Saturday, July 28, 2007

Home Project - Completion

Our daughter's room re-decoration project is coming near the end. When we returned from our vacation, we visited Rooms to go kids. Little One had her favorite day bed there. They were having a sale. So, we went. Everything was on sale except her bed. Oh well, we needed to bring this project to a close and we purchased her the day bed and dresser. We were able to set delivery for 1 week later - today! That was great.

Only the underside trundle was not ready to be delivered today. That will have to wait another 2 weeks. The second issue was a missing handle for her dresser. That will be shipped UPS Monday. I am considering this home project complete and a success. I hope you have enjoyed watching as we turned our little girls room into a more "little girl's" room.

Here are the final pictures.

Just in case you forgot what we started with. Or you are joining us late.

Have a great weekend.

WDW Trip Report - Day 5 & 6

Okay, I have been back a week and haven't completed this trip report yet! The last couple of days the pace slowed and the photo's were less often. We hung out around the pool and went shopping at downtown Disney.

We did get a little photo happy on the bus over to downtown Disney.

Here I am smiling at my family.

Someone offered to take our picture.

Here is Little One playing in the water at downtown Disney.

The last night we were there we went over to Fort Wilderness to enjoy a movie on there large outdoor screen. Here we are watching the pre-show entertainment.

Here Little One is hanging around Dale.

We really enjoyed our trip. If you are planning a Disney trip, I don't think you will be disappointed in staying at the Wilderness Lodge. I hope these recaps have helped. Some other advice: We found out starting in January 2008 - gratuity will no longer be included in your meal plan. So, those $100 dinners will start costing you $15 to $20 in tips.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

WDW Trip Report - Day 4

Okay our fourth day inside the walls of Disney World and I make my first real boo-boo. I a 36 year old man was so enjoying my time at Disney, did not review our pre-planned daily events the night before. Our family got up and hurried to get ready for our day. It wasn't until we were about to head out the door that my wife looked at the sheet. What she discovered was that this was supposed to be a day off for us. You know - a kind of sleep in day. She had been so looking forward to a day she could relax and sleep in. It was spoiled.

Luckily she and my daughter agreed that we should go ahead and visit a park. Since our scheduled showed Magic Kingdom the next morning, we choose to swap days. We would sleep in tomorrow. We headed for breakfast all clear with our updated schedule. Unfortunately, this was the early park open day for Magic Kingdom. It was already 9:00AM. It would be packed. I didn't mention this to my co-parts.

On the way to the dock from breakfast, my daughter decided she wanted to start in the tradition of pin trading. For those who don't know, many cast members at Disney have lanyards with Disney pins on them. You can trade pins with them or other people. So, we purchased Little One a lanyard with 6 different pins of her choosing. She was happy, I was happy and the wife was skeptical. Off we went. She did a good job of trading over the next few days and ended up with some cool pins.

After another delicious breakfast at the Roaring Fork cafe we decided to take the boat over to Magic Kingdom. It was a pleasant ride over. As we pulled up to the dock in front of the gates we were amazed at the floods of people pouring into the park. By now it was 10AM and already nearing 90 degrees!

We found what I expected inside the gates - crowds and crowds of people. We made our way back to the far side of the park. This is adventure land I think. It has the attractions: It's a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo and the carousel. All these are right up Little One favorite rides/areas. We rode a few rides and sweat was dripping off me just standing in the shade.

By this time, Little One was tired of the camera and I had to resort to action shots.

It was HOT. Little One wasn't feeling well complaining of stomach pains. We decided to head back to the lodge for a restful afternoon. Even some more time at the pool.

After a few playful hours at the pool, we all headed in and got ready for dinner.

This evening was planned to be at Epcot for both the dinner and the fireworks/show. We had reservations at San Angel inside Mexico Pyramid at Epcot. We were running it close to getting there on time. We cruised into the restaurant about 5 minutes before our reservations. I was a little antsy to see a long line in front of hostess stand. We were soon handed a beeper and walked around the shopping area. I liked the piggy bank painted as a strawberry. However, since Little One already has a piggy bank that was a no sale.

A nice restaurant with exception of that you are eating in almost complete darkness. The back wall of the place is painted with a pyramid and a volcano. Nice ambiance. The tables were a little cramped together. Our waiter was really nice. I could barely see him. However, from what I could tell he was in his 50's , short and of Mexican decent. I think he had a mustache. Even if I couldn't see him, I could have probably guessed his heritage. I made the comment to Little One and my wife that I think he is speaking English. However, it still sounds like Spanish.

