A Disney Anniversary - Halloween Time at DLR, UOR and WDW - Sept/Oct 2019 - COMPLETED 01/09/2020

RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Hi Fellow Disney Friends!!

Welcome to my latest trip report in which I recount our adventures to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort on a trip we took to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We are from Perth, Australia, but we took a detour on the way to the USA by way of Sydney, Australia. We also visited Universal Orlando for a day too.

First things first though...a little introduction. If you haven't followed along with one of my reports before my name is Rachelle and along with my AMAZING husband Jared, we comprise "Team Beaney" (oh that's our surname, in case you were confused!). Here we are:









As I mentioned we took this latest Disney trip to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. It seemed appropriate, as we went to Disney for the first time on our honeymoon and it's where we discovered our mutual LOVE of all things Disney Parks. We have since been to the Disneyland Resort 5 times, the Walt Disney World Resort 4 times (Universal Orlando ditto), Tokyo Disney twice (well Jared three times as he went once without me) and Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney once a-piece. If you want to read about some of our other Disney adventures, there are trip report links in my signature below.

A little about us:
Jared is a musician, photographer and all around amazing guy! He is a cat-person, but he loves our dog just as much as our three kitteh babies! His favourite Disney ride used to be Splash Mountain, but after this trip he decided he was switching his loyalties to Big Thunder Mountain (I know, drama....read on to find out more!). His favourite Disney movie is the Lion King.

I, Rachelle, am a singer, musician, photo editor (and contributor) and CRAZY Disney planner. I plan all our trips and Jared is good enough to just go with me. My favourite Disney ride is still the amazing new version of Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disney. My favourite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast.

On this trip we were also able to catch up with some wonderful friends we made during our cruise on the Disney Fantasy in 2015. Sadly, we couldn't catch up with everyone in one place, but we had fun with Becky and Derrick at Disney World and Todd and Kim at Disneyland.

Becky and Derrick with us, at Magic Kingdom


Todd and Kim with us, at California Adventure


I mentioned before that Jared is a photographer. Well he is a FANTASTIC one, and as a result I have A LOT of fantastic Disney photos to share with you in this report. Here is a taste of some of them:

















































I hope you enjoy coming along with me as I re-live our latest Disney Adventure and as we celebrate a decade of love of Disney Parks!

Go to Contents
 
Last edited:

RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Contents

Pre-Trip Report Link

Sydney Adventures
Day 1 - Monday 23 September

Day 2 - Tuesday 24 September
Day 3 - Wednesday 25 September
Travel
Day 4 - Thursday 26 September

Walt Disney World
Day 5 - Friday 27 September

Day 6 - Saturday 28 September - Animal Kingdom
Day 7 - Sunday 29 September - Magic Kingdom
Day 8 - Monday 30 September - Universal Orlando
Day 9 - Tuesday 1 October - EPCOT
Day 10 - Wednesday 2 October - Hollywood Studios, Skyliner, Downtown Disney
Disneyland
Day 12 - Friday 4 October - Disneyland, Carsland and Galaxy's Edge

Day 13 - Saturday 5 October
Day 14 - Sunday 6 October
Day 15 - Monday 7 October
Day 16 - Tuesday 8 October
Day 17 - Wednesday 9 October
Day 18 - Thursday 10 October
Day 19 - Friday 11 October
 
Last edited:


RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Day 1 - Part 1 - Travel and Darling Harbour after Dark

I should start by saying that the next few posts won't be about Disney. The first three days of my holiday (Just mine - I'll explain more below) were in Sydney. We had a great time and I thought I would share some of the fantastic captures of the city Jared took while we were there.

I'll also say that though we took heaps of amazing proper photos, for anything not worthy of wasting time editing a RAW file, I just took a picture on my iPhone. If you aren't a camera buff, that simply means I process all photos taken on our proper camera through editing software. I have to process each photo from scratch so it's too time consuming to bother with if it's not going to be that interesting a photo. As a result there will be lots of not perfect photos in the report. You were warned (lol, no honestly I don't want to deceive that you that we took amazing shots of everything we saw!).

We left Perth on a Sunday afternoon to head to Sydney. We would be in Sydney for 3 days, 4 nights and then we would be leaving for DISNEY!

As Jared is a frequent flyer (a REALLY frequent flyer) he has status with both Virgin Australia and Qantas. So we always start our trips chillaxing in the airport lounge, Jared usually with a champagne.



I think he was really happy here, as normally when he's in an airport lounge he's on his own, and flying toward work. This time, even though he technically was flying toward work for a few days, I was with him and he knew Disney was only a few days away! Jared was, sadly, working days while we were in Sydney. But we did get to enjoy the evenings together. For some background, he works for the Australian branch of the Japanese piano manufacture Kawai. Their offices are in Sydney, so he has to go once a month and check in. On top of that he frequently travels to every other major Australian city, New Zealand and Japan (and the head office there) so he has a very hectic schedule. Still, when he's home he works from home (often in his PJs) so that's not too bad!

Back in the Virgin Australia lounge in Perth, we were both excited to get underway!


We landing in Sydney around 10pm. Honestly I don't remember much about the travel. It's about a 4 hour flight Perth - Sydney, and I was pretty happy on the flight (well I think I was, I don't remember being unhappy - don't I look happy here). I think I watched movies and the flight was over pretty quickly (this would be the quickest of the 6 flights we'd take this trip).





