Well, okay… but I get to be on top. — Josh, Big
Well, okay… but I get to be on top.
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We’re just one week into 2013, and this is already starting out as an exciting year. First of all, we have a blog post! An actual blog post! What could be more exciting than that?
Disneyland, December 2012
The Spring 2013 semester will see the start of two new classes for me at one of our colleges. I’m taking Windows 7 Administration (I & II) as well as the CompTIA A+ certification course. I always like to brush up on my technical skills now and then. I’m pretty sure I will learn a tip or two over the semester in these refresher courses.
My sister brought her family out to visit for a week during Winter Break. We took a cheese and butter class in Scottsdale. Andrew and I decided to try our hand at homemade mozzarella which turned out quite well for our first attempt. It’s easier than we thought. The instructor taught us a recipe for Lemon Ricotta cookies with fresh ricotta cheese, so that’s next on my list of kitchen creations. Andrew and I use Pinterest to share ideas for baking and dinners. It works really well to post ideas on a shared board for us to browse through.
Noah teaching me Lego building, October 2012
During October my little brother Noah came out to visit and taught me how to build and properly play with a Lego kit. He’s so adorable it hurts! Oh my goodness. I miss him so much. At just 9 years old, he is the sweetest most loving little brother in the world. I just love it when he sends me letters and drawings in the mail. It melts my heart. For Christmas this year, Andrew got me my very own Lego kit. It was really neat to put together but I didn’t have a lot of time to spend photographing it before it got packed away in the Christmas decorations. Perhaps next year I’ll be able to take some cool macro photos of the minifigs on set.
I’m still taking photos whenever I can. Recently it’s been a lot of roses and macro shots. Eventually I’d like to get a nice telephoto lens, but there are several things on my savings wish list that will have to come first. A new computer, a new camera body and a tilt-shift lens are pretty high on that list.
Tumbles, the noisemaker
Digital scrapbooking is a new hobby of mine. It takes up less physical space than the 23 scrapbooks on top of my desk, but I’ve already accumulated 15 GB of digital files. I’m just starting out and learning how to use templates and make my own. So far it’s been a learning curve even for the decent Photoshop user that I am – perhaps because I’m so used to creating with my hands instead of on the computer. I’ve got a half dozen pages created and am starting to get the hang of it. Having a constant blank canvas can be taxing because there are so many fun embellishments and papers to play with. I just love it!
Bee, December 2012
This blog continues to be a catalyst for genealogical connections. Many people find my blog while searching for their ancestor or a recent family member and contact me for more information. Most recently I’ve had two separate individuals from the Karpuk line get in touch with me for very different reasons. It’s amazing that all this hard work is finally paying off. I still go through periods when I’m not sure anyone will care about all my research, especially since I have nobody to pass it on to. I just have to keep reminding myself that there are people out there who may not even be born yet in various family lines who will someday be thankful for my work.
The kitties continue to be a big part of our daily routine. Cheetoe has taken to eating his own fur ever since we lost Olly earlier in the year. The vet says he’s stressed out, and his joints are hurting him so he’s become a compulsive groomer. He’s attached to Andrew like velcro and never leaves him alone. Tumbleweed still won’t stop talking. He’s got the craziest personality of all. Meow, meow meow, meow, meow. It’s never-ending. Lucky is still the sweet one. He’s scared of everything and loves to cuddle and get belly rubs. He’s got a high squeaky voice that rarely comes out unless he seriously wants attention.
So that’s about it for now. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an actual, real-time blog entry. Enjoy, and happy 2013!
Twitter Tools decided to upgrade itself and break spectacularly in the process. I can no longer automatically post my Twitter feeds every weekend like I have done for the past several years.
Here is a list of Tweets that haven’t been captured due to technical difficulties. I’ll try to come up with a different solution over the Winter Break.
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Week 40: Trouble. What happened when you got into trouble as a child? What was punishment like in your home?
That was the punishment for getting in trouble at my house, and I got them a lot. My Mom even called it that! “Come ‘ere, I’ll whip yer ass!” Then DaD would get the belt out and I would run like hell for my bedroom. I was always in trouble for something!
