One of our all-time favorite vacation destinations is Disney – Land, World, Cruise, Hawaii – doesn’t matter. We LOVE Disney. Starting about 10 years ago, we’ve made at least one vacation a year a Disney vacation. We’re members of the Disney Vacation Club and love to share our knowledge and interests with our friends. So, if you have any questions at all, please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them for you!
This year our vacation will be a Disney Cruise. We are going along with two friends that we met on our first Disney Cruise about 6 years ago. Neither of us have kids and we thought it would be fun to see what kind of trouble we could all get into together. One of the most fabulous things about the Disney Cruiseline is how they have everything set-up. Part of the ship is mostly for Littles – Part for Families – Part for Adults Only. Each group has it’s own pool and snack areas. So if your kids are at the Kid’s Club (which most kids seems to adore) you and your spouse can go sit at the adult pool, listen to the live music and enjoy a drink. But, if you want to spend pool time with your kids you can all go to the family pool and watch movies on the big screen they have there while you swim.
Disney also has fabulous dinner shows! This is one of the things I’m most looking forward to doing on our trip. We always get 2nd dinner, so we see our show first, then have a little time before dinner. I’m amazed at how they can pull some of these amazing shows off while sailing on a ship. The costumes and make-up are totally up to Disney quality and equal or better than things you’d see in the Parks.
The best part of most Disney Cruises is the visit to Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay. We’ve been on one cruise that sailed out of Galveston that didn’t hit this port of call and we really missed it – This year it’s back on the agenda!!! The island is set-up a lot like the ship. Areas for teens, areas for families and areas for adults only. It’s super clean and the water is beautiful. When we first went, one of the prop ships from the Pirates of the Caribbean was parked right off the ship as we docked. I’ve heard it is no longer there…
You’ll be hearing more about Disney from me in the future since it’s one of my favorite things to talk about and if you have any questions, please post them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Less than 2 months later, I found myself to be the odd ball out as an American visiting Hiroshima, Japan. My friend took me to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Wow. Just wow. In that short time span I was able to view both sides of the WWII Pacific front. The Japanese people were extremely hospitable and welcoming and the knowledge and memories that I brought home still percolate in my mind. The educational part of the Memorial Museum is presented similarly to Pearl Harbor – War is war and people do what they have to do in wartime. Neither location presented an “us versus them” style mentality, which I give them both extreme credit. The Memorial Museum is also dedicated to education on the full effects of the atomic bomb and the abolition of the technology. The Mayor of Hiroshima writes a letter to world leaders each time nuclear testing is performed – encouraging them to cease and find alternate ways to demonstrate power. They also have exhibits that show clothing, toys, medical records and more of citizens effected by the fallout and blast. It’s mind-boggling.
A tribute to the A-Dome covered in letters from the mayor of Hiroshima to world leaders each time a nuclear test is done.
Outside the main Museum is the Peace Park. It’s a beautiful, reflective area – people were very subdued and respectful.
Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims; the eternal flame and the A-Dome.
The children’s peace monument with thousands and thousands of paper cranes, which are sent from all over the world.
The Bell of Peace
A plaque commemorating the exact hypocenter. It’s a powerful moment to stand there – I can’t imagine living and/or working there everyday.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to see two amazing places in this world almost back to back. In May, my husband and I traveled to Hawaii to spend our wedding anniversary at the Disney Resort there. The true highlight of the trip for me was our visit to Pearl Harbor. My mind is still blown. On the grounds of the visitor center, they have a submarine you can tour, The USS Bowfin, and several exhibits you can explore. This is also where you catch the boat ride over to the actual USS Arizona Memorial. If you ever want to go, please go as early in the day as possible. We had afternoon tickets and the ticket agent bumped us up earlier in the day. If he hadn’t, we would have missed out because they had to stop the boats due to choppy water. They did a fabulous job of presenting the facts of the Pearl Harbor bombing without a lot of emotion. This was a major plus, since I was honestly shocked at the amount of Japanese tourists that were there. They had school kids on class trips – Retirement groups – and then us bumbling mainlanders. (Remember this… It will be very important in Part 2) After you watch a short film about WWII, you exit and board a small boat that is piloted by the US Navy and taken across to the Memorial. You get about 15 minutes on the Memorial and then are taken back across to the visitor center. It is an extremely peaceful location – They ask that if you have children that you keep them quiet or keep them in the entrance part of the Memorial. The back section where they have the wall of names is supposed to be reflective and prayful. It’s very moving. (Did you know that people that served on the USS Arizona and survived can be brought back to the Memorial and buried with their shipmates?) The oil is still leaking from the Arizona and you can catch it bubbling to the surface while looking out over the water.
Next to the Memorial you will see the USS Missouri. To reach this massive ship, you have a catch a bus at the visitor center and ride around to the other side of the harbor. It’s a quick trip on an air-conditioned bus and the time you get to spend on the ship is a blast. It’s a great piece of history to see the Missouri next to the Arizona. The Missouri still has marks where it was attacked by kamikaze pilots and is the ship where Japan surrendered at the end of World War II. The Big Mo lets you experience what life would have been like on a Battleship – cramped. But it’s a fun way to see history. It also allowed me to understand better what my friends went through as they served their time aboard these vessels.