Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 1308: Frozen Ever After

I don't know about you, but I definitely remember the day all hell broke loose when Disney announced that our beloved Maelstrom would be replaced with "Frozen Ever After," yet another piece of the hit film Frozen in a world where many could do without it. At the time, I was just as angry as the next person. Why in the world would they think this would be a good idea? It's not as though Maelstrom was a popular ride, because in every aspect, it wasn't, but replacing it with Anna and Elsa to bring in yet more money seemed like a sellout. And to make matters worse, we've all complained about how franchise films don't belong in Epcot. That, however, is a different discussion. 

After months and months of construction walls and wondering about what was really happening behind them, Norway is open, and quite frankly, it's looking good. Norway, like Canada, needed a bit of work. A good portion of the guest population had no idea Maelstrom was there, and while it was great to never have a line for School Bread, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't nice to see a pavilion come back to life...even if it took Frozen to get it there. 

Perhaps the best parts about the refurbishment are the addition of the Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet and the adorable vikings that now call the pavilion home. The Meet and Greet actually fits in rather well, and the entire structure is stunningly beautiful. It's obvious they put a lot of time and thought into the creation of the area, and while it's certainly brighter than the rest of the pavilion, it fits. It didn't feel too much as though a franchise took everything over, and if we're talking about the characters themselves, I don't see a problem with them being there now that they have a proper area to meet guests. After all, Aladdin, Jasmine, Mulan, Belle, and Snow White, among others, also call Epcot home. 

The attraction itself, which I have very few pictures of since I was filming (so you'll see it in a future vlog), was much, much better than I expected. What they did with the original Maelstrom track is clever, and even if you've had enough of "Let It Go," that scene alone is sort of worth the entire attraction. The audio-anamatronics weren't as impressive to me in person, but I think it's because I'm just not a huge fan of the digitally animated faces. I prefer the real faces of those such as Lincoln in Hall of Presidents. That's my personal preference though, and I must say that otherwise, everything is amazing. Olaf seems completely real, as does Sven, and while the entire thing could be longer, you also really can't compare Maelstrom and Frozen Ever After at this point. They're completely different attractions and they're both great in their own unique way. 

So I guess what I'm saying is give Frozen Ever After a chance. It's one of the few attractions that didn't disappoint me in any way, and that's saying something. I literally couldn't find anything I disliked about this attraction, aside from my personal preferences about the anamatroncis and the fact that it replaced Maelstrom. And if for nothing else, it gave Epcot another much-needed E-Ticket attraction and brought life back to the Norway Pavilion. 

Now...if someone could just ship me some school bread? 

Have a magical day!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day 1307: In Darkness

I think we've all been pretty skeptical of Animal Kingdom at night, especially after the first reviews came back as, more or less, terrible. With Rivers of Light pretty much permanently postponed, the "Awaken Summer" campaign has somewhat fallen through, although I do know that Disney has tried their best to make up for lost time and money. Whether or not "making up for it" works, I'm still not entirely sure, but I can say that what I saw at Animal Kingdom certainly wasn't the worst of what I saw on my most recent trip. 

Let's start with The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, because the panorama above is nothing short of one of my favorite pictures from this trip. Granted, the view up there is more clouds and natural beauty than beauty of the show, but it does also give you an idea of where I was sitting, and I was in a prime spot too. I used one of my Fastpass+ Selections for the show, which allowed me to enter from the Expedition Everest/Asia side. Since I was alone, I managed to listen to recommendations and make my way down to the fifth row, where I also managed to squeeze in on an isle seat, allowing me a pristine view of the stage in front of me. Since I was on the inner portion, it also gave me a decent view of the main stage that sits in the middle, which I can't imagine is very visible from the outer seats on either side. 

As for the show itself, I actually somewhat enjoyed it. Yes, it's not Rivers of Light, and I'm sure that if you go into the show expecting Rivers of Light, you'll be sorely disappointed. However, if you immediately accept the fact that maybe this isn't Rivers of Light and maybe it won't be the best thing I've ever seen, it may just be better than you expect. The performers do a simply astonishing job, from the live music performers, to the vocalists, and right down to the dancers that bring the show to life, and while the deep neon colors bothered me a bit (largely because my camera hates picking up neon), everything seems bright, colorful, and full of life. Obviously there's still a lot to be worked out before Rivers of Light makes its appearance, but I'm excited for what that show may bring, as I'm positive it will be at least a few steps up from what's in Asia now. 

