It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label Disney Parks & Resorts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney Parks & Resorts. Show all posts

Friday, October 4, 2019

Happy 49th to Me as I Spend the Day at the Happiest Place on Earth!

My 49th at Disneyland

Living in the midwest, but heading Down Under, means that I had to fly west before I could fly to the Southern Hemisphere. With a nearly 16 hour flight, I didn't want to have the 5 additional hours to get to LA be shortly before hopping on the next plane, so a stopover was called for. Departing for Australia the day after my birthday meant that I really didn't want to also be flying on my birthday, but would much rather spend the day doing something I wanted to do and hadn't been able to do in decades...visit the park that started it all...Disneyland. So I flew to LA two nights early and spent the night of the 3rd in Anaheim across the street from the park. With this trip, I will finally get to experience the park's newest land, which opened back in June...Galaxy's Edge, the new Star Wars addition. I'm pretty excited about it, and can't wait to get back inside my beloved Disneyland. 

As a kid, I always began my day in the park in this space, and then worked my way around. Today I'm headed to a whole new world to start my grand circle tour of this amazing place. Going to get my Han Solo fix and see the Millennium Falcon first.

Single Rider plus right at opening means on the second flight of the morning! That was an awesome experience. I will be doing this one again later!

I've popped across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure and am now just hanging out with my favorite visionary dreamer and the Mouse. I love how this statue is accessible and makes for a great photo spot, unlike the more famous Partners statue in the hub over at Disneyland which is in the center of a large planter and completely inaccessible to guests. I got a similar photo to this one though when we got to visit the Walt Disney Studios for an awesome tour a couple of years ago, as the Partners statue found there is completely accessible in the Courtyard, just as this Dreamers statue is at DCA.

Some people probably wonder how someone could go to a "family" place like Disneyland alone. Well one of the best parts of being solo, is I get to do things that my family doesn't like to do! I LOVE Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and they don't. I've enjoyed it TWICE today...with a Dole Whip each time! AND, it never gets old. I love this show. 😀

Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday, but The Haunted Mansion IS my all-time favorite attraction in the park. So I'm going to declare that this is a Haunted Mansion-themed slice of birthday cake, and not a Halloween one. Since this is my day, I can make that declaration. 😎
(Tomorrow it'll go back to being the other thing for anyone who enjoys it 😅)

It's been such a great way to spend my 49th birthday. I got to be in a place that I love, chat on the phone with people that I love, and just do anything that I wanted going at the pace that I wanted. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quality Resort Time and Family Fun

Coloring, scrapbooking, reading, and baking cookies. What a fun, relaxing kind of evening in the room, after a fun-filled day at the water park. As much as I love the theme parks, these trips where we don't go to them are so nice. Hanging out at the resort, lots of swimming, and enjoying some of the other wonders of Walt Disney World.

#makingmemories #familyvacations #itsthetimetogetherthatcounts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cancun Is Calling While the Snow is Falling

To my midwest peeps... The temperatures continue to drop, and the snow is falling turning our area into a wintry playground. If that gets you down, call us to help you get some vitamin sea instead! Whether you're thinking of an all-inclusive resort, a cruise, a Disney or Universal visit, or simply a vacation rental by the ocean, at Cruise Planners, we are your land & cruise experts and can help you "seas" the day and beat the pending old man winter blues. Winter is just beginning. Let us help you plan a great getaway for January or February when the cold is at its worst! Call 317.776.1733 or visit our website at We'd love to help you find the perfect winter getaway.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dining at the Carthay Circle Restaurant

Recently I dined for the very first time at the Carthay Circle Restaurant inside Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland® Resort.  I was there for an Earmarked Agent Education Program, and they treated us to a wonderful meal before heading over to the Paradise Pier area for our viewing of World of Color.  Our menu was pre-selected for us with appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert, though we could choose between three different entrees.  

Here's what I enjoyed: 

  • Signature Fried Biscuits stuffed with white cheddar, bacon, jalapeno, and apricot honey.
  • Carthay Circle Salad with heirloom apples, roasted walnuts, winter greens, bacon, dates, and creamy citrus vinaigrette.
  • Choice of entree: I went with the Angus beef Delmonico, with chipotle sweet potatoes, bacon, and onion ketchup.
  • Chocolate Cookies n Cream Cake with winter orange chantilly (but I was too full to partake of that - a couple of bites only. Good but heavy).

