The girl and I were watching Hercules today, and it got me thinking about character meets at Walt Disney World. We did a ton of them, and plan to do even more of them in January. But there are characters I’d have loved to have had the chance to interact with that just don’t do the meets. Characters like Megara, whom I only caught a glimpse of for half a second during Fantasmic, and thus only got one really crappy photo of:
Or Giselle from Enchanted, Now THAT’s a princess I’d like to meet. But rumour has it that we’ll never see her in the parks. I did a little digging and it looks like Disney is simply unwilling to pay any royalties to Amy Adams (whom I adore and who originally portrayed Giselle in the movie). Now, I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but if it is? I’m not impressed.
And now? Now it sounds like the sisters from Frozen, Anna and Elsa, will be removed from Epcot at the beginning of January. At the same time as the holiday decorations get packed up. I’m very much hoping those rumours are false too.
Disney has a host of Princesses that are so much better for our little ones to look up to, yet we don’t ever get to see them. What’s up with that? At least we still get to meet Vanellope – who, even though she hasn’t been officially crowned to the Disney Pantheon, is my favourite Disney Princess.
I don’t know. The same few princesses over and over again are fine, everyone loves a classic. But I for one would love to see some of the others. How about Rapunzel joining the gang for meals at Cinderella’s castle? Or Anna, Elsa, and Merida showing up at the Princess Storybook Dining in Epcot? I’d love a character meet that included Mulan and Megara too. I’m glad we get to meet Tiana, but let’s include a few others. Lots of great ones that could be included!
Disney now has a new savings programed aimed at helping families save for their Disney vacations. You can check out all the details here: https://disneyvacationaccount.disney.go.com/ Personally I think it’s not a bad option, especially for families where multiple individuals would be contributing towards the costs. I know we couldn’t have afforded our January trip if I hadn’t created a special savings account at our bank.
I began saving pretty much as soon as we got home from our first trip to WDW. Ten percent off the top of everything I made went straight into that savings account. And any time I could, I’d put extra in. Sometimes it was another five bucks, sometimes it was five hundred (gotta love large pay days). More often than not it was a tiny bit at a time. But a years worth of saving everything I could has meant we’re heading to WDW in three weeks.
Yeah, there were things we chose to do without. Things we could have used. I’d love a new oven or dishwasher… and we haven’t decorated yet even though we’ve now been living in this house for a little over a year. LOL But we all make choices, we all have priorities. And honestly? When Lily-Ann is grown? She won’t remember that our oven only had a top burner (which meant the bottom half of our pizzas weren’t as crisp as they should have been), but she will remember the amazing times we had as a family, laughing, and enjoying every moment. And that’s worth keeping our crummy oven a little longer. 😉
I photographed a beautiful wedding today. The brides are so much in love that it just radiated off of them. Their joy was infectious. And even me dragging them into the snow in -30something temperatures couldn’t dampen their spirits. I do have to admit, jumping back into the car after being out in that cold made me think about how great the temperatures in Florida are going to feel this January. LOL
It was a freezing cold Yule, and today was just as frigid, but like our two brides? Nothing is going to put the chill on the excitement I feel about our upcoming Disney trip.
Our big reveal yesterday didn’t go exactly as planned. Mostly I think the girl was just overwhelmed and didn’t really process the news. Damon took a video, and I’m hoping he’ll get it to me so I can share it before too long. It really was cute. And honestly? We may have surprised the kid, but she surprised us right back!
We thought all along that staying in a Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation was HUGE for her. It’s all she’s talked about whenever we’ve talked about Disney World. So we booked at the AoA resort, in an Ariel room. It wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I knew it would make her sooo happy. So when we told her where she’d be staying we were both shocked when she asked if we could stay at a different WDW resort “with different things to explore” we were shocked. But I have to admit, I was kind of excited.
As of last night we have upgraded from a value resort to a moderate one. We couldn’t afford to get the Royal Room at Port Orleans (which the girl fell in love with) but we were able to get a standard room – and they are just beautiful. So grown up, with the most beautiful linens… and a double vanity (two sinks and mirrors). It’s going to be a dream come true. And with the free dining plan that is being offered it only ended up being an extra hundred dollars or so over what our stay at the Art of Animation would have been. And get this! Instead of the quick service dining plan, we get the regular dining plan. Know what that means? CHARACTER DINING!!!
I am over the moon! We are going to be eating with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, some of the princesses, the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood… it’s going to be amazing! I was excited for this trip before. But now? Now? OMG! Waiting just got a whole heck of a lot harder! LOL
It’s the last day of school before the holiday break, and so the whole school is having a pajama day. Everyone looked super cute, and as we were waiting in the class for the bell to ring, the teachers and administration gathered in the hall to sing carols. It was so much fun. I’ll admit, quite openly, that while I am excited for the break I am sad to know we are losing one of our two fabulous teachers. Miss Begg is an intern, and is finished her time with us.
