Brenda & Roger

Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

Last Day Rolling thru Magic Kingdom

In Dreams Come True on September 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm

Today’s our last day at the parks.

Started the day as we have every day: seeing a couple who we’ve seen every day this trip!

Sometimes on the bus, other times walking around.

They asked if we were stalking them. Of course we said “No.” But when we caught up to them in the security line, well, I guess the jig is up.

A couple from Shropshire, England, caught us stalking them.

A couple from Shropshire, England, caught us stalking them.

They’ve flown 9 hours (each way) 17 times to visit Disney World. Our kind of people!

Normally we go directly to Buzz Lightyear and go around 4 times (at least). The guide said you had to transfer to a wheelchair, so we gave it a try. Roger was able to sit in the vehicle, as well as enter and exit on the moving walkway.

They let us stay in the car and ride through 4 times!

And they gave us a tip: aim for the first robot’s left hand, as well as the target overhead. SCORE!

After the Carousel of Progress, which promises A GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL TOMORROW IS JUST A DREAM AWAY, the BRENDA 2015 refueled.

BRENDA 2015 refuels

BRENDA 2015 refuels

We hung out waiting for the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor to open. They told us we didn’t need our FastPasses for the first show (actually since we have the wheelchair we haven’t needed FastPasses for most anything).

When we entered the theater, who should we see but Christina, the woman who sent us around 4 times on Buzz Lightyear! Brenda took her photo, told her she would be in our blog, and gave her our card with the blog URL.

After another terrific show, Christina rushed over to us. She loved the photo on our card (Brenda & Roger between Olaf), and she presented us with special FastPasses good anywhere in the Magic Kingdom. And they didn’t expire until September 30!

Thanks, Christina!

If Christina was stalking US, we're glad to have her!

If Christina was stalking US, we’re glad to have her!

 

Awesome FastPasses from Christina!

Awesome FastPasses from Christina!

On to “It’s A Small World!” We had a boat all to ourselves, which we were able to roll the wheelchair right onboard! BRENDA 2015 expertly maneuvered the wide chair into the spot, locked the wheels, and we were off! Awesome! Roger didn’t have to risk falling into the happiest cruise water on earth.

Then lunch. We split a sandwich at Pinocchio Village Haus, since we knew that later we were getting ice cream at The Plaza!

Our first lunch

Our first lunch spot

 

Stopped at Geppeto Workshop to refuel BRENDA 2015, and got a quick check as well

Stopped at Geppeto Workshop to refuel BRENDA 2015, and got a quick check as well

After lunch, we met a man from San Francisco (Roger’s old stomping ground!) who was admiring Roger’s Goofy pins. He told us he and his wife were celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary, so we decided to SHARE THE MAGIC and gifted him the FastPasses Christina had given us. He was speechless!!  He was so taken aback by our gift, his wife would be so happy.  We were nearly done for the day, and with the wheelchair, we never really needed a FastPass.

This has been one of the lightest traffic trips we’ve ever seen–possibly the absolute lightest. Makes it easy to get around, get food, and see what we want to see.

Musical venues continued with Mickey’s Philharmagic, then to the “Tiki – Tiki – Tiki – Tiki – Tiki Room!”

Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room

After the Tiki Room, we rolled over to The Plaza, for Lunch, Part 2. Ice cream! Brenda had a hot fudge sundae (with vanilla ice cream!), while Roger had a banana split (natch, second of the trip!). They were both delicious!

Leaving The Plaza, a young lady rushed up to Roger and said she noticed his Goofy pin collection, and asked if he’d like a Duffy the Bear pin with a Goofy hat. Of course he did! Her name was Regan, and she was an off duty Cast Member in the College Program. She insisted she was just going to give Roger the pin, but he managed to get her to take one of his trading pins in exchange. More sharing the Magic! Thanks, Regan!

Regan gave Roger a pin she MIGHT have saved for her boyfriend, but didn't!

Regan gave Roger a pin she MIGHT have saved for her boyfriend, but didn’t!

We headed to a shop, and by the time we were all ready to go, the 3:00 o’clock parade was about to reach us, so we waited and watched (What time does the 3 o’clock Parade start?!!).

Anna and Elsa from Frozen: Elsa COULD have cooled the weather a bit!

Anna and Elsa from Frozen: Queen Elsa COULD have cooled the weather a bit!

 

The Dragon was spitting fire, and it was already hot outside.

