Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Little Less Crazy

Tuesday was a chilly morning in Orlando, so we bundled up and headed over to AK. Did the safari first, and saw hippos, black and white rhinos. Our truck had to stop for a giraffe to cross the road! We also saw one of the baby giraffes, and the baby elephant. I even saw an ostrich for the first time in a long time.

But the best was both cheetahs, each sitting up on a boulder in the sun, pretty close to the road! They just sat there, majestic and beautiful in the sun! We've seen them before, but always up in the trees way back in their area. It was an amazing sight!

(We also had a great driver. I need to write a letter about her and our France waiter.)

Then on to Everest for some fast passes. Then we headed to Rafiki's Planet Watch (or Conservation Station, as we still call it.) We haven't been up there for awhile, so it was nice to visit again. I got a picture with Pochahantas, who was hanging out up there with Rafiki. Also some great little reptiles and amphibians in various exhibits. Then we popped outside (still chilly) to see what was in the Affection Section. Lots of goats and two miniature donkeys that were doing all they could to convince their keepers that they wanted to get back inside their stalls! But back to the goats. There were a few kids who were sitting down on the ground, with goats' heads in their laps taking naps!

A little handwashing and a short train ride, and then we headed to the tiger trail. I never get tired of looking at those big cats!

And then on to the bird show, which I insisted Dwain see for the first time. It really is a great, great show. Some humor, and some eco-inspiration. See it next time you're there!

After that, it was time for Everest -- which was almost too much for me! Don't ask me about the Yeti, because my eyes were closed pretty much starting at the backwards section, and until we got close to the end! Wow!

We were planning to head to the Rainforest bar to eat lunch, but decided to check Yak & Yeti since we were walking by. Lo and behold we walked right in at 12:30 with no ADR. Food was good, building was amazing!

A little shopping on our way out of AK, then back to the hotel to rest, do a little packing and get ready for dinner -- and the Mouse Guest Experience/ AATM Giraffe Hunt meet.

After dinner, we bundled up again and headed to the AK Lodge. We had a great turnout, maybe about 20 or so. We chatted for awhile in the lobby and then headed downstairs. Don't tell Jonathan, but the only thing on the savannah was one hooved animal laying down and some birds! I think Bryan's going to put some of the recording up on the podcast.

Then up to the warmth of the bar, and some more chatting and hanging out. If you weren't there for this, rest assured you'll get to enjoy the company in January when we all meet for the race!

All that was left was some late night packing and early morning packing for me, and I headed off on Magical Express to come back to Michigan -- where the temp is only a little colder than Florida was!

Dwain is continuing his vacation solo for another two days. He'll hit Rock N Roller and Thunder Mtn again -- and who knows what else!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crazy Disney

Hi everyone! Although it's a short trip for me, and I did not intend to cram a lot in while I was here, it's been a little crazy -- like all Disney trips can be!

I arrived on Sunday afternoon, took Magical Express to the Boardwalk, dumped my stuff and walked over to the Studios to meet my husband Dwain.

We had a nice, enjoyable stroll around DHS, rode Star Tours and watched the Muppets. We also kept looping by Toy Story Mania to check the wait time - generally around 90-120 minutes. He did not want to stand in line for that long. But I finally convinced him later in the evening -- and he loved it of course!!

On Monday, we popped over to Epcot and ate and drank around the Food and Wine Festival with the Mouse Guest gang. It was a nice leisurely stroll on a sunny day. Bryan, Dustin and Marissa were there to represent the Mouseketeers. (And aside from the Mango Mousse, it didn't kill my Weight Watchers points for the day!)

Dwain and I had an early dinner at France, and had a wonderful waiter who I chatted with using my high school French! He was great -- I'm going to write a letter about him to WDW! It's one of my husband's favorite Disney restaurants, and we denoted it as his official birthday dinner -- without the hoopla -- he hates hoopla -- I love hoopla! His birthday is October 31, yes, Halloween.

After that, we hopped the monorail over to MK which was going to be open until 11. We met Rae, her husband Eric, their friends from England and Bryan. We all rode Space Mtn first, then the England crew headed back to the hotel. The five us continued a leisurely, Florida night stroll around MK. After Space, we stopped at Mrs. Potts for my traditional choc/van swirl cone. Then on to Haunted, Thunder and Pirates. We wanted to do Jungle Cruise also, but it was closed.

