Friday, August 17, 2007

The End of the Trip

So, the flight back was okay; I have pictures from the last two days but spent yesterday recovering with my feet up (for all the times I've flown, they've never swollen up like they did this time...I'm chalking it up to the climate).

Becasue a trip to Disney World can never be without drama, we had our share on day 7. It did not involve sunburns, nearly broken noses, or even lost strollers.

But it did involve what started as a temper tantrum.

Of course.

While he was pretty game to try most stuff at Disney World, Patrick balked at the American Adventure in Epcot (one of my favorite things to do, and the only attraction with its original song). As in, full on meltdown -- of the type that he hasn't had for about 5 years (the last one was when he ended up in the shower fully clothed because he refused to undress for his shower and didn't think I'd actually follow through on the threat that if he didn't undress he'd have to shower with his clothes on) and of the type he's never had in public.

So, our last night ended on a quite sour note. Neither my mom nor I felt like going back in one at a time to see the attraction (which, unfortunately, was very high on my list of things to do) so we trudged back to the hotel and tried to decide what to do about the next day.

I ended up saying I'd keep my promise to Patrick to take him to the Magic Kingdom one last time but that he wouldn't be allowed to ride up front in the monorail. We didn't have time for the train, so we rode the PeopleMov -- err, Tomorrowland Transit Authority -- and headed back to the hotel.

On the way, we stopped and upgraded our tickets to annual passes (the plan all along, actually, as we knew we'd never see everything we wanted to see, given Patrick's stamina issues -- the difference is, we'll be driving next year and probably stopping in Washington D.C., so that Patrick can see the Emergency! squad car they have on display at the Smithsonian) and headed out for a mostly uneventful flight back.

It didn't occur to me until later that Patrick was just following in his dad's footsteps. ;-)

So, now it's back to the grind of getting ready for the next school year. I've got a bunch of stuff ready but hadn't printed much because my inkjet printer went from mostly dead to all the way dead, but I found a good replacement.

Now if I could just remember what book of MeVille we'd decided I'd do....

Oh, and Cat -- I'll send you the full res version of the light house photo. You can use an online photo service like or to get a print or turn it into a poster.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Best Pictures Day 6 Part 2

There were a lot of these purple flowers all over the Magic Kingdom.  I thought they were pretty.

Because Walt Disney died before Disney World was completed, his brother, Roy Disney, worked to complete the project.  Sadly, Walt's vision for his EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was not incorporated. Still, in recognition for his guidance, Roy Disney (who was forced off the Board of Directors (or was it just an attempt?) by Michael Eisner), has his own partners statue at the other end of Main Street.

The Sorcerer's Hat in MGM Studios.

Space Mountain.  Also an unexpected hit, in that Patrick not only didn't hate it -- he wants to ride it again!  (A loud ride in pitch blackness.  Imagine it!)

The queue area for Disney World's Tiki Room (which has been updated to include Zazu from The Lion King and Iago from Aladdin) is much more richly decorated.  Also, the update is actually a very good one.  The original song still plays, but it veers off at the beginning.  It's fun.

The Tiki Room.

Also, be sure to scroll down for part 1 of the pictures and a special video. ;-)

Best Pictures Day 6 Part 1

There were a lot of pictures from yesterday (day 6); we started finish-up mode and did Magic Kingdom in the morning, then MGM Studios for the Backlot Tour, and then over to Epcot to see Illuminations (which rocks, by the way).

Big Thunder Mountain from the Liberty Belle (the equivalent of the Mark Twain).  Big Thunder is more fun, I think, here than at Disneyland -- it's more sprawling and the themeing and scenery is better.  We ran out of time for Splash Mountain, but the same is said to be true of that as well.

The castle in the background.  The blur was a deliberate effect.

A keel boat, languishing along the Rivers of America (I think it's the same name here).  There's also a retired keel boat in roughly the same spot at Disneyland.

This prop from the MGM Backlot Tour should be very familiar to Amie's brother.  They had come over to watch Flight of the Navigator when Patrick was an infant; it was, to my knowledge, the first time he'd ever held a baby.  Patrick repaid him by puking all over his back.

