Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lunch at Contempo

After much debate and outlet shopping, we came back to Disney to eat. We hadn't tried the Contemporary's Contempo Cafe, and I wish that were still the case. We've found one counter service with poorer quality food (AofA) but none that were dirtier. I didn't finish my dry, bland chicken artichoke flatbread, but hubby happily scored BBQ sauce for his Angus bacon cheeseburger, a condiment lacking at AKL the Mara. Since people expect McDonald's to serve a hot burger at .99, I think Disney, who charges $9, should. Call me picky, but decent food shouldn't be strictly at sit downs. Based on this meal, we'd stop by for treats, drinks, and salads but skip anything that required cooking. Staying at this resort changes nothing. Fill your mugs, grab a snack, use your counter service credits elsewhere.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dinner at AKL the Mara

Had to make a special trip to AKL for Mr Pibb and a scrumptious chicken presto flatbread. Hubby had the Angus cheeseburger and fries. The air conditioning was oppressive so we enjoyed our meal in the fresh air, as did a few others whom we overheard mutter about the Arctic conditions inside. When my Minnesotan-born husband is chilly, you know it's cold!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bob the Builder Arrived

He was so quick I couldn't snap the pick, but a guy in bulldozer just cruised pay the pool and right by our room. I'm not talking about one of those baby-sized, cousins to forklifts. No. This was a Bob the Builder size bulldozer running down the sidewalks, more like straddling them. That is something I have not seen at Disney, although this trip the big, new thing is Caribbean Beach Resort. Who knew the Caribbean was only a 3 hour drive?

Hello Caribbean Beach Resort!

Just checked in and are changing from a room with 2 queens to 1 king. Now, here's the Disney magic of it all. With their new keys you tap on the locks (goodbye old fashioned insert in the slot), we just called, they have us a new room number, and our keys work for that room without a trip to the front desk. How cool is that?

My Disney Teapot Collection

Well, collection might be a bit of an overstatement ...  That is my intent, though, and this is my first acquisition! Of course I bought it at the outlet store I mentioned in a previous post.

Isn't this a sweet, little pot? I could not resist Tinkerbell, my favorite Disney character, especially at 50%off ($17.99). It's going to to sit on my kitchen window ledge and remind me of Peter Pan's Flight every day. "Think of all the joy you'll find when you leave the world behind..." All you need is faith, trust and pixie dust!                                                                 
Even the box is pretty.                                                        

Friday, July 12, 2013

Why I Love Disney's Character Warehouse

A trip to Disney isn't complete without getting my Disney outlet fix. I've scored many deals that far outstrip my AP discount, some on items still being sold in the parks. I've bought Mickey jack-o-lantern mugs for $2.50, earrings for $2, shower curtain at 50% off, and lanyards with 8 pins for $10 (even Ebay can't touch that deal for traders), but here is the crown jewel. This is my Pulicati Italian leather purse in the most delicious, dark, chocolate brown that I scored in December for $36 marked down from $180, give or take a couple of bucks. This was THE color I wanted in a bag so big I can pack for an overnight, if I clean it out of course, but how ridiculous of an idea is that? With this much square footage it should come with the option of maid service, for goodness sakes! When it's "fully loaded" with both tablets, cell, and Smart Water, it weighs an impressive 11 lbs AND has capacity for more. What it really needs is wheels.

So if you drive to Orlando or get a rental car, be sure to look up these outlet stores. Downtown Disney is fun, but bargain shoppers will surely appreciate the deeper discounts that will stretch your souvenir shopping budget.

Where To Watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Everyone knows to stand in the hub in front of the castle or in the Main Street mosh pit, but we have some other favorite spots to watch the fireworks. In no particular order, almost.

1. The beach at the Polynesian - Stand or sit back by the sidewalk to hear the sound track.The Poly is even better than being in the Magic Kingdom. Why? Firstly you have no obstructions and get to see the whole shebang. The July 4th fireworks were expansive, and if you were anywhere in the park, you didn't see the whole picture. They weren't just behind the castle. Secondly, you aren't in the crush of people trying to exit the park. (This should be compelling enough.) Thirdly, you get the reflection off the water.

2. The TTC at the entrance/exit for the ferry - It's almost as good as the Poly, but it lacks ambiance. Still, it is the utmost in quick exit and good viewing. You beat the monorail crowds and have the castle view. You can also ride the ferry during fireworks, but you need to position yourself at the rear or by a right side window for a view.

3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Hop on this at the beginning of fireworks and score a short line along with an awesome ride. When you exit, stay there for the finale. You will know where "there" is.