As for the Nighttime Safari...I'm not really sure. About the only positive thing I could say about this is that it gives the most amazing view of the lions. Since they sleep frequently and are mostly nocturnal, all three lions were up and about when I drove past on my safari around 10 pm. Other than that, we didn't really see much, and the lights, which everyone has mentioned, seemed oddly placed to me. It's obvious which exhibits don't have animals during the nighttime hours, and the lights there are obtrusive and completely unnatural. Granted, I'm not sure how you'd make lights like that natural, but something was still off about the entire thing. And that's about all I have to say about the Nighttime Safari. 

Onto Tiffins, which I was fortunate enough to have dinner at. While extremely expensive, I can't deny that Tiffins had some of the greatest food I've had in a long while. I went with the Curry Lobster Bisque, which I pretty much had finished by the time my server came back to check on me, and the Duck for a main dish, which I had cooked to the chef's recommendation and was absolutely delicious. Also...a note about the iced tea. Get the specialty iced tea. Just do it. More on Tiffins in a few months though! 

And finally, to perhaps my favorite of the new attractions and shows this summer at Walt Disney World: the Tree of Life Awakening. I LOVED this projection show, which obviously uses some of the newest projection technology to bring animals to life. There are multiple different shows you can catch, and they run randomly, so if you want to see all of them, you'll have to sit in the area in front of the Tree of Life for roughly a half hour. I grabbed some food from Starbucks on my way out and waited for all of the shows, and I think I loved each new show more than the previous. There's something incredibly brilliant about taking the animals carved into the tree and bringing them to life in brand new ways, and I'm sure I could sit there for much longer than I did watching what used to be just a simple tree. 

Overall, Animal Kingdom didn't really disappoint me. In comparison to some of the other new offerings across the resort, I feel that what's there was more impressive than what I was led to believe (with the exception, perhaps, of the nighttime safari). If you haven't had a chance to check out the new offerings, I suggest doing so soon, as many of them will cease at the end of the summer, when park hours are shortened and a nighttime safari becomes much less nighttime oriented. I'm excited for what's yet to come for Animal Kingdom, and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Have a magical day!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day 1306: Only On Film

Since I found out a few years ago that you could meet Indiana Jones after the Epic Stunt Spectacular, waiting at the end of the show sort of became a tradition. We waited the first time on the band trip (as you can see above), when there was a whole row of us watching the show and six of us in the picture with Indy and Marian. I had no idea what I was doing waiting down there that first time, and honestly, was simply hoping that what I had read online was indeed true and I wasn't wasting the time of my entire group waiting on something that wouldn't happen. 

But it did happen, and several months later, we were back for more Indiana Jones and another picture. This time, in January 2015, we were able to see the whole show, and we were lucky enough to meet Stunt Double Dale for the first time. They signed our autograph books and we had a grand old time. 

Fast forward a year to January 2016, when Frank and I again headed to Walt Disney World...and happened across Dale again! By this point you might notice a trend with our pictures - every time we go we loose two people (or half of our group, depending on how you want to look at it after a while). This time around I was lucky enough to be chosen as a Stunt Double, so staying after for pictures was a must...especially when we realized it was Dale. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I headed to Indiana Jones again this July and Dale was the doubling for Harrison Ford. I wasn't intending to stay for a picture this time, and a phone call actually forced me to leave part way through the show. But I came back to watch the end and get a picture with my now favorite Indiana Jones Stunt Double. We made a pact that next time, if he's not Indy, I won't take a picture, and that's a promise I intend to keep. 

If you're interested in meeting Indiana Jones, you too can do so by heading down to one of the stage entrances on the right side of the technical booth after the show. They usually wait for a few minutes, allowing the stadium to clear out and for them to take a quick break and cool off before pictures, but if you sit and wait, they'll almost always come over to say hi. They'll sign autographs, take pictures, and I even have a video greeting from Dale to one of my best friends, but honestly, these stunt doubles are some of the nicest people in the world, and if you're an Indiana Jones fan, this is a must do when heading to Hollywood Studios! 

Have you met Indiana Jones at Hollywood Studios before? 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 1305: Sneaking Away

On an afternoon break from the National Youth Event, I was able to utilize the annual pass that I love and sneak away to Epcot, because where else would I go? 

All in all, I made the decision to head to Epcot largely because it would give me an extra chance to check out Soarin' Around the World, as I realized I could snag a Fastpass for it smack dab in the middle of my time off from the conference. So while everyone else was out for a day at the pool, I put on my mouse ears and headed home. 

