Category Archives: 2008 May Flowers and Family Disney Trip

Wordless Wednesday, July 9th 2008

Surf’s up!
2008 Flower and Garden Festival
EPCOT, Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida
May 26th 2008

If you look very closely, you might recognize that Mickey is holding a SHELL in his hand!

Wordless Ruby Tuesday, July 7th 2008

Yo, I think deeze are da stairs!
Disney’s Pop Century Hotel
Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
April 21st, 2004

Deep Pink Roses from the 2008 Flower & Garden Festival

The Rose Walk in Epcot wasn’t as crazy-in-bloom as I’ve seen it in the past, but still offered some lovely blooms to gaze upon, sniff and photograph. Here are some of my faves amongst the deep pink blossoms.

OK, so I think we might be able to ALMOST call this last one “red” 😀

Wordless Wednesday! June 25th 2008

We interrupt this Wordless Wednesday to bring you a special announcement! Please note to the right in the “Want to Subscribe?” box, we now have a button displayed to “add this blog to Technorati favorites”. If you are on Technorati too, please let me know in the Comments and I’ll go look you up!

We now return you to Wordless Wednesday, already in progress :D


Three different couples…and boy were they BUSY!

2008 Flower & Garden Festival: Miscellaneous Garden Features

2008 Flower & Garden Festival: Miscellaneous Garden Features

For the past several weeks since I got back from Walt Disney World, I’ve been posting photos that could really have been taken any old time during the year. Today, I begin posting photos that are specific to the 2008 Flower & Garden Festival.

But first, a disclaimer: I attended the Festival this year on the very last few days that it was in progress. Comparing this year’s experience to experiences past, I found a Festival that was a lot more sparse and bare than in years past. For instance, there were no animated topiaries or any sort of display at all behind Spaceship Earth. In years past, this space has held things like Belle and the Beast waltzing, or the first five “hidden” Mickeys out of the 50 that were sprinkled around the park one year.

Nice flowers…. why no display?

Another area that was looking bare was the “rainforest” next to the Mexico pavilion. Normally, this area is dripping with exotic orchids during the Flower & Garden Festival. This year, I had to look long and hard before finding just ONE orchid plant, hidden in the shadows.

In another area there was a sign, but no associated display.

I was wondering whether the sign was displaced, and then it dawned on me that the dismantling of the Flower & Garden Festival had probably already commenced, despite the advertised end date of June 1st (I was there from May 24th through May 27th). The only other explanation is that the 2008 Flower & Garden Festival was not as well funded as in years past, and that there wasn’t a rainforest or a behind-Spaceship-Earth display at all this year. If anyone reading this was there before I was, please leave a comment and let me know – were there orchids in Mexico?

OK, enough preamble – let’s get on with it!

Today’s post is devoted to a few miscellaneous garden features that caught my eye. First among these came from the space that was called The Key To Outdoor Living. In past years, this space was called “The Ultimate Backyard Garden” and was presented by Home Depot; this year, the sponsor was DuPont. The space features outdoor furniture and cooking appliances, a fun kid play area, water features and many whimsical decorative touches, such as this wall.

Hmm, I wonder why this caught my attention? Could it be…. wait, let’s have a close-up!

The turtles are glazed mosaic tile, as are a few of the sea shell features. However, three of the sea shells are real!

You know, i’ve never seen a WHOLE lion’s paw, so I’m not really sure that’s what the one on the left is. But the middle specimen was definitely a drool-worthy true tulip, and the disc on the right was a very real sand dollar. If you look back at the first of these three photos, you will see that the right panel is decorated with a series of Florida fighting conchs; those were the real deal, too.

Coming out of the outdoor living space, I spied a series of pineapple-shaped cutouts in the white fence. It was hard to get close enough to shoot through them. Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality that have been carved into bedposts, banisters and other architectural details since American colonial times. If you want to read more about that, here’s a great page that tells the story.

Over near the Rose Walk, there was a garden set aside called Peter Pan’s Neverland Garden. Among the sights in this garden were a few little “fairy houses” sprinkled here and there.

Here’s one of my favorites. I love the little stone well out front, with a flower pot for a pail. And the table ware was just adorable!

