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Follow The Dancing Bear! December 13, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.
3 comments

After lunch at Be Our Guest, we enjoyed the (Toucan Tango Better Than One Can) show in the Enchanted Tiki room and then climbed around the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse.

On our way to Big Thunder Mountain RR to ride the coaster, we got spit on by a camel!

They should include some sort of warning to unsuspecting passers-by.

Maybe something like this:

As we continued our trek to Big Thunder Mountain RR, we got stuck in a Jamboree Jam.

Just follow the dancing bear!

These dudes had moves!

They grooved to the tunes!

They did the hokey pokey.

And turned themselves about!

And that’s what it’s all about!

After the Jamboree Jam cleared, we headed straight for Big Thunder Mountain.

Where we rode the rails not once but twice.

Whee!!!

And we remembered to abide by the rules!

We then settled our stomach on a soothing boat ride through It’s A Small World before heading for Cinderella’s Castle to see Elsa put a Frozen spin on the holiday decorations.

Here’s the before:

And here’s the after:

Before leaving the park, we had supper at Pinocchio Village Haus, went on a relaxing Riverboat cruise narrated by none other than Mark Twain, and soared over Never Never Land with Peter Pan.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Persistance Pays Off December 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
17 comments

Last week, during our last visit to the Magic Kingdom, we finally (after 3 failed attempts) had lunch at Be My Guest (from Beauty & the Beast fame) . . . without a reservation!

We had tried before with little success ~> the restaurant is booked six months in advance, so not many people get to enjoy lunch in the Beast’s castle . . . especially as “walk ins.”

We checked at the check-in kiosk at 1:30.  No cancellations.

And no getting past the armed guard.

The friendly hostess suggested we check back at 2:20.

We wandered around a bit, enjoying the holiday sites and sounds.

Including a quick visit to Gaston’s Tavern.

We returned to Be My Guest at 2:00.  No cancellations.

And still no way in.

The hostess suggested we check back in 15 minutes.  I said, “What if we just sit over there?  Will you call us over if you get a cancellation?”  She said sure.

The park was crowded, so we didn’t mind just sitting while watching throngs of people wander past.

Watching people is much better than being jostled by them.

After a few changes of the guard, BFF went up to make sure the folks on duty knew to call us over and he received a coveted rose ~> our admission ticket to lunch in the castle!

Without it, visitors never make it past the gargoyles and other guardians of the gate.

Huzzah!

Our persistence paid off and lunch was good!  BFF had a delicious bowl of Onion Soup . . . with Pomme Frites for dipping.

I enjoyed an equally delicious Potato Leek Soup.

Before leaving the castle, we snapped more of the holiday decor . . .

Enjoyed the wall art . . .

Watched Beast take Belle for a spin around the ball room . . .

And I got special permission to sit in the master’s chair which, as it turned out, was Much Too Big for me!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Learning To Cuss December 9, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke.
23 comments

 A 6-year-old and a 4-year-old are raking the yard.

Ryan, the 6-year-old, says, “You know what? I think it’s about time we started learning to cuss.  What do you think?”

Timothy, the 4-year-old, nods his head in approval.

Ryan continues, “When we go in for breakfast, I’m gonna say something with hell and you say something with ass.”

Timothy agrees with enthusiasm.

When their mother walks into the kitchen and asks Ryan what he wants for breakfast, he replies, “Aw, hell, Mom, I guess I’ll have some Cheerios.”

WHACK!

He flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up, and runs upstairs to his room with his mother in hot pursuit.

His mom shuts Ryan in his room and says, “You can stay there until I say you can come out!”

She returns to the kitchen, looks at Timothy, and asks with a stern voice, “And what do YOU want for breakfast, young man?”

“I don’t know,” Timothy blubbers, “but you can bet your ass it won’t be Cheerios.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Good News for C~H~E~E~S~E Lovers! December 7, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
30 comments

This post is dedicated to the Cheese Lover in YOU!

Eating cheese every day may be good for your heart . . . lowering the risk of heart disease.

And while you’re at it ~> enjoy some wine and chocolate!

Here’s what Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis, had to say about the study:

“We’re always are searching for ways to minimize heart disease and reduce atherosclerosis,” he says. “It’s promising to find that something that actually tastes good—and pairs well with a nice glass of red wine—may offer some protection, as well.”

To read more:  Eating Cheese Every Day May Actually Be Good for You

Aah . . . that’s better!

