Friday, October 26, 2012

October 2012 Trip - Days 3 & 4

Day 3

Today will be a family day as we will spend the day with my daughter, her husband and his mom. After breakfast my wife and I take the resort bus to Downtown Disney where we will meet them when they arrive. Still nursing my cold, I relax in the bandstand while my wife does some pre-buying browsing. At the appointed time they arrive and we decide to have lunch at Earl of Sandwich - a favorite of all. It is very crowded, but my wife finds a table while we wait on line to order. 

After lunch there is some shopping done by both mom's and before we know it, it's time for dinner. For dinner, we go out to a local restaurant. 

After dinner we decide that we will head back to my daughter's apartment which my wife and I have not yet seen. They moved into it just after our last trip down here, so while we had seen the neighborhood and the outside of their building, this would be our first time actually seeing the apartment itself. 

On the way home I stop to get some cold medicine and when I go to pay I realize I don't have my debit card. It occurs to me that I might have left it after I paid our bill at dinner, so a quick trip back is in order. Happily, the restaurant is right across the street from the store we were at. Happily that was the case and my card and I are reunited. <whew!>

Day 4

The cold is really getting to me now, but I man up and carry on ... sort of. Today we are heading to The Studios where we will be meeting up with some friends.

Our daughter meets us this morning and after breakfast at the Pop Century food court, we drive to Disney's Hollywood Studios. We will be meeting our friends after lunch, and we have some time until our reservation time, so we decide to head over to the Animation Academy to draw a character - one of our favorite things to do here. This class gets the chance to draw a character which we had never drawn before ... Buzz Lightyear.

My drawing

My wife's drawing

Once the class is over we head to the 50's Prime Time Café for lunch. We have a great meal and a great server (which is important in this restaurant), but unfortunately I have very little appetite thanks to this cold and am fading fast. (Notice the lack of photos in today's report? That alone can tell you just how awful I was feeling.)

We still have some time before we are to meet our friends, so we decide to go through the Great Movie Ride. When we come out, I get a message that they are on their way into the park, but the parade is blocking them from getting to us. We arrange a meeting place, and soon we get together.

They have only a short time to spend here so we decide to do Star Tours before they have to leave. My wife and I had been on the updated version once last year when we were here for my daughter's wedding, but my daughter and her husband have not yet been on it, so this will be their first time.

After we get off, our friends have to leave, and our plan calls for heading over to EPCOT to meet my son-in-law and partake once again of the Food and Wine Festival. However, I am feeling as if I will be more of a burden in that and decide the best thing is for me to head back to the room and get some rest and hope the cold is better tomorrow.

I get back to the room and my son-in-law is getting ready to leave to meet them in EPCOT. My plan is to watch some TV and simply relax, but moments after he leaves, I find myself sound asleep. I hear my wife return some hours later but am too tired even to acknowledge her.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Where in WDW? Challenge 26

After a brief hiatus - and a trip to Walt Disney World - we are back with Where in WDW?

So with no further ado, we ask Where in WDW? would you find this ...

As usual, submit your answer in the comments section below and check back next week to see if you are correct - and see the next Where in WDW?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 2012 Trip - Day 2

Today our daughter is working all day so we sleep in (as we usually do anyway) and spend a lazy day at Pop Century. As it turns out, I wake up with a sore throat and the beginning of a bad cold, so the lazy day works well for me.

In the late afternoon we head over to EPCOT where we will meet our son-in-law for our first go at the International Food and Wine Festival. (Photos can be seen here.)

Since this is all about the Food and Wine Festival, we don't spend much time at all in Future World except for a few stops for my wife to look in a souvenir store and the pin stand. On the way over to World Showcase she also stops at the cranberry bog to get some craisons.

Once in World Showcase, the first booth we encounter is Australia. Both my wife and I get the "Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies" and a Lamington.

Once done we start our counter clockwise march around stopping at booths (such as Norway where my wife gets the herring selection) and China.

Unfortunately, the cold is increasing its grip on me and I do not have as much of an appetite as I usually do when I am at the Food and Wine Festival, so I pass on many items that I would usually enjoy. My wife, however has no such impediment so she gets to enjoy many of the offerings as we continue along. (I do get to taste and enjoy the fondue at the Cheese booth.)

While we are at the Hops and Barley Market at the American Adventure we have a great spot to listen to the Smashmouth concert happening as part of the Eat to the Beat series.

