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July 6, 2015

Photo Update from Disneyland Resort 7/3 - U.S. Air Force Honor Guard & Peter Pan's Flight Return

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, July 3, 2015.

In this posting I will take a quick look at the recently reopened Peter Pan's Flight attraction and then the rest of the post will be of the United States Air Force Honor Guard that was performing for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

For my full set of pictures and video visit my site. Laura will have a post with food and her pictures from the day, soon.

I arrived at Disneyland prior to opening due to light traffic. The hope was to experience Peter Pan, which had reopened earlier this week, with a minimal wait. I was in the hub and only a few guests back of the rope as the park opened. Here is a video featuring the opening announcement then what happened at rope drop as a large number of guests ran and walked quickly toward Fantasyland and I was in the middle of the crowd.

The scene as I inched through the Castle and into Fantasyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


A posted 70 minute wait time.. this was 8:08am

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


The queue was moving at a normal pace and looked like we on pace for a 40 minute or so wait then something happened and they cycled through and emptied all the boats, shut down briefly, then restarted the attraction which introduced a 15 minute or so delay. As we approached the load/unload area a look at the murals and ships.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

8:58am - Just about to board.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


A video of my first ride through the updated Peter Pan's Flight attraction. It was just after 9am when I returned to Fantasyland and was ready to move onto my next attraction of the morning so just under an hour wait.

Overall I thought the upgrades were a nice refresh of the attraction. They were not as noteworthy or impressive to me as the Alice in Wonderland ones.

This weekend to celebrate the 4th of July Disneyland hosted several military groups. The first being the United States Air Force Honor Guard. This group performed three shows at Disney California Adventure then twice over at Disneyland Thursday through Sunday. Here they are arriving for the 11:30am performance on Friday..

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

A video of most of the United States Air Force Honor Guard performance.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


Several clips from their performance taken with my SLR camera

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


I also attended the 3:15pm performance in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. The United States Air Force Honor Guard approaching.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015


Video clips of the United States Air Force Honor Guard performing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

They wrapped up their day with a pre-parade march and performance before Mickey's Soundsational Parade. The group gathered with Mickey & Minnie for a picture before the march.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Time for the pre-parade

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

They stopped on Main Street for an abbreviated performance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 3, 2015

A video clip of the United States Air Force Honor Guard marching by.

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







June 30, 2015

Another Look Disneyland Forever from Small World Mall

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 26, 2015 -- he takes a look at Disneyland Forever as viewed from the Small World Mall area.

I posted the full picture set from this trip on my site. I found a spot in the terraced viewing area of the Small World Mall where I could see Paint the Night then Disneyland Forever without having to move.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


After Paint the Night guests were cleared out of the area near "it's a small world." Those of us on the terrace side of the parade route were allowed to stay. Guests were pushed back/being held before the main courtyard.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


At 9:30 the projectors were turned on and an alignment test was run.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Shortly after Disneyland Forever started.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Video of the opening of Disneyland Forever


Rapunzel from Tangled

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Winnie the Pooh

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Video clip of the Winnie the Pooh segment


The Lion King - Circle of Life

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


In case you were wondering, there was a fireworks show going on overhead. My focus this evening was the projections so the lens I chose was not wide enough to get both the projections and fireworks. They do not really align, so it would have been fireworks bursting off to the left and projections to the right in the pictures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Little Mermaid segment

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


This video features Under the Sea, Finding Nemo and Frozen segments.


The finale to Disneyland Forever


A couple clips comparing the projections from Main Street and its a Small World.


After the show this mob of guests was between me and the exit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Eventually, I made it to the hub as a Kiss Goodnight was wrapping up. Here is a video clip of the castle as the song ended. After this continued on to the Town Square then exited the park. It took about 15 minutes from when I started walking until I reached Town Square including the stop at Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Hope you enjoyed this look at Disneyland Forever. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







June 29, 2015

Photo Update from Disneyland Resort 6/26 - Grand Californian & Downtown Disney

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip on Friday, June 26, 2015.

This picture set takes a look around the Grand Californian and Downtown Disney. The Grand California has a digital sign for the Word of the Day.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The Grand Californian Word of the Day sign in action.


The lobby of the Grand Californian is hosting a Sleeping Beauty Castle Cake
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The back side.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The front of the castle cake:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Another DVC kiosk/stand/information area. This one at the entrance/exit to the Grand Californian from Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The Downtown Disney Monorail station word of the day sign is also digital.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


A mural created to mark the opening of Inside Out is in Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Another side of the Mural (there are three)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The last side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


A Disney Performing Arts stage has been set up at the far end of Downtown Disney near the Disneyland Hotel.There is very limited seating and no shade at all.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


The schedule for the day.., times would be helpful.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


This is the Arizona Dance Studio group

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 26, 2015


Hope you enjoyed this quick look at the Grand Californian and Downtown Disney. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







June 26, 2015

Norway Cruise 2015 - Part 8, Sea Day and Final Thoughts

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Friday - Day at Sea

Even though it was a sea day we had places to go and things to do...

We slept in until after 8:00, but we had Palo brunch booked at 10:00. That's always my favorite meal on board a Disney ship! We were delighted to find that Julia was at the Palo reception desk checking people in. She is so sweet.

Disney Magic Palo Brunch

There will be a more complete account in the upcoming food blog, but suffice it to say that we had a wonderful brunch, and the sticky buns are as good as ever. (Actually better than the last time we had them.)

Disney Magic Palo Brunch

It was an absolutely spectacular day at sea - sunny and warm and almost 70 degrees. And the sea was glassy smooth. I so wished we had those conditions in Bergen the day before... Oh well.

Disney Magic

After our brunch we did a couple of leisurely loops around deck 10 and then a little last-minute shopping. The shop near O'Gills that is usually the Duty-Free shop was instead carrying a selection of goods from Russia and Norway during this cruise. The inventory was getting a little thin at the end of the cruise, but I found a couple of magnets and a troll figure. Here's our door on the final day, with all of the various magnets.

Disney Magic Norway stateroom door

Seeing the Tomorrowland movie was our other big event for the day - this was the only day it was showing during the cruise. It was going to be in the Buena Vista Theater three times in the evening, but we wanted to see it in the Walt Disney Theater, which is a little bigger and more comfortable. There was only one showing there, at 2:00. I actually expected it to be a lot more crowded, but it was less than 1/3 full. Unfortunately it meant we missed the final Dr. Marv lecture on Copenhagen, though I caught most of it later on the stateroom TV.

The movie was good. I'd seen both the extended preview in the theater and the sneak peek at Disneyland, but even so it was much different than I expected. As usual, I thought the action scenes went on a little too long - that's my typical movie complaint. :-)

Lee was hungry and went up to deck 9 to get some pizza, while I went back to start the dreaded chore of packing. :-(

I'd left our "Chocolate Chase" answer sheet on the bed that morning, and when I returned we had our prizes. I was very disappointed that the prizes for a CHOCOLATE Chase were not chocolate at all - it was rice krispie treats covered in white (NOT CHOCOLATE) coating. REALLY???? Anna obviously was NOT consulted.

Disney Magic Chocolate Chase

We also had a card from the Frozen gang thanking us for Freezing the Night Away with them.

Freeze the Night Thank you

The suitcases were a lot more full than they had been when we arrived - but by design we had intentionally left a lot of room because we knew we'd come back with stuff. Just the DVC and Castaway Club gifts are always extras plus we had souvenirs and that lovely plush "Frozen" throw, too. Though there was one gift that we hadn't received, and I was surprised we hadn't: no commemorative lithograph. We'd always received one before on "first time" itineraries. :-(

But when we left for dinner I saw the housekeeping carts... and all of them had the tell-tale white cardboard packets piled on top. Yay!

Lee and I were alone at our table that evening - Terrie and Paul were dining at Palo. We had a nice dinner, then went to Keys for a final drink. This was Clara's final night aboard, and she was feeling a bit melancholy, but she performed several nice Disney medleys.

Disney Magic Clara Oman

Lee wanted to see the Disney Dreams show, and I went back to the stateroom to finish packing and put the bags out. Sure enough the lithograph was on our bed, with a nice note from Commodore Tom thanking us for sailing with them on this inaugural itinerary. I wonder if the reason that we received it so late was to prevent everyone from bringing it to the Commodore's signing, which had been earlier that day. As it was, we had seen a huge line of people who were waiting before the signing even started! I don't get it, personally.

Disney Magic Norway lithograph

I packed the lithograph safely away and placed the bags outside. On the stateroom TV I watched Dr. Marv's talk on Copenhagen, Queen Margaret, and the Kalmar Union and periodically went out on the verandah to watch the sunset - at 10:08 p.m. Still late, but earlier than it had been now that we were sailing south.

Disney Magic Norway sunset

Lee returned from the show, telling me about all of the changes to it - lots of new effects, as well as new material featuring Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. He really enjoyed it.

Lobster towel animal

Saturday - Now It's Time to Say Goodbye...

We were docked in Copenhagen by the time we woke up at 6:30. We're always surprised at how we can sleep through docking - we never seem to hear the sounds that we hear when we are awake.

Breakfast was at 7:15. The final breakfast is always rather sad, since it's intended to be fast. They are in a hurry to get us out of there, though of course they won't TELL us that. :-)

After breakfast we quickly made our way off ship - again via deck 1. In some ways it was easier to leave from deck 1, since we didn't have to pass through the beautiful Atrium on our way off the ship. But it's still an interesting dichotomy: as anxious as the crew is to welcome us aboard the ship at the beginning of the cruise, they are just as anxious to see us leave on departure morning. :-) (Donald is obviously overjoyed. :-) )

Disney Magic Copenhagen terminal

It was, oh, maybe 8:30 by the time we had our bags and were out of the cruise terminal. No passport control or customs to clear. There were already passengers there who were arriving for the next cruise! I was very envious of them...

Disney Magic

I had purchased Disney transfers from the port to the Copenhagen airport. It was more expensive, but I had read that taxis can be difficult to get at the port when a ship comes in. I knew Disney would get us to the airport efficiently. They really packed the bus that we were on, though - I felt like one of those sardines in the cannery in Stavanger! Lee and I were some of the last to board, and we ended up crammed in the last row. Not a very pleasant bus ride, though at least the driver was good, and talked to us about the areas we drove by.

The Copenhagen airport had been pretty empty when we arrived at 7:15 in the morning, but it was very busy at 10:00 in the morning! We had to wait in a huge line to check our bags - that took almost half an hour! But we still had time before our flight to get something to eat and do a little last-minute shopping for some Danish chocolates.

We flew to San Francisco - it was a long flight, but nice to get most of the travel done in one chunk. The flight was a little over 10 hours. We flew over Greenland, and it was clear enough that I could see it below us. Wow... definitely not much "green" down there! We were able to get through Immigration and Customs in San Francisco pretty efficiently, and landed in San Diego about 6:40 p.m. A very long day, and we were tired. We'd been in Scandinavia just long enough for me to get accustomed to that time zone, and now I was back in California. Oh well, at least I find it easier to go west rather than east.

flying over Greenland

Final Thoughts

It was a GREAT trip!!! Copenhagen was even better than I thought it would be, and I'm glad we flew in several days early and had time to enjoy the city. And Norway - that was certainly a "bucket list" item for me, though now I want to go back and spend more time there, and go further north to see some other places.

I wish the itinerary had been slightly different, and that we could've had our second sea day earlier in the cruise to break up some of the port days. Four port days in a row was exhausting.

I really enjoyed the excursions that we selected, and felt that they gave us a good mix of available activities, since we didn't have time to do EVERYTHING that we would've liked to do. I regret that we didn't have any time to wander around Alesund at all, but we knew that would be the case when we chose the Troll Road excursion. Knowing what I do now, I'm still happy that we chose that excursion. But of course next time I would choose something different, since I've seen the Troll Road.

Norway troll

But a nice thing about all of the ports was that you didn't need to go on an excursion in order to see something interesting. All of them had places that you could easily walk to from the dock. In fact, we chose not to do an excursion in Bergen because just about everything we really wanted to see was within walking distance of the ship.

Though we had outstanding weather in Copenhagen, the weather in Norway was typical for this time of year and mostly overcast. I was hoping we'd get the "Disney bubble" that we've had on so many other cruises (like the first Disney cruise to Alaska) and have really great weather, but on port days we only had the one afternoon in Stavanger where we had beautiful blue sky and sunshine. But at least we didn't have much rain - just the one day of rain/drizzle in Geiranger which didn't really bother us. And even under gray skies Norway is truly spectacular. Words and photos can not convey the beauty, majesty and grandeur. It is simply breathtaking.

