epic disney world!!

Disney Collage! :)

Welcome to part one of the trip report for our epic Disney World vacation. I took my mom, who had never been, Aidan, who had been three times, and we met my cousin Falandos at the airport in Orlando. He also had never been.

I was a little bit nervous because I knew I’d have to do things differently than I was used to with Adam or Aidan and Adam. For one thing, my mom needed a scooter and I’d never toured the parks with a scooter before. She’s also a slow eater, so I knew we’d be betting a lot of downtime so she wouldn’t feel rushed during mealtimes. I really wanted to make sure she was comfortable and enjoying herself and not getting bored or cranky, but the funny thing is she was doing the same for me! She and Falandos both kept saying, throughout the trip, this this was my vacation too and I was entitled to enjoy myself as well. That was nice. :)


Our journey to Orlando began with a massive flight delay. The cause of the delay? THE PILOT HAD TO TAKE A NAP. I am not kidding. There were some scheduling snafus, and the pilot had a mandated rest period. I was unhappy, but my mom told me to calm down and that everything would be OK. So, we had lunch and hung out in the airport, playing Tetris Blitz on our tablets and reading. Let me tell you, it was cruel to see the flight that was scheduled an hour after our original departure take off on time. *sigh* It was also cold in the airport. And on the airplane. And in Chicago in general. I was so anxious to get to Orlando and bake in some heat and humidity!

We finally got to Orlando and rode into town in a Town Car. I went with the car service and it was great. The grocery stop was awesome–we picked up bottled water, pineapple juice, snacks, a poncho for Aidan, and I got some Mickey Mouse pajamas. I know, how sad that I was buying souvenirs BEFORE WE EVEN GOT ON DISNEY PROPERTY.

Our driver was awesome, slowing down so we could take pictures of the Disney World sign! :)

The Sign of Awesome

We stayed at Pop Century, and check in was easy and pleasant. Soon, we were on our way to Downtown Disney, stopping to take pictures along the way!


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We did some shopping at Downtown Disney–of course, Aidan had to hit the LEGO store.


First really big Magical Moment of the trip–Aidan had $60 to spend, and of course, he wanted to spend it on LEGO sets. So he got two. And then he asked about the Jor-El exclusive minifig or something, I don’t know. But he needed to spend $75 to get it. But the guy at the LEGO store gave one to Aidan anyway! It was so cool. Aidan was THRILLED and I was so happy for him. And that’s reason number 4985748953 I love going to Disney World. You just never know what sort of surprises you’ll end up with.

We shopped some more, taking a look at stores at Downtown Disney I’d usually pass over. I also took pictures of the snacks because that’s the kind of gal I am.

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We ate dinner in the food court at the hotel. Pop Century’s food court has these delicious “pizza bread” things. It’s like French bread pizza but yummier. I got a meal with two of those, a Caesar salad, and a Vitamin Water. Aidan got the kid’s meal version, which just had one piece of pizza bread, but he put red pepper flakes on his and tried to pawn it off on me. Blech. Still yummy, though. Mommy and Falandos got stuff from the “healthy options” line.

By the time we made it back to the hotel room, we were pretty tired (although excited)! Falandos and I went to pick up the scooter, and then we loitered in the Great Hall, looking at the decorations.

There’s nothing like that very first day of vacation, when you have your whole trip ahead of you. So many possibilities and things to look forward to.

We tried to turn in early, but well, we were at Disney World and excited! Still, we did the best we could to get a good night’s rest for … Magic Kingdom! Which was a great day in itself… but that’s a post for another day.

Till next time….



mommy, falandos, me, aidan

This most recent Disney vacation?


Just a few highlights:
– good food
– laughter
– candy & other sweets
– seeing my mom’s and falandos’s face for so many things

I feel sooo blessed that I was able to do this and experience this with my mother, my cousin, and aidan. It was worth every penny, worth all the planning, worth any hassle that may have arisen. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

We had so much fun we can’t wait to go back next year. We’re planning for ten days!

More soon. I’ve gotta go to bed.