Fill ‘Er Up December 5, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Gratitude, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

On a recent visit to Hollywood Studios (Disney), we enjoyed a walk (or perhaps a Sunday Drive) down memory lane.

Do you remember when gas station attendants (in pristine uniforms) pumped the gas for you?

With Nevr Nox fuel?

Or when gas stations decorated the pumps for the holidays?

Aah . . . it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? December 2, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Nature.
34 comments

Mickey appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  Towards the end of the program, he had won 500,000 euros.

“You’ve done very well so far,” said the show’s presenter, “but for a million euros you’ve only got one life-line left, phone a friend.  Everything is riding on this question. Will you go for it?”

“Sure,” said Mickey. “I’ll have a go!”

“Which of the following birds does NOT build its own nest?

a) Sparrow
b) Thrush
c) Magpie
d) Cuckoo?”

“I haven’t got a clue,” said Mickey, ”I’ll use my last lifeline and phone my friend Donald”

Mickey called up his mate and repeated the question to him.

“Mickey!” cried Donald. “That’s simple . . . it’s a cuckoo.”

“Are you sure?”*

“Of course I’m sure.”

Mickey hung up the phone and said, “I’ll go with cuckoo as my answer.”

“Is that your final answer?” asked the host.

“Yes.”

After a long, long pause, the presenter screamed, “Cuckoo is the correct answer! Mickey, you’ve won 1 million euros!”

The next night, Mickey invited Donald to their local pub to buy him a drink.

“Tell me, Donald, how did you know it was the Cuckoo that doesn’t build its own nest?”

“That’s easy!  Cuckoos live in a clock!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Epcot Food & Wine Festival ~ 2017 November 29, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.
22 comments

We decided to head to Epcot for the last Friday of the International Food & Wine festival (which ran from August 31st through November 13th).

No . . . that’s not a figment of your imagination ~> it is Figment!

On arrival, we meandered from Future World to World Showcase, stopping at Kiosks to check out the menu offerings (and plan our snack attack).

When we reached France, we headed straight for Les Hailes Boulangerie-Patisserie.  Despite crowded kiosks outside, we sped through the line for Baguette & Pissaldiere ~ $8.  Our favorite treat at Epcot.

After stowing the rest of the baguette for later munching, we wandered through a French store, then headed to Morocco for Musique Aramenco ~ lively musicians accompanied by a belly dancer in full regalia.

This is a G-rated blog, so I didn’t snap a picture of her.  Instead, here’s the Moroccan marketplace where you can purchase your own belly dancing outfit.

When Musique Aramenco concluded their set, we retraced our steps to see Impressions of France ~ a lovely film with a beautiful and haunting soundtrack.  It’s a fun way to see the sights and sounds of France, from the castles of the Loire Valley to Versailles to the Eiffel Tower to the vineyards.  C’est bonne!

Time for dessert!  We decided on a Belgian Waffle with chocolate ganache and whipped cream from the Belgium kiosk ~ $4.  The soggy pastry base was underwhelming.  Most disappointing food of the day.

We headed to the United Kingdom via Morocco to catch Quickstep ~ a lively quartet playing acoustic music from Scotland, Ireland, and England.  Loved it.

After dancing with Quickstep, we needed to refuel.  We wandered next door to Canada for Cheese Soup with a Pretzel roll for dipping ~ $5.  YUM!

After supping on soup, we listened to Raffy ~ a high energy Canadian quartet.  We loved the sax!

On the way to China, via Morocco, we stopped again to listen to Morocco Musique and smiled as the belly dancer gave free dance lessons to a pre-schooler.

We had planned to watch the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats.  By the time we arrived, the area was Standing Room Only.  So we admired the gardens instead.

Time for another snack.  This time in India for Madras Red Curry (Cauliflower, Carrots, Chickpeas, and Basmati Rice) and Naan bread with 3 dippers (Coriander Pesto, Mango Salsa, and garlicky Pickled Garlic) ~ $9.50 for both.

Sorry . . . the dog ate my photo.

By this time, the air was getting chilly and the walkways were way too crowded, so we headed for The Seas with Nemo & Friends.

Crush escorted us inside . . .

While Bruce enjoyed swimming with the fishes outside . . .

After swimming the seven seas with Nemo and soaring through the air on Soarin’ (front & center for the first time!), we made one last stop at the Festival Center to see the Ghiardelli exhibit ~> The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to Bar.