Unlike many interns, who find themselves overwhelmed, and stumble through their internship Miss Begg came in already ready to teach. She so clearly has found her place with these kids, and has been such a wonderful addition to their class. We were already super excited to have Ms. Jackson – who is one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever known – but then to have added Miss Begg to the team? It’s been absolutely fabulous, and I’ll be sad to see her go (as will the kids). I’m also excited for her too, as I know wherever this journey takes her she is going to touch so many little lives.
Because tomorrow is Yule, we brought gifts for both Ms Jackson and Miss Begg today. Normally it’s about a month before Yule and we start to plan. We’ve made scrapbook pages, blown up pictures, given plants the girl propagated herself (wrote “thanks for helping me grow” on the planter)… but only a few weeks into this year Lily-Ann told me she wanted me to make tutus for her teachers. So that’s what I did.
The tutus I’ve made for Rhonda get borrowed and passed around between all the teachers. They all just adore them. And I’m thrilled to report that the two newest tutus were equally well received. Lily-Ann and I both got big hugs, and I’m so glad to have made Ms. Jackson’s and Miss. Begg’s day. The put them on immediately and began showing them off to the rest of the staff. LOL Lily-Ann was just tickled (as was I).
After putting on a Disney Christmas movie for the class to watch, the four of us headed into the hallway to snap a quick picture. Everyone in their PJ’s (and tutus) next to the tree:
And because this is during the 30 Days of Disney… Lily-Ann is wearing her velveteen Cinderella PJs. 😉
More than any other item you pack for a Disney vacation, your shoes have the potential to make or break your trip. You will be walking more than you’ve likely ever walked before. Disney is not a lay around on the beach vacation, it is a get up and move and don’t stop until you drop vacation. You will come home exhausted (yes, you may need a vacation after this vacation). And your shoes will either keep you in good spirits or have you grumbling and miserable.
We are a DAWGS family. The classic beach/garden clog is ugly as sin… seriously, they are the most butt ugly shoes out there, but they are so stinkin’ comfortable. And they have gotten a whole lot better. Half the time when I’m in DAWGS, only other DAWGS fans even recognize them. They’ve come a long way from that first ugly shoe (though they still make them, and we still love them for putzing in the back yard or at the lake). So when I decided the girl and I needed new shoes for our January Disney trip, the DAWG store was where we went. And seriously, how cute are these?!?!
And yeah… get yourself some new shoes for WDW, but break them in BEFORE you go. Trust me! 😉
A couple of weeks ago I had emailed the good folks at Walt Disney World with a bit of a query. On our last trip, in spite of the fact that members of our group have several disabilities, we avoided using the Access program. I believe one should do what they can to avoid any misuse of equal access programs, and while we certainly qualified to use it, if we could do without, it’s what I’d prefer. I don’t want my daughter or much younger sister growing up thinking they deserve special privileges simply because they face different challenges than others. And with the old program, anyone with an access card skips to the front of the line – which is clearly not about equality but about special privileges (which is why it was so abused). Anyway…
I had emailed the people at WDW to ask about seating for the Main Street Electrical Parade. This was one time when I desperately wished we had requested assistance on our last trip. The wait resulted in a lot of anxiety for two members of our party, a melt down for one, and a whole lot of pain for two. Sitting on the concrete for over an hour trying to hold a spot was not good for any of us. I was hoping there would be some kind of reserved seating available. Turns out not… they only have special seating for those guests who are non-ambulatory. She did give me some tips for the parade though, so hopefully that will help. Because in spite of the pain (both physical and mental) the MSEP remains on our must do list.
So while that wasn’t great news, she did fill me on on the NEW Disability Access program at Disney World – and that is something I’m excited about. She encouraged me to participate on our upcoming trip, because the new program addresses the concerns I had with the old program. Now, instead of ushering people to the front of the line, offering special privileges and inviting misuse, it now works more like the old Fast Passes.
Individuals with special needs request a special card, and instead of hoping into line, get it stamped at the entry to the queue. It is stamped with the time they are to return, so they are waiting for the same amount of time as everyone else in the line. But instead of having to stand there (and cause anxiety or pain flare-ups or what-have-you) they can then go sit down, eat, run in circles, meditate, draw, go pee… whatever they need to do to mitigate their symptoms, returning for the time on their card. At which point they rejoin the queue at the place they would have been standing when their card was stamped. Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t have to stand in line at all, but it does reduce the time in the line without removing the wait.
I love this new accessibility program. It ensures those with special needs are able to have equal access to the rides, shows, character meetings, etc without granting an advantage and inviting misuse or program abuse. And I do think this is a much better idea, and is a change I’m looking forward to experiencing. Granted it doesn’t help with the MSEP, but hopefully by lessening the stress throughout the day (both physically and emotionally) it will be a little easier too… because it really cannot be missed! 😉
Clearly I’m not the only one in the house with Mickey on the brain. The girl made Mickey Mouse pancakes while she was playing on her breakfast app. And while yes, this kind of post would be more appropriate on a “Wordless Wednesday” let’s just call this one a “Tired Tuesday”. 😉
I am SOOO ready for the Holiday break! I don’t know who I was trying to cheer up more when I said to the girl “only three more days of school until the break”.