Down by Future World, in the building that now houses the character meets, I spied this great mural of Pluto, floating on a lounge chair amongst the clouds. He’s either going to eat those daisies, or else plant them! 😀

TOMORROW: We’ll take a look at some statuaries and topiaries!
Now playing: Various – Epcot: Entrance Medley
via FoxyTunes

Wordless, Friday June 20th 2008

A Storm Is Brewing
EPCOT, Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida
May 2008

This was an amazing storm. We took cover shortly after I took this photo. It got really dark, really fast!

MORE video from Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Ooops! Here’s MORE video from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including the beloved otters!

First, a Rhino
He’s playing with a rope…

It’s just a short clip; by time I dispossessed some little kid of his position on the wall (kidding!) so I could get up there and see, the otters were done with us. I think I have some video in the phone too, but will need to convert it.

The Tuesday Recap – yeah, I’m home from Disney World :(

Hey there, everyone. I got home precisely 3 hours from the time I got on I-4, and that included a 10-minute potty break in Ellenton.

It All Started With A Mouse.. er, I mean a Watch

So, the plan didn’t go as planned, but that’s ok cause I had fun anyway. It all started with a watch. I had bought some stuff while I was roaming the parks (quelle surprise!), among which was one of those specials that you sometimes see – spend $40 or whatever amount, and get the tote bag/throw/watch for $10 or whatever. So I bought a couple of shirts and things at the Boardwalk’s store, and got the tote bag. It is freakin’ HUGE. I guess Disney is signing up for the “shop green” thing, and trying to encourage the use of these canvas totes instead of plastic shopping bags. Personally, I think it makes a fine beach bag, as it is freakin’ HUGE and will fit a towel and then some.

Semper Gumby (Always Flexible)

So I was packing up ALL my purchases into the tote bag, and came across a Mickey watch that SIL had gotten in Hollywood Studios. It was in the bag with my shirt that does the monorail spiel in Spanish. I called SIL to find out if they were still in the hotel or if they’d already gone to Sea World, and it turns out they had changed their plans. They were walking down the Boardwalk toward Epcot. While we were talking, the bell services dude came for my bags, and I had him stow them for me and headed for the Boardwalk myself.

Let’s Do Lunch

They were sitting on a bench in the shade, right where you rent the surrey bikes, waiting for me, and we all walked into EPCOT together. We ambled down the UK-Canada side, stopping to look at all manner of festival wares on the way. We ended up in Mexico and decided to have lunch. It was a couple of minutes before noon, and without an reservation we were still able to be seated right away. We had a lovely lunch in the perpetual twilight, and did the boat ride afterward. I can’t remember the new name of that ride; it will always be El Rio del Tiempo to me, just with caballeros now.

I Love You, I’ll Miss You, Now Leave Me Alone, I Want To Shop

After lunch, we backtracked and parted from one another at the World Showcase Plaza. They headed off to do Soarin’ and some other stuff, and I headed back through the International Gateway to get my car. It was later than I wanted it to be, and I almost didn’t go to Downtown Disney, but decided I really could not do without a few of those cute t-shirts I’d seen. I did stop in both the Boardwalk shops and the Swan shop to see if at least one of them could be found; no such luck, so off I went.

It was the quickest trip to Downtown Disney I’ve ever made. I sent an Utter that showed up here on the blog at 2:22 PM, while standing outside the Swan. By 3:50 PM, the pic of me getting on I-4 posted. So, with time to drive from the Swan to DTD, and time to drive from DTD to I-4, I’m going to guess I was only in the store MAYBE an hour at the most.

Home, Sweet Home

The trip home was quite uneventful. It feels shorter each time I do it, but it’s still too long. I might try flying one of these days, if I can get those uber-cheap $49 Southwest commuter flights. Lord knows, if I’d had my brain screwed on correctly when I booked the business trip I took to Columbus last week, I would have been flying home (there was only one day between coming home from Columbus and driving to Orlando, and my layover was – you guessed it! – in Orlando!).

It’s good to be home. I’ve got more photos and video in the big camera that y’all haven’t seen yet. I’m looking forward to sorting through them, reliving the memories, and picking out which ones I’d like to share here. My next trip to Orlando isn’t until the fall, so I’ve got a while to wait until I can get my next fix. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Ciao for now!

