MEVANS, for all your travel needs...

So...I like to travel..a lot! These are my stories.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Pic(k) of the week: Disastrous Republic

In January of 2010 (almost a year ago!) we traveled to Punta Cana, DR. Now, I have mentioned that I wasn't a huge fan of our DR trip. Mostly because there was a lot of stress around it - the huge earthquake that hit Haiti happened a few days before we were supposed to leave for the trip. Yes my friends, Haiti and DR are on the same island. I can't even tell you about the nausea.....I was a nervous wreck until the plane landed and we were safely at our resort.  


We stayed 5 nights at the Majestic Elegance, which was very beautiful and our accomodations were gorgeous. The food left a bit to be desired, but I guess you take the good with bad. I believe I said it in my other post; you get what you pay for...The main thing was that were safe and had some funny stories to come back home with. Here are some of my favorite parts of the trip:




Side note: Beware of the "Bali Beds" - I layed on one and got little bug bites all over the side of my face and caused me to have an allergic reaction. I took benadryl and wore cortizone cream for about a week straight. Strangers were asking me what happened to my face...you can imagine my horror....and not to mention my fear of bed bugs...

I look forward to bringing you some good travel posts in 2011!

Look sharp!


xoxo mevans  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's the Deal-io (Thursday): End of Year Sentiments

Do you ever feel like time is flying by so quickly you can't even deal with it? I can't believe that we are on the verge of 2011. Where did the time go? Before I get all nostalgic and sentimental about the goings-on of this past year, I should jump into my deal-io for the week. I apologize for the delay. Wednesday caught me by surprise this week. I blame it on the snow - and, well, my laziness. 

Since it is the end of the year, now is a good time to try to negotiate deals because, like retail stores, everyone is trying to get rid of their "inventory" and gear up for a new travel year. Domestic travel is especially discounted. This Best Western located on Disney Property (close to the Downtown area) has $79 per night (with a two night minimum) including a continental breakfast and free shuttles to the Parks. Honestly, you really can't get much better than that. The special runs from January 1 to March 31, with some blackout dates. The TA reviews are very favorable. Try to complement with some cheap fares from Jet Blue and Southwest, and you are good to go!

xoxo mevans

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Familiar Feeling

Welcome to winter my friends. An exhausting time of year where snow boots, gloves, shoveling, blizzards, and other wintry-what-have you are part of every day life here in NY. This is when I trade in my flip flops and T-Shirts and opt for my snowboarding coat and fake Uggs. It's a sad day when the flips get traded in *sigh* - an all too familiar feeling that, yes, it's that time of year again - which means that snowboarding trips are right around the corner.


With that being said, and to follow-up from Wednesday's post, Bud, our friends Jay and Josh, and myself drove up to Belleayre Mountain Saturday for some winter sport-age. Our journey began at around 6:30am and after surviving the Thru-way *shudder* and Bud's early 2000's play list, we made it up to the mountain by around 10am. For a holiday, the mountain was EXTREMELY busy and everyone was quite frenzied. Note to self: never wear sneakers with ankle socks and leggings when having to walk from a snowy parking lot to the main lodge. It was a beautiful wintry day though, with some sun and clouds, although the conditions on the mountain were a bit icy. The views from the lift were absolutely breathtaking. Trees trimmed with snow and icicles, and a blanket of white snow underneath? Sounds so Disney, I love it!  


Remember what I said about my snowboarding skills being "awkwardly mediocre" at best? Well, I think I can drop the mediocre and crank it up a notch to "awkwardly average" at best. Hey, at least it's progress. There were a few low points though. Josh did get seriously hurt and had to visit the ER in Kingston (poor Josh - he's OK though). I suffered a number of less than graceful falls from the lift, had some tears here and there, and in one section of the trail, a face-full of snow.

Snowboarding is always an experience and you never know what day you are going to have until you get there. What makes the experience worthwhile for me is sharing it with Bud and my friends. Their smiles and laughs usually get me through the somewhat terrifying experience of flying down a mountain at what seems like 50 miles an hour. At least I can say I did it, right? Maybe we'll have to put snowboarding in the Alps on hold for awhile......I still need to learn toe-side...

Stay warm guys!

