Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun Stuff at Disney

When I visit Walt Disney World, I see and do things I just don't see and do anywhere else. Here's some of the things I saw and did this week:

This electric power transmission pole is on I-4 just outside Disney property, on the way to Tampa. Are we in Mouse Central or what?

I look at this teapot every time I go to EPCOT. It's in The Tea Caddy in the United Kingdom Pavilion, along with some other Alice In Wonderland tea items. I want it, but I'm not sure I want it enough to make room for it in My Way. I have a tea pot already, so I'd have to replace that one with this one. I'm just not sure I want to commit to ONLY having this Alice teapot and I only have room for one. So I just visit it every time I go.

Spaceship Earth is the ride inside the iconic sphere at the entrance of EPCOT and it's an educational and fun ride. It's been upgraded to include interactive elements and this picture is supposedly me in the future exploring the undersea world of Earth. You'll notice my exploring partner has no head. That's because I generally go to WDW by myself and end up riding the rides by myself. Don't feel bad for me. I do this by choice and enjoy my own company. I always talk to myself and sometimes it's the only intelligent conversation I have all day.

Wonder what I'll see and do next month...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happiest Place on Earth

Last year I visited Walt Disney World for the first time in many, many years (like, the early 80's). I had forgotten how wonderful the Disney experience is and I enjoyed it so much I bought a Florida Resident Weekday Only Annual Pass. It cost $190 and I can go to any of the four parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) any Monday through Friday excluding certain holiday blackout periods. Since I work primarily weekends and don't particularly want to go to WDW during busy holiday periods, this passport fits my lifestyle perfectly.

I've used the passport at least 10 times since I've bought it, including going to EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival last October. I had planned on going to that three days in a row, but I ate and drank so much the first two days that I threw in the towel and came home one day early. Too much really is too much.

This week I drove over late Monday afternoon and went to Ft. Wilderness for dinner at the Trail's End Restaurant in Ft. Wilderness. It's a buffet, so again I ate way too much, but it's so good. Then I took the boat over to the Transportation & Ticket Center where I picked up a monorail to EPCOT. I had a sangria at Cava Del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion then proceeded to walk off some of my dinner by circling around World Showcase. I'd forgotten how pretty EPCOT is at night, with all the lights around the various country pavilions.

I stayed to watch Illuminations, the fireworks show at 9 pm, then took a bus back to Ft. Wilderness. Although I've camped at Ft. Wilderness before and it's very nice, it is pretty pricey for someone like me who just needs a place to park and sleep for the night. So off to Cracker Barrel I went to park for the night.

The next morning I was up before 0600 and off to the EPCOT parking lot. I parked in my usual spot in the RV lot, right in up front, and took a shower before catching a bus to Hollywood Studios. I like to get there right when they open so I can get onto the Tower of Terror before the line gets too long. I rode that, then jumped on the Rock N' Roller Coaster before walking around a bit. I thought about eating at the Brown Derby, which I've done before, but decided to wait and try out the Tangerine Cafe in the Morocco Pavilion back at EPCOT instead.

I took the boat ride from Hollywood Studios back to EPCOT and got to Morocco right before noon. Upon a recommendation from a cast member I tried the chicken and lamb platter. It wasn't horrible, but I regretted not eating at the Brown Derby. The price was comparable and I already knew I liked the food at the Brown Derby. Oh, well, next time. I did, however, not miss the chocolate mousse at the Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion. That dessert, to me, is the best thing going in all of EPCOT. Talk about death by chocolate.

I stayed in France and watched the 20-minute movie showing beautiful scenes from the country. It was good, but I was starting to doze in my seat, so I went back to My Way for a little nap before heading back into the park for the evening. I had a late dinner of the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl in Japan, then sat and enjoyed the warm evening air and people-watching. I considered staying for the fireworks show, but decided instead to head on home to Tampa. I'd seen (and eaten) enough for one trip. I'll probably go back again next month.

Monday, January 23, 2012

There's Been A Horrible Accident!

My good friend Lynnette was born without a left arm below the elbow. She believes her mother took Thalidomide, a sedative used by pregnant women in the 1950's to treat morning sickness that was later blamed on birth defects such as Lynnette's. Having never known what it's like to have two arms or hands, Lynnette does everything any two-armed person can do. One of her many hobbies is to buy and refurbish old Scamp-type campers. I tell her she's always "busy as a one-armed camper restorer. Oh, that's right, you ARE a one-armed camper restorer!"

A couple weeks ago we were at an RVing Women Rally at Highlands Hammock State Park and she was showing me that her clock had broken. I took a picture of it and sent a text to a mutual friend saying, "There's been a horrible accident! Lynnette lost her second hand!" While our friend was initially panicked at reading the text, she laughed when she saw the picture. Technically, though, it wouldn't have been Lynnie's "second" hand, since she's only ever had one. She says if she talks to you in sign language, you only get half the story.

Attitude is everything.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always Doing It My Way

When I bought my Pleasure-Way RV in July, 2009 I knew right away what I wanted to name her: My Way. It's a play on the brand name plus a nod to the song of the same name. I've always liked that song because it pretty much is "me". Right or wrong, good or bad, like it or not, everyone who knows me knows I live my life my way, exactly the way the song says. And yes, just as the song says, I've made mistakes along the way, but they have been (and continue to be) MY mistakes and I'll own up to them every time.

I've wanted to get a name tag for the front of the van for a long time, but never quite got around to it. Last weekend I was at the flea market and found a booth that made the tags, so I finally got one. I think it looks pretty sharp.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cool It!

In my eternal quest to find products that suit my RV living, I am happy to report I have found yet another handy item.

I have to defrost the freezer in my tiny refrigerator every couple of months or so. It takes several hours to do this, between the actual defrosting and then the re-cooling of the fridge, so I have to put my food items on ice. Having a regular cooler, even a light styrofoam one, isn't a great solution because it takes up too much space when I'm not using it. I needed something large enough and sturdy enough to hold my food items, yet collapsible so it can be tucked out of the way when I'm done.

I found this Coleman Collapsible Cooler at Amazon and it works great. It's plenty large enough to hold all my food items plus a bag of ice to keep things cold. It has a collapsible insert that unfolds to support the bottom and sides. The cover zips closed with two zippers. It even has a hatch in the top with a velcro closing so I can access things inside without unzipping the whole cover. It was a bit pricey: just under $50 with shipping. But as we RVers all know, sometimes these specialty items are a bit more expensive, but can definitely be worth it. As it is, this cooler resides in the trunk of my car when I'm not using it. It folds flat so it takes up very little space and adds virtually no weight. It kept my food cold with minimal ice melting and no leakage whatsoever. It's a winner for me.