We headed straight to our hotel (Mantra on Kent right near Darling Harbour) and pretty much went straight to sleep.

Anyway, this was our room at Mantra on Kent - pretty nice and very roomy! It was a serviced apartment, with a full kitchen, which was great:







Another slightly frustrating thing about Jared's new job (he started just under 2 years ago now but I still think of it as new) is that he only gets to take 2 weeks of annual leave at once. He's entitled to 4 weeks a year, but can't take them all at once as he's the only one who does his job for the whole country! This mean't we had to cram a lot of Disney into a short space of time (for us, our previous trips have always been 4 or 5 weeks). We had managed to wrangle 2 weeks and 2 days out of Jared's employers and so we would be leaving for Disney on Thursday morning.

But I digress again, back to our actual Sydney activities...

The first day (Monday), Jared left early to head to the office and I ...did NOTHING! I'd actually had a really bad flu that hadn't ended until about a week before we left Perth. As a result I was still a little weak and tired and I knew how much I'd packed into our time at Disney, so I thought it might be wise to take it easy for a couple of days in Sydney. So I read, watched some netflix, chatted with my family who were working (hahaha) and slept!

Jared was supposed to get back to the hotel in time for us to head out to take some sunset photos at the Sydney Observatory. Unfortunately he was in meetings and didn't get back until the sun had well and truly set. I was pretty ok with this, as I enjoyed the extra rest. We decided we'd head out into Darling Harbour and grab some dinner before taking some night photos, since it was right around the corner.

We decided we may as well start acclimatising our stomachs to American food....so we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe!





I think we ordered potato skins and other appetisers and shared (I really don't remember and I wasn't making report notes while we were in Sydney)...there may have been ribs! Either way I do remember the food was only so so! The drinks were good though.







And Jared got very excited about dessert (when you are on holidays you can do dessert without guilt!)


After dinner we headed out into the harbour to take some photos. Darling Harbour is one of the two main tourist destinations on Sydney Harbour on the city side of the harbour. The other is Circular Quay. The Quay is the bigger tourist draw, as it boasts the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. However, it's also a ferry terminal for both local ferries and international cruise ships, and there really aren't as many dining and entertainment options there.

Darling Harbour, on the other hand, is a mecca of dining and entertainment options, as well as hotels. But....from a photographers point of view it's not quite as visually interesting. Still we got quite a few photos that I was happy with.

I particular enjoyed having some fun with a few panoramas


And we were really enjoying our new wide angle lenses!






It was a Monday night, so the normally packed tourist draw was nice and quite (when I say normal packed, this is based on my own limited experience and all the other times we've visited have been on a weekend).



I become a little obsessed with the Pyrmont Bridge (see photos below). It is fairly architecturally significant, having been an engineering feat when it first opened in 1858 due to how the centre would swivel out to allow ships to pass into the harbour. And FYI I'm not a huge Sydney history or architecture buff, there were plaques everywhere expounding the virtues of this great bridge and it's heritage listed status.







The view from atop the bridge is pretty great too!





My next obsession (and thus photography goal) was these weird bird sculptures and the old hotel/pub behind them. I LOVE old buildings. This is why Europe is a very high on my bucket list right now (not to mention I can tick of Disneyland Paris and then be able to say I've been to EVERY Disney Resort on the planet!). Plus we don't have too many old buildings in Australia (and the one's we do have only really date from the mid 19th century).

Anyway, Jared was a little exasperated about my desire to photograph these mundane things but I love the way these pictures turned out.













Also, I may be super immature but I had a good giggle at the "erected 1902" sign (which for some reason, was nearly as large as the name of the hotel!).

Anyway after photographing the harbour and old buildings we headed back to our hotel, which was literally just around the corner, for a well earned rest!

Continued in Next Post...
 
Last edited:
  • LivingforDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Hi Fellow Disney Friends!!

    Welcome to my latest trip report in which I recount our adventures to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort on a trip we took to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We are from Perth, Australia, but we took a detour on the way to the USA by way of Sydney, Australia. We also visited Universal Orlando for a day too.

    First things first though...a little introduction. If you haven't followed along with one of my reports before my name is Rachelle and along with my AMAZING husband Jared, we comprise "Team Beaney" (oh that's our surname, in case you were confused!). Here we are:









    As I mentioned we took this latest Disney trip to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. It seemed appropriate, as we went to Disney for the first time on our honeymoon and it's where we discovered our mutual LOVE of all things Disney Parks. We have since been to the Disneyland Resort 5 times, the Walt Disney World Resort 4 times (Universal Orlando ditto), Tokyo Disney twice (well Jared three times as he went once without me) and Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney once a-piece. If you want to read about some of our other Disney adventures, there are trip report links in my signature below.

    A little about us:
    Jared is a musician, photographer and all around amazing guy! He is a cat-person, but he loves our dog just as much as our three kitteh babies! His favourite Disney ride used to be Splash Mountain, but after this trip he decided he was switching his loyalties to Big Thunder Mountain (I know, drama....read on to find out more!). His favourite Disney movie is the Lion King.

    I, Rachelle, am a singer, musician, photo editor (and contributor) and CRAZY Disney planner. I plan all our trips and Jared is good enough to just go with me. My favourite Disney ride is still the amazing new version of Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disney. My favourite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast.

