Flower and Garden Festival Surprise

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IMG_0612-water-feature-near-Mission-Space
What’s in the bottom of this here pond?

IMG_0614-Hidden-Mickey-stones-under-water
SURPRISE – It’s a Hidden Mickey!
:)

Photos taken April 28th, 2005

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Yet More Disney Characters Who Wear RED

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IMG_0210-EPCOT-Donald-Duck-topiary πŸ˜€ Is there no end to the number of Disney characters who wear RED? Apparently not! I’ve already documented the phenomenon of Disney characters wearing red quite extensively. Then this evening, while drooling over some old photos from the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival from ‘way back in 2004, I found a couple more Disney characters wearing red, and then fast forwarded to October of that same year to find one more, just because I think three is a nice number of photos to include in any given post πŸ˜‰ This is, of course, in honor of Ruby Tuesday, where once a week, our host Mary encourages us to post a little something to do with the color RED.

Here we see Donald Duck in topiary, his jaunty blue sailor hat and perky RED bow tie standing out from the ivy he’s made of. At his feet, some RED apples; behind him, the RED brick wall that separates The American Adventure pavilion from… um… what’s on the other side of that wall? Oh yeah, Japan! See, it’s been all the way since October since I was last there, and I’m forgetting it all – I need a fix! πŸ˜‰ The trip report I wrote about this day indicates that I spent some time just hanging out at the American Adventure listening to music – the twin brother duo Nelson was there, playing their one pop hit plus all the classics made famous by their more-famous father, Ricky Nelson.

IMG_0240-MK-Parade-PinocchioNow we will fast-forward a few months to November 1st 2004. I was in the Magic Kingdom with Chez Bro and Da Fam (SIL and Nieceling) when the Share A Dream Come True parade came through. Many of the characters are presented inside these snow globes; I found myself hoping that these vehicles came equipped with air conditioning! I hear that it’s really quite hot and stuffy enough inside those costumes without the sun creating a hothouse effect inside the plastic bubble! Inside this particular bubble/snow globe is Pinocchio, who is wearing RED knee britches. If you look real close, you will see Jiminy Cricket hanging from the roof of the globe.

IMG_0070-DAK-Lilo-StitchLast shot – back in time we go to April 2004 again. Here are Lilo and Stitch, waiting to greet what was no doubt a LONG line of autograph-seekers. Stitch is not looking as good as I’ve seen him; that costume just doesn’t seem right to me, maybe a little too baggy, and the head is too small. Or something. There doesn’t look to be anything particularly RED about Stitch. However, the lovely Lilo is modeling a RED Hawaiian print, and has a RED hibiscus bloom adorning her hair. And for my great buddy Christene, both are wearing leis made of plumeria blossoms. While I concede that they are probably not contraband plumeria (and therefore, probably not especially thrilling to Christene, whose tastes run toward contraband), they plumeria none the less πŸ˜‰

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Colorful birds from Orlando, Florida

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Probably what makes my Monday Meme Trifecta so much fun is that I never know until the Friday before what sort of prompt Mo is going to serve up for Manic Monday. It’s fun and easy to come up with something for Blue Monday and for Mellow Yellow Monday, but to make it fit with the “Mo factor”, well that takes some strategic maneuvering! πŸ˜‰

Mo has prompted us with “birds” this week, so without further ado, I bring you two specimens – you guessed it, one blue and one yellow – from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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I found this little guy in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In the spring of 2004, I was walking the paths in the Pangani Forest and some splashing to the left startled me. There he was, splish-spalsh, takin’ a bath :) I think I’ve blogged this photo before, or one close to it, but no matter – he’s a cute little guy, and I’m happy to have him on the front page again.

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Fast forward to October of 2004. The sun was going down, and it was a bit overcast, too. I was walking that promenade between the fountain and the World Showcase Plaza at EPCOT, and stopped to check out the turtle action in the lagoon. After watching them a while, I looked up and saw an egret hanging out with some moorhens, and then a little further off, this beautiful little blue heron. He stood still just long enough for me to get this one shot, and then he took off into the gathering dusk.

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Getting ready for the Flower and Garden Festival

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IMG_5861-EPCOT-flowers-landscape-lagoon :) I’M SO EXCITED!

I’ve booked a trip to Walt Disney World in mid-May, where I’ll attend the 16th annual EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival. I look forward to this event each year, and I was really bummed one recent year when I could not attend (I had a really good reason – my checkbook and I were occupied at the time with moving here to Florida πŸ˜‰ ).

