Monthly Archives: September 2012

Day 6 at Walt Disney World – or Mickey whooped our butts!

The heat and humidity in Florida this week late in September has been really tough on all of us.  Those from Arizona (Carissa and Jaime) where the air is dry were really feeling the oppressive humidity.  Still being relatively young they survived the experience of being sweaty and air soaked at the same time.  Those from Colorado (Loreli, Chad, Tiffany, Kari, and Simon) had to deal with the lower altitude and the humidity they are not used to.  And as with the young they, too, weathered the heat and humidity better than Joe and I did.  We were a bit sick on this last day of our Disney World adventure.

The day was spent at Magic Kingdom where most of the rides are tamer in comparison to the rest of the park.  I, for one, was looking forward to the more sedate rides.  The Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.  Longer rides in dark and air conditioned comfort to ease my aching head and cool my over heated body.

The storm clouds were building around the Magic Kingdom.

Storm clouds over the Magic Kingdom

Jann had made a comment before we arrived at Disney World that this would be like herding cats.  Let me tell you….that is a correct assessment.  Trying to keep track of our kids and stick together as a family unit was nigh on to impossible.  Joe and I gave up on this last day and decided to leave them to their fun and enjoyment.

While we wended through the throng of Disney goers on our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean the rain started.  We found shelter in a portico entrance to the public restrooms….along with a host of other people.

Getting out of the rain

Shelter from the deluge

The rain didn’t last very long.  It was quite surprising how much it did rain in just a matter of 5 minutes.  When the rain quit we left the shelter and made our way to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride where it would be cold and dark.

Getting on the boats to do the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

"Dead men tell no tales"

I’ve got to say this about Disney Imagineers.  Every one of the parks is amazing.  The details on every building façade is spectacular.  The food court at our resort is true to the real experience of the Caribbean.  Carissa and Jaime have been on cruises to the Caribbean and Carissa said the place looked exactly as it does in real life.

Johnny Depp, or his likeness, as Jack Sparrow eerily pops up in several locations in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  I mean, you see Captain Jack Sparrow in three of the scenes on the ride and you actually see the face of Johnny Depp from the movies.  It is so lifelike that it is spooky.

Our kids joined us for a second trip through the Pirates ride and next on their agenda was Splash Mountain.  We all headed over to that ride and found it to be closed temporarily.  Disney takes the well being of their guests into consideration.  ALL outdoor rides were closed temporarily because of lightning strikes near the park.  When the storm finally passed the rides were open once again.

Joe and I had enough of the heat and humidity.  We were whipped.  Time to head back to our resort room to be in air conditioned comfort with the lights off and the drapes drawn.  Dark and cool is what we needed.  On our way out of the park we were graced by a rainbow.

Rainbow over the Magic Kingdom

During our time at Walt Disney World we went to four of the theme parks.  We had a map of Disney mailed to our home before we left, just to give us all an idea of where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.

Map of Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is 40 square MILES of information overload.  There is so much to see and do there.  Six days is not long enough to see it all, nor to hit every ride or mode of transportation Disney offers its guests.

Each park has their own map.  Parade routes and times are listed on the maps.  The parade routes are marked in red dots.  All the rides are noted on the map, food courts, public restrooms, first aid stations, smoking areas, and even areas where the Disney characters are stationed for photo opportunities.  There are photographers everywhere that are specifically there to document your Disney adventure.

EPCOT:

Map of Epcot

Map of Epcot with notations of importance

Closer view of Epcot Map

MAGIC KINGDOM:

Magic Kingdom map

Magic Kingdom information

Close up of Magic Kingdom map

ANIMAL KINGDOM:

Animal Kingdom map

Animal Kingdom map information

Animal Kingdom close up map

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:

Hollywood Studios Map

Hollywood Studios information map

Hollywood Studios map up close

We made it to each of the parks.  Probably experienced 1/4 of everything in each of them.  The Pedometer App on our iPod tried to keep up with me but gave out I think.  Most days we walked about 7 miles around each of the parks.  Taking in one for about half the day then going to another park for several more hours.

