The other day, when showing the ski cabin, I got to have lunch at Stevens and video a timelapse of the Sun, the mountain, and the lower ski area. The timer helped create the pan.
The other day, when showing the ski cabin, I got to have lunch at Stevens and video a timelapse of the Sun, the mountain, and the lower ski area. The timer helped create the pan.
The Kennedy Space Center wasn’t on our to-do list when visiting Disney World; however, its amazing how a thunderstorm can quickly change plans and ideas into something more profound.
Upon arriving at Coco Beach, the clouds rolled in and the rain began to poor. Not just a little rain with signs of clearing. No no. I’m a massive down pour that showed zero signs of letting up.
Being where we were, the hammers were put down and the vehicle made for destination Kennedy Space Center.
The lines were nil, as no one was there and it was already late in the day, and we got right in and jogged to the covered area where the tour buses waited.
Soaked and soggy, we enjoyed a dry cruise around the facility while viewing the various launch pads, Space X’s building, and then arriving at the Apollo / Saturn V Center.
Below are the two video and pictures from the the Center.
One thing I missed was the Space Shuttle Atlantis. After leaving the Saturn V viewing area we were ushered into a gift shop. The staff didn’t even bother to tell us that the Shuttle was in an adjoining building, probably because they were ready to go home and not to helpful.
I was very bummed since I didn’t get any pictures nor get to see the shuttle in person.
Anyhow, the rest of the exhibits were really fun to look at while taking pictures and video. Below are the pictures and videos from our Kennedy Space Center visit.
Well here it is, our Disney World & Universal Studios long version GoPro edit. A lot of time has gone into this video and it still leaves me a bit unsatisfied with its outcome. Yet I cannot complain as its pretty good.
The vacation video is 5:32 long, hence the long version, and includes two songs, pictures from the Disney PhotoPass, and GoPro videos from all the parks.
Hope you enjoy watching as I did making it and please subscribe and leave a comment below. Cheers!
Epcot Theme Park isn’t ride heavy like the rest of Disney World yet it has a great feel. Epcot is a destination to see different cultures, experience food and drinks for that particular region, dancing, singing, street shows and more shopping. Like Disney hasn’t already given so many reason to spend money.
Upon entering the park, we stopped out front of Space Ship Earth for PhotoPass pictures, yet we didn’t go inside due to wait times. In our pictures, I was wearing monster aviator glasses since loosing the Oakley’s at Universal’s E.T. Boo. I loved those sunglasses.
We took it slow, stopping in some shops to purchase collectables for home. I picked up 2 gold and 1 copper plated tickets to commemorate the trip and the family shared in a 1955 commemory picture for mom’s birthday.
Our first stop was Mexico. Inside the great pyramid, which reminded me a lot of Chitzen Itza, we road a rafting ride (tour) through the pyramid’s interior and saw different sights of Mexico, and were treated to a digital fireworks display. The tour ended and I was already thirsty. You know, its really hot in Florida. Since no one was up for a tequila shot, it was margaritas all around.
*Pro Tip: Watch out for scooter people. Our youngest was ran over leaving her heals all tore up by a lady letting her grandchild drive.
Onto China and more PhotoPass pictures. Inside what looked like a Beijing Temple, was so-so comedic acrobat show and we glad it didn’t require additional costs.
We didn’t stop to rest much until arriving in Germany. I almost bought a stein for the collection but refrained. However, I didn’t refrain from buying a bratwurst and sauerkraut to postpone the hungry feeling. We toured the German shops, took more pictures (MOAR) and mom couldn’t help bring up how I was born in Germany.
After stopping in Italy for pictures and the American Adventure for a brief concern that included some of the kid’s favorite songs, it was onto France. In France we ordered soft serve ice cream and watched a street show balancing act that was more impressive the closer we stood.
By this time, the family was pretty darn tired of walking, the heat, and the crowds of people. So, to fool mom, and not let her know of the painting we purchased, the ladies and kids took the tram to magic Kingdom and Travis and I drove the Suburban back over.
Travis and I stopped to buy a 24 oz. Beer that we drank in Magic Kingdom’s parking lot prior to meeting up with everyone. Mad props were given by other guests thinking the beer was the ticket.
What a long day for Epcot yet it wasn’t over since we had saved spots for the Magic Kingdom Electronic Light Parade and fireworks display.
Nearing the end of the Disney World trip, the last park on our agenda was Hollywood Studios. Joy really wanted to venture for one ride, The Twlight Zone Tower of Terror.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the Tower of Terror movie and watched the ghosts of The Hollywood Tower Hotel relive, if that is even the case, their ill-faited journey. The 5 guests never made it to the Tip Top Party and now it was our turn to brave the ghostly hotel lobby, dark and spooky corridors of the hotel’s underbelly, and the ride up to the 12th floor.