PS - This post is dedicated to Josh! Feel better!


xoxo mevans

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week: View from the Top (not the movie)

Wow, Friday already! I can't believe it! Since I shared some snow with you guys on Wednesday, I figured we'd bring it back to some nice warm weather! This pic was taken from our hotel room when we visited Cancun (shout to the Hilton Cancun!!). I wanted to remember this view forever. There's something about the sun glistening on the water, the palm trees, and the intricate design of the pool. Doesn't it look perfect? *Sigh* Memories of the warm Mexico sun are all I have right now....as I sit and type with my hot chocolate and am bundled up in my blanket. I really need a Snuggie! 




Have a great weekend everyone!


xoxo mevans

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Winter Sport-age

Yes my friends, winter is *OFFICIALLY* here, although it seems like it was here two months ago. These blustery, obnoxiously cold NY days have contributed to some pretty nice snowboarding/skiing weather. Now, you know I'm all about the sand and sun, and you know how much I hate the Thru-way, but I do like to sport a snowboarding jacket every now and then. I'm thinking of adding a helmet this year to the wardrobe though - I've had some nasty spills. 

Snowboarding is one of Bud's favorite past times and he is really good at it (I'm not just saying that, he really is!). I would rate myself as " awkwardly mediocre" at best (and you know how much it kills me, because I hate mediocrity). What I lack in snowboarding experience I make up for in my writing skills...

Anyway, my deal-io for this week is $25 lift tickets this Friday and Saturday at Belleayre Mountain. Usually lift tickets are around $50+. If you are willing to hit the slopes, I highly recommend this deal. Sure, there are better mountains, I'm not disagreeing. I'm a big fan of Stratton, VT myself. However, Belleayre is a pretty easy mountain to navigate and if you haven't experienced the winter sport-age before, it's a great place to start. The lifts are open from 9a-4p. If you don't have any gear, rentals are $25. 

These pics are actually from Bud's trip to Hunter - not Belleayre, but I still thought it was appropriate (sorry):



This is my girl Brita. Killin' it! You go Brita! This was her first time and she did awesome! You can't see her, but she's super cute.



Have fun you guys!

xoxo mevans



Monday, December 20, 2010

Literally Laughing Out Loud

Well, it's Monday, and I think we all need a good laugh. I definitely have a case of the Mondays today. I was looking at some old pics that instantly brightened my day by bringing back some fun memories. 

Have you every visited somewhere and found the most random things amusing? That's on of my favorite parts of traveling. The memories you make and the good laughs you have along the way are priceless. These photos below were taken last year over Thanksgiving that made us "LOL".



Cancun is notorious for little market places and great deals. Don't forget to haggle! I don't even know what this is, but apparently "it's is a bag"....


 El Shrimp Bucket, anyone?
I mean come on, who doesn't want to eat out of a bucket? Classy.

I don't remember these guys' names, but I know one of them is German and they have tequila. Enough. Said.


I'm not sure why this is funny. We sure had a fun time taking silly pictures in ChedrauĆ­, a Mexican grocery store in Old Cancun. Picture if you will, the Mexican version of Target, 
and for some reason it smelled like cheese....

Happy Monday everyone! 



**Shout out again to J-Mills for some of the pics.....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pic(k)s of the week: Galapagos Much?

I really wish I could come up with a jazzy-er title for today's post - but it's been a long week and I have been sick (excuses, excuses, I know). My wit only goes so far. Sorry folks (you know how I hate mediocrity).


What's not mediocre are the pic(k)s for this week. HUGE shout to J-Mills and his little bro, PastaMillerBoy for helping me out this week. Let's give them a round of applause *clapping*. These adventurous guys share my love of travel and seeing the world. These pics are courtesy of the Miller family photo album.

They embarked on a journey to the Galapagos Islands back in the Spring of 2009. Believe it or not, you CAN visit the Galapago Islands (which are islands off the coast of Ecuador). Fun factoid, they only let a certain number of guests visit the Islands each year. You are not allowed to disturb the animals in their natural habitat. From what I understand, you are almost tripping over the animals...they are like, literally crossing your path!

I will let the photos speak for themselves. This one is J-Mills' pic(k):


This is Kicker Rock of the Northeast coast of San Cristobal Island. So pretty!


And now for PastaMillerBoy's:  


A sun-bathing iguana (it would probably attack me if I was there)


A baby seal and his mom (aww cute, right?)


