Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wk 4 – Long Lost Friends, Jan 26, 2013

Miles – 1319 

Where in the world am I?


No, I’m not lost!  I know where I am! It’s a game, so play along. Take a guess!  Do you recognize this place?

Limited Time Magic Event~ Long Lost Friends!

I was with my friend and her daughter & had suggested we ask if her daughter could take a picture first before we jump in.  The way they responded to this girl, really warmed my heart and still makes me teary. It all happened so fast we couldn’t get pics.

Seeing she was blind, Robin Hood quickly came to escort her rather than waiting for her to join them.  The other characters immediately surrounded her, letting her experience them through touch all the way back to the picture spot.

The photographer ran up and was clicking the whole time.  Now, I’m not mom, so I don’t have those pics. Still, it was amazing to see the reaction!  They all just ran for her, and after our picture they took extra time with her letting her touch them, because that’s the only way she can “see” them.  They don’t talk, and she doesn’t see, plus she has additional special needs.  Times like these are why Disney never gets old.  ThIS was MAGIC! (and I went right to a manager to let them know!)

The Duck Tales ducks also played with her, but 4 characters at once is a hard act to follow. Both groups were exceptional!
Now, wipe the tears…*sniff* (no, really, I have to)  We had a fun and silly day!  Part of the Disney magic is stopping to smell the roses, enjoying the serendipitous moments when entertainment spontaneously erupts out of nowhere.  However, if you can’t unwind that far, the following is scheduled, so you can plan your spontaneity.   


Clang, clang, clang went the trolley! 


Ding, ding, ding went the bell! 



No one is too old for the Barnstormer, but if I grow bigger wings, I might catch flight on my own! You think Disney is going to want this shot for a promo?  This is your brain on Disney. See?  My friend, whom I’ve been so careful to keep anonymous in spite of plastering her face all over the blog, likes it!  
Of course, I took the pic of her, and she took the one of me.  Who got the last laugh on that deal?
YUM! Sleepy Hollow root beer floats while watching the parade.  My float is evolving. I overcame my root beer float snobbery and joined my Friend Who Must Not Be Named in her favorite Disney treat, which immediately became my must-have Magic Kingdom treat: soft serve vanilla root beer float. Today I stepped it up to Phase II: twist soft serve. Next phase is chocolate.  I’ll let you know how that works out, but twist is a definite winner over plain vanilla. I can hear her licking her lips for the big “I told you so!” now.
We WRAPPED up the day at Earl of Sandwich which would be much wittier had either of us actually eaten a wrap. However, it was uber-delicious as always, and we got our 10% passholder discount to boot! 
Pictures with Robin Hood group & Duck Tales group
Watching Trolley Singers (instead of glancing as I walk by)
Root beer float with twist ice cream (at Sleepy Hollow)

Check the schedule to plan to see Trolley Singers and other “spontaneous” entertainment
Watching the Trolley Singers at the train station gives you the best show, as they go upstairs and sing from the second level.  If you opt for the corner of Main St., a sidewalk is the best view.
Grab a seat at Sleepy Hollow to watch the parade for a good view if you don’t have to be front row.  There’s less competition for these seats than the 2 rocking chairs around the corner.
Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney is the best deal on Disney property.  Do NOT waste dining plan credits on it, though. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week 3 – We’ll Be Your Guest!

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Jan 20

Total miles = 991

Hey…A Week is 7 Days, Remember?
(Picture Impaired this week - At this point we’ve just sorted out the camera was stolen and how it happened, so pictures are added from later trips.)

“Ah-ha! It’s been 8 days since you’ve been to Disney….so much for every week!”  Yeah, I hear you, but I didn’t say every 7 days or that I’d go the same day of the week.  For the purposes of our exercise and my sanity, a week is going to start on Monday and end on Sunday.  If I go on a Monday one week and a Saturday the next, I’m going to have enough time to take a vacation somewhere else a span of 12 days in between trips.  OK, there’s the disclaimer.  My week is Mon-Sun not Sun-Sat. Anyway, a sundae comes at the end of the meal.  It’s not an appetizer. The ice cream defense rests.