Recap of Memorial Day at Walt Disney World

Recap of Memorial Day at Walt Disney World

There was a visual that was supposed to go with my last post of yesterday (it was audio only), but somehow never made it through. Here it is:

For those who do not recognize the subjects (or don’t yet know my Walt Disney World vacation habits), that there’s a churro (bitten) hovering next to a mango margarita, and I am sitting at a table down by the lagoon in the Mexico section of EPCOT.

Hollywood Studios

After I sent my last message, I used the remaining dregs of cell phone battery life to make contact with SIL. I last saw her at Hollywood Studios (ugh, I wanna say “MGM” sooooo BAD!). That’s where we’d all spent the day. When last we’d spoken, SIL was taking Nieceling to see Indiana Jones, while Chez Bro and I headed back to the hotel. He wanted a nap and I wanted to go back into EPCOT sans the shirt I’d bought. Yes, I bought the one that says “Please stand clear of the closing doors” in Spanish – I LOVE that shirt! I dropped the shirt in my room, and then took the boat into EPCOT.

Back to EPCOT, and the Flower & Garden Festival

When I came in through the International Gateway, I made a left and did the Rose Walk down to where the garden sculptures are on display, making a tiny pitstop to listen to The British Invasion before moving on. Also went to see the combination kitchen/container garden, which had some REALLY healthy cabbages growing in it – they were perfect-looking. The CM there was friendly, and telling me stories of battling the rabbits for dominion over the container garden full of veggies.

I also visited the butterfly garden and saw some monarch butterflies engaged in the act of procreation! After that, I needed a drink and went to Mexico for the margarita and churro. When I was done there, I went on Spaceship Earth and made my way to the front-of-the-park-display, which consisted of Goofy catching a wave, while Minnie and Mickey collected sea shells on the shore. Yes, sea shells – w00t! I took about a ton and a bazillion photos, and did some video too, in order to capture the Beach Boys music that was being played. Definitely loved this display – mad props to the topiary department!

Motorin’ on the Monorail

Finally, I got on the monorail and headed out for the TTC, where I changed for the resort monorail. I was meeting da fambly at California Grill, inside Disney’s Contemporary hotel. On the way, the monorail in front of mine had some sort of drama going on at the Polynesian hotel, so there was somewhat of a wait; I believe I heard it was a sick passenger. I made it to the Contemporary eventually, and we all went up to have a splendid dinner and see the fireworks from the observation deck.

Pirates and Princesses Fireworks

At the Magic Kingdom, it was a Pirates and Princesses night. While I was at the TTC changing monorails, I saw grown people dressed as pirates, headed off to the Magic Kingdom! So, seeing as it was a Pirates and Princesses night, there was a different fireworks show. It was absolutely magnificent! I think it was better and higher than Wishes. There were also fireworks coming from different sections of the park, other than from the castle or behind it – “360* fireworks”. We really loved this show.

Dinner at the California Grill

We also loved our meal. I hardly eat beef any more, and I had been saving myself for months so I could have a filet at the California Grill. I was not disappointed! The food was awesome, and we had a great bartender too, which I will tell you about at another time, because it’s 9:50 in the morning already, and checkout is at 11:00 am.

More to come – stay tuned!

So, I’m gonna jump in the shower, pack my bags, and head off to Downtown Disney. Here’s my strategy. I saw some cute shirts in the parks that I’d like to have but want to check DTD first because I can get the discount at the World of Disney store. After DTD, I will head back to EPCOT to roam the places I didn’t roam yesterday and buy anything the World of Disney store didn’t have. I would love to be on the road back to Southwest Florida around 3:00 PM. That will put me going through Tampa around 4:00 PM, which I’ve done on a weekday before and found it OK. Any later than that, and honestly, I might as well wait till 7:00 PM to leave Orlando, which will put me home around 10:00 PM – not really what I want.

Da fambly is going to Sea World today, and they have a late flight back to the Loverly Isle of Long this evening.

So…. lemmee get going now, and I’ll catch you later in the parks!

See you real soon!

Some Video from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and a Sunday Recap

Here’s a collection of short video clips taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom yesterday. Most were from the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction, hence please know that I am being jostled around in the truck and don’t really see the world that way! LOL

White Pelicans and Hippos
We get white pelicans in the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel in the winter time. They are something else!

