Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 1/18

Ah, to be in Epcot today would be so much better than going to work!!  And I love my job!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Birthday Bucket List - Disney Style

Well, yesterday was my birthday, another year has passed and I'm another year closer to 40.  Thought about posting this yesterday, but hey, it was my birthday!  So instead I enjoyed some chocolate covered cashews and a good book.  Anyway, having a birthday so close to the New Year is really great, because it gives me an opportunity to really look at setting goals for myself, both for the New Year and for life in general.  I'm continuing with my goal of making changes in my life that will help me be healthier and happier.  I also started toying with the idea of a bucket list. 

Now I've primarily heard of the bucket list idea as being all the things you want to do before you die.  Well I'm sorry, but that seems a bit morbid to me.  I don't even like putting that vibe out into the world that I have to hurry up and do some things before I die.  So I look at a bucket list as more of an ultimate wish list.  A wish list that I plan on doing as much as I can to make into an accomplishment list.  Check those babies off!
So I thought I would share with all of you my Birthday Bucket List as it relates to Disney (which works out great since a large portion of my bucket list has to do with Disney anyway...go figure!)  Here we go!

1.  Visit Disneyland (& Disney's California Adventure):  As a true Disney geek, I feel a great pull to go west, to walk where Walt walked, and to see his park.  I've heard so many people say, "oh you won't like it as much as Disney World," or "You'll be underwhelmed, it's not very big you know."  Well, that might be the case for the average visitor, but I guarantee you, it will take all the strength this Disney girl has to not shed tears while looking at Sleeping Beauty castle or Walt's apartment above the fire house. 
                On top of that, there is so much excitement going on at Disneyland these days.  I've heard AMAZING things about World of Color, the newest night-time spectacular.  And DCA is getting Cars-Land!  Woo hoo!  I'm hoping to check this bucket list item off sooner rather than later.

2.  Take a Disney Alaskan Cruise:  I've already marked a Disney cruise off my bucket list, so now it's time to get specific.  Although I have to admit that so far, I prefer my adventures on land rather than sea, this cruise intrigues me.  The photos I've seen are incredible, and it would give me a chance to explore areas of the United States that I would never thought I could visit.  I think it would be a great adventure for my family.

3.  Visit Marceline, Missouri:  This should be an easy one to cross off!  Missouri is right next door to Illinois, and Marceline is about 6 hours from my house.  That's less than half the time it takes to drive to Disney World.  This quaint little town that served as Walt's home for four years and later as one of his models for Main Street USA has so much charm and history that I feel like it's a must do for a true Disney fan.

4.  Take a behind the scenes tour:  This is something I've wanted to do for so long!  Get up close and personal with the magic that goes on in the Walt Disney World parks.  See the backstage areas, walk through the utilidoors under the Magic Kingdom, ride on a segway through World Showcase, I'm game for almost any of them (except the diving...that is NOT going to happen!).  There are so many amazing people who make the magic happen for my family and everyone who visits the parks every day, and I would love to see those folks in action.  I don't think it would take away the magic for me, just help me to appreciate all the little things I miss because I'm so caught up in the Disney fun.

5.  Spend some quality time in a spa:  So this is one that I know I can do at other places and when I'm not on vacation, but I would just love to have some serious pampering at one of the world class spas at Walt Disney World.  Or maybe on a Disney Cruise ship...either would work for me!

6.  Run a half marathon at Walt Disney World...or two...or three:  One of my general bucket list items is to run a half-marathon.  Just a few short years ago, I never in my wildest dreams would have set this as a goal for myself.  Now that I'm into running, I know I'm going to do it.  I want to have this accomplishment under my belt.  And if I'm going to do it, why not do it at Disney?  The Princess Half Marathon, the Food & Wine Half Marathon, the half at the Walt Disney World marathon weekend, any of those would make me happy.  Now while it isn't a half, I also really want to do the Everest Challenge 5K, obstacle course & scavenger hunt too, as well as the Tower of Terror 10 mile run that was just added to the line-up.  I am ready for some serious Disney Running bling!!

7.  Take an Adventures by Disney Vacation:  While vacations in exotic and amazing locations around the world can be done through any travel agency or even planned on your own, there's something to be said for a vacation having the Disney touch.  You know what I mean if you've been spoiled to the way Disney treats you on vacation, then tried to vacation somewhere else.  Other theme parks really aren't all that "themed" and the service doesn't always feel as warm or professional.  I can only imagine how this plays out when Disney is in charge of taking your family on excursions in Europe, Central & South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, or various places in North America.  I've been to England & Scotland in the past, and I would love to take my family to Europe someday.  I've also got to get to Australia, so I'm so glad that they've started this itinerary.  I just hope it's still around when I can afford to go!!

8.  Buy in to Disney Vacation Club:  There's just something about the idea of owning a piece of Disney, and really being able to feel at home when cast members welcome you "home" that appeals to me.  I just want it.  I want it so that I can visit as much as my points will allow.  I want it so that I have a real reason to be an annual pass holder (something else on the list!).  What can I say?  I just want it! 

9.  50th Anniversary Celebration:  Just this past year, the Magic Kingdom celebrated its 40th Anniversary.  That anniversary is really the anniversary of the entire Walt Disney World resort, because it started with the Magic Kingdom.  I want to BE THERE when we celebrate the 50th!  I really hope that Disney is planning something big for that year!

10.  Vow renewal ceremony:  Kendall doesn't know this yet (guess he will when he reads this!), but I'm hoping that someday, we can do a vow renewal ceremony at Walt Disney World.  If you haven't read this somewhere on the blog before, Kendall and I accompanied a friend to Florida to be in a wedding.  While we were there, I insisted that all of us visit Walt Disney World.  It was at Walt Disney World that we started spending more time together, talking more, and he asked me out on our first date.  After we were married, we spent our honeymoon at Walt Disney World.  And of course since then, we've visited Walt Disney World A LOT.  If I had a "do-over," even though I loved our wedding, it would be to actually have gotten married at Walt Disney World.  So I guess I'm secretly hoping that one day, maybe on a special anniversary, we can mark the celebration with a vow renewal at one of our favorite places on Earth!

Well, even though there are