Friday, May 24, 2013

Week 20 Root Beer Float King & ADA Snag

Just when I thought it was a done deal, a cast member at Sunshine Tree Terrace showed me how wrong I was. Too bad I left my good camera at home, because my phone couldn't capture this monument of ice cream excellence. He presented me with a no-spill, perfectly piled dome that made Disney pricing seem absurdly reasonable. I'm headed back tonight to get an honorary picture since I missed the photo op.

Week 20 was pretty laid back just enjoying Magic Kingdom favorites. My new experiences were trying hummus and chips at Gaston's and pointing out ADA infractions to Guest Services, ahem. Vegans take note that the hummus is Sabra, like you can buy at Walmart. The hummus is plentiful but I wanted more chips. This would make a good snack to stock in your hotel frig or carry in a small cooler if you like to do that. At Gaston's expect to pay $4.00.


I love how Disney accommodates special needs, but there is an issue with the new passes. For many families it won't be a problem at all, but for passholders who have kids who cannot scan their fingers, it may be. Disney no longer overrides and lets those kids through. They want their tickets linked to someone else's finger. Here's the problem. Mom, Dad, 17 year old, 15 year old, 12 year old special need child (adult ticket), and Grandparents all are passholders. Disney links the special needs child to Mom, and now no one else can take the child through the turnstile. Dad can't, and that child's ticket shouldn't be restricted like that. Mom and Dad should have the right to send their child with Grandma or whomever they trust without consulting Disney.

You might wonder why someone couldn't scan a finger. I know children who would not understand to put their finger on the scanner, don't always respond well to physical touch, and might then launch into a full on melt-down, thus ending their Disney day. Ask any family with an autistic child.

Disney's solution is a step. It's imperfect, but I'm sure there are those who would be outraged. They have on file a permission slip for me and a few others to accompany a child through their gates, and they asked her parent for information regarding the disability which legally they aren't supposed to do. It was a clear violation of the ADA, but I understand them asking for this in an effort to stop ticket fraud. In the absence of photo ID, it seems reasonable to me and to the child's parent. THE EASIEST SOLUTION if you have a child who can't scan their finger is to GET A STATE ID for the child. Then Disney can match the pass to the ID. State ID's are cheap, and if you have a high needs special needs child, it's sure to be handy down the line.

Week 21 monster summer party, May 24-25

Couldn't miss the chance to pull another all- nighter at Disney! Another all-nighter, you ask? Yes, this is the second time the Magic Kingdom stayed open 24 hours straight, the first being an Extra Day of Disney for leap year in 2012. I scored the first shirt along with the caffeine-fueled 3 hour drive home at 5 a.m., but by the time we arrived at the Monster Summer P,arty, the only size available was 3X. Disney marketing lost out on real earning potential as we were part of a nomadic throng people scouring the park for shirts. They were available online for 72 hours after the event, but I wasn't feeling the love when I had to forfeit my passholder discount AND pay shipping for 3 Disney-priced (think somewhere between pizza delivery and college tuition) tees. When I was ready to cave in, it was too late. And THAT is how to save money on Disney souvenirs! Don't pack your bags to bursting point. Decide to call the park merchandize line when you get home and have it shipped. I promise it takes some of the excitement right out of it. If I couldn't wear my shirt at the event, that shirt had less meaning. Well... That's my story and I'm sticking to it. If you happen to know anyone selling Monster Summer Party shirts on the black market, I need an XS, L, & XXL.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week 16 – Macho Men & Vera B at prom


I'm on a quest for both root beer floats and Caesar salads.Epcot is a good Caesar salad destination, but it's weak on root beer floats. We headed to The Land's Sunshine Seasons food court where I sampled a kid's chicken Caesar, grapes, and soy milk. Thisyd saladd the meal fills me. There are other sides available, and soy milk, available in chocolate or vanilla, is no extra charge like it would be for an adult meal.  If Disney meals are too big for you, you can always order a kid's meal just like you would any other meal. No one asks if it's for a child. They don't care that someone over the age of 10 wants a kid's meal. It doesn't matter at table service or sit down. You won't be able to pay the child's rate for an adult at character meals and buffets, obviously, so if you can't eat much and don't feel the experience is worth the money, skip those


Very important on the agenda was previewing my next major purse acquisition, the Disney Vera Bradleys. It's not too early to start my Christmas list is it? There are 2 prints (don't know HOW Santa expects me to choose between them.. insert pouty face) and a variety of styles. I took several pictures (refer to the Vera Does Disney post)


                                     After ogling the bags, it was concert time!


Macho, macho man! I want to be a macho man! In the navy, you can sail the 7 seas. In the navy, you can...

Stay at the Y M C A!  It's fun to stay at the YMCA-A. They were funny and they played their hits. It was worth the drive! 

On the way back around World Showcase we caught some Off Kilter. I love me some rock-n-roll bagpipe! 

However, they were upstaged by this...


Mama duck and her ducklings  ran into the crowded walkway, so some guests halted traffic and played bodyguard,

keeping small hands away from them (because the parents weren't, don't get me started), and escorting them to safety.


