Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Florida Vacation - Day 8 – December 15, 2007

We left the vacation home at 10:00am, did some shopping and went to the airport. We ate there, and I tried Chick-Fil-A for the first time. The WestJet flight was uneventful and we arrived back in cold snowy Ottawa at 6:30pm. My brother-in-law met us at the airport and helped me dig my van out of the snow. The Ottawa Airport needs some covered parking! My neighbour very kindly offered to shovel my driveway while we were gone, and in fact had scraped it down to the pavement. So the driveway was in better shape on my return than when I left. The snow storm the next day that dumped 37cm of snow on the city is a tale for another day.

Florida Vacation - Day 7 – December 14, 2007

I took Bethany and Joel back to the Magic Kingdom. Just by ourselves we were able to hit a lot of the rides, including some that I missed when I went as a kid almost 30 years ago. We had lunch at Toni's Town Square, which went over well considering Lady and the Tramp has been one of my children's favourite movies.

Florida Vacation - Day 6 – December 13, 2007

The kids were wiped, and my mother-in-law once again stepped in to provide us with a special experience. Karen and I went to Epcot by ourselves. We spent most of our time wandering all the way around the World Showcase. We visited China, Mexico, Canada and America. The American Adventure was probably the best show I saw at any of the parks. We ate Mexican food and also had funnel cakes.

Florida Vacation - Day 5 – December 12, 2007

Wednesday we went to Disney MGM. It is one of the smaller parks, so there is less walking. As a family we went to a live performance of Beauty and the Beast. It was really, really well done, although the aluminum benches we were sitting on were likely devised to extract information from terrorists. After that we split up, with me taking Hannah around. We got a cookie together, went to the Muppet 3D show and a couple of other things. After we got back together, I went through the movie ride, which was also well done. Lunch was at the Sci-Fi Dine-In restaurant, where you sit in models of old 50's cars and watch silly old movie clips from old Sci-Fi movies.

Wednesday night, Karen's Mom babysat for us and Karen and I went out for a special supper. We had reservations for Victoria and Albert's in the Grand Floridian Resort. It's a 5 star restaurant, and definitely the nicest place I've ever been in. Including the Amuse Bouche, there were 7 courses. We started with Oysters Rockefeller and a Root Vegetable Flan. The second course was Walnut Oil Seared Duck with Hearts of Palm, Huckleberry Vinaigrette and Forme D'Ambert Fondue. For the third course I tried something that I had heard about but never tried; Pan Roasted Foie Gras with Fuji Apples and Mostarda di Cremona. It was amazingly good. I think the fourth course was an Alaskan Sablefish with Petite French Lentiles, Winter Corn and Saffron Foam. For the main course I had Kansas City Angus Beef with Candied Yukon Gold Potatoes. Cuts of meat like this are not available at the local supermarket. The sixth course was a Pear-Almond Gelato. And for dessert? There were three chocolate items. On the left was a Peruvian Chocolate Ice Cream on a Puff Pastry with an edible 24 caret gold leaf. On the right was a Tanzanian Chocolate Pyramid. And in the center was a Hawaiian Kona Chocolate Souffle with Godiva chocolate poured in the center. We were served by two waiters in tails, with live harp music coming from the corner.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interesting Article

An interesting article in today's National Post on how Human Rights Tribunals are being used to censor and limit our freedoms, even those guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution.

If you are a Canadian, you might want to contact your MP and point out your concerns about how these Tribunals can triumph the Constitution and common sense (I particularly liked the case of someone who had infectious HepC and who appealled her firing from a restaurant as discrimination based on disability).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Florida Vacation - Day 4 – December 11, 2007

Tuesday we went to the Magic Kingdom. We started with a Character Breakfast in the Crystal Palace. All the characters from Winnie the Pooh come through while you eat. The characters were a big hit with Hannah, and the buffet breakfast was really well done. One of the neat things about the Character Breakfast is that you are in the park before the gates open, which means it is quiet and not crowded. It's an amazing thing to walk down Mainstreet USA without any people around. After going through “It's a Small World” we were given some “Dream Fastpasses”. A normal Fastpass allows you to go to a certain ride for a one hour window in the future without standing in line. The Dream Fastpass allows you to go through any one of 9 popular attractions at any time in the day. It's a pretty big deal. I ended up taking Joel through Space Mountain. I'll never do anything that dumb again. He had a ball, but I was sick for the rest of the day and we had to go home.

Florida Vacation - Day 3 – December 10, 2007

This was the Monday and the start of our visits to the Disney Parks. We started with EPCOT, which I had never seen before. In fact, it didn't exist the last time I was in Florida! Karen took the older children into “Soarin”, while I took Hannah into “Circle of Life”. “Circle of Life” is billed as an “Environmental Fable”, which is an accurate description. It's a fable designed to indoctrinate children into environmentalism. For example, talking about pollution they have a video clip of a couple of cyclists getting passed by a truck on a dirt road. Of course the truck kicks up lots of dust, but it looks like pollution. We went through “Living with the Land” which was well done, and had lunch at Chefs de France. The meal was excellent, with French Onion Soup and a ham and cheese sandwich and crème brule for dessert. Yum.

Florida Vacation - Day 2 – December 9, 2007

We had intended to go to church on Sunday morning, but we were all tired from travel and I was stressed out at the prospect of driving in a strange city, so we stayed home. I should point out that we had groceries delivered on the previous night, so we had the option of cooking our own or going out to eat. I figure we saved a ton of money by eating our breakfasts at the vacation home. We took the children into the pool, and generally relaxed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Florida Vacation - Day 1 - December 8, 2007

We woke up early and were on the road for 8:00am. We picked up my Mother-in-Law and went to the Ottawa Airport. Unfortunately the long-term parking situation at the Ottawa Airport isn't that great. The parking is outside, and there is no covered walkway into the Airport. The WestJet flight was on time. Frankly the seats in a modern airplane are not made for average sized men. Thankfully I had one of my children beside me both ways, which gave me enough room to move. A big improvement from the last time I flew was the seat mounted TV screens, which actually take standard sized earphones. We got into Orlando about 15 minutes early, got our rental van and navigated our way to the vacation home. The vacation home was everything that it had been advertised to be; well decorated with all the comforts of home and a really great pool and games room. We went to bed early!