Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Internet Pixie Dust: 5/30/14

Happy Happy Friday, friends!  Ready for some pixie dust from around the interwebs?

1. There are new Disney Snob Vlogs to go with all my new blogs this week - a video tour of the Old Faithful Club at the Wilderness Lodge, some fun times at the Magic of Disney Animation pavilion at Hollywood Studios, and - my favorite - a scientific look at the Boneyard playground with Athos!

2. Magical Blogorail Blue took us on a tour of Disney parks background music this week, and I loved Rolling with Disney's post about the loop at Future World and the Fountain of Nations at Epcot.  Now I've got it on repeat! :)

3. I thoroughly approve of the Polynesian Project undertaken by Mouse on the Mind and AtDisneyAgain.  They're collecting tropical pieces for a Disney-inspired room!  I've been to the cast member store Property Control/Cast Connection where they sell used from around the parks and resorts, but I had never heard of the Hotel Liquidation Warehouse with old Disney cool!

4. In honor of Maleficent coming out this week, the wedding blog Style Me Pretty has a gorgeous Sleeping Beauty inspired photo shoot!  Love the flowers, and I wish the dress had sleeves, but still...THAT SKIRT!

5. Have you guys heard about Harambe Nights, the new ticketed evening event coming to the Anima Kingdom park?  Apparently there will be food offerings for the guests, and they look delicious - the Disney Food Blog has loads of tasty photos.

Catch up on this week's posts...

-----Where in WDW: Monks at Work-----
-----Emma in Europe: Snow and Shopping in Chester-----

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Snowy Morning in Chester, England

I woke up in Chester, England to find black and white outside my window...

...but it wasn't only in the architecture!  There had been quite a heavy snowfall.

SO MUCH SNOW.  And also slush.  Lots and lots of slush.

It was the end of March, and I had brought along that black coat thinking I might not have to use it.  I wore it almost every day.  But at least I acquired quite a few cute new European scarves for the cold weather!

Before venturing out into the cold we enjoyed a full English breakfast at the hotel, the Grosvenor Place Guest House.  One of the things that made me book this place was a TripAdvisor review saying they had "unlimited toast" at breakfast.  And they did bring us a second toast rack when we asked! :)


The snow and slush had shut the city down - the sidewalks and streets were treacherous and none of the shops were open yet!  The Roman Amphitheater ruins weren't too far away, so we bundled up to have a look at them...

Porthos had to clear off the informational sign so we could read it!  Also note the menacing snowball in his hand...silly brothers...

Not far from the Ampitheater were the ruins of the Roman Hypocaust!

It's incredible to think of the roots of Chester going back all the way to Roman times.  We read about how the hypocaust would have provided underfloor heating...

...why exactly did they get rid of that particular innovation??  It would have helped with snow removal and kept my feet warm.  As it was we ended up stopping back by the room, and I put on every pair of socks that I had brought with me.  It was that cold!

This was our main day for exploring Chester so of course we couldn't stay inside for long!  We headed out to look in the nearby St. John's Church.

Turning from the quiet snowy streets where thick flakes were falling, we entered the quiet stone space of the ancient church...simply breathtaking.


Sometimes the juxtaposition of old and new in European churches just makes you laugh - note the facebook sign on a chair that looks like it might have held a Saxon king!  There were signs all over the church advertising a small parish cafe...


"Fancy a cuppa?"  I might have fancied a cup of tea or coffee, but the cafe was closed that morning.  It was nice to wander and learn a bit of the history though...St. John's was supposedly founded in 689 by King Aethelred!

The shops were beginning to open when we finished touring St. John's, and we weren't sorry to have some warm spots to stop in...


I wouldn't be taking any furniture home with me, but it's always fun to stop in different British stores and see the differences and similarities to American shops.  I loved the cheerful bursts of floral color - red and purple - in that store.  I spotted a mug that said "Lovely Mum" and bought it for my lovely Mum!

We came across a Laura Ashley - why don't we have these in America??  All the floral prints and pastel colors made it feel a little more like spring in spite of the snow outside!

I spotted this adorable robin's egg blue rain jacket in another UK store that I now covet - White Stuff.  I couldn't quite talk myself into it that day, but keep this coat in mind...

British stores have a really cute selection of slippers.  Look at the bunnies and pandas!  And is the brown one supposed to be a hedgehog?

My brother was a good sport about tagging along in the stores, and he found a few things he liked as well.  We decided that a snowy day with cold streets and lots of chilly walking to do called for plenty of stops in warm stores...and cafes...

Look at that delicious bakery case...victoria sponge, cupcakes, chocolate mousse.  This was at a place called Zuger's Tea Rooms.  I had googled best cafes in Chester beforehand to be prepared. ;)

Our "elevensies" - I bet Hobbits would approve of our method of touring Chester. ;)

OF COURSE I had to try the chocolate cupcake!

So delicious...and so unique!  They cut out the top bit of the cupcake, filled it with icing, perched the tiny cake disc on top, then added more icing and a candy bar.  YUM.

Coming up next...we step inside Chester Cathedral!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Boneyard Fossil Fun Site: Paleontological Tour

Get ready, guys, for some...Animal Kingdom fun, dinosaur knowledge, the Boneyard Fossil Fun Site, lots of paleontology, and the blog return of my brother Athos!

