9/11 Through My Classroom Window

This year marks the 10th year anniversary of September 11th. In some ways it feels like it has been forever ago and on the other hand it feels like it was yesterday. I still remember the day so vividly. It was a Tuesday and our first full Tuesday of the school year. I was teaching 6th grade that year and had an upper floor. I loved the school because from my side of the building you had a clear view of the NYC skyline. I would glance out all the time and just admire it. 
We often referred to the Twin Towers in the classroom and I would  tell the students about how I went to the top of the Tower 1 as a young child while it was still under construction. My uncle worked for Port Authority and would take me up on the long elevator ride to the very top where I would be terrified because there were no windows. He would make me stay right next to him and the elevator, even though there were construction workers all over the place. There was a breeze up that high that could have just knocked you over. 

As I grew into an adult I would take the Path into the World Trade Centers all the time. It was my link to South Street Seaport, and my boyfriend(now my hubby) and I would go there as often as we could. There were so many happy memories I had attached to the Twin Towers. I think that is what made Tuesday, September 11, 2001 unimaginable to me, like so many others.

That crisp clear morning hubby dropped me off at school. It was a beautiful day and I had everything planned out for the day. Our 2 year old son was home with my parents, our 4th grade son was in school and I was set to have a wonderful day. The school day started at 8:20am. I picked up my class down in the schoolyard and we went up to the room to unpack and get ready for the day ahead. First period was my prep period and their Art period. I dropped them off at Art Class and returned to my class to prepare the lesson. It was not long before one of the other teachers ran into my room screaming out the news that one of the towers had been hit with a plane. Did I hear her right? It seemed impossible. How could I be sitting right there and not even notice?

Sure enough, I could see the black smoke coming out of the Tower. I was sick to my stomach as I watched. I remember starting to pray. I turned on my Classroom TV to hear the news. It was on EVERY channel. Soon after, Tower 2 was hit. I was terrified. Then the most horrible thing I ever witnessed in my life happened. The Tower fell, collapsed. I thought I was going to be sick. The whole time I was non stop dialing on my cell phone. My husband was only blocks away, but I could not get in touch with him. I could not get in touch with my parents. I wanted to leave, but everyone was on a basic lockdown. 
By now everyone knew. My class was back in the room, some with family that worked at the Twin Towers. Horrible. I had to be the rock and console everyone, meanwhile I was falling apart inside. The fear, being 6 miles from NYC, that something else would happen and I may never see my family ate away at me. I finally got through to my parents, who were going to pick up my own son from school. By 1pm I was home. The school had closed sessions and only been open to people who wanted shelter.
We spent the rest of the day at home glued to the TV and crying, worrying and planning. Days went by as we found more and more people we knew who were missing, most never found.

 So, even though it’s ten years later, sometimes it really does not feel like it. The days, weeeks, and months ahead were filled with sorrow, as students and family and friends lost hope. Memorials and lost hope filled the next year.  My heart still breaks for some students who kissed their parents goodbye that morning and never saw them again. 

Now, ten years later. We sit under a terror threat and wonder. My son goes to college in Manhattan. It’s a bit unnerving.
As this anniversary approaches, I think about all of the lives lost and the families that remain. I still don’t understand it, and never will.
 I live in their honor and hope for the best. But, I will never forget what I saw that day…through my classroom window…

Disney’s Magical Express! It really is Magical!

Disney’s Magical Express
It Really Is Magical!
Planning a vacation to Disney can be a very exciting event. Disney is somewhere you can visit and experience a trip of a lifetime, or it may be somewhere you go time and time again. No matter how many times you visit Walt Disney World, if you are flying you really should  take advantage of Disney’s complimentary service, Disney’s Magical Express

For the past couple of years that we have gone to Disney we have driven, but with the high price of gas this year we decided to fly. A wonderful perk to flying is not only arriving in 2 hours, but also not having to worry a bit about your luggage. 
As soon as you know you are flying, you can call WDW and inform them that you would like Disney’s Magical Express. It is offered to anyone staying at a Disney Resort on property. The cast member will take your flight information, names, etc.
About 2 weeks before your arrival date, the mail will arrive with your Disney Magical Express information. Be sure to check it for accuracy. There will be vouchers for the DME bus and also luggage tags. I absolutely love the tag feature. You simply tag your bag, check it in a the airport, and the next place you see your bag is in your hotel room! Magical? I think so!

