Yesterday Cindy, Sophie and I went to see Secretariat. We have been seeing previews for it for a couple of months now, and I really wanted to see it to see how good it was. The trailer we saw was great, and the story just captivated me.
So we get to the theater, and as we are watching, Cindy and I noticed that Sophie is barely moving. She is so caught up in the movie that she can barely blink her eyes!
This movie had it all; sadness, uncertainty, humor, excitement, and thrilling, thrilling horse racing. Seeing the races played out on the big screen led me to do a search to see if YouTube videos exist of the actual races, and they do! Here they are below — enjoy! The videos are in order of the Triple Crown — first the Derby, then the Preakness, and lastly, the Belmont!
When it comes to athletes, so many people write about this person being the greatest of all time, or that person being the greatest of all time. Shoot, Mohammad Ali claimed that he was the greatest of all time! The debate rages on and on, of course, and certainly there is no way that it could ever be definitively answered to everyone’s satisfaction — but in my opinion, Secretariat stands right up there with all of the great horses in history, and with all of the “Greatest” athletes of all time, as well!
In June, during our last trip to Walt Disney World, one of the things I was most excited to see was the return of what I had called the “Main Street Electrical Parade”. The last time I saw it was with Cindy on our first trip to Disney in 2000, so it has been quite a while.
On June 20th we had dinner at Epcot over at Akerhus. After dinner, we decided to change clothes and then head over to the Magic Kingdom (we were all drenched from both the Kali River Rapids and the torrential rain that followed). Anyway, as fate would have it, we arrived at Town Square at 8:30 PM, with the parade scheduled to start at 9:00 PM.
Since the time was perfect, we decided to just take a seat and wait until the parade so we could catch it. Well, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Words can only say so much, so I present to you my pictures from the “Disney Electrical Parade”! Enjoy!
My niece Stephanie insisted that he was offering her the slipper!
One of my favorite shots!
Words, pictures, none of that does justice to this wonderful parade. If you can get down to the Magic Kingdom, I highly recommend that you get down there and see this parade! Originally it was only supposed to be run into August, but they extended it some time back, but I don’t know when it might be gone, so go see it. You won’t be disappointed.
This past June, Cindy, Sophie and I planned to celebrate Sophie’s birthday at Walt Disney World. There were so many plans, and Sophie knew about all of them — where we wanted to eat, what we wanted to do, and where we planned to stay — but the one thing that Sophie had no idea about was that we had invited a secret fourth person to accompany us!
On Sunday evening, June 13th, at about 7:30 PM or so, our front doorbell rang. Since I knew who was coming, I told Sophie to get the door. As she did, she said, surprised, “Stephanie?” When she saw that it was, indeed, her cousin Stephanie, she opened the door the rest of the way and gave her a big hug!
As we were all hugging Stephanie, Sophie whispered to me “Daddy, why is she here?”. When she asked, I told her to ask Stephanie herself. Steph answered, “Well, I heard you were going on vacation, and I thought I would come along!”
As soon as Sophie heard that, she gave a squeal of delight and wrapped Stephanie up in a great big bear hug!
We had a wonderful vacation planned! It would all start with leaving on Monday, June 14th, and spending the night in Savannah, GA. Additionally, we were to spend Tuesday night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista before checking in at Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter on Wednesday, June 16th.
But first we had reservations for dinner on the 15th at the Captain’s Grille, a seafood restaurant at the Yacht Club over by the Disney Boardwalk. We decided to make reservations there because I was really in the mood for some crab legs, and also because my friend Beth used to be the hostess there! Our food was so good, I would eat there again in a heartbeat! After we ate, we walked around the Boardwalk. We had always wanted to do that, but had just never taken the time to do so. We enjoyed the Boardwalk immensely! We looked in some shops, we bought some trinkets, we watched a man doing a magic show that was quite humorous, and we enjoyed the walk around the lake.
Disney’s Boardwalk as seen from across the pond!
Wednesday the 16th was quite an interesting day, to say the least! We woke up normally, ate a quick breakfast at the Fairfield, and then packed the car and headed off to POFQ! We had decided early on that we would check-in early, entrust our luggage with the luggage people at the resort, and head over to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy the day until our room was ready. We had two things that we wanted to do that day. The first was to take advantage of our preferred seating location for the afternoon parade, and the second was to make our dining reservations at The Crystal Palace.
However, after we dropped off our luggage, we decided to go inside to use the rest rooms before heading over to the park. When we came out of the rest rooms, though, we started talking with a very nice lady about the one thing we had never ever looked into: the Disney Vacation Club. She was talking with us, and in the course of our conversation, we found out that we could get four days worth of fast pass tickets for all of us just by taking a tour of the facilities over at the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
We all talked it over, and decided that other than our dining reservations, we really could take some time to do the tour, so we decided to take her up on her offer. A vehicle took us over for the tour, and we met a lady named Johanna, who took us around and showed us the resort. She told us we were welcome to take a few pictures, so I did! I didn’t take many, but here are a few that I like.
The fountain at Saratoga Springs
One of the train displays at the DVC location at Saratoga Springs.
A mural at the DVC location at Saratoga Springs.
