Wednesday, May 15, 2013



How are all of you doing? Today Chicago is a beautiful sun-drenched day. Yes, I finally made it home. I arrived on Monday afternoon and the cool temps (only 50) certainly chilled me to the bone. But today it is in the 70's and just lovely.

Before heading out to run a bazillion errands, I'd like to share with you some pics of a new REVEAL. No, you WON'T have to buy another book, so don't cringe. LOL. I was thrilled to be able to visit the NEW FANTASYLAND in Disney World.

Of course, with Disney I had expected something pretty awesome. Disney has been looking very dated lately and with the FABULOUS Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, Disney certainly needed to create something wonderful.

You let me know what you think after you see the pics. But before I reveal them, I did have a fun birthday at Epcot before it had poured rain later in the day. This time of year they feature the garden and flower show, which is always STUNNING. But what really thrilled me there was the butterfly pavilion. Thousands of these miracles of grace and beauty fluttered all around me. I did manage to capture one sun bathing for a brief second.

Isn't she beautiful?!

There were so many fluttering around, I would have liked to have taken pics all day, but one must move on to the next experience. Right?

Now are you ready for the reveal? Okay, calm down. First I'd like to introduce you to an old favorite. The many turrets of Cinderella's castle still glisten in the sunlight. With so much rain all week, the grass and flowers burst with color. 

As I wove between the thousands of visitors, the clouds did start to role in and by the time I traveled my long distance to Fantasyland, the skies grayed. I journeyed all the way to  Rupunzel's tower. She seemed to be out and about today, sadly. So no visible locks of gold draped down the tower for me to climb and enjoy a refreshing afternoon latte with her. Bummer.

Tired, I strolled through the village, looking for a cafe' ...

Such a charming village, but where's the coffee? And perhaps a sweet ...

Pinocchio? I had no idea, he lived in the same village as Rupunzel.  I guess he does, because over yonder is her tower.

Geez, no cafe' in sight. I guess I need to trudge along this cobblestone street to the next village. Oh, look... It's Belle's village about a thousand stones' throw away....

Phew! I finally made it. And there's Gaston's. Did he have a pub? Well, he does know. That works for me! I could certainly use something cold and frothy. Xnay on the latte.

What a great place to spend a few happy moments with friends. But it's time to go and continue on ...

WHOA! The sun is setting over the village. How long have I been at Gaston's?! I need to get back to Cindy's place before I miss the electrical parade.

Now that's what I call a STUNNING VIEW! I'll Just about make it back In Time ....

I certainly hope you liked the tour of the new Fantasyland. As you can see from my cheezy grin below, I sure did!

Two days later, I was on the road again, but this time motoring home to Chicago. BUT, I did have a little detour. I exited off in Indianapolis to visit the WONDERFUL, MARVELOUS, TALENTED, SWEETEST, CHEERIEST, AND TREASURED BLOGGER BUDDY, LEIGH MOORE!!!!! Yes, you may cheer and squeal with delight ... I know, I did. LOL.

Well, we had an awesome visit at a local trendy, Indy restaurant. It was truly magical.  The sun shone brightly, although it was only 60 degrees. But, we didn't care  ...

Sorry about the distortion, it was a quick impromptu and the sun was in my eyes. LOL. As Leigh had said ... I almost cut myself out of the pic. LOL.



  1. The new fantasyland looks maahhhvelous! I think we're going to take the kids in I'm excited again :)

  2. Loved the pictures, and I'm glad you had an awesome trip!!!

  3. Wonderful pictures. Thanks so much for sharing them.

  4. Great pics! It looks gorgeous, but I will not be giving the Mouse and his evil crew any of my money. ;)

    Glad you had fun with Leigh!

  5. Glad you got a good day at Disney! Been years since I visited the Magic Kingdom.
    And awesome you got to spend time with Leigh.

  6. Ohhhh... so jealous!!!!! Everything seems so magical and fun!!!!

    When our little guy was sick, we did his Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World--the whole experience was amazzzzzing... but we were two months shy of Harry Potter opening... *dies*

    Love the pictures, Michael! And I'm glad (?) you're home? (Question mark because now you're out of the sunshine!) You have the best posts!!!

