Saturday, March 18, 2017

Where in WDW - Challenge 83

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find this ...

This can be found in Liberty Square, under the covered area (which has been used for stroller parking) alongside the extended Haunted Mansion queue.

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 82

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find this ...

This can be found practically underneath the Swiss Family Treehouse.

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Day Out With Our Granddaughter

Friday is an off day for my daughter so it's usually the day that we go visit with her and our granddaughter. Usually, it's a fun day for all involved since the best place to hang out for the day with lots to do for all of us is either at a Disney or a Universal theme park. Today, the Magic Kingdom is the park selected, so we meet them at their house and off the to Magic Kingdom we go.

We park in Peter Pan on the Heroes side and take the tram to to the monorail - it's the first ride of the day as far as my granddaughter, Brooke is concerned (as always) and she enjoys the rather cool breeze in her face during the trip. She knows what's ahead.

Monorail Teal takes us to the Magic Kingdom entrance where I go through the NO BAGS entrance while the girls go through bag check. For once I am not directed towards the metal detectors, even though I already have the contents of my pocket ready to come out. But I am not complaining and wait by the bag check when I see Iris being approached by security. She's asked if she has someone who can take the stroller (and Brooke!) while she goes through the metal detector - this is a bit of a twist! At first she says no, but then spots me and I take the stroller and her tote-bag while she walks through.

Off through the scanners where I get to use my brand new version 2 Magic Band for the first time.

My daughter, Iris, has made some FastPass+ reservations for us, and the first one of the day is back in New (is it still "New"?) Fantasyland ... Dumbo! This was one of Brooke's first rides at the Magic Kingdom and she really enjoys it. We get there barely in time for our FastPass+ window, and when Brooke sees where we are she gets excited. While we waited for our ride, she spots the Barnstormer and watches it intently! She really doesn't miss a thing! It's clear she wants to ride it, but she will have to grow a few inches yet. For now she will have to settle for the rather calm Dumbo. Of course, on the ride, she has to control the up and down movements ... the rougher the better ... she will definitely be a thrill ride person when she is tall enough!

Iris is very good when it comes to scheduling FastPass+ and as we exit Dumbo, our window for Winnie the Pooh is about to open, so a quick stroll - park the stroller and Hundred Acre Woods here we come.

Our next FastPass+ isn't until after lunch (Aladdin's Flying Carpets) and lunch will be at Skipper Canteen, so we head over in that general direction - possibly considering a stop at Country Bear Jamboree. On the way my wife wants to stop and look at the Trading Post to see what pins she might buy. While there I have a look to see if they have any Memory Keepers, the alternate holders for the puck in the new Magic Bands. (I have mentioned that it is removable?) Happily, they do. They have two styles ... one is a piece which will clip on to a lanyard and the second is a carabiner which can clip onto a belt loop or such. I opt for the carabiner. Since I wear a Garmin fitness device on the wrist where I would otherwise wear my Magic Band, this will relieve me of having to wear something on both wrists!

By now we decided to skip Country Bear Jamboree as it is getting close to our lunch ADR, and head for Skipper Canteen to check-in. We only have to wait a few minutes before we are taken to our table. (If it seems like I was just here, I had been only a few weeks ago with friends.) After we order, I get my new purchase out and proceed to move the puck from the band to the carabiner. When you buy a Magic Keeper, it even comes with the small screwdriver needed to do so. (Warning - be careful when you do it ... those screws are TINY!! Also, you will need to remove the retainer in the Magic Keeper. At first I was a bit tentative so as not to break it, but you will need a bit of force to get it out, so don't be gentle.) It was simple to make the swap and very quickly, my new Magic Band was a Magic Carabiner!

After our meal (a noodle bowl with chicken, a noodle bowl with duck and a "Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is" and a kids mac and cheese) we decided to have a look at the dessert menu. Among the items was this which caught some eyes. (Not the original form, sadly)

It sounded good so I got it ...

Lunch behind us, we now take our ride over Agrabah on a Flying Carpet, completing our three original FastPasses for today, so Iris checks and makes us new ones for Pirates of the Caribbean for just a little bit later.

Since we were right there, we went into another of Brooke's favorite attractions, The Tiki Room. As always, she "sings" and "dances" along with the entire show! I was actually quite surprised that the show was almost completely filled. I haven't seen that in a long time.


Once done, it was just about time for Pirates. Iris mentions how long it had been since she had been on Pirates, and I then realized that I had not ridden it since way back in December, 2015!! There was an issue with the boats taking on water then and my socks and sneakers got squishy. Happily that problem now seems to have been solved. However, this would be Brooke's first ride on Pirates. She fully enjoyed it, taking in all the sights along the way. This won't, however, be her last "first" of today. After we get off the ride, Iris once again hits the My Disney Experience (MDX) app on her phone and we have FP+ for Monsters Incorporated Laugh Floor - so that's our next stop.

A stop at the Carousel is in order of course


Once more Iris checks MDX and voila we are headed to the Tea Cups. This will be another first for my daredevil granddaughter and we have no doubt that she will enjoy it. I will even forego my usual manic spinning of the teacup for this occasion.

By now, however, we should have realized that nothing we could do would bother her. Iris and I spun it slowly at first and then only slightly faster - and yep - she thought it was great! We probably could have gone faster, but as it was we were spinning pretty good.

By this time the sun was going down and it was getting a bit chilly (I knew I should have worn long pants!), so we decided to call it a day for today, but there was still one thing we needed to do. As we passed a stand on the way out of Fantasyland, we had to stop for popcorn for Iris (and Brooke had popcorn for the first time!) and a certain frozen treat for me. Here is a picture for those who are interested ... you know who you are!!!

