with a glass of Pingo Doce, the distinctly green beverage from Avenger lore that will be available at Avengers Campus.

Gigantic soda cans and condiment bottles will be mounted in the vestibules so diners can tap into their accompaniments. Outdoor seating is a great place to watch for Super Heroes as they may be nearby taking on a challenge from Taskmaster.

Pym Tasting Lab: Adjacent to the Pym Test Kitchen, an oversized beer can overhead signals that grown-up beverages are available at Pym Tasting Lab. Guests may order a craft beer, ranging from a blood orange hefeweizen to an amber lager. These are poured from a reverse draft system where, thanks to the food scientists, the glass fills from the bottom up. Those thirsting for a beer cocktail will have four to choose from, along with bite-sized snacks.

Shawarma Palace: Fans may recall that after the Battle of New York, the exhausted Avengers took Tony Stark up on his offer to try the food at the “shawarma joint” about two blocks from the battle zone. There at Shawarma Palace, the Avengers discovered their new favorite food. The Avengers loved the food so much that when it came time to build Avengers Campus, they invited the Shawarma Palace crew to open a second location at Avengers Campus. Now, guests and heroes on the go can enjoy their favorite shawarma-inspired snacks at this food cart, which is decked out with memorabilia for Avenger fans. This cart offers hand-held savory wraps with fragrant chicken shawarma and garlic sauce. Or, guests may choose the Impossible™ plant-based falafel wrap.

Terran Treats: Taneleer Tivan did not limit his collection to lovable misfits; he is also curating a weird and wonderful menu of intergalactic eats at this food cart near Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Churro spirals with unique flavors, and a cosmic orb with an outer shell revealing a decadent creamy filling, are just a few takes on what concoctions he has conceived to lure guests to his Fortress.

The latest in Spider-Bot prototypes

At the WEB Suppliers store, guests may find just what aspiring WEB members need, including swag to show off some WEB pride, items to tinker with at home and something every hero needs – a friendly sidekick. Interactive Spider-Bots, much like the ones seen throughout Avengers Campus, are powered by a remote control with eight articulated legs that move forward and backward. Guests may customize their Spider-Bot with tactical upgrades to harness the powers and style of some of their favorite Super Heroes including Black Panther, Iron Man and Black Widow, as well as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Guests may also connect with their friends’ Spider-Bots for epic showdowns.

Other must-have items at WEB Suppliers include a specially-designed backpack to carry and show Spider-Bots when they are not in action, stylish Spider-Man goggles that light up and interact with their surroundings, a Spider-Man action figure that interacts with mini Spider-Bots, Web-shooters that come to life with lights and sounds, a take-home spider web kit and Funko Pop! vinyl figurines of Spider-Man and Iron Man.

The Campus Supply Pod is the place to power up with official Avengers Campus gear including performance fleece hoodies and tees, headwear, drinkware and other Super Hero supplies.

Guests may learn more about Avengers Campus at Disneyland.com/AvengersCampus.

About the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, year-round.

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Netflix setting up download zones for Ontario cottagers this summer

Netflix logo

Planning to head to the cottage for the long weekend? If you’re in Ontario you’ll be happy to know you can now stop at a Netflix Download Zone along the way to load up on content!

The “Netflix and go” download zones will be available every long weekend from Victoria Day to Labour Day. Users can stop, connect and download available shows to their tablets or phones for offline viewing in the car or at the cottage.

RELATED: What you need to know about 4K Ultra HD content on Netflix

Shows available to download include the likes of Stranger Things, Riverdale, The OA, PAW PatrolThe Office and more.

Here are the locations of the Ontario Netflix Download Zones:

Victoria Day weekend

Friday, May 19

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21

  • Collingwood – Farmers Market at Hurontario and Simcoe St

Canada Day weekend

Friday June 30

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2

  • Gravenhurst – 101 Centennial Dr

Civic Holiday weekend

Friday, August 4

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6

  • Huntsville – 37 Main St E

Labour Day weekend

Friday, September 1

  • Bass Pro Shop at Vaughan Mills – 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr

Netflix Download Zones

Will you take advantage of the Netflix Download Zones? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

MGM adding ZON’s Powersol solar-powered patio umbrella to Las Vegas resorts

ZON Powersol

ZON’s Powersol solar-powered patio umbrella is helping make Las Vegas a bit more green.

Las Vegas is looking more green these days as MGM Resorts International has begun rolling out ZON’s solar-powered patio umbrella to select resorts and casinos.

The Powersol uses solar panels attached to the top of a patio umbrella to collect energy into a table-top battery hub. Guests can charge their smartphones and other mobile devices off the hub while they relax by the pool or enjoy some food and drinks at the table.

RELATED: Charge your smartphone with a solar patio umbrella

“MGM is a leader in innovation for the hospitality world, and Powersol definitely fits in with our goal to innovate and provide convenient tech amenities to our guests,” Joyen Vakil, Sr. Vice President of Design & Development at MGM Resorts International said in a statement.

MGM is adding the Powersol to the Aria Resort & Casino, Bellagio and MGM Grand with more locations planned over the next few months.

“Working with MGM on this rollout is exciting for ZON. As an up and comer in the solar, mobile charging movement, it is incredibly validating to have Powersol tapped as the solution for legendary MGM properties to keep their guests’ devices charged up,” Cameron Welborn-Wilson, ZON’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, said in a release.

RELATED: Cinch! – the solar-powered pop-up tent you’re going to want

ZON once again confirmed that they are working on a consumer-friendly version and that Canadian businesses interested in the Powersol can order and have one shipped here.

For more information on the Powersol, visit zon-technology.com.

Are you more willing to book at a resort or hotel that offers eco-friendly options like the Powersol? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Dave & Buster’s opening second Canadian location this November

Dave & Buster's Oakville

Dave & Buster’s is opening its second Canadian location in Oakville this November.

A second Canadian Dave & Buster’s location is opening in Oakville this November, the company announced Monday.

Dave & Buster’s is an entertainment hub with a selection of food options, arcade games to play and sports to watch (it’s basically a Chuck E. Cheese’s for adults).

RELATED: You can now swim with sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto

“Following the success of our Dave & Buster’s Vaughan location, we are excited to open the doors in Oakville this November,” General Manager Brian Light said in a statement. “We know Oakville and the surrounding communities will enjoy this one of a kind venue to eat, drink, play and watch sports.”

The Oakville location is going to take up 40,000 square feet of the Oakville Entertainment Centrum plaza at 2021 Winston Park Dr. Visitors will have multiple high-def screens to watch sports on and more than 160 games to play in the Million Dollar Midway, where they can win products from the likes of Apple and XBOX.

Food options include Dave & Buster’s popular Legendary Buffalo Wing Burger, a Caveman Combo, which includes ribs, sliders and fries piled high in a bucket and a new Whisky BBQ Half Chicken. Their delicious Pepperoni Pretzel Pull-Apart will also be on the menu.

RELATED: Let’s all go to the drive-in!

Another huge draw for Dave & Buster’s is their cocktail menu, which features tiki drinks, adult snow cones and a strawberry watermelon margarita served with strawberry ice cubes.

Dave & Buster’s Oakville is set to open sometime in November. For more information, visit daveandbusters.com.

Are you excited for another Dave & Buster’s location in Canada? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

You can now swim with sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto

Discovery Dive

The new Discovery Dive program allows certified divers to take a 30-minute guided tour of the Dangerous Lagoon. Photo courtesy CNW Group/Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

Are you a certified diver with $250 to burn? If so, you can swim with sharks at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto!

The new Discovery Dive program allows certified divers to take a 30-minute guided tour of the Dangerous Lagoon, which includes tiger, sand and nurse sharks along with eels, turtles and other fish species.

RELATED: 5 things to do with the kids in Waterloo Region this summer

The program is on every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and also offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the Aquarium runs, including a tour of the feeding and husbandry areas.

Ripley’s also announced a new Stingray snorkeling experience this week, which allows guests to swim among four species of stingrays and bonnethead sharks in Ray Bay. It runs daily at 3 p.m. for an extra fee of $25.

RELATED: You can now watch ‘The LEGO Movie 4D’ at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto

Both programs need to be reserved in advance. Visit ripleyaquariums.com for more information on these and other programs offered.

Are you interested in swimming with sharks and stingrays? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

5 things to do with the kids in Waterloo Region this summer

Bingemans Big Splash Waterpark

Bingemans Big Splash Waterpark is just one of many fun things you can do with your family this summer in Waterloo Region.

