6 more sleeps till the Flower and Garden Festival!

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Next Friday after work, I’ll head over to Orlando to meet up with some friends for dinner. We’re going to cheer some other friends who are running in Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon, and take in the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT.

Be sure to check in over the weekend (Saturday March 6th and Sunday March 7th)for some mobile blogging fun – I hear we’re going to hit the tequila bar in Mexico 😉

In the meantime, enjoy these topiary critters from last year’s Festival.

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Rafiki presents the newly-born Simba to the kingdom

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Mufasa’s subjects arrive to pay homage to the new prince

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Just look at that Orlando sky!


Happy Critturday!

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What “storybook” theme would YOU like to experience in your Disney resort room?

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IMG_0050-Port-Orleans-French-Quarter-bedspread:) First, they built a luxury suite right INSIDE of Cinderella’s Castle. Then, just when we thought things couldn’t get any cooler, they let a family stay overnight in the Disneyland Haunted Mansion (I wonder what THAT was like? I bet there were lots of things going bump in THAT night!). Now, The Daily Disney (Orlando Sentinel) reports that Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed hotel rooms have been such a raging success, there are plans underway to renovate more space across Walt Disney World into resort accommodations with “storybook” themes.

IMG_0819-WDW-Yacht-Club-ShipwreckLet’s see – what other films could Disney use to create themed rooms?

  1. The Princess and the Frog – imagine a Princess Tiana section at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort. Let’s have Mardi Gras, every day! They could give the restaurant a make-over, transforming it into the one that Tiana built. They could even arrange to deliver you to your resort via river boat (no I am not suggesting they bring the Empress Lily out of retirement LOL).
  2. The Swiss Family Robinson – do up the Treehouse Villas a la Swiss Family Robinson. Hammocks for beds! A shipwreck in the canal for the kids to play on! Wait, we’ve got one of those already – it’s part of Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club. Well, on the other hand, we won’t find dangerous, machete-wielding natives anywhere else but the Polynesian (have you ever seen what they use to cut the meat at Ohana?). Ok, clearly I need to think about this one a little more…. maybe the Swiss Family resort package includes resort hopping – yeah, that’s the ticket! 😉
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  4. The Incredibles – we need a futuristic environment for this. Therefore, I think they should create an Incredibles-themed block of rooms at the Contemporary (remember Mrs Incredible dangling from the “monorail” tracks?)
  5. Song of the South – the countrified whimsy of Splash Mountain, where the critters from Song of the South live, would fit in nicely at Port Orleans Riverside. Part of the resort package could be a free, length-of-stay FastPass to for that attraction. Can you imagine how popular that would be, especially in the heat of the summer?


OK, your turn – What “storybook” theme would YOU like to experience in your Disney resort room?

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Towers and tails – a twilight perspective

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A view of the Walt Disney World Dolphin resort from the World Showcase in EPCOT. The dolphin sculptures on top of the resort wave their tails in the air. One is obscured by the Eiffel Tower from the French pavilion. Perspective makes it seem as though the Eiffel Tower stands right alongside the resort.

Here’s the map of the area in question. I think I was standing on the right at “F”, near Norway/China. The French pavilion is just to the left of “Restaurant Marakesh”, and the Walt Disney World Dolphin resort is further left. (NOTE: if you click to view the map larger, you will see Marakesh and the Dolphin labeled)


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Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it…

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IMG_1268-WDW-DAK-egret:) I was walking in the Oasis, a quiet, lushly green and tranquil section just inside the gates of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. It’s a soothing place where you’ll find twisting paths, a rope bridge, a joyously tumbling waterfall and all manner of exotic animals and birds. The day was hot, and the air was heavy and still. The silence was broken only by barely discernible ambient music and the gurgling of a stream. I rounded a corner and came upon a beautiful glade that surrounded a pool. And there he stood, on a rock – a Great Egret.

I became excited when I realized that he was in full breeding plumage. My heart started to beat faster; it was so loud in my ears, I was sure he would hear it, become frightened and take flight. I think I might have even been holding my breath. I crept forward to get a closer look, reaching into my bag for the camera.

