About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Present

One of the many things I enjoy at Disney World are the Streetmospheres, the "actors" who go around parks and do impromptu (though I'm sure they're planned, they are impromptu for most guests) shows.

Guest Scrooge
Last December while shopping in the United Kingdom the Streetmospheres started a show called, A Christmas Carol.  It was hysterical.

Instead of featuring Bob Cratchit, they featured Bob Skratchit, I think he was allergic to something too.  And typical of streetmospheres, they did not have enough people in their crew and borrowed some from the crowd.

The Skratchit Family
The story was pretty much the same, though the ghosts may have been switched out to help with the pop culture aspect of the show.
Ghost of Christmas Past 
Ghost of Christmas Future
 I can't give away the humor, in part because that's mean and in part because I know it can change a bit from show to show.  But I do highly recommend watching this one if you see it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Terye and I visited the Osborne Lights twice during our visit.  Once during regular park hours and once as part of WDW Today podcast's Reunion after park closing.

The short story of how the spectacle came to be.  Many, many years ago Arkansas resident Mr. Osborne has an extensive Christmas light display.  So extensive that the local government made him stop putting it up.  Disney World acquired the display and now you can see the Osborne Lights daily during the holidays, it is one of the best light shows out there.

The first night we went it was PACKED, tough for me to get around with my camera on the tripod, but most of my pictures are from that night.  We did not attend the turning on of the lights, which I know can be extra busy.  But these were the coolest lights I had ever seen.  And they danced to the music, AWESOME!

The second time we went it was a private event, about 200 guests.  I didn't have my good camera, just my iphone, it was freeing  I was dancing in the streets, literally.  I had so much fun, I was sad when they turned off the lights and escorted us out.

There are a few special things within the Osborne Lights:  find the hidden Mickey's.  Between the two nights Terye and I found almost all of the Mickeys, if you use the official number.  There is always a black cat hidden (it's actually purple, but it looks like a black halloween cat).  We also found a razorback (University of Arkansas mascot), a toilet paper tree and a paper towel tree.  One of the angels is in white, to honor the passing of Mr. Osborne in 2011.

The lights are rearranged every year, so you can have a fun night of exploring every year.  I would rank this as my second favorite holiday event in Disney World.  And, it's free!  As long as you pay to get into the park.

For my Jewish readers!

You can check out my video on Youtube.

You can follow me on Twitter: @Travelingiraffe

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo of the Week: Disneyland

The partners statue at Disneyland.  I'm pretty sure Walt is rolling over in his grave.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Candlelight Processional

My favorite Christmas activity at Disney World is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.  For 2012 it starts on November 23 and goes through December 30.

The event is held at the American Garden's Theatre at the American Pavilion.  It is the telling of the Christmas Story accompanied by a choir and orchestra.  They have celebrity narrators to do the story telling, the night I went it was Edward James Olmos here is a youtube link for one of his performances in 2009, he was really wonderful and brought the story to life. The choir was fabuous too!  In high school I sang Hallelujah Chorus a gazillion times, but I never appreciated it until that night.

I did the event as part of the dinner package, an expensive way to guarantee a seat without waiting on line for a long time.  Terye and I ate at Via Napoli, which was delicious and then headed onto the line about 45 minutes to an hour before.  The line was already pretty long, but the seating wasn't bad.  I wouldn't recommend getting there any later then that if you can help it.

For those who do not participate in the dining package you must get there very early, particularly if there is a big name doing the narration, like Neil Patrick Harris.  Although the pavilion is large,  you may have to wait through full performances to get in.

For 2011 (and it appears that for 2012 too), in addition to the guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional you also got access to a special area to view Illuminations.  This was a nice perk, but not great.  Terye and I got there about an hour early and all the "front row" standing was taken and then we still had to wait an hour.  But it was better then fighting for a spot too.  Plus the area is closer to the front of the park so you can beat the rush out of the park. 

If this is a must do activity, I recommend doing the dinner package.  And I do think this is a must do event if you are at Disney during the Holidays.

You can find me on Twitter at: @Travelingiraffe

Friday, June 8, 2012


String, so simple and small.  I bring string with me on medium length trips - over a week to a month or two in length.  The length of a trip where you can't pack clothes for ever day, but not so long that it's easier to just buy an actual travel clothes line.

It goes with my laundry soap to dry my clothes.  While some hotels have clothes line in bathrooms, not all do.  And do you really want to hang your clothes on the furniture of a hotel room?  All you need with string is two points to tie the string to and you have a clothes line, simple!  And since it's cheap you can just leave it behind.  I try to bring enough string to last a few dryings.

One nice spot to hang clothes in the winter is over the heater.  You'll want it a few feet above so it doesn't start a fire, but the warm air will improve the drying time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Review

Last December I went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time.   It's a special ticketed event celebrating Christmas at the Magic Kingdom. For 2012 the dates are November 9 to December 21, check the schedule for exact dates.  Tickets to the event allow entry to the park at 4pm, but the party doesn't start until 7pm. 

Terye and I started with an evening walk through of Swiss Family Tree House and then rode Jungle Cruise.  Both were unique experiences at night and both were empty.  At night there were a few interesting views of the Magic Kingdom from the Swiss Family Tree house.  Jungle Cruise is just at cheesy at night, but the darkness gives a different atmosphere. 

After those rides we went on line for the Seven Dwarfs, we got on the line a little before 7pm and there was an hour wait.  But, it is one of the few opportunities to get photos with all of them so we waited.  The dwarfs were really cute, and some of the kids there were really funny.  Like the kid who realized he was standing next to Grumpy and ran away.  While we waited we did each take an opportunity to take a quick walk around the park, I got us some free hot chocolate and cookies, one of the benefits of the event.

We got out of the seven dwarfs a few minutes before the parade and with the low crowds (one of the benefits of events like this) we got a decent spot.  The parade had some nice touches, like Scrooge McDuck. 

After that I planted myself in the circle in front of castle with my camera and tripod so I could photograph Holiday Wishes.  While we waited we got to view The Magic, the Memories and You, where they play music and show pictures of people in the park throughout the day, they did use holiday colors on the castle for this show.  Holiday Wishes were really nice, though Disney always has great fireworks, I particularly liked the colors they used.

Our last event of the night was the Christmas show in front of the castle.  Another nice little show and a chance to see the characters in holiday garb.  After that we decided to head back to the hotel.

One disapointment was a lack of Christmas Party merchandise, we only saw 2 T-Shirts and they weren't anything special.  But the party is great if you would like to get photos with characters, there are some special characters and if you go early the lines aren't as bad.  When I saw Captain Jack Sparrow he only had a few people in line waiting. 

There are a couple benefits of ticketed events like this; low crowds, cookies, hot chocolate, special parade, special fireworks and some other shows.  I'm not sure the $60 price tag is worth it.  I enjoyed the event, as did Terye, and I'm glad I went.  But, if I return to Disney during Christmas in the next few years I would probably skip it.  But I do think it's fun for a first timer.

You can follow me on Twitter: Travelingiraffe