Sunday, April 27, 2008

Superman has Kryptonite, JP has...

Pollen!! It's that sucky time of the year where my eyes itch, my nose runs, and I sneeze out of my shoes. Yes my friends it is springtime and the trees are mating and giving off all of the wonderful pollen that coats everything, turns pools of rainwater into bright green puddles and that wonderful substance turns me into a quivering, miserable mess. Thankfully, I practice better living through chemistry, so I pop one of these every day:


It works pretty well, but I cannot wait until everything is leafy, because once the leaves are out I know the pollen is not being mass produced anymore and I become a sane person again. But for the time being, I'll medicate myself and just deal. JP out...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Vacation in The Magic Kingdom

Vacation started last Sunday at about 5AM. Sharkey and I had to catch an 8:30AM flight so we had to be at the airport by about 7:00AM.


Our flight was "mostly" on time and we landed in Orlando and met up with Character Builder and family around 11:00AM.

Day 1: The Magic Kingdom

As we arrived in Orlando we stood in our first line for the week, for the Magical Express Bus. I think the most impressive thing was that I was in like a 5 queue line, but only had to wait like 5 minutes before I was checked in.


The Disney Cast member told me they were going to transport 1200 guests in one hour. My head spun with the logistics of that, but hey they are Disney. They have their stuff together. For anyone going to Disney, the Magical Express is awesome. You check your bags at the airport and you do not see them again until you are in your Disney hotel room. And from the time you board the bus, you are inundated with Disney media to get you into the vacation mood. Even the seats on the bus have magical, sparkly patterns. (Wide Eyed JP--Disney is great... great.... I love the mouse... mouse....)


We arrived at the Port Orleans Riverside resort and checked in. We were able to get adjoining rooms with Character Builder and family.


After a quick lunch at the resort, off to the Magic Kingdom we went. After a few rides, viewing a parade, and getting through what I will refer to as "The Dumbo Incident," we had dinner at the Crystal Palace. The kids were able to see their first characters for the week up close (i.e. Pooh, Tigger, Eyore, and Piglet):

(um, guy in the right part of the picture is a "passerby")

After dinner, all the girls went back to the hotel and CB's hubbie Jason and her son Alex and I went on all the "big boy" rides. You know, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and The Haunted Mansion. After our "boys night out" we caught the buss back to the resort and turned in after a long day.

Day 2: Animal Kingdom & The Magic Kingdom take 2

Our next day we were off to the Animal Kingdom and to get anywhere from our hotel you have to take a bus or a boat. So here's Sharkey and Lauren sitting at the stop:


Upon arriving at the Animal Kingdom we saw the Tree of Life:


And after viewing that architectural marvel, we quickly realized everyone needed food, badly. So we stopped at Pizzasaurous for lunch, and while everyone was sitting down, I beat feet over to get a fast pass to the safari ride. As a Disney veteran and knower of everything Mouse related, I knew that a fast pass was a great idea for the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. So after lunch, we decided to split into girls and boys groups again so the boys could go on the thrill rides and the girls could find some other less adrenaline pumping attractions. So Jason, Alex and I headed to Expedition Everest:


The girls went to the Finding Nemo stage show and take a few pictures with Lilo and Stitch and we were able to get in the Dinosaur Countdown to Extinction ride:


We also were able to take the self guided safari tour and saw lizards, bats, monkeys, and tigers up close:


The tiger was the coolest! Not sure what they use, but I was a foot away from the big kitty. I was thinking I wonder what this glass is made out of. And why does the tiger keep pacing back and forth in front of me?

We headed back to the Magic Kingdom to meet our dinner reservation time at Tony's Restaurant. Before dinner we were able to fit in the Buzz Lightyear ride. After dinner we did the Monsters Inc. comedy room and got our place for the nightly fireworks extravaganza. Then after that show was over, the kids still had pretty good energy and since all we'd be doing is wait for a bus anyway, we decided to go on some rides. So we all went on the Indy Speedway Motor Cars, the Dumbo ride, and then Sharkey, CB, and the kids went on the Tea Cups several times, and the Carousel. And after a very long day, we went back to Riverside and all crashed.

Day 3: Hollywood Studios

Day 3 marked Character Builder's birthday and my 8th anniversary with Sharkey. We were off to Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios.


Our first stop was the Indiana Jones Stunt show:

After that show, we went and grabbed fast passes for the Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster


Soon after we took the Backlot Tour and saw a few neat props:

This is the bone cage from the Pirates of the Carribean 2 movie:


This sci fi looking piece is from none other than Star Wars: Return of the Jedi:


And the piece de resistance is Ear Force 1, Walt Disney's personal aircraft. Way cool!


Our day ended with dinner at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Sharkey and I love this place. We had a few alcoholic beverages, and enjoyed a dinner with abuse from our server, Aunt Memory. Yah, we pay money to get slapped around at dinner. She even force fed Sharkey the green beans she didn't finish, before she could get dessert.