Like the Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall, the Tower of Terror was a negative G drop style ride. What wasn’t expected was the scene staging lead up. Starting in the lobby and heading into a study, the group found its way down to the hotel’s basement. The boiler was lit and glowing with menace while we winded through to the service elevators.
Taking our place in the very elevator that Carolyn, Gilbert, Sally, Emeline, and Dewey met their fate, it was time to see if we would survive. LOL. Well we did but that was after taking plummeting falls that gave me the hebbie jebbies.
Now that the terror was over, it off to see Indiana Jones. The stage was like I remembered. The opening scene of advoiding the rolling boulder and dancing around the spike trap. Ah memories relived. During the second scene, it was a all out street-fight in the city center with spectators turned actors filling in the scenes. Everyone enjoyed the show yet wished it was a bit longer.
The group split up to do their own thing. We decided to stroll through the Hollywood Studios taking in the sights and enjoying the park. After spending time eating, shopping, and taking in some smaller attractions, it was time for another coaster.
The wait at the Rock n Roller Coaster was an hour an a half and we toughed it out. Arriving in the building and entering the studio, we were treated to Areosmith (via a video screen) and a stretched out Cadillac to ride in. I sat first car second row with the oldest girl while Joy and the youngest, along with my cousin, behind me.
The music was cranked up, more coasters need to play rock n roll, and it was ready for action. However, instead of climbing a ramp then dropping for speed, the Rock n Roller Coaster launched straight ahead then ripping through some corks, loops, and underneath streets and road signs. What blast and I think having music to listen to made the coaster more fun.
Being pretty amped up after that coaster, I had a beer. It was a damn good beer too being that I was sweaty, hot, and a,ll around grimy. The day ended by watching the Frozen show and squeaking more Photo Pass pictures.
Animal Kingdom was high on Joy’s must do list. I was wanting to spend time there as well yet had no real idea what the park featured. Unlike local zoos, this place was fun, not a little but a lot of fun due to the park’s scale and elaborate costume, park layout, and ride designs – what else would be expected from Disney?
Starting with pictures back-dropped by the Tree of Life and trail map in hand, it was Safari time.
We trekked through Africa towards the Kilimanjaro Safari. For the safari, we road in a beast of a truck that peaked at around 6mph. The ride was bump which made picture taking a bit difficult. However, we did see lions, tigers, a good handful of giraffes, a rhino, some elephants, antelope, and others I didn’t know. Since we were sitting in the back row, we could freely turn around and shoot GoPro pictures and videos. Yet the ride was really bumpy and the truck didn’t stop much to get a steady shot, unless you’re fast.
After the Kilimanjaro Safari, the family boarded a train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch where the kids worked on their Merritt badges. The family wanted to get going so it back to Africa and more of Animal Kingdom.
We strolled onto Asia for the short self guided tour through Maharajah Jungle Trek. It was great walk with seeing Komodo Dragons and such. Yet, shortly into the trek it was time to unpack the ponchos.
The Florida sky decided to open up and start dropping more rain than we’ve seen all year back in Washington. With the deLLuge showing no sign of letting up, everyone ducked into the gift shops for candy, Disney swag, and gifts for folks back home.
This is when we decided to end our day at Animal Kingdom.
Arriving back at the condo, the family all took a seat, grabbed a drink, and jumped on their electronics and started to kill time. Feeling a bit under fulfilled it was kind of gloomy around the condo. However, after about 2 hours the rain subsided, Joy, Travis, the girls, and I loaded into the Suburban and ventured back to Animal Kingdom.
Why? One ride, Expedition Everest.
Having to admit, I was a bit nervous riding Expedition Everest yet the kids were doing it, so I manned up, LOL. It was really fun and is definitely helped getting over my coaster fear. Below is a POV video of the Expedition Everest roller coaster which I can be heard panting and being a bit on the scared side.
Travis and I ordered a beer afterwards while Joy and the girls road some additional rides. The beer was really good and helped calm the shaking nerves while we slowly walked to the Suburban.
What a day!
At the beginning of summer, I was driving home from a friends only to find the local soccer fields, Strawberry Fields, lit up and not a soul in sight. Luckily, the drone was in the truck.
As quick as a flash, I parked, set up the drone, and started flying. Being it was night time, I took it easy on altitude and flew no higher than the light poles.
The video turned out ok yet could have used different camera settings due to the evening filming.