By our last full day at Disney both Joe and I had sore feet and ankles, our backs hurt, my thighs and hip joints were sore, and my upper arms were screaming at me from holding on for dear life on the wild rides I went on.

This 6 night and 7 day Disney Resort package cost us $2,600 for Joe and I.  For six months we did a sort of “Payment Plan” until we had it totally paid for before we arrived.

One thing not everyone knows is that you can get your Disney Vacation started with $200.  You will need a credit card or a debit card to start your plan.  The full package price has to be paid, in full, 45 days before your vacation begins.  You can make your payments monthly or weekly, depending on your finances.

Your package can include flight reservations if you will not be driving.  You can make your flight plans separate if you can find them cheaper.  You can choose to stay at hotels not on the Disney property or you can stay at one of the numerous resorts.

I have nothing to share about staying off Disney property so I can’t tell you about transportation to the parks and back via the massive Disney bus system.

I can tell you about staying at a Disney Resort.  Each of the many resorts have bus stops located at each resort section.  We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort.  This resort has building sections named Jamaica, Aruba, Martinique, Trinidad North, Trinidad South, Old Port Royale.  Each section has a bus stop for the area you will be staying in.  We were in North Trinidad while Tiffany, Kari, and Simon were at Trinidad South.

At the bus stops you get on a bus to the destination you wish.  Each bus has the name of the park you want to go to.  Catch the “Animal Kingdom” bus to go to the Animal Kingdom or Blizzard Beach.  When you arrive at your destination you will be told what section number you will go to catch the bus back to your resort.  At Epcot our bus section number was 13.  When the bus arrived we would get on it to go back to the Caribbean Beach resort.

The bus rides are from 7 to 12 minutes in length.  The bus travels around the resort to each of the stops before it goes to the theme park.  The bus transport is free and runs all day long.  They are fully air conditioned to help a hot and tired body cool off after a long day in the heat and humidity.

The food at the Disney resorts is nothing spectacular.  It is quite over priced.  A breakfast for two can be up to $30.  It is ridiculous.

I would recommend adding the “Disney Dining Plan” to your package.  For the “Quick Meals” you get an entree, desert, and a bottled beverage of your choice.  The food is plentiful.  Way too much for one person to eat.  For the “Snack” portion you can have a bowl of fruit, a single piece of fresh fruit, a bottled drink, or any of the cookies or pastries all over the place.  For a “Sit Down Meal” which is usually in the evening includes and entree, desert, and a beverage of your choice.  The cost of the sit down dinner is anywhere from $75 to $100 for two.

To get “normal” food you will have to get to Downtown Disney where there are regular restaurants with normal food.  You have to pay out of pocket for those meals because they are not included in the Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Resorts are clean, the grounds are taken care of daily, repairs to the buildings are done.  The gutters on the building we stayed in were  replaced on one morning beginning just after sun up.  There was some banging going on but it wasn’t over the top.

There is a laundry facility at each complex.  The cost is $2 per load of wash and dry.

Guest laundry at Disney resort

Washers and dryers to the right of the entrance

Washers and dryers to the left of the entrance

When you do vacation at Disney World be prepared for the screaming and crying little ones.  They can get a wail on like you won’t believe.  In the confines of the bus it can be quite irritating to be stuck with a screaming over tired child.

The crowds of people are staggering.  Unlike the highways you travel by car, traffic going in separate directions, the crowds at Disney walk everywhere.  You have to dodge strollers, scooters, and people in a constant maze just to get going in the direction you are aiming for.  Sometimes you have to let the teeming masses pass for a while to get a hole in the crowd and head in the right direction.

By the last full day of our Disney trip both Joe and I were looking forward to getting back to work and away from the masses.  I have a problem with sustained loud noises.  My nerves get frayed and I get snappy.  Keeping my inner monster at bay on the last day was a challenge for me.

