2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival & Akershus Royal Banquet Hall ~ Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

The following day, we made a trip to EPCOT to enjoy lunch with the Disney Princesses in Norway. There I wanted to see if Sara likes some fish. She dug into the fish and vegetables like her life depends on them. When the Disney Princesses came to our table, Katelynn and Rylee were ready for photos. Sara on the other hand rather enjoyed her meal.

After lunch, we walked around in the park. At that time of the year, Disney has the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. A lot of Disney characters with wonderful flowers are on Display. Sara was tired; Katelynn and Rylee wanted to go into the Resort’s pool. So, we made our way back to the room to rest and change into bathing suites. The girls had a blast at the pool.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

“Disney’s Electrical” Parade & “Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams” Firework In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Florida 2011

In the late evening, we stayed in the park to see Disney’s Electrical Parade. The Electrical Parade is a nighttime parade, created by Robert Jani and project director Ron Miziker. It features floats and live performers covered in over 600,000 electronically controlled LED lights, and uses a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along key areas of the parade route.

The show was hosted by Jiminy Cricket, the Blue Fairy, and revolved around the wishes of famous Disney characters – good and bad. The lights on Cinderella Castle changed colors throughout the show, reflecting the different stages of Wishes’ narrative. During different parts of the show, a “wishing star” firework was shot, cresting approximately 100 feet above the castle’s bright spires. While most of the characters in the show are only heard as part of the show’s music track, Wishes also featured an appearance from Tinker Bell as she flew from the tallest spire of Cinderella Castle. Wishes included 683 fireworks, that fired during the 557 cues.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishes:_A_Magical_Gathering_of_Disney_Dreams

After the fireworks, we called it a day. It was a long day in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We still had to wait for our turn to get to the bus which took us to the resort. The kids had a long day and almost fell asleep on the way. Kevin, Kristine, and I were tired as well. It was time to rest for another eventful day at Walt Disney World.

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2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

At Cinderella’s Royal Table In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

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In the late afternoon, we had dinner with the Princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. Reservations are hard to come by. And we were lucky, Kevin started booking six to eight months before our trip to Walt Disney World. The girls dressed up as Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse, and Cinderella, before the royal visit. They met Cinderella, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Belle. Sara loved her buttered pasta. At that age, this was Sara’s favorite finger food. When Katelynn and Rylee were done with their dinner, they got dessert, which they could decorate themselves. So much sugar! But it was something they don’t have every day. Later on, the girls could take their energy off in the park. I’ll post more about it in the next “Travel Tuesday” blog.

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2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

A Morning Stroll Through Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

After breakfast at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we made our way over to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. Sara seemed much happier with a full tummy. And so, it didn’t take long, until she fell asleep on Kevin’s shoulder. While the rest of the family waited in line for a ride, I let Sara nap in the stroller. Meanwhile, I watched Mickey and Minnie taking photos with other families. By the time, everyone came back Sara awoke from her nap. This was perfect timing for taking a photo with Mickey and Minnie before we went back to change into change clothes and rest for a little bit in Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Because the afternoon and evening were busy.

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2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Breakfast @ Chef Mickey’s In Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

The following morning, we took the bus to Disney’s Contemporary Resort near Disney’s Magic Kingdom. There we went to Chef Mickey’s to have breakfast. First Sous Chef Goofy came to our table. He told us there was a little accident in the kitchen. And he might have had a part in it. Head Chef Mickey came over and asked if we enjoy our breakfast. Minnie makes sure all the guests have food and drinks at their tables. Donald baked breakfast rolls since 3 am. And Sara had to watch Pluto closely, not eating her breakfast from the plate. “No Pluto, those fruits will give you a tummy ache. And you will stay outside all day.”