Dinner at the Carthay Circle was so very good and so very filling. It was a nice touch for our hosts to enjoy a delicious meal. It's definitely not what most people think of when they think of eating inside theme parks!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday - Walt Disney World 1992


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, I didn't get to go to Walt Disney World as a youth. My playground was Walt's original Magic Kingdom - Disneyland.  But when I turned 21 I did get to visit Walt Disney World, and have been back many times since then.  
Here's a look at the entrance to Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Station of the Skyway in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom from October 1992.  Sadly the Skyway closed in 1999, but Space Mountain lives on!   Check out the part of the sign with the rocket ship flying downward.  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Flashback Friday - Disneyland 1993


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out.
Here's a look at The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square in 1993.  At that time the Pet Cemetery was brand-new, having recently been added to the queue area in front of the Mansion.  For years Cast Members had enjoyed the sight of this little creative touch in a back-stage area of the park not readily visible to guests - though sharp, eagle-eyed guests could spot it if turning their heads to the left immediately upon exiting the attraction, but finally the Imagineers decided to relocate it for all guests to be able to see and enjoy it.  Similar to the Disneyland version, a Pet Cemetery later appeared at the Walt Disney World version of the famed attraction in the '90s.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Flashback Friday - Disneyland 1978


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends' families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out.
Here's a look at Tomorrowland from April 1978.  The shot itself is a bit blurry, but it's of Sam the Eagle, host of America Sings, an all-audio animatronics show celebrating America's music, which originally opened in 1974 in honor of America's upcoming Bicentennial in 1976.  The show occupied the space originally designed and built for the Carousel of Progress which opened at Disneyland in 1967, and closed in 1973 to be shipped east to Walt Disney World.  Just as COP did, the audience revolved around a series of stages, with each section celebrating a different era in American music, with the eagle and owl seen here popping up in each sequence to tell the story of the various musical styles.  Never meant to be a long-term attraction, since the Bicentennial celebration was only meant to last from 1975 - 1977, the show closed permanently in 1988.  (I was in the last performance as the carousel spun around for it's final performance).  Prior to the closing in 1988, a few geese were stripped of their skin and found a new home in the all-new Disneyland classic Star Tours, when it opened in early 1987.  When the show was dismantled, many of the audio animatronics found new life in the Disneyland classic, Splash Mountain over in the all-new Critter Country (replacing Bear Country) in 1988 as a cost-savings measure.  Thanks the smashing success of both Star Tours and Splash Mountain at Disneyland, a whole slew of new animatronics in the same style had to be created when both Star Tours opened at Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 and Splash Mountain was added to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Aulani Recreation

Recreational activities abound at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Lounge chairs and kayaks in the morning hours await guests to come and enjoy them on the resort's shared lagoon at Ko Olina.  Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, guests have the opportunity to kayak out into open waters and enjoy!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Ariel's Entryway...East & West

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure recently opened as a brand-new attraction within the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World as part of the New Fantasyland 2012 renovations and expansion; but it first opened in June 2011 at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California.  
Both parks have given their version of this identical, omni-mover, dark-ride attraction its own unique theming and feel to the entrance queue and overall surrounding aesthetics given the attraction's location within the parks.  

In Florida, the attraction is located between the new Storybook Circus area and the assorted Beauty & the Beast based attractions and restaurants inside the new Fantasy Forest in Fantasyland, and has a very richly themed entry, including Prince Eric's castle, and caves and grottos to explore.  

In California, it's located within the Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure, thus it has a more seaside pavilion flair, reminiscent of boardwalk structures of the 1930's and '40s, and features bas relief images of Ariel's sisters, and a bronze statue of her father, King Triton on the apex of the curved dome structure. The actual queue entryway takes guests through the recreation of San Francisco's famed Palace of Fine Arts, from the 1910 World's Fair.  