I suppose this would be the most ideal time to discuss what I thought of the new Soarin', because it'll come up eventually anyway. I can tell you that I liked it much more the first time I saw it than I did the second time, mostly because I paid much more attention to the animated portions of the film. If you didn't know that portions of animated, you probably wouldn't pick up on it, although I noticed immediately despite not knowing beforehand. Some of the scenes, while animated, are beautifully done. The arctic scene, for instance, is extremely realistic, but the Taj Mahal left me confused as to where I really was. I could tell that I was at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, but the pure animation of the elephants left me wishing for Orange Groves and Hang-Gliders. 

And I think that's just it. If you never had a chance to experience Soarin' Over California, I'm sure you'd believe Soarin' Around the World is the most spectacular thing you've ever seen. I talked to more than a few people at the Youth Event that thought so. But for those of us that knew and loved the original Soarin', there seems to be a certain charm missing, and I believe it has everything to do with the realism. 

It's completely acceptable that some locations, especially important historical and religious ones, may prohibit from flyovers that would capture the essence of the location. However, I know for a fact that there are some simply amazing views out there in the world, and while it's ideally amazing to fly over the Taj Mahal, I'd much father fly over a live-filmed location than be forced over an animated version that looks sort of like the initial rendering. 

Otherwise, my only other beef was with the transitions, which almost reminded me of a fifth grade Powerpoint Presentation with too many animations. The constant transitioning between scenes felt obtrusive, and I definitely miss the clean scene cuts of the old version. A transition every once and a while (such as turning the Taj matter how much I disliked it...into a hot air balloon) is fine, great actually. But every scene gets a bit repetitive and, dare I say it, boring. 

All in all, Soarin' Around the World could be a simple spectacular attraction. It is a spectacular attraction. But somewhere along the line, execution fell through a bit, which to me, seems to be a trend lately with new attractions. The soundtrack reminds me so much of the original and fits completely, bringing in the new theme while keeping the spirit of the original Soarin', and the ending scene just about made me cry, but honestly, it could have been so much better.

What are your thoughts on the new Soarin'? Let me know in the comments! 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 1304: National Youth Event

I suppose that if we're going to discuss my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I should at least touch a bit on why I was there. 

You may know that, despite the fact that much of my life is displayed in the open between my blog and my videos and my social media, I try to keep a lid on a few aspects of my personal life - religion included. There's a reason for this, really, and it has everything to do with the political, judgmental world we live in. It's easier for me to keep a wrap on what I believe than it is to control arguments and views that could arise if I went into all the details. 

I am, however, fortunate enough to have headed to Walt Disney World to volunteer for a National Youth Event for the United Church of Christ, which brought 3000+ youth, youth leaders, and family members to central Florida for a five day conference. Usually the event, which is held every few years, takes place on a college campus, but this year they decided to make use of the conference center at Coronado Springs, and it just happened to work out that I'd be able to go. 

So I spent four days volunteering for the Youth Event, providing help in the office, assisting with registration, answering questions about Walt Disney World, and chaperoning on off-property service workshops. The conference gave me the opportunity to connect with people from all over the country, and as though getting to spend a week at Disney isn't enough, I actually had a lot of fun at the Youth Event. I think the best part, at least for me, was to see so many youth together, all trying to accomplish similar goals, and they were doing it at my favorite place in the world. 

And I don't know about you, but that seems like magic. 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 1303: Going Solo

Everyone always talks about how it's dangerous to go you should obviously take a wookiee with you, and while I can't disagree that having a Wookiee by your side is frequently helpful (even when you have to admit to Chewbacca that you don't speak Wookiee), there are so benefits of the solo life. 

I've spent 20 years with my family and friends at Walt Disney World, and what a great 20 years it's been. But at the same time, we've developed our own preferences as to how we prefer to see the Disney Parks. Where I tend to slow down and can definitely go an entire trip without ever setting foot on Space Mountain, my brother adores the coasters. Mom prefers to head to the parks early in the morning, and I can often be found in them late, late at night. Dad sort of goes with whatever we're doing, but he too prefers to slow down, taking pictures while I obsess over video (a technique I learned from him). Jonny likes his churros and turkey legs, but after my trip this last January where he challenged me to eat six churros...I don't think I ever want to eat one again. 

