The Spirit Shop

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vacation Week

Friday May 15 was the beginning of a well needed vacation and some time away from home. Our voyage began in Atlantic City for the night to see James Van Praagh and of course a little gambling. We returned home Saturday afternoon and began package for our trip to Florida. Monday morning we flew US Airlines to Orlando. Don't think the trip went smoothly because it certainly did not. Might I remind you that the Mercury Retrograde is still in effect and along with the retrograde comes many delays. We boarded the plane right on time and even pulled out of the terminal to head to the runway. Then the pilot comes on the loud speaker to announce that there will be a delay due to heavy traffic. So there we sat in our plane eagerly awaiting for our plane to take off. After a little more then 30 minutes of sitting there our plane was finally in the air heading to Orlando Florida.

I made sure I signed up for the Disney Magical Express which was so convenient. As soon as we got off the plane we went directly to the Magical Express Bus. There was no need to retrieve our luggage, they bring it to you room. The bus dropped us off at the front desk of the Disney Caribbean Beach Resort. We arrived at the resort around 3:30 in the afternoon. Now of course the retrograde was not finished with us yet. According to the woman at the front desk our room was not ready yet. Now how the heck do you not have someones room ready at 3:30 in the afternoon? They know your coming in on their bus, so you would think they would make sure the rooms are ready for everyone on the bus. So we waited around for another half hour before we were finally in our room. The room was very nice and very clean, smelled good too. I have to give them four and a half stars on the cleanliness, but only two stars for customer service in the resort.

I had a whole itinerary mapped out for the four days we would spend in Disney. Beings I even had all our lunches and dinners planned with reservations I had to make months before we came to Disney. So due to the delay in our planes take off and our room not being ready we were already behind schedule and had to resort to eating burgers at the resort beings we missed our lunch reservation at Disney Hollywood Studios. The food was kind of gross at the resort, but I was not expecting anything good from a fast food place in a food court. After getting some food in our tummy's we headed to the bus stop and caught the next bus to Disney Hollywood Studios, or MGM. Looks like they changed the name since the last time I was there more then ten years ago. Did I happen to mention that it was also raining? Well it was raining. Bob and I were not going to let the rain ruin our vacation.

One of my favorite rides in all of the five parks is the Tower Of Terror and that was exactly where we headed once we arrived at the park. This was the first time for both of us as far as staying on the Disney property rather then at another hotel and having to rent a car and so forth. I have to say that I really loved the concept of staying on the grounds. The bus stop was very close to our rooms and there were buses that took you to all the different parks every twenty minutes. What was even better was the buses dropped us off right near the gate into the parks. This meant much less walking for us which is important because I have a bulging disk in my lower back and too much walking can tend to be quite agonizing. While we were in Hollywood Studios we met up with Big Kahuna, Jen, his wife and their beautiful daughter Magnolia. For those of you who don't know who the Big Kahuna is, Kahuna is one of my co-hosts and also runs all the equipment and switchboard.

The rain was not too bad the first night we were at Disney but it certainly was going to get worst. We spent the late afternoon and early evening in Hollywood Studio before catching the bus to the Magic Kingdom. We had a dinner reservation for around 7:30 at Tony's Place located right inside of the Magic Kingdom. Bob and I both had Cesar salads along with Chicken Parmesan. Even though it was not the best salad or chicken parm. that I even had, it was not the worst either. If I were to rate it I would give it three out of five stars. The service was excellent and everyone in the restaurant were very pleasant. After dinner we hit the confectionery store for some fudge and sweets for desert. Then we hung out briefly before the fireworks began. I'm a big fan of fireworks, but for some reason Bob is not a big fan of them. I really enjoyed the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and it was amazing watching them spark about the big castle.

Bob and I rushed out of the Magic Kingdom right before the fireworks ended just to be sure we could get a seat on the bus. Depending on the time that you get on the buses it is possible that they may pack you in like sardines. We were fortunate enough to get on the buses at the right times when there were not so many riders on the bus. No matter what it was still really convenient. We did not have to drive, rent a car, buy gas, or even pay to park and then walk a mile to the gates of the park. I recommend anyone going to Disney, especially if you have kids, that you stay at a hotel or resort on Disney grounds and take the bused everywhere you needed to go. Its also a good idea to plan as much as possible beforehand so that way you can see more while you are there.