Nile Crocodiles
Please excuse my punny-ness; I was trying to make the Nieceling laugh, but when you’re 11 and in a snit with your folks, it’s hard to laugh at Auntie Tink’s *~*~* horrendous attempts at humor.

Giraffe and antelope
OK, riddle me this, intrepid readers. Why do they ALWAYS say “reticulated giraffe”? It means “netted”, as in the pattern of their fur. Aren’t ALL giraffe’s “reticulated”? Seriously, is there another kind? Anybody know?

Cattle with LOOOOOOOOOONG horns
Plus, the bonus broom!

African Song and the Rickety Bridge
Did I mention that we were in the dead last seat of the truck? Nieceling perks up a bit here and makes me laugh with a bit of pantomiming being thrown from the truck, so that’s why you hear my hearty cackle so much.

Baby Elephant with Mama
We rounded the corner and saw a baby elephant hanging out with mom. They are so cute when they are little!

I don’t think it’s right that they’ve separated Pumba and Timon. You don’t get to see Timon until you go on the Pangani Trail. I wonder if they have visitation rights?

Ostrich blocks the road
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me on the Kilimanjaro Safari

Gorilla on the Pangani Trail
This guy was BIG. I would NOT wish to meet with him in a dark alley!

Dawa Bar Entertainment in Harambe
We were SO hot and grumpy! We just wanted some ice cream. We sat at a table in the shady part of the Dawa Bar and I was going to get some ice cream, but the line looked to be about 20 minutes, so we ditched that idea, and just sat there for a while, watching these guys.

So that’s the video recap of yesterday’s visit to Animal Kingdom. As you can tell from yesterday’s LIVE mobile photo blogging posts, we went to the Magic Kingdom after our rest period at the resort, and we had dinner at the Crystal Palace. The food was not superior, but it was not terrible either. The best thing at the dessert bar was the carrot cake. Although it had no raisins or nuts in it, I enjoyed it anyway.

After dinner, our cousins from a nearby town joined us and we toured around. Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, Splash Mountain, Buz Lightyear and the Laugh Floor were all on our agenda. When we came out of the Laugh Floor, the Wishes fireworks were already in progress. It’s a really BAD place to try and watch wishes; there’s this stupid ROCK formation that is in the way. However, you can look around and between and even above (at the end) and get your fix of pyrotechnics.

After the fireworks, we all sat around and had some ice cream and chatted. Then our cousins departed for home, and we went to Space Mountain to try and get in one last ride, but it was “101” (broken down, mechanical issues). Nieceling was dragging her butt, so it was decided to call it a night. However, since I wanted to shop my way out of the park, I stayed behind to have a nice, leisurely stroll through the Emporium and took the bus back by myself. I didn’t buy much but it was nice to just shop and see what they have.

I think I got back to the room well after midnight, and for some reason could not fall asleep. I started flipping through the channels and found “Clueless” which is really a classic gem of a film. I should own it on DVD, but I don’t. So I put that on with the sleep timer and I think it was 2:00 am when I finally passed out.

OK, it’s 8:00 am now and I gotta jump into the shower. Have signal, will blog, so I’ll CUL8R!

Cooling off at Walt Disney World

It is hotter than the hinges of Hell in Walt Disney World Orlando today! I know that the Weather Bug is saying it is only 84*, but trust me, when you are walking around the parks and the sun is beating down on you, it’s an inferno.

Yesterday it was raining in fits and starts. As I was walking on the Boardwalk from the Swan to EPCOT, the sun came out again and the rain was rising from the Boardwalk as steam. It was downright weird to see people walking through mist in full sunshine. :blink: I tried to get some video of it but it wasn’t particularly visible.

So we only did a few things before deciding that the crowds and the heat were making it not-so-fun. We’ve come back to the Swan to cool off – I’m here in the room, Bro is in his room having a nappie-poo, and SIL and Nieceling are down at the pool cooling off.

We saw the otters! They were active and fun, and I got some video, which I’m busy uploading to YouTube and will post a link soon.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the otters? 😀 Yeah, I know – I’ve been pretty Blah-Blah talkative about them, haven’t I?

We’re going to rest up and then have dinner… somewhere! I think we were originally going to the Rainforest at Animal Kingdom, but since we ended up leaving there early, I’m not sure if we intend to go back there this evening or not. I hear the Magic Kingdom is open till 2:00 am….