Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook: from the Happiest Place in the World, Walt Disney World!

July 14, 2014

Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook:
from the
Happiest Place in the World, Walt Disney World!
June 2014


I’m (Annette) enjoying a Mickey (Mouse Ice Cream) Bar
near Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends
(Note my Disney magic wristband, a new Disney innovation making fast passes/going to the head of attraction rides even easier to use.

Called the happiest place on earth, my family of Disney enthusiasts agrees that Walt Disney World fits this description. (The definition of our family consists of my husband, myself, our four grown children and their families, plus an esteemed “honorary” family member and his wife.) In fact, most of my brood has just returned from a fun-filled week at Walt Disney World. (Our new grandbaby and parents decided to stay home this time.) Please join me, as I share with you, a few of our vacation highlights. :o)

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.21.23 AM
Our first glimpse of the iconic Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

Walt Disney World FUN

Let me begin with the obvious. Walt Disney World is fun! Encompassing four Disney theme parks, each one offers a little something for everyone from fantasy to thrills. In the interest of time and space, I will focus mostly on one particular ride, my very most favorite: The Great Movie Ride. This great ride is located in Hollywood Studios, which was at one time known as Disney-MGM Studios. Being an old movie buff (no I am NOT old, the old pertains to the movies), this ride feels as if it was made with yours truly in mind. In fact, my enthusiasm for this attraction is so intense that I dream of one day having the honor, as a temporary cast member, of hosting/narrating just one tour on this awesome ride. How fun would that be? I love this ride!

My daughter, Martese,
who did a nine month WDW internship in Hollywood Studios while attending college, and me, in front of The Great Movie Ride.

IMG_2504 - Version 2
Standing by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello’s handprints,
in the courtyard of The Great Movie Ride.
(This ride’s design is a reproduction of Hollywood’s old Grauman’s Chinese Theatre)

Movie props line the inside entrance into The Great Movie Ride.
I stand next to the dress worn by Scarlett/Vivian Leigh in the barbeque scene from
Gone with the Wind

I sit in anticipation at the beginning at my favorite WDW attraction,
The Great Movie Ride!

The Casablanca vignette, one of many movie scenes throughout
The Great Movie Ride

The figures are so lifelike that Ingrid Bergman’s grandchildren came on this ride to “see” their grandmother.

For more Great Movie Ride Trivia and information, please click on these links.

The Wizard of Oz section of The Great Movie Ride makes one feel that they are not in Kansas any more. (Insert the munchkin’s tee hees)

Indiana Jones

Having expounded upon my favorite ride, I cannot end this portion of my blog without mentioning a favorite feature of my husband’s. It is the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular, also found in Hollywood Studios. This “fun for the whole family” show is based upon the movie Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. Adding to this attraction’s allure, is the fact that it was featured on an episode of the 1990’s family sitcom Full House. (In fact, Walt Disney World was the stomping ground for several 1990’s sitcoms. This past May, The Middle also ended up at WDW for its season’s finale.) Unfortunately, rumor has it that this explosion-filled, punch-jammed, action-packed adventure will close at the end of this year to make room for Star Wars features being added to Hollywood Studios. :o(

Enjoying the opening scene from the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular

To read about:
• the rumors surrounding the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular,
• see a clip from the Indiana Jones Full House-Season 6, Episode 24,
• see which other ‘90’s shows visited WDW,
• read more about the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular,
• or view the recent WDW episode of The Middle,
please click on the links below.

The Magical World of FOOD

Walt Disney World presents its patrons, and in particular, foodies (I, myself, am a self professed foodie.), with a variety of culinary options to please the palate. Options range from the simple, yet delightful, Mickey Bars, Pineapple Dole Whips and turkey legs, to fine dining at the hotel resorts, and the park’s finer restaurants. I took a few Disney food photos, as only a true foodie would, and share them with you below. If you wish to read more about the restaurant featured, click on the link below each photo.

Dale, Chandler, and Eric chompin’ on Mickey Bars on a hot day at Epcot.

Ravioli Gigante at Downtown Disney’s Portobello Italian Restaurant
This delicious gigantic pasta was filled with spinach and ricotta. Yum!

Trevor enjoying his German meal and beverage at Epcot’s The Biergarten
I  recommend the weiner schnitzel!


When at Disney World, a Pineapple Dole Whip is a must.
This photo was taken of Martese at WDW in 2012.