After the tour, we sat down with Johanna to talk about the pricing for the Vacation Club. After much talking, we realized that the money we had spent on our three previous trips would have paid for about half of what a Vacation Club membership would have cost, and to make matters worse, we paid two dollars more per night for our hotel at POFQ than we could have paid for a Savannah view at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! When we heard that, and then heard about the really special deals that they were offering, and learned what the monthly payments worked out to be, we decided to take the plunge and own a piece of Disney, all for ourselves!
In the end, we were there for probably two hours, perhaps longer. Because of that, we did miss the preferred seating for the parade, but we still made our dinner reservations. Also, I split off with the girls and met the porter at our hotel room to take delivery of our luggage.
I was able to get that done and arrive at The Crystal Palace just in time for us to get seated! This would be the first of our table service dining reservations, and also the first time for Stephanie to get the Disney character experience! The Crystal Palace includes meet and greet sessions with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore, and each time they come by, you can take a picture and get an autograph in your autograph book. Take a look at some of the pictures we took that day!
Sophie, Piglet, and Stephanie
Sophie and Pooh
I like to enjoy a breakfast at least once a trip while we are visiting at Disney World. Usually we save all of our table service meals for late afternoon/early dinner, but on the 17th, we had reservations at the Cape May Cafe, which we had never eaten at before.
The Cape May Cafe is located at the Yacht Club resort, over again by the Disney Boardwalk. This was the same resort where we had been for our Captain’s Grille dinner two nights before. The characters at this buffet breakfast included Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy! The food is one big buffet with Mickey Mouse waffles, all sorts of sweet pastries, all sorts of bacon and sausages, and of course, eggs (yuck!) However, there was plenty to eat, so none of us went hungry that morning! Take a look at some of the great pictures we took!
Steph and Minnie
Sophie and Minnie
Steph and Donald
The girls with Goofy!
Sophie’s Birthday Surprise — notice the card right by the desert?
After we finished breakfast, we took the water taxi over to Epcot. One of the hidden treasures of Epcot is the ability to enter the park from the back entrance, over by the France pavilion in World Showcase. The line is much smaller, and while I have seen it many times, I had never entered that way until this trip.
We spent the day first at Epcot, and then later on we hopped over to the Magic Kingdom. One of the things we did was take the ferry boat ride across the Seven Seas Lagoon. In doing so, we discovered that we had taken the following Disney modes of transportation:
Disney Resort Bus
Helium Balloon (Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney)
Vacation Club Van
Actually, the girls didn’t do the Characters in Flight until Sophie’s birthday on the 19th, but you get the idea.
You know, as I write about our Disney experiences with Stephanie this past June, it occurs to me that there is so much that we did on our vacation that there is no way that I can get all of the Magic down in a blog post without making the post about a three day job to get it down. So, at the risk of disappointing my following of 10 on Networked Blogs, I’m going to show you the remaining parts of our trip via the pictures that we took. I hope you enjoy!
The ghosts from The Tower of Terror!
Pluto with Steph and Sophie at The Garden Grill
Mickey and Sophie at The Garden Grill
He’s such a big player the girls had to have their pictures separately!
“And the winner is…Kermit the Frog!”
On Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney
Our lovely niece at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ!
Sophie is wearing her special “Minnie and Me” T-Shirt she created at Downtown Disney!
Sophie’s picture with Mickey and Minnie
We thought we were as wet as we could get — until it started pouring rain on top of it!
My only picture from “Finding Nemo — the musical” that turned out okay.
Our picture with Belle at Akerhus Royal Banquet Hall
Sleeping Beauty and the girls
Cinderella with the girls
Snow White with the girls
Ariel with the girls
Clownin’ around at the bus stop
Tink leading off the parade!
This parade is SO COOL — see it if you can!
Cinderella — and yes, she was looking right at me! (not!)
Pete’s Dragon — my favorite shot of the whole parade!
Mickey and Minnie riding with some lucky fans late night! It was 12:06 AM on an “Extra Magic Hours” night!
As cool a shot of the Castle as I can get at night. I’m quite pleased with it!
And in the day, still a nice shot I think.
Pirate Princess Sophie and her prisoners!
The Carousel of Progress — to this day one of my favorite attractions!
“Which way did they go, George?”
Even Georgette enjoyed the vacation, although all she did was stay in our room and read!
I always have a great time when we visit Disney World, and this year, with Stephanie being able to enjoy it with us, it was just that much more special! We made so many memories, Stephanie is already “inviting herself” to come with us next time! I say, the more the merrier! Thanks for reading!
It was on this day in 1971 that Walt Disney World® opened it’s doors to the public! Happy 39th birthday, Disney World! The opening consisted of the Magic Kingdom, The Contemporary Resort, The Polynesian Resort, and the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!
Read about it at the DisneyParks Blog, and check out the killer photo they have posted!
The Magic Kingdom is an incredible place to visit. From a theme park perspective, it is almost like having seven parks all rolled into one. The reason for this is because of all of the different “Lands” that you can visit. They include the following:
Over the next several posts, I will take a look at each of these lands, outlining the things that my family has enjoyed from each place, and also taking a look at some of the things we haven’t done that we would like to explore. Stick with “My Dreams of Disney” for some information you can take with you the next time you visit Disney!