Friendship Friday: My Grandpa!

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Friendship Friday.  Today I have another one of the special people in my life — my Grandpa!

Grandpa and I have always been buddies — for as long as I can remember.  Grandpa worked at United Airlines for 41 years, stepping down in 1978.  Gramps was assigned to different airports by United as their Chief Maintenance Manager (or something like that) — so he and Grandma and Mom and Aunt Bette and Uncle Roger were always travelling to different states.

My Grandpa was assigned to work at the United Airlines Hangar for the then unopened Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.  It was Grandpa’s job to make sure that the United hangar was ready for business when the airport opened up.  It was while Grandpa and all the family were there that my Mom and Dad met and got married!

When I was born, my Grandma and Grandpa were living in Buffalo, NY, where Grandpa was in charge of the hangar at the airport there.  I don’t remember Buffalo much because I was young, but my Grandma always told the story that I would be off somewhere, and they would find me playing with the toads that I would find over by the cellar windows outside.

After Buffalo, my Grandpa was stationed at the last airport he worked at before retirement — Newark, located in Newark, NJ.  My Grandparents lived in Berkeley Heights, NJ, and I remember our trips north to visit Grandma and Grandpa there.  It was then that Grandpa and I started forging our bond.  We would go to the airport and look at the planes land from the observation deck — back in the days when you could go to the airport, park, and watch planes all day if you wanted to!

Grandpa had so much knowledge about the airplanes.  He would look at one and say — there’s a DC-10, or a 727, or a 737, or, of course, a 747.  It was great to see him in action, and I learned a few things about planes back then.

In October 1978, I believe it was, Grandpa retired, and Grandma and he began their last move — to Port Richey, Florida!  It was there that my fun with Grandma and Grandpa would begin in earnest!

In 1979 My Mom, sister Robin, and I flew down to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  Dad was a self-employed cabinetmaker, so unfortunately he didn’t have much time off, so he stayed behind.

It was during that summer visit that I got my first visit to Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom!  I’ve forgotten some of the details, but the one thing that I never forgot was what I wrote about for my friend Donna from DISTherapy for her 40 days to 40 years project in 2011:

As you pass under the railroad tracks, somehow, Walt Disney has magically taken you out of the here and now, and transported you back to a different time, a different place, where small town Americana is alive and well; where Main Street isn’t just the name of a street, but it is a place to hang out with your friends, where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie.  As you gaze at all of the incredible buildings, you are taken aback at how long Main Street, U.S.A. is.  It seems like it goes on forever!  But you peer at the end of the street, and what do you see?  This magical castle waiting for you, beckoning you to take a look at it, daring you to even go inside of it!  You have heard about that castle, how it is Cinderella Castle, and belongs to her.  You have read about how you can walk all the way through the castle, and come out in Fantasyland.  You have even heard that you can even have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table — but that memory is for another trip.

After that first summer, my Grandma and Grandpa started asking if I wanted to visit with them during the summer months when school was out.  Hello!  Of course I said yes!  I remember the first time I drove down with them, and I had been visiting for a while when my Grandpa said, “Mickey, when do you think you want to go back home?”  I thought for a while, then I said something to the affect that school started September 5th, so I guess I needed to be home a couple of days before so I could get school clothes.  I think my Grandpa thought I was homesick, but how could I be?  I had my buddy with me!  And did I mention it was Florida?!

Grandpa and I did so many things together.  We took care of the neighbor’s pool together — so we could swim in it.  We learned how to swim together.  We would go to the library and check out a book on a particular swimming stroke, and we would read a page by the pool, then go check it out in the water to see how it worked.  During that summer, we learned all the major swimming strokes!

We would go to the beach together while Grandma was playing Bridge with the ladies.

My Grandpa was — and is — an inspiration to me to this day.  He and Grandma lived through so many things — the Great Depression, wars, the Cold War, uncertainty, illness — yet they never wavered from who they were, and what they believed.  That is a lesson for all of us in this day and age.

