Jackson Hole Wyoming – Day 2

After another great breakfast at the Wort Hotel we departed Jackson and proceeded to the Tetons Visitor Center where we learned more about the local animals that inhabit the area such as elk, bison, bear and moose among others.

 

 

From there we proceeded to Jenny Lake where we took a short boat ride across the lake and hiked up to Hidden Falls. It was a very scenic hike, not too rugged. The trail followed along a river that flowed from the falls down to the lake. We were amazed at how much snow we saw for mid June as we proceeded higher up the trail. What made this even more exciting, this was the first time that our teens, Sarah and Andrew had seen snow. So, not only did they see snow, they played in it, fell down in it and had a snow ball fight with it!

After our hike down from hidden falls, we took the boat back across the lake and had a short drive to a picnic area at String Lake. There we had a picnic lunch and enjoyed the beautiful scenery around the lake.

We proceeded up into Yellowstone Park through the south entrance. We drove up the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway and boy did we see a lot of snow there! Having just been reopened in mid May, the road was freshly plowed and there were deep banks of snow in places along the side of the road and visible through the forest.

We stopped at an area along the way to view some of the thermal features of Yellowstone Park. We learned that there is more thermal activity in Yellowstone than anywhere else in the world! There are four types of thermal activity. Most people are familiar with geysers, the most famous in Yellowstone if of course Old Faithful. There are also hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles or steam vents. This stop was also where we got our first “up close” look at wildlife in the park, there were several elk there who seemed to care less that we were in their domain.

From there we drove on up to the Old Faithful village where we checked into our accommodations for the next two nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Also located here is the Old Faithful Inn, the hotel that Disney modeled the Wilderness Lodge after. We walked in for a visit, and were amazed at the striking resemblance. For a moment, it almost felt like we were back in Florida!

After dinner we walked over to see Old Faithful for the first time. Old Faithful erupts approximately every ninety minutes, give or take ten minutes. All the shops and hotels in the village have signs that display the next predicted eruption time for Old Faithful. This is truly one of the most incredible sights on our adventure. As someone said, this is truly a bucket list item that can be checked off, I know it was that for me. If you’ve seen pictures, or maybe seen it on TV, it really must be seen in person to appreciate it’s granduer.

After experiencing Old Faithful up close and personal, we headed back over to the Snow Lodge and got settled in and prepared to get some rest after a long days adventures and to rejuvenate for a new day to come.

Tomorrow we are going to have a local guide take us for a guided tour of many of the geysers, yes there are more than just Old Faithful, along with some of the other thermal features of this spectacular park.

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Day – 1 Jackson Hole Wyoming

We awoke early today as our bodies were still on “back east” time and got ready for a hearty breakfast at the Silver Dollar Grill in the Wort Hotel. We let the kids sleep in for a bit and they came down later for the second breakfast seating.

After breakfast, we had a bit of free time to sight see and shop around Jackson. My wife Leslie loves to shop wherever our travel plans take us, and my daughter has an incredible affection for Moose. My son Andrew and I end up tagging along for the journey.

When our free time was over, we headed right across the street to the Jackson Playhouse for a tour of this historic landmark and it was also where we were having lunch. So think Hoop Dee Doo Revue, only at this show, the entertainers were also our servers. They were dressed in authentic western apparel, the guys as cowboys and girls as saloon gal entertainers. They sang songs and entertained with stories and also served our beverages and lunch. Bison burgers and grilled chicken salads seemed to be the big hits along with a local sarsaparilla that was a really great tasting root beer.

After our lunch it was time for a much anticipated activity, white water rafting on the Snake River. We started at the outfitter where we were fitted for wet suits, booties and fleece jackets. Keep in mind, its mid June in Wyoming, the snow is just beginning to melt on the mountains and where does all that melting snow go…the Snake River. On this particular day, posted water temperatures were 44 degrees.

We left the outfitters and headed about twenty minutes outside Jackson to the boat launch where the rafts were waiting. There, in addition to our wetsuits, were were provided splash gear, pants and a hooded jackets to keep us warm and dry. We donned our life jackets, received some instructions and split up into two groups, ten in one raft and eleven in another. Some of our group had opted not to do the whitewater trip, but to do a calmer, dryer float trip.

We launched the rafts and we were on our way down the Snake River. Myself and Tommy another Dad on the trip were picked to be the key paddlers, meaning we sat in the two front positions on each side of the raft and kept everyone paddling in sync. We had a guide on the back with a large set of oars who guided the raft down the river and gave instructions on how and when we should be paddling. The key to rafting on the Snake River as we learned is to listen to your guide and paddle through the white water. Paddling provides a kind of leverage that keeps you in the raft. Don’t paddle and you could end up toppling into the a fore mentioned “liquid snow” as our guide described the water.

