Monday, June 30, 2014

Wont you blog with me?

Found my July blog challenge (thank God for Pinterest!) It's not specific in theme/topic, so that'll be a nice change of pace. Looking forward to posting some posts with substance - or at least I hope to try to make them interesting and not just random crap.

Won't you blog with me?

Yes, I know it says May, but I'm going to do it in July so sue me.

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 30: Favorite Walt Disney Quote About Disneyland

Day 30 - Favorite Walt Disney Quote About Disneyland

"To all that come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America... with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world." - Walt Disney

I don't think this needs any explanation, really.

76 Days to go! Still no idea what July's challenge will be, if I do one.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just a few countdowns

What I'm currently counting down to (other than my Disney trip).

Just a few. Not too bad considering this is me we're talking about.

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 29: Favorite Aspect of Disneyland

Day 29 - Favorite Aspect of Disneyland

Disneyland may be "our land" by Walt's decree opening day, but it is Walt's park. He walked the grounds, he oversaw its completion... he welcomed the world into his kingdom. This is the greatest aspect of Disneyland - Walt Disney lived it. This was his dream that he made a reality. Sure we all joke that it's a people trap built by a mouse, and we whine about the cost and the crowds, but it's so much more than all of that.

Walt was a self made man. He took a dream, a thought, an idea and fought like hell to get to the position that he was in to make Disneyland a possibility. It wasn't his first idea, it came much later when he was at the height of success, but it was yet more proof of his determination and ingenuity.

As much as I LOVE Disney World (it really is in many ways, everything RIGHT and BETTERing of what Disneyland is), it does not have the same *feeling* as Disneyland. DLR has this hard to shake feeling - at least for me - and I can't help but think it's just knowing that we're actually walking in Walt's footsteps.

77 days till I get to walk in his footsteps again! Can't wait!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 28: Favorite Time To Visit

Day 28 - Favorite Time to Visit

Not sure if it means time of year, or time of day. If it's time of year I have to say any time that isn't peak season. For Disney World I've decided I love November... but for Disneyland I'm not quite sure. I've been in the summer several times and it's been either great or traumatic (great in 2006, traumatic in 1990 - I got stuck to the sidewalk thanks to my jelly shoes melting!) or just super hot and I ended up sick (2012). So August isn't my favorite... February is the only other time I've gone, and the crowd levels were awesome (there were none!) but a lot of things were down for rehab and refurb... of course a lot of the park that was down for those things are now fully functional (construction was for Carsland and the new Fantasyland attractions). So it may not be as bad normally in Feb. So let's just say I don't care when I go so long as I don't melt (or my shoes) and I don't have to deal with crazy crowds.

Time of day that I like to visit is either first thing in the morning because the crowds are less, or once the sun goes down for photographic purposes (I have been known to close down a park just snapping long exposures while most of the crowd is headed home).

So there ya have it... I'm trying to figure out what July's challenge is going to be themed after....

78 Days till Disneyland!

Yup, another MRJ gif I snagged from Google.
Good night my friends.

60 Mushers sign up opening day for Iditarod 43

Here's the list, I'll try to write up my thoughts later.

2015 Iditarod entries
(listed in order of the draw at the musher's banquet)
(R) designates rookies
Past champions are bold-ed.

