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More Holiday Fun! (Pictures)

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My Disney Trip! (Lots of Pictures, Very Long)

I’m going to try to make this as concise as possible, but so much happened and it was such a FUN time! :) Here are some highlights. At the end of this post, I will give you a link to all my posted pictures and video.

We arrived in Orlando at a bit after 12pm EST, checked in with the Magical Express guys, and then we were on our way. We were getting “congratulations” left and right because we were wearing our bride and groom Mickey ears:

On the Magical Express

We stayed at Pop Century, which is a cool hotel featuring many decades of pop culture. There are displays on the wall that feature so many things that I had or was into. We checked in, and they gave us “Just Married” buttons. Our room number was 1234, in the ’50s building (earmarked by a GIANT statue of Lady)! Easy or what?

Lady

There was a towel animal in the window:

Towel Animal

He stayed with us the whole trip.

Adam changed into shorts, we slathered on sunscreen, and we were on our way. I was in jeans because Magical Express hadn’t brought my luggage yet. First stop, MAGIC KINGDOM!

Pumpkins! Pumpkins!Jack O Lantern

It was all decorated for Halloween! :)

Disney characters, I noticed, seem to like running off with newly wedded spouses. Chip was the first one to try to steal me from Adam, and when Adam caught on to what he was doing, he quickly surrendered:

Caught!

We’re all friends, though.

First Character at the World!

Here it is:

Castle

We’d arrived just in time for the Dreams Come True parade. The parade started with the grand marshal, then a commercial. YES, a commercial for the new Sleeping Beauty DVD coming out soon.

Parade Commercial Combo

After about 15 minutes, the actual parade began. Mickey pointed me out and told me that my dreams will “especially” come true. :)

Dreams Come True Dreams Come True

Adam and Me
Obligatory shot of Adam and me in front of the castle.

That day, we ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for dinner, went through Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses, rode Mickey’s Philharmagic twice, rode The Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Cinderella’s Carousel (I rode on Cinderella’s horse!), Space Mountain (a couple of random girls came up and handed us their fast passes!), It’s A Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Peter Pan, however, had a 40 minute wait which seriously confused me. We watched Wishes, the fireworks show.

Wishes! Wishes! Wishes!

As the day wound down and the Extra Magic Hours started, we were pretty much walking on rides.

We met Pooh, Tigger, Darby (who tried to run off with Adam–apparently she was feeling him up at one point), and Goofy (notice anything weird about that picture?).

Hunny Bear Pooh Darby, Adam, Tigger, and Me
First Encounter with Goofy

The next day, we ate breakfast at the Pop Century food court, then headed to Epcot.

Spaceship Earth

There, we rode Soarin’, Living with the Land, and Spaceship Earth. Adam enjoyed some hands-on activities at Innovations, and we watched Honey I Shrunk the Audience and the Circle of Life. We tried different pops at that Cool Club place. We had lunch at The Garden Grill, one of my favorite places to eat:

Garden Grill
Mmm, yum!

We also met a motherload of characters! Chip cried when he saw that I was married. All the guy characters were giving Adam thumbs up for picking me. :)

Tuxedo Mickey Good Times Showing off the Rings! Mary Poppins!
I Love This One! Superhero Pose! Dancing to the Beat

After we ate, it was RAINING like CRAZY. We hung out a bit in The Land, trying to wait for it to let up, then finally braved a few drops to make our way to one of the gift shops to buy ponchos. I also got a pair of earrings, and Adam got a new watch! Once we were in our ponchos, we were ready to go. The park was emptying out at an alarming rate, and we walked right on to Test Track. This was good because we’d had to forfeit our others when the time for our lunch reservations bumped up with our fast pass time. (Now I know that we can get on anytime after the initial start time, no need to go in that specified hour).

Spaceship Earth

We made our way to World Showcase, where we walked right on Maelstrom (twice) and enjoyed leisurely walking around looking at the countries. Adam had a strawberry preserve crepe which was yummy! Then we watched Illuminations, then headed back. I had the famous Tie Dye cheesecake from the Pop Century food court, and it turned my tongue blue! It was yummy, though.

The next morning, we were back at Epcot. Had a hard time finding something to snack on for breakfast, which made Adam cranky. But I found an apple danish, and Adam drank a milk shake. We did World Showcase again. Characters came out to play around 11. We rode the ride in Mexico, and we rode Maelstrom again.

