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Weekend Update

Weekend Update Island Edition for July 12, 2008!

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by , 07-11-2008 at 08:51 PM

In the spirit of summer vacations, we again bring you some travel reports from our Weekend Update crew. Dustysage and Fishbulb celebrated Dustysage's milestone birthday in Maui, SummerInFL hits a waterpark, hollywood1939 visits the Bay Area of California, and we have a special report on Busch Gardens Europe from MiceChatter MKcoastie. Add that to the construction updates from SummerInFL and nbodyhome, plus a tribute to flowers at Tokyo Disneyland from TDLFAN and you have our latest edition of Weekend Update!

And away we go!

Maui, Hawaii

For Dusty's birthday, we took a trip to Maui, Hawaii. Dusty has wanted to go there since he was a little boy and saw Jonathan and Jennifer Heart (from the TV show Heart to Heart) honeymoon there. Absolutely EVERYTHING about Maui was amazing. The weather, food, hospitality, and varied environments were all incredible. We can't wait to go back.

This was the view from the balcony of our hotel, the Royal Lahina in Ka'anapali (in West Maui)

Old Lahaina Luau

The food, show, and service at the Old Lahaina Luau were amazing. This was our dessert plate.

Coconut bras offer a lot of support!

These aren't aliens, they are the beautiful hula girls

In a remote area of West Maui is the Nakalele Blowhole. On the hike down to the beach, we ran across a field of stacked stones. None of our guide books mentioned these stones. When we asked the locals, we got varied answers "They mean nothing and tourists simply stack them up", "They are a sign of respect and remembrance," etc. Does anyone out there in MiceChat land know more?

The trail leading to the blow hole was like being in another world (something that we got used to in Maui as every area feels like a whole different world)

Napili beach is a actually a beautiful little bay with good snorkeling and lots of beautiful fish. This is an ideal spot to lay out and enjoy the beach.

From the sea to the summit. Sunrise at Haleakala Crater - one of the most beautiful places on earth. We woke up at 2 am to make the hours long switch back drive up to the top of the volcano. We were rewarded with the most beautiful view of the breaking dawn from high about the trees and clouds.

And once the sun had risen, it looked for all the world as though we had landed on mars.

It's a long way back down to the tropical floor of the island.

The Maui Ocean Center is a nice little aquarium which features fish from the upper, middle, and lower reefs of Maui.

Tiger Shark. I tried not to think of this guy on my dive the next morning.

Many of the hotels have beautiful pools which also have ocean views

This is the famous Needle of I'ao Valley. There are trails, waterfalls, streams. It is a most lovely spot. Bring your hiking shoes.

We wandered off the main path and onto a tiny dirt trail. After a quarter mile, we came upon this beautiful spot.

This is the road to Hana. It is a long and winding one. Although it is less than 60 miles to Hana, it can take hours. But that's a good thing. There are more stops, waterfalls, and trails than you can shake a stick at. Just look at the beautiful spots below.

Nearly every beach is different. This is the black sand beach of Wai'anapanapa - say that three times fast

Jump - Don't Jump - Ok, JUMP!

Mahalo Maui

We miss you already!

[From June 2008. Looks like Spaceship Earth foreshadowed Dustysage and Fishbulb's trip to Hawaii! -Ed.]

While we're still contemplating getting wet, let's take a trip to the waterpark with SummerInFL.

Adventure Island
Tampa, Florida

Adventure Island is an American water park located northeast of Tampa, Florida across the street from Busch Gardens Africa. The park features 30 acres of water rides, dining, and other attractions. The park opened on June 7, 1980, and is part of Busch Entertainment Corporation, the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch.*

Jack hollywood1939 Wixom took a trip north to the Bay Area and shares these photos with us.

Santa Cruz, California

Giant redwoods.

A train trip through the redwoods is available on the Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow-Gauge Railroad.
More information is available here.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

San Francisco, California

The Exploratorium and Rotunda. Golden Dreams in DCA was modeled after this.

Lombard Street

Golden Gate Bridge


Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo, Japan

TDLFAN offers this salute to the end of spring with these beautiful flower shots. (If spring brings beautiful flowers to the TDL Resort, then I guess summer brings swelling crowds and lines. )

Flowers at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel main entrance.

Flowers lead the way to TDL's main entrance and tickets booths.

Flowers welcome guests entering TDL.

Flowers when you look towards the TDL Hotel.

