TRAVELSCRIBBLES is a blog featuring travel reports, advice, and idea sharing for those interested in both domestic and international exploration.

Roger Sauer and his wife Donna have spent years traveling the world but have many places yet to see. You can follow their past and current travels here as well as post comments and questions about places they have visited.

Roger and Donna travelled to New Zealand and Australia in September, 2013. They will be in Paris in September 2015 with a train trip to Nice and Barcelona. They will then be aboard the Disney Magic (again) for a transatlantic cruise to Miami. Follow their travels on Twitter @rsauer3473.

Donna and Roger own Disney Vacation Club memberships at Old Key West and Beach Cub resorts in Walt Disney World. They also have other timeshare interests in Maui, Cancun, Orlando, and Palm Springs.
Feel free to contact them at 503-585-3473 if you would like rent one of these properties.

Where Do You Want To Go Today?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World

Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World is a top notch water park with something for everybody. Unfortunately everybody was there yesterday, a Friday. The park's slides, wave pool, lazy river, water roller coaster known as the Crushin Gusher, and kids area offer families or teens an activity that they will enjoy. During slower seasons the lines are modest. During the summer and holidays the lines can be intimidating. There was a 45 minute wait for the family tube ride and, as there is little shade in the queues, the wait can be oppressive when temps are in the 90's. Crushin Gusher's wait was a shorter 15 minutes by mid afternoon. The lazy river could be enjoyed at any times though there were some bottlenecks.

A few suggestions for summer visits:
1. Check out a park map to familiarize yourself with areas.
2. If you use Disney transportation, allow an hour to get to the park as most buses also stop at Downtown Disney.
3. Come before the park opens, get a locker if necessary, and get your spot. Good shady areas are grabbed up first.
4. Slide lines grow during the day; experience your top choices early as you would in the parks.
5. Bring drinks and snacks: food here is Disney-priced. There is an an all-you-can-drink cup at about $11.
6. Sunscreen is a must.
7. Crowds begin to leave by noon though we observed some arriving as late as 4 PM when the park was open until 8 PM.
8. If you are at WDW and expect to go to water parks more than once along with the parks, getting the water parks and more option on your parks pass becomes a bargain.

Kapalua Bay Villas 33-B2

We rented this unit in mid- November for. November 28 through December 12 stay. In the past we have stayed at Kapalua Ridge or Golf Villas but, as this was last minute, we took this unit. The rate through Sullivan Properties in Maui was a bargain $133 per night as our dates fell within the Fall discount period. This was for a unit that generally rents for $250 nightly.

Units are either ground level or bridge level to take advantage of the sloping terrain that provides lovely views toward Molokai. There is lush landscaping with spacious lawn areas. Palm trees are everywhere.

The development has three pool and gas barbecue areas accessible through security- coded gates. Each has well-equipped bath and kitchen prep facilities, though one evening our barbecue was out of propane causing just to migrate to another area. Barbecues are upscale Webers.

Our unit was a one bedroom townhouse accessible via a bridge from the roadway. The small kitchen opened up to the living area with large windows toward the South and the sea. The bedroom is up a flight of stairs and features a large bathroom and a small lanai. Living and bedroom areas are carpeted, not tiled like many Kapalua upgraded condo units. Given the large windows and many louvered vents near the floor, one can get a lot of light and fresh breezes in the unit. There is no air conditioning and it was missed.

Despite the low price this unit proved to be less than a bargain as it had not been upgraded or reasonably maintained. (Kapalua condos date from the late 70's and 80's).
Carpets were not very clean. Windows were dingy and after two days the patio screen door collapsed forcing us to keep the patio door open for a breeze. There was no lock on the patio door. My wife spent an early morning (made available due to jet lag) cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, and sweeping. The only broom is an old corn type for use inside and out. The kitchenware including pots and pans appeared to have been garage sale leftovers.

Oh, and there were ants. In the living area and bathroom.

