Sunday, October 18, 2009

Magic Moments

So, the history behind these magical moments occurred within days after Mike left for UCLA on September 22, 2009. Lynn and I were doing our planning calendars wondering what to do with ourselves with our children not at home anymore, when I mentioned that I would have the 8th through the 12th off from school. "Would you like to go to Disneyworld?", Lynn questioned. "Sure, Absolutely!" was my reply, and so the trip plans were soon made. I booked a direct flight on US Airways (not my favorite airlines, but hey, it's a direct flight), booked our stay at the Sleep Inn (by Sea World) in Orlando, and had about two weeks total to wait from the first conversation about our trip, to the actual trip itself!

Thursday October 12, trip day had finally arrived. We booked a cab to take us to the airport. Lynn thought we should leave at 5:30 a.m. but I knew we only needed the cab to arrive at our house by 6:00 a.m. in order to make our 7:30 a.m. flight over at Ronald Reagan Airport. At about ten minutes to 6:00, the cab company called and said they would be at our place in about 5 minutes. We gathered up our belongings, said our good-byes to Molly, our beloved pooch,  and went outside to wait for them. I went back in the house at one point to await their phone call, if any, but by the time 6:15 a.m. arrived with no cab company making any kind of contact, even I was getting nervous about us making our flight on time. I told Lynn that we should just drive to the airport and not bother with them. This proved the best solution at the moment. We arrived at the airport by 6:30 and by 7:00 a.m., we were able to board with the rest of the happy, vacation bound passengers!

We both quickly fell asleep on the plane and one hour and 45 minutes later, we were ready to de-plane and start our magical time in Florida. We rented a car, and with Mike's GPS in hand, drove directly to Epcot Center. We arrived at Epcot about an hour later, and took advantage of all it had to offer. Max, Goofy's son, greeted me and we took a picture right then and there. Epcot's fall food festival was going on while we were there, so outside of each country, they had vendors selling samples of each countries food for about $4.00 a small dessert sized plate full. We shared plates together all day long, (pretty much)! With Perris in Spain, the first country's  food we sampled  was Spain and we partook of some yummies which are featured here.

We went to Norway next and rode the Maelstom, and shared an almond pretzel, visited Mexico and rode The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (basically a Mexican version of It's a Small World,). It was set up similarly to Pirates of the Carribean in Disneyland in that it had a restuarant inside the ride, but the difference was that of indoor marketplace shopping. It was a fun atmosphere.  For lunch, we decided to visit the Bistro de Pris (elegant dining) and were actually visited by Ratatouille--he had a conversation with me! That was awesome! If you decide to eat dinner for two at a Disney Park, expect to drop about 35 to 40 dollars for the two of you. With all the food samples at this park during this season, you really didn't have to eat anything but samples, but I know my husband. If his tummy ain't happy, he ain't happy, so do feed hungry bears (and enjoy some lunch yourself)! After lunch Princess Aurora was posing for pictures with other little Princesse's and since my Daddy once called me a Princess , I thought I rated and posed with her! Then it was off to good ole' England, but all their characters (Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland) were just heading to take a break, so with nothing much happening in England, we headed to Canada and watched 0' Canada hosted by Martin Short (since he is Canandian). We went into Spaceship Earth, the big ball that is the park's iconic symbol, doing the attraction, Mission Space, and went in a place called Innoventions where Lynn and I both got to test ride on a Segway--those motorized 2 wheeled carts policemen use to ride around parks in.

We picked up a pamphlet advertising Segway Tours of Florida that one could pay to do. (Next time, we decided--this was the time for the Disney Theme Parks)! We also went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends and decided our grandchildren would totally be mesmerized by that one. You ride into their world in Clam Shell Cars!. After that, we shopped a bit, sampled a lot more countries foods, including Germany, and Australia, and ended the night with the fireworks and show over the lake. Since the lake was in the middle of the park, there was no bad seat, but I believe we had the best. We were sitting outside of the eatery in Norway, and could see the sky light up beautifully. It truly was a magic moment. Now it was time to get to the hotel room, and get some sleep before heading off  for another magical moment the next morning!

Day 2: Friday October 9, 2009. This day was spent at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and I have to say that minus the butterflies and nectar thing at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, I believe this Disney Park does a better job of getting you close to the animals, and it offers more attractions which is important when making a day of it with different family members of differing desires. Lynn and I took advantage of the following attractions and shows---The train ride over and back from the conservation station, It's tough to be a Bug, Kilamanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, and the Kali River Rapids (like Big Foot Rapids at Knott's Berry Farm).