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2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida 2011 (1)

After meeting with our family and having breakfast in Ocala, we drove toward Orlando to get to Walt Disney World in Buena Vista. We had rooms next to each other in the Pop Century Resort. Once settled in, we spent the afternoon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to meet several Disney characters, take photos with them, and get their autographs, before we watched “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade”. We went on the Kali River Rapids ride, where I got completely soaked. Therefore, I had to get some clothes to change. It was March. And the evenings were cool. I didn’t want to catch a cold while we were on vacation. In the evening, we’ve noticed the ibises getting a spot on the trees to spend the night there. That was the sign that it was time to leave the park.

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2022 · Alabama · Days of The Week · Florida · Louisiana · Mississippi · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

Driving From Texas To Florida ~ 2011

Kevin and I planned a trip to Walt Disney World for Spring 2011. While we were traveling from Texas, the girl’s aunt, uncle, and cousins came from North Carolina to join us. Getting from Texas to Florida was quite an adventure. Two hours into the drive, Sara didn’t feel well and barfed all over her cute dress and new car seat. Once, she had it out of her system and we cleaned everything up as good as we could (the car seat smelled like barf on the whole round trip), we made it into Louisiana, where we spent the night.

The next morning, Sara looked much better. After a light breakfast, we moved on. In Louisiana, we’ve looked at swamps, crossed the Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge, and drove on Interstate 12 to avoid New Orleans on the way to Florida. In Mobile, Alabama it was busy due to people trying to get to the Cruise ship at the Mobile River. Therefore, it took us a while to get through the George Wallace Tunnel, which is located under the river. Once we got off the tunnel, we had a good view of the USS Alabama, which is now a retired battleship and U.S. National Historic Landmark and is located in the waters of Mobile Bay next to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, south of Interstate 10.

Pensacola, Florida is the home of the Navy Blue Angels. We’ve stopped in a rest area nearby to stretch out for a little bit. Katelynn ran up and down the hill to get the energy flowing before we ended up in Ocala for the night. The following morning, we met up with family to drive the rest of the stretch to Buena Vista.

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2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · South Dakota · Travel Tuesday · USA

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 2010

Leaving Wyoming, we entered the Black Hill National Forest, where we made our way to Mount Rushmore. But first, we drove through Custer, passed Crazy Horse, and looked at some interesting stone formations, while driving on US 385 and US 244.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Keystone, South Dakota

After visiting South Dakota, Kevin, the kids and I made it to Nebraska for the night. That night, they had a lot of tornado warnings. So, we tried to find a motel as soon as possible. The following day, all the storms were out of the area. And we could make our way all the way back to Dallas, Texas. We were happy to be back home.

~ THE END ~

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Along US Highway 14, Wyoming 2010

It was time to leave Yellowstone National Park. We still had quite a way to drive to South Dakota. But in the meantime, we enjoyed the landscape along US Hwy 14. There were some cool mountain peaks and stone formations. We passed the Buffalo Bill Reservoir before we arrived in Cody. Cody had only one room left, due to a famous rodeo in that area. But we were not willing to pay over $200 for a tiny room. So, we had dinner and moved on. We made it through the Bighorn National Forest before we got into a motel close to Sheridan.

The following morning, we all cleaned up, had breakfast, and were ready to drive the next leg to South Dakota. All these years, I still wish we made it to the Devils Tower. But due to a time crunch, it was either the Devils Tower in Wyoming or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. We chose the latter. It’s another reason to visit Wyoming again. 😉

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Along The Lake & The River In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Once we left the campgrounds, we were on our way to drive along Yellowstone Lake and Yellowstone River. It was pretty smoky in some areas due to the fact of a wildfire in the park. The helicopters were frantically working on keeping the fire under control. However, it wasn’t bad enough that we had to evacuate Yellowstone National Park. Before we arrived at the Upper Falls of Yellowstone River, we saw lots of bison in the meadows and close to these vent holes. These bison are used for the sulfur stench. As long as they are warm, they didn’t seem to mind the smell of “rotten eggs”.

