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We’ve upgraded!!!

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

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Shiny New Shoes

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!  😉

Mickey on the Brain

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

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.  😀

More Disney? or….

Today I’m writing with a question.  Do you want more on Walt Disney World from me?  Want to know our favourites at every park?  Want to know what rides/attractions to skip?  Or are you getting tired of all the Disney stuff?  Do you want me to get back to just sharing whatever is on my mind?  At this point I could go either way.

On one side, I’ve really loved sharing about our Disney experience.  It’s allowed me to continue our adventure, reliving all the great moments even though we’ve been home for over a month now.  I’m enjoying sharing all of our pictures and stories.  After all, it was a week and a half that rocked our worlds pretty damn hard.  😉

On the other side, I do miss sharing my other passions.  Talking about the kid.  Sharing projects I’m working on.  Doing a little advocacy and fighting (as always) for justice and equality.  It’s nice just following my muse wherever she happens to lead me that day.

So really, I could go either way.  I love writing about Disney, but I love writing about my life and passions too.  And we are coming up on April again….  how would you feel about me doing the A to Z challenge for a second year?  I want to hear from you!  That’s one thing about the Disney posts, while they get y’all talking on FB, they sure don’t generate blog comments – and I’m missing the back and forth!  LOL

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

This truly is THE park.  When people who have never been to Walt Disney World talk about Disney World, THIS is the park they are usually talking about.  It really is quintessential Disney.

When you are planning your WDW vacation plant to spend at least two days at the Magic Kingdom.  There is so much here that really shouldn’t be missed, and even with two days devoted to this park there are things you’ll have to skip.  I promise to go into the rides and shows in more detail on another post – listing the must dos and the must avoids.  But for now?  After such a long day?  I’m going to jump right into the photos.  After all, that’s really what you want to see, isn’t it?  😉

Epcot

By far, Epcot is the most underrated of all the Walt Disney World parks, and this is why we spent the first day there.  We figured that by starting at the most adult-centric of the parks, then the girls wouldn’t have a chance to be disappointed in it as they wouldn’t know any different.  The first park is going to be fun and exciting regardless of which park it is.  And you know what?  After being there, I don’t know why so many people skip it.  Epcot is awesome!  I only wish we’d had our WDW system in place so we could have been more efficient and seen more of it.  But we know better for next time.  LOL

My favourite attraction at Epcot was definitely Captain EO.  Sure, it’s a little corny and totally 80’s – but that’s just part of it’s charm.  I absolutely loved every minute of it, even being snotted on.  😉  It should be on your “must do” Disney list!

The girls both loved the Test Track – though I found the wait long (even with the fast pass) and there were no cast members to be found to help guide you through the design process.  We didn’t know if we each should be designing a vehicle, or if just one of us needed to do so… and we weren’t the only family who had no clue.  So we let Lily-Ann design a car, hoping that we just needed one for our group.  Turns out we each should have done one, but it was just fine.  LOL  The speed test was fun, but I could have done without the rest of the ride.  It was jarring and mostly unpleasant.  The speed though?  Seriously awesome!

This is also where we bought all of our ears.  And shockingly enough, I got complements on mine from cast members throughout our trip.  Turns out not all the ears are available at all the parks.  Oh!  Neither is all the merchandise.  We saw a Mulan playset at Epcot, but didn’t want to carry it around with us all day.  From what we’d heard of Downtown Disney, anything we could find in the parks we’d be able to find there – THAT’S NOT TRUE.  We should have bought the Mulan set, as we never found it again in any of the parks or at Downtown Disney.

Epcot was a long day.  We learned a lot about how NOT to tour a Disney park that day.  LOL  But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.  It was pretty amazing!

Character Meets at Walt Disney World

You really do need at least five or six days to properly do all the parks (not including water parks) at Walt Disney World, and a big part of the reason why are all the character meets.  Because, lets face it, even an adult only vacation to WDW has to include character meet ‘n greets!

Most of the time, you just hop in line and wait it out.  And some of those lines can be LONG.  We were there during the off season and even then there were a couple of characters whom we waited for over an hour in line to see.  Now, if you were to skip all the character meets you could chop a couple of days off your trip, but why would you want to do that?  The characters are what makes Disney the fun that it is – otherwise it’s just a bunch of theme parks.  People love Disney World and Disneyland BECAUSE of the magic that is Disney, and that is ALL about the characters.

And let’s face it!  Most of the rides are no camera rides (though some people are asshats about it and snap pictures anyway – ruining the experience for those around them), so the character meets?  They’re your very best photo ops.  And some of the cast members really are fabulous and are SOOO worth seeing.  Peter Pan pops into mind.  Seriously, he spent about ten minutes with Lily-Ann…  who happened to be in her fairy costume.  He even tried shaking pixie dust out of her.  He really was fabulous and made the girl feel that way too.  😀

So, here are a whole whack of character meet-ups from our trip!  None of the photos have been edited or enhanced.  I am not even going to THINK about that yet.  It’s going to be a STUPID amount of work considering the two or three thousand images I have.  LOL  So it was just a RAW to JPG conversion.  LOL

Disney + Nighttime = Magic!

Another “must do” at Disney are their nighttime spectaculars (the voice in my head says it with a thick Italian accent and REALLY rolls that R).  Meaning get your butt a spot to sit, or find yourself one square foot of space to stand, and ensure you’re there – because even the crappiest of spots is still magnifico!  Truly!  You haven’t seen fireworks until you’ve seen them at Disney!

But do be warned, Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios is not for everyone.  Young children, or those who are impressionable may find it too scary.

From Youngling to Padawan at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you ask Damon, he’ll readily admit to being jealous of this particular experience.  However, he was out of the running by over two decades as it’s aimed at the little ones from five to twelve (if I’m not mistaken).  So he was forced to live vicariously through Lily-Ann, whom we were ALL super excited for.  After all, how many kids get to go from Youngling to Padawan all within 1/2 hour?!?!

When you take your family to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Jedi training academy really needs to be at the top of your “must do” list.  It’s an absolutely fabulous experience!  But you do need to get there early to sign up or risk not being included.  We had arrived at the park early to take advantage of the Magic Hours (extra hours for resort guests only) and then meandered our way over to the sign-in area.  We got there at about 9:30 and made it into the 2:30 group – the last group goes at 3:30 with the training ending by 4:00 (again, if memory serves).  So yeah… head over there first thing, and get signed in before doing any of the character meets, rides, or other attractions just to guarantee your youngling’s spot.

Lily-Ann was so proud of herself.  She took her training very seriously, and mastered her fears – taking on Vader like a seasoned pro.  She jumped and skipped, thusting her diploma in the air with a strong and determined “I did it” attitude.  It really was one of those once in a life time, amazing, moments that won’t be forgotten.

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