Monday, November 28, 2011

The Disney Fix Part Two

Day Two dawned sunny, dry and just-right warm. Animal Kingdom was the first stop today. While on the tram to get to the entrance, I was Tweeting with two of my Intercot friends who live in FL and we all agreed the weather was perfect!
Animal Kingdom is, in my opinion, one of the best parks to take pictures(yes, we are going to keep with the weekly topic of photography as promised in my blog schedule!)
I had made a wish-list of picture opportunities before I left for the trip. Kilimanjaro Safari was on the list, though I have to admit that unless you are there when it is not so busy and not packed like sardines into a safari vehicle, you are at the mercy of whatever side of the truck you're on. I did get a few good shots, though not nearly as many as I would have liked. I saw the two cheetahs together which was a first for me, but lacking the camera with a long lens a work-of-art photo wasn't possible.

<----One of the things I love about the parks is the plethora of details you'll find, like this at the end of the safari. Gotta wash the clothes when you get back from trekking in the savanna!
Next stop was the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I hadn't walked through in years but I'm adding it to my list of attractions to see each time. I really enjoyed this, but I can see why some people pass it by.It is a long walk with nothing exciting (unless you count the bats!) I've been to the parks so many times that doing a walk-through attraction is a treat for me and since I love birds, the aviary was a great place to hangout.
After perusing this part of Asia, it was on to the Yeti and Expedition Everest, truly my favorite attraction in the parks. I got some shots while on the ride (yes, I know I'm crazy, believe me the lady sitting next to me gave me the fisheye).

After summitting Everest four times in a row, I headed over to Dinoland USA. I have a lot of images of the quirky, kitschy signs that adorn Chester and Hester's Dinorama. I felt like I was back at South of the Border.

After riding Dinosaur five times, it was time for lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. My usual lunch in years past was their yummy salad, but seeing as we had the dining plan this time around, I ended up with the chicken and ribs. DELICIOUS!!!! And I never would have tried them if it hadn't been for the free dining.
We left Animal Kingdom around 1 PM, rested at Pop Century for a bit and then headed to Epcot again for the evening. We were over in Future World West and then wandered World Showcase.I will spare everyone my rant about how much better Imagination and The Seas were in their previous incarnations, but I'm sure the Disney fans out there know exactly what I mean!

Food and Wine selections for that night included the Kerrygold Irish Cheese, Pierogies and Kielbasa from Poland,Lamb Chop with wine reduction and goat cheese salad from Australia .

A most excellent day!

Running total for the free dining plan after today:$84.07

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Disney Fix Part One

I've just returned from a much-needed break to Walt Disney World spending a blissful week away from the realities of life with my travel partner , my mom! This trip was a bit different as we had decided to drive rather than fly. Up until now I had used the Disney buses to get around, but having our own car on property gave us a lot more freedom.

<----Behold, our rented Chariot of Doom a Chevy Cruze

We left on a a Friday evening at 6 PM and avoided traffic by getting through the big cities overnight. We had some bad rain showers which slowed the drive down a bit. We reached Walt Disney World at 330 PM on Saturday. Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I was the driver the whole way. Do I recommend this? No, not if you hate driving or have fear of highways. On the VERY plus side, we had Sirius XM radio and loved it!

<------The highlight of the rainy drive: Pedro's South of the Border, a famous (or is that infamous?) road trippers' landmark at the border of South Carolina and North Carolina.

We stayed off-property for the first night as we felt that since we weren't going to be enjoying the resort that first night, why bother paying the premium. MISTAKE and one which we shall not be repeating in the future. The place where we stayed was near the Gaylord Palms and very close to Disney property. It might as well have been in Calcutta. NEVER AGAIN.
After spending a fitful night we left to go to Pop Century at 6 AM on Sunday morning and miraculously our preferred room was ready in Building 3 in the 50s section.
<------Our building
After showers and breakfast, we set off to spend the day with my Dad, gazing at alligators and eating at one of of my favorite restaurants Manny's Chophouse! GOOD EATS!
We awakened Monday (Halloween!) for Day One in the parks. The forecast called for rain showers and rain it did! We left Pop Century at 8, arriving at the Magic Kingdom parking lot at 810. We would have probably been waiting for a bus for another 15 or 20 minutes if we had decided to use Disney Transport. Our first lesson in just exactly how much time we would save by driving ourselves. The rain was pouring down and we decided to ride the monorail a few times rather than wait in the rain.