We ate at the Flame Tree Barbecue where we had ribs, beans, coleslaw and bought fresh fruit. I remarked that with all those animals to feed, their fruits and vegetables had to be top notch (and they were) ! Even the picture makes the fruit look good!  The price of that meal was about $20.00 for the two of us. Expect to spend that for 2 people for a meal in a quick stop like that at the park. All the while, The Tree of Life and Mt. Everest beckoned for picture spots, so we had to take those shots. Since the weather was in the mid to upper 90's, it was ice-cream weather and we also stopped for a frozen treat. Lynn had a Mickey Mouse Ice-cream sandwich and I had a frozen pineapple bar---YUMMY! (And mine was only 90 calories)! Because it was an animal park, I enjoyed seeing the gorillas, chimpanzees, the komodo dragon and the tigers. Out on the trail on Safari, we saw hippos, elephants, cheetahs, lions, alligators, wild boar, giraffe, the tiny Thompson's Gazelles, and a wide variety of other animals (up close and personal)! No fireworks at this park, though, since the wild animals would be spooked, etc. by it. But, on our last ride on Safari, a wild animal came right up to our truck and just begged for a picture, so here he is! Sorry, I don't know the name of him! The park closed at 5:00 p.m. for regular visitors but stayed open extended hours for people staying in the resort and for us, since we are military. We had some more magic moments and then went home to dine at TGI Friday's since it was a Friday. One more day of magic had come to an end.

3. Day: Saturday October 10, 2009. When we made the arrangements for the trip, I looked into being able to attend and do a session at the Orlando, Temple, and since our days were numbered due to work schedules, I made a compromise agreement with Lynn that we could do a theme park on a Sunday if we did our worship and attended the Temple while we were in town. This was the day. We woke up early and went to do a morning session at the Orlando, Temple. For those of you who are Mormon, they asked us to be the witness couple at the session. That was pretty neat. Anyway, the time we spent at the temple was amazing, and peaceful. Afterwards, we drove back to the hotel, changed, got a bite to eat at KFC (we dropped 10.00 for the two of us for a meal) and headed back for day three at a Disney Park in Orlando. This day we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Lynn remarked that this was his favorite so far. We took advantage of these attractions and shows: Indiana Jones, Epic Stunt Spectacular, Star Tours, Muppet Vision 3D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Bueauty and the Beast, live stage show, and the Studio Backlot Tour, and Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian. We took a picture with Prince Caspian. He was a great performer; very prince-like!   It was nice to be greeted politely with "My Queen" by someone with such a cool accent!

We saw the airplane that Walt Disney flew in when he was making his flights out to Disneyworld for his special "Florida Project." On the way out, we took a picture with Buzz Light Year and Woody from Toy Story. There were parades all day long including ones from High School Musical Three, and the property included the Tower of Terror and auditions for and performances by the days contestants of American Idol. Buzz and Woody were bonus' for Dad and I. It was funny. I saw them in the window while we were walking by, and a worker outside told Lynn, "Go ahead, take her in---it will only take 5 minutes. " (It really only took one minute or so, and Lynn had some fun words with the worker when he told him that he lied to him about how long it would take, ha ha!) !

We had many magic moments here and left the park with time to go to Red Lobster for dinner. No magic prices here! With appetizer and two dinners, the price of the meal was more expensive than in any of the theme parks---about $50 dollars for just the two of us! We won't be doing that very often, but it was tasty and more or less healthy!