One time I was messing around in the living room and I broke my mother’s glass bowling trophy that was sitting on top of the television. If I remember correctly, I tried to tell her that I didn’t do it. A bold faced lie, I’m certain of it – and she didn’t buy it for a second.
Another infamous time of trouble was when my cousin Shannon Roe and I – may she rest in peace – used sidewalk chalks to confess our love for the hot neighbor guy next door down in Indiana. We drew everywhere, in every color, all over the driveway and sidewalks and the deck and everything. Big giant hearts, our first name with his last name, and lots of scripty scrolly fonts. My Uncle Bret was super pissed! He made us erase it all with the hose. We were cold and water logged after a few hours of trying to undo our deed.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
The Missing Towncar & Our Flight to Phoenix
We woke up at 7:30am and thankfully had completed all of our packing the night before. Breakfast this morning was at Roaring Forks, which surprisingly was better than Whispering Canyon and would have cost half as much. We were still trying to use up our dining points. Unfortunately there was no place to sit, so we had to bring our breakfast back up to the room. We figured we should probably use the formal dining table one more time, because it might just be the last formal dining table we ever have in a hotel room.
We decided to leave a modest tip for the Housekeeping staff, even though they really didn’t do much throughout our trip. We had a grand total of four towel animals during our nine day stay. two of them were in the room when we arrived, so I don’t really count those.
Downstairs with our luggage all in tow ourselves, we made our way to the curb at 8:55am to await our Towncar which was supposed to be there at 9:00am to take us to the airport. While Universal Studios had made arrangements for the ride from the airport to Royal Pacific and the ride from Royal Pacific to the Wilderness Lodge, Disney concierge had made our arrangements to the airport. That should have been a red flag by this point.
We approached a bell desk attendant and told them we had a Towncar coming. She said she didn’t have any knowledge of a Towncar. I gave her our reservation number and told her it was booked through the Wilderness Lodge Itinerary Planning office. She went off to ask some questions and came back to say we should wait a few more minutes for the Towncar to arrive. By about 9:10am, I was getting really frustrated. We had been standing on the curb with all of our luggage for 15 minutes. I think the Bell desk attendant could tell because she offered to call the reservation company to confirm the ride. She came back ten minute later to say that the company they usually book through had no record of our reservation. The Wilderness Lodge concierge manager stepped in at that point and gave us a taxi voucher, advising us that gratuity was not included.
Taxi Voucher to the Airport
Within a minute, a taxi had pulled up to take us to the airport. By this time we were running 25 minutes late and I was pretty upset. The taxi driver was awful. He was reckless and barely spoke any English. He spent the ride talking on his cell phone and typing on his center console while driving, swerving around cars on the freeway going 75 in a 60 mph zone and making us suffer through awful French music the entire trip. I had a few TIPS for him by the end of that journey, but Andrew forced me to give him $10 cash instead. Boy was I pissed!
Our flight to Atlanta left at 11:30am without a hitch and took an hour. We then had to wait through a 3 hour and 40 minute layover in Atlanta which we spent eating lunch and walking around the terminal. Andrew surfed the web on the Xoom for a while. Our flight to Phoenix also went off without a hitch and departed at 4:30pm, just about the same time Superbowl XLVI kicked off featuring the Giants vs. Patriots. We were given game updates throughout the flight by our captain.
Thankfully, we landed a half an hour early in Phoenix. There was a very obnoxiously loud drunk guy at the back of the airplane who would not shut up towards the end of the flight, and I had reached my capacity for tolerance by that point. Our luggage arrived without any issues, and Andrew’s Mom and Dad came to pick us up and dropped us off at home (we’re so lucky to have them!).
We were happy to finally be back home. We spent the evening eating Hungry Howie’s pizza and snuggling with the kitties, who had clearly missed our presence. We missed them too.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Recovering & PhotoPass Problems
Andrew brought me a red rose for breakfast from the store when he went to get us milk. Our tradition is to get a rose each Anniversary but we couldn’t get one at Disney. We spent the day doing laundry, sorting photos and unpacking from the trip.