Selected items for our party: Croque Monsieur,  Grilled Steak Sandwich, & French onion soup


 Be Our Guest restaurant and standing in line to gain entrance to a counter service. (Worth it!) The popularity concerns me.  How long before Disney cashes in on it and goes to full service all day?
My bottom line:  BEST counter service at the parks due to good food and themed beyond anyplace other than the castle. BUT hard surfaces and large rooms = noisy.  We’ll go back and experience eating in other rooms.

In the ballroom sit near but not next to the windows to get the best view of the snowfall. Also, sitting toward an edge should be quieter than the middle. Walk through the different rooms and pick the one you would like to experience.  We felt like we should make a hasty decision, but we could’ve taken more time.  

Don’t forget to make dinner reservations ASAP.  You can reserve online up to 180 days in advance.  However, if you don’t have a meal plan, I’d rather spend money on a character meal than on dinner here.  Then I’d do counter service lunch at BOG.  If dinner is in the budget, ask for the gray stuff; it’s delicious! (if you like an oreo mousse)

We ate from the lunch menu the French onion soup, Croque Monsieur sandwich (Carved Ham,Gruyere Cheese & Bechamel), 2 Grilled Steak Sandwiches, a chocolate milk, and waters. We all liked my Croque Monsieur, but I was glad I passed on the steak sandwich.  They both loved it, although I thought it dry and in need of steak sauce, which may be available for the asking.

Main St. Bakery Refurb into a Starbucks is underway, sad but true.  All Main St. Bakery fans may now join in a moment of silence for this solemn event. Coffee drinkers may lift their cups of java in salute. However, that the cinnamon rolls are going away would seem to be just gossip.  Read here about the beloved cinnamon roll and Disney’s response assuring its fans that favorite bakery treats will still be on the menu. Disaster averted! The earth will NOT, I repeat, NOT be spinning off its axis wildly into space.  Whew!  Close call!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week 2 – Girls Gone WILD (or to Animal Kingdom)


Jan 12

Total miles =658


I want to take this opportunity to point out the shirt my friend is wearing.  It says, "This area is being refurbished for your future enjoyment."  Note the pink hair.  She's a breast cancer survivor getting ready for her, ah, "refurbishment".  This is the ULTIMATE Disney breast cancer shirt!!!  What does it say about her that she bought this right after her diagnosis?AWESOME!!!!!   
Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, have no fun!  Uh-huh! Right! No fun at Disney. That’s why I’m going every week!  It’s just no fun, no fun at all, and if you believe that and stay home, the lines will be shorter for the 3 of us!  
Today’s adventure was a walk on the wild side to Animal Kingdom.  It was three amigos up before the sun to make it to the gate in time, or very shortly after, opening.  We carried the full complement of admission media: a seasonal pass, a FL resident 4 day, and my annual pass (also known as the pass of free parking, which is almost as expensive as actually entering Disney parks and more expensive than some shoes I wear to Disney).  This meant we were parking for FREE and going to one park, no hopping.  We were also on a mission to see and do everything, and I mean e v e r y t h i n g.  Fortunately, the park was open until 8:00.  It was ours for the enduring taking. Did I really  use the “E” word?  Let me ‘splain, Lucy. See, 12 hours on my tootsies hurts whether it’s at home or at Disney. No amount of pixie dust and Mickey Magic can erase the intense, burning foot pain of commando-touring, but an 800 mg Ibuprofen, Dr Pepper, and a hit of chocolate can soothe me enough to soldier onward if there’s the promise of a seat in the near future. I've had an unusual double tendon transfer surgery in both feet, so I am a connoisseur of foot pain.
Now, before you read my bit about the safari, just keep in mind I've been on this every time of day, and I have to have ridden it about 50 times. Maybe I should keep a ride tally this year. Hmmm. Something to think about.


*Touring Tip*

I'd forgotten the magic of Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning.  The animals are feeding, so they are out and moving.  This is THE time to go, bar none.  Sure, you'll see animals any other time of day, but if you want the absolute best experience, go at opening and head straight for the safari. You can catch It's Tough to Be a Bug at the end of the day before you leave, and there will be a 10 min wait.  Just walk by that big Tree of Life, and don't get sucked in. Save it for the end.  It's just like Spaceship Earth at Epcot. You'll walk right on at the end of the night.

Even the lions were visible and moving!

Thanks to my friend for ALL the pictures, as my cameras were stolen at Disney. (refer to Week 1) The Great Camera Caper has impaired my posting schedule, but I'm trying to catch up. 