The Flower and Garden Festival is held at EPCOT but its influence can be felt throughout Walt Disney World. Expect to see spectacular displays of all manner of trees, shrubs and flowers in decadent full bloom. The whole place is just eye candy; gardeners and flower lovers will think they’ve gone to heaven. Topiary figures of all your favorite Disney characters are encountered everywhere in the park. There’s usually a butterfly garden, demonstrations of new innovations and tried and true gardening techniques, garden sculptures, lectures and lots more.

Yep, I’m excited – so filled with anticipation, I’ve been going through photos of visits past, reminiscing and counting the days. Don’t be surprised if more than a few of these are posted in the next month or so. πŸ˜€

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Just hangin’ around at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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I bet he says that to ALL the girls


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Fort Myers Beach Moon

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IMG_0299-Full-Moon-Fort-Myers-Beach-02-08-2009

Unable to stop
myself from stalking the moon,
I halt at each light,

roll down the window,
click away obsessively
till the light turns green

and then drive away.
La Luna Bella – preserved
on silicon chip

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Lighthouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

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Dock and lighthouse on Crescent Lake
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
October 12th, 2008

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The Empress Lilly, Downtown Disney

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IMG01511-Fultons-Crab-House-Empress-LillyFor today’s Ruby Tuesday, I’ve got a little history lesson for you all, about a popular seafood restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Located in Downtown Disney, Fulton’s Crab House opened in the mid-1970s and was originally called The Empress Lilly. Named after and christened by Walt Disney’s wife Lillian, this paddle-boat styled structure housed three different restaurants and a lounge. After many years, Disney began to outsource the management of their restaurants, and The Empress Lilly underwent a transformation into the Fulton’s Crab House restaurant you see there today. It’s been a few years since I’ve eaten there, but I seem to remember that I liked the crab cakes a lot!

Have you eaten at Fulton’s Crab House recently?
Was it good? Bad? Downright UGLY?
Please leave a comment and share your experience – I’d love to hear about it!


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Florida’s Aquatic Preserves

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IMG_0258-SW-Florida-aquatic preservesAnother week, another edition of my Monday Meme Trifecta, where I compose a post that’s appropriate for Manic Monday, Blue Monday and Mellow Yellow Monday. Today we’re going to talk about aquatic preserves, specifically the ones that are located off the Florida Gulf coast in Charlotte and Lee counties. I found this sign posted at the boat ramp on the east end of Sanibel Island – when you come across the causeway and finally make land on Sanibel itself, you’ll see the parking lot for the boat ramp immediately to the left. I snapped the photo to remind myself to do some research about the aquatic preserves pictured, and find out exactly what an “aquatic preserve” is.

Aquatic preserves can be composed of a variety of community or habitat types. The yellow parts on the map are dry land, the edges of which border mangrove forests, seagrass flats and salt marshes, all of which are wet. The green parts are where the seagrass communities are located. These areas make a fine hatchery and nursery for a wide variety of aquatic life. The aqua-colored parts of the map define the extent and boundaries of each preserve.

One of the more interesting things I discovered about the aquatic preserves is that they often encompass sites of historical interest, specifically encampments and settlements of both Native Americans and European explorers and settlers. Quite a few of these are represented by shell mounds, the purposes of which are not clearly understood; perhaps they really are just kitchen middens/refuse piles, or perhaps there was some ritual reason for building them. Due to rising sea levels, many of these sites are now completely submerged under water – talk about wet!

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Sanibel Seagull Smiles

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There’s an attention ho in every flock; Dave was theirs.

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HAPPY CRITTURDAY!

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Retail Therapy Skies Over Fort Myers, Florida

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IMG_0386-sky-reflected-Crispers-windowI was out and about this weekend doing some retail therapy, and at some point on Sunday afternoon, I decided that I was hungry. So I stopped at one of my favorite casual places, Crispers. The menu is based around fresh produce, and all of their salads and sandwiches are cold, crisp and delicious. I always sit outside, and while I was waiting for my food, I spotted some puffy clouds in the window of the restaurant. I am sure that people thought I was an idiot, taking pictures of the side entrance of Crispers. A lot of you reading this are photo meme junkies too, so I bet that experience is not unique πŸ˜‰

IMG_0391-sky-in-parking-lotAfter my delicious lunch, I moved across the parking lot to Barnes and Noble side of this sprawling suburban shopping center. By this time, those very clouds that had been reflected in the restaurant window had bloomed quite nicely, and I thought they looked pretty neat hovering over the trees that provide the all-important but too few and far between shaded parking spots :) And there I was again, the idiot standing in the middle of the parking lot taking pictures of the sky! πŸ˜€

PS – Drat, I nearly forgot to haiku!

There she goes again –
taking pics of gawd knows what!
Must she block the road?


