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Spring 2014 – Walt Disney World (part two)

Our second day was spent relaxing for the better part of the day. After checking out of the Port Orleans, we left our bags with bell services to be transferred to the Wilderness Lodge and then went to Senses Spa at the Grand Floridian Resort for a massage. Just bring a change of clothes and you’re all set, there are lockers for your belongings, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryers, hair brushes, razors, deodorant(spray), etc. for freshening up before you leave.  There is a nice quiet room with a sofa and huge recliners where you wait for your massage and/or relax after.  There was a selection of hot teas available, along with some zucchini muffins and an iced container of cucumber water. I had a wonderful hot stone massage and I’ve already decided I will do that again on my next trip.  As you would assume I do not have any pictures out of courtesy for the other guests in the spa.

When we had relaxed all we could (not really but this is Disney World, places to go, things to do) we boarded the monorail and went to each resort on the monorail loop and explored the shops.  Sometimes you can find unique resort specific items that are not available in other shops. We try to do the loop at least once a trip.

After shopping it was time for tea! This was the first time we made time for afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian in the Garden View Tea Room.  There are a large selection of international teas available on the menu, in addition to seasonal selections. We both selected the Buckingham tea service which consisted of a pot of tea and three courses.

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The first included a plate of chilled finger sandwiches with an onion tart,  the second course had a scone and strawberry tart with accompaniments of jam, butter and clotted cream.

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The third course you could chose from strawberries with cream, an English Trifle or a selection from the pastry tray. We both went with the Trifle:

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Everything was delicious, but The trifle was amazing!!!

After all that eating we needed to go walk some of it off and spent a little time at the Magic Kingdom before heading over to the Wilderness Lodge to change for dinner at the California Grill.  We arrived at our table just before sunset. There’s such a great view from here.

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We decided to share some appetizers as our meal since we were not that hungry.  So we ordered a flatbread and some rolls.

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We decided to have dessert too! I ordered the Vanilla Creme Brulee and my daughter ordered a special dessert that included a grapefruit cupcake! I also ordered a Grand Marnier flight which you can also see in the photo.

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After dessert it was time for the Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.  The California Grill is a great place to watch the fireworks. Did you know you don’t need to time your dinner to end at the time of the fireworks? If your dinner was earlier in the evening you can return to watch the fireworks.

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The Magic Kingdom was open until midnight that night so we returned to ride a few more rides and walk off our meals.  We decided not to close the park that night since we had an early start on the next day.


Spring 2014 – Walt Disney World (Part One)

DME bus 3/14
DME bus 3/14
DME queue
DME queue

We managed to get an early non-stop flight and landed in Orlando around 10am. As usual we made a  beeline for Disney’s Magical Express, this, for those of you not familiar with Walt Disney World, is their included transportation from the Orlando airport to the Disney resorts.  This service is great, they take care of getting your luggage to your hotel too, unless you have a flight that lands after 10pm.   So you go down to the level where the rental cars and buses are and way down on the end is the Magical Express area. You walk up to one of the friendly Disney castmembers and they scan your MagicBand(more on that later) and you are guided into the queue for the bus that will take you to your resort.  Some buses make stops and more than one resort.  Once on your bus, sit back and relax, your vacation has begun! The monitors will provide some information and entertainment for the ride. Our first night we stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, designed to look like the New Orleans French Quarter. We dropped our carryon luggage at our room and headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

POFQ walkway
POFQ walkway

We decided to start our trip with something different this time and scheduled the Wild Africa Trek for the afternoon.  Our arrival day was a Saturday and since the crowds are heavy on a spring weekend we wanted an activity that would take us away from the lines and crowds. The Wild Africa Trek is a 3 hour guided tour safari, part walking/hiking and then a ride in a safari vehicle.   This tour is purchased in addition to admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  You go behind the scenes and are closer to the animals. On the Trek you will encounter hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, rhinos and other savanna animals. The guides take photos during your tour for you, (it is included in the price), since you leave your belongings in a locker at the beginning. You are fitted with a safety harness to wear for part of the journey.

Wild Africa Trek - hippo!
Wild Africa Trek – hippo!

There is a tether on the back of the harness that attaches to a track, so we don’t fall in by the hippo! We observed while one of the animal researchers fed the hippo some lettuce. Further down the trail we crossed a wood and rope bridge over the crocodiles, makes you think of Indiana Jones!!

Rope bridge
Rope bridge

Shortly after we finished our time with the crocodiles we were able to have the harness removed for the rest of the  tour.  We boarded a safari vehicle to go around the savannah and observed the grazing animals. Our vehicle brought us to a pavilion area for our lunch/snack which consisted of items with an African flair.  They also served a delicious juice with the meal that was quite refreshing after the walk.  We relaxed and watched the animals for a little bit then loaded back on the vehicle to complete our tour of the savannah.  We had to sit tight at one point as there was a Giraffic jam, and all you can do is wait for the animals to mosey out of the path.  We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. I definitely would recommend it.

More to come in Part 2

Weekend view

Weekend view

This Weekend’s View

Orange Beach, Alabama – This morning it was 31 degrees, rather chilly but it warmed up quickly. The water was calm this morning so we were able to watch a few school of dolphins feeding. This was taken at sunset on Thursday but we have been so busy cleaning this is the first chance I have had to post, so posting a photo fit better for me today. 🙂 Enjoy!

My First Post!!

  A New Year, a new life!  I just “retired” from my 9-5 job and starting a blog was one of my new goals.  My current topics that I have in mind for this endeavor are these, not in any particular order: family, travel, Disney(because that is where I frequently travel) and photography.  I am hoping to connect with other people with one or more of these same interests and to become a part of the global community.  Hopefully by the end of the year I will have many new friends and acquantances and increase my knowledge in the process. I’m hoping it’s a fun and enjoyable year!