August is around the corner and before you know it, summer vacation will be over! If you’re looking for something to do with the kids before that happens (and don’t want to deal with the chaos of going to Toronto), here are 5 fun things you can do in Waterloo Region with them.

Play in water

There’s no better place to visit if you’re trying to beat the heat this summer than Bingemans Big Splash Waterpark in Kitchener. Along with 11 water slides, a Spray ‘n’ Play complex and a wave pool to stay in cool in, they have an arcade, two 18-hole mini golf courses, a bowling alley and camping options.

RELATED: 5 tips for portaging with kids

A day pass runs $27.95 for anyone over 48” tall and $19.95 for anyone under 48” tall and seniors 65+. Kids two and under are free and if you attend after 4 p.m. tickets are only $16.95 per person. For more information, visit bingemans.com.

Watch butterflies

The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is a magical indoor tropical setting with over 5,000 butterflies and a selection of birds and fish to check out. They also have live terrariums, a moth exhibit and a honey bee observation display. My kids love going there as there’s always something new to see and do (the last time we were there I ate fried crickets and grossed them out).

Admission to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is $13.25 for people between the ages of 13 and 65, $11.25 for seniors (65+) and $7 for children 2 to 5. Children under 2 are free. For hours and more information, visit cambridgebutterfly.com.

Go to the drive-in

Believe it or not, there are many drive-in movie theatres still standing across Canada, including Guelph’s Mustang Drive-in and the Oxford Drive-in in nearby Woodstock. The Mustang screens new releases daily for the rest of the summer (and has special all-night screenings on long weekends) while the Oxford plays recent, but not new, titles. Either way, kids think it’s cool staying up late watching a movie in a car and it’s cheaper for a family than going to a real theatre.

RELATED: Let’s all go to the drive-in!

Check out their websites at mustangdriveinguelph.ca and thestarlite.ca for ticket information and to see what’s playing. If you’re outside of the Waterloo Region, take a look at my Map of Canadian Drive-ins to find a drive-in near you.

Go back to our pioneer roots

I discovered Doon Heritage Village after my son had a field trip there last year. It’s a 60 acre living historical look at life in Waterloo Region in 1914. Equally educational as it is interesting, it will get your kids asking many questions about the past and how pioneers lived.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for children between the ages of 5 and 12. Children 4 and under are free. For more information, visit waterlooregionmuseum.com.

Get adventurous

I frequent Chicopee in the winter often to go tubing with the family and never realized they had so many fun things to do in the summer until recently. You can go zip-lining, bounce 25-feet into the air on the Eurobungy trampoline, climb a spider web tower and even go tubing on a special waterless tube run! For ticket pricing and more information, visit chicopeetubepark.com.

Are you planning to do anything in Waterloo Region before summer ends? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

5 tips for portaging with kids

Algonquin Park portage

A family portage can be a lot of fun if you prepare for it properly.

We’re in the middle of summer vacation and if your family is as adventurous as mine, you might be considering portaging together over the next couple of months.

What is portaging, you ask?

Portaging is a lot like regular camping only you need to work harder to get to your campsite. The Oxford dictionary definition of the word portage is to “carry a boat or its cargo between navigable waters.” And that’s exactly what it is. You pack everything and everyone into a canoe, paddle across a body of water to the other side, get everyone and thing out and carry it all, including the canoe, to the next body of water. Rinse and repeat until you find a spot you want to call home for the night or next few days.

If this sounds fun to you (and you’ve never done it before with kids) here are five tips to help you stay happy and dry and ensure you have a great time.

1. Practice beforehand

Practicing beforehand is crucial as it will let you know what you and your family are capable of. Before our recent portage to Ralph Bice Lake in Algonquin Park, we rented a canoe near our home and took the kids down a nearby river. This got them use to balancing in the canoe, paddling and sitting still for a long period of time (a full canoe is no place for fidgety kids). It also helped put any worries they had of being out on the water aside.

Algonquin Park portaging

Practicing ahead of time helps when you’re in the bush with a canoe on your head and a 60 lb pack on your back.

Getting your backpacks filled a few days ahead of time and wearing them around the house is also helpful. My pack weighed just over 60 lbs and getting used to it enough so that it was comfortable made it much easier to carry when I was in the bush with a canoe over my head. Same goes for the kids, who both had their own stuffed backpacks which were much heavier than when they wore them to school.

