Tag Archives: Disney

Coronavirus…I'm Not Afraid of You!

22 Mar


Judy Wills

WOW!  The world has tilted off its axis!  The coronavirus has hit, and panic has hit the streets!  COVID-19 has caused the most vicious panic I’ve seen in my lifetime, and I really don’t understand it.  Thank you, media for all this hype and hysteria!! 

NCAA College basketball games (The Final Four) that were scheduled are cancelled.

The Masters Golf Tournament has been cancelled – well, at least postponed.  It has been played every April since 1945, with cancellations only in 1943-1945 due to World War 2.  Some opine that it might be held on April 16.  We’ll see…

Courtesy Google search and TMZ Sports

The NBA has suspended all games until further notice.

But the worst – for Fred and me – is that Disney is actually closing its parks! 

 Disneyland in California, started Saturday, March 14, 2020, until the end of the month.  Disney World and the parks in Orlando, and Paris, France, started Monday, March 16, 2020 until at least the end of the of the month.  And the Disney Cruise Line is suspending all new departures until the end of the month.  I feel sorry for all those people who have reservations to fly down here for a week’s vacation at this time!

Oh well, life goes on.

However…neither Fred nor I am afraid of the coronavirus!

First of all…we believe in a God who is BIGGER than this virus!!

Second, we actually went to EPCOT recently (one last time before they shut down for a few weeks), and thumbed our noses at the virus!  Of course we took precautions – we washed our hands several times while at the park, and we used hand sanitizer frequently.  Amazingly – Disney has set up portable hand-washing stations throughout the park, in case someone is not close to a restroom where they could wash up.  I’ve never – in all the years we’ve been going to Disney, have seen such.  Very convenient, and thoughtful of Disney to do such.

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There are other precautions we always take before going to the parks – or anywhere that we will be around a crowd of people.

And just for your information, Disney World is undergoing a MAJOR renovation!!  Here are pictures of some of what they are doing.  They have added walkways where there were none; they have blocked off areas that are under destruction/construction – and show that EPCOT at least, is going to look totally new!  In a way, I’m sorry to see it go.  As we heard one guest telling HIS children as we were leaving, “when I was little we came here and I saw….”  His children won’t ever be able to say the same thing.

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Mouse Gear was on the left, and that was the walk-through between buildings.

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Behind this barrier was the old Universe of Energy building.

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Again, the old Universe of Energy building.  The signs are cute, but…

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Not even close to the original park exit.

Again, life goes on.

But we aren’t about to let that old coronavirus stop us!!  We understand Disney Springs will remain open, so we’ll have that “Disney” outlet to give us our Disney “fix” during the interim.

So there! Mr. coronavirus….TAKE THAT!! ha!

Description: Boxing, Icon, Silhouette, Sport, Fighter

Courtesy Pixabay

 UPDATE “Latest information about Disney Springs is that all Disney-owned stores and hotels at Walt Disney World have been closed.  So I guess our Disney “fix” will have to wait until this pandemic is over.  Shucks!”

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Disney Springs and Resort Hopping

5 Sep

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix



As a Florida resident we have some privelidges when it comes to Disney.



Even with the discounts, the parks are very expensive and many of us have been to most of them. I am continuing to explore Disney in a much different way. .. Cheap…  So here is a fun thing to do for a day or even many days.

Our first stop is Disney Springs.



It is free including parking. This is a shopping and eatiing adventure that has been transformed recently. . Beautifully designed with unique shops, yummy restaurants and evening entertainment. The springs theme represents the many springs in Florida.



Two of the restaurants that are fun for families are T-Rex



and Rainforest cafe.



both will keep you entertained with it’s animated life sized creatures. You may even go through a thunderstorm.

Another great restauraunt is The Boathouse. Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests.



My favorite restaurant is the amazing House of Blues. I can’t stop taking pictures of this place. The art and designs are crazy cool. And the food is good too.





Disney Springs takes on a whole different look at night. Much more entertainment and fun.



If you have daughters that love princesses, they can be one too.



Disney princesses will transform them. It’s such an exciting day  and they will look absolutely magical.

Day two. You may need another day at Disney Springs. There is so much to see and do.