My Mom is the oldest of my Grandma and Grandpa’s three children.  When she was one or two years old, she got bitten by a mosquito and became extremely ill.  My Mom had to learn how to talk again, and she had to learn how to walk again.  Through all of that, my Grandma and Grandpa were there, helping her, guiding her along as she learned the things she needed to learn again.  My Grandpa would work with her when he got home from work — all the patience in the world.  Infinitely more patience then I have, that’s for sure.

We are all miracles, but I think some of us are a little more of a miracle then others.  When I think back on how sick my Mom was as a baby, just the fact that Robin and I were even able to come into this world is a testament to God’s Power and Strength — and his Mercy.  Carry that forward, and it is obvious to me that Sophie is a miracle of her own — so tiny, such a little baby, but now an 11 year old.  None of us are perfect, that is certain, but the blessings we have — in my mind, they outweigh the problems we have so much, if we just choose to see them.

At the end, my Grandpa passed away the way I think we all would like to pass on — at home, in his bed, with his family by his side, singing him Happy Birthday one last time.  My Grandpa was born on September 4, 1913, and he passed away on September 4, 2011, and the tender age of 98.

Gone…but never, EVER, forgotten.  I love you Grandpa.

My friend Heidi is the inspiration behind the Friendship Friday series for me!  She even lets me link up with her site each week!  Click on the image below to see what friend she is highlighting today, and thanks for stopping by!

Disney In Pictures Theme: Wishes!

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s theme for Disney In Pictures!  With the Thanksgiving break over, and getting geared up for the Christmas season, it seems an appropriate time to focus on Wishes for our theme!

Of course, when people hear the word “Wishes” and Disney, I think it is natural to think of the fireworks show that occurs at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!  However, that’s what is so great about Disney In Pictures — you can take the theme and run with it however you like!  Would you prefer to focus on some Disney wishes for this Christmas?  Then feel free to share them with us!  Have some other wishes you want to represent?  Send them in as well!

To do so, follow these steps to be included in this week’s post:

  1. Locate a picture or two or three to share, and email them to me at
  2. Include your name, why the picture is special to you, and what your wish is for the season.
  3. Lastly, if you have a blog, share that with us also, and we’ll include a link to it in the post!

It’s about as simple as that!  Take some time, find a picture to share, and send it on it’s way, and thanks!  This post is only as successful as you make it, so send in your pictures!  It’s also a great way to surprise your family and friends with their picture being on the Internet!

Wordless Wednesday – December Calendar Shot

Image Courtesy my friend Leigh Ann!

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop — hosted by my friend Deb from Focused on the Magic!  This month the theme is our December Calendar Shot, and when you think of a Disney December, the first thing that pops to my mind is Cinderella Castle!  Such a magnificent display of beautiful lights, shimmering in the night sky, coupled with all of that color — I don’t know of a prettier image to display for my December shot!

Since I’ve never been to Walt Disney World for Christmas, I pressed my friend Leigh Ann into service to supply me some pictures I could use!  She sent me the one at the top, as well as this one that I hope you enjoy:

Image Courtesy my friend Leigh Ann!

Both of these shots were taken during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that they were fortunate enough to attend!  Thanks Leigh Ann for sharing!

However, I also have a beautiful picture to share with you that my dear friend Brenda took — the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge!  Brenda isn’t feeling that well right now, partly because her trip “home” was completed, but also because she picked up a bug, so Brenda, I hope you feel better soon!  Love you!  Here is her picture for our enjoyment:

Image Courtesy and ©Ideally Disney!

So, which picture would be your calendar shot?  I kind of picked Cinderella Castle by having it displayed first, but I really could go with any of the three and would be happy in all cases.  Which one will you be picking?  Let me know in the comments, and thanks!

To see the rest of the great entries for this week, go ahead and click on the button below to head on over to Focused on the Magic, and thanks for stopping by!

Focused on the Magic

Whispering Canyon Cafe

By Theresa.

