Many of you Walt Disney fans may know that trains played a very big role in Walt Disney’s life, hence the trains in the parks. But did you know that Mickey Mouse was in fact created by Walt while he was on a train from New York to Hollywood after he lost the rights to his character, Oswald? Yep – it’s true! After finding out that he no longer owned the rights to Oswald, he sent a telegram to his brother, Roy Disney, letting him know he was headed back and all was OK (which wasn’t true, they were about to lose everything), and then came up with what is now one of the most famous characters of all Disney characters, Mickey Mouse! After this, Disney’s life changed forever, and it is now a household name most love and cherish. So, if you’ve ever heard the quote, “I hope that we never lose sight of one thing – it was all started by a mouse,” you now know what it means (if you didn’t before).
Anyway, I think I derailed on my story a bit – see what I did there? I’m so punny :-P
On our second full day in California, we left Los Angeles early in the morning and caught the Amtrak train to Anaheim. We went a little bit “fancy” and took business class, which I have to admit was really nice. This was my very first train experience, and I have no idea what coach is like, but we had free WiFi, coffee/water/OJ, and snacks. Our suitcases were checked (included) and we had lots of legroom; something you rarely see when traveling these days.
Taking the train was a very neat experience, one I hope to do again in the future, perhaps cross-country. It was a great way to see the beautiful mountains and the areas we passed, such as Glendale and Downtown Los Angeles.
The ride was about an hour and a half due to stops, but we arrived at the gorgeous station in Anaheim, grabbed our luggage, and ordered a Lyft to head to our hotel at Disneyland. Being the huge Walt Disney fan that I am, it feels kind of nice knowing I travelled to his first park, his greatest dream come true, the same way he used to travel.
Well, until next time…be sure to stay tuned for more posts about my California adventure!
This Independence Day, families can celebrate summer with world-class coasters, live entertainment and an incredible extended fireworks show at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay® on Wednesday, July 4.
In addition to dancing the night away at one of the Summer Nights party zones, guests can celebrate the Fourth of July by taking on Florida’s top thrill rides, including the fan-favorite family spin coaster Cobra’s Curse™. For the Fourth of July, the park will be open from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 P.M. including the following festive activities in Gwazi Park – opening to guests at 7:45 P.M. next Wednesday evening.
Live Music – Actual Bank Robbers
8:15 p.m. to 9:40 p.m., Gwazi Stage
Based out of Tampa, independent pop/rock band Actual Bank Robbers is comprised of musicians who met working at an amusement park. The band will perform on the Gwazi Park main-stage and will also host a LIVE Summer Nights Dance Challenge!
National Anthem Performance
9:40 p.m., Gwazi Stage
The A Cappella Bay Show Chorus will be performing “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to the fireworks display. This award-winning group will kick off the fireworks by paying homage to our nation.
GRAND FINALE Fireworks Display
9:45 p.m., Gwazi Park
Finish the day with an electrifying, extended fireworks show that will illuminate the sky with a patriotic medley in celebration of Independence Day!
Through July 4, 2018 members of our armed forces can receive complimentary admission for themselves and three guests. These tickets must be redeemed at WavesofHonor.com and are not available at the front gate.
Don’t forget, free beer is back at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay! For the duration of Summer Nights, guests age 21 and older can enjoy two complimentary beer samples from the Garden Gate Café each time they visit the park. Throughout the summer, new featured brews will provide the perfect accompaniment to take on the night. Valid identification is required for age verification.
The best way to experience all of the summer excitement is with a Fun Card, including unlimited admission through the end of 2018. Until July 1, guests who purchase a Busch Gardens Fun Card for $99 will receive an Adventure Island® Fun Card for FREE, saving $59 per person. Guests can learn more about all available ticket offers online at BuschGardens.com.
Join in the summer conversation @BuschGardens with #ShowUsYourSummer and #BeerIsBack on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog.
Disclaimer: I am a Brand Partner/Ambassador for Busch Gardens Tampa and received this information via press release. In exchange for my time and efforts in keeping you advised of the latest events and discount offers, as well as providing my opinions on my blog, Busch Gardens has provided me with complimentary tickets and other exclusive opportunities. As always, all opinions are my own.
Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through dynamic and immersive moments that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats when the show comes to Amway Center in Orlando, September 7-9, 2018, for six performances. Produced by Feld Entertainment Inc., the worldwide leader in live touring family entertainment, Disney On Ice is once again elevating the ice show experience with brand-new engaging elements that will fascinate both newcomers and seasoned guests, alike. Tickets are on sale now at DisneyOnIce.com.
Joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, live hosts will enliven the performance space by welcoming everyone into the magical world of Disney On Ice, setting the stage for a participatory adventure. Guests will embark on a search for clues to find Tinker Bell after Captain Hook tries to capture her magic. As each scene unfolds, compelling storytelling will be delivered through multi-level production numbers by skaters, performers and acrobats, alike.
As Miguel from Disney●Pixar’s Coco crosses the Marigold Bridge, he finds himself in the magnificent spirit realm painted with vibrant color, with skeletons atop sway poles oscillating back and forth over the audience in this culturally rich, heritage celebration. Through video projection, Arendelle builds from the ground up, and ice harvesters from Disney’s Frozen use extreme skating to launch themselves from the mountainous, wintry slopes delivering an athletically-driven performance as they chop their way through blocks of ice. The iconic chandelier seen in “Be Our Guest” comes to life as Belle and the enchanted objects from Beauty and the Beast become a rotating carousel using aerial silks and lift upward into the air, mesmerizing onlookers seated above and below.
“Our goal with any show, no matter where you are in the world, is to deliver transformative performances that captivate audiences time and time again. With this production of Disney On Ice, we have brought the magic closer to guests than ever before by having the audience become an integral part of advancing the narrative as each story unfolds,” said Nicole Feld, Executive Vice President and Producer. “We have pushed the action past the ice, expanding the stage beyond our traditional surface. The excitement will not only happen in front of fans, but all around them with characters emerging from the stands in unexpected places for one-on-one delightful moments.”
In a high-energy opening number, Club Mickey Mouse-inspired performers will hype up the crowd through cutting-edge figure skating choreography and hoverboard tricks on the ice. Air tracks will also allow the hilarious pirates aboard the Jolly Roger to flip, tumble and twist to greater heights as they attempt to showcase their talents for Captain Hook. Aerial straps combined with adagio pair skating will elevate Ariel’s transformation from mermaid to human creating a spell-bounding sequence high above the ice with Prince Eric to the classic song, “Kiss The Girl.” Creative costume design and fabrication will enhance the scenes as the ensemble imitate life “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and will also give the illusion the ice is enveloped in flames as Moana encounters Te Ka on her daring voyage to restore the heart of Te Fiti.
Mickey’s Search Party will feature a collection of Disney characters fans know and love portrayed by decorated performer-athletes who push the boundaries of what is possible. Their theatrical talent, combined with this innovative Disney On Ice production, elevates the live entertainment experience and will leave families with memories that will last a lifetime.
Orlando Housewives in the City readers can get 20% OFF select seats with code SAVE20. Not valid on premium VIP seating. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires Sept. 6, 2018.
Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party will be at the Amway Center in Orlando:
Stay current on the latest developments through social media:
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #MickeysSearchParty
GIVEAWAY: Be sure to check out our Facebook page to enter our giveaway for 4 tickets to see Disney On Ice presents Mickey's Search Party on either Sept 7th at 7:30pm or Sept 8th at 11:00am!
Disclaimer: I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest events and discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities. As always, all opinions are my own.
I’m back from California and WOW what a trip it was! On the first day of John and my anniversary trip, we spent the day with John’s sister, exploring Los Angeles, CA. This was my first visit, so I was very excited to see all the sights and spots I always hear about in movies/TV – such as Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, etc. I decided the best way to make sure I see everything in our one day in town was to take a Starline Tours Hop On Hop Off bus.
If you have never taken a Hop On Hop Off Tour bus, you are missing out! In the past, I took a similar bus tour in Vegas and San Francisco, and it really allowed us to see and learn SO much. They have multiple tickets, but a 24-hour ticket allows you on any of their bus routes in a 24-hour period (if you have more time, I suggest the 48-hour ticket so that you can see and do even more!). We did the red and yellow routes on our visit.
We started our day around 11am in Hollywood, first checking out Grauman’s Chinese Theater, taking pictures of some of the stars on the Walk of Fame, and getting a glimpse of the Hollywood sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center.
From there we grabbed our first Starline Tours bus. When you get on the bus (it’s a double decker!), you are given headphones and then you chose your seat. I suggest grabbing one of their maps, so you can plan out where you want to get off and sightsee. I always go for a seat up on top so that I don’t have any windows blocking my view. Once seated, I plug my headphones in so that I can listen to their audio tour guide and learn all about the area I am visiting.
