Saturday, August 23, 2008

Disney World!

Hi! I've just come back from a week-long trip to Disney World. I'll break it down into days like I did with Bald Head Island.
Friday, August 15
We left home at about 7 in the morning and drove all day, only stopping for lunch at Wendy's. When we finally arrived in Orlando, we had dinner at a LongHorn Steakhouse. I had a hamburger and fries (I'll be eating a lot of burgers on this trip), which were pretty good. But, my dad promised my sister and me that if we wanted dessert at any lunch and dinner, he would buy it for us. Pretty sweet, huh? Well, since that promise started at that dinner, we got to have a Chocolate Stampede, which is delicious chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce. Yum!!!
After that, we headed toward Disney World and our first resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. The lobby is absolutely amazing. The thatched ceiling is five stories high, and one wall is a huge window that looks out onto a savanna with real zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and more.

Since my dad had been planning out this vacation for months, we had an amazing room that looked out onto the savanna. After relaxing in our room for a while, we got on out bathing suits and hit the pool. The pool had the feel of a huge watering hole, and was near a pond with flamingos in it.

We also got to swim at night, so it was all lit up. Very cool. Well, on to the next day!

Saturday, August 16
On Saturday, we had some cereal for breakfast and headed to the Magic Kingdom. Once we were there, we walked through Main Street USA (it's like an old-fashioned street) and saw a horse-drawn carriage with a real barbershop quartet.

Then we went to Tomorrow Land, where I rode Astro Orbiter and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Astro Orbiter was one of those rides where you spin around in a little car or something up in the air. Of course, we spun around in rocket ships, not cars. The Space Ranger Spin was a ride where you were in a car with another person. You each had a little gun thing and you had to shoot the target marks that you went by. It was very cool but also very loud. I didn't win because I had my ears plugged most of the time.
We then headed to Fantasy Land and ducked into the Peter Pan ride, where you are in a ship and you fly past scenes from the movie. When we came out it was raining, so we dashed towards Columbia Harbor House and had lunch there. I had some fish and chips that were pretty good. After lunch, we went to The Haunted Mansion ride. You ride around in a seat and go past some cool scenes, like ghosts having a banquet and a spooky graveyard. We also went on It's a Small World. My mom had a bad experience with that ride when she was little. The boat she was in broke down and she was stuck listening to the singing dolls for hours. Anyways, guess what we saw in the Australian room? Platypuses!!! There were three and they were dancing and holding eggs. After getting off that, we got ice cream bars from a stand. I also got to ride Mad Tea Party (spinning tea cups), a merry-go-round, and go to Tom Sawer Island, an island in Frontier Land with caves, nature walks, and unsteady bridges.
Then, we went to Adventure Land. My mom and dad got Dole Whips, which was pineapple-flavored soft-served ice cream. They also got my sister and me root beer floats. Wow! Two desserts! We walked through the Swiss Family Tree House, which was pretty cool.

Also, we got to see the Enchanted Tiki Birds, which was a show with singing birds. Then we went on the Jungle Cruise, a boat trip with realistic animals, ancient temples, and angry natives.

Finally, we headed back to Animal Kingdom Lodge and ate at the Mara, a fast-food place. I had a burger and fries. They were a bit cold, but still pretty good. Also, my dad got zebra domes, which where tiny white chocolate domes with chocolate stripes and a chocolatey, creamy center. But our day wasn't over yet!
After dinner, we donned our bathing suits and left for Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney's two water parks. Typhoon Lagoon has one of the biggest wave pools in the world, so my mom and I went there while my sister and dad hit the water slides. We quickly learned that the wave pool creates a huge 6-foot-tall wave every 90 seconds. Wow! We also swam through shark reef, a pool filled with real sharks (tiny, non-deadly ones), rays, and saltwater fish. We had to use snorkels to breathe, and I was pretty good at it. In fact, I was so good at it that I never had to put my head up to look where I was, and so when i reached the end, I turned around and started going back around! Oops!
Well, after all the excitement, I was glad to see our beds at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Sunday, August 17
Time for a little Animal Kingdom! After our cereal, we headed there ready to see some cool animals. First we went to Dinoland USA.

I rode Triceratops Spin (It was like Astro Orbiter only with triceratops.) and that was about it. We saw some cool animals like Komodo Dragons,

Flying Foxes (They were using their wings to fan themselves!),

Tigers, Saddlebeaked Storks,

and meercats.

We also saw It's Tough to be a Bug, a 3-D show underneath the Tree of Life.

