Anyone Game? It’s my Sep 2013 Blog! I'm home; with a TR link in #1189, 10/14

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by PrincessInOz, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    Anyone Game? It’s my Sep 2013 Blog!

    About Me

    Hello, and welcome to my Anyone Game…It’s my September/October2013 blog! This is me….


    …and I have been lurking on the boards since 2004 and a member since 2010. You’ll find me hanging out with the Games, Photographers and the Aussie section of the Boards and lurking about on the CB. Contrary to popular belief, I’m really the shy and retiring kind.
    My fingers, on the other hand….well…on both hands….my fingers – they’re the really sociable and chatty type.

    I’m planning to head back to WDW in late September or early October 2013 with my DH and DS. The reason for the trip will be to catch up with some of the other DisGamers for a DisMeet, which is the inspiration for my title!

    I’ve called this a blog rather than a PTR. Anyone who’s read one of my PTRs before (except for the 1st one) will have realized that I fill my PTRs with my outings and photographs than with actual planning. Given that we have a whole year, this will probably be more along the lines of “A Year in the Life of Melbourne” than it will be of ‘A Year of WDW Planning’. Afterall, there is really hotels, ADRS, tour plans and just about everything in between to plan for…..compared to festivals and other events, fairs, Christmas, birthdays, Australia Day, Chinese New Year, Easter, mini-breaks, scavenger hunts and whatnots to photograph.
    Besides; I've just finished a TR and everyone knows that the best way to beat the post trip/TR blues is to start another one!

    I hope you’ll settle in and join me in the next year on this journal. I look forward to sharing with, as well as learning from, all of you!

    So let’s see….introductions, start of thread….we’ve come to the DISclaimers section.

    • Whilst this is considered a blog, there will be the standard planning discussions peppered in between.
    • Food porn is usually a feature in my posts. Anyone who feels strongly about food should be eaten and not photographed…please be aware that no correspondence will be entered into on this matter.
    • As always, deviations and deviants off-topic are usually another feature. Don’t worry…it’s not you, it’s me (although if you stick around, you could discover that it is you too….we just don’t know for sure yet).
    • Above all else….lurk if you must…but I would appreciate you posting and providing input and feedback into ‘our’ blog! Afterall…How else is this going to be am I going to get deviations and deviants? NOTE: I really do mean FUN!! FUN!! I mean FUN!!

    I hope you stick around for this blog – as always – no seat belts required, feel free to keep your hands, feet and head or any other part of you outside the car – and remember….no liability will be assumed by the writer at any time!

  2. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    Quick Links for easy Navigation

    About Me
    My Trip Details

    Proper Planning Posts
    July 26, 2012: It's An Actual Planning Post - first rough dates!
    August 08, 2012: Theoretical (a)Musings about My Itinerary
    August 16, 2012: Narrowing the Field of Beds for SoCal
    September 09, 2012: Back to the Drawing Board for Some Parts of this Trip
    September 21, 2012: The One Year Countdown Mark
    October 17, 2012: Almost time to book!
    November 24, 2012: We're Booked!
    January 24, 2013: Playing Chicken with the Airlines
    January 26, 2013: Playing Chicken with the Airlines results in the Chicken Dance and My Travel Dates
    February 02, 2013: Finally! My First Firm Itinerary
    February 04, 2013: The International Pre-Departure Checklist
    February 18, 2013: An Honest-to-Goodness Firm Itinerary
    February 21, 2013: Plans as they Stand for 13 - 16 September; SoCal
    March 2, 2013: Plans as they Stand for 17 - 19 September; Sedona
    March 8, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 20 - 21; Grand Canyon
    March 10, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 22 - 23; Page
    March 17, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 24; Monument Valley
    March 23, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 25 - 28: Around Durango and Pagosa Springs
    April 1, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 29: A Day for 3 Airports
    April 4, 2013: Anyone remember that this was an Anyone Game? PTR?
    April 7, 2013: The Post about ADRs
    April 14, 2013: Plans as they stand for September 30 - October 6: Walt Disney World
    April 17, 2013: Plans as they stand for October 7 - 8: The Dark Side
    April 21, 2013: Plans as they stand for October 9 - 10: The Last Days
    May 11, 2013: The First Countdown
    May 14, 2013: Our Cookout Menu
    May 27, 2013: Reports of my (Aussie Dollar) Death may or may not be Greatly Exaggerated
    June 13, 2013: The 3 Month Check-In
    July 14, 2013: The 2 Month Check-In
    August 09, 2013: It's Time for Blissful Bites
    August 13, 2013: The 1 Month Check-In
    August 15, 2013: The US Domestic Check-list
    August 22, 2013: Its a Whole New Broadband World - Disney Uber-Planning on a completely different level
    August 31, 2013: The Two Week Check-In
    September 02, 2013: My Planned DisMeets
    September 08, 2013: 5 Day Countdown
    September 09, 2013: 4 Day Countdown
    September 10, 2013: 3 Day Countdown
    September 11, 2013: 2 Day Countdown
    September 12, 2013: 1 Day Countdown

