Ghosts of the Past- Visiting Fort Mose

by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures    May 31, 2017

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We tell people all the time that yes, we travel all over the place and not just to Disney Parks. My husband and I have always thought it important to teach not only our students the value of history and historic places, but also our own children. It has been a priority for us to show them that the history of our world is every bit as enchanting as a Disney tale, complete with pirates, princesses, and soldiers- only the authentic types.

On our last journey to Florida, we returned to a place that I had not visited since I was the tender age of 12. We visited Fort Mose.

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Established in 1738 by Colonial Spanish Florida’s Governor Manuel Montiano, Fort Mose gave sanctuary to Africans challenging enslavement in the English Colony of Carolina. Approximately 100 Africans lived at Fort Mose, forming more than 20 households. Together they created a frontier community which drew on a range of African backgrounds blended with Spanish, Native American and English cultural traditions. Fort Mose was legally sanctioned by the Spanish Government making it the first free African settlement to legally exist in what is now the United States.

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Usually when we consider post contact discovery and development of North America we think about the English settling at Jamestown in 1607 or perhaps Plymouth in 1620; but it was the Spaniards who established the Oldest European City of the United States, St. Augustine in 1565. In contemplating experience of Africans within the post Columbian context we again think about Jamestown, Virginia and Charles Town, Carolina. However, the first Africans to accompany Europeans in coming to the New World arrived not as slaves in Jamestown in 1619. Aboard ships with Spanish Conquistadors and Adelantados, Africans arrived as artisans, seamen, navigators and adventurers, forever establishing their presence in North America. In early 1500’s Juan Garrido took part in the expeditions of Ponce de Leon in Puerto Rico and Florida as well as with Hernando Cortez in Mexico. Esteban joined Panfilo de Narvaez traveling through the Gulf Coast and the Southwest.St. Augustine, Florida founded in 1565 by Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, is the Oldest European City in what became the United States. Africans helped in forming and maintaining the settlement as both slaves and free people. Skills and knowledge gained from Africa including blacksmithing, carpentry, cattle ranching, and military techniques enabled African people to make important contributions to the St Augustine community. They formed 12% of the population, 1 of every 5 was a free person.

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English Planters established Charles Town in 1670 along the southeastern coast of the North American Continent. This intensified regional inter-colonial rivalry involving Spaniards, Native Americans, French Huguenots, and Africans. In Charles Town, enslaved Africans soon outnumbered whites and many resisted bondage by running away. 1672 brought a Spanish response to the increasing regional tensions. Queen Regent Mariana of Spain and the Florida’s Governor Cendoya commissioned the construction of a coquina fortress, the Castillo de San Marcos, a defensive move to fortify the settlement of St. Augustine. Spaniards worked with Native Americans and Africans building the structure.

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Hidden away in the marshes of St. Augustine, Florida is one of the most important sites in American history: the first free community of ex-slaves, founded in 1738 and called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose or Fort Mose (pronounced Moh-Say).

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More than a century before the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves from the British colonies were able to follow the original “Underground Railroad” which headed not to the north, but rather south, to the Spanish colony of Florida. There they were given their freedom, if they declared their allegiance to the King of Spain and joined the Catholic Church.

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Fort Mose was the northern defense of St.Augustine, the nation’s oldest city.

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The discovery and verification of the events that took place in Saint Augustine and at Fort Mose have resulted in the revision of not only Florida’s but America’s knowledge of colonial history.

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Visiting this location on a lovely sunny day, we were the only people there aside from the museum curator. After a good discussion with him, we were able to walk all over the grounds and the museum by ourselves.

The grounds are hauntingly beautiful. I have often said that when visiting a true historic site, one can almost feel the significance if enough attention is paid. This was no exception. Ghosts of the past exist.

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Photos ©Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures, 2017

Source:

Fort Most Historical Society

Are you visiting Disney, Universal, or any vacation destination in the future? We have some amazing all-inclusive packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Disney Cast Member, and as a husband and wife team we travel the world in search of the best destinations possible.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

We are a FULL SERVICE travel agency- if you can travel there, we can book it for you!