The point here is this: a solo trip it's all that bad of an idea, and now, having experienced one for myself, I can tell you for sure that it's just as valuable of an experience as traveling with a larger group, and here's why: 

You can do whatever you want. It's pretty easy to say that this is one of the greatest reasons to travel to Walt Disney World or Disneyland alone. When I wanted to go to Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian and sit there for two hours reading my book while slowly snacking on my scone and sipping tea, I didn't have anyone around to tell me that we should be doing something else. And I must say, those two hours I spent there were some of the greatest of my entire trip. 

You're never really alone anyway. Aside from when you're sleeping at night with a locked door and an empty room, you're never really alone at Walt Disney World. On any old day, cast members are always more than happy to stop and chat with you, and if they happen to notice you're traveling alone, they're probably more likely to do so. I mean, the birthday button and the video camera really help too, but throughout my entire trip I never once felt like I truly had no one to talk to. 

You can find the quiet. I mentioned earlier that I like to slow down, and I'm not kidding. I often times would much prefer a walk around World Showcase than another trip on Test Track. But when you're part of a group, you're frequently attempting to do everything all at once, just to make sure that everyone in your party gets to see everything on their list. That means that when you're with other people, a slow afternoon ins't always possible, but when you're by yourself, you can speed up and slow down at your own pace. 

Fastpass+ and Dining are easier. I realized this trip that you can now finally make additional Fastpass+ reservations from the app on your phone, a topic I'll discuss in a later blog post. The thing is, as the day goes on, those fastpasses are harder and harder to come by, and the chances of you finding a Fastpass for one person are much higher than for two, much less four or more, people. The same can be said for dining, as with the exception of some of the most popular restaurants, you can usually walk up and get a table at most locations, especially if you're able to sit at the bar. 

Single Rider Lines can be used for...well, single riders. It's no question that families tend to abuse the single rider line, making wait times on attractions such as Test Track go up far beyond what they should be, but if you're alone, a single rider line can be pretty useful. I never actually used one, since I wasn't on any attractions with such a line or already had a fastpass, but I did make use of it when in open seating situations. I almost always managed to sneak my way to one of the best seats in the house simply because I could fit on the end of a row where a family wouldn't be able to. 

There are a few downsides to traveling alone at Walt Disney World, that's for sure. There's no one to chat with while in line, no one to help hold the camera when you want a picture, no one to share food with (and let's be honest...we could all use one of those), and really, fewer people to smile with. I'm not sure solo traveling to every amusement park would work, but for Walt Disney World, it certainly does. The cast members make sure you have everything you need, whether that be help with your room or bags, a special birthday cinnamon roll at the end of the night, or a smile and a high five. When you're traveling alone these thousands of cast members become sort of like your friends and family, because trust me, there was no lack of smiling on my trip. 

If you've ever been on a solo trip, I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Did you enjoy traveling alone, or do you prefer having a larger group with you? 

Have a magical day!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 1302: Off Again

You know, at this point, I've been home for less than a week after a 10 day excursion to Colorado and back, driving 3500 miles across the country. I visited 8 different states in those 10 days, and now I've spent a meager 7 days at home, catching up on the blog, editing videos, transferring pictures, doing laundry, watching plenty of Scandal on Netflix, and preparing for yet another trip home. 

Yes, home. 

I'm excited to announce that I'll be in Florida for the next week! Part of the time will be spent at a National Youth Event volunteering, an opportunity that I'm really excited about and looking forward to. This trip will bring plenty of firsts for me, including my first trip on Soarin' Around the World and to the new Frozen Ever After attraction, among many other things, but it also is a celebration of the last 20 years of my life, as I'll be heading on my 30th trip to Walt Disney World. Following the conference I'll be spending a few extra days on property to celebrate this anniversary, as well as my birthday, and to do a bit of extra work before the school year begins. That means footage for new vlogs and other YouTube videos that will appear on my YouTube channel over the next several months. 

As always, Everyday Disney will be on hiatus until my return, when I'll have an opportunity to blog about everything I had a chance to see, and I know there will be plenty of updates after this trip. In addition, you can follow along in real time by following any of my social media. I post regularly on Instagram and Tumblr, as well as Twitter. I'll try to do some snapchats while I'm in the parks over the weekend and early next week, and maybe I'll throw in a Periscope too, you never know! 

I've got to go finish packing, but I'll see you all next week! 

Have a magical day!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 1301: Dole Whips in Wisconsin

I may have to drive two hours to get it, but I finally got my Dole Whip outside of Disney! 

