June 21, 2017

Trip Recap: Calgary 2017!

Hello everyone! As you may know, Ethan and I took our first non-Disney vacation together a few weeks ago! We headed to Calgary, Alberta to visit family and explore the mountains! My Aunt and Uncle were kind enough to let us stay with them the entire trip :). I thought I  would share a trip recap with lots of pictures from the trip, as well as what we did every day! Pictures are randomly added to break up the text, but the captions say where it was taken :). We were super lucky with the weather, and only had about 5 minutes of rain! Okay, let’s jump in!

Calgary 2017

Sunday May 28th

Our trip started at 4am when our alarm went off. It was early, but there was zero traffic, and we made it through airport security the fastest I ever have! Our flight was at 8 am, and landed at 10am Calgary time (12pm for us). We spent most of the day relaxing, and went for a walk with my Aunt to the grocery store. We got to meet her new puppy Teddy, and so we spent lots of time hanging out with him!

Calgary 2017

Teddy!

Monday May 29th

My Aunt had to work a little bit on Monday, so we spent the day relaxing! I read two and a half books while we were away, so I spent a lot of time reading! Ethan and I walked to Starbucks for a treat, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather! My Aunt and Uncle have a gazebo in their backyard with a sofa and chairs, so we were comfortable :).

Calgary 2017

I love traveling with him 🙂

Tuesday May 30th

Tuesday was another relaxing day for Ethan and I. Unfortunately a few weeks before we arrived my Aunt and Uncle’s puppy Teddy broke his leg! He’s all good now, but he had to go to the vet and animal hospital Tuesday morning to make sure everything was okay. After lunch, we headed out with my Aunt to Bragg Creek, and got some ice cream! After that we visited Elbow falls before heading home. It was beautiful! The water during our trip was very brown with the run-off from the mountains, but we got that and lower crowds so we were okay with it!

Calgary 2017

Elbow Falls

Calgary 2017

More of Elbow Falls

Wednesday May 31st

Wednesday was the first of our days in the mountains! We headed out around 8:30 am for the 1 1/2 hour drive to Banff. I loved driving through the mountains! We explored the Banff Springs hotel, walked along the Bow River, and walked into the town centre of Banff. We enjoyed lunch on the rooftop patio at a pub, and I think it was one of the best views I’ve ever had at a restaurant! Funny story: when we got up on the roof, we saw some scary looking clouds coming at us, and were worried we would have to dash inside! The clouds parted and went all the way around us, which was wonderful!

Calgary 2017

The Banff Springs Hotel

Calgary 2017

The Bow River

After lunch we headed to Sulphur Mountain and went up the Gondola! My Aunt decided to stay inside the visitors centre up there, while Ethan and I walked the path to the very top! It was amazing how much you felt the altitude while up there! We spent about an hour between walking to the top and at the visitors centre, before heading back down. I stopped at the Starbucks there to grab the Banff “You Are Here” mug (my collection is growing!).

Trip recap

at the Visitor’s Centre on Sulphur Mountain!

Calgary 2017

Look at that view!

After that we headed out to Lake Minnewanka. I remember going up Sulphur mountain on a previous trip and seeing mountain goats, but I didn’t see any up there on that day! Wouldn’t you know it, that as we were walking to Lake Minnewanka and there was a mountain goat staring at us! I was so excited!

Calgary 2017

“high on a hill was a lonely goat-ah”

The lake was beautiful and crystal clear!

Calgary 2017

Lake Minnewanka

After that we headed home, and got ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Thursday June 1st

On the road again to Lake Louise, which was about a 2 1/2 hour drive. We definitely noticed how much they are preparing for the summer season, and Canada’s 150th birthday celebration. Lake Louise was beautiful as always, although still mostly frozen. It’s amazing how popular of a spot it is, considering that’s about all that’s there!

Calgary 2017

Lake Louise

Calgary 2017

The fence at the Chateau Lake Louise

After that we drove the 11kms to Moraine Lake (the picture at the top of the post), which was just as beautiful and surrounded more closely by the mountains! It is really hard to explain just how beautiful everything is, so hopefully my pictures do the beauty justice!

