Brenda & Roger

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Going Back to WDW? When?

In Dreams Come True on December 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I promised you a followup blog Friday night, here it is Sunday afternoon…

We had a great week.  The decorations…

Pere Noel storyteller in Canada

The lights…

Christmas Tree... did you recognize it?

We enjoyed the many new friends..

Old Friends!!!

More lights!!

Surprise Birthday wishes !

Mickey & Minnie called Brenda to wish her a Happy Birthday!

Gifts to fellow Disney Fanatics.

Brenda's Tubular Tip (bring paper towel tubes to protect your Disney Drawing Academy Artwork) was published in the PassPorter newsletter!

Grateful "Tubed "Family


We’re home, mostly unpacked, laundry is all done.

So, when do we go back?

We’re already booked for May! For the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. AND Roger’s Birthday.

We’ll be staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge again, but this time Jambo House (“Jambo” means “Welcome” in Swahili”).

We’ll be sure and post more then, and possibly some reflections on this awesome adventure in the mean time.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Brenda & Roger


Osborne Family Spectacular of Lights, WDW

In Dreams Come True on December 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Well, we ended like we started… seeing the Osborne Family Lights @ Disney Hollywood Studios (DHS)

Santa pulling reindeer!! that's a switch!!

Our day started early… At our bus stop we met an avid pin trader and his family from Ohio…  they were having a fun time looking at all the pins.  Roger gave two brothers and their little sister pins from our trading selection AND put locking backs on so they wouldn’t lose any.

Family from Ohio; love pin trading

We arrived  by 7:45ish am; Park didn’t open until 9!!  We met a nice couple, explained D23 to us (a Disney Fan Club) and how much fun they have with it.  Turns out they were from NH… thanks Mark & Sara for the tips!!

D23 Members who are also from New Hampshire!!

We played our favorite attraction.. Toy Story Mania.  Right at opening, we followed the crowd to Toy Story Mania.  Brenda went to the Fast Pass line (yes, already a line!!) and Roger went to the Stand-by Line.  The Fast Pass next to the one I was in line for, was not working correctly.  A Cast member used her “Secret Disney Pass” and retrieved several fast passes for the people next to us.  Then we got to go forward to retrieve our passes.  The people in the line next to me had to get out of line and go into another line!!!  I’m sure they were not happy about that!  Fast Passes were all gone for the day by 11:30 when we walked by… they were most likely out much before that, but we weren’t there to see when… note to self… get Toy Story Mania Fast Passes right away upon entry to DHS.

Brenda joined Roger after a few minutes, and finally had our turn.  As usual, we loved it… it never lasts long enough…  at least we still have our Fast Passes for later in the day.

We then looked for a place to have breakfast.  Disney doesn’t have many places to sit down & eat breakfast at either DHS or Magic Kingdom.  We went to Hollywood & Vine and we could be seated in 10 minutes for a sum of $25 each for a buffet.  Just so happens it was also a Character Breakfast… we said “why not?”  Turns out the characters are from TV’s Disney Jr program… a program we are not familiar with… but enjoyed an awesome buffet breakfast.

This is June from Disney Jr. with Brenda... we'll have to watch this show when we get home to learn these Characters.

a Host w/ the Characters from Disney Jr.

You know, I’m falling asleep; Roger has already gone to bed & is sound asleep.  We’ll write more in the morning!!

Magical Christmas night at Magic Kingdom

In Dreams Come True on December 9, 2011 at 6:59 am


Were you looking for yesterday’s post?  Well, it was late last night, therefore this morning I am letting you know of our day yesterday!  Thanks for being patient!

We left our resort @  7 for Magic Kingdom; the bus was late arriving, then when we got on the bus, this other family asked the driver if the bus could please stop at a completely different resort so they could get off there!!  Everyone did ask us if it was OK, of course we said yes, since there really was no choice.  At our next scheduled stop, there were 2 scooters which needed to be loaded, which takes additional time to strap down; then off to that “other” resort!!  You’re wondering if we ever got to Magic Kingdom?  we were wondering the same thing!  but yes, we did make it, just before 8 am.

We immediately “took off” down Main Street, USA, which was beautifully decorated

Main Street, USA

and headed for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger.  We thoroughly enjoy helping Buzz out conquer Zorg, so much so we went through 4 times in a row!!!

Roger & Brenda on our 3 trip through this morning

and yes, we do have our sweatshirts on.. was only 43 degrees this morning!!!