Athos, as you may recall, is crazy about dinosaurs.  I think a childhood of Disney World trips with many afternoons spent at the Boneyard playground in Dinoland USA has a lot to do with this.  You may know the Boneyard as a place where kids love to run around and play while the adults stand around, think about how intolerably hot Florida is, and wish there were more places to

However there actually are a lot of cool details and interesting fossil reproductions to see as well.  And Athos, our resident paleontological expert, is nice enough to give us a tour!  Any comments in red are from me.  Take it away, brother...

HALLO EVERYBODEH! It's me Athos again, and I'm going to write about dinosaurz.  The boneyard will be the central focus of our research today. As you can see it was established in nineteen-forty illegible. That was a good year for paleontology.


Much of the boneyard is covered by tarps such as the one above. Similar tarps are used in real life expeditions. These tarps protect paleontologists from sun poisoning and protect the fossils being excavated from harmful sun bleaching and other solar damage. Somehow I never feel like the Boneyard tarps produce that much shade...

The top right photo is the skeletal neck of Dinoland's Brachiosaurus of the "Oldengate Bridge" (c wut they did thar lololololol).  Brachiosaurus is one of the best known sauropods today.  If you see a dinosaur with the neck going vertically like that, it's probably a Brachiosaurus. If it goes out more horizontally its probably something else, any number of something elses. There's a lot of sauropods. If you want to see more Brachiosaurus then go here.

This picture has a nice look at Pachycephalosaurus' teeth, I didn't even notice them while I was there. Those teeth are neat little pegs as you can see (on the bottom jaw in the middle) and would've helped the dino to tear leaves off of branches. However, due to their shape they could've also been used to snap up insects, so who KNOWS what Pachycephalosaurus ate. Presumably almost anything it felt like.

What even is an onlyosaurus. I have never seen an onlyosaurus.  It's just a little jokeosaurus!


Wow, look at that mammoth skull. From this angle it kind of looks like the base of the tusk is actually a corn dog with an arm reaching desperately for the thermos (if you guys fail to see this don't worry...I don't think I see it either...). The arm is actually just one of the fenestrae of its skull. I presume these would've made the skull lighter, which is a good thing.  Here's another fun fact about mammoths: they liked to eat avocados.  True story. On the right we have a bunch of ribs. And a femur on the corner. Femur and ribs. Combo #6.

These are apparently Edmontosaurus skulls, which are exceedingly boring dinosaurs. What did an Edmontosaurus ever do that made me think it was boring? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Ever.

Look at me swaggin there.  Athos, I was hoping you would tell them about how the Boneyard has various informational signs and placards from the Dino Institute (like in the Dinosaur ride!) with lots of paleontological notes to learn from and also some funny jokes to laugh at.  And what exactly does swaggin mean??

Okay here we go,
1. Yes.
2. No cause it's not a tar pit lol.
3. Yeah so what's it to yah?

The box contains a man by the name of Jack Hammer. Someone please let him out.

I believe this box is near the "marimba ribs" - when you hit some of the bones set along the wall, they make musical tones like a keyboard!  You can see it better towards the middle of the video tour:

Not a paleontological observation, but how awesome in the Boneyard music?? I love the radio station...W-D-I-N-O CAN YOU DIG IT!

These are theropods track I think probably. Theropods have three pointed toes. Those are toes. And there are three of them. Also if you step on them they make roaring sounds.

*roaring sound* C'mon though how Dinoland swaggin is my outfit??

There are lots of interactive elements to this playground - the bone keyboard, the roaring footprints - if you try to open those boxes you'll hear a dino trying to get out!

Tyrannosaurus. I like his pose there. He looks kind of awkward. Like he just dropped his ice cream or something. Now he's crying about it.

This is a Tyrannosaurus. The above view gives you a pretty good view of the fenestrae. Those openings on the nose are called nares, and the giant openings behind those are called orbital fenestrae. The smaller openings behind that are where the actual eyes were. This one seems to have dropped a lot of ribs, and I question the excavator's technique of tunneling beneath the specimen in case of collapse, but whatevz.


But the tunnel does let you take some pretty fun pictures!  There are so many cool photo ops in the Boneyard.

These are more ribs. And Emma. And a ball socket joint behind her head. Maybe part of a shoulder.

Sometimes, I occasionally know what I'm talking about.  Silly Athos.

Rex was there. Also who are R.C. and H.R.? I don't know either.  I don't think they're paleontologists.  Maybe imagineers?

MARSH! MARSHSSHSHHHHHHHH! *foaming at mouth* maaaaarshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Athos, dear, why don't you tell us who Marsh is and why he makes you so angry?

He's a very bad man. He stole credit for a bunch of things his infinitely more charismatic rival Edward Drinker Cope found and stole fossils from private land and all sorts of bad things. He also came up with the name brontosaurus for a dinosaur when he knew FULL WELL that the dinosaur already had a name, and he just wanted to be able to name another one. I don't like him.

Apparently there have been plenty of fierce rivalries in the field of paleontology, and Cope v. Marsh is only one of them.  The president of the Dino Institute in the Dinosaur ride is also named Marsh, so maybe the etching refers to her.

I'm screaming at the table. Can't take the Marsh.


Had to share these last two photos I came across getting this update ready.  Athos joked it should be called the "phoneyard" because of all the parents waiting around on their devices!  I must confess to having been bored in the Boneyard myself in the past, but maybe next time I'll learn something new about a hadrosaur instead. :)