This page has moved to a new address.

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 6/12/11 - 6/19/11

Friday, June 17, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #45

I'm tickled about two things about this week's Friday Fill-in:

a.) I'm typing this while we're cruising up I-65 between Montgomery and Birmingham, AL.  I schedule it to post on Fridays, but I usually write these up on Thursdays as soon as "Wifey's" questions come in.  We got one of those nifty Verizon 4G modems so Dave can do homework with a cellular network connection while we're driving.  However, he's the one driving right now, so I have a chance to catch up on e-mails and blog posting!

b.) Look who submitted question #3 below!!

1. Underwear Parties, how old is too old? submitted by Wookie & Co.

As long as you wear -- ahem -- underwear, then Underwear Parties should be fair game.  It's all in fun!

2. What was your favorite class in high school? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared

Geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and music.  I actually really liked my AP U.S. History class too, although at the time I thought it was torture.  Looking back, it turns out I learned a LOT from Mrs. Whaley.

3. Have you ever convinced packers/movers to pack something they aren’t supposed to for a PCS? submitted by Ground Control to Major Mom

Snicker.  With a nice enough tip for the movers, we've been able to convince packers to take care of our liquor for us more than once.  This was easy coming from Korea (our best move ever!).  We bought two cases of wine from Trader Joe's just before we left Nebraska last fall.  The packer was happy to pack those cases for us :)

We've also had a lot of typically-illegal items packed accidentally: light bulbs, filled piggy banks, batteries in remote controls, etc.  When your kids' GeoTrax stuff requires over 50 batteries alone, it's hard to keep up....

4. Blogging plays a growing role in the media. If you were asked to embed as a blogger with a deployed military unit, would you go? What do you think your blog would be like? submitted by To the Nth

I think I would love to go -- if the military unit thought I was appropriately trained to be with them.

5. Do you think kids should attend year-round school? submitted by Marrying the Navy

This issue hit us closely when my husband was stationed in Raleigh, NC (for a school tour).  In 2007 Wake County Public Schools made year-round schools the standard instead of the exception and we were making decisions about our oldest son starting Kindergarten while we were living there.

If we weren't a military family, we'd be all for year-round schools.  There are a multitude of educational benefits to year round schooling, but I have to admit that as a military family, I like having the summer break as a chunk of time to PCS without worrying about mid-year transfers and missed schoolwork.

Year round schooling is also nice for vacation planning -- 3 week breaks in the "off months" helps vacation planning: cheaper travel, less heat, less crowds.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Really?" Florida is a REALLY BIG STATE

We learned this already on our drive to Orlando last weekend.  Navarre, Florida to Orlando is about 6 hours worth of driving.

We were able to get from Raleigh, NC to Washington, D.C. in less time.

But when we started doing our driving planning for our annual June trip to central PA for Dave's family reunion, we were floored to discover that our upcoming drive will only be 70 miles less than the drive from Bellevue, NE!


At least, that's the word according to Bing Maps:

Navarre, FL to our stop in central PA: 1078.7 miles...16 hours, 6 minutes.

Bellevue, NE to our stop in central PA: 1146.9 miles...16 hours, 31 minutes.
As we typically do, we stop somewhere overnight.  Don't worry, my USAF Safety Officer friends :-)

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Real Fine Print...

I found this flyer that was handed to me when I turned on the Disney World Tickets last Thursday.  I remember stuffing it into our backpack as soon as I got it, and while cleaning out the backpack yesterday I found it.  This is the no-kidding real fine print about the extension to the Disney Military Salute promotion.  I'm not finding it very well online, so here it is for you.  Note the new block out dates.  Click the image to see it full sized.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Return to Disney World!**

**I'm reminded of all those Disney reprise movies: Return to Neverland, Return from Witch Mountain, Return to Halloweentown, Return to Snowy River, etc.

Semi-impulsively, this past weekend we took a "short" trip down to Disneyworld and joined our friends Suzy and Andy's family, and along with their neighbor's family.  They flew down from Ohio for the week, while we joined them part way through the week after the boys were finished with their school year.

We took advantage of this year's Disney military salute tickets...while not as big a discount as we experienced in 2009 (when Dave and I each got 5 complimentary days), 4 days + water parks for $138 per ticket is still the best Disney deal there is!  Consider that the 2-day Florida resident ticket is $133!

On this trip we used 3 of the 4 days, we're considering a future trip combining the last Disney ticket day with Sea World and perhaps even Legoland when the weather turns cooler.

There were 12 of us (6 adults, 6 kids).  Since all 3 families had been recently, there weren't pressing needs to meet characters, search for Hidden Mickeys or ride particular rides.  I was pleased to get to ride a couple things we didn't get around to in 2009: Space Mountain, It's a Small World, and Maelstrom.