Disney Magic Norway Cruise

Prior to the trip everyone we talked to who had been to Norway told us to dress in layers, and that was really the key - especially having a waterproof/windproof outer layer. The coldest day we had was in Geiranger when it was mid-40s, but otherwise it was in the 50s and even low 60s. Still, I think this was the first Disney cruise I've been on where I never wore shorts at all. (There were some passengers, including a guy who was on a couple of our excursions, who wore shorts the entire time! They were obviously not from southern California.)

Given the "Frozen Frenzy" and the Norway itinerary, there were lots of Frozen-related activities on-board the ship. I already mentioned "Freezing the Night Away", and some of the special activities that day, as well as the Chocolate Chase. In addition there were special Meet and Greets with Anna and Elsa - for which Fastpasses were distributed - and a version of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique called "Anna and Elsa's Boutique" to transform little girls into miniature Annas and Elsas. The Frozen movie was shown multiple times on board, and I think all of the on-board entertainers were required to perform "Let it Go." :-) In Alesund, there was even a special excursion to the Sunnmore Museum that included a visit by Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff. (For "only" $359/person. We weren't interested, but a lot of people were and it sold out quickly. From what I heard it was a huge success and guests were thrilled.)

There was a fair bit of cruise line specific Frozen-themed merchandise, but I think the bulk of it was generic Frozen items for the kids that you can purchase just about anywhere.

Frozen merchandise

In all honesty, while I would really like to use the line: "Disney, just let it go!", the reality was that I didn't feel buried under a veritable avalanche of "Frozen" while on the cruise. It was there, but it was easy to choose not to participate, and there were lots of other activities available. There was no question that all of the Frozen additions were a huge hit with most guests, though. And there were probably a number of guests who wanted even MORE Frozen. (And I can think of a few Frozen things I would've like to see... for example, a magnetic snowflake around the number on the door of every stateroom would've been a nice touch, and it would have been very amusing to see Olaf give the disembarkation talk... :-) )

I should wrap this up. So just a couple more things:

The crew was wonderful, as they always are. We are always impressed by how nice and accommodating everyone is, despite the incredibly long hours that they work, and with very little personal time (or space). We enjoyed seeing how excited they were to be visiting Norway for the first time.

And the ship was beautiful. The last time we were aboard the Disney Magic was in October 2013 just after the drydock/refurbishment when things weren't quite done and it was still a bit of a fixer-upper. That wasn't an issue this time, though there was some maintenance going on just because there is ALWAYS maintenance in progress on a ship. We still love the Magic, and it's our favorite of the four Disney ships.

Disney Magic

We had a wonderful time, and I'm really glad we took this trip. I would've loved to have had a couple more days on board - but I always say that! I know that the cruise experience is not for everyone, but I love it. And as you can see we manage to have VERY active vacations, even on a cruise.

Thanks for reading - the food blogs will be coming soon.





June 25, 2015

Norway Cruise 2015 - Part 7, Bergen

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Disney Magic in Bergen


Thursday - Bergen

Lee followed Commodore Tom's advice and got up at 6:00 to go up on deck, but I stayed in bed for another half hour. After that I put on shoes and a jacket and went out on the verandah. I'm afraid the sail-in to Bergen didn't appear that special to me. Nothing like the grandeur of Geirangerfjord, which was worth the early wake-up. Lee returned around 7:00 and confirmed that it hadn't really been worth getting up for, so we both went back to bed until 10:00. Ahhhh.

Bergen

After breakfast we headed off the ship about 11:00. We were going to be "Freezing the Night Away" that evening aboard the ship and the decorations in the Atrium were already up.

Disney Magic Frozen decorations

We picked up a map of Bergen as we exited the port and walked toward Bryggen - the old wharf area with all of the brightly painted wooden buildings you see in photos of Bergen. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was a cool day but not raining, and we had a little bit of sun for a while.

Bergen Bryggen

They use antlers in all of their decorating, too. :-)

Bergen Bryggen

Across from Bryggen is the famous fish market. Lots of stalls selling fresh fish, or smoked fish, and also cooked fish. We had recently had breakfast, so we weren't hungry yet. But everything was very vibrant and busy and colorful.

Bergen fish market

My sister-in-law had given me a map and info on a walking tour they had done when they visited Bergen last year, so we did that. It started at the fish market, then went to a church, and then into some or the old neighborhoods with wooden buildings.

Bergen church
Bergen houses

We found a cat who seemed friendly - but he was one of those Jekyll and Hyde cats that will roll around innocently luring you in to pet him, then swipe at you with claws and teeth. Yeah, we know YOUR kind, cat! :-)

Bergen cat
Bergen cat

We passed by the Ole Bull Theater (Norway's first musical superstar) and the tour finished outside the Museum of Decorative Arts. There was a bunch of construction going on and our view of the museum was blocked by fences and the steam from an asphalt roller. It seemed as though many of the places we visited on this trip had a lot of construction going on - especially Copenhagen and Bergen.

Bergen Museum of Decorative Arts

One of the recommended Bergen activities is to take the funicular to the top of Mt. Floien - about 1,000 feet up. This was a very popular activity and the line was long - took us about 40 minutes to buy tickets and then wait to board. We bought one-way tickets for 43 kroner each, since we planned to walk down.

Floibanen

The ride up was quiet and fast.

Bergen Funicular

There were lots of people at the top. It was cloudy and cool, but the Magic had a little bit of sun on it.

Disney Magic in Bergen

We wanted to hike but didn't have a map, and the posted maps and signs weren't very helpful and didn't give us any idea of the distance involved. It was 1:30 by then and we had to be aboard by 5:15. And it would be about an hour walk back to the ship. We took off towards a lake first, which looked like a short walk - and it was, not even 1/4 mile.

Lake

We were walking through a very green forest. We did find some interesting signs in the forest...

Baby dinosaur sign

No, we did not see any baby dinosaurs. We saw some flowers, though.

Bergen flowers

And some ferns that looked primeval.

Bergen ferns

We never did find any trails that went anywhere in particular, but we did have them almost to ourselves once we were about 10 minutes from the funicular station. Though there were a number of joggers on the trails. We had just a little bit of sun - this photo was taken the last time that it peeked out from behind the clouds.

Mt. Floien trails

This was a really odd sign...we decided it was much more fun to make stuff up rather than use a translator to figure out what it really says. :-)

Goose and wolf sign

Back at the top we found the troll - and the trail that went down to the City Center.

Troll on Mt. Floyen

Near the top of the trail was an activity center with lots of carved wooden figures.