    On this trip we were also able to catch up with some wonderful friends we made during our cruise on the Disney Fantasy in 2015. Sadly, we couldn't catch up with everyone in one place, but we had fun with Becky and Derrick at Disney World and Todd and Kim at Disneyland.

    Becky and Derrick with us, at Magic Kingdom


    Todd and Kim with us, at California Adventure


    I mentioned before that Jared is a photographer. Well he is a FANTASTIC one, and as a result I have A LOT of fantastic Disney photos to share with you in this report. Here is a taste of some of them:

















































    I hope you enjoy coming along with me as I re-live our latest Disney Adventure and as we celebrate a decade of love of Disney Parks!

    Go to Contents
    Been waiting for your report, U do such good ones and btw photos are amazing
     

    DLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2006
    Following along. I remember how amazing the photos were from your Asian trip report so can’t wait to see this next display . Good start . Looking forward to reading more
     
  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Look forward to hearing about your trip. The photos are awesome!!!!!
    Thanks so much, I really appreciate your wonderful feedback. I promise to recall our trip in plenty of details for you all who are reading along!

    Following along. I remember how amazing the photos were from your Asian trip report so can’t wait to see this next display . Good start . Looking forward to reading more
    Thanks so much! I remember you avidly liking a lot of posts in my Asian report, thank you - it's so nice to know people appreciate these reports and are reading along. Glad you are enjoying the non-Disney part of the report. I promise that will be over soon as I'll get into the Disney stuff :)
     
    • Like
    Reactions: DLo

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 2 - Part 1 - Finding my Christmas Dinner (and Sydney Tourist Tips)

    The second day in Sydney was very similar to the first. Jared went off to work, I slept, read, watched TV and generally rested. I had planned to explore some of the city but I had really done a lot of that on our last trip earlier in the year, so I thought resting would be a better use of my time.

    We planned to have dinner at the Sydney Opera House bar with Jared's boss and partner later that evening, but we still had time to actually try catch a sunset while we were in Sydney. So I caught an uber with a LOVELY uber driver out of the city and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. My destination (and Jared's with his work hire car) was the weirdly named Balls Head Reserve. I'd seen that you could get some pretty amazing views of Sydney from this hilltop nature reserve. However when we first arrived, at the small car park in the middle of the bush - or forest if you prefer, it was not obvious where we would have to go for the views I'd seen in pictures. My uber driver had stopped to use the bathroom and when he came out saw me sitting on a rock waiting for Jared to arrive. I knew Jared would be arriving shortly thanks to my access to his "find my iPhone account" where I frequently stalk him to see how far away he is :tongue:. But my uber driver, not knowing this, pulled over to check if I was ok. I think he was worried about leaving me as it was quite an out of the way spot. It was extremely sweet of him and totally not necessary, as Jared pulled up less than 2 minutes later - but made me remember why I prefer uber over taxi's.

    Anyway, once Jared had arrived, and stealthily changed behind the door of the car, we headed off in search of views. It wasn't a very long hike (maybe only 5-10 minutes) before we found some. That being said, the path was reasonably steep and un-even and we had to pay a lot of attention to avoid tripping!

    We arrived to see this glorious view:




    I thought it would be great to get some shots of Jared "behind" the camera, and so I did....


    I call this shot "hard at work twiddling nobs" (if you'll excuse the slightly seedy connotations :tongue::tongue:)

    Behind the lens:



    These are just iPhone shots but I have access to our editing software, Adobe Lightroom, on my phone and it's amazing what it can do with iphone pics!

    Anyway, while Jared was setting up our shots we met my Christmas Dinner! He was a native bush turkey, and I'd never seen one before (we don't have them in Western Australia). He was so cheeky trying to get into our camera bag (probably because he thought we had food) and I had to chase him away he was so persistent. This was him.



    And here I am chasing him away. If you would like a laugh, listen to the video with sound (plus you'll get to hear my Aussie accent :mic::hyper2::flower3:!


    Anyway, after dealing with the turkey (who narrowly escaped being Christmas Dinner), we took a few shots with our crystal lens ball. We really enjoy this thing, using it leads to such unique shots!

    Full disclosure, when we edit these shots we flip the image, as it appears upside down in the ball. What we apparently forgot to do this time around was also flip the image horizontally so it matched the background! Oops! When I discovered this I could be bothered doing the second flip (it's SUPER time consuming and you do have to start from scratch if you don't flip it all correctly at once).





    Anyway, I love these photos taken with our lens ball, so I hope you enjoyed them.

    Sadly, we didn't have much of a sunset that evening. However we did get some pretty pinks in the sky once the sun started to go down. We were really facing the wrong way for the best of the sunset, the prettiest light was off to the right of the city!



    Jared and I serious discussed how quickly we could organise a demolition crew to get rid of this completely obnoxious apartment building blocking our views of the bridge :P:D!



    Zoomed in the shot was much better!



    The views are pretty spectacular from here though.


    Afterwards we had a bit of time before we had to head back over the harbour to the city for dinner. We'd seen some nice shots from further down the trail at the base of the hill, but we saw the precarious nature of trail to head down and we thought it might be smarter to drive! A lot of the area right on the harbour was blocked by construction, so this was the best we could do...


    Here's that horrid apartment building again!


    Anyway, we were due back at the Opera House Bar which is, funnily enough, at the Sydney Opera House in Circular Quay, so we headed back into the city.

    Due to Jared's work, (the company he used to work for would often fly me to Sydney for their Chrismtas Party) and because it's easy for us to get to Sydney cheaply, we have seen a lot of it and been quite a bit since getting married. That being said, I'm still a little awed every time I drive under the harbour bridge. I decided to film the experience as we headed back into the city over this majestic icon of Australian architecture.


    It really is beautiful. I've walked the Brooklyn Bridge and I would liken driving/walking it to that. It's an experience. Plus if you ever go to Sydney you HAVE to go up the Pylon Lookout. The entrance to the bridges pedestrian walkway is a little hard to find. In January I spent 1.5 hours walking around the Rocks (which, as the name would suggest, is HILLY) trying to find it. So, a tip for you all if you ever get to Sydney and are looking to walk across the bridge or get to the Pylon Lookout, go to 100 Cumberland Street. Across the road will be an inconspicuous glass elevator. This will take you up to the pedestrian walkway that heads onto the Harbour Bridge. You just have to follow that until you reach the first bridge pylon, and then walk up about 200 stairs. But how amazing is the view once you are up (taken on our trip in January 2019):










    More off trip/off topic Sydney tips....you also must visit Mrs Macquarie's Chair, at the very top of the Sydney Botanic Gardens for more amazing views of the bridge and opera house (these photos were taken on one of Jared's work trips this year):








    My last tourist recommendation is Milson's Point/Kirrabilli. It's on the north side of the harbour looking back towards the city and Cirqular Quay. You can walk from Milson's Point (where you can find Luna Park, a very dodgy amusement park I've never been into!) and head back toward Kirribilli and find some great views. The more colourful of shots below were taken during Vivid Sydney (which occurs every June) and is definitely a must see. I say this never having seen it myself, Jared is always shooting it during work trips, but from the photos I've seen I know I need to go one day!







    Anyway, sidebars aside, we arrived at the Opera Bar and enjoyed a lovely evening with Warwick and Shane (Jared's boss and partner). The Opera Bar has pretty stunning views of the bridge and Circular Quay, but I was too busy enjoying the yummy tapas to take any pictures of it! But I'm pretty sure you've seen enough Sydney pictures for now :P:oops:.

    We headed back to our hotel and the next day I would actually get out and explore some of Sydney!

    Continue in Next Post...
     
    Last edited:

    jrmint427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2013
    I mentioned before that Jared is a photographer. Well he is a FANTASTIC one, and as a result I have A LOT of fantastic Disney photos to share with you in this report. Here is a taste of some of them:
    Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I cannot wait to follow along and see all the Disney and Universal pictures too. Was that Yeti from Expedition Everest?! I've always wondered what that one looks like with the lights on!

    Another slightly frustrating thing about Jared's new job (he started just under 2 years ago now but I still think of it as new) is that he only gets to take 2 weeks of annual leave at once. He's entitled to 4 weeks a year, but can't take them all at once as he's the only one who does his job for the whole country!
    Is 4 weeks typical in Australia, and do most people take it all at once? I'm always interested in how vacation works in other places!

    Also, I may be super immature but I had a good giggle at the "erected 1902" sign (which for some reason, was nearly as large as the name of the hotel!).
    Haha I'm glad it wasn't just me... that definitely stood out as I was scrolling!
     

    oufpat

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2011
    He sure is a fantastic photographer!! I'm really enjoying your trip report, both the pictures and narrative, and looking forward to more!
     
  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I cannot wait to follow along and see all the Disney and Universal pictures too. Was that Yeti from Expedition Everest?! I've always wondered what that one looks like with the lights on!

    Is 4 weeks typical in Australia, and do most people take it all at once? I'm always interested in how vacation works in other places!

    Haha I'm glad it wasn't just me... that definitely stood out as I was scrolling!
    Thanks so much for following along! We really appreciate it!

    The Yeti is actually the one from the Matterhorn. I'm glad you bring it up though, it took us three goes on the always rough/jerky coaster to, as we put it, "capture his soul". We named him Fred, as we aren't sure if he is a Yeti or an Abominable Snowman, or some other unnamed snow creature/monster! I haven't seen the Everest Yeti without lights on myself, but I have seen pictures and I think he's a little darker in colour (and of course much bigger).

    4 weeks is typical yes, in fact it's written into industrial law as the minimum required amount of annual leave for any full-time worker. It's one of 10 minimum entitlements Australian workers are entitled, which include things like
    • maximum weekly hours,
    • requests for flexible working arrangements,
    • parental leave,
    • carers leave and sick leave, and
    • long service leave - where you get anywhere between 10-13 weeks off after working with a company for a significant period of time. For me, as I work for the state government, I'm entitled to this every 7 years. However most private employers provided it every 10-15 years.
    We had some pretty amazing unions set up these laws early in the 20th century and Australia is a great country to work in thanks to that. How much you can take at once has always been at the discretion of your employer though. That being said, Jared had already done budget for the entire month of October before we left for our trip in September, so hopefully he's proving that he can be away for a bit and the company won't suffer!

    I'm really glad to hear other people have the same silly humour I do! And yes, it was SUPER obvious! Though I think the building dated from the turn of the 20th century at which point it's architect probably didn't think anything of putting the word erected in giant letters on the top of a building :P

    He sure is a fantastic photographer!! I'm really enjoying your trip report, both the pictures and narrative, and looking forward to more!
    Thank you so much, that's really kind of you to say. I'm glad you are enjoying the report. I love writing them. My narrative can be a little long winded I know but I love sharing all the details I remember of all the fun we had.
     

    jrmint427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2013
    The Yeti is actually the one from the Matterhorn. I'm glad you bring it up though, it took us three goes on the always rough/jerky coaster to, as we put it, "capture his soul". We named him Fred
    Haha, Fred is a great name! I thought he looked different from the one on Everest but I didn’t know there was a Yeti at Disneyland too! That is an awesome picture.

