Once in a great while even the most experienced traveler experiences something that is truly phenomenal in terms of having a great vacation. Sometimes it’s the unique experience that most people can’t or won’t do, or it’s the high adventure of doing something that’s on the very edge of reasonable. Sometimes it’s just visiting a great place to spend time. New Zealand, for us, was one of those places that ended up being a great place to spend time. And if we had been looking for high adventure too, we certainly could have found it in the land of the Kiwi. With all the national parks and public lands available, we certainly had the opportunity to be outside and on the edge as much as anywhere else. Instead, we chose to give ourselves an overview of this incredible country and just see as much as we could in the short amount of time we had. (read more...)
Not long ago we posted a note about the Gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian. We thought it was a lot of fun to see, and kind of unique. And while it is unique by most standards, it turns out that it isn’t alone in the Disney scheme of things. There are others, and have been for some time.
Today we want to show you the Gingerbread Carousel, presented by the chefs and engineers at the Yacht and Beach Club resort Hotels. Like the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian, this tradition has been around for fourteen years and is an amazing piece of confection to see. Located in the lobby of the Beach Club, this rotating gingerbread delight includes 2013 pieces of gingerbread, 14 hidden Mickeys, and displays images of the “Fab Five”, which is Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. If you visit this display, take a moment and see how many of the hidden Mickeys and Fab Five you can spot.
Each year at the Walt Disney World Resort a transition takes place around the holidays. Main Street at the Magic Kingdom first decorates in a Halloween theme then changes over to Christmas. Decorations go up all around all the parks and hotels.
One display that’s worth a visit to see is the gingerbread house in the main lobby at the Grand Floridian Hotel. This might be the largest actual gingerbread house we’ve seen. And yes, it’s assembled by people wearing chef’s attire. Is it really gingerbread? (read more...)
This weekend was another hit at Downtown Disney. It was time for the annual Festival of the Masters art show. Judging from the lack of parking on Saturday, it was one of the more popular events on the year. Of course, there’s a lot of construction in progress as Disney creates Disney Springs and that’s sure to have contributed to some of the parking situation, but Downtown was certainly busy.
We were impressed with the high quality of all of the art. Ranging from paintings of nearly every type, to photography, sculptures, and jewelry, there was something for nearly everyone. We’re photographers, and we saw everything from classic canvas prints to the new glass mounted panoramas.
The event was held for three days, Friday, November 8, 2013 through Sunday, November 11th, and with the volume of artists displaying, from Cirque Du Soleil on the West Side all the way to Earl of Sandwich in the Marketplace, it would have been difficult to see everything.
If you’re a local, or if you're here during the Festival next year, it might be worth a visit to see this incredible art; maybe pick up a piece for home.
The Real Florida. That’s what they call the Florida State Park system. Whether you agree is up to you, but when you venture out and away from the theme parks of Orlando, you certainly see a different side of Florida. Yesterday we traveled over to the west coast of Florida near the town of Silver River to a great little state park called Homosassa Springs State Park. Our purpose was to visit the wildlife exhibit. This park has a great exhibit of animals indigenous to Florida, including the Florida Panther, bobcats, deer, and many dozens of species of birds, including the endangered Whooping Crane. There are also several alligators and manatees here.
Our visit started off at the main parking area which involved a fifteen minute boat ride over to the park through a canal system that was packed with wood ducks, turtles, cormorants, and other birds. It included an active Osprey nest along the way, although the nest does not become “populated” until later on in November. (read more...)
There are so many facets of the Walt Disney World resort that it’s sometimes hard to keep it in perspective. It’s almost a world of its own. Every year, for example, beginning around Halloween, folks staying in the Fort Wilderness Campground go crazy setting up decorations.
Fort Wilderness Campground is located along the southeastern shore of Bay Lake at Walt Disney World. Bay Lake is just to the east of Seven Seas Lagoon, on the east side of the Contemporary Resort, and where the Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is located. It’s most easily accessed from the Magic Kingdom with boat service, but you can get there via bus too. (read more...)