Road Trip Honeymoon: Off to a Great Start

Wedding Recaps

While it was tempting to sleep in the day after the wedding, we were both anxious to get on the road and on our way to Walt Disney World.

First, though, we had to repack the cars (thankfully I’d packed up all the decorations they delivered to the cottage on Saturday rather than putting it off), drive home and unload said cars, grab the honeymoon luggage and drop T’s suit back at Men’s Warehouse. We we there right when they opened at 11 am and at 3 pm we were driving under the Disney entrance.


Lesson learned: if you plan to take photos from the car, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to wash the windshield!

We made excellent time and absolutely no stops. I even managed to stay awake the entire ride, which is probably a first for me!

Since we’d already done online check-in and received our Magic Bands (Disney’s RFID answer to tickets, room keys, and Fastpass+ data) a month ahead of our trip, check-in was a breeze and we were soon being handed our celebration buttons and settling into our room. Now, I’d requested a first-floor corner room and we’d gotten a passholder discount about a month or so out from our trip on a Garden View room. This put us all the way in the back corner of the resort, which was great for getting to the parking lot and boat dock, not so great for getting to the buses. Had I realized how much that would matter to me by the end of the trip I might have asked for a different room, but once we were unpacked it didn’t seem worth the bother. What’s a few more steps, right?


Gotta love the towel “animals”–this one’s wearing the beads we were given when we picked up our refillable mugs in the food court.

It’s nice to be able to set the tone for the entire vacation on that first day and I think we accomplished that pretty well. We took the boat over to Downtown Disney where we picked up our Photopass+ lanyard, activated our annual passes, and did a bit of window shopping. Funny hats were tried on and the Lego store was a must-do for Mr. Road Trip.


Stopping at Downtown Disney also made it easy to get to Animal Kingdom Lodge for our dinner at Jiko–one of Disney’s Signature Dining locations. (To get from one resort to another you have to go to one of the parks or Downtown Disney–they don’t run directly between the resorts.) We were looking forward to a very nice dinner to kick off our honeymoon and Jiko definitely delivered–from the warm, rosewater-scented hand towels they bring you at the beginning of the meal to the delicious desserts. Because of my food intolerances, the chef came to the table to discuss what would or could be made to work for me and they really did an excellent job of accommodating us. This would be true for almost every restaurant we ate at this week.


Highlights of our meal at Jiko–cocktails in the bar while we waited for our table, my Wild Boar Tenderloin appetizer, T’s West African Jerk Scallops, my Lamb Two Ways, and T’s Banana Bread Pudding

It was 11 pm, I think, by the time we got back to our room, quite satisfied with our first day inside the Disney “bubble.” The fantastic meal at Jiko was perfectly honeymoon-appropriate while the shopping at Downtown Disney was a good reminder that the best part of being a responsible grown-up is indulging your inner child once in a while.

Next up: Our park strategies, what did and didn’t work.



Give the Gift of Experience


Unless you live under a rock, you know that Valentine’s Day is just over a week away.

Now I know that many people view this holiday as a money-grab by the card and chocolate industries and I’m not saying it isn’t, but I’m also not one to pass up an opportunity to say I Love You to the people in my life. (Yes, we should do that every day, but it’s nice to set aside one day in particular, too.)

For those who have no opposition to the upcoming holiday but are still wondering what to do or give to mark the occasion, have you considered laying low on the chocolates and tchotchkes, and gifting your someone special with an experience they’ll remember for the rest of their life?

How about, say, a trip to Tuscany?

Happy people congregating in Italycopyright Alessandro Moggi

Divino Tuscany 2012 is a

One-of-a-kind, 4-day celebration of the best Tuscan wines, food and culture. Divino Tuscany will offer a distinctive program that highlights premium wines: wine tastings with Tuscany’s top winemakers, seminars and grand tastings curated by James Suckling, former Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of Wine Spectator and one of the world’s most influential wine critics; special luncheons and dinners prepared by Michelin-starred chefs and entertainment organized by IMG Artists, one of the leading producers of cultural and lifestyle festivals. Participating winemakers include Marchesi Antinori, Frescobaldi, Mazzei, Ricasoli, Il Borro, Petrolo and Castello Banfi, and more.

elegantly dressed couples in a gorgeous dining roomcopyright Alessandro Moggi

Sure, this sort of trip is a little on the pricey side (€1900 per person, or around $2500 at current rates), and you still have to make travel arrangements, but spending 4 days wining and dining in Tuscany in May doesn’t sound like a bad use of this year’s vacation fund, now does it? Especially not with a line-up of activities like this:

  • Festive welcome dinner to open the second edition of Divino Tuscany with the Italian premiere screening of James Suckling’s and James Orr’s film Heart and Soul of Cuba, recently shown to rave reviews at the Sonoma Film Festival, live music from Havana’s hottest pianist, Ernán López Nussa performing with his trio, and Grappa tasting with Cuban cigars
  • Gala dinner at the opulent Palazzo Corsini on the banks of the Arno.
  • Grand Tastings at the Grand Hotel Villa Cora poured by the winemakers and proprietors themselves.
  • Saturday night dinners in the private Palazzi of the most well known Tuscan wine families.
  • Join James Suckling as he escorts you through private tastings with winemakers he has personally invited for this intimate experience.
  • Divino Tuscany will close with a relaxed country lunch at the private villa Il Palagio, courtesy of owners Sting and Trudie Styler.

people at a wine tasting in Italycopyright Alessandro Moggi

And if you go? Please send me a postcard!

at the zoo

Little Monkey Adventure

Everyday Adventures

This little monkey went to Nebraska…


This little monkey went, too…


This little monkey had a Runza…


After these two went to the zoo…

at the zoo

And this little monkey went tweet, tweet, tweet…


All the way home!

We’ll get back to the water glasses this week but I’m still running on fumes from being away from the computer for 4 days! (Hence all that tweeting on the way home.)

Travel was less than fun–2 car trips, 3 airports and 2 plane rides each there and back–but we managed. The funeral was brief (we missed the viewing on Friday night, there was just no way to make it) and the visiting was plentiful throughout the weekend. Todd’s dad’s house was built (and decorated) in the 70s and let me tell you–it’s the house that time forgot! It’s perfectly preserved retro down to the wall-to-wall shag carpeting. Of course there are pictures (over 400 from the 2 days we were in Lincoln) but I’ve yet to weed through them.

In case you’re wondering what a Runza is, it’s a ground beef and cabbage hand-held pie that (when not sold by a regional chain of restaurants by the same name) also goes by the name Bierock. It’s a local staple and one of the things Todd was looking forward to having when back in town. After making them ourselves, it was nice to compare them to the original but… yeah, I liked ours better, too. We also went to Valentino’s (another local staple) and, of course, had some Omaha Steaks. The new monkey came from the Lincoln Children’s Zoo–a spur of the moment addition to our itinerary–and is already making himself at home with the other Georges.

The posting schedule around here might be a little skewed for the rest of the week but I expect to have more on the water glasses before the end of the week.