I’m Dreaming of Disney World – Getting Ready for the Pictures..

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I love photographing things, especially things that excite me or get me to thin2016-03-20_09-31-06.pngking about what I have yet to be exposed to. I love taking pictures. Over the years I have migrated from a simple camera to a inexpensive SLR and finally to a rather expensive DSLR. My last camera purchase was about two years ago. It was my third digital camera and it has many features that I have yet to explore.

2016-03-20_09-28-35.pngGoing to Disney world has prompted me to learn more about my camera so I can use it to its max with taking pictures there. I have never really attempted much in the area of night photography but since I want to capture Disney’s fireworks I am studying how to do that.  I want to be able to use some of the latest HDR apps to make impressive camera shots of each of the theme parks there.  I am learning about bracketed photographs that combines information form three different exposures to put out an impressive shot.

2016-03-20_09-29-30.pngDisney World is making me be a better photographer and that is a good thing.  Even after seven decades on this earth I still get excited about learning new things.  As C.S. Lewis said You are never too old to dream a new dream.  I try to now live my life around that quote. When you stop dreaming you stop living as far as I am concerned.  When you stop learning you start decaying as far as I am concerned.

I have high hopes from my dreams of Disney World.  Will I be disappointed? I’m sure I will in some cases but I will not let that  put a damper on what I dream or my attempts to fulfill my dreams.

I’m Dreaming of My Friends at GDL

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I’m dreaming of all the friends I made in my business trips to Guadalajara Mexico. Especially those who helped me celebrate life at the Guadalajara Grill.

DW BannerHere I am again dreaming of Disney World again. We will be there soon. I am very getting anxious. 🙂  This post is about how I came to the decisions of what to see during our five day visit. There are LOTS of options so this was a difficult, although very pleasant, task.  Here is a quick summarized agenda I have chosen:

  • Day 1  Browsing — We will check into our hotel in the late afternoon so we decided to limit that day to browsing the immediate area and maybe a visit to the village where all the shops and stores are.
  • Day 2 Epcot — Then we will start our “official” visit on day 2 with a visit to Epcot. For those who might not know it, the main part of Epcot is made up of pavilions of different countries around the world. After our initial strolling time we will be 2016-03-18_14-22-13.pnghaving lunch at San Angel in the Mexican pavilion.   Having spent quite a bit of time in Guadalajara Mexico during my work years so I know that the vast majority of Mexican restaurants in the US do not serve ‘real’ Mexican food. I am looking forward to hopefully tasting the real stuff again 🙂 We will spend the morning and afternoon browsing the Epcot village and then do our Fastpass events which include a film festival, the imagination exhibit and topping the day off with the fireworks over the lake.
  • Day 3 Animal Kingdom –This is the day of our thirtieth anniversary and since my wife is an extreme animal lover I thought we should be there for that day. We have three events planned for that day with the expected highlight being the Safari. Dinner will be at the Tucker House Buffet. That might seem strange to have a 30th anniversary dinner at a buffet but given my wife’s limited likes when it comes to food it will allow her to pick and choose what she wants.
  • 2016-03-19_10-34-40Day 4  Hollywood Studios — I recently read that this will be the day for a major unveiling of an expanded Star Wars agenda so I am looking forward to that.  I am a big sci-fi fan. We will be taking a the Star Wars ride that day.  It is the only ride type thing on our agenda for the trip.  No dinner planned tonight. We will play it by ear to see what strikes our mood and where we can get in. 😉
  • Day 5 – Magic Kingdom — This might be the park where I am totally on my own and that is OK. My wife seems to have no interest in it so I will be able to browse it at my speed and go where I want.  Three FastPass items on the agenda but really I plan on just floating around wherever my imagination takes me. I hear that the Liberty Tree Tavern there has astounding clam chowder so I will likely try a bowl of that.  Dinner this night is back at Epcot at the Nine Dragons restaurant in the China pavilion. Mexican and Chinese vie for each other being my favorite food. It should be an interesting meal.
  • Day 6 Back to Epcot  — We check out of the hotel this day and will make our final visit to Epcot to visit Spaceship Earth and to take a few more pictures before leaving.

Since I know that things never occur exactly as planned we will likely modify the agenda as we go through the experience. But one thing I do know is that I will take plenty of pictures to remember this trip and to post some future dreaming about it here.

 

This is the fifth post in my series of dreaming about Disney World and will be be about the tools to do the job right.  I am a big believer in using the right tools for the job.  You don’t use a pair of pliers where an end wrench is needed. If you use the wrong tools most often you botch up the job.  Fortunately the folks at Disney World do it right. They provide just the right tools for making the most of your adventure.