IMG_1269-WDW-DAK-egretThe closer I got, the more convinced I became that he very well knew that he had company and didn’t mind in the least.. He seemed to straighten a bit and puff out his chest. I took this as a good sign in terms of getting some photographs, and I was no longer afraid of making the slightest sound. The mechanical whir of the camera’s lens opening and extending broke the reverie, contrasting sharply against the backdrop of rushing water and the far-off exclamations of other types of birds who lived at the Oasis. The Great Egret stood his ground, unperturbed. I fired off several shots of him just standing there on the rock, playing with distance and focus. He started to fuss a little, and I stopped shooting, holding my breath again, finger hovering in mide-air over the button.

And that’s when he did it…

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… the Great Egret VOGUED for me!

(to be continued…)


Happy Critturday!

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Now playing: Madonna – Vogue

Scenes from The Blue Dolphin, Sanibel Island

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IMG_0563A reader wrote and asked me to opine about The Blue Dolphin, a small, lush resort on West Gulf Drive, Sanibel Island. I have visited my friend Christene of Our Vanilla Life when she has lodged there, and stayed overnight one time.

The Blue Dolphin sits on a stretch of West Gulf Drive that has been known for good shelling. About a half-mile down the beach is a place called “The Rocks”, where some wonderful things, including live tulips, have been known to congregate. The two units I’ve been inside were roomy and comfortable. Both had a separate bedroom, and a sleeper sofa in the “great room”.

IMG_5642I liked the front porch area at the unit Chris rents each year. The entire property is lushly landscaped; not only is it beautiful but it helps to provide some privacy. The only drawback is that it isn’t screened-in, so once the noseeums come out for the evening, you must abandon the area and scurry inside.

One of the things I like best about the Blue Dolphin is that some of the units have a back door. Right outside the door is a spigot to wash your feet and a shelf to lay out your shells to dry. And the back door leads right into the bathroom, so you just bring your wet, sandy self/children in that way instead of traipsing through the whole unit.

05082009122 If you don’t feel like lounging by your unit, there’s a covered lounge area facing the Gulf where you can sit and read a book while enjoying the shade and the view. You may see dolphins hunting, or pelicans diving for their dinner, or else shore birds foraging in the surf. Or you may just close your eyes and let the rhythm of the waves lull you into a nice afternoon nap. You may not be able to bear to keep them closed for long, though – this is what your view is from the shady lounge area.

And then, there’s the sunset. Nothing compares!

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Chinese Zodiac: the final chapter!

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We’re in the home stretch with the photos I took of the Chinese zodiac animals at Epcot a couple of years ago. Every time I look at these, all I can think of is how ingenious the person was who thought of it, and how much time and painstaking effort went into the details.

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Here’s the dog – he’s so cute, and I love his feet because they look like they might be made of coffee beans.

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The rabbit was hiding his face in some leafy foliage when I visited. Rabbits are typically timid, so I’m not really surprised 😉

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And now, the star of the show – 2010 is the year of the tiger! I especially like this one because I think it was such a good choice to use dried corn kernels for his fur – just the right shade of golden orange!

This concludes our series about the Chinese zodiac. Kung Hei Fat Choi! And I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day weekend, too <3 Click the photos to see if a larger version is available in Flickr
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Chinese Zodiac Critters, Chapter 3

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

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I’m watching the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, Canada. There was a part earlier where the totems of the indigenous peoples of Canada were represented – whale, salmon wolf, GIANT bear. They lit up the arena like constellations. And I noted there was not a lot of crossover between the mythological creatures of North America and those of China. And yet, without much in common, they’re still about to play together for a couple of weeks. Rock on, Olympics!

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Famous people born in the Year of the Monkey: Ashley Judd, Jack “Chicken Soup For The Soul” Canfield, Lisa Marie Presley.


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Famous people born in the Year of the Sheep: Jane Austen, Michelangelo, Mark Twain


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Famous people born in the Year of the Rooster: Eric Clapton, Somerset Maugham, Van Morrison


Happy Critturday!