Mt. Floyen carvings

And we found some more fun signs.

No flying witches

There was this imposing figure.

Mt. Floyen witch

Oops...too late! I hope this isn't some kind of Norwegian curse...

No witch photos

There were more people on the trail than I expected, though a lot of them were residents. And there were a lot of people running UP the trail! Whew. It was a nice wide gravel path, but it was a climb. They were definitely getting a workout!

Mt. Floien trail

We stopped in a shop in Bryggen and found a couple of sweaters that "spoke" to us, just like Dr. Marv had said. The sales lady was very helpful - she had worked at Epcot in the Norway pavilion. She was excited that the Magic is visiting Norway this summer.

We also stopped at a bakery for some skillingsbolle - Norwegian cinnamon rolls. They were warm and really good and we ate them so fast that I didn't take any photos. :-)

There was still an hour until we needed to be back on board, but we were ready to go back and relax a little bit before dinner. There were again hot beverages available when we boarded, but we did not partake - instead I went to the Atrium where there was warm spiced wine the night before. And yes, it was there. He'd only just gotten set up so it was only barely warm, but it still tasted good.

There was a Norwegian band performing out on the dock to welcome us back - we could see them from our verandah, and enjoyed their performance.

Bergen Band

That evening, as part of the Freezing the Night Away festivities, there was a Maypole dance in the Atrium - Oaken's Maypole Swirl and Twirl. People of all ages were participating.

Oakens Maypole Dance

Minnie, dressed in her Norwegian costume, was watching from deck 4, and I was able to get my photo taken with her. Many of the Disney characters appeared in new costumes for this cruise, but Minnie was the only one I saw - I heard Goofy was dressed as a Viking, and I'm sorry that I missed that!

Norway Minnie

I watched a little bit of the Maypole dance but then I continued my "Chocolate Chase" - I was down to the final three clues. The very last one was a bit of a challenge - I'd narrowed it down to two locations, but it wasn't in the first place I looked. I wasn't the only one who was looking there! I found it in the other place. The instructions said to leave the answer sheet on the bed on Friday morning.

Chocolate Chase symbol

Since we were "Freezing the Night Away" we wore our new sweaters to dinner. We were in Animator's Palate, and it was the night of the "Animation Magic" show dinner. Unfortunately, it was also the night of the ship-wide "Frozen"-inspired menu, and because of the show dinner, we did not get a chance to try most of the new menu. We had an appetizer sampler and soup (and none of those items were on the new menu), and a dessert sampler, though at least it included a couple of the new menu items. Only for the entrees did we have the full range of choices available. But I was disappointed because there were several appetizer and dessert items I would've like to try.

Dale of Norway sweaters

At the end of dinner we received special light-up snowflake amulets that we were supposed to wear for the deck party later that evening.

Freezing the Night Away Snowflake Lights

After dinner we went to see the new show: Walt Disney: The Dream Goes On. Though this is not a new show to Disney Cruise Line it was new to us. It was not as much a Broadway type of show as the other shows are - there weren't a lot of huge production numbers. Lots of narration and lots of video clips of Walt Disney (much of it familiar from things like "One Man's Dream"). Some of it was more like living dioramas, with elements that wouldn't mean much if you weren't a Disney fan. For example, in one scene there was someone dressed as Alice from the Alice comedies standing in front of an old-style camera.

Walt Disney the Dream Goes On

The only big production number was Mary Poppins, and there was also a nice version of "Go the Distance" sung by three male singers with a male dancer doing a somewhat interpretive artistic (but acrobatic) dance.

I thought the show was interesting but not quite up to the usual standards - it didn't seem to be very polished. Some of that may have been because it was relatively new to this particular cast. Though I was happy that it didn't have the contrived story line of things like "Disney Dreams" and "Disney's Believe".

After the show it was time to get ready for Freezing the Night Away. That's the deck party that was replacing Pirate Night, though I must admit I had been hoping for a Viking Night. :-) I knew it was going to be cold on deck given the temperature and especially the wind. I put on just about every layer I had, including the wind pants and a lined windbreaker on top of my regular jacket. We went up to deck 10 and were able to get a spot right on the rail. This was about 20 minutes before the show started, and the rail spots were going quickly. Right before the show started a family with two little girls (both dressed as Elsa) came up and stood behind us. They weren't being pushy at all but we offered to let the girls stand in front of us so they could see. They were mesmerized, and their parents were very grateful.

Freezing the Night Away

There were already quite a few people in the dance area on deck 9 - and quite a few little girls dressed as Elsa! Not surprising. There were some Annas as well. Most of them were wearing jackets over their dresses. There were even some adults dressed as one of the princesses - I saw some pretty elaborate costumes that were quite beautiful.

Freezing the Night Away

The Royal Party Planners came on stage first, followed by Kristoff and then Anna.

Freezing the Night Away

Even Sven made an appearance on the big screen, and we played some Reindeer Games, like "Sven Says". And we did the Reindeer Hokey Pokey: "You put your left hoof in, you put your left hoof out..."

Freezing the Night Away

Olaf also joined us on screen for an "In Summer" sing-a-long.

Freezing the Night Away

But Olaf started to melt (maybe some people are worth melting for, but perhaps it's not an appropriate thing to do to a guest of honor), and Anna frantically called for Elsa, who appeared in the nick of time, and with the help of our snowflake amulets was able to provide Olaf with his own personal snow flurry.

Freezing the Night Away

And of course everyone had to sing "Let it Go". Some nice CO2 arctic air blasts to accompany those frozen fractals all around. And it even snowed a bit down on deck 9.

Freezing the Night Away

It was a fun show and it looked like everyone had a good time, including the cast and cruise staff. No fireworks for this one, but considering how light it still was at 10:40 when it ended, we wouldn't have been able to see them very well anyway.

There did not seem to be any additional family activity after this - no dessert buffet in Cabanas - but all of the adults were encouraged to visit Fathoms for "Club Frozen" - the continuation of the party.

We went by our stateroom to discard a few layers of clothing (I had stayed warm enough, but only barely), and went to Fathoms.

There were already a number of people there. We got a couple of seats at the high bar in the back where we could see but be out of the way. They had a large ice sculpture on top of the bar that they were using to make the specialty drink of the night: a Frozen Fjord. It was very blue. We ordered two. It was quite good, made with blue curacao and I'm not sure what else.

Club Frozen
Club Frozen
Frozen Fjord

There were also servers circulating with platters of appetizers and desserts. It was a nice selection.