On this tour, we got to see all sorts of places, including famous buildings, restaurants, streets, and beautiful views of the mountains. We saw the coveted “Beverly Hills” signs, Rodeo Drive, the hotel made famous by the movie “Pretty Woman”, the SAG building, the Tar Pits, LACMA, etc. We hopped off and on, grabbing some ice cream at Salt & Straw (delish!), exploring Melrose, and shopping at the famous Farmer’s Market, just to name a few.
Halfway through our tour, we switched from the red route (Hollywood) to the yellow route (Santa Monica). On this tour we were able to pass by Fox Studios and some other buildings where movie scenes had been filmed. Once we got to Santa Monica, we hopped off the bus and spent a few hours exploring the pier, riding the Ferris wheel, and grabbing lunch. We then got back on the bus to head back to Hollywood. Once back in Hollywood, we finished the red route tour, seeing even more, such as the famous Pink’s Hotdogs and the awesome street art that have become famous selfie taking spots.
I am so glad we took the Starline Tours Hop On Hop Off buses for our one day in Los Angeles, because in 8 hours, we saw and did SO much. Even John’s sister, who lives in LA, couldn’t believe how much we were able to accomplish and learn about the area. It’s a huge plus not having to drive everywhere you want to go, sit in traffic, pay to park, and deal with having to use a GPS to get around. I love that I can just get right on the bus, go where I want to go, get off the bus and explore, then get back on to continue my travels. I also love that they provide an audio guide so that as I’m riding on the bus, I get to learn about the area, the places I am seeing, and fun history tidbits – something I wouldn’t get if I just took a car out for the day. I HIGHLY recommend using Starline Tours Bus when visiting Los Angeles (or any of the other cities they have buses in). Next time, I want to try one of their celebrity sighting tours!
I want to thank Starline Tours for hosting us on their wonderful tour as it really made the start of our trip just fabulous! To learn more about Starline Tours and to book your own tour, check out their website here: www.starlinetours.com.
Stay tuned for future posts to learn more about our week-long vacation in California!
Disclaimer: Starline Tours provided me with tickets to take their Los Angeles tour in exchange for my review; however, as always, all comments and opinions are my own.
If you’ve been following my social media posts for the past few weeks, then you probably know that John and I are celebrating our 9th anniversary in CALIFORNIA! Ok, so to be honest, it’s a few weeks before our actual anniversary, but you do what you gotta do right?
My first time visiting...
This is pretty much my first REAL Southern California experience. Back in 2009, I went on a road trip from Atlanta to Seattle, and my time in California was pretty much a day and a half – for the entire state! Yea, so needless to say, I wouldn’t count that as having “visited” California. In November I finally got to travel to Northern California to visit places like the Apple campus (huge Apple fans in my home) and San Francisco, to celebrate John’s birthday. Now I get to visit Los Angeles and… DISNEYLAND!!!
Some of you might be thinking, “but Michelle, you live in ORLANDO, home to Disney WORLD, which is MUCH bigger and MUCH MORE exciting than DisneyLAND.” Well, guess what? I disagree – I can’t wait to see the original park that inspired Walt to make Disney World. I can’t wait to walk the paths he walked, see the original dream come to fruition in person, and experience California Adventure – we don’t have that here you know! I even booked us the “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour” which allows us to see his apartment within the park! So, to me, this is a huge deal and I am super geeking out over here!
But first, Los Angeles!
Before Disneyland, we will be spending a day and a few hours in Los Angeles. We’ll be visiting John’s sister and going super touristy – because again, it’s my first time and I want to see everything I’ve always dreamed of seeing! I cannot wait to see Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame (especially Lucille Ball’s star), Rodeo Drive, Pink’s Hotdogs, etc. and we’ll be seeing all of this using the Starline Tours Hop On Hop Off buses – something I LOVE doing when visiting a new area – you learn and see so much!
Thanks to some of your suggestions, I plan to check out some other spots, such as the carousel that inspired Walt Disney to make Disneyland, visit Griffith Observatory, and hopefully check out Santa Monica Pier. Don’t worry – I will be sharing everything on social media and then later in blog posts, so you can travel with me!