The Dragon was spitting fire, and it was already hot outside.

 

Hey, it's Goofy!

Hey, it’s Goofy!

Finally we wheeled out of the park, rolled to the bus stop, and almost immediately boarded the bus which brought us back to our resort.

We packed what we could for the night, arranged to have Bell Services haul us and our bags up front in the morning, and then relaxed for the final night of another wonderful Disney vacation.

Brenda has been awesome, and has built muscle mass and is stronger than ever.

Thanks, Cutie, for all you have done to make this trip possible, pleasant, fun, and, well, MAGICAL!

If you know us, you know we’ll be back to Disney, so until then:

Farewell for now!

Farewell for now!


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Trekking Wheelchair Style thru Animal Kingdom

In Dreams Come True on September 9, 2015 at 6:42 pm

This is our first trip with our iPhones.

Awesome!

Brenda just took a selfie and “Airdropped” it to me.

Waiting for the Animal Kingdom bus

Waiting for the Animal Kingdom bus

Thanks to our iPhones and Disney’s WiFi, we can work on blog posts during our wait times (like now)!

Most useful is My Disney Experience. We never were able to access the ap while in the parks. Now we can!

I checked Killamanjari Safari for access, and it looks like I can ride in my wheelchair. Perfect! Not because I need the wheelchair during the ride, but because it means I won’t have my leg bent into a painful pretzel shape (normal sitting posture for most of you)!

That’s the only ride we do at Animal Kingdom, the rest are all shows!

I don’t know if I could have brought my wheelchair onto the Safari, but they gave Brenda and I our own row so I could stretch my leg out.

Saw the usual cast of critters, plus since we were in a vehicle for wheelchairs etc., we saw the Plastic Animal Reserve. First time for that!

Ms. Lionness

Ms. Lionness

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On to Festival of the  Lion King!

We got front row seats because of the wheelchair. We went to the first shows of both Lion King and Finding Nemo, The Musical.

Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King

 

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

So we left Animal Kingdom, went to Downtown Disney, had our lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s (Brenda had a chicken meatball sandwich, Roger his usual, pizza!).

We ended the afternoon watching “Inside Out” at the AMC theater.

Solo show!

Solo showing!

For a while, Brenda and I were the only people in the theater. Eventually another family came in, but that was it!

We took the boat back and forth to the buses at Downtown Disney. We learned (relearned?) that the bus only makes one stop.

Then we headed back to the resort to recuperate for tomorrow, and Magic Kingdom!

EPCOT Adventures in rolling forward

In Dreams Come True on September 8, 2015 at 4:41 pm

All about being pushed around EPCOT!

THE CHAIR

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Roger seated in his super deluxe extended leg holding wheelchair (BRENDA 2015 propulsion unit)

Let’s take a look at Roger’s sophisticated transportation system.

The vehicle itself is a BIG BOY wheelchair. We rented it from a family owned company that supplies Disney resort guests and Florida residents with wheelchairs, scooters, and other medical devices.

The propulsion system is the brawny BRENDA 2015. Capable of hurtling Roger and his wheels faster than he could walk even before his accident. Pushing 300+ pounds up hills makes for a great workout.

BRENDA 2015

BRENDA 2015: Stong, sweet, and purty cute!

BRENDA 2015: Stong, sweet, and purty cute!

It’s a terrific combo, and highly recommended, it’s very important to make sure BRENDA 2015 does not overheat, a bit of a challenge in the Florida weather (hot with 800% humidity).

Luckily the BRENDA 2015 is patient and highly skilled and so perfectly suited for this task.

The ride itself is sometimes thrilling as the BRENDA 2015 must weave us through crowds of Disney patrons who are busy texting, studying maps, gawking, and sometimes attempting to herd and corral their young ones. These latter attempt to defy the laws of space and time by teleporting to their next destination. Unhappily they fail, so Roger pokes them away from his injured leg with the cane loaned to him by Marcia.

All in all it makes for an exciting ride!

Park buses are supposed to come “approximately every 20 minutes.” We’ve been waiting almost an hour, and though we’ve seen multiple buses for the other parks, no EPCOT bus.

And today is Early Magic Hours at EPCOT!

BRENDA 2015 Just asked one of the drivers when we could expect an EPCOT bus: “15 seconds.” Great news, but wrong. However, we didn’t have to wait much longer.