Would I do this again?  Heck yes.  During a time of year that is cooler and less humid.  I’m told that the end of November and the first part of December is less crowded and a lot cooler.  So maybe next year we can get ALL of our kids to come and do this in 2013.  One can always hope 😀

We are leaving Monday for Spartanburg, South Carolina to get trucks going to Windsor, Wisconsin.  Time to get some rest from this vacation.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

Leslie


Day 5 at Disney World and the Surprise for Joe.

I promised you a photo of my ride on the Hollywood Tower of Terror, and here it is.  Carissa and I went on the ride together the first time.  We were in the second row on the right.

Hollywood Tower of Terror 1

I am in the second row to the left facing you.  Carissa is in the bright pink top and I am in a gray t-shirt…behind the man in front with the gray and black stripes.  Look at my face!  Total terror.  Carissa is totally enjoying this.  I’m hanging on for all I am worth and she has her arms raised and screaming with delight.  All I can do is repeatedly say “Oh sh*t.  Holy sh*t.  Oh sh*t”.  Such a good role model for the young children around me.

The next photo is just plain pathetic.  I have my 3 year old grandson behind me, my husband beside me, my daughters surrounding me, and my son-in-law Chad behind me.

Everyone around and behind me are making sure our little guy, Simon, is not scared out of his wits by this ride….which I have to tell you he wanted to do again.  Me….not so much concerned about the welfare of my grandson.  Totally pathetic I tell you.

Hollywood Tower of Terror #2

Everyone to your left and the front two rows.  Starting from the far left in the blue t-shirt is Kari – Tiffany’s girlfriend.  Next to Kari is me, a blithering and blubbering idiot.  Next to me is Joe.  He’s hearing some strange sounds emitting from my mouth and he has to make sure I am alright.  Joe’s response to the ride “Hey that was fantastic, I loved it!”  He’s just plain weird.  Next to Joe is Carissa in the pink shirt with her hands raised and screaming in delight.  What is wrong with that girl?!

Next row back and to the left.  Tiffany in the black behind Kari in the blue.  Tiffany is looking at her son, Simon, to see if he is alright.  Next to Tiffany is Loreli who has her attention upon Simon right next to her to keep an eye on him.  Next to Loreli and directly behind Joe sits our little Simon.  He is handling this so much better than his grandma.  Next to Simon sits Chad, Loreli’s husband, who talked with Simon the whole trip to the seat.  Chad showed Simon the sights of the interior building.  Chad was so patient with Simon and he didn’t say or do anything that would cause alarm bells to ring in little Simon’s head or heart.

So as you can see.  Everyone survived the Hollywood Tower of Terror except for me.  I totally fell apart.

Carissa and Chad talked me into going on the Mt. Everest ride.  A roller coaster that goes forward and backward with some quick turns and sharp steep climbs.  Once again a blithering idiot.  I was scared so bad, all I could do was hang on for dear life.  What’s the matter with Carissa?!  She just loves to raise her arms and scream for sheer fun.  Too many of these rides has rattled something loose in her brain 😀

Mt. Everest ride with Carissa

Okay, after this ride I was dizzy, nauseas, and had a bad headache.  The heat was getting to me, all the walking was really making my legs, feet, and back hurt.  Joe wasn’t doing any better.

I had sent out a blanket text message to all our kids – leaving Joe out of the text loop – to make excuses around 5 p.m. to go back to their rooms and change clothes.  We had dinner reservations for the whole lot of us at 8:25 pm and we needed to prepare.  They were then instructed to meet up in our room at 6 p.m. on the pretence they wanted to see what our room looked like.

A little back story is necessary here.  Joe and I have been married, this last August, for 22 years.  Over the past 15 years he has asked me, on numerous occasions, if I would marry him again.  With the assistance of our kids – Joe’s two daughters and my daughter and their spouses – I told them I wanted to surprise Joe with a renewal of our wedding vows while we were in Orlando.

Planning this thing had been done when I was alone.  In public bathrooms, while I was driving one of the trucks in our loads, stepping outside the hotel room door with an excuse that I needed something from the pickup or the truck.

I don’t talk on the phone very much.  Joe was asking me why I was on the phone with Carissa for three hours, or with Loreli almost daily.  I had to figure out how to “lie” to him by telling him a half truth so he wouldn’t catch on.