Day 4 October 12, 2009. On this last day of the trip, Lynn and I went to the Magic Kingdom which is similar to Disneyland, but has definate differences. For one, from the parking lot, one needs to travel by tram to then transfer to either the Monorail or Ferry to then ride on them to the main entrance of the Magic Kingdom, approximately one 1/2 miles away because it is surrounded by resorts and a huge lake. I chose to travel by ferry on the way in, and it is here that I had a mishap that either 1. teaches a well learned lesson about Sabbath Day observance, or 2. teaches me that "things happen" and cameras are just things or 3. teaches all of the preceding. It was here near the Ferry Entrance Sign, when I was handing off my new Nikon camera to Dad for him to take my picture (yes the one we bought on Lynn's birthday in Pittsburgh on September 19th) , that the unthinkable happened. How we both misjudged the handoff, I will never know, we had done that handoff time and time again, flawlessly, but the camera came down, and that was the demise of my new camera.! Luckily, I also took along Lynn's camera, you know the nice one I bought him when he was in Iraq, and so we took the tram back to the parking lot to retrieve it, so that there could be pictures taken at the Magic Kingdom. All the pictures this day were taken by Lynn, since he alone trusts himself with his camera. I didn't bother arguing the point---I was grateful to not be responsible for the proper care of the camera on a Sunday. Well, the park was pretty identical in set-up to Disneyland, except they do not hold their fireworks over a lake(no Fantasmic), and you cannot go through the castle since it is a stage, and an attraction---it is called Cinderella's Boutique and I found out from a friend today that little girls can get a Cinderella make-over there complete with costume, make-up, hair and tiara(if you are willing to spend the money)! Daddy's, just open your wallets, or Grandpas, whatever the case may be!

We went first to the Haunted Mansion, and then rode the Liberty Square Riverboat, and then to the Hall of the Presidents, after which we ate lunch at the Pinocchio Village Haus where I had a Chicken Ceasar Salad and Lynn had pizza--lunch for 2 again was $20.00. Then we went on Pirates of the Caribbean and they have a more ornate place for Jake Sparrow at the end with his gobs of treasure and he is bigger and closer to the boats than at Disneyland. We also went to The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management and it features Iago from Alladin, which I found annoying because he is loud and he sings a whole song with that raspy voice of his.Connie, and Annie, I know we talked about how the Tiki Room could be improved at Disneyland by having Lilo from Lilo and Stitch be a main character in it (it's Hawaiian afterall)! Anywho, whether they improved it or not remains debateable since loud, obnoxious and annoying do not work for everyone--especially me! Lynn indulged me in the Tiki Room since he was not interested at all, and so I then headed over with him to Tomorrowland and I was the driver on the Tomorrowland Speedway (which Lynn informed me was his favorite as a youth)!

While at the Magic Kingdom,  we also saw Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, Stitch's Great Escape, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Room and participated in Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin where we kept the world safe for you all with our lazer guns! Sometime during the day we enjoyed a couple of pineapple floats at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.  I can still remember the freshness of the pineapple taste!

 If that sounds yummy to you, expect to pay 4.00 a piece for one---you could share, but why? After all this fun, it was dinnertime and we wanted to eat at Tony's Town Square Restaurant,(Tony from Lady and the Tramp).   I even made Dad take a picture of the sign since our son-in-laws name is Tony, but like the Blue Bayou at Disneyland that we ate at in August of 2008, it required reservations ahead of time and we completely were caught unawares.

So we then tried to eat at the Liberty Tree Tavern and that one required reservations as well. All of the good restaurants here require reservations, so we were faced with a choice--eat quick, park food or starve for the night. We chose the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe and Lynn enjoyed a double cheeseburger, apple slices, and I got the barbecued pork sandwich , the apple slices, and then we both shared some chili-cheese fries which would definately pass the Connie taste test of approval! That dinner also set us back about $20.00 so perhaps a Disney Meal Plan is worth looking into, for those of you wanting to book reservations after reading my blog! After dinner, we watched the Country Bear Jamboree, rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, (the most I will do in a coaster), and finally went on, It's a Small World.

I enjoyed every minute of every experience I shared with Lynn. It was then time for the fireworks show and we watched them standing in the middle of Fantasyland. We had seats, but I made Lynn move, and then move again! I wanted a view of the Castle at night. The fireworks were coming from both sides of us and the castle was on one of the sides, so it was pretty magical and the music was similar,though not identical to Fantasmic. Disney Theme Parks do an excellent job of putting on a show and I remarked to Lynn as we left the park after the fireworks show, (knowing we had to fly back to Virginia early the next morning), that now our magic moments were over. He had a reply that made me want to hug him, kiss him and keep him forever: "You don't get it, the magic's never been here, it's always been with us!" Touche, my dear, touche! I look forward to more magic moments with you, Lynn, darling! There couldn't have been a happier ending to this magic adventure!

Molly greeted us excitedly at the door! To Molly, her magical moments occur when her family is home!


Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but please excuse us for now family and friends; if you cannot get ahold of us easily, we are no doubt out on another one of our magical adventures sharing more magical moments together!  My life truly is one of wonder!