In our 4th park trip, we elected for Typhoon Lagoon as to break from the hot and humid Orlando air. A short drive from Windsor Palms, Typhoon Lagoon is a water park that offers so much for every age. Being 25 years since the last visit, the family was anxious to relive fond memories and fun times.
The night before, I read many forums, blogs, and park rules regarding cameras and getting no closer to good answers. Many UK forums said video cameras were allowed, some blogs said no video cameras, and the park rules were not clear either way.
Instead of knowing, I took the chance and brought the Hero 4, a 3+ for a backup, and decided to use to film until staff said otherwise. Well it didn’t take long before I just asked a staff member what Typhoon Lagoon’s video camera policy was. Here are the basics: GoPros are allowed at Typhoon Lagoon yet not all mounts are.
GoPoles, selfie sticks, or any other extending style camera poles are not allowed since they can damage the water slide’s and wave pool’s lining, and/or hurt others. On the slides, GoPros can either be handheld or on a GoPro Knuckles, or similar mount, as the head strap and chestie could come into contact with the slide lining. Other than those items, Typhoon Lagoon’s staff had zero problems with a GoPro.
OK, onto the good stuff.
Like the previous park arrival times, arrival was set for an hour prior to park opening. The Typhoon’s staff allowed guests to pay and enter the water park prior to opening. Even though guests where allowed in the park, the staff had us hold position near the main crossover bridges until 9am. We planned on getting some prime beach sitting that had shade, access to food and drinks, and being close to the wave pool.
The gang settle down on the outer rim of Blustering Bay, a area near the the Bay Slides to the left of the park. Unpacked and ready to go, it was waterslide time.
To get warmed up, the kids usually needed that, the Keelhaul Falls, a single person tube ride was voted on. Not being all that long, and not all that fast, the ride snaked down through the makeshift canyon to a calm landing pool. All jazzed up, the kids could hardly wait for more. Next stop was Mayday Falls and then off to Gangplank Falls.
The lines weren’t anything like Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios so riding and sliding over-and-over wasn’t a problem. After those slides, it was back to the wave pool.
Attempt after attempt, I couldn’t get the right timing when the wave launched, starting the swim, and getting stiffened up to body surf the 5′ wave (felt more like 6 feet). Typhoon Lagoon’s wave pool never gets old yet. Even being in decent shape and a strong swimmer, I couldn’t swim back and forth and dog paddle long enough to learn the wave-timing. I had to take a break. I think being short and not able to touch didn’t help either.
Being worn out, it was cocktail time. Let’s Go Slurpin’ served up a tasty Tequila Sunrises, cold Coors Lights, and more savory beverages that cooled us right down. Mmmmm, Tequila Sunrise.
Now where was I? Oh yea.
Rested and cooled down, it was off to explore Typhoon Lagoons right side.
Storm Slides were on the radar. here we.After a bit of a line, we all road down but the slides weren’t the best. Not for their speed or design, but for there condition. The seems in the slide joints rubbed the back really hard leaving red marks. We moved on.
To the Shark Reef. The two girls wigged out due to the Shark Reef’s water being so cool. It felt glorious after the peristant Orlando swampy heat and it was real refreshing after the chlorine and the condo’s pool water. The reef was shorter than remembered but the sea life was good. Hammerheads (two) and rays glided effortlessly through the water and all the while, the GoPro was pointed right at them. Hopefully the video comes out. I could have swam much longer due to the water’s coolness and the change of pace.
While we debated where to go, Joy found the Crash ‘n’ Gusher duo innertube slides. At first, the kids were worried yet afterwards, they were great. Also at Crush ‘n’ Gusher, the Disney Photo Pass photographers snapped away and we ended with with so many fun pictures. Again, get the PhotoPass.
By now a few hours had passed and the weather was showing signs of changing. The gang packed up and we all headed out right when the thunder and lightening started.
The remaining part of the day was spent recounting everyone’s Typhoon Lagoon adventure over some cold beers at the condo.
Our second day at Universal Studios, the adventured started at the Islands of Adventure entrance. Like the Harry Potter side, the family stopped and took entrance photos (if it hasn’t been mentioned, get the photo passes as they’re are so nice to have easy keepsakes) and got organized, like many other folks.
Being our third park day, the family was keen on taking it slower and walking without rushing to rides. Srolling through the Islands of Adventures brought up thoughts of open seas adventures and yet the area was quickly walked though. After stopping for family pictures, with Hogwarts in the back drop, it was ride time.
