Disney World will continue to have reduced hours in November

It doesn’t look like things will be back to normal at Disney World by the holiday season. The theme park recently released its schedule for the start of November and it appears that the park will continue to run on limited hours. It’s still unclear if annual holiday events at the park will go on or be canceled. According to the Walt Disney World website, the Magic Kingdom will open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m, which is three hours earlier then it closed during the same time period in 2019. Epcot will open at 11 a.m. and close 7 p.m. Last November, Epcot was open from 9 in the morning until 9 in the evening. Hollywood Studios is opening one hour later at 10 a.m. and closing two hours earlier at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom will be closing at 5 p.m., which is three hours earlier than last November. These hours show a continued trend of reduced hours of operation at Disney World. Starting in September, the park will begin adjusting its hours for the fall season.

For more from the official Disney World site, click on the text above.

Dish TV bleeds subscribers while rivals benefit from COVID-19 lockdowns

Dish Network Corp. revenue slipped in the three months through June, with subscribers continuing to drop the service even as rivals benefited from COVID-19 lockdowns that prompted Americans to spend more time with at-home entertainment. The Englewood, Colorado-based satellite TV provider’s second-quarter revenue fell 0.6 percent from a year ago to $3.19 billion as profit rose to $452 million, or 78 cents per share, from $317 million the year prior. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting revenue of $3.1 billion on adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share. The number of paid Dish TV net subscribers fell by 40,000 in the three months through June while the amount of Sling TV net subscribers decreased by 56,000. A year ago, Dish TV subscribers fell by 79,000 while Sling TV subscribers rose by 48,000. Dish TV saw 45,000 of the approximately 250,000 commercial accounts, including companies in the airlines and hospitality industries that paused their subscriptions during the early days of the pandemic, resume their service. Dish Network shares fell 3.3 percent year-to-date through Thursday, trailing the S&P 500’s 3.66 percent gain.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice products return to grocery stores

Starbucks is giving consumers the opportunity to have a taste of fall before the season officially arrives. The Seattle-based coffee giant made its pumpkin spice product line available in grocery stores at a time when a growing number of consumers are drinking coffee at home, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lineup includes its pumpkin spice flavored creamer, K-Cup coffee pods, ground coffee and other flavored drinks. The company has also debuted new products including a maple pecan flavored coffee and salted caramel mocha flavored creamer. However, Starbucks has not yet revealed when its famed Pumpkin Spice Latte will return to menus. The release of the products comes as the pandemic, which led to widespread lockdowns and forced restaurants and cafes to shut down for prolonged periods, has forced a growing number of coffee drinkers to consume their cup of joe within the confines of their home. Starbucks said its U.S. market share in packaged coffee grew 21% in dollar sales in its fiscal third quarter, outpacing the coffee category as a whole, which grew 13% in the same period. A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Nestlé in April indicated that third of respondents said they were brewing more coffee at home now than before they were under quarantine, the Daily Meal reported. Still, some companies that performed well over the lockdown orders did so because of how well they catered to the adjusting times. For instance, J.M. Smucker Co., which makes Folgers, Dunkin’, and Cafe Bustelo coffee, performed well through May, according to Intelligencer, which noted that the company was selling more coffee to more households to brew at home.

Its the little things…

Majority of Americans say ‘spontaneous adventures’ are the best part of summer, study claims

