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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Adventures By Disney--Phoenix to Sedona

This post should actually be titled Moline to Denver to Phoenix to Sedona, but that would be too many words in the title. Day 1 of our Adventures By Disney tour, which will now be referred to as ABD began as soon as we arrived in the Phoenix Airport. Special greeters were at the designated terminals to check us in and snag our luggage which we would not see again until our room at the Amora Resort in Sedona. The greeter then went on the bus ride with us to the terminal where all the ABD guests were gathering, just to make sure we didn't get lost. Talk about service! We then met up with the other guests and our two ABD guides, Tiffany and Diana. Soon we were making our way to our motor coach. Once settled, we were headed out of Phoenix to the north and up into the mountains with our driver Tom.

I snapped this photo of the Saguaro cactus out of the bus window as in Arizona they are a protected plant. Also, the further you go up in elevation, eventually there are no longer Saguaros. We actually passed the last Saguaro on the highway a few miles outside of Phoenix.

Our motor coach had a bathroom, built in video system, microphone system, radio, and enough room for the 40 guests and two guides plus extra. So, we weren't really cramped. In fact, it was a smooth ride.
Our first stop was Montezuma Castle. You can see the ancestral pueblo dwelling behind us in the photo. If you were to climb up to the dwelling, you would find that it was 6 stories high and used passive solar heating, as it is built to face the southeast--warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are actually many of these ancestral pueblo dwellings in the Southwest, this one just happens to be a National Monument. We had a guide that took us through the park. Now about the name. . . there is no indication historically that Montezuma ever lived in this dwelling and the name is without an 's, meaning that the castle does not belong to Montezuma. It is just the name. . . Montezuma Castle. We bought a cool pop up book at the store using an educator's discount. Our first souvenir.
Soon we were back on the bus and our guides had bottles of water and snacks for us. They talked about the importance of staying hydrated and using sunscreen. So, they always had cold bottles of water for us and sunscreen if we forgot ours and needed it in a pinch. We also had to promise that when we got to Amora that we would not lie on the beds in our room. We all took the oath, agreed on the time for dinner as a group, and unloaded in Sedona. As soon as we walked in the lobby, there were keys to our room--no checking in--and upon arriving in our room, there was our luggage. Magical!

This is the photo of the pool at the Amora Resort and Snoopy Rock located behind the resort. Oak Creek flowed behind the resort, too.
A bit of history about Sedona. Sedona is a relatively new town about 40-50 years. A man with the last name of Schnebly was the original founder of the town and he had a difficult time naming the town until it dawned on him to name it after his wife, Sedona. There is a hill with his name--Schnebly Hill--just to the east of Sedona. Sedona is know for its mesas that are known for their "energy" so there is a large segment of Sedona dedicated to the study of new age science. There is also an alien store/museum.
Sedona is surrounded by a state park, a canyon, and many named hills, bluffs, and rocks. A connection to Walt Disney--there is a formation named Big Thunder Mountain that was the inspiration for the attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The town itself has strict codes for building--no building can be higher than three stories and there are only 9 different colors someone can paint their house of building. There are also no street lights in Sedona as residents and guests want to see the star filled sky at night.


At dinner we were treated Disney style to local musicians and a naturalist that brought local inhabitants. The photo above is the boy holding a tarantula. Our guest also had a snake. Oh, and the food was good, too.



Beauty and natural elements abound in Sedona and at Amora Resort and Spa. Since we were all tired from a day of travel, we needed an early night. Our guides were right. . . the beds were heavenly and we all slept well. Now I understand why were sworn not to lie in them before dinner. I'm guessing we would have had a few less guests at dinner.
Oh, and at dinner, we all got an ABD lanyard and a pin. The husband was ecstatic!



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