Chicago, Days 4 and 5

We have had an 80-degree jump in temperature here:  from -20 at the beginning of the week to being in the upper 60s today.  That's Arkansas for ya.

I'm going to finish up posting about our New Year's trip, so I can get started on fun stuff from this year!  Not that we had a particularly fun weekend--we were both feeling kinda poorly, and I spent the weekend cleaning up and cleaning out.  Feels good to be productive, but the headache I have right now does not...

On our last day in Chicago (and the last day of the year!), we all woke up feeling badly. Beverly ended up staying behind, but the rest of us made it out to the Museum of Science and Industry later in the morning.

This is my FAVORITE museum of the Chicago ones we have visited, on this trip and in the past. I spent most of my time, though limited, looking at their Christmas around the World display (a tree each for more than 50 countries).  I LOVE this kind of stuff.  I spent so much time studying them, that I had to leave to meet Zach to ride in a flight simulator.  And I came back for more photos before the three of us watched an IMAX film on Space Junk!

1)  Bosnia's tree
2)  USA's tree
3)  ornament from Portugal's tree, I believe
4)  Germany's tree
5)  kind of a cop-out, but as a royal watcher, I do appreciate this ornament on England's tree
6)  "Merry Christmas" ornament on 
7)  thistle on Scotland's tree
8)  Greece's tree
9)  Santa ornament from Slovakia's tree
10)  Italian nativity
11)  Swedish decorations
12)  ornament from Slovenia's tree
13)  Lebanon's tree
14)  ornament from Czech Republic's tree
15)  Disney tree in the center of it all
16)  presents from Mickey and friends

I also got to see Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives, and this is one of the highlights for me! It traced Disney's birth in Chicago to Kansas City, where he began as a cartoonist and began to dabble in live action-integrated films. Then he moved out west to begin his empire, not before he hit a few bumps along the way. He started with Laugh-O-Grams, Alice comedies, and Oswald the Rabbit before launching Mickey Mouse in "Steamboat Willie." His first feature-length film was a huge gamble called Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Folks didn't think children or adults would sit through a (color) animated film that long, but Walt proved them wrong! Then onto Bambi, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Fantasia! This ushered in a golden age of animation with Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.

While most film production companies feared that TV would hurt them, Disney was able to embrace television and began a working relationship, launching The Mickey Mouse Club, Zorro, and others, and he also began hosting the Disneyland show (what we know as The Wonderful World of Disney) in conjunction with the construction and opening of Disneyland.

This all lead into live-action films, including the popular Mary Poppins!  Y'all know how much I love Mary--I've gone as her twice for costumed-events!  I got to see her carpet bag, the storyboard, all of the costumes from the penguin dance, many of the other props, and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"

 This is London from the opening of the movie.  I would really love this print to hang in my house!

 I sense a Facebook cover photo... ;)

Next, the exhibit covered the opening of Disneyland, as the castle seen in Lego bricks here, as well as Disneyworld. Unfortunately, Walt passed away before Disneyworld opened, but his legacy continues with the theme parks and recent films and franchises, including Hocus Pocus, Enchanted, Pirates of the Caribbean, and others; and second golden age of animation with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin. (These last pictures are maquettes, clay models of the characters. Disney used them with his earliest films, but they moved away from them...until the late 1980s. They help cartoonists draw more realistic motions and depth perspective of their characters.) 

The exhibit ended with an animation studio for kids (and adults) to learn how to draw and two displays of recent Disney investments (High School Musical and...something else). You can clearly see how much is treasured from recent days! *haha*

These last pictures are from their huge model train section, and I included it because I feel like encapsulates the spirit of this museum--trains, planes (spacecraft), expansion, and culture. I love MoSI!

Here are some photos on our way back to the hotel that made me thing of "My Favorite Things" ("snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes..."):

We went back to our hotel to freshen up before dinner. Zach and I rented About Time, which was a darling little film. I think maybe critics didn't find it as charming because it reminded them too much of The Time Traveler's Wife? Since Rachel McAdams was in both? But we really liked it.  I made sure to get some photos of our hotel during this down time and after dinner (with some from the next morning):
 I felt like Kevin McAllister!

 This is from the Historic Tower; we stayed in the newer one, so it was like discovering a whole new hotel!

 This was painted or placed or printed on every floor by the elevators.

 You could smell the gingerbread house!



sitting room

There were literally no places available for New Year's Eve except for the Michael Jordan Steakhouse in our hotel. So Zach got us reservations, and we enjoyed a pricy but delicious dinner. That Michael Jordan knows how to make steaks, sea scallops, and pork chops! For sides, we had three kinds of mashed potatoes (sweet potatoes, lobster, and colcannon), creamed kale, and caramelized Brussels sprouts. Because we had to wait for our food so long, they brought us bread, too. It's nice to have a fancy meal every once in a blue moon.

 the restaurant, view from the second floor while walking across the bridge over the first floor

my horrible attempt to get a picture of all four of us together

We ended the night in our room, gathered around the TV and drinking raspberry lambic and champagne and trying to find something on TV other than Miley Cyrus. We ended up watching the local countdown and a show on HLN about the top viral videos from each state, which included many a dance and cute animal. It was fun to watch the snow fall and then to see fireworks outside our hotel windows as well. I also participated in some kind of flashlight code with the kids staying across the way; they were flashing the flashlights on their cell phones out their windows at midnight, so I flashed mine back, and they waved and waved. It was exciting to be in a big city for NYE! Yet, quickly after midnight, Zach's parents retired to their room, we finished the champagne, and then we headed off to our first sleep of 2014! 2013 was tiring.

 first photo of 2014

 the neighbors who were flashing us

 You could see the fireworks reflected on the buildings!

remnants of NYE the next morning

And it was goodbye, Chicago!

We were able to spend one last morning in the Windy City, and I enjoyed this view by daylight. Then we packed up and took a taxi to the airport because we were running behind, were worried about holiday traffic, and were concerned about the worsening weather. We made it and got through security very quickly, and then we hung out in the Admirals Club lounge (American Airlines). Three of the four flights to XNA had been pushed back, but ours was showing on time.

And then we spent most of our first day and night of 2014 in the airport. There are only so many blogs you can read and free yogurt-covered pretzels you can eat to pass the time. But I think we made it out before the worst of it...

If you made it this far, you won the golden ticket!  ;)
Thanks for sticking through our trip to that "Toddlin' Town!"

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Share Your Thoughts

  1. I love all the Christmas trees! I never thought about how well Disney worked their tv angle in addition to their massive film industry...very neat. The weather has changed around here too and half my family is sick from it :( I hope you all stay healthy!

  2. I really liked About Time too, even better than The Time Traveler's Wife! I only wish it had managed to do better in theaters though.


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