Just so you know this is going to be a rather lengthy post because there are a lot of details and pictures to share.
The Pearson's Come To Town: On Saturday, August 6, my sister, Shari and her family came to "The Grove" for their vacation. Their visits have become a family tradition that everyone in both the Pearsons and my gang here in Kentucky look forward to.
Their visit was both busy and fun as it usually is. We had the chance to celebrate the birthdays of 3 family members: my sister-in-law, Theresa; daughter-in-law, Heather; and my brother-in-law, Bob.
There was a lot of time spent around our kitchen table playing games. Including a murder mystery game called "Mysterum".
The Pearsons introduced us to the game that was responsible for more laughs than anything else we played, "Spot It"
It's a very simple game that involves being quick at matching figures on round playing cards.
On Thursday of their visit we enjoyed a unique event as a family. We went to "Precious Views", a 3D ultrasound service in Bowling Green, to share in my daughter-in-law's latest ultrasound session. Seeing James & Brandi's baby boy before he's born was a special experience.
While we were there I was fortunate enough to capture one of my favorite moment of the year. My granddaughter, Aria, spending some time "just hanging" with her Uncle Michael.
The visit ended on Saturday August 13 with our traditional "good-bye" breakfast at the Cracker Barrel restaurant and one last group picture.
My Solo Shot Around "The World": During the week of my birthday in September, I got the chance to cross something off my personal bucket list. I got to take a solo trip to Walt Disney World.
After looking at a forecast that called for a very low crowd level in the Magic Kingdom on my birthday, decided that I it would be a good chance for me to go alone for the first time. I found a real good travel package on Hotwire.com that included airfare, hotel and car rental. I had to take advantage of the opportunity.
I flew to Orlando on September 8th. It was my first time flying since May 2005. I had forgotten what a unique experience flying anywhere is. The airport is a world all it's own. Overall, I really enjoyed it.
That same night, I attended "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party"
Going around the Magic Kingdom collecting candy, riding rides and watching the shows was a bit more exhausting than I had anticipated (I had prepared for it by walking on a regular basis for 6 weeks ahead of time) but a lot of fun.
One of the highlights of the night was the castle show featuring the Sanderson sisters from the movie Hocus Pocus.
I found a good place to watch the "Boo To You" parade in the seating area of the Sleepy Hollow quick service snack shop. Staking out my place early allowed me to get a good close up look at the grave diggers...
...and my friend, Goofy.
The next morning I was back to spend my 56th birthday at the Magic Kingdom; a dream come true.
Here are some of the highlights of the day.
My first ride on the Great Goofini's Barnstormer roller coaster.
I rode the Dumbo ride in it's new location for the first time.Other first time experiences were: breakfast at the Be Our Guest restaurant, riding the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, riding Aladdin's Flying Carpets, going on the Jungle Cruise, and seeing the Country Bears Jamboree show.
I got my picture taken with my favorite Disney character.
I enjoyed a snack (soft pretzel & cheese) in front of the castle while watching the new Mickey's Fantasy Faire show.
I experienced watching the fireworks from an interesting perspective near the Mad Hatter's Tea Party ride. I also got a cool picture of the castle with the lights of the train station in the distance through the tunnel.
My final highlight of night was watching the Main Street Electrical Parade for the last time. A month after my visit it left WDW for Disneyland.
I spent a third day in Orlando but not at a Disney Park. I drove to the International Drive area and rode on the Orlando Eye Ferris wheel.
I was a little disappointed in the experience. The ride was only one slow 20 minute revolution and there wasn't really all that much to see in the Orlando landscape. But I'm glad I did it at least once.
Next, I went to Disney Springs. I did some shopping at the Lego and the World of Disney stores.
I dropped by and got my picture taken with one of my all time favorite giant Lego displays: a dragon named "Brickley".
Coincidentally, one of my wife's favorite Disney character artists, Jasmine Beckett-Griffith was signing her new artwork at the Co-Op in Disney Springs that day.
I stood in line for 90 minutes to meet her and get my wife's new pictures signed.
After a quick stop at the Goofy's Candy Company for some Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly beans, I went to the Disney Design-A-Tee store. I made my 3rd customized Goofy shirt to mark the occasion of my first solo trip.
At that point, I was worn out from the fast pace, activity, and lack of sleep over the last 3 days. So my time at Disney came to an end.
The next morning at 7AM, I flew out of Orlando International Airport and my very special birthday trip was over.
It was my 3rd trip to Orlando in 10 months. I really had a good time but the "solo" aspect of it was, at times rather lonely.
I think from now on, I will be going to Disney with at least one other person or more. If, however I do get the opportunity to go back solo, I will do my best to meet up with some of my friends from the online Disney community. Because I've learned that making memories at Disney World is something that is done best with others.
There you have the #3 & #2 thing on my list of 10 events from the 4 months I was away from this blog.
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I know it's taken a long time to get here but
I am now up to the #1 event. It's not just something that has made just the late summer/early fall special. It's a life changing event, not just for me but for my entire family.
Come back next time to and I will share with you the #1 event of not just the past 4 months but of the year.