Work, Bread, and Travel Planning

"Fresh Bread" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO3200
“Fresh Bread” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How was your Monday?

Mine was really good! At work, I was able to make progress on some projects that fell by the wayside, and that gave me a good, positive feeling of accomplishment. I find it so interesting that each time I complete a task that has been sitting on my mental list, a small weight is lifted off of my mind and I feel a sense of relief and freedom. I have gotten to the stage where I kind of enjoy having things on my mental list because I look forward to the feeling I’ll have when I finish the task.

Anyways, today’s photo is of a fresh loaf of bread that Mariko made today. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? And I had to steal a slice just to savor the taste. おいしかった!🍞❤️

Tonight I put together a Google Map that contains a bunch of info for our summer trip to Morroco and Spain – hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing locations. Bay had gathered a list of items, so I started with that and now I’ll start doing some serious research into activities I think everyone would be interested in. If you have any suggestions or tips for traveling to Morocco and/or Spain, let me know via comments or my contact form!

Have a nice evening, friends!

おやすみ

-B

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Wishing for times past

Whenever I return from a vacation, I have the same wishful thoughts for a few days.

“I wish it were 48 hours ago. We’d be on the boat ride to EPCOT.”

or

“I wish it were 72 hours ago. We’d be on the plane to Orlando.”

or

“I wish it were a week ago. We’d just be board the ship and starting our cruise.”

Although it makes me feel a little melancholy, it also means I enjoyed our vacation time. It wouldn’t be great if I was thinking, “Thank goodness I am back at work!” 😆

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Back Home

"Airport View" Orlando, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO250
“Airport View” Orlando, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

We are back home after our short vacation. The plane ride ✈️ home was uneventful (yay!) but I am so exhausted tonight, I literally could only read only a dozen or so words on my Kindle before I had to turn it off.

Speaking of Kindle, it was cool to see another Kindle reader sitting in the row in front of me. 😎 Stalker shot:

“Kindle Reader” Orlando to Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Kindle Reader” Orlando to Austin, 2017

While on vacation, I tried to stay away from all news (except the Super Bowl) and just have fun, but now that we’re back, I am following the news again and it’s so depressing (to me). 😢

I want to go back to Disney! 😜

Take care and now I must sleep. おやすみ

バロン

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Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

"Disney Hollywood Studios" Orlando, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO400
“Disney Hollywood Studios” Orlando, 2017

For our second (and final) Disney park visit of this trip, we chose Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As mentioned in the previous post, the park is accessible via Friendship Boat shuttle, which makes a stop at The Boardwalk – a waterfront of shops and restaurants. We decided to walk to the Boardwalk from our hotel and get some breakfast before catching the boat to the park. It’s a nice area, and we had beautiful weather and enjoyed our coffee and breakfast next to the water.

"From the Boardwalk" Orlando, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/800 sec, ISO200
“From the Boardwalk” Orlando, 2017

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is currently dominated by Star Wars. If you are a fan of the franchise (and we are!), it’s a great time to visit! Not only does the park have Star Tours, but there is a short film “Path of the Jedi”, live-action character shows in the main courtyard featuring Star Wars villains, and also C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8, and the really cool Star Wars Launch Bay building. The Launch Bay has a theater with short making-of film, detailed models of the spaceships, pod racer, Rey’s speeder, cantina bar, costumes and uniforms, photo ops with Chewie and other characters, and awesome artwork. It’s really a Star Wars fan’s dream! Highly recommended.

"Star Wars Show" Orlando, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/80 sec, ISO12800
“Star Wars Show” Orlando, 2017

Other highlights of our trip include:

  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular – Amazing combination of images/video projected on the Chinese theater and fireworks/lasers/lights. Make sure to get a good spot where you can view the Chinese theater and adjacent buildings.
  • Toy Story Mania – It’s one of the only things that I am better at than my family. I need to hold onto this one as long as possible!!! 😜
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Bay didn’t want to go on this ride last time because he doesn’t like “dropping” rides, but we convinced him to ride it this time. He says he didn’t enjoy it, but I think he’s glad he conquered it. And now we can’t make fun of him anymore!
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano – We celebrated Mariko’s birthday with a nice pasta dinner here. The food was yummy and it was a nice restful break before heading to more rides!

Please enjoy more photos from our day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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The Swan Hotel and our Day at EPCOT

"Pretzels" Orlando, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Pretzels” Orlando, 2017

Hello from Orlando, Florida!

Today we visited EPCOT and enjoyed the off-season at the parks, which meant wait times for the attractions were minimal and we got to ride/see everything we wanted to. In fact, the only ride we didn’t go on was the boat ride in the Mexican pyramid. (I wanted to do it just to “complete” the park, but we were tired by the end of the day) 😫

For this Disney trip (our third to Disney World in Florida) we stayed at the Swan Hotel, which is kind of a pseudo-Disney resort. It’s owned by Starwood/Marriot, so it’s more like a regular hotel, but with Disney touches. Since it isn’t a 100% Disney resort, there were a few differences. For instance, we couldn’t link our Magic Bands to our credit card, the gift shop didn’t have a lot of Disney merchandise, and the hotel is not serviced by Disney’s Magical Express buses to/from the airport (you’ll need to book your own shuttle; we went with Mears). It was funny that the clientele was a mix of theme park goers and people attending conventions. In fact, the hotel hosted a couple company events when we were there. It was amusing to see exhausted Disney families arriving back to the hotel (including us) and having to walk past groups of tipsy businesspeople enjoying their evening events. 😆

One the plus side, the rooms were much nicer than the budget Disney resorts like Pop Century, and provide free water and coffee in the rooms. The beds were comfy and the bathroom was super-modern. I’d say the room was similar to the one when we stayed at the high-end Jambo House. Also, the Swan and Dolphin hotels are conveniently located right between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, so you can take the Friendship boats to either park, or even walk to the parks if you have 20 minutes or so. ⛵

In the morning we took the boat to EPCOT, which was super because it drops you off at the International Gateway entrance to the World Showcase, near Canada. I’d guess the line/security check would be much shorter at this entrance, and of course, there was no line since we were there during the off-season. The first thing we did was head on over to the Norway area to ride the Frozen Ever After boat attraction. It was pretty good, and the wait was only about 20 minutes! We were lucky to get to ride it because it seemed to have broken down constantly the rest of the day. 😵

Besides Frozen, some of the highlights of our day at EPCOT were:

  • Soarin’ Around the World – Or first time to experience the updated ride, which now visits international destinations instead of just California. Rode it twice!
  • Dinner at Tangierine Café in Morocco – Delicious lamb and chicken shawarma, hummus, olives, kefta, etc. And Moroccan wine! (see menu)
  • Designing wacky cars at Test Track (photos below)
  • Surviving as part of the Orange Team in Mission: SPACE – They aren’t kidding when they say it’s an intense ride!

After a long day, it was time to head back to the hotel. But on our way to the boat dock, we watched the Illuminations fireworks show, which was nice because with the minimal crowds, you could have a great front-row view from almost anywhere in the World Showcase. It was a great day at EPCOT!

Please enjoy some photos I took during the day, won’t you?

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