Roger remembered his Magic Band today, but BRENDA 2015’s didn’t function properly. After multiple attempts a Cast Member reset it and we were off and rolling.

Epcot has a bit of an incline getting in, and it’s petty steep getting to The Land, where “Soarin” is located. BRENDA 2015 said she felt more like Brenda 1951!

Roger was able to help haul the load up hills, either by rolling the wheels or grabbing a rail and pulling forward.

We enjoyed Soarin’ and went through a second time, and never had to use our FastPasses.

We called the elevator to return to top floor and exit The Land, and joined 2 construction men who were hoping to get on the other side of the wall around “Living with the land” (currently closed; sad for BRENDA 2015, as it is one of her favorites). Roger joked, “Beam us up, Scotty.” The man pressed the button, then pulled his vest aside to show his Disney name tag: his name WAS Scotty!

After a rest stop, Roger met a youngster with a pin collection starter set. So Roger gave him a pin to trade. Then a sister arrived, then another, and another! By the time they were done multiplying, there were 5!

Illinois family scores pins to trade!

Illinois family scores pins to trade!

They each got a pin to trade. The father said, “They’ll probably remember getting these pins more than anything else we do!”

Mission accomplished!

Forward! To Imagination with Figment. Figment provided a special car, one that could hold Roger and his chair.

Figment's

Figment’s “I” train takes all rollers

There was a turnstile (like those used in San Francisco) that a 97 pound young woman rolled Roger and his wheelchair up & onto, which then swiveled so he was facing forward. We did have to figure out how to adjust the leg extension to allow clearance, so it was truly educational!

Next was EPCOT character meet and greet. We went through the “Stand By” line and got out before our scheduled FastPass.

The Main Man, er, make that Mouse! MICKEY MOUSE!

Mickey was tickled when we pointed at him and said, "It all started with YOU!"

Mickey was tickled when we pointed at him and said, “It all started with YOU!”

 

Goofy signs Roger's Goofy hat

Goofy signs Roger’s Goofy hat

 

Goofy & his gang!

Goofy & his gang!

 

Minnie signed Brenda's hat!

Minnie signed Brenda’s hat!

So for those of you keeping score: we got through all 3 of our FastPass attractions without ever using a FastPass! Soarin’ twice!

After lunch we rolled over to hear Voices of Liberty. More “Frozen !”

Voices of Liberty currently sing show tunes rather than historic patriotic tunes. It’s also outside rather than under the rotunda inside American Adventure. We miss the old songs, intimacy, and jokes. But we do still enjoy their singing, We waited nearly an hour to enjoy the second show!

 

Voices sing "Let it go!"

Voices sing “Let it go!”

They do sometimes perform inside under the rotunda. We’re not sure if they then sing the old songs and do their jokes (they sing “Oh Suzanna” and pick a young girl or elderly lady and pretend she doesn’t want to let the singer go back to the line).

By the time the second show ended, it was time to return to the resort, recharge iPhone batteries and the BRENDA 2015, to prepare for tomorrow’s Animal Kingdom events!

New views @ Disney Hollywood

In Dreams Come True on September 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm

 

Brenda prepares for another day of pushing Roger around!

Brenda prepares for another day of pushing Roger around!

Roger had thought he could roll himself around the parks, but he’s pretty slow. Certainly too slow for Brenda! So she’s been hauling him through all the stops, and she claims her strength is growing every day!

No more Sorcerer's Hat!

No more Sorcerer’s Hat!

As reported by Disney Cast Members, Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat is gone from Disney Hollywood.

Above is the new “weenie”, the replica of the theater that debuted SNOW WHITE, the first feature length cartoon.

Was never sure why the Sorcerer’s Hat was so despised by guests and Cast Members, but we know it’s still around somewhere, and will no doubt receive a new home in the future!

************

OK, now, the above words & photos were written and taken before we actually got into DH.  Let me tell you, when I pushed Roger up so he could scan his magic band, he says “I don’t have my band!”  I thought he didn’t have it on, but oh, no, he DIDN’T HAVE IT AT ALL, it was back at our room.  Fortunately, he had his Disney Annual Pass card, which got him in.

(Roger adds): Crisis averted!

Roger will tell you the rest of our day!!

Our first stop was “For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Singalong.” We had FastPasses, AND a wheelchair. So we moved into a priority row. There were a lot of folks there who obviously weren’t disabled. We finally learned they had purchased a special Frozen package, which allowed them priority seating.