This evening, as we find out, Illuminations is at 10:00 PM not the usual 9:00 it is during most of the week, so we decide to go in to The American Adventure and see the show. Unusually, we have to enter through the exit - the normal lobby is currently closed.

When we come out, it is time to find a spot to set up for Illuminations. As was the case yesterday in the Magic Kingdom, I am a bit later than usual so do not get an optimum spot, but unlike last night I go get a reasonable spot and have time to properly set my camera up on the tripod and the correct settings. I am behind a Japanese family consisting of three generations, and only one person also has a camera set up on a tripod and I should be able to get some good views.

While we are waiting, the grandfather comes over to me and starts examining my set-up. It is obvious that he (as is the case with the whole family) do not speak any English (and I speak no Japanese), but soon we are discussing photography with each other - just not using words. We "discuss" where I am focussing my camera, what settings I am using, etc. These are the moments that I truly enjoy.

Once Illuminations begins, I find that I do get some good shots, although many of them do have the Japanese fellow's head in them.

(Don't forget that more photos from today can be seen here.)


Monday, October 22, 2012

October 2012 Trip - Day 0 - Day 1

Day 0

It's raining and grey outside - but it doesn't matter because we are on our way to Walt Disney World!

As always we give ourself plenty of extra time to get to the airport as I prefer to be at the gate and set way before it is time to board. However, things don't go the way they should this morning. Usually, the trip to the airport takes us less than a half hour - including parking at an offsite lot and being shuttled to the terminal, but today it takes us over an hour and a half to get over the bridge. Since we live on an island, we have no choice but to take one of the bridges - but this morning they all have the same problem, due to a truck fire on the New Jersey Turnpike. Luckily, I get the opportunity to finally avoid the turnpike entrance and get on to local streets in time to still be at the gate before our flight boards. <whew!>

The rest of the trip is without incident and we arrive in Orlando (after a short layover in Baltimore) almost as scheduled. We get our luggage and our daughter picks us up and drives us to our room at Pop Century. We settle in before our scheduled dinner (with our daughter and son-in-law) at Via Napoli, in EPCOT.

We arrive at EPCOT and after a quick ride through Spaceship Earth, head over to Italy for our dinner. As we finish, Illuminations begins and we catch the final bits as we leave the restaurant. We start heading out - making a stop in Germany for some fresh caramel - and head back to our room.

Day 1

Today - it's 10/11/12 - we sleep in a bit and our daughter picks us up and we head to Downtown Disney for lunch at Earl of Sandwich and a bit of browsing for my wife. We will be attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) in the Magic Kingdom this evening and don't want to get to the park too early and fade out during the festivities.

We get to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon, just before the 3:00 parade. We decide to see the parade (which we have seen a few times already, but it is a Disney World parade after all!) We have an excellent spot right in front of the Main Street train station and we stick around to watch it from here. (Photos of the parade and the rest of the day here in the Magic Kingdom can be seen by clicking here.)

Once over, we start heading down Main Street.

Actually, and more accurately, we start walking through the stores along the right side of Main Street. At one point we pass through the Jeweler and notice all the new Dooney & Burke items. I spot a Disney World/Disneyland backpack which I buy for my wife.

We then continued along our way spotting a glass artist in the Crystal Arts store. Actually 2 different artists as you can see if you have a look at the full set of photos.

We first head into Tomorrowland where we decide to see a show in Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor - which is always fun. Our timing is good and we walk right into the preshow area and only have a three minute wait until we get into the theater itself. From there we intend to get fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear, but as the wait for standby is only listed at 10 minutes, we head right in. The wait is quite a bit less and we soon are fighting the evil Zurg. Next up a spin on the Peoplemover, which stops just as we are in Space Mountain underneath the first lift hill. It gives me a chance to take a shot (no flash of course) of the two spacemen there. (Yes, you can see all of that here.)

Next we head into the Storybook Circus area which has opened quite a bit more than the last time we were here - before the second Dumbo spinner was installed. My wife does her souvenir browsing as I take a few additional shots of the area.

We then hop on the train to go to Main Street and obtain our wristbands for MNSSHP. Once gotten we decide to head to the Haunted Mansion, but the line is long and we defer our visit. Instead, we decide that since our dinner reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern are not too long from now that we will relax in front of the tavern and people watch until it is time to check in. The party starts before that time so just before we check in, we do our first of many Trick-or-Treat stops and start filling our bags with candy. The first one is by the riverboat.