After that we headed back into Banff for lunch, before heading to Johnston Canyon, the one thing Ethan said he wanted to do while we were there! The water was flowing, and it was a pretty easy 1 1/2 mile hike. On our way walking back, we got the 5 minutes of rain, but we took it!

Calgary 2017

Johnston canyon

Calgary 2017

The Falls at Johnston Canyon

We then headed home again, after two whirlwind days in the mountains!

Friday June 2nd

Friday was a more low-key day. We got to see my Aunt’s new office downtown, and visited the Calgary tower. We had lunch at a really nice spot, and all three of us got the veggie burger! It was delicious, and huge. After that we went to the local mall so I could buy some more books (I had already read the 2 I brought at this point), and so my Aunt could get her phone screen repaired. We also grabbed some Marble Slab. Yum!

Calgary 2017

The Mountains at Moraine Lake

Saturday June 3rd

Our last full day! We visited an outlet mall, and everyone got something but me! I’ve been looking for a new spring/fall jacket since the one I have now is also from Calgary, so it’s at least 7 years old. Unfortunately what I liked they didn’t have in my size. We spent the rest of our day relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather!

Calgary 2017

Lake Louise

Sunday June 4th

Sunday we pretty much got up and relaxed for a while before heading to the airport around 10am. The time in the airport flew by, and all of a sudden we were on our way home! We lost 2 hours on the way back, so that day felt like it went by quickly! We watched Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates on the plane, and I thought it was pretty funny! We got home around 7 and couldn’t believe how fast the week went by.

Calgary 2017

A view from the top of Sulphur Mountain!

The trip really came up quickly, and I think we really did a lot for not having planned every minute (like I do when I’m going to Disney). Shout-out to my amazing Aunt who let us stay with her! I don’t get to see her very often, by we Skype all the time and it was so much fun to spend the week with her! People say we look more alike than I do to my parents!

Calgary 2017

do you see the resemblance?

If you wanted to see more of a look of the mountains, check out the Travel Vlog I posted last week below! If you want to receive notifications when I post a video to YouTube (I now have over 70 videos posted :O ), subscribe to my channel here!

I hope you enjoyed today’s trip recap, because I definitely enjoyed sharing it! When I created my blog I thought about sharing adventures like these, so I hope you liked coming along!

Thank you so much for reading!

Kelsey
January 18, 2017

Disabilities & Disney- A GREAT Relationship

Hello everyone, and Happy Wednesday! Since I was recently in Walt Disney World, I thought I would share a bit about our experiences travelling with my sister (who is in a wheelchair). I’ve shared some of the accessible ride vehicles if you’ve watched my Disney Vlogs, and I tried to capture as much of that as I could. I’ve mentioned before that we don’t go to Universal Orlando because of their policies for people with disabilities, and how Disney is SO much better. Today I thought I would share some of the things we experienced on our trip. As you can probably tell by the title of this post, it was all good!

Because there is one person in my life that allows me to learn all about this side of Disney, I thought I would take a minute to introduce my sister, Alexandra!

Alex has Cerebral Palsy, and has her own custom (green because she loves the show “Arrow”) wheelchair. She can’t walk or talk, or use her arms in the way we can, but she has a computer she uses to communicate. Alex is also great at using facial expressions to get her point across. She needs someone to help feed her and lift her, but she is always happy! Alexandra is on a puree diet, meaning her food needs to be blended into a hummus like consistency.

I’ve talked about her here and there on the blog, but I thought sharing some key things about her for the purpose of this post might be helpful. I asked her (just like I did in the Universal post) about how she felt about the experience she had at Disney and she said:

“I think Disney is very good, Disney food is really best, Disney rides is really amazing”

Keep in mind she doesn’t have the best grammar, but you can definitely understand what she means!

Our Last Trip (2012)

We hadn’t been to Walt Disney World with Alex 2012, so we weren’t sure what might have changed since our last trip. Luckily, the only thing that changed was the system used for guests with disabilities to access attractions. We had warning about this, and I had read all I could about the new system to be prepared. The old system was a card that had a stoplight on it, red, yellow or green. Our was always green which meant we would just walk up to a FastPass line as go straight through. Now things are a little bit different.

Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS)

This was the first thing I knew I wanted to take care of when we arrived in Magic Kingdom. The urge to see Cinderella Castle won out, but we headed to guest Services shortly after. When you visit Guest Services, you mention that you want to set up the Accessibility Services, and they will take a picture of the guest with a disability, scan the magic band of that person, and everyone in your party. Once that is done, you are good for the duration of your trip! The new system uses “come back times” based on the wait time, so you can spend the time doing something else. I think for people with sensory issues or those that have trouble waiting in line for a long time, this is a great solution. The best thing about it in my opinion, is anyone can go to get a time. I would be a “runner” (I’m a little aggressive when it comes to getting things done in Disney :D) and go to a ride, say I would like a come back time, they would scan my band, and say when we could come back. If their scanner wasn’t working, they would hand us the card below.

 

When it was time to go back, the person the “account” is associated with needs to scan their band first, so I would take Alex’s off her wrist (it’s difficult to line her arm up with the touch point for FastPass+), and then everyone else could enter.

Some important notes about the program:

  • You can only get a come-back time for one attraction at a time
  • to “cancel” the come back time, you need to visit the attraction
  • the time does not expire!

That’s about it when it comes to the new program!

Accessible rooms

Walt Disney World was actually the first place we ever reserved an accessible hotel room! We generally request a room with a roll-in shower because that works best for us. I show some of the differences in room in the Disney Vlogs that are currently running on Friday’s on my channel. Alex doesn’t utilize the accessible buttons herself, but it does help getting her out the door!

meals

When I made our dining reservations for our trip (right when the window opened up), I made a note of an allergy or dietary restriction. When we arrived at a restaurant, the little print-out of out reservation had a red ALLERGY stamp on it, so either a manager or chef was required to visit our table. I will admit we didn’t say anything during our first meal. But, at Tusker House on Day 2, we were so impressed when we explained to the chef that Alex is on a puree diet. He said “okay, what does she want? We’ll make it happen”. Normally in a restaurant they say they don’t have a blender, so this was AMAZING! She loved getting to eat whatever she wanted in the consistency that was easiest for her. It was such a great experience for us, and it definitely felt like a weight had been lifted, because I was definitely worrying about it.

Goofy LOVED Alex at Tusker House!

Transportation

This was our first time staying at a Monorail loop resort, and it was great! The monorail was much easier for Alex because her chair doesn’t have to be tied down, and the Cast Member always asked where we would be getting off so someone could assist us. The two(?) time we took the bus, it was easy, and short! The Magical Express is also wheelchair accessible, so we just had to wait to the side for a minute before boarding, and they took care of us first. Transportation at Disney when it comes to Alex was top notch!

This is Alex and her worker Megan.

a few extra tidbits

  • Space Mountain is the only attraction Alex can’t go on, because the seating is single file. The version in Disneyland isn’t so she could ride it there!
  • The Peoplemover ramp cannot accommodate a wheelchair, so if Alex wanted to ride we would have to lift her. We didn’t this time because we weren’t sure how long the line would be when we got up there, but she was fine with that!
  • When we went to ride Peter Pan’s Flight the Cast Member had to ask us if we could carry Alex down a ladder in case of emergency. That was something I hadn’t even thought about, but because the ride track is above you, it makes sense!

 

If you’d like to hear a little more about our experience (I think I explain it better talking than in text), check out the video below!

I hope this post helped to show how accessible theme parks can be, and part of why we love Disney so much! If you have any questions about anything I mentioned in the post, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer!

 

Thank you so much for reading!

 

Kelsey
December 2, 2016

Disney Vlogs Start Today!

Today is the day! I’m so happy to finally share the first day of Disney Vlogs with you today! I won’t be posting on the blog when every video goes up, so make sure to Subscribe so you’ll be notified every Friday! Check out Part 1 of our first day in Disney World below:

 

Editing is already taking longer than I thought so some days may be broken into multiple vlogs, but that means there are more to enjoy! I’m working really hard to keep with the once a week timeframe on top of a regular Wednesday posting schedule, so please bear with me! Also because this is my first time vlogging on vacation, let me know what you think! I’m enjoying reliving my trip with you all!

 

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Kelsey