Two-thirds of Americans sadly think summer loses its magic as they get older, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 US adults found grown-up responsibilities, not having enough time and having a job were the top three contributors to taking the fun out of the season. But despite all that — and COVID-19 — respondents are determined to have the time of their lives this year. The survey, commissioned by Dutch Bros Coffee in celebration of its new Campout Cold Brew and conducted by OnePoll, revealed seven in 10 plan on getting creative to make the most of summer 2020. Many are drawing inspiration from a treasured place to make their summer extra special ‒ their own childhoods. Two in three will be embracing the same activities they loved as kids. Three-quarters say the best part of summer growing up was having all sorts of spontaneous adventures with their friends. The average person had the best summer of their life at age 14 and had five adventures to make that summer truly memorable. The most common activities respondents are looking to recreate from their youth this summer were hanging out with friends (44 percent), bonfires (31 percent) and camping in the woods (30 percent). Other summer classics adults want to return to were swimming in a pool (30 percent), family vacations and reunions (both 27 percent). Nearly two-thirds of respondents are parents and of those, 87 percent are hoping to give their kids a summer like the ones they enjoyed. Eighty-five percent of parents also said their children have helped them recapture that summer magic. Two in five respondents have summer traditions from their childhood they still uphold today. Some top favorites included camping in the woods, sleeping in the backyard, telling ghost stories and summer camps. “It’s not surprising that most people find summer less magical when they add in adult responsibilities,” said Bryce Schneider, head of Broista training at Dutch Bros Coffee. “I’ve tried to find ways to keep summer exciting like enjoying fun adventures and sweet treats. I love sitting by a campfire, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores — it’s like being a kid all over again.” Respondents frequently named bonfires as one of their favorite summer memories — and one they hope to get back to this year.

Fun!  For more, click on the text above.      🙂

More people cheating with online affairs during lockdown: study

Everything else we do has shifted online — why not infidelity? Since the inception of chat rooms, the internet has long served as a fertile ground for cheaters. Last year, a YouGov poll found that some 17 percent of users across all dating apps were there to cheat on their current partners. Now, it’s only getting worse. Couples who haven’t already called it quits may be sabotaging their relationships anyway, according to University of Tennessee-Knoxville psychologists Kristina Coop Gordon and Erica A. Mitchell, whose co-authored editorial, “Infidelity in the Time of COVID‐19,” was published in the journal Family Process earlier this month. Approximately 25 percent of all marriages experience infidelity, according to their paper, but now more than ever before, couples are engaging in extramarital affairs through dating apps, where they can browse for hookups safely and subtly, they found. “Individuals who are dissatisfied in their current relationship are more likely to explore alternative options and the increased stress from the pandemic may be contributing to more negative perceptions for individuals of both their partner and their relationship,” they wrote. The findings are backed up by infidelity website, which reported an uptick in new accounts created at an average rate of 17,000 per day since COVID-19 descended on the US. That’s compared to a daily new user rate of 15,500 during the same time period last year. The trend in pandemic philandering has even yielded some hyperspecific custom porn requests from cam girls, such as Allie Eve Knox. “Personalized porn is really on the rise,” she recently told The Post. “People have been through PornHub for two months now. They’re running out of content and now they want people to talk to them, ask them how their day was and talk to them specifically. My wallet says that, too.” The authors also cited data from the Kinsey Institute, which found that about 13 percent of people currently in a relationship have reached out to an ex-lover during the pandemic. “Research has consistently found increases in stress to be associated with decreases in both sexual and relationship satisfaction,” they wrote. Where in the best of times, some couples may work things out, Gordon and Mitchell also warned that breakups and divorce may be more likely to occur as a result of the extraordinary psychological toll of the pandemic. The fact that couples can’t escape each other doesn’t help diffuse the situation, either, and marriage counselors can be difficult to access due to financial setbacks or social distancing measures. “The pandemic has limited couples’ access to resources and social support, which may make it more difficult for them to cope with this significant stressor,” they said. “Further, the practices supported by research and recommended for couples during affair recovery may be more difficult to achieve during this time of social isolation.”