The golden rule of satisfying me as a customer was broken - my glass going empty and making a slurping sound. But wait! Don blame our waiter yet. As we were sitting down, a group of 15 were being seated next to us. That was his table also. I watched as this family from grandchild to parent to grandparents took FOREVER to make their drink orders. Each time our waiter visited that table he was there forever for them to make their selections. So, I forgave him and blamed Mickey Mouse. Not to mention the place was packed. I had witnessed the Hostess turn people away with no reservations. I thought this a much better tactic than I had witnessed previous nights when customers were told it would be an hour and half wait. Just tell them you are all booked up and send them on their way.

For Appetizer: I had the nachos while my wife had the Snope Tradicional (Grilled Chicken burrito)

For the main course: My wife and I both ordered the Plato Mexicano (Beef tenderloin Tampiquena, chicken enchilada, and beef Flauta served with sour cream, black refried beans and mexican rice) and Little One chose chicken Fingers and Fries. That seems to be the staple in Mousetown for kids menu Chicken Fingers and fries. San Angel were the best of all Mousetown. (P.S. Don let your child get the pizza from the Concourse Steak house icky).

For dessert: I had the cappuccino (not good to me it was very strong like it was made with espresso). My wife had the Flan de Vanilla (vanilla Custard in syrup with roasted almonds) and Little One had vanilla bean ice cream. I ended up eating/consuming all three. Little One didn't want hers. My wife didn't like the texture of hers. My wife is one of only a few people who (no matter what the taste is) cannot eat certain types of textures. That pudding is one of those that my wife cannot eat. I thought it was excellent the taste and the texture. Of course the ice cream was awesome vanilla bean is my favorite.

I waddled out of the restaurant and out into the hot evening only Disney World is known for. We were staying for the laser and fireworks show that evening at Epcot. So, I waddled as the rest of my family walked around to some of the other places in Epcot.

We made stops in China, Japan & France. The China show is awesome. It a 360 degree overhead video of a tour of China. I love the Asian area. The sights to see, the food and the people make it a very interesting place. Give me lots of money and I will go.

Japan was the next stop. For some of my readers that may not know, I have worked for a Japanese company for almost 15 years. I have been introduced to many aspects of their culture. Yes, even sushi. I like some and dislike others. While we were touring the Japanese shop, I tried to get my wife to purchase one of their beautiful silk blouses. She didn't . She did pick up a pair of flip flops and after trying them on stated 'these are the most comfortable flip flops I have ever felt'. I looked at the price tag and I said 'for $65 dollars, they ought to feel good". She quickly placed them back on the shelf. Outside the Japanese shop, we purchased Little One a tangerine snow cone. I was very happy that she handed it to me after only eating about half of it. It was delightful.

A short stop at the French building and Little One and her mom was squirted with ol de toilet or something by some bottle toting French guy smiling like someone was tickling his bottom side. Outside, I determined it to be a nice smelling perfume and we continued on our walk.

We stopped on the nearby bridge to settle into our spot for the show. We enjoyed the show over the water and quickly made our way to the exit as the show was nearing the end. Unfortunately, we had stopped on the far side of the park and it took us nearly 20 minutes to reach the gate. We found our bus stop and waited only a short time before one pulled up to carry us back to the soft pillows awaiting us back at the lodge.

A near mess up turns out to be a pretty good day. Good night Mickey and Donald.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

WDW Trip Report - Day 3

Our third day in Walt Disney World was spent pretty much all over the place. We started with a great meal at the Roaring Fork. I filled up on Eggs, Bacon, Potatoes, Biscuit with milk and orange juice. My wife stuffed her pie hole with Bacon and pancakes while Little One got her gauge filled with Frosted flakes and milk.

Our plan started us on a path to the Animal kingdom. We were there a little later than we really wanted to be. It was around 10AM and we headed straight for the Safari. I was able to take quiet a few photos of the animals. Some of the photos turned out blurry due to the bumpiness of the ride.

Little One just after we board the safari jeep.

A gator wanting a bite of this big DAWG.

As we were leaving the safari area, we actual won something.
Being the "Year of a million dreams" slogan from Disney, they are giving away something like a million and a half dreams. We won a "fast pass" for all the rides in Animal Kingdom that day. Yippie!

That was all I needed to know - I headed straight for the roller coasters.
I was first able to ride Expedition Everest. - AWESOME!!

After that we headed over to another section of the Animal Kingdom where I rode another ride (primeval whirl).

Then I used my pass for Dinosaur. Don't ride this with small children. I am not sure what is with Disney lately. All they want to do is scary you. This ride will definitely scare younger children. It was fun for me. Although, it was a bit jerky for my back.

After I rode that one, we headed over to "it's tough to be a bug".
That's still a great 4-D show. I love it. Even more when I have
easy fast pass tickets.

After all the fun I was having, Little One was ready to go back to the lodge and go swimming. We gave the rest of our fast passes to some family and got back on the bus to the Wilderness lodge.