I’m looking forward to sharing my adventure with you all and I hope that you will enjoy following along too. If you have any suggestions of MUST-SEE, MUST-DO, MUST-EAT in LA, Anaheim, and/or Disneyland, please comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
Just outside of the tourist hustle and bustle of mainstream Orlando, is a quaint little area of Winter Garden, called Plant Street. Although updated within the last few years, there is still a charm about the area that brings you back to decades before our time (or at least mine). From old rustic buildings, to bricks from past train tracks used to build the walls of the citrus fountain gazebo, lots of unique restaurants, and great biking trails, this little area has quite the appeal for Millennials and more. I told John that it reminded me of that small town feel you see in shows such as Gilmore Girls, yet you’d live in a more suburb area outside of this street.
I was invited to attend one of Winter Garden Food Tours’ Sunday brunch tours, and being the foodie I am, I accepted. The tour groups are small (about 8 people) which makes for a nice, intimate outing. We met our guide, John, and the group at the citrus fountain. To my surprise and delight, two other local bloggers, one of which I have been trying to meet up with, ended up on our same tour! (check out @tastecooksip + @beautyandthebeets on IG)
We began our tour by walking to our first stop, The Chef’s Table. I had previously heard great things about this restaurant, but during our tour, I learned that The Chef’s Table has been listed as one of the top 100 restaurants in America! We did not dine in the main dining room, but instead in the “tasting room” which serves more of a tapas style (and is a bit less pricey- for those of us wanting good food but are on a budget!).
Here we tried the chicken and waffles (only offered at weekend brunch) and the shrimp and grits. Both were good, but the shrimp and grits stole the show for me. If you do not eat pork, order the chicken and waffles without the bacon!
Our second stop on the tour was Rosallie Le French Café. Probably one of the cutest restaurants I’ve ever visted. The desserts on display all looked delicious and the décor was just fabulous! We sat in the back to enjoy some of their quiche lorraine (which sells out very quickly). Unfortunately, as I do not eat pork, I couldn’t try the quiche lorraine, but it did look really good. In all honesty, before leaving Plant Street, I returned to this restaurant just to get a slice of quiche chèvre (goat cheese, tomato, & spinach – no meat) to go, because the lorraine looked so good. Let me tell you, it was the best quiche I’d ever had. So fluffy and melts in your mouth.
Our next stop, only a few blocks away and a short walk, was the Plant Street Market. Here you will find Crooked Can Brewery and many open vendors. At the beginning of the tour we got to sample some of AntiquiTEAs coffee cake, this vendor was one of the first when we walked inside.
Our first stop within the market was Sir Benji’s Donuts. These little donuts were made on the spot and were so, SO good. I did not try the bacon one, but the sprinkles one was great.
We then sampled from charcuterie and cheese boards from the Market Deli. Here you can buy fresh meats/cheeses, lunch, and they even dry-age steaks! Unfortunately, I couldn’t try any of the meats from the charcuterie board, but the cheeses and jams were wonderful. I could literally sit and eat off cheese boards all day long (LOL).
The next stop was Morthan Cheese. You might be thinking, what is “Morthan”? Well, the market wanted a cheese vendor, and the owner wanted to do “more than cheese” … next thing you know, he has a name and a very interesting business! When you walk by, you’ll find wheels of cheese cooking under some sort of contraption. When you order your sandwich, they take the melted part of the cheese wheel, and slide it onto your sandwich, before piling it high with other ingredients. I won’t lie, I wanted to try this SO badly, but unfortunately, it had pork, so I had to rely on John to tell me how amazing it was. I didn’t have to pry, he was sure to tell me how great it was. We plan to go back SPECIFICALLY so that I can try one of these amazing sandwiches, sans pork!
Watch a Morthan Sandwich being made in the video above!
See the completed sandwich below!
From here we passed by many other amazing looking food vendors to get to our Crooked Can Brewing Company tour. Crooked Can hasn’t been around very long (just a few years), but has already made a huge name for themselves. They sell in almost all parts of Florida, except for the Tampa/St. Pete area. They get their name from the founders wanting a reference to the can, which really keeps the beer fresh and delicious – something many have gone away from, and “crooked” for how you get after you have some beer. Their logo, Mr. Swagger, represents how one might feel after that first beer sets in and you begin to relax and have a good time. They even name many of their beers after emotions.
This was my first brewery tour, I come from Virginia where wineries are aplenty, but not breweries, so this was very different for me. It’s crazy how much beer they produce, considering how new they are. Plus, all the different processes the beer goes through and the different things they need, to make sure everyone gets a nice cold glass of beer from the tap.
During our tour, we learned about their barrel room, which is a lot smaller, but where they produce beer in old barrels. Some barrels are from whiskey, some from tequila, some from wine, etc. The three of us bloggers (and John) were lucky enough to be given a little tour of that area too. We sampled the Cherry Cheeks beer, which was aged in a wine barrel, which was really very good – almost like a cider, but not as sweet. I will definitely be coming back to try more of their barrel-aged beers!
