Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

One of my favorite Disney events of the year is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!  This is a special hard ticket event held select nights in November and December.  They close down the Magic Kingdom at 7 PM on party days.  Only party guests are allowed in after that. The party runs from 7 PM to midnight (but I hear they will let guest with party tickets in as early as four). Party guests are also treated to complementary snacks--including cookies, hot chocolate, apple slices and apple juice.



One of my family's favorite things to do at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is to visit with Santa Clause. We usually use one of our family Santa pictures as our holiday cards.  Like everything Disney does, the Santa was perfect.  He was jolly, with a long white beard, big belly and deep voice.








After visiting with Santa Claus, we went to visit with "Sandy Claws" from the Nightmare Before Christmas.  Another cool thing about Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is that they bring out characters that can not be seen any other time of the year.  We got to see the Seven Dwarfs, Scrooge McDuck and Daisy Duck this past trip.  Along with the other obscure characters, we love to meet the princesses with their princes.




Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party has so much more to offer than characters.  They usually have a party exclusive Sorcerers Kingdom card for party guests only.  Another party exclusive is the fireworks and parade.  The parade features the characters all dressed up in their holiday best. There are skiers, toy cars that really drive, ice skaters and toy soldiers. The finale of this holiday spirit filled parade is Santa waving and wishing everyone Merry Christmas! The fireworks for the party are one of the best shows Disney puts on.  It is a mix of the regular "Wishes" show with lots of holiday touches.


All of the regular rides are open during the party.  My family usually chooses to not do the rides during the party--we like to do the party exclusives during the party and ride the rides another day.  But, if you are interested in riding the rides, a party night is a great night to do it.  The party sells a limited number of tickets, so it can be less crowded than a normal day. Plus, many people at the party will be doing the party exclusives instead of rides.  Wait times on the rides can be significantly lower during a party than a normal day.


After meeting all of the special character, visiting Santa, getting some holiday snacks, watching the parade and experiencing the fireworks--midnight rolls around.  That means its time to say good night to the Magic Kingdom.  My favorite glimpse of the castle is just after Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party ends.  It's late, the park is quiet and almost empty.  I always feel a sense of calm, of thankfulness.  I say good night to my favorite place in the world feeling totally totally jazzed for the rest of the Christmas season.

A dream is a wish...

--Amy

Friday, March 27, 2015

runDisney Jingle Jungle 5k 2014

During Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, runDisney holds a Christmas themed 5k in Animal Kingdom.  It's a little tradition for my son and I to run the event together.  This year we dressed as Elsa and Olaf!  I love Christmas, I love Disney--so I love the Jingle Jungle 5k.

Nathan and I woke up very early.  We snuck around our room so we did not wake up my still sleeping daughter and husband.  It was a chilly morning.  We walked to the bus stop at the resort to wait to board our bus to the start.




We got to the Animal Kingdom parking lot just as the sun was coming up.  We were lucky enough to have corral B bibs, so we did not have to wait to long to start.  The first mile of the race is out around the AK parking lot.  Then we enter the park and the fun begins.  Nathan and I love to stop for all the character along the course.  The fun part about the Jingle Jungle 5k is that some of the characters are dressed up in their holiday best.




After running through Africa and Asia, we went back stage.  For a Disney geek like me, this kind of stuff is so cool!  We got to see the back side of Expedition Everest.  Even cooler is that we got to see the park's Christmas decorations laid out and ready to be put up.








Nathan and I had so much fun running the race together.  He told me about all the other races he wanted to do--5k's only, nothing longer he says.  By the end of the race, it really started to warm up.  We hit the third mile marker just as we exited the park.  Nathan and I could hear the finish line music planning and he started to dance.  It was such a fun way to finish the race.  He was so proud when the medal was put around his neck. Way to go little Buddy!











A dream is a wish...

--Amy



















Wednesday, March 25, 2015

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014

I like to call the 2014 runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon the "splash and dash" half marathon.  The day of the race, the weather was perfect.  All day, I keep reading Facebook posts about how a huge rain storm was coming straight for Orlando.  It's ETA--10 PM, the exact time the race was set to begin.  Oh no, here we go!

I started the day by running the runDisney Jingle Jungle 5k with my son Nathan.  My family spent some time in the parks for the day.  I ate a quick dinner, then it was time to get dressed up for the race!  My running friend, Heather, and I dresses as Anna and Else for the race.