We were surprised when we arrived back at our room. We were greeting by some additional guest left by housekeeping.

We played all afternoon at the pool.

Little One and the wife must have got camera happy - I had a few surprise photos upon downloading.

We had gotten her pooh bear the day before at Downtown Disney.

After wrapping up the pool time and getting cleaned up, we were ready to try out the concourse steak house at the contemporary hotel. Since the Contemporary Hotel is next to the lodge, we were able to take a small boat ride across bay lake over to it. It was a nice touch to our day.

Little One being her normal goofy self.

Our bill this time added up to a whopping $110. Thanks to the Disney Meal plan it and the tip was included. Sweet.

Appetizer: Me=Sesame Chicken Wings, Wife=Onion Rings, Little One=Chicken Soup.

Main Course: Me=Filet Mignon over mashes potatoes, Wife=sirloin with baked potato, Little One=Pizza.

Dessert:Me=Butter Finger Cheesecake, Wife=Carrot Cake, Little One=Ice cream with various toppings on the side.

After our meal we headed over to the Magic Kingdom for the parade and fireworks. Going there we took our third type of transportation of the day - The monorail. We had started our day on a bus to the Animal Kingdom, a boat ride to dinner and then the monorail over to Magic Kingdom. A pretty neat trifecta.

Pictures from Magic Kingdom.
I didn't think to waymark this statue.

Little One tuckered out after the parade and before the fireworks.

Time for a good night sleep - that was a long long day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

WDW Trip Report - Day 2

Our Second day started early at MGM studio’s theme park for a Character meal with Jo Jo and Goliath from Jo Jo’s Circus. Also Leo and June where there from Little Eienstein’s. We arrived at the park a little earlier than our scheduled breakfast. We took the opportunity to get a few pictures of Little One with some of the characters that were nearby the restaurant.

The first one we saw was Chip-n-Dale. Little One wanted her mom to go. She went with her finally.

The next group we saw was Minnie Mouse and Goofy. We had a funny circumstance during this line wait. We were waiting in line behind this Mexican mom and her daughter. When they were next to get their photos - all of a sudden - there appeared to be around 13 Mexican members of their family coming over. Each one getting their photo taken and then there photo taken with another member of their family. It was taken so long that the managing cast member had to ask them to move along. We finally got our photo - our one photo.

Our Breakfast was at Hollywood and Vine. If you are going to do a character breakfast, this is a good one for the fact that the place was near empty. It was 10:00AM and I counted 5 other families in there having breakfast. That tuned into plenty of time for the characters to spend at the tables with the guest. They had a sing along with all the kids and maybe 5 kids were there to join in.

The character meal breakfast counted as a table meal on our meal plan. The dollar value came out to $63 dollars.

The First picture is of Goliath. I think he was mine and the wife’s favorite. His hair is awesome.

The second picture is of Leo giving my wife a kiss on the head. I think she secretly liked it.

The next one is Leo with Little One.

Up next is June - Little One looks so comfortable with June.

Of course the star of Jo Jo’s Circus - Jo Jo and Little One.

Here is a photo of the group sing and dance along - not crowded at all.

We saw a few things and Little One was ready to go. We did get to see the Indiana Jones show. It was really good. I suggest that you go see that one.

I did snap a shot of a clock - maybe it will not already be waymarked.

We returned to the lodge and went swimming. Little One returned to the slide where she had a blast. Even that was cut a little short by an incoming afternoon thunderstorm. That was okay. We used the opportunity to go upstairs and get ready for the evening.

Little One and I went down to the lobby to people watch while mom was getting ready.

The Elevator.

The Lobby.

We changed our dinner plans from the Whispering Canyon to Captain Jack’s at Downtown Disney.

We arrived late to our dinner reservation’s at Captain Jacks. Seems we didn’t have the bus thing down just right and had to do some bus jumping to get over to Downtown Disney.

It was a delicious meal. For the appetizer, I had the mixed green salad (or what I call the weeds), my wife had the spinach and artichoke dip while Little One had Clam Chowder. I ended up eating my salad and most of Little One’s chowder and some of mom’s dip. For the main course I order the 2 lobster tails, mom ordered the chicken pasta and Little One ordered the chicken sandwich. (She’s not happy it doesn’t look like Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwich).


The lobster tails were excellent. For dessert I had the triple chocolate cake with ice cream, mom had the cheesecake and Little One had a smoothie.

Main Course:

The dessert:

The dollar value of this meal was $93. Thank you Disney for the meal plan!

After we ate, we headed over to Magic Kingdom for the nightime show fantasmic. I took several photo’s here most are very dark . It was a good show. It was a mad house trying to get out of the park with so many leaving at the same time. We made it to the dock where we took the boat back to the resort for a good nights Sleep.