Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hubby's First Trip

I was reading Anita Answer's first blog post (from Allearsnet), and it made me think of my husband.

I've been to Walt Disney World 4 times, but he's been there 8. He was 18 when he went on his first trip- like Anita, he had to wait until he was able to go on his own since his parents didn't "do" theme parks.

My husband was born in 1968, and Walt Disney World opened in 1971- he still insists that he remembers it opening because of seeing it on TV. In highschool he met his best friend, who'd gone to WDW every year as part of a camp (originally one of the kids, in later years as one of the counselors). This year he'd decided to not be part of the camp, but still wanted to go to WDW.

Hubby had a tour guide.

He went with his friend, stayed at a HoJo's, and fell in love with everything the World had to offer. He even showed me the video footage he'd taken on that trip. Boy, was he skinny at 18!

He went twice with his ex-wife (obviously she wasn't his ex at the time), and after their divorce he tagged along with another friend.

4 trips.

A year or two later he met me. He asked me out to the movies. I said yes. The next day he invited me to Walt Disney World. I said yes. Four years and three trips to the World and I married him. And on our fourth trip, we brought the best mother-in-law and brother-in-law that a girl could have. And guess who wants to go back? That's right. We may never go alone again.

Can you ask for anything more?

A Bird In The Hand

Something that I've noticed in the past, and am noticing more and more is the proliferation of birds at Walt Disney World. In fact, one of my favorite memories (out of the thousands) is when one of these cute little brown ones flew so close to me that either its wings or the wind from its wings stirred my hair. It then landed just behind me where I was sitting on a wall that surrounds some bushes in Tomorrowland. Several times the bird hopped out close enough that I could have just reached out to touch it.

Another memory was watching a bird sitting on a branch and... ahem... letting loose mere inches behind a boy's head.

These birds were actually closer than this if you'll believe it. Unfortunately, everytime I got my camera ready to take a picture they'd hop away before I could get it! My lovely mother in law sprinkled a few bits of energy bar on the ground to bring them back long enough to get the shot.

Eventually I'll get a few duck photos up- all of which were close enough to be touched (which, of course, I didn't).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Walt Disney World Is Not For The Silent

Naturally there's the laughter and screams of children (and adults) on the rides and in the attractions. There's the background music, street shows, and the constant pounding of feet. And then there's Walt Disney World's hidden cast.

No, I'm not talking about the plain clothes security or the CMs who keep the pathways pristine (sometimes right in front of your face without you even noticing that they're there)- I'm talking about the talking boxes, waterfountains, and trashcans.

For instance, Pipa- the talking recycling can at the Animal Kingdom (I've only ever seen him/her at Rafiki's Planet Watch).

Pipa has quite a personality, and will often notice t-shirt slogans or comments made by passersby. Pipa even called my husband Grumpy because of his hat (too bad I missed that!).

As entertaining as Pipa is, he/she doesn't have quite the same personality as Push- the talking trash can at the Magic Kingdom.

Yanno- I think it really says something about Disney to realize that even the trashcans are camera hogs.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

AllEarsNet recently posted a new review of the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre, which reminded me of one of my favorite things at the world.

My personal feelings on the Sci-Fi Dine In is that the food is mediocre at best, but the theming is some of the best on property. You sit in booths shaped like classic cars (complete with license plates) with the "dashboard" as your "table". All of the cars are facing a large screen where trailers for cheesy old sci-fi/horror flicks are playing in a loop of about 45 minutes.

If you're lucky, your waiter/waitress will be wearing roller skates and you'll get to be in the front seat. The back seat is fine, but since you can't face each other (unless you're sitting in the back of the "parking lot" where they have round tables with umbrellas) the only entertainment is what's on screen. Remember, these cars are topless- so you can't be!

The desserts are as good as the average Disney restaurant, as are the drinks. Some of the other restaurants offer drinks with the glowy ice cubes- but there's no where else that they make such a big impact.

Everytime I order a Space Invader at the Sci-Fi Dine-In, eyes turn as the waiter/waitress brings it to my car. Some lean over to ask me what I got, while those farther away begin motioning to their waitstaff.

And total bonus? Those icecubes make great reading lights as they can be cupped in your hand so as not to distract the driver/fellow passengers on your way home. They last hours! Make sure you wash them off first though.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cosmic Ray's Has Me In Stitches

Yes, I know, I've already talked about Cosmic Ray's, but that was a completely different thing!