Mike and Martese loving the cream cheese filled pretzels near the America attraction in Epcot

The infamous, and oh so wonderful, Walt Disney World Turkey Leg!
Near the America attraction at Epcot

My husband, son, and I made a special trek to the Columbia Harbour House, quick service restaurant, in the Magic Kingdom, for a lobster roll. Upon arriving, we found that lobster rolls were absent from the menu. We asked an employee about them, and they made three lobster rolls for us upon request! SCORE! They were very good and the kettle chips were yummy, as well!

Eric enjoying another Mickey Bar, in Hollywood Studios, on his birthday!
(I’m not quite sure just how many Mickey Bars our group consumed during the making of this blog!)


I have two favorite restaurants in WDW, and both reside in Hollywood Studios: The Sci-Fi Café and The Brown Derby. (We did not make it to the Sci-Fi Café this time around. :o( ) The original Brown Derby, known for creating the Cobb Salad, Grapefruit Cake and, disputably, the Shirley Temple, is no longer in Hollywood. Thankfully, we can still enjoy The Brown Derby’s replica, a throwback to old Hollywood, at Walt Disney World. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love dining here. In my imaginary world, my table is just across from Lucy Ricardo’s, a fellow patron at The Brown Derby-Hollywood in the “I Love Lucy” episode “L.A. at Last!” (My favorite “I Love Lucy” episode!)

Brown Derby Hollywood Lucy
To watch the “I Love Lucy” episode “L.A. at Last!”, please click on the link below.

To read my previous post from July 2013, Walt Disney World Really Cooks!, which includes a WDW recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo; please click on the link below.

Our group got bigger, as Brandy’s family met us at the park. :o)

IMG_2522 - Version 2
A beautifully arranged, and delicious, Cobb Salad at The Brown Derby

The recipe for The Brown Derby’s Cobb Salad
I make it often at my house.
For the recipe, click here,

A delectable slice of Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake
I have made this at home, but it is much easier to eat it here. :o)
For the recipe, click here,

I had to try this interesting combo, when at the quick service
Restaurantosaurus in the Animal Kingdom!

It is a Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog topped with bacon bits.
It was ok, but I think that I can upgrade this at home to gourmet status by using higher quality ingredients.

IMG_2569Dining at the Sanaa Restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Resort
Eric and Brandy had headed back home the day before. :o(

The star of the Sanaa meal, for me, was their signature banana cheesecake with pistachio crust (center) and, of course, the sight of African animals roaming just outside the window!

Gotta have Mickey Waffles while at Walt Disney World! YUM! These were served at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma’s breakfast buffet with tasty Jamba Juice. The baked bread pudding with praline sauce (to the right of the Mickey waffles) was delicious, too! Bacon was the perfect side.

IMG_2598Ajaye (age 5) enjoying a sweet treat from Downtown Disney

FAMILY Time at Disney

Dale and I cherish our time together with our family. Disney afforded us the opportunity; to not only enjoy each other’s company throughout the week, but to witness the marriage proposal of Trevor to Tanya! How special to be present for that wonderful moment. We also joined Eric in the celebration of his birthday that week, enjoying the day at Hollywood Studios. On our final WDW night, we all delighted in staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, something new for all of us. Sharing time together with our kiddies, and playing at Walt Disney World, equals a wonderful week!

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.24.18 AMTrevor proposes to Tanya at Portobello Restaurant in Downtown Disney on
June 22, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.24.26 AM
Tanya says “YES!”, as Ajaye looks on.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.25.32 AM
The happy couple plan a spring wedding. :o)
Proposal photos courtesy of Martese Ehm

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.28.02 AM

Ajaye jokingly covers his eyes as his mom and Trevor kiss in front of
Epcot’s Spaceship Earth. (My family refers to this as The Big Ball.)
Note Trevor’s “Just Engaged” and “Family Reunion” buttons, courtesy of Walt Disney World

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.23.52 AM
Our crew at Walt Disney World, 2014
I am guessing, judging from this photo, that Ajaye would rather be on a ride than posing for this photograph.  :o)

Chandler and I share a silly moment on the Magic Kingdom ride “It’s a Small World” with an equally silly Martese and Mike in the background. (Sorry for the poor quality due to low lighting.) I first encountered this ride as a six year old at the 1964 World’s Fair. (Now you can calculate my age. :o)) I still remember it!

Brandy’s brother, Brandy, and Eric are eyeglass ready for the Michael Jackson mini-feature film “Captain EO”. When Trevor was a little tyke, he was very afraid of this one!