I may have mentioned a while back about how there are a couple of locations throughout the country where you can locate a real, authentic dole whip without ever stepping foot on Disney property, but for those like me, these locations are few and far between. The closest Orange Leaf to my home used to be about 20 minutes, but when they still existed in Green Bay and Appleton, I didn't know what was awaiting me there. Now, I have to travel two hours to Waukesha to find the closest store, and that's not exactly worth it...even if I could get all the dole whip I ever wanted. 

Still, when you happen to be passing through the area on your way home from a week and a half long road trip, it makes perfect sense to stop on the way and pick up an extra special treat. Granted, I'll be eating a dole whip at Disney in about week, but the fact that I got it in Wisconsin made the entire experience even more special. 

Will I make the trip all the way to Waukesha just for a dole whip in the future? Probably not. But the next time I'm in the area you'd better believe I'll spend plenty of time at the local Orange Leaf. 

Have a magical day! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 1300: Just You Wait

With every passing hundred blog posts, I tend to pause and reflect a bit about how I got here. After all, it feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating the first hundred, and now they fly by with barely a second thought. I've done a lot of changing and growing up in the past year, and it sort of scares me. I'm embarking on adventures that terrify and excite me all at the same time. Not long ago, I was given the advice that whenever I feel like taking a step backwards, I should step forward instead, and it's by that motto that I've been trying to live my life lately. 

Upon returning from Colorado, my car was packed full of stuff. Some of it we brought with us: our suitcases, a cooler, some snacks, and so on and so forth. But then there was an entire laundry basket filled with purchases from the whole family, sent back with us because we had a car and they'd be flying from Denver. I had a few mugs thrown in, along with some sand and a small bust of Abe Lincoln, but for the most part, my memorabilia consisted of postcards, gathered from as many of the locations we visited as possible. They're easy to transport, and I loved the vintage poster styles available at the National Parks. Figuring I had an entire blank wall back in my apartment, I picked up a variety of cards and finally finished hanging the rest of the decor on the wall above my bed. 

The wall, as you can see above, is a mix of various objects, from arrows to postcards to that giant Hamilcanvas in the middle. I didn't intend it, but I realized after hanging the postcards that this wall is a symbol of something, and it's a lesson that Hamilton and Disney both sort of teach us. Despite the fact that we've been so many places and done so many things - I just trekked across the United States for goodness sake - there's still a million things we haven't done. There's always going to be new places to explore and new experiences to be had, and that's pretty awesome. Walt Disney himself sort of reminded us of that, gone too soon, and yet his dream of Walt Disney World was realized. It continues to change far beyond anything he could have ever imagined, and while we mourn the loss of some of the attractions we still love and adore, we must keep moving forward. 

Essentially, we live on a planet that is impossible to see in one lifetime. We could travel everyday of our lives and still not make it to every city or community, and even if we did manage to see every single one, we'd never truly experience any of them. We can never relive history, but we can change it in our day to day lives. We can control our own fates, and unless we take that step forward, we're never going to see anything beyond the blank wall in our bedroom. 

Have a magical day! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 1299: Disney Emoji Blitz

I've been waiting a long time to get my hands on some Disney Emoji, because let's face it, the little pineapple and little ice cream emojis barely represent how magical Dole Whips are, even though it's what we all end up using. And then finally, in the wake of Pokemon Go, Disney has finally come up with a solution: Disney Emoji Blitz. 

Basically just another version of Candy Crush combined with Tsum Tsums, the new game allows you to earn various Disney themed emoji, from churros to turkey legs to animals and characters. When you unlock the items in the game, they're unlocked in a special third party keyboard that you can turn on in the settings of your phone (I have an iPhone, but I'm not sure if it works with other devices). From there, you can share them on Twitter and in Text Messages! 

Unfortunately they don't work the same way as regular emojis, as you can only send three at a time and then copy them to your clipboard, which then sends them as a picture rather than in a small format such as in the message itself. It sort of works the same way as the Star Wars emojis did with the Star Wars app. Still, I'm not complaining, because now I can finally accurately express to my friends what I'm thinking without having them try to decipher the not-so-Disney emojis that come with the phone. 

Plus I have a new game to play while waiting in line at Walt Disney World! Tell me that's not a win-win! 

Have a magical day!

Day 1298: A Closer Look

Since there's so much to see in Marceline, Missouri, I figured it might be fun to give you an extra glimpse inside the museum before my video on the town next week. The museum is in the old train depot, which offers plenty of space, and the majority of the artifacts inside were either donated to the town by Walt himself or to the museum by Walt's sister Ruth. It means the building is filled with unique pieces that you can't see anywhere else on earth! 