I know. I’m cruel, but full trip report coming soon, I promise! :)


Magic Kingdom Revisited


Part One: Magic in the Magic Kingdom
Part Two: Animal Kingdom: I LOVE TODAY
Part Three: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
Part Four: Hooray For Hollywood–Studios, That Is!

On our last day at Disney World, Adam and I hit the Magic Kingdom. Our goal was to get there at Rope Drop, so that we could ride all the rides and attractions we couldn’t on Monday due to the crowds and the lines. It almost worked–we got there when the train rode into the station with all the characters. A little boy was walking in and the way his face lit up was amazing! And he hadn’t even seen the characters yet. It was fun to see.

Once we got in Magic Kingdom, I remembered WHY I love going at Rope Drop. That first hour when the Magic Kingdom is open really is magical. There’s all the singing and dancing, everyone is fresh and happy, and it just looks so shiny and new. Not to mention that it’s not crowded at all, and the rides are pretty much walk-on.

Adam and Me

The first place we went was to get Fast Passes for the new ride: Under The Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. We were mildly disturbed when the Fast Pass return time was already 1:50pm. Had that many people already gotten Fast Passes? But the cast member said that the ride wouldn’t be open until 1pm.

Storybook Circus

Once we got those, we headed to Storybook Circus, where the wait times were delightfully short to meet Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy (who had a “light sabor” fight with Adam), and to ride the Barnstormer!

Daisy Duck!

Minnie Mouse

The Great Goofini

Donald Duck

We made our way to Tomorrowland, where we hopped on Space Mountain, and then we headed to Adventureland, where I got a Dole Float with pineapple juice and orange soft serve. It was a delicious breakfast! Then we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, and then made our way to meet Adam’s mom Sharon, his sister Cassidy, and our niece Lola! :)

They’d called the day before with a crazy idea to drive up from Atlanta and spend the day in the Magic Kingdom with us. AND THEY DID IT. Awesome, huh?

We made our way to the Hub to get Fast Passes so Lola could meet the princesses later. Then we made our way back down Main Street, U.S.A. There was singing and dancing and good times. Lola was cranky and didn’t like it.

Dapper Dans

Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!

Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!

Dapper Dans

Then we looked through a few shops and drooled over the sweets at the confectionary.




We walked around and hung out and ate a delicious lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. Oh man, it was soooo good. See how happy we were?

Lola Is Happy!

We watched a bit of the castle show, and this was Lola’s face when the princesses came out:

Happy Lola!

By now, it was time to go meet the princesses! Lola was SOOO cute, you guys. She had so much fun, in her little princess dress and big smile.

Lola and Rapunzel

She got to meet Cinderella, Aurora, and Rapunzel. THEN, we took her to meet her favorite princess of all time….

Snow White and Lola

Do you see how she’s looking at her?? :) Could you just melt?

I'm Wishing.....

Snow White after she realized that Lola was singing “I’m Wishing” to her. Bless.

A Snow White Kiss!

Lola got a nice Snow White kiss for that. After the meet and greet, Lola ran to her mom squealing and jumping. SO CUTE.

We made our way back to the new Fantasyland so we could ride the Under The Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Now, I don’t know if I’d wait an hour or more in line to ride this, but it was a BEAUTIFUL ride just the same.

Under The Sea

Under The Sea

Under The Sea

In the meantime, Cassidy and Sharon had taken Lola to ride the Carousel and it’s a small world. Then I had work to do. So I worked while the parade played in the background, and then we all met up again in Columbia Harbour House, where Lola hugged me and told me she loved me. :)

Then it was Mad Tea Party (aka the Teacups) where Lola was more in love with the idea of riding than actually riding it. She seemed a little unsure and we were afraid she was gonna hurl! But she didn’t, and she did manage to have some fun. :)

Cassidy and I went to ogle/buy more treats, and then we made our way to the front of the park by train! It was time for me and Adam to head back to the hotel to catch the Magical Express back to the airport. :(

But not before stopping in to visit The Mouse himself!

Mickey Mouse and All of Us

Then it really was time to go. I was sad. A Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street party was starting again and I wanted to stay and dance. I wanted to hang out with Sharon and Cassidy and Lola some more. I wanted to stay in the Magic Kingdom! *sigh* But we parted ways and Adam and I headed to wait for the bus back to Port Orleans French Quarter. And folks, this is when we had the WORST bus luck out of the entire trip.