Personally I love both queues for very different reasons.  They each appeal to my individual tastes, and are richly appointed, just in different ways.  For a more-immersive feel, Florida wins, hands-down.  I know my daughter can't wait to be able to experience the new queue in Florida, and see some of the fun new interactive features that were not included in the California queue. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Adventureland Fun

The crocodiles that guests encounter on the Jungle Cruise in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom are named Ol' Smiley and Ginger. Whatever you do, don't forget that "Ginger Snaps."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

After nearly 10 years of planning, and 18 months of construction, the Magic Kingdom's version of the Frontierland classic Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened in 1980.  Designed to resemble the look of Utah's Monument Valley, more than 650 tons of steel, 4.675 tons of specially formulated "mud", and more than 9,000 gallons of paint brought "the wildest ride in the wilderness" to life in Central Florida. Construction costs for the attraction came in at about $17 million, the cost to build Disneyland back in 1955. To lend an air of authenticity in set designs, the Imagineers spent more than $300,000 alone on decor items such as the ore-hauling wagon, double-stamp ore crusher, old mill ball and wooden mining flume. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Trivia - Golden Horseshoe Revue

Disneyland's "Golden Horseshoe Revue" truly was a record-breaker.  The show, located inside the heart of Frontierland, premiered the day PRIOR to the park's Grand Opening July 17, 1955 for a special performance for various corporate sponsors who came along and helped Walt Disney get the park built.  The show was an Opening Day attraction, and ran continuously until October 12, 1986 when the curtain finally came down for the last time on the original production, enjoyed many, many times by Walt Disney himself, from his box at stage right.   With more than 43,000 performances, the Golden Horsehoe Revue was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest-running show in history. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

stopher's stuff - The Years Have Just Flown By

Today I not only say that another week has flown by, but I’ll say that another YEAR has flown by as well.  But not only that, this week marks the beginning of the end of a another DECADE as well.  What’s that all mean you say?  Well, tomorrow I get to mark a very special day with the one person in this life whom I love the most, and have spent the most intimate and quality time – my lovely bride. Tomorrow is our 19th wedding anniversary, and as such, we are closing out another great year together, but also embarking into the final year of our second decade together as a married couple. 
To my lovely bride...

It hardly seems possible though that it has already been 19 years since we made our vows, and then later enjoyed a cool party with many family and friends, before embarking out on our own to enjoy that all-important honeymoon period prior to officially “starting life”.  For many that honeymoon might be spent on a tropical island, or enjoying the art & culture of the “old world” in Europe.  For us, it was in a tropical location, and we did enjoy some “old world” charm, granted re-created charm, but charm none-the-less.   We honeymooned at Walt Disney World, and had a wonderful time.  It was my third visit to the Central Florida resort, and my lovely bride’s first.  And in those 19 years, a LOT has changed at my favorite Central Florida destination.  The resort of choice … The Grand Floridian Beach Resort as it was known back then (today it’s Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa). 
We married in March, because my lovely bride wanted a winterish wedding, without being in the actual midst of winter.  Had we known then that if we’d just waited about 2 more months we could have stayed at then brand-new Wilderness Lodge (known now as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), we probably would have delayed it just a bit.  The Lodge is just about our favorite resort at all of Walt Disney World (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is a close second).  That woodsy, Pacific Northwest feel is right up our alley thematically, and honestly, you just can’t beat the quiet, quaint ambiance that just exudes throughout the Lodge.  But we didn’t know back then that a) it was under construction, or b) that it was schedule for a grand opening in early May.  Back then the internet was still a relatively new phenomenon that hadn’t reached the masses yet.  Many of the very popular Disney fan sites weren’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye yet, beside that - we didn’t even own our own computer yet! 

Since then the resort has added about 8 new resorts, added a water park, added the "West Side" to the Downtown Disney Area (then known as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village), and added a theme park - plus a wide array of rides, attractions, shows, shopping & dining experiences, ticketing options, and so much more.  A LOT has changed. 