Joe made it quite exciting for me when he nearly called the whole trip off when we started our job down in McAllen, Texas!  I couldn’t tell him, or even hint at it.  Torture, pure torture the last week of our working was.

As it turned out, we all were able to keep the secret from Joe.  Totally kept the secret from him.  I had planned that we go to a small sandy beach area just down a walkway from our resort room for this vow renewal.  It rained, buckets of rain just as the kids were arriving at our room.  This had to be done on the walkway right outside our room under the cover of the walkway floor above and out of the rain.

Simon, Chad, Jaime, and Joe

Jaime, in the center with the darker blue shirt on was the “Lay Minister“.  Jaime did a fantastic job in making this vow renewal a true ceremony.

Chad was the photographer.  He was handed one camera after another, also taking cell phones from some of the group gathered to take photos.  Chad is on the left holding Simon.

Carissa and I

Carissa created my “bouquet” at her home and brought it on the trip out to Orlando from the Phoenix area.  She also scoured the internet for ceremonial words used in wedding vow renewals.  The thing she put together for her husband, Jaime, to use was totally awesome.

Kari, Tiffany, Simon, and Joe

Kari was the “videographer” with her little camera.  She got most of it video taped.  Tiffany started it but felt she had messed it up and handed it over to Kari who did a fantastic job.  Tiffany is Simon’s mother and Joe’s daughter.

Tiffany, Joe, and Loreli

Loreli, on the right, came up with the idea that Joe and his daughters would be outside with him.  An excuse of taking pictures with Simon while we were all together.  As soon as Loreli gave a signal to Carissa then we would join them.  Joe and his children standing with him in this ceremony while Carissa and I come into the family once again.  With the approval of all the children we have.

Joe and I

I have to say…we pulled it off.  Joe was totally surprised and didn’t have a single clue.

Have I ever told you that I have been blessed with the best family in the entire world?  Well I have been.  Truly blessed.

My family, a small part of it anyway

Indeed, I can say that our time here at Disney World has been “Magical”.

Leslie


Day 4 at Walt Disney World

I’m two days behind at this point.  This place is crazy busy all day long.  By the end of the day, when normal people are winding down, this place just keeps going.

I had every intention of taking pictures while here.  This place is total information overload.  There is not one square inch of the place that does not have something going on!

We went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Getting Simon, our grandson, to pose for a picture was too funny.  His head was on a swivel and in constant motion.

Simon at the entrance to Hollywood Studios

Once inside the Hollywood Studios park there is next to no time to think.  Street performers can be heard but barely seen through the crowds.  As we wandered the streets looking at the buildings set to look like old down town Hollywood, peeking into windows of the shops displaying their wares, and trying to find the pathway that would lead us to the rides Carissa and I heard a loud commotion in the street and watched the crowd move in and circle around the noise.

Disney Public WorksLenny, here, is the supervisor of this band of Disney Public Works employees.  The other two are who he is supervising.  These three are hilarious.  Lenny is pretty tough on his companions.  Criticising their every attempt to follow his instructions.  They are sort of like the old “Three Stooges” with Moe as the leader trying to get Curly and Larry to get a project completed.

Lenny is attempting to give instructions to his two companions on how to use the spray can things on the trees and not the attending public.  There is some success at getting the trees wet, as directed, however all of us standing around watching the hyjinks get wet.

Spraying the crowd

A spectator gets in on the actA crowd member is selected to get in on the act and it is hilarious.  This is just so much fun.  After a while the constant barrage of criticism from Lenny to his compatriots gets a bit tired.  Still, it is really great to watch the shenanigans of these three.

Carissa talked me into going on the Hollywood Tower of Terror ride.  Jaime, her husband, calls this ride the “Tower of Too Much!” and he is so right.  Holy Cow!  I did purchase the download of my fear filled shame 🙂 on the ride.  The photos are waiting in the resort gift shop to be picked up.