Thanks again guys! Enjoy the weekend everyone! 



xoxo mevans

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: A Pilgramage to Boston anyone?

Oh yes, it's that time of week again. Wednesday! Aren't these weeks just flying by! I've given you guys enough warm weather posts to make everyone severely in sun withdrawal (I can't believe we have snow already). I'll highlight deals on our big neighbor city to the North - Boston!

If you guys have a hankering for really good New England Clam Chowder, or a mediocre baseball team (it had to be said), Travelzoo posted an amazing nightly rate at the Hilton Boston Back Bay. Hilton is offering $119 per night (around $136 with taxes and fees) for select dates from now until March - including weekends! I really love the Hilton Group (thanks Paris) - they really know how to treat guests well. Normally this hotel runs about $200++ per night with taxes. It is located in the heart of Boston, near the Financial District and near mass transit. I checked the TA reviews and they are great!

Beantown has a lot to do and see, although you might want to wait till closer to March when the weather is a bit warmer!

Happy travels everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thanks you guys!

OK, non-travel related post - big thanks you guys for reading my stuff!


 We just hit over 300 page views!


Thanks for thinking I'm interesting! 


xoxo mevans

Monday, December 13, 2010

Everyone's A Critic

Do you ever sometimes feel like you missed your calling? Sometimes I think that I should have been a some kind of reviewer. Not like a food critic, but some kind of critic of hotels or destinations, or something like that. How cool would that be?


While I can't pursue this dream professionally, I turn to my next best option(s) - obsessing over travel guides, and posting write-ups on Trip Advisor (TA). I love research. Yes, I am a big nerd. I've worn glasses since I was five and worked in the attendance office in high school during my lunch period. I like knee socks and getting a full eight hours sleep. I also like office supplies and crossing things off my "to-do list". 


My nerd-like tendencies also include love of books. I mean actual books - sorry, I don't own a Kindle. I still have the first Ipod shuffle that Apple came out with in 2005 - playa, puh-lease. My recent purchase involved some travel guides - ahhh I love breaking open the books and reading about what exciting places and things a destination has. My recent purchase included The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland Paris. I have no plans to visit there ANY time soon, but I love the fact that there might be a time WHEN I can actually use that book - although by then it might be severely outdated. Trust me, I'll get over it. 










All these guides have some great tips as far as what time of year to go, must-sees, and how to get from point A to point B. I really like Frommer's travel guides, and if you ever go to Disney, check out Birnbaum's guides. My friend James recently recommended the Lonely Planet series of guides. There's plenty out there, you just have to check out which style you like the best.  


For reviews, I hit up TA right away. I do not book or reserve ANYTHING without consulting TA first. This website has "user" reviews on everything from airlines to hotels to restaurants. Their forums have a ton of useful information. The reviews are pretty honest and accurate. The reviews and posts are generally entertaining and make for a good read. I love hearing what fellow travelers have to say! What/who do you guys consult? 


Happy planning everyone! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week: The girl who visited Ipanema

Well it is that time of week my friends - my pic(k) of the week this week is another beach related one. Sorry, it is just RIDICULOUSLY cold here.

These pics are taken from the famous Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio is one of my favorite cities. The city, the culture, the people, the food - I loved every minute I was there. If it's on anyone's travel bucket list, I recommend visiting. It's worth a trip.

While my time there was short, I saw so many things. Rio is a cool city because you have everything: mountains, beach, and "big city" buildings, all in one place. In the last picture you can see the Sugar Loaf Mountains in the distance (those people totally messed up my photography flow). Although it was a bit of an overcast day, we enjoyed the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Watch out for those waves though, and there's not much of a shelf....I ended up getting slammed by a wave and dragged out. I survived though, along with the 30 mosquito bites I got on that trip (I was pretty sure I was going to get malaria or Dengue fever - does anyone even know what that is?). All in all, it ended up being a pretty awkward time - but - it was a trip of a lifetime.





Yeah, I don't know who those people are. 

Enjoy guys! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Seriously CheapCaribbean?

I came across this little beauty in my Travelzoo newsletter that I get once a week. Have I told you how much I love Wednesdays? That's when I get all of my alerts of what travel deals are out there.