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More scenes from Disney’s Boardwalk

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

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IMG_0806-WDW-Boardwalk-Dance-Hall

The Boardwalk as seen from the plaza between the Swan and Dolphin resorts


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Here’s that wedding pavilion I was telling you about last week; I think I’m standing in front of Disney’s Yacht Club


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And speaking of the Yacht Club… as seen from the restaurant area of the Boardwalk



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Tales from the Mickey Mouse shopping bag

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020620102287-Mickey-Mouse-shopping-bag:) I’ve been trying very hard to remember to bring my own shopping bags with me whenever I go out for groceries and such. It hasn’t been easy – I’m sure there are a few of you out there who are in the same boat. You earnestly went out and bought those cloth-like bags, vowing you would never use plastic ever again. And then you forget all about them until you are at the check out. Oops, they’re on the kitchen counter / hanging on a hook installed on the door from the laundry room to the garage / on the front seat of the car. See? I’ve been there, I know! 😀

Well on Saturday, I actually remembered the bag. It’s a red bag with Mickey Mouse on it – got it at the Disney store a few years back. It just so happened that a few of the things I bought on Saturday were red too, so I decided that this week’s Ruby Tuesday should be all about “Tales form the Mickey Mouse shopping bag”. Here’s some of the stuff that went into it.

020620102289-John-Freida-Shampoo-ConditionerThe biggest surprise of the day was finding my favorite John Frieda shampoo in Walgreens. For months, all I’ve seen on the shelves in any store was the brunette formula and the blonde formula – never the redhead formula! It just mysteriously vanished from the shelves in Target, CVS, Walgreens and any number of other stores. I recently had sort of an emergency with my dwindling supply of this stuff – I had shampoo but was out of conditioner. I actually looked for it on Amazon, and lo and behold, there it was – John Frieda Radiant Red Conditioner. I was so happy to have found it, but equally happy that I found some locally again. Yeah, sometimes it’s just the little things :)

020620102286-Wildly-Cherry-MandMsMoving on – also in Walgreens I found these small packets of Wildly Cherry M&Ms near the checkout. I’d tried them before and I loved them, but I am a bit frustrated that they don’t come in a larger bag. Maybe that’s a good thing… I haven’t stopped to calculate how long I have to spend on the treadmill to burn off a pack of these babies, but I am most assuredly better off with the small pack than the big bag! Into the Mickey bag went three little packages of them. I shall hoard them carefully so not as to upset the delicate balance of calories in vs. calories burnt.

020620102282-Saturn-peachesHere we are in my local Publix supermarket, where I encountered the weirdest find of the day. These blushing beauties are called Saturn peaches. I have no idea what possessed someone to breed peaches that are reminiscent of the pushed-in face of a King Charles spaniel, and even less of a clue as to why they are dubbed “Saturn”. They do not look even remotely like Saturn. I find them to be singularly unattractive, and that somehow equates to “not very tasty” in my mind, so I actually passed on purchasing any. However, their ruddy little cheeks provided an irresistable photo opportunity, so I snapped away at them for the blog.

020620102281-Valentine-candy-dragonLast but not least – Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and the stores have been amply stocked since practically the day after Christmas will all sorts of Valentine goodness. Russel Stover has some cute little heart shaped candy boxes this year, with fun images on them. The dragon image attracted me because of my recent foray into the Chinese zodiac (Chinese New Year falls on Valentine’s Day this year). I think I saw these on the shelf in Walgreen’s too, but I was a good girl and didn’t buy any. I’m not really in the mood to tack on any miles to my daily treadmill sentence and in enough trouble already, what with the M&Ms 😉

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Feeling Disney deprived? Make a virtual video visit!

