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Friday, November 28, 2014

A Grand Gingerbread House

My husband and I were at Disney World last year around the time that all the Disney resorts had just been decked out with all the decor and finery of the season. One of our favorite things to do during the holidays is going from resort to resort to see how each has been uniquely decked out. We call it Holiday Resort Hopping. This post will focus on Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. A visit to the Grand Floridian at any time, but, most particularly during the holidays, reveals to the visitor why it is called the Grand Floridian. Everything done there is done on the grandest of scales. A visit there is like taking a stroll back in time to the Victorian era.

The spell of the resort is cast immediately upon stepping off the monorail system and walking up to the front portico. The resort hearkens back to the Victorian era and this period antique car is one of the first things to behold. Isn't it wonderful? It reminds me of the motorcars in Downton Abbey, one of my all-time favorite television series(can hardly wait for Season V, here in the U.S.)!
Antique Car at Entrance of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Wouldn't it be great to take a ride in this beauty? I think it is positively gorgeous! The poinsettias can be seen in the background and are in abundance all around the resort.
Carriage at Front Entrance of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
This picture is one of a beautiful topiary with poinsettias at the entrance of the resort.

Topiary at Entrance of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Once inside the resort's lobby one begins to realize just how magnificent it is.  The extraordinarily talented pastry, bakery, confectionery and decorative artists of Disney know how to create things in a most "magical" way. To the left of the following photo seen beyond the huge bird cage, is one the most fabulous gingerbread confectionery creations that I, personally, have ever seen. It is an enormous gingerbread house and it rises all the way up to and past the floor of the balcony at its rear. The immensity of the lobby, combined with the fact that the house is far on the other side of the lobby, makes the house seem smaller in this photo than it is in actuality.
Main Lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort at Christmas
To see how much/many ingredients went in to building this astounding gingerbread house go here. Following are several pictures of this awesome gingerbread house.
Disney's Grand Floridian Gingerbread House
Here is another photo taken at a different angle of the gingerbread house. There is a toy soldier standing guard on the porch. Look closely and notice there is at least one Santa Claus in each level. Maybe Santa has some Santa helpers, just like in "real" life!
Disney's Grand Floridian Gingerbread House 
Look at the people standing above on the balcony on the landing behind the house. They serve to illustrate the magnitude of the house. This pastry and confection creation even has a chimney that blows smoke out of its stack! I tried to get a good shot of the smoking chimney but I am afraid this one is a tad dark.
Gingerbread House at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Every detail of this Victorian beauty's construction is simply marvelous! I attempted to illustrate its wonderful details by zooming in on some of the things located on the front porch and on the balcony and roof above the porch area.of the house. Note that the house even has its own snow covered miniature village! A Christmas tree and other decorations and lights can be seen inside the windows. Even Old Saint Nick is standing on the porch!

Close up Picture of the Victorian Style Gingerbread House at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Close-up Photo of the Victorian Gingerbread House at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
I am afraid the following photo is not very clear but I am including it anyway. It is a view from one of the balconies looking down on the front of the house. Another Santa can be spotted on a balcony at the very top of the house in this photo. The people standing near the front of the photo again serve to emphasize the magnitude of the structure.

I have an affinity for staircases(among other things) in beautiful places and I always try to get a picture of each, so as to remember its uniqueness and beauty. Naturally, this can be difficult because people are constantly going up and down the stairs. Here is the staircase in the lobby at this resort. I think it is out of this world gorgeous!
Staircase in the Main Lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
The following picture is of the spectacular light fixture hanging in the main lobby. Isn't it amazing?
Magnificent Light Fixture Hanging in the Main Lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
An orchestra often plays at the resort and you can see it in the distant background of the above photo. They play beautifully. Here is another picture that I took from near the front of the resort. I am afraid it is a little out of focus because it was taken from such a great distance.
Orchestra Playing at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
One more photo, friends.  This one is of the exterior of the resort and was snapped as we were departing.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
It is so very much in the grand and elaborate Victorian style of yesteryear and breathtakingly beautiful. I hope you enjoyed my post about one of the resorts on our Disney resort hop from this past Christmas. I hope it gives some insight as to why this magnificent place has been named Disney's Grand Floridian. Should a trip to Walt Disney World be in your future, it is well worth taking the time to hitch a ride over on the monorail and experience it for yourself. Everything about this resort is truly grand!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day to Military Veterans and Happy 239th Birthday U.S.M.C.