Welcome to memorable meal Mondays. Yes, I know that restaurant reviews tend to be popular but they can also seem impersonal. I thought it would be a better use of my time to tell you about some of my favorite meals at Walt Disney World.

The Whispering Canyon Café is a restaurant I had wanted to try for a while so on a recent trip, I made reservations to eat there. The day of our reservation, I thought that the easiest way to head over was to catch a bus from our hotel over to the Magic Kingdom and then the resort launch over to the Wilderness Lodge. We arrived early so we took a stroll around the hotel and checked out Disney’s Old Faithful (a recreation of the Yellowstone geyser).

Our ADR (advanced dining reservation) was for the first dinner seating. We checked in and had a seat while we waited to be shown to our table. Another party waiting had young children, one of the children rang the dinner bell and shouted “Come and get it!” and it was time to have a seat. While we were walked to our seat, children rode toy horses to their tables.

Our meal began with drinks which included all you care to enjoy milkshakes (it is unusual for dining plan meals to include milkshakes) and for dinner, I had steak and my daughter got the all you care to enjoy skillet. This meal included pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and chicken with baked beans, corn on the cob and cornbread. For dessert, I had the caramel apple pie and my daughter had the S’Mores cheesecake (which had a graham cracker crust topped with cheesecake and chocolate with mini marshmallows.

While all the food was delicious (the menu has changed since 2010 but I am certain everything will still be tasty), it is the atmosphere and fun that bumped this meal into truly memorable for me. In addition to the kids riding to the tables for dinner, there was a horse race around the restaurant for the kids (with the adults waving napkins in the air like flags) as well as some fun with the wait staff. Beware that unless you don’t mind being the center of attention, don’t ask for ketchup (I won’t ruin the surprise but I will tell you it’s funny). All in all, if you are looking for a quiet, laid back meal, this is NOT the place for you but if you are looking for good food and fun times, make your reservation for Whispering Canyon Café, I think you’ll be glad you did!

{Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Theresa for writing us another post!  I have never been to Whispering Canyon Cafe, so this is a trip I need to make in the future!}

Magical Blogorail Teal: Disney for Christmas!

Welcome to those of you joining me from Capturing Magical Memories and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

I am very excited to be filling in on the Teal line this month!  Thanks to Dave and Mary for letting me join in as they have some regular team members that aren’t able to make it this month!  The topic this month is “Getting or Giving Disney for Christmas!  Now what?”

This is a huge topic for me because, as fate would have it, my wife and I are planning on surprising our daughter with the announcement of a trip to Disneyland for Christmas!  We have never been to Disneyland before, so this will be a huge deal for us as we take our Disney passion across the country and have a one week gig in Anaheim, California at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa!

My plans for the announcement are that we are going to wrap a box with some essential items, this is some of what I had in mind:

  1. Birnbaum’s Guide to Disneyland — they have one for kids for Walt Disney World, I’m looking to see if they make a similar one for Disneyland.  My daughter Sophie loves it!
  2. The Disneyland Planning DVD — an absolute must for any family planning a trip to Disney, especially for the first time like we are this time.
  3. Printouts of the maps of the resorts
  4. A printout of our reservation confirmation email from DVC!

We likely won’t be buying our tickets until later on, as well as our airplane tickets, so those will wait a bit.  I think there will be some other things, as I see something that strikes my mind, but if you have any ideas, leave them in the comments!

Now, after the announcement, there is still some things that we need to take care of.  This includes the following:

  1. Determining what we are doing with regards to dining.
  2. Look in more detail at all of the things that we are going to see, and prioritize our ride choices.
  3. Purchase our airline tickets.
  4. Purchase our park tickets.

This will be a fun trip, and I can’t wait until Christmas morning!  For the record, on December 25, 2012, we will have exactly 177 days until our trip!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is A Disney Mom’s Thoughts.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~
2nd Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
3rd Stop ~  My Dreams of Disney
Final Stop ~ A Disney Mom’s Thoughts