 

Image copyright Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures, 2017.

Don’t pay theme park prices! Click here to visit our Disney store on Amazon!

You’re Going to Disney- AGAIN?!?! Why?

by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures    May 24, 2017

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A lovely Spring morning at the Magic Kingdom, WDW.  ©Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures

We’ve all heard it, right? That one question, usually spoken by a friend or relative that just has no idea what the Disney “spark” is all about. Yes, they ultimately exhale a long (or short) sigh, roll their eyes, and utter those familiar words….

You’re going to Disney….AGAIN?!!

If you are anything like me, you simply grin (the bigger the better) and retort a “you bet I am!” as a reply. I have noticed that the happier I sound when I answer, the more aggravated the other individual becomes, however. My bad.  🙂

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Have you seen this look before?

What makes us return to a Disney park so often? What is it that reaches into our hearts, touches us, and inspires us year after year? It certainly isn’t the cost of a Disney vacation (although that is the very reason I do what I do- to make these expeditions as affordable as possible for our clients). It is not the crowd level on a busy day, or avoiding strollers and scooters that stop suddenly in front of us while we are walking with a Mickey ice cream bar in hand. It isn’t the parents that let their kids run wild, throw tantrums without remorse, and climb on the railings and dividers in a queue. So what is it?

In both Disneyland and in Walt Disney World, where we go most often, I have noticed that it is simply the beauty of the parks that appeals to me the most. I realize that this beauty transcends in different ways to different people, which is fantastic and curious at the same time. For myself, it is inspirational beauty. Yes, I love the attractions and the fun with my friends and family, but it is something much more than that which reaches out to me.

Witnessing Walt and Roy Disney’s first foray into the huge undertaking that became Disneyland is nothing short of amazing. How tenacious they must have been to overcome the naysayers of their era to bring the beloved park into existence for all of us! Seeing Walt Disney World, the fruition of Walt’s dream of plenty of space and the culmination of learning from all of the difficulties while building Disneyland, is nothing short of amazing. I still get a kick out of explaining to people that only want to go to Walt Disney World for a day or two that there is no way to see everything in such a short amount of time. It actually saddens me a bit when someone is not prepared for the sheer size of Walt Disney World, then they go and have less than a magical time. This is yet another reason I became a Disney travel planner- not on my watch. I make sure each of my clients is totally prepared before they go. I would want someone to do the same for me.

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The Moffits, EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, 2017.  ©Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures

It isn’t hard to see the beauty. It’s everywhere. From the tiniest detail around the ceiling perimeter in a Disneyland Main Street shop to the most amazing fireworks spectacle at Cinderella’s Castle. Inside a Disney dining location or a resort hotel, it’s a feast for the soul as much as for the eyes.

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort, May 2017. Admiring Mary Blair’s artistic influence.  ©Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures

From the flowers at EPCOT or around the Magic Kingdom on any given morning to the lush flora and fauna at Animal Kingdom, this priceless beauty inspires us to create magical moments for ourselves and others.

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Even the new Satu’li Canteen in Pandora-World of Avatar exhibits the level of detail and beauty that was so important to Walt Disney.  ©Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures

So the next time you hear those familiar words, hear a sigh, or see an eye roll- just grin as big as you can, and know that you share something very special with other Disney fans that the person you are looking at just doesn’t get at all.  ºoº

Do you have this problem with anyone you know? Why do you return to Disney? Share with us and leave a comment below!

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Are you visiting Disney in the future? We have some amazing packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Cast Member.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency, such as Mad Hatter Adventures. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

Image copyright Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures, 2017.

Don’t pay theme park prices! Click here to visit our Disney store on Amazon!

 

Festival of Fantasy Parade- New Start Time!

by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures    May 23, 2017

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News today from Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! The Festival of Fantasy Parade will begin at 2:00pm rather than the traditional 3:00pm beginning August 20, 2017.

The prevalent parade time has been 3:00pm for many years, and it is a common joke among Cast Members that Disney guests tend to ask “when does the three o’clock parade begin”? (As a former CM myself, I can tell you that yes, that actually has happened, more than once.)

