Epcot and American Adventure

Every time I have visited Disney, I felt that Epcot was by far the lamest of all four parks. The rides are mostly educational and nothing at all in the thrill category. After the Backstage Magic Tour, I have a brand new appreciation for Epcot.
For starters Epcot and The World Showcase were suppose to be two separate parks. I believe it was a financial decision to make them one. The World Showcase was Walt Disney’s idea of how to show people not to be afraid of other cultures. In the original park design America was supposed to be between Canada and Mexico and a five-story building. However where the showcase joins Epcot is where America should have been so they had to move it across to the opposite side of the showcase. However a five-story colonial building would look like a huge eye sore between Japan and Italy. Here is a picture of it and it is indeed five stories.IMG_4839.jpgI will share the Disney Magic with you. First of all the first floor is underground. If you pay attention when you are walking towards the building, the ground goes uphill. More magic of how four floors look like three. It’s call forced perspective. From a distance and if you aren’t paying attention the doors on the outside look normal size. Now look at Emily standing next to the door. They are huge.IMG_4840On the inside it looks like there is a cathedral ceiling.IMG_4841However the ceiling is actually flat and it’s painted that way. Above this is the theater that presents a show about the history of America. There are no windows in the next level because it’s actually between the third and forth floor but the outside makes it look like the second floor.IMG_4842When we had our tour Epcot was not open but they were doing a test run on the show. The show has a movie in the background with animatronics that pop up. George Washington and Ben Franklin are the hosts. There was a cast member watching to make sure all the animatronics were working and all the clothes and things were in the right place. We then got to go back behind the screen and the stage and see how it all runs. It is still run by a computer from the 1980’s. Those huge ones that are as tall as people. It runs the scene changer which starts completely under the seats and moves back one scene at a time. The animatronics pop up in time with the movie. It is huge and yet you cannot feel or hear it moving when watching the show. Someone asked why they didn’t update the computer. If they updated computer they would have to update the scenes, the animatronics and on and on. It works just fine so there is no reason fixing something that is not broken.
If you ever wondered why Epcot had sponsors for the rides and things we learned the  answer. When they first built Epcot the way to save their money was to offer up cooperate sponsorships and get part of it paid that way. Why pay for something, if you can find someone else to do it.                                                                                                       We also learned that in the nighttime show Illuminations Reflection of Earth there are two people in the earth that floats across the water.  The earth eventually opens up into a flower with a torch in the center. Emily and I had to watch the show after hearing the back story. Somewhere there is a lead-lined sitting area that two people are in during the entire show. This is how they drive it across the lake. They do not come out until everything is cooled down and they get the ok. That alone would send me into a claustrophobic panic attack.


Our tour girl was totally into pyrotechnics so we learned a lot. No, Disney does not make their own fireworks but it is heavily regulated and they must have all sorts of permits. If it is raining they can get the entire firework show set up in two hours, otherwise they normally take their time. It was interesting during the day to watch the lake and see as the fireworks had been added. We even got to see where the flower is kept during the day.

Mole Moral ~ It only took five trips to Disney for me to appreciate Epcot which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.


Textile Services

Eight years ago when I went to Disney with the family, I took a four hour walking tour called Keys to the Kingdom. I was able to see a lot of behind the scenes at Disney and it was just fantastic. I then read about Backstage Magic which was seven hours long and I knew one day I had to do it. This was the year and I made Emily go with me. It was super expensive but worth every penny to me. We visited five different areas so this blog is about the laundry at Disney.
Disney currently has thirty-six resorts and I have no idea how many restaurants that use linen, tablecloths etc. They have four different laundry facilities on site all of which operate sixteen hours a day every day. The other eight hours are maintenance for the machines. Each facility services specific resorts because you cannot mix the high thread count linens with the low count. We visited the one that is in charge of the value resorts as we stayed in Toy Story at All Star Movies.
The laundry is trucked into one side of the building where it is then hand sorted by employees so that each type is washed by itself. Meaning towels with towels, pillowcases with pillowcases etc. They drop into these huge laundry bags that then run along a track hanging from the ceiling.