  7. Love the pics. We're going to have to take the kids down there sometime.

  8. Fun! My stepdaughter, 13, was very disappointed to learn that the castle wasn't a real castle and last weekend declared in a discussion with her older sister, who's been to Disney Land, that it sucks and she doesn't ever want to go. I'll have to share this post with her :)

  9. What? That looks so awesome! From the butterflies to all the wonderful views of Disney and especially meeting Leigh. I am definitely jealous! Looks like a great trip :)

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photo's. My kids would LOVE to go there.

  10. Does Disney still birthday peeps their FREE day to celebrate. That's how I celebrated my 40th. Too bad we didn't get to meet. The rain was terrible that day.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  11. Great pictures. Glad you made it home all right and that you took the sun with you.

  12. Love all the pictures. The butterfly almost doesn't seem real. And how awesome that you got to meet Leigh.

  13. sounds like you had fun, Mikey! Love the place! And love how you and our cutie Lee look in that last pic!

  14. Thanks for taking me around a virtual trip today, it was lovely and the pics are awesome.

    Also thanks for the comments left.

  15. Excellent pictures, Michael. Mostly that one of the butterfly, that's prize worthy. Love the colors. I'm happy you had a great birthday and you're back safe in Chicago. :)

  16. Ah, did I forget to wish you happy birthday? Seems you had loads of fun. These are beautiful pictures. Glad you got to visit with Leigh too. What a fabulous end to your vacation. I'll bet despite the cold you're happy to be back in your own space.

    Have a good weekend Michael.


  17. Those are great pictures. I love the color! Sounds like you had loads of fun. :)

  18. I would love to visit there some day...the pics are gorgeous!!! I'm glad you got to have lunch with a friend :) And that you made it home safely!

  19. I loved Rupunzel's tower. You looked like you were having a wonderful time. I envy you. :-)

  20. Looks like a photographer's paradise!

  21. It looks like you had an excellent time! How wonderful to meet a blogger friend in person, too. :)

  22. You know, I've never been to Disney World but it sure looks like fun. And that butterfly is gorgeous. I remember seeing tons at the butterfly gardens at Leu Gardens - another spectacular place in Orlando. Glad you had fun :)

  23. Hi Michael .. the structures and creativity are amazing .. but the butterfly wins all the stars.

    How wonderful you were able to meet Leigh .. isn't it great meeting up with blogging buddies .. I met number 2 yesterday!! More anon ...

    At least you were able to break the trip ... and glad you're home safely .. cheers Hilary

  24. Great pics. Most of them looked like Disneyland, but there is no Gaston in Disneyland. He's kind of handsome, even if he is a jerk! Welcome back home, Michael. :D

  25. May 16th, 2013

    Dear Michael,

    Welcome home!
    What fun pics!
    I bet my son and daughter would have liked to have visited fantasy-land!

    You and Leigh look happy.

    Tomorrow is the end of my first week, student-teaching. I only needed to watch this week (plus going around to help anyone who put his or her hand and needed help with the assignment the regular teacher had given them. Next week, I start teaching like a real teacher -- that is, standing in front of 27 ten-year-old children, explaining some rules about Swedish spelling, and then giving them work to do. It's an easy start; I have no idea what to do after that.

    It's a fourth grade class; they're ten years old and a pretty nice bunch. (I got lucky.)

    Understandably, I am not really blogging today. I just happened to see the link to your site while I was paying a few bills.

    Have a good weekend.

  26. Did I miss your birthday?
    I'm sorry.

    Well, a belated virtual birthday hug to you, Michael.


  27. Love the pics! I think my favorite is the one with the setting sun. How gorgeous. Thanks for sharing, Michael. It was fun to take this virtual tour of your trip with you!

  28. I've never been to Disney. It's never made it to my bucket list. My parents offered to take me for my high school graduation gift, but I chose to go to Colonial Williamsburg instead. Yep, I've always been a nerd at heart.

