Saturday, December 29, 2007

Free to the 1st taker...

We were cleaning out our garage today and Dawn & I have finally decided to part with the ol' treadmill... Now that we (well, ok, mostly Dawn) are avid Gym attenders we have no use for this clothing holder.. um, I mean excellent workout device.

And, as it just so happens, the New Year is upon us, and many, many people have decided to begin a workout routine - so this here Treadmill is is fine condition - yes, it has run about 4billion miles and is a little over 8 years old - but it works (just ask Garhett, he has been using it lately - but now he too is an avid Gym attender).

So, if you are about to start a "new year" workout routine and would like this treadmill, just send me an email or post your desire here and - heck, I will even deliver it to you if you are local...

(please pay no attention to the weeds sticking out of the fence.. sheesh, I said we were cleaning the garage out - not yard work!)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Day ...I don't really know...

It appears as though I have lost track of time. I know we started this trek on December 1st fro LAX... but now it is 12.10.07 and I track 11 days of doing things? I guess I really am on a vacation for the first time... I have lost track of time. I honestly don't even know what day it is .... and I don't care...

All I know is that I have to be at Liberty Tree Tavern at 12:20 today for lunch and then swim all afternoon... then go back to the Magic Kingdom to see Spectro Magic. oh well.. so much for that..

Anyway... we arrived at Disney's flag ship hotel, the Grand Floridian today and after waiting a while for our rooms went over to Epcot to spend the afternoon and then have dinner and meet the travel agent for our special Dessert and Illuminations...

OH MY GOSH... This is amazing - We were given VIP passes and lead to a private terrace where we were treated to a spread of desserts and drinks (coffee, tea, hot cocoa, punch, etc..) and private seating just for the travel agent and her friends. Front row seating for the illuminations fireworks show - which was amazing, with laser lighting, special effects, oh, it was beautiful. After the show (by this time the park was closed) we were lead to a "special event". The entire group (140 people) were lead back stage, behind epcot to the rear entrance of "soaring" it is the Florida version of Soaring over California - it is basically the same ride - for a private ride! We felt so special to get to see the "backside of Disney" (that sounds weird). We are literally feeling like royalty on this trip!

What a night to remember!

Day ten... The MOST magical

Today was Castaway Cay - Disney's private Island..

I don't have the time to blog about it now.. but suffice it to say - sun, sand, 86 degree CLEAR day, beautiful clear water, snorkeling with everyone, then alone with Dawn... 2 hours of floating in the clearest water ever with tons of fish ! ahhh.... paradise!

Day nine...

Ahh, sleeping in… nice to get up at around 9 instead of 6! Did our laundry, Dawn went to the Gym, Garhett & I watched Transformers, Ashley went to the pool with the rest of the group. Then we joined everyone at the pool for lunch, a quick game of Phase 10. Then watched an ice carver. We all went to the Artist Palate and took a class on how to draw Mickey. Then walked around the ship to check out the areas we hadn’t seen yet with Tim & Michelle then took family pictures with Dave Peeters (Michelle’s dad), which was quite interesting with a bunch of people trying to mess up Dave’s shots.

Before dinner we went to the movies and saw Enchanted. A very funny show with a lot of Disney “hidden” stuff in the movie!

Dinner at The Artist’s Palate, a 4.2 million dollar restaurant which entertains you as you eat. The room starts out black and white then throughout the evening fills in with color. Even your servers go from black and white clothing to full color clothing. Really nice! Dawn had, butter nut squash soup, smoked salmon/cream cheese appetizer, stuffed chicken breast and potato (orange colored), dessert – chocolate and peanut butter pie. I tried the Caesar salad, Creamed mushrooms in filo dough, veal cutlet and finished with a strawberry shortcake. The kids joined us tonight and we all dressed up. During dinner, the ship took off from Nassau and immediately after dinner we were treated to a Pirate Party, dessert buffet and fireworks. Disney is the only cruise ship which has a huge firework show at sea. Then off to bed as the ship sails to Disney’s private Island, Castaway Cay!


Day eight...

This morning we packed up our hotel room and boarded our private bus to head to Port Canaveral to get on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. During the ride I was surprised by the number of lakes located along the highway. Walt Disney World is really located remotely within the Orlando area. Tim told me that DisneyWorld is it’s own city – Lake Buena Vista!

Well, we arrived on the dock for the ship and along the way we found out that the Space Shuttle was due to take off at 4:30 today – it just so happens that Cape Canaveral is located right across the water from the ship – so we were going to have front “bow” seats for the launch! Until we found out the launch was scrubbed and was postponed until Friday – the day AFTER we leave. Major bummer.