Waterway and gardens leading to Tomorrowland.

Flowers adorn the outside of the Plaza Restaurant.

Flowers at the center garden in the Hub.

With summer, long lines become the norm at POTC and all other E-ticket rides.

Crowds are found everywhere at the park, including the New Orleans area of TDL's Adventureland.

"Art of Million Smiles" photo mosaics can be found at both TDL and TDS during the 25th anniversary celebration.

These hidden Mickeys are found at Tokyo DisneySea's Roman ruins between Mediterranean Harbor and Mysterious Island.

Walt Disney World

SummerInFL sent in these photos of recent changes to the exhibits at Innoventions in Epcot.

The Earth Day exhibit with Jiminy Cricket has been moved to the exit on the Test Track side.

The old Earth Day location is under construction...

...with a new "Don't Waste It" exhibit sponsored by Waste Management.

And Tom Morrow has been removed all together. Before...

...and after.

Denise nbodyhome Preskitt shares some more construction photos with us. First, Contemporary Resort DVC:

Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas construction:

These AKL rooms have a view of construction vehicles and such. I wonder if they are being sold as Savannah View while the work is being done?

These shots were taken at Fort Wilderness which is offering a new Archery Class.

The new Archery Class is offered on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 2:45 p.m. and is really fun.

Don't forget you can always view Denise's latest photos on her website.

MiceChatter MKcoastie takes us on a visit to Busch Gardens Europe:

Busch Gardens Europe
Williamsburg, Virginia

Busch Gardens Europe is a theme park located in James City County, Virginia about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Williamsburg. It opened on May 5, 1975, adjacent to the local Anheuser-Busch brewery and other-related AB developments including the Kingsmill Resort complex. The park is themed around the history and culture of old-world Europe. It is owned by Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC), the family entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch.

The park was originally called Busch Gardens: The Old Country, reflecting the European theme. In the early 1990s the park was renamed Busch Gardens Williamsburg. In 2006, the name was changed to Busch Gardens Europe, to once again reflect the European theme.*

We are now approaching France. I didn't see any culinary rats on this trip to Paris, but I will keep looking.

More of France. In the background you can see BGE's newest coaster, "Griffin".

As we turn the corner, we arrive at one of BGE's newer attractions, "Curse of the Dark Castle". It is another "4D" ride, but this does include some good dark ride elements as well as some very sophisticated ride verticals.

The queue line is a little garden that you wind through.

This has always thoroughly annoyed me. This is the side of "Curse of the Dark Castle". A warehouse! Why spend all that money theming the attraction and then leave the side of the building exposed.

We are now entering Oktoberfest. What beer company-owned park would be complete without the world's most prominent beer festival?

The centerpiece of Oktoberfest: The Festhaus.

This is the inside of Festhaus, which is primarily a counter service restaurant. The very nice Oktoberfest show takes place about four or five times a day, complete with lederhosen-clad performers dancing away to a German brass band.

The entrance to AlpenGeist, a snowy, Yeti-themed coaster (although the only Yeti is the one on the entrance sign). The entrance is themed as a ski lodge.

The entrance to Germany, one of the most popular lands in the park.

The clock in Germany.

Germany is home to the park's kids area, dubbed "Land of the Dragons". This area features some dragon-themed kiddie rides as well as a nicely built, if sometimes neglected, play area. "Land of the Dragons" can get very crowded because there is not much else in the way of child-friendly rides in the park.

Entering Ireland.

"Corkscrew Hill" is another ride in the "4D" genre - very popular with the Busch Gardens Europe folk.

A look around Ireland.

...and now Italy.

A look down the main street of San Marco, Italy.

You then walk into the gardens themed to da Vinci and his various inventions. You can take a little side trip to the "festival" celebrating Marco Polo's travels.

Finally, you have "Escape from Pompeii", which is off on its own.

The queue for "Escape from Pompeii".

We are now in "New France". This area, which is quite large, is set in an early American settlement of French fur trappers. This area strikes me as a little out of place thematically, as all of the other areas in the park are European countries. They try to get away with this discrepancy by calling it "New France" ( has France in the name...IT FITS!)

The mandatory log flume ride.

"New France" is chock full of gift shops selling American western items.

Finally, one of BGE's locomotives. Hope you enjoyed!

Eye Spy

Each week, we provide you with Disney details which we challenge you to identify. Where in the universe can you find this little beauty?