Pale ale, IPA beer drinkers more likely to be adventurous, study claims

Pale ale and IPA beer drinkers are more likely to be risk-takers and sensation-seekers, according to a new study. Despite ale drinkers being perceived as calmer than their lager cousins they still have an edge, scientists believe. The unexpected results of the study involved personality assessments and blind taste tests to discover links when it comes to bitter taste. Researchers traditionally thought people who experience bitterness more intensely are more likely to avoid it and choose different tastes. But the Penn State Sensory Evaluation Center discovered people who seek novel sensations and perceive bitter tastes more intensely are more likely to prefer bitter, pale-ale-style beers and drink them more often. John Hayes, associate professor of food science, said: “Traditionally, most researchers find that people who experience bitterness more intensely avoid bitter food or drink — so with heightened bitterness, they like it less, and therefore consume it less. “But here, we find that people who seek higher sensations and are more risk-taking, they like bitter beer such as India pale ales, if they also have greater bitter taste perception.” In previous studies, links have been found between the liking of spicy foods and the high-sensation-seeking, risk-taking personality traits. Lead researcher Molly Higgins said: “Our data contradict the classic view that bitterness is merely an aversive sensation that limits intake. We found that increased bitterness perception does not always lead to decreased liking and intake — rather, it’s a positive attribute in some products for some consumers.” In the study, 109 beer consumers rated liking and intensity of two pale ales and a lager, and the intensity of two bitter solutions – quinine and hops extract Tetralone – under blind laboratory conditions. Participants, an even gender split, were also asked to complete intake and personality questionnaires. Researchers chose a lager style beer with low bitterness, Budweiser, a moderately bitter ale Founder’s All-Day IPA Session Ale, and Troeg’s Perpetual IPA as the strongly bitter ale. “The interaction revealed liking of the pale ale increased with sensation seeking but only if quinine bitterness was also high,” Higgins said. “Intake models showed increased odds of frequent pale-ale intake with greater quinine bitterness and lower liking for lager beer.” “These data suggest liking and intake of pale ales is positively related to sensation seeking and bitter taste perception.” The researchers say that this interest in bitter foods could give new rise to promoting healthy bitter foods. “Avoidance of bitter foods can impact health negatively, because bitter foods such as cruciferous vegetables, green tea and grapefruit contain healthy compounds like flavonols, which are reported to have antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties,” Higgins added. The findings were recently published in Food Quality and Preference.

Father and sons build American flags for veterans and police officers

In 2018, Georgia native Tom Saccenti and his then-8-year-old son Micah decided to make an American Flag from leftover wood, something they had seen done in a YouTube video. After a few failed attempts they finally had an end product they loved and a new hobby to do together. “My dad and me thought it would be a good idea to do it as a father-son project. We loved it so much that we went to our church and we showed them how to do it for Veterans Day. We made about 20 flags before we got it right,” Micah told Fox News. Saccenti, a former police officer, goes around the country with his family teaching new safety techniques to local police departments, universities and churches. Two years later Micah, 10, is still making flags except now he makes them with his 8-year-old brother, James. The two brothers have continued to make flags for their community even while they traveled with their father to his educational conferences. During each of their father’s trips, the boys give a flag away to one lucky raffle winner. The flags are given out for free to veterans or officers, but conference attendees have the option to donate to the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge, a Christian organization focused on educating children about religion in other parts of the world. Once coronavirus stay-at-home orders were put in place, Saccenti’s conferences were put on hold but that did not stop James and Micah from making flags. The boys had the idea to transition to making blue-line flags and delivering them to police officers in nearby police departments. “We thought what can we do at our home to kind of still honor people who are working during this time. And so we thought what a great way to honor some of our local heroes, police officers,” said Saccenti. So far, the Saccenti boys have given away 50 flags and have raised over $2,000 for the Boys and Girls Missionary Group, and they have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Their next step? Saving up for an engraver so they can put the hero’s name on the flag before giving it to them.

How great is this?!?  For more info, or to buy a flag from the Saccentis, click on the text above.  Outstanding!!      🙂