1) Ben Harper, Wasilla (R)
2) Dallas Seavey, Willow
3) Kristy Berington, Kasilof
4) Gwenn Bogart, Wasilla (R)
5) Pete Kaiser, Bethel
6) Lance Mackey, Fairbanks
7) Lisbet Skogen Norris, Willow
8) Ellen Halverson, Wasilla
9) Richie Diehl, Aniak
10) Mitch Seavey, Seward
11) Rick Casillo, Palmer
12) Seth Barnes, Nenana (R)
13) Matt Failor, Willow
14) Travis Beals, Seward
15) Curt Perano, Willow
16) Mats Peterson, Sweden
17) Charley Bejna, Wasilla
18) Philip Walters, Eagle River (R)
19) Justin Savidis, Willow
20) Hugh Neff, Tok
21) Cindy Abbott, Irvine, California (R)
22) Jaimee High, Willow
23) Jan Steves, Edmonds, Washington
24) Scott Janssen, Anchorage
25) Alan Eischens, Wasilla (R)
26) Allen Moore, Two Rivers
27) Monica Zappa, Kasilof
28) Sarah Stokey, Seward (R)
29) Paul Gebhart, Kasilof
30) Marcelle Fressineau, Whitehorse, Yukon
31) Becca Moore, Willow (R)
32) Nathan Schroeder, Chisholm, Minnesota
33) Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Rana Norway
34) Aliy Zirkle, Two Rivers
35) Michelle Phillips, Whitehorse Yukon
36) Anna Berington, Wasilla
37) Thomas Wærner, Norway (R)
38) Paige Drobny, Fairbanks
39) Kelly Maixner, Big Lake
40) Isabelle Travadon, France (R)
41) Laura Allaway, Fairbanks (R)
42) Ken Anderson, Fairbanks
43) Lachlan Clarke, Buena Vista, Colorado
44) Nicholis Petit, Girdwood
45) Rohn Buser, Big Lake
46) Ray Redington Jr., Knik
47) Jim Lanier, Chugiak
48) Lev Shvarts, Willow (R)
49) Mark Sellend, Anchorage (R)
50) Yvonne Dabakk, Fairbanks
51) Gerald Sousa, Talkeetna
52) Karin Hendrickson, Wasilla
53) Brian Wilmshurst, Dawson City, Yukon (R)
54) Rob Cooke, Whitehorse, Yukon (R)
55) Martin Buser, Big Lake
56) Jodi Bailey, Fairbanks
57) DeeDee Jonrowe, Willow
58) Jeff King, Denali Park
59) Linwood Fiedler, Willow
60) Jessie Royer, Darby, Montana

Friday, June 27, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 27: Your Dream Job

Day 27 - Your Dream Job

I'm assuming they mean within the parks - otherwise I'd say I want to be a film director ha ha! But my dream Park job would be as a Disney Photographer. Photopass would be fun - but their "fine art" side of that program would be even better. I'd love to do their promotional work. Just to be able to be in the parks when no one is around would be AWESOME.

I love the photopass photogs, though. They are an awesome group of people (for the most part...some think they know more than they really do). It makes it easy for me - the group photog (everyone I travel with know that's my job, doesn't matter what group/family members I go with ha ha) - to be in the photos and we get some great shots and memories that way.

I mean, if I could be a Disney photog I'd get paid to take pictures in the Disney Parks all day every day! What could be better? (of course, come hot and humid parts of the year I'd be miserable no matter what so... that's what's kept me, among other reasons, from applying.)

Oh and this week, I got my photopass+ package in the mail. Ordered it for the trip in September. Yup, I'm a fan.

One of my favorites from our 2012 trip. Haille Rae is awesome. Love her!
Also, we're at another (somewhat) milestone in the countdown. We've left the 80s and are now into the 70s! We are at 79 days till the epic LLP + B Disney trip! I'm super stoked. Chatted with Erin the other night and we have both definitely caught the "OMG"s for this trip. We'll soon be texting and calling each other daily with the "WE'RE TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP!" message. Because we're big dorks like that.

Yes, I did just use an MRJ gif.
In about 20 days I'll be able to make our first ADR! I'm debating if I should call down or if I should just do it online. I may do a combination of both, because it's just not a Disney trip without calling the Disney Travel Company, but at the same time the Disneyland call center isn't as much fun/magical (and their hold music is normally closer to elevator music than actual Disney music. Sadness).

Three weeks till ADR time... three weeks till we're down to the two months mark... It's getting close... but not close enough! Come on September, get here already!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 25: Favorite Park Picture

Day 25 - Favorite Park Picture

The one above is my most favorite Disney Park picture I've taken so far.

and just because I can, here's my second favorite:

81 days till I'm back there snapping pictures!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 24: Favorite Disneyland Memory

Day 24 - Favorite Disneyland Memory

I have so many favorite memories at Disneyland. Having been to the park a handful of times (for several days most trips), I've created quite a few. So it's hard to choose just one. Instead, I will cheat and list my favorite memory(ies) of each trip. Because, well, I can. There's no Meme Police that I'm aware of. So I do what I want!

1990 Family Trip: I was 5. Favorite Memory was most definitely riding The Matterhorn. I sat with Dad, and mom rode behind us. The whole time mom was screaming at my dad to hold onto me. All I remember is the Yeti and the *huge* pool of water at the end (and the crowd). It was thrillingly fun.

2006 Road Trip: Erin and I drove 7 hours for one day at Disney. It was EPIC. We spent 11 hours in the park (would've been from opening to close had we not gotten lost on our way from where we stayed to the park). We only went to Disneyland park, not California Adventure, but we got to see everything we wanted to in that trip. It was before I got obsessive over planning and knowing everything about the parks. That would soon change, but I digress. Favorite Memory is hard to pinpoint because that whole day was perfect and awesome. Perhaps I will go with the memory of laughing pretty much non stop all day. We'd definitely found our laughing place.