Whee! Shadow Puppets Me and Cinderella's Mice Mulan
Fiesta Donald Aurora

As were talking with Aurora, she asked what our plans were. I told her we’d planned to party that night, and she said “Oh, you will be getting your grooves on, yes?” AWESOME! :)

The highlight of my day, though, was meeting BEAST! I’d just missed him the last time I was at Disney World. While we were in line for Belle, Beast came out and joined her. I was SCREAMING with happiness. And to make matters even better, the couple in front of us gave me a pin you can only get at Tokyo Disney!

Beast!

Soon, it was time for lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This place is not easy to get into because it’s full of princesses and very popular. I was surprised that we got a reservation. I loved the place. First, they started off by photographing us with Belle:

Akershus Princess Banquet

Then they seated us. The food was great, and we got to dine with four other princesses! They came around with photos for us, and then the manager gave Adam and me complimentary champagne as congratulations for our marriage!

Akershus Princess Banquet

After lunch, we headed back to Pop Century for a nap before Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Wood Fairy
I was a wood fairy.

The villains mixed and mingled, we were treated to a special parade kicked off by the Headless Horseman, saw special fireworks, and we trick or treated at various stations throughout the park. Adam couldn’t resist going on Haunted Mansion, which was extra spookified that night.

We met Cinderella’s wicked relatives, who were HILARIOUS by the way, and Pooh and Eeyore all dressed up, the Wicked Queen, Claude Frollo, and Minnie looking extra cute!

All Dressed Up

We also got our grooves on, yes, at Ariel’s Grotto.

Wednesday, we headed to Hollywood Studios. Adam was excited to meet the regular, non-dressed up Donald Duck, and to meet the awesome Sorcerer Mickey.

Donald! Showing off the Rings
We Made Mickey Blush!

We rode the Backlot Tour (where we starred in the feature show!) and The Great Movie Ride. We hung out with flappers on the main strip and got marriage advice. (Say “Yes, dear, you’re right dear” and “She’s always right.”) I met Kim Possible and her boyfriend Ron, and we watched Muppet Vision 3D. After dinner, Stitch walked by and wiped a booger on my shoulder. The highlight of the day? I GOT TO MEET Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen!

Lightning.. Ahhhh! It's like Tomater, without the Ta.

We also hung out with Mike and Sulley of Monsters Inc. fame!

Monsters, Inc!

A cast member at the Indiana Jones kiosk gave me a “diamond” upgrade on my ring. :) We popped on Rockin’ Roller Coaster, which I’d always wanted to try but never made it over to where it is in the Studios. That ride is crazy! And then Adam talked me into riding Tower of Terror. I’d never ridden Tower of Terror before. I was VERY nervous. And for the first few seconds afterward, I HATED it. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And… wanting to go on it again!

We had dinner at the ’50s Prime Time Cafe, where they singled us out and had people from all over the restaurant give us marriage advice. More of the same: “She’s always right.” Ha. That night we went to Downtown Disney and it was CRAZY. Not a lot of fun with the crowds everywhere, but I got some cool pins and souvenirs.

The next morning was Magic Kingdom. We had a breakfast date with Pooh and Friends, but before that, we ran into Jiminy Cricket (who incidentally, tried to run off with me)!

Us and Jiminy Cricket

Then we headed to Crystal Palace for breakfast. YUM! There, they’d put a heart of confetti on our table!

Us

At Crystal Palace, I got a Mickey waffle (can’t have a trip to WDW without a Mickey waffle!), and I ate about 10 pieces of bacon. Piglet was WAY too cute, and so was Pooh and sweet Eeyore, who is sooo cuddly. Tigger tried to run off with me, telling me that he was WAY better than Adam.

Tigger and Me Piglet is so Pink! Rivals

After breakfast, we headed back to Town Square to meet more characters! We ran into Horace and Clarabelle where scandal ensued (mostly characters trying to run off with spouses AGAIN–and vice versa).

While we were waiting for them, I noticed this in the sky:

Skywriting Chick Tracts?
Sky Writing Chick Tracts?

Anyway, on to the shenanigans:

Rarities!

Rarities! Rarities! Rarities!

After Horace and Clarabelle, we ran into Daisy Duck, who we’d *just* missed in Hollywood Studios the day before, and Mary Poppins and Burt!

Another Duck! It's a Jolly Holiday

We watched the Dreams Come True show.