Eye Spy Answer from last week:

Atop the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Disneyland.

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Denise nbodyhome Preskitt
sir clinksalot
A very special thank you to our wonderful guest photographer MKcoastie for sharing his vision with us.
This Week's Editor - Rixter

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Updated 07-12-2008 at 03:48 PM by Weekend Update



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  1. Legally Brunette's Avatar
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    Absolutely stunning weekend update! I loved seeing the variety of photos!

  2. pussnboots's Avatar
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  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Nice pictures!
  4. PirateMunkee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the Santa Cruz Shots!!!! Making me totally homesick here!!!!
  5. SeaWolf38's Avatar
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    Great update this week! I've been to all those places in Santa Cruz (including the railroad) and I've been to Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg... it was like a trip down memory lane for me! Thanks for bringing us the update!
  6. MaryAnn in Wndrlnd's Avatar
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    Our vacation pictures from Hawaii look VERY similar.

    Especially the first shot of the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa. *pulls out honeymoon album*

    Yes. I have that exact shot too.
  7. forestlite's Avatar
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    Hi there,
    I live in Hawaii and frequently come across those stacked rocks you saw. They are very abundant also on the drive to Kona on the Big Island. Those are indeed put up by locals to honor or remember the passing of a loved one or friend. It is often used to mark the site of an accident along the highways where someone might have died in a car crash. I believe this ritual dates back to ancient Hawaiian times where the placement of rocks often signified a "heiau". This was a sacred and holy place where sacrifices occurred in order to worship the gods. You can actually visit several heiaus throughout the Hawaiian islands, although many are off limits to visitors and still considered sacred by the Hawaiian people. Did you have a chance to visit the town of Makawao in upcountry Maui?
  8. Lady Stardust's Avatar
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    Great update! My new goal in life is to stay at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
  9. smiley_face2's Avatar
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    What an awesome bunch of pictures!! kind of like a pic and choose in the candy store, only picking where you might like to visit!! Busche (sp?) Gardens in Europe certainly looks interesting!! Maui is such a beautiful place, it's been years since we were there, and would love to go back again, but the price to travel there has really gone up! We used to go in January when it is really cold here. Thanks again for taking the time to share all the lovely pictures with everyone!!
  10. Giddy4Aladdin's Avatar
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    Awesome update. I look forward to these all the time!
  11. man_eating_plant's Avatar
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    why dosn't DarKastel get as mutch respect as spiderman
  12. Mac Daddy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great shots everyone! Fishy and Dusty....thanks for bringing back great memories of Maui. My wife and I honeymooned there down the beach a bit at the Embassy Suites. We took our little car ALLLL the way around the island....on the little goat paths around the cliffs that were for residents only. : We met a bull that was twice as big as our car. What a beautiful island. I hope you guys enjoy the getaway. BTW - watch your feet at the beach. My wife stepped on a Portuguese Man Of War and was not very happy for a couple of days....
  13. b236en's Avatar
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  14. Craigroy8287's Avatar
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    Great update. Those were some amazing pictures. My grandparents are in Hawaii right now. I only hope that one day I have the money to be able to go there. It looks like a blast.
  15. whamo's Avatar
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    Nice report on Maui. For surfing lessons, see Tommy Castleton, one of old surfing brahs. He has his own surfing school on Maui.
  16. Armadillo4's Avatar
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    Thanks for another terrific Weekend Update! Maui looks particularly lovely. And a big thanks to MKcoastie for the Busch Gardens Williamsburg photos! I grew up in the Wash. D.C. area and a trip to Busch Gardens was always a highlight. It's cool to see what the park looks like nowadays as it's been 6 or 7 years since my last visit.
  17. GhostHost2's Avatar
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    Curse of Darkastle is a fantastic ride, but I hate the way you can see so much of the showbuilding. This weekend update had a lot of great pics. I highly reccomend Busch Gardens Europe, for those that want to go to a non-Disney theme park.
  18. Alchimedes's Avatar
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    Love the shots of Lombard street and the pics of Tokyo Disney.
    Although there are better vantage points of the Golden Gate and the bay.
  19. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Pretty freaky. Good catch Rixter:

  20. in2puck's Avatar
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    Boys, *gorgeous* shots of Maui!! I feel like I went on your trip with you Thanks! *Everyone* posted beautiful photos...there are some VERY talented photographers on this
    list. You've all saved me a ton of vacation costs <laugh>
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