Textile Services

Does this remind you of anything? The doors in Monsters Inc. came from this set up. Although the Disney artists never visited textile services it was based on industrial laundry facilities.  They then flow over to the washing machines. The linen has a chip in them which tells the washing machine what item it is and then sets the cycle for that type. It then goes to the dryer and they have automatic folders for sheets, towels etc.
The employees then put them back in the same bins they arrived in. But the bins go through their own wash and dry machine as well. The bins are loaded back onto the trucks that dropped the dirty stuff off and back to the resorts it goes.
If you are looking at the laundry facility, the dirty arrives on the right and the clean leaves on the left. There is no cross contamination. No photos were allowed but our tour girl could take some which I downloaded off of a special website.


Here’s the kicker. At just one facility if you did the amount of laundry they do in sixteen hours one load at a time, twenty-four hours a day, how long do you think it would take you? SEVENTY-TWO years. Now that’s a lot of laundry!

Mole Moral ~ There should be no more complaining on Sunday’s about six loads of laundry that the Mole house does.


Meet the Flintstones

Growing up Brian’s favorite show was The Flintstones. I’m pretty sure he’s seen every episode. One of his favorite expressions is “that Barney Rubble, what an actor.” Sometime after I had picked out my new fifty mile marathon, I was scrolling through Facebook when someone posted that the Flintstones RV park in Arizona was for sale. I clicked on it and started reading about it. I discovered the owners also owned one in South Dakota that has been sold about a year ago. They are now in their seventies and ready to retire. So I looked up the one in South Dakota and discovered it was located in Custer. I was so excited and decided I would surprise Brian when we arrived.
About a week before we left I was looking up the address to the place. Someone posted that it has been torn down and there was nothing to see. I was so disappointed and told Brian what had happened. It was another Schleprock strikes again. Schleprock is a character from Pebbles and Bam-Bam show. (Pebbles was Fred’s daughter and Bam-Bam was Barney’s). Schleprock always had a dark cloud hanging over him and everywhere he went so did bad luck. During our twenty-five year anniversary trip is when I was given the nickname Schleprock by Brian.
As we were driving into Custer the billboard for the Flintstones RV park was still up so we decided we were checking it out. The park was about a quarter-mile from our first hotel.

This is what we saw when we first walked up.

IMG_5182I texted my friend Meg and said we were going in. She volunteered to pay our bail. The place was so cool for kids. It’s a shame it’s been bought and left to fall apart. We enjoyed visiting Fred and Barney’s house and all the play areas they had for kids. Even the bathroom was cute. Brian and I both enjoyed it and worth the risk.


Mole Moral ~ Just because it’s on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s true.



The Journey Home

Yesterday was an extremely long day. I woke up at 5:30 am Denmark time which was 9:30 pm Missouri time. For the last time i had bacon and fresh-cut pineapples for breakfast. The pineapple was the best. Mom and I were off the boat by 7:45. We were herded onto busses to take us back to the airport. There were four buses total to take us to a tent where our luggage was located. Of course we ended up being the very last people in line to go in the tent. This made it easy to find our suitcases and the fact that they are orange helped a lot too. We then walked twenty miles into the airport. During the time we were waiting to get our luggage people were sneaking into the tent through a different entrance. We were scheduled to fly home Air Canada and guess what their desk did not even open until 9:15 to check luggage. So all those jerks that were in such a hurry had to wait anyway. We could not check in via the little machines because US passports do not have a bar code. So we stood in line forever to check our bags. I had done online check in but couldn’t print boarding passes because no telling what the cruise would charge to print. (haha) We then came across 7-11 and stopped for drinks and snacks. I found it so funny there is a 7-11 in Copenhagen airport. We then walked forever to our terminal. The flight was seven hours long. We left at 12:15 and arrived in Toronto at 7:15 (Copenhagen time) but it was now 2:15 in the afternoon. I watched three movies. My favorite all time cheerleading movie Bring it On, Despicable me 2, and Wild. Now I had read the book Wild, it’s about a girl who went hiking on the Pacific Trail Coast with zero experience and used it as therapy to get over her divorce and the death of her mother. The book was so much better but I enjoyed watching it. I didn’t sleep at all. After we landed in Toronto the adventure really began.

We got off the airplane and walked a really long way before we reached the area for going to the united states. We walked up to computers where you had to scan your passport and answer if you were bringing wildlife into the country. That took forever to get it to read our passports. We then entered the line for security which  was huge and the folks were crabby and made everyone take off their shoes. Of course I had to pull my computer out and everyone had to take off jackets. We finally managed to get through that to another line to go through customs. By this time it’s 3:30 and our flight was due out at 4:15. We got moved to an even longer line because we had an X on the paper that printed after the passport scanning. Finally mom went and complained we were going to miss our flight so we got moved to a priority line. I am not sure what was wrong with our passports but it was fixed within five minutes. So we go to find our gate and it now says our flight is cancelled. I’m thinking if I’m stuck in Canada until tomorrow I’m going to kill someone. I just wanted to get home and see Brian and Allyson. So we go to the desk and find we’ve been put on another flight that will be a half an hour later and had new boarding passes printed.

