Monday, October 5, 2015

Magic Kingdom 2015

Magic Kingdom

Yay, Magic Kingdom! We went to Magic Kingdom twice. The first day, Wednesday, Aidan and I got there at about 7:40 or so, but the park was already open! I was confused until I realized that this is a *thing* they do--open super early. We'd even missed the welcome song. No worries, though. We were still there early enough to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice in a row, the Barnstormer twice in a row, and get some yummy things to eat!

We managed to pack a LOT into a very long first day. Haunted Mansion (Aidan finally got brave enough to try it--and ended up LOVING it), Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Mickey's Philharmagic, wow, so much. Character greetings (I finally got to meet Merida and she loved our hair!), general people watching, and both parades plus fireworks. And I finally got to eat at Casey's! I still didn't get a hot dog, but we shared a big order of fries and they were great. I also got my chocolate-covered pineapple, which always makes me happy. I can't even remember where we ate dinner. OH! It was Liberty Tree Tavern! Aidan loved the mac and cheese, and I enjoyed the cake.

Catch Him!!!

Our second day, that Friday, we ate lunch at Be Our Guest. I had the Croque Monsieur (grilled sandwich of carved ham, Gruyere cheese, and bechamel with Pommes Frites) and oh my God yes. It was perfect! Aidan loved his pasta with marinara sauce as well. We got there TOO early (I thought the park opened at 8, nope, it opened at 9) so we spent a lot of time people watching. The park did open early again, though, and this time we headed toward Tomorrowland, which was so empty! I got to ride the Astro-Orbiter for the first time in ten years and it was as fun as I remember! And then we did Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger spin, another one I hadn't done in years. So much fun!


We didn't do too much on that second day. I did convince him to do Country Bear Jamboree, which he found entertaining (especially that Blood on the Ground song), and Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain happened again. I didn't convince him to try Space Mountain. Maybe next time! OH I did get him to try my churro and he liked it so much he wanted to buy his own! Only a rainstorm rolled in and the cart shut down. So we hung out and waiting until it was safe to open again, then we had to wait for the fresh churros to arrive. SO WORTH IT. We also met the talking Mickey Mouse in Town Hall, and Tinker Bell!

We ended up leaving earlier than I wanted. A storm was rolling in, and Aidan was getting tired and cranky. I was tired too. We headed back to the hotel to rest up. I'm always sad when I leave Magic Kingdom, but I was looking forward to the next day of nothing before heading back to the parks on Sunday.


I can't wait to go back. :)

(crossposted at anywhere is)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Animal Kingdom 2015


Our first day in the Disney Parks was Animal Kingdom. It used to be Magic Kingdom always, but I think the crowd calendar or dining reservations or something factored into my decision to start with a different park this time. It was a fun, but short day, even though Animal Kingdom stayed open until 8pm that day.



We got there and immediately headed over to the dinosaur section, where we hopped on to Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin. Aidan was excited to ride Dinosaur again. That ride is fun but it has a lot of jump scares which I am not a fan of, but I'll take that over Tower of Terror any day (which I used to LOVE).


He didn't want to see the Finding Nemo show ("I don't like musicals") but I dragged him to The Festival of the Lion King because I wasn't going to miss it. He liked it. We ate Pizzafari for lunch, went on the safari, and took the train over to the Conservation Station where I made him hold the elephant poop.


We watched the Flights of Wonder show and that was really cool. I'd never seen it before. I got selected to sit on stage with my camera and *try* to photograph the owl coming at me. I couldn't do it. It was fun being on stage though!

We had a minor emergency! After using our FastPasses for a second go-round on Primeval Whirl, we marveled at how much faster and spinnier it was compared to that morning. We walked along and I noticed that Expedition Everest had a 10-minute single rider wait. Aidan has no interest in riding that coaster, but it's one of my favorites. He sat down to play on his phone...and there was no phone there. He'd had it before we got on Primeval Whirl, so I deduced it had to have come out in there. Back to Dinoland USA we went, and we talked to some cast members. Sure enough, they found his phone in one of the cars. The ride was so much more spinnier it spun the phone right out of Aidan's pocket! But we got the phone back and all was well! And I got to ride Expedition Everest with only a 5-minute single rider wait.

Animal Kingdom is undergoing a lot of renovations, so a lot of what makes the park so beautiful was masked by tall fences and signs. There were some pretty parts, though.


We didn't have a very long day at Animal Kingdom. We did everything we wanted to do, and I had a phone call scheduled, so we made an early day of it. It was a super fun day, though. Not too tiring or overwhelming. After my call, we hung out at the resort. I sunbathed by the pool and sent Snapchats. Then at 7:30, I watched the Movie Under the Stars (which was Wall-E) and ate a turkey sandwich and Doritos. It was a relaxing night. We knew we'd need to rest up for Magic Kingdom the next day!


So obviously, my next vacation post will be about Magic Kingdom! So, till next time!

