I finally got to take Elek to Disney World and Universal Studios. It turns out we picked a great time to go, after holiday crowds and after the cheer leading competition in the winter. We went to Disney World from Jan. 1 – Jan. 4. The crowds were there, but not enormous and the weather was pretty cooperative. On average it was in the mid 60’s each day. It sprinkled a couple of days, but we had rain jackets. I think I was over-prepared. I had a small first aid kit, disposable ponchos, two pairs of tennis shoes each, blister bandages, some stuff to reduce friction, among other things. I barely used these things at all.
We stayed in the All-Star Movies resort in the Mighty Ducks building. It was nice enough since we weren’t there that often. Buses went back and forth to each of the Disney kingdoms about every 20 minutes which made it convenient. We typically would go in the morning, come back after lunch to rest up and then head back out around 5 for dinner and the evening. I highly recommend staying “on campus”, though I would probably opt for the Art of Animation resort next time.
We purchased both a meal plan and the photo package. If your child doesn’t care about the characters (mine doesn’t) then don’t get the photo package. Also while the meal plan saves you some money, it reduces the number of options you can get in each place. If I did it again I probably wouldn’t have gotten the meal plan. We didn’t have either of these at Universal Studios.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
We got to the Magic Kingdom around 3:30 PM Jan. 1 since Delta changed our flight to get in at 2 something instead of 10:00 AM. Spend most of your time in the Magic Kingdom. The highlights there were Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain, and the people mover in Tomorrowland. We also went on the Jungle Cruise which was full of puns, the Liberty Square Riverboat, Stitch’s Great Escape, the Haunted Mansion (which I remember), Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Swiss Family Treehouse, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Elek’s favorite there was the Barnstormer, which is a smaller roller coaster. Every night there is a massive fireworks display and we witnessed several parades with all kinds of characters. Once you learn how to use the fast passes they’re a really good idea and a huge time saver. We ate at Tony’s (Lady and the Tramp), which was pretty good.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
We came here Jan. 3rd and saw the Indiana Jones stunt show, Muppet*Vision 3D, went on the Great Movie Ride, and went on Star Tours a couple of times which was my favorite there. That night we ate at the Sci-Fi Diner which was really cool and I highly recommend it!
Elek and I went on Mission Space first. We did the low intensity which was nothing so we thought we would try the high intensity. Well Elek almost lost his breakfast as it was really intense! The other rides we rode were Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Spaceship Earth, and Test Track. Unfortunately Soarin’ was closed for refurbishment. Elek absolutely loved the Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure where it was like a mystery/scavenger hunt around the different countries in Epcot. The firework show here was amazing! We ate at Teppan Edo in Japan and it was really good. I got the sake flight which only reaffirmed the fact that I like dry sake.
We then took an Uber to our other resort which was called Cabana Bay. It was retro and very cool! They had a large (heated) pool, water slide, and hot tub.
Universal Islands of Adventure
Elek really enjoyed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade, the Flight of the Hippogriff, and the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. We of course had to buy a “magic” wand and perform the spells at shop windows throughout Hogsmeade. I think this was Elek’s favorite part. Keep in mind in order to ride the train you will have to get park-to-park with your tickets. Elek played one of those basketball fair games and made two out of three shots so he won a Jurrasic Park basketball! We ate outside of the park at Yard House for dinner which has a massive selection of beers on tap and food. I got the short rib tacos and they were amazing.
This was our last day and the Harry Potter world was incredible! There were many more spells to perform. The dragon above Gringotts breathes fire every so often. We rode on the E.T. Adventure and Elek rode the Woody Woodpecker roller coaster about 20 times. We both tried some butterbeer ice cream which was really good. I think by this time we were both pretty tired and ready to come home. I was disappointed that the back to the future ride wasn’t still there, but I did manage to get a picture of the car.