Starting at Spider Man 4D, which is similar The Forbidden Journey, Spider Man had a lot of motion along with visual effects that can make a tummy a bit quezzy. Being a great ride, visually and story line, Spider Man was fun for the family – even our 84 year old grandma. Post Spider Man, we went across the street to the Wolverine shop and took pictures with Spiddy himself. Sadly, the picture backdrop was never added to Spiddy’s greenscreen.
Then it was onto Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall.
Six of us adults braved the Fear Fall. As the line snaked through, anticipation built as we continued towards the staging area. I’ll admit, I wasn’t overly fond of Fear Fall yet far from scared. Strapping in and bracing for the launch up, we were soon catapulted into the park’s upper reaches. Being an open enclosure style-ride, I personally felt as I’d be launched into the middle of the park and splatter into messy street pizza. No street pizza took place yet the shot of adrenaline received was enough to make my knees and hands shake.
Living and telling the tale, the kids weren’t impressed by our tale of survival, the group walked further through Islands of Adventure park to a water ride – Me Ship, The Olive.
This is still early in the morning, roughly 9:30am, and knowing that getting wet was highly probable yet the extent was not realized. Boarding Me Ship, The Olive we all strapped in. Within the first few river drops, all of 12 of us were soaked completely through. Not a little soaked, I mean completely. LOL. It was super fun yet the remaining day made for swamp ass and jungle rot.
Being wet, we continued with the water rides and taking everyone else on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Even though the kids did the ride 2 days prior, they got all scared. Being good parents, we forced them onto the ride. Muhahaha Face T-Rex. Grandma enjoyed River Adventure and so did we. In the drop-picture, the little ones showed their fear and us adults had a screaming good time.
Still wet, the kids and some adults, not I, took flight at Pteranodon Flyers ride for a Jurassic park view.
Lunch time! Finally. We had short lunch lines at the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.
*Pro Tip: Double Cheeseburger w/ Bacon and a Chocolate Shake.
We then meandered through The Lost Continent and into Seuss Landing.
Being Dr. Suess kids, its was a trip through memory lane. The kids were a bit old for the rides, especially compared to what they’ve done in other park areas. Now it was time for slushy lemonades and a break from walking.
Leaving the Island Adventure side, the group headed to the Universal Studios Florida side for a cocktail, more sitting, and a ride on E.T where I lost the Oakley’s. Dammit to hell!
The rain kicked in and the park day ended yet we came back home to pig out on food and drink.
Another day in the history books for the Fun Family.
After Magic Kingdom, the family decided on Universal Studios as its next destination. We didn’t start as early, mainly due to being super tired from the prior day, yet we arrived around 8:45am and received decent parking with the park being so-so busy. Instead of heading off to Harry Potter first, we decided to take it bit slower as not to be rushed hoofing it across the park.
Stopping at Shriek 4D, the line was 45 minutes with the line moving faster than that it seemed. I think it was due to Shrek 4D being a show, which held a higher volume of people, and before we knew it the showing was starting.
Piling into the front row, the family enjoyed good Shrek comedy, a sweet 3D screen, and the fun 4D effects like moving seats (they were on airbags and the blow off valves sounded cool), water sprayers, and air blowers. We laughed but the spiders are the creepiest part.
The Minions line was over 2 hours so we decided to pass on it till another day.
Moving on, we hit-up the Mummy Returns ride. The kids were pumped until it started. LOL. Getting in a larger car, the Mummy Returns started off with a storyline consistent of the Mummy movies (I still love those films), and with lot of real fire, which was straight-up HOT, and speed like a no other ride. At least for me. Upon existing, the oldest was melting down again while the younger ones were scared during the right yet super tough afterwards. I am super proud of them.
Then it was a bit of back tracking, to another 10 minute ride, Twister. Twister really showed its age being a 90s movie and the wind, which wasn’t much, scared the kids the most. We had fun being that we are 90s kids and really loved Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. The swirling tornado was very similar to the man made tornado found at the Arizona Science Museum.
Then it was bathroom breaks and the walk to Diagon Alley. Being a PotterHead, I was so stoke for this part of the day. Yet to my disappointment, Diagon Alley and the stores were to darn small for the amount of people that were packed in there. Quality Quidditch Supplies was fun and I almost bought a quaffle for the sports room but it was tough to carry. I jumped into Ollivander’s Wand Shop and did some shopping. An Oak Wand chose the little one and a Ash and Elder Wand chose me. Imagine that LOL.
Continuing through Diagon Alley, we saw the dragon on top of Gringotts, see below, and I found Butterbeer. Oh my fucking dam! Butterbeer so darn good that I drank it like a dehydrated hobo. The Butterbeer was followed up by a Dragon Scale. Hot dam that is a good beer. Dragon Scale is a Red, which is one of my favorite beers.