2011 Haille's First Trip: Haille turned five in Disneyland. What better birthday could you possibly have?! My favorite memory from that trip was the last night we were all there (I spent an extra day in SoCal from the rest of them). We ate at Goofy's Kitchen. Haille'd been shy around the characters all week, but that night she was ALL smiles. She had a blast. She danced with Goofy, fought Pluto for her hot dog, played pranks with Dale, was sung Happy Birthday by the Fairy Godmother... and so much more. We stayed for two hours because of all the attention. It was awesome. (Another great memory was Haille falling in love with the Haunted Mansion... and the ONE particular hitchiking ghost that ALWAYS sat in our car. EVERY SINGLE TIME. CREEPY!)

2012 Family Trip: Another trip with Haille. Another GREAT trip. We had Gaylord's granddaughter and daughter with us that trip as well (his gdaughter is also named Hailee). My favorite memory is Haille Rae sharing all her Disneyland wisdom with Hailee (it was her first trip). She talked her through the scary stuff (remember, it just pretend!) and she showed her the tips and tricks to talking with the characters. She remembered so much of what I told her about certain things about the park and characters from the trip the year prior. I was bursting with pride. That kid is amazing. Gonna miss my park buddy on our trip this year.

82 days until we make a new set of favorite memories!

Monday, June 23, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 23: Favorite Thing To Collect

Day 23: Favorite Thing to Collect

I think it has to be the pins. I get a lanyard and fill it up for each trip. I normally get a pin for new attractions/rides/section of the park that we visited, as well as a couple of my favorite characters. As well as any special pin that signifies what the trip was for.

I don't trade any of my pins. They all have meaning. So I don't take them with me on the next trip(s). I'm looking forward to filling up another lanyard.

83 days till Disneyland! And a pic of Colin O'Donaghue as Captain Hook just because (EYEBROW)!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 22: Favorite Shop

Day 22 - Favorite Shop

I have a confession: I don't really like to shop. Oh, sure, it's fun to get new stuff - I love getting new stuff, butut I hate the whole walking around browsing. I normally leave the shopping to Erin (or my aunt and niece). But I do enjoy hitting up Downtown Disney a few times when I visit the parks. It's your one stop shop for all things awesome when it comes to Disney swag.

So I guess I'm looking forward to it (and the gift shop in the Disneyland Hotel) the most for shopping purposes. Get in, get everything, and get out.

I was gone this weekend for a wedding. I'm trying to get the photos edited and do this blog. Should be easy but I'm terribly ADD anymore. So this blog has sat pretty much all day with just a few words. Whoops. Oh well... 84 days to go.

Friday, June 20, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 20: Favorite Restaurant

Day 20 - Favorite Restaurant

The Carnation Cafe has to be my absolute favorite place to eat in all of Disney. The ambiance is quaint and simple, and the menu is classic. But it's the magic that this place brings that keeps me going back. I ate breakfast here when I was five, so it's always something that I've associated with Disney memories. Back then I got pancakes, but now I go for the classic Mickey Waffle. It's not a Disney trip until I get my Mickey Waffle.

I have it down as a must do for our trip in September. I am SO OVERLY READY for my Mickey Waffle!

86 days till Mickey Waffles!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 19: Favorite Fireworks Spectacular

Day 19 - Favorite Fireworks Spectacular

FAN-FREAKING-TASMIC! Anyone who knows my Disney obsession knows how much I freaking LOVE THIS SHOW. It is the best thing EVER. I first saw it at Disney World and thought it couldn't get better... then they recreated Maleficent's Dragon (with SUCH DETAIL) at Disneyland and OH MY WORD! I literally CRIED last time she was so beautiful!

I love how the show truly celebrates Disney imagination. They bring life to some of the best Disney characters, and it works seamlessly! The climax is Maleficent transforming into a HUGE fire breathing dragon. The worst part is Mickey kills her (oops, spoiler!), but just add that to the list of why I'm not a huge Mickey fan. ha ha! (Sorry, Walt!)

The technology of this show is incredible. And I love how they add the fireworks in as "magic". It totally works from start to finish. Absolutely love EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SHOW. And can watch it multiple times a trip (or night) and not be bored with it!

87 days to go till DISNEYLAND! I'm coming, Malfy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 18: Favorite Band/Vocal Group

Day 18 - Favorite Band/Vocal Group

I am a band nerd. I played trumpet in junior high and most of my freshman year of high school before switching over to TC Baritone. So I'm kind of a band nerd. I love marching bands - though we never had one when I was in high school, and the closest thing they have now is a drumline. I love orchestra. I love BIG BRASS and DRUMS! I love music, and I love it done well.

