Looking Forward To The Next One

Posted in Travel on March 26th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, here we are only 2 months out from our last trip to Disney World, and I’m already wanting to go back.  That’s nothing new, it’s an awesome place, but I’m also reading about many changes taking place.  Ok, so I’m not exactly planning the next trip (step one would be how to fit our family of soon-to-be 7 into the minivan along with a week’s worth of luggage for a 20 hour drive), but articles like the following tempt me.  Especially  interesting: Disney’s $1 billion Next Generation project, which includes interactive line queues – they’re adding things like an interactive mystery experience to the line of the Haunted Mansion attraction.  And apparently they’ve already added interactive video games to Soarin’ and Space Mountain, none of which I had noticed on our last visit!  Maybe because we did the Fast Pass?  That reminds me, Disney is going to try a new concept as part of the Next Gen project: guests will be able to book their ride times for various attractions from their hotels or from home ahead of time, drastically reducing or even eliminating the need to wait in line (and to see all these brand spanking new queue attractions?).  Also something I missed this last time around: the new playground and interactive video games in the line for the Winnie the Pooh ride.  Now where would they have room for that, I wonder?  But no wonder that we didn’t notice these enhancements; that ride normally has an over 40 minute wait even in the down season, so we don’t usually indulge in it.

Lots of interesting changes and enhancements on the horizon, check them out for yourself.

New York Trip Diary Volume 2

Posted in Travel on March 25th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NEW YORK TRIP – MARCH 20-23, 2009 – TAYLOR: 9 yrs, SAMMIE: 4 yrs, DISNEY: 2½ yrs, CHRISTOPHER: 8 mos

(continued from a previous post)

Friday March 20 (cont’d) – We arrived at the Akron Zoo about 2pm, which was right on schedule pretty much, although it would have been nice to have more time to explore the wonderful zoo that awaited us.  From what I saw, Akron looked like a dumpy little city with a beautiful little zoo.  All of the exhibits seemed to be of newer construction, and the animals seemed really active and happy.  The Akron Zoo has many unique animals in their collection; including the super rare Sumatran Tiger, (most people are used to seeing Bengals, also called Siberian tigers as those are the ones frequently exhibited at zoos) and the Sumatran tiger was roaring when we saw him.  They also have 2 types of animals that I was looking forward to seeing – the hyacinth macaw and the capybara (largest rodent on earth) – but both species were off exhibit waiting for warmer weather.  No problem, we had seen capybaras at the Cleveland Zoo earlier in the day, and I have a macaw at home, not a rare hyacinth, but a macaw just the same.  Akron has a Malayan sun bear, the type of bear that was the inspiration to A. A. Milne for his Winnie the Pooh stories, and these are also not commonly on exhibit in zoos.  When we stopped for lunch, we were pleased to find that the cafe is attached to a building with a Galapagos tortoise habitat, a komodo dragon exhibit, a really cool marmoset environment (a little marmoset – it’s a small primate, if you don’t know – came running up to the glass when he saw us with our nacho container and started licking the glass!), and an awesome jellyfish exhibit.  Before Friday I had only seen one type of jellyfish – moon jellies – but the Akron Zoo has several different kinds on display.  My  favorite were the bulbous blue blubber jellies.  Here is the marmoset trying to taste our nachos through the glass while my daughter is in the middle of a blink:

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And next is a picture of the komodo dragon; I couldn’t resist posting it.  These things are incredibly ferocious and huge.  Once they claw (and look at those claws!) or bite their prey (and I’m talking prey as large as water buffalo), they hang around until the animal succumbs to the 28 varieties of deadly bacteria the komodo has in its saliva and then devour it.  Sharon Stone and her husband Phil Bronstein have something to say about the danger of komodos after one bit off his toes during a behind the scenes visit.  You can’t really tell from the picture, but this thing was almost 10 feet long!

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The Akron Zoo is a place for great family fun.  The girls got to be penguins:

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and measure their wing spans:

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Even though their baby brother didn’t quite make it long enough to see all of the animals and activities Akron had to offer:

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Another cool experience we had at Akron was hearing the bald eagles chirping.  I always kind of assumed they would have big voices to match their size, but their tweeting was really cute!  Overall, we had a wonderful day zoo-hopping.  After our visit to Akron, it was time to head for our hotel in New Jersey.  The ride was uneventful; the kids got some sleep and so did I.  The traffic in New Jersey was absolutely horrible, which we totally expected, but what we didn’t expect was all the detours.  There were police and road construction everywhere, which amounted to a ton of traffic, especially for one in the morning.  It was a bit stressful, but we did it, and kudos to my wonderful husband who kept his cool and guided us through the many detours for which Jill the GPS couldn’t compensate.  But who needs Jill?  We made it without getting lost!  And as we were walking down the hall to room 913 to turn in for the evening, I turned to Jamy our great friend and traveling Manny (man who’s a nanny in case you missed my first diary installment) and said, “At least we’re not staying in room 911 for our trip to New York.”  He showed me his key, which did say 911 – oops.  Thankfully it was just a coincidence, not an omen:

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And here is a parting shot of our family outside the Akron Zoo from earlier in the day – stayed tuned for Trip Diary Volume 3!

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