As the wife of an American Veteran, I have a heart for all veterans. I wish to all military veterans who served in the past and to those who are now serving in the armed forces in America,  a very Happy Veteran's Day tomorrow! Thank you for serving our beloved country and for giving so much to protect the people who live here and for protecting the rights that we sometimes take for granted.
Happy Veteran's Day to All American Veterans
Today, I am sharing a photo of my daughter, Stephanie, who is wearing a sweatshirt that belonged to her daddy many years ago, long before she was born  when he was a "few" pounds lighter. I was a new bride.  My husband, her father, and I were living in Charleston, S.C. He was stationed at the Naval Weapons Station at Goose Creek, Charleston, South Carolina at the time.
Stephanie wore this shirt yesterday to church to honor her father, a Marine veteran, for Veteran's Day. Her father and I were both very surprised and touched by this sweet and meaningful gesture. Stephanie is so proud of her father and the time he spent in service to our country. We are proud of her and we feel so blessed that God chose us to be the parents of  two sweet and thoughtful daughters! Her husband, Jason, snapped a picture of her after the church service was over.

As it happens, this garment also serves the purpose of honoring all active and inactive United States Marine Corps veterans on the 239th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps! I adore this picture of her in the Marine Barracks sweatshirt.
Stephanie Wearing a Sweatshirt which Belonged to her Father,  a  Marine Vet

I hope my fellow Americans will take the time to honor all of our veterans. Freedom is not free. No matter what your thoughts on the subject of war and those who serve in the military, it is an undeniable fact that we would not enjoy the liberty to express our views had it not been for those who serve our country. I, for one, am eternally grateful for that freedom.

Happy Birthday U.S. Marine Corps and Happy Veteran's Day to all veterans!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Goblins

The street where my daughter lives is one of the most popular places in our town for Halloween. Being a one-way street with a circle at the end, there is not a lot of through traffic which seems to make a friendlier and, hopefully, safer environment for the hundreds (not kidding) of spooks who haunt there every Halloween. We used to have quite a few kids come by our house. However, we now take our candy and go over to her house for some light refreshments and fun spent with family and friends. We watch the costumed goblins, small and not so small, and pass out treats to those who show up there from way before dark until the candy or we, or both, give out.

I wish I could have taken some pictures of all the little ones and their costumes because they were pretty awesome. Instead, I will share with you some pictures of my grands, at least the ones who are still young enough to participate in trick-or-treat. My three granddaughters still enjoy Halloween as trick-or-treaters. 

Princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney's movie "Frozen" were the most popular costumes worn by the little ones last night, by a landslide. Even some of the bigger goblins who were chaperoning the smaller ones were wearing Anna and Elsa costumes. Seriously, I think I am not very far off base when I tell that some costume makers and toy manufacturers are making tons of money off those characters. The snowman, Olaf, from the movie was also very popular this Halloween. 

Our family helped with that process, as you can see from the following photos. The two youngest dressed up as Princess Anna (on the left) and Elsa!
Princesses Anna (left) and Elsa from  Disney's "Frozen" Movie
They had the braided wigs, but for one reason or another, neither chose to wear them.  Go figure! Here is another of Princess Anna. 
Princess Anna from Disney's "Frozen" Movie
Unfortunately, I got the pizza boxes and soda bottles in the background. I obviously could have done a better job with the background in these shots! Hopefully, Princess Anna is lovely enough to distract from my lack of prowess in the photography area in all my photos.
With a Disney show playing in the background television(evidence of our obsession with all things Disney), our youngest granddaughter is pictured in a typical Elsa pose!
Princess  Elsa from Disney's "Frozen" Movie
Pirates always liven up the mix! Did you ever see a more beautiful pirate than the one pictured here?!
Our Pirate at Halloween
They can get somewhat rowdy, those pirates, and ours got pretty boisterous! She was frightening one of our princesses.
A Frightening Experience for Princess Elsa
Another snapshot of our young pirate caught in a more contemplative mood.
Our Pirate in a More Subdued Mood
A candid shot here of one of the bigger spooks (our daughter), the black cat, who is assisting the pirate to get "made up" for the occasion.
A  Mama Black Cat Helping her Little Pirate to Put on Makeup
Another shot of  Mama Black Cat. I thought she did a great job with her makeup and the pirate's, as well. She looks quite sly here! Do you suppose she might be about to pounce on an unsuspecting mouse?
A Black Cat Ready to Pounce
I think she is one fabulous cat in her costume. But, then again, mother's always say stuff like that!
One Gorgeous Black Cat!
I love my family and the friends who share times with us, both good and trying times. Life on our planet should never be taken for granted. It is an ever fleeting thing, life and those moments that make up a life. Time spent with loved ones is a gift not to be squandered or wasted. I do, so very much, treasure those moments!  It is my hope and prayer that my family and friends will always do the same with one another, even after I can no longer share precious moments with them.

Speaking of time, if you took your time to visit my blog today and to read my little Halloween post about some of the people who make my life and times so much more joyful, I want to thank you for doing so. I am very grateful for the time you have spent here, both now and in the past!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Piece of Paradise at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

If you like a tropical landscape and atmosphere, you will think you have fallen into Paradise when you enter Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, which is included in the Moderate class of Disney's resorts. It is, in fact, anything but moderate in its appeal. The resort's theme is that of romantic Spanish-Colonial Mexico. Taking full advantage of the Florida sunshine, the entirety of its sprawling grounds is chock full of just about every type of palm tree imaginable. Exotic tropical plants and shrubbery abound. Colors of buildings, inside and outside, range from sand to coral and soft blues to turquoise. Pops of rust and brown are interspersed for accent. The ultimate effect is soothing and relaxing. A supremely pleasant experience!