After dinner we start Trick-or-Treating in a very serious manner and work our way around the park to each of the well marked stations. Along the way, as we enter Fantasyland, we see seven electric scooters dressed up as mine carts, driven by the seven dwarves!! While great costumes abound this evening, this was by far the best we saw!!

We continued our march around the Magic Kingdom stopping along the way to fill our bags up - as we did here at the Fantasyland train Station.

Unfortunately we got so caught up with Trick-or-Treating, that the time for the Hallowishes fireworks snuck up on us, not giving me time to find the spot I wanted to set up my camera to photograph them, so I had to pick a less than optimal location (and in the process did not change the settings to those that I really wanted) but still managed to get some decent shots nonetheless. (More shots of Hallowishes fireworks can be seen here.)

Finally we worked our way around to Frontierland and the starting point for the Boo to You parade. While my wife and daughter went to for more candy gathering, I set my camera up and waited for the parade. They returned just before the parade began. (Photos of the parade can be seen here.)

Once the parade was over, we attempted to do some more Trick-or-Treating, but exhaustion and tired feet (and as I would find out the next morning, a bad cold) overtook us, so we headed back to the hotel.

(Don't forget you can see more photos here, here, here, and here.)


Friday, October 12, 2012

Daily Diary from WDW

A full trip report will come once I get home, with lots of photos of course, but for now I will post a short daily diary so you can know what we are doing until the trip report is written.

Each day I will update this entry, so check back each day - though I can't guarantee that it will be updated at the same time each day - but I will try.

Day 0

Was afraid we would miss our flight as there was a massive traffic situation on our only access to the airport. Once over the bridge, however, I took a local route and managed to get to the airport. Two flights later - with digs and cats onboard - we arrived in Orlando and our daughter picked us up. We got ourself set up in our Pop Century room and then went to Via Napoli in EPCOT for dinner. We caught the end of Illuminations as we left the restaurant and stopped for carmel in Germany before heading back to the room.

Day 1

Slept in this morning and had breakfast at the Pop Century Food Court. Our daughter picked us up around mid-day and we went to Earl of Sandwich for lunch. Then to the Magic Kingdom where we would be staying for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. (Don't forget to check back when the trip reports are written - lots of pictures!) Dinner at Liberty Tree Inn and the Trick or Treating - Boo To You Parade - Hallowishes Fireworks.

Day 2

Slept in again since we would not be going into Epcot until evening. Went to breakfast at the Pop Century Food Court and then hung out by the pool. Lunch time we walked over to Disney's Art of Animation Resort to have a quick look and have lunch at the food court there. After a short rest in the room we took the bus over to EPCOT and started our journey through the Food and Wine Festival. After Eat to the Beat with Smashmouth, I set up the camera for Illuminations. Had a nice "conversation" about photography with an elderly Japanese gentleman. (He spoke no English - I speak no Japanese). After Illuminations we headed back to Pop Century.

Day 3

Today is a non-park day as we head to Downtown Disney where we meet our duaghter, her husband and his mom. Lunch at Earl of Sandwich and then shopping at the World of Disney. Headed back to Pop Century to hang out a while - with a side trip for my daughter, her husband and his mom to check out the Art of Animation Resort. Dinner offsite and then back to my daughter's apartment, which she moved into just after we left for home our last time down here, so this was our first look at it. Finally a trip back to Pop Century.

Rest of the trip

Bad cold had me really knocked out and this diary got left behind, but never fear ... just go to the top of this blog as the full trip reports (with photos) have started!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Where in WDW? Week 25

First - let's begin by revealing Where in WDW? last week's picture was taken.

As some have guessed, this statue can be seen in the outdoor queue for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

At this point I usually would show another photo and ask Where in WDW? it was, but we have come to a point where it's time to take a short break from our usual format. Next week I will be in WDW - taking more photos for this challenge - so the next few weeks will not see new challenges posted here. However, you will be seeing trip reports from WDW (assuming the free wifi in the resorts is better than it was the last time I was there) with photos, so keep checking in.

Until the next Where in WDW? challenge, however, I will leave you with this photo from Lights, Motors, Action at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

So until I get back from WDW ...