This all-inclusive resort located in Puerto Plata, DR is $20.10 per person, per night for a minimum of a four night stay from January 3, 2011 until December 20, 2011. There's about a $7 tax per person, per night, also. Booking has to be done by this Friday, so if you are looking for a last minute trip, now is the time to do it! You must book via the CheapCaribbean.com website. 

Traveler beware, I'm sure there is some sort of sales pitch involved with timeshare - there's always a catch! For sand and sun though, I would definitely pay the price! Find yourself a nice cheap air deal to DR (JetBlue is probably your best best), and you are good to go!

Now, I've been to Punta Cana in DR, and, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I'll get to that trip in a later post. I would go back to DR, but only for the right deal. This I would try out though. I  browsed some of the reviews on Trip Advisor site and they are pretty favorable, and a lot of people had taken advantage of this deal. Do keep in mind of course, that you always get what you pay for!!!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cabin Fever (the good kind?)

Not to go all "Me Monster" on everyone, but, as you have probably seen so far, I'm not really an outdoors-y kind of person. There are several factors. First, I'm not really into "braving the elements". Second, almost every time I go outside I get bitten by every single insect you can imagine (I still have scars from this past summer). Third, as a child of the 80s, I do really live a life of convenience. I'm sorry to admit it, but I am a product of mass consumption. To quote a Lilly Allen song, "..it's not my fault, it's how I'm programmed to function".  

Me and Bud joke around all the time that I have probably spent about 15 minutes total outside my whole entire life (exaggerated of course). When I was little I spent most of my time reading books and writing stories. I was ignorant of the outside world - kind of like Rapunzel (sorry, I saw the movie last night and immediately fell in love with it). Those Disney movies get me every time (*tear*). 

You can imagine my hesitation when Bud and I signed up to go on a hiking trip with some of our friends in October 2010. I was excited to spend a weekend away with our peeps, but hundreds of questions swirled through my brain. How cold is it going to be? Will there be bugs? What are we going to do? Do we have enough food? What exactly does "roughing" it entail? I was literally nauseous until the day we left. After an extensive shopping trip to Target and Wal-Mart (the best stores EVER), and borrowing all of our camping gear from my in-laws, I finally felt prepared. What's a camping trip without hummus and peach mango salsa???

So how did it go? I mean, I knew we were going to have good time, but we had a GREAT time! Shout out to the KOA Newburgh, NY because it was a really nice setup! We stayed in a cute little cabin and sat by a wonderful fire (thank you Bry & Craig), ate a ton of yummy food, sang songs, told stories, and played games. It was everything I wanted it to be. We also had a wonderful breakfast overlooking Mohonk Mountain (thank you James), a hiking trip, and apple picking at a local orchard. It was a great weekend! And no bug bites! Or car accidents!  

By Sunday night I was so upset that we had to go home. We shared so many laughs and had so much fun with all of our friends. As we made the travel back home on the Thru-way (oh how I despise you Thru-way) I couldn't help but think that I actually was outdoors-y for once in my life. This was a BIG accomplishment for me and my awkwardness. There was something about the fresh mountain air I guess. Although I couldn't have survived without my friends. You guys are the best!! 

Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure. Ahhh memories:  




Friday, December 3, 2010

Pic(k) of the Week

Since Wednesdays are now known as "What's the Deal-io Wednesdays", Fridays will now be known as "Pic(k) of the Week Fridays". Which, you guessed it, is a posting of a pic from the Evans Photo Gallery. I know you are all super excited about this.


As it is December and the first real cold and miserable weather spell has hit NY, I figured a little bit of warmth should be introduced this week. These pics were taken at the Sandals Resort in St. Lucia in October of 2006. After a VERY early flight we arrived early afternoon at the resort. At this point in time our room wasn't ready, so we had to chill in the outside restaurant/bar until it was ready (I think we ended up eating here every day). As we dined on delicious jerk chicken and the best jalapeƱo quesadilla I have ever had, we got a look at this view:



*Sigh*, isn't it beautiful? I thought this would help, but I'm getting more depressed as I type. 


Stay warm this weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's the Deal-io

I'm not made of money. I wish I was, but I'm not. Traveling is no doubt expensive. I get nauseous forking over $8 to just drive across the George Washington Bridge (I know the states of NJ and NY are completely broke, but seriously?). Forget about purchasing airline tickets. Thinking about that makes me completely ill.