I’m at school all morning tomorrow, and then I have an School Community Council meeting at lunch. On Thursday we have the Saputo lunch at school. Friday is PJ day. Saturday is Yule. Sunday I have a wedding to photograph. Monday I have a family photo session to do, and some Yummy Rummy egg nog to make. Tuesday is the annual Christmas eve party. Wednesday is Christmas with my siblings and parents. Thursday is boxing day, when the extended family will all gather at my parent’s place. Friday I have a hair cut and a night out with my man. And Saturday I can kick back and do NOTHING with the kid. Maybe. I have a friend in town and we’re either going to have a little mini-high school reunion on Saturday OR Sunday. LOL The point is, on Saturday or Sunday next week I get to kick back and do nothing. LMAO Yay! Oh! I still have one teacher present to make and a gift for one of the Brides. Yikes! Tack those onto the to do list for the next day or two. I do love the holidays, but I am looking forward to a day with NOTHING. Oh! Still about eight presents to wrap too. Gotta get those done. Am I missing anything important? Grocery shopping. Right. Hard to have a merry holiday pig out without food in the house. LOL Anything else?
I’m so glad Yule falls smack in the middle of it all. While it will be a day with lots going on, it’s ALL just for us. And I’m so looking forward to seeing the girl’s reaction to the news that we’re heading back to Disney World in mid-January. 😀
I’m finding the secret much harder to keep this year.
Last December I had no trouble at all keeping the surprise of our first trip to Walt Disney World secret. We were going FOR the girl. The trip was for her, and I honestly found little excitement in the idea of going beyond knowing how much she was going to love it. I knew I wanted to take her while the magic of Disney was still real, when the princesses are really princesses, and Mickey isn’t some person in a costume but the real Mickey Mouse. I was excited for HER. I had no excitement over the trip on my behalf. I like vacations that are away from the tourists, away from commercialism, away from the hustle and bustle. Give me the quiet of a place devoid of man but full of life. So the idea that I could fall in love with the most touristy commercialized place on the planet was entirely foreign… yet that’s exactly what happened.
This year the secret of our January trip to WDW is SOOO hard to keep. I am so excited, and not just for her. I’m excited for ME TOO. It was the best time of my life, and I can’t wait to do it again. We are better prepared, we know more, and therefore we’ll be able to do more and see more. 😀 It’s going to be so stinkin’ awesome!
I really didn’t expect to fall in love with the place, but I did. There really is something so magical about it all. The magic is real because WE made it real. We jumped in and did everything wholeheartedly. Sure, we did it for the girl , but it was for us too. And I can’t wait to go back.
Just like last year, we’re keeping our trip to Walt Disney World a surprise until Yule. This year though, we’re leading up to the reveal with her advent calendar. We bought a whole bunch of Disney pins off eBay, and have put them inside dated Disney ornaments:
So every day the girl gets a new pin.
She loved the first one:
But by the third was catching onto the theme and finding it less than fun. Last year her advent calendar included little baggies filled with little toys, MLP clothes, LPS accessories, and other odds and ends with a lot more playability. Then, by about day five, she realized these are the same pins they use for pin trading at WDW… and a world of possibilities came flooding in on her. Now she’s excited to see which one is inside each ornament, and likes to think about which might be keepers and which might be good for trading.
I am so looking forward to the big reveal on the 21st. I know she’s just going to be over the moon to learn our next trip is coming up so quickly. It’s going to be amazing!
We are now one month our from our second trip to Walt Disney World. We loved our first trip (in January/February of 2013) sooo much, that shortly after returning we began planning for a return visit. This time we’ll be heading off on January 14th, once month from today, and will again be staying for ten days (two of which are devoted to travel). Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to bring my sister along this time, but I’m sure it will be just as magical though very different without her. Oh! And the girl doesn’t know about the trip yet, so don’t spill the beans. We’ll be revealing the surprise on Yule! hehehe
To get in the spirit of things I’m planning to blog “30 Days of Disney”.
I realized in my WDW posts from our last trip that I had barely scratched the surface. There was still SOOO much I hadn’t shared, and just a ton of pictures that never made it onto the blog. I can’t wait to start talking Disney with the kid, but until the 21st I’m stuck trying to keep my excitement bottled up. I’m hoping y’all won’t mind being a bit of an outlet for me. I am crazy excited about this trip.
So this is the first of 30 Walt Disney World posts. For now, let’s just recap where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:
Each of the above posts is graphic-laden. Tons of photos! And I highly recommend clicking on the pictures to see them a little larger than the thumbnails allow. They are worth it! I promise.
And just for good measure, here’s a favourite post of the Pinterest crew: https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/doing-disney-the-smith-way/