Category: Vacation

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Travel, Vacation

Disney’s Swan and Dolphin, 9 years later

Just a quick post comparing a photo I took almost nine years ago with one I took this past weekend. We took a stroll from Epcot to the Swan and Dolphin and took a shortcut through Disney’s Boardwalk resort. After sampling a bit of the food from the International Festival of the Arts, we stopped off for a nice bite at the Big River Grille & Brewing Works. My first trip to the Swan and Dolphin was for a conference back in 2010.

The picture/camera quality is quite different between the two pics, with the new picture being much clearer and sharper, but there’s something about the lighting, the stillness and the sunset in the first picture that makes me prefer it.

That’s all I got to say!

Vacation

It’s all a blur

Time glides by with constant movement, not unlike a stream; for neither can a stream stay its course, nor can the fleeting hour.

–Ovid

I know I’m not the definitive source on the subject and I’m sure there are some -ologists out there that may be able to explain why this is, but time spent while on vacation just seems to go by in the blink of an eye.  I find it difficult to believe that the same rules of “you’ve-got-24-hours-in-this-day” apply while I’m enjoying myself.  When you get home it just kind of all runs together…

Now, let’s see… Was that Monday or Tuesday that we went to Downtown Disney.  Tuesday? Oh, okay.  Then what did we do Monday?

Even now I have to refer to timestamps on pictures to separate the events in my mind. It’s strange…

But at any rate, we’re all home now.  If the bold sentence above didn’t give it all away, my family and I just got back from Walt Disney World.  If you’ve read anything else posted on my website (like stuff here, here, and even here) then you probably know I have a thing for central Florida, Disney World in particular.  I don’t want to take every vacation there.  (The beach is nice too.)  But I do like to visit frequently.

I started out this trip keeping a sort of “travel diary” like I did in 2007, our last full-on family trip to Disney.  But this time that approach didn’t work.  We had ten travelers this time.  Tina’s brother brought his family down too.  And between the six excited kids and four excited adults, time was a precious commodity.  No time to spend tweeting or Facebooking, if that’s a word.  (My status update was “is at the mall for a haircut” for two weeks.  Loooong haircut…) And by the end of each day I was so wore out with all the walking and park hopping (and extreme heat!) that I didn’t feeling like writing a daily recap.  Oh, it started out good.  I have an entry for “Day One…”  Not much after that.

Well, where to begin? To start I should probably mention that we didn’t hit the Disney parks straight away.  We spent the night in Daytona Beach just down the street from the speedway.  So Monday morning we got up and hit the beach.  Very nice weather! It was cool to be able to just drive the car right on the beach and park.  We got a few good hours of swimming and wading in before heading to Lake Buena Vista.  So it was almost like two vacations in one.

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Daytona Beach

After our first family trip to Disney World we had decided that future visits to the “Happiest Place on Earth™” would include staying on Disney property in one of the resorts.  We have stayed on site two previous times.  Once at the All-Star Movies Resort (in 2002) and once at the All-Star Music Resort (in 2007).  For something different, this time we chose the Caribbean Beach Resort as our destination.  It’s so nice to be able to arrive in central Florida and just park the car and leave it.  Let Disney do the driving for you.  After checking in, we took a little tour of our new home.  Very nice place.

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Caribbean Beach Resort

Our park hopping began on Tuesday with a trip to Epcot.  We got to ride Mission: SPACE together as a family, each with our own responsibility as crew member.  Then the kids got to try their hand at being a mission specialist in the Advanced Training Lab in the multiplayer game Mission: SPACE Race.  Later in the week, we went back and had the chance to be astronauts.  Our team (Team Triton) won!

I love the interactive attractions at Disney.  Turtle Talk with Crush and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor are incredibly entertaining.  It’s so amazing to see those animated characters talk to you in real time.  Cool stuff!

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Turtle Talk with Crush

Oh, and one of the best ways to keep kids motivated on your trip to Epcot’s World Showcase is to pick up a World Showcase “Passport” when you arrive.  Kids can get their passport “stamped” and signed at each country they visit.  They can also create a colorful mask in any country and take that with them from country to country.  Our kids got to see their names written in several different languages.

Back Camera

Epcot Passports

One last tip for kids (and adults): the new Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is a blast! The kids are recruited as special agents who must defeat some crazy villains and save the day.  The kids get a neat high-tech “Kimmunicator” that looks like your average flip phone from 2005.  But the screens come to life sending kids on miniature adventures throughout one World Showcase country.  Keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected… I won’t ruin it for you, but the best climax comes in Mexico.  I’ll just say it was a very cool way to prevent a missile launch!