I bought a Tales of the Deathly Hallows necklace, like Xenophilius Lovegood’s, in Borgin and Burkes and almost bought a bunch of other junk. Dam I’m a PotterHead.
Catching up to the group, we board the Hogwarts’ Express and traveled to Hogsmead for more rides, seeing the town, and Hogwarts.
Hogsmead was packed, just as packed as Diagon Alley yet having the castle as a destination, made it worth it.
Walking into Hogwarts, and what we thought was just a tour through the Hogwarts interior, yet were treated to a ride at the top – The Forbidden Journey. The tour was fun and we saw Dumbledore’s study and so much more. I wish there was a bit more to the tour, ah well.
The Forbidden Journey almost made me hurl, and I mean hurl. As fun as it was, it was a tummy turner. We all had fun and the kids had their pants scared off with the dragon and Dementors.
Afterwards, we all jumped onto the Flight of the Hippogriff which is a family friendly ride. By this time we were all done with Harry Potter since the crowds were tremendous and the huge groups, 50 and more, made it almost unpleasant.
The remaining day was spent going through Jurassic Park River Tour which we got swamped and the ladies were even wearing ponchos, us guys toughed it out, and the pictures are funny as heck. Being soaked already, the group decided to rock down to Rip Saw Falls. Rip Saw Falls was super fast and totally worth doing. Probably one of the best water rides I’ve ever been on.
Going into the 11th hour of Universal Studios Orlando, snacks and ice cream was on the menu.
That was until the Hulk was spotted.
Being to much of a panzy, Joy, my brother and cousin took to it. They loved the Hulk and said it was as intense as it looked. I’m not sure I’d do it even if it was earlier in the day but we’ll see.
We have a second day planned at Universal Studios so we’ll see what that day has to offer.
After landing in Orlando, and taking a day to settle in, the Fun Family decided to visit Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Being a classic destination, Magic Kingdom is still just as amazing as it was 25 years ago. The cast members, characters, the rides, the presentation, was all top notch.
*Tip: Arrive at least 1 hour early as you’ll have less traffic getting to Magic Kingdom, better parking, easier tram ride, and an empty park upon arrival.
After watching the entry show, at the train station for the park opening, sights were firmly set on Splash Mountain. The line was less than 20 minutes since we planned it as the first ride. Not being a ride-type of person, Splash Mountain was enjoyable and fun. Even the two 8 year old, 9 year old, and 10 year old loved the ride, water and all. Being that we were wet at before 10am, the weather is so warm during July that getting, and staying, wet doesn’t matter much, especially for us Seattlites.
Jumping out of Splash Mountain, we originally planned to head to Space Mountain; however, the line for Thunder Mountain was a mere 10 minutes. Guess what? Plans were altered. Again, the kids did really well with the coaster, the speed of the coaster, and sitting in the ride. The youngest is only 42lbs, she is tiny one. Thunder Mountain
*Pro Tip: Smaller and bigger riders may have a tough time riding together as the safety bars may not fit the smaller rider.
Moving from Thunder Mountain, we took the long walk across Magic Mountain to Space Mountain. Here the line was 45 minutes with it feeling closer to an hour. All-in-all, not bad. The kids where screaming their heads off with a mixture of being scared and excited. The oldest melted down afterwards because he couldn’t see the darkness while the rest of the kids loved that they road the ride and survived.
The remaining part of the day was lots of pictures with characters, scenery, food, a bit of shopping, and serving the deLLudge of a thunder storm. Lightening, thunder, and rain with park guests piling under cover to stay dry.
*Pro Tip: Purchase Memory Saver picture pass as. We have a group of 14 so we can get high-quality group pictures (not featured in the blog).
*Pro Tip: Purchase ponchos from a gift shop prior to entering the park as they can come in handy, and are less expensive.
It was a great day. We walked 8.5 miles so our hips and feet could feel it.
*Pro Tip: Bring a Osprey or Camel pack containing the water bladder. Its cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and easier then purchasing water bottles after water bottle, at $3 each.
Magic Kingdom is as magical as ever. Enjoy the pictures below and the video will show more pictures that are not cellphone pics.
Festival of Fantasy
Joy, the girls, myself, brother and his family, mom and grandma, aunts and couple cousins have all set our sights on Disney World. This blog post comes straight from a Super 8 Hotel in SeaTac. Otherwise known, as the hood. We are watching Draft Day, the kids are on their tablets, and we are all likes kids prior to Christmas. I can’t wait for tomorrow and getting off a long flight to party at Disney World.