Anyway, I am blogging this as I sit on the deck of the Disney Wonder with my laptop connected to the Wifi! Disney is really amazing. They don’t miss a beat! This ship is amazing. The ship is designed with the feel and look of the great ocean liners of the past – even the dressers in the room are made to look like steamer trunks! Our stateroom has a veranda and a queen sized bed with a fold out couch-bed and a bunk that drops from the ceiling. Our keys to the world work on the ship as well – so, again… a cashless society!

Tonight we will feast at Triton’s restaurant and then off to the Broadway musical version of Hercules. Then we are going to see a movie – then, who knows. The kids each have their own clubs to hang out in and they were given pagers to give to the parents so that we always know where they are on the ship and they have wristbands that any crew member can use to contact us immediately ANYWHERE on the ship. Only Disney could be that organized.

I am telling you – if you have a family and can save up to take this trip – you definitely should do it! If you can go with other families that makes it even better! Although, if you don’t enjoy being around children – don’t go to the two pools on deck 5 – it is like an ant colony of children (the quiet pool is very serene though! – it is on the bow side of the center smoke stack!

Well, it is 3:15 – we have the launch party in about 1 hour and we have to get to our stateroom and unpack for the next 3 days.



Before dinner we saw Hercules, the musical. Very good show, great comedy by Hades! Typical Disney current pop culture relevant comedy (clean).

Dinner at Triton’s was really nice. Dawn, Garhett & I ate with the rest of the gang – the girls and Dylan went to the Oceanear’s Lab for the evening. Dinner was French cuisine. Dawn & I had escargot for appetizers. It was pretty good – we even made Garhett try it – of course, it was a tiny bit on a whole roll that he stuffed in his mouth – he said he didn’t taste it at all! Garhett tried Vichyssoise for the first time – he hated it. Dawn thought it was OK but would be better hot. Dawn had Potato leek soup, I tried a Normandy salad. Man that salad was good – Jenny is going to try to repeat it herself (hope she invites me over to try it!). Main courses, Dawn had the Rigatoni with bleu, feta, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses – she liked it. I had the roast beef with mashed potato and vegetable medley (two carrots and a zucchini). Desserts (we ordered 3) the Crème’ Brulee’ which Dawn said was the best she’s ever had in her life. Chocolate soufflé with Grand Mariner/chocolate sauce and I tried the fresh fruit – the fruit in the Caribbean is so fresh and sweet!
After dinner we put the kids to bed, sent Garhett to “aloft” for some teen interaction then went to the movie theatre to see “Dan in Real Life”. A good movie!


Today we spent the whole day at Epcot. In the morning we were going to spend the time seeing some of the shows we missed on previous days, have lunch at Le Cellier, a (yuk) Canadian steak house. I nearly went the entire meal without speaking to the wait staff, purely on principle. For dinner we ate around the world. We went around the world showcase and ate a small sample of cuisine from each country. Urp! Egg rolls from China, Lefse and Jarlsburg and roast beef from Norway, apple strudel with vanilla crème from Germany, Funnel cakes with strawberries from America, limonata sorbetti from Italy, the last time we were in the world showcase we ate enchiladas, tacos and black beans from Mexico, Miso soup, kaki-age Udon, teriyaki chicken and chicken curry from Japan. The finale’ was to go to france and eat as many deserts as you can!

The last event of the night was to go to the Candlelight procession and enjoy Monique from High School Musical read the Christmas story from Luke. Very moving.

Catchin' up after the cruise~ Day six...

Day 6
Animal kingdom day, Lion King show... amazing...
Boardwalk at night
Dylan performed with street vendor
Ice cream at beaches and cream – ordered the kitchen sink!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Day four & five...

Sorry about not blogging yesterday... was really really tired.

It is after 1am here now and I must get to bed - we leave for the cruise tomorrow in the AM and I have to get to sleep. I have posted a widget on the sidebar that will flip through the 200+ photos that Dawn, Ashley and I have taken. I will move them into a better post or two over the next few days as the Cruise portion of our trip will have much more down time.

Suffice it to say - we are having the trip of a lifetime!

All thanks to our friends the Lasch's for suggesting it!

Whoooo hoooooo!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Day Three...

Oh my gosh are we tired!

We spent the whole day at Disney's MGM Studios. The WHOLE stinkin' day and all of us have tired feet. At Disneyland we are used to those wonderful trams to get us to the park entrance - not here at WDW - we went by boat - a "friendship" to be exact. Took a 15 minute boat ride across the lake (that is right in front of the hotel we are staying in) to the main entrance of the park.

After using our 'key to the kingdom' to get in (oh, you have to place your index finger in a scanner to prove it is your key - cool eh?!) we headed right over to the "Rockin' Rollercoaster" which features Aerosmith. Really cool ride - really fast and really smooth.