The flight to St. Louis was uneventful. I think I may have slept 45 minutes but it was that time where I was dreaming I was awake. Mom was convinced our suitcases would be lost but they showed right up on the carousal. Brian waited until right before we landed to leave so we only had to wait about five minutes till he picked us up. This worked out nicely since mom hadn’t smoked a cigarette since the suitcase line in Denmark. He forgets he is taking her home and takes 55 instead of 270 so we had the scenic tour. We dropped her off and headed home. I was so glad to be home and fell asleep around 8:30 after being up for about 22 hours. I haven’t done that in at least 16 years when I use to do an occasional overnight shift in the burn unit.


Mole Moral~ It’s always an adventure to go on vacation with me. Any crazy thing that can happen probably will. This trip was no exception and left us with many fun memories.


Deck Chair Guy

I arrived on the ship on a Wednesday and the very next day was a sea day. Since I am still training for the 50k, I decided to waste no time and do my ten-mile run. I was happy to discover the ship track was a quarter-mile so four laps was a mile. That was the day I used GPS and the crazy thing said I did 38 miles with a 3:45 pace. No worries as I adjusted that. It was that first run that I noticed a guy stacking up the deck chairs for the night. He was easy on the eyes as well so it made the time pass nicely.
I didn’t do all the runs I was supposed to because there were days when it was so windy the track was closed. But every time I ran I would see deck chair guy. The day I did the marathon after the second mile it was raining and so windy the deck was closed so I ran on deck twelve under cover around the tables. I actually walked because the deck was wet and I wasn’t falling. Deck chair guy did not disappoint as he was in the towel exchange booth for an hour or so. Every time I rounded the corner there he was. I swear every time I looked over he was looking at me. He was probably thinking what is wrong with this woman running around in circles and in all orange.
So today I decided to be brave and go up and talk to him. His English wasn’t the best and I don’t think many crazy ladies talk to him. I asked if his only job was the chairs and he said no he can serve drinks, and he was a deck server. This cruise was not warm at all so there was not a lot of people out by the pool. So I am sure he didn’t have a lot to do. Plus I swear I’m one of the youngest people on the cruise. I asked to take his picture and I got his name tag because I want to mention him in the email survey about the cruise. His job is one that is not front and center but important and he probably never gets recognition. (It’s kind of like being the nurse that takes care of patients right after surgery, they are too drugged up to remember that nurse.) I did thank him for helping me pass the time while running and told him I was training for a 50k.
I will post his picture but keep in mind two things. One he had a hat on which hid his awesome hair and two he is probably 6/6 and weighed 150 pounds. His pants were always high waters.


And those of you that know me, know how I like tall and super thin. Hee hee.

Mole moral ~ Take the time to recognize and appreciate the people behind the scenes who are often overlooked.



My new nickname

imageBrian and I have a nickname for almost everyone we know. The more we like someone, the more nicknames we have. A few of mine are ma sqaw, not the mama (from a show called The Dinosaurs that was on when Emily was little), crabby for thirty years, Rach etc. About the time we hit Death Valley Brian started calling me Schleprock. After a couple of days I asked him what that was about. He loved The Flinstones when he was little so he told me that Schleprock was a character on the show that always had bad luck. He said Fred and Barney would tell him to go away.
I was the one who planned the vacation so I earned the nickname.

Here is a recap of our disaster vacation.
1. We went to pick up the rental car and the lady gave us two choices so we picked the bigger one. When we checkout a different lady says it’s a bigger size and we owe more money. I said that’s not happening that lady told us we could have that one. So I had to track her down in the parking lot and she attempts to blame me. I confronted her and she signed the paper so it was the same price.
2. At the end of the race my phone jams up and I did not get a picture with the bear.
3. Brian had heard about the California mudslides while I was running but thought surely it won’t affect us. Of course it did and that drive turned into nine hours.
4. Our first night we spent at sequoia it rained overnight. This caused the restaurant help to be severely understaffed from call ins. Therefore, breakfast took over an hour.
5. Some of the stuff we wanted to see was unavailable due to the rain.
6. On the way to Death Valley I look to see how much that park costs to get into and find out they had rain the night before. A bunch of people got stuck at Scotty’s castle and half of what we wanted to do was not available.
7. The place I wanted to see the most was badwater and it had already been closed from the rain the week before.
8. Death Valley had spotty cell service and our dog got lost. It’s our cell numbers on the dogs tags.
9. We arrive in the Grand Canyon to sleet and find out they usually have snow by Halloween.
10. We arrive at the airport three hours early and still almost miss the plane.