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Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade – Red Edition!

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IMG01400-DAK-parade-Brer-Bear‘k, I’m back and so is Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, coming to you directly from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Yesterday, I presented to you the Blue and Yellow Edition of the parade. Today, I am pleased to present the RED Edition, in honor of Ruby Tuesday.

I’m not really sure what the two fluffy creatures in the foreground of this photo are, but they do add to the fun and festivities. The one on the left has some RED on it – well, it’s suspect, appears to actually be fuchsia – and is also sporting a set of horns on his (her?) head! Dunno what that’s all about. A red deer, perhaps?

The thing that I want you to notice in this photo is the dude in the background. One of Disney’s more rarely glimpsed characters outside the confines of Splash Mountain, that is none other than Brer Bear from an old film called Song of the South. See his hat? RED!

IMG01397-DAK-parade-Monkey
Look, here comes a giant monkey! He’s got some bright yet suspect red-that-might-be-fuchsia on his face… perhaps he is embarrassed? Many of these parade characters were invented by the same woman who designed the “costumes” for the Broadway production of Disney’s The Lion King – Julie Taymor. Β  This monkey, or perhaps the camel or crocodile from The Blue and Yellow Edition, are actually “costumes” that are worn and manipulated by the actors, who give them voices. A few of them are on wheels and many of them are walked around by the actors by means of stilts that are attached to the “costume”. They really are rather ingenius!

IMG01403-DAK-Parade-Goofy
Goofy sorta looks like he’s wearing a cowboy outfit, but if he’s a cowboy, what’s he doing hauling around a surfboard (with a red stripe)? He’s also hauling a red, old-fashioned radio, and he’s got a red hat on his head.

IMG01407
Sorry, Donald Duck is wearing red, but he is also a little blurry. Hey, have you ever aimed a Blackberry at a moving parade float and hoped for the best? πŸ˜‰ Well, that’s what you’re witnessing here. Every time I see this parade, I try to figure out what Donald needs that red plunger for. Any guesses? Leave them in the comments!

OK, last but definitely not least, here comes the star of the show, the life of the party! His parade vehicle is red and so is the flag upon it. Ladeeees and gentlemen – jammin’ in the jungle, it’s the mouse, the myth, the legend – MICKEY!

IMG01411-DAK-parade-Mickey-Mouse

Have you ever before seen so many Disney characters wearing red in one place? Probably here, actually! I have a few previous posts dedicated to Disney characters wearing red which are rather popular.

I hope you all enjoyed the parade. Now you can click your heels together three times – or else, just click your mouse on the red shoes in the badge below – and be transported to the internet home of Mary da Teach, where you will find links that will take you to visit other Ruby Tuesday participants.


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Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade – Blue and Yellow Edition

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IMG01413-Mickeys-Jammin-bannerHey there, hi there, ho there! Ready to start another week? ME NEITHER! But Monday always comes whether we want it to or not, and with it comes my own personal challenge in the form of the Monday Meme Trifecta. I use the prompt for the Manic Monday meme (this week, it’s “party”) and the missions of Blue Monday and Mellow Yellow Monday and try to make ONE post that fits all three. This week, we’re going to do that by watching Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade go by, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This parade is full of energetic music and fun Disney characters – a true PARTY in the streets. Ready? Here we go!

IMG01399-DAK-parade-crocodile
A blue crocodile cruises by…

IMG01396-DAK-parade-woven-camel
A guy rides along on a blue and yellow woven camel, providing some back-beat for the festivities

IMG01387-DAK-parade-elephant
Here’s another drum dude, this time riding on a blue and yellow elephant – all of this percussion guarantees that this PARTY‘s jumpin’!

Blue and yellow aren’t the only colors in this parade. Tomorrow, the parade continues; guess what color will be featured? πŸ˜‰

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My Top 5 FUNky Facts About Pelicans

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IMG_0385-American-brown-pelican-Sanibel-IslandHere are just 5 of the more FUNky things I learned while browsing around the interwebz looking for information about the American brown pelican

(Pelicanus occidentalis – click the photo to see a larger version in Flickr)

1. Pelicans have been around for about 40 million years, the earliest form of pelican having been found fossilized in France

2. The male of the pelican species pitches in to help incubate the eggs, much like a penguin does.

3. There are various legends in various cultures that would have the pelican either nourishing or resurrecting her young with her own blood

4. The pelican is the state bird of Louisianna

5. Pelicans may have been worshipped in ancient Peru; they are depicted in a lot of Peruvian art

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART – a bystander captured video footage of a white pelican in St James Park, England swallowing a pigeon whole and live! The footage shows the pigeon continuing to struggle inside the pelican for quite sometime. DON’T CLICK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE!