    July 2012

    August 2012

    September 2012

    October 2012

    November 2012

    December 2012

    January 2013

    February 2013

    March 2013

    April 2013

    May 2013

    June 2013

    July 2013

    August 2013

    September 2013

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  4. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    My Trip Details

    This page is reserved for details regarding the trip as it develops.

    My travel dates:

    As at 26 Jan 2013, these dates are locked in as the long haul flights have been bought and paid for.

    13 Sep- Travel from Melbourne and arrive LA. As I will be crossing the International Date Line, I will be arriving in LA on the same day.

    10 Oct - Travel from LA and head home to Melbourne. As I will be crossing the International Date Line, I will be arriving in Melbourne on 12 Oct.

    My travel companions:

    DS: He is 12 and he shows every sign of being a Disnophile, providing rollercoaster thrill rides are included.

    DH: He is not 12. He understands my love of Disney and happy to let me plan Disney vacays providing we pepper it with other activities.

    My DisMeet companions:

    franandaj. Her PTR for this trip can be found here.
    luvchefmic. Her PTR for this trip can be found here.

    ....and ANZAC Dis-sers


    .....for DLR:


    My itinerary:

    As at 18 Feb 2013, here's the firmed up itinerary:

    13 Sep: LA/Anaheim (4 nights)

    17 Sep: Sedona (3 nights)

    20 Sep: Grand Canyon (2 nights)

    22 Sep: Page (2 nights)

    24 Sep: Monument Valley (1 night)

    25 Sep: Durango (4 nights)

    29 Sep: WDW (8 nights)

    7 Oct: Universal (2 nights)

    9 Oct: LA (1 night)

    10 Oct: Depart for Melbourne.

    Previous plans that have fallen by the wayside:

    26 Jan 2013: New York and Hawaii are no longer in the picture. But hey......this is a PRE-trip report. Anything is still possible.

    02 Feb 2013: First firm itinerary proposed -

    13 Sep: LA (4 nights)

    17 Sep: Sedona (3 nights)

    20 Sep: Grand Canyon (2 nights)

    22 Sep: Monument Valley (1 night)

    23 Sep: Durango (3 nights)

    26 Sep: Albuquerque (1 night)

    27 Sep: Universal (2 nights)

    29 Sep: WDW (8 nights)

    7 Oct: LA (3 nights)

    10 Oct: Depart for Melbourne.

    18 Feb 2013: Extra time in LA at the end has been culled. We are fitting in additional time in the Four Corners area and also shifting time at Universal at the end of the Orlando leg. We had previously thought to head there at the start of the Orlando section before WDW. And we are no longer taking the left fork at Albuquerque!

    My camera:

    Canon EOS 7D dSLR and a whole bunch of lenses

  5. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    Wild On at the Werribee Open Range Zoo

    If it is July in Melbourne, it is the heart of winter. This year has been particularly cold and wet thus far. Our winters do not get as cold as the mid-west as we don't have snowfall in the city (except on rare occassions) but wind chill in Melbourne takes it into Antarctic proportions.

    (Okay, I might be exaggerating the Antactic proportions a little...but there really is nothing but the stray Emperor Penguin between us and the Antarctic!).

    It is also winter school holidays in Melbourne and there is a ton of holiday activities for us to drop a bundle of cash on.

    I love animals of any description and my family have been Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ) members for quite a while now. Our FOTZ membership provides with free entry to the 3 zoos in Melbourne all year round. The three zoos include the Melbourne Zoo, the Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Healesville Sanctuary. So far this year, we've been to Healesville once, the Melbourne Zoo twice....and in July this year, we headed out to the Werribee Open Range Zoo.

    You winter and during the school holidays, the WORZ has Wild On nights where the zoo is opened late. Much like being at Animal Kingdom, it is really an EMH between 5.30 pm - 8.30 pm; every night for the 2 week period. BYO torch, blanket and warm clothing.