The Upper Falls are very interesting. But the famous Lower Falls don’t disappoint with a height of 308 feet (94 meters), while the Upper Falls are only a third as high with 109 feet (33 meters). The Lower Falls are nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls in New York/Ontario. Since the Yellowstone River bends in this area, the Upper and Lower Falls can not be viewed on the ground at the same time. Katelynn didn’t mind “modeling” in front of the Lower Falls back then. Now, she’s happy she has photos to show of her trip to Yellowstone National Park.

When Kevin turned around to exit the park at the East Entrance, we still could see a lot of wildlife: more bison, elk, ravens, and a young grizzly bear. We didn’t know, if the bear was already old enough to be on its own or Momma Bear is hiding out behind the treeline. Nope! I didn’t want to chance it. I told Kevin to keep his window up, and I photograph through the glass. In the early evening, we finally exited Yellowstone and drove US Highway 14 towards Cody, Wyoming.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Falls: Video of the Lower Falls 2019

Lower Falls

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2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

West Thumb Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

When we came back to the campground, Kevin and I were discussing the situation about the cooler nights in the Rockies. He didn’t want to spend another night with Sara in the car because it goes below freezing. For a 9-month-old, this is just too cold. And she always keeps pushing herself out of the warm sleeping back. So, we decided, we call this trip in Yellowstone done and move on to the Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota. But until late afternoon, we can spend still some time in the National Park. Said, done! We packed our belongings, while Sara took a nap in her play bin. Katelynn helped get the pillows and the blankets in the Grand Cherokee. And once Sara was awake, fed, and had a diaper change, we moved on to see more sights.

Two days prior, Kevin and I had no idea that there was a geyser basin within walking distance from the Grant Village Campground. And we almost skipped it, but then decided to visit it anyway. And it turned out to be my favorite place in the whole park: The West Thumb Geyser Basin.

West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the smallest, yet most concentrated, geyser basins in Yellowstone, but its location along the shore of Yellowstone Lake ranks it as the most scenic. The 1870 Washburn Expedition gave West Thumb its name because of the thumb-like projection of Yellowstone Lake. The trail begins from the parking area and is a short figure-eight-shaped boardwalk looping through the basin and along the shore of the lake. Fishing Cone is one of the basin’s most popular features; its location on the shoreline and its symmetrical cone was popularized by early stories of “boiled trout.” Abyss Pool-the deepest in Yellowstone- is noted for its color and depth. https://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/hikingwestthumb.htm

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2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Upper Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Old Faithful Geyser at the Upper Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park has approximately half of the world’s geysers—and most of them are located in the Upper Geyser Basin. One square mile contains at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders, making this area the most densely concentrated geyser region in the world. Five major geysers—Old Faithful, Grand, Castle, Daisy, and Riverside are located here.

At the time, when we visited the Upper Geyser Basin. The National Park was building the new Old Faithful Visitor and Education Center. It is a museum with a store where educational exhibits such as volcanic geology are on display. There is also a big glass window, where visitors can see the eruption of Old Faithful and look over the Upper Geyser Basin on a rainy day. I just wouldn’t recommend visiting this area from 12 – 6 pm, due to tour buses being full of tourists. It reminds me of the very first episode of Spongebob Squarepants, where the tourist anchovies run into the Krusty Krab, making a lot of ruckuses until Spongebob has every single anchovy served with a Krabby Patty. We went to the Upper Geyser Basin in the morning. So, it was comfortable to walk with a stroller.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Midway Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Midway Geyser Basin: Exelsior Geyser Crater – Grand Prismatic Spring

The next stop was Midway Geyser Basin at the Firehole River. The Midway Geyser Basin is very famous for being the home of the Grand Prismatic Spring. The Grand Prismatic Spring is famous for its size and colors. With being deeper than a 10-story building and larger than a football field, it is the thrid largest hot spring in the world. The Grand Prismatic Spring gets its rainbow colors from the bacteria that lives in progressively cooler water. And the water scatters the blue wavelenght of light, and therefore the center reflects blue back to our eyes.