Upon changing linen after five nights we discovered that the mattress pad...well, let's just say, the pad showed signs of use.

All these issues were discussed with Sullivan Properties representatives Tim and Erin, who are great. (The mattress pad was delivered to the office). We were told that the unit is owned by a foreign family that seldom visits. This neglect shows everywhere. The screen was repaired within three days and a Terminix man stopped by to treat the unit.

High points: upscale location, view, and great pool spaces
Low points: lack of maintenance and cleaning; dated feel in this specific condo

Recommendation: this unit might be okay at a discount. If you pay full price, you are paying too much.

Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

If your kitchen is like ours, you have small bottles and boxes of spices that have maintained their place on upper shelves since 1983. Well, at Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge the chefs use those spices to make basically American dishes taste different and, of course, exotic.

This non-character buffet is a favorite of ours and we try to dine there on every visit. There is ample food as befitting a buffet and there is a rotating menu during the week where different vegetables and soups and main courses are offered. On our Saturday meal, the soups included a carrot/ cinnamon blend that was flavorful. Baked salmon with an olive tapenade was available as were beef ribs (that had little meat on them). Every evening you will find prime rib carved for you and spit-roasted chicken.

Side dishes include some exotic items: fufu, a mashed sweet potato, potato, and cinnamon mix that could almost be a dessert; pap, a smooth grain mixture like cream of wheat; couscous; and some salads that should be tried more than once with different dressings. Desserts include bread pudding, brownies, cookies, mousses, Zebra domes (frosted cupcake-like items), and fresh fruit.

The setting is in the first level of the Jambo House with fabrics spread across the ceiling so that the room with open kitchen appears like an African market. The buffet line faces the kitchen, but it is a bit confusing. Most diners head for the plates near the back wall of the room. The first station includes starches then the meats, poultry, and fish. Moving left one encounters the children's station with chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Following this are soups then salads and fruit then desserts. Those desiring to have a salad before their main course will need to enter mid-line.

Waitpersons are attentive and keep beverages full. A wine list featuring South African wines is available. Dinner buffet price is about $40 per person.

DISNEY TOP TENS: Even Icons Need a Sense of Humor


10. Your Mears driver cruises by all the Orlando adult entertainment venues on your way to the Art of Animation Resort.

9.  The severely discounted Disney tickets you bought at a booth on 192 have something about Holy Land Experience written on them.

8. The only ADR you can get is for the Frontierland Turkey Leg cart at 10:30 AM.

7. The only motion exhibited by the Yeti in Expedition Everest is flipping you off.

6. You are surrounded by a contingent of Birthers in the Hall of Presidents.

5. The trainee server at Kona Cafe asks you how you would like your sushi cooked.

4. Three of the little French characters in It's a Small World can be seen peeing into the canal ahead of you.

3. Illuminations is cancelled and replaced by the Brazilian Tour Group Day-Glo T-Shirt Parade

2. Your My Magic + wristband malfunctions causing the Orlando airport X-ray device to provide you with a reasonably thorough colonoscopy.

1. The bus driver taking you to the Magic Kingdom looks a lot like Steve Buscemi.


10. When you give the attendant your FastPass, he chews it up and swallows it.

9. Your Pirates of the Caribbean boat loading cast member asks you to deliver a lunch bag to Pirate #23 near the bridge.

8.  When you ask how to make Dumbo move up and down, the operator says, "Just pull my finger."

7. The It's a Small World cast member tells you he is engaged to the third little French girl on the left.

6. The Space Mountain operator tells you the start button is in his left front pocket.

5. The stretch room host in Haunted Mansion smells of chloroform.

4. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin operator offers you naked pictures of Princess Jasmine.