And, of course, the Disneyland Marching Band has all of that and more. I stop and listen every time, watch their different mini shows... I love listening to them play. And they all have the joy of music showing on their faces.

When I played in high school we had a chance to do the Magic Music Days at Disney in Disney World. We played on stage at EPCOT and it was so much fun. We even got to warm up back stage where they record music! It was incredible. So I just love everything about Disney music. Very thankful for the experience.

Honorable mention has to go to the Dapper Dans. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this barber shop quartet that is a signature feature on Main Street USA. I love me a good harmony, and they are always spot on. They're another thing that I make sure to stop and listen and fangirl over when walking down Main Street.

Oh, and 88 days till Disneyland! w00t!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 17: Favorite Live Show

Day 17 - Favorite Live Action Show

Hands down it's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular which is found at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's on par with a Broadway show and is just as entertaining no matter how many times you view it. As I posted a couple of days ago, The Genie character makes or breaks this show - and I've never seen a Genie flop yet. Jafar is also deliciously evil and humorous. They steal the show from Jazzy and Al, that's for sure.

The music is the familiar songs from the movie plus an extra one that was originally for the movie but got canned - I believe it's now in the Broadway version of Aladdin (which is different to the movie and this show at California Adventure). There are rumors going around that this show may not be around much longer - they tried pulling it a couple of years ago but due to the response from fans they reopened. Rumors say that FROZEN may take its place, so I'm hoping to see Aladdin one more time (if it is truly going away, which does make sense what with the Broadway show a hit now and all).

And we're officially under 3 months to go. I spent the majority of my day getting my park admissions bought. Good way to spend the day, but dang I'm poor again! It'll be worth it, though!

Monday, June 16, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 16: Favorite Parade

Day 16 - Favorite Parade

My favorite is still Wat Disney's Parade Of Dreams. Erin and I saw it when we went to Disneyland in 2006, it was such a sweet parade and I admit I got weepy! It was a great way to tribute the wonderful films and characters of Disney film. Walt's legacy if you will. It was created for the 50th anniversary and it worked. Soundsational is a good parade now, but I still miss this parade.

Oh and we've hit the THREE MONTH MARK! I have got to sit down and finalize an itinerary with my travel buddies, and get my park admission ordered... and my photopass+ preordered... Thinking I'll do that next week as I have a wedding to shoot this weekend. 90 days to go! w00t!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 15: Favorite Atmosphere (Fur) Character

Day 15 - Favorite Atmosphere (Fur) Character

DONALD DUCK! Anyone who knows me KNOWS I love Donald. He is probably the very best character Disney has ever created - and they've created a lot of great characters. I have such a good time meeting him wherever he is in the parks. I especially like him in Disneyland because it's the only place I've ever met him when he is in his classic/signature look (sailor suit).

I've loved Donald Duck my whole life, partially because my Uncle Rick (probably my favorite Uncle EVER) does a spot on Donald Duck voice. He is known in his hometown as Donald Duck, he's that good! The other reason is I grew up in a time when Ducktales was one of the best television shows in the afternoon line up. I watched it religiously every day. Donald was not in many of the episodes, but I love the whole Mc/Duck family.

Donald in the parks is so much fun. He's just as egotistical and hilarious in the parks as he is in his shorts. One of my favorite ways to interact with him is to tell him he's my favorite and that he's #1, forget that old Mickey Mouse. He only partially disagrees with me (and that's only when other's are in ear/eyeshot). Also, ask to give him a kiss on his beak, and then tell him we'll keep it between us. Don't let Daisy know! Hee hee!

Oh, yeah, 91 days to go. I'm comin' Donald!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 14: Favorite Face Character

Day 14 - Favorite Face Character

This is difficult as typically I don't do a lot of characters at Disneyland outside of Character Meals, and I typically go for non face characters when I do that (conversing with face characters is always awkward for me). If we were talking Walt Disney World it'd be easy as I crush hard for a certain Prince Naveen I met back in 2010. But we're talking Disneyland...

So I am going to, once again, cheat a bit and not go with one that you can meet but is no less a FACE CHARACTER. And that is Genie from the Aladdin Show playing at Disney's California Adventure. He is freaking HYSTERICAL in the show (of course he is, right?) and with the little bit of "improv" they allow him each show is just a tad different than the last. The improv is what makes the show so awesome, and the character so loveable.