Not really ready for breakfast yet, we headed back to Main Street to have a more careful look at the decorations…

Not so Hidden Mickey's on every street lamp

I’m finding I have to recharge my camera battery every night.  It either means the battery is loosing light or it’s because I have my camera on just about all day!!!

We enjoyed a stage show.  We don’t watch too many of those on any of our trips, so this time we took the time.

"Dreams Do Come True"

We had a wonderful day.  Eventually we were able to take off our sweatshirts and enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

Like at the Haunted Mansion!!  These statue’s eyes are normally closed… we were just in time to see them open for a split second!!  Roger caught it on his camera.

We enjoyed many of the attractions throughout the day.  Later in the afternoon, we decided to find a bench along the parade route, to rest, people watch, and get a great viewing spot.  Just prior to this, we took the Disney Train around the perimeter of the park.  Upon returning, Brenda wanted to go up to the balcony to see the view.  There were people sitting there along the railing!  We walked over, a bit puzzled and one woman offered, “Are you here to see the parade.”  At this time the parade wasn’t for another 2 1/4 hours!!!  WOW, what a great idea!!  We pulled over chairs from the nearby tables, set up our spot & met some new folks.  It did give us a bird’s eye view of the route below us.

from our vantage point on the balcony.

We got to view the daily lowering of the flag.  That was quite impressive, as you would think!!

The parade began on the dot of 7 pm…  how these imagineer’s come up with all these ideas is truly mind boggling!!

Pete & his Dragon, Elliott. The lights would go out, to make him invisible!!

The lights on Cinderella Castle were ________, I can’t even think of a word to describe…

One of the many changing colors of Cinderella Castle

Another event which was completely mind blowing…  somehow, they project on the Castle itself, pictures taken this week of people around Magic Kingdom & displayed them.  The images on the Castle would change as well… sound confusing… it’s difficult to explain

The photo is a bit blurry, night photos are a challenge.

Then to top all this off, the fireworks…  I repeat myself… they were incredible.


These won’t even fit within the screen!!!

Changing Plans @ WDW!

In Dreams Come True on December 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Today the Anniversary (plus Birthday Girl) Couple returned to Animal Kingdom, even though we can see exotic animals right outside our lodge.

Giraffes gambol outside our resort.

Who's looking at whom?

Animal Kingdom is a 3-minute ride from our resort (maybe that’s why there are so many animals? They can easily commute?). Still, Roger’s first stop–the Men’s Room. Two young ladies waiting for their Dad noticed Roger’s pin, and wished him, “Happy Anniversary!”

Soon everyone was let into the park, where we were invited to “explore the oasis,” but instead all made directly for the rope preventing us from entering the park. There Roger met up with those same young ladies, and one of them asked if she could trade for Roger’s “Ham” pin (Ham from Toy Story–Roger had it because the character was wearing a Goofy hat). While Brenda politely explained that Roger never trades those pins, Roger extracted his allen wrench, removed the pin, and traded with the young lady. After all, you have to reward good manners!

Roger "unlocked" a Goofy pin for this family!

Inside, we enjoyed the usual spectaculars and saw the usual suspects (including some we saw right outside our resort), and then we saw this guy.

Some butt-y is sitting in the brush.

Here's an action view

After Animal Kingdom 2, we decided to head back to the room, so Roger could take a hot tub and then a nap.

Then we set out in the afternoon to view Gingerbread Houses!

Our first stop was the Swan.

No Gingerbread Houses, but there was this chocolate scene!

All chocolate! Santa, Tree, Gifts, Train!

Sure looks good!

Chocolate Lovers

Swan employees sent us to the Dolphin. It was getting dark, cool, and a mighty mist was driven into us by a steady wind. But we scampered the 100 yards from Swan to Dolphin.

A tree made out of poinsettias!

Train circling Dolphin tree--neither were chocolate

The Dolphin employees suggested the Swan….

So we went to Boardwalk, where we honeymooned so many, many, (many!) years ago.

And what do you think?

Finally, the elusive Gingerbread House!

Even the sign is edible!

15 hidden Mickeys?

One ...

Two ...

Three ...

Four ...

Well, anyway, we think we found 11 of the 15 (not counting the Hidden Mickey in our carpet).

So, from WDW and Boardwalk Villas:

Boardwalk Christmas Trees

Happy Holidays from the Fords!

Another Superb Day @ EPCOT

In Dreams Come True on December 7, 2011 at 6:43 am


I’m actually writing this the morning after our day at EPCOT.  We didn’t get back to Kidani Village (where we’re staying) until late and neither of us were up for writing.

