Saturday, November 25, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 114

It's time once again to play our favorite quiz game ... Where in WDW? where you get to test your knowledge of Walt Disney World. Everything shown will be in areas where guests can see them - in other words, no backstage shots. From time to time, however, you may be asked to identify something that was but no longer exists. Have fun ... either post your guess in the comments below or other location on which this was posted.

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

This can be found in Frontierland.

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 or other location on which this was posted and then stop back next time to see if you were correct.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 113

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

This can be found at the front of The Seas with Nemo and Friends.

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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Halloween Horror Nights & Food and Wine 5K

You may remember that during RADP XX weekend in December, 2015, fellow RADPer Jenny Drake challenged me to prepare to walk a 5K and she would join me. After almost a year of excuses I finally took up the challenge and in April, 2017 did my first 5K … Dark Side Weekend at Disney World. Jenny would do a 5K with me during the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November. She also would do the Half Marathon in place of one that had been cancelled earlier in the year due to weather.

However, when I last returned to NYC for the summer, I developed a stress fracture of my ankle which prevented me from continuing to stay in condition for a while followed by the big blow. In June, as I was leaving All Star Sports for a 10 day cruise on the Disney Fantasy - just starting to be able to walk again - I received a call from my doctor informing me that my recent prostate biopsy had indeed showed cancer. My doctor informed me to continue with the cruise as planned and not to cut my stay in Florida short.

Jump ahead to late October, and thanks to my oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC who encouraged me to continue to plans to do the 5K during Wine and Dine weekend, I found myself once again heading down to Florida. It would be the first time I would have a chance to check out my house since Hurricane Irma had come through. I already knew that it would be okay though, thanks to yet another fellow RADPer. Mickey Birt who had kindly offered to check my house for me. (Thanks again Mickey!)

October 27

After coming down on the Auto Train, and a night’s sleep, I meet Iris for our usual Friday together, and she Brooke and I spend the day in EPCOT, my first visit this year to the Food and Wine Festival, followed by a visit by Brooke to Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. She gave Mickey such a long hug that the CM joked that they would have to close down the rest of the line.

After the day we returned to Iris’s house for pizza and then I drove home.

I wouldn’t have much time to spend at my house however, as I would be meeting my daughter, her husband, his mother and my granddaughter in a few days and then spend two nights at Sapphire Falls at Universal so we could attend Halloween Horror Nights. This would be my second year doing with them. Iris’s mother-in-law would watch Brooke that night so the three of us could go.

October 29

Today I head over to my daughter’s house where we will all go to Universal together. After being at home for only one full day, I now was closing up the house, since I would not be returning until December. A few days at Universal were next on my agenda, quickly followed by a stay at Disney World.

We arrived at Sapphire Falls and upon checking in asked for adjoining rooms near the water taxi. Well, we did get adjoining rooms, but the walk from the water taxi entrance in the hotel to our room was quite a distance, so it was decided to see if we could get anything closer. I guess our timing was good as adjoining rooms very close to what we originally requested had just become available. Much better for returning after a long night at Halloween Horror Nights (HHN).

After settling in, Jason and his mom decided to chill out in the room while Iris, Brooke, and I went to the parks. As we were about to board the water taxi, a young man who was just exiting the boat stopped and said hello to me and asked if I remember him. I did! Just before I came down to Florida, I was having lunch at a Buffalo Wild Wings in NJ and while talking to the server found out that he was about to go to Universal in Florida for HHN. Of course I told him that I was too. He would be going the night before I would. We talked for a bit before I finished my lunch and headed home. And now here he was … what are the odds?

We started in Universal Studios, and when we got into the park decided to check Brooke’s height to see if she might be tall enough (34 inches) to ride ET. She made it … by a hair! We headed back towards the attraction where she would be measured, and not understanding what was going on, she wouldn’t stand up straight. We decided to take a break and then try once more. This time (with a little help from grandpa supporting her under her armpits) she did touch the bottom of the measuring stick! The team member really stepped up to the plate for us at this point, knowing that if we waited on line she would have to be measured again as we approached to loading area, backdoor-ed us past the queue with a stop to give our names (so ET could greet us personally at the end of the ride) and then directly to the load area, where she informed the team member there that Brooke had indeed been measured and met the requirements. We were then placed in a row and boarded the ride. Though a little apprehensive at first, she was fully enjoying it before it was over.

Next we headed directly for the Hogwarts Express (yes, it was always planned on being a rather short visit to the parks today) to head over to Islands of Adventure. Once there we made our way to Seuss Landing where Brooke could ride the Caro-Seuss-el (3 times!) and One Fish Two Fish (I got soaked!) before meeting up with Carrie and Jason at City Walk and having dinner at Bubba Gump’s

October 30

Tonight we are going to HHN and it is a lot of walking. Because of that Jason decided to stay back at the hotel rather than come to the parks with us today and save his feet. I, on the other hand, wanted to get some walking in, so Iris, Brooke, Carrie and I set out for the parks. As we did yesterday we started on the Universal Studios side, where we had lunch (no, it wasn’t an early start) at Richter’s and then once again made our way to the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure. Once more we went directly to Seuss Landing where once again Brooke rode the Caro-Seuss-el before we headed back to the hotel to relax before going for an evening of HHN.

