Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Random Links: 1/31/2014

My Friday links are usually mostly Disney, but this week I thought I'd have some fun and share some random things I've been enjoying lately...

1.  My Mama Snob often emails me silly links, and the other day she sent me this "shred" of One Direction performing Story of My Life - dubbed so that they sound horrible.  My first reaction: "Wait, are those actually their voices?" My second reaction: "No, definitely not.  This is just stupid."  And then I was laughing hysterically and just couldn't stop watching. ;)

2. There's a modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes out called Sherlock, and I have to say I'm a fan.  The most recent episode was just so sweet - John Watson is getting married (the girl they picked is PERFECT) and Sherlock is totally into planning the wedding as only Sherlock could be.  I tend to ignore the murder-y bits and some off-color humor, but the camera shots are so interesting and the writing is great - if you're looking for something to watch, I'd recommend it!

3. Shout out to Rachel who just got back from Disney!  I've been loving all the pretty crafts and cards she's been posting about on Love and Sushi, like this adorable engagement card.  She also recently had an update full of Disney Mail - love it!

4. OK, so here's at least one Disney link!  It's no secret that I'm a fan of all things pink and Disney Princess, so I do think the new Beauty and the Beast desktop wallpaper on the Disney Parks Blog is pretty cute.  But as I always like to analyze design choices, I'm not sure I love it.  I'm wondering why they made the word "Blog" is so strangely large?

5.  Since we're on the topic of Valentine's Day, here's a beautiful post from Seraphic Singles about the wider definition of love that the media today often overlooks.  I think I've linked to Auntie Seraphic's blog before - she's so smart and funny and faith-focused!

And here's all the pixie dust from this week on the blog and elsewhere...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Salisbury Cathedral

In last week's England update we explored the charming museums around the Salisbury Close.  This week we're going to turn our attention to Salisbury Cathedral!

Look at that unexpected little window right up next to one of the chimneys.  THAT is why I love British houses.

Bidding adieu to Mompesson House, I turned my steps towards the nearby grey spire rising against a grey sky...

Before I left for this Europe trip last year, I found a book all about European cathedrals and their construction.  It was incredible to read about how they were completed - the decades of labor it took and the strong personalities behind the cathedrals, sometimes a bishop, sometimes and architect, sometimes some local lord, who rounded up donations and kept the project alive.  When you consider all the tools and inventions and conveniences that the laborers who built these masterpieces didn't have at their disposal, it's astonishing and inspiring to see what they created.

Construction on Salisbury Cathedral began in 1220.  It was (mostly) finished by 1258.  That's almost forty years - and changes have been made since then - but those forty years of medieval work are still around more than seven hundred and fifty years later.  I find that pretty awe-inspiring to ponder. :)

Every cathedral you enter has a unique character of its own.  The Salisbury Cathedral stands out at first glance because of the dusty grey, almost brown color of the stone.  The limestone was apparently quarried from the nearby Jurassic Coast.  Our tour guide suggested we might find some fossils in the pillars!

I promise I haven't been pulling all of those factoids from Wikipedia - I joined a tour in the Cathedral and learnt some of them there!  I heard about the oldest working clock in the world...


There it is on the left, still ticking away!  And on the right is one of the newest additions to the cathedral, a really unique cross-shaped font.  I love how still the surface of the water was and how perfectly it reflected the windows.

There was a little model of those medieval workers that so inspire me!

A glimpse of choir stalls and organ pipes...

Taking a guided tour is always interesting...but then you don't really need a guide to show you how beautiful Salisbury Cathedral is.  The space itself will show you that...

Just look at those windows glowing like jewels in the dusk of this chapel - and the ceiling!

Those designs are so delicate and beautiful.

There were even more saints and scenes to admire on the nave ceiling!

One more interesting Salisbury factoid: the cathedral is built on only four feet of foundation.  It has the highest spire in England, and extra arches and supports had to be added (as you can see above) to hold it up!

I loved strolling through the cloisters.  That grass looked so green against the grey columns.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Salisbury Cathedral!  There was only time for a quick browse in the gift shop, and then I had to head straight for the station to catch my train.

It was absolutely tantalizing to have to walk by so many of the sweet storefronts in Salisbury.  It definitely looked like good shopping!


I read somewhere that Salisbury is sometimes likened to an English Venice because of its many bridges and waterways...

...and I discovered on my walk to the station just how true that was!  All the streams and canals were charming.

Almost there...

Trains this way!  My next destination was LYME REGIS on the Jurassic Coast.  (All my Jane Austen peoples, YES, it's the same Lyme from Persuasion!).  Sadly the trains don't go all the way to Lyme, so to get there I had to take a train to Axminster and then a bus the rest of the way.

AHHHhhhh, looking at this photo now makes me want to catch the next plane to the UK and do some more exploring.  At the time I think I was just more concerned about finding the right platform and not missing the train!

I caught the train just fine and soon was zipping towards Lyme...which would prove to be one of my very favorite destinations out of the whole trip!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Rockin' WDW Trivia Challenge

With this Where in WDW photo, I thought I'd add a little music to your Wednesday...

