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Discovery Cove - Part Three

  • Oct. 1st, 2011 at 10:49 PM
stingray
After lunch, I switched into a swim vest (the wetsuit was a bit of a struggle to take off when going to the bathroom).

We hung out in the "resort pool" for a while. My mom even came in with me. She had her life jacket on and one of those pool noodles with her. There is a little cave that you can swim through. After the cave, there is an opening that takes you through the Wind Away River. She stayed in the pool area, where I went off in the Wind Away River. Even though I can swim okay, I kind of wish I had a life jacket for this part because there were some parts where the water was 8 feet deep, and I was treading water - got a bit tired. :) But it was great exercise! And it was very nice.

We hung out a little more in the pool area. I even got to float around for a bit with the pool noodle, which was very relaxing.

I think it was around 3:00 when we headed back over to the Grand Reef. We set our stuff on a chair under an umbrella and then headed to a different part of the reef. I LOVED this part of the day! The stingrays (and fish) kept coming over to the shallow part of the reef, and I had many opportunities to pet the stingrays. I also went off snorkeling over to the shark tank. Don't worry, there is glass that separates the shark tank from the rest of the Grand Reef. So it almost feels like you are in the water with them. Took some pictures, and then snorkeled back to the shore where my mom was. Got to watch the stingray feeding, which was cool. The trainers all know the stingrays by name, which is amazing, since they aren't even tagged! But the trainer said that when you spend every day with them, you get to know them.

After the feeding, we hung around a little bit longer and then got ready to leave. :(



^ Got a picture near the Sand Dollar Cabana sign before we went to change. This was where I checked in for my dolphin swim that morning.

We changed, returned our wetsuit, life jacket, swim vest, masks (we got to keep the snorkels).

Then we headed over to Adventure Photo to pick up our photos. We also spent some time in the gift shop because I really had to get a souvenir or two. :) I am a pretty indecisive person at times, and this was no different, haha. It took me a while to pick out a shirt. In the end I had to choose between a Grand Reef shirt (since I liked it so much), and a shirt that said "Swim Swam Swum: I Swam with the Dolphins" and it had the Discovery Cove logo on the back. I chose the latter. I also got a DC beach towel. :)

Took some pictures near the lobby where there were dolphin topiaries and a display in the grass with the DC logo.





^ A picture I took when the light changed to green and we turned right.

What an unforgettable, enjoyable day! I am so glad I finally got to visit Discovery Cove! I highly recommend it. People may get intimidated about the price, but when you think about all that it includes, it is really not bad. Definitely something I may consider again....and maybe even next time I will consider the Trainer for a Day program. :)

Discovery Cove - Part Two

  • Oct. 1st, 2011 at 10:36 PM
stingray
After the dolphin swim, we were led by the photographer to another cabana-type place to view our photos. This is a super good marketing idea, as the pictures came out beautifully. I bought the Adventure Package, which included five 5X6 prints, one 4X6 print (I think), 2 keychains, and the photo CD. Expensive yes, but worth it. We were to pick them up in the afternoon.

My mom and I headed over to the Aviary next, as I read on the DIS that it was good to head over there in the morning because the birds were the hungriest then. We did have some good interactions with some birds, as shown here:





After the interaction, I think I might have headed over to the "resort pool" (not sure of the official name, but I can't find my map at the moment). I dipped my feet in the water (it was nice and warm) and tested out my snorkeling skills (haha - it was as easy as I remembered it - the last time I used a snorkel was in 2006, probably, when I was in Belize). My mom got some frozen lemonade which she loved, but I wanted to try it later. Btw.....ALL of the food provided at DC is included in your admission. :D Even the beer......(which I did not have - but perhaps.....I may try the cocktail next time? If I am not driving, of course).

Think we headed over to the Grand Reef next. The Grand Reef is a new attraction that opened in June of this year. It is soo nice! However, the water temperature is a bit chilly. It has to be, or else the fish in there would not survive. I snorkeled for quite a bit over there. The stingrays were my favorite. It was so awesome to swim with them and touch them! The fish were beautiful as well.



^ Yeah, the sunscreen is kind of hard to rub in. ;)



^ The stingrays were amazing to be around.



There was a bridge area over the shark tank, and we spent a couple minutes there, and I also got to talk to one of the employees (trainer?) there.

We headed over to lunch around 11:30ish. I had the jumbalaya (picked out the chicken and shrimp), vegetables, and carrot cake (YUM).

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Discovery Cove

  • Oct. 1st, 2011 at 10:12 PM
stingray
On Thursday, September 29th, my mom and I visited Discovery Cove. It was an awesome day.

We arrived to the parking lot around 7:15 AM. We walked into the lobby and were greeted by friendly DC employees every step of the way.