I reviewed our PhotoPass content online and found 110 photos from a different family. After deleting them from the account, I tried to order our PhotoPass CD with the promo code that came with our Platinum Plan but of course, it didn’t work. I had to call the help line to get a different promo code. At least the woman who answered was able to look up the code for the Platinum Plan and give it to me without much trouble. I mentioned to her the 110 photos on our account that were of a different family, and she confirmed that the company was frequently sending out duplicate PhotoPass card codes to people who purchase various Disney vacation plans. Nice.
Our trip was filled with amazing adventures and pieces of hassle and frustration. It was a lot of ups and downs, and that’s not even counting all the rides we went on. We’re so glad we went, but we’re thinking perhaps Hawaii would be a nice destination for our 20th anniversary.
Flight to Florida & Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios & Arriving at Walt Disney World
Visiting the Magic Kingdom & The Richard Petty Experience
Water Sports & The California Grille
Hollywood Studios, Star Tours & Toy Story Midway Mania
Epcot & Around the World Segway Tour at the World Showcase
Our 10th Wedding Anniversary
Animal Kingdom, Mini Golf & The Yachtsman Steakhouse
Our Final Day at Disney & our Private Illuminations Cruise
The Missing Towncar & Our Flight to Phoenix
Flickr Photo Collection of Our 10th Anniversary Trip to Florida
See the Wilderness Lodge Yellowstone Suite Video Walk Through
See my Richard Petty Ride Along Experience Video
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Our Final Day at Disney & our Private Illuminations Cruise
Finally… a day we could sleep in! It was the first time in 8 days that we didn’t have to get up early for some activity, and the day before we were awoken by my niece Rachel’s butt.
But… it was not to be. Pun intended. We woke up to Rachel texting me, apologizing for her embarrassing butt call the day before. C‘est la vie, eh?
View from the Yellowstone Suite
We packed up all of our suitcases and our massive amount of souvenirs. Andrew did most of the packing, to be honest. I did a lot of supervising the process. I do remember thinking that we were definitely going to miss our beautiful view of the pool and Bay Lake. We straightened out our bills for the Segway tour, the Seeds tour and a bunch of other incorrect charges with the concierge staff. I grabbed a fresh copy of each of the park maps for keepsakes from the lobby and packed them away.
We discovered during our packing that one of the Mickey and Minnie photo ornaments we purchased were missing something – Mickey and Minnie’s noses! The tiny microscopic noses had broken off and through some incredible miracle, Andrew found them on the granite counter top. I have no idea how he saw them, because the granite was black and the noses were black, but he did. The concierge gave me a piece of tape and we taped them onto the back of the ornament to be repaired when we got home.
Yellowstone Suite Balconies from the Pool
We sat down for breakfast at the concierge on the 7th floor and enjoyed a little peace and quiet. We had done so many scheduled character breakfasts that it was nice to just sit and relax for a bit. Somewhere along the way I lost my tan scrunchie and since we had planned to go parasailing that morning, I forked out $4 for a Minnie Mouse hair tie at the gift shop. I confirmed with the concierge that the parasailing would definitely be happening that day because we were afraid it was too windy. The concierge staff called the Contemporary and they said we were good to go. We took the water taxi over to the Contemporary Resort and approached Sammy Duvalls, a bit nervous to get out on Bay Lake. Once we checked in, we were told that we had reserved a personal watercraft and were not signed up for parasailing. I pulled out the confirmation card and yes indeed, the Wilderness Lodge concierge had booked the wrong activity. The staff at Sammy Duvalls said that we couldn’t parasail anyway because it was too windy outside.
For reals? The concierge not only mis-booked us, but then they mis-informed us by saying Sammy Duvalls was going to fly that morning. We were very disappointed. The staff there was very kind, offering to call us later in the day if the wind died down enough and they would take us flying. I declined politely. In my head, if this many obstacles get in the way of me flying over a lake, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
We had another breakfast at the Contempo Café where touch screens were the primary method of ordering, but then we waited for our food incorrectly. We didn’t realize you’re supposed to pay for your food first, then get a pager, then come back for your food later. The system is not very user friendly, even with touch-screen self service ordering.
