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Sunday 30 November 2014

Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

If we weren't in the show starting right away. We'd be in the audience too.

Location: Anaheim, California, USA
Address: 1313 Disneyland Dr
Date: May 2012
Website:  disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland/

  When visiting Disneyland one of our absolute favourite places in the park is the Enchanted Tiki Room. The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.  It is a show performed by animatronic birds and has been part of the park since 1963.  We find that whenever we are walking through Adventureland we have to stop and watch the show, which repeats about every fifteen minutes.  The show is currently sponsored by Dole and they run a juice bar right out front.
Maui tells us time to go.  Time for wondrous Tiki show.

    Everyone waits outside of the Tiki Room. The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.  A few minutes before the main show is about to start, the different Hawaiian gods introduce themselves from their locations around the Tiki Garden.  Then the doors to the Tiki Room open. The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.  You are then welcomed to a world of joyous song and wondrous miracles as everyone goes inside and takes their seats.

My siestas are getting shorter and shorter.

  Ole! Ole! It's showtime! Up above you can see some of the birds on their perches.  The four main birds are Jose, Michael, Pierre and Fritz who introduce the show.   You may recognize some of their voices from other attractions in the park or from Disney films.  The most recognizable voice belongs to Thurl Ravenscroft who is best know as Tony the Tiger and for singing "Your'e a Mean One, Mr. Grinch".  Then the whole glee club of birds break out into song and sing "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room".  All the little animatronic birds flap and move their beaks as they belt out their tune.
  Next the enchanted fountain in the center of the room is lit up.  "Look. Here come the girls."  We are introduced to Collette, Suzette, Mimi, Gigi, Fifi and Josephine, who rise from the fountain and perform "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing".  You will soon find yourself happily tweet, tweet, tweeting along.
  The final song is the "Hawaiian War Chant" which starts out beautifully but then the whole room is filled with drumming as the walls come alive.  The tension builds and the birds get more and more excited until a storm breaks out.  Then it all clears up again, but the show has to come to an end and the birds must say adieu.  You have now heard the birds and the flowers sing and seen the Tiki's play their drums.  Don't worry you can always go back around and wait in the garden for the next show.  No matter what, the songs of the birds will now be with you always. All together! In the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.

As long as your'e standing.  We are going to make you all disappear.

Map of Our World
Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room

Post # 30

Thursday 20 November 2014

Dip 'n Sip Donuts

Kick-Ass Donut Shop

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 663 Kingston Road
Date: July 2014

  Kick-Ass is a movie based on a comic book.  It is a story about an average teenager (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who decides to take matters into his own hands and becomes an unlikely superhero.  He dresses up in a green body suit and sets out to stop crime.  His first attempt does not go very well, but his second attempt takes place outside of Dip 'n Sip Donuts.  While trying to rescue a cat, he inadvertently gets caught up in someone else's fight.  He ends up defeating three thugs who were ganging up on one guy.  The whole thing is caught on video and soon becomes one of the most watched clips on the internet.  It rises to fame even faster than any of our Life Is Better on Vacation videos.  All this attention soon gets him involved with the likes of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Red Mist.
  A large part of the movie was filmed in both Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.  When we finally got around to visiting this location it was already fenced up, covered in graffiti, and ready to be demolished to make room for condos.  By the time you are reading this post we expect it will already be gone.  You would think that there must be some group that would stand up and get this location designated a historical landmark.  "Hey man!  You can't build here. This was where Kick-Ass first kicked ass!"
Who are you?  I'm Kick-Ass

Map of Our World
Dip 'n Sip Donuts

Post # 29

Monday 10 November 2014

Everglades Alligator Farm

Here comes the rain again.

Location: Homestead, Florida, USA
Address: 40351 SW 192 Avenue
Date: Aug 2004
Website: www.everglades.com

  It had been raining a lot that day, but we were determined to make it to the alligator farm.  As we got closer to our destination, the rain started to let up once again and it looked promising.  We were in Florida after all, where it rains like someone pouring a bucket on you and then 5 minutes later the sun comes out and instantly dries up any evidence.  We headed past the prison.  We headed past the pickup truck with the Confederate flag and two crisscrossed rifles in the back.  We pulled into the Everglades Alligator Farm driveway.  Wham!  The skies unleashed another torrent of rain down on us.
  The rain let up just a bit and we made a run for the ticket office.  Due to the rain they had halted any airboat rides for the day.  An airboat is a flat bottomed boat that is propelled through the swamp by a huge fan at the back.  In the swamp a regular submerged propeller would not work due to the very shallow water filled with hidden vegetation and alligators.  We were told that maybe if the rain stopped the rides would resume.  We waited for a little while as the rain continued and eventually we gave up and ran back to the car.  As we headed past the prison the skies cleared up once again.  Our day ended up working out for us after all.

