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Disney World and Influencers: A combo of Business and Pleasure

Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland is a crowd-favorite at Disney World.

Booking a trip to Walt Disney World is like signing up for a marathon. It requires training, strategizing, and choices…lots of choices.

Since the opening of Magic Kingdom in 1971, Disney has worked to expand the Orlando location to include multiple parks, resorts, and experiences for their guests. In this way, they have made it possible to take trips to Disney that are unique to individual’s preferences. 

Most visitors of Disney World dream of their next vacation there as soon as they head back home, and a small group of visitors decide to make it part of their career. Some may call it “working for the mouse.”

A Season of History? Three-peat attempts through the Poll Era

The Georgia Bulldogs grabbed a 34-7 win over the Florida Gators en route to the team's national title in the 2021 season. Today with two straight titles, all eyes are on the Bulldogs to make history.

Since the clock hit zero during the 2023 CFP National Championship Game at SoFi stadium, the line of questioning for Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs has vastly centered around the idea of a three-peat. 

It’s a feat that hasn’t been achieved since the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ powerhouse of the 1930s, a program that captured titles in 1934, 1935 and 1936. Since the team from Minneapolis claimed three straight titles, 14 (including Georgia) have won two straight titles and failed to win a third.

If you’ve scrolled through our site at all, you know we love an oral history. Today’s post is a bit different – it’s just a history of those programs who have tried but ultimately came up short of a three-peat in college football.

Running through Copenhagen: An on-the-ground perspective

Denmark's waterside architecture on display. Photo Courtesy of Lauren Heighton

You can come to know a city through the people you meet and the streets you run. 

The statement proves true in Athens, a city with established running clubs and newly built running paths. As a freshman at UGA, I was out of my comfort zone when I moved to Athens. Exploring the city on foot was how I transitioned from feeling like a visitor to taking on the city as my own. Getting a little lost on a side street off Prince Avenue helped me to remember it better the next time.

However, running in a new city, across the world, forced me to understand it even more quickly.

Can Kirby Smart and the Dawgs Three-peat?

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during Georgia’s annual G-Day scrimmage on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 15, 2023. (Kari Hodges/UGAAA)

At some point on Kirby Smart’s walk back to the locker room after Georgia’s 65-7 dismantling of TCU in the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship game, he lifted three fingers to the sky.

The gesture didn’t make live television – the Bulldogs’ head coach was smart enough to do it off camera – but it was meant to send a message to the Bulldog fans in attendance – the Dawgs aren’t done.

Before the 2021 season, Georgia fans asked themselves when the 41-year drought would end. Two years – and two CFP National Championships – later, those who wear red and black ask a tougher question: Could they possibly capture another?

Cycling in the Peach State: The Tour de Georgia through time

Cycling fans await finishers of the Brasstown Bald stage of the Tour de Georgia.

Twenty years ago, one might say the state of Georgia was in the middle of a professional sports boom. The Atlanta Thrashers and Hawks hosted fans at Philips Arena. The Braves were rolling, winners of nine-straight division titles. The Falcons were, well, the Falcons. 

And, of course, there was the newest professional road race in North America – the Tour de Georgia.

Held for the first time in 2003, the Tour de Georgia created a lifetime of memories for professional cyclists, native Georgians, race organizers and other members of the event’s fringe who were involved during its short tenure. Although most of the professional cyclists who raced in the event are now retired, stories and memories are still shared in cycling’s most elite circles.

Sickle cell and a sense of purpose

Photo by Jason Thrasher

sickle cell

The walls of Michael Smith’s office are covered in paper. Framed diplomas, certificates from his medical experience and other regalia fill the room.

Smith’s resume is long, and he’s gained plenty of honors across the 50-plus years he’s been on the earth. But it is his work that lets him sleep well at night, a journey made up of many steps all headed toward one goal – helping others.

“I think it’s the feeling that you are really making a difference,” Smith said. “Everybody wants to feel like they are making a difference. Having a sense of purpose is critical to finding peace in the world.”

