disney listicles.

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At the time of the writing of *this* sentence, Disney o’clock is this far away:

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So CLOSE!!!

I booked this upcoming Disney World trip in February. Booking that far in advance (countdown 100+ days!), always makes it seem like an abstract thing. So long away, right? An entire season had to go by , and days of everyday life, work, etc. Even though there were these milestones to look forward to:

01. Booking dining reservations at 180 days (we booked with fewer than 180 days to go, so we were able to book dining right away!)
02. MagicBand customization
03. Booking FastPass+ attractions at 60 days
04. Online resort check-in at 60 days
05. Order grocery delivery (doing it at 60 days gives a slight discount!)
06. Payment deadline at 45 or 30 days (I’m not sure which–I always thought it was 45 but my travel agent, the amazing Lauren at Magical Travel–gave me a due date of 30 days before. I paid a week before that, though, cause nerd)
07. Pre-order Be Our Guest meal (we have an ADR for lunch!)
08. Arrival of MagicBand and travel documents
09. Arrival of Magical Express stuff
10. Arrival of special goodies from Lauren (seriously, use her, and then tell her I sent you)

So now that the trip is so close, I have that familiar feeling of angst I always get before traveling (this happens every time, no matter if we’re driving to Ohio to visit Mommy or if I’m flying somewhere epic like freaking Scotland), because:

01. I want everything to go right! I have travel nightmares often, like losing my passport, or missing my flights, or actually being at Disney World and not actually going into the parks or having my camera or riding any rides/enjoying the attractions.
02. When we flew to Disney in the summer of 2013, we were delayed several hours because of a mandated pilot rest period. Look, I am all for pilots getting enough rest. It’s important. But this was during the Airtran-Southwest merger and a lot of stuff was just not on. And watching the two flights after us board and leave on time, while we had to sit there for three hours (after having arrived two hours early, like you do) was super frustrating. And then, when Aidan and I flew out last year, we were pulling away from the gate when a big storm blew through and grounded us for at least two hours. So, I’m praying for no delays this time. (It’s also why I stopped making park plans on arrival day. It’s usually more expensive, and I’m usually too tired and delirious to enjoy it. It’s better to arrive the night before, take it easy, and wake up super early the next day!)

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And of course, to do lists are key when planning a Disney trip. Here’s all the last minute Disney prep I’ve done so far:

01. Hair salon
02. Mani/pedi
03. Preliminary packing
04. Incidental purchases, such as sunscreen, snacks, etc.
05. Made lists
06. Put a bunch of stuff aside to pack later when I’m not feeling so lazy/feeling more organized (I’d better get on the ball)
07. Made more lists
08. OOO message on work email
09. Travel playlists
10. Check weather

And here’s the stuff I need to do:

01. Pack the rest of the things
02. Charge all the things
03. Make sure Aidan packs all of his things
04. Send availability messages to freelance clients
05. Get $$$$ stuff in order
06. Try not to stress
07. Try to relax
08. Watch Disney Vacation Planning video(s)
09. Listen to Disney music
10. HAVE FUN!

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{aidan’s gonna be so much taller than me in this year’s photos}

I’m so excited to be there! There’s so much I’m looking forward to!

1. Riding the Magical Express
2. Eating at Garden Grill and Liberty Tree Tavern and Be Our Guest
3. Riding the PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean (it was closed for refurbishment last time I was there), Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania (1st time in years), Expedition Everest just to name a few
4. Seeing the new castle show in Magic Kingdom
5. Eating a chocolate dipped pineapple, and churros
6. Staying in a deluxe resort for the first time!!!!
7. The warm weather ;)
8. Getting exercise and walking
9. Buying souvenears!
10. Spending time with some of my favorite people ever: Mommy, Janae, Terri, Geneva, and of course Aidan

And I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) turning my brain off. Of city life. Of stinky kitty cats. Trying to decide on dinner when Adam’s not here. Of everything writing, editing, copy editing, and publishing for a while. Just enjoy 100% free time. (Brainstorming is always OK though.)

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I’ll be sure to write all about it when I’m back! Now it’s time to go do all the pre-Disney trip things! And also bug Janae on text and/or twitter to tell her how excited I am!

See ya real soon!

epic adventure: epcot

Epcot

Hi! I know it’s been a while. It takes a lot to put one of these posts together, and I’ve been super busy with work. But today my brain is scattered in 23849 different directions, so I thought, why not catch up. Or try to, anyway?