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March winds on the Sanibel Island Causeway

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On Wednesday, i showed you a calm, peaceful sunset as viewed from a Sanibel Island causeway beach. Here’s what that same beach looks like when March blows in like a lion – complete with haiku!

IMG_0346-windy-Sanibel-Island-Causeway
After seeing friends,
I stop along the causeway
beaches, reluctant

to leave the island
just yet. The punishing wind
rips through pines and palms.


IMG_0347-windy-Sanibel-Island-causeway-beach
Whitecaps advance and
break in rapid succession
on the sandy shore.

I get my shots and
quickly get back in the car,
bones profoundly chilled.


 

 

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RED Hidden Mickeys at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

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Yesterday we took a look at one of the standard rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter resort, and I showed you a “Hidden Mickey” in the bedspread. Today, in honor of Ruby Tuesday, we’ll take a look at the red upholstered chair. I bet you think that you can see the “Hidden Mickey’s on this chair, huh?

IMG_0053-Red-chair-hidden-mickeys

Surprise, surprise, surprise – there are even more than you thought there were!

IMG_0051-Port-Orleans-French-Quarter-upholstery

I vaguely remember a Cast Member telling me that there are hundreds of “Hidden Mickeys” in each room at Port Orleans French Quarter. I think it was the captain of one of the boats that takes people between the Port Orleans resorts and Downtown Disney. I’m trying to verify this by asking around at some of the Disney forums out there on the interwebz – I’m sure someone else must have heard the same story that I have.

Or… maybe YOU know! Did you hear that story too – that there are hundreds of Hidden Mickeys in each room at Port Orleans French Quarter? Who told you? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

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IMG_0935-Port-Orleans-French-Quarter-RoomThat’s right folks – I’m going for it again! It’s the “Monday Meme Trifecta” – Manic Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday and Blue Monday.

Isn’t this a nice room? This is a typical room at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter resort in Orlando, Florida, and there’s an awful lot of blue and yellow going on. The walls of the main room are a pale blue with a blue border around the top, while the walls of the dressing area are pale yellow. The artwork on the wall has shades of blue and yellow, too.

IMG_0937-Port-Orleans-French-Quarter-RoomIn the previous photo, you’ll notice that the curtain for the dressing area is a golden yellow. In this photo, we can see that the drapes at the front window of the room are a brilliant blue. There are two queen-sized beds in the room (you Manic people thought I was going to say FULL-sized, didn’t you? πŸ˜‰ Fooled ya!). They are covered with quilts that have scenes from Mardi Gras on them. Each quilt has a pale yellow field upon which the scenes are set, and there’s a lot of blue going on as well. But wait, what’s this I see?

IMG_0050-Port-Orleans-French-Quarter-bedspreadThe quilts are actually FULL of Hidden Mickeys! This is just one instance, where you can see that one of the Mardi Gras beads is shaped like a Mickey head (in case you could not find it for yourself, I’ve inserted a handy arrow pointing to it). As I recall, there were depictions of balloons and I think even lamp posts in the shape of Mickey heads, too.

Well, it looks like I’ve done it again – got the blue, got the yellow, got something FULL. I wonder how long before I run out of blue and yellow pics that match the Manic prompt? Stay tuned to find out on the next chapter of the Monday Meme Trifecta! πŸ˜€

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Frog metamorphosis at Disney

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IMG_0389-Frog-tadpole-EPCOT-ChinaI found this little guy in the lily pond outside the China pavilion at EPCOT in Walt Disney World. I was shocked to see that although he looks like a fully-formed adult frog, his tadpole tail is still quite prominent. Researching this, I later found out that there’s a biological process known as apoptosis that is supposed to happen during the transformation from tadpole to frog. As the frog is growing up, limbs form with webs between the toes for swimming, and the tail is no longer needed. Apoptosis is the process whereby the cells that form the tail are programmed to die one by one until the tail disappears. After examining photos from various places on the web that show the metamorphosis of a frog, I’m convinced that this little guy is a bit too mature in other ways to still have that much of a tadpole tail. Maybe the tail is his “security blanket”… πŸ˜† click the photo to see a larger version in Flickr

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Sanibel Skies Over Fragile Marine Ecosystems

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Tranquil blues and whites
do not always reflect Truth.
Truth can lurk unseen…

IMG_0623-Sanibel-Ding-DarlingI’ve read that all it takes is one single mangrove pod in the right place under the right conditions to blossom into a mangrove island. The evidence can be seen at the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a significant portion of the north side of Sanibel Island. The area is part of a larger marine ecosystem which is called the J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex includes other refuges such as the Caloosahatchee, Matlacha (matt-luh-SHAY), Island Bay up in Charlotte County, and Pine Island.