We were floating along just fine learning all about the river and local terrain from our guide Mark when we came upon our first set of rapids. Mark said it would be a good test to see how we would do later on when things go really rough. I think we did okay and it wasn’t long before the real test of our skill would be tested. Called Lunch Counter, the next set of rapids prompted a scream or sigh from everyone on board. When we came up to the first “hole” we dipped down then a wall of water came over the front of the boat and covered all of us in the front of the raft. I think my forehead froze for a moment, kind of like a Dole whip brain freeze except on the outside. We successfully made it through Lunch Counter with the guidance of seasoned skipper and a great  crew. We had two more sets of rapids to make it through, “Champagne” called that because of the bubbles it makes on the side of the raft at the end, and “Ropes” because it flows over the sets of rocks like the braids of a rope.

After our raft trip, we changed into dry clothes, headed back to the hotel for a hot shower and some warm dinner. Warm, dry and fed, we headed over to the raft company’s photo shop to view the pics they took from the banks of the river. They were still processing our group so we weren’t able to purchase them then. Here’s a link to the pictures, we’ll be ordering the CD and posting the pictures when we return home.

Tomorrow we leave Jackson Hole and head into Yellowstone Park, and up to Old Faithful village to experience Yellowstone’s thermal features. We’re really excited to see geysers, hot springs and mud pots, oh my!

See you tomorrow.

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Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin on Travel with Rick

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Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin on Travel with RickWell, as Rick is traveling in Wyoming on an Adventures by Disney expedition, I thought I’d pop in and share some insight into this week’s video of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It was an absolute blast “shooting” this video. It is always great to have guest hosts ride the attractions with us and John Donahue, from www.WDWParkHoppers.com is one of the best. Being able to capture the insight of the rides that both of them have is a privilege. And Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is one of the coolest rides out there!

I’ve ridden this many times with Rick and there is hardly a time where I come out beating his score at the end, so I was thrilled to see him challenge John, hoping to see someone else share the laughable shame of defeat I usually feel when exiting . I climbed into the space cruiser in front of them to capture all the action and we were soon off zapping some “Z” targets. Now Rick is an absolute expert on this ride. He knows where all the high score targets are so he almost always comes out on top. As I continued to film I sensed John was pulling out in the beginning, but as we came to the end of the ride, I could start to see that John indeed had been beat. Oh well, John, now you feel like I do when I hop in that space cruiser with Rick: defeated. But that’s okay, there will be plenty more aliens, robots and evil emperors to fight another day to build your skill up.

Well, until I pop in next time, I’m @travelingharris. Hope you enjoyed this week’s Travel with Rick episode.

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Howdy and Welcome to Jackson Hole!

Today we began our journey from the tropical (hot) climate of sunny Florida to the mountains of the west. After recently returning from our Alaska cruise, we were somewhat prepared for mountains snow and chillier temperatures.

As we flew into Jackson Hole Wyoming we were immediately taken by the Tetons surrounding Jackson. Majestic, snow covered, they were quite a site to behold. Jackson Hole is a small airport, actually the only airport operating inside of a National Park. No jet ways and covered gates here, stairs on the tarmac do just fine.

Entering the terminal, you pass through an archway made of elkhorns that are collected from the Elk sanctuary. There are four larger versions of this in Jackson’s town square on each of the four corners of the park.

We were greeted at the baggage claim area by one of our Adventures by Disney guides, Geraldine, who held the ever recognizable Adventures by Disney paddle sign.  Always a welcome site, particularly after arriving at some of the farther away destinations we’ve done with AbD such as Germany and London. We collected our luggage and boarded a coach to get this AbD underway.

After a short 15 minute ride with the Tetons in the background and past the Elk Sanctuary we arrived in the quaint town of Jackson Hole and our home for the next two nights, the Historic Wort Hotel. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1941, this beautifully rustic hotel is luxurious, welcoming and comfortable all at the same time. With its many paintings and statues reminiscing back to the Old West days of real cowboys and Indians; horses, buffalos and elk roaming free over breathtaking landscapes of naturally unspoiled valleys with snow covered mountains as a backdrop.

We had a bit of time to explore around Jackson Hole before we were to meet our group that evening for dinner. We walked through some of the towns shops, stepped into a local landmark, the Million Dollar Cowboy  bar with it’s barstools made of real saddles, and grabbed a snack of elk sliders at the Silver Dollar Saloon.