However if you are ready for more exploration here is your second plan. We are going Disney resort hopping.

Go back to Disney Springs and park in the Lime parking garage. Go to the Town Center where you will see the busses that go to most resorts and parks. The parking is free and so are the busses.


So let’s get on a bus that will take us to the Yacht Club.



The Yacht Club is one of four resorts that are side by side around a lake. From there you can walk or take the boat to The Swan and Dolphin. After that is The Boardwalk, then The Beach Club. In between are shops and restaurants. It feels like you have traveled to other parts of the world.

Swan and Dolphin was quite lovely and unique.



The Boardwalk. I love the look of this area.




The resorts welcome you to eat and shop. They cost anywhere from $300 to over $500 a night, so of course swimming in the pools or participating in planned activities are not allowed. To be in and explore this wonderful environment is a fun and entertaining thing to do, especially for free.

Day three

Drive to Animal Kingdom Resort. Tell the guard that you would like to look around the resort and have lunch. They will let you in and you can park for free. There are two buildings to this resort and you can travel back and forth free by bus or it’s walking distance.

This is the lobby.




When you look out this window you see a savannah with some animals.



If you like animals this resort has quite a few savannahs with animals. You can see them from most areas of the resort.



I plan to visit more resorts in the near future. I will share them with you when I do.




I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.

My Love Affair with Disney~Part 4

11 Sep


Judy Wills




Just a few more Disney items to share with you this time. As you can tell from the previous musings, we really like all things Disney!

During the time our daughter worked at a Disney store, she purchased and gave to us a cell of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He is my absolute favorite Mickey character! And this cell is just the thing for us to enjoy. He hangs proudly on our wall.




And this picture just caught my attention the first time I saw it. Walt Disney had such a wonderful imagination, and this picture, superimposed on another of Walt himself, is the ultimate in his imagination. He is walking through Florida dirt and sand, but picturing Cinderella’s castle in his mind – where it would go, and what it would look like. This, to me, is imagination at its best.




After September 11, 2001, and the terrorist attack on our country, Disney’s animators came out with a couple of figurines that spoke to me. I’ve only purchased one, but I treasure this one. It represents Mickey Mouse honoring and thanking the firefighters from that horrendous day. The other one represents the same, but for the police officers that worked so hard that day. Beautiful.




There are a few other things – especially Disney t-shirts, but I didn’t think that would be of interest to many people. But they are fun to wear!

I hope you have enjoyed this little jaunt through our Disney memorabilia – as much as I have enjoyed writing it. All things Disney are fun things for us – to have and to do.



Credit Disney World website


NOTE: My apologies for the reflections in the pictures above. I just didn’t want to capture my own image in the pictures, and therefore, the pictures I took are a bit skewed. But perhaps you can see the main focus anyway.



My Love Affair with Disney~Part 3

4 Sep


Judy Wills



Because Fred and I have Disney running through our veins, we have a LOT of Disney memorabilia around our house. Last time I shared some of our Disney memorabilia. I would like to share a bit more this time.

Fred’s sister and her husband came to visit us a few years ago. We did take them to EPCOT, which we all enjoyed. We also took them to (then) Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs). We usually enjoy taking visitors there – especially if they don’t really want to do one of the “parks.” It gives them a “taste” of Disney, without feeling like they must spend an entire day there, to justify the cost of the ticket. If they don’t want to purchase anything, that’s okay. We do enjoy showing them our favorite eatery there (the Earl of Sandwich), as it is probably the most inexpensive spot to eat within the Disney complex. And the hot sandwiches are GREAT!!




In any case, when they came to visit, as we wandered through some of the shops, Jim pointed out a Mickey Mouse figurine to Sally, and they purchased it for us as a thank-you for all we had done for them on their visit. A few days later, after they returned home, we went back to Downtown Disney and purchased another figurine – one that I’d had my eye on for a while. They aren’t a true match, but I like them both, just the same.




And then there’s the Precious Moments® figurine with Bambi in it. Really sweet.