The above pictures are in one of the front rooms, which is filled with train memorabilia and artifacts from the film that premiered in Marceline, The Great Locomotive Chase. Just off of this room, you can enter the majority of the museum, which features the artifacts from Walt's sister. One of the room also features a documentary on Walt Disney, which is over an hour long, but offers a nice chance to sit and relax if you're there for more than a few hours. I happened to walk in at the perfect moment of the documentary, when Walt was giving the opening speech for Disneyland. Since I visited the museum on Disneyland's birthday, it seemed like fate that I would catch that portion of the film. 

The brick you see in the picture above is from the original school that Walt attended when he lived in Marceline. Walt had the town promise to keep the cornerstone of the building if they tore it down, and when they did, they were sure to listen. The stone, which is much larger than it looks in this picture, is sitting next to the school replication on the second floor, nearby the model of Disneyland. 

When I mentioned that the Train Depot houses the museum, I'm not kidding. Much of the original building remains, only refurbished to house the museum. The ticket office still stands, filled with extra artifacts that would have been normal during Walt's time in Marceline. Outside, you can still stand on the platform where Walt would as a child, watching one of 70 daily trains go by, and yes, they do go by. You can't spend more than a half hour at the museum without hearing at least one train pass, and it really brings the entire thing together. 

Oh, and if that wasn't enough Disney for you, just as you used to be able to do at Walt Disney World, you can buy a brick to be engraved and added to the path just outside the building. I loved the connection, whether they did it on purpose or not, and while I didn't purchase a brick this time, I hope to do so next time I'm there to continue to help support such a wonderful museum! 

As I said, I'll have a video out next week on more of Marceline, so be sure to keep an eye out for that too! 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 1297: 3500 Miles

Let me tell you, 3500 miles is nothing to sneeze at. 

When we were amidst the planning for our road trip, I don't think I ever really realized just how far we would be going. You can look at a map all day and never realize just how far you've gone until you're actually in another state 16 hours away from your apartment with the realization that you drove yourself there...and that it's another 16 hour drive home. 

Still, Colorado was a great adventure for my family and I. For us, so used to traveling to Disney all the time, and definitely more used to flying than driving, it was a long haul. And yet, we saw so many different things, and to tell the truth, there were more than a few distinct Disney references along the way aside from the big ones that each got their own blog post. For instance, there was Key West Drive and the Fillmore Recreation Area in Iowa, not to mention the real life Filmore garage we found in Crestone, Colorado! Passing through Altoona, we came across an Adventureland Resort...because yes, that was really its name, and in Cripple Creek there was a Cheshire Cat gift shop. In Durango, there was a Guido Italian Restaurant, and we actually found Sir Axelrod in South Fork, Colorado. Oh, and this guy too: 

So yeah, I did really enjoy my trip to Colorado, and I know there are definitely a few more blog posts on the way about all our adventures. After all, it turns out that the second you leave your apartment, Disney references are all around you. To celebrate, here are a few bonus pictures from the trip as well: 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 1296: Ghost Ranch

On a trip that took me halfway across the country, I certainly saw more than a few different views, but none of them could really compare to the beauty we found at Ghost Ranch. 

Previous to doing some research on Indiana Jones films, I'd never heard of a little ranch in the northern part of New Mexico. Turns out though, this place is more famous than many of us may realize. Numerous movies have been filmed here, including the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's also where artist Georgia O'Keeffe set up shop when she moved to New Mexico permanently to live out her days painting the nearby mountains and landscapes that surrounded her. 


The ranch has a visitor fee of a few dollars to help preserve it and upkeep the various buildings, but it's still well worth a stop. They have two museums on the property, as well as several of the original historic buildings, including Georgia O'Keeffe's home. There are hiking trails all over the place, none of which we actually got a chance to use because it was hotter than anything I've ever experienced when we visited. In addition, you can also book a room to stay at Ghost Ranch in their lodge, meaning that for a few days, you can wake up the same way Georgia O'Keeffe did when she fell in love with the same vistas in front of you. 

We only got to spend a little over an hour at Ghost Ranch, partially because it was too hot to stay outside any longer, but I would gladly go back to experience more of it, especially when it might be cooler and I'm not suffering from the lingering effects of food poisoning. If you happen to be in the area, definitely go check out this area though! I'm not kidding when I say it's the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen in my life. 

Have a magical day!