I've seen the show a handful of times and Genie never disappoints. I really wish you could meet him after the show like you would at a real stage door or something. It'd be AWESOME. But I could see where that would create bottle-necking issues. Plus the poor guy does several shows a day and would be exhausted! But I would love to meet him "in character". They have several genies that rotate, and each one is fantastic in his own right.

So, I cheated, but I'm not sorry. I love love love this character.

92 days to go!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Alaskan Visitors

We had a Moose Cow and Calf visit our backyard this morning. I was on my way out the door when I noticed them so I grabbed the camera and the 100-400mm lens and stood on the deck to take their photos. I try very hard not to get too close/bother the moose when they make it into the yard. Safety first! So that means short little baby moose remain pretty hidden from the camera's view, but I managed to get a few.

I also managed to get a couple of pics of a Robin. All in the rain. It was worth it.

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 13: Favorite Piece of Architecture

Day 13 - Favorite Piece of Architecture

I'm kinda cheating because this is more "art" or "sculpture" but I say it counts. My most favorite piece of Disneyland (and Disney World for that matter) is the Partners Statue. It sits in the center of the hub at the end of Main Street USA. Its backdrop is Sleeping Beauty's Castle (Cinderella's at WDW, of course), and it's Walt showing Mickey the Kingdom. I visit this statue several times during my trip. It's one of my first stops my first day - so that I can greet the two who "started it all" - and I always always always make sure to take a moment on my last night to reflect. I know it comes dangerously close to idol worship - or maybe that's what it is - but I just like to honor the man who taught me from a very early age through his works to dream big and make it happen. He is the source or joy and inspiration, he encouraged creativity and imagination... and even so many years after his death he continues to inspire. So I always go by both the statue and when I'm at Disneyland I stop by his apartment over the firehouse, just to say thank you.

And I'm going to make myself weepy if I continue, so I won't go further in my hero worship tonight.

93 days to go!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 12: Ride You've Gone On Most

Day 12 - Ride you've been on most

I have Haille Rae to thank for this one, the Haunted Mansion easily wins this award. I've done it back to back to back. I don't recommend it for your sanity, especially since the timing seemed to be too perfect and we ended up with the same ghost EVERY TIME WE RODE (didn't matter if it was back to back, or several days in between). Totally creeped me out, but Haille loved it! She thought the ghost just liked her best and that's why he kept sitting with us. I just thought it was super weird! LOL

We're at 94 Days till we're in Southern California!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Missing Kenai Family - Bring Them Home

The area that they're searching is close to where I live. It's so odd/strange. Definitely has the community buzzing. This has been an odd start to the summer. Praying for safety for all.

30 Days of Disneyland - Day 11: Favorite Disney's California Adventure Attraction

Day 11 - Favorite Disney's California Adventure Attraction

I love Grizzly River Run. It's one of the few attractions I not only will go on but that I enjoy. It's very similar to Kali River Rapids, but I think you get wetter? I'm not sure. I also love how close as spectators we can get to watching the people come down the mountain and get soaked (sometimes the audience can get wet, too). The theming is much more fun (there's not a forest fire going on so it smells better), and it's a ride that I can safely say will not make me sick. Unlike the other big ticket attractions/rides in DCA, this is right up my alley.

I got to ride it the first time with Haille Rae in 2011. She wanted to go on the water ride so bad! Every time we watched a video on youtube or on the planning DVD about it she was all "oh yeah, that's the ride!" so it was on our list of must tries. So glad we did. She was a little nervous when we first started down the river, but as we splashed our way around her laughter and squeals were proof she was having a blast. She thought it was hilarious that I was getting soaked (she was not as amused that she did NOT get as wet) because I was complaining that I was going to be cold - I had clothes in the car that I ended up changing into as the sun went down and I was still very wet. It WAS February after all.

Haille still talks about that ride - oddly enough she does not like Splash Mountain, the drop messes with her tummy. I can't wait to ride it again as OMG! I know I'm going to need a lot of water rides to keep me from melting in the September heat (my besties just have to all have summer birthdays. jerks)!

**This video can make you dizzy. But it's the best one I could find (I didn't look hard, though). You've been warned.**

We're at 95 days till we're in SoCal. Very excited to watch the countdown go down down down down... I think I have about 35 days until I can begin to do ADRs, but I'd have to check and make sure. I think I have a basic itinerary mapped out as well... just gotta finalize details. I feel so behind and yet I know I'm on track so I'm in the panic/don't panic faze/rut. Oy!