We met our group at the hotel for our welcome dinner and introductions. We “officially” met and learned more about our two guides for this Adventure, Geraldine and Michael. We were entertained by a singing cowboy who had a great repertoire of old cowboy trail songs and also took requests. Adventures by Disney are capped at 40 people, and we have 29 for this one. A mix of adults, teens, tweens and younger kids. We’re all looking forward to the week’s adventures, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and mountain gazing.

Depending on our internet connections I’ll continue to post updates of our daily activities and of course we’ll be getting lots of video to share with you on the video blog at TravelwithRick.com!

Thanks for joining us on our Adventure by Disney, Quest for the West!

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Hall of Presidents on Travel with Rick

Click Here to Watch This Week’s Episode of Travel with Rick

On this week’s episode of Travel with Rick, we take a walk over to Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and enjoy a showing at the Hall of Presidents.

The Hall of Presidents  is a multi-media presentation and stage show featuring Audio-Animatronic figures of all 43 U.S. Presidents. It was an original attraction on opening day of Walt Disney World, October 1, 1971. It is housed in a building that resembles Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

I should point out here that on previous occasions watching the show, the cast member who introduces the show has instructed there should be no video taping. On this day however, the instructions were no flash photography and no external video lighting. We were happy to have an opportunity to film this very moving presentation and bring it to you.

The most recent update to the Hall of Presidents was between October 31, 2008, and July 1, 2009, when it was closed to undergo an extensive renovation to upgrade its audio and visual effects and systems. At that time President Barak Obama was added as a speaking President, and he recites the Oath of office of the President of the United States.

Morgan Freeman replaced J. D. Hall as narrator for the newest revision of the  show, and George Washington was added as a third speaking President.

The show takes place in a seated theater, a is comprised of film and finishes with audio animatronic depictions of the U.S. Presidents. It last for 23 minutes, if you have not seen this before, it definitely is a very moving must – do attraction. And, if you have seen it before, it’s a great way to cool off and maybe even grab a nap on hot summer Florida day!

Hope you enjoy this weeks show!

~Rick

 

 

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Dole Whip & Travel with Rick: The beginning of my Dole Whip addiction

Click Here to Watch This Week’s Episode of Travel with Rick

The Dole Whip Dude - Andrew Harris (@travelingharris)Travel with Rick does a video on the Dole Whip. Well, of course I have to write a blog post! Known by many as TravelingHarris, others know me by nicknames I have acquired based on my fondness of, in my opinion, the best frozen treat Disney has to offer: The Dole Whip. My tweeple (friends on twitter) have thrown #dolewhipboy, #dolewhipdude and more recently #dolwwhipprince my way and I have accepted these titles with delight. Aloha Isle is almost always my first stop in the Magic Kingdom to get a Pineapple Dole Whip Float. I just can’t resist. On my most recent trip to the MK I arrived when the park opened and didn’t leave until Aloha Isle was open for business so I could get a Dole Whip Float for breakfast. But my affection for these frozen treats is fairly new. Just 4 short months ago my taste buds had never experienced the sensation of a Dole Whip Float. In fact I thought this delicacy was only available in Disneyland. Boy, I am so glad I was WRONG!

One warm spring day Rick and I were scheduled to film a Travel with Rick episode with Shelley Caran featuring the tasting of her first Dole Whip Float. We arrived in Adventureland a little early and I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to try this frozen indulgence for myself. As I tasted my first scoop of this cool treat I could not believe was refreshing it was. As the warm Florida sun beat down on my body I was refreshed by the amazing Pineapple flavor that Dole had created. It was AMAZING!

It was so great that Shelly was able to share her first experience of tasting a Dole Whip Float with the Travel with Rick crew. You can tell she and Rick really enjoyed filming this episode and I guess I am forever indebted to them for dragging me along as the cameraman so I could treat myself to one as well. Shelley had a great question of the week too: “What is your favorite treat that you can’t leave Disney without?” Well Shelley, I can tell you that mine is definitely the Pineapple Dole Whip Float.

This blog post is dedicated to all those tweeple out there who continue to support my Dole Whip titles. Thanks so much everyone! And to those who have not had the enjoyment of indulging in a Dole Whip then you must try one the next chance you get. Your mouth will love you. :-)

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Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise

My wife Leslie and I just returned from a wonderful Alaska cruise aboard the beautiful Disney Wonder. This was our first trip “way up north”, and actually it was Disney’s as well. This was the inaugural season for the Disney wonder and her first sailing for the summer.