Anyone remember those old “E” tickets at Disney? They are long gone now, but we remember those tickets from the 1970’s when we first went to Disney World (which only had the Magic Kingdom at that time). Little pieces of papers littered the ground just everywhere you looked. Disney finally got smart and stopped that nonsense! However, they have brought them back – as magnets! And so I have them on our refrigerator door. Gives us a great opportunity to explain them to our grandchildren.




And since we sail with the Disney Cruise Line as often as we do (our favorite cruise line, by the way!), we have reached the Gold level – five cruises with Disney. And we got this great magnet for it! We used to feel really honored to have sailed that many times with Disney – until we met a couple who had sailed 18 times with Disney!! Yikes!




One last magnet for this posting – we had seen this magnet on several cars, and liked it. When we finally saw it at Downtown Disney, we snapped it up. And now it resides on our refrigerator door. I think it’s adorable!





More next time.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

My Love Affair with Disney~Part 2

28 Aug


 Judy Wills


As I said last time, I’ve been in love with all things Disney for about as long as I can remember. Consequently, we have a LOT of Disney memorabilia around our house.


One of my favorites is this plate.




Approaching the year 2000, Disney erected Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice’s hand with the wand stretched over the top of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT (we affectionately call it “The Ball”). It was there for about 18 months, and we were sorry when they took it down. They never had the “2000″ on Spaceship Earth – only on this plate. If anyone is into “collecting,” I suppose this will be a collector’s dream in the future. But we enjoy looking at it, in any case.

I think most have heard of Norman Rockwell. His paintings – especially for the covers of magazines years ago – are famous. My Aunt Jessie was a collector of things, and plates and figurines were in her collections. (Please see my posting for July 21, 2013, titled Aunt Jessie’s Plates, for more information on her collectables) While I have some of her plates (she had hundreds!!), I was also interested in the porcelain figurines she had. I’m sure you remember Norman Rockwell’s Self Portrait painting. It’s one of my favorite things he did. Aunt Jessie had a Rockwell figurine of that same thing, and here it is.



How does that relate to Disney? Well, Disney’s artists have fashioned one of their own Self Portraits in porcelain, and here it is. I am amused by it, and think it is really cute. It sits proudly on a shelf, just below Norman Rockwell’s version.




Another Norman Rockwell painting is called Puppy Love. While I don’t have a porcelain figurine of Rockwell’s, I do have Disney’s version of it. Here is the front and back view of it. I don’t ever remember seeing the “front” of it in Rockwell’s painting or porcelain – only in Disney’s figurine. Really cute.


Our youngest daughter, Janet, gave us this Mickey figurine many years ago, and it has a special place in our house as well as our hearts. While it’s called Mickey’s Adventure, I like to call it “Let’s Fly Away!” It’s so light-hearted and fun. It is a treasure, for sure.




Another piece of artwork by that same artist is this figurine of Lumiere and Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast. Another whimsical Disney thing for us to admire and enjoy. (Sorry, I can’t remember the artist’s name [Ron something-or-other] – just very heavy stone with the figurines atop)




There are more Disney treasures for me to share, but that will have to wait until next time.


~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

My Love Affair With Disney~Part 1

21 Aug


Judy Will


I’ve been in love with all things Disney for about as long as I can remember. I believe the first Disney movie I ever saw was Cinderella – and I was sold! As I grew older, I kept wishing there was some way I could – personally – have a copy of Cinderella and watch it whenever I wanted to! Fast forward to this hi-tech generation, and I have Cinderella on my bookshelf! Of course, I don’t watch it all the time, but it’s there for the watching if I care to. I usually have to do it when Fred is gone!

When we moved down to Florida, it was more-or-less with the intention of either or both of us working for Walt Disney World, so we could visit the parks just any time we wanted to. God may have wanted us down in Florida, but His plans for us did NOT include working at Disney World! And His plans are so much better than ours!

So we content ourselves with annual passes to Disney World. Fred jokingly says they are our Christmas/anniversary/birthday (and any other special event in our lives) gift to each other. They are rather expensive. But we get free parking with them, and we can come and go just any time we want. Sometimes it’s for nothing more than to have a supper meal there. And we consider if we stay about two hours, we consider it a “visit to the park.”

In 1999, we thought it would be fun to keep track of how many times we went to a Disney park during that year (38 times). And we’ve kept on with that tradition. Our peak year was 2005 when we went 64 times! If it’s raining? We don’t go. We know we can go another time.