Part of it was my fault. I miscalculated how much time we’d need to get back to the hotel. So when we arrived at the bus stop, I was hoping a bus would be there or get there pretty fast because it’s only a ten minute ride back. It was about 5:35pm.

But of course, no bus showed up. We needed to be back to catch our Magical Express bus at 6:10pm. A bus back to the resort didn’t arrive until 6:15pm. We’d been standing at the stop for what felt like forever. We were stressed and I was getting cold. And when the bus finally arrived, we had to wait for them to load a wheelchair first, and that takes some time.

Luckily, Adam’s mom and sister had driven and they were ready to leave Magic Kingdom. So they were willing to meet us at the hotel to take us to the airport (or I was just going to get a cab). But there was a Magical Express showing up at 6:40pm and they let us on there. The ride back is always so much more subdued. No excitement, just resignation, really. This is the worst part of the Disney World vacation: when it’s over. I would have been so much sadder if I didn’t know when I’d be going back. But fortunately, I knew that I would be back in just a few months, so I wasn’t as sad as I could have been.

I really wasn’t ready to come back. I was not ready to come home and walk into a place reeking of cat poo (they like to poo all over the floor and couches as revenge when we’re gone), I did not want to come back to the cold and snow and slush, all the rushing and honking and abrasive attitudes. But real life has to go on–that’s what makes the trips so wonderful and special, right?

So, this concludes my trip report. I’ll definitely write about my lead up, planning, and trip in June, when I take Aidan (yay!) and my mom (her first trip!), and my cousin Falandos (his first trip too!) who is meeting us in Orlando. Should be a wild time!

Thanks for following along! I can’t wait to go back!


Hooray For Hollywood–Studios, That Is!

Hollywood Studios

Part One: Magic in the Magic Kingdom
Part Two: Animal Kingdom: I LOVE TODAY
Part Three: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow

Hollywood Studios isn’t my favorite out of the parks, but I do enjoy it. They have Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, after all, and well, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is awesome.

We started off that day with our bus luck back to not being so good. While waiting for the Hollywood Studios bus, approximately 42,000 Magic Kingdom buses came. And if I’m not mistaken, we had to take another trip through Port Orleans Riverside before finally heading toward the park. Fortunately, we weren’t trying to ride Toy Story Midway Mania, so it wasn’t that big of a deal not to get to the park right at opening.1

But anyway, we headed over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Here is a somewhat embarrassing confession. Tower of Terror? It really does terrify me. I can only ride it every few years or so. The set up is so freaking scary. And the ride itself is different every time. So sometimes I get on and love it, other times I hate it like burning. Adam grabbed himself a Fast Pass for Tower of Terror, then we hit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing. THAT’S how you start off a morning, let me tell you. The cast member there kept making the funniest quips and comments. And of course, the ride was awesome.

Adam and I spent a lot of time just walking around Hollywood Studios and looking at stuff. We did ride Star Tours, and it was completely different this time. We usually end up going through the Death Star, but not this time!2 We also did the Backlot Tour (but there were no actors for the beginning part so it wasn’t as fun–I don’t think they use actors in the winter, which is smart. I’ve gotten to “star” in that part twice).

I think my favorite part of the Backlot Tour is the big room with all the old props. It has a much cooler name but it’s eluding me now. It’s SO cool to see those things that have been in actual Disney movies. And I also love the museum at the end with more props:

Props from Titanic
these are from the movie Titanic

We also rode the Great Movie Ride, which I love, in all its cheesy glory.

Great Movie Ride

Great Movie Ride

Great Movie Ride

We ate lunch at the ABC Commissary. THAT was a mess and a half. I usually like it there, but there were some *difficulties* and the shrimp was actually pretty gross. But this lemon meringue cupcake made things kinda worth it:

photo copy

We made our way to the Magic of Disney Animation building a couple of times. I like it in there. It has character meetings, pretty art work, and exhibits and displays from their latest films and some classic films. There’s also a great art store.

Animation Courtyard

I have a zillion photos of that sign but I just adore it. It never gets old for me.