It goes without saying that when it comes to traveling, everyone comes up with a strategic plan of attack to find the BEST (and by BEST I mean CHEAPEST) form of travel possible. This takes into consideration several opportunity costs such as travel time, length of stay, comfort of accommodations, etc. Bottom line, you search for deals to help your budget's bottom line.  Who doesn't love a good deal? To be honest, finding a good deal gets me through the day!

With all this being said, as of today, I am starting "What's the Deal-io Wednesdays" where I post THE best deals I can find, with the help of my trusty travel guides. I point your attention to the websites on the right hand portion of the page. I'm also available for personal planning questions if you care to have me a plan a trip for you - I won't charge, I promise! HA!

We'll start with this week's love for last minute trips:

Taken from Fly.com via Travelzoo, next weekend you can fly round trip on major airlines from NYC area airports to 10 major cities, with fares ranging from $29-$99 each way. So for example, say you wanted to take a last minute trip to Chicago (Saturday-Tuesday), you can fly direct from Newark to Chicago for $179 round trip. Good stuff my friends (and no, I am not being paid by Fly.com)! Loves it!

http://www.fly.com/deal.aspx?id=NYC1021&DepartDate=12/11/2010&ReturnDate=12/14/2010&Origin=NYC&utm_source=tzoo&utm_medium=t20

I think my work is done here. Happy travels!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road Trippin'

Who doesn't love a road trip? I mean, I'm not a huge fan of being crammed in a car for 3+ hours, but it is fun.  Of course, you defs need the right people, the right amount of junky snacks, and the right kind of music for a road trip. When I was younger I would make custom "mixes" (which entailed taping songs I liked off the radio onto a cassette tape - painfully old school, I know).  Thanks to Ipods and MP3s, my music mixes have gotten way more high tech, and a bit better, I might add. Although I do enjoy what Bud and I like to call "the scan it!" feature on our radio. What can I say, we like to have options.

As I'm sure you guessed already, this past weekend we decided to take a very quick trip up to my aunt and uncle's house in upstate New York (or Siberia, as we like to call it).  It's about 5 hours each way - yes, we drove about 10 hours in a 24-hour period. Did you guys know that we are crazy? I think now you do.

Oh, New York State Thru-way, how much you love to torture me. With your misleading signs (Interstate 90 west is still considered Interstate 87??) and your 30-40 mile long stretches between each exit. I loathe you. Although I do have to give props to "rest area management" for leasing space to Starbucks. Shout out to them for caring about my caffeine addiction (New Baltimore Rest Area Starbucks, what! what!).  





Ahhh yes, the open road. It would not be a successful "Evans Road Trip" if we didn't 1) get lost, 2) get into a minor disagreement on who gets to pick which radio station to listen to, and 3) have to stop at a store because we forgot something (every time people, every time). Overall, everything went well, and it was nice to see my family - although their town has no cell service, which was killing me!!!!! I guess family is worth sacrificing some things for :)

Did anyone else road trip it this weekend? 

Monday, November 29, 2010

This is how we do Part 3: Our Florida Farewell

Wow guys! Sorry for the delay! Crazy past few days. I'm long overdo on a write up of our last day in Disney, so here we goooo!!

I hate "goodbyes". I hate being a weepy, teary mess when I say goodbye (I was a HOT MESS last year when I left Cancun). I feel the same way when I leave Disney. I know it's really just a "see you real soon" as Mickey Mouse says, but I really hate leaving.

It's almost like a waste of a day too. You're already packed up to go, you're already checked out and sitting in the big comfy chairs in the lobby waiting to picked up. All the while new guests keep pouring in ready to start their vacations, as you sit and wallow in the fact you just dropped a TON of money and now it's time for you to go home. Not to mention a hefty credit card bill is quickly coming your way.

We chose a 7:00 pm flight from Orlando, so we had a few hours to kill. We woke up late, hung out at the room, and made our way to Downtown Disney around 11:00am. We enjoyed an early lunch at the Earl of Sandwich (or sang-wich, as I like to say). Who would have thought that smoked turkey, buttermilk ranch dressing, and cranberry sauce would go so well together - apparently Earl of Sandwich corporate.  It was one word, scratch that, three words: A-MAZ-ING.  I could totally eat one right now.

