Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day two-- We made it!

Knowing we were in Florida, was there any doubt on where we'd end up?

Disney World!!!

Now, again, I understand the abnormality of this vacation. I just came back three weeks ago and now I'm here again with my parents?! But this was not a planned trip. My dad has been so jealous of my Disney adventures this year, that I finally told him to get the motor home ready and I'd go as long as my Annual Pass was still in effect. He came back with, "let's leave Monday." So that's the reason for my fifth (and final!) trip to Disney World this year. I mean really. Who does this??

After arriving at Disney World he headed to the Magic Kingdom resorts:

And to the campgrounds:

I'll get a photo of our campsite tomorrow, but just know that it's VERY different than the last time I was here! (In a tent!)

After we got somewhat settled in, I decided to spend an hour or so at the Magic Kingdom. My parents don't have their tickets yet, so I left them at the Motor Home to rest.

I've had fun playing with the Hipstamatic ap this trip! Since I have enough photos of the parks, this will be a fun way to try capture it differently.

(That's my favorite.)

(Well, maybe this one is...)

Soon enough it was time to head back to get my parents and take them to the Chip and Dale marshmallow roast and sing along. Yeehaw!

Cowboy Mark led the tunes and Chip and Dale visited with the guests:

We then went to the beach to watch the Electrical Water Pageant and the Wishes fireworks.

My parents are already exhausted... and they haven't even spent a day at the parks yet!! Keep posted to see if they make it out of bed tomorrow-- it'll be an early morning wake up call (6:30!!) with a full day of playing at Disney's Hollywood Studios!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Disney World

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day one-- On the road again

This morning started with a 4:45am wake-up call. Chris drove me to my parents house where they were ready to hit the road. In this:

The trusty Beard family Motor Home! My parents have traveled across the US and even up into Canada in this beast. The summer after I graduated college, I spent six weeks traveling with them. We went North-- up to Rushmore, then West to Yellowstone and further West to Crater Lake. Then we went South down the coast of California. It was a fun summer and I was able to see a lot of national symbols that many Americans never see.

This time, though, we headed East. To...

Louisiana! (Just for a quick driving break for my dad.)

There is a really interesting visitor's center at the Atchafalaya Basin where I was able to play with my new iPhone ap-- the Hipstamatic camera.

(The Hipstamatic ap makes your photo look vintage without you having to retouch them in any way.)

We were also treated to some Community coffee:

All too soon we were on the highway again. Due to our ridiculously early departure, I spent most of the drive sleeping:

The next drive break was in Mississippi. We planned to let my dad stretch his legs and get back on the road, but by chance he decided took a quick look at the engine.

Where he saw... a problem. How he can make sense of that mess is a mystery to me, but we spent THREE HOURS at the rest stop while he fixed it.

We finally got back on the road and although we had planned to be closer to our destination, we've had to improvise and are staying the night on the Florida border.

They also have what appears to be a really neat Visitor's Center, but it closed at 5pm. So I just walked around the building and played with the hipstamatic camera a bit more. My favorite:

Tomorrow's another early morning, but hopefully we won't have any other setbacks and we'll reach our destination! And assuming we do, I'll reveal it in tomorrow's 'live' post!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Three's Company with K-Dog

The Hill House has a new resident:
K-dog! And his amazing grill: The Big Green Egg!
With which he's made us tasty dinners!
Really tasty dinners:
K-Dog (aka "Ryan") is an architect and just got a job working at Academy's corporate office.

He was a groomsman at our wedding:
and is now looking for a good home in Houston. Until then, ladies, you'll find him at our house.

(Don't forget... LIVE blogging begins on Monday!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

We interupt this blog for a special annoucement

Normally my posts are a a little behind "real life". For example, I've been posting about Disneyworld, though I've been back for a few weeks now. I do this for a few reasons. The main one is that I don't like to post that I'm out of town while I'm out of town. Just seems to be the smart thing to do.

But that's going to change for a week starting on Monday!

On Monday, I'll be leaving town again... and since I'm not traveling alone AND our houses will be occupied while we're gone, I'm going to try a "live" blog. Basically, each night I'll recap what we did that day. Should be fun! Might be a disaster! Who knows? It's an adventure!