The girl agents play Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure

I think this post has lasted long enough… Gosh.  I’m only two days into the vacation and have written a short story.  More to come in the next post.

Vacation

Rest and relaxation…

Ah… Peace.  Well, a break from the hustle and bustle at least.  We’re back now, and the everyday craziness is back too…

But anyway, for a short while, things were calm.  We went on vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week.  It’s obviously becoming one of our favorite summer hide outs, since this is the second year in a row we’ve visited there.

You know, I think it would be cool to sum up this vacation by looking at some of the tweets I sent while we were gone.  Oh, and I’ll throw an occasional photo up as well…

at the beach.

is at the beach.

Probably the most obvious tweet of the bunch, huh? But probably my favorite, ‘cause it’s at the beginning of the vacation.

It was quite busy at the beach on Sunday and Monday.  A little bit busier than I remember last year at least.  It was a little difficult to find a place to stretch out for those two days.  After Tuesday it got a little better.

I think Ryan would spend all of his time splashing around in the water if he had his way.  But of course we didn’t spend all our time down in the water.  There’s just too much to do…

Nags Head Dolphin Watch

Like go dolphin watching. 

just spotted some dolphins on the dolphin watch.

We took a tour from the Nags Head Dolphin Watch and we did spot a pack of about five dolphins.

It was a nice, successful excursion.  The weather was pleasant that day, and the kids really enjoyed seeing the dolphins “muck about in the water.”

We also went to see a performance of “The Lost Colony” at the Waterside Theatre on Roanoke Island.  I really enjoyed the production, and it has gotten me interested in early American history again.  I am especially interested in learning more about Queen Elizabeth and those first early English settlers.  Anyone know of any good books to read?Tale of the Whale

is eating at the "Tale of the Whale" restaurant, Nags Head.

When we head to the Outer Banks we like to try a different restaurant each time we go.  This trip we decided to head to the “Tale of the Whale” restaurant.  Excellent food, nice atmosphere, and pleasant live entertainment.  And of course a great view while you dine!

I’ve got some other pictures that I’ll be uploading to Facebook and flickr, so keep an eye out for those.

And now, it’s back to RL.  And things are about to get busy around here.  Ho hum.  So I’m sure I’ll be looking back at this vacation as one last gasp of serenity.  I guess I’ll just take things one day at a time, since that’s how they come at you anyway.  Good thing, huh?

Vacation

Just Beachy…

We really had the time of our life:

Thanks to Shasta and Chad for providing some of the pictures.  We had a really great time, and it all went by in the blink of an eye.

I chose this song, even though it doesn’t directly relate to a beach trip, because it kind of sums up that feeling you get when you come home from a vacation.  Sometimes you want to be a part of something more and you know you’re ready for it.  It’s that feeling of “I’m ready to not be just a face in the crowd.”  And it also helps you keep things in perspective… you know, you’re living your life now. This is it, this is the time of your life, and you need to taste every moment and live it out loud.

Vacation

The Time of Our Lives

Well, the beach vacation is winding down.  We’ve all had a great time this week, swimming in the ocean, visiting the souvenir shops, going to the pool, and just generally relaxing.  We got up to watch a sunrise on Wednesday morning and it looked a little like this:

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I’ll post a few new photos to flickr tonight, but I’ll add a ton more when I get home this weekend.  Or early next week.  Or surely before the month’s out, anyway.

Family, Vacation

New attractions

We took a long weekend mini-vacation this weekend and decided to stay pretty close to home. Last time we did this we headed to Niagara Falls. Before that, Pittsburgh. So this was different. We decided to see the sights that West Virginia has to offer.

I’m not much of a Mountain Man. I don’t fish, I don’t hunt. But even so it was nice to see some natural beauty. We took a ride on the “New Tygart Flyer” and rode to a secluded waterfall. See the previous post for a pic.

Then on Saturday night we saw a show at the “American Mountain Theater.” The show has only been running for a couple of weeks now, and it’s a brand new experience for West Virginia. There’s nothing else like it around. The show reminds me a lot of the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, with a lot of singing and a little comedy. The AMT crew does an impressive job and they have a good foundation to build upon. The entertainment was great. Top notch musicians and a family-friendly atmosphere make this show a can’t-miss.

We visited Smoke Hole Caverns, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob and Blackwater Falls to round out our Sunday. I will post pics soon.

– Posted by MobiBlogr from mobile phone.