2. Don’t bring more than you need

When you camp with a car you have the luxury of keeping everything stashed inside said car. When you portage everything is on your back and because you’re going deeper into nature, anything perishable needs to be hung up so that bears and other critters can’t get to it. You also have to make sure everything can fit comfortably into the canoe along with you and your family. This means that you should only pack the essentials.

Besides your food, tent, sleeping bags and clothes (which should be kept to minimal amounts, even for kids), essential items include a map of the area you’re canoeing in, something to cut wood with and light a fire with, flashlights, a set of dishes for each person (sporks are great for camping), a pot and a pan, bug spray, cooking stove and fuel, a tarp, rope, knife and a water filtration system. A book and small toy that the kids can occupy their time with is also essential for when you need a break from entertaining them.

Algonquin Park portage

My kids loved the portaging experience and can’t wait to do it again.

Non-essential items like camping chairs, electronic devices, hammocks, pillows, alcohol and dishes you won’t use will just weigh you down and make the portage more work than it needs to be (and could get ruined or lost if the canoe capsizes). Also keep in mind that any garbage you create must be taken back out with you.

3. Plan all your meals

If you don’t plan your meals you’re going to either bring too much food (see tip #2) or not enough food. Either scenario is not good. Along with planning all your meals ahead of time, preparing food in advance greatly helps when you’re in the middle of nowhere with limited equipment (it will also keep you on a budget).

We made a pot of chili to eat on the first night of our portage and froze it before leaving the house. This helped keep our other food cold and kept our belly’s nice and full after our long trek into the woods. We also pre-sliced a large bar of cheese and vacuumed sealed it into smaller packages (great for snacking on as well as for using on burgers, sandwiches, etc.). We marinated, vacuumed sealed and froze pork loin to eat on the second day and had potatoes and other veggies cut and ready to roast.

It’s also a good idea to bring a small amount of snacks (separate from the rest of your food) that can be eaten throughout the day and during your portage. This will help keep the kids happy and everyone less grumpy.

4. Prepare for the worst

What happens if your canoe capsizes, it rains all weekend, you cut yourself bad while chopping wood or someone breaks a bone? These are all real concerns (two of which happened to us) and being prepared could save your life.

Bring a first aid kit (another essential item) that includes many different size band-aids, sanitizer and a suture kit. The tarp I mentioned in tip #2 should be large enough to keep everyone in your group dry in case of rain. Use Ziploc bags to pack your clothes (this will keep them from getting wet and also keeps them organized in your backpack). You should also have a poncho or raincoat on hand as well (I didn’t and ended up using a large garbage bag as one).

Ralph Bice Lake, Algonquin Park

Ralph Bice Lake was beautiful when it wasn’t raining.

A small radio is a good idea in case weather turns bad and you need to know when it will be safe to get back on the water. Having knowledge of bears and their actions (and carrying bear spray) is a good idea, even if you’re not going that far into the bush. Something to quickly filter lake water with, such as the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle, is also super important in order to keep you hydrated (especially if you get stuck or injured).

Another good rule is to let someone back home know what days you are going and where you are exactly going in case you don’t make it out when you’re supposed to.

5. Don’t do it alone

This is the best advice we were given while planning our recent portage and we went with another family and two single friends.

Having other people with us, especially other people who didn’t have kids, was a huge help for many reasons. For starters, it made the trip in and out super easy (more people to carry things) and gave us more space in our canoe as things were spread out among three groups. The two single friends helped with meal prep, collected and chopped firewood and kept the kids occupied when we were in charge of meals and the fire. It was also nice to have the extra company around the campfire at night so we weren’t just sitting there listening for bears.

Most importantly, though, in the event that something truly bad did happen, we would have been able to get out of the bush and back to safety having extra people around to help. Having that fear off our minds made the trip a lot more fun and relaxing in the long run.

Have you gone a portage with your family or plan to this summer? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Canadians can save on a Disney Magic cruise this October

Disney Magic

Canadians can save 25 per cent on select Disney Magic cruises to the Bahamas this October.

Want to take the family on a cruise this fall and save some money? Consider booking a trip to the Bahamas on the Disney Magic!

Canadians can get 25 per cent off the current rate for Verandah and Oceanview Staterooms on select seven or eight-night Disney Magic cruises between Oct. 7 and 29.