4. In Adventureland close to Tiki Birds - Grab a seat along the stone bench, and enjoy a Sunshine Tree Terrace root beer float while you're there. You should be facing Aladdin's Magic Carpets.

5. Storytime With Belle - This is a conundrum. Do you utilize the fireworks to finally have a decent wait time for this attraction, or do you watch fireworks? We watched while in line, but this area of Fantasyland has some interesting viewing. It doesn't have to be at this attraction.

6. On the boat from Fort Wilderness - Admittedly, this takes some planning as you have to get to Fort Wilderness and then time it right heading back. It does give you a free fireworks cruise, though.

7. The resort buses - This is for the person who is more concerned with a hasty get-away than the best viewing area. If you head to the buses, stop along the walkway at the top/center of the big arc. We had a good view but the least ambiance available at Disney for the last night of July 4th fireworks. (Thanks to Limited Time Magic, Independence Day fireworks were all week.) Still, I would go there again, because I like seeing fireworks and being ahead old the throng.

8. Fort Wilderness - The beach at Fort Wilderness is for those who like quiet or those who missed the fireworks ferry. We enjoyed watching from there one crisp evening, although we didn't have music.

9. Shades of Green - If you walk out by the little lake/pond, you can see the fireworks quite well without going all the way to the Poly, or maybe you could catch them on the way back to the hotel if you exit the monorail at the Poly and walk to SOG. Again, it's hasty exit fireworks viewing but with more ambiance. 

10. The Contemporary viewing deck - You may think that the superior view from this spot should put it at the top of my random-order list, but the area is small, fills fast, and those 10 seats really should go to guests of the Contemporary. It's always nice to watch from the Poly or CR, but the folks staying there are paying plenty, and they shouldn't get crowded out of their amenities like fireworks viewing by guests staying elsewhere. The Poly has plenty of beach for everyone, but the CR has little space. So please don't take your family of 10 to CR's deck. There are plenty of other places big enough to accommodate you.

Do you have any great or unexpected places to watch fireworks? Please post and share your ideas!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Mystery of the Missing Weeks

The clues: an annual pass, limited time magic events, a blog, one Disney maniac, a new camera, a malfunctioning cell phone, and a tablet.

Hypothesis: The Disney maniac has been using an annual pass to see limited time magic but has become engrossed in the new camera and the blogging possibilities of the tablet and phone, but it's thrown off her whole system of posting. (Plus when weighing go to Disney or stay home to blog about going to Disney, which do you think wins?)

Confession: OK, I admit it. I forgot my sign a couple of times (just like I forget to answer my "Where am I" and have to go back and edit) and took trips so close together I couldn't keep it straight or get a Disney day blogged before I went the next time. I should always blog before the next trip to keep my sanity. I also should blog bits about Disney daily. This WAS supposed to be about how fun Disney is no matter how often you go, though, so I'm conflicted about making blogging feel like work. But, it's Disney, so how much work is that to discuss? Ummmm...NOT!

Currently: I'm on what has turned into a two week trip spanning 4 hotels including Kidani Village, Bonnet Creek, and Port Orleans Riverside, and the Florida Mall Hotel.  These 2 weeks actually span 3 in my every week plan. When I get home, it will be time to start blogging and adding resource links to the blog. I have much to add... if I can get out of the parks long enough. TTFN...Ta-ta for now!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Celebrating 237 Years of Freedom

My husband, a Navy man, came up with that one, and it's pretty darn perfect, methinks! We thought it was so patriotically festive that we all wore "I'm Celebrating" pins with that on it. Ironically, Independence Day meant Limited Time Freedom at the parks with the Magic Kingdom reaching capacity around noon. We've btdt, and we know better, so we started our day at 1900 Park Fare then made our way to the other parks. Yes. We hopped to all 3 after finding that Mr. Ice Cream (middle son, construction worker, and ice cream taster) had a hopper, a detail we'd forgotten the prior day we thought we were handcuffed to the Magic Kingdom. We wrapped it all up with Mickey bars, Epcot fireworks, and back roads that totally avoided the July 4th traffic. That's like getting the hot fudge sundae with whipped cream, cherry, sprinkles and NO calories!  Woo Hoo! Total Score! (The ice cream fixation didn't fall far from the tree.) Hope your fourth was top notch, with or without ice cream analogies.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating the half way mark!!

We are at Disney celebrating week 26, and I have other weeks to blog. Every day it's rain, rain, and more rain! I've been so busy going to Disney that keeping up the blog has been difficult. Blogger hasn't been cooperating, either. (This post is also about testing Blogger yet again.) If I can get blogging on the run figured out, then this is going to be much easier.