Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Disney Store Is No More!

I went to the mall today to get my second replacement for my original green iPod Nano. (Long story, but let's hope third time's a charm.)

I thought I would pop into the Disney Store to see what was new -- but discovered that my Disney Store was gone!!!

How can that be? It's a nice mall that is doing very well and is full of lots of popular stores -- Apple, Aveda, Bebe, Hollister, Sunglass Hut, Macys, Lord & Taylor, etc.

My Disney Store has been there forever, since the stores were first created. It was there when the store staff were "cast members" and wore those cute sweaters and skirts. It was there when Disney Stores had collectibles, like watches and cells. It was there in the heyday of animation, when I would pre-order a VHS tape and show up at the store before the mall opened to pick it up. It was there when all the stores had a big pile of plush in the back of the store, with a video screen showing Disney movies.

But now, it's not there. I can't believe I am now in that group of consumers that doesn't have a neighborhood Disney Store. My sister's been in that group for years -- but not me -- I had a Disney Store. And now I don't.

This is not good.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Okay Movie Ride

Wow, I last blogged on Sunday. Hard to believe I couldn't think of anything to say all week?! I'll try to be a little more talkative in the future!

I've been thinking about the Great Movie Ride. I think because I heard some ride audio on a podcast recently. It's not a favorite ride of mine - not a must-do every trip. And the seats are too stiff for it to be a good "A/C rest/nap" ride.

It sure could use some updating. Which scenes would you keep or delete? Personally, I'm all for putting some more Disney movie references in the pre-show, post-show and in the ride.

I think I'll put a post up on the forums, so we can go wild re-designing the ride!

Hope everyone has good weather this weekend, and takes advantage of an opportunity to do a long run!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lucky 7

Today was my weekly long run. I survived 7 miles, in 1 hour and 40 minutes -- about a 14.5 minute pace.

It was fabulous Michigan weather! Mid 70s, great breeze off the lake at the metro park I run at, lots of shade, but some sections of sun. Perfect!

I had added two new songs to my iPod Shuffle that I use for running -- the music from Soarin' -- very cool. I visualized the parts of the movie as the music played.

The other song was Clocks from Coldplay. Get it, clocks? Time? Half marathon? Actually, I didn't put two and two together until I heard it while running -- I just like the song!

My iPod Shuffle has about 30 songs that either give me energy or make me feel happy when I hear them -- just what I need to get through a long run!

Some of the others are songs from High School Musical and the Jonas Brothers. Also a couple from Barenaked Ladies, Guster and Kevin Hearn. And several from one of my new favorite bands, Carbon Leaf.

Let's have a good week of mileage and breathing hard!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time To Ramp It Up!

So I'm back in the real world this week, and back to the gym. It hasn't been too bad getting back on track.

We're now halfway through our year of training. Before my Florida trip, I had run 6.75 miles, half of the race. So on the one hand, I've made good progress so far.

But, on the other hand, the SECOND 6.50 miles is going to be tougher than the first!! And in the second half of the race is when we are really going to feel the Florida heat and humidity.

So it's time to RAMP UP my training -- tougher muscle work, more cardio work, and more running.

We're all in this together! Let's go for it!!!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Second Weekend

Friday night I left Tampa after a week of work and headed to Orlando for my second weekend in the bubble!

Last weekend was Saratoga, this weekend was Beach Club. I checked in and headed to the room. Did a quick change and quick pack of my backpack, and off I went to MK! It was going to be open until 2 a.m. -- could I last that long?!!

Hopped on the train when I got in to avoid the Main St madness. Got off at Toontown, and watched the train, Roy -- great looking train -- head backwards into the roundhouse for the night. Next time I'm in at WDW, I am definitely going to do the behind-the-scenes train tour!

Then took the scenic path to Tomorrowland. Did TTA, Carousel of Progress (it's not that bad), Buzz and Philharmagic three times! I always forget about Phil when I am asked what my favorite attraction is -- and that is officially it!! Then Thunder, Haunted and a Fast Pass for Peter Pan at 1 a.m.! Left the park at about 1:30.

Slept in the next morning, but still managed a 2-mile run out in front of Y&B. Good start to the day! Epcot in the morning - Nemo, Crush, Soarin', Imagination. Maelstrom was down, bummer.

Then bus to AKL, then bus to AK. Walked right up to the Rainforest bar for lunch, no ADR. You can almost always do that if there's one or two of you. Delicious and nice and cool! I had a big salad, although I love the barbecue wrap. Also managed to turn down dessert!

My mission for AK was to stop and smell the roses, I mean banana leaves, and get some pics -- just try to "see" more details -- and to see the parade, finally! In 10-12 trips to AK, I had never managed to see the parade -- and I love parades!

