Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our 2013 Disney World Trip, Day 1

We are back from our trip to Disney World.  The trip was awesome but it has taken me a couple of days to recover.  It is a 9 hour drive and it seems like much longer on the way home.  I am happy to be home but I am sad our trip is over.

We had sunny or partly cloudy warm weather every day.  In fact, it was a little too warm for me.  To combat the heat we went to the parks after lunch and stayed late into the night.  We participated in the MagicBand Fastpass + test program.  I knew the rides that typically have longer wait times and those were the ones I scheduled for fastpasses (up to 3/day).  This program worked out better for us since we like to go to the parks later in the day.  Normally by the time we get to the park, the fastpasses for the popular rides already distributed.  I also enjoyed the ease of using the band for all purchases during our trip.  I didn't have to hunt for the Disney card, credit card or cash during checkout.  I could tap my wrist band to the scanner, enter my code and pay for my purchase.
On day one we went to Epcot.  We had an early dinner reserved at Via Napoli Ristorante.  I had made reservations through the program mentioned earlier.  There was a long line waiting in the heat to be seated and it was not moving.  Reservations are definitely a must.  We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner.  It was one of the better dining experiences we have had at Disney.  I thought the decor was beautiful and I loved the chandelier at the lobby.  I ordered the brick oven pizza.  It is one of their specialties.

The annual Food and Wine Festival was occurring where each country has booths setup where they sell and promote their specialities.  Normally Epcot is my favorite park next to Magic Kingdom but this year it was too crowded.  It was shoulder to shoulder crowds through the countries.  Combine that with excessive alcohol consumption from the festival compacted by the heat and it made for a miserable experience.  The place smelled of vomit and alcohol.  It made us all nauseated.  We have been going to Disney this time of year for the past 6 years and it has never been this crowded or unruly at the festival.  We rode a couple more rides on this side of the park and moved on to the other side AWAY from the festival.  

A quick stop in China.  We normally watch them perform but we missed it this year.

We rode the Norway Viking ride.  This is a boat ride with a twist where you go backwards.  It is surprisingly a fun ride.  We had a fastpass and it was needed.

This ride is tucked away inside the pyramid in Mexico.  It is a boat ride through an eye pleasing colorful display of Donald Duck and his friends.   This is one you do not need to miss.  No fastpass is usually needed.  We waited 10 minutes.

As we walked from the countries back to the other side we noticed this huge vat of cranberries.  It was interesting to say the least.

Soarin is located inside The Land.  Inside is a cafe, restaurant, movie, boat ride (Living with the Land) and Soarin.  We had a fastpass for Soarin and it was needed.  It had a 90 minute wait time when we arrived.  Even with our fastpass we waited 15 minutes.  This ride is awesome.  It simulates flying and smells wonderful when you fly over the orange fields.  We all ride it and love it.  We tried to ride Living with the Land but it was not running.

Nemo and Friends is another fun ride.  No fastpass was needed here.   We walked right on.

I love the way Disney decorates for Halloween.  This is one of the reasons we go this time of year.  All of the Halloween decorations are too cute.

Last year Test Track was shut down for remodeling.  This year we were able to ride the new and improved version.  All I can say is WOW.  Oh and we want the Corvette at the end.  It even matches Joel's shoes.  We had fastpasses and they were needed.  We waited 15 minutes with our passes.

The first year we went to Epcot we missed Spaceship Earth.  It is the ride inside the huge golf ball.  It is possible to walk right by if you are not looking but you can not skip it.  It is a slow inclining car that twists up through the inside of the ball and then back down.  It tells the story of our technological/industrial evolution.  At the end it asks you questions and places you in the story about the future.  This is Jake's favorite ride at Epcot.  No fastpass is usually needed.  We walked right on.

When you exit the ride, you will see this large globe.  Stop and observe because your picture will appear jumping from your home location as you can see below.  It is really neat.

We had only one day planned at Epcot and we packed it full.  We stayed until the park closed.  It was much nicer once the sun went down and the temperature dropped.  To finish the night off we stopped at the Electric Umbrella Cafe for a late night snack before heading back to the room.  Day one of our Disney World trip is now a part of history.  :(

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Hump Day!

Hello blog world we are half way through the week.  You know what that means.... it is Hump Day.  I was driving by the fair and saw this little fellow.  Isn't he the sweetest and most precious camel you have ever seen?  Okay, he is the first one I have ever seen in person but he is cute.  I could not help myself.  In the spirit of Halloween, I had to dress him up a bit with a Halloween hat.

I took some pictures of the rides and tried out some of the software effects on the pictures.  The HDR setting is cool.  I think it makes this picture look even more beautiful.  It was a beautiful day already but this enhances the clouds and colors to make it pop.

I took this close up of the ferris wheel which I believe is absolutely gorgeous.

I went back at night to take some pictures but these did not turn out as nice.  These are slightly blurred.  Oh well, I still like the colors.

Till next time, Jo.

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Small Fall Town

I live in a small town and every holiday the city decorates main street and some other key areas.  City hall has a fall scene of pumpkins and hay.


There is a place in the center of town selling gorgeous mums.  I threw in a picture of the courthouse simply because I think it is a classic beautiful old southern building.  The city park even has some fall decor....bows and scarecrows.

You can't have fall without having the county-wide town fair.  It is pulling into town next week.  The trailers are starting to park at the fair grounds.  I will have to take my kids.  It can't be ignored since it is on our way to school.  The entire county goes on family night, usually Thursday.  It is normally standing room only.  You would think Disney had pulled into town.  

Take care and check back soon,

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Easy Low Calorie Pizza

Let me start by saying I am not a cook.  I usually burn everything I attempt to make.  Everyone used to pick on me by saying they knew I was cooking if they saw the fire trucks going by.  However, this is so simple and easy even I can do it.  As an added bonus it is low calorie compared to most pizzas but it does not have the low calorie taste.  That is why it is my favorite homemade pizza.

The ingredients are whole grain sandwich rounds, pizza sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings.  I love olives so I always use those.

The total calories for my pizza is around 250.  Depending on the toppings and amount of cheese you add it can go up or down slightly from there.

This is before placing in the oven with all of the toppings......

Place in preheated oven at 475F for approximately 7 minutes or until the sandwich round is slightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Remove and enjoy.  In honor of our upcoming trip to Disney World, I indulged in a Mickey Mouse cupcake for dessert!  Can't beat that, um mm good.