Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Character Meet & Greets Part II

Here's one more video clip of some character meet & greets from Disney.  Like I said before...meeting/hugging/talking to the characters is the girls' favorite part of visiting Disney! 

It certainly brings me enormous joy too - I love seeing the girls' faces light up!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Meet and Greets Part 1

After two trips to Disney, the hands-down winner of favorite things to do is meet the Disney characters.  Allie's, Anna's and Emily's faces light up with joy at the very sight of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Minnie, Goofy, etc.- name a Disney character and they have probably met him/her!

If there is one thing we have learned about the character meet and greets is to plan ahead and know their schedules!  Sarah (of course) has been the ultimate Disney planner for our trips and it has paid dividends in terms of maximizing our time. See her blog for much more detail on our trip(s).

The clip below are SOME highlights from encounters the girls had with various Disney princesses (and Tinkerbell).

I separated the other character meet & greets into another video which I will post next.  In the meantime...there is discussion of heading back to Disney before the end of the year...stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Shows and Parades

Sarah  and I agree that the folks at Disney know how to put on a show.  BTW if you don't follow Sarah, but are interested in getting details about Disney, go to her blog.

Having been to Disney twice, and taken the girls to two different Disney On Ice shows, we have concluded that Disney shows are done right. They get everything right from timely starts to entertaining multiple age groups.

This trip we saw the Belle show (Hollywood Studios) and The Lion King show (Animal Kingdom) again - we had seen them during our first trip to Disney in 2010.  Very enjoyable shows.  We also saw the Nemo (Animal Kingdom) and Arielle (Holywood Studios) shows for the first time.  Equally impressive.

What I find impressive about the shows is that ALL the cast members perform the show as if it is their only performance. They give 110% and it shows!

So...if you go to Disney, don't miss the shows!!!!

There are, of course, parades throughout the day at Magic Kingdom and a parade at Animal Kingdom.  Both of which are great.  It just seems like the parades at Magic Kingdom run when I am trying to get from one part of the park to another and cannot because of the parade! 

I got some clips from the Belle, Lion King and Nemo shows and some of both parades.  My video clips do not do the shows justice, so don't judge the show by these clips (please):

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Disney Trip: Beach Club Resort

How nice was it for us to check-in at the Beach Club in Disney after that draining drive?  It was great!

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon @3:00 and I was impressed with the hotel the moment we pulled up to the entrance.  We stayed 7 nights and, outside of the hotel(s) Sarah & I stayed in on our honeymoon to Hawaii back in 2004, this was probably the best stay we have had at a hotel while vacationing.

I am sure Sarah will give a more detailed review of Disney's Beach Club Resort.  But here are the pros & cons I came up with.  Mostly pros, BTW.

  • Rooms were clean, comfortable, and fairly spacious.
  • a/c worked great in the rooms (we had 2 adjoining rooms for 3 adults and 3 children).
  • awesome, awesome view from our room.
  • proximity to Epcot and Hollywood Studios was great - it literally took 5 minutes to walk to the Epcot entrance.  The walk to Holly wood Studios was @20 minutes.
  • Pools!!  The pool, as advertised, was awesome.  We spent our time in the "kiddie" pool behind the huge water slide and it was perfect for our girls.  Old man daddy (me) went down the big slide a few times too!  It was a fairly intense ride!  The kiddie pool had a slide too - Emily loved it.
  • Beaches and Cream restaurant was fun and the ice cream was delish!
  • Staff was friendly, helpful and professional.
  • The bed was very comfortable - in no way did it feel like a hotel bed!
Cons (observances more than complaints)
  • It was a LONG walk from our room to the lobby, parking lot and the hotel store.
  • the bathroom and the sink/mirror area was kind of awkward.
  • Despite having reservations, we had to wait almost 20 minutes beyond our reservation time for breakfast with the characters.
I took a few video clips of the hotel, including the kiddie pool area, our room and the view from our room.  I think it gives a good feel for Disney's Beach Club Resort:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A few video clips from our (VERY long) drive to Disney

I think my previous post set the tone for how our drive to/from Disney went, so I will not beat the point to death.  I will only say that it was a tough ride for both the adults and kids (Emily got car sick on the ride home).  And the girls actually fared better than the adults.  The drive sucked everything out of Sarah and me.

I pulled the FLIP video recorder out on the ride down and was able to capture some (but not all) of the flavor of the 1,300 mile drive down Interstate 95.

The traffic in the beginning of the video is near the Virginia/North Carolina border which was shut down due to flooding.  It took us about 3 hours to travel 17 miles.  Enough said.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Drive to Disney: Never again.

Most of the folks that end up reading my posts follow Sarah's blog also.

So...if you are reading this post, you probably know we just returned from a seven day vacation at Disney World in Orlando.

We drove. 

We drove the ENTIRE 1,300 miles. 



This is the second time we have done this drive.  After the first time, my comment to Sarah was "never again".  And, because I'm not a good salesman at all, I was not able to convince Sarah to bite the bullet and pay to fly to Florida for this trip.

So we drove again.  And it took 31 hours to get there because of:
  • traffic at the GW bridge in New York
  • traffic at the Delaware Memorial Bridge
  • major traffic at the Virginia - North Carolina border.  They closed route 95 because of flooding.  That's right CLOSED.
The drive back was brutal too. We drove straight through because we so paranoid about getting stuck in traffic on Labor Day.

I'm not sure when things changed but the drivers along 95 in the New Jersey to Connecticut stretch drive as if they are on a racetrack.  Like passing on the right doing 85 m.p.h. crazy.  Trucks too.

Sarah's comment to me on the drive home was "never again".

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School's Out!

With Labor Day behind us, everyone with children of school age are now focused on the upcoming school year.  I, on the other hand, am finally done with my graduate level program and for the first time in over three years! I do not have any classes to concern myself with!

It was a family effort and I would not have my MBA without the support of Sarah and the help of Sarah's mom, who watched the girls many days and nights while I attended class or studied.  Thank you!

When I was in grade school, Alice Cooper's hit "School's Out" was popular and each year on the last day of school you could find me playing the 45 inch single on my record player:

School's out for the summerSchool's out foreverSchool's been blown to pieces
No more pencilsNo more booksNo more teacher'sDirty looks
Well, we got no classAnd we got no principalsWe ain't got no intelligenceWe can't even think of a word that rhymes...

My grades for the two summer sessions.  Considering my grades for undergrad, I'll take these!

Intermediate Acct'G
Adv Corporate Financ
Oral Communc Mngrs
Strategic Management

And a couple of pictures from the graduation, which was held back in June: