Monday, January 31, 2011

I Ain't Just Whistlin' Banjo!

When we finally got brave enough to go to the crowded parks, we started with the magic Kingdom. Personally, I couldn't wait to get the Pirates and the Haunted Mansion, so that's where we started. Orlando's Pirates is housed in a cool Spanish building. The signs out front knocked my socks off!

 Sad to say, but the ride itself was a little different. It didn't start out in the Bayou, so I had to provide my own whistled banjo music to get in the mood.There was only one not-so-exciting waterfall, so all-in-all, I was disappointed. The Haunted Mansion was better though, because a lot of what you walk through at the beginning of the ride in California is incorporated into Orlando's ride. 

 We stayed for the fierworks show, but Bruce still thinks that the flying Tinkerbell is really a man. The Castle here wins hands down over the castle in California- it is amazing!

 Getting around Disney World can be a challenge because it's so huge! Options: Monorail, bus, ferry or jungle-cruise type ship. After Bruce just about had a melt down about the monorail one night, we found the most fun way was to take the boats that went to the hotels and resorts. They were especially fun on foggy nights.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hark! A Lark! Flying Through The Park!

We arrived in Florida at the beginning of the Martin Luther King weekend, so instead of joining the millions at the Park, we rented a car and drove out to Clearwater Beach. Let me just say again, that if you've never been on Florida beach sand, you should put that on your Bucket List. It's like walking on perfectly white baby powder. We walked in the water and out on the pier and took some pictures with a quaint turtle statue.

 Then it happened. With perfect airborne precision, worthy of the RAF, a seagull bombed me on the head. Not a small bomb, but a Big Bomb. Panic ensued. Not my panic, but everyone else's. Bruce freaked out. Kristen started gagging. Wade just continued to take pictures. Napkins were found and we tried to clean things up as best we could, but then we ended up going to a gift shop bathroom to try some repair work.
As a complete side note, my hair color is looking pretty good these days, don't ya think? If you disregard that big piece of bird poop in my hair.  
 I sat in the very back seat of the mini van on the way home. Ah, Clearwater Beach, the memories you will always bring to mind...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Backyard Needs A Mickey Totem Pole.

 When Disney arranged complementary rooms for us before and after the cruise, we never thought that that we would be staying at 2 of their nicest properties. We felt pampered! Before the cruise, we stayed at The Wilderness Lodge, which is almost as big as my sister's lodge in Idaho. The Wilderness Lodge is supposed to be designed like the great National Park lodges of the West, except with a few more Disney details and a Native American Theme. The 7 story lobby was amazing with it's totem poles and tepee chandeliers:
This was my favorite totem pole:

There were "geysers" in the lobby and outside by the pool:
The view from our room wasn't too shabby, either, and neither were the cool carved headboards of our beds:  
 After the cruise we stayed at the Grand Floridian and Spa, which looks just like The Del in San Diego.It was beautifully Victorian with a much more posh clientel. I'll admit that I went to the spa for a steam and some time in the jacuzzi, but just because it was free if you stayed in the hotel. Exciting moment: I saw a bride in a Cinderella carriage going off to her wedding!

The lobby was amazing:
If I was lucky enough to choose where I'd stay again, it would would be in the Wilderness Lodge- much more my less-than-posh, relaxed style. Plus, they have a Mickey totem pole. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pictures Of Pictures

Surround me with Disney and I will be happy. I would also be happy surrounded by horses. Disney horses would be a perfect combination, but since there were no horses on the Disney Dream, I'll show you a bit of the artwork on the ship. I'll admit that I wandered from deck to deck, taking pictures of pictures. Some of my favorites:

There were these hand-blown glass lights in different places around the ship. Very cool. 
Some of the neatest artwork were the 15 or so motion activated pictures in the staircases. If you stood in front of them, they would come to life and show you a scene from a movie. This one showed Bambi chasing a butterfly. Pretty darn amazing example of Disney Magic!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A 36 Hour Tour...

 This special cruise we went on was a bit condensed- it lasted about 36 hours in all. Not that I'm complaining, because we crammed a lot into that 36 hours! We cruise out of the port, past many people who had parked along the harbor side to wave us on our way. That first day, the ship was open for tours of pretty much every public space, since most of the guest invited were media-types. The next morning we docked at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island, (spit of land), in the Bahamas. Our group headed straight to the beach to relax (me) and play in the water (Bruce). I can't say that I was missing the 20 degree weather back home!