Monday, August 29, 2011

Disney World After Dark: Memories

There is a debate that continues among those who frequent the parks. I don't know, it may also take place among those who have only visited Walt Disney World once and come home with a multitude of thoughts about the experience. But the question is, "What is the best nighttime show in Walt Disney World?"

There are those who say that Wishes is the best. In fact, a survey of readers in October 2010 had half of the respondents voting for Wishes. The other 50% were split between IllumiNations and Fantasmic. So, some say Wishes, some say IllumiNations, and so forth.

Now there is another option, Magic, Memories and You. No, we're not going to poll the audience, but I am saying that it is a show that should not be missed. If for no other reason, for the technology. In fact, you may not tear up as you would for the others, but I think you'll find it does touch a chord for many viewers.

As for me, I find my eyes leaking for Wishes, IllumiNations and Magic, Memories and You. What is not to love about any of these three?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Something On A Sunday

A Lamp, in some restaurant, in an old train station in Battle Creek, Michigan 05.04.08

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

I know I posted this photograph last year. But... it is still one of my favorite signs in Frontierland.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


You've heard me say it before, and sadly, I must say it again. Life has gotten a bit busy lately and I have not been able to keep to my regular schedule. Sorry!

Please keep stopping by. I hope to be back on a more or less regular schedule in the next 7-10 days; but will add some things here and there as I can.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Where In The World

I rather thought that the last Where In The World would have been something of a challenge, but that it would be recognizable. Take a look back at the August 8th and see if you don't recognize this from the queue on Kilimanjaro Safari. Erik Wagner wrote in on our Facebook page saying it was definitely in Disney's Animal Kingdom, but not exactly where. Either way, thank you for playing Erik.

This week, we are turning it up a notch, I think. Take a look and tell me Where In The World you'd see this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

Better late than never I suppose. I had to work this morning, then my wife and I joined some other family at the Nashville Zoo for the afternoon. But before settling down for a little dinner and watching the Social Network, thought I'd take a moment to add today's sign.

Not all signs in Walt Disney World are of actual establishments. Some are added to simply create atmosphere. These are a few.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Photo Phriday

I dreamed of Africa.

Having lived in a place where you woke up every morning to gentle sound of bells on the necks of sheep and looking out your window to see the French Alps, you wonder what could be more beautiful. This is a question that people have asked my wife and I. It is a question we ask ourselves. What is the most beautiful place you've ever been too?

It is a difficult question to answer for we have been blessed to see many magnificent places. It may be the shear magnitude of a mountain, or the barrenness of a sweeping moor. We've walked along the rugged coast of the Irish Sea and along the quiet waterfront of an North Sea inlet at a time when there was 20 hours of daylight. We've walked the dusty roads of Uganda and the sidewalks of the Champs Elysees. This does not account for the many spectacular places we've seen right here in our country and our state.

But still, the question remains. What is the most beautiful place you've ever been too? My wife will tell you Switzerland. I would answer, Zimbabwe.

When we arrived in Harare, it was like other African cities I had been to. But once you leave the city, then it becomes the place that dreams are made of; my dreams at least. I had dreamed of what Africa would be and one day, while on a safari east of Harare, I saw it. I saw a landscape that said, "I am Africa."
Yes, I once dreamed of Africa. Now, I simply dream of Africa. I dream of time that I may get to return to Zimbabwe. To ride in the back of a truck out onto the savannah and witness the variety of wildlife found there. To walk through the grass and get nearly get close enough to a giraffe to touch it.To ride on the back of an elephant again and to sip tea in the shade of a koppie. These are things I dream of.

I dream of Africa.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Doc's World - A Door

I was sharing with a friend last week saying that "Life would be a lot more fun if it wouldn't get in the way so often." This week has been one of those times. It has been a good week, but a busy week and I didn't have time to get something ready to post on Wednesday. Sorry.

I was puttering around (one of my favorite pastimes) in my office earlier this month and was taking a few photographs, all the while thinking that we haven't paid a visit to Doc's World lately. So here goes. A visit to Doc's World.
This is board I have hanging on the closet door of my home office. When we built our house my wife said I could have one room to fill with all of my Disney things. And, for the most part, I have kept things confined here. Though it has spread a bit; we both believe that every room needs a little Disney. For example, the Galleries of Light live in the living room and dining room. But most of my collection resides upstairs in my little haven, my laughing place, my "Li'l Disney".

The board holds a selection of pins, old wristbands from past events (and PI), a couple of now tarnished jingle bells with a pin saying "Believe" that I picked up at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party a few years ago, some notes to myself and doodles, and a few photos. You may see my son posing by a Photo Spot and then a little further down is a picture of me in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Paris Disneyland. Just below that is a picture of my daughter when she was a bit younger and my dear grandmother, Nannie. We lost her a few years ago. If fact, I was just coming off of Expedition Everest when I got the call that she went home to be with the Lord.

Then about the pins; one of my many goals is to have a pin for every attraction in the Magic Kingdom. So, I have a park map on the board and I place an attraction pin on or near the spot on the map. I still have a few pins to go.

