A Road Trip Inspired by M*A*S*H–Day Four

Finally…Toledo!

Our trip was inspired by Jamie Farr’s/Maxwell Q. Klinger’s love of Toledo, but you can’t take a trip in his honor without also recognizing his mentor, Danny Thomas, so we stopped by Danny Thomas Park in the morning. As Jamie Farr said when his park was dedicated (keep reading to see that) “The great Danny Thomas has a park named after him on the south side of Toledo and I have a park named after me on the north side of Toledo. This is the only city in the United States guarded by two noses!”

After visiting the park, we drove a bit outside Toledo to The Historic Canal Experience, which gave us the opportunity to ride a canal boat down a section of the Miami & Erie Canal, go through a lock, and tour an old mill. It was a really cool experience…stay tuned for full details!

One of the main destinations of our Klinger road trip was dinner at Tony Packo’s. I absolutely loved the place…it felt like a neighborhood pub, but Hungarian, which makes sense since it’s in Toledo’s Hungarian neighborhood (see St. Stephen of Hungary Parish just down the street!). I felt like I had come home!

We also stopped at Jamie Farr Park, which is not too far from the intersection Klinger says he’s from in “The Grim Reaper”…Michigan and Galena. I really love the quote on the plaque!

And then on to the Toledo Mudhens game! I really liked their ballpark, and it was so much fun sitting so close to the field!

We didn’t see Muddy, but we did get to have a picture taken with Muddonna!

Ryan also found Cat Trick, one of the Toledo Walleye’s mascots:

It was a great game…the Mudhens were in the lead for most of it, but the Buffalo Bison tied it in the ninth, setting the stage for a walk-off home run by Joe Rizzo.

It was a fireworks night, so while they set that up, the crowd was entertained with music, dancing, and a giant beach ball!

The fireworks were amazing!

I kind of didn’t want to leave when they were done, but we had a day of driving ahead of us, so I bid Toledo a reluctant farewell.

The Happiest Trip on Earth–Day Three

Disneyland–32,673 steps

We saved Disneyland for our second (and final) theme park…seeing the train station for the first time was just as much of a thrill as it was at Disney World!

We got to watch the welcome show that is held on the steps leading up to the station when the park opens. The characters (minus Donald and Daisy, sadly), were all were their beautiful Disney 100 costumes!

We decided to take care of two things at once, and rode the Disneyland Railroad (something I really wanted to do since its Disney World counterpart was closed last summer) to the back of the park (where we wanted to get coffee).

What I didn’t realize is that station was practically on top of “It’s a Small World!” So we rode that first thing, and I loved it (of course)!

We then made our way to the Alice in Wonderland area, where not only do they have the teacups (a different experience because in California, they’re fully out in the open), but a second Alice-themed ride as well. And we ran into Alice herself, plus, the Mad Hatter!

We also visited New Orleans, home of the Haunted Mansion and beignets, and also Princess Tiana!

We wanted to make sure we saw the Sword in the Stone and the Wishing Well, since we missed both of those things at Disney World. Sadly, none of us was worthy to remove the sword, but we did all get to make a wish!

We were lucky that the “Star Wars Month” events were still going on while we were, and Turkey and Bunny got to ride “Hyperspace Mountain.” While they did that, I walked around and took some pictures of the castle (and let a Disney photographer take a photo of me!). Not as grand as the Cinderella Castle, but still lovely!

We walked back to the castle when they were done, and I found someone to take our picture:

The Disney photographers also got some nice pictures of the three of us:

And then we headed over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’m pretty sure there are some minor differences, but it felt pretty much the same as the Disney World version! We got to have ronto wraps for lunch, and do some shopping and sightseeing.

One of the things Turkey and Bunny were most looking forward to, though, was having another lightsaber building experience at Savi’s Workshop (especially since they updated the parts since last summer). It was pretty cool to just get to be an observer this time, and watch other people do the work!

We didn’t see the Mandalorian and The Child, but we did get to meet Boba Fett!

We didn’t get to go on Rise of the Resistance because it was either shut down or the line was two hours long or it closed early (that was probably the biggest regret of the whole trip), but we did go on Smuggler’s Run…I got to blow things up!

After that, we walked through Downtown Disney on our way to dinner. Of course we had to stop at the Lego Store and admire their creations:

I really like this beautiful floral display:

And then we went to the Disneyland hotel to have dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen…it was so much fun! (Full details to come…)

After our meal, we hopped on the monorail to get back to the park:

We rode Star Tours (always a fun experience), and then went in search of Dole Whips:

We were barely able to find a place to view the fireworks…the crowd was massive!