Our tour came to an end and John and I decided to walk around a little more and check out Ms. Bee’s Gourmet Popcorn and Candy Store. Although not on the tour, this is a MUST! They have old-time candy, taffy, and chocolates, but also popcorn in every flavor you can imagine! We sampled a few flavors and ended up buying 3 smalls bags (banana pudding, dark chocolate salted caramel, and cheddar). I highly recommend that you stop by Ms. Bee’s!
John and I are already planning our next trip over to Plant Street as there are so many restaurants we want to try! I’m also considering taking my bike and riding it around town, as it’s just so beautiful. We were told on our tour that they also have huge events for July 4thand Christmas, so I think that might be in our future as well.
If you are looking for something new to do, or maybe a new area of Orlando/Central Florida to explore, I suggest checking out Plant Street – you won’t be disappointed! And if you are in the mood for a food tour, check out Winter Garden Food Tours – they have all sorts of food tours, including dessert! I do have to note that if you have food allergies or dietary needs, the tours may not be for you.
Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary tour for me and a guest by Winter Garden Food Tours; no postings or reviews were asked of me in exchange. As always, all comments and reviews are my own.
Cirque du Soleil is coming to the Amway Center with a brand-new arena creation. Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL, explores the artistic limits of ice for the first time in the company’s 34-year history. This unique production pushes boundaries of performance by combining stunning skating and acrobatic feats that defy the imagination. CRYSTAL will perform in Orlando from Wednesday, August 1 through Sunday, August 5 for 7 shows only.
In CRYSTAL, gymnasts and skaters perform acrobatics on the ice and in the air, seamlessly combining multiple disciplines for a world class audience experience. Synchronized skating, freestyles figures, and extreme skating are featured alongside circus disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial traps and hand to hand. The result is an adrenaline-packed show for the whole family that pushes the boundaries and surpasses all expectations!
Watch world-class ice skaters and acrobats explore their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics. Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL fuses circus arts and the world of ice skating in a stunning new production that will take the audience on a journey into a surreal world where figure skating blends with acrobatics and aerial prowess.
Cirque du Soleil Crystal will be at the Amway Center in Orlando:
Wednesday, August 1st at 7:30 PM
Thursday, August 2nd at 7:30 PM
Friday, August 3rd at 7:30 PM
Saturday, August 4th at 4:00 PM and 7:30 PM
Sunday, August 5 at 1:30 PM and 5:00 PM
For more ticket information, please go to https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal or call 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Amway Center is located at 400 W Church St #200, Orlando, FL 32801; parking is available in the attached garage for a fee.
More about CRYSTAL – A Breakthrough Ice Experience
Follow CRYSTAL, the lead character, on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination. Feel the adrenaline as she soars through this surreal world at high speed to become what she was always destined to be: confident, liberated, and empowered. CRYSTAL invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to colorful life with astounding visual projections and a soundtrack that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil.
For more information, visit: www.cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
To watch a preview video of CRYSTAL, visit :YOUTUBE (and see video clip below)
Follow #CRYSTAL and #cirquedusoleil on social media:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Want to see Cirque du Soleil CRYSTAL on opening day?
Be sure to enter our Facebook GIVEAWAY by 7/19!
About Cirque du Soleil
CRYSTAL is Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd original production since 1984. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 180 million spectators in more than 450 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleilhas over 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from 50 different countries.
Cirque du Soleil wishes to thank Forsythe Technology ; official sponsor of Cirque du Soleil.
For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.
To find out more about the ONE DROP Foundation, visit www.onedrop.org.
Disclaimer: I am a Boza Agency Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest live entertainment, Boza Agency has provided me with complimentary tickets to Cirque du Soleil shows and other exclusive opportunities. As always, all opinions are my own.
Our June charity spotlight is International Cultural Exchange Services (ICES). ICES is a nonprofit student exchange organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful world by increasing international awareness and cultural understanding. They are a team of experienced professionals who are passionate about offering fantastic international and American student exchange opportunities. They have been doing this for over 25 years and they are amazed by the remarkable achievements of their students.
ICES was founded in 1991 by John J. Crist, as the President/ CEO he has worked in the U.S. as well as Sweden, Spain, Brazil and England and has been in the student exchange industry for over 35 years.
