Tag Archives: The Walt Disney Company

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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