Mike modeling Muppet wear at the
Journey Into Imagination With Figment gift shop

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.00.52 PM
Chandler speeds down the 12-story drop on Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach
Needless to say, I was only a spectator for this one!


Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.06.21 AM

After a day at Blizzard Beach, Martese, Mike, Chandler, Dale, and I hit the Winter/Summerland Miniature Golf Course next door, complete with Christmas Carols playing overhead.
Most fun putt putt golf course, EVER!

Brandy and Chandler sing “Happy Birthday” to Eric at The Brown Derby.

Brandy poses with her new friend, Minnie, and me with my buddy, Mickey

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 9.54.40 PM
Tanya and Chandler take aim at the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin®

Ajaye visits with the toy army man from Toy Story in Hollywood Studios
A big Toy Story and Buzz fan, Ajaye is all smiles standing next to the giant Buzz toy in Downtown Disney

Martese and Mike waiting for the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular to begin

Chandler wdw
Chandler enjoying Hollywood Studios



IMG_2555Rhinos and Elephants and Giraffes, oh my!
Scenes from our Safari ride at Animal Kingdom.
(We liked it so much that we went twice in one day!)

This great ride has been rated #5 from all the African safaris that you can take worldwide. (Click on the link below to read the article.)

Being the old movie fan that I am, I always imagine myself on this Disney safari with John Wayne as my guide, like in the 1962 movie Hatari! (If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend it!)

For information on the movie Hatari!, such as, most of the stunts were done by the actors on this film, click on the link below.!

A Night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Having rented a very nice, comfortably spacious house 15 miles from Disney World for the other nights, we decided to splurge on the final night, staying somewhere new to all of us. For our final night’s lodging, we reserved (thanks to Martese’s Disney travel agent expertise) a couple of rooms at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Eric and Brandy’s jobs dictated that they go back home, the day before.) We opted for hotel rooms overlooking the savannah. I can not overstate the delight that we all experienced upon walking out on our balcony to watch giraffes (my favorite), zebras, warthogs, and other African wildlife grazing a mere three floors below us! It was wonderful!

Dale, checking up on the latest news, while enjoying the lobby of
The Animal Kingdom Lodge

(Note the footbridge in the background)

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.17.08 AM
Dale and I enjoy a stroll on the footbridge in The Animal Kingdom lobby
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.10.11 AM
Loving our balcony view (after a hot day at Animal Kingdom) at
The Animal Kingdom Lodge

Photo courtesy Martese Ehm

Martese, and Chandler in the next room, look over the balcony at the amazing display of African animals

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.15.32 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.09.57 AM
The thrilling view from our balcony
Photos courtesy of Martese Ehm

Enjoying watching the graceful giraffes

Our crew viewing the animals at ground level, just outside the Sanaa Restaurant

I just HAD to include this precious photo taken from our July 2012 trip to WDW. Eric captured this magical moment, at the Epcot aquarium, as a park scuba diver came up to greet a mesmerized Ajaye.

(Note the thickness of the glass.)
This wonderful photo taken by Eric Barnes

Thanks for reading! :o)

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around July 29.

A great BIG thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
You inspire me to continue this endeavor.
I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!

I invite you to sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email.
To receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.
Did I mention that this service is FREE?

To read my previous Disney World related post from July 2013, Walt Disney World Really Cooks!, which includes a WDW recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo; please click on the link below.

Planning a Disney Vacation?


Our Daughter, Martese Ehm, is a Magic Maker® for Off to Neverland Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for any of the Disney Destinations, and other vacation locations.
Martese’s vacation planning services are FREE!

Beautiful Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom
Photo Courtesy of Eric Barnes

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18 Responses to Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook: from the Happiest Place in the World, Walt Disney World!

  1. Carol says:

    Annette, Great job of blogging your Disney adventure. I printed out the Cobb Salad recipe and enjoyed the photos! Congrats to Tanya and Trevor! I also saw “It’s a Small World” at the NY World’s Fair when I was in seventh grade…went there with a friend and her family. It is a small world, after all! I wonder if you and I were there at the same time?????


    • oltimetv says:

      Thank you, Carol!
      Let me know how you like the Cobb Salad. We
      really enjoy it.
      We MAY have been at the World’s Fair at the same time! :o)
      Thanks for reading!


  2. David Leestma says:

    What fun!! Sounds like you guys had quite a momentous family vacation!!! Love all the details.

    Love, Patti


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