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Aidan and I went to Epcot twice while on our trip. The first day, it was the two of us, and we had a good time. There was adventuring and characters and rides! There was one part that sucked, though. We were in line to meet Donald Duck when my phone started going crazy, showing me all these fraudulent charges using my Capital One. Then we were next and Donald had to go eat a taco (It was the Mexico Donald Duck.) I’d been trying to get a Donald all trip and argh. The card stuff eventually got sorted, so it all worked out. And that evening? We ate at Garden Grill and had an amazing time. Seriously, that restaurant blows me away EVERY SINGLE TIME I go, and this was my 11th time there.

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We got the HOOKUP for dessert, thanks to Sam, the amazing manager. Check this out:

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Can you even believe? I still can’t.

We watched the fireworks with my friend Joey and he dropped us off at the hotel after which was so nice of him.

The 2nd day we went, it was our last day in a Disney park for our trip. So those days are always bittersweet. Aidan wanted a hat, but not any hat. THIS HAT:

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I’d just gotten the official word that Humana wanted to hire me as a contractor, so I was happy to buy it for him from the China pavilion.

We did the Character Connection, which is always different every time we go!

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Eventually, Aidan and I met up with Joey and his daughters (Bella and Victoria) that afternoon and ate pizza at Via Napoli. That pizza tasted FREAKING DELICIOUS. We rode Test Track and Mission: Space with them as well. Aidan wanted to ride Orange: More Intense and so did Bella. Joey didn’t want Bella to ride it at first; I just think he didn’t want her to go alone. When I told him that I was letting Aidan go, he let her go too. I love that I can let Aidan do that. I was never going to tell him “no.”

Victoria and I played the games in the Mission Control part while we waited, and when that ended, I got her some astronaut ice cream, which she’d never even heard of, let alone tried!

At some point during the day, this bird somehow got ahold of a mayo packet. There was a cast member standing under the tree trying to get him to drop it but this bird was like LOL.

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That night, I had to pick up my rental car. Aidan and I were crashing out at Joey’s for a couple of nights before heading up the Florida coast. Joey made us dinner and let me do laundry, and we got to talk to Ricky Luna on video chat, and watch Wishes (the Magic Kingdom fireworks) from Joey’s window. Then we had to go to bed. It was LEGOland the next day!

epic adventure: hollywood studios

Hollywood Studios

Aidan and I spent one day at Hollywood Studios, and it was a great day. We skipped Toy Story Midway Mania and Tower of Terror (which gets a resounding HELL NO from Aidan), but I got to do Rock’N Rollercoaster (yay single rider!). We shopped and watched the Muppet show they have there, and met characters and ate and rode Star Tours a LOT. We also rode The Great Movie Ride, which has a super long line all the time now for some reason. Thank goodness we had Fastpasses. The ride has been redone a bit, maybe that was the draw. Anyway,

We met Baymax and Phineas & Ferb and Goofy! Doesn’t he look dapper?

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We hung out and acted silly.

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And we drew a picture of Mr. Frederickson from Up! Aidan’s looks professional. Mine is HUGE.

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Hollywood Studios may as well been called Frozen Studios. It was All Frozen, All The Time. I don’t mind Frozen. Aidan is not a fan of it. At All.

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There was a Frozen clavicle, where they stopped and sang Let It Go and skated around, wearing winter clothing in 90+ degree temperatures. There was also “snow.” It was so strange. We did the Frozen Sing-Along which was fantastic. The comedy bits were on point (there was even an Arrested Development joke!), and the singing was great. Let It Go again. Then there was the Frozen Dance Party, where there were remixed versions of Let It Go to dance to. I left all my stuff with Aidan and joined the dancers on the dance floor. It was super fun. Then, there were the Frozen Fireworks. Which were OMG beautiful.

After Frozen-time, we watched Fantasmic! which is always gorgeous. It was Aidan’s first time seeing it and he enjoyed it!

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Hollywood Studios is usually a fun, easy park for me and Aidan. We don’t have rides we really need to hustle for if you go on the right day (and we did! the lines for Star Tours were never more than 10 minutes the whole day), and 50s Prime Time Cafe, where we had dinner, is always yummy and a good time. So many changes are coming to the park soon. I wonder what it’ll be like then?

epic adventure: magic kingdom

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!

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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.

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Tonight, I missed Magic Kingdom so I went on YouTube and listened to the Dream Along with Mickey show. I can’t wait to go back. :)

epic adventure: animal kingdom

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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