Cringing on the Tower of Terror

Just look at that.  Carissa has her arms in the air, wearing the pink shirt.  I’m on her left (your right) and in a cringing frightened out of my mind mess.  There was no way I was going to take my hands off the hand grips in my seat.  Soon as I do I feared I’d be flung out the opening of the ride.

Aye Karumba!!  This ride is crazy.  One second you are pushed by gravity down into your seat, the next second you are weightless and raised off the seat to float in the air, then plastered to your seat the next second.  When the ride was finally done I could hardly move from all the quaking in my boots!

For further humiliation, I went on the ride a second time.  I can’t believe I did that.  Our kids got little Simon to go on this ride.  I have proof he went on.  The photo is at the gift shop and I will be retrieving it today.  Joe is on the ride with us as well.  Everyone, including little Simon, handle this ride like it is nothing.  Me….not so much.  Total wussy I tell you.  I’ll have the photo up in a later post.

It is time to get about this Disney World stuff once again.  Maybe I’ll get these days caught up, some time soon.

As they say here at Disney “Have a Magical Day”.

Leslie


Day 3 at Walt Disney World.

Upon awakening this Tuesday, my thoughts went to the arrival of our daughter Loreli, and her husband, Chad.  They would arrive just after noon.  Our other daughter Carissa, and her husband, Jaime, were on the last leg of their driving adventure and would be here as well later in the afternoon.

I was so excited to see our kids that I was highly emotional.  You’d think I hadn’t seen my kids in years the way the tears worked.  On for a bit then off for a little while.  I was more excited to see my kids and have them with me than I was to go find Mickey and his friends.

Joe, being a guy, was freaked out by the waterworks.  I’d tell him I was so happy but he didn’t believe me.  The concern on his face, you could just imagine seeing him squirm around in some kind of anxiety because he didn’t know what to do.  Assuring him that they were “happy tears” only made his discomfort worse, and his confusion mount.

Poor guy, I suppose to men it is a puzzle.  Crying and tears usually mean someone is unhappy or in pain.  Men can deal with the unhappy and in pain because they have a goal.  A mission.  They can work at getting the unhappy to be happy.  They can try to ease the pain and make it less.  But “happy tears”?!  What’s that all about?  No fix for that, so an uncomfortable several minutes must pass until the waterworks are over….and fervently hope they stay turned off 😀

We had an extremely long day.  Started off by going to Epcot to see how far Joe could get on his own steam.  He did pretty good.  He was slow, but he did pretty good.  He started petering out about 1-1/2 hours into our walking.  The suggestion of a scooter was met with a glare and a definite “NO”.  He didn’t want to be put through the “stink eye” stares of others while he drove around the park.

Vanity.  Crazy business that is.

Loreli and Chad arrived just after 1:30 pm.  We met them at the resort and helped them get to their room.  Once that was done it was time to familiarize them with the bus system to the parks and back to the resort.

Once back on the grounds of Epcot, Joe called to me as I walked ahead with Loreli and Chad.  “Here, take this money and go get me a scooter.”

What?!  After all the business of before?!  Whack….”To the moon, Joe”.

Joe decides to rent a scooter

He kept up with Loreli, Chad, and myself as we went around Epcot checking out the things to see and do.

Managing to keep up

I was keeping a watch on the time for Carissa and Jaime’s arrival.  I was left Epcot by the bus system and made my way to the Port Orleans Resort just in time to see them checking in.  Once that was done, find their room, stash their luggage, and then get these two familiar with the bus system it was back to Epcot to catch up with Joe, Loreli, and Chad for dinner at a fantastic restaurant in the “Mexico” section of the lands.

The building representing Mexico is a replica of a Mayan Temple.  Beautiful workmanship of the building which houses a gift shop, museum like rooms, and the restaurant.  The food at the “San Angel Inn” was so good it was amazing.

Mayan-like Temple

All the running around the resorts and parks did me in.  We called it a night later on and off we went to bed.  The real excitement will be on Wednesday when Tiffany, Simon, and Kari arrive.  My family will all be here.