And so day 3 ended.

Day 4: EPCOT

Day 4 marked the other big occasion for the week, CB's daughter Lauren's 5th Birthday! So off to EPCOT we went because we had made reservations to have breakfast with the princesses.


This breakfast was like the best idea ever. Not so much for the princesses and breakfast, but we were able to get into the park before it was opened and walked around like we owned the place. It was awesome! I was able to snap some photos without gobs and gobs of crowds in the picture.


After breakfast we did more pictures with characters and rode on Soarin', Mission Space, and Test Track. After our rides in Future World, we walked around the World Showcase so Alex could get his EPCOT passport stamped in each country and grabbed lunch around the world in different countries. You know, quiche in France, udon / snowcones in Japan, burgers & fries in the USA, pretzels/bratwurst/chocolate in Germany, and snacks in a few other countries. While in Japan we also caught the Taiko drummers:

By 8:00PM we were all spent, our dogs were barking, lower backs were aching, and energy was reaching a low level, so we went back to Riverside for a low key night and grabbed dinner at the Waterwheel food court there.

Day 5: Downtown Disney

Our final day was our shopping day, so off to the docks we went to catch the boat to Downtown Disney:



We arrived and had lunch at the golden arches, Mickey D's:


We then went to shop at the World of Disney store:


And then hit the Disney Pin hut for Alex and into another shop where I found a Jedi Mickey figure for my work desk and the mystery bag of Disney goodness. Sure it was a bag full of a few clearance items, but the mystery bag could have contained anything. It was too enticing to pass by. Yeah, Sharkey didn't get it and berated me for falling for the marketing, but who am I? What's my name?

The only thing at Downtown Disney that was disappointing to me was that Ghirardelli's ice cream fountain was closed from remodeling. So NO HOT FUDGE SUNDAE!!! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!! Well, I guess that means we'll need to return soon for my sundae fix right?!

And so ends the Disney Vacation for 2008. It is back to work tomorrow, and I do wish I had like 5 more days to just decompress, golf, and sleep, but I figure I have 20 more days of vacation for 2008 so there's time!!

JP out....

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Made It...


Ginormous Project - 5
JP - 0

Well, the "ginormous" project is finally wrapping up! And none too soon. I am fried. Spent. I got nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. So I finished my 5th straight Saturday this past weekend and today I turned over my part to the "ongoing" people to handle today! It felt goooooooooooodddd to perform that handoff. So I made it... I think I made it... Oh God please let this mean I made it!! So now I am trying to wind down and finish up the last few things I need to do before we fly off to Disneyworld to meet CB and family. I actually was able to sit down and eat dinner (which I cooked instead of bought) with my beautiful Sharkey. It was a bit surreal like, "Hey Honey where have you been, it feels like I've been away forever."

So things to do on vacation.... Well first of all, I am thinking we have to make our way to Downtown Disney and have a Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundae....

If you think the picture looks good, it's got nothin' on the REAL THING. Yes it is true, there are few things ice cream and fudge cannot remedy.

Next. Buzz Lightyear Ride. Sure it is for kids 4 years and up. But it is a BLAST! Sharkey and I always see who can get a higher score. And we have been known to go on this ride a few times.

I am going to wear shorts and short sleeve shirts all week. And I am going to try to recharge and relax. For no less than 216 hours I will forget all I know about technology and work thingy's... And who knows, maybe I'll squeeze a round of golf in there somewhere too. Next post will be from the Magic Kingdom folks. JP out...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

T-Minus 12 Days...

UNTIL VACATION!!!! JP and Sharkey are headed again to the land of the Mouse (Hey Sharkey how's that Disney 5 year plan working out baby??!!!)!!! This time we are meeting up with Character Builder and family. Oh, Minnie, you're so fine you blow my mind hey MINNIE (and MICKEY)!!

I am going to eat, play, drink and chase CB's kids all over those parks! I am a Disney junkie in every sense of that term. We've planned this trip for months, I acted as travel agent and restaurant reservation concierge, and it's finally, almost here. And it comes at a great time. Let's see, this weekend may (hopefully not, but you never know) mark the 5th consecutive Saturday I spend in the office and I am in the midst of completing my GINORMOUS project and I am in desperate need of some down time!

Not sure if I ever explained this to you all, but Disneyworld is one of the places where I can totally relax. I think it is because I just forget about the day to day when I'm there. It's like... well, Magical. For a week I don't have to be "ON," I don't have to solve everyone's problems, I don't have to wear a dress shirt and tie, I don't have to sit on conference calls talking about converting data, I don't have to stare at a LCD monitor all day, and I don't have to work 60 hours a week!

I'll be taking my handy dandy Canon A560 pocket camera to take some pics and shoot some short videos. So I'll be able to hopefully share some Magical vacation moments with you all. JP OUT....PEACE!!!!! =)