Dreams Come True Dreams Come True

We also met Snow White, Frontier Donald, Peter Pan and Wendy, Jessie and Woody, and Captain Hook and Smee. We then spent the rest of the day wandering around Magic Kingdom doing whatever stuck our fancies. Now, MK was VERY crowded (relatively) because of morning Extra Magic Hours, so now we know to AVOID parks that have morning hours. Still, we got to ride the Mad Tea Party, Liberty Bell, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice in a row, and Splash Mountain. It was my first time riding Splash Mountain. “You won’t get that wet,” Adam had said. Oh yeah?

After Splash Mountain

At one point, Adam got very distraught.

Nooo!!

This was why:

Closed Down!

We also did Stitch’s Great Escape and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (which is BRILLIANT!), the Hall of Presidents, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Lunch was at Columbia Harbor House, where I got a free dessert for being a newlywed! We watched Spectromagic (where Adam freaked out over Chernabog) and Wishes again, then hung around more than an hour after official close to people watch and to just enjoy the castle. It did a special good night around 10pm with sparkles and music. It was lovely.

The next morning was Magic Kingdom again! Told you, we ♥ that place! First, though, we had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. I enjoyed it greatly. It was a lot less busy than Crystal Palace and they had yummy strawberry soup. We got to meet Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Alice, and the Mad Hatter there.

Me & the Wonderland Folks

At the Kingdom, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean (where there was a message waiting for me from Mickey and Minnie congratulating me on my marriage and encouraging me to eat lots of cake) and Haunted Mansion (he’s obsessed!). The guy at the Dole Whip counter gave us free pineapple floats with a congratulations!

We met Rafiki and Timon, who BOTH tried to run off with me. The cast member there said “I’d tell you congratulations but I think Rafiki is jealous!”

Meeting Rafiki and Timon

On our way out of Magic Kingdom, we ran into a vendor who’d talked to us a the day before. She gave me a special and exclusive Pixie Dust pin! And then the Family Fun Day Parade started, which was very cute and a lot of fun. A great way to end our Magic Kingdom Adventure of 2008.

We hopped over the Hollywood Studios, and got there just in time for the Block Party Bash, which was colorful and beautiful! We also watched the Beauty and the Beast show which made me teary eyed. We rode Tower of Terror twice in a row and wanted to go a third time but the wait time had gone up. FYI, Tower of Terror is TOTALLY my favorite Hollywood Studios ride now!

We were wandering around and meandered over to the place where you check wait times for rides. The cast member there caught on that we were interested in riding the new Toy Story Midway Mania ride, but didn’t really have time to do the 60 minute wait. SHE GAVE US FAST PASSES! Win Win Win!! They were all out of them for the day, too. The ride was FUN! It’s like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin on steroids. I loved it. Then, we hit Sounds Dangerous, and then it was time to eat at Hollywood & Vine, which was very tasty, especially the desserts!!!

After dinner, Adam bought this cel he’d had his eye on for days. I’m glad he got it, it looks great in our room. I shopped like crazy, buying pins and stuffed things and stuff for Aidan. We got back to the hotel about 730pm or so, used up the last of our snack credits, and commenced packing. We had an EARLY start the next morning.

What a magical, amazing, and fun trip. We got loads of extra attention from cast members and park guests alike. We had fun, and I got to do a bunch of things I’d never done before. I noticed things I never had before, and I got to meet a bunch of characters I never DREAMED I’d meet! This is a great time of year to go. The weather isn’t too ridiculously hot, and the crowd level is dreamy. We’re already making preliminary plans for next 2009!

I leave you with two photographs I took:

Castle at Night Castle Reflection

Click to see more pictures of our adventure:

Ronni & Adam’s 2008 Trip to Disney World/Honeymoon

Hope you enjoyed this. We certainly enjoyed our trip and are excited about going back soon! ‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Ampersands are Fun (Long/Lots of Pictures)

I had a fun Labor Day weekend. My friend from college, who I’ll refer to as friendAdam, came into town and crashed at our pad. I don’t have pictures of him to post at his request, but we had a great time. It had been about 10 years (at least) since I’d last seen him, and we spent hours catching up. He also had a goal to eat his way through Chicago, and Adam and I, naturally, had to tag along. :)

The first place we went to eat was Hot Doug’s.

Adam & Me
On the way to Hot Doug’s. I’m wearing a shirt that Star bought me.

Here I am enjoying a Chicago-style hot dog and a regular ole corn dog.

Mmm, Hot Dog!