The Monorail transported us to the Transportation Ticketing Center (TTC) after breakfast where we switched to the other Monorail and went back to Epcot for the day. I decided upon entering Epcot that I wanted a locker for the day to hold our jackets which we only had because we thought we would be on the lake for several hours. The lockers, well worth the price, were just $7 for the day plus a $5 deposit. We stored our stuff and started in on another day at Epcot.
Our first stop was fast passes for Soarin’. We then tried to use the Instant Fast Passes that we had received as an incentive for attending the Disney Vacation Club open house, but they had already expired. It says on the back they had to be used within 3 days of attending the open house, and this was day 4 so we were out of luck.
Sum of All Thrills ride at Epcot
We rode the Imagination Ride and I finally got to experience Figment as a Disney character. This was my fourth trip to Walt Disney World and the first time I had ever been on the ride. We then sat through the 12 minute Stormstruck interactive film which was incredibly stupid, although that may have been primarily due to our tour guide who was in training and couldn’t remember what she was supposed to say most of the time. We noticed an extraordinary amount of Cast Members throughout our stay that were Earning their Ears, which means they were new employees. One Cast Member told us that over the Christmas holiday, many employees get burned out and quit so they end up with a lot of new employees in January.
We went back over to Innoventions where Andrew got to design his own ride on the Sum of All Thrills. It’s a spinning simulator where you get to choose how your ride will move and how you experience it. He really enjoyed the experience.
Lunch was at the Seasons Café at The Land. Once again, the cast member had no idea how to ring up the Platinum Plan. He ended up charging me for the food. He was still Earning his Ears like everyone else seemed to be, so I asked him to call the manager over. Once the manager came, he took a look at my Key to the World gold card that clearly says PLATINUM PLAN on the front, and immediately got flustered. “Oh I’m so sorry ma’am, we so rarely see this plan, I don’t think I’ve seen this for several months now.” I replied to him, “I understand sir, but I paid $15k for this trip and all I want is some café chicken for lunch.” He quickly fixed the error and sent us on our way.
Ice Cream from Beaches and Cream at the Boardwalk
By the time we finished lunch we were exhausted and pretty much done with Disney. We were struggling to find stuff to do in the crowds of Brazilian tourists. Apparently not only was it a Brazilian holiday, but we were told that the state of Florida has some kind of agreement with the government in Brazil to allow the citizens to come to Florida for longer vacations than they can do anywhere else in the world. There were flocks of tour groups from Brazil all over the park, always chanting and screaming at each other. Thirty here, thirty there, thirty behind them, and thirty more coming. There were literally thousands and thousands of people speaking Portuguese from Brazil. It was really too much for us to handle by this point.
Andrew decided to go through the single rider line for Test Track. I was done with rides. I was still sick to my stomach and had never recovered after Mission Space Barf – I mean Orange – and didn’t feel like pressing my luck any further. Andrew rode the dreaded Mission Space Orange one more time while I went over to the Epcot Character Spot to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck.
We joined up again after that to ride Soarin’ with our fast passes. Then it was off to ride Spaceship Earth and send a postcard from the future to ourselves. Then we messed around in Innoventions and played a 3D surgeon game. We looked at our Epcot Legacy Tile one last time, then hopped on the bus back to the Wilderness Lodge.
View from the Illuminations Cruise at Epcot
We ordered pizza from in-room dining with a Caesar salad, a cheese and fruit plate, iced tea, Coke, a slice of chocolate “moose” cake, apple upside down cake and our order came with two whole pints of vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Two whole pints? We didn’t even have room to touch them.
After dinner we took the bus to the Yacht Club and went shopping for a while. I was done with all of my pins by this point so I couldn’t trade with anyone. We got two double waffle ice cream cones at Beaches and Cream which were delicious, and only cost two snack points. By then it was 8:00pm and we checked in for our Illuminations Cruise.
Our boat captains for the Illuminations Cruise were Todd (who was… you guess it! Earning his Ears) and veteran captain Jerry. They took us out early so that Todd could get a little more practice navigating the boat around the lake. We had the entire cruise boat to ourselves because… you guessed it! Nobody in their right mind ever signs up for the Platinum Plan. The cruise usually costs $325 per group but it was included in our package.
Jerry said the last time he encountered anyone on the Platinum Plan was early in December, two months before. He said most people sign up for Platinum for 2 or 3 days of their trip to take advantage of all the included features, then lower themselves down to a cheaper package for the remainder of their time at Disney. Now why didn’t we think of that? That makes too much f’ing sense.
Take my advice – don’t sign up for Disney’s Platinum Plan. It’s way too much trouble and it costs an absolute fortune.
Illuminations Cruise Boat
The Illuminations Cruise was very relaxing. We rode around the lake and our captains told us all about the area and some facts about Epcot. The boat had free snacks and drinks. The Illuminations Fireworks show was only 13 minutes in total and was really cool to see up close on the water. We tipped them $40 cash and they snapped our picture on the boat before we were off to finish our Disney adventure.
From the Yacht Club, we took the bus to the Magic Kingdom and went inside the park. We thought it was appropriate to end our vacation at the same place we had started it. We walked right onto Haunted Mansion, and then Andrew bravely rode Splash Mountain as a walk-on while I typed up some recaps from the day. I noticed a very pretty reflection of the castle of the lake so I snapped a few pictures with my point and shoot camera.
Andrew and I finished up our stay by walking right onto Winnie the Pooh and It’s a Small World, then we waited 20 minutes to ride Peter Pan. By then it was exactly 12:00AM midnight and the park had closed. We took the water taxi back to the Wilderness Lodge and crashed from a very full, long final day.
Andrew’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Test Track & Illuminations Cruise
Jessica’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Illuminations Cruise
Friday, February 3, 2012
Animal Kingdom, Mini Golf & The Yachtsman Steakhouse
Finally… a day we could sleep in! It was the first time in 8 days that we didn’t have to get up early for some activity. Rachel’s butt, on the other hand, had a different idea. Her butt called me at 7:30am on my cell phone. Rachel was at school in Michigan and was completely unaware that her butt wanted to talk to Aunt Jessica.
We crawled out of bed and made our way to Whispering Canyon for breakfast down in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. The food was decent but not overly exciting. The restaurant is known for its loud and obnoxious wait staff who do things like yell at you to clean your plate, make you get ketchup from someone else’s table and sing Happy Birthday to yourself before they serve you your food. Luckily, the wait staff left us alone this time. We weren’t really in the mood to be messed with.
Winter Summerland Hole #1
On our bus ride to the Animal Kingdom we decided to hop off at Blizzard Beach to play miniature golf at Winter Summerland. The Summer side was closed for refurbishment, but we happily played through the Winter side and all of its obstacles. I narrowly beat out Andrew 44 to 47 on the 56-par course.
The bus picked us up and took us over to Animal Kingdom where we went straight to Everest. Andrew walked on a single rider and I enjoyed a soft serve ice cream and views of the lake. I still wasn’t feeling very well and didn’t want to aggravate my condition with more roller coasters.
We sat down for Finding Nemo the Musical at 11:45am, a 40-minute stage show with puppeteers retelling the story of Finding Nemo. It was adorable, and turned out to be one of the best free shows we saw on the trip. I really liked the costumes and the way they didn’t try to hide the actors and actresses who were conducting the puppets. They incorporated them into the show.
Dim Sum Sampler at Yak and Yeti
Lunch plans didn’t exist, so we decided to sit down at a restaurant called Yak and Yeti for some grub. We didn’t know that Yak and Yeti didn’t serve grub – it served amazingly delicious food! The dim sum sampler, honey chicken, mahi mahi, pineapple wontons and mango pie graced our table over the next our and we gobbled it all up. This was one of the best meals we had at Disney and I would highly recommend it. While it would have set us back $83 plus the $17 tip, it was worth every penny in my opinion.
Poo, shocked that I did not bring him any honey!
While Andrew rode Dinosaur I moseyed on down to meet Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger at the character spot. I mentioned to Pooh that I had Honey Chicken for lunch at the Yak and Yeti. See the picture for his reaction! After the photos, I wandered over to the gift shop at the end of the Dinosaur ride. I also picked up a few marble eggs that I thought would be nice decorations for Easter while I was waiting for Andrew to finish the ride.