We checked in, had our pictures taken, and IDs made. I found out that my dolphin swim was at 8:30 AM, and I was to check-in at the Sand Dollar Cabana about 8:25. The IDs were made right away, and we were also given a little map that was attachable to my lanyard.

We waited for a little bit in a group, and then we were walked over to the inside of the park. Our picture was taken (complimentary), and then we headed into the Laguna Grill to have breakfast. It was cafeteria-style, and they offered bacon, scrambled eggs, french toast sticks, seasoned potatoes, yogurt, cereal, mini muffins, and juice.

We finished breakfast around 8:05, and then we headed over to the locker area to get our wetsuits or vest.

2/8/12 ETA: (Can't believe I hadn't added this memory yet) I think it was around this time when we walked by the dolphin lagoon. One of the coolest "first impression" memories I had of this day was when we walked by the dolphin lagoon, and I saw a dolphin's dorsal fin skimming the surface of the water, not too far from the shore. A VERY COOL SIGHT to see. I remember being in wonder!

I decided to go with the wetsuit, after the reading I did on the DIS. I heard the water was cold in the dolphin swim areas and the Grand Reef, so I opted for the wetsuit. You did have the option to switch as many times as you wanted throughout the day. We were also given snorkel gear that included a sample of eco-friendly sunscreen (i.e., safe for the fish). :)

Once we got our locker and changed (my mom decided to change later), I headed over to the Sand Dollar Cabana and checked in. My mom hung out nearby (she did not do the dolphin swim).

We all signed waivers and hung out until 8:30. One of the trainers came and talked for a little bit, then played a video. We then split up into groups of A, B, C, and D. I was in Group 1B.

There was a group of 9 people in my group: a couple from Brazil, a couple from Scotland, a family of 4 from England, and me!

We interacted with Kyla, a 2-year-old dolphin, and Rascal, a 7 (?) year-old dolphin.

We got to interact with Kyla first. We got to pet her several times and learned about her. The trainer was trying to get her to do some tricks, but she didn't feel like it that morning. :) We got to see a few other dolphins from the other groups do some tricks, however, which was awesome. We learned some hand signals, which, when performed, would prompt Kyla to do some tricks. And then we got pictures with her!



Rascal also came out and did some tricks, and we also got to pet him several times as well. We did the swim with him. Guests had the option to do a shallow water swim or a deep water swim (I believe the trainers said it was 15 feet water, but the website says the deepest point is 12 feet). Everyone in our group did the deep water swim. It was so cool!



We got to have pictures with Rascal as well. I was the last person in our group to get a picture with him, and the trainer said, "Let's do something different," and I got to rub his belly and tickle it (and when I tickled him, he wiggled his flippers!).



All the dolphins did some jumps at the end, which was so neat.

It was such a great, great experience. Stay tuned for Part 2!
WWoHP
So it's been a little over 24 hours since I watched DH Part 2.

In my last post, I predicted that the movie would make me quite emotional - and I was right.

The movie was awesome and everything I thought it would be. I've read on discussion forums of people who didn't like that some critical parts of the story were missing, certain lines that were said, and how things were changed. And while their opinions are certainly valid, I truly liked the movie the way it was. 

Perhaps it is because I love all the movies, and I haven't read all of the books to note the differences between the books and movies.  What people were saying was that movies cannot be an exact replication of the books. If so, the movies would have been like, 10 hours long!  Maybe more, I don't know.......

I imagine it must have been difficult for Steve Kloves (the screenwriter) and everyone else to decide what to keep from the book and what to change, and I'm sure they made the best decision based on what they had to go on. But I am easy to please, and I loved it.

The skies were looking a bit dark as I headed into the theatre, and at the beginning of the movie, you could actually hear the thunder outside, which was kind of a nice addition to the scene playing at the time. :)

So yes, I cried quite a bit.  I did a great job of staying away from the movie spoilers and all the movie scenes the internet kept releasing.

Movie Spoilers - READ AT YOUR OWN RISKCollapse )

I think the midnight showing would have been a lot of fun, but I had my last day of work orientation the next day, and I really didn't want to go in with a few hours of sleep (even though it was a short work day). There are more positive things I could say about the movie, but I'll just say that for now. :)

I wish I had "grown up" with the books and movies as so many fans have, but like I always say, better late than never. It was my first (yay) and last (boo) HP movie I saw in the theatre. I also hope one day I can read the HP books to someone, like so many parents have - doesn't even necessarily have to be my own child.

Now we'll just have to keep reading the books, watching the movies, and look forward to Pottermore. :)

Thanks J.K. Rowling and the cast and crew of Harry Potter!!

Finished

  • Jun. 25th, 2011 at 10:34 PM
WWoHP
Today I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - YAY!