There are also rumors swirling on social media about the Paint the Night Parade and the possibility of it coming to WDW. While we have no official word on that as of yet, we will keep you posted.

What are your thoughts? Would you like Paint the Night to appear at WDW? Happy about the new Festival of Fantasy Parade time in August? Comment and let us know!

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Are you visiting Disney in the future? We have some amazing packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Cast Member.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

Image copyright Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures, 2017.

Don’t pay theme park prices! Click here to visit our Disney store on Amazon!

Frontierland Fuss? Country Bears Will Be New Meet and Greet!

by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures   May 22, 2017

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The official word came down today that Chip and Dale’s meet and greet location will be in the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom’s Town Square and that the Frontierland absence will be filled by the Country Bears. This announcement follows a huge social media campaign to get Jessie from Toy Story as a meet and greet character, so it is likely to make some fans unhappy. Personally, we are happy about the opportunity to pose with Liverlips, Wendel, Shaker, and of course- Big Al! The meet and greet will be a moving event, not at the previous Chip and Dale location.

What are your thoughts? Will you be meeting the bears?

 

Are you visiting Disney in the future? We have some amazing packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Cast Member.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

Today’s image courtesy of Disneytouristblog.

Why Use a Travel Agent for a Disney Vacation? Reason One…

Mztressofallevil's Disney Doings

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Why Use a Travel Agent for a Disney Vacation? Reason One…Personalized Planning Services

When you book your vacation with a Disney travel agent, the agent will be your go-to contact throughout the entire planning process, start to finish. For a Disney vacation, unless you want to skip or miss a lot (especially at WDW), this can be an amazing benefit for you. You can turn to your agent, usually 24/7, with any concerns, questions, or ideas for your itinerary. Your agent will then work side by side with Disney to ensure that no detail is left out for your magical vacation. Simply put, you won’t need to spend your time contacting Disney for a single thing. In contrast, if you book your own reservations directly through Disney, you will speak to a different agent (Cast Member) every time you call or email. There will not be a personal relationship…

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Stitch Meet and Greet Moving to Tomorrowland 

Written by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits – Mad Hatter Adventures    May 20, 2017

The Moffits hanging out with Stitch, May 2017.

If you love this mischievous alien with a bit of a badness level, we have some news for you. In the coming days, Stitch will have his own meet and greet location in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. The exact location is unknown but we will update you as we learn more. Stitch has been greeting Magic Kingdom guests at the beginning of Main Street on occasion, but due to demand he will be available on a more regular basis. 

Are you visiting Disney in the future? We have some amazing packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Cast Member.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

Images copyright Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures

Walt Disney World Offers NEW Premium Cruise Around Crescent Lake and Epcot

by Rhonda Moffit, Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures   May 19, 2017

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Sunset at EPCOT.  ©Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures

Looking for a brand new way to relax and enjoy EPCOT?

Disney has a brand new Premium Cruise Around the World that they will offer beginning June 1st. Guests will board and begin their journey at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The cruise will travel around Crescent Lake and the World Showcase Lagoon for one hour. There will be light snacks (bagged) and some soft drinks offered and included, and guests will be able to purchase additional items if desired. Each cruise will only take ten guests and should be booked in advance through your travel agent.

Cost is $149 per boat, only up to 10 guests (plus tax).

Is this something that appeals to you and yours? Let us know in the comments.

 

Are you visiting Disney in the future? We have some amazing packages available and can save you time and money so you and yours have the best time possible! After all, one of us is a former Cast Member.  Fill out our form HERE to receive your FREE quote. Our services are completely free for you to utilize and you will get YEARS of experience on your side when booking with Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures.

Always consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. We will be available to assist you with everything from finding the best value for your travel party to getting dining reservations and Fastpass+ attractions lined up.  Just get in touch with us at moffits@madhatteradv.com or watch our adventures on Facebook. We don’t just book Disney, we LIVE it!

Images copyright Moffits- Mad Hatter Adventures