For dinner, we went to Arturo’s, a 24 Mexican food joint, and I had a tostada. It was amazing. I woke up craving it for breakfast the next morning. After Arturo’s, we went to Margie’s Candies, where I had my Swiss chocolate sundae…

Swiss Chocolate Sundae

…with the warm chocolate marshmallow sauce. :p

Chocolate Marshmallow Sauce

Mmmmm. That’s another thing I often crave for breakfast.

The next day, we went to Weber Grill where I had filet mignon and a baked potato, and a passion fruit mango margarita on the rocks.

Lunch at Weber Grill

We walked down Michigan Avenue:

Flags Along Michigan Avenue
U.S. flag, City of Chicago flag, State of Illinois flag

Here is one of the funny dresses along Michigan Ave. It’s made out of Coke and other pop cans.

Coke Dress

We also went to Millennium Park. Cloud Gate never gets old for me.

Cloud Gate

That night, we’d attempted to go to Martini Park for dinner, but they had a $10 cover for the boys (I was free!) and the live band there was WAYYYY too loud. We then tried to go to Lou Malnotti’s for pizza, but seriously, a touristy place during Labor Day weekend… not a good idea. There was a 50 minute wait. So we went home and partied with the neighbors. When the hunger got to us, we headed to Pie Eyed. Adam was VERY happy about numerous things.

Happy Adam

The next day, we went to friendAdam’s cousin’s for a cookout/party which was a lot of fun, and Monday night, we finally made it to Martini Park. friendAdam had been talking about this place and their chocolate chip cookie dough won tons ALL weekend, and we finally got some:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Won Tons

We also had Kobe beef sliders, pulled pork sliders, macaroni and cheese sticks, and home made donuts.

Kobe Beef Sliders and BBQ Pork Sliders Home-Made DoNuts with Raspberry Sauce & Chocolate Sauce

It was a great weekend! :)


Today, Aidan officially started kindergarten! I talked to him last night and he was very excited. Apparently, there are FIVE Aidans in his class. FIVE. *hits self on head*

Before his big trip, he went to Phoenix with his dad and Matt. Chris sent me some of the pictures. :)

Aidan in Phoenix 2008

Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008

Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008


Monday, I start my assignment at Ambrosi. I’m excited and nervous. I know I’ll get back into the working all day flow again, but it’s still kinda crazy. Then soon after that is Disney! Woooo!

I popped into the library today to pick up Breaking Dawn, and I also got Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes (it’s a reread–I just reread Rachel’s Holiday for the first time in years and fell in love with the Walsh sisters all over again), Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, Wuthering Heights, a couple of Disney World travel guides, and a couple of other books. YAY books.

And today was a good mail day. Rosa sent me a really CUTE ampersand tee-shirt. She’s so good to me! ♥

Who watched ANTM last night? I’m looking forward to this season, and for now, I am on team JOCLYN, ISIS, and ELINA. We’ll see how things pan out, yes?

I suppose that’s it for now. Adam wants to watch the last two episodes of Arrested Development with me. We have all three seasons on DVD. :)

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Ronni’s July 4, 2008 (Multimedia)

This was the coolest July 4th I’ve had in a long time.

Jeff and Deborah came over to hang out and celebrate with us.

Deborah

Jeff!

Adam fired up the grill.

Adam is Lighting the Grill

I put on my patriotic gear.

Patriotic Me!

The boys made dinner.

Mmm, Dinner!

Then we walked around the neighborhood to see fireworks!

Fireworks in the Neighborhood

When Adam told me about the fireworks in his neighborhood, I had a feeling they were impressive, but I really had no idea they were like this (you MUST watch this video, keeping in mind that these are not put on by the city or anything–these are private people’s displays):


Imagine four of these displays, happening at the same time, for about four hours. Yeah, it’s like that. Who needs to go to Navy Pier? We just need to walk three blocks.

They were almost too loud for Aidan:

Protecting His Ears

But he had a good time anyway.

Right now, everyone’s playing Wii and eating ice cream. A fun Fourth of July in Chicago. :)

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Eclipse! (Multimedia)

Lookee what I popped outside and did (for just a bit, it was 12 degrees out!)

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse Lunar Eclipse

Or, you can take a look at the original:
http://www.anywhere-is.net/videos/Lunar%20Eclipse%2002-20-2008.MPG

:) I don’t have a really high-powered zoom lens anymore, so this is the best I could do. Good times, though. :)

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