So yeah, a lot has changed in those 19 years, and not just at Walt Disney World.  Here are just a few fun facts from our life since we married 19 years ago:
  • we’ve lived in 3 states – California, Michigan and Indiana
  • we’ve belonged to 2 churches – North Orange Christian Church and White River Christian Church
  • we’ve grown our family by 3, having 2 sons and 1 daughter
  • we’ve watched all 3 grow too quickly… the eldest will be graduating high school about 2 ½ months after our 20th anniversary
  • we’ve owned 4 computers (the first was purchased a full year after we married), plus went through 4 different work-provided computers
  • we’ve each replaced a vehicle twice
  • we’ve each changed jobs twice
  • we've started 2 of our own businesses
  • we’ve lived in 4 different domiciles – 1 townhouse, 2 duplexes, and 1 house
  • we've added to our portfolio an investment home plus several vacation home options thanks to the Disney Vacation Club
  • we’ve had 3 different pets – 1 box turtle and 2 different cats (NOT my choice at all…I am allergic to and hate cats, but I love my wife and thus tolerate having a cat in the house for my wife’s sake)
  • we’ve used 8 different cell phones (only in the last 11 years though as we never had one prior to coming to Indiana) – 5 for me, and 3 for her
  • we’ve visited 24 states together (I’ve been to a lot more, but here I’m just referring to the two of us together)
  • we’ve enjoyed 6,935 days as a married couple or nearly 166,440 hours as a married couple or nearly 9,986,400 minutes as a married couple (though the hours and minutes are approximations based on total days)
  • we’ve had our ups and downs – but LOVE has been at the heart of our relationship in each of those years.
Until next time – make it a great week.  Do something positive for someone else.  Tell those special people in YOUR life how much they mean to you.   Celebrate the big and the little things.  I know I will.   

Friday, March 1, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - A Glimpse of What's to Come

A glimpse of what's coming in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, peeking through the fence, in officially sanctioned view holes. Progress continues on the all-new Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride and a good pace, though the new ride won't open until spring 2014. The fence is decorated with concept artwork (right) and fun images connecting surrounding attractions (left), as the new attraction will be centrally located between the new Beauty & the Beast themed attraction, restaurants & shop, and the Little Mermaid attraction, as well as existing attractions of Winnie the Pooh and the Mad Tea Party.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Illuminations Debuts

January 30, 1988 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Walt Disney World debuts the all-new IllumiNations, a nightly show at EPCOT Center, which includes 13 special-effects projectors, theme music, 12 wire/mesh grids, 180 nozzles which create the fountains and 783 fireworks pieces.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday - Monorail to Disneyland Hotel


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out. 

Since moving to the midwest, I don't have the good fortune to get to visit my favorite place as often as I would like to any longer, but every chance I get I'm there and have a GREAT time.  My personal library of Disneyland photos numbers in the tens of thousands, but the vast majority of those are from my own adulthood, not my childhood, and certainly not before I was born.  But I definitely enjoy seeing all of the old photos of Disneyland - especially from the days when Walt Disney was alive.  

I snapped this picture of a picture at the Disneyland Hotel on my last visit to the Disneyland Resort in 2012.  It shows the Monorail arriving at the Disneyland Hotel station which opened in 1960 when the Monorail line (which opened in 1959) was extended across West Street (now known as Disneyland Drive) from the park to the hotel.  The extension took great care and required special permission from the city and county as it took the Monorail out over a working public street - Disney's innovative thinking and push for progess at work!  The station,  was the first link for hotel guests to get directly to the theme park, and provided transportation directly into the park via the Tomorrowland Station.  Other options included taking the courtesy tram or simply walking across the street and through Disneyland's parking lot. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Mickey's Toontown

January 24, 1993 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

Mickey's Toontown officially opens at Disneyland.  This all-new land, just north of Fantasyland, is a recreation of the Mickey Mouse universe, where guests can meet the characters and visit their homes, constructed in a vibrant cartoon-style with no right angles to be found anywhere. Inspired by "Toontown" from the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, the themed land features attractions as Gadget's Go Coaster, Goofy's Bounce House, Donald’s Boat, Chip & Dale’s Acorn Crawl and Treehouse and the Jolly Trolley.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - The Original Disney Hotel Finally Comes into the Family

January 21, 1989 – Disneyland – Anaheim, CA

The Walt Disney Company acquires the Wrather Corporation, whose assets include the Disneyland Hotel, across the street from Disneyland.  At this time Wrather's assets also includes the RMS Queen Mary and Hughes H-4 Hercules (the "Spruce Goose") in Long Beach, as well as the rights to “The Lone Ranger” and the “Lassie” TV series.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Featured Foto Friday - Illuminating Headboards

The recent 2011/12 renovations at the Disneyland Hotel saw the introduction of these charming, illuminating headboards. Now you can drift off to sleep as "When You Wish Upon a Star" gently plays in the background, and fireworks burst over the carved image of Sleeping Beauty Castle. It serves as a great way to tuck the kids in to bed after a long day a the Happiest Place on Earth, or as a really cool nightlight.