Its A Blizzard Out There

Yesterday an unprecedented storm struck much of the east coast reaching blizzard conditions in many areas. Washington DC, Pennsylvania and NYC reported record snow fall. As the storm progressed northward it wound it’s way through Connecticut into Southeastern Massachusetts. Falmouth, Cape Cod, Plymouth were some of the communities most hard hit but I’m happy to report that in my little corner of the world the storm was just a snow storm.

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And I’m also happy to say that my condo folks were right on top of the clean up.

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Not everyone was upset about the snow.

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Enjoy your day everyone!

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South Beach Miami

I knew South beach would be a big change from Orlando. I wanted to get to south Florida so I could visit the Everglades again and maybe, schedules permitting, visit some relatives. The only condo available was right on Ocean Drive, South Beach. Part of me liked the sound of that and part of me reminded myself that South Beach is where the “Beautiful People” go to vacation.

The other drawback is the parking. It’s a minimum of $47.00/day to park so I would be stuck either taking public transportation, cabs or walking. I felt that paying more for parking than I was for a rental was not the smartest way to spend my vacation bucks. I was hoping there’d be some tours to take me where I wanted to go that might pick up at the resort.

My first surprise was the resort itself. I am used to Diamond Properties having large lobbies and a feeling of spaciousness but “Crescent Resort on South Beach” was tiny. It’s in the heart of the Art Deco district so there are restrictions on what they can do to the property.

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As for the service, the staff had the same welcoming attitude of all the other Diamond Properties I’ve visited. I arrived 2 hours before check in. It was raining and I’m sure I looked more like a drowned rat than a “beautiful people” but they were very gracious and  let me check in right away. Then they told me I could get a 20% discount at the Purple Penguin next door as they did not have a restaurant.

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Considering the weather this was a perfect solution.

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I was still fighting the cold I caught back in October while on vacation in San Antonio & New Orleans so I welcomed this dreary day as a “down day” so I could relax, nap and do nothing once I got checked in. I was glad I had a couple of books with me.

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My room was small but I loved the accent wall in the bedroom. It’s the same  color as my living room at home.

 

 

 

 

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The Grand Finale

Well those Osborne Family Lights were really over the top.  After taking our pictures we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to watch the light show on Cinderella’s Castle.

This was it, the last thing on the list, the real final night for me at the parks. Tomorrow I was headed to Miami to finish out my vacation. So far it had been a great time. South beach wouldn’t be this exciting, that was for sure.

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But what a finale the castle made!

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Hollywood Studios- That’s a Wrap!

Since this was the last season for The Osborne Family Lights, we were prepared for a big crowd. We arrived at Hollywood Studios well before the first show of the evening so there was time to enjoy a bit of “FROZEN”. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be great fun.

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Make fun of me if you want but I love the songs from the movie, even “Let it Go”…with the frozen fractals all around…How many little kids do you know who understand that line?

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Anyway, I just love that song, Let it Go, Let it go,  Can’t hold it back any more!

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The Frozen Sing A Long was a great warm up for the Christmas light show. And it was time to head over there. The Osborne Family Light show at Disney originally started out in Arkansas.

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Starting out as a small display on one house the display eventually grew to 3 million lights covering 3 lots.. At that point the neighbors began to file complaints and eventually law suits alleging traffic problems and safety issues.

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The publicity from the court cases drew national attention which brought it to the attention of Walt Disney World who offered to put it on a “residential Street” in the back lot of Hollywood Studios.

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Residential Street was visited using the backlot tour’s tram vehicles. When the light display was in place, however, the tram tours would stop before sunset, allowing guests to walk among the displays. Initially the display was purely the original lights from the Osborne estate, but in subsequent years the display was augmented to its current size of over five million lights. The display’s Disney caretakers have also added a number of hidden Mickeys into the lights. The 2007 edition of the display featured over 40 of the icons.

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In 2004, the park began construction on a new arena for its upcoming Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show, set to open in 2005. Part of the construction included the demolition of Residential Street, thus necessitating another move of the display. The solution was to move it to another part of the park, the New York Street set (now known as the Streets of America). As part of the move, the Studios added an artificial snow effect to the display, made up of 33 snow machines that use 100 US gal (380 L) of fluid per evening.

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There have been several other upgrades and changes over the years but now it was time to pull the plug. This was to be the last year for the Osborne Family Light Display. With that announcement, Disney guaranteed there would be crowds every night as fans arrived in droves to experience the lights one last time.

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The Polynesian at Christmas

After we  left the Grand Floridian we caught the next water taxi to the Polynesian Village Resort.

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The Polynesian has been undergoing a complete makeover. The swimming pool has experienced upgrades and the Bora Bora Bungalows are scheduled to open soon.

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These are over – the -water accommodations just like the South Pacific but I’m getting off track.

We were just stopping there to see the decorations.

There was a modest tree in the lobby with tropical blooms.

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Nearby a Tiki carving was gathering leis and offerings.

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We had a light snack on the deck near the pool. Mine was a hot dog, an $8.59 hot dog.

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Even the snacks are expensive! A pair of ducks were begging from table to table. All of the signs said not to feed the wildlife but these guys were so tame they took  bits of food right out of your fingers.

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Refreshed we grabbed the Monorail back to Hollywood Studios. As we headed to the Mono rail I couldn’t help but think that Disney had captured the essence of Hawaii.

 

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OH! Jet Lag!

While you’ve been reading about Florida I’ve been out in Anaheim, CA. Eventually we’ll get to to that but right now I plan to crawl back to bed.

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I’m officially Jet Lagged!

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Deck the Halls the Disney Way

All together we spent about 3 hours at the Magic Kingdom. As we headed for the boat ramps to sail to the Disney Hotels, I stopped at the ECV to let them know to take our/my name off the list. We were still #2.

By now I had started to limp as my back muscles cramped up and put stress on my sciatic nerve sending pain down my left leg. I sat off to the side while Joe stood in line. The bench wasn’t too comfortable but it provided a little relief.

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Pretty soon we boarded a cute little boat and headed to the Grand Floridian, the most opulent of the Disney hotels. We wanted to see the Gingerbread house. The walk from the boat dock is slightly uphill and for someone feeling the strain, it seemed like a looong walk.

It was worth it once we stepped inside. The lobby is magnificent and even more so with enormous the Christmas Tree right in the center.

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They had comfy couches and chairs and I took full advantage of it. That was immediately relief and a promise of more pain to come as the back muscles contracted. Joe left me to recover while he explored the other vantage points for photos.

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The Gingerbread house was everything it was built up to be, including having a load of “hidden Mickey’s” but the tree in that Lobby really was the main event. It really overshadowed the gingerbread house.

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Speaking of the Gingerbread house, it is a real gingerbread house, not a cardboard imitation. Designed by the executive pastry chef, Erich Herbitschek, this house took over 1,050 lbs. of honey, 800 lbs. of flour, 600 lbs. of chocolate, 600 lbs. of powdered sugar, 140 pints of egg whites, and 35 lbs. of spices! Oh, and don’t forget the pinch of Pixie Dust and dash of Disney Magic mixed in as well.

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Recovered somewhat it was time to re-board and head to the Polynesian Resort.

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