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Friday, June 29, 2012

One Direction

          If you are someone who pays attention to pop culture or have a teen daughter, chances are you know who One Direction is. An all boy band that first emerged on Britain's X Factor, they are now a world wide sensation. Courtney has a healthy obsession with all things 1D and recently created a shirt .

 My clever girl thought to print out a 1D sign and then cut it out to use it as a template.

 All ready to paint!

 After Courtney painted her stencil and it dried, she outlined  the edges in black. In case you were wondering (like John did), the rough edges are a part of the 1D design ;)

 Courtney happily modeling her new One Direction shirt.

 Here is a poster of the band Courtney has in her room. Her favorite is Harry, pictured in the lower left in this shot.

Her One Direction Wall- It changes several times depending on what photos she has from new teen magazines, things she has printed out. This is one of my favorite arrangements she has made. She cut out letters and placed them in the center- the lyrics from one of their songs surrounded by several group and Harry photos. Love my 1D fan!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Shoes to Fill

     JT loves shoes. I think mainly since it means that we are getting ready to go outside to play or run some errands. If he finds some of our shoes laying around, he's bound to put them on and walk around like a goofball.

 JT found a pair of my tennis shoes and promptly put them on. Never mind they are on the wrong feet. I love  how this looks with backwards huge feet!

 Then what does JT do? He went about running around the kitchen! Extra hazard of untied laces to work around as well.

Despite all of these obstacles, JT played like a pro in my shoes. I'm sure in no time, he will be able to fill my shoes and then some. I'll enjoy him trotting about in these big shoes for now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Build A Dino

     When looking for a little gift to bring JT home from our trip, we decided to build him an adorable dinosaur. Thanks to John who was such a good sport in creating the dino and allowing me to take photos of the process. You'll see what I'm talking about in just a second.

 This is where we headed for the fun. T-Rex restaurant. Very similar feel to Rain Forest Cafe, if you have ever been there. The Build-A- Dino store was inside in the retail side of the building.

 After careful consideration of all the available dinos to build, we selected 1 and started to build him.

 John had to perform quite a few tricks to bring this guy to life. Holding up the heart nice and high.

 Giving the dino wisdom.

 Giving the dino strength.

 To top it off, a little dinosaur dance.  Love that John did all these things despite not having JT with him to see all of his antics.

 Then it was time to air clean JT's new pal.

 Finally we registered the dinosaur. I love that if somehow he gets lost and someone finds him and returns him to a Build- A-Bear/Dino, the dinosaur being registered to JT with our address, will be mailed back. 

 Ready to head to Tennesse and meet JT!

JT loved his dinosaur and he decided to name him Rexy. I'm sure that is credit to the show Caillou who has a stuffed dinosaur with the same name. Rexy proudly sits on JT's bed and is cuddled with when JT naps/sleeps.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Downtown Disney

     When we went to Disney Quest, we first did a quick stroll of Downtown Disney. It is MUCH larger than Downtown Disney in California- very spread out and on on the beautiful water front. Many restaurants face the water and offer outside dining for additional ambiance. It felt like the warmest day in Florida during our trip, so most of this part was spent quickly going from air conditioned store to air conditioned store.

 Glimpse of the views along the mall. Can you spot the hidden Mickey in this photo?

 We then came up to the Lego Store and there were some fantastic displays! This dragon/lock ness monster was in the water!

 Buzz and Woody blasting off!

 Snow White kissing Dopey

 The dwarfs working hard at the mine.

 We then went to the World of Disney. A place you could easily spend hours in! Anything and everything you could want or buy with a Disney spin on it. We were greeted at the entrance by Buzz Lightyear.

 John didn't like how fresh Buzz was trying to get with me, so he set him straight- LOL!

The central attraction at Downtown Disney is this enormous balloon. You can buy tickets, I think in the $15-18 range for adults, and go up about 150 feet into the air. I'm sure you get a great view of the Disney property.

     Too many great stores to write about, but I hope next time we visit, we will have more time to spend and browse. I did score a Disney ornament for the Christmas Tree to mark this vacation. We also found JT's souvenir which will be posted about next. Until next time!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Disney Quest

     On our final day in Florida, we decided to head to Downtown Disney and use our remanding ticket package at Disney Quest. Before we purchased our tickets, we hadn't heard of this place. Turns out this place is really great! We didn't allot nearly enough time to play at this place, but really had a blast with what time we did. Aunt Cathy, this is a must see for you!

 Standing at the back of Disney Quest- an enormous 5 story building. As you can see it says interactive adventures- basically there are games, arcade games, virtual rides, and creative outlets. Each of the 5 floors have different features. 

 One floor has all of the classic arcade games.

 Another has racing games- here John and I raced the NASCAR circuit. As many as 10 drivers at once competiting against one another. You also get to choose from any of the NASCAR tracks, which was fantastic!

 Ready to race!

 I ended up placing 2nd due to a certain someone I love bumping me out of the way at the finish line. We ended up racing 2 more times and I won the last race! Payback baby!

 This is the interactive pinball game. You help move your ball around inside the video game of pinball. You stand on the platforms that you move in every which way to keep your ball moving.

 John and I getting ready for Ride the Comix- a virtual reality game where you battle evil comic book villains.Our headgear was strapped on to these lovely headpieces and we used our virtual sword to kill the bad guys. Lots of fun and I had the most kills during our game. 

 Time really slipped away quickly and since we were headed to the airport, we couldn't extend our stay. For our last activity we chose the virtual Jungle Cruise.

Up to 4 riders get into this raft, with each person having their own oar. When you start your ride the blue cushions the raft sits on inflate. It then inflates/deflates depending on what is going on in the screen to create the feeling like you are on a raft ride. This was so much fun, like a mini roller coaster.

     This was one of our hidden gems during our trip. It's a place we'd like to come back to and spend a lot more time at. I'd love to go back for their 30 minute class on How to draw a Disney character. I'm sure John  would love to play some of the old school arcade games. This is a place that our older kids would have a blast at and with the heat we were facing, perfect way to have lots of fun and stay cool indoors.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Screen Shot Disney Style

     On a few of the rides at Magic Kingdom, there are spots in the rides that snap a photo. Then at the end of the ride, there are photo kiosks showing the pictures in hopes that you shell out $15 to buy a copy. Instead of doing that, I took photos of the screens so I could share our finest moments with you all.

     The only ride we haven't figured out exactly when they snap the photo is Buzz Lightyear's ride. Pretty sure we know what room it's being taken in, but that's about it. With the others, we knew and had some fun with our posing. Enjoy!

 Clearly this explains how John kicked my butt on this ride. He is low, focused and racking up the points. I, on the other hand looking upward with mouth slightly open hoping for the best.....

 Our first time down Splash Mountain. I wanted to do the traditional arms up while John played it cool. I was also holding on to my phone as I snapped the photo of us at the peak seconds before that I shared yesterday.

 We had a blast on Space Mountain. Love the stranger in the red- her face is priceless and the ride had only just begun.

 This photo was awesome as we never planned out together our poses on Space Mountain. John must have sensed I was ready to blow his head off.

 Back at Buzz Lightyear. I tried John's low and focused approach and he tried my looking upward while chewing on his gum. He still beat me.

 Front row Splash Mountain- We got pretty wet. I clearly didn't know exactly where the camera was otherwise you would see the heart shape I made with my hands.

John was growing tired of me by now and trying to ring my neck. I think the woman in front of us had her breath taken away from the drop- she looks terrified!

Our last time on Splash Mountain- smoochie smoochie. The woman in blue was so rude in blocking some of our PDA with her raised arm-LOL!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Magic Kingdom

     The day had finally arrived- Magic Kingdom Day! We got up early to hit the park before opening.

The Disney World property is MASSIVE! A friend of John, who is a travel agent, said the property is about the same size as San Francisco! Not  what we are used to with Disneyland in California. As we approached the property, this is the sign we were greeted with.

 As you get near the signs, there are several rows of flashing road sings that say, "No Stopping". I guess this could be a popular photo opportunity for families traveling all over the world that visit.