10. FastPass Gas

9. World Showcase chafing

8. The "cutes"

7. Premature animation

6. Dole Whiplash

5. Mickey Bar freezer burn

4. Painful Rectal Stitch


2. Moldy Water Smell Psychosis

Soarin'- Induced Male Pattern Baldness


10. St. Swithins' Day Steak and Kidney Pie Eating Contest

9. Arbor Day Tree of Life Climbing Event

8. Labor Day "Union Bustin' Bonanza" in Frontierland

7. Fall Equinox Tribute to Wiccans

6. Summer Dog Days "Everything Pluto" Celebration

5. Election Day Rider Suppression Activities

4. Epcot Bastille Day Haute Couture Soirée and Beheadings

3. Back-to-School Truancy Reporting and Detention Fair on Main Street

2. Flu Season Parade of Moist Tissues 

1. Two words: Summer Sweatfest


10. Your Starspeeder is captured by the powerful gravitational field surrounding William Shatner.

9. You and your fellow guests attack little kids riding brooms at Universal Studios.

8. Destination: Uranus!

7. Strafing the luggage carousels at MCO.

6. Shrunken down to the size of a ham sandwich by Darth Vader, you are devoured by Jabba the Hutt.

5. Your vehicle becomes entangled in the gigantic hair buns of the Amazing 50 Foot Princess Leia!

4. The Starspeeder is mooned by selected Star Wars characters.

3. Escape from Planet Chris Christie!

2. Attack of the Turkey Leg Clones!

1. Two Words: Buffet Battleground


10. Captain Jack’s Sweaty Sailor Soda

9. Stitch’s Slimy Soy Bursts

8. Davy Crockett’s Toasted Ferret Feet

7. Tinkerbell’s Very Merry Fairy Berry Non-Dairy Lighter-than-airy Spun Sugar Wads

6. Pumbaa’s Five-Alarm Chili Bombs

5. Splash Mountain Gator Grab Bags

4. Cosmic Ray’s French Fried Beet Rings

3. Uncle Roy’s Thunder Mountain Oysters

2. Bay Lake Lager

Bob Dole Whip


10. Freightliner’s “Road Scrapin’s” Buffeteria on 528

9. Louie’s Low Tide Surplus Seafood Feast (open only Tuesdays at the edge of the Big Walmart on 535)

8. Lil’ Paree Authentic French Hors d’oeuvres by the Kilo in Winter Park

7. Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!! Eat Here and Get Gas!! (never in the same place twice; this trailer was last seen behind the car wash at the Hess Station on Buena Vista Drive)

6. “Meat du Soleil” Carnivore Buffet and Select Circus Acts on 192

5. “Just Like Mom’s” Dinner Buffet and Guilt Party in Kissimmee

4. “Mine, Mine, Mine!” All-You-Can-Eat Seabird Specials just west of Cocoa Beach

3. The St. Cloud “Mouse Feast” Featuring Slow Roasted North Carolina Muskrat

2. The Cafeteria at Valencia Community College near St. Cloud on 192

The Official Disney Leftover Restaurant at the Premium Outlets

Top Ten Little Known Features of the 2012 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World

10. Half the calories of the 2011 edition

9. If you print it out, it’s gluten free!!

8. Pages 196-97 feature a full color fold out of Lou Mongello …dining at Bistro de Paris

7. It can be converted into a medium size popcorn container

6. It includes a coupon which, when presented in the Magic Kingdom, entitles the bearer to a turkey leg and small soft drink

5. Forty recipes for indigestion relief are included in an accompanying plastic card signed by AJ Wolfe

4. Contains a powerful endorsement written by Len Testa before a memorable couple of hours at Cava del Tequila

3. Fresh minty taste

2. It makes the menu at Nine Dragons appear somewhat palatable

Two words: Lactose tolerant


10. Buy a tree, decorate it, and pretend Christmas is right around the corner.

9. Encourage your friends to join you in an "O Canada!" movie marathon in Epcot.

8. Set up an old fashioned car wash stand at the Hess Gas Station across from Downtown Disney.

7. You know, even though the water around Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom is kinda green, it IS wet.