Then we headed to the Partners statue -- another tradition of mine -- I always have to say thank-you and goodbye to Walt and Mickey on my last MK night. We also lucked out and saw the goodnight kiss from the castle, which I had never seen before.

And then we headed down Main Street to our buses -- standing room only, of course -- and back to the hotel to collapse!

I work out, I run -- how can my legs be so tired and achey after a Disney day?!!!!??

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weigh In Tomorrow

So I've just about finished my first week on Weight Watchers, and it was easier than I thought. Considering I'm someone who isn't really good at following a diet, I've found that I've been able to make pretty good decisions all week. I've turned down some snacks that I never thought I would be able to ignore! So I'm hoping to see a weight loss on Saturday when I weigh in!

On Sunday, I am off to Disney World for a few days! My husband will be there all week -- he hasn't been back in more than a year, so he's really looking forward to a wonderful week. He hasn't seen the new Haunted Mansion, new Spaceship Earth, and Toy Story Mania! And neither of us has seen Stormstruck or the garbage truck exhibit in Innoventions.

I'm there for just a few days, due to work and the needs of our 19-year old cat Sasha, and her stepcatbrother/mortal enemy Chatter! I will get to go to one or two Mouse Guest Experience meets, and the AATM Giraffe Hunt -- I know, I know, I'm a lucky girl!

This will be my husband's first experience with an Internet community meet -- and he's a little leary! I think until you experience the friendliness and comraderie at a meet, it's hard to believe that you could have such a good time with total strangers! And then very quickly, you are thinking of everyone as new friends!

It is such a cool experience -- I am looking forward to watching him experience it for the first time. I'll let you know how he reacts!

I'll post some trip reports every day, and will also try and keep my Twitter updates going up.
(If you are not using Twitter, check it out. It's really easy and pretty fun. I'm DebWDW over there, if you try it out.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day Five

Despite all this working out at the gym and long runs on the weekend, I have been stuck on a weight plateau for months and months and months.

Although I have drastically improved the quality of the food I eat over the past year, I knew I was eating too much good stuff, plus some junk on top of that. But I couldn't stop eating!

And no, I wasn't hungry because of the working out. I was just eating out of habit and some strange mental urge that I can't explain.

So, on Saturday I went to a Weight Watchers meeting. I've always thought of it as a good program since they emphasize nutrition, exercise and portion-control.

But all last week, as I was planning to start the program, I kept thinking "This is the last cookie I'll have for awhile," and the "last dessert" and the last plate of peanut butter crackers and the last hunk of sourdough bread.

But I'm on Day Five now, and it's not that bad!!

So far, the program is doing what I hoped it would -- it's making me pay attention and it's reduced the amount of food I'm eating.

I've already seen the scale move down a little, so I think I'm on the right track!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Last Sunday of The Summer

Well, I think our extended Michigan summer is about to run out. It was sunny and nice today, but colder than last weekend. When I headed to the park for my Elevator Tower of Corn run, I wore workout pants over my running shorts, and a long-sleeved tee over my running shirt. I fully expected to take them both off, once the afternoon sun kicked in.

But, although it was sunny, there was a brisk wind coming off the lake. I was fine in my layers until the last two miles. Then I needed more layers!!

I planned to try and do my second 13-mile run today -- did the first one a few weeks ago. I felt pretty good the first five miles. Miles 6, 7 and 8 were tougher, but I made it. For miles 9 and 10 there was more walking than running. And then I did walk the last two miles. I really, really wanted to squeeze out that last mile to hit 13, but I was getting chilled since I was only walking. So I headed home. And hit the couch for a nap.

I feel good about the effort, and am glad we have 80+ days left for more training.

Let's all keep on moving forward!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Time To Go Back

So I randomly opened my Disney reference book to the food section, and landed in Epcot. This time it is the UK's Rose & Crown, and Mexico's San Angel Inn.

My husband and I have have been on a mission to eat at all the WDW table-service restaurants, and we only have about 10 to go. So, since we've been working on this goal for several years, it has been awhile since we've been to these two spots.