Although all this makes it seem like we had a horrible time, it really was the best vacation ever. Here are some positives
1. The plane didn’t crash.
2. It was fun to watch Brian be amazed by the trees, wildlife, and nature. He was in guy heaven.
3. I found an amazing ring made by Navajo’s.
4. I ran my race faster than I thought I would.
5. Many hours of quality time due to no wifi and cell service.
6. My dog was found and safe.

Brian bought himself some property so I told him I’m picking the anniversary trip. I think he was pleasantly surprised how man like it was. He loved the Grand Canyon tour and said it was more than worth the money. That says a lot more than I could ever articulate.

Mole moral~ When crazy things happen on vacation come up with a funny nickname and have fun with it. As we were booking down the hall to get on the plane I put my hands over my head and yelled I am Shleprock.


Death Valley

The idea to visit Death Valley came about this past June when my mom, Allyson, and I all visited Uncle Larry in South Carolina. My mom wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway because she heard it was beautiful. While we were driving it, I noticed it was a national park. After arriving back to Uncle Larry’s house I googled national parks and Death Valley came up. So then I google Death Valley and came across a book called To the Edge: A Man, Death Valley, and the mystery of Endurance. It’s about a writer who was to cover an ultramarthon race in Death Valley valley and decided to run it himself with only seven months training. After I finished the book I knew I had to visit and informed Brian that we would be going there for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I really had no idea what to expect.

There are only three places to stay unless you want to camp. (Not this girl). Furnace creek, stovepipe wells, and Panamint springs. When I was pricing them some of the rooms at furnace creek were 600 a night. I eliminated that place really quick and it was by far the nicest from the outside. It seems like Panamint springs was not open which is just as well because it looked a little shabby. We stayed at stovepipe wells which was in the middle. It got its name back in the day as the only well around. Miners would come to find it and someone finally stuck a stovepipe up to mark it. It is no longer in use but can be seen three miles away. However due to the rain the night before that road was closed. It was the same road that ran to Scotty’s Castle which was also closed. Actually the rainstorm stranded a group of people up there for 24 hours.

No one lives in death valley except the people who work there. There are no subdivisions or anything.

The race starts at badwater which is 279 feet below sea level and the lowest point in North America. I wanted to see this most of all but it had been closed for a week due to the rain they received the week before. We were able to see it from Dantes pass which was 5000 feet above sea level. The hotel was at sea level and it was 80 degrees and Dantes pass was 60. The change in temperature and air pressure related to how far above sea level we were was really fascinating. The race ends at Mt. Whitney which is 8300 feet above sea level. The race goes past all three hotels and is 135 miles long. I thought it was a slow climb, boy was I ever wrong. We drove part of the course as they run right on the highway. It’s climbing up and down 5000 feet at least three times. It’s total insanity.

There were a few things open to see and they were really cool. Brian and I hiked 2 miles into a canyon which said do not attempt of rain predicted. We quickly realized even .2 inch of rain would cause flash flooding and down pouring of water. The ground is so hard it doesn’t absorb much of anything so rain washes everything out.

I wanted to see the place that actually has fish but it was rained out. The place with the moving rocks also not available. I did convince Brian to drive down rainbow canyon and it was kind of like Dorothy waking up in Oz. This area receives a lot more rain. There were big trees and they were green. I found red and yellow plants. Some of the trees had orange flowers. There was an 8 mile hike we wanted to do but we had no time. We had to leave for the Grand Canyon. The colors were awesome but I’m an earth color person.

There is so much more to see and do that I already told Brian I want to come back for my big birthday. It is only a ninety minute drive from Vegas. I would like to stay for five days. This means I need to work on upper body and core so we can do some of the harder hikes.


Mole moral~ you just never know what agreeing to walk a half marathon with Jen P and Erin S would lead to six years later. That led to running which lead me to the book which brought me to Death Valley the most awesome place I’ve ever been.