IMG_0592-Sanibel-Mangroves-CloudsThe state of Florida recently received an “iffy” report card, which rated the state’s efforts at protecting marine life with a lot of Ds (“A” being the highest grade). This means there is lots of room for improvement in our policies and laws that govern the use and abuse of ecosystems that have an impact on these wildlife refuges. It’s not enough to have laws that only pertain to the refuges; since everything is connected, actions in the middle of the state eventually produce a downstream effect on delicate marine environments such as these.

I’m looking forward to seeing some earnest effort on the part of the state legislature toward cleaning up Florida’s act, so that subsequent report cards reflect an increase in the amount of respect we afford our natural systems.

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Strolling EPCOT’s World Showcase at Walt Disney World

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IMG_6684-Friendship-boat-rampCan you believe it’s March already? At the end of the month, the first quarter of the new year will be over, and we won’t be able to call it “new” any more! We’re also that much closer to my next trip to Walt Disney World, which is coming up in May. Today being Ruby Tuesday, I thought we should take a look around the World Showcase at EPCOT and see what sort of red stuff we can find. It’s never too difficult to find red stuff at Walt Disney World.

IMG_6669-EPCOT-Canada-Imagination-Friendship-boat
Why, here’s some red stuff now – check out the border around the signage for the Friendship boat dock. And here comes the boat – it’s got some red stuff on it, too. You know, I think I’ve only taken the Friendship boats across the lagoon maybe ONCE, but I’ve taken them lots of times to get back to the Swan or Dolphin hotels – “Swolphin”, for the initiated πŸ˜‰ – late at night when I’m tired.

IMG_6662_crop-China-EPCOT-red-arch

Here’s one of those pieces of architectural eye-candy. This red arch can be found at the China pavilion. Owing to the fact that you can position a photo so the Spaceship Earth geosphere, aka the big golf ball is visible through the arch, this is a very popular photo spot. However, I’ve not figured out how to take a photo here at night. After dark, the “golf ball” is lit up but there’s not enough light on the arch to make a complete picture. You either get the ball or the arch in focus and visible, but not both. I’m willing to take direction, so if anyone’s got any ideas, please comment!”

IMG00802-EPCOT-Japan-Sushi-SakeWell, the sun’s going down now, and I’m a little hungry. What say we stop in Japan for a little sushi and some sake? I normally don’t do sushi, but this is crab, so if I close my eyes I can pretend it is steamed and not raw πŸ˜‰ As I recall, the sake was a little on the watery side, but I do like the way the red wrapper for the chopsticks is reflecting on the glass in the waning light of late afternoon. Kampai! (yeah, I googled – that’s like “Salut!”, only in Japanese).

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Mickey Mouse Chillaxin’ In Paradise

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Mickey Mouse Chillaxin'Third week in a row, and once again I’m going for the “Monday Meme Trifecta” – Manic Monday, Mellow Yellow Monday and Blue Monday.

Here we have Mickey Mouse, that most beloved of all Disney characters, lounging around in a hammock, diggin’ the sunshine. He’s wearing blue swim shorts, and surrounded by soft yellows that were used to depict the sand. This is actually a beach towel that I found in a shop in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World last October.

The scene reminds me of an idea I’ve been waffling about for a few weeks. Before I lived in Florida, I used to take my “ahhhh!” vacation each year on Sanibel Island. I would do nothing all day but eat, sleep, read, and go looking for shells on the beach. The world of work and other worries was left behind.

But ever since I’ve moved here, although I spend lots of time on Sanibel, I don’t get to have my week of unplugging any more. So, I’ve been thinking of booking myself a vacation… on Sanibel Island! Yes, 30 minutes from my house. Is that weird? Is it silly? It would not be the same if I took a week off and drove out to the beach each day. There’s something about being on the island for a week – it’s an insular experience, similar to going when you enter the gates of the 42 square miles in Orlando that makes up Walt Disney World, and don’t leave until a week later. Also, there’s something very appealing about being able to roll out of bed, walk out the door and set foot on the beach, all in less than a minute.

So, what’s YOUR opinion – should I do it? Should I book myself into a condo or hotel on Sanibel Island for a week? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

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LIVE from Sanibel on Sunday afternoon

Hi everyone! Starting around 2:00 PM Eastern, the usual suspects will gather for lunch and the next episode of The Sunday Sanibel Bar Crawl. Scroll down to see if I’ve started mobile blogging yet. See ya real soon!

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