<-------Rain on the monorail windows!

We made it to the gate at rope drop and used the Main St. shops as buffers against the deluge. There was hardly ANYONE there that morning. We walked into Cinderella's Castle and admired the mosaics then set off for Peter Pan's Flight. We rode three times in a row, there was no line.
In addition to Peter Pan, in one hour, we rode It's A Small World, Snow White's Scary Adventures (2), The Carousel and Philharmagic. We met up with my friend Amber a little after 1030 and went on The Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents and Pirates of the Caribbean. After splitting up for lunch (we went to Pecos Bill's)and we visited the Jungle Cruise, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, returned to Pirates. We headed back to Haunted Mansion, rode two more times and then said good-bye to Amber and her Aunt Madeline.

The rain had ended by this time and we then went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (2). We hopped the train to get back to Main St USA. We left the park around 330.
That night was a trip over to Epcot for some Food and Wine Festival goodness.
We rode Spaceship Earth (2), Mission:Space (2), Norway and Mexico.
Food Festival Samplings that night were:
Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce and Escargots Persillade en Brioche.
Did I mention we had free dining plan? We didn't pay for any of our meals.
Running total for food for Day one (for me only) is: $40.18.
Stay tuned for Part Two.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Unexpected Free Day

I got one! Amazing.
Last week was an incredibly unproductive week for me between dealing with the time change and working through that fog I get when I come back from vacation. Today, with all of this free time floating in from of me, I am working on crossing off dangling items on the to-do list.
These items are thus:
Create post-card marketing material
Create photo portfolio for art show
Edit first draft of Valentine romance
Post office
Not much right? I had a Twitter exchange with a friend in FL (also a Disney fan and writer) wherein we wondered why conditions could sometimes be wonderful for writing and why at times they were horrible.
I can only speak for myself. As soon as I leave this house and begin to dole out my energy to other peoples' projects and needs, my focus is off of my own projects and needs. When I return to the cocoon of my abode, I'm too tired to do much more. I've struggled with this. I know I've written about this before and I know that others have found the magic formula that helps them get where they need to be. So, what's the solutiuon?
I ask myself every day if I'm doing what I need to get where I want to be. Maybe all creative people struggle with the blance between the bringing-home-the-bacon and the pursuit of the ideal creative career. I'm just trying to make those two things become one and the same.
Happy Wednesday, friends. May you all have feet firmly on your own path today!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Back To Real Life

Good day, readers! I was absent from the blog on Monday due to depression over the Patriots second loss in a row. I couldn't muster enthusiasm to write. Let's just say it was a disappointment and leave it at that....
The good news is that I returned from a much-needed, long-time-coming trip to Walt Disney World. It helped clear my head and refresh my spirit. Goals seem doable more than ever right now.
Because I was away for the first week of November, I missed the start of NaNoWriMo. I plan to write, but the goal is to finish this one story that has been floundering and needs conclusion. Who among you is participating in NaNo?
I know this is a short one today, busy week trying to catch up from being away. Wishing all a happy week and see you real soon! :-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Down By The Seaside

I have three places that I love to take pictures: Disney, cemeteries and my local seaside areas. Much like an earlier post where I advised that writing about local characters could give our writing color, I am also a believer that taking pictures of the areas right around us can produce nice images. They will certainly mean something to us as they are from 'home'.

I am lucky enough to live in an area where we have some beautiful sunsets and I personally love pictures that showcase clouds and water together. The picture up top was taken the night after Hurricane Irene blew through the area and the water level in the salt marsh pond was higher than normal. I love the vivid blue and the golden peach colors of the clouds. This was taken about 6 miles from my home.

Do you enjoy photography? Is your town/city a place that you enjoy taking pictures?