After that, we had a wonderful lunch at Pizzafari, where I had some delicious cheese pizza. Later, while my sister and dad were riding Expedition Everest, I got some soft-serve ice cream from a van that was painted all over with animals and landscapes. It was really cool.
We also went on the safari and saw lots of animals. After a long day at the Animal Kingdom, we returned to our hotel and swam in the pool for a tiny bit.
Then, we went to Boma for dinner. Boma was a buffet in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. They had just about everything. here's what I had: Penne pasta with meatballs, couscous, cornbread, roast vegetables, and some more stuff I can't remember. But what really matters is the dessert. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water ... there were cookies, chocolate mousse, zebra domes, and so much more. I'm not kidding when I say I used 4 plates for dessert. This is probably my second plate here:

Oh, yeah. That's the good stuff.

Monday, August 18
On Monday we went to Epcot first thing in the morning and split up. My mom and I went to Soarin', and my sister and dad went to Test Track. I really love Soarin'. In fact, it's probably my favorite ride at Disney World. You go over so many scenes, like the ocean, mountains, rivers, and cities.
Then we went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends and rode the ride in there. We also did Turtle Talk with Crush, which was really cool because it was live animation. Crush would say he wanted to talk with the boy in the front row with a white shirt and that boy could actually ask him a question.
After that, we went to the World Showcase and ate lunch at an amazing Mexican place that felt like you were in a Mexican village at night. I had some fried chicken and some really good angel-hair pasta with fruit and vegetables on the side.
We then saw all the countries and stopped at France to get some ice cream and this delicious chocolate thing. It was like a pancake drizzled in chocolate. Yummy. We ducked into a building in the American section (Yes, they have an American section) and listened to some people singing some classic American songs. They had really beautiful voices.
After all that World Showcase, my dad and I went back to The Seas while my mom and sister were at Test Track again. We saw manatees, fish, rays, and a hermit crab that was stuffing its mouth full of sand ... weird.
For dinner, we walked over to The Coral Reef, which was really cool because there were huge aquariums on one side of it. Divers swam by and sometimes they would hold up a sign next to a table that wished someone a happy birthday, anniversary, and sometimes even a proposal. I had some good macaroni and cheese for dinner and a Chocolate Wave for desert. The Chocolate Wave is pretty small but very good. It's a chocolate cake cylinder filled with chocolate mousse and hot fudge sauce. Very good.
After that, we got in the car and headed to our new hotel, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside. We were in Magnolia Bend and our room was very pretty.

Tuesday, August 19
On Tuesday we woke up to ... rain. Ah, man! And this wasn't just normal rain, because we had heard on the news that Tropical Storm Fay was coming towards Florida. It had just hit. My mom and I stayed home and my dad and sister went to Hollywood Studios.
When they came back, we ate at the Riverside Mill Foodcourt. I had a very good cheeseburger and fries. For dessert, I got a HUGE chocolate chip cookie.
We then dropped my mom off at the Saratoga Springs Spa. My dad took us to the Port Orleans Riverside pool, Ol' Man Island. It was pretty fun, even though it rained a bit.
After we picked my mom up again, we went to Downtown Disney and ate at Raglan Road, which was probably my favorite meal. I had fish and chips (drenched in malt vinegar, of course! ) and a dessert called Triple Your Pleasure. It was a tiny chocolate milkshake along with some white chocolate mousse and dark chocolate mousse. It was really good. Then, we had to get back to our car in the torrential rains and tropical storm winds. That was the not-so-good part.

Wednesday, August 20
On Wednesday, we went to Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Hotel for brunch. It was by far my favorite non-dinner meal, and here's why: They had dessert. Yep. Dessert for breakfast. Pretty sweet, huh? For the real meal, they had pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausages, fruit, and much more. For dessert, they had doughnuts, chocolate pastry things, brownies, and gummy bears. It was a buffet too, but I only had two plates of dessert. I didn't want to worry my parents.
Then we headed to Disney's Hollywood Studios, where we saw One Man's Dream, a show about Walt Disney, Backlot Tours, a tour that shows how they make some special effects in the movies, and Lights, Motors, Action!, a stunt show with cars.
We then headed back to the hotel where we got ready for our dinner at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. Sounds peaceful, huh? Wrong! The Whispering Canyon Cafe was about the silliest, loudest place at Disney! First of all, I have to tell you about the bottomless milkshakes. If you finish a bottomless milkshake, they will bring you another one in another flavor if you want! Also, if a table wants ketchup, the table with the ketchup has to run over with it and give it to the other people! Plus, they can start up a song or a parade anytime. You never know what you're gonna get! Sadly, I didn't like the Southwest Chicken Pasta I ordered. At least my carmel milkshake was good.
On the way out, there were snails everywhere. They were crossing the sidewalk, in the grass, everywhere!

That night, we took the river boat down to the Port Orleans French Quarter to go swimming in the sea serpent pool. It was a very cool pool.