6. Challenge guests around World Showcase to discuss their chafing issues.

5. Always walk on the north side of your taller or heavier friends.

4. Swim the canals in "It's a Small World" as Atlantean mermaids and mermen.

3. Rent a barstool in Cava Tequila from noon to midnight.

2. Spend all your DDP dining credits on bottles water.

Three words: Dole Whip Underwear


10. Parks now offer Half Fast Passes allowing guest to move half way up the standby line.

9. Famous Disney turkey legs are being replaced by turkey knees.

8. Epcot's evening fireworks spectacular is reduced to IllumiBalkans.

7. Osborne Christmas lights are replaced by large swatches of Day-Glo paint in the backlot.

6. Tables in Wonderland dining program becomes Barstools in Bayonne fast food discount.

5. Hall of Secretaries of the Interior.

4. Those Peel n' Eat Shrimp come half peeled, half eaten.

3. Mickey's Mildly Annoying Halloween Party.

2. "Finding Nemo" stage show is transformed into an all-you-can-catch fishing derby in the river surrounding the Tree of Life.

1. Duffy the Disney Bear remains surprisingly unchanged.


You may have heard recently that Disney Parks and Resorts is investing huge amounts of money to help guest preplan their visits with its new My Magic + RFID wristbands. This may include scheduling FastPass times for attractions in advance, getting character interaction appointments and also meal reservations and parade seating. Will this be a good thing? Will it lead to better carefree planning or spontaneity-free vacations? Time will tell. Until then, consider these other time saving vacation strategies that Disney could implement:

10. Billy and Sally's Disney character autograph books come pre-signed!

9. Couldn't get that ADR at Jiko? Disney will deliver to your room a doggie bag from any restaurant and make you feel like you had really dined there!

8. "Room Only" reservations will get you the next available room regardless of specific resort request you made. No Waiting for check-in time!

7. For one low price Disney will offer little Kissimmee children to wait in line for you all day. And they are dressed like Small World characters, too!

6. Send in photos of your family and each person from little Mikey to Grandma Ellie can be photoshopped into picture perfect park scenes AS IF THEY WERE REALLY THERE!

5. Can't make time for a trip to Walt Disney World? Send for Mickey's Virtual Vacation tablets. These flavor-filled chewables contain easily digestible microscopic memory chips that instill in busy brains detailed memories of a Disney World trip. 

4. Stuck in a slow moving FastPass line in Splash Mountain? Use "Disney Line Lube" to slip between those Brazilian soccer teams and hefty Iowa farm families!

3. Afraid of taking too much time out of touring by taking in a Disney all-you-can-eat meal? Try Goofy's Speedy Buffet- your dining choices include appetizer sticks, cup-a-soup, starch bowl, and protein loaf. A real time saver for busy park hoppers!

2. Worried about getting an early start at the parks in the morning? Sleep in luxury in one of the vehicles of Disney's Magical Express as it drives every night around the resort! Be first through the gate bright and early! And it is cheaper than a value resort!

Mickey's Virtual Vacation (Number 5 above) is also available as a suppository.


10. "Space Mountain" becomes "Lost Luggage Limbo" where guests are hurtled around the Orlando Airport in four-person Samsonite vehicles.

9. "Jungle Cruise" can be retrofitted along the lines of HGTV's "Plan You Own Disney Back Yard" program. Guest receive complimentary Venus fly traps at the ride's end.

8. "Stitch's Great Escape" takes a page from reality TV as the audience beholds the teletransportation of Snooki from the New Jersey shore to Orlando. Simply imagine jello shots in the dark!

7. Just switch the soundtracks for "Small World" and "Haunted Mansion."

6. Under a new marketing agreement with the makers of Ty-D-Bowl toilet cleaner, Mad Tea Party becomes a tribute to effective bathroom hygiene.

5. "The Tower of Terror" takes on a festive French flair when the fast dropping elevators become "The Guillotines of Robespierre!"

4. The ever-maligned Mission: Space takes on a new guise as the producers of Cuisinart food processors present "If We Were Food."