Disney World is quite an amazing place.  People from all over the world are here.  We met a woman with her grandson on one of the busses, both from Peru.  A family near us in the resort that is from Newfoundland.  I have spoke with people from Wales in the UK, a couple from Herefordshire in the UK, young women from Canada treating themselves to a trip to Disney after having passed the bar exams to be CPA’s.

We had lunch at the Biergarten in the German section of Epcot before the kids arrived.  Amazing place it is.  Authentic german food, and the costumes are authentic as well.

Playing the bellsA solo by the drummer of the german band on a different instrumentThe long horns

I tell you, there are tons of things to do and see at Disney World.  Tomorrow there will be more to do and see with more and more of our kids.

Time to get to bed and rested up for tomorrow.  Hope you all have a really good night.

Leslie


Day 2 at Walt Disney World

Are you planning a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida? If you are, make sure to include the Dining Plan in your package. Seriously! It will save you money in the long run.

We had dinner at Shutters Sunday night at the Caribbean Resort. Shutters accepts the Dining Plan. Dinner for the two of us was just shy of $80. Gulp! Out of pocket expense was the tip left for our server.

Having added the dining plan to our vacation package meant that our dinner was “free”…..since it had been paid for in advance.

Breakfast Monday morning was at the Disney Dolphin Resort. The lobby showcases a waterfall that is delightful.

20120924-093348.jpg

There is plenty of conversation seating around the waterfall. A place to await family members before getting the day started, or a place to meet up with friends for a bit of planning your day.

20120924-093611.jpg

Making our way through the lobby and downstairs to the Fresh Mediterranean Market and start the day with a healthier meal than our standard McDonald’s fare.

The Fresh Mediterranean Market does NOT accept the Dining Plan. The cost per person for the breakfast buffet is $20.99 per adult plus taxes.

Parking at the Disney Dolphin Resort cost $15 plus tax, breakfast was $50 plus tax (tip included).

The people serving us are tremendous! Pleasant, courteous, and very helpful. I was impressed by the friendliness of all the Disney staff we have encountered so far. I mean, come on, the amount of people they deal with on a daily basis would cause this person, ME, to have a frown and be grumpy.

Our omelet chef is just one of the fantastic people we have met 😀

20120924-094613.jpg

We have a few errands to run Monday morning. Joe is getting his blood drawn at a Lab Corp to check his INR level for the Coumadin (Warfarin) regimen. Last week his level was 1.8. Wonder if it will be closer to the 2.1 this time? Certainly not back to the 9.8 it had been a few weeks ago!

After errands we are taking the buses around the whole place to see where all they go and the time frames or schedules they run.

First is the bus stop near our part of the resort.

20120925-074836.jpg

Lots of room on the bus. Come on, hop on. It is an 11 minute ride from the Caribbean Beach resort to Epcot.

20120925-075216.jpg

20120925-075435.jpg

Arriving at Epcot it was time to get on the other modes of transportation.

20120925-075625.jpg

First was the Monorail, just to see where it would take us. We had dinner reservations at the Grand Floridian Resort Cafe at 6:20 pm, it was well before noon when we arrived at Epcot.

20120925-080002.jpg

The Monorail took us to the Magic Kingdom.

20120925-080546.jpg

All bags are checked before entering the parks. There are stations to go through with Security to delve into backpacks, fanny packs, purses, diaper bags, camera bags, and any other bag a person carries.

20120925-082644.jpg

Arrival at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

20120925-082755.jpg

Joe got his INR results back in just a few hours after the blood test was taken. He is at 2.1 which is good now. The walking is a bit much for him. Tires him out pretty bad. He found a place to sit and watch the parade, people watch, and the Disney Cast members interact with the guests.

20120925-083403.jpg

20120925-083445.jpg

20120925-083512.jpg

20120925-083537.jpg

I walked around to see the sights. Disney is decorated for fall and Halloween.

20120925-083843.jpg

I encountered a Disney Cast member taking a survey of the guests. She asked me several questions, which I answered. One was how helpful the staff has been. I related the story of our check in and Joe wanting a ballon, receiving a sticker instead, then losing his Bluetooth headset, then have it found by the resort staff. She had a surprised look on her face when I told her he didn’t get a balloon.