Eventually it was evening and having picked up our Express Passes and lanyards, we headed off to the park. Last year was my first time attending (it’s included in my Universal AP) and I enjoyed it so was looking forward to this evening. We went immediately to our first house which was American Horror Story, and then had some dinner at the Monster’s Cafè. A few more houses followed (and walking through a few scare zones) but when we came to SAW, it shut down and after a while we decided not to wait - as we wanted to catch the Bill and Ted Show since this was its 26th and final year.

After the show, I found that all the sitting stiffened me up and I was much more tired than I had been the year before - both side effects of the cancer treatment - so I sat while Iris and Jason went through their final house of the evening before we headed back to the room.

October 31 

Checkout today and rather than go back home tonight, I will be staying at Iris’s house which is much closer to WDW where I will be checking in to Pop Century tomorrow. I’m able to get a little walking in around her community though I know that I will be way less ready for this Friday’s 5K than I was for the last one - in addition to the side effects of the meds. 

In the evening, Winter Garden is having a Halloween party downtown, and Brooke, who has been wearing her Paw Patrol/Skye costume all day will go with Iris and me. We got there early and actually got parking in a business lot rather close, and I was quite impressed with the whole event … even if a very tired Brooke threw a major temper tantrum at one point during the evening.

November 1

Today I check in to Pop Century as  the start of my race weekend. However, while I was still at my house, Jenny’s mom developed a medical issue that caused her to need hospitalization, and Jenny needed to travel to her parents to be there and help out. It soon became obvious that she was going to be there long enough that her trip to Disney World would not be possible. In the end, Jenny’s presence helped bring about a good outcome for her mom.

I don’t mind being alone at WDW - I have done it a few times in the past. By the time I had checked in and brought my luggage into the room, I headed over to EPCOT where I had made dinner reservations at Teppan Edo. The last time I had eaten there was in 2000 shortly after Iris had started working in WDW. The line for the bus to EPCOT at Pop Century was very long but since I saw an empty bus for The Studios pull up to an equally empty queue, I decided that it would actually be better to take that bus and then take the boat to EPCOT from DHS. I was in no hurry at all so that’s what I did. I enjoyed the boat trip and arrived at the International Gateway with plenty of time to simply stroll in and slowly make my way to Japan. A nice couple was sitting next to me at the hibachi table and we had a very nice conversation, making it a most pleasant meal. 

I had hoped to be able to take a lap or two around World Showcase before heading back to Pop Century, but - not unexpectedly - since it was still Food and Wine Festival, it was way too crowded, so I simply walked around until I got to the bridge to Future World and decided the best thing to do was head back to the room to relax.

November 2

Today I need to go to the Health and Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up my bib for the race and spend some money. I thought I knew where everything would be having volunteered a number of times before I ran my first 5K, but it seems that runDisney has moved everything around from where it had been before. In truth, things actually worked better in the new configuration, so once I knew where things were, everything went well. I picked up my race bib and then went to the J Center where I got my shirt and gEAR bag before checking out the booths at the expo. I stopped to chat with Jeff Galloway and as I did last time had him sign my bib and then went to the official runDisney merchandise area. Not unexpectedly I spent a bit of money, but no regrets. Then having accomplished what I came for headed back to Pop Century to drop my load and head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where I would meet Lisa and Andy Cubban (another RADP family) after lunch.

I arrived early and let Lisa (who was with Andy and their daughter and her family in 50’s Prime Time Cafè) know that I was on a bench outside the restaurant and would meet them when they were done. I settled in for some people watching when yet another RADP friend (Charlotte Johnson) stopped by to say hi! 

While Lisa’s daughter, husband and son had to leave early, Lisa, Andy and I made our way to Muppets 3-D as we had a chance to visit for a while. After that, Lisa and I went on Star Tours before I needed to say goodbye. I had an early dinner reservation since I had to be up at about 2:30 the next morning and wanted to be back in my room before 8;00 PM. 

In the past, I have had many very enjoyable meals at Trattoria al Forno on the Boardwalk and had made an early reservation there … they open at 5:30 PM and I was going to have dinner there when they did. I took the boat over to the Boardwalk and again had plenty of time to sit and people watch. When it cam time for dinner, I have to say I was sadly disappointed. In the past they had a full menu with many appetizers and entrees to choose from. Tonight there was a single sheet with a very limited menu. I ordered the chicken parmigiana and found it to be rather generic (for lack of a better term). Not bad, and had I not had previous good experiences there would probably have been (just) satisfied, but I have and I wasn’t. The service was fine, I had a very attentive server, and the ambiance was unchanged. I was disappointed.