After walking around a bit we stopped at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Parlor for dessert. Don't even get me started. - OK I will anyway The ice cream was the best - we each got our own sundaes - that's how good they were! Think of a 1950's malt shop/ice cream parlor, with a Disney twist. I mean come on, how could it not be good? We wrapped up around 2:30 pm and headed back to Saratoga Springs via ferry boat - it was a beautiful ride.

We killed some time in the arcade and  politely listened to a Disney Vacation Club Timeshare sales pitch - great way to kill an hour, let me tell you (we didn't buy into it). At least I had some reading material for the flight back (I gave Sky Mall a break this time). As the flight attendant scanned my boarding pass, I took one glance back at the airport waiting area, and with a tear in my eye and my carry-on in hand, I bid farewell to one of my favorite places. Till next time Disney!

XOXO - mevans

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is how we do: Part Deux

You might ask what going "Park Commando" entails. Let's just say; I do work. I go into hyper drive and it's go-time. Once I hit the gates of a Disney Park, I'm on a mission. I'm on a mission to cover as much ground as I possibly can in the time allotted. The less time I have in a Park presents more of a challenge.

That's the way I like it. 

This year proved to be especially challenging, as we realistically (and financially), could only visit the Parks for one day (2 nights/3 days, remember?).  It was my goal this year to see all 4 Disney Parks (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot) in one day. I know what you're thinking - that's insanity. It is, and I am insane, but I love the thrill of a challenge. Visiting all the parks in one day is definitely not for the faint of heart, and hey, I like life in the fast lane! This was actually on my travel "bucket list" - which I can successfully say that I was able to cross off!  

We calculated the average wait times that we've experienced over the years and figured how long it would take to get through everything we wanted to see, factoring in crowd levels, transportation time, food breaks, and other stops along the way (Food & Wine Festival stops...yum!). I'll spare you guys the specifics, but by 9:00 am we were at Animal Kingdom, by about 12:30 pm we were at Disney's Hollywood Studios, by about 2:00 pm we were at Magic Kingdom, by about 5:00 pm we are at Epcot. I have never been in so many different kinds of moving vehicles in one day. We were able to see all the attractions we wanted to see, plus, we were able to fit in seeing Sugar Ray perform at Epcot (remember them?).

By around 10:30 pm we were back at our room, and completely exhausted. I felt a great sense of accomplishment (*sigh*, don't you love that?). It was a great day!

Now that I've completely scared you guys with my craziness, here are some pics of our adventure:





Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios


Animal Kingdom: Kilimanjaro Safari Ride & Main Entrance


Isn't it beautiful? Cinderella's Castle! See! I follow through on my promises


Epcot



Check me out tomorrow and I will give you the details on our last day in Disney! I know that you are all waiting with baited breath....

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is how we do: Intro & Day 1

I don't have to tell many of you - I'm a Disney addict. I love the crowds, the queues, and the craziness. I spend endless hours on my travel websites trying to figure out a way to make my Disney fix happen. Last month me & Bud indulged a bit and took a last minute "quick fix" trip to Disney World - 2 nights/3 days. I mean, IT WAS our anniversary (hah, like I need an excuse). Because it would be terribly boring to make one long blog entry, I'm going to split it up over a couple of entries (I can hear the cheering/jeering, I'm not sure which).

My search for an affordable Disney trip happened mid-September. Bud and I had time off that we had to use, and I was in extreme need of a Disney fix. Southwest had some affordable flights, and since October is off-season at Disney, I found some breaks on the Saratoga Springs Resort at Disney.

Flash-forward to October, and it was go-time! We opted for the 10am flight and after a not-so-wonderful airport breakfast, we were soon in on our way. Thank goodness for the 2.5 hour flight (as you know, I get antsy) because before I knew it, we disembarked and were at my favorite airport, my home-away-from-home, Orlando International (I know, it's really sad). Bud and I proceeded straight to the Magical Express pick-up. As soon as we got on the bus, I looked out the window and said, "I can't believe we're here". The sun, the palm trees, the excitement as you pass under the "Welcome to Walt Disney World" property sign, always makes me feel like a kid again.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:00 pm and thanks to the fabulous invention of on-line check-in, our room was ready. The Saratoga Springs Resort resembles the town of Saratoga Springs in upstate NY, circa early 1900s, where "Health, History, and Horses" is the motto. The building in this resort used to be the Disney Instute where classes and training were offered  - if anyone remembers, or cares (shrug). After a quick tour of the grounds, we were inside our room. Here are some pics:


 






The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. Although a bit breezy, we hung out by the pool for a bit and soaked up some sun. The pool bar had some great margaritas and a DJ! That is totally my scene right there. We headed back to the room around 5ish and it was time to get ready to eat!