    4 weeks is typical yes, in fact it's written into industrial law as the minimum required amount of annual leave for any full-time worker. It's one of 10 minimum entitlements Australian workers are entitled, which include things like
    • maximum weekly hours,
    • requests for flexible working arrangements,
    • parental leave,
    • carers leave and sick leave, and
    • long service leave - where you get anywhere between 10-13 weeks off after working with a company for a significant period of time. For me, as I work for the state government, I'm entitled to this every 7 years. However most private employers provided it every 10-15 years.
    That is wonderful! We have a lot of room for improvement in the U.S. :) I had to be with my company for 10 years before getting a 4th week of vacation - I had just 2 weeks for my first 5 years. Those sounds like some great entitlements! I’m off to read more about Australia labor laws haha... looking forward to hearing more about your vacation!
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Haha, Fred is a great name! I thought he looked different from the one on Everest but I didn’t know there was a Yeti at Disneyland too! That is an awesome picture.

    That is wonderful! We have a lot of room for improvement in the U.S. :) I had to be with my company for 10 years before getting a 4th week of vacation - I had just 2 weeks for my first 5 years. Those sounds like some great entitlements! I’m off to read more about Australia labor laws haha... looking forward to hearing more about your vacation!
    Thanks, we thought it suited him! And yes there has always been a "yeti" in the Matterhorn at Disneyland though I'm pretty sure he was updated during the 2018 refurbishment significantly (I recall the old one looked a lot older and was a lot less fluid)

    Yes, I am always grateful for the leave entitlements we get here in Australia. I know other countries don't have it as good! Also "I'm off to read about Australian labor laws" is a sentence I'm pretty sure no one has ever said (even in Australia)! LOL! I think we do take what we have a bit for granted here. I hope you enjoy reading about our labor laws :D
     

    jrmint427

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 2013
    Yes, I am always grateful for the leave entitlements we get here in Australia. I know other countries don't have it as good! Also "I'm off to read about Australian labor laws" is a sentence I'm pretty sure no one has ever said (even in Australia)! LOL! I think we do take what we have a bit for granted here. I hope you enjoy reading about our labor laws
    🙈 Confession: I work in HR (don't judge!). I was curious about the other entitlements!
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 3 - Part 1 - Sunrise over the Quay

    I had made Jared agree to get up at 4:30am the last day of our Sydney visit, and take a trip around Circular Quay at sunrise. I really blame him for this idea, as on a work trip just before our trip he was staying at a hotel right at Circular Quay, and wasn't able to sleep, so he took a sunrise stroll around the water. His iPhone photos and descriptions of how quiet and calm the Quay was while the sun rose made me really want to see it that time of the morning.

    So at 5:00am we headed out from our hotel to drive over to the Quay to catch the sunrise, which was due at about 5:45am. We got to the Quay just as the sun had started to peek out from under the horizon - so perfect timing.

    Our stroll around the Quay was very serene and beautiful, I'll let the pictures do the talking here:










    You can see here my efforts in creating nice reflections in Photoshop for these photos. The harbour is never calm enough for natural reflections, but I really like what it adds to the photos.








    The sun rises perfectly behind the Opera House sails :love:













    The majority of people we encountered at this time of the morning were joggers (aka crazy people to get up too early and RUN! I am not a runner, but I do have a lot of respect for people disciplined enough to run that early each morning - but I also think they are crazy!)

    Since there were so few people about we couldn't resist getting a picture of us with this classic Australian landmark



    I'm a sucker for a good "jump" shot even though I always look like a complete idiot in the shots!





    Once we were done it was about 6:30am and we headed back to the hotel. I got to go back to sleep, poor Jared got in the shower and then headed off to work!

    Continued in Next Post...
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 3 - Part 2 - Killer Kookaburras

    After waking up early to catch the sunrise I went back to sleep, but then woke up again to head back outside (no resting for me today). I was actually starting to feel much better, other than the fact that my right eye was very red and itchy. I would suggest if eyes make you squeamish (or if red gross eyes aren't your thing) that you scroll very quickly past this next picture.



    Anyway, more on that later....

    To start the day I hopped in an uber and headed over to the Sydney Botanic Gardens. I had planned to wander around and enjoy the sunshine from the perfect day Sydney was enjoying (I'm pretty sure it was about 21C, or 70F and cloudless this day). The gardens are really beautiful, I didn't see all of them but I did see a lot. As we were just coming into Spring in September in Australia there weren't a lot of flowers out, but the garden still has plenty of other interesting sites and statues to make it worth seeing.

