Friday, October 30, 2015

Disney's Haunted Mansions Around the World

Tomorrow night is Halloween when streets all across the United States will be haunted by costumed kids seeking candy from strangers. It never seemed like an odd tradition to me until we moved overseas and tried explaining it to our international friends. Kids thought it sounded fantastic, and adults thought it was irresponsible. We tried once in Malaysia to organize a friendly, American trick-or-treat excursion with limited success. This is our second year back in Texas, and my children are excited to be back out there going house to house in search of treats. Let's hope that the flash flood and tornado watch we're under right at this moment ends before then. At the rate the rain is coming down, it's going to feel like Venice here soon, and we'll have to trick-or-treat via canoes.

Even though we couldn't always celebrate a traditional American Halloween, we could always rely on getting a little spooked at Disney's Haunted Mansion ride.  Variations appear in Disney parks around the world. I'm not a gal who likes her haunted houses scary, so the Disney version strikes just the right balance between goofy and less-than-terrifying for me.The rest of the park may be cheery and happy, but the mood and cast members are a somber lot at the Haunted Mansion.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cruising on the Disney Dream: Youth Activities Clubs

I'll admit that I was a tad apprehensive about the how much fun my kids would have at the Kids Clubs when we went cruising on the Disney Dream. With my youngest one being 9 years old, everyone was far past the stage of being fascinated by princesses, Cars, or Toy Story. I had long ago stopped leaving them in the free childcare at the gym because they were completely bored. As it turns out, I had no reason to worry. Trying to compare a gym's childcare to one on a Disney cruise ship is like trying to compare a tilt-a-whirl ride at the county fair to Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain. When it comes to entertaining kids, Disney truly excels.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Road Goes On Forever

I had a different post planned for this past weekend. It's only half-written at this point, and with a little luck, I'll have it done by next weekend. Ever since we moved back to Texas from Malaysia, I've felt sooooo busy. I'm convinced it's because I now spend all my time in my car driving around. It's something that my friend who repatriated at the same time I did also commented on when we first returned. At least we have great music on the radio!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cruising on the Disney Dream: Inside Stateroom versus Oceanview

Sailing on the Disney Dream

When we decided to take our kids on their first cruise, we chose Disney and ended up setting the bar so high that any future non-Disney cruise will pale in comparison. Since our family has already visited Disney parks in Florida, California, Hong Kong, Japan and Paris, we were eager to explore how Disney handles the high seas.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dreaming of an Indian Summer

False store fronts hid the 5-foot-way of Armenian Street when it was transformed into the town of Simla, India.

Dreams are a weird thing. They can be familiar but with details thrown in that keep them from seeming completely real. Friends rub elbows with characters from movies. Scenes plucked from your memory are altered until they no longer seem like something belonging to you. And when you wake up, you find yourself grasping at the remnants as it drifts away and trying to decipher what in the world it means. As strange as it may sound, I fell into a kind of dream state watching television last night even though I was wide awake.

Indian Summers recently premiered in America on PBS Masterpiece. Originally broadcast on BBC Channel 4, it's been deemed the heir to the "period costume drama" crown currently held by Downton Abbey. Set in Simla, an Indian town in the foothills of the Himalayas, in 1932 as the British Raj is beginning to unwillingly loosen its hold there, the on-location filming is visually rich and enticing. Except, it was not filmed in India. Indian Summer was filmed in Penang, Malaysia. Simla had an overabundance of modern structures and a monsoon season that would wreak havoc with the production. So, the producers cast their sights further afield and decided on Penang instead. Sharing the same British colonial history, both cities have similar architectural influences. There's also a sizeable Indian population in Malaysia and plenty of white expats to serve as extras.
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