A separate vehicle will pick up your luggage and bring it the resort. When you arrive in Orlando, there will be signs all over that point you in the direction of the Magical Express. There is also a map in your mail kit, but you really won’t need it, there are plenty of signs.
When you get downstairs in the airport, there is a Disney’s Magical Express counter where you can check in. They will direct you to the lane your bus is in. The buses leave about every 15-20 minutes, so you won’t be waiting long! There are also an abundance of buses! 
After boarding the bus, it won’t be long and you will be on your way. During the 20 minute ride, you can enjoy a warm welcome from the Disney characters via the drop down monitors on the bus. They are timed perfectly to your arrival at the hotel! Magical?
 I think so!
Before you know it you will be at your Disney resort of choice!
Unfortunately, your trip will go just as fast. Well, mine always does anyway. Disney’s Magical Express takes care of you for the return trip also. The night before you check out you will receive a note under your hotel door with instructions about the following morning. Only one person from the family has to go downstairs to do the airport/luggage check in. Once again, the bags are tagged, weighed (since there is a 50 lb. weight limit) and you won’t see them again until you reach your destination. You can go about the rest of your check out day and just enjoy! The DME  pick up time will be given to you so you know the time to return to your hotel for transportation back to the airport. The time is generally 3 hours before your departure time of the plane. 
Before you know it, you are on your way back to the airport and on your way home. Warning: The trip back to the airport is NOT as much fun as on the way to the resort! There still is an adorable video to watch, but sometimes, in  the bus….tears will be shed.
All and all, Disney’s Magical Express really is a wonderful experience! Our family loves it and so will you!

Disclosure: All opinions are that of 3decades3kids

Disney Blitz: Day 3 of 16 Animal Kingdom Lodge Concierge Club Level

Jambo House
Kilimanjaro Club Level 
with Concierge Service
Day 3 of our Disney vacation was especially wonderful. We checked and settled into our 6th floor room at The Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since we have been Disney Vacation Club members since 1997, we are always ready to try something new. This year we made a reservation for the top floor, the Kilimanjaro Club Level with Concierge Service of Jambo House. This is one fine secret hiding within the confines of the Disney property.
The Kilimanjaro Club Level, nestled under the thatched roof on the top floor.
Our specialty treatment began the moment we said we were checking into the Club level. We were taken out of the line and escorted by a Disney hostess up to the 6th floor where there was a private check in desk just for the use of the ten rooms on the top level. 
We were set up with our room and also any reservations we had in mind. We were also reminded of the extra offerings only available on the Concierge Level. We felt so pampered and relaxed that we decided to give up a day at the parks just to take in the atmosphere and perks of the 6th floor, which also has a special elevator key that only allows guests of the ten rooms to use.
Key to the 6th floor.

There are different rooms to choose from out of the ten, but whatever one you choose, you will not be disappointed.
Staying on the Concierge Club Level, you wake up to the newspaper at your door and the scent of breakfast and coffee nearby. Steps from your room you can enjoy a continental breakfast in your personal 6th floor lounge. But, that is not the end of the dining for the day. Something is waiting for you from 7am-10pm. Delicious snacks, samples from Boma and Jinko were served in abundance. We even had the chance to sample some delicious wines imported from Africa. 
Turn down service was provided every night and really added that special touch to the evening. Returning to the room to find chocolates in the form of ostriches and giraffes, a chocolate Animal Kingdom Lodge heart, and mints were just delightful to all the senses. 