IMG_0465Disney World App — The first encounter with someone seriously looking at Disney World is probably the app for iPad or iPhone.  That tool opens the world to many different possibilities.  This app allows you to check out in details each of of the Disney Resort hotels. It includes detailed maps for attractions, places to eat, things to see and even places to smoke for all those who have yet to kick that habit.

HC Tqg201Reservations — We decided to stay at the Boardwalk Inn on our 6 day visit. I just want to be totally immersed in the Disney experience without having to face the hassle of getting in and out of the park everyday. I spent probably an hour or more with the app just looking at the possibilities before choosing Boardwalk.  But reservations are more than just where to stay. Even though we may be visiting there in a relative off-season there will still be crowds, more crowds than I am usually comfortable with, so if I want to make sure I can see, eat,  ride, and watch what I want without waiting in any longer lines than necessary.  To do that I need advance reservations.

2016-03-18_16-35-23.pngMagic Band/Fastpass+ —  This is a wrist watch like band that get you through the  reserved lines quickly, gets you into your room, and allows you to purchase almost anything in the park including your meals without having to pull out your wallet each time. As mentioned before it uses an ‘rf’ signal similar to iPhone Pay. Magic Band just takes one of  the hassles out of life while at Disney.

Captioning Devices — Being able to “hear” as well as see Disney is very important to all of us, especially those of us who are deaf.  We are used to being the “odd man out” when it comes to public things. We are used to not getting the info that others take for granted.  So, I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn accommodations to those of us with hearing disabilities.  Here is a little about them from their website:

Types of Services

Walt Disney World Resort offers a variety of services to help Guests with hearing disabilities enjoy the Resort.

Services include:

  • Guest Room Amenities
  • Assistive Listening
  • Handheld Captioning
  • Reflective Captioning
  • Video Captioning…

Assistive Listening and Handheld Captioning
Disney’s Handheld Device offers both Assistive Listening and Handheld Captioning services. The Assistive Listening system is recommended for Guests with mild to moderate hearing loss and amplifies sound through headphones or an induction loop at specific theme park attractions. The Handheld Captioning system uses a wireless handheld receiver to display text in locations where fixed captioning systems are impractical, such as moving attractions.

Reflective Captioning
At select theater-style attractions, Reflective Captioning projects text on an acrylic glass panel in front of the Guest. To use this system, please contact a Cast Member at the location or attraction.

Video Captioning
Caption-ready monitors are designated by a “CC.” Please see a Cast Member at the attraction for assistance.

Video Captioning can also be activated using Disney’s Handheld Devices…

 

I am very much looking forward to all that Disney offers in this area. I have never come across such a wide variety of help living as a deaf man in a hearing world.

I’m Dreaming About… Our Honeymoon

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I can’t believe that we were on our honeymoon thirty years ago. We were both over forty and said by the time we reach our thirtieth anniversary we won’t even realize it as we will both be senile. Our 3oth will be here in a few weeks, we have less hair and more wrinkles and pounds but  we remember it as if it were yesterday… 🙂

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DW Teaser2The first step in a Disney World visit is to determine when to go. The second is where to stay, the third is how to prepare and the fourth is what to see.  This post is about the third one. There is so much to see at DW that it is almost overwhelming. We will be there for six days and five nights. I want to see it all but realize that is not possible from both a logistics and personal health standpoint.

2016-03-10_09-05-57.pngOne of the first things the literature warns us older folks of is that you will walk probably four to five miles day. That is an impossibility for my wife and a challenge for me. So, along with reserving the room I also reserved and ECV for her. ECV is short for electrical conveyance vehicle or scooter for most of us.  We could maybe get one at each theme park but they are on a first-come-first-serve basis so we decided to rent one for the week from a recommended local vendor. For me, I thoroughly investigated walking shoes to ease the stress to my old knees and hips. They came from Amazon a few days ago. With them, knee braces and a bottle of Ibuprofen I am hoping that will do the trick.

2016-03-10_08-35-20I know that when we talk about what to take most people might think of clothes but I am a photography nut so I am talking about that stuff. I will be taking the full range of equipment with me. My Canon EOS 6D will be a constant companion while roaming Disney.  I will probably take a thousand pictures or more while I am there and will bore you with hundreds of them after the adventure is complete. The 6D with my standard 28-135mm lens weight in at about three pounds. That doesn’t sound like a lot but carrying it all day/every day will prove to be burdensome.  I have investigated alternate ways to carry it instead of a  neck strap. I found a waist holster that I think will do the trick. It keeps the camera accessible but out of the way and not adding any undue pressure to my back.