(crossposted at anywhere is)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's About That Time

That's Incredible

I made the BIG payment last week--you know what I'm talking about. MagicBands have been customized for the (hopefully) last time, FastPass+ plans have been scheduled, ADRs made, and now I'm just waiting for the travel documents to show up. And in just over a month, Aidan and I will be heading to Orlando once again!

We're both very excited. I'm also a little nervous. It will be just the two of us for most of this trip. He's been wanting to do a mom-son trip for a long time, and I wanted to really do this and make it special for him before he became a teen and decided that being seen with me in public is a travesty. (I really hope that never happens but you never know.) I really hope we can spend the time to talk about anything and everything, and just enjoy each other, and have fun together.

This time we're staying at Pop Century. He really wanted to stay at Art of Animation, but the thing about that is the only room that is practical for us would be The Little Mermaid rooms and he really did not want to stay in one of those. However, we're going to be so close to AoA that I figure we can walk over and explore on our "resort" day.

I made ADRs for The Garden Grill, Liberty Tree Tavern, 50s Prime Time Cafe, and Be Our Guest (lunch). I am looking forward to having a Dole Whip, eating a churro, and having a chocolate covered pineapple. If they have brought back the Reese's Pieces covered marshmallow wands, I will have one of those as well.

Because he and I have gone so many times, and because I have the FastPass+, I feel like we can take it pretty easy this trip. It will be crowded and hot, so I'm hoping we won't feel the need to rush or cram a bunch in. Also, the longer trip will help spread things out. We don't have Park Hoppers, but I reserve the right to add them if I feel led to.

I have so much to look forward to! We'll be there soon.

The Incredibles

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Top Five Disney Snacks


Eating is a very important part of life and therefore, and important part of any Disney vacation. And what's a vacation without snacking? NO FUN is what I say to that!

Needless to say, I enjoy snacking when I'm on vacation at a Disney park. I walk a lot (nearly 9 miles per day in the Parks) and I get hungry. A sister's gotta take care of herself. And when the scent of delicious confections fill the air, it's really hard to say "no." So I don't! :)


5. Mickey Ice Cream Bars. Those Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars. So simple, and yet so pleasing. Sadly, I can never finish a whole one. That doesn't stop me from trying.

4. Dole Floats. Take pineapple juice, plopped in a swirl of pineapple soft serve, and you have a treat that is delectable. The lines for this thing are out control sometimes, but dang, is it good. And refreshing!

3. Mickey Cake Pops. I tried one of these babies on my most recent trip and OH MY GOODNESS. Best cake pops I have ever tasted. Ever. The ears are marshmallow, and the inside is this ooey-gooey rich chocolate heaven. I devoured the entire thing without even thinking twice, that's how good it was.


2. Churros. I LOVE churros. I don't even care if they're stupidly overpriced. They're a perfect snack. Not too big, not too small. Not to sweet, not too savory. Just right. I can always go for a churro.

1. Marshmallow Wands. Disney World used to have those chocolate-covered marshmallow wands that were covered in tiny Reese's Pieces candies. They have recently discontinued these delicious, amazing treats, much to my disappointment. However, they still have the ones covered in mini M&Ms, and while they're not as good as the Reese's Pieces, they do in a pinch. My favorite snack at the Disney parks HANDS DOWN. I just really hope they bring back the ones with the Reese's Pieces. Soon.

Honorable mention: These big ole cookies. My son loves them.

Mickey Cookies

Friday, December 5, 2014

All Hail Mickey Mouse!

Disney World 2014 Collage

Guess who recently returned from a really cool Disney vacation? If you guessed ME, you'd be right! :) I didn't post much about it here because well, it was such a random, sorta last minute thing. See, my brother-in-law Eli and his wife Melissa both work for the Disney company in California, so they get free tickets (four each!) and discounted accommodations for the parks. They also run marathons and crazy things like that. They came to Orlando to do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon and then to vacation a bit. Adam's family was joining them, along with Melissa's mom. That left one space for me! I just had to pay for my flight and contribute a bit to the room cost, which was VERY VERY reasonable, what they asked. And of course, buy my own food, etc.

the gang!

The trip was from November 7-15. I had to be with Eli to get let into the park, and then I could do whatever I want the rest of the day. Sometimes I stuck with Adam's family (his mom, dad, sister, and niece), sometimes I hung with Melissa, Eli, and Vicky. Sometimes we were ALL together. A lot of times I went off by myself. I took a lot of selfies! Ha.

Back at Epcot!! ???? #Epcot #disneyworld #selfie #disney

The Magic started right away, when I went to check in and the guy at the desk gave me a pile of stickers and coloring books and crayons and buttons! And it just kept continuing, with people doing nice things, my friend Joe getting us into Garden Grill for dinner even though it had been booked for months, big hugs from Mickey Mouse and the gang, and so much more.