    We arrived there shortly after 4 pm; we got there too late and missed the last safari run. But the zoo includes a walking track round and we took the opportunity to check out some of the residents.







    I rather think they were checking us out! Afterall, they are used to having the run of the facilities this late in the day. This was especially true of the big cats!




    For the Wild On nights, the zoo runs special programs. One of them was a close up encounter with the serval cat.

    The lucky ranger gets to work with the lovely servils and she showed us some of the behaviours and hunting tendencies of these cats.



    This particular serval wasn't behaving properly on this night. It might have had something to do with about a couple of people in the audience eating during the show! The servil was looking in their direction until the zoo keeper told them to put the food away.


    I also caught the fire dancers' show on this night.









    DS likes the Wild On nights as the zoo provides free marshmallows to toast around an open campfire. Plus the zoo cafe makes a decent hot chocolate...*sweet*.

    Me? I'm always thankful for the opportunity to pull my camera out and practise shooting....particularly at an Open Range!

  6. queenie82

    queenie82 Queen of the 5 Castles

    Oct 10, 2008
  7. shushh

    shushh DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 2009
    No you're not exaggerating. It's antarcticly cold in Melbourne!

    I always learn something new reading your PTR/TR/blog. I didn't know about the open range zoo!!! Perhaps it's a reason to go down to Melbourne again along with that fishbowl noodle soup.

    Gorgeous capture of the animals by the way!
  8. dgbg100106

    dgbg100106 Missing the Tag Fiary

    Mar 24, 2008
    I am here and ready for the blog....
  9. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

    Nov 15, 2009
    How do you expect your followers to get to the first page if you post so many updates first off? :rotfl2: Going back now to read.....
  10. kmedina

    kmedina Loves all things Disney

    Jan 23, 2011
    Excellent start. I am hoping to take a trip next October, but it would be the end if we did. One day, I will meet some or all of you gamers. Your trip sounds awesome and like my next three or four trips all in one. I am glad you are checking out Cars Land. New York and Hawaii are both on my list, so you cannot go wrong whether you or DH win on that topic. I've been to New York, so I would rather go to Hawaii first.

    Excellent pictures of the zoo. Granted, they are very small on my phone but they still look awesome. Sorry you missed the last safari run, but glad you made "extra magic hours."

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
  11. usnuzuloose

    usnuzuloose Loosing Boo Boo

    Sep 20, 2009
    Holy smokes I haven't caught up yet with all the other stuff. I am in.
  12. zanzibar138

    zanzibar138 DIS Veteran

    Jun 30, 2007

    Sounds like it will be an awesome trip :thumbsup2

    Can I put in a request for you to go to Hawaii so I can see Aulani :rotfl:

    I love the Werribee Zoo (especially the meerkats) - would have had our wedding there in a second if it wasn't so far away!

    As usual you got some awesome pics! And I finally know which big cat my little cat Oliver takes after with his markings - it's the servil!
  13. DisneyFirefly

    DisneyFirefly DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2009

    I'm here! Nice start :) The zoo trip looked like fun!
  14. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

    Aug 17, 2005
    I'm in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. TXTink

    TXTink DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 1999
    PrincessInOz, please forgive me if this has been asked of you dozens of times (I just stumbled on this thread), but what camera are you using for your photography? Your photographs are stunning!

    By the way, we will be in WDW shortly after you leave. Our trip is planned for the end of October. MNSSHP, here we come! I look forward to reading your blog, I'm glad I stumbled in! :)
  16. ACDSNY

    ACDSNY Let the countdown begin!

    Jun 14, 2005
    Hopping on board...
  17. Cafeen

    Cafeen DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2009

    I've actually been reading for the past day or so, I was just waiting to be fashionably late.

    Then I realized that I'm not fashionable in any sense of the term, so I may as well come on over early.

    Then I forgot to post and fell asleep. So here I am now, roughly on time in a very unfashionable manner!

    And I have nothing to add at this time, other than being jealous once again at all your photographic stuff around you :(. We're pretty limited here, especially without a car (Mobile is not a pedestrian-friendly or mass transit having city).
  18. mvf-m11c

    mvf-m11c DIS Veteran

    Jun 28, 2009
    I'm here as well, but I still got to read the rest from your HK TR.
  19. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

    Aug 26, 2003
    I'm here & expect to be one of your new 3d friends!