2016-03-10_08-38-15.pngThen it was on to all the other small things that have to be carried. Extra batteries, maps, water bottle, maybe an iPad mini along with other things. I really don’t want to have to stuff all these things in my pockets so I have decided to use a “drop leg utility pouch”. This is something that was developed for the military. It can hold all the aforementioned items and more. With the camera waist holster attached to the belt this will provide an easy-on, easy-off thing when I get back to the room.

Now on to snacks. I am in the process of putting together my own trail mix blend for snacks to be used throughout the trip.  It will be stored in gallon zip-lock bags and is made up of peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, sesame sticks, raisins, and full grain chex. It should be healthier and less expense than alternatives found in the hotels and resorts.

I think I have all the “essentials”, at least as I define them, in place now with the exception of maybe sun block and I’m sure a few dozen other unidentified items I imagine but I do still have another three weeks to think about it.  Next time I will report what I have scheduled for us to see while we are there.   For me planning is a big part of the joy of this bucket list visit…. 🙂

 

 

DW Teaser2Here I am about four weeks away from my visit to Disney World. Being on my bucket list I have high expectations for this visit. Our Magic Bands came in the mail today. These are wristwatch like  rf identifiers we will use for everything from getting into our hotel rooms and the parks to charging everything we buy there. It couldn’t be easier.  As usual they are of a very high quality.

2016-03-07_16-37-35.pngSo far I have found that the folks of DW treat their customers exceptionally well. I know I am only one of the 50,000 or so people who will visit the parks while I am there but they make me feel like a VIP. There is hardly a question that you could ask that isn’t already covered somewhere on their website. Their information materials are clear, concise and top notch.

I know from past experiences that the old saying “Things are never as good as you hope or as bad as you dread”. It is always somewhere in between but I am hoping that the good side wins out. 🙂

One thing I know I have to face is a LOT of people go to Disney World every year.

Here are the numbers for the Orlando theme parks for 2014:

  • Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom had 52,964 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 19,332,000 for the year and is the #1 theme park in the world and North America by attendance.
  • EPCOT at Walt Disney World had 31,380 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 11,454,000 for the year and is the #6 theme park in the world and the #3 theme park in North America by attendance.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom had 28,498 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 10,402,000 for the year and is the #7 theme park in the world and the #4 theme park in North America by attendance.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios had 28,252 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 10,312,000 for the year and is the #8 theme park in the world and the #5 theme park in North America by attendance.
  • Disney’s California Adventure had 24,024 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 8,769,000 for the year and is the #10 theme park in the world and the #6 theme park in North America by attendance.
  • Universal Studios of Orlando had 22,638 average visitors per day in 2014 totaling 8,263,000 for the year and is the #11 theme park in the world and the #8 theme park in North America by attendance.

That totals out to about 50,000 park visits/day or almost 20 million/year and that is a LOT of people. Generally I am a crowd averse person. I just don’t like large crowds so that is something I will have to cope with during this visit. I am psyching myself up for the crowds and imagining the overall experience will be well worth the discomfort.  Since Disney World is about 25,000 acres and we are going during an official off-season I think I can manage it.

Next time I will be talking about the parks and what we have chosen to see in each one while we are there.

I’m dreaming of Disney World…….

When I was in the corporate world for thirty years I frequently traveled by air. The first trips in 1970 were pleasant. The business traveler was king of the sky. But as the years progressed flying become more and more burdensome. My last business trip by air in 2000 was a pain-in-the…  In the fifteen years hence I have made very few trips to airports. Instead I now take road trips.

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Smithsonian

Yeah, road trips might take a little longer, although with all the security stuff sometimes not. But if you really want to see just how wonderful and diverse this country really is you can’t visit it from thirty thousand feet above, you got to stay on the ground and of course off the Interstate highways as much as possible. Up till five years ago my wife and I took several road trips a year, now because of declining health of one of us they have been narrowed down to usually just one, or if lucky maybe two multi-day ones.

I mostly travel with history in mind. I have read ferociously about U.S. history. I  know the founding fathers and some others who I have followed intimately.  I have been in all fifty of our States so I have a lot of stories to tell here at 2TouchTheSky and in the coming months/years. There will be some stories and many pictures to help you know a little about each location and its history.

I have touched the sky many times during these trips.  The memories are etched in my mind even after so many years. Come back often for my stories. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

As I Get Older…

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Getting old it not for sissies!