    I'm also proud to report, all these photos were taken by ME! Jared was working and I was on my own. I am fairly good with composition, but I have no idea how to properly use a camera on manual settings. During the day this isn't a problem, Jared sets the camera on "Rachelle mode" (usually aperture priority) and I don't have to think about them while shooting. I only have to think about what type of aperture to use (i.e. for a fully focused scene or to starburst light I use a narrow/high aperture, if there is less light or if I want to create a bokeh (blurry background) I simply use a wide/low aperture. Though I would be lost without him setting the camera I'm still pretty proud of the shots I got walking around the gardens. So, please enjoy a tour of Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden's (yes that is the full name) on a perfect day:

















































    There isn't much to report from wandering the gardens. I got a little hot, even with the cooler temperatures as I wasn't in the shade much! I had to change lenses a bunch of times which involved me randomly plopping down on any grass/wall/stone/bench etc I could find (Jared can do this while on the go with a swivel of our fantastic bag, which is what it was designed for, but I'm not that coordinated. If you are interested, we use a Peak Design everyday backpack. It was designed for photographers with lots of camera gear, and it is REALLY fantastic (theft proof, water resistance, so easy to use with so many handy compartments). We bought it back when the designers launched it on kickstarter and got a great deal. The size we have retails for about $450.00 now!

    Back on topic, there was one exciting incident that is worthwhile sharing. It begins with a kookaburra. Kookaburras are a beautiful Australian bird. We have them all around our neighbourhood where we live in the hills of Perth. Their call sounds very much like a laugh, and is a very pleasant sound.

    As Australian kids we were taught the a fantastic Australian folk song about these very Australian birds. It goes "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry merry King of the bush is he, laugh Kookaburra laugh, Kookaburra gay your life must be". The song, and the fact that these birds are so Australian they've been sung about in folk songs, has always really endeared me to these birds (FYI there is a amended version which goes "Kookaburra sits on the electric wire, jumping up and down with his pants on fire" but I prefer the original)

    Anyway, my meeting with a few Kookies, as I call them, started out really well. I was able to get right up close to a few and take some great shots (or "capture their souls" as I like to say when I take photos of something).







    I was actually closer to the birds than it appears in the pictures. I had the wide angle on, which was not the best lens for the job but I didn't want to risk the birds flying off while I switched lenses!

    After "capturing the souls" of these beautiful birds I headed over to the Cafe for lunch. I got a burger and thanks to how busy it was at the gardens that day I had to grab a table outside. It was a Wednesday but the place seemed to be very popular with retirees, or retiree aged tourist, aka people who have nothing better to do on a Wednesday (I say this not in malice but out of genuine jealousy!).

    Anyway there were a lot of birds hovering around the outdoor tables, hoping for a crumb. This included the regular; seagulls, and the irregular; ibis' - with big giant beaks! I did notice an ibis' swoop over a table trying to grab some hot chips (aka fries) at one point, but didn't think much of it.

    Anyway, as I'm enjoying my burger I suddenly felt a sharp thump against my forehead. I glanced up just in time to see a KOOKABURRA flying away! The thing had dive bombed me hoping for a bite of my burger! I screamed, more out of the shock than out of fear or pain, and a number of the retirees rushed to my table to make sure I was ok. It was a little embarrassing, and very shocking!

    Needless to say after the event I was much more wary of my surroundings, constantly checking to see if another bird was coming for my lunch! The offending Kookaburra (who might have been one of the ones whose "soul" I had captured in my camera earlier), kept me very nervous by perching atop the cafe building and eyeing me beedily. Here he is:



    Anyway, sufficed to say my love of Kookaburras took a hit that day (hehe, get it) but really they are beautiful creatures!

    Continued in Next Post....
     
    Last edited:

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    🙈 Confession: I work in HR (don't judge!). I was curious about the other entitlements!
    That makes sense....no judgement. You clearly enjoy what you do which is a great thing. It is fascinating to learn how other countries are different from our own too. I think it gives us a great sense of the world community we belong to :)
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 3 - Part 3 - Rest and Relaxation

    After my fun at the Botanic Gardens I decided to head over to the airport hotel we'd booked. We decided to stay at the International Airport as our flight to LA left around 9:30am the next morning, so we knew we'd need to be at the airport at about 6:30am (just to be safe as we would be clearing customs etc). And staying right at the airport we knew we'd be much better rested than trying to get in from the hotel in the city the next morning. And when you know you'll be travelling for 24 hours you do whatever you can to be well rested before you start!

    I took an uber back to our hotel in the city, where I'd stored all our luggage. I then discovered, thanks to a chat with my second fantastic uber drive of the trip, that you can book multiple destinations in one trip, and use the same uber (and you don't get charged as much) for each destination (this may be obvious to some but I'm a little dumb about this kind of thing!). He was able to wait for me while I quickly grabbed my bags at the Mantra hotel and then took me out to the airport hotel.

    I arrived at the hotel at about 2:30pm and Jared wasn't due to get there from work until about 6pm. There isn't much to do at the airport (unless you like duty free shopping, which I don't), so I literally only have a few photos of my afternoon. This is the FANTASTIC (said sarcastically) view out our hotel window.



    And the room itself, and the bed, was REALLY comfy. Oh, in case you were wondering we were staying at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel, which I'd highly recommend!



    After making an embarrassing call to the front desk about the aircon not working (the attendant who came up advised me I had to put my keycard in the door to make it work :rolleyes1), I started to look around the room.

    It was then I discovered a most fantastic thing. The hotel partnered with a massage service that would send a masseuse to your room! I love a good relaxing massage, and it seemed the perfect thing before 18 hours of flying, and 24 hours of transit time, the next day. I called the service to find out how much the 75 minute massage with the scalp rub (I LOVE scalp rubs) would be.



