Anniversary Staycation Weekend – Animal Kingdom Lodge

For our anniversary, Tadd and I decided to treat ourselves to a little weekend staycation getaway at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort.  We stayed two nights on a discounted Passholder rate, using a giftcard received for my birthday a couple months ago as part of the deposit.  We booked a (MUCH cheaper) standard view room, but upon check-in we mentioned our anniversary and we were lucky enough to receive an upgrade to a savanna view room at no additional charge.

We did not set foot in a theme park all weekend…we just hung out at the resort, relaxed, went to the pool, read, and watched the animals (giraffes, zebras, ostriches, red river hogs, etc) from our balcony.  Heaven!  We did book a couple of fun dinners…First was a Sanaa, which is on the Kidani Village side of Animal Kingdom Lodge (we were staying at Jambo House, which is the original/main side of the resort).  They specialize in more exotic foods with an Indian and African flair.  So delicious!  The second night we booked the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner show at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which was a lot of fun.

Having now stayed in a number of Disney resorts (Caribbean Beach, All-Star Music, Port Orleans Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins, The Dolphin, Pop Century, Yacht Club, and now Animal Kingdom Lodge), I think I can say that AKL is my favorite so far.  It’s not within walking distance of any of the theme parks like Yacht Club (which is a HUGE perk), but it’s SO cool to wake up, step outside on your balcony with a cup of coffee, and hang out with some zebras.  Also, the theming really appeals to me.  You really feel like you’re somewhere else when you are there, which makes for a very relaxing time.

We are going to try to swing another staycation weekend in December, if I can get another great discount code.  I am shooting for the Wilderness Lodge this time.  No promises that it will definitely work out, but I am going to try my best.  Holiday time in Walt Disney World is unbeatable, and staying on property for a few nights makes it even better.

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Happy Fourth!

Hope all of my American friends had a spectacular 4th of July! We kept it pretty low key early in the day and hung out at home with the kitties.

In the early afternoon, we went down to Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando for Fireworks At The Fountain, where it promptly started storming like crazy. Luckily, Tadd’s office has an awesome view of the lake, and they were kind enough to open for employees and their friends & family. Some friends of ours joined us too. Soon enough the storms passed, it got dark, and the fireworks went off beautifully!

Star Wars Weekends, Take Two!

Tadd and I went back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios yesterday for round 2 of Star Wars Weekends.  We took our new video camera, and stitched together this compliation of all the things we did and saw.

Now that we have a dedicated video camera, I am going to try to post much more frequent videos.  So if you haven’t already, go over to my YouTube Channel and subscribe!  Thanks and enjoy!

I do love a good mystery…

As I mentioned on my previous post, on Monday, Tadd and I checked out a few places we had been meaning to visit for awhile.  Another place we visited was Theme Park Connection.  This is basically a Disney parks memorabilia thrift store/warehouse in Winter Springs, FL.  They have all kinds of souvenirs, posters, props, signage, cast member costumes, etc.  Much of it has been used in the park at one time or another.  Some of it is vintage, and some of it is pretty new.  Their inventory is constantly changing and you never know what you might see on any given visit.

Tadd and I spent a long time perusing the shelves and shelves full of stuff.  What ended up catching my eye was a pair of vintage wine glasses.  The logo says “Walt Disney World Village Wine Festival”, but the logo does not mention a year.

I know that what is now Downtown Disney used to be called “Walt Disney World Village” in the 1970s and 1980s before being changed to “Disney Village Marketplace” and then eventually “Downtown Disney” in the 1990s (soon to be “Disney Springs” once the recently-announced refurb is complete), but I had never heard of the wine festival.  My online research has proven sketchy, with no solid dates for the start of this festival (I have seen several different sites with different years mentioned; 1977, 1981, 1982, and 1986, among others), and nothing really discussing when it concluded.  It seems that this wine festival was precursor to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which began in 1995.  Unfortunately, based on the info I have, I can really only narrow down the time frame of distribution for these particular glasses to a very vague range: late-1970s to mid-to-late 1980s.  I searched for any kind of collection of wine festival logos, but those searches did not return anything.

If you have any information on these wine glasses please let me know!  I am so curious to know more specific details, especially what year they are from.  But even if I learn nothing more, they are still my new favorite WDW souvenir items.  I just love them!

Adjectives Market

Yesterday, Tadd and I decided to go to a few places we had been meaning to check out for a long time.  On my list was Adjectives Market, a huge art/vintage/antiques shop in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  Incidentally, this is the town where we lived prior to buying our house, and I so wish that it had been around when we lived on that side of town!  Such a cool place!

The very large space is filled with many smaller booths where individual artisans and/or antiques dealers can display their wares.  You can find anything from beautiful furniture, to antique items, to interesting found object sculptures.  They even sell the ever-popular Annie Sloan chalk paint, which I may need to go back and get once I find a project to use it on.

It was honestly a little overwhelming; there were so many neat things to look at!  But I did manage to score a few very cool items.  The first thing I saw that I had to have was this set of coasters celebrating Orlando history.

I am thinking about doing something unconventional with these…Perhaps hanging them on the wall or incorporating them into a tray of some sort.  I just love them!  The one in the upper left is a shot of the main road going through downtown Orlando; Orange Avenue.  By the looks of the cars I would guess that it’s maybe the 1930s or 1940s?

I also got this milk glass dish (if you collect milk glass, Adjectives Market is your place…There were shelves and shelves of it!), and a 1982 map of Central Florida.