Thursday, August 21
My dad got beignets for breakfast from the French Quarter. They sure were good! For those of you that don't know, beignets are French pastries.
My mom wasn't feeling good, so my dad took my sister and me to Blizzard Beach, Disney's other water park. I went on a few water slides and swam in the wave pool. Also, my sister went down the Summit Plummit, a 120-foot vertical water slide. She went 51 miles per hour. Wow.
For lunch, we ate at the Lottawatta Lodge, where I had a hamburger and fries. For dessert, we had MINI DOUGHNUTS! They were very good.
When we went back to the hotel, my mom was feeling a little bit better, so we went to Olivia's Cafe at Old Key West Resort. I had some pasta with meat sauce (the pasta was shaped like Mickey) and a make-it-yourself ice cream sundae with M&Ms, sprinkles, and chocolate sauce to put on. It was a nice dinner.

Friday, August 22
On Friday, we were scheduled to go to Discovery Cove and swim with fish and dolphins. It couldn't have gone more wrong.
When we woke up, it was pouring down rain and my sister wasn't feeling good. We decided to rebook our day at Discovery Cove and just go home. Here's what it looked like as we drove home:

When we got home, we found out my hermit crab and my sister's goldfish had died. So, all in all, I enjoyed my vacation, even though we suffered some big problems. I hope when we go to Discovery Cove, the weather will be good. So long for now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Campology and the Georgia Aquarium

Sorry for not posting lately, but I've been at Campology! Campology is a summer camp that's all about science. They have different themes every year and this year I went to ocean camp! It has been really fun.
On Thursday, we had a seafood lunch and I stuffed myself with food I had never tried before! One of the things was a crab leg. I liked it, but it was really weird. Also, I tried a clam, which I didn't like. It had a nice taste, but it was all rubbery! The clam chowder was good, but I avoided the clam in it. The best thing was the scallops, though. They tasted like salty chicken and were very tender. They also had normal food for the picky eaters, like shell pasta and "octopus hot dogs" (Hot dogs with their bottom parts cut into eight sections). The desert was better still: I can still taste the delicious frosted cookies shaped like fish. They also had Jello with Swedish Fish in it and Jello shaped like a lobster.
We also had water day, where we played on the "Slip N' Slide of Death". It wasn't blown up, and there were lots of rocks underneath, and... well, you get the picture. I still have the cut on my leg from it. Oh, well.
But on Friday, we got up at 5 in the morning and drove to the Georgia Aquarium. It was so amazing! Here are some (OK, a lot) of pictures from my time there.

These little guys are called garden eels. They spend most of their time in the ground and sifting sand for food. They go in their holes when they are alarmed.

Here is a jellyfish. Their display was amazing: It was a huge tank with a lot of them floating around in it.

These are moon jellyfish. In their tank, a light changed colors to make the look like they were changing colors. When I took this, the light was changing from blue to purple.

This was a beautiful fish in the coral reef exhibit. I don't know what kind he is, but isn't he cool?

Here's another fish I don't know! I guess I didn't study enough at ocean camp! =)

Here are some Beluga Whales. It was amazing to watch them in the water; they did flips and all sorts of stuff. It looked like they were showing off for us.

This is just a plant. Cool, huh?

This is an African penguin, so you won't see any ice in his exhibit!

See the huge spotted fish in there? That's a Whale Shark, and that one is just a baby! Adults can be up to 40 feet long!

This is a Guitar Fish, seen from underneath. Doesn't he look weird?

In the center of this picture (taken from the underneath of the tank) is a Cownose Ray.

Lots of fish. And plants.

Here is an alligator (or a crocodile) basking in the sun. All cold-blooded animals do this to get warm.

Piranhas! Have you ever seen these guys is a feeding frenzy? They can pick a fish clean in under a minute! Yikes!

The river otters were SO CUTE!!! I spent so much time looking at them that my group left without me knowing. Oops.

Well, that's all of my pictures. I hope you get a chance to go to the Georgia Aquarium sometime, and if you do, bring a camera! =)

Visit the Campology website at

Friday, August 1, 2008

Poor Imperial Moth!

This morning, I found a huge moth that had been brought in by the cats. Thinking it was dead, I picked it up, but it flapped its wings! My mom and I took it outside and took pictures. He (or she) was looking pretty bad:

I got out the "Big Book of Bugs" (it's actually called The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders, but that's a mouthful!) and looked at the moths. You can tell he's a moth because he has his wings down when resting. Butterflies always have their wings up while resting. Anyways, we figured out he was an Imperial Moth and discovered lots about him. Here's a little lesson on Imperial Moths.
The Imperial Moth, or Eacles imperialis, has a wingspan of about 4-6 inches. The wings are yellow and purplish-gray (when they haven't been chewed up by cats). It has a fuzzy body, as you can see from the picture.
They live in deciduous forests (that's us!) and are commonly found from June-August.
Sadly, Imperial Moths are dying out because the love to bask in artificial light until dawn, so they are easy prey for birds (and cats). You can help by not having very many artificial lights on at night, and also, remember they can't hurt you. Admire them and don't fear them.
Well, that's it. I hope you liked it!