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

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EyesOnEars-tweet:) You’re cold, you say, and tired of winter. You want to know where the sun went, feel the warm humidity on your skin, see palm trees swaying against the clear, blue sky. Well, I can’t do anything about the humidity, but palm trees and sunshine you can have! One of my online Disney pals tweeted a very happy tweet the other day – he reminded everyone of the existence of a Disney-related website that specializes in live streaming video from Walt Disney World. The site is EyesOnEars.com, and it’s chock full of folks who love to share the magic by streaming live video from the resorts and parks. I like to lurk there – as both a Disney geek and a technology geek, I find the marriage of the two to be deeply satisfying (well, I did say I was a geek!).

EyesOnEars-Live-Video-PageSome people stream from the parks with their phones while others set up a camera on the balcony of their room and just let it do its thing all day while they are out and about touring. In this day and age of portable technology and built-in webcams, it’s pretty easy to get started. EyesOnEars.com makes it even easier by hosting a forum where people can go to learn how to stream, what equipment they will need and what web services are available to facilitate the stream. Ustream and Qik come to mind – there are probably other services besides these two. I’ve tested the Qik service with my beloved Nokia E71 smartphone – it works pretty well. If you’re not into learning how to do it yourself but just need your “blue skies and sunshine – guaranteed!” fix, then the video viewing area is for you. Some are live, some are previously recorded – who cares which, as long as it’s Disney, right? 😉

So if you are pining away for the sight of Walt Disney World but can’t get there just now, there’s help out there to get you through. Just visit EyesOnEars.com and click on Live Video at the top left of the screen. You’ll be glad you did!

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Things with wings at Walt Disney World

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Walt Disney World is in the quasi-tropical climate of Orlando, Florida. The flora is so well-maintained and lush, it can support any number of critters that love the warmth and humidity. Encounters with local wildlife (in other words, not placed there by Disney) are not only very satisfying, but can also be frequent if you keep your eyes open and pay attention to your surroundings. Today we’re going to look at some “things with wings” – butterflies I’ve met at Walt Disney World.

IMG_0454-WDW-MK-butterfly Found and photographed near “stroller hell” aka the former sky ride in Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom – November, 2004


 

IMG_0638-WDW-EPCOT-butterfly Not sure if this is a butterfly or a moth. Found in EPCOT, and I believe I was over by Universe of Energy. April, 2005


 

IMG_3055-WDW-DAK-butterfly Last one – this beauty was found quite near a gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – it was like “beauty and the beast” in there that day 😀 October, 2006


 

Happy Critturday, everyone!

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Crest O’ The Wave – scenes from Disney’s Boardwalk

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:) There’s a “wedding pavilion” on Disney’s Boardwalk – well, I’ve never seen a wedding happening there, but it is the PERFECT spot for one. It’s a beautiful wooden structure with some wonderfully detailed arches that make a perfect frame for pictures. Since the lake that the Boardwalk follows is crescent-shaped, you can stand at one end, where the pavilion is, and photograph the other end. Here’s what my camera saw when I stood there on a blustery day in December. Enjoy!

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Can you name the film in which Disney’s OTHER red-headed mermaid appeared?

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Red stuff at McT's Tavern:) I was at McT’s Tavern on Sanibel Island yesterday, and decided to check at Foursquare. However, Foursquare was not already listing McT’s in their list of venues, so I had to create it. For that, I needed something that had McT’s street address printed on it. My friend Gary went and fetched a take-out menu from somewhere, and that was when I noticed the red-haired mermaid. I’ve seen the mermaid painted on the walls inside McT’s but I guess it just didn’t register that she had red hair until I saw the take-out menu. Of course, this brought to mind another, rather more famous red-headed mermaid.

IMG_4371-WDW-STUDIOS-Little-MermaidAnyone who was even remotely alive in the 80s is aware of Disney’s big blockbuster animated film, The Little Mermaid. She had red hair, too. In fact, up until 2007, when actress Amy Adams created the role of Princess Giselle in Disney’s hybrid live-animated film Enchanted, Ariel had been the only red-headed Disney princess. BUT – she wasn’t Disney’s only red-headed mermaid, nor was she even first!

Can you name the film in which Disney’s OTHER red-headed mermaid appeared?

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