Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lenticular Magic at Memento Mori...

Earlier this year, the old Yankee Trader gift shop in Liberty Square underwent a makeover, changing into a Haunted Mansion- themed shop. Memento Mori is a Latin phrase, roughly translated to "remember death", or more to the meaning- "remember you are mortal", or "remember you will die". The shop is filled with lots of cool Haunted Mansion-related merchandise, including these excellent new placemats...

My favorite thing in the shop, however, is behind a curtain when you first enter from the walkway between Fantasyland and Liberty Square. 

Spirit Photography is a a photographic technique dating back to the 1800s, in which photographers try to capture "spirits" in photographs with living subjects. Memento Mori houses its own version of Spirit Photography. You can purchase (for approximately $20) a well-crafted lenticular photograph of yourself, unlike any you've ever seen before! After a short photo session behind the curtain, in a room where you'll see the best wallpaper on property...'ll wait outside near this portrait of Madame Leota...

...for a photo that comes in this sharp portfolio...

                                                front                                                    back

and receive a photograph that changes ever so creepily, depending on the angle from which you're viewing...


Have you visited Memento Mori? What do you think of Spirit Photography?
Tell us about it in the comments....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Food Love


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to Deb @ Focused on the Magic  for hosting 
the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! 

If you hopped over, I invite you to check out my other posts, and please consider joining the blog or following on twitter.

Check out all the other Wordless Wednesday links by clicking below, 

and remember to share some comment love...

Focused on the Magic

Friday, November 7, 2014

Even More Disney Firsts

As I've written about here and here, I like to make sure I experience some Disney Firsts every time I visit.

Here are the firsts I have on tap for my upcoming trip in early November:

Splash Mountain- Can you believe I've never done this attraction? For several years, I was scared of the drop. I decided to get past that. Then it became a series of bad timing problems- a few trips happened during rehab down times, a few were during cold/wet spells, and then there were some random ride closures thrown in for good measure. Plus...I'll be honest- I've never really been drawn to the theming. It just doesn't sit comfortably with me (much like Port Orleans Riverside... but that's a post for another time). After hearing so many people declare this as one of the best attractions ever, I know I have to do it! This is the time. I have a FP+ booked, and I'm finally taking the plunge. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.

Restaurants- I try to visit at least one new-to-me restaurant on each visit. This time, I have two- Captain's Grille and Todd English's bluezoo. I have high hopes for both!

Osborne Lights- I'm rarely visiting WDW during the holiday season, and I'm pretty much never at Hollywood Studios at night. This time, though, I'm making a point of it, just to see the lights. I fear they will be going away soon, and I'd hate to have missed them forever.

Yacht Club- I'm looking forward to this stay. I've stayed at Beach Club a few times, but this will be the first time at the sister resort. The location is still ideal, and there's a giant globe in the lobby. A GIANT GLOBE. I collect globes, and have a longstanding love for them. I think I'm going to dig this resort. Time will tell...

I think that's it for my firsts this time- a short visit!


And by special request, an update on how things turned out from my last visit's planned firsts:

UnDISCOVERED Epcot Tour- Loved it! Recap coming soon...

Sailing on the Disney Dream: I'm a cruise convert. I hope to sail again soon.

Tropical Running: The Castaway Cay 5K is no joke! Hot. H-O-T. HUMID. brutal. So glad I did it!

The Wave- had to cancel. A spur-of-the-moment decision to visit Sanaa early in the trip derailed my food budget. Something had to go, and it was The Wave. Maybe next time...

What Disney Firsts are you looking forward to on your next visit?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Expedition Everest Challenge, 2014

A race repcap, six months later? Why not? Better late than never. Plus, registration for the 2015 Expedition Everest Challenge opens in just a few short weeks! I'll try my best to hit the highlights, because this race was unique, exciting, and F-U-N...

Expedition Everest Challenge is a combination 5K, with obstacles along the route, immediately followed by a scavenger hunt through Disney's Animal Kingdom. Here's the course map:

The course map

The Everest-themed race bib, one of the items we received at packet pick-up...

On the evening of the race, the forecast called for damp, chilly temps. That turned out to be an understatement. It was cold and very wet. Standing around pre-race, especially after entering corrals, was quite awful at times. Corrals are crowded enough, but there was so much rain, mixed with uneven parking lot ground, that some corrals were half flooded. People had to keep moving over and keep squeezing in to smaller and smaller spaces, all the while, shivering and soaked to the bone. I couldn't wait to start running, just so I could warm up a bit. The race began at 10:00pm. Corral release was staggered, and since I was way in the back (corral G, I believe), it seemed to take forever. Finally, after spending almost an hour waiting- we were off! 

The whole first mile of this race is through the parking lot. About a half mile in, we came to the first obstacle: hay bales! A long line of bales was set up, and we had to hurdle over several sets. Pretty straightforward. Several people bypassed the hay bails, and just walked or ran past them- but most people hurdled them as they were supposed to. Pretty soon, we were entering the park! It's always exciting to cross through that park entrance. The run up the hill toward the Tree of Life was a challenge for me- I'm used to running on flat ground. We raced throughout the park, and before I knew it, we were running out through a Cast Member only gate. The next mile was all backstage. 

You've heard of "the backside of water"? How about the backside of Expedition Everest?!
(This shot was taken during a different race, as it was very dark here during the Everest Challenge...)

Our next obstacle was out beyond the park gates, close to the back of  Expedition Everest. This was a classic tire run. At this point in the run, I was a bit nervous about twisting an ankle, since everything was slick and I was starting to feel fatigued. The tires were big, and I had to really take my time. The race continued backstage, until we reached the final obstacle, shortly before the finish- a cargo net crawl. This was a tough one, due mostly to the artificial turf under the cargo net. Murder on the knees! The finish line was in sight! Despite the rain and the obstacles, I had my fastest 5K time to date. (I later heard rumblings about this course possibly being a bit short...which could explain my PR despite rain and obstacles...)

Immediately after crossing the finish line, we were given these beauties....

...and then we were handed our first clue for the scavenger hunt, along with a small marker/flashlight. Time to head back into the park!

(Details on the clues can be found after the jump, for those who don't want spoilers...)