The park is open for a couple of hours after the fireworks, so we had time for a few more things. We were three minutes late for Rise of the Resistance, so we headed toward Runaway Railway, instead. I love how the line is set up like a museum dedicated to Mickey Mouse!

After that, Turkey and Bunny decided to ride the Matterhorn while I took care of what was left of our shopping, and took some more pictures:

We rode the teacups one more time, and even managed to get on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

We shut the park down (which I would somewhat regret the next day), and didn’t get back to our hotel until about 12:30. It was really hard to get to sleep after all that excitement and knowing we had a full day of travel ahead of us!

Markels Making Magical Memories–Day Nine

Magic Kingdom; 22,219 steps

Epcot is (I think) my favorite of the Disney theme parks, and we all had an amazing time at Hollywood Studios, but there’s something special about driving up to the Magic Kingdom:

And that first view of the Castle looking down Main Street USA is breathtaking!

While we were still near the entrance on Main Street, we saw some of our favorite storybook friends in a horse-drawn trolley:

We finally found ears at the Emporium Shop:

Our first stop (after buying ears) was at the Mad Tea Party. Bunny, in particular, was very excited about this classic ride!

While we were in the area, we also stopped for a snack at the Cheshire Cafe:

We tried the Cheshire Cat Tail (an amazing donut) and the All Mixed Up Slushy, which was wonderfully cold and refreshing:

As much as Bunny wanted to ride the teacups, that’s how much Chickadee wanted to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant. I have to admit I was also really looking forward to this ride, because when I went to Disney World as a child, it was shut down due to storms right before it was my turn to get on, and I never got back to it.

We also saw some of the big parade on Main Street, but since we were planning on seeing it later in the day, I didn’t take any pictures of the floats (spoilers…we never saw it again). The reason we were back near the entrance? Ryan had scheduled a session with a Disney photographer, and we got a lot of great pictures!

We also caught a bit of the Dapper Dans act, which I really enjoyed!

At this point, we split up for a bit. There was no way I was going to go on Space Mountain again (my bad memory from my childhood trip to Disney), so I took those who weren’t interested in the roller coaster to instead ride the People Mover (which is a low-key favorite of mine) and the Astro Orbiter:

After we found each other again, we set out for the other side of the park, which meant we got to catch some of the show outside the castle along the way. I was especially excited to see Daisy Duck in her 50th anniversary outfit. (Chickadee was excited that characters from both Tangled and Frozen appeared in the show!)

We didn’t go on any rides in Adventureland, but we did have one Very Important Stop to make there, because I wasn’t leaving Disney without trying a Dole Whip. We also got a Dole Whip float, complete with Tiki sipper, for good measure!

While we waited for the parade that never took place (thank you afternoon storms) we tried a lobster roll from Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square

And then we headed to the Haunted Mansion. I wasn’t too interested in this one, so I was really surprised by how much I liked it! It wasn’t scary at all…just silly and fun!

Following the Haunted Mansion, we split up again for a bit…I took a jaunt to Disney’s First Aid (which is a really nice facility!) with a child who had irritated eyes due to the copious amounts of sunscreen we were wearing, while everyone else who wanted to took a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This also gave me a chance to admire the castle from different angles!

We might have missed the big parade, but we did catch the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, and we learned that we were there for a very exciting event…Mirabel made her debut that day! (And did I mention that 6/26 is also “Stitch Day”? We were very excited to see Stitch join in the parade!)

I finally got to ride It’s a Small World, which was designed in part by Mary Blair!

After attending Mickey’s PhilharMagic, we of course had to ride the carousel:

We’ve had Mickey Bars at home, but our trip to Disney wouldn’t have been complete without sharing one at the park, too!

I think Fantasyland was my favorite, probably because it felt like what I imagine Europe feels like.

Even the back of the castle is pretty!

We took another walk down Main Street as the lights were starting to come on:

And Ladybug bought a “Banana Boom” at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, which she kindly shared with all of us (it was huge!).

We then claimed a spot to watch the fireworks…there’s something so special about seeing them over the castle!

The Magic Kingdom is open later than the other parks, so we didn’t have to leave right away. Instead, we rode the teacups again, and then took a ride on the Tomorrowland Speedway, which gave us a great view of Space Mountain all lit up:

One last look at the castle…I’m so glad we got to see it all dressed up for Disney World’s 50th anniversary!

Up next: Our “rest day” at Disney Springs.

Markels Making Magical Memories–Day Eight

Hollywood Studios; 14,624 steps

We finally made it to Hollywood Studios, the park everyone was most excited to visit…you’ll see why in a minute! I loved the mid-century feel of the gates:

It really did feel like being in Hollywood (well, as far as I can imagine, anyway)!