Tuesday we woke up to more rain and it pretty much rained the entire time we were in Florida. I'm not talking just drizzle either and definitely not an on and off rain. It was a constant pouring rain practically the entire time. There were days that were had a few hours of no rain, usually in the morning or early afternoon. It seemed to me that every time we went to do something it would start pouring. We bought poncho's in one of the parks and talk about cheap, and I don't mean in price, but more like quality. Those cheap ass poncho's were eight bucks each. Mine was so tight around my neck that it ripped and I felt like I could not breath because it was so humid with the poncho on. Eventually, I think on Wednesday, we resorted to umbrellas thinking they may keep us dry and cool at the same time.

We spend forty dollars just trying to keep dry. At times I did not really mind the rain and at other points I was so sick of it. We would arrive into a park that was pretty packed with people and as soon as the rain came a large majority of the people left the park. This made it so much better for us beings we got on most of the rides right away with less then a ten minute wait on the really good attractions. Tuesday was our day to do Epcot and we had both lunch and dinner planned in the park. Lunch was in France, which was very delightful. Dinner was in Morocco at a really cool Moroccan restaurant. Bob and I both love that type of food and I enjoyed my meal which consisted of Lamp Chop and Cuss Cuss. Bob had some type of chicken that also came with Cuss Cuss. There was a really delicious appetizer we had which consisted of several different items to please your pallet. I picked the lamb because I never get to eat it and I love it. My grandmother made the best leg of lamb ever. I would rate the Moroccan restaurant overall, food service and entertainment, three and a half out of five stars and France will only get three stars.

We spent the entire day and night in Epcot. We did take a break and went back to out resort to dry out a little bit. This was not my first time in Disney but it was my first time in Epcot and I enjoyed it very much so. The ride in the big ball was cool and so was the Ellen ride/show that took you back to the time of dinosaurs. One of the rides we wanted to go on was closed because of the rain, I think that was at Epcot. We stayed for the fireworks and they were OK but not nearly as good as the ones at Magic Kingdom. Then came Wednesday and Bobs thirtieth birthday. This was Bobs day to do whatever he wanted and some how we ended up in the Animal Kingdom. We were not planning on hitting that park at all but I'm glad we got to see some of it. This was a day that the rain really came down like never before. That did not hit until the early afternoon. We took some stupid train ride the ended us up at the other end of the park. We were stuck there until the next train came along. We both though, along with ninety percent of the people on the train, that the train went around in a circle and gave you a tour somewhat like a safari. Boy was I wrong about that. If you ever go to the Animal Kingdom do not get on that stupid train. We wasted so much time on the darn thing.

We got a fast pass for the actual safari and little did we know the rain would be coming down in buckets. When I got of the safari it was more like coming off a water slide. I was completely soaked. The jeep was going so fast through the mud and jungle of the safari it made it hard to take pictures. I was surprised that there were as many animals out in the rain as there were. There was this really cool big tree in the center of the park and within the entire tree were carvings of all different animals. Again at some point we went back to the resort to switch to much dryer clothing before heading to a special dinner reservation I made for Bobs birthday. While I was booking reservations for all of our lunches and dinners I did a little search on the net for the top restaurants in the Disney area. That is when I came across Shula's Steakhouse nestled inside the Disney Dolphin Resort. Once again we hopped on the bus and headed to the Dolphin Resort.

I changed the reservation and actually could not believe they were able to do that for us. Our original reservation was for six and then we decided that eight would be better. That way we can spend more time in the park because by the time we got done eating with the reservation at six, we would not have had time to go back to the park. I had no idea who Shula is or anything other then this was suppose to be a five star steakhouse. The setting and surrounding were very comfortable and even with pictures of football players on the walls it was still a very delightful & relaxing atmosphere. The waitress was great and she alone gets five stars. She gave a presentation of the different steaks showing us wrapped steaks to choose from. We ordered a bottle of wine and then put through our dinner order. I could go on and on about this restaurant and the wonderful service, but I will sum it all up for you pretty simply. Shula's get five plus stars from Bob and I on a scale of one to five. The waitress gave Bob a piece of delicious double chocolate cake to take with us being we were completely stuffed. She even put in a candle and a pack of matches so I could sing Happy birthday to Bob and that is exactly what I did when we got back to our resort.