Altogether I spent about $30.  But I really could have spent SO much more.  I want to go back very soon!  If you live in the Central Florida area, please do yourself a favor and check this place out!

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 15th anniversary, I thought I would share some of the pictures we took during our recent visit to Animal Kingdom.  One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing the tigers up and active!  Every time I haved visited them in the past, they have been fast asleep in the shade.  They were stalking each other and playing together.  So cute!

 

Epcot the Ghost Town

I’m about to let you all in on a little WDW secret!  Shhhhhhhhh!

Tadd and I recently spent an early morning in Epcot’s World Showcase.  Normally, the World Showcase section of the park opens at 11AM, while the rest of the park opens at 9.  However, the bakery in the France pavilion was recently remodeled and reopened with new hours!   They now open right at 9 with the front of the park.  BUT!  The France pavilion is literally as far back into the park as you can get.  Nothing else is open back there before 11…It’s literally JUST the bakery (which, as I’m sure you can imagine, serves some pretty fantasic pastries for breakfast!).  And word hasn’t really gotten out yet about this hidden gem.

What this means is, if you can get to Epcot at park opening, and immediately walk straight back into World Showcase, you basically have that whole area  to yourself.  While everyone else is racing to The Land pavilion on the other side of the park to get Soarin’ fastpasses, you will get to stroll past the completely empty Canada and UK pavilions on your way to your delicious breakfast in France!

There is something SO cool about feeling as if you have a whole theme park to yourself.  We are so used to seeing these places full of crowds, noise, and hustle-bustle.  Being able to take our time and really enjoy all the sights and details in peace and quiet was well worth the hassle of getting up extra early.  Of course, we had to take our sweet time and take a ton of pics!

2012 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World

Finally getting around to sharing some of the holiday events we attended this year at Walt Disney World.  We did a lot of these events much earlier in the season this year (as in, before Thanksgiving) because crowd levels closer to Christmas can be ridiculous, and it just happened to fit our schedule better.  Being in Florida at Christmastime can tend to not feel very Christmasy, but I love that we make up for it with easy access to these spectacular events and displays.  If you visit Disney at Christmastime, regardless of the weather, there is NO way you don’t come away firmly entrenched in the holiday spirit.  It’s the most festive place I know of this time of year.

Magic Kingdom: Main Street and Castle Dreamlights

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Epcot: Candlelight Processional with Guest Narrator Whoopi Goldberg

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: Victorian decorations and giant gingerbread house

Linking up to a very worthy cause!:

Busy, Busy, Busy

So sorry for my extended absence.  The past week has been insane for me since Election Day.  Wednesday we went to an Orlando Solar Bears hockey game, Thursday we went to Magic Kingdom for the first night of Castle Dreamlights (and we got to see the New Fantasyland again!), Friday I attended a Dove Chocolate Party at my friend’s house, Saturday afternoon our out-of-town guests that we thought were arriving on Sunday night arrived a day early, and Saturday night we saw the band Weezer perform their blue album at Hard Rock Live.  Sunday we went with said houseguests to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and got to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  Whew!  Last night after work, I was ready to just relax with a glass of wine, which is exactly what I did.

Some Instagram pics from our crazy week:

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

 

Stay tuned for more pics (and maybe even video!) from our Disney holiday adventures so far this year!

 

 

 

Disney…Fall…Instagram!

I realize that my blog has been lacking in the creativity department lately.  I have been so busy with travel and wedding and life in general, that most of my posts have been filled with that stuff lately.  I hope to get back to crafts, sewing, and maybe even share a recipe or two really soon.  I hope you will bear with me in the meantime, and enjoy me sharing a bit about the other things going on in my world!

I thought I would share the Instagram pics I took during our 4 days/3 nights at Walt Disney World last week!  I can’t stress enough how much Tadd and I enjoyed ourselves during that little getaway.  As a matter of fact, I told Tadd that if I thought we could swing it, I would definitely book another very similar staycation in December to enjoy all of the holiday happenings at WDW.  October, November, and December are definitely my FAVORITE months to enjoy the theme parks!

Some highlights…

  • The first two pics are from Disney’s brand new Art of Animation Resort, in the Cars-themed section.  This was a short walk away from where we were staying at the Pop Century Resort, so we took advantage on our first day and took a look around.  All I have to say is WOW!  Art of Animation is incredible!   Each wing of the resort makes you feel like you are walking into a Disney film (Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid).  So many cute touches!
  • We ate at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge for breakfast our second morning (left most pic, third row down).  Food was delicious!  We would definitely go back.
  • I made that little Mickey pumpkin canvas backpack (third row right) years ago, using a $2 basic blank canvas drawstring backpack that I got at JoAnn’s (in the section with the blank t-shirts and tote bags) and a computer graphic printed on iron-on paper.  I was used to using the iron-on paper on t-shirts and wasn’t sure how it would transfer on canvas, but it turned out great and has now lasted me 5 or so years!  The canvas is starting to look a bit dingy, but the graphic still looks great.
  • I love when they project things on Cinderella Castle during the fireworks shows!  You can see the orange jack-o’-lanterns in my pic from the “Happy Hallowishes” fireworks display at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
  • The pic with the cup of coffee is from Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort.  This is where we had breakfast on our last morning before heading over to Magic Kingdom to check out the New Fantasyland.  If you are a coffee lover, you MUST try 100% pure Kona coffee in a press pot.  It’s sooo much better than regular coffee!