Years later, when I worked as an aide and supported the stepson of the guy who played the younger brother in the 'future' -- when he was actually older than the main character -- I never did work up the nerve to tell him the story, though he'd have loved it, I'm sure.

Soon to be Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The partners statue; there is an identical one at Disneyland.  If I hadn't been afraid of being yelled at (or fainting from heat and falling) I'd have climbed up onto the bench to frame the shot over Walt's shoulder looking down Main Street.

The surprise hit of the trip has been the PeopleMover (aka Tomorrowland Transit Authority, or TTA).  Patrick has ridden it, I think, 4 times already.


Patrick on the tea cups.  Note the sadistic cackling as I scrunch my eyes closed in dizzy horror....

Sorry for the lousy quality.  When I get home, I'll upload the video in better quality to my own website and re-link it here.  Of course, the cackling is the most important part. ;-)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Best Pictures Day 5

There may be pictures from yesterday (day 6) before today is out, but we're packing this afternoon -- we have to be at the Magical Express bus at 10:50 tomorrow morning -- so the rest of the pics may come when we get back.

The pretty, dramatic clouds above Epcot yesterday.  Patrick-The-Rain-Repeller worked his magic again, though, and although we saw lightning in the distance it did not (again) rain near us.  Boo.

In Morocco (which has the best food, including gyro-style meat and a yummy tangerine slushy thing that was not sweet and very refreshing).  I just liked that the camel looked like he was looking at the lantern.  In reality, he's not facing that way, but when I framed the picture I noticed that illusion.

A statue in Italy.

A temple (that was closed) in Japan.  All of the restaurants were closed too.  The department store (an authentic Japanese chain) was neat -- it really showed how you can mix form and function and make something boring like a department store look really pretty.

Also, Japan was the site of the only casualty of the trip, so far.  Despite a near miss with the extra battery for my point and shoot camera, I hadn't lost anything, until I took off my ankle brace last night (it's not breathable and it had started to irritate my skin) and left it on a bench.  Oh well.

Patrick took this for Cat, since she likes lighthouses.  However, he forgot to take a closer one.

Patrick got a free round of miniature golf.  He had a blast until his ball flew into the water on the 17th hole.

In...Morocco, I think.


This is a recreation of a photo from last time.  We'd walked to the Hilton I mentioned yesterday (near Downtown Disney) for breakfast, and Patrick took the cloth napkin and put it on like a bonnet.  When we shot the re-enactment in Morocco yesterday he added the cup and napkin as embellishments.

Self-portrait number 5.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Best Pictures Day 4 PM -- World Showcase


The "big ball," just 'cause.

Flowers outside of England. 

So, this is a boring picture but I had to post it for Patrick.  This is inside of Club Cool in EPCOT, where they serve (get this) free international Coke products.

I forget what was so funny, but I'm glad I caught the laugh.

A totem pole in Canada.

As for the next 3: my favorite thing in the world to photograph is water.  I love that if you tweak the ISO speed just a little, you get totally different photos.  The following three are the same shot with an ISO of 1600, 400, and 100.  Sometimes I like the freeze-it-in-mid-motion effect of 1600, but with this series, I like the streamy, dreamy quality of the 100.

Best Pictures from Day 4 Morning

Patrick has a water repeller.  It has rained everywhere but where we are.  Yesterday was no exception; despite this beautiful sky, it did not even drip on us.

Goofy in the World of Disney store.  When we were here when I was 12, we walked here from our hotel -- it was past the Hilton where Amie and I spent an awful long time singing some stupid frog song to keep Patrick walking.  Then, it was pretty much just the World of Disney store.  Now, it's part of Downtown Disney, which itself is at least 3 times the size of Disneyland's.

Again with the pretty sky.

Patrick and Herbie in Planet Hollywood.  Patrick loves, loves, loves Herbie.  :-)  Incidentally, I've been at the Planet Hollywood in Vegas, and both locations have the best Caesar salad ever.  Ever, ever, ever.  Here, though, it was an arranged salad with hearts of romaine lettuce laid out and the dressing over it.  In Vegas, it was more your typical salad.