    The service said they should be able to get someone to me in about an hour, and they'd call back to confirm. Then, as Jared does the budgets (and I ask him if I can spend money which I think is a fair trade), I spent the next 15 minutes frantically trying to get his ok to spend the money (he was doing training with a store). By the time he got back to me to say it was ok I had already booked the massage, as I was so excited about it (what a great way to waste away the afternoon).

    Anyway, while I waited for my masseuse I started editing some of the Quay photos from that morning. Here's an example of what the photo looks like as a RAW file before I process it.



    And after....



    The massage was absolute heaven and by the time Jared arrived at the hotel at about 6:30 I was completely relaxed, the best feeling the night before a long day of travel.

    I was too relaxed to bother getting dressed and going anywhere for dinner, so we ordered room service and watched the sun go down over our GORGEOUS view (in case you need it, imagine Leonard from the Big Bang holding a "sarcasm" sign up here :P:P). It was a really lovely sunset though.



    Continued in Next Post....
     
    Last edited:

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 4 - Part 1 - Disney Bound!

    Our time in Sydney was fun but we were really looking forward to the real part of the holiday...Disney! And now we were Disney bound! Plus Jared was officially on holidays.

    We had decided in order to try get our bodies used to the time zone we were headed too we'd wake up at 3:30am. This was so that when we got on the plane we'd be ready to sleep (at about 12:30pm Sydney time).

    It was really relaxing actually, waking up and not having to rush out the door. We'd gone to bed really early so getting up wasn't too hard! To distract myself I edited more Sydney photos and Jared slowly ambled around packing up all the stuff we'd managed to strewn across the room in one night! I think getting up early was easier with the thought that we were on our way to holidays.

    We left the hotel at about 6:15am and headed into the airport. Security and customs were so quiet that morning that we arrived at the Virgin Australia lounge at 6:50am!

    We enjoyed some really nice food in the lounge. And by that I mean really well prepared eggs (protein is always a good thing to fortify us before our long haul flight)





    Jared got his glass of sparkling wine and we enjoyed looking at our business class boarding passes!





    I again killed time editing photos. Jared did, I don't actually know (I wasn't paying that much attention to him :oops:).

    Anyway at this point my eye had really started to act up. It had started exuding pus and was really sore. I had the foresight to ask my Mum (whose a nurse) what to do the afternoon before, and she suggested I get drops. Jared, on his way to the airport hotel the previous afternoon, had stopped in at a very helpful Chemist (Pharmacist) who'd give him both over the counter antibiotic drops as well as an eye wash. He said if my eye was sticky it was probably best to use the antibiotic drops, twice a day until 2 days after my symptoms disappeared. I HATE eye drops, but I have to admit that it was better than having a horrid sore, red and pus filled eye for our whole trip. Since I can't administer them myself Jared had to do it for me. I just shut my eye - I'm like Rachel, though I don't need all my friends to hold me down to take the drops (I hope some of you got that reference).

    We boarded the plane to LA feeling good. As I mentioned earlier we were flying in Business Class, having used points/miles to upgrade. So we were really looking forward to flying in style.













    The flight was indeed comfy. I never LOVE the food on planes, even in business class, but this time around it was pretty good (plus check out the cute Opera House salt and pepper shakers!).



    Our entrees (appetisers as you'd say in America)




    And the mains (entree for you Americans)




    I don't think I got a picture of dessert, but I had a delicious cheeseboard with some gourmet crackers, hummus and grapes.

    I did sleep, though patchily, for about 8 hours. It wasn't the greatest sleep - and I'm pretty sure I woke up every 1-1.5 hours, but it was sleep so that was good.

    We arrived in LA and the worst part of the transit began. I think it took us 2 hours to get through customs. This is fairly normal, and I was prepared for it. What I wasn't prepared for was the really bad headache I was nursing the entire time, which made being herded like cattle through not one, but two customs checks, very difficult!

    For some reason (probably related to the new President and his Administration), the US has starting letting visitors from certain countries do a "virtual" customs process. You have to insert your passport into a machine and ask customs questions. The machine also takes your finger prints and photo, which I assume would be verified against your passport picture which was scanned. However, even after all that all we received was a receipt, and we still had to go to a Customs Officer, be fingerprinted AGAIN and have our photos taken and ID checked again. It's a strange system, and I think it took longer to do than the former process where you just saw a Customs Officer. Clearly the country has gotten stricter with immigration laws, but the new process doesn't really add any more security than the old one (in my opinion of course). Plus if you weren't from one of the special countries that were allowed the apparent convenience of this "virtual" process, the line looked a lot shorter!

    So it wasn't surprising it took us 2 hours. And we were at the front of a giant pile of people debarking from all the flights from Australia/New Zealand/Asia at that time of morning. I'd hate to think how long it would take if your flight arrived later in the morning and you were at the back of that lot of people. So a word of warning to any Australian travels, allow LOTS of time to get through customs in LA. It's gotten worse!

    We were also treated to this surprise upon collecting our luggage



    Jared's suitcase was completely ruined. The photo above shows it after we, and the LA airport staff, taped up the gaping rip in the top of the case. In fairness the case was cheap and nasty, a cast off of a friend as we only have one proper suitcase. We normally borrow my parents hardshell case for big trips, but they had misplaced it and so we were stuck with this case!

    So with the wait, the headache and the suitcase debacle, by the time we got to the Delta lounge ("The House") my headache was bordering on a migraine. I took some panadol with caffeine (a lot of it) which really helps when I have a bad headache and headed to the showers (thank goodness for Airport Lounges!). After about 40 minutes I was feeling a lot better.