We rode, explored, watched shows, snacked.... OH... snacked!
We can be rather cheap fiscally responsible, and I was feeling a bit off.  I scored a big plastic tub of watermelon at the fruit cart in front of the safari for $2.50 give or tax a few cents.  Then I went to Kusafiri Bakery at Harambe Village (about 10 steps from the fruit cart) and paid $2.59 for a bagel and cream cheese.  An overpriced bottle of Captive-Audience Coke rounded out my migraine-prevention buffet which came in at about $8. Considering the food items were healthy, I was full, and I'd succumbed to a theme park bottle of soda which I never do, I thought that was pretty good for the money.

On to the Pangini Trail Aviary (easily overlooked) and the little yellow birds building nests....  This was SO fascinating!

Aren't the little birds just beautiful? (and my friend’s pictures are pretty impressive, too!)

Hi, Little Birds!!!

Well, Hello to You, Too! 


Here's a little something I made for you!





Direct Hit!
Here is a ruling power in my universe.  If a bird or mammal can reach a spot high enough to unload its cargo on anyone’s head, I will be blessed with the “all-natural, organic, conditioning treatment” in my hair.  Right. I DID say mammal. BTDT. Baby wipes simply don’t get it done, but it IS the Fastpass to the shower. (The cat responsible lived to see another day and was NOT hurled out of the van that was speeding down the highway at 55 mph, but said van increased velocity directly after cat was secured by hyperventilating and snorting offspring.) 

Bottom Line:  It’s easier to list what we didn’t do than everything we did. 
  • Kali River Rapids was closed.
  • Triceratops Spin
  • petting goats (although we went to Rafiki’s Planet Watch)
  • Character Landing
  My challenge is really on for this park, but I am confident there are overlooked gems to explore.  Disney has layers upon layers of details, and taking the time to appreciate those is a whole new experience.   

AquaMickey New
  • Healthy & Inexpensive snacks: bagels & watermelon
  • Props for Expedition Everest pictures
  • Getting up at the butt crack of dawn. (OK, so not new but So Yesterday!) Mornings are painful.  

OrangeMickey Snacks

I spent approx $8 for a huge bagel, a plastic tub of watermelon, and an overpriced bottle of Coke.  I don’t normally buy bagels at Disney, because I haven’t thought them a good value, being that I can buy an entire package of bagels at the grocery store for the price of 1 Disney bagel.  However, the Disney bagel was considerably larger than the ones in the 6 pack at the store, it was fresh, and for approx $2 it was quite filling.  I purchased it at Kusafiri which used to be part of Tusker House in Harambe Village, Africa section.
The watermelon was priced lower than I’ve seen off property, so I don’t know if this will last.  I bought it back by Kilimanjaro Safaris (the cart is obvious) also in Harambe Village.  It was a square, fold-closed, clear container that was totally full.  It was $2.25 plus tax, making it slightly over $2.50. This was refreshing and delicious, and I’ll be on the lookout for this. The Coke doesn’t belong on this list, but I submitted to Disney’s captive audience pricing and bought it to soothe a migraine.  It was the most expensive item on the list at $2.50 + tax.


Props for Pictures – Not realizing the importance of the moment, I failed to buy a picture to document this.  It never occurred to me I’d want to blog it.  Let me attempt to draw you a mental picture.  In my effort to 1) raise the bar on picture poses, 2) amaze and impress my friends, 3) make a fool of myself in front of as many people as possible… I decided not to announce my plans to the “girls” but just proceeded, as I rode beside strangers, to carry out my posing for the camera on Expedition Everest. The picture is taken as you begin going down the big hill, so you do have to brace yourself to do this and prepare your props. First Photo: They look normal, I’m on a cell phone having a very animated conversation. Second Photo:  They look normal all screaming and carrying on, and I’m drinking a bottle of Coke.  To avert disasters, I took my phone out of the case and just held the case, and I left the lid on my Coke.  Now, you might want to make any preparations before boarding the ride instead of freeing your phone while going up an enormous hill.  Feel free to be original that way.
HotPinkMickey Tip  Have fun with the photos on the rides. Let the boring masses do the same-ole, same-old. See who in your group can make the silliest pose or face. (I’d love to do a page of these, hint, hint!) The easiest place to do this is Spaceship Earth in EPCOT.