 Our parking area- Aladdin 35-43. Took this on my phone in case we forgot where we parked. My travel tip of the day to you :)

 It wasn't long before we started seeing Mickey Mouse everywhere!

This was inside the park- love the Mickey and Minnie topiaries!

 There are 2 ways to get to the Magic Kingdom main gates from the parking lot- take the Monorail or ferry boat.

 We opted to take the Monorail! 

 We passed by the Grand Floridian hotel on our ride.

 As well as a golf course that hosts a PGA event every year.

 We finally arrived to the main gate- along with a jillion other people. It was a day that the crowd had to stay in front of the train station rather than have Main Street open prior to the rides opening. The crowd grew thicker, and thicker by the minute and a preview to how hot this day was going to be.

 Finally we were released into the park! It was a mad dash by many down Main Street. I didn't notice when I took this photo, but catch the people wearing JEANS! What were they thinking???The forecast was hot, sunny, chance of thunderstorms with a high around 95. Not what I would call a jeans day, but to each their own.

 Cinderella's Castle! Quite grand in appearance and size. Much more so than Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland.

 Had to get the obligatory shot in front of the castle. *Please note I wouldn't normally be so fashionably challenged with Tshirt, shorts and tennis shoes. I dressed for comfort and didn't want my feet to be sore with all the walking. We did see so many wearing flip flops, which are great for the heat, but  I wondered how they felt later in the day.

 Close up of the castle.

 We had a cast member offer to take our photo by the castle. I love this shot.

 We decided to head to Tomorrow Land for Space Mountain. After the ride, we found Chip and Dale! The only characeters we took photos with all day. They had no line and since we were sans kids, focused on just the rides this time.

     After Space Mountian and Chip & Dale, we headed over to Buzz Lightyear's  ride.I love this ride because you get to shoot a gun at targets and compete with your riding partner.

 My score....

 John's score. He kicked my booty! We rode one more time later and while I performed better, so did he. Oh well, it's still a fun ride!

 We then trekked across the park for Splash and Thunder Mountain rides.

 We were ready to get some relief from the heat and hoping for a bit of a splash on the ride.

 The view as we are just about to go down the 5 story drop. So much fun!

A preview of the new Fantasyland! Most of this land is still open, but there is a huge expansion in the works. Ariel's castle is being built, a new Snow White ride, and a Casey Jr splash pad area will be in this new portion. They are also adding a 2nd Dumbo ride, a duplicate right next to the existing Dumbo ride. I believe these will be completed sometime this year.

We then went on several more rides, not taking too many photos as my phone battery suddenly decided to not hold a charge like usual and Courtney's camera I borrowed I was not an expert at with the settings. Blurry shots galore. 

By afternoon, John and I were hot and miserable. We sought out any and all rides that offered relief from the sun and heat.

 It's a Small World. This ride que area was the most different from Disneyland. It's basically entirely inside. We found most of the rides had covered que areas and went inside more so than at Disneyland. Makes sense since Florida gets a lot more rain than S. California and get much hotter as well. Glad this was factored in for the guests.

 Sporting stylish 3D glasses for Mickey's Philharmagic attraction. A 10-15 minute movie feature that is cute with some unexpected tricks. Don't want to say what, as we want the kids to be surprised when we take them. We went to this attraction twice during the afternoon. The air conditioning was SO nice!

 After the sun set, we headed out to drive some cars. A nice stranger in another car took this photo of me driving. Besides the disgustingly sticky steering wheels, this was a fun ride like always.

We did get hit with a strong thunderstorm about 2 hours before closing. Thankfully we were at Space Mountain and we stayed dry and safe. When we came out of the ride, we found lots of people taking shelter in the store Space Mountain feeds into. We looked at the line, saw it was only about 5 minutes and quickly ran back inside. We ended up riding about 5-6 more times while the storm passed. It was a blast to have such quick access to Space Mountain. After the storm passed, we headed back for a few more turns on Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain, our last ride.

As we were leaving at the parks closing, 11 pm. The fireworks that had been delayed by the weather, were finally being shot off. It was a perfect sendoff to a magical day.