    Wonderful photos. Good to see you saved the best for last :)

  29. Beautiful pictures of Disney. I never thought they would let it get "dated." What an unusual thing.

  30. These are beautiful pictures! Glad you had a good time.

  31. Oh, Michael! I am so sorry I missed your birthday. Happy belated birthday. It looks like you had a wonderful time in Florida. Thanks for sharing the pictures. My neighbor plans to move to Orlando when her daughter graduates...and wants to work at Disney. She is a HUGE fan. I'll bet they do at least three trips a year.

  32. Great pics Michael and you really did justice to the new's a very neat place and looks awesome!

    Happy (belated) birthday, as well :)

  33. One of these days I'll get to Disney! Awesome pics :)

    So lucky for you and Leigh to meet up!

  34. Wonderful photos, Michael! Thanks for sharing them. Love the butterfly. We went to Disney in Orlando a few years ago, and it was magical!

    Nice you could meet with Leigh...

    Mary Montague Sikes

  35. Yaaah! I didn't realize you were going to the Magic Kingdom too - now THAT's a reveal. Complete with a bit of Micheal-storytelling. ;)

    It was all boarded up when I was there last and seeing these photos has made me positively giddy...and determined to find some extra money laying around somewhere so I can get me & the kiddos back there soon.

    Thanks so much for sharing your pics!

    Good luck getting those errands done. If the days I suggested to get together are too soon, I completely understand.

  36. Truly a fun land. Glad you had fun and the pics were great. The last one wasn't bad. Rupunzel's tower looked the best. Happy belated birthday! Writer’s Mark

  37. Those pictures are stunning... especially the butterfly!
    Looks like you had a blast, Michael!
    And connecting with a blogger buddy must have been one of the highlights!!

    Writer In Transit

  38. Welcome home! I love these pictures Michael! I have two young boys and hope to visit Disney World in the next couple years. This just got me really excited for it. Have a good weekend!!

  39. I can tell you had a great time! Welcome back to Chicago.

    Happy Weekend!

  40. Awesome tour, thank you!

    Welcome home, I really loved the butterfly, great photo!

  41. I'm so jealous! I've never been to Disneyland. Harry Potter world is pretty fantastic though, so Disney definitely needed to step its game up!

  42. I haven't bee to Disneyland for years! I really, really want to go again. I've actually been thinking about it a lot for the past few years. Your pictures aren't helping me with waiting. ;)

  43. Love the cheesy grin! and the castles are AWESOME!!! Good pics, Michael. Especially catching the sunset behind the one, right on the spire. Lovely butterfly, too--sounds like a neat place.

    You got to see Leigh!? I'm jealous. :) Glad you had a great time. I've only been to Disneyland, but never Disney World. Maybe someday...

  44. Happy belated birthday wishes Michael! How magical and wonderful...I love butterflies and what gorgeous pics~

    I love the photos and so sweet you met the lovely Leigh :D
    I'm jealous of your trip on all levels @>---------

  45. The family is all geared up to return to the Magic Kingdom this fall, so your pictures really stoked the fire of anticipation for me!

    And what a lucky guy that you met Leigh! I promised myself I will steal a hug from her in person some day and I'm determined to make that happen! :)

  46. Beautiful, beautiful pictures! I will never outgrow Disneyworld!

    And how awesome that you got to meet Leigh!

  47. Welcome home, Michael! Fabulous pic of you and Leigh and great tour of Fantasyland. I've been to Disneyland many times (love it), but never to Disneyworld. One day, I keep saying...

    VR Barkowski

  48. Michael, thank you for the virtual tour of Fantasyland. Awesome. I was dying for a coffee too! Glad you had a great birthday. That butterfly shot is magical. Book cover material.

    Enjoy being back in Chicago. Sounds like the weather is being kind. Soon you'll be settled back into your wonderful writing room.


  49. Dangit not having Google Reader!!! I'm missing everything! :P

    SQUEE!!! Look at that terrible picture of me! *snort* :D And yaaay! You know I'm SUPER jealous of your Disney trips.

    It was awesome having lunch with you, my friend! ((LB hugs)) <3 <3 <3

  50. I got very excited scrolling through your pictures - I've always wanted to go to Disneyland!