Monday, February 26, 2007

Fresh Snow

Last night we had a good snow. It's only the second time this season we've had snow stick to the ground. The first big snow happened while we were on vacation in Florida. By the time we got home, the snow was icy, black and generally not attractive.

I went to Central Park during lunch to see this snow while it was white and fluffy. The park was amazing, calm and beautiful. In the winter the park is so much different than in the summer. With the bare trees you see the city around you - in the summer you forget you are surrounded by a city. Central Park is one of my favorite places in NYC.

This is the Reservoir, covered in ice.

The next two photos are from the bridal path that runs parallel to the Reservoir. Some of the walkways had been cleared, but other paths were still covered with nice white snow.

This photo might look like the Reservoir again, but it's the Great Lawn with Belvedere Castle in the background. To protect the grass, the Great Lawn is closed off in the winter.
The next two photos show the Turtle Pond, which really is the home to turtles. I don't know what happens to them when their pond gets covered in ice. Belvedere Castle is in the background.

Two pictures of the Ramble. This is one of the most beautiful places of the park. Even though it was entirely man made and is carefully groomed, this area looks like it is growing wild. It has streams, waterfalls, rocky winding paths, and dense vegetation.

It's really hard to see, but there was a bright red cardinal in this tree. He's in the middle of the picture - look for the red spot. In the winter the Central Park employees put out birdseed. I noticed the feeders for the first time today.


And the Winner Is....

He beat me by one point in our Oscar pool. It came right down to the last award. I was leading by 1 point going in to the Best Picture award. The right pick is worth 2 points, he picks the winner he wins, if he doesn't get the winner, I win. He picked The Departed and beat me at my own game!
The cats didn't win, but they did get decked out in their finest fur to enjoy the show.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Disney All Star Movies Resort

Our bonus night was spent at a 'value' resort (the Wilderness Lodge was a 'deluxe' resort). The room was $50 less than than the La Quinta at the airport and included free transportation to and from Walt Disney World. As soon as we had the room booked, we couldn't wait to get to Disney, more importantly Disney Quest.

We stayed at the All Star Movies property. It was clean and functional, not much different than a Motel 6 but it had really great Disney theming and that free Disney transportation. We stayed in one of the 'Herbie' buildings - of course I was thrilled! Herbie was everywhere.
Herbie was jumping out of our building.
Herbie jumped in to the other building across the courtyard. At night the headlights and taillights lit up - so cute!

In between the two buildings there was a photo op/water feature area. The water is coming down behind the big tire - the car and the water are huge kid magnets. I tried to get a photo with no one else in the shot - it proved to be an impossible task.

The outdoor corridors were covered with big tools and hearts (Herbie was a Lovebug).

Even the cement had impressions of tools and car parts.

The other building themes included Fantasia and 101 Dalmatians.

All Star Movies had a huge bus queue compared to the Wilderness Lodge. I think that would be the biggest drawback of staying at this resort for an extended length of time - some of the wait time could be very long. Plus there are two other 'All Star' resorts, every time you come and go you have to make stops at the other resorts. I know we saw some very big lines of people leaving Animal Kingdom - they were waiting for the All Star resorts. That being said, you can't beat the price.

We took advantage of a few photo ops while waiting for our airport bus.

Hidden Mickeys

What is a Hidden Mickey you ask?

For those of you not in the Disney know, here is a definition from

"Hidden Mickeys started out as inside jokes among the Walt Disney Imagineers. A Hidden Mickey is an image of Mickey Mouse concealed in the design of a Disney attraction (ride, resort, etc...). Originally, it took the shape of a head and ears silhouette, , i.e. one large circle with two smaller circled on top in the appropriate place, but Hidden Mickeys can take on many forms.
In designing, constructing or adding the final touches to an attraction, Imagineers subtly "hide" Mickey Mouse silhouettes in plain sight. Soon, it became a tradition, and as the word spread, Disney fans everywhere went on the search for Hidden Mickeys in Disney movies and theme parks."

I am always in search of Hidden Mickeys, they are one of the small touches that add interest to a park visit. We found several on our trip, below are photographs of a few - can you find them in the photos? Some are more subtle than others. Our hotel had a Hidden Mickey challenge, they were really hard! I only found two out of thirteen during our stay.