Here are the things I've learned the times that I was on my own at Disney World:

1. It's an interesting experience. I loved the freedom of doing what I wanted when I wanted. It was much faster and easier to weasel my way through crowds when I was by myself. I enjoyed just answering to myself. If I wanted to do something, I did it. I didn't have to get approval or wait for people, I could just go for it. And single rider lines for rides are the best. I pretty much walked right on to Test Track more than once. And there are some really warm and open people at Disney World. I talked to one wonderful woman about ten minutes and by the end of the conversation, she was embracing me. Little girls seemed to love me--so many would just stop and smile and/or say "hi" to me or just start talking to me. Little boys, too! And I got a free churro because I was at the Christmas Party by myself. If I wanted to sit and people watch, it was OK for me to do that. I didn't feel like I was putting people out when my tiny bladder made its needs known loudly and often. If people in the group were doing something I wasn't all that into, I liked being able to say "I'm going to do [some other thing] and I'll catch up with you later." I loved that.

2. Eating was so cheap when it was just me! Before I left for Disney, I purchased $150 in Disney gift cards from Target (using my RedCard so I'd save 5%), and I didn't use all of it. Granted, one meal was an expensive one and I paid for that NOT using the gift card, but the rest? Well, I came home with $20 left, and I'd even bought a souvenir with some of the gift card money. This was done with some extra help though: I had granola bars and Pop-Tarts in my room. I bought one bottle of water and kept refilling it, and I also bought a refillable drink mug (with a gift card!) to use when I was at the resort. Seeing as I was there so many nights, it was a good investment, especially on my resort day. I also have a small appetite, so many times, the kid's meal was adequate for me. I also forgot about my gift cards and got a couple of Food & Wine entries with cash. So, truthfully, I probably spent about $180 to feed myself at Disney World for nine days, including a refillable drink mug, a fancy sit down meal, and novelty snacks. I'd say $20 a day isn't bad.

3. During a long trip like this, a day in the middle to do NOTHING is a fantastic idea. I never knew the value of it until last week. I realized that I am absolutely capable of melting down like the toddlers at the end of the night (or morning or whenever) who have had ENOUGH. I was like that Monday night after the Christmas party. I was just DONE. Then I dropped my brand new phone INTO the Murphy bed that I was sleeping on (which was very comfortable by the way). I didn't sleep well. By Tuesday morning, I was a mess. I got on my computer while waiting for maintenance to come and help me get my phone out. I took my medication, and tried to calm down. It worked. Maintenance came and my phone was rescued and unharmed. The meds kicked in. I pulled on my bathing suit and decided to stick around the resort all day. I hung out at the pool and had a drink, and talked to my mom and Aidan on the phone. Then I took a nice, hot bath before heading to the food court for something yummy to eat. (Probably corn dogs, seeing as I can't seem to get enough of the things lately.) It was a nice, relaxing, much-needed day of downtime and self care. I highly recommend a resort/pool day for all long Disney trips.

Poolside drinksies!!!! #vacation #goodlife #disney #disneyworld #selfie ??????????

I got to spend time at Disney with a little kid, which doesn't happen often. I mean, there are kids THERE, but they're not with me, so yeah. Hanging out with Lola was great. To hear that little voice say "I want to sit with RONNI" was soooo fun!

how cute is this?

And I had to admire how they kept her fed and happy with PB&J, fruit, cheese sticks, popcorn, etc. They didn't have to spend a lot of money on her nor worry about feeding her since she can be a picky little eater. And because she was in her stroller, they could just feed her just about anywhere. Chris and I didn't do that with Aidan! Not that he'd have eaten PB&J anyway....


I got to do some new things this trip. I finally got to see Fantasmic! :) I'd been hearing about this fireworks show for years and years but it always seemed like a pain in a butt to get to. You had to line up a million years before to get a good seat or even a seat at all, blah blah blah. But FastPass+ made it possible for Cassidy and me to get front row center seats (now, we'd have normally never wasted a Fast Pass on a show but that's about all they had available by the time we made it to Hollywood Studios that evening), so there it was. And I LOVED it! It lived up to the hype for sure!

I sat at the Pinocchio restaurant and waved to people riding it's a small world. That was fun.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is so much fun! Such a cute coaster!

I saw Finding Nemo: The Musical. I liked it, but The Festival of the Lion King wins. I missed the Jammin' Jungle Parade. So sad it's gone. I heard it is coming back after all the work is done in Animal Kingdom. I hope so.


Animal Kingdom in the dark! That was certainly new! It either closes so early or it stays dark so late that I've never see it at night. It's just as pretty.

And there was Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, where I got to meet these guys:


And see Main Street look like this (complete with fake snow):



The pictures do not do the castle justice, how pretty it is. It's incredible, and now they've incorporated Elsa and Anna and Olaf (from Frozen) into the castle lighting in a very clever way. I approve! :) Here's a video of the very ending, complete with a "wooo" from me.

And oh oh oh, I got to see the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights! It was sooooo cool. Definitely will put you in the holiday spirit, as long as you can handle the crowds!! Here's a snippet!

Honestly, I cannot even begin to put all the stuff I got to see and do. It was just a nice, long, awesome vacation. If you'd like to see more photos, click here! There's lots to see! :)

And I leave you with a photo of Mickey and me. Because yes.


Till next time! :)

(crossposted to my personal blog)


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