As we hoped off the bus at the race start, it started to drizzle.  My thoughts were immediately--oh no, here we go!  I can handle a lot of crappy situations, but I hate to be wet!  I tried to make the best of it though.  Heather and I walked to our corrals at the start line.  As the race got closer, the rain came harder.  By the time the race started, I was already soaked!  My shoes, my Raw Threads top--already dripping wet.

 We started the race in good spirits.  By the time we hit the first mile marker, I was already miserable! Heather and I love to stop for character pictures at runDisney events.  The only picture we stopped for the entire race was with the Country Bears.

Mile four rolled around as we entered Animal Kingdom.  By this time, I was totally and completely done with this race!  Running through Animal Kingdom was the highlight of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for me--I really love that park.  As we exited the park, there were several buses parked.  Many of them were loaded with people who decided to call it a day and quit the race.  At the time, I so longed to be one of those people, warm on the bus.  It was raining so hard that my shoes were heavy as bricks. The rain on the road was several inches deep.  My feet were so blistered, they were bleeding.  My arms were chaffing and raw from my shirt being soaked and rubbing.  I was so cold that I could not feel my fingers.

Thankfully, I had Heather to talk me out of quitting.  She was earning her Coast to Coast medal!  She would not have earned the medal if we did not cross the finish line--so we had to finish.  Up next for us was three miles of highway, on to Hollywood Studios.  I was looking forward to running through the Osborne Lights.  We took the race mile by mile.  It was tough, but we kept going.  After Hollywood Studios, we hit the home stretch.  We ran through the Disney Boardwalk (one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World) and entered the back gate at Epcot.  All I could think about by this time was finished and getting into warm, dry clothes.

After thirteen cold, soaking wet miles--we made it!  We crossed the finish line! We got our medals, an adult beverage and headed straight to bag check.  I was never so happy to see my old sneakers and red hoodie.  Putting on warm, dry socks felt better than crossing the finish line.

The best part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is the after party.  Epcot is open till four AM for runners to celebrate their accomplishment.  All of the food stands for the Food and Wine Fest are open.  After all that running, I was hungry!  I got lobster mac and cheese at American and some amazing desserts at France.  And a Coke!  The only time drink real Coke is after a half marathon.

After fresh clothes and some yummy food, I was rejuvenated and ready to party.  Heather and I closed down the party at four AM.  We stumbled onto the bus to the resort and rolled into bed around five AM.  What a night!  It was by far my toughest race ever, but I am glad I finished.  I can't wait to do it again.

A dream is a wish...

--Amy


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind--My Review of the New Cinderella Movie

This past weekend, I took my daughter to see the brand new, live action Disney movie "Cinderella". I don't know who was more excited--me or Andrea. We have been waiting a long time for this movie to come out!  As you know, we are a house of Disney freaks.  I have heard great reviews about the movie, so I could not wait to see it.

We meet my sisters at the theater, along with my daughters BFF and her mom.  My husband and son had a scout event so it was a girls day out for us!  I made sure I wore my Cinderella New Balance sneakers, my runDisney glass slipper challenge shirt and my Disney Pandora bracelet for fun.



My daughter was double excited for this movie--she could not wait to see Cinderella, but she really was excited to see the short that came before Cinderella.  The short was "Frozen Fever."  It brought us back into the world of Arendelle again for a few minutes.  In this little glimpse into the life of our favorite royal sisters, we catch up with them on Anna's birthday.  Elsa plans a huge party, but she is sick.  We learn that her powers and illness do not mix well!  All of the main characters are back for an update--we even get to see what becomes of Hans.  "Frozen Fever" gets a thumbs up from us!

Up next was the main feature!  I was not sure what to expect with the live action "Cinderella" movie.  Cinderella is my favorite princess (and my blog's inspiration!)  I had high hopes for this movie, but I have not been a fan of some of the animated turned live actions movies lately, like "Alice in Wonderland".  I was hoping they did not try to modernize it too much.  I also hoped they kept most of the original Walt Disney story line.

At the beginning of the movie we meet Ella, her mom and her dad.  They are a beautiful, happy family. We all know what happens to them from the animated classic. In the new live action movie, we get a much better back story about the family.  Ella's relationship with her mom in explored in depth.  Since I am a mom with a daughter, I could really relate to it.  Right before she loses her mom, Ella is given some fantastic advice about how to live her life.  "Have courage and be kind..." I love that this was the theme of the movie. No mater how poorly Ella was treated by her step family, she always keep that advice from her mom close to her heart.  It's because of her goodness that her fairy godmother gives her a night of magic.