You can also enjoy soft robes for your use during your stay, along with other specialties refreshed into your room each day.
The only problem I found with staying on the 6th floor is that you may never want to leave it. The concierge service is top notch and you are always referred to by name. 
If you are looking for a unique Disney experience, I suggest the Kilimanjaro Club Level with Concierge Service.
To book your own magical Disney Vacation check out:

Disclosure: All opinions are that of 3decades3kids

AMC Theatres Bring The IMAX Experience tTo Clifton Commons Sept. 9th And Giveaway

Contagion: The IMAX Experience 
Opens September 9
Giveaway Tix are for September 8th, 2011

Recently, I had the chance to attend a screening of Hubble 3D at the new IMAX at the AMC  Clifton Commons 16, Clifton, NJ. I would be fibbing if I did not say that I had a wonderful experience. The IMAX at Clifton Commons is a perfect location for the Newark area. The AMC theater is already wonderful and with this addition, it has only gotten better.
I am so looking forward to the official opening of The IMAX Experience on September 9, 2011 with a special ribbon cutting ceremony by the Mayor and some added surprises. Not to mention seeing CONTAGION rated PG13! I’m sure it will be just one of many movies my family and I will be enjoying at the new IMAX Experience at Clifton Commons!

 AMC Theatres (AMC), a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company, announced that guests visiting AMC Clifton Commons 16 can now enjoy The IMAX Experience® from IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX; TSX: IMX), when CONTAGION: The IMAX Experience opens September 9.
The IMAX Experience combines crystal-clear images, powerful digital sound and customized theatre geometry to create a uniquely immersive movie experience. The IMAX® theatre at this location has been custom-designed for use in a multiplex theatre. To maximize the field of view in the modified auditorium, the screen was replaced with a larger, slightly curved and specially treated IMAX screen positioned closer to the audience.
IMAX’s digital projection system combines two digital projectors with IMAX’s proprietary image enhancer and custom lenses to create an image with greater clarity, brightness and contrast. The images on screen are complemented by IMAX’s latest sound system, which features its proprietary loudspeaker technology and uncompressed digital sound. This sound system has ten times more dynamic range, cuts down on distortion and provides a sound quality that feels more immersive, especially with the added acoustic paneling that absorbs sound and removes echo.
The addition of IMAX at AMC Clifton Commons 16 continues AMC’s dedication to offering the best and broadest menu of entertainment choices for guests seeking an unparalleled experience. Guests at AMC Clifton Commons 16 will take in the world’s most immersive cinematic experience when CONTAGION: The IMAX Experience opens September 9. The movie has been digitally re-mastered into IMAX’s format exclusively for presentation in the IMAX auditorium.
The IMAX theatre at AMC Clifton Commons 16 will feature Hollywood’s biggest movies that have been digitally re-mastered into IMAX’s format.
Other upcoming Hollywood movies to be released in IMAX format include: REAL STEEL (October 7), PUSS In BOOTS (November 4), HAPPY FEET 2 (November 18), MISSION IMPOSSIBLE (December 16) and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (December 28).

IMAX at AMC Clifton Commons 16
Combining IMAX’s revolutionary digital projection system, customized theatre geometry, specially designed screen and powerful digital audio system with AMC’s innovative products and amenities will make AMC Clifton Commons 16 a premier destination for entertainment. The new IMAX theatre maximizes the experience for guests so they feel as if they are IN the movie they are watching.
The opening of the IMAX theatre at AMC Clifton Commons 16 is part of a joint-venture agreement by AMC and IMAX to install 125 IMAX digital projection systems at AMC locations in major U.S. markets and Canada.
*******DATE CHANGE!!!!!!!! The EVENT BELOW IS SEPTEMBER 8th at 6:30 pm,!**********
AMC The IMAX Experience has been generous in giving one lucky reader a 4 pack of tickets to CONTAGION, good only September 9th(NOW SEPT>8th), 6:30pm. The movie is rated PG13.

If you would like to join the fun on September 9th at The IMAX Experience at AMC Clifton Commons in Clifton, NJ at 6:30 just comment below or on 3decades3kids or Newark.MacaroniKid’s fb page. A winner will be chosen on September 7th at 10pm and be notified. PLEASE leave a way to get in touch with you. The winner will have until noon on September 8th. to respond before a new winner is chosen. 18+ please.
See You At The IMAX!

Disclosure: Tickets provided for both review and giveaway. Special thanks to The IMAX Experience.