On the match box I noticed that there a several Shula's Steakhouses including one in Philadelphia. I'm not sure where in Philly it is but I can guarantee you that Bob and I will be looking for it soon. Thursday was the only fairly nice day with practically no rain until later in the evening. Our initial plan was to do one of the water parks on this day, but the e weather man was still calling for rain. Water parks and water slides are my favorite, besides roller coasters, and it was a little bit of a disappointment that we did not get to go. I have never been to any of the Disney water parks before. Well this gives us a good reason to go back to Disney again soon. So beings we did not spend a whole lot of time at Hollywood Studios, we decided to go there Thursday morning and then had lunch there also. We ate at the coolest little restaurant called the 50's Prime Time Cafe'. The restaurant was set up in little areas that made you feel as if you were sitting in a kitchen from back in the 50's, There were little black and white TVs showing shows from the 50's like Dennis The Menace. I had the Fried Chicken and Bob had a Chicken Sandwich. The food was excellent, service excellent and the atmosphere was awesome. I give it five stars for an in park restaurant. That us based on everything, not just the food, drinks included also.

We bounced from Hollywood Studio's back to the Magic Kingdom around three o'clock. It was perfect timing to catch the big 3PM parade in the Magic Kingdom. Being there was no rain the show went on and the parade was a blast. I felt like a little kid all over again, especially when I saw Micky Mouse, it was really cool. The costumes and floats were simply amazing. After spending the afternoon in the Kingdom we headed back to our resort to have dinner at a restaurant in the resort. I can not remember the name of it but it was the only actual restaurant in the Caribbean Beach. I had Tuna and Bob had some type of pasta. The dinner was not really spectacular and I would give it two and a half stars. It was around this time that the rain began to come down again really hard. I really wanted to get back to Hollywood Studios to see their special Fantasmic Fireworks and light show. We decided to go and brought along our poncho's and umbrellas. We both ended up leaving our umbrellas at the bus stop. Thank God we has our poncho's.

We were lucky that it stopped raining. Bob and I hit the Tower Of Terror again and then hit the Aerosmith roller coaster about three times. That is one of my favorite rides too. Besides that I'm a big fan of Aerosmith. They were my first concert when they reunited after ten or more years on August 4, 1984 and seen them about seven times since. We met up again with the Big Kahuna, Jen and Magnolia and headed to the show. As soon as the show began it started to rain again and we all put our ponchos on. The show was amazing and we all very much enjoyed it. We left the park at around eleven and had to go back and finish packing for out seven AM departure the next morning. The flight home I slept most the time. When we got home I had to sneak out to buy food for a surprise barbecue 30Th birthday party for Bob.

It was a last minute plan because I was suppose to go to LA to do filming. Mercury must have screwed that up too beings it was postponed again. So I threw together this party for Bob while we were in Florida, all by text messaging. That went very well too and he was actually surprised. We had a wedding Saturday night and I was afraid someone would slip about the party. Fortunately no one spilled the beans and I managed to put together a great party. Beings I still had a few days off I did a bunch of things in the yard including more planting of flowers and veggies that I started from seed. So there you go folks, my entire vacation all wrapped up as short as I could make it.

I'm very grateful I had time to get away and be stress free for a week. Now I'm back to the real world and ready to go back to work. I actually miss work and miss making connections with the deceased. I did a good job blocking them all out while I was away. There was one other thing that was pretty cool during our trip to Disney. I forget which park we were in, maybe Hollywood Studios, where out of nowhere a group of baby ducks approached me. It was funny because they came right up to me along with their mother as if they knew me. I reached down and was able to even touch them with not a sign of fear in them. Animals are sensitive and can sense good and bad energy. So it is possible they could have also sensed the spirits and angels around me. Stuff like that with animals happens to me all the time. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great day and be sure to get to Disney World some time in your life.


CKaye said...

You two are so cute! And Joseph looks so right leading a little group of baby goslings it makes me think this is something he did in another life! :)

I too like rain a lot - it doesn't bother me. It is raining in Chicago today and I've been running around in the rain all day with nothing but a leather and a baseball cap. Rain is good for you - it keeps your skin moist and there's no sun beating down giving you skin cancer.

Glad you guys got out and had a bit of vacation. You both work so hard.

Ken Zeoli said...

Just wanted to say that you do wonderful things for people, Joseph. When you reassure your callers about their loved ones who passed still being around them, it is so moving. Listening to how they respond to you holds my breath.
Thanks for all you do.