First, the R&C. I was afraid to go in here -- you know, bangers and mash, kidney pie. But we did, and I think I was able to order something fairly uneventful! I do remember liking the surroundings and feel of the place, but actually don't remember the food.

We've eaten in Mexico several times. Obviously it's a cool environment, being in the low light and on the water of the boat ride. But I remember the tables being pretty jammed together. And the food seemed to be pretty authentic, rather than Americanized. And since I am not a very adventurous eater, once again, nothing stands out as something I loved.

Needless to say -- I really should go back to these two -- but it will have to be after we finish all the others that are still on our list!

I bet you are wondering which ones are still on the list. Here they are:

(1) Norway
(2) Germany
(3) Yak & Yeti
(4) Cap'N Jack's (Downtown Disney)
(5) T-Rex
(6) Wolfgang Puck
(7) Shutters - Caribbean Beach
(8) The Wave - Contemporary
(9) Trail's End -- I feel like I've eaten here, but have no proof!
(10) Maya Grill - Coronado Springs
(11) Victoria & Albert's -- Yes, that will be the last one -- Our reward!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Late To The Party

I have gotten so hooked on Twitter. Okay, I know everyone else got hooked long ago, Twittered away, and some have appeared to move on to Plurk.

But I just recently took the time to spend some time using it -- and now I see what all the hubbub was about!

It's very cool to get little Twitters about what Disney fans are thinking and doing throughout the day. It's sort of like mini-blogging.

Boy, what's next for me? An iPhone? DisFriends? FaceBook?

P.S. My Twitter name is DebWDW, if you want to follow me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

West End Boo Boo

So I opened one of my Disney travel guides to a random page to blog about, and lo and behold I landed on the Pleasure Island and West Side pages! Really, it was totally random.

When PI first opened there was a restaurant there named the Fireworks Factory, down on the east end. I think it was pretty good -- and the decor was sort of like eating in the Muppets attraction -- red brick and holes in the walls from fireworks explosions.

I also remember the country music club, Wild Horse something or another? I have a beer cup from there. It was cool and popular for awhile, especially when line dancing was popular.

Now, on to the West Side. I'll tell you an embarrassing story about Bongos, Gloria Estefan's cuban restaurant. We had eaten there, and were walking outside, and there were some little kiosks/booths there that were selling trinkets that I started looking at.

Well, there was a cuban-looking guy in a white suit with a white panama hat also hanging out there. Thinking he was "streetmosphere," I said a few things to him and might have tossed out the name Ricky Ricardo. Unfortunately, he did not react like streetmosphere, and I quickly realized my mistake! He WASN'T streetmosphere!!!!

Clearly West Side was not quite as "Disney-fied" as the Studios!

Also at West Side is DisneyQuest, which I really like. We don't do it every trip, but it can be a fun place to spend a few hours. Does anyone remember that when it first opened, there was a tunnel slide that ran from the top floor down to the bottom, with maybe one stop in the middle? I was never brave enough to try it before they took it out -- it was way too dark and hard to know how fast you would end up going.

I also liked the remote control jeeps on the bottom floor. The glass floor is still there, but the jeeps all eventually wore out -- they just removed them instead of putting money back into them.

Also on the West Side is Cirque du Soleil. Love it! Love it! Love it! If you ever get a chance to see it, do. It's a beautiful, artistic, imaginative show -- well worth the time and money.

That's it for my thoughts on pages 186 and 187!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Two Gems

I listened to the latest Mouse Station podcast this morning. Mark, Mike and Andrew shared their memories and feelings about the Adventurers Club. Mark also had some interviews with some of the cast members from the Club.

I think they did a great job of explaining why the Club has so many fans. One thing that struck a chord with me, was that it's a place where you can freely join in and quickly pick up on what all the regulars know -- the inside jokes, the lingo, the songs. It seems like we all have a desire to fit in and be part of a group -- and you can do that at the AC.

I feel the same way about being a Mouseketeer and a Team Voicer -- I feel like I fit in with a group, a group of people who accept me and support me!

This afternoon, I'm listening to Those Darn Cats, the new episode where Lisa was in Marcelline for Toonfest. She has a lot of great audio -- she takes us along on tours and meals and drives and events. It's really neat! And as a bonus, we get to hear our very own Jeff W, who was also there that weekend!

Take a listen!