Strolled thru the Oasis, now called Discovery Island. Headed over to Dino-land. I really like the theming -- I think it's fun and funny. Then over to the bird show -- wonderful, wonderful show -- catch it if you've missed it!! Chatted with a Taiwan cast member while waiting for parade. I liked the parade, it had good music, the cast in the parade seemed to be having fun -- but as usual, it was blazin' hot and steamy at AK!

Then I headed over to Asia to see the tigers -- love them, could watch them for hours. For some reasons the gorillas make me sad, but I just love the tigers.

Mission accomplished! Back to BC for a quick dip in the pool, then back to the Studios for a few hours. Unfortunately, since it was about 8 p.m. when I got there (open til 10), the Streetmosphere characters were done for the day, and I never saw any Star Wars characters out either. And Toy Story Mania had a 90-minute wait, with all FPs gone for the day. So I meandered for awhile, did Little Mermaid, and then headed back via boat.

Sunday morning -- Father's Day -- hope it was a good one for all you dads! Today I ran 3 miles, first over to Epcot and then back in front of Y&B, then on to DHS and back and then along the boardwalk in front of Boardwalk, and back to Y&B. Sounds like it should be a 100 miles, doesn't it?!! It wasn't, it was 3 miles. (I set out hoping to do 5, but it was getting hot and sunny by the time I did 3.)

Finished packing, loaded up the car and drove to Poly to have a late breakfast at Kona. Quite yummy and no guilt. Then monorail to MK. It was fun to watch all the dads in particular today, and there were lots of mentions of Happy Fathers Day by a lot of the CM announcers at various spots.

Did TTA, Fantasyland carousel, the Tiki Room and had a Dole Whip to end the weekend!

Now I'm at the aiport, about to head back to Michigan and the real world.

And back to the real world of training!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Problem With Being Single

I meant to tell you about my last ride on Toy Story Mania last weekend. Once again, I was a single rider. On previous rides, I was lucky enough to be in line with odd-numbered families that I struck up conversations with. Then when we got on the ride, I was comfortable riding with them and we all had fun -- as if I was part of the family!

On my last ride, no such luck. I had an odd-numbered family ahead of me, but they didn't seem interested in chatting. Sure enough, I got to ride with the dad.

Now this was my fourth ride, so I was getting better. In the first game, my score was waaaay higher than his. But that made me feel bad. So during the next few games, I actually tried to miss targets on purpose!

What am I, nuts?!!! I cared about making this dad feel bad, this dad I would never see again?!

But, sure enough, I kept sandbagging until he was assured of scoring more than me!!

What a strange ride for me, and kind of a waste of valuable time. I don't EVEN want to think about the psychology of it all!!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Taste of Star Wars

Okay, so for you Star Wars fans, here's a few pics. I'll try to get more next weekend.

I mentioned that I attended Matt's Studio Central dinner, and that he had a SW Trivia contest for kids, and then for adults. To be supportive, I joined 8-10 people who went up to the front of the room to participate, although I did announce ahead of time that I was going to answer every question with "Princess Leia"! But that was after I nicely asked Matt if he could throw in some Harry Potter questions! Needless to say, the answer to that one was no.

Would you believe it, the real answer to the first question was Princess Leia?!! But I was out on the next question, when I could only think of one SW planet -- Endor from Star Tours!

And then about 10-12 questions later, the answer to the tiebreaker for 2nd-3rd place was "Princess Leia"!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Trip Report - Day Two

So, after I finished my too-short, too-hard weekly long run early this morning, I had a light snack, got all spiffy and headed over to Epcot. Spaceship Earth had a pretty long line, so I headed over to Soarin' to get an FP, which turned out to be for 1:15. Then over to Nemo, but the clammobiles were down. Popped into Imagination -- I know it's not the original, and it does need Dream Finder -- but I still think there's a lot of creativity and edutainment in the ride.

Next was the 25th anniversary Epcot exhibit in Communicore -- in the room previously used for Segway training. It was really good -- great, old artwork and sketches, some models and opening day costumes. I'm really glad I got to see it.

Then a little shopping in Mouse Gears and back to SEarth. I have to say, I do enjoy the little video at the end more with people's heads on the cartoon bodies. It does make the video funnier. There were big crowds playing all the games in the post-show, so Siemens has got to be happy about that.

Back to Nemo, love Peach at the end! I'd like to see a list of all her lines. Then it was time for Soarin' -- once again on the bottom row -- but it's still a great ride. Grabbed a quick bite at Sunshine Seasons, and back to Saratoga.

After I cooled off from the 95+ heat, I headed over to the Studios. Saw a little Streetmosphere -- one new character I had never seen before. I think she was a funny Gloria Swanson type character -- she really did have some great lines. Then off to Muppets to cool off!