Club Frozen canapes
Club Frozen desserts

We didn't stay very long: there was a DJ playing dance music and it was pretty loud. We went over to O'Gills, since the event had flowed into that space as well, but all of the tables there were full.

Olaf ice scuplture

So we went to Keys instead. Much quieter there. Fletcher made me a lovely Godiva Chocolate Martini. Very pretty.

Godiva chocolate martini

I don't remember when we left - close to midnight. It was kind of sort of almost dark outside. :-)

Elephant towel animal

Sea day the next day - we could sleep in!






June 24, 2015

Norway Cruise 2015 - Part 6, Geiranger

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Seven Sisters Geiranger

Wednesday - Geiranger

The Commodore had told us to be out on deck by 5:45, so we set the alarm for 5:15. And 5:15 came very early. It was already quite light outside since sunrise was at 4:05. It was overcast and windy but not raining. I put on just about every layer I had: jeans, wind pants, long sleeve shirt, fleece pullover, jacket, and fleece vest over that, along with my scarf, new fleece headband and gloves. It sounds like a lot of clothes but I was warm enough without being too warm.

There were lots of people out on deck, including a lot of the crew, who were as excited as we were since it was also their first time seeing this area.

On deck entering Geiranger fjord

There was a coffee/hot chocolate service set up on deck 10 forward, just behind the plexiglass wall, and that was very nice and very popular. There were also crew members serving breakfast pastries and warm sausage and egg breakfast sandwiches. Those disappeared quickly any time someone came out with a new platter of them!

Disney Magic pastries

We passed by the Seven Sisters waterfalls on the port side and a larger waterfall, called "The Suitor" or "The Bachelor" on the other. The sisters are the more famous, but I thought the larger fall on the starboard side was more impressive.

Geiranger the Suitor

Geirangerfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's 9.3 miles long and over 800 feet deep. As we went further in the channel grew narrower, and we saw more waterfalls and mountains. It gets overwhelming - beauty everywhere you look!

Geiranger Ford

There was just a tiny patch of blue in the sky, which I hoped would be a promise of things to come, but it was just a tease. The day ended up being overcast.

Geiranger Fjord

Finally we could see the town of Geiranger. Commodore Tom sounded the "Mickey horn" twice as we approached. The echoes were very impressive, but since it was only about 7:00 I'm not sure the residents appreciated it very much. :-)

Geiranger

We were moored in the bay and not at a dock and I thought we were going to have to use tender boats (as the ship that had arrived before us was doing) but instead they brought the "Sea Walk" out to us: a nifty floating dock. Really interesting to watch it move into place!

Geiranger Sea Walk
Geiranger Sea Walk

It was only around 7:30 and we weren't meeting for our excursion until 9:30, so we went up to Cabanas for breakfast. It was quite busy up there, especially since everyone wanted to sit inside - quite chilly outside with the wind. We shared a table with a couple who are travel agents and they gave us some suggestions on destinations and cruise lines to try next. (We love Disney, but the itineraries are limited.)

Our excursion for the day was a hike to the Storseterfossen waterfall, and then to a farm for some more Norwegian waffles. There were 42 in our group, plus the two guides, Rico and Unita. We took a bus up the hill to the start of the trail, which was a gravel road for the first 1/2 mile. Lots of flowers in bloom in the pastures we went by.

Geiranger flowers
Geiranger flowers

Eventually we went through a gate and onto a real trail. Quite a bit of it was stone steps. It was starting to drizzle off and on and I was a little concerned about the steps being slippery, but they weren't. (This photo was taken on the way down.)

Geiranger Storseterfossen trail

We were going through pasture land, and we saw some sheep. Though we could hear them before we could see them, thanks to the bells they were wearing.

Geiranger sheep

This was a much more challenging hike than I had expected - the trail was a fairly steep uphill for about 1-1/4 miles. It was no problem for us, and I was happy to get a good cardio workout! Our guide told everyone to go their own pace and let anyone who wanted go ahead - we took him up on that offer!

Geiranger Storseterfossen

We were the first ones to the top, with a (much) younger couple right behind us. :-)

Geiranger Storseterfossen

There was a path down to the waterfall, and we could go behind it to see the back side of water. And I think we found what happens to solid water when it gets warm...

Geiranger Storseterfossen

It had started to rain, and it was actually drier behind the fall than up above! We talked to our guides a little bit. Neither of them is from Norway - he was German, and she was from Estonia. They said less than 200 people live full time in Geiranger, but about 850 come in for the summer to support the busy tourist season.

We went back down the same trail to the Westeras Farm where we had Norwegian waffles and coffee/tea in the old barn building. It was really raining when we left the farm - we both put on our rain pants and jackets, and those kept us dry.

Westeras farm
Norwegian waffles

We walked about 10-15 minutes to an overlook of the fjord where we could see the Disney Magic far below us.

Disney Magic in Geiranger

Along the way we passed a field that had llamas in it - they protect the sheep and goats from predators like foxes. (I got extra credit with Rico for knowing they were used for protection. :-) )

Westeras farm llamas

The rain had slowed to a mist by the time we started back to where our bus would pick us up and take us back to the dock. We enjoyed this excursion, though it would have been great to have a clearer day.

Geiranger waterfall

Instead of going back to the ship we went into town. First stop was the Geiranger Sjokolade shop for some chocolates made in Geiranger! I wanted to stuff some chocolate in my face...

The shop was very busy. They have interesting favors like Aquavit, whiskey, passion fruit, cloudberry, and something called brown cheese, which is like a soft filling, more like a caramel fudge. (Norwegian brown cheese, or brunost, is made of boiled goat's milk, cream, and whey. The sugar in the milk caramelizes from the heat, giving it the sweetness and the brown color.)

Geiranger Sjokolade

Then we went up the Fossevandring, or "Waterfall Walk". There's a large cascade of water that flows through town, and there's a series of stairs and ramps along the lower half. It's new - it only opened last year so it's not in most of the guidebooks yet. I found mention of it on Trip Advisor, and our Cruise Director had mentioned it as an activity, also. It's a public walkway so it's free and there were a lot of other people on it, too. It ends at the Fjord Center, and there is a charge to go in there.

Geiranger Fossevandring

It was getting late in the afternoon and we were chilled and tired - and it was still drizzling so we headed back to the ship. We found a place on the pier to get some photos of the Magic with the walls of the fjord as a backdrop. Oh for a little blue sky over the mountains...