Memorial Day: 5 things you didn’t know about the holiday

Many Americans see Memorial Day as an opportunity to relax in the yard, gather around the grill with friends, or plan a weekend getaway — and it usually is, even though the latter two traditions may be hindered by the ongoing coronavirus health crisis. But no matter how we choose to observe, it’s important that we never lose sight of the day’s significance. With that in mind, here are five interesting things to consider while we’re celebrating, and paying respects to, the men and women who died serving this country. #1. We’re all aware that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but Congress has also established an exact minute of remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was adopted in December of 2000, encourages every citizen to pause each Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time to remember the brave men and women who died serving this country. In addition to any federal observances, Major League Baseball games usually come to a stop during the Moment of Remembrance, and for the past several years, Amtrak engineers have taken up the practice of sounding their horns in unison at precisely 3:00 p.m. #2. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Memorial Day is celebrated in late May because that’s when flowers are likely to be blooming across the country. It was Union General John A. Logan who — after serving in the Mexican-American War and Civil War — proposed that Congress institute May 30th as Decoration Day (the predecessor to Memorial Day) to allow citizens to decorate the graves of deceased veterans with fresh flowers. (It’s also believed that Logan settled on the date because it wasn’t already the anniversary of any significant battles, according to #3. The Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day Parade in Ironton, Ohio, is recognized as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the nation, beginning all the way back in 1868. However, the oldest (and first) Memorial Day parade in the country was held a year earlier in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (It’s also worth noting that both the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens, N.Y., each bill themselves as the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation.) #4. “Taps,” the bugle call typically performed at military funerals as well as the annual Memorial Day wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was actually adapted from a separate Civil War bugle call known as “Scott Tattoo,” which was used to signal lights out. But, according to both the “Arlington National Cemetery Legacy of Honor” by Jim Harris, as well as “Stories Behind the Hymns that Inspire America” by Ace Collins, the new melody later became the preferred accompaniment at military funerals after Captain John Tidball of the Union Army ordered his men to quietly play “Taps” at a fellow soldier’s funeral, for fear that a traditional three-volley rifle salute would alert nearby Confederate troops to their location. #5. For the first time in 20 years, the American Automobile Association (AAA) chose not to release a Memorial Day “travel forecast” in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which “undermined” the accuracy of the annual report, according to AAA. However, the organization predicted that 2020’s travel trends would set a record low. “Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend — the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” said Paula Twidale, the senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a press release. “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.”

Guess we’ll see…   Don’t forget to take that moment at 3p.  Happy Memorial Day.

U.S. Births Fall to Lowest Level Since 1980s

Federal figures released Wednesday show birth rates reaching record lows last year in the U.S., resulting in the lowest total in 35 years, The Wall Street Journal reported. In 2019, about 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. — down 1 percent from the previous year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed. In addition, the general fertility rate fell 2 percent to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. It is the lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909, the report said. The figures released endorse the latest trends in American childbearing, which began declining during the 2007-09 recession, showing they never matched the economic growth when the economy rebounded. The provisional figures reveal millennials have been slower to form families than previous generations, in part, economists say, because they are less financially secure than those before them. Those results are supported by experts, including fertility expert Melanie Brasher, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Rhode Island, who said: “There are a lot of people out there who would like to have two children, a larger family, and there’s something going on out there that makes people feel like they can’t do that.” Women in all age groups – excluding those in their early 40s – experienced a drop or held steady in birthrates, The Wall Street Journal reported. Meanwhile, teen births saw the sharpest drop, with a 5 percent decline in their birthrate. Since peaking in 1991, the teen birthrate has fallen 73 percent.

Six Flags theme parks to require reservations upon reopening

Six Flags theme parks are looking to reopen this month in several states throughout the nation as shelter-in-place mandates expire or loosen. However, to do so, those planned to open first — including Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta, Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri, Frontier City in Oklahoma City and Six Flags Mexico in Mexico City, according to Newsweek — will have to adhere to certain guidelines that will limit any spur of the moment rollercoaster cravings. According to the theme parks’ websites, guests who want to visit a Six Flags location upon reopening will have to make reservations in advance. “IMPORTANT: ALL VISITORS (INCLUDING PASS HOLDERS AND MEMBERS) MUST MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS TO VISIT THE PARK,” reads a message posted to the parks’ websites. “To meet state social distancing guidelines and ensure the health and safety of our guests, all visits to the park must be pre-scheduled using our online reservation system.” In addition to the reservation-system, Six Flags will also be conducting temperature checks at entrances and requiring guests to wear face masks, CBS Los Angeles reported. Meanwhile, other theme parks, like Disneyland and Disney World, do not yet have a concrete target date for reopening.

So, heads up..  Go to the Six Flags web site before going.