Visually, the movie was amazing!  The costumes, scenery--all perfect.  I have a feeling a lot of little girls will be begging for the new Cinderella dress very soon.  The golden coach was elegant and beautiful. We got to see it when we visited Disney World in February. Ella's hair, her dress and of course the glass slippers were spot on.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone. My daughter is already asking when we can see it again!

A dream is a wish...

--Amy

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our Disney Side Party!

A few weekends ago, we had our #DisneySide party!  The party was sponsored by Disney and BSM Media.  The kids and I were so excited when our giant package arrived!  We could not wait to see
what was in it.















Disney sent us a big box of party supplies. We got cups, plates, napkins, and lots of decorations. We also got things to make the party extra fun--we got princess nail polish, a few Palace Pets to play with, and some fun party games.  After all that fun, we would get hungry, so Disney also sent us a Mickey head shaped cake pan and some Duke's tie die cake mix.  Yummy!












We decided to have a Valentines Day party with our #DisneySide box.  We invited lots of friends and family to celebrate with us.  The little girls dresses up as their favorite Disney Princess.  The grown ups dressed up in looks inspired by their favorite Disney couples.  A great time was had by all.  It was the perfect way to celebrate Valentines Day!








Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Goals for 2015


Will these be mine? 
Last year brought lots of changes.  We bought a new house, I started my own travel agency and I started a part time job in the accounting field.  Now that those changes have settled in, its time for some new ones.

My big goal for 2015 is to train for a full marathon!  I don't feel sure enough as of yet to say I will complete a full marathon, but my goal is to start training and explore the possibility.  Over the past three years, I have completed 17 half marathons.  When I made the goal three years ago to complete a
half marathon, I never really had any doubt that I could do it.  I knew that I would have to work hard, but I knew I could do it. With all of this running under my belt, I know taking on a full marathon is a completely different animal.  After finishing a half marathon, I typically feel fairly well--but there is no way I could turn around and run another 13.1 miles.  This is what has me terrified to say that I will do a full marathon.

To take on this huge goal, I need to lose weight!  I have a brand new workout plan to start tomorrow.  I will be doing PiYo by Chalene Johnson.  PiYo is a combo of Pilates and yoga. Along with some running mixed in, this will be a great start to my training.  I plan to work hard for the next three with PiYo, clean eating and running--with the goal of losing 25 pounds.  I will reassess in April (when Disney Marathon registration opens up) taking into account how my training is going and where I am mentally.  Wish me luck!  This is something I really want to do.

I need a big goal, something big to work toward. This just may be it. Nothing gets me going like the chance at another Disney experience!

A dream is a wish...

--Amy

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014--a Year of New Beginnings!

2014 was a year of changes for me!  
We bought a new house!  I loved our old house, but it was just too small for our growing family.  We had our eye on this house for five years--yes five years!  It was built and first for sale right after Andrea was born.  That was not a good time for use to move.  In November of 2013, it went for sale again.  After a few months of consideration, we took a leap and put in an offer.  On June 30, 2014 (the day before my birthday!) she became ours! This is my dream house. We look forward to painting, decorating and growing old in our new home. 

I started my own travel agency!  I call it Main Street Magic, LLC after the iconic Main Streets at the Disney Parks.  This too was a big leap for me.  I had a few years of travel agent experience under my belt.  After our big move, I now have my very own office.  What better time than now to put myself out there and make a go of it. So far, its going great!  I have hired three agents and I plan to hire more very soon.  It feels amazing to actually love what you do. 

I started a part time job, back in the accounting field.  This job sort of fell into my lap.  A friend from our scout pack was looking for a Treasurer for his church.  Knowing about my background and education in accounting, he asked if I was interested.  I figured--why not!  I am doing bookkeeping and accounting for the church and the church owned day care.  I work a few hours a week at the church office and a few hours a week at home.  It's nice to be back in the working world a few hours a week, and its nice to be using my degree again.  

The past six months has brought me any exciting changes.  These changes have kept me from blogging as often as I would like.  Now that my family is getting used to our new life, our new routine--I will be writing much more often! I have run a few more races and visited Disney twice since I last wrote.  Stay tuned--I have lots of fun stuff to tell you about.  Thank you for coming back. 

A dream is a wish...

--Amy