On arrival, we each received a Ghiardelli Chocolate Square with Caramel.  Yes, please!  The exhibit included amazing chocolate sculptures featuring:

Beauty and the Beast . . .

Moana’s sidekicks . . .

Wreck It Ralph . . .

And the stars of Born in China . . .

Aah . . . that’s delicious!

Pandora: World of Avatar November 27, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
12 comments

On a recent visit to Pandora (at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), we saw floating mountains, a bioluminescent rainforest, and rode on the back of amazing flying creatures.

As we entered the park, a rather anemic looking Roseate Spoonbill singing for his supper encouraged us to find a quiet spot to enjoy our lunch before touring the World of Pandora . . .

After lunch, we ran into this blue-skinned beauty in the Na’vi Emporium . . .

The Na’vi live in the forest around the Valley of Mo’ara where they enjoy a strong connection with nature ~ with some very interesting plants.

These reminded me of Jack-In-The-Pulpits . . .

Panopyra (which look like upside down mushrooms) capture water and minerals from dew and fog.  The resulting liquid is used by the Na’vi as a healing drink.

Here’s a Grinch Tree with a twisted trunk and dozens of bluish bioluminescent leaves pointed to the sun.

Vein Pods help detoxify the atmosphere and maintain stability in environment.

The Puffball Tree purifies the atmosphere; its leaves are harvested for salt.

The Dapophet (which looks like Aloe) has fat leaves at the top of the plant which have healing powers.  The leaves along the stem, which store water, are used by Na’vi as portable hydration.

We couldn’t get a Fast Pass for Avatar Flight of Passage, but hopped in line after lunch to fly on the back of a banshee and enjoy a 3-D ride above the vast moon.  Time flew as we passed through a Pandoran laboratory, which included this Na’vi floating in a large test tube . . .

Avatar Flight of Passage is similar to Soarin’ at Epcot, but a bit more thrilling as riders fly by obstacles, skirting them at the last second.  My favorite part of the ride including “sailing” over the sea and “surfing” the curl of a wave on the back of my banshee.  Very fun.

As we exited the ride, the sound of drumbeats drew us to the Swota Way Na’vi Drum Ceremony . . .

As the drums stilled, we left Pandora and headed for Asia . . .

First, we wandered through Maharajah Jungle Trek admiring live and carved animals . . .

Then we headed over to Kali River Rapids, unsure about whether we wanted to get wet since temps were in the low 70’s.

We peered over the bridge at the participants shooting down the chute . . .

It looked like it could be fun . . .

With a chance of getting drenched . . .

We decided to chance it.  I pulled on my Audobon hooded wind breaker.  BFF pulled on a flimsy poncho purchased for a buck at the Dollar Store.

We headed down the queue, enjoying the sites and sounds . . .

We made it ~ damp, but not too soggy!

After exiting the ride, we went to the front of the line and offered BFF’s slightly ripped poncho to a group of riders readying to board.

The young Brit who claimed it issued a quick, “Brilliant!”

After wandering through Africa, where we enjoyed Burudika and the Festival of the Lion King show, we headed back to Pandora for the Na’vi River Journey ~ a calm relaxing boat ride down a mystical Pandoran river hidden within the bioluminescent rain forest.  The ride includes a darkened network of caves, glowing plants, and amazing creatures.

Think “It’s A Small World” without the singing.  Instead the Na’vi Shaman of Songs chants as 3-D viperwolves with 6 legs and opposable thumbs run through the CG backdrop.

As dark descended, we exited stage left . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Comfort Stations November 25, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

When in St. Pete last week, we spotted a gorgeous building in the park . . .

On closer inspection, we noted that it’s a “Comfort Station” . . .

What a great name for a pit stop!

On one side, we spotted open windows.  Yes!  Open windows can be a good thing for Men’s Rooms . . .

Especially if men are using the throne room to ponder deep thoughts . . .

Just remember to leave your nuclear weapons outside . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Palm Arboretum November 23, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
14 comments

Before leaving St. Pete, we drove up the waterfront to  the Palm Arboretum . . .

We wandered paths lined with hundreds of species of palms . . .

A sign indicated that the Arboretum houses 735 specimens . . .

Of all shapes and sizes . . .

Tall ones . . .

Short ones . . .

Round ones . . .

Stately ones . . .

Shapely ones . . .

Shy ones . . .

And shaggy ones (reminiscent of Cousin It on the Adams Family) . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!