After a stop at the candy store on Main Street so Iris could buy some treats for her husband - Brooke had her last "first" of the day ... a jelly bean!!

Back to the car - back to Iris's house where a now sound asleep Brooke has a date with her crib ... and we head back to our own home. Another typical day with the granddaughter in the books. (Well - typical for us!)

Where in WDW? Challenge 81

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find this ...

This was going to be hard for most people since it is very new - but there were a few correct guesses. This new shop is on the side of the newly redone and renamed Planet Hollywood Observatory. Good job to those who knew.

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 80

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find this ...

This is over the escalator to the Orange Garage at Disney Springs as many of you guessed.

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Surprise at Animal Kingdom

Feb 10, 2017

Today we will meet my daughter, Iris and granddaughter, Brooke to spend the day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Iris wanted to take Brooke on the safari. We tried to make a lunch reservation at Tusker House (she loves seeing the characters!) but none were available. We did get Fastpasses for the safari, Festival of the Lion King and a Mickey/Minnie meet and greet! We drive to Iris's house to pick them up and then head to Animal Kingdom. Sadly, I had decided not to take my camera today, but make it a relaxing walking day with nothing to carry. I would come to regret that decision very soon! Well, at least my phone has a camera.

As we first get into the park, we notice a Cast Member in front of the entrance to the Rainforest Café holding two signs ... one says "Passholders" and the other says "DVC". There are no other indications of what is being given out - though I do have an idea - so I go over to ask. As I thought, they were giving out wristbands to this evening's preview of Rivers of Light, the long delayed nighttime show. This would be the first public preview. The problem arises that Iris isn't a passholder! We decide to get wristbands anyway and Iris plans to speak with the CM - explaining that she is a Cast Member herself - and hope for the best. As it turns out, after I showed my annual pass, the CM giving them out was not really paying attention, and Iris got her band without an issue.

My wristband (and my magic band)

That accomplished, we walk into the park itself and over to the meet and greet building. Brooke seems to know something is up and notices the picture of Mickey and Minnie on the wall while we were in the queue and before we got into the room where she would see them both. As we walk in, the room is empty except for the photographer, and we are told to sit down and someone would be coming over to see us shortly. Of course! It was Mickey himself!!

Soon he is joined by Minnie who peeks around the corner until Brooke spots her. 

It's now coming up on lunch time and we decide to see if we can get walk-up seating at Tusker House. Turns out we can ... and with no wait at all we get to go right in! Once we get seated, Brooke spots Goofy walking around and gets appropriately excited! As in the Garden Grill a week ago, once she knows characters are around, she keeps looking for them and waiting for them to come see her. It doesn't affect her appetite, however, as she has a very good meal as usual! 

Next up is our safari, which Brooke enjoys as much for the bumpy ride as for all the animals that she gets to see. And speaking of seeing animals, next on our agenda is a train ride back to Conservation Station at Rafiki's Planet Watch. This is a location that Iris hadn't been to in quite a while, though there was a time she would be there almost every day!

Way back in the year 2000

After some time inside - during which Brooke got to pet a huge rabbit and have her picture taken with Rafiki - we go outside to Affection Section for some up close and personal time with the animals. 

Brooke decides this goat - named Kit - needed a good brushing back there

After spending time with all of the animals in Affection Section - we take the train back to Harambe where we still have some time to kill before it is our time for Festival of the Lion King, so we decide to head to Nomad Lounge where we have drinks and share a cheese platter. Right now this gem of a place to relax (attached to Tiffins) is off the beaten path on the road to where Camp Minnie Mickey used to be - and is nearly empty and quite quiet. I am guessing that when Pandora opens in a few months, that might very well change. 

Don't worry - I promise it's non-alcoholic

Next up is Festival of the Lion King, which Brooke absolutely adored the last time we took her. And while we don't get front row seats this time, sitting on Mommy's lap always gives a good view. As was the case the last time - she was fascinated by it all ... but especially the stilt-walkers!


Who doesn't love Timon and  the Tumble Monkeys?

When we leave the show, it's getting close to the time we need to get to the seating area for the Rivers of Light. As we pass in front of the Tree of Life, Iris and Brooke have their photo taken by a Photopass photographer. When the photographer goes to scan Iris's magic band, Brooke sticks her arm out for him to scan. (While she does have her own magic bands, she was not wearing one this day.) This was something she just started doing today. Whenever we needed to scan our bands - such as to get into the park or use our Fastpass - she had to have her wrist scanned as well. The photographer got a big kick out of it!

Iris picks up some snacks for Brooke and I buy her a lighted wand all designed to keep her occupied during the time between when we first sit down and when the show is scheduled to start - 45 minutes later! 
Once the show starts, however, she is  totally entranced! The music, the lights, the visuals ... she loved it all!

I thought the show was visually stunning and enjoyed the music. It could have been longer (it was originally but things had to be cut for technical issues which caused the long delay in its debut at the park). Also, the use of the story tellers could have been more defined and more highlighted. However, I did very much enjoy it, and even Brooke stood up and applauded with everyone else at its conclusion.

It officially opened on February 17.

By now it is past the park's closing time, so we head back to the car - drop Iris and Brooke back home and then drive back home ourselves.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 79

Last time you were challenged to identify Where in WDW you would find these ...

These items can be seen outside of the Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square.

Didn't get it? Well, here is another one for you - Where in WDW? would you see this?

As usual, make your guess in the COMMENTS section below and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.