Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Plethora of Princesses

What would Disney be without its princesses? And what would a visit to a Disney property be without some good Princess photo ops? We had two Princess themed meals, the first at the Akershus Norwegian restaurant in Epcot and the second at Cinderella's castle in the Magic Kingdom. Most of the princesses were the same between the two locations, there were a few notable differences. While the lack of a scanner prevents me from putting in their signatures for a side-by-side comparison, we took plenty of photos, as shown below. The ones in which Emie is in black are from the Akershus, the ones in white are from the castle.

Belle (Emie's favorite)

Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)

Jasmine (I was saying Rajah, which is why my smile is so goofy in this picture)

Ariel (Who has a great signature, incidentally)

Snow White (Ain't the dress perfect?)

Cinderella (in Florida, it's her castle)










And, of course, my favorite princess of all:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our Disney SCUBA adventure

Okay, I've put this off way too long now. It's time to start documenting the rest of our Disney adventures. Rather than a chronological approach or a "land-by-land" approach, I'm going to make use of the over 500 pictures/film clips we took while there and create a Disney photo essay.

I'm going to start with what I think Emie and I both agree was the biggest, coolest thing about the trip as a whole - Disney Divequest.


video

video
Yes, as Dad explains in the first video, we're just "people who paid a bunch of money to swim with the fishies," or in our case got Mom and Dad to pay a bunch of money so we could do so. Still, as our first dive since we got certified back in July of '07, it was a fantastic experience, especially since our certification dives were in a hot spring without any life other than us in it. With sharks, rays, beautiful fish and even a couple of endangered turtles, this aquarium dive was truly a wonderful opportunity.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Disney Day 1

So, here I am in a hotel room on the 11th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort through which a monorail runs to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. My parents (THANK YOU!!!) have brought Emie (Aunt Jill abbreviated Emilee's name that way and we likes it) and me along to Disney World for a week-long vacation/graduation party/early anniversary party. Lemme tell ya, getting here was NOT an easy matter.

Yesterday began with frantic turning in of graduate school app. materials and my usual Monday classes. After that, things got interesting. We got to the airport on schedule (Thanks, Mom Roach!) and got on our plane on schedule. This is when things ceased to happen on schedule.

The plane needed some more hydraulic fluid for some system, so we sat . . . and sat . . . and sat on the tarmac waiting for hydraulic fluid. We were to have 30 minutes of layover time in Denver before boarding our plane to Orlando. Instead, between waiting for Mr. Hydraulico to show up, to pump the fluid and (gotta love this part) waiting for the PAPERWORK to go through documenting the hydraulic fluid's insertion, we found ourselves scheduled to arrive in the Denver airport 3 minutes after boarding was to begin for our plane. Problem? I think so.

Thankfully, the gate at which we arrive (gate B20 - take good note) isn't too very far from the gate which we need to reach (gate B36). After landing even later than they had said, Emilee and I made a mad dash through the airport at maximum possible speed. We are hardly in the best of shape under the best of circumstances and my cold made these not the best of circumstances. We arrive, coughing up a lung and gasping for a death rattle of a breath, just barely in time to get on the plane with Mom and Dad(THANK YOU!!!). We get on the plane, they close the doors . . . and we wait.

We cough for a while, chat with Mom and Dad (THANK YOU!!!) for a while, watch the lighting flicker for a while and, boiling it all down, sit around for a while waiting for the plane to get going. After half an hour or so, they announce that, instead of trying to fix the mechanical problem they were having with that plane, we were now moving to a new one at gate B24. Quick memory check - at which gate did we land? Don't look back at that paragraph up there, cheater! That's right, B20.

With all that, our plane leaves over an hour after it was supposed to. So, instead of killing ourselves running 16 gates for a 6:57 departure, we could have made a leisurely saunter (heck, we could have crabwalked or slithered!) to a plane 4 gates down and waited for an hour. But, life goes on, we get to the hotel at about 3:00 AM, get to sleep between 4 and 6 AM, depending which of us you talk to, life is good.

This being Emie's first trip to WDW (my 3rd), we woke up at 7:00 AM (note times above to get average sleep time calculations) to go hit EPCOT. Photos and detailed descriptions will be forthcoming at a time when I'm not so darn sleepy.

Major highlight: Akershus Norwegian Buffet. Mom and Dad (THANK YOU!!!) have done so much for us for this trip (and other things ((THANK YOU!!!)) ) that we decided to do a little something special for them. Thus, I called up EPCOT's cake hotline (can you believe each park has a specific hotline dedicated to nothing but ordering custom cakes?!?!) a few days ago to arrange for a surprise for Mom and Dad as a way of saying THANK YOU!!!. I tell them that my parents are celebrating their anniversary (I don't mention that it's really a 31&1/2th anniversary) and I order a special chocolate cake for the occasion. I am told (rather brusquely, I'm afraid) that I cannot pay for this cake over the phone, but will pay for it at the time of the meal. Thus indicating to me that Mom and Dad (THANK YOU!!!) would be paying for it. Not exactly what we were hoping for.

SO, Emie and I headed to the restaurant a little early to make sure the details are ironed out - Yes, we'll be the ones wearing pins, but this cake is for the parents. They make a note in the system ("CAKE IS FOR OLDER COUPLE, NOT FOR YOUNGER COUPLE. Surprize (sic) from son!") and they say they'll give us a separate receipt for it.

Little did we realize that, even with this advance preparation, it would be REALLY HARD to keep our secret. We get to the lunch appointment together and they hand a ticket to my father for the meal and hand me another ticket with the cake info on it, saying "and you can just keep that to yourself." Dad is, of course, baffled as to why on earth they would be handing me a ticket for something. I'm trying desperately to either figure out a way to explain the situation or abscond with this piece of paper.

We get inside for a picture with Princess Belle (Emie's favorite, incidentally), during which time they have us hand our little pieces of paper (complete with incriminating "6 inch anniversary chocolate cake - Surprize (sic) from son!" on it) to various people who then hand them back to us, thus drawing more attention to it. Somehow, perhaps by divine intervention (if so, THANK YOU . . . errr . . . THEE!!!), we are able to keep Dad from seeing the text on this ticket as we make the final handoff. They bring us to our table and leave the ticket FACE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TABLE! (Thanks a lot!)

Emie now springs into action to protect our secret plot. With a curious "Let me look at that!" she picks up the paper, peruses it for a moment, then places it surreptitiously behind her menu. Time passes. They come to take our orders and, of course, our menus. While Emie reaches for her menu to hand it to the waitress, I dexterously flipped the paper over to the blank side. At last, somebody collected our little piece of evidence from the table. The meal ended, the cake was brought (rated by Mom to be better than anything on the dessert sampler they brought to our table with it), surprize (sic) was evidenced, mission accomplished!

On that note, I'm heading to bed. Photos, details and more fun to follow!

Which classic Superhero are you?

Your results:
You are Superman
Superman
95%
Spider-Man
85%
Green Lantern
70%
Iron Man
60%
Batman
55%
Hulk
55%
Robin
52%
Supergirl
45%
The Flash
45%
Catwoman
35%
Wonder Woman
30%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz