Saturday, March 31, 2012

Winter Summer Land Miniature Golf

The story goes that Santa found a perfect vacation spot for himself, Mrs. Claus and the elves in Florida. The elves, somewhat split over whether to build a snow or sand miniature golf course, built both...

Last evening after visiting Downtown Disney, we went to play some miniature golf --

Santa and Mrs. Claus moved his sled and their trailer down to Florida -- now it's used as the office...

 Leslie led off on the first hole by one of the elf's trailers --

Followed by Forrest --

This sand castle was at one of the holes. You had to aim over the castle moat and through the drawbridge --

Goofy was there showing off his skill with a golf club --

Not to be outdone by Donald Duck!

We finally found Santa sleeping buried in the sand. You could hear him snoring from two holes away!

 I'm trying to send my ball over his belly to the hole behind him --

Forry seems surprised I made it!

The 17th hole is through to the other side of the Christmas tree!

After we finished, I found a "hidden Mickey" in the drain in the ladies room... There are "hidden Mickeys" all over the park, they may be in a design of a tile, a picture, etc. I gave Bill a bad time, telling him that this was one he'd never get to find!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Earl of Sandwich and the Lego Shop!

Bill had one more place he wanted to take us in Downtown Disney before they leave Florida. One of his favorite places to eat is the Earl of Sandwich --

It was a busy place, even though it was a bit after seven PM when we got there --

The sandwiches are all hot -- this is the BLT that I got. Forry had a meatball sandwich while Bill had an Italian one and Leslie had a Chinese chicken salad --

This part of the Disney property (which you don't need a pass for) is designed around toys of all kinds --

This huge fellow is made of Legos and sits in the water across from the Lego store --

This is another bigger then life Lego creation of a knight slaying a dragon --

This family with the pack of dogs is also made out of Lego blocks. The two little girls on either side are not...

This Dalmatian dog is just incredibly detailed --

Here's another shot of the Lego people --

Around the other side of the store was this merry band of dwarfs --

Hard at work in their mine --

Hauling out the treasures they've found --

Around another corner was Buzz Lightyear and Woody --

Besides all of the large fun creations around the outside of the store, there was the store itself. I should have taken some pictures of all of the children building at the various stations.

And I think there was EVERY Lego kit ever made for sale! My grandsons would have been in seventh heaven!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Normal Day?

I'm not sure what constitutes a normal day. Perhaps it is a day like today, but perhaps not. We were both up earlier than usual for some reason. Maybe because yesterday's Nurse Practitioner gave me some caplets that kept my coughing under control and I got a good night's sleep -- which maybe allowed Forry to get one too.

We didn't go anywhere, but I did feel ambitious enough to turn on the computer and get the rest of our personal bookwork done, then started on the ranch books and got two months of that done as well. Somewhere in there I managed a nap (Forry had several sleeping in his chair...) and read a new mystery on my Kindle. I've found another new-to-me author, Kathleen Brooks. whose book Bluegrass State of Mind, the first of a trilogy, was very enjoyable.

I made some green salads for supper and fixed up some spicy shrimp. We had some fresh pears for dessert along with another dose of antibiotics. Forry watched an episode of Missing on TV, then we both watched Gray's Anatomy and Private Practice. Leslie and Bill  stopped by after she and her brother took her folks out to dinner for her Dad's 83rd birthday. Leslie's always excited after she gets to spend time with her little niece Isabella and she had some really cute pictures to share.

I'll finish this note up, then maybe play a little Frontierville before heading for bed. It may not be a normal day, but I guess it's a pretty typical one.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Move and We See a NP

We were scheduled to leave Mouse Mountain RV Park today. Our month here in Lot 41C was up. We had been looking at maps and trying to decide where we should go. I was able to make a reservation for three nights at a park near St. Augustine (which I really want to visit), but after that they were full. We needed to find a city along the east coast with a fairly large airport. I have an Executive Board meeting in Elkhart, Indiana April 12-14th. The nearest airport is in South Bend and there are not a lot of flights...

We fussed about it for a while, checking out various places and finally decided it would be easier just to stay here and fly in and out of Orlando International. So yesterday we went to visit the office to see whether we could stay where we were. (Isn't this planter of vari-colored petunias outside the office pretty?)

It turned out that there was someone who had specifically requested Lot 41C coming in today... We were given our choice of a couple of other spots to move to and we chose to move to Lot H1. It's actually a pretty good spot. It's on a bit of a hill with a nice cross breeze. The park in St. Augustine was nice when I called to cancel, just said they hoped to see us when we moved on next month...

And since it's on the end of the row, we only have a neighbor on one side. It seems to be a pleasant neighborhood. We've already had a couple of people welcome us -- which is more than we ever had at 41C!

Last night I decided that if my throat was still sore today from the post-nasal drip, I was going to the Minit-Clinic at the nearby CVS Pharmacy. It's been almost two weeks and I figured it wasn't getting any better with tincture of time... The clinic has a delightful Nurse Practitioner named Cindy. She agreed that the post-nasal drip was bad and my ears were full of fluid. And she didn't like the sounds of my cough either. Then she heard Forry coughing out in the hallway and decided she should take a look at him as well. We both ended up walking out with prescriptions. Kind of a pricey afternoon, but I'm tired of not feeling good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reflections on Disney

I must confess that we were pretty much ignorant of Disney World before we met Leslie and Bill. We had been to Disneyland in California many years ago with the kids and were really not too impressed. I don't remember much other than the parade on Main Street.

Leslie grew up in Florida and spent a great deal of her childhood visiting the parks at Disney World. She could easily be described as a Disney fanatic. Since Bill met her, he has also become addicted. Leslie even bought me a copy of The American Original, Walt Disney, the official biography, for Christmas. It seems that Walt and his brother Roy, took everything they didn't like about the way Disneyland turned out and remedied it in the Florida parks, starting with quietly buying up a great more land then they had even thought about in California.

To start with, we had no idea that Disney World was actually a collection of both theme and water parks. To say nothing of all of the different hotels and resorts -- and restaurants!

Bill and Leslie had actually come to Florida this past winter in hopes of getting jobs with Disney. Unfortunately, Disney was not hiring temporary workers this winter, so it didn't pan out. But, they were the ideal folks to have as tour guides. They actually have had Annual Passes the past couple of seasons and have spent a great deal of the months they've been here hanging out -- and eating -- at the parks.

The strange thing about the way passes are priced is that the first day costs the most -- and then the price goes down for each day thereafter. Then you have to decide if you are going to park hop -- go to more than one park on the same day -- that costs more. The other odd thing is that the six day passes we bought had to be used within fourteen days of the first day they were used. Though I think the passes are incredibly pricey, once you are in the parks you are not charged further for any rides or shows. But, there is a gift shop literally at the end of every ride in every area!

Because of my love of plants and flowers, Leslie planned our trip around the dates of Epcot's Flower and Garden Show -- and we certainly enjoyed the many displays and especially the topiaries. We discovered the first day that we were NOT going to be able to comfortably cover the distances in the parks by walking. We rented an electric cart for Forry - with the expectation that we could trade off and both use it. That didn't work real well, so after that we rented two every day. It was pricey, but we would not have seen anywhere near as much of the parks without them as we did. Nor would we have been able to get back and forth to as many areas and rides as we did.

After three days at Epcot, we paid visits to the other parks. Once again, Leslie had meticulously planned out what attractions she thought we'd enjoy the most and made out a schedule. She also worked around the reservations she was able to make at some of the most remarkable restaurants. I'm sure that there were many things we saw that we would not have found on our own. (We even visited a couple of places that Bill and Leslie hadn't been to!)

I've come away with a different perspective about Disney. It reminds me of the many Sunday evenings we watched Walt Disney on the television with his castle shining behind him. I think if we lived anywhere close, we'd probably get annual passes. There is just so much to see and do! On the other hand, I'm not so sure that I'd enjoy it anywhere near as much without our great tour guides!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Excursion to Costco

Last night while we were all playing Hand and Foot (which Leslie and I won...), we decided that this was the day we would make the Costco trip we have been planning. We decided that if we would go late enough in the afternoon, Forry could count his Polish dog as supper.

Both the Hardts and Bill and Leslie are getting close to the end of their time here at Mouse Mountain. Leslie and Bill are planning to be workcampers at a park in Iowa and we want to make the sweep up to the Northeast that the early snow discouraged us from doing last fall. So both families were stocking up in preparation. Leslie and Bill are first going to Red Bay to have some shades installed on their RV Serenity. After being there last summer, they KNOW how little there is there in the way of grocery stores or entertainment.

Poor Sunny, the yellow jeep, was loaded to the gills. (It's a good thing he's not an airplane, we'd be way out of weight and balance!) Forry and Leslie in the back seat ended up holding quite a bit of stuff as well.

I really don't mind shopping, but I certainly dislike putting stuff away! We split a case of paper towels, but Leslie doesn't like Costco TP, so I had to find places to stash the whole case that I bought. Repackaging rib steaks to freeze went quickly enough. Fitting a gallon of orange juice into the already crowded refrigerator was almost the last straw... Bill brought over the butter that we had also decided to split and I just looked at him. But he was kind enough to find a place in the refrigerator to put it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Springtime at Mouse Mountain RV Park

After spending the last several days pretty much down with the crud in the motorhome, I was more then ready to get out of here this afternoon and go for a walk. It's neat to see so many signs of spring here in the RV park. For example, this  trailer has quite a vegetable garden alongside their home -- all carefully covered to shield it from the ubiquitous rabbits of the park.

This household prefers bonsai, on benches outside their rig --

I asked the owner what this gorgeous flower was and she said she didn't know...

This is one of the sedums usually seen in florist pots in the north --

These appear to be tomato plants planted in tubs...

The entire end of this rig is covered with impatiens along with their bobbing birds --

You could smell these mock orange blossoms from a long way away --

A bougainvillea in the lovely purple shades --

More amaryllis bulbs like the ones near Auntie Violet --

Some oleanders --

And even the new reddish leaf growth on this tree --

You can tell that most of these folks are pretty much permanent residents of the RV park. They've a lot more than a pot or two that can be picked up and taken along as you move down the highway.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This Miserable Crud!

I thought on Tuesday that I had licked this nasty crud I was dealing with. I felt pretty good for a couple of days, then it came back with a vengeance yesterday! I had been hearing stories from others about how sneaky the sore throat, fever, etc. was, but I honestly thought I was going to be the exception...

Leslie and Bill brought this purple fellow home from Disney World to make me feel better. I hope he does the job quickly!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Computer Stuff

It was another VERY warm day here in Florida. The thermometer was showing in the mid-90s before noon today. I turned on the air conditioning and we spent most of the day inside. I took advantage of the Camplink WiFi service here at Mouse Mountain RV Park to do some major down-loads. It cost me $10 to buy three days of the park's service.

My iPhone which is an iPhone 3 had a software upgrade (5.1) available, so I got that downloaded and also upgraded my version of iTunes software on the computer. That took three hours.

I also took advantage of Blog2Print's 15% discount this week to prepare my 2011 blogs and get them ready for printing in book form. That used up a couple of hours of fairly heavy-duty internet usage as well.

While we have an AT&T aircard that we use with our Cradlepoint router and a Verizon Hotspot, I am hesitant to use up our allotted gigabytes downloading software. With judicious use of the two of them, I am usually able to get through the month uploading my blog and playing Frontierville without going over our data allowance and having to pay extra. And it seems that in parks where we have trouble receiving AT&T, the Verizon coverage is usually good and where the Verizon service is lousy, the AT&T is usually good. And of course, when at an RV park that has free wifi, we take full advantage of it! Except for banking or bill paying which we are careful to do with our locked and encrypted service...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Visitors from Spokane!

A month or so back, I got an email from my friend Cathi saying that she and her husband Dave would be flying into Tampa and then driving through Orlando on their way to visit family further south the latter part of March. She was wondering if we were still going to be here and if we could meet up for lunch. I immediately double-checked the calendar to make sure our reservations here were through the 27th.

So today we met up with them at a Crisper's over on Highway 27. Neither of our GPS units liked the address of the restaurant, but we were able to find it and then guide them in. What a delight to see them as we hadn't been together since last summer!

Cathi was the Conference Coordinator for several years at the Area Health Education Center at Washington State University in Spokane where we both worked. We have had an "AHEC Reunion" every summer when we have returned to the Spokane area (Cathi has even hosted it at her house, when we decided it was easier for the AHECers with children to meet at a house rather then a restaurant.). We have shared trials, tribulations and joys over the years and are now really enjoying being in the grandmother stage of life.

What made it especially nice today was to enjoy the 80 plus degree weather here while we knew that it was snowing in Spokane this morning!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Catchup Day

After a couple of days sleeping and fighting off a not-so-nice head cold, I was feeling much better today. I felt good enough to start doing some of the neglected chores around the RV. I actually did not get much more done then several loads of laundry --

Even in Florida with its temperate climate, it is beginning to look like spring --

The first time I saw Amaryllis growing in the ground and blooming as if they were tulips or daffodils, I wasn't sure they were real. I had never seen them except as a bulb in a pot at Christmas time.

It's been quite warm here the last couple of weeks with temperatures in the high eighties. We had a few rain showers this afternoon that didn't do much to lower the temperature. It's still 75 degrees outside at 9:30 at night...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hollywood Studios

On Sunday we used the last day on our Disney passes to visit Hollywood Studios. Leslie, our tour guide, had a full day planned so we left the RV Park early. Even at that, the parking lot was pretty full and we parked at FILM 32 --

It's a good thing the trams were making lots of trips. We only waited for a couple of minutes.

There's the Sorcerer's Hat.  It's THE landmark of Hollywood Studios --

The entrance to Hollywood Studios with everything built to look like the heyday of Hollywood --

The haunted Hollywood Tower Hotel --

Designed to look long empty with dust and cobwebs throughout the structure --

We passed through the empty lobby to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- What a ride!

We spent time in the Animation Studio learning how to draw Dopey --

We saw the musical, Voyage of the Little Mermaid --

Went on a tour of the backstage lots and saw how many of the special effects were done --

Bill went over to the Brown Derby and returned with slices of this luscious Grapefruit Cake --

This is the set for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular --

The Streets of America -- How about New York?

Or San Francisco -- Doesn't that hill look real?

We saw another parade -- this one featured many of the Pixar characters -- 

We went on rides that took us past many of the iconic movie sets --

We had lunch at the 50's Prime Time Cafe -- just look at all that chrome!

What else did we do? Let's see - we saw the Muppets 3D; Walt Disney: One Man's Dream; Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage; and the Star Tours ride. It definitely was a busy day.