Monday, September 21, 2015

Disney World September 2015 - Part 1

The last couple of years Labor Day Weekend has meant a long weekend at a marthon destination. During this time of year Holly has been in races in Oregon, Idaho, and Disneyland. We decided to switch it up this year and make an extended weekend trip to Disney World. We figured the late calendar placement of the holiday this year would lead to really low crowds. We knew rain/hurricane season could be a problem but decided to take the risk.

We spent our entire trip at The Polynesian Resort in a DVC (Disney timeshare) studio. Holly used fax service to request a specific room and it worked! We ended up on the third floor of Moorea with a Magic Kingdom View (we paid for the park view, the service helped to get us on the right floor and section far from the elevator and ferry boats) in the exact room number requested. This location is perfect for accessing the monorail to Epcot and ferry boats to Magic Kingdom.


We made it down to Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace in time to catch the Electrical Water Pageant and Wishes fireworks. We enjoyed the live music from the singer/guitarist. There are a few key tables for the better Wishes viewing and we kept moving up as people got buzzed inside to the main bar. We had our dinner from the Trader Sam's menu: tacos, lettuce wraps, sausages in corn dog batter, and pot stickers. Out of all of those items the sausages were the best. After eating we grabbed a buzzer to get a seat inside. When we were buzzed in we didn't have any seats - spare spots were at booths occupied by folks. Luckily people left the bar and we hunkered down in really uncomfortable barstools and ordered our Nautilus. This is a drink for two served in a vessel shaped like the submarine. We bought the souvenir glass to take home.

This was our second time visiting this Trader Sam's location (the original is in Disneyland) and we are kinda over it. The inside is cramped and a hassle to get into. When it is full the drink skits every two minutes get to be too much. A lot of the signature drinks taste the same and you can't get full bar offerings like decent bourbon. The Tiki Terrace offers a much more relaxing experience along with live music.

The next morning we had a huge breakfast at Kona then took off for Epcot. We arrived a few minutes after the turnstiles opened and we were able to just breeze in and get right on Spaceship Earth (golf ball). We had already decided Soarin' would not be on our itinerary so we took our time going over to The Living Seas. We made a detour at The Character Spot when we noticed a standby wait of ten minutes posted. It was actually a walk-in. Three quick character photos and off we went.

We took our time in The Sea Pavilion looking at the fish,dolphins, and manatee and even caught the Turtle Talk with Crush show. We headed over to Journey into Imagination for the obligatory ride with Figment. We then went over to Mission Space and Test Track before heading over to World Showcase.

We visited Duffy for what may be the last times. His meet and greet spot is going away but we are not sure if he is leaving as well. We decided to skip the La Cava margarita stop (shocking) in favor of having beers instead. Dave stopped in Germany for an Oktoberfest while Holly grabbed a Yuengling from The Outpost. We chose to enjoy our beers on a bench and watch the Friendship Boats go by.

Lunch was at Via Napoli. We found a formula of how to order just the right amount of food: order of calamari and one small quattro frommage pizza. We skipped the heavy La Rossa beers in favor of the frozen limoncello. Food was awesome but it took a long time to get our pizza.

We were debating whether to watch the Morocco band or the Scottish Folk band in England. Since we have never seen the Paul McKenna Band we headed to the UK Pavilion. They were good for the 8 minutes they played - Paul broke a string and cut the show short. With that, we left the park and headed back to the resort for pool time. When we arrived at the Poly we found the pool closed due to lightning nearby. Plan B: Tiki Terrace and a Lapu Lapu. Eventually the pool opened up and we spent a few minutes enjoying the break before heading back to Epcot.

Back in Epcot we took another World Showcase lap and made the La Cava stop this time. We took our time browsing some stores while sipping our Classic and San Angel. We stopped in the Rose and Crown so Dave could try the Macallan flight (12, 15, and 18 year old scotch). The Hat Lady was performing and the crowd was into it. While standing there some 80's hits were audible - maybe form outside? No, the guy next to us was playing his iPod through a speaker in his bag. Stupid hipsters.

Dinner was at Le Celier in the Canadian Pavilion. This is not one of our favorites but we figured we would try again. We shared poutine and had bison and filet mignon for main courses. The food was better than the last time but our server was a little lacking. Probably won't hurry back. Afer dinner the park was closed so back to the resort to relax and prepare for the next day.



Thursday, September 10, 2015

September Charity of the Month: National Brain Tumor Society and #GailStrong

Charity of the Month is the way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money

August: In August we sponsored Children in the Wilderness to support environmental and career development opportunities in Africa. Our donation of $125 will help children attend educational camps. To donate, please click this link.

September's Charity:

National Brain Tumor Society - Orange County Brain Walk

National Brain Tumor Society is our first repeat Charity of the Month. Last year we told you about a young friend of ours undergoing treatment for her tumors. Throughout the year she had been making some positives strides, but they have found a new tumor and the chemo treatments will begin again soon.

Earlier this year our friend Gail developed a large brain tumor that was impacting her ability to walk. This coincided with a period of time when she was preparing to go for back surgery, so the tumor's impact was masked by those symptoms. After an operation, chemo, and radiation we are happy to report that Gail is doing well on road to recovery. She created a goal for herself during recovery:

"When I was recovering at St. Jude Rehab Hospital, I saw a link to a site about the Orange County Brain Tumor 5K Walk at Angel Stadium on September 12, 2015. I gave it some thought and wondered, could I do it? One of our business associates came up with the team name "GailStrong" and had some hats made for us. That gave me some encouragement, so on Saturday morning, we'll be heading for the "Big A" to join with other survivors, families and friends to walk on a very warm day to help raise funds for brain tumor research."

Holly and Dave will do the Fox Lake 5K on Saturday to virtually support her.

Here’s a link to the GAILSTRONG team

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Honoring Fox Lake's Fallen Officer

It's been strange the last couple days. On Tuesday, while we were both at work, the texts and Facebook messages came in. Friends let us know that an officer was shot in Fox Lake (the town we live in) and the 3 suspects were on-the-loose. Dave turned CNN on the office TV and watched helicopter shots of officers lining a two mile stretch of road that parallels the train tracks he rides on each day. Reporters were standing in front of the place he got his oil changed last Friday. The last two miles of the train ride home truly demonstrated how serious the manhunt was with officers, SWAT Hummers, and town vehicles blocking-off closed streets. The news reported that this was the first officer killed in the line of duty in our county in the last 35 years.

We have lived in Fox Lake for 13 years. If you put all the officers that serve our town in a line up in street clothes mixed with other people and asked us to identify members of our local law enforcement, Lt. Joe would have been the only one we could identify. We'd see him at the local 5K's, the town's Oktoberfest directing the Explorer's (junior police organization- kinda like scouting), or working to fill sandbags during floods. Holly would see him often at her gym and he always said hello. We saw Joe off-duty about 10 days ago at a local business' anniversary party. They are getting it right on the news - he was a known and loved member of the community.

Last night we watched the recaps of the lakeside vigil while reports were coming in of the possible location of two suspects a few miles south. We fell asleep with the iPad in the bed and the police scanner app running. We woke up to find the report was a hoax in order to gain attention.

Some local teens have started a Twitter campaign called @foxlakeproject with the goals of getting a memorial or park to honor Lt. Joe.

Hopefully they can end the manhunt quickly so the family and the community can get some closure and begin to feel a little bit safer.