We ran into some adorable movie characters:

Wreck-It Ralph!

Venellope liked my ponytail. I like my tee-shirt. This is the awesome one I got when I was at Epcot. It’s my favorite.

I like to do the Animation Academy if we get a chance, and we did this time. I got to draw Agent P from Phineas & Ferb:


I don’t think I did too badly. What do you think? It really is cool how simple they make it. And you have to follow directions because the pencils don’t have erasers!

I hope to take Aidan in there when we go in June. I also REALLY hope Ralph and Venellope are there when we go in June because that would make Aidan’s trip!

We FINALLY went through One Man’s Dream after walking past it for years and years, and it was really cool. It’s a museum full of really awesome Disneyana, and then we get to watch a movie about Walt Disney.

One Man's Dream

One Man's Dream

{ While we were in Hollywood Studios, Adam got a call from his agent to give him the good news that a YA novel he’d submitted was going to be acquired by Simon & Schuster. AWESOME right? Considering we’d had this tradition of him getting BAD book news at Disney World. What a way to break that curse, huh? :) }

After Animation Academy, we were about ready to go. But then the Disney Channel Rocks show rolled right up and well, why not? I still think the High School Musical show was better, but that’s probably because I’m more familiar with that than a lot of the Disney Channel stuff they have now.

Disney Channel Rocks!

Disney Channel Rocks!
those leggings, though

Then they did the big mistake of asking people to join them. OF COURSE I DID.

Disney Channel Rocks!

Disney Channel Rocks!

I was the only adult who went up there. Did I feel silly? Yes. Would I do it again?


All in all, we had a pretty low key day at Hollywood Studios. It’s not a park full of “must-dos” for us, so we just go with the flow. Good times. :)

Hollywood Studios

There’s only one day left of my trip report, and I’ll talk about our last day at Magic Kingdom, when we had some very special folks spend the day with us!

Till next time!

  1. Don’t get me wrong, we love TSMM, but we don’t always have to ride it, and I don’t always feel like the hassle to get a Fast Pass for it is worth our time.
  2. Star Tours is programmed so it’s almost impossible to get the same ride twice. It’s really cool and not scary like Tower of Terror!


Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow


Part One: Magic in the Magic Kingdom
Part Two: Animal Kingdom: I LOVE TODAY

Day three of our Disney trip took us to Epcot. We got to the bus stop just in time to see the Epcot bus sitting there, so we hopped right on. Finally! Good bus luck! Of course, the bus took us all the way through the OTHER Port Orleans resort as well, but we still got to Epcot at 9am. But then I picked the worst line ever to stand in. It was so slow but the people we were behind–a dad and his two boys–I swear to you that they were George Bluth with young Michael and Gob. “Michael” and “Gob” just kept beating up on each other. “Gob” would not leave “Michael” alone and they were roughhousing pretty good until “George” finally caught them and made them stop. Entertaining. But not enough for me to stay in the horrid line. We moved over and were in the park within three minutes.

As always, the first pavilion we headed toward was The Land so we could get Fast Passes for Soarin’. But because we’d gotten there so early, Soarin’ only had a ten minute posted wait time. (For that ride, the wait is ALWAYS longer than the posted wait time, by the way.) We got in line behind a French family. Adam enjoyed listening to them talk in French.

Soarin’ was GREAT. It’s one of my favorite rides in the park and I cannot wait to take my mom on it. It’s so relaxing and pretty and the music is lovely as well. I can’t even describe it–it’s definitely something you’ll have to experience for yourself if you get to Disneyland or Disney World.

After Soarin’, we got on Living With The Land. It’s not an exciting ride, but I love going through the greenhouses and seeing all the food they have growing. A lot of it they use in the restaurants right on property!

Living With The Land

Living With The Land

Living With The Land

By then, it was time for Soarin’ again; our Fast Pass window had opened up. We were next to an older lady who was terrified of heights and her commentary throughout the entire ride was almost better than the attraction! “Oh my goodness, oh my, why would anyone ever… oh my goodness.” Her hands were literally dripping with sweat. When I asked her if she liked it, she said she loved it. People are so interesting.