And on our anniversary each year, we stay at the Shades of Green resort, and go to each of the parks, one each day. So you can see – we REALLY like Disney!

Because we’ve been enamored with Disney for so long, we have quite a bit of Disney memorabilia around our house. And we thoroughly enjoy it all. Our youngest daughter, Janet, worked at a Disney Store once upon a time, and she supplied us with quite a bit of Disney stuff. One of my favorite things she gave us, were figurines of some of the characters from Disney’s 1939 original Fantasia. I enjoyed them so much, that I had a friend (who is a wood worker by trade), fashion a shadow box for them. That box and those figurines now grace a wall in our house. I think they are adorable! Unfortunately, I have broken one of the pieces, but have substituted another Mickey in its place. And another friend who worked for Disney, presented us with “Mickey’s House” snowglobe that rests upon the top of the shadow box.



~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~





Christmas in Florida

15 Dec


 Judy Wills




 Even though I DO love a white Christmas, I’ve come to really love Christmas in Florida.  We’ve both had our fill of snow, and so the sand and grass and beach and…Florida suits us just fine. We thoroughly enjoy Christmas at Disney, as well.  We’ve been a bit disappointed in recent years, however, that even Disney has bowed to some of the political correctness that is abounding now, and have left off some of our most cherished decorations.  We do enjoy that they include the traditions from around the world.

We usually have at least one of our daughters and her family with us at Christmas – occasionally both daughters and their families – and we always make it a point to go to Disney.  Not just to “do” the theme parks, but to see the decorations.  One of our favorite sights is the Osborne lights at the Studios.  Amazing.

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One of our favorite things to do is to park at EPCOT and take the Resort Monorail to the resorts on that line, get off, see the decorations at that resort, and then on to the next resort.  It’s fun, it’s free, and we get some gorgeous ideas from them.  Of course, there’s no way we could duplicate the life-size gingerbread house at either EPCOT or the Grand Floridian.  But it’s fun to see.

Another free thing to do is Downtown Disney.  Actually, we like to take friends there who aren’t really into the theme parks, when they come to visit us .  That way, they get a “taste” of Disney without having to spend the money and all day at the park(s).  We like to walk the length of the entire area and back.  And at Christmas time, they decorate the whole area with fun stuff.

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Seems we never get tired of doing the same thing – especially since most of the decorations are the same as the previous year – and the year before that – and……

Another favorite resort we like to visit is the Shades of Green.  If you’ve never heard of that, it is a resort on Magic Kingdom property, and is solely for military – active duty and retired.  If you’re wondering about the name – it is called Shades of Green because every branch of the U.S. military has a uniform that is a shade of green.  Hence the name.  We like to stay there for our anniversaries each summer.  They also decorate, but a lot of the time it is “military” themed, and quite interesting.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to do around Christmas time for us in Florida.  We usually have some time to spend with my brother and his family, and that is always a most joyous time for us.  This extended family business is wonderful!

Christmas in Florida…………yeah, it’s great!

The Bearded Barbet

23 Jun


 Judy Wills


 We have lived in Central Florida since 1995 – our retirement dream.  We had originally thought we would retire here and “work” at Disney, doing something mundane, so we could see the theme parks to our heart’s content.Well, it didn’t work out quite like that.  Within four months we had found the church where we felt God wanted us to be members, and so we joined it.

 1Within another six months – much to my surprise! – I became the Church Secretary.  Fred wasn’t too sure about turning in my application for the vacant position, but it just “felt right” to me, so I did.  And was hired (I was Church Secretary for nearly nine years).  I think it helped that I was an older woman, and my last position had been a Financial Secretary, and had learned to keep my mouth shut.  Financial and pastoral stuff is just something one doesn’t blab about.Within another nine months, Fred was the Church Administrator.  It was nice working together, and we made the distinction of working WITH each other – neither of us working FOR the other!  Even with our desks in the same room, we just worked together, as it should be.