Air boats.

  We stood near the water's edge waiting to load into our airboat.  All the while we wondered just how many alligators may be lurking in the water nearby.  Even before our boat ride began, some of the local residents came by to check us out.  A softshell turtle poked his head out of the water to see what was going on. Just as our boat moved slowly from the shore, a pair of eyes glided along the surface of the water to let us know that we were in gator territory now.

Sometimes I feel I've got to... Run away
 I've got my eyes on you.

  Once the boat made its way out into the swamp, the driver picked up speed and we skimmed across the water propelled by the giant, noisy fan.  He then killed the power to the fan and turned sharply so that we spun about 180 degrees.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as he repeated this stunt several times.  We never once feared that we would tip and end up in the murky water hiding who knows what. 

Male boat-tailed grackles.
Female boat-tailed grackle.

  At one point our guide handed out some food and it wasn't long until every outstretched hand contained a hungry boat-tailed grackle.  The male grackles have a bluish black hue to their feathers while the female is brown.  After about a half hour or so, our airboat ride came to an end and the huge fan fell silent.  We jumped back up onto the bank and away from the water just in time to head over for the alligator feeding.

Hungry eyes.

    A green moss covered the alligator pond.  As we looked closer we noticed that the pond was filled to the rim with alligators.  Every little bump you see sticking above the water was part of a gator.  A staff member of the farm came through the crowd with a bucket of chicken.  This was not a KFC dinner, this looked like beaks and feet and all.  He went in through a gate and stood just behind another little fence that separated him from the alligators.  The alligators knew what was about to happen and more and more of them crawled out of the pond and up onto the bank, the moss still covering their bodies.  Some of them started to let out a slow hissing sound.

Gators galore.

  Then the birds began to fly as the staff member threw a chicken into the mass of alligators.  As the chicken landed near or on a gator, they quickly snapped their mouth shut with a thud.   Then all the gators next to them instinctually snapped their mouths.  The wave of snapping jaws rippled out from the epicenter deep into the pond.  The excitement in the crowd and in the pond began to increase as more and more gators crowded up onto the bank.  Again, another chicken was thrown and the snapping thud of jaws passed like a wave around the pond.  Some of the gators started to push up against the wire link fence in front of the staff member bending it in towards him.  He finished off his bucket and joined the rest of us behind the stronger protective fence.

Gators close in on their meal.

   The Everglades Alligator Farm also has other reptiles like snakes and turtles.  They also have a growth area where the small gators (like those below) dream of being large enough to join the adults in the pond.  As we left the farm we were glad the rain had stopped and that we didn't need an airboat to get us up the road, past the prison and back to our hotel.

Map of Our World
Everglades Alligator Farm

Post # 28

Saturday 1 November 2014

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Location: Monterey, California, USA
Address: 720 Cannery Row
Date: Feb 2014
Website:  www.seemonterey.com/things-to-do/animals-and-wildlife

  As we were driving north to San Francisco we stopped in the town of Monterey.  We wanted to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and also hoped to see some of the local wildlife we had heard about.  Our first order of business, after driving for a few hours, was to get some lunch.  We had also done our research in this area and knew where we were headed.

 My name’s Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.  Bubba was my best good friend.

  Monterey Bay is home to the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  The restaurant chain was created by Paramount Pictures after the success of the Forrest Gump movie.  It is based on the shrimping company that Forrest started after the suggestion of his friend Bubba whom he met during the Vietnam War.  Out front of the restaurant is a bench with Forrest's suitcase and running shoes all ready for photo opportunities.  We have always enjoyed our food at Bubba Gump and this time we had some very tasty blueberry and strawberry lemonades as well.  One neat thing about Bubba Gump is that at your table are two license plates.  One says Run Forrest Run and the other says Stop Forrest Stop.  If you display the Run Forrest Run plate the staff will pass you by, but if you flip to the Stop Forrest Stop plate the nearest staff member will stop to see what you need.  The best thing about this restaurant is its location.  The restaurant is right on the bay and from our table we spotted some sea otters out on the water.  We had to wait until we had finished our meal before we could run outside to take a closer look.  

Down by the bay.

Birds and seals on the rocks.

  Sure enough, when we looked out into the bay we saw harbour seals lounging on the rocks surrounded by Brandt's cormorants and seagulls.  Looking further into the bay we once again located the sea otters that had entertained us during our lunch.  In North America, sea otters can only be found along the Pacific coast and the Monterey Bay area is one of the best spots to see them.  Sea otters spend the majority of their time in the water moving between the kelp.  They are known for using rocks as tools in order to crack open shells on their bellies.  They are also known for being incredibly cute.   We stopped and watched the sea otters play in the water for a while and then we headed off to get an even closer look at more sea otters inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Map of Our World
Monterey Bay
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (Monterey Bay)

Post # 27