Disney details of all shapes and sizes excite me, but whenever the Imagineers add some pixie dust to the architecture, I just love it.  These columns, for instance, look suspiciously like guitar you know where to find them??

Great job with last week's lions - they can indeed be found at the Grand Floridian.  They're under a table on the second floor, between the elevators and Citrico's!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Princess Fairytale Hall Details and Review

I know that there's been a lot of princess pixie dust on the blog lately, what with the Frozen meet and greet on the cruise and the How to Find a Prince video.  And there are plenty of interesting Disney and travel and bookish posts I have planned that are not to do with you're just going to have to indulge me.

Because today's post is going to be super princess-y. ;)

We're going to step inside the new Princess Fairytale Hall at the Magic Kingdom!!  I wanted to go here to get the input of the Disney girls for my Prince Charming video, but I also really wanted to check out the new space and all the new Disney details!

I dragged my brother here first thing when the Magic Kingdom opened, so we got to zip right through the line.  There are a total of four princesses you can meet and two lines.  We decided to go with the Cinderella-Aurora line first.

PRINCESS TIP: If you want to meet all four princesses first thing in the morning, DO THE RAPUNZEL LINE FIRST.  She is one popular princess, and her line gets longer faster than Cinderella's! **UPDATE - now that the Frozen sisters have arrived at Fairytale Hall, that is definitely the line to do first!**

Let's go in, shall we??

I almost didn't want to walk straight through the line - I wanted to take in all the details!

OOOOHHHHH! Look at the windows!


They feature Cinderella's friends the mice and birds.  Look at Jacque and Gus Gus dancing.  SO ADORABLE.


Look at the princess shields and banners!


There was some even more impressive princess chandy candy in the main hallway!



Hey.  I warned y'all this would be a princess post!  You'll find Aurora, Tiana, and Rapunzel portraits on one side with Snow White, Jasmine, and Mulan on the other.  They all look so sweet, and I love the lovely scenes and castles in each background!

It is interesting to see the princesses that they picked and didn't pick - Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel didn't seem to make the cut. :(  But maybe they'll add them in someday?

You can get a little bit better of an idea of how the gallery in set up in the video!  The two lines go side by side and then are sent off to two different sides.


At the end of the gallery there are cast members who let a few groups at a time into the next area.  In the photo on the right you may spot Cinderella's glass slipper...

PRINCESS TIP: If you want a picture with the glass slipper, remember to pause here before you go into the next room.  It's easy to miss as you'll be walking right by rather than standing next to it.

I made sure to stop for a quick pic!  And speaking of Cinderella's shoes...

PRINCESS TIP: Ask Cinderella if she's wearing her glass slippers!  It's SUCH a fun question because you'll get to see her slippers - which are not glass but are completely adorable nonetheless - and she'll tell you all about how her Fairy Godmother added a strap so she wouldn't lose them again!


I hadn't yet seen the "new" princess looks, so it was extra fun with the new dresses.  Cinderella's slippers are new too - they used to be plain silver.  I wasn't a big fan when the new looks first debuted, but I'm coming around...look at how elegant Aurora's sleeves are.  And her crown!

Later that evening my friend Laura got some fastpasses to meet Rapunzel and "a visiting princess."  It's usually Snow White - you can tell which princess it is by the photo that's out front, or from the character page on the WDW app.

PRINCESS TIP: Be aware that if you use fastpass+ to meet the princesses, you will bypass the gallery with all the paintings and the glass slipper.  The fastpass takes you directly to the meet and greet room.

Very elegant princess wallpaper in the meet and greet room!  There were some paintings with pretty concept art from the princess movies as well.

I like the wide variety of princess chandeliers that you'll find in Fairytale Hall!

The meet and greet rooms are very regal with wood panelling, carpets, and a pretty curtained area for each princess to stand in front of.  In some of the concept art, there was a themed background for each princess behind each set of curtains.  I wish they'd introduce that element, since they have the windows for it.

One other thing about the above photo - look on the left hand side, in between all the people - there's an open book.  It's a Snow White storybook, an homage to the Scary Adventures of Snow White that used to be here!  I wish I'd stopped for a photo.  There's also a shelf of princess books, with the bookends that the King has on his desk in the Cinderella movie!

ANYway, on to the princesses themselves...

Rapunzel was so sweet and so funny in the video (that's my brother filming with the strawberry in the corner there!).  I also asked her if Pascal the chameleon is named after Pascal the philosopher.  Sadly he's not...


That photo of Snow White just makes me laugh - she's dreaming of the someday that her Prince came!  We met her before she got her makeover, and I just love her old dress and hair.  The new look just isn't the same.

But the fact that my hair looks a lot like hers might have something to do with it though... ;)

One last PRINCESS TIP: For the best photos, notice how the princess is posing and copy the pose yourself.  You might feel a little silly, but the picture will be really cute. ;)

Will you be paying a visit to Fairytale Hall?