I wonder how the band liked ¾ of the crowd turning their backsides to them? They played on without commenting

on the strange behavior. I imagine they've seen odder things and are pretty impervious to it.

Back to The Land we went to ride Soarin' and Living With the Land. We learned, well our memories were jogged, that these murals are identical except for 1 dark tile that serves as the artist's signature. As you face the doors, the "signed" wall is to your right. A cast member can likely point it out for you. They enjoy sharing Disney trivia with guests. It breaks up the monotony of reciting where the nearest restroom is.


We also learned the food court seating is decorated to represent the seasons.

No, I did not visit during the zombie apocolypse, this is how it looks right before 

closing time. 


That was our cue to leave. When Soarin' and Sunshine Seasons are empty, the

day has truly come to the end at EPCOT.

(Blogged from my Google Nexus.)

Happy 19th Birthday on the 19th Week!


Miles – Too many! I’ll let you know when the supercomputer finishes the calculations.


Happy 19th Birthday to my Mother’s Day baby, Connor


Ahem! Keeping that peek G rated….




Now, take a wild guess ….



Answer: The best place to get a peek at the Fantasyland construction!


Turns out this shot is a little harder to get than you’d think.

 IMG_2022 IMG_2028

But Chris kept snapping & captured the moment


Don’t you love the dad behind us? Wish he could see this picture! It makes me think that I should try to watch for strangers in my pictures and hand out my card so they can see them. I’m constantly previewing my pictures.  It wouldn’t be that hard. 


He captured the whole moment, the reality of our family pictures. Make of that what you will.


It goes without saying one cannot ride Dumbo without a stop by the Big Top to ogle and drool … on the pastries ladies! How can you not love a cast member who steps out, poses, and completely upstages Mickey apples? So now when you go in for your Dumbo cupcakes, look for Dave, and tell him you saw his picture here. Fun people like this make Disney an awesome experience!  IMG_1989

Let them eat cake…or Not!

In what has to be considered a true sin against chocoholics, Disney has shortened the hours at Starring Rolls to 3:00!! It was bad enough when it was 4:00, but then they teased us with the Spring Break hours of 6:00 only to drive a plastic fork in our hearts with a new 3:00 closing time.  Our carefully planned, squeak into the Studios and dash to get a birthday cupcake at 3:55, was unceremoniously derailed by this most heinous of changes.

Well, if you can’t eat your cake, you can always get ice cream, and although the Studios has some really good hand-dipped ice cream, the best place in the parks is still the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street at Magic Kingdom.


IMG_1947    Waffle Bowl Station IMG_1949

3 All Americans for my 3 All American Kids, Please!

(Corny blog talk quota exceeded for this post. Author has lapsed into sugar shock.)


IMG_1952 IMG_1955 IMG_1959

Chocolate & Vanilla ice cream, Fudge, Peanut Butter Sauce, Whipped Cream, Chips, & a Cherry!

And now the food critics’ reviews….

IMG_1963 IMG_1964


Why is all the rum ice cream gone?


To summarize:



A picture is worth a 1000 words, but I’ll spare you a few hundred.  There’s the man who left both cameras on the front seat of an unlocked car casually holding my new baby the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Looks OK, doesn’t it? A few seconds prior, said camera was suspended a foot off his lap because, evidently this ride requires at least one hand in the air, or you lose a notch out of your man card. I’m more concerned with losing another camera, but I don’t carry a man card. Fortunately both camera and man card survived the ToT. 


Ride pictures are a competition sport after all, and everyone else on the ride at that time is your competitor. Having no plan, we just freestyled it. The other riders pointed and laughed at our picture, so we won. (like there was any doubt) Some day we’re going to do it up big with props.IMG_2165

And in case you were wondering… IMG_2162

But just to clarify…


Time for one last silly picture. I think the villains & heros parking signs have interesting possibilities.


Pictures are the best vacation souvenir, after all, and the more irreverent the better.


Someday we’re going to get ice cream from the dinosaur, because I’m sure it will taste better and


will likely hold the key to world peace, or peace in our family. Today they went extinct right before we walked up, and we will not, Never, no-no go to the place right by them, Oasis Canteen, for ice cream.  This is the place NOT to buy your mini replica of a root beer float.


We had a Definitive Root Beer Float Tie Breaker at Sleepy Hollow in MK, the BEST place for this treat!


Why is Sleepy Hollow the best? Just look… (OK, guys, it’s not just because of this gorgeous blonde.)


They don’t skimp on ice cream here. They know how to fill the cup. Since the price is the same everywhere, wouldn’t you rather have a full float? That’s right. More cellulite yumminess for you!


The winner is: Twist ice cream

Whether you like vanilla or chocolate, twist gives more depth of flavor than either.


Sleepy Hollow also has the best view. Pull up a seat and enjoy.



That’s the way to end the evening!

True, the view is better out in front, but for my money the view is best from a seat.





