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Archives for January 2013

New York: New Years in New York

I just have to say I’m fortunate to have family in New York that we can visit during the holidays. I’m also very pleased that Hurricane Sandy left them unharmed as well.

While we normally spend the holidays with my relatives here, it was slightly unusual that we had more time to be with them. But, the holidays themselves were on a little screwy schedule. Christmas AND New Years on a weekway. Whatsupwiththat?!

Most of the days was spent catching up with family, but there were times the cousins got to dip out, explore and took that opportunity to be touristy … as if we haven’t been to these sites before. But, it’s always fun to go!

On one evening, it started by going down 5th Ave. Some of the stores were decked out… like Fendi.

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We luckily found parking and made our way to Rockafeller Center, where they have the Christmas tree and an ice-skating rink (something we didn’t parttake in). The weather, lights, and people — really gives off the cheery Christmas spirit!

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The building behind the Christmas Tree is where you can go to the Top of the Rock. It’s an observation tower at Rockafeller Center.

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The next stop on our mini tour was to Radio City Music Hall – generally featuring the Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes this time of year.

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We detoured a little bit and had a photo op with the Christmas decorations, which was also across the street from Radio City.

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Back in the car, we passed through Times Square. There were people EVERYWHERE. Seems like they all got the memo that it was the place to be. The illuminated building in the middle is where the ball is set to drop for New Years.

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Now as for food (as if I wasn’t going to touch on this subject), we went to Shake Shack. It actually started out as a vendor cart in Central Park, and now the idea has taken off and there are several locations in NY and in other states and it’s starting to branch off internationally (Middle East, in particular). This location is on the Upper East Side.

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What’s so special about Shake Shack? Well… it’s this:

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It’s called a Shack Stack, which is a “cheeseburger and a ‘Shroom Burger [crisp-fried portobello mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses] topped with lettuce tomato and ShackSauce” (from the Shake Shack menu)

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If that doesn’t make you salivate, other items on the menu are hotdogs, frozen custard, and food for dogs (seriously – maybe it’s just at this location only?).

To full stomachs and new adventures – happy travels friends!

Orlando, FL: “Be Our Guest” at the Magic Kingdom

Of course the last park we went to, and a way to cap off the golden birthday weekend was going to Magic Kingdom.

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It was seemingly appropriate to do a jumping photo right by Walt Disney and the Cinderella Castle… though, my friends know that Belle is my favorite.

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Our timing was perfect because a show just started. The theme of the show? “Dreams Come True.” Obviously; we are at Disney! We got to see some Disney favorites including princes and princesses! I like how all the princesses have their own curtsy. Adorable.

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Enter evil character: Maleficent! whose attitude is definitely a Debbie Downer when it comes to dreams.

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All is well in the end though: fireworks and a happy ending – woo hoo!

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Check out the mass of people we had to maneuver through to get to the Dress Rehearsal Opening of the New Fantasyland. Crazy crowds, wouldn’t you say? And it’s a dress rehearsal since the actual opening was a few weeks after this visit.

But I was super duper excited to check out the New Fantasyland beeecause it features Beauty and the Beast (OMGOMGOMG!!). I think this is where storytime with Belle happens. That and photo op with the princess. But, the line was ridiculously long, so we just admired from afar.

Beast’s Castle, which is also the place where the “Be Our Guest” Restaurant is. You’ll see in the next few images.

There are 3 different areas where you can dine in this restaurant: The West Wing, The Ballroom, and The Library.

A word of warning though – when we visited (in October), we were told that the restaurant was totally booked until Feburary already… o_O… Yesh. So, plan WAY AHEAD OF TIME if this is something you desire doing at Disney.

But, yes, I was majorly in love with the place.

 

We continued on my “happy-Beauty-and-the-Beast-high” over to Gaston’s Tavern to try from LeFou brew.

“I use antlers in all my decorating.”

LeFou’s Brew is nonalcoholic. It’s frozen apple cider, but, it looks like beer. Oh, and we caught a glimpse of Gaston as we were leaving the tavern.

 

The food stand looks like one of Maurice’s inventions =D

The village looks very similar to the one in the movie. Hm… wonder if random people start singing “Belle”, the song in the beginning of the movie?

All right, all right. That’s the last bit of the “Beauty and the Beast” experience. The other section of the New Fantasyland featured “The Little Mermaid”. That would be Eric’s castle in the background.

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The ride wasn’t working – boo. And the wait through the grotto to have a photo op with Ariel was way too long, so we ended up wandering to another part of the park to take pictures with other Disney characters.

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We went on rides too. Among those, we saw a 3D show that always makes me hungry… and the ever-so-famous “Small World”

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Perfect timing to prep for the fireworks show! Here are a few image favorites.

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I also have a mini clip of the show itself.

A FABULOUS way to end our experience at Disney.

Thanks to my friend for being the most awesome guide ever and to maximize our time at every single park. It was a ton of fun.

Until the next adventure – happy travels friends!