Disney Magic in Geiranger fjord

When we boarded there was coffee, hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies waiting for us just inside - so thoughtful! We had a couple of cookies on the way to our stateroom where we changed out of our damp and muddy clothes and shoes. And then we went to Cove Cafe to enjoy some adult hot beverages! We really missed the enclosed expansion of Cove Cafe to deck 10 that they have on the Disney Wonder...that would have been a very heavily used space on this cruise! As it was, the existing Cove Cafe was quite popular, as there were lots of adults on this cruise.

Disney Magic cookies

We left port a little after 5:00. Of course the weather had started to clear a little by then! No sun, but it was brighter and had stopped raining. Before we left, Commodore Tom told us that in our honor the town would be shooting off some dynamite. Ummmmm...ok? He hurried to assure us that it would not be directed AT us. (One of my Facebook friends suggested that this was retaliation for the 0700 Mickey horn. :-) )

Geiranger fjord

We sat on our verandah and watched the fjord go by - it was great! We were sheltered from the wind and had a lovely view of the Seven Sisters. And then it was time to head to dinner.

Geiranger Seven Sisters

After dinner we went to the Walt Disney Theater for that night's show - a group they had brought aboard for this cruise: The Magic of Light featuring eVolution Dance Theater. They had been featured on "Italy's Got Talent." They did dance routines to Disney music while wearing lighted costumes, where the lights on the costumes were also choreographed to the music. There were some parts that were intriguing, but it wasn't that compelling and we were both falling asleep in some parts.

Evolution Dance Theater

At some point during the evening I found the next three "Chocolate Chase" symbols.

Chocolate chase symbol

It had been several long days, and I was exhausted and in bed by 9:30. After three busy port days in a row we really could've used the sea day the next day, rather than another port day. Commodore Tom had encouraged us to get up at 6:00 the next morning for the sail in to Bergen...but we didn't have an excursion in Bergen so I was looking forward to sleeping in. I wasn't very enthusiastic about yet another early morning, but Lee set the alarm anyway.

Frog towel animal

Coming Next: Bergen





June 23, 2015

Inside Out Pre-parade at Disney California Adventure

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos of the Disney/Pixar Inside Out pre-parade at Disney California Adventure. The pre-parade started on Friday to coincide with the release of the film. For more from Friday, June 19, 2015 visit the full picture set on my site. I will have a separate posting on the 2015 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band here on Allears.net.


The Pre-Parade made the times guide. Here is how it is listed.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out pre-parade as it started its first run through the park. This is stepping off at the Parade Gate in Hollywood Land.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

All five emotions are on the float. Sadness in front, Joy at the controls, Anger up above, Disgust and Fear are on the back.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Sadness rides on the front of the float.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Anger on the top.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Joy at the controls

Inside Out Pre-parade

Disgust on the back of the float

Inside Out Pre-parade

Fear was clinging to a post on the other side, so I could not get a good picture

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

I walked through Bugs Land and out to the parade route to get some video of the pre-parade.

Video of the Inside Out Pre-parade. I kept the long lead time so you could hear the dialog track, if you want to see just the float skip ahead a couple of minutes.

To mark the release of the film, Award Wieners in Hollywood Land has some special Inside Out items.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

Hope you enjoyed this look at Inside Out at the Disneyland Resort. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.


Norway Cruise 2015 - Part 5, Alesund

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Disney Magic Alesund Norway

Tuesday - Alesund

We had a fair bit of motion during the night, but not bad. Mostly things were creaky. I slept better but the jet lag caught up with Lee and he was awake for a while...just watching the hours tick by....

Alesund Norway

We had an excursion in the morning, but we didn't have to meet until 9:30, so didn't have to be up quite so early.

There were lots of interesting things to do in Alesund (OH-leh-sund), but we'd opted for the trip to the Trollstigen - the Troll Road. My brother and sister-in-law did it last year and really enjoyed it, and we were sure we would, too. But it was an all-day trip on a bus, so we wouldn't have any free time in Alesund at all.

Unfortunately the great weather we'd had in Stavanger didn't follow us, and it was overcast and cool the entire day. Oh well. It was certainly typical weather for this time of year.

Disney Magic Alesund Norway

There were quite a few buses going to the Trollstigen. We had one of the "adult only" excursions. The buses were delayed, so we didn't actually get going until 10:15. We had an excellent tour guide who was from England originally, so we had no problems understanding him. He gave us lots of information on what we were seeing and some of the history and politics and culture of Norway.

We started by driving along the Storfjorden. There were lots of waterfalls, and we got kind of blasé about them after a while. :-) But we were still really enjoying the scenery. We also saw a lot of fish farms in the water. There was one that was three circles in a Mickey head shape, but I didn't have a chance to get a photo of it.

Norway fish farm

After about an hour we stopped at an old church in Stordal. There were several other buses already there who had started before us. The church was called the Rose Church. The paintings inside had been restored recently. There's a newer church nearby used for services and the Rose Church is only used for weddings.

Rose Church Norway

The scenery just kept getting better as we continued along the Storfjorden, passing mountains and waterfalls and small towns.

Norway fjord
small town Norway

This area is a very popular vacation destination and we went by lots of RV parks and cabins.

Norway campground

At Valldal we went inland toward the mountains. We stopped at a waterfall walk - Gudbrandsjuvet - that had a series of ramps zigzagging across the cascades below.

Gudbrandsjuvet Norway
Gudbrandsjuvet Norway

Most of our stops were short - just on and off to take pictures - but this one was a little longer and I had time to find some wild flowers in a meadow on the other side. With all of the short stops we made I was very happy that our group was responsible and punctual and everyone was on time - only once did we wait an extra couple of minutes past the time our guide told us to return. That was a very nice change from some of the other excursions I've been on - and even our guide commented on how good we were.

Norway flowers

As we climbed higher into the mountains our guide told us we were in troll country and pointed out the rocks and smaller, more weathered trees. The elevation at the top of the pass was almost 2800 feet above sea level but things were quite barren up there. Tree level is much lower in Norway than in California.

Trollstigen Norway

We started to see a lot more snow on the road and in places there was still 3-4 feet along the side of the road.

Trollstigen Norway

It was mostly clear at the top of the Trollstigen, though there were enough patches of snow for those who might want to build a snowman. (The kids we saw were more interested in using it for snowball fights. :-) )

Trollstigen Norway

We had an hour on our own at the top. There's a nice cafe/shop complex there where people could get lunch (we brought our own).