It was incredibly hot on this particular trip, which made a marked difference in the boys' behavior.  We didn't hear the whining/complaining till day 5 when we went in December '09.  On this trip, it was halfway through the 2nd day...Timmy sat himself down in the middle of the sidewalk at Hollywood Studios and refused to walk.

Instead of just giving you a random bunch of pictures, I thought I'd instead share some of the cool stuff we found out about this time around.  Enjoy!

1.) Announced in April 2011, the Disney World military promotion has been extended into 2012.  Tickets purchased in 2011 now don't expire until September 30, 2012!  There is a lot of "fine print" to this promotion change, so I'll just refer you to this website for the details.

2.) Did you know you are not restricted to that one hour window printed on your Fast Pass?  Fastpass is Disney Parks' rider management system.  Grab a Fastpass ticket for your favorite attraction and come back at the designated time for shorter wait times...or no wait at all!  The attendants are only ever checking the start time, but if you don't make it in that one hour window printed, come back anytime afterwards before the attraction closes and ride attendants are instructed to let you through anyway.  They don't advertise this, since Fastpass is designed as a ridership management tool and they need most riders to return in that one hour window for the program to work smoothly.  More information about how to maximize Fastpass can be found here.

The most popular ride in Hollywood Studios.  See the non-Fastpass wait time on the left?  People waited anyway!  Even more popular than Star Tours on a Star Wars Weekend!  They are typically out of Fastpasses by 11am!  In 2009 one of us ran to this attraction as soon as we got to Hollywood Studios to grab the Fastpass.  And it was still for about 6 hours later.

3.) Disney Dining now has a mobile website that you can use from your smartphone to make dining reservations!  While we were enjoying some air conditioned goodness at Disney Quest (see #6 below), I was able to hop onto the mobile website and make dinner reservations at House of Blues across the street at Downtown Disney.  The following day, Dave got us lunchtime seating at the German Biergarten buffet on our drive into EPCOT.


4.) We caught our first glimpses of the "new Fantasyland" under construction.  Suzy and I commented to each other, "It's about time Disney decided to do more with the more recent Princesses!".  However, based on the article I linked above, recent "policy shifts" in Disney's princess marketing is resulting in some last-minute changes to the original plans.  Based on the concept art, it looks like there will still be big areas dedicated to Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.  Set to open in Fall 2012, we're excited to get to see such quick progress.  (It was also very interesting to see such huge construction areas in general...I figured Disney would have been more discreet, do you?)  A friend who was there recently said that my pictures from June 9th had so much more visible than what she saw just 8 weeks prior.

You can see Beast's castle in the upper left, and The Little Mermaid's area towards the top.
Progress so far on Beast's castle.
I love my camera's zoom!

5.) A newly-designed Star Tours 3-D attraction opened at Hollywood Studios on May 20th, in conjunction with the first of their 4 Star Wars Weekends that are held every May/June.  The ride was closed from September 2010 for the renovation.  Dave and I had been on Star Tours in 2000, and after riding it again in 2009 it all seemed the same and rather uninteresting.  But this time around, it was WAY more interesting: the ride is now in 3D and it's interactive in that a random passenger is photographed and shown as a "rebel spy" (our godson on our particular ride).  The movement in the ride is now smoother and flows with the storyline better.  To me, the coolest part is how there are now 54 permutations to the ride, by combining which storylines your "tourship" travels through.  In our case, we wound through Kashyyyk and Coruscant.  At the end, Princess Leia's holographic message thanks us for protecting the rebel spy for the Alliance.  I was impressed with whatever they did with Carrie Fisher's mouth movements to make that work...the images were straight from the original Star Wars.

I wrote about our Star Wars Weekend experience for GeekMom.

Dave looking super cool in his 3D glasses!
6.) Disney Quest: One of Walt Disney World's best-kept secrets!  After dealing with the most crowded, hottest Disney park experience in my entire life at Hollywood Studios for a Star Wars Weekend, we left mid-afternoon and enjoyed a couple hours of air conditioned goodness at Disney Quest.  This is an interactive theme park located at Downtown Disney West Side.  We bought the military promotion tickets that included Disney Quest admission, so we spent a couple hours there and enjoyed unlimited video game play.  Usually Disney Quest is very crowded in the evenings, so to go over there from 4-6pm was delightful, we had a chance to play every video game we were interested in!

Labels: , , ,

Another Guest Post

I guess good recipes travel fast!  I was delightfully surprised when one of Brandie @ The Country Cook's friends, Laurie @ Feeding My Ohana, contacted me about how excited she was to see a non-commercial simple Huli Huli Chicken marinade recipe at The Country Cook a couple weeks ago.  Laurie tried it and gave it a thumbs up!

Last Wednesday she featured the recipe, with a summary of my two blog posts from Memorial Day weekend 2009, on her blog.  She graciously omitted the chicken mutilation pictures, lol!  She added a key part to the recipe that I'd been forgetting about all these years: Shouting "HULI!" when you turn the chicken on the grill.

You can't forget to do that!

Labels: , ,