Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's A Small World

Finally spending a day at DisneyWorld! It is just as beautiful and exciting as when we first visited in 1972 just months after the park opened. The campground is spacious and well run and we love staying there. This morning we took the shuttle bus a few stops to the boat dock where we boarded a small transport to the Magic Kingdom. We stopped along Main Street take the traditional photo with Cinderella's Castle and saw some beautiful topiary. We were lucky to catch a performance of the Dapper Dans who sing great barbershop harmony.

We headed to Tomorrowland where we waited a short time to do the Buzz Lightyear arcade ride. Once again Jeff creamed my score in shooting aliens. Then we rode the Wedway People Mover which is now called Disney Transport and then sat through the Carousel of Progress for the umpteenth time. After lunch we walked through the new Fantasyland and saw the Mickey's Philharmonic 3D movie which is very entertaining. We continued on through Liberty Square and Frontierland without waiting to go on any of the rides which all had long lines.  We took the steam train around and back to Main Street where we headed by boat to the transportation center. There we boarded the monorail to Epcot.

As soon as we arrived we posed for a photo with our pal Pluto.

We walked, shopped and rode in Destination Earth with narration by Judi Dench. Later we walked around the World Showcase and had a leisurely, delicious dinner at the Italian Pavilion. We continued on enjoying all the beauty of the place and ended up using a Fast Pass to see Soarin' which is one of our favorite rides. A great day!

We got back to the campground and realized that NASA was launching a satellite at 9:05. We went outside and saw the rocket streaking up in the east. So exciting to see even though we were about 50 miles away.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just a Spoonful of Sugar...

Today was not a healthy eating day, but so much fun. We got up early and Sirius and I took a nice walk and visited the doggie park near our campsite. Sirius was the only dog there, but he ran and got some exercise and sunshine. Disney's Fort Wilderness is a large camp with cabin areas and lots of loops for RV's. We are in a pet loop and everyone has at least one dog with them. Lots of places to walk and palms and other trees and green grass everywhere. After our walk Jeff and I drove off to find Harry Potter at Universal Studios. We got there quickly and spent the next hour parking the car and buying our tickets. A very poor entry system with lots of walking.

Once inside it wasn't too crowded and we headed right to the Potter area. On the way we stopped to get me a hot chocolate and then to see a short magic show and the magician was good. But back to our plan and we finally saw the towers of Hogwart's School. The entire area was right out of the movies and the Main Street had all the stores we have come to love. We saw the Hogwart's Express train and I posed for a photo with the conductor. I told him our dog was named Sirius Black and he gasped and asked, "The criminal?"

We got to the school building which holds their premier ride and waited in line about 20 minutes. We stowed our stuff in their free lockers where you use your fingerprint as the lock. Didn't work too well as I could not get it open afterwards and a staff member had to open it for me. Anyway the attraction included walking through the school hallways with talking portraits and Dumbledore's office. Finally we boarded our vehicles and were tossed and shaken through the ride. A little nauseating, but good. Of course you exit through the gift shop where we purchased Gryffindor knit scarves and wore them proudly.

Next stop was getting a butter beer from one of the vendors. It was frozen and frothy and delicious. I made a froth mustache just like Harry did in the movies.

We went into the candy store and peeked in other windows. So much fun! We had lunch at Broomsticks Cafe and that finished our Potter experience.

We spent the rest of our time walking through the other areas in Islands of Adventure. We had fun in Cartoon Land and met Woody Woodpecker.

The only other ride we went on was the carousel in Dr. Seuss Land. We had enough of being shaken and not stirred.

The day was sunny, but very cold and we rested up and I took Sirius for a long walk. We saw a flock of wild turkeys running around and were attacked by an angry squirrel who literally flew out of a garbage can and ran between Sirius and me. Later Jeff and I walked to the settlement where they have a buffet restaurant. It is like Golden Corral, but more expensive and the food is not as good. On the way out we could see the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom which is across the lagoon from the campground.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Yellow Submarine

This morning we drove to Orlando and checked into Fort Wilderness Campground at DisneyWorld. The day started out warm and sunny until we arrived Sea World. We were lucky to be eating lunch inside when it started to pour and quickly turned cold. More luck as the rain stopped and we were able to enjoy our day. We were disappointed with Sea World as it seemed tired compared to previous visits. We did enjoy a few rides and seeing the beautiful flowers, ducks, birds and flamingoes.

 Everything was very expensive and some attractions were closed. The aquarium was very interesting with nice displays of manta rays and sharks. Lots of beautiful corals, sea horses and sea dragons. I climbed into a small tank for this photo op.

We did love the sea lion and otter show which included a huge walrus.

Two other attractions we enjoyed were Antarctica with playful penguins and the Arctic with sea lions, a walrus and a polar bear.

We ended the day with a ride on their sea creature merry go round.

The park closed at 6 pm and we got back to the campground in time to walk Sirius and eat leftovers for dinner. Now we are watching TV and we get over 90 channels plus good internet. Supposed to be cold tomorrow and we are planning to go to the Harry Potter World at Universal.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let the Sun Shine

On the road again and writing from The Villages in Florida. Cousins Terry and Marilyn are spending another year here and avoiding the cold weather and snow in Chicago. We are having fun visiting and eating up a storm. Jeff, Sirius and I drove here in the RV on Saturday afternoon just in time to enjoy a home made dinner with our cousins and Rick. It is our annual reunion and so much fun.

On Sunday we met for brunch at TooJays which is an authentic deli and loved the food. Jeff took home a pound of delicious rugelach and they are all gone now. Terry and Marilyn took us to see a new shopping area and recreation center.

We were very impressed with the Eisenhower Center. It has a grand lobby and six large card rooms plus a theatre with a raised stage and comfy chairs. Each room is decorated with military memorabilia and uniforms. All the items were donated by residents and it is an impressive collection worthy of a museum. I toured all the rooms and saw many interesting exhibits and photos. Comfortable seating areas were placed throughout the facility, so a great place to spend some time or pick up a card game or organized activity.

The new shopping area has an impressive entrance and some interesting birds in the lagoons. I saw American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, Hooded Mergansers and other Ducks and Herons.

In the afternoon Jeff and Rick retired to the RV to watch football while the gals hung out, shopped and gabbed. Later we met for dinner at Carrabba's.

Today is Monday and we all slept late. I was on a mission to get the RV clean. Washed out the fridge and then dusted, did the bathroom and vacuumed. Now I feel better and the place looks great! We met for lunch at a bagel joint where we sat outside so Sirius could join us. Who knew that he likes bagels and cousin Marilyn shared her lunch with him. We sat there for a long time enjoying the sunshine and conversation. Afterwards Terry found a dog park where Sirius could get some exercise while we all watched. Now we are home resting and waiting for our next meal. It is such a beautiful day and so appreciated. Rick took this family portrait.

Update, we met for dinner at a Sonny's where everyone but me enjoyed ribs. I had BBQ chicken and afterwards we said our goodbyes. In the morning we will head south to Orlando and Rick will drive south to participate in a Roads Scholar program in Fort Lauderdale.