The ICES staff truly understands the challenges that exchange students may face, many of their team members have lived abroad and learned another language while overcoming cultural differences. This understanding and compassion is transmitted through ICES’s exceptional customer service.
As the global community we live in becomes increasingly interdependent and subject to change, today’s young people will face numerous challenges on the journey to becoming tomorrow’s leaders. They believe the foreign student exchange experience helps young people of all nationalities embrace those challenges and discover new opportunities that will help them dream and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
In May of 2016 ICES developed the IQ USA brand to define its Academic Service, F-1 & Short-Term programs. With the strength of 25 years in business, ICES and IQ USA offer experience in J-1 & F-1, Short-Term and Academic Service programs along with a reciprocal program, their High School Study Abroad for American students!
ICES is a designated as an official J-1 sponsor through the U.S. Department of State. They meet meticulous government regulations that assure their students, partners and host families have safe and positive experiences. ICES has been a member of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange (ALLIANCE) since 1997. They have maintained a full listing with the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) for 25 years. ICES President John J. Crist, has served four terms on the CSIET Board of Directors. CSIET establishes standards for operating international exchange programs, they monitor compliance, and disseminate information regarding international educational travel organizations.
With 38 office staff members and a team of 425 local coordinators, they are dedicated to providing participants with experiences that will have a positive impact on their lives for years to come. Their team manages over 1,300 students yearly, with a network of school partners in 45 states. Their students come from 39 countries and are supervised by trained coordinators and compassionate student counselors.
Their partners help ICES to recruit and screen students ensuring that each student is emotionally prepared for the challenges inherent in studying abroad. Their Partners administer language exams and conduct interviews with students and parents prior to accepting them into the ICES program. The ICES President believes in building long-term relationships that allow them to learn and understand their Partners’ expectations, so they can provide excellent service to their international program participants.
U.S. schools play an important role in the success of their inbound programs. ICES staff focus on building and strengthening relationships with schools across the nation. Their school partners work closely with ICES to serve the best interest of their students and host families.
HOST A STUDENT
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HOST FAMILY
Your role as a host family is to provide room & board, and a nurturing home environment for your exchange student. The rewards of hosting are many, your family will learn and grow with the experience as you build life-long friendships.
ICES provides host families a network of support starting at the local level. Their trained Local Coordinators are available to help with any questions or concerns you and your family may have during the hosting experience. Local Coordinators will visit your home and provide you with detailed information about the hosting experience, while answering all of your questions. Host families are given an orientation before their students’ arrival to ensure they understand all aspects of hosting.
FROM A STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE
Students around the world contemplate and dream about an exchange experience, they wonder what things will look like once they are actually living with an American family and going to school. The impact an exchange experience has on these student’s is profound and meaningful. Being a host family not only gives students a place to call home, it changes their view on Americans, their perspective on life; it gives them the gift of friendship and of “family”. As you change their lives, you change yours, cultural differences melt away and the rewards of hosting come with the realization that you made a difference, you changed lives!
Learn more about becoming a host family here.
To apply to become a host family, please fill out this request form.
Still have questions or want to speak with someone directly? Call (800) 344-3566; ICES has an energetic and knowledgeable staff that is happy to tell you more about the hosting experience.
ICES works with its partners overseas who do the pre-screening of students. Their partners recruit only those students who they feel will be excellent candidates for the program. They continue the screening process to ensure they have a genuine interest in becoming an exchange student. Here are some of the things they screen for:
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
International high school students from Latin America, South America, Europe, Asia & Africa are excited to become a part of your family. Their overseas partners carefully select and pre-screen students, ICES follows up with additional screening for maturity and adaptability. Students come with medical coverage and their own spending money, they participate in a pre-departure orientation as well as an ICES arrival orientation, so they understand the rules and expectations of their program.
Program length is 5 or 10 months
Students are between the ages of 15 -18
Arrival dates are during the months of August and January
Read what previous Host families have to say here.
Read what previous students have to say here.
Connect with ICES on Facebook!
Connect with ICES on Twitter!
We will not be collecting any donated items at our June 26th The Big Easy Girls Night Out Meet Up + Networking Social, but you will be able to speak with a representative of ICES to ask any questions you might have! The deadline to sign up to be a host family for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year is Mid-July.
Be sure to register for your FREE ticket to our June 26th GNO here
I'm Abby, wifey, mama x4, content creator & podcast junkie. Living in Orlando is a dream come true. I'm stoked to connect with you through the blog, social platforms & monthly girls night out events!