Trollstigen Norway

There's a paved path to two different overlooks, and that had been mostely cleared of snow. The first overlook was just a couple of minutes away and the second was less than 10, but it had a short, but fairly steep, climb, and then a number of steps down. We ended up on a cantilevered platform looking down at the famous 11 hairpin turns of the Trollstigen.

Trollstigen Norway

As we were driving up and I was looking at the clouds I was afraid we might be in them but we had a good view looking down. It was quite spectacular despite the gray sky.

Trollstigen Norway

We had time to eat our lunch and do a little shopping (we knew we wouldn't have any time in Alesund - we'd have to go straight to the ship). All I really needed was a postcard for our stateroom door.

I'd been dreading the trip down all of those hairpin turns - just the idea of it rather than a motion sickness issue, but it was fine. Our bus driver had obviously done it many times and it was slow and controlled. Since it was so early in the season we only encountered a few vehicles that were coming up, which made it easier. It's a pretty impressively steep road with a 10% incline. When our side of the bus was on the outside looking down, the next hairpin seemed a long way below us!

Trollstigen Norway

We had a couple of very short stops for photos, which gave us an excellent view of the Stigfossen waterfall.

Stigfossen Norway

And we actually saw a troll in the rock. :-)

Trollstigen Norway

I believe this is called the Romsdalhorn.

Romsdalhorn Norway

Our last stop was the Trollveggen, the Troll Wall. It's the tallest vertical cliff face in Europe - over 1100 meters (3600 feet) from the base to the highest point. But of course people have climbed it.

Trollveggen Norway

While standing there we heard, and then saw, a rock avalanche, shortly followed by a snow avalanche down the same chute.

Trollveggen Norway

Our guide pointed us towards the toilettes that were part of an old railway station - the station is closed but the restrooms are still maintained. There were a couple of unisex stalls, and then one with this sign, which we found quite amusing.

Restroom sign, Norway
Railway station near Trollveggen Norway

The drive back to Alesund was about two hours. There was still lots of interesting scenery on the ride back along the Romsdalsfjorden but our brains were kind of on overload by then.

Romsdahl fjord, Norway

We went back through Alesund via a different route and were able to see some of the Art Nouveau buildings that were constructed after the fire in 1904 destroyed so many buildings.

Alesund Norway

We were a little late in returning but since we were on a Disney excursion we weren't worried that the ship would leave without us. And we still arrived 20 minutes before the 5:45 all aboard time. Lots of people had also been delayed in getting back and there was a long line to board. In fact, our table mates were late for dinner because they had been delayed by a bus issue.

We were escorted out of the harbor by a fire boat - the only one I saw on our cruise.

Trollstigen Norway

After dinner we went to the Geiranger lecture by Dr. Marv. He talked about some of the sights we would be seeing as we sailed into the fjord, like the Seven Sisters waterfalls, and "The Suitor" waterfall that's on the opposite side. After the lecture I went chasing down the first three clues in Anna's Chocolate Hunt. They weren't too difficult, though some of the symbols were placed to make them a bit more challenging to find.

Chocolate Challenge

We went to Keys for a while, but the Commodore had told us that we would enter the Geirangerfjord starting about 5:45 in the morning so we tried to go to bed at a reasonable time so that we could get up early. "Early" being a relative term since it was still quite light outside at 10:15 - this was the view when we returned to our stateroom. That was the night of our latest sunset: 11:26 p.m.

Disney Magic Norway Cruise

Coming Next: Geiranger

Peacock towel animal





June 22, 2015

2015 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos of the 2015 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band from Friday, June 19, 2015.

The 2015 All-American College Band started their season yesterday. Their first performance today is at the Hollywood Backlot Stage at 3:00pm. Since it was their second day in the park they performed some of their other set music and not a Jazz set today.

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One USC member of the band this year...Emma, the sax player in the middle of the picture - FIGHT ON!

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This is out of order.. but before listening to them play thought it would be good to Introduce the Band. Here are some clips featuring the introductions.

A video clip of the All-American College Band performing Gonna Take You There from Princess and the Frog.

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The 2015 All-American College Band performing at the nightly Flag Retreat at 5:15pm

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The All-American College Band performing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at 6:15pm

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2015 Disneyland All-American College Band - A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

2015 Disneyland All-American College Band - Disneyland Attraction Medley

The band made their way up the street after two songs at the Castle. First stop was near the Arcade and featured the Incredibles.

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Their last stop was near Town Square and featured Under the Sea

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The 2015 All-American College Band next set was at 7:15pm in Town Square.

The band kicking off their set with Bubbles was a Cheerleader. A toddler showed up to help get things started.

The band performs the Stevie Wonder tribute this year instead of Michael Jackson

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The 2015 All-American College Band concluding their set with the Earth, Wind and Fire tribute

The 2015 All-American College Band at their first stop of their pre-parade performances. This one features the Disney Movie Medley,

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

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A couple clips from this performance.

The band moves down the parade route and stops just short of the Fantasyland walkway and performs Let it Go.

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The band stops at the head of Main Street in the hub and performs. Thanks to the Paint the Night crowds it is a challenge to follow the band for the pre-parade.

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Their last stop is near the Cinema.

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Hope you enjoyed the pictures & video of the All-American College Band. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Disneyland Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



Norway Cruise 2015 - Part 4, Stavanger

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Disney Magic Stavanger Norway

Monday - Stavanger

Our first port in Norway! As a reminder, it's pronounced "Stuh-VON-gur".

Disney Magic Stavanger Norway

It was an early day for us - we needed to meet for our excursion at 8:15. So we got up about 7:00 and went to Cabanas for breakfast. Lots of other people up early, also.

It was looking like an overcast and cool day. And we were doing a fjord cruise and knew it would be pretty cold up on deck. I thought about wearing my wind pants but didn't - later I wished that I had pulled them on over my jeans. I had a long sleeve shirt, fleece pullover, jacket, scarf, and my new fleece headband.

Stavanger Norway

We were able to walk off the ship to the dock were our fjord cruise boat, the "Fjordfart" was docked. The younger crowd in the group thought the name was very funny. We asked one of the crew who said it means "fjord speed" in Norwegian.

Fjordfart boat Stavanger Norway

Our destination was the Lysefjord, which our guide pronounced as "Loosah-fjord", with a short "ooh" and not a long one. The name means "light fjord".

There was seating inside where we sat when we started out, but we knew we'd want to go out to the open observation deck when we got to the good stuff. We had a good view of some of the Stavanger port area, such as the Petroleum Museum, as we went along.