Later, when I returned to Joe I heard someone call out “There you are!” The woman taking the survey arrived with a balloon, compliments of Mickey, and gave it to Joe.

20120925-084428.jpg

Her act of kindness had me in tears. Joe carried that balloon around all day with him. Brought it to our room 😀

Just from the bus stop at our resort, around the Magic Kingdom, and back to our room I used the Pedometer App on my phone. It kept shutting itself off in my pocket. For 7-1/2 hours of walking and riding I walked over 7,200 steps and covered over 2-1/2 miles.

Have to find a real pedometer to attach to my shoe.

Joe walked around part of the Magic Kingdom with me.

20120925-085539.jpg

Next mode of transport was a boat ride to the Grand Floridian Resort.

20120925-085736.jpg

20120925-085750.jpg

The Grand Floridian is a beautiful resort.

20120925-085855.jpg

20120925-085916.jpg

After dinner it was time to head back to our room. Get a good night’s sleep then wake to await the arrival of the first group of our kids today. I’m so excited to be with them here. I’ve bawled half the morning while sending and receiving text messages in anticipation of seeing them today.

I’m so excited.

Hope you are enjoying your day. Hope you will also have a “Magical Day” 😀

Leslie


Day 1 at Walt Disney World

This bright Sunday morning we left Valdosta, Georgia to travel the final 287 mile leg of our 1,200 mile trip from home in Oklahoma to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Carissa and Jaime have a longer trip, driving across country from Arizona to Florida. They left home on Friday, as we did, and they have chosen to stop in New Orleans, Louisiana before going south to Florida.

During our travels these past few days text messages have bounced around the airwaves with excited texts to the kids and from them.

Today’s journey I drove and Joe manned the cell phones to write or answer texts. He decided that he needed to have a job title and he gave himself one. “Leslie’s Personal Secretary App”.

20120923-163347.jpg

The final 8 miles of a section of the Florida Turnpike took us to the road for Disney World.

20120923-164205.jpg

Joe used my phone to document our journey through Disney for the first time. He had a couple fumbles 😀

20120923-164435.jpg

Nearing the grand entrance Joe was trying his best to take a photo of the welcoming arch all the while telling me to slow down. He grew quite agitated and I finally just stopped in the roadway. There was no one behind me thank goodness.

20120923-164728.jpg

20120923-164753.jpg

20120923-164807.jpg

We arrived at the Caribbean Beach Resort to check in. If you are planning a trip to WDW and have made reservations to stay at one of the resorts make sure to use the “On-Line Check In” feature. The lines are shorter and your information is already in their computers to make sign in fast and painless.

Balloons are handed out to the kids at check in.

20120923-165441.jpg

Joe made a fuss about wanting a balloon to the clerk who patiently worked with us and answered tons of questions. She gave him a Mickey Mouse sticker instead which pleased him immensely.

Taking his hat off to apply the sticker he left his Bluetooth headset on the counter. 30 minutes later we realized it was missing and went where he had last seen it.

Dang! I hit the “Publish” button instead of the writing button 😦

The Disney employees are truly fantastic. I could not believe how helpful they have been.

The roads are well marked for those driving in.

20120923-165957.jpg

On our way to check in we saw quite a number of Disney busses. Ground transportation is free to guests staying at the resorts. There are several busses that come through the Caribbean Beach Resort taking guests to Epcot, Te Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and all the other areas of Disney World.

20120923-173648.jpg

20120923-173708.jpg

There are bus stops at each of the resort buildings where we are staying.

20120923-174225.jpg

20120923-174313.jpg

Our resort is tropical. Foliage is everywhere. Spanish Moss is hanging like lace hankies from tree branches. Little lizards scurry about the grounds darting in and out of the plantings.

Dang! I hit the wrong button again!

20120923-181729.jpg

20120923-181813.jpg

20120923-181949.jpg

20120923-182133.jpg

20120923-182157.jpg

20120923-182336.jpg

The rooms have large windows with white wooden blinds. Reminiscent of windows opened to allow gentle breezes to waft through the rooms cooling the occupants.