Animal Kingdom couldn’t keep our attention for very long. We took the bus toward the Yacht Club but decided to get off at the Swan and walk around the property to check it out. We walked over to Fantastia Gardens and saw the good course was overfilled with people and hosting “tee times” due to its capacity limits, so we opted to play the Fairway Course instead. The course was too difficult for my taste, and because of that it wasn’t very fun. Many of the holes were par 4 and par 5. Andrew edged out a victory of 74 to 79 on the Fairway Course. Unfortunately, the lady who rang us up had never heard of the Platinum Plan. Even though she looked it up in her guide book, she still rang us up wrong and charged us for the activity. We had to have the manager reverse it later. It was just one of many times during our trip that we were incorrectly charged for things because nobody had ever used the Platinum Plan button on the cash register before.
Walking around the Swan and Dolphin hotels was relaxing. We strolled around the grounds and the pools and made our way over to the Boardwalk, Beach and Yacht Club Resorts. Along the way there is a large walking bridge that goes over the water. We witnessed a mother with her young daughter and son on a Surrey bike. The young son was driving, and steered hard right straight into the wall on the downhill part of the bridge. Their drinks went everywhere, the mother had a bloody lip after being thrown from the bike, and the daughter was thrust straight into the steering wheel. We ran to help them but obviously the mother was very angry and embarrassed, and really didn’t want our assistance. They got back on the bike and kept going. We saw another overloaded Surrey bike coming up the hill a few minutes later and I shouted a warning to them to slow down on the bridge. I hope they heeded my warning.
Yacht Club Arcade Self Service Prize Redemption
Over at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, we shopped around for souvenirs for my coworkers. I picked up some chocolates, popcorn and some 2012 Disney pens for around the house. It was just about time for dinner, so we checked into the Yachtsman Steakhouse for the best steak dinner in the entire world. That’s right people – I saved the best dinner for the end of our trip.
A delicious charcuterie board, shrimp and grits, the world’s most perfect filet mignon with unbelievable garlic butter sauce, a delicious New York strip, crème brulee, pretzel and peanut butter cake made their way across our table and were quickly devoured into my happy tummy. The Yachtsman also provided us homemade caramels, jellies and tiny lemon Madeleine cookies to celebrate our anniversary. The bill might shock some people at $170 plus $30 tip, but it was astounding food and by far the best filet mignon at Walt Disney World.
World's Best Filet Mignon at the Yachtsman Steakhouse
With my tummy still as happy as it’s ever been, we hopped on the bus back to the Magic Kingdom and transferred to the water taxi back to the Wilderness Lodge to drop off our shopping bags. Disney doesn’t ship food items back to the room so we had to carry them back ourselves. From there we took the bus back to Downtown Disney where we shopped for more souvenirs. I picked up a Nightmare Before Christmas Jack head Christmas ornament and a Christmas sleigh with a bunch of Disney characters. I also picked up a Toy Story limited edition pin, a trading pin binder and we used a whole bunch of snack points on packaged candies. Andrew purchased a blind pack of mini figures with a Disney bus, Frog Princess Tiana and Wall-E inside for his desk at work.
Our shopping adventures left our hands full of bags so we took the bus back to the Wilderness Lodge. We asked the concierge for a room charge summary and began the daunting task of sorting through all the purchases to make sure we weren’t mis-charged for anything else. As it turned out, they charged me for the Behind the Seeds Tour and we had to have that reserved. The cosmetology appointment charged me for a dinner point instead, so we had to get that fixed. We also had to ensure the charges were reversed for the Fantasia Gardens golf activity. It took a lot of checks and balances to make sure everything was correct.
Andrew’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Finding Nemo the Musical
Jessica’s Favorite Thing of the Day: Garlic Butter Filet Mignon at the Yachtsman Steakhouse
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Our 10th Wedding Anniversary
Once again we woke up with Mickey and Stitch at 6:00am. We showered and got ready for my cosmetology appointment in the room at 7:00am. Our in-room dining breakfast arrived just as the makeup artist did. She couldn’t believe the sheer size of the Yellowstone Suite. She had never been in there before either, but said that she thought it was nicer than the Presidential Suite at the Grand Floridian.