We headed over to the more thrilling rides. Adam and I did single rider on Test Track and both of us got on within five minutes or so. I like single rider because of the fast lines, and most of the people I end up with are nice. But this time I was with a family who clearly didn’t want anyone joining them and it was kind of awkward. I liked the ride anyway. Not as much as I liked the old version, though. I do like the quieter queues but the actual ride re-imaging is not as cool as the original was. I am not sure how Aidan will feel about the changes when we go in June.

Adam didn’t want to do Mission Space (green, always green for me), so I got on single rider for that. This time I got to stand in line by a mom and her daughter from Canada and they were super nice. I rode with I think a three generation group–a mom, a daughter, and a grandma, and the little girl kept yelling out “I’m the NAVIGATOR!”

Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to do orange again, but I did it in 2005 before you had a choice, and well…. let me tell you. It is HARD CORE. Just don’t eat anything before you go on. Or you’ll be tasting it for the rest of the day.

Sadly, Captain EO was closed, so I didn’t get to see any of Hooter’s antics this time. Maybe in June.

They were starting to decorate for the Flower and Garden Festival, and we got to see some sneak peeks!

Epcot Flower & Garden Show Preview

Epcot Flower & Garden Show Preview

Epcot Flower & Garden Show Preview

Then we headed out into the “wild”… OK, just to World Showcase. Adam was hungry and I was curious about the Fish & Chips. Which were expensive but FREAKING DELICIOUS. So good that the birds hanging around the seating area were pretty loud with their begging.

We walked around World Showcase, and did some shopping in the UK, where I got the most awesome Yellow Submarine shirt (you’ll see it in the Hollywood Studios post) and a Doctor Who shirt. Because DISNEY SELLS DOCTOR WHO SHIRTS HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS THAT I LOVE WHEN MY FANDOMS COLLIDE. Anyway, yeah. We made our way through World Showcase, going from UK to Mexico.

More Flower and Garden stuff:

Epcot Flower & Garden Show Preview

Epcot Flower & Garden Show Preview

And then a pretty princess:

Me, Belle, and Adam

And then some pretty scenes:

Prettiness in Epcot

Pretty Pond


And SHOPPING! I got CDs and incense and a lucky kitty cat and Super Mario Bros. socks and and and …..

Then I got a front row seat to see the Chinese Acrobats, which I’ve never been lucky enough to do in the past!

Chinese Acrobats

Chinese Acrobats

Chinese Acrobats

Chinese Acrobats

After that, we walked through the countries, stopping at the America Pavilion because AMERICA WAS HAPPENING. I also had some work to do, so we hung out at the Pavilion while I did that. At some point, I tried on a Viking hat and sword and bought a little white polar bear too. Probably after I got off of Maelstrom. That ride is always fun, especially when I’m on with people who have never ridden it before. Their reactions are always so funny. I remember one year, a college-aged girl went “What’s it even about?” after it was over. Truly, I don’t know. But it’s a neat ride anyway.

Viking Me!

We made our way back to The Land for dinner, but on the way ended up in the new Oz section that had games and cute things.


Adam as Finley. Oz Promo.

While hanging out in the Oz garden, we ended up chatting with two girls who I decided I liked immediately: Lindsey and Harley. They were so fun. I hope I get to see them again when I go in June.

We Are All Of Us!!!

After hanging with them for a while, Adam headed to our favorite restaurant at Disney World: The Garden Grill. Good, good food, awesome characters, and the server remembered us from last year! Her name’s Lisa and she is from CT–I hope she’s there in June and that we get her again. ANYWAY, we had a BLAST there!

Dancing with Pluto

Me & Mickey Mouse

Dale and I Share a Giggle

Me and Chip Share a Secret

After eating, we walked around a bit more. But the sun had gone down and it was getting chilly. We didn’t stick around for the fireworks because we’d seen them a million times. We did ride Spaceship Earth because that’s what you do when you go to Epcot.

Spaceship Earth at Night

See ya next time, Epcot! The next post will be about our fun day at Hollywood Studios, where I got to dance (again), we drew Agent P, and we got to meet some folks from the movie Wreck-It Ralph!! :)

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