RELATED: The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

The cruises depart from New York City and include a stop at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for a day (tickets and transportation included), along with a stop at Castaway Cay. You also get to celebrate “Halloween on the High Seas,” which I think my kids would go nuts over.

Details of the four cruise options eligible for the discount are below:

7-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from New York on October 15, 22 or 29, 2016 – Pack your best disguises and set sail on a ghoulish cruise to Castaway Cay in the Bahamas and Port Canaveral, Florida, where you’ll experience even more Halloween action at the Walt Disney World Resort. During your 4 days at sea, you’ll have the chance to soak up your ship’s onboard entertainment—including specially themed activities, celebrating a holiday filled with tricks and treats.

8-Night Halloween on the High Seas Bahamian Cruise from New York on October 7, 2016 – Glide over to Florida’s Port Canaveral for a memorable day at Walt Disney World Resort, then visit Nassau and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private-island paradise in the Bahamas. Four total days at sea gives you ample time to enjoy your ship’s diverse amenities and unique Halloween-themed activities.

You can book this deal online, via a travel agent or by calling 1-800-491-9744. For more information, visit disneycruise.disney.go.com.

Are you excited for this Disney cruise offer? Ever taken a Disney cruise? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.

Tesla opening five new supercharger stations in Ontario and Quebec this summer

Tesla supercharger

A Tesla can get up to a 200 km range after charging for 20 minutes at a supercharger station. Photo courtesy Tesla.

On the heels of their brand new supercharger station that opened in Grimsby, Ontario last week, electric car manufacturer Tesla announced Wednesday another five stations will be opening in Ontario and Quebec this summer.

The new Ontario stations will be located north of Toronto in Parry Sound and Huntsville, while the Quebec stations will be in Magog, Montreal and Riviere du Loup.

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Tesla says the supercharger stations are designed for drivers to be able to travel for about three hours, take a break and charge up. According to the press release, the new Grimsby supercharger station will get you between west New York, Niagara Falls and into Toronto and Detroit.

The stations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can add up to 200 km of range to a Model S or Model X in about 20 minutes. They only work with Tesla vehicles and are free for drivers to use.

The new stations will expand Tesla’s supercharger network in Canada to a total of 23 (in comparison the U.S. has over 600).

To find a Tesla supercharger station, visit teslamotors.com.

The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Disney Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios is getting its ‘Star Wars’ on.

When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas we all knew it wasn’t just to make more movies. Disney wanted the brand so they could incorporate it into their TV shows, video games and theme parks. And it appears fans have been pleased with how Disney has handled their purchase of Star Wars so far.

The Force Awakens is still earning gobs of money and rave reviews at the box office and Disney Infinity 3.0, the latest installment in their video game series, is one of the best games the house of mouse has ever released. But what about the theme parks?

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The Star Wars Launch Bay opened at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios in December and has become a popular spot among guests. It features galleries, props from the movies and photo ops with Star Wars characters, including newest villain Kylo Ren.

Other recent additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include a revamped Star Tours attraction, First Order stormtrooper patrols, a re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Star Wars-themed food and drinks and the cinematic experience Star Wars: Path of the Jedi.

On top of all that the company announced last week a few more reasons for Star Wars fans to visit the Florida park this year.

The live stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away opens on April 4 and will run multiple times a day. It features classic moments from the Star Wars movies with characters like Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul making appearances.

Along with the live show comes the Stormtroopers march, which sees a squad of First Order stormtroopers march in formation from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center Stage area. It will happen at various times a day with Captain Phasma leading the march.

And beginning this summer is the next generation fireworks display, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. This nightly show, which Disney says is “unprecedented in Disney’s Hollywood Studios history” combines Star Wars-themed music and characters with fireworks, lasers, light projections and other special effects. Disney knows how to do fireworks and from the official description this sounds amazing.

About Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular:

Through these state-of-the-art special effects that project onto the nearby Chinese Theatre and other surrounding buildings, guests will gaze at the twin suns of Tatooine, push through a field of battle droids, navigate through an asteroid field, soar down the trench of the Death Star and deliver the final blow to destroy Starkiller Base. The show, which will unfold through a series of acts, will be punctuated by a tower of fire as well as powerful spotlight beams that create lightsabers in the sky.

Check out some concept art below of more Star Wars-themed attractions planned for both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Are you excited for all the Star Wars-themed attractions coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.