Some day, very soon in fact, I'll show you behind that door. I am in the process of clearing it and then I'll re-purpose the space into a small studio for my drawing. I like to doodle and I like to work on pen and ink renderings. Hoping to get back to it soon.

So there you are. Just a little bit more about life In Doc's World.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Disney World After Dark: A Fountain II

There is something that I have been meaning to do. With every trip to Epcot I hope that I find time to sit and watch the fountains. I am not very successful in fulfilling this hope, but still, I hope. I have often thought that if ever I find myself in a situation when I can come and go to the parks whenever I wish, then I'd have a better chance of having that time.

Of all the fountains in the World, the World Fellowship Fountain is my favorite. I slow down when I walk past it during the day. If I stop to eat at the Electric Umbrella, I never set with my back to the water. At night, the fountain is even more spectacular! Then, I come to a complete stop.

Someday I'll have the time I speak of. When that day arrives I plan to find a place along a nearby wall and watch the fountain through a whole cycle of shows. Then when that's done, I may do it all over again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Something On A Sunday

Today we celebrate the Fourth of July from the penthouse of the Icon.
Nashville, Tennessee 07.04.11

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

When considering today's installment of A Sign Its Saturday, I have just two words for you: Fixin's Bar!
Alright, so not just two words. Here are four more and a few numbers thrown in for good measure: Deluxe 1/3-Pound Angus Cheeseburger.

'Nuf said.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Photo Phriday

In England a bus has two levels; you know, the double-decker bus that we are familiar with. A coach is one level, or what we in the States call a bus. In in 1995, prior to moving there the following year, Gerrie and I took a trip to London and Paris. It was a great two weeks. We spent a few days staying in and touring London, then took the EuroStar to Paris for a few days. Then it was back to London and some tours outside the city.

One of these was a coach trip to Cornwall, or as it is sometimes referred to as, the West Country. This began my wife's love affair with the region. She adores Cornwall and in particular, Port Isaac. She dreams that someday we'll return to England and have a chance to visit Port Isaac again and stay at a little B&B that she enjoys. I can't blame her. I too enjoy Cornwall and spent a few weeks during the Summer of '97 there while on tour with Godspell and I hope to make it back someday. The ruggedness of the coasts and the sweeping barrenness of the moors is its own special beauty. And the food? Nothing like a Steak & Stilton Cornish Pasty followed with a nice cream tea. But more on that some other time.
On this particular visit we went as far west as you can go, to Land's End. It is at the southwest most tip of England on the Penwith Peninsula. There is a small settlement there catering mostly to the tourist trade. The nearest village/town/city of an any import is Penzance which is 8 miles away. You may recall that Gilbert and Sullivan had something to do with Penzance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wishful Wednesday

You may recall that I hope to take each of my grandchildren to Walt Disney World sometime while they are 9-years-old. I mentioned a few days ago about taking a trip with my dad; just my dad and me. It's special to have just that one-on-one time. I have enjoyed that with my children and now I hope to enjoy it with my grandchildren.

For my granddaughter Shelby, that trip was this past April. To say that I spoiled her is an understatement. I did. I admit it. She enjoyed the full treatment at the Bippity Boppity Boutique and had breakfast in the castle with Cinderella. She got to hug her favorite princess, Ariel and the two talked for a short while. She then made her wish on her Wishing Star. She was living her dream. At one point, she looked across the table at me and said, "Papa, this is the best time of my whole life."

Okay, I got a little choked with that. Then, and now.

But you know, as wonderful as all that was, this is what it is all about...

There are few joys that compare, or are greater than seeing a child smile or hearing them laugh. Whether it is in Walt Disney World or over a bowl of cereal in the kitchen, it doesn't get much better than this.

This is what it is all about.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where In The World

I am happy to report that one my oldest and dearest friends (not that he is old, in fact I am somewhat older than he is, but you get the point) correctly placed the last Where In The World. My friend Ryan Wilson of the Main Street Gazette wrote in to let us know that the picture in question was that of the Yakitori House in the Japan Pavilion. Congrats Ryan.

And folks, if you haven't already, stop by the Main Street Gazette. Ryan has been at it a few years now and always, always puts up excellent material!

Now for this weeks edition. Where In The World would you find this?
It may be a little too easy. But then, one never knows.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Something On A Sunday

There used to be passenger train service in Nashville.
The Timetable
Union Station 02.20.11

Yes, there used to be passenger train service in Nashville. The photograph above is a timetable during the golden age of rail travel. As the years progressed and cars became the standard method of moving from one place to another, the services declined and some markets phased out entirely. Nashville was one of those markets.

But before the end my dad and I took a trip aboard The Floridian from Nashville to Palm Beach. What a great trip and a what great memories. At the time (the early 70's) Union Station was a home for pigeons. Thousands of pigeons. Amtrak had a small office and passenger waiting room in a corner of the lobby and to get from the front door to the waiting room you'd have to, in some places, walk on planks; the only walkway across gaping holes in the lobby floor. Flash forward - you'd never know that was the state of the building. Now it is a magnificent lobby for the Union Station Hotel.