After dinner I took a leisurely stroll around Crescent Lake before taking the boat back to DHS when I caught to bus to Pop Century. I prepared my gear for the morning, making sure everything I needed was ready to go and then got into bed and hoped to get some sleep. I set the alarm for 2:30 AM.

November 3 - Race Day

Last time I did this I found that if I had gotten 20 minutes sleep I was lucky, but here was an instance where one of this side effects of my cancer meds was a plus - I fell asleep at 8:30 PM and actually got my normal 6 hours sleep before Mickey called to wake me up. I made sure to give myself enough time to shower which was more important to wake me up than to clean up. The first bus to the Animal Kingdom parking lot where the starting line was left at 3:30 AM and I was there right on time to be on the first bus. Because of this I was able to get in a rather short line to have my picture taken with Donald and Goofy. 

While on line I was talking to the woman behind me who recognized me from a runners group (Grumpy Runners) I was invited to join last year when I first decided to attempt this. We talked a while and then it was time to have my picture taken.

Speaking of Grumpy Runners, we all met and took a picture before we got into our assigned corrals. The members of this group have been very encouraging and supportive of my less than speedy efforts, as well as being a very friendly group of people. I am so happy that I was invited to become a member last year. 

Then it was time to get into our assigned corrals. I was happy to find that I wasn’t in the last corral and that there were still quite a few people starting after I did. I was also surprised that while the last 5K I ran in WDW went to an F corral … this one only went as far as D. Seventeen minutes after the first runners crossed the starting line, my wave was up and off we went. 

When we got to Pandora, it was amazing to see all the nighttime effects as we ran through that land. In my last 5K I had enough self discipline to make myself back off a bit when I saw that I went off faster than I had planned. I started this one faster than I should have and for the first mile was feeling pretty good and while I should have slowed myself down more than I actually did, I allowed myself the little extra. I managed to do the fastest mile I had ever done, but then I started to pay the price. One of the things that my cancer meds can do is mess with your heart rate and speed it up more than normal. I started to feel that happening and noticed that my heart rate was much higher than I should allow so reality came back to me and I slowed down to where my heart rate was within a range that I was comfortable with. I was then at the mile and a half point in the run - just about halfway through - when I heard the last wave that I would hear being started. By the time I reached the two mile marker, I felt some fatigue setting in. Part of that was due to the meds, but perhaps more than that, I was feeling the results of a lack of training as I should have. 

I knew that I still had a bit more than a half mile left until the three mile marker when I knew it would take a supreme effort to finish, but there was no way that I wasn’t going to finish - though the thought did cross my mind once very briefly. Eventually I was at the three mile marker, but it was on the return side of the road on which I was now heading away from the marker. I would actually pass it on the way back. By now I knew my energy was drained but I knew I would soon reach the finish so though my body was going on fumes, I kept going. I reached the end of the road where we turned around and headed towards that marker - only 0.1 miles from the end. 

I had hoped to sprint across the finish line as I did during the Dark Side 5K, but when I approached the finish line I found I didn’t have the energy left to do that, so I walked across the line and was happy to receive my medal. 

I picked up my Powerade and then had my picture taken before I got my banana, and snack box and walked towards the bus back to Pop Century. The sun was just starting to light the eastern sky. It would come above the horizon on the bus trip back.

I got back to my room and tried to take a short nap, but it soon became obvious that I wouldn’t be able to. That became a certainty when the construction site on the lake started driving piles shaking the entire resort … and it was right outside of my room! So I took a shower, got dressed and grabbed a bite to eat at the food court before heading back to EPCOT. Having just upgraded my AP from Weekday Select to Gold so I could get my race pictures now and in the races I still have scheduled, I decided to take advantage and find some Disney photographers. 

Towards evening I headed back to my room where Iris and Brooke would meet me later and we would go out to dinner. Friday and Saturday are Iris’s days off and I usually come out to see her on Friday, so today wouldn’t be an exception. Jason gets together with friends on Friday nights so Iris, Brooke and I went to Chuy’s for dinner. 

November 4

Rather than go to a park today, I used the opportunity to sleep in and then would meet Iris, Jason, Brooke and Carrie at the Ale House for lunch, after which Iris and Jason would get their traditional pre-cruise pedicures (they are leaving on a cruise tomorrow) while Carrie and I would take Brooke while they do. I decided that the easiest thing would be to take her back to my room where she could play, watch Disney TV, take a walk or even go swimming. Iris and Jason would meet us at my room when they were finished.

Once everyone was gone, I now had to pack since I had a date with the Auto Train on Sunday. Time to get back to my treatments. 

I will be back at the beginning of December … at least until I once again have to return for an injection … but then right back to Florida.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 112

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

This can be found in the Harambe section of Disney's Animal Kingdom ...

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, November 4, 2017

Where in WDW? Challenge 111

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

This can be found atop the marquis of the Main Street Fashion Apparel in The Magic Kingdom ...

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.