Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Little Bit of Everything

This week, I plan to have at least one post a day on topics that cover every aspect of my nerdiness. The last post was on AD&D assassins, the next will be on models.

Anyway, Star Wars has become a large part of Disney World and while I can't quite wrap my head around Disney and Star Wars living under the same roof, I do love it. 

In 2016, Star Wars was plastered all over Hollywood Studios. My son Nathan and I picked up some little metal toys. I selected new X-Wing while Nathan went with the New Order's TIE. I keep mine on my desk while he has his on his dresser. My wife won't let me keep mine in the bedroom...

Anyway, I can't wait to get back there, except I can wait for this pandemic to cool down. It's a weird feeling. One of my favorite things to do in Disney is to take in the little museum like setups they do to absorb the crowds. It works and usually it's a relief to get out of the heat.  They had a whole area in Hollywood Studios for Star Wars.

I loved it!

I would be remiss if I didn't plug our most excellent travel planner, Jaime Nowicki. Her services are free and she does more than Disney packages. You can also follow her on Facebook.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Opening Day at Six Flags Darien Lake.

I was the fourth person in the park! There was a family of 3 in front of me and they fired off a bunch of confetti cannons to mark the new sign.

I haven't noticed too many changes from last year. Skyscreamer has replaced the Vomit Log or whatever it was called. Good. 

The Preditor was out of action, I saw some workers on the tracks making adjustments or repairs. 

I stopped at the camp store and lounge. The only change I noticed was an uptick in beer prices at the camp store, which is still cheaper than everywhere else in the park and the fact that wifi is having problems in the lounge. Not too bad for opening day under a different brand.

Corfu, NY

I find myself traveling in Genessee county all the time for camp and vacationing. On of the better stops is on Route 77 and 5. This Tim Hortons has a nicely appointed sitting area, bathrooms and free wifi. They have an outdoor sitting area and charging stations inside at the big wooden table. When I need a coffee, breakfast or just a break this is my go to place. It's about 10 minutes from Darien Lakes State Park* and Six Flags Darien Lake.

*Did you know the lake at Darien Lakes State Park is called Harlow Lake?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Panorama of Darien Lake Water Park

It's few days from opening but the Water Park at Darien Lake is looking good.

Darien Lake Meal Plan and Dining Tips

Two taco meal.
     It seems they updated the meal plans again. The bacon burger is off the menu and there is choice of basic hamburgers and cheeseburgers. I tried the cheeseburger the other day and it was good. Unfortunately for the counter people, the signage is now wrong, which probably annoys them to no end.

Bacon Cheeseburger and Chicken Sandwich.
     In the picture to the right, you can see a cheeseburger with bacon next to the chicken sandwich. While the BBQ sauce in the dispenser is ok, I bet it would be better with hot sauce. They have removed the bacon burger from the menu and replaced it with a choice of hamburger or cheeseburger. Both are ample and come with great fries. Don't forget to try them with ketchup and vinegar*.

     While there is always an inclination to suspect that a company is downsizing servings by removing bacon, it seemed to me that the option of a burger with bacon but no cheese was simply a silly option. My son managed to order it with cheese with no problem. Twice. The issue with that is, he did the classic "I'd like burger with bacon. Could I have a side of cheese on that?" to which the cashier said, "Yes" instead of "The bacon cheeseburger is not a valid choice". That sort of stuff causes headaches with customers, cost and service. It is better that they don't offer it at all.

     There are two other options which aren't obvious. The BBQ sauce is great, but sometimes hot sauce is better. If you ask they will give you a cup of it. That's good to know, because it isn't offered and doesn't appear on any signage. The other thing is you can also ask for blue cheese, which is always better with hot sauce than the Ranch dressing that is the standard option. I can see the blue cheese going away because on one occasion they sold it to me for $1.50 up charge and then the very next day they gave me 3 at no charge. Weird. Again, they need to update which way they want to do this and stick to it. I am sure it was a training issue that will bite one of the friendly counter people.

     In the images above, you'll notice my Tim Horton's coffee. It isn't just a Canadian thing, it is also a Buffalo thing. You can get that at Sweet Tooth or the Tim Horton's booth near the front gate. While the booth is full service, the Sweet Tooth requires you to assemble your own coffee. About 4 sugar packets in a large is equal to a single-single. If you are counting calories and carbs, that is 64 calories and 16.8 grams of carbs not counting the cream. Add another 120 cals and 2 grams of carbs for cream. It's heavy cream and yummy in moderation.

     When stopping at Sweet Tooth, they have great (but expensive) popcorn. It's $5.99 a bag and so far I like the cinnamon over the coco flavored. The complete list of flavors are:

Cinnamon, Maple, Cocoa, Sweet Chili, White Cheddar, Herbal Bliss, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Jalapeno Cheddar.

    You can ask for a sample before you buy. They also have cookies, baked goods and fudge. Typically, there is a deal on the fudge, buy a pound get an extra quarter pound free. If you are sharing a sugary snack, Sweet Tooth is fine. If you want some to take home, get it in the shop near the main gate.

     In the back of the store, they have displays of candy and giant bags of popcorn. As tempting as it was to buy a giant bag of cinnamon popcorn, I suspect it is only a display, the bags are not priced or otherwise marked for sale and has no nutritional information. Oh, well. I can dream.

     One bonus item about Sweet Tooth is the tables with park maps set under glass. This is not an obvious place to sit down and eat, but you can do it. The area is only set up for 8 people at two tables, but in the ran or heat it will do nicely. They also service iced coffee and iced tea, which seems to have replaced the hot cocoa. Once the season is in swing, this shop is often the only place out of the information office with maps available for the taking.

     Everything about this shop screams "overpriced junk food" but it is actually kind of helpful for getting out extreme weather. Be kind and buy a drink.

*Although the vinegar is meant for fries, in a pinch it will immediately remove anything sticky or greasy from skin better than the less than hot water in the bathrooms. Remember, it is a mild acid so don't get it in your clothes, eyes or hair. Wash up with plan soap and water. It's good at removing sun screen so be careful of that, too. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Fun Pictures at the Buffalo Zoo

Panama Rocks!

Located in Panama NY, this private park is a wonder of New York. The rock formations are millions of years old.

416 million years old to be precise. At that time, America was a part of the Euramerica supercontinent and was rotated 90 degrees so that the north of Canada was facing east and Mexico was in the west. Euramerica was located on the equator and a vast sea covered the continent from Utah in the west to deep into what would become Southern Canada in the east. The formation called Panama Rocks was a shoreline of a rocky island in the southern reaches of this inland sea.
Plants (and fish) dominated the Earth in this era, to the point where plants completely changed the CO2 and O2 levels, resulting in an Ice Age. Euramerica drifted north and westward and the sea dried up. Drifting east over millions of years, great upheavals and earthquakes lifted the shoreline to its current height of 1500+ feet over current sea levels. By the time of dinosaurs, Euramerica was no more. It had broken in two and formed the continents of Europe and North America, with Greenland in the middle.
Within the last 20,000 years, the last ice age ended leaving New York and Panama Rocks in their current state. What a wonder!
In modern times, the park has been in the ownership of several private groups. Approximately 100 years ago, the park was a Honeymoon getaway spot. After a period of inactivity in WWII, the park buildings and environs were renovated and improved by a series of owners. The most recent improvements occurred in 2011.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Panama Rocks Gallery

Panama Rocks is a wonderful private park located in Panama NY. My wife and I were driving back from a wedding in Warren, PA with our three children bouncing around the back of the car. We desperately needed someplace to stop. We had no GPS, or maps, were slightly lost, and only intermittent cell phone service. I had been trying to get directions to anywhere on my phone but had little success.

In a frustrated flail, I accidentally logged into Google Plus and before I could close it, I saw a message under “Nearby”. It read – “Panama Rocks! The kids will love it!” Soon, I had directions but no description. We had no idea what to expect.

We pulled in and found a beautiful house and barn, some trails and a small parking lot. The kids (and Jen) were pleading with me “What is this place? Why are we here?” I answered honestly “All I know is ‘the kids will love it’.”

A man took our admission in a small office shed: $7 per adult and $5 per child. Jen wanted to know what we were paying for, and then she wanted to know why they needed to go through her purse. Fact: there are places in this park where no people can get to safely; anything dropped or worse thrown down there is there forever. So, the owner ensures no one is taking anything into the park that qualifies as “disposable”. You need to have a reusable water bottle. Having passed inspection, we were allowed to enter the park.

You know what? The kids loved it.

Next spring, you can grab a brass lantern, a water bottle, and the kids and check out Panama Rocks.

This was written in 2012. Rates have changed a bit, be sure to check out the official website in the first paragraph for updated rates.