Here was the view we had:

Anna

Anna, not building a snowman.

 

Ilsa, the Ice Queen

Ilsa, the Ice Queen

 

Our hosts

Our fun and funny hosts!

This is a fantastic upgrade from the version we saw previously. Before it was in some kind of warehouse area, and the acoustics and screenings were adequate, but paled in comparison to The Hyperion Theater, which is where it is now. Previously, this theater housed “American Idol Experience,” which we never saw.

But the best part of many great elements was the joy and enthusiasm of the young girls (and boys?) who LOVED to singalong!

Even grainy you can see the fun in her face!

Even grainy you can see the fun in her face!

As always, “Let It Go!” made me cry (yes, this is Roger talking!). I love the theme of ignoring cultural expectations and overcoming barriers to become your true self.

SO, we did the whole show again!

But first we went cashed in our FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania. Roger decided to go ahead and climb the stairs as well as descend the stairs (he was too slow, and it was a lot of work, so we decided not to do that again!). But when he tried to sit in the “car,” ouch! To tight! Couldn’t do it, not without adding screams and shrieks to an otherwise fun and silly ride.

They let him out, and a young lady cast member named C.J. gave us a couple of special passes that would get us right back into the FastPass lane. She suggested we try one of the cars for handicapped folks. That worked! Roger was able to sit down! But we realized there are probably other “cars” that Roger will not be able to sit in on this trip!

CJ saved the day!

CJ saved the day!

Brenda was really beating the shorts off Roger until the very end of the game, where she still triumphed but Roger had made an impressive comeback to at least make it close. And our prize? THE BEAVER! (We ALWAYS win the beaver!)

By then it was nearly 11:00, so time for lunch! We rolled over to SciFi Theater. They show trailers and cartoons about various science fiction themes, all from 1955. Indeed, the cars all have 1955 on their license plates. Brenda realized that was because 1955 was the year Disneyland opened. Roger used his iPhone to check Wikipedia and confirm that Brenda is “Wicked Smaht.”

Roger couldn't sit in one of the cars, so we had a nice table in the rear! A new view of the SciFi dining experience!

Roger couldn’t sit in one of the cars, so we had a nice table in the rear! A new view of the SciFi dining experience!

 

SciFi cars and screen

SciFi cars and screen

After lunch and the second viewing of the Singalong, it was time for dessert. We trekked over to Gertie, with it’s Ice Creams of Extinction.

Gertie Sign

Gertie’s sign

 

Gertie munches in greeting

Gertie munches in greeting

 

Gertie munches in greeting

Gertie full body view. Champ’s and Nessie’s cousin?

So, who’s Gertie anyway? And what does Gertie have to do with Disney? Glad you asked! Check out the explanation:

What's Gertie's story?

What’s Gertie’s story?

I’ve seen some of Gertie, it’s pretty interesting! Well, if you’re interested in animation (like Roger!).

Rumor is Gertie will not be at Disney much longer. So just wanted to say “Goodbye!” Hopefully the soft serve (ice cream of extinction) will survive past Gertie’s departure!

By then, the heat, humidity, and long day of pushing 300+ pounds made Brenda ready to head back to the barn (er, resort). Roger was ready too, and so we are relaxing and preparing for another day tomorrow at EPCOT!

SciFi Dining Car

SciFi Dining Car

New Perspectives

In Dreams Come True on September 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm
Traveling Wounded

Traveling Wounded

This trip, Roger gets pushed around.

8 weeks after major knee surgery, Roger and Brenda return to Disney World.

Though Roger can “walk like a pirate (stiff legged), he’s pretty slow. Southwest made sure he had a wheelchair. Since there seemed to be no one to propel him, Roger wheeled himself to Security. Turns out a wheelchair gets you right to the front of the line. It doesn’t make up for being injured, but at least it’s something!

The woman at Security kept saying “Skycaps are free,” meaning I could have someone push me for no charge. They may BE free, but are they available?

From that point  on, wheelchair pushers were provided. In Orlando, he shoved Roger from the plane to Disney Magical Express!

Uppn arriving at our resort we had a wheelchair rental waiting.

First stop, Downtown Disney! Lunch at Ghirradelli’s (ice cream!), a few necessaries and back to the resort.

Roger begged to try to roll himself, but Brenda wanted to burn off lunch!

The resort decor is perfect for Roger’s favorite pre-injury pastime: fishing!

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Waiting for our room.

More to follow!!

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