Our day at EPCOT was fabulous.  It was an Extra Magic Hour morning, so we arrived about 7:30 am.  There were already people ahead of us.

Of course we headed to “Soarin'” AND got a Fast Pass for later in the day.

We enjoyed seeing all the decorations, listening to Christmas music.  We are very thankful for such a wonderful vacation.

It was the day of the DVC (Disney Vacation Club) mixer, for members only. We got there almost an hour early, and so were near the front of the line! Within a few minutes, the line was more than 4 times longer!

Disney Co. certainly hosted a grand event.  Free gingerbread men, hot cocoa, music, pin trading, and more.

We found some of our favorite characters!!

Merry Christmas to US!!

We had to leave the party early to head to our dinner reservations at Biergarten which will give us priority seating at the Candlelight Processional.  We got there about 20 minutes before our reservation, but the line was so long we didn’t even check in until 10 minutes AFTER our reservation time! One gentleman asked, “All of you already HAVE reservations?” We nodded we did. “Is the food REALLY that good?” We said the food WAS good, and plentiful, but didn’t know how to explain that Disney restaurants are NOT suited for last-minute eating decisions. Luckily, there are plenty of non-seated options to keep folks from starving.

So much food!! Seated with a couple from Tampa also here for the Candlelight Processional.  They’ve been coming every year for 20+ years!!!

Edward James Almos narrated the Christmas Story.  This was his second, and final, night of 3 with 3 performances each night.  He was so overcome with emotion, tears, and genuine joy, it made our experience even more intense.

There were Christmas carols both familiar & unfamiliar.  A very energetic conductor.  An orchestra with timing & precision.  I thought I would burst.  There are no words to describe the emotion this produces.  Absolutely incredible.

We never did make it back to Soarin’… with our Fast Pass.

What an amazing night.

Walt Disney World @ Christmas

In Dreams Come True on December 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm


Managed to get up sort of early.. I woke my normal 5:00 am, I woke Roger up @ 6 am.  We left for Animal Kingdom.  No, we were not the first in line!!  but pretty close.

This giraffe was peeing… it is by far the Longest Pee I have EVER seen….  he must have been completely dehydrated after this one!!

Guinness World Record..Pee

There were some pretty creative Christmas decorations!!!

All the characters had their own decorated trees. This is Goofy's

Yes, Goofy Santa, we've been good...

Brenda saw a LRGHealthcare co-worker, Jen from HR/Benefits.  We had a good laugh at seeing someone we knew.

Brenda thought her camera battery was nearly full, turns out it was nearly dead, then truly dead… therefore Roger is the only one to have gotten any pictures.

We enjoyed the Kilamanjaro Safari, the Festival of the Lion King, and our favorite “Finding Nemo, The Musical.”

From Animal Kingdom we headed to DownTown Disney to do some serious shopping.  Wait… gotta have lunch first.. Earl of Sandiwch… a turkey sandwich w/ dressing, cranberry sauce, & a little gravy… YUM!!

This is serious shopping???

What do you think of this hat??

Roger wanted some new Disney artwork… he met an artist at the Disney Art Studio, who is going to draw us a Christmas picture with Minnie & Mickey.

Disney Artist

Then, back to the resort. Roger soaked in the hot tub, then ate a supper of peanut butter toast, gingerbread Mickey, and coconut-covered marshmallow. Brenda ate the rest of her Earl of Sandwich Holiday Special.

So now, it’s nearly 8 PM, so time for bed!  Brenda is still up!!


WDW @ Christmas 2011

In Dreams Come True on December 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Hello All,

We got up at 3:30 this morning to head to the airport.  On the go by 4:00 AM. At the airport by 5:00 AM. Did leave on time, 6:45 am… arrived 40 minutes early!! But the gate still had a plane, so we sat on the tarmack for 20 minutes!!  Still, we arrived 20 minutes early…

Lots more folks on the Magical Express–apparently more people arrive during the day! Got to our resort early, room was ready, so we unpacked our carry on, searched  and found food.

This afternoon we headed to Disney Hollywood Studios for the sole purpose of seeing the Osborne Family Lights… It was everything we were expecting.

Strands of lights cover, COVER all the buildings

OH, you wanted to see the lights at night??!!!

TransSiberian Orchestra music for lights to dance by

Can you see the Hidden Mickey?  It is colored as an American flag!  There are 40 Hidden Mickey’s in the entire collection… We will attempt to find them!!

It’s 9 pm… early for most people… I’m really falling asleeeeeeeeee

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