After a bus ride that seemed to take FOREVER (it was almost painful how long it took), we arrived at the Beach Club resort. In my last blog entry, I mentioned the Cape May Cafe. This is our favorite restaurant. It's an "all-you-care-to-eat" New England style clam-bake, and let me tell you - we cared to eat A LOT. I think I ate about 3 bowls of clam chowder - that stuff, man, it's pretty serious.  We took a stroll along the Boardwalk and we were able to catch some of the fireworks from Epcot's Illuminations, and I really felt like I was home. There's something about the night air, the fireworks, and spending it with the perfect person that really makes an evening special (sigh).



At around 10:00 pm the day's travels and activities had caught up with us. We were spent! My pillow was calling me. We decided to turn in because the next day was a big day- it was my day - it was Park Commando Day! More to come on that....I'll let you soak the Disney in for right now.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food for Thought

I think everyone would agree that a big part of traveling is sampling the local cuisine. Everyone likes to eat, right? Some moreso than others, but that's besides the point. I was rummaging through my online photo gallery (I love you Shutterfly), and noticed that we like to eat  - A LOT. Let me rephrase that - we have a lot of "food-centric" photos. That sounds classier, doesn't it?

Remember Rusty from the "Ocean's" franchise - in almost every scene he's eating something? That's Bud. For some reason, I have a lot of photographs of him and food. I'm not really sure why, but I guess it's a funny reminder of what "food-y" experience we had during the trip. Usually there's some kind of story behind it. Here are some of our food adventures over the last four years (ahhh, memories):

The DQ in Tulum, Mexico. They don't even have these in NY! 
Shout out to J-Mills for the pics!








Best Mexican food in Old Cancun!

Bud enjoying an empanada in Montevideo, Uruguay (I wish I could say they were better). 



The JAM New England Clam Chowder at the Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club resort. 
This was on our honeymoon! Aside: How can someone put THAT many crackers in soup? 



Dessert time! Bud enjoying his favorite snacks in Epcot. The churro is obviously from Mexico. 


Funnel Cake from America! Kinda gross though....


Is anyone else hungry??? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Up in the Air (not the movie)

I get antsy when I fly. Somewhere between finishing my 100 calorie packet of stale pretzels (to which I always say "these pretzels are making me thirsty"), and desperately trying to see if I can get a glance of someone's watch to see what time it is, I've exhausted all options to distract my attention. I basically start to lose it. It's at this time when I reluctantly pick up the SkyMall magazine, located conveniently in the seat that's about an inch from my knees, to occupy me until I have to put my tray table up.

Just to give you a visual, while I am fidgety and looking at the next opportunity to "roam about the cabin", Bud is SOUND ASLEEP, like he was born to sleep in any moving vehicle. I never really get to share my thoughts with anyone on these items when I'm up in the air. So today, I'm going to torture you guys with some of my faves! I can almost hear the groans over cyberspace. I'll make it fun, I promise!    

Does this count as a carry on? 
I think the guy's face in the picture says it all. How is that comfortable?



One word: Classy.




This is actually pretty cool. We do know people that bought it, and comes with little push-pins so you can mark places you've been, you plan to go, and what's on your travel "bucket list". I'd like to splurge on it, but this blog is serving the same purpose for right now. 

Do I really have to say anything about this? I think not. 


(Pictures are courtesy of www.skymall.com)

Oh SkyMall, you get me every time!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Waiting Game

I'm not really a patient person. It's funny because Bud just called as I type and said that I am sooo impatient (aside: I changed "dear husband" to Bud because it's way easier and less lame, thanks!). I definitely DO NOT like to wait in many every day life scenarios - on the phone, on the line at any retail establishment - do not even get me started on TJ Maxx, or the bathroom. I guess that's the hostile New Yorker in me.