In spite of all that “work” stuff, we found time to go to Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios.  We especially enjoyed going to SeaWorld after a stressful day 3at work.  It just seemed like it was more restful there – not as frantic a pace as at Disney or Universal.  Perhaps it was the animals…I don’t know.  I just know that we enjoyed it and felt refreshed after spending a few hours at that theme park.

After we had been going to SeaWorld for a few years, we happened to go around a corner that we didn’t usually go around – and saw a bird “cage” along side one of the buildings.  We heard a strange sound coming from there, and stopped to see.  Inside the large cage were two of the most unusual birds we had ever seen!  And the sound was a raspy croak – called a “growling scrawk”! 4 WOW!  What were these birds??!!  The sign said “Bearded Barbet” – have you ever heard of that?  They, along with Toucans are mainly from tropical West Africa.

I rubbed my finger along the wire mesh, and one of them hopped right over to the metal frame, and took a good look at my finger.  The mesh was tight enough that I couldn’t be bitten – and it’s a good thing!  Look at that beak!!  But it did try to “peck” at my finger.  And it scrawked at me a few times, before it flew back to it’s perch.

Every time we went to SeaWorld after that, we would make sure we stopped to see 5the Bearded Barbet, and were thrilled each time.

Imagine our disappointment when we discovered that they weren’t there any more – and had been replaced by Australian Kookaburras.  Nothing wrong with Kookaburras, but they just weren’t the Bearded Barbet!

Ah – the wonders of God’s world.  They never cease to amaze me!

Psalm 8:1, 3, 8-9

Oh Lord, our Lord, how Majestic is Your Name in all the earth…

Our Trip to Italy-Part 1

6 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites


 It was the Winter of 1999, and our friend Marsha was in the middle of an 18-month TDY assignment with Disney in Porte Marghera, Italy as part of the group supporting constructionof their second Disney cruise ship, the “Wonder.”  Marsha was a longtime writing friend of DiVoran’s who had worked for Disney on their first Disney cruise ship, the “Magic” and was very familiar with the surrounding Italian area.


She asked DiVoran and I if we would like to come visit her, as she had plenty of room for the both of us, in the rented apartment she was living in at the time.  She also mentioned that she could take some time off, if we came, and escort us around central Italy to see some of the many interesting and historical sites that area of the country had to offer.  Since I had accrued enough Sky miles with Delta Air Lines to get free round-trip flights for both of us, we thought, “This could be an opportunity of a lifetime!”  It didn’t take much arm-twisting to get us to agree to go, and we started making reservations.  The next thing we knew, were on our way.2

 Our first stop was in Milan.  After a one-hour bus ride from the airport to the Metro station, we took a 30-minute underground train ride to the town center, where we had lunch at the Autogrill.  Once we found our small quaint Hotel Speronari, we had a nap and our first laugh of the trip.  DiVoran spotted the “In case of fire” instructions on the back of our hotel room door; it read “Remain in a quiet and calm mood, walk on your fours, and protect your nose and mouth with a damp handkerchief.” What a hoot!  But then, how silly that would sound if I tried to say that in Italian?  After a cup of tea, we were ready to venture out to see some of the sights of the city.


Our hotel was just one block off the city square, which was surrounded with elegant shops, filled with beautiful jewelry, furs, and luxurious fabrics.  Every third woman was wearing some type of fur coat.  We had never seen so many fur coats in our lives.  The Duomo (cathedral) in Milan’s, city square was a must see, and we were properly impressed.  It is the third largest Duomo  in Europe and took 500 years to build.  It is beautifully decorated inside with 52 Sequoia columns, each 150 feet tall, and as many as 2000 carved statues gracing the outside.


A Japanese couple, who had just been married, were in the process of having their pictures taken in the Piazza Duomo among all the pigeons and tourists.  What a sight that was.  After that, we got directions on how to get to the Castello Sforzesco, which was built in the 15th century and houses Michelangelo’s unfinished Rondanini Pieta.


 Back in the city square, we strolled the streets looking at the many fresh fruit and vegetable stands.  Then we came across a candy store where their fruits looked so real we couldn’t believe it, and sure enough, they weren’t, they were Marzipan.  What a surprise!  Of course, DiVoran had to have some, and boy were they good.  They were so unusual that we brought some home and kept them in our freezer for years.


    —–To be Continued—–


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