Thursday, October 31, 2019

Cousins in Florida

"Fresh" off the plane. We flew Frontier, a little like flying in a city bus, on a day with 14" inches of snow in Denver the day before. We weren't sure when it would take off, or when our luggage would appear at the other side. I think we ended up 3 or so hours delayed. Not totally unexpected due to the extreme weather, but the lack of communication was frustrating/disappointing. Note : I rarely fly in airplanes these days. Anyway great to catch up with Tamsin, Fabrice Matheo & Tristan, and enjoy a little sushi also.

Halloween! First day, Animal Kingdom. I have to say I was impressed ! The ticket prices were hard to swallow, however halfway through the day I realized that each experience accumulated to great value for money really. Just walking through the park was very pleasant in itself.

However being Halloween, and a weekday off season it is likely that the park was way quieter than average - all part of Tamsins plan :)

First big ride was the Everest expedition themed roller coaster, we weren't in line very long but walking through where the waiting lines usually are was like fas forwarding a museum of Tibet, I could have stopped and read about a few things, but didn't.

I had to keep up with these three excited and wide eyed crazies.

The Kali River ride was pretty mellow and long enough to be social and enjoy. The settings are so well done.

Lion King musical and acrobatics show. So much to take in and it was only lunch time !

Walking to lunch, overpriced but what are you gonna do, the trails just brought a smile to my face.

Continually wowed by the surroundings, it was like a giant botanical garden. Walking through the Avatar area was cool in the daytime, but amazing at night with all the translucent plants wound in here and there.

On the way to bugs life, inside the big tree in the park center. Lines were almost non-existent at this point as I think most families had left with Halloween plans.

Having the park what felt like to ourselves I'm sure was a real treat (not that I've not been before to compare it against).

This little rest spot looked inviting.

We took another ride on the Kali river tour as it was empty, and we all enjoyed it so much the first time.

The kids realized you could squirt the riders from the elephants trunks after. Note it was quite warm this day. 88'F... hot considering the day before it was 8'F when we left our house. 

We took a break in that little shack, another nice surprise was the craft beer sold, and how good it was ! 

Impromptu photo bomb. 

I'm starting to forget what some of these rides were...

A real Tiger, even though it is "animal kindom" I didn't expect there to be a Safari inside.

Up had an Aviary with bird show.

There were many birds, some rare, a Condor, toucans, parrots, macaws, eagles, owls, hornbill, many more.

The finding Nemo musical with life size puppets. Maddy loved it ! We all did.

And pretty much at dusk we went of the Safari, too bad it wasn't slower paced, it was astounding, I was totally ignorant that there were all these animals at Disney.

Hyenas, Giraffes,


Wildebeest, and some pretty fancy horned cows.


Lions and Cheetas, then it was a bit dark for pictures.

The tree of life, had its light show.

And the firework and light show.

And somehow right before the park closed we snuck into the Avatar ride, which is pretty incredible. Virtual reality, well augmented reality, 3D googles with mechanical rows of seats with 20 foot of up and down G force simulation and pitch axis rotation, with wind and water flying around on a Banshee. Whew what a day !

The next day we went to Eppcot. Mostly because Maddy has been so enamored by Anna and Elsa from Frozen.

We got to meet some folks dressed as them, I thing Maddy found that kinda weird, which to be honest I am kinda glad.

Then we went on the log ride through Airendale. The wait lines were much longer today.

Walking around the world was fun, and the attention to detail in architecture and buildings far exceeded my expectations. Not at all the facade I half expected.

Princesses were to be found here and there. Maddy informed us this was sleeping beauty.

I think this was Italy. We were trying to hold out for the show, but couldn't do it.

Spaceship earth dome.

Saturday, time for a chill day at blue spring state park.

We got there early a chanced into the first Manatee of the season.

Blue Spring comes straight up out of a cave at around a cubic foot a second. Fresh clean water at 72'F. Time for a swim !

The board walk through the rain forest is pretty pleasant too!

After swimming we headed back to Disney for an overpriced dinner. Strangely the place I liked the best (good view) was quiet.

And that was it! quick but full trip and great seeing the cousins altogether and getting along so well. We had a big breakfast and headed to the airport. Thanks Tamsin and Fabrice for sharing your vacation with us! 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Brainard Lakes area

Bulldog rock, in Hiel Ranch along left hand creek.

One curious moose, I think it was also curious why I didn't move out of its way yet.

Mitchell lake just slightly iced around the edges

St Vrain creek, chillin' on the edges

Frozen cascade previously filling Blue Lake.

Blue lake basin.

Mt Toll, a spectacular way to head west. Maybe next time.

Looking east.

The Plains from 11,500 ft MSL, looking across Boulder reservoir.

End of the Aspens for the this year.