Any guesses on WHERE I'm going? Or HOW I'll get there? Perhaps where I'll be staying or WHO I'm going with??

Tomorrow we'll have a quick update on a new addition to our house... then starting on Monday the BIG reveal and the first "live" post!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spotted at Walt Disney World

A burly father walking his twin daughters to the Lion King show:
A little girl who does NOT want to ride the Carrousel!
A man who cut in line at Toy Story Mania. Oh yeah, I totally took a photo:
(The guy in blue.) And for the record, I wasn't passive aggressive when he stepped right in front of me in line. I kindly told him that the line was way back there. Instead of going back where I pointed, he just got behind me. For shame!

Lastly, spotted: two tuckered out little fellows:
I'm always so jealous of this kids! No walking or waiting... just take a snooze when you're sleepy...
And this little guy even kicked his shoes off! Oh, the life!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Disney World Tip: PUSH the trash can

Here's a fun tip for your next trip to Walt Disney World: visit PUSH, the talking trash can!
PUSH can be found in Tomorrowland at various times throughout the day. He is a talking trash can who jokes, teases and interacts with guests!
He is quick, witty and a delightful way to spend about twenty minutes at the Magic Kingdom.
And if you happen to have any trash, feel free to give it to PUSH, he'll thank you!
 If you're planning a trip and want to make sure you'll stumble on this neat "performance", check out www.wdwent.com for "show" times. I recommend the effort-- PUSH is a delightful addition to your Magic Kingdom visit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Disney World Transportation

Traveling around the Walt Disney World resort can be a challenge. In its entirety the property is twice the size of the island of Manhattan!

Because I flew into Orlando, I needed a ride to the campsite. Disney offers a service called "Magical Express" that picks up guests from the airport and takes them to their hotel. Sweet! Even sweeter? They'll also grab your luggage and bring it to your room. So you check your bags at your city's airport and the next time you see them is in your hotel room. I highly recommend using this service... especially since it's free!

Oh, and you get to watch a fun movie while you drive to the resort:
Each morning, I'd use a boat to travel to the Magic Kingdom or the Contemporary resort:
Here's a view from the boat with the Contemporary resort shown in the background:
Once at the Contemporary, you can catch a monorail to the Magic Kingdom (though I'd walk) or Epcot:
There's also a HUGE ferry boat that takes guests from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the Magic Kingdom:
But if you stay onsite, there's really not a need to take this.

Once in the Magic Kingdom, you can travel up Mainstreet in a few exciting vehicles. Like this one:
This will take you from the front of the Magic Kingdom to the front of Cinderella's castle!
And halfway up, these fine fellows hop on board and sing you a little tune:
Delightful! It's actually faster to just walk, but it's a nice ride if you're not in a hurry.

Of course, the absolute best way to travel around the parks is to have someone push you around in a stroller! But I'm sure there's some sort of age limit on that. AND stroller parking can be a madhouse!
(That's at Fantasyland... strollers as far as the eye can see!)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

In the heart of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, sits the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. It's one of my favorites for a few reasons. For one thing, it rarely has a line. Also, the details are exquisite:
And, it can be enjoyed by kids and adults!
(Or maybe I'm just a kid at heart...)

It's a favorite attraction for parents to drag their children (mostly for the photo op) but I can see why some of the kids would be a little hesitant:
The final reason for my enjoyment of this ride is simply nostalgia. I am one of the brave children who survived the carrousel and my parents are one of the shutterbugs:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jedi Training Academy

If you have young Star Wars fans in your Disney World travel group, you HAVE to check out the Jedi Training Academy.

The little darlings are dressed for the part and the Jedi master helps to get them trained:

(You might want to click on the photo so you can see it larger.)

Here's a close up of two of the cuties:

Pretty soon the light sabers came out:
Which is good, because not too long after that, came the real test:
This was a cute little show that I'm glad I stumbled on. Those kids were SERIOUS about their training and the parents were just as serious getting photos of their little darlings.

There's a new version of the adjoining attraction, Star Tours... it was closed when I was there, but hope to get to experience it someday!