We flew into Vancouver, B.C. a day early to meet the ship, stayed at the beautiful Fairmont Waterfront Hotel which is directly across the street from the Port. You could literally see the Wonder from the lobby of the hotel! After a long day traveling from Florida, we checked in to the hotel, had a wonderful dinner and turned in for the night with great anticipation and excitement to begin our Alaska Adventure.

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and walked about Vancouver seeing the sites before we boarded the ship to begin our cruise. At about 12:30 we walked over to the port in a group and began the boarding process.

After a nice lunch aboard the ship we ventured around a bit, made some last minute shore excursion changes and got settled in our state room. Around 4:30 we went up on deck for the sail away party and really enjoyed the scenery around the ship with the beautiful backdrop of the city of Vancouver.

Later that night we met our table mates  at dinner and we were officially off on our Disney cruise to Alaska!

On this week’s video at Travel with Rick, Leslie and I give you an overview tour of our Alaska cruise, check it out, I’m sure you’ll love the sights and scenery of Alaska!

I’ll be adding more blog posts this week with details from our ports and shore excursions in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

Hope you enjoy our cruise highlights as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you!

~Rick

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Disneyland Monorail on Travel with Rick

On this week’s Travel with Rick, we take you for a look at the Disneyland monorails. Much different than the Walt Disney World version many of us are familiar with, in Disneyland you have to have a ticket to ride! That’s right, the monorail station in Downtown Disney is actually a theme park gate, you use your ticket, board the monorail and it takes you right to Tomorrowland!

If you board in Tomorrowland, you can do full tour of the park to Downtown and back or just one way to Downtown for some shopping, dining or just transportation to your hotel. Anyone who boards in Downtown must exit the train in Tomorrowland.

Another neat feature for us “east coasters” is that you can still ride up front in the Disneyland monorail. We’ve got some great footage and narration for you from the front of the train, as well as great shots of the very stylish west coast Mark VII Monorails and the stations.

Andrew (@travelingharris) did a great job as always putting the footage together, hope you enjoy the ride! Don’t forget to check us out on YouTube and Facebook as well, and tell your friends!

~Rick

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Dragon Challenge Dueling Video

Dragon Challenge Dueling Video - Travel with Rick Episode 114

Click the Image to Watch the Dragon Challenge Video

Hey all you Travel with Rick fans. It’s Andrew Harris here, also known as Traveling Harris. I’m the camera man for Travel with Rick. This week Rick is enjoying the Alaskan Coastline on Disney Cruise Line’s first Alaskan Cruise Itinerary. So I’m here to tell you about this week’s Travel with Rick Episode, Dragon Challenge. Dragon Challenge has been around for a while.

Before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter days it was known as Dueling Dragons. This has been my favorite roller coaster for years so it was a blast to be able to shoot this video. I love the fact that your feet are dangling on this ride. It provides such a fantastic sensation. Unlike some roller coasters where you get a better ride if you are in the back, I recommend asking for a spot in the front. You’ll have a much better view and the ride is just as, if not more, intense. Universal Studios has done an amazing job with the themeing in this ride and everything else located in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. When you enter this land you feel like you’ve really traveled inside one of the Harry Potter books. It is truly amazing. It was a lot of fun to travel here and put this video together. I can’t wait to bring you some more great videos from Travel with Rick. So long for now.

-Andrew

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Disney Wonder in Vancouver

The Disney Wonder arrived today in Vancouver, British Columbia. My wife Leslie and I came in yesterday after a LONG day of travel (I’ll get into our travel delays in another blog post) and spent the night at the beautiful Fairmont Waterfront hotel, right across the street from the Port. You can literally see the Wonder from the Fairmont lobby!

We had a lovely dinner last at Herons, right here at the Fairmont, it was wonderful and quite relaxing after our day of travel. A great wine list, I had a  Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand paired with Scallops and Prawns over an applewood bacon risotto. Leslie  chose a filet that had a small pot pie with morel mushrooms and short rib as a side.

A great nights sleep and a wonderful breakfast at the concierge lounge and we were ready to go explore a bit of Vancouver. We’ll begin boarding the ship today around 12:30 and sail away this afternoon to begin our Alaska adventure aboard the Disney Wonder.

As internet allows, we’ll keep updating the blog with pictures and details from great ports like Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau. We also sailing through Tracy’s Arm and hope to see whales and hopefully catch a view of a glacier calving, we can’t wait!

~Rick

 

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