Of the trip, I remember spending hours in the domed club car, one time staying up late playing nickel ante poker with some college students. My dad asked "How much did you lose?" "Well dad, I don't know how much I lost, but I won a little over $5.00." He was impressed. We visited the house we lived in when I was in the 3rd grade, spent a little time window shopping on Worth Avenue. Went to a greyhound track and saw my first game of Jai Alai. We drove along South Ocean Blvd. and I was amazed at the size of the houses some people lived in. Still am for that matter.

I could go on.

I wish passenger trains would return to Nashville. I would take as many train trips as time allowed. We have a few train trips noted in The Dream Book. Perhaps someday. On a train, the journey really is the point.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Sign Its Saturday

I thought that for the month of August we'd spend a little time strolling up and down the streets, and looking at the shops of Frontierland. This morning, let's pay a visit to one of my favorite shops in all of the Magic Kingdom, the Frontier Trading Post. Hardly a visit will pass without me stopping in and selecting a few pins to bring home.
And who is "Texas" John Slaughter you ask? "Texas" John arrives in the town of Friotown. He kills two gunmen in self-defense which, in turn garners him an invitation to join the Texas Rangers; an invitation he declines. He came to town to set up a cattle ranch, but his plans are sidetracked by the outlaw Frank Davis.

Sound familiar? That is the story as it was told in an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. The episode aired on October 31, 1958 and starred Tom Tyron as "Texas" John Slaughter.

But our little history lesson doesn't end there. There was a real "Texas John" Slaughter. Slaughter was born in Sabine Parish, Louisiana on October 2, 1841. During his 80 years he was a Civil War veteran, a trail-driver, cattleman, (actually was) a Texas Ranger, sheriff of Cochise County in Arizona and was State Representative in Arizona. John also liked to gamble. Slaughter died in his sleep on February 22, 1922 in Douglas, Arizona.

If you'd like to learn a bit more about "Texas John", visit the Legends of America. His is an interesting history.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Photo Phriday

I love the month of August! I love the month of August for two particular reasons. One, my wife was born in August and two, I married my wife in August. In fact, we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary on the 30th. I can still remember it as though it was yesterday. It was a quaint gathering of 175 of our closest friends. My mother handled the catering. My son stood as my Best Man and my daughter was the Maid of Honor. It was an outdoor wedding, candles floating in the pool, and my bride came down the aisle, escorted by her son, to Flower Duet from Leo Delibes opera, Lakme. Instead of writing a vow that I would stumble through, I had In My Life by The Beatles played; my song for her.

Nearly twenty years ago.

I want to celebrate the month of August by sharing a few photos and stories of our life together. We'll begin with a photograph of two countries.
In the Fall of 1996, Gerrie and I took part in what was known as the Reconciliation Walk. The Reconciliation Walk was a prayer walk tracing the routes of the First Crusade. The purpose of the Walk was to pray for forgiveness for the atrocities committed in the name of Christ during the Crusade and when possible, share a message of peace with Muslims we may encounter along the way.

Gerrie and I, along with other members of our missionary training team, walked over a 1,000 miles during our ten weeks on the road. We began in Dijon, France and ended in Bari, Italy. We crossed three mountain ranges; the Jura Mountains, the Alps and Apennine Mountains. The photograph above is of Gerrie and I at Great St. Bernard Pass. The pass is at 8,100 feet above sea level. In the photograph we are standing in Switzerland and over our shoulders, the buildings in the distance, is Italy. We spent the night in the Hospice there, which has been receiving guests since around 1050, including Napoleon in 1800. The road he used to cross? Built by the Romans. The morning the photograph was taken, October 5th, we would come through the pass and enter Italy spending our first night in a monastery in Saint-Oyen.

From Saint-Oyen, we spent the next 6 to 8 weeks walking through Italy. Not the Italy of the travel books, but the Italy of the Italians. The small towns and villages that no one cares to visit. Sometimes we had wonderful accommodation, meaning that the floor was clean where we'd throw your sleeping bag. Sometimes we'd make it through the night and then pray that our next stop would be better. But good or bad, hot or cold, rain or snow, it was an experience that neither of us will ever forget.

Years have passed since those days and I am not nearly in the shape I was then. But on occasion, I dream about our Walk and I'd like to think I could do it again someday.

I love the month of August! It is my anniversary month. It has been a wonderful adventure! And it will continue to be for as long as we both shall live.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Need To Rename This Series

Don't you think?

I am not always successful when trying to make a level photograph. What looks level in the view finder doesn't always come out that way and then I am faced with having to correct it in post. But, one area in Walt Disney World that I find cries out to be photographed at various angles, is Italy. The textures, the masonry, the contrasts of straight and curved edges, is too much not to tilt the camera at least 45 degrees.
At least that is my feeling on the matter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Disney World After Dark: The Temple of Heaven

There are few places in World Showcase that I find more peaceful than the China Pavilion. When I am tired I like to have a Peach Oolong Tea from the Joy of Tea and find a place to sit in the garden. The music and the sound of water I find quite soothing. Another place that allows a moment or two of quiet is the rotunda in the Temple of Heaven. Enter here and let a sense of calm to overtake you.