HotPinkMickey Now what could we possibly have done that was new? Well, there were a couple of things.  One was more about what we didn’t do. We were about to board Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when it “failed to proceed” to borrow a term from Rolls Royce. They were going to have to walk the tracks and evacuate the cars. We got a FastPass that was good through the next day. (We took only one just so I could have it as a souvenir.)

Secondly, we rode Splash Mountain during the Main Street Electrical parade which was really fun.  We got to see a bit of the parade, there was no wait for the ride, and they let us stay on and go for two in a row. Yeah, baby! I would absolutely use the first parade time to go to Belle’s or one of the mountains and then watch the second Main Street Electrical Parade.  Make sure the kiddos take a good afternoon break so they can stay up that late and really enjoy the parade. (Heck with the kids, what about Mom and Dad?)






A Quick Note About Blogging: Around Week 15 I got a Nexus tablet, and I thought it would be so fun to post from the parks as I go, so I’ve been trying out that method, but I’ve found it’s hard to take pictures  that don’t include my thumb. My new Canon takes much better shots, and my phone takes the killer panorama shots I’ve posted of the Flower and Garden Festival. I have so much I could post that I haven’t. I’m not sure I want to be that serious, though. (reinventing the wheel and all that)     

The biggest flaw with posting on the fly is not identifying weeks.  So here’s the scoop, and I’m not sure it’s worthwhile to go back and perfect it.  (remember my commitment to not be so serious?)  Between the 15th week and the 19th weeks I have gone to Disney, but my every week record is flawed.  Ugh! That drive! I love/hate it! I had a week of doctors, the ER, and a surgery scare that turned out to be a series of wrong diagnoses, resulting in a medicine that made me so weak and sick I couldn’t walk to the living room, much less drive 160 miles or so to Disney.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Addison the Brave

Sometimes the best thing about a Disney day is the people I meet. My kids are 21, 19 (yesterday), and 14 yrs 346 days old. I love when I get to enjoy snippets of magical moments with other people's kids. Today I met the fabulous, the short and the brave, Addison from Tennessee and her dad while riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. She is a bubbly and charming conversationalist whose company I enjoyed every bit as much as the ride! She talked of the ride, my flip flops, blue, how many times we'd been to Disney, and their resort with seamless transition between topics. (That means you are really good at talking to people, Addison, with 2 "d's".) I didn't get her age, but she cannot be passing that height requirement by much, hence the  "brave". (Your parents can comment and correct me if I'm wrong.) She had ridden not only the Tower of Terror but also Rockin' Roller Coaster 4 times each today. That's a pretty impressive attempt at thrill ride overload, I'd say! Dad has scored a good riding buddy for sure!

I wonder if this was Addison's first trip riding the big rides. I remember looking for sandals with the thickest soles so my then short and brave Connor, now 19 and still short and brave, could stretch his way past some height restrictions at Disney. When kids take the leap from Dumbo to Tower of Terror  it's an important Disney milestone that ushers in a whole new era in the family trips. Sadly, the days of princesses are numbered once girls hit the thrill ride stage. (I found boys like to snuggle up to a pretty princess at just about any age. Eight year old Connor had a crush on Snow White.)

Addison told me about a woman who lives in Rhode Island who has been to Disney 61 times. That is a long drive or some serious frequent flyer miles! Here's my count. Before I moved to Florida, I'd been 12 times, and then I averaged once a month after moving here (7 yrs, 9 mo), until I began my weekly trips. I will average once a week even if I miss 2 or 3 during the year for illness and car repair. That means I should have been here at least 120 times so far, and maybe the fact that I live 3 hours away, not in Orlando, can compensate a bit for me cheating by living in Florida. What do you think?

Now, Addison, I want to tell you a secret I've discovered.  (Everyone else cover your ears.) I do love having Disney so close, but it was more exciting when we lived in Minnesota or Texas. I'm glad we didn't always live here and had to save Disney for special trips. This is what people mean when they say sometimes less is more. I promise it is more exciting to come less often. A part of me misses the waiting, planning, and excitement, but talking to you reminded me how excited I used to be. Thanks for that!
I hope the rest of your trip is as fun as today was and you get to do everything you planned! I'm sending pixie dust your way! And who knows... Maybe we'll see each other on Saturday.  : )

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Which is your favorite?

Where's Your Sign?

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.... Except in my hands. I've got to get my signage groove back on with the week numbers, and I will just as soon as I post your official YMCA lessons. I have my priorities (and my excuses)! Today my priority was a date with the Earl and sampling a limited time Cuban sandwich. (Pictures are on the real camera and coming as soon as I can find the charger) Much as I love Earl, I'm not in love with the Cuban. It's good for a Cuban, but that's just not my favorite flavor combination. The mild meat and cheese with pickled peppers, pickles, and mustard is too bitter for me. Well, I guess the obvious fix for this is another trip back right away to cleanse the palate with one of my favorites. Now let's see... Do I want a Greek salad wrap or the Hawaiian I'm taking home for hubby? Shhh! He'll never miss it!