Mercer Men’s Basketball: Ever Confident

Photo courtesy of Mercer University

Interviews, editing and compilation by Johnathan McGinty and Thomas Ehlers

Mercer men’s basketball

Underdog stories are built on belief, and there was no doubt among the 2014 Mercer men’s basketball team. The Bears cruised to the conference title, boasted the top mid-major conference player in the country and captured a spot in March Madness, a dream scenario for most mid-sized schools. That, however, was just the start of something that would grow bigger than themselves.

BRIAN GERRITY, executive director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation: It’s funny, that game, the way I think of it is that game is the biggest moment in Mercer history. Win or lose, that game is as big of a stage as Mercer will ever be on. Right?

ANTHONY WHITE JR, Mercer men’s basketball player: It was surreal. You’ve got to think, the only thing a lot of people in the country saw was us winning that game. They didn’t see all of the practices, all of the conditioning sessions, all of the weightlifting, all of the other stuff come into play. 

JANE HEETER, Mercer journalism student: I mean, Mercer is small and that’s partly why I wanted to go there. This type of thing was what I had hoped for and what I felt like was possible going to a small school like Mercer.

This is the story of one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history, told through the perspectives of players, staff members, fans and journalists who were there. 

Atlanta’s crash course in curling


Three years ago, Alan Penkar had some time on his hands after starting a new job and, reminiscing on earlier days playing a curling video game on the Nintendo 64, enrolled in a learn-to-curl class.

Sarah Genzer was a bit bolder. 

A year after Penkar began experimenting with the sport, she signed up for a league game after becoming familiar enough with curling after watching the Olympics. Genzer took a crash course in curling an hour before her first match, and by the end of the night, she started her unofficial career at 1-0.

Fast-forward to today, and they’ve taken home some hardware from the time, effort and fun they’ve spent on the ice.

The native Texans – Genzer from the Houston area and Penkar from Dallas – are two members of the Peachtree Curling Association, a 501c3 centered around promoting the sport of curling. Based in Marietta, the PCA instructs interested persons on how to play the game and provides recreational leagues for area players to compete.

A triumphant return

Meat judging

Clint Lee knows what he’s looking for when it comes to picking out a steak.

There needs to be a certain redness that suggests a robust, healthy cut of meat, as well as a good bit of meat to fat ratio to yield enough to eat. Fat can be your friend, though, as he scours cuts of ribeye or strip steak for just the right amount of marbling to offer up flavor and tenderness.

It’s safe to say when it’s time to bring his steak to the grill, he’s done his fair share of preparation. 

Of course, enjoying the steak for himself is just a bonus. More often than not this methodical process is all about work, collaborating with his teammates at the University of Georgia’s Meat Judging Team in the midst of a rigorous competition. But whether he’s staring through the counter at his local butcher or trying to add another medal to the Meat Dawgs trophy case, he’s still looking for the same thing.

“A lot of people don’t want any fat at all because they’re thinking they’ve got to be healthy, but I want it to have that cherry red color and the most amount of marbling,” Lee said. “Those white specks inside ribeye add tenderness and deliver a better overall eating experience, so that’s what I’m looking for.”

Cotten’s Bar-B-Que, Forever the King


I realized this week that Cotten’s Bar-B-Que is my favorite restaurant. 

Not my favorite barbecue restaurant. My favorite restaurant. 

Cotten’s closes after 36 years next week, and I am not yet prepared for life without it. 

I discovered Cotten’s during the first semester of my freshman year at Jacksonville University. It sits on a particularly tired stretch of Rogero Road, one of the many tired streets of Jacksonville’s Arlington neighborhood. 

I would sit on the vinyl-covered picnic tables inside and stare across the street at the Aces & Eights tavern, discount bread store and “fish games” arcade. Inside, faded posters of motorcycle racers and Dale Earnhardt covered the beige walls. Pig figurines of all shapes, sizes and dispositions crowded the check-out counter, as well as a sign promising, “We sell no swine before its time.”