At 5:30, I headed over to the Backstage Tour area. Matt Hochberg of WDW Today hosted a Star Wars Studio Central dinner, and I had signed up to go since it coincided with my time down here. I didn't know anyone who was going to be there other than Matt and Lou who was also on a "research trip." But I have learned that the podcast community is very easy to chat with, and the dinner was in a backstage soundstage, and I could not resist the opportunity to get backstage!

It was a really nice group, great food, and an amazing soundstage with tons and tons of props from productions and park events/attractions. There was stuff from the Epcot millennium parade, puppets from the Lion King show in MK, a Home Improvement lawn tractor, and several things none of us could figure out.

After dinner, a quick ride on Toy Story Mania and a viewing of One Man's Dream. Then back to Saratoga to pack. I'm driving to Tampa early Monday morning, and then will have to live in the real world for a week, before I head back to WDW on Friday night.

[Just remembered, it was a Star Wars weekend! Saw Storm Troopers, sand people, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, some bad troop guys and the bounty hunter girl who wears dark purple and black. Sorry I have no clue who most of them are, but it was pretty fun to see them and they really interacted with the crowds well.]

Trip Report - Day One

Yesterday was the first of four weekend days at WDW. So far I haven't seen Dishippy or Mongello, but I'm keeping my eyes open.

I flew in yesterday, grabbed Chik-Fil-A at the airport (yummmmm) and then headed straight to the Studios. I rode Toy Story Mania twice, with wait times of 45-50 minutes. Great ride as you all have heard! Then off to Little Mermaid and Writers Stop for a snack. I got some good Star Wars character pics. Then to Saratoga to check in, and bus to MK.

I love MK at night -- the lights, the balmy air. Hit the Art of Disney store on Main Street, then off to Philharmagic during the parade and TTA during the fireworks. (I really don't like the big booms.) Side trip over to ToonTown to pick up a Powerade for my Sunday long run. Used an FP on Peter Pan (I still do not understand my love of this ride) and then to Thunder Mountain.

Then I did something I have never done before -- Jungle Cruise at night! I liked being on the water in darkness, although it was hard to see the scenes (maybe a blessing?). We had a SUPER guide, Humberto. He was hilarious, and made some jokes I had not heard before! Excellent cruise!!

After that, a family who was on the cruise with me beelined over to Aladdin's carpets, and I followed them. We got on at about 1 minute til closing. I don't get to ride the carpets (or Dumbo) very often, since I don't want to take up a kid's spot in line. But it really is a cool ride -- now I remember why the lines are so long all the time.

Took the big, crowded bus back to SS, and tried to get some good sleep before it was time for my Sunday morning run.

[It's now Sunday morning, my 6 a.m. wakeup turned into a 7 a.m. wakeup. And my 5-mile run turned into a slow 2.25 mile run. But at least I did it, and I did get a taste of running in the Florida humidity.]

On the Master Planning Spreadsheet for today (Sunday) is Epcot and the Studios!

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's On The MPS

So tomorrow morning (Saturday) at the crack of dawn, I am flying to Orlando! Woo hoo!

I'll be at WDW on Saturday and Sunday, then will drive to Tampa Monday morning for a week of work, then back to WDW on Friday night for a second weekend.

Like Will from the Magic Never Ends podcast, my husband and I usually do what Will calls a "master planning spreadsheet." We list extra magic hours, ADRs, and plan out which parks on what days. And on my MPS this time are two time slots for my weekly long runs!

As some of you know, it's tough to decide how much of a workout to do at Disney, and how to fit in workouts if you do decide to do them. We're walking SOOOO much that our legs are tired and knees are sore, so it doesn't seem like a good idea to go run a few miles!

But I don't want to skip two weekends of long runs -- I don't want to lose momentum in my training. So I bit the bullet and put two long runs on my schedule.

I'm planning to do them at 6 a.m., so I don't lose too much in-the-park time. Plus it will certainly be cooler at the crack of dawn.

I'll post some trip reports and some pics while I'm there, to bring you a taste of the World until your next trip!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Want My Medal!

Today was my weekly "test myself," "pretend I'm at Disney World," long run. If you remember, last week I THOUGHT I had done enough for the next Duck medal from Jeff W. But it turned out I did 6.50 miles, and I needed 6.55 to get a new medal! Arrgghhhhh!!

So today, as usual, I added .25 to last week's run, which means I really DO get a new medal this week!! Send it on over Jeff!!

Thanks to some food advice from Rae, and learning from my run last week, I had an easier time of it today. I still don't know how in the world I am going to get through 13 miles, but at least we do have a few months left to work up to it!

I run at a Metro Park which has a 7-mile paved bike/walking path around a lake. It's a beautiful place, a little hilly, and today there was a nice breeze blowing across the lake. And since it's Michigan, and not really summer yet, it was a balmy 67 degrees. Excellent running weather!