Two trips ago, my husband (then fiancee) and I stopped at Cosmic Ray's fairly late in the evening. We were hungry and, if I remember correctly, the food court at our resort was closed. It may have been the night we stayed for Extra Magic Hours which ended at 3am.

Anyway, there are a few tables along the windows that look out over the balconies where you can sit and stare at Cinderella's Castle. We were inside but looking out and periodically we heard static over the intercom/radio thing. Strange.

We continued to talk, stopping on occasion to try to hear what was being interrupted by static. It wasn't until he went into the restroom that I heard it. Stitch's voice, and occasionally another voice broadcasting that this wasn't an emergency, stay calm, just an escaped blue furry convict, etc.

It was hilarious! And yet, so subtle. Hubby came back and told me he could hear it clearly from the restroom.

I loved the promos Disney did for the Stitch attraction, it's just a shame that the attraction itself was terrible. Stitch may make for great promotions, but Alien Encounters was just soooooo much better. I miss Skippy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Liberty Tree Tavern

As hard as I try to talk hubby into starting off our trip at the Animal Kingdom, he always persuades me to start of at the Magic Kingdom. Since this last trip was with his mother and brother I certainly couldn't argue!

However, my BIL is something of a gourmand. He does appreciate good fast food, but prefers good table service restaurants. Or at least restaurants with table service type food. The Magic Kingdom really doesn't offer much in terms of normal restaurant food, and Cinderella's Table is too hard to get into while hubby won't do buffets (leaving out the Crystal Palace). We were disappointed with Tony's Town Square, and have not tried the Plaza. So we suggested reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern as we'd been there before and loved the food quality and portions as well as ambience. What better way to start off a visitor's first Walt Disney World vacation?

My BIL ordered the New England Pot Roast (pictured below), which I had tried on our trip previously. I'd thought it was a little salty, but BIL said it was the best pot roast he'd ever had. It certainly looked delicious.

I believe my husband had the pot roast as well, and my MIL's Fresh From The Harbor (salmon) looked amazing- though I wasn't able to get a picture before she tucked in. I ordered the Pilgrim's Feast (turkey- shown below) since I'd tasted hubby's on the previous trip and loved it.

It's just a shame I couldn't get a good photo of it- it was lovely.

While everyone else was ordering Patriot's Punches with their meal, I'd seen their portions before and was determined to have dessert. I agonized over which dessert to choose since they looked so good and I knew it would be a year or more before I had the opportunity to try another. Finally I picked the Liberty Shortcake (below) since the fresh berries sounded so appealing. Notice the size of it? I didn't even get half way through before I went from comfortably full to "OMG I'll never walk again" full.
And if you think I remember the names of all these dishes off the top of my head after 7 months, then you've got a much better memory than I do. I looked them up on Allearsnet's menu page.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Magical Cast Members

Our last day at Walt Disney World and my mother-in-law still hadn't seen the daytime parade. Well, you certainly can't have that! So hubby and I decided that even though we never bothered to watch parades on Main Street USA (always opting for less crowded conditions, such as Frontierland or Liberty Square) we would stick it out and grab spaces early. Like, an hour early.

I expected to be bored just sitting there on the sidewalk, waiting for my husband and my brother-in-law to finish shopping and occasionally waving at my MIL across the street sitting in the only chair available.

Until this guy came out:

I've more or less forgotten his routine, though I laughed constantly. The children were absolutely charmed by him and the weird dances he "taught" them. The parents loved him because even though he was so good with the children, he never sank to the cheesy or sappy persona that so many people adopt around kids. He was actually more or less dead pan, while doing rediculous dance steps and, um, "fixing" the gramaphone (he didn't hide the fact that there was a CD player underneath it despite his removing the trumpet part of the machine above).

You wouldn't believe how many times it took for me to get this picture right:

So many times it's the little things that will make your day. And if you (meaning the CM pictured above) ever see this- thank you for making at least one outstanding Disney memory.

I Love Mouse-keeping

Maybe there are other resorts around the world that will prop your stuffed animals up in bed with the TV remote so they won't get bored, but how many take the time to make towel sculptures?

We've had mousekeeping arrange our stuffed animals, turn towels into stuffed animals, and never once touch our loose change or valuables (I think once our change was straightened up, but nothing missing), and I never bothered to take a picture. I don't know why. But on our last trip one lovely mousekeeper presented us with this, and it tickled me so much that I had to take a picture. In fact, I took 5 trying to get the lighting right.

Do they take classes for this stuff, or what?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Best Meal Ever

You know I'm feeling "homesick" when I write a post on one specific meal. Pathetic.