The airport is even worse for me. Although I love to get up and get my trip underway, I'm not a fan of waiting at the kiosk to check in, waiting at the security check, waiting to put my shoes on after I've gone through security, and waiting to get my last fix of Starbucks before a flight, etc., etc., etc....

Then the end-all-be-all of waiting - waiting to board my flight.

This wait is the most exhaustive part of traveling for me - I'm exhausted just writing about it. Forget it if the flight is delayed - your 1-3 hour regular wait just turned into a 5 hour nightmare. The only saving grace to waiting is if you are waiting in an entertaining airport with interesting shops and food options - or if you have a smart phone, a laptop, and wifi.

Here's a few things that I like to keep busy with, especially if you are traveling solo:


-People watch - people do the wackiest stuff when they don't think you are looking
-Find a gift shop and play with every toy that makes noise
-Tune out the world and listen to some music and read
-Pace the terminal and search for a tabloid that doesn't contain any headline about any of the Kardashians (this might kill a lot of time)
-Talk to your fellow travelers (there's always an interesting comraderie that develops when you are en route)
 
Any suggestions for a waiting-hater?  


I know, not a great pic, but it's the only airport one I have - sorry guys!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I like lists....

I like making lists. I like it when life fits into boxes and when I categorize things. Easier said than done though, right? I have lists for work, grocery lists, lists of things to do, etc. I also LOVE to cross things off these lists. I was talking to my friend, Navigating Nancy, about this the other day. She mentioned that one of the things on her "lists" is to try to travel SOMEWHERE out of state, for at least one day, once a month. 

This brings me to my travel "bucket list".

I don't think I need to explain what a bucket list is. I think Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson did a stellar job of that a few years ago.....

My travel "bucket list" is more of a list of things I want to do/places I want to go, before let's just say I can't do it for whatever reason (think of a mash-up of "The Buried Life" and "World of Jenks"). You know - when life pelts you with lemons and you are forced to make lemonade to survive (*shudder* I can't believe I just used that phrase).

I've given some thought about my list - and continually keep adding. Maybe I should change it to travel "wish list" but, I don't think that packs as much of a punch. I'm a dreamer and a planner - so this is one of my favorite lists! Hey, on my list of "things to do" was to start a blog, and I did that!

I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to visit every Disney theme park in the world???

Here's a short list of mine, in order of some kind of importance (I plan on creating a page in a little bit): 

1) Visit every Disney theme park in the world - I only have 3 more to go! 
2) Visit every state in the US - I'm about half way there.
3) Visit every continent in the world.
4) Visit every "Wonder of the World" - natural and man made wonder - I can cross two off the list!
5) Visit the Sydney Opera House.


What's on your list???

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Picture Says A Thousand Words....

So me and DH are not exactly the best photographers, and we are definitely not the most photogenic. Over the past few years we've mostly relied on pics of our travels from friends and family. I know, soooo lame. So my next resolve is to get a good dig (digital camera) and actually take some pictures. I'm going to not bore you guys with my commentary; well maybe some commentary. I'll let the pictures do the talking....Here are some of my favorite places..



Chichen Itza, Mexico - crazy right? Unfortunately the government's preservation society does not allow you to climb those steps anymore. I'm so happy that I got to when I visited in 2004. It's quite a trip!




Tulum, Mexico, a few hours from Cancun, Mexico - you know, historical stuff... 





This is the beach in Cancun outside of the Hilton in Cancun, but it represents my love for beaches worldwide! I miss you sand and sun! 





This is the Statue of the Christ in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It's really an amazing man made structure. The picture on the left is the view from the top. You can see Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance.  


Paraty, Brazil, was the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It's a small fishing village off the coast of Brazil. Here we went snorkeling, which was the best snorkeling experience I ever had. Although I was wearing one of those patches for motion sickness (we were on a cruise) and kind of couldn't swim. It was, well, an awkward experience LOL. Shout out to JM for not letting us drown!



And last but certainly not least, and it's always the first place on my list of places to go - Disney World. Sorry, no pictures of  Cinderella's Castle - next time! Fun Fact: I have visited Disney World in Florida - wait for it - 25 times. It's sad, but true LOL. Sorry Mom & Dad, you created a Disney monster!