One of the best parts of our trip to Disney was sharing the experience with a friend! I’m so happy the children got to make so many memories with their godfather!

We were most excited about exploring Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. It really feels like you’re in one of the movies!

Where else can you see the Millennium Falcon?!?

I won’t even try to describe it all now…I’ll save that for a full post later. But we built lightsabers at Savi’s:

And we built droids at the Droid Depot:

Plus we picked up a job flying the Millennium Falcon to Corellia for Hondo Ohnaka (I was a pilot, which was probably a bad idea, but I got to engage the hyperdrive!).

We also got to see Muppet Vision 3D and explore that area of the park:

And we checked out the hand and footprints by the Chinese Theatre:

Before lunch, we spent some time relaxing and taking in the sights around Echo Lake:

Our other big event for the day was our one fancy meal on vacation…lunch at The Hollywood Brown Derby. It was just like I remembered it from my childhood, and one of the best meals I’ve ever had (full details to come):

We didn’t go on any of the rides in Toy Story Land, but we did enjoy walking through it and seeing everything!

We did have a fun ride on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad…and we were very happy to see that Goofy was recognized as Employee of the Month!

Another evening, another lights and fireworks show:

And a night photo of the Fab Five with their lightsabers lit up:

It was a great day full of amazing experiences!

Up next: A day at the Magic Kingdom!

Markels Making Magical Memories–Day Seven

Epcot; 24,760 steps

We thought this day would never come! We finally made it to Disney World and EPCOT (this would be the last and only time before my final park entrance that I didn’t get flagged by the metal detector)!!!

The had a really cool camera set up at the front of the park that took a very unique photo of the Fab Five:

I was so excited when I realized that the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival would still be going on while we there…there were amazing topiaries everywhere!!!

My family tells me I ran to hug Minnie Mouse…I thought I was walking at a perfectly normal speed. I don’t know what actually happened, but I will say that I was not expecting to be so excited to meet Minnie…it was a total thrill!

After going on the Frozen ride in Norway we went on the new Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind roller coaster (our song was “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”). I was not prepared for how, um, intense the ride would be, and I can’t say that I’d go on it again. I’m glad I got to experience it with my family, though, and I’m really happy they all loved it (except for maybe Chickadee, who was about as thrilled as I was).

We then made our way back to the World Showcase, which is definitely my favorite part of EPCOT.

We tried to experience something special in each country. I was surprised to discover that one of my very favorite things was the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in Mexico. It was such a chill, fun boat ride, and it inspired us to watch The Three Caballeros pretty much as soon as we got home!

We saw a mime in Italy:

We didn’t eat a full meal at EPCOT, but we sampled foods in several different countries…here’s a look at a few of of the things we tried: Kringla in Norway, a Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel in America, and a ni├žoise sandwich in France (not pictured: pretzel bread with ham and cheese in Germany, chicken potstickers in China, and fish and chips in England):

This may be as close to Germany as I get!

There was quite a bit of rain while we traveling the world (although we did get a chance to dry off a bit while we waited to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure), so we were still pretty soggy for the rest of our visit. We enjoyed walking around the rest of the park, anyway, and took in the sights inside and out:

The geodesic sphere that houses Spaceship Earth (which we road before the fireworks show) looked beautiful as the sun was going down:

And stunning reflecting off the water after dark!

The fireworks were amazing…the whole show was choreographed so well, the musical choices were excellent, and the reflections on the water were gorgeous! It was probably the best of the fireworks shows we saw (although it’s hard to compete with the display over the castle at the Magic Kingdom!).

One last look before we left:

Up next: Our most hands-on day at Disney World when we visited Hollywood Studios!

Fireworks Season

Pretty much the best thing about August is the Sunday night fireworks shows in Animal Crossing New Horizons. Here’s a look back at each of the five shows I’ve enjoyed this year. I dressed up in a different kimono (with coordinating kimono sandals) each time to really capture the Japanese festival spirit, and once I even carried a parasol, mostly because Roald was concerned that the fireworks were so bright, we’d need “fireworkscreen.” I also branched out a bit and designed a few more fireworks myself, including a pair of them to commemorate Tokyo 2020.

Now that the big, in-game summer event is over, I guess it’s time to start looking forward to fall!

Fireworks!

As part of this year’s 200th birthday celebration, Belleville actually had an Independence Day fireworks display. On the 5th of July, but still…this is the first time Belleville has had fireworks since we moved here eight years ago!

The show started late, but it was worth the wait…I hope our town considers doing this every year!