20120923-182957.jpg

Opening the door to our room I was greeted by these two delightful creations.

20120923-183131.jpg

20120923-183308.jpg

One final note. Your Room Key. Keep track of it and keep it on you while out on the property.

Your room key, if you drive your car, is used at the security gate; meals if you have purchased the dining plan; and can be used as a credit card when purchasing things in the park.

20120923-190812.jpg

Your room key does a whole lot more than open the door to your room. Keep it safe and with you at all times.


My Fitness Pal, a bit of police surveillance, and some assembly required.

We are leaving for Florida today.  Stopped by home to have the pickup looked at.  The trailer lights weren’t working properly and Joe couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Those dunderheads in Albuquerque that broke into our pickup stole our Owner’s Manual for the Ford.  In it was a diagram for the fuses.  Those twits continue to haunt us.

This post has multiple issues I wish to share.  Some important, others just nonsense.

Myfitnesspal App for smartphones:

Talking with Carissa, who uses this App, I found out a couple things.  There is a BAR CODE READER in the App.  If  you are about to eat something and add it to your daily food diary, and there is a bar code on the product, you can scan it without having to do a search for the food item.  The scanner feature is at the top right on the screen.

My Fitness Pal

It looks like this…

Bar Code scanner

This “wholesome” product (NOT) I used as a demonstration.  Touch the bar code icon at the top right of the screen and your phone face will open a camera type view.  Hold the “square” over the bar code.  If the food item is in the program’s list it will pull it up right away.  This one was not listed.

Bar code scanner searching

There is also a really cool item in this App.  When you are cooking, using a recipe, you can use the “Recipe” feature of the App.  According to Carissa, you list all the ingredients that will be used to make the dish….you don’t need to include the instructions…and the App will give you the serving size, calories per serving, plus a list of all the nutrient info, i.e. Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, and Sodium content in the serving.

Recipe feature of My Fitness Pal

Police Surveillance:

We had to find an Office Depot in McAllen, Texas.  In a shopping center parking lot Joe and I saw this strange contraption.  The red and blue lights were flashing.  I think I saw someone up in the little “house”.  I have no idea what kind of crimes are committed in shopping center parking lots in McAllen but there must be a lot of it because I counted seven of these in different shopping centers around the town.

Parking lot police surveillance unit

Sure wish there had been one of these hum-dingers in Albuquerque!

Some Assembly Required:

One of the trucks Joe towed was crammed to the gills with engine parts.  The cab was so full of stuff I had a difficult time getting the seatbelt tied to the steering wheel to keep the wheels centered in transit.

The passenger seat and foot well was crammed full of engine parts.

Passenger seat crammed full

The floor between the seats had lots of stuff jammed in there.

On the floor between the seats

The driver’s foot well was utilized, too.

Driver side foot well

We made three trips to McAllen for trucks and delivered them to Fort Worth.  Last week was one long week for the both of us.  We traveled over 3,000 miles and nearly wore ourselves out going back and forth.  Thankfully it wasn’t screaming hot down in the southern part of Texas where we picked up.

Our last night on the road was a hotel in Denton, Texas.  While Joe was checking us in, around midnight, I saw this tree at the portico.  There must be some sustained winds that blow around this area.  The tree is permanently bent from the wind’s force.  That night there was no wind, nor breeze, to speak of which made the tree even more noticeable in its shape.  Pretty tree it is.

Wind blown tree

The Florida adventure will begin in a few hours.  I’ll keep you posted on the trip and the events of our Family Reunion.  The kids and I have planned a surprise for Joe and I will fill you in on that after it happens.  He might decide to catch up on my blog and this secret is about to kill me.

Joe has been beside himself with worry about being able to get the trucks delivered in time, then having the money to make this trip, and he has called it off several times.  I don’t think I can stand any more of  his hijinks and still keep the secret!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.  Shelly, you and your family, I hope have traveled safely to California for the sad event of Brian’s father’s funeral.  Safe travels back home.  You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Leslie