We drive to Walt Disney World from Pennsylvania. It's about 16 hours depending on traffic, pit stops, etc. This past trip neither my husband or I slept at all. We arrived about 8am, and couldn't get into our room until 3pm. Since we were able to get rooms at 8am on our last trip, we didn't expect this. We'd planned to go straight to our rooms, nap, then come out and eat.

Poor husband was so exhausted that he stayed in the van and finally slept for 3 hours. I was too excited. So BIL, MIL and I decided to go to Boatwright's for breakfast (hubby always insists on the foodcourt when he's awake).

Hm.. Banana Stuffed French Toast? I normally hate french toast, but just for the moment that sounded very tempting. Served with strawberry and banana sauce? Um, not so much. I was expecting it to be like Nestle's syrup topping and planned to order my BSFT without sauce. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I was so tired that I forgot to make my request.

And out came our breakfasts. Was that huge thing mine? Holy cow! And... ooooh, look at that sauce. They used pureed strawberries with small banana chunks as the sauce. It was unbelievable. So good. I am ever so grateful for my lapse in memory. I tried to talk everyone into going back for breakfast again and never managed it. But this next trip, I swear we're going!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Favorite Disney Memory

I never did get around to posting about my last Walt Disney World Vacation. So here's one: My favorite Disney memory (not necessarily the same thing as the best, but close).

Have you ever been the last guest to leave the Magic Kingdom? I have. Twice.

Our last trip was in December 2006. We took my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law with us, and it was their first trips. Now, my MIL went mostly for the experience of trying something new, going somewhere different. My BIL however, was mostly interested in golf (they do have some fab courses).

Now, the parks were open very late, especially if you count Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (which we did attend once). Even at that, we had so much fun that we stayed very, very late. The first time we didn't know how late until we walked down to the ferry as they were shutting the gate, saw us, and stopped. We ran up and went through, and as we passed the person closing up shop she said "you just made it, this is the last ferry". At the time we thought the monorail was still running, so we only felt guilty for holding up the last trip.

Until we got off the ferry. All of the bathrooms at the Trasportation and Ticket Center were closed; where people should have been exiting the monorail was empty with a closed sign on it, and we were part of a group of about 10 tramping towards the turnstiles and trams.

We got on the tram. We got off the tram. There were three other vehicles in the lot and a wheelchair.

A few days later we went back to the Magic Kingdom- and would you believe it? It happened again. We ran to catch the ferry. We were the only ones on the tram. Now there were no other vehicles in the lot aside from us and, again, a wheelchair. Luckily this time it was pretty close to our van and my husband and I took turns wheeling it around the parking lot before heading back to the hotel. Wheee!
(aside: That's my hubby on the left)

The Yankee Trader in Liberty Square

I originally started this blog to talk about the exact place that I want to be at any given moment. Here's a new one.

Just to the right of the entrance to the Haunted Mansion with the Liberty Tree and Liberty Tree Tavern just to the right to your rear stands The Yankee Trader. As disappointing as it is as a store (they used to have cool headless horseman stuff, though the rest was rather disappointing as well), the location and exterior are perfect. The theming is great, and when you've just come out of the Haunted Mansion you're excited and ready to explore new things.

Doesn't that building look inviting? Doesn't it look like it holds some great new treasures not offered elsewhere in The World? And just as you're tugging on your companions sleeve to go in, that store looks like the most unique and interesting store on property.

And I fall for it everytime, no matter how many times I've been in there. Now if they could just get the merchandise to match the draw...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Disney Vacation Club Digs

I don't know if those of you reading this blog are familiar with AllEarsNet or not, let alone their blogs (though IMHO, it's the best Disney website ever)- but right now Linda Mac is staying at the brand new DVC Villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge. She's posting regularly and has tons of pictures of these gorgeous rooms. And I do mean gorgeous!

I've always wanted to stay at AKL, but now I want to stay in one of the DVC suites! The theming is incredible (look for the pictures of the curtains with Lion King characters on them), and the suites are just scrumptious. Right now I'm very upset with my husband for not letting me join.

Deb Wills also has a few posts on AKL, but no pictures.

Disney Lenses

I've been a little more obsessed with Walt Disney World than usual lately. So, as a result, I spent several hours putting together two lenses at Squidoo.

One on Keeping The Magic Alive (after you've come home), and one for planning your Walt Disney World vacation. I don't plan to stop there, but I'm running out of free time so the rest will have to wait.

Actually, I have 5 lenses right now, but only two on Disney.