Posted by Peter Owen | Filed under new music
Posted by Peter Owen | Filed under Uncategorized
So Allegiant is a relatively new airline which offers cheap flights to a few destinations from Memphis including Miami. My friend Ruth is living down there so I thought I would try out Allegiant air and visit June 26-29. Turns out the airline is totally a la carte. Everything cost more. It also seems that they’re consistently running late as well. My flight on the way back was delayed 6 hours.
Anyway while in Miami we went to one of the many beaches. I actually managed to get some sun and we saw a 3 foot long iguana in the wild which was unexpected. We also saw some needle fish and I managed to step on some creature (we both freaked out). We visited the Wynwood district that is currently being gentrified. The graffiti on the walls was excellent! We went to a few places including one called “Shots”. This place had various things including hookah rental, two women dressed as unicorns selling jello shots, and about 3 separate bars with a live DJ who felt the need to ruin the music by constantly speaking into the microphone.
Ruth has a relatively new, very cute dog named Phoebe whom I got along well with. I met a bunch of Ruth’s friends who were all cool. Speaking of that, I need to check with Liz to find out the best dates to try to go to Disney.
Posted by Peter Owen | Filed under travel
So several of us Cooper Young neighbors decided to go to the beach June 6-13. We chose a large house in Miramar Beach which is right next to Destin, FL. It turns out there were some other Cooper Youngers down there so we all got together and had a party. Many rounds of Cards Against Humanity were played. Each couple took turns cooking for everyone, which worked out pretty well. The last full day we went to Big Kahuna’s water park which was a lot of fun. Elek and I rode everything except the black slides. Good times with good people!
Wednesday March 26, 2015
Kelli and I went to Milford, Connecticut for a sales conference to give a presentation on what my group does. It turns out for a little more than $20 you can get a train to New York so that is what Kelli and I did Thursday 3/26 afternoon after the conference. We caught a ride to the train station, bought our tickets and lugged our bags onto the train to Grand Central Station in NYC. I had never seen it before except in movies and flash mob videos. It was so expansive, light, and bright with so many people. We bought a week subway pass and headed to the AirBnB in Brooklyn.
When we arrived at our stop for the AirBnB, I called Mark up to ask for directions. We walked about 6 blocks to the place we were staying which was the middle part of a row house and in great condition. The neighborhood was up and coming. There were many row houses under construction. We met Mark who was incredibly nice and helpful and settled in.
Mark recommended this family owned Sicilian place called Saraghina where we decided to eat dinner. They had a bakery around the corner as well with some Italian goods. Kelli ate the ravioli with butternut squash and I had a pizza both of which we shared. You could tell the pasta was homemade and FRESH. It almost melted in my mouth. The pizza was true Italian style pizza, thin, not too filling, and very tasty! We shared Tiramisu for dessert which was excellent. Everyone in the restaurant spoke Italian. We paid (cash only) and checked Yelp for a local bar, one of which we found nearby called Casablanca. It had a retro sign behind the stone bar, stone tables, they were playing Motown, and there was vinyl in the corner with a record player. I think it’s safe to say it was a hipster bar and a pretty cool one at that. Kelli had one of the best chocolate stouts she has ever had. After a drink we called it a night and headed home.
Thursday March 27, 2015
Kelli and I got up early to head into the city dressed nicely with our nice shoes in a backpack. Today was the day we were going to meet Doug and Jenny to eat lunch at at 2PM. For breakfast we stopped by a coffee shop called . I had a chocolate filled croissant and Kelli had a latte with a flower shape that the guy made in her froth. After that brief stop for breakfast, we headed to the Tribeca/Soho district on the edge of the financial district via subway of course.