    The House lounge was nothing special, but it is always more comfy than being in the main airport. And food and showers are fantastic!



    We knew we'd arrived in the US when we looked at the money we'd taken out of the Alien Time Machine (another quote I hope someone gets :P)



    It's so colourless compared to our money. Our money is also plastic not paper, so that's always different too!

    The next flight from LA to Orlando was not great! We flew with Delta and it was honestly one of the worst flying experiences I've had in a long time. In all fairness to Delta, we've flown with them before and never had such a bad experience before.

    We were in the row without a window on the window seat, and that really impacted my comfort levels for the flight (I have wide shoulders and on the window there is a little more room so I'm not knocking up against Jared, but I didn't have that luxury this time). But the worst part of the flight was the bathrooms! An hour after take off they were disgusting, with wet patches all over the floor that, by their tint, were not water. And debris everywhere!

    The flight went reasonably quickly (thankfully) and we had soon arrived in Orlando. Travel from the time we left Sydney until the time we arrived in Orlando was 24 hours! I shouldn't complain, this trip was better than when we have to fly Perth - Sydney - LA - Orlando, which was have done on 2 other occasions. So when we landed at the beautiful Orlando airport I was so grateful. Not only because we had finally arrived at our destination, but because there is something about the airport that just says "You are on holiday". And of course, it also says "You're at Disney now, so smile".

    Tired but happy we hopped on the Orlando monorail to head to the luggage carousel. I love the monorail! It's very relaxing quick journey and always the signals the start of Disney holiday fun.





    Believe it or not, we had never used Disney's Magical Express before! As all of our other trips have either included a lot more Universal, or had us staying off property (the first trip), so we've always had a hire car. We never the car to get to the Magic Kingdom but we discovered having a hire car is easier for getting to all the other parks, plus park hopping, than the Disney buses (but more on that later). There was no real need for a car this time, and being budget conscious we decided to forgo one. We were only heading over to Universal for one day, and could easily catch an uber for that. So after collecting our luggage, which was easy given their priority tagging (Virgin Australia has a status match with Delta so Jared is like a diamond member with them), we headed to the Magic Express station.

    I got really excited when I saw this (probably too excited, it's not like we were in the line for the Grand Floridian - but you do what you can when the Australian dollar is so bad against the US dollar)



    And even more excited when I saw these. I don't know why, but there's something really special about starting your Disney trip from the airport







    Sadly for me, none of these magical looking Magical Expresses was ours. We drew the short straw that day and ended up with a plain yellow bus! There were no Disney promos or cartoons, or cute porthole windows. I was a little disappointed, but at the same time I was on my way to Disney so I couldn't be that sad! But see, no Disney video!



    We were quite far back in the bus so zooming past the Walt Disney World sign this was the best I could do!



    As tired as I was I got really excited seeing the sign. It meant we were at Disney. It also meant a bed was not far away! We were headed to the All Star Music Resort, our favourite of the All Star Resorts (as we are both musicians).

    Check in was easy, and went fast. We picked up our magic bands (as non-US residents we can't have ours shipped) and asked a little about our Disney Dining Plan and how we could find out where to see how many credits we had left. It was in a strange place in the app (under the Resort Hotel section) so I was glad I clarified where I could find it.

    It was also our first time using the Dining Plan. When our dollar was doing well against the American dollar it really wasn't worth paying full price for the Dining Plan for two people. However this time paying an extra $500.00 to our total vacation package was totally worth it. We would have spent at least twice that on food with the current exchange rate as it is! Plus this trip we went more for quick service meals, so the Quick Service Dining Plan was useful.

    Jared was particularly happy every time we got a food receipt for $0.00. It made his budget face very happy. We have a joke that whenever I want to spend money he has a grumpy looking budget face that's considering if we can afford it in this months budget. It's been shortened to "budgie" face and this picture has been assigned to depict it whenever we are chatting about money and budgets :rotfl2:.


    We also asked the CM if we could request our friends, Derrick and Becky (who were checking in the next day) be assigned a room near us. As they hadn't assigned their room yet, and as we had their reservation no thanks to linking our plans in My Disney Experience, it was a request All Star Music was more than happy to accommodate.

    We got into the room and planned to get some of the room service (without credits) as we were so tired Jared couldn't even be bothered walking up to the cafeteria for food. We were lucky to be in building 2, which is about as close as you can get without paying for a preferred room, but in our jet-lagged state it was still too far to go for food!

    Here are some pictures of the room which Jared shot









    I also enjoyed the fact that the wall runner included a picture of a Fender Strat that looked exactly like Jared's. It was the same colour and everything. FYI, that's a type of guitar if you aren't familiar with name.



    While Jared showered I watched a little Stacey (is it just me or has she not been updated in a while). Watching Stacey is a little Disney tradition that I always enjoy (even though I don't really need to hear park recommendations and advice at this point). It's just a great reminder you are at Disney!



    After our dinner (Parmesan chickens a-piece) was consumed we fell straight asleep as we were so exhausted! I took no pictures of the food because of said exhaustion, so you'll just have to take my word for it that that's what we ate!

    And just like that we were really at Disney (24 hours, 2 flights, 2 customs checks, 1 bus and 1 monorail ride later)....:P

    Continued in Next Post....
     
    Last edited:



    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top