Petroleum Museum Stavanger Norway

After we got away from Stavanger and started into the fjord we began to see quite a few waterfalls and we went up on deck. It was very cold in the wind and I was happy to have the headband and scarf - plus the people in front of me who were blocking some of the wind!

The boat was very maneuverable and the captain was able to get us very close to the walls - this photo is not zoomed in at all. Interesting grotto. There was something about the rock that I didn't hear, which explains the formation.

Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

See the heart in the rock?

Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

We were able to get in very close to this waterfall, also. This part looked like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

There were a couple of goats, too.

Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

One of the landmarks is Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), though we didn't have a very clear view of it. It's quite flat on top. One of the available excursions was a hike to the top. Later in the cruise we talked to some people who did it - it was a long day for them, but they enjoyed it.

Pulpit Rock Stavanger Norway

We got a very up close and personal view of this waterfall, the Hengjane Fall.

Hengjane Fall Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

The captain got close and then spun the boat in a full circle so that everyone got a good look at it. Those of us on top got splashed!

Hengjane Fall Stavanger Norway

The boat turned around at that point. The fjord is 26 miles long, but we only went about 1/3 of the way in. We returned at a much faster speed (we know where it got the "Fjordfart" name!). We quickly went to the back of the observation deck behind the pilot house because, as much as I'd like to say the cold never bothered me anyway, the reality is that it was much too cold to stand in the front. :-) Eventually we went inside where it was warm.

Lysefjord Stavanger Norway

We stopped at a cafe/souvenir shop on the way back where we tried Norwegian waffles for the first time. That's apparently a popular thing, because they were offered on a lot of the excursions. They weren't served hot, and they were more soft like pancakes. They gave us "roome" to put on top, which is not quite whipped cream and not quite sour cream, along with strawberry jam. They were quite tasty, and there was coffee and tea, also.

Norwegian waffles

By the time we arrived back at the dock the weather there had cleared and it was a beautiful day! I had optimistically brought my sunglasses, and I needed them!

A professional beach volleyball tournament was being held that weekend in Stavanger and the waterfront area had temporary practice courts as well as a temporary stadium area. We saw lots of players practicing - but no shorts or bikinis for this one!

Beach Volleyball Stavanger Norway

We had time on our own for the rest of the afternoon. I'd gotten some port info from the Internet, but our first order of business was to try to find an ATM. We found a bank building - but it was the business offices and didn't have an ATM! Though the receptionist told us we should find one downtown. In the meantime we wandered through a neighborhood of old wooden houses. They were pretty, and I saw a lot of lilacs blooming. It seemed late to me, but everyone kept telling us that it had been the coldest May in 39 years, so everything had been delayed.

Stavanger houses Norway
Lilacs Stavanger Norway

The Norsk Hermetikkmuseum - the herring cannery museum - was actually in this old neighborhood. We used our credit card to pay the entrance fee, which would get us entry into several other nearby museums at no additional charge. And we'd also get half off entrance to the Petroleum Museum we were already planning to visit.

Cannery Museum Stavanger Norway

This building was a cannery that was in operation from 1916 until 1958. We joined an English-speaking tour that was partway through the museum. I thought it was interesting. The fish were caught in the morning and had to be canned by the end of the day so they didn't spoil! The cans were made, the fish were prepared, smoked, placed by hand in the cans, sealed, and keys and labels applied all in this one building, which was not very large. The guide turned on just one of the machines and it was very noisy - I can't even imagine how loud it would've been with everything going on. These are the tables where women sat and packed the fish into cans by hand.

Cannery Museum Stavanger Norway

Upstairs they had an area showing old movie footage, which looked like it was from the 1920s. It showed scenes of the entire process from pulling the fish from the nets to someone opening a can to eat them. I thought the old footage was very effective, and more interesting than if they'd tried to do a re-enactment.

We finally found an ATM at the 7-11 - but it had just eaten the card of the previous guy, so we passed it by. We found another at a bank, but it didn't have the symbols that would indicate it would accept our cards. (Though we went back to it later, and it turned out that it worked for us.)

This is the Stavanger domkirke - the Stavanger Cathedral of Saint Swithun. It's the oldest cathedral in Norway.

Stavanger Cathedral Norway

Eventually we came to the Norsk Oljemuseum - the Petroleum Museum. The discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea has made a huge difference in Norway. The government sets aside some of the money in a fund used for health care and university education, among other things, at no cost to residents. As I mentioned before, we understand the significance of that part of the Maelstrom attraction now.

Petroleum Museum Stavanger Norway

The museum had lots of information and interactive exhibits. All of the signs were in English and Norwegian, and the movies alternated showings in both languages. I think it's worth visiting if you're in Stavanger.

Petroleum Museum Stavanger Norway

Outside is an extensive kids playground made from parts of old oil rigs, everything very brightly painted. One of our servers on the Magic actually told us about this - some of the crew had a great time there on their first visit to Stavanger on the Baltic cruise. We were not the first Disney cruise to pass this way...at least not in Stavanger, but we were the first in the other three ports.

Petroleum Museum Stavanger Norway
Petroleum Museum Stavanger Norway

On our way back towards the ship we finally found an ATM and got some Norwegian kroner. We stopped along the harbor and watched the seagulls fishing for herring. As you can see it had turned into an absolutely gorgeous day.

Stavanger Norway

We also visited the Maritime Museum, which was one of those included in our Cannery Museum admission. Lots of stuff on the history of ships in the area, though it wasn't quite as interesting to me. Plus we were getting short on time and I wanted to do a little souvenir shopping on the way back.

Maritime Museum Stavanger Norway

We pulled away about 5:00, and got a good look inside the beach volleyball stadium as we went by.

Beach Volleyball Stavanger Norway

And we also passed a couple of oil platforms.

Oil rig Stavanger Norway

After dinner we watched Age of Ultron, which we hadn't yet seen at home. Once it was over it was after 10:00 and it was still quite light outside - sunset kept getting later and sunrise kept getting earlier as we sailed further north.

When we returned to our stateroom there was a note from "Anna" telling us about the Chocolate Chase. For the next three days there would be clues in the Daily Navigator directing us to locations on the ship where some kind of Arendelle symbol would be posted. We had to write the location and the symbol on the answer sheet, then leave it on our bed on Friday to get our prize. Sounded interesting, and I'm always up for anything to do with chocolate!

towel flower

Coming Next: Alesund



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