We visited Epcot so many times - it was a staple for dinner. Our free park hopper upgrades on the tickets were a real treat. I didn't think we'd hop around as much as we did.

One of our trip highlights was in Epcot. While visiting the Living Sea area we stopped to watch the manatees feed. (Sadie is now known as the couch manatee due to her strong resemblance to the gentle sea cow.) As we were watching a burst of bubbles came up from under one of the manatees - you guessed a manatee fart. It's just not everyday you get to witness a manatee fart. We also each found a hidden mickey in the living seas exhibit (a great start to our vacation).

Michael in Mexico, part of the World Showcase at Epcot.


Another trip highlight (definitely Michael's favorite activity) - a 2 hour Segway tour of Epcot. We were inside learning how to ride the Segway for about 20 minutes and then they took our group of 8 outside for a tour of the World Showcase. The World Showcase of the park was closed to the general public, so the paths were deserted - perfect for Segway riding. The Segway is so sensitive you don't even have to lean forward to get it to move forward, just push your toes down. To move backwards you push your heels down. It only took about 5 minutes to get comfortable on it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Michael playing in a water feature in Epcot - part of the Test Track area. Due to a quick rain shower we didn't get to ride test track, but I did find a hidden mickey while in line. Can you find it in the photo of the workbench?

Disney Studio Madness

Monday we spent the morning at Disney MGM Studios. The park is a cross between Hollywood at DCA and Universal Studios. Lots of fun props, but not very many rides/shows.

The mock subway station looked almost exactly like the real thing in NYC. Michael had his Metro card ready. I wanted to take Herbie for a spin, but the doors were locked! The storm trooper released Michael after a brief questioning - he didn't know anything about a secret rebel base camp.


We left in the afternoon (yes it stopped raining) and headed to Animal Kingdom for a few hours. Animal Kingdom was fantastic. It had great theming - we needed an entire day there, not just 2 hours. The photos is from the centerpoint of the park, the Tree of Life. It has over 325 animals carved in to the trunk - including a hidden mickey (which I didn't find).

Happy Birthday Princess

Here come the photos - is this the modern equivalent of the 60's vacation slide show?

I had a busy birthday. We started the day at the Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella saved us a table at her castle and we dined with a host of Princesses. Of course we were the only adults without children in the room. This lunch is a dream for any little girl, not only are you eating a fancy lunch inside Cinderella Castle, you get to meet princesses and Fairy Godmother!

You start lunch with a Cinderella photo op. The inside of the castle was exactly what Cinderella's castle should look like - those Disney designers think of everything. Way up in one corner you catch sight of Gus and Jacques.

Once seated I was given a birthday card all the Princesses signed and a birthday cakelette. I think my favorite is Fairy Godmother, you have a magic wand and a comfortable dress.



After playing around the Magic Kingdom we headed to Epcot for dinner. World Showcase has so many good places to eat! From Epcot we went and played miniature golf. Mini golf was great. The course was super easy, well decorated and completely empty. We each had 4 hole-in-ones at the end of the night. The theme was Santa on vacation - it really couldn't have been any cuter.

Week of a Million Dreams

Just when you thought the updates had stopped - I'm back.

The blog updates had to wait until I was back in a blogging frame of mind.

Michael and I spent 6 days at Walt Disney World this February. We planned 5 days, but Mother Nature felt we needed one more day of vacation - a large snow storm in the Northeast left us without a flight home but with one more night to play.

Disney World is overwhelming. It is so large and there are so many things to do compared to Disneyland. It took us a little while to get used to the transportation system. Lots of buses! They also have the monorail and ferry boats (well they have fairies too, but they can't get you from place to place).


We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, the hotel is themed after lodges in the Pacific Northwest - it reminded us of the big hotel in Yosemite Valley.

We had a great time and we did so much! It wasn't crowded and the weather was great. I can't imagine the crowds and humidity in the summer time. I'll stick to 'value season' when visiting, thank you. Not only did we avoid the crowds, but we got a smoking deal on the hotel/park ticket package.