I feel somewhat caught up now. I still have yet to re-read the first 3 books and read the 4th, 5th, and 6th books......but I at least know most of the series. :)

Wish I hadn't heard any of the spoilers that I did, but I guess what can I do when I'm curious to read info about HP on the internet and accidentally stumble upon people's comments? After the first few spoilers, I learned and tried to stay away from what I thought might contain spoilers about the 7th book/movie. But every once in a while one would pop up where I wasn't really expecting it. *sigh*

But now I'm glad that I can freely read articles about anything related to the Deathly Hallows and such.

Makes me SO excited for the movie. "Epic" is what a lot of people are saying it's going to be, and I agree. It's going to make me quite emotional, too, I predict.

Sad day for Disney

  • Jul. 5th, 2009 at 10:27 PM
stingray
I offer my condolences to the family of the young man who died in the monorail accident today. He was 21 years old, student at Stetson, and worked at Disney. I read that this was the first monorail accident since the park opened in 1971. So sad. :(

Tonight's Weather

  • Jan. 2nd, 2008 at 11:15 PM
stingray


(click on it for a bigger image)

Yup, it's cold. Perhaps there will be some snow flurries tonight (see the "Hard freeze expected part")? It would be fun to put water on my car and see what the results are tomorrow morning, haha.

Survey taps Soarin' as best at Disney

  • Apr. 26th, 2007 at 3:03 PM
Eeyore collection
Survey taps Soarin' as best at Disney
New guidebook gives tips on best rides, places to eat

By Donna Balancia
Florida Today


Visitors to Walt Disney World Resort selected the Soarin' virtual hang-glider tour at Epcot as the best overall attraction, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

The Wishes Spectacular nightly fireworks celebration at Magic Kingdom was named as the most appealing attraction for children; while the Expedition Everest thrill ride at Animal Kingdom rated No. 1 for appeal to adults.

With the Zagat's first-ever "Walt Disney World Insider's Guide," Zagat Survey -- which is known for its restaurant and hospitality guides -- made its foray into rating theme parks, asking 4,841 frequent visitors to Disney World to pick the things they like best about the Disney complex near Orlando.

Among the other survey leaders were:

- Most popular restaurant: California Grill at the Contemporary Resort in Magic Kingdom area.

- Top food rating: Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian in the Magic Kingdom area.

- Most popular shopping: World of Disney at Downtown Disney.

- Most popular hotel: Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Animal Kingdom area.

- Top hotel: Grand Floridian Resort/Spa in the Magic Kingdom area.

- Most popular nightlife: Adventurers Club in Downtown Disney.

- Top appeal nightlife: Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.

Other findings:

- Favorite park: While 48 percent of surveyors say the Magic Kingdom is their favorite park, Epcot ran a strong second, with 36 percent of the vote.

- Visiting without kids: Eighty-six percent of surveyors said they've visited Disney World at least once as an adult without children.

- Favorite character: Thirty-seven percent said Mickey Mouse; 11 percent said Goofy.

"Back about two years ago, we had our U.S. family travel guide, and it listed some of the more popular and more well-received destinations across United States, and the No. 1 destination was Walt Disney World," said Michael Mahle, manager of corporate communications for Zagat Survey. "Millions of people go there and go there more than once, and that's what our surveyors -- our voters -- are all about. The people who participate are those who enjoy something quite a bit, and they have the interest in sharing their thoughts."

A Disney spokesman said Disney is pleased by Zagat's focus on its Orlando theme parks.

"Obviously, when somebody such as Zagat chooses to do a guide that is specifically about our 'world,' as opposed to a larger geographic area, that really is a testament to the amount of interest people have in Walt Disney World, and that's a good thing," Walt Disney World Dave Herbst spokesman said.

Typically, to put together a guide, either on various destinations or restaurant reviews, Zagat Survey will recruit enthusiastic participants based on a number of demographic attributes and resources such as mailing lists.

"With Walt Disney World, we put out an announcement, and looked at a mailing list, and reached out to certain blogs, for example, to get some attention," Mahle said. "We pitched the media to get the people to give their opinions on their overall Disney stay, and how they liked the rides and attractions."

The survey asked adults -- because of legality issues in polling children online -- what they thought of certain rides, restaurants and hotels for children, resulting in the "all age" categories of the survey.

"We asked adults to tell us what was best and worst for the children," Mahle said. "So we leave it to the household decision-maker to tell us where they're going to go, where they will eat and what rides they'll go on."

Mahle said the guide gives special tips on how to save extra money and time, as well as tips on how to avoid lines at the parks.

"It's a nice compilation and does the homework," Mahle said.

(Article courtesy of Florida Today)

When you view the online article, they also give you a link with more detailed results of the Zagat survey in a PDF format.

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