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, we just returned from a second stay at this extraordinarily beautiful place. We visited the resort several years ago when our youngest daughter, her husband and two daughters, accompanied us. During this visit we were reminded of just how astoundingly gorgeous and special it is! 

Walking toward the front entrance to the lobby, we are struck by the color scheme of the portico:
View from the Parking Lot to the El Centro Building and Lobby at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

The wonderful architecture and colors of turquoise blue and coral are a welcoming sight as we approach the entry's portico.

Entry Portico Leading to the Lobby and Registration Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

As we enter the doors leading into the lobby, El Centro, area of the resort, we look to our left and see this wonderful carved wooden horse statue.

Wonderful Carved Wooden Horse in El Centro (lobby) Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
This picture, taken from a closer proximity of the statue gives one a better understanding of its beauty.

Carved Wooden Horse Statue in El Centro  at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Front and center and directly in front of the door we enter is this gorgeous fountain!
Fountain in the El Centro (lobby area) of  Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The sound of the water flowing in the fountain is relaxing and entrancing. Here is another view of this fabulous fountain.
The Fountain in El Centro at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A painted mural on the wall:
Painted Mural with a Spanish-Colonial Theme
A tile wall mosaic with cherub statuary and plantings on another wall.

To our right is the breathtakingly beautiful registration area. Because the light fixtures and lamp posts at all the Disney World resorts and theme parks are so fascinating, I find myself continually taking pictures of them. I did not get pictures here the last time we stayed. The fixtures hanging from the ceiling in the registration area are awesome, so I placed myself directly at the middle of the entrance, so as to achieve the full affect and snapped. The gentleman who had welcomed us when we walked into the area, walked quickly back over to me and asked if I saw what I had done when the picture flashed. He told me to check the picture I had just taken and so I did and was very surprised to find I had just discovered a "hidden Mickey!" You will see the glowing silhouette squarely in the top middle and beyond the fixtures in the picture below!
Beautiful Light Fixtures Hanging in the El Centro Registration Area with Hidden Mickey Glowing Beyond the Fixtures

This picture was taken as we walked back up the hallway of El Centro off which the eateries are located. Some unique light fixtures can be seen hanging from the ceiling along the length of this hallway with that gorgeous fountain placed in the middle in the foreground.
Light Fixtures in Hallway in El Centro with Eateries Situated on the Right of Photo
We had checked in to our room online weeks ago and so it took only a couple of minutes and we were on our way to our beautiful room. Our room was decorated in the same beautiful tones as other areas of the resort. The wall color of the room was a more muted and very light and soothing shade of blue/green and a bed "runner" sported the turquoise and brown found outdoors and in other areas.
Our Lovely Room at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The bed runners also featured tiny Mickey heads in the design. It is always fun to hunt for Mickeys located here and there around the resorts and theme parks. The signature "Mickey" towel creation was positioned on one of the beds.
Signature "Mickey" Towel Decor on Bed

A picture of the vanity area and water closet area of the touches of brown, rust and golds, which lend a bit of richness to mix.
Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.
During our stay at Coronado Springs Resort we took several strolls around the vast and beautiful grounds of the resort. Hopefully, these photos will illustrate in some way the astounding architecture and gorgeous landscaping that abound throughout.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall

Night View of Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall 

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Three Caballeros at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Three Caballeros and Me at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Light Fixture at Entrance Portico of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Crossing Bridge at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
What better to plant in this tropical paradise than a Bird of Paradise?

Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A close up picture of the beautiful Bird of Paradise Flower allows us to realize why the plant is called Bird of Paradise. It really looks like the head of a colorful plumed tropical bird.
Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Another outdoor fan/light fixture which has become a home for a bird of some kind. Note the bird's nest at the top of the fixture.
Fan Light Fixture at Disney's Coronado Springs Resor
 Another tropical flower, Yellow Hibiscus.
Yellow Hibiscus at the Resort
A good breakfast was available at the Pepper Market.
Spanish Omelette at Pepper Market
For a quicker selection pastries can be purchased as well at Pepper Market.
Pastry Case at Pepper Market

If you choose, you can select from a buffet which also includes pancakes and waffles.
Breakfast at Pepper Market

Breakfast at Pepper Market
Breakfast at Pepper Market
A refreshing late night refreshment after a busy day in the parks. Lemon Sorbet and Strawberry Sorbet from Cafe Rix.
Cafe Rix at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Sorbet Case at Disney's Coronado Springs Cafe Rix

Strawberry and Lemon Sorbets from Cafe Rix
Each of Disney's resorts is special and unique in its own way. Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this little visit to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. It truly is a little piece of paradise!