    Your photos and commentary make this thread a "must do!"

  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010

    Nice to see everyone here!! Thanks for jumping on the blog-wagon.



    Antarctically cold weather and fishball noodle soup is a match made for Melbourne! If you check out the Werribee open range zoo, you might find that they will also do overnight $$lumbers in those 5-star tents. I keep meaning to book the family in for one of those. Maybe this year as a Christmas present....:scratchin actually, that's a good idea for this year's present. I might just do that.

    Excellent. I'm here too (and ready for the blog). Nice to have you here.

    :ssst: The idea is that *I* get on first page. :teeth:

    (I did leave 12 first page spots....or so, didn't I??? :rolleyes1 )

    We've been to NY and Hawaii before; but I'm starting to think that I might not make it back to NY this trip. Either that....or I have to rethink the itinerary.

    I was sorry to miss the safari run this time. But we'll probably go again before the year is up.

    Holy smokes! Get thee over to all the other stuff and catch up. popcorn::


    The thought of visiting Aulani at Hawaii NEVER crossed my DH's mind. :teeth:

    :banana: Glad you're here. The zoo trip was fun. Cold; but fun.

    Nancy! Nice to see you in here. I'll definitely have food porn to share over the next year or so.

    Hello! :wave:

    And thank you! So glad you stumbled on in here and I hope you stick around. Nice to see someone else starting to plan for Oct 2013 and I noticed a couple more PTRs on this section of the boards as well. I'll definitely need to 'stumble' in their PTRs as well.

    My camera? Until very recently, I was shooting with the Canon T2i. It is a couple of generations old now....I believe that line is up to T4i.

    I'm currently shooting with the Canon 7D, which is what I used for the zoo shots. I had the opportunity to pick this camera body in Hong Kong for a crazy deal.
    Thanks for asking.

    I know Allan (cafeen) does include his camera gear details in his PTRs/TRs and it is a great idea. I just wasn't sure if there was anyone following my rambles interested enough. I might go update my second post with my camera and lens details next time I have a blog post.

    Plenty of room (still) in that blog-wagon!

    :goodvibes That makes 2 of us! Glad you came on in early.
    I'll be pretty jealous of all those pictures you'll be taking at WDW THIS year shortly; so it all balances out in the end.

    If and when you decide to visit Melbourne, you can come and check out all those photo opps with me.

    (I think you can see some of the pics that will pop up on the scav hunt at the end of this week!! ;)) have been busy with your own updates on DL and also with planning your return!

    :wave2: I'm looking forward to turning our friends-in-a-box friendship to 3D friendship!!!

  21. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Feb 8, 2010
    A Rather Special Birthday Dinner

    My father had a rather special birthday right at the end of June. He turned 80. To the Chinese, the 80th Birthday is considered “Tai Sou” or a “Grand Birthday”. This is because the number '8' or 'phat' is considered lucky and the right intonation, 'phat' can be taken to mean prosperity.

    It was so auspicious a birthday that we had relatives fly in from Canada, the US and even Canberra!
    (For those of you that don't live in Australia, Canberra is the capital city of Australia and it is even colder than Melbourne!)

    We had a rather special dinner celebration to mark the occassion.

    The was rather dark in the restaurant and this was the best I could do!


    Our starters included:

    1. Spring Rolls


    2. Chicken Satay (CAUTION: Anyone with a peanut NOT lick the screen. This dish contains a delightful spicy peanut sauce on the side)


    3. Crab and Pork Lo Bak (the mince in wrapped in a tofu skin and deep fried)


    4. Sang Choi Pow (lettuce cups with a pork and vegetable filling)


    Our mains was served with steamed rice and consisted of:

    5. Seafood Tom Yum noodles


    6. Lemongrass grilled chicken


    7. Duck Red Curry, unusually served with lychee. I might have to steal that idea!


    8. Turmeric Prawns (CAUTION: Some of you may not like coconut. The crumbing on the prawns contains traces of coconut! See above warning regarding licking the screen)


    9. Javanese style Beef


    10. Fish Curry, with Okra


    We had two cakes for dessert.

    11. The Mango Mousse Cake.


    12. Ice Cream cake



    The delicious meal put a smile on all the guest's faces!


    And I'm pretty sure that no one floated away....we all rolled down the stairs and out into the street more than a couple of kilos heavier than the start of the evening.

    Me? I need to get back to my diet!


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