The Excelsior Geyser Crater is a dormant geyser, but a steamy blue spring. It is so hot, that the runoff water is still boiling, when it hits the surface of the Firehole River. The last time the geyser erupted about 80 feet (25 meters) high for two days was in 1985. Back in the 1800s it could reach a height up to 300 feet (90 meters).

When we visited, we also could see wildlife and wildflowers across the river. We’ve seen a big male bison grassing in the meadow, a relaxing female elk, a couple of ravens, and a big Flame Skimmer dragonfly. There were also wild roses and beautiful pine trees in the area. After the Midway Geyser basin visit, Kevin and I called it a day. We all were hungry and tired for walking around. Sara needed a small nap, before we had dinner at the camp ground. That night, we went to bed early to have an early start the following morning.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Lower Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

From the Norris Geyser Basin, we’ve traveled up to the Lower Geyser Basin, which is inside the Caldera Boundary and the largest geyser basin in the area of Yellowstone National Park. There we looked at the beautiful Silex Spring, the Fountain Paint Pot and watched the Great Fountain Geyser erupt. It was windy in that basin. so, we felt the water from the geyser hitting us like raindrops. Katelynn seemed to enjoy it. Along the walk from the car to the boardwalk we noticed some beautiful flowers like Variable Groundsel and Blue Penstemon.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Norris Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

When Kevin, Katelynn, Sara and I left the Mammoth Hot Springs, we passed the Antler Peak to get to the Norris Geyser Basin. At the Norris Geyser we saw Steamboat Geyser and Emerald Spring. Unfortunately, we missed out on the Artist’s Paint Pots, Monument Geyser Basin and Beryl Spring. This means we need to go back to Yellowstone National Park again. 😉

Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. It’s located in the Norris Back Basin. It has unpredictable, infrequent major eruptions of more than 300 feet, and frequent minor eruptions of 10 to 40 feet. As comparison, Old Faithful can vary in heights from 100 – 180 feet.

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2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Once Kevin, the girls and I crossed the state border back into Wyoming, our next destination was the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces. There are some interesting facts about the springs:

At Yellowstone each year, the rain and melted snow seeps into the earth. Cold to begin with, the water is quickly warmed by heat radiating from a partially molten magma chamber deep underground, the remnant of a cataclysmic volcanic explosion that occurred 600,000 years ago.

After moving throughout this underwater “plumbing” system, the hot water rises up through a system of small fissures. Here it also interacts with hot gases charged with carbon dioxide rising up from the magma chamber. As some of the carbon dioxide is dissolved in the hot water, a weak, carbonic acid solution is formed.

In the Mammoth area, the hot, acidic solution dissolves large quantities of limestone on its way up through the rock layers to the hot springs on the surface. Above ground and exposed to the air, some of the carbon dioxide escapes from the solution. Without it, the dissolved limestone can’t remain in the solution, so it reforms into a solid mineral. This white, chalky mineral is deposited as the travertine that forms the terraces.

Resource: https://www.yellowstonepark.com/things-to-do/geysers-hot-springs/mammoth-hots-springs-inside-cave/

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2022 · Days of The Week · Montana · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming & The Roosevelt Arch In Gardiner, Montana 2010

The following morning, we were ready for our first trip through Yellowstone National Park. Since our campground was in West Thumb, west of Yellowstone Lake, we had to drive all the way up north from US 191 & US 89 to make it to Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner, Montana, which is also the North Entrance of the park. That’s where we wanted to begin our journey. On the way up there, we saw our first Grizzly in the wild. The bear was making his way up the hill, before it disappeared behind the tree line.

In Gardiner, we enjoyed lunch at Rosie’s, before we looked at Roosevelt Arch and made our way back into the National Park. The distance from the arch and the Montana/Wyoming state border is exactly 3 miles.

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