Portrait on Sunrise Terrace
I was able to eat a little bit of breakfast after the cosmetologist was done. We got dressed in our formal attire and went down to the lobby at 7:50am to meet up with our photographer, Mike Strickland. Mike told us how he had seen my email address and decided to go snooping to my website because he thought the names sounded familiar. Ironically I had scheduled a post before we left, detailing our wedding day and showcasing a bunch of photos he had taken. He mentioned specifically the photo of us at the Popcorn cart in front of the Hall of Presidents, and said he had never tried that location with any other couple in his career at Disney. He remembered us in front of that Popcorn cart.
Portrait at Silver Creek
Mike and his two assistants took us up to the 4th floor Sunrise Terrace balcony first to capture the place where we got married ten years prior. We then went outdoors to the resort pool area where we literally went traipsing through the pine trees to sit on a rock for some portraits. Then he had us climb down into the riverbed for another scene, stating we were “breaking 40 rules” along the way but he seemed excited at our willingness to climb around and get dirty for the right backdrop. Minutes after we finished the riverbed scene, the river water came on and we narrowly escaped being waterlogged.
Mike asked if we had any ideas on our next location, and I suggested coming up to the Yellowstone Suite. It had beautiful natural window light and a rich wood brown backdrop. He, nor his assistants, had ever been inside the Yellowstone Suite either. In fact, Mike didn’t even know it existed! He had worked for Disney for well over a decade. I’m telling you, this Suite is like a myth.
Andrew inside the Yellowstone Suite
We took portraits around several areas of the Suite together and separately. I offered up the idea to use the Xoom tablet to display a wedding portrait with us in the background, which Mike liked. It was creative and very timely in terms of technology, and I think it will be fun to look at for years to come. At the end of the session, we thanked Mike and his assistants for the wonderful portraits and for spending so much time with us.
Jessica inside the Yellowstone Suite
We had left the entire day open to do whatever we felt like doing. We went down to the boat dock to try to go visit the Polynesian but I was still feeling very sick. I decided after waiting for a few minutes that what I really needed was to lay down in bed for a while. We went back up to the room and I napped while Andrew surfed the web and went through his RSS feeds on the Xoom. Andrew had the forethought of loading our wedding video onto the Xoom so we could watch it. He went downstairs and got us lunch from Roaring Forks, and we laid in bed watching our wedding video.
After lunch, we took the water taxi to the Contemporary and switched to the Monorail over to the Polynesian Resort. We shopped around a little bit and I purchased a pink 2012 Disney t-shirt for myself. We treated ourselves to Dole Whip and Dole Whip mixed with Vanilla ice cream as snacks. We checked out the Polynesian’s arcade, and Andrew played Tron Legacy Pinball using our free 100-point cards included in our Platinum Plan. For those keeping score, 100 points equals a whopping $2.00. Yipee! The Monorail then took us back to the Contemporary where we played in their arcade for a bit At least we were able to play some air hockey (I beat Andrew 7 to 5) and a few other random games.
Portrait of us holding our Wedding Portrait
The water taxi took us back to the Wilderness Lodge where we changed back into formal clothes before checking in for dinner at Artist Point, the same restaurant we had our reception at after our wedding ten years prior. We had the cheese plate and mussels for appetizers, buffalo & beef tenderloin entrees and followed up with desserts of berry cobbler and apple upside down cake. The restaurant presented us with Mickey Ear loopy straws and light-up Tinkerbell and Buzz Lightyear figures as Anniversary gifts.
We went back up to the room and changed into more comfortable clothes and shoes before boarding a bus to Downtown Disney. We had fantastic seats for Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba at the 9:00pm show. Just as last time, it was an amazing show. The guy on the bouncy bike ended up scaring me by coming within half an inch of my chair at high speed as part of the show. We really enjoyed the performance!
The bus took us back to the Wilderness Lodge where we crashed from sheer exhaustion. It didn’t seem like we were able to take a break during the trip, and with me being sick the entire time I just didn’t have the stamina I expected.
Andrew’s Favorite Thing of the Day: La Nouba
Jessica’s Favorite Things of the Day: La Nouba and Portraits with Mike