Category Archives: Snapshot

Snapshot of a Disney vacation

Memories of a Cold Disney Vacation

One of the vacations we reference most frequently at home was a cold January trip we took this time 8 years ago.  This was the first time either of us had experienced Florida cold.  We mistakenly sat at home in the freezing Midwest and thought 30s and 40s would feel warm in Florida.  We left our heavy winter gear at home and went to the airport in sweatshirts.

cold in walt disney world

Shivering on Backlot Tour

We found out the hard way that the 30s do not feel warm just because you’re in Florida.  In fact, they some how feel colder than the 30s do in winter at home.  We also learned a lesson about high and low temperatures, since the high temp seemed to last for 2 minutes in the afternoon, and the rest of the day lingered in the cold.

Disney plants covered in cold

We’ve been on trips with cold mornings or evening, but this trip was remarkable for its long lasting cold.  Frost on car windows, sensitive plants covered, Christmas decoration removal delayed, strings of Spirit of Aloha dinner shows cancelled, and of course water park closure.

Kidani Village savanna

Kidani Village

We also were fortunate to stay at Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Villas, so we had a great view for all the extra time at the hotel we spent hiding from the cold.

We talk about this vacation often because what went wrong made it so memorable.  Sometimes it’s when trips don’t go to plan that the best memories are made!

sunset in nassau

Snapshot – Sunset over the Bahamas

There is no better time to wax nostalgic over prior vacations than the middle of winter!  I’ve been pining for any vacation, but right now I’m dreaming of a Disney Cruise.  We’ve made so many great memories on our previous cruises and I’m ready to make new ones.

One memory that stands out is this sunset as we left prepared to Nassau on a 3-Night Bahamian cruise aboard the Disney Dream.  It has been drizzling rain all day and we took a nap after spending some time touring downtown Nassau.  When we awoke and peeked outside we were greeted with this stunning view.

sunset in nassau

Away to the window I flew like a flash!  Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash!  Ok, we actually ran up to the adult sundeck on Deck 13.  This was a short jaunt because we were staying Concierge on Deck 12.  Thankfully that short distance allowed us to ogle this sunset before it burned away.

bahamas sunset

Sunset at sea is just one of the many events we look forward to on our Disney Cruises!

disney cruise sunset

bahamas sunset panorama

Snapshot – A Mary Poppins Dream

It’s funny how trip memories can sneak up on you out of the blue.  I’ve suddenly remembered the fortuitous stroke of luck on our December 2013 trip to Disneyland and that put us in the right place to fulfill one of my Disney dreams.


For some time before this trip I’d had a dream to meet one of the penguin waiters from Mary Poppins.  At some point I heard about a Saving Mr. Banks promotion that was scheduled for California Adventure.  Luckily for us the timing of this fit perfectly in our trip.  One morning we waited in line to receive a movie poster, then met Mary Poppins, Bert and a penguin waiter all at once!


“Sometimes, wishes can be granted in the most unexpected ways”

Immediately after this we rode Tower of Terror with our movie poster and took a silly on-ride photo with it, but I’ll spare you that photo! ;)


I’m the penguin papparazzi

Polynesian Village of 1976

The Polynesian Village was one of two original resorts that opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971.  Located on the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon, the tropical retreat fits in wonderfully with the Florida sunshine.


The photos in this post were taken in the late summer of 1976.  All photos belong to Tom’s parents, who planned to visit for 1 night on their honeymoon.  They loved it so much, they added a second night.  Each night cost $50 plus $2 tax.

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Snapshot – Rivers of America

This snapshot comes from Disneyland’s Frontierland and Rivers of America.


Confession time – we habitually run late in the mornings on vacation.  One nice thing about our Disneyland vacations is that our Eastern time zone bodies have no problem waking up at 6 am Pacific.  We make more rope drops in Disneyland than we ever make in Walt Disney World.  This particular morning we enjoyed a few key rides with short lines then stopped for a breakfast at River Belle Terrace.  The park was still relatively quiet and we could have taken advantage of more short lines, but instead we took in the peace of lounging by the River, watching the Mark Twain paddle by.

Snapshot Disneyland Train Station

This photo is the type that captures a truly unique moment in time, the first time I set foot inside Disneyland!


Visiting a park for the first time is a unique experience that feels unlike any other park experience.  We checked in at the Grand Californian the night before and walked to the closed gates…standing at the gates, staring at the train station, knowing the next morning we’d be walking through.  Early the next morning we anxiously lined up at bag check, then at the turnstile, and eventually at the end of Main Street to await rope drop.  Walking past the beautiful train station and down Main Street for the first time was a thrilling experience I won’t forget.

Snapshot – Disneyland Band

A quick moment in time from my first Disneyland trip…

Disneyland Band in Town Square

Disneyland Band in Town Square

This photo takes me back to a very specific moment, but also embodies my general feelings of Main Street.  I saw this scene on the Walt in Walt’s Footsteps tour, shortly before we toured Walt’s apartment above the Fire Station.  Seeing the Disneyland Band play in Town Square set the mood for what I was doing that day, reliving the history and place of Disneyland itself.  It also sets a mood on Main Street.  It establishes that this is an idyllic place different than what is outside the gates.  It’s nearly a scene from the Twilight Zone…a place you can forget your everyday worries and simply enjoy.

Snapshot – Flyover Cinderella Castle

Have you seen pictures or video from the recent Blue Angels flyover of the Magic Kingdom?


If I had a Disney bucket list, seeing a flyover in the parks would have been high on the list.  I grew up in the Air Force, so it’s a nostalgic mix of my childhood around planes and my adult enjoyment of Disney parks.

We lucked into being at the Magic Kingdom for parts of the Christmas Day Parade taping in 2012.  We knew there was a flyover of US Navy jets scheduled and we anxiously anticipated it from the hub near Cinderella castle.  Unfortunately they came earlier that the announced time, so this poorly framed picture is the best I have.  However the memory of being in the Magic Kingdom as planes thunder above is one I will never forget!

Snapshot – Sunny Grand Floridian

Ready to close the book on winter?  I am ready for the warmth, flowers and greenery spring will soon bring!


Today we’re enjoying a warm and sunny day at home.  Why does that make me think of Walt Disney World?  This photo of the Grand Floridian was taken on a similar day last spring.  Leisurely strolling the grounds on the way to the marina for some Magic Kingdom fun is the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Snapshot – Morning Riverside Walk

This Snapshot is from our most recent trip to Walt Disney World.  We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, one of our personal favorites.

Foggy View of a Riverside Morning

Foggy View of a Riverside Morning

For most of our trips, the weather is a prominent memory that helps define the full experience of visiting Florida.  In the warmer months of the year, walking out of your hotel room for the first time in the morning you’re greeted with bright sunshine and a hug of humid air.  This snapshot was taken on our walk to the Riverside Mill for breakfast.  The fog on the camera lens is still clearing as it adjusts to the humid warmth along with us.  It’s not a technically great photo, but it reminds me of the start of so many days of fun.