Then almost everyone (that is a nice way of saying - NOT ME) went on the Hollywood Tower of Terror. A quick note; the bellhop uniforms are slightly different here - Disneyland's are better looking. After that it was onto the Great Movie Ride where we were treated to animatronic and live action scenes from some movies!

We had reservations for lunch at the Sci-Fi cafe - but they were closed for the day - so we ate at Pizza Planet and relaxed for a while before going to see, Star Tours, shopping, The Magic of Animation, shopping, Indiana Stunt Show specacular, Beauty and the Beast stage show, Back Lot Tour, Lights Motors Action! stunt show, and then Fantasmic! WHEW... Oh, and just after dusk we saw the Osborne family spectacle of dancing lights.

Then, a boat ride back to the hotel and put the kids to bed. Now, Dawn, me, Tim and Michelle are chilling in the lobby of the hotel - they are reading (sheesh, this is a vacation! what's up with reading...) as I blog. Well, that's day 3.

Lot's of fun, food, shopping and exciting stuff to see!

More tomorrow...


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Day Two...

**Quick shout out to Maureen ... Woooo hooooo!

Well, here is how the day went...

Left the airport hotel early - 8AM (5AM CA time) hopped on the Disney Magical Express to get shuttled to Walt Disney World Resort. Man, this place is big! The ride was pretty cool too!

We checked in to the Beach Club Resort (and spa) and headed over to Epcot with our "keys to the kingdom" really cool - it is your room key, passport to all the theme parks, charge card and passport to the Disney cruise as well (that comes in three more days).

We walked (briskly) through a couple of the nationally themed 'lands' (actually called the World Showcase) to our first destination, to get fast passes to the "test track" ride. We came back to that ride later - a must ride for anyone who likes to go fast! The kids (including Darrenn) went back and rode it 3 more times just before the park closed.

Then it was a little shopping, ride on Nemo's adventure, then we all went visting in the aquarium and checked out the manatees (Darrenn was sad there weren't any womanatees) and then a quick stop at the Coca-cola place where we sampled coke products from around the world.

I heartily advise trying the Beverly soda from Italy. YUM! But you don't have to take my word for it, just ask Tim & Michelle!

Then off to my first favorite stop - The Rose and Crown Pub for lunch. (said in the best cockney accent I can muster) Stopped for a bite of some bangers and mash - well actually I had fish and chips. Then off for more adventures. On Wednesday night we will come back to Epcot to "eat around the world" - this is apparently a self guided tour through all the nationally themed "lands" where one must endure the pain of sampling ONE dish from that particular land - this is something that the Lasch's and Platt's discovered last time and I actually am looking forward to it!

So, back to Epcot... We toured a few more areas then went back to the hotel to get our rooms. Then off to the pool, er... more like a small water park. You see while the northern US suffers from snow and ice, we are enjoying HUMID 85 degree weather - in DECEMBER. Well after a slide down the huge water slide, a swim across the LARGE lake sized, sandy bottom pool, it was time for dinner. We went back to Epcot to grab a bite at the nation of Japan.

Some Udon, Miso, Curry and Teriyaki washed down with some green tea and we were ready for a pastry, or three, from France (where I comfortably ordered a glass of water in the native language) - then off to bed. WHEW... and tomorrow, MGM!

Dawn has already started saying... We are doing this again!

**more photos tomorrow, its 1AM EST. and I have a slow internet connection... where's a St. arbucks when you need one!


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Day One...

Well, after a 4 hour and 9 minute flight (that was delayed 1 hour at LAX due to the bathroom sinks being plugged) we arrived safe and sound.

Well, almost all of us - - Dave and Sharon are due in around 11:30 tonight.

**update** Dave and Sharon arrived tonight (12/2/07 at about 11pm due to the severe storms in the northern US. They left through the OC airport going to Chicago and then on to Orlando - only to get sidetracked overnight in Chicago, then through Washington DC (Dulles) and finally on to Orlando... Where it was 85 degrees and humid!!! Thank God they arrived safely.

We just finished dinner at Macaroni Grill - and now it is 10:30 local time and we are heading to bed. Our first night is going to be spent in the Hyatt Regency - a hotel in the Orlando International Airport. Very nice!

Shout out to Tim Lasch for being the planner/coordinator extraordinaire! He put this whole trip together and set the itinerary. We meet in the lobby of the hotel at 8AM tomorrow to leave for our 2nd hotel - The Beach Club, then off to Epcot for day 1 of DisneyWorld!

The whole family is soooo excited!

Photos tomorrow.

At LAX just about to board!
Ashley took this photo at 37,000 feet. Nice being so much closer to God eh?!
Immediately after arrival we went right to dinner - Macaroni Grill!