We walked by a little deli where Kelli got a huge cookie that we split. Then we went by Starbucks so Kelli could get her coffee fix (chai latte) and their bathroom was “broken” unfortunately. After that we headed for Saluggi’s, a pizza place, since our lunch was at 2:00 PM. We split a white pizza that was every bit as good as the last and Kelli had red wine at 11:00 AM. She loved it! We kept accruing leftovers and keeping them in Kelli’s backpack. We rode the subway to Central Park and found our way to the Alice in Wonderland statue. What a cool tribute! Kelli had mud on the back of her legs partially because of the shoes she was wearing and partially because she walks so fast. We found a restroom so she could wash off the mud and I could change shoes. We walked the rest of the way to the Trump Towers to eat at Jean Georges where Kelli had the sea bass and crab risotto. I had the yellowfin tuna ribbons, and black sea bass and a $20 Manhattan. It was pretty good, but pretty much the place someone goes for the “experience”. The food was tasty, but not exactly my thing. We all had cut marshmallow for dessert. Doug and Jenny were great. Also I think I can check off “calling a woman a slut loudly in a really fancy restaurant” off my “things to do before I die” list. Kelli and I took the subway back home to rest for a bit before heading back to the city.
We put on more casual clothes and headed to Times Square. I had seen it in the day time, but never at night and WOW, it was so bright that it was like day! We found our way to Topaz Thai which was packed. We split a veggie dish and Kelli got sticky rice and soup. Afterward we headed to the dive bar, Don Pedros, where would play later. We got to the place and it had two skeeball machines that were not functioning (I don’t think) and several bands were playing. It was a cash bar and Doug showed up a bit later having drunk his lunch (his usual gin and tonics). The bands were great and Doug caught an Uber home. Because I’m stubborn, Kelli and I walked to the train station and one of our cards wouldn’t work so Kelli was on the inside where the train would be coming and I was on the outside with a non-functioning card. This man who didn’t have a card to get in told Kelli to open the emergency door, which she did, and we both got in and go to the other side just in time for the LAST train back to our place. We exited the train and walked through the neighborhood Mark told us to steer clear of around 2 AM. We ate all of the leftovers in Kelli’s backpack with few exceptions and went to sleep.
Friday March 28, 2015
Today we slept in somewhat. Kelli didn’t sleep well and nobody had a hangover! We went back to Rabbit Moon and Kelli had a plain doughnut and I had a chocolate one which was amazing! It was thick unlike many other doughnuts. We arrived at the Chelsea market and Kelli was beside herself. She wanted to see, taste, and experience everything! I did too, though not as much. We found a place and ate some sushi, lobster bisque, crab hush puppies, and waters. We had to stand to eat as there was limited room in this fresh seafood market. Then we went to an Italian store and we bought stuff for the workgroup, my mom, Elek, Charlie, Lizzy, and Kelli’s mom. I had to rest a bit so Kelli went off to see some artwork and eventually we went back to a bakery and Kelli bought some carrot cake which we both tried and she put the leftovers in her bag. Kelli also bought my and her a set of I <3 Brooklyn magnets (which is on my fridge currently) as well as a full loaf of bread! That woman loves her bread! We walked and walked and eventually made our way to Eatily which was an indoor collection of restaurants, shops, etc. with wine, cheese, ice cream, bread, etc. It was PACKED so we didn't stay long. Kelli took Peter's picture in front of McDonalds for Living PSP, our VP's birthday gift. Next we went to China town and Little Italy because I had never been to Little Italy. We walked the length, then we traveled back home and decided to eat at the Sicilian place again, Saraghina. Kelli had red wine and we split a bread and cheese plate. Kelli had the spaghetti and I had the lasagna both of which were fantastic. We took 3 cannolis with us (3 because the Italian guy thought Kelli was cute). Once we were back at home I called a car service to pick us up for the airport the next morning. Sunday March 29, 2015
We woke up by our alarms and I cooked an egg for breakfast left by the last tenants. Kelli fixed coffee and we packed and prepared to leave. The car to LGA cost about $20 something and change. We ate lunch in the airport which was not nearly as good as the rest of the city as expected. Oh, also I opted out of the machine that detects bomb residue and chose to get felt up by the TSA agent who kindly didn’t cup my balls this time. We connected through Detroit back to reality.
Hungry Kids of Hungary – Yesterday’s Gone