3. All propane supplies are interrupted as Tomorrowland Speedway becomes "Gridlock!!"

2. The National Rifle Association funds the merging of the "Frontierland Arcade" and "Country Bears Jamboree" as they become "Varmints!!" a fast-shooting game of skill and cunning. Big Al's song becomes surprisingly prescient.

Three words: "Soarin' over Detroit."


10. Commander Jedidiah and the Intergalactic Amish Peace Force

9. Painful Rectal Stitch

8. CrossDresser: Denizen of the Garment District

7. The Ectoplasmic Drooler

6. Norval, the Jonas Brother who Couldn't Sing

5. Titmouse, Tiny Scourge of the Las Vegas Underworld

4. FastPasser, speedy theme park superstar (not to be confused with GassPasser, a noxious villain)

3. The Arlen Spectre

2. The Phlegmaniac, The Hacking and Sniffling Cold and Flu Season Bad Guy

1. Stuffy, the Hellish Spawn of Stitch and Duffy


10. The ambience was something between Waffle House and a Hess station.

9. The candlelight was so dim we were compelled to burn our menus to read them.

8. We knew this was going to be a disappointing experience when our server boasted,"May I recommend our bread pudding; it is exceptionally goopy tonight."

7. When asked about vegan offerings, our waitperson suggested we substitute the Beef Wellington with a large head of cauliflower.

6. While initially disturbed by being seated next to the restroom doors, we found later that this actually improved the taste of the food.

5. The menu was divided into three sections: Healthy Choices, Flatugenic, and Slow Suicide.

4. While the tuna was described in the menu as "fresh catch of the day," it was served with bits of green foil featuring the chef's nickname "ken of the sea."

3. While not specifically rude to us, the server's frequent use of the words "Achtung" and "Dipshit" was unsettling.

2. The meal could have only been improved with a dash of saffron and the availability of a defibrillator.

"Disney Dining Plan?? Real guests pay cash."


10. Corning's "Fun with Glass Shards"

9. Robitussin's "Phlegm Magic"

8. Señor Raoul's "Exploracion Sexuelle"

7. Miracle-Gro's "Peat Moss World"

6. "Health Care Highjinx" with Governor Rick Scott

5. NBC's "Let's Get the Hell Out of Here and Go to Universal!"

4. "Wrinkle City" sponsored by AARP

3. Aetna Insurance's "Ten Minute Colonoscopies" 

2. "Four Hour Frenzy" sponsored by Viagra

1. 1,001 Uses for your ShamWow!


10. All Yachtsman Steakhouse entrees are certified 100% Prime Vertebrate

9. Counter Service meal entitles you to bottled water, Doritos, and a Tums.

8. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman is available by phone 24/7 to answer your questions on the best DDP values.

7. All the wines available on the Deluxe Plan are from Paterson, New Jersey.

6. Servers are now 45% more rude at Bistro de Paris.

5. Personally endorsed by Chris Christie.

4. For guests with dentures entrees can be ordered pre-chewed.

3. Leftover food credits can only be used for leftovers.

2. Adults may eat from the children's menu on weekdays, children can get an adult entree but with no dessert on weekends, however, with the Counter Service plan, entrees are from a special list that will be posted no earlier than 11 AM, and Le Cellier no longer......oh, forget it.

1. Fresh minty taste.


10. Riding Space Mountain without Depends

9. Loudly shouting to all the guests around you on Ellen's Energy Adventure that you remember Jamie Lee Curtis' mother in Psycho

8. Grossing out the kids in line for Dumbo with your ostomy bag

7. Ostentatiously carrying around to every park an urn with "Grandpa" engraved on it.

6. Wearing a T-shirt that reads "DNR"

5. Requesting that your steak at Le Cellier be served pre-chewed

4. Laying down in a Doom Buggy and continuing to travel around in Haunted Mansion all afternoon

3. Asking every cast member when the 3:00 parade will start

2. Chatting up Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge in the Hall of Presidents show

1. Three words: Eliminations in Epcot!