 

This is a saying that all of us over 60 know well. You might say 70 or even 80 but eventually it becomes a reality for all of us. I often say that after I turned 60 my warranty expired as that is when physical things started to go wrong.  But that is not the topic for this post. Instead it is about the Joys of life and how they become more intense as we age.

That might be a surprising statement to some but after I explain I suspect you will be agreeing with me. 🙂 To me dreaming is a means to escape the mundane of daily life into a place of peaceful bliss and serenity. I have found that dreaming like everything else in life take practice to get it right. 🙂  Even after almost seven decades on this earth I still haven’t perfected it and never really will.

Dreaming is a journey into never land where old folks are not supposed to roam. With all the troubles of life dreaming should have been strangled out of us by now.  But if you are wise, and it takes years of living to be wise, you will know that dreaming is what makes a better future possible. Even when there is not a lot of future left.

 

DW Teaser2Our Disney World trip is definitely in the works!  I put down the deposit ten days ago and have received the initial mailing with recommendations and such. This original mailing is very helpful in my planning process and, like everything else at DW is very well designed.

The first thing that had to be done to make this happen was to pick the place we would be staying. There were several things that were factors for us:

  • We will probably spend the most time in Epcot.
  • We want to park our car and not have to drive at all during the five day visit.
  • We want a place where we can just slip out and get a bite to eat whenever we want.
  • We want to be someplace where there might be some seniors like us and a few less kids.

2016-02-26_10-22-47.pngAfter investigating all the options all these factors pointed us to the Boardwalk Inn as shown in the header above and to the right. I know staying off-sight or maybe in one of the hotels in the village would be cheaper but since this is likely a once-in-a-lifetime thing money is not a top priority.

The Boardwalk Inn is patterned after the boardwalk along the Jersey Shore but looks  a lot more upscale to me. 🙂  Although the vast majority of my life has been spent in the Midwest I did spend some years about 10 miles from the Jersey boardwalk so I know a thing or two about that. Getting back to the Disney version, there are numerous non-reservation eateries along the boardwalk and a hotel parking lot within an easy walk. The rooms seem to be pretty big; we like to stretch out on vacations.  They say the boardwalk caters to nightlife so maybe not as many families with small children would likely be here.  It is a short walk to get into the backdoor of Epcot so I can run over there alone while my wife takes her usual afternoon naps.

I dream of my days, and nights, at the Boardwalk Inn. Soon after the initial Disney package arrived I got a letter from the Boardwalk Inn apologizing in advance for the construction that is taking place there. That seemed like a strange initial meeting and I hope it doesn’t put a hex on the trip. 🙂 They mentioned that the premiere restaurant located there will not be open during our stay but that is OK as there are hundreds of others to choose from in the park.

So, with a place to stay firmed up it is now on to planning each day’s agenda. They say if you want to eat in a sit-down restaurant then you need to make a reservation as much as six months before your trip!  We will see how that goes on the next Disney post.

I have always had pets in my life but I didn’t know an extreme animal lover until I met my wife. Simply stated she would likely wrap her car around a tree rather than hit a chipmunk crossing the road. We have had a large variety of pets over the years, mostly indoor ones but also a myriad of outdoor critters.  I haven’t counted but I pretty sure my wife has more pictures of her pets than she does of me. 🙂

I thought it is about time to show you a small sampling of some of these “loved ones”. If it ever came down to a choice between me and her pets I’m pretty sure I would be on my way out the door. The header image is of my dearly beloved as a young girl on a Wisconsin farm in the 1940s.

DW Teaser2In am a guy in my seventh decade of life who has a visit to Disney World near the top of his very short bucket list.  My wife thinks I am crazy. They say that many old folks revert back to their childhood in the later years, she thinks I am one of them.  But I kind of think differently.

I see Disney World as a place where I can cast off the harsh realities of life and stick my head in the sand! It is a mystical place where a dreamer like me can escape once in a while. Is Disney really a good place  for senior citizens? You bet it is and I will be posting more about that in the near future.

Dreaming about Disney World is my main focus for the coming weeks. I will be telling you first about my planning and then make daily reports while I am there.  I plan on taking many pictures so even after the time there I will be dreaming about it via them and sharing that with you.

Up front I want to tell you what I have initially discovered and that is Disney World can not happen without a lot of planning. But since I am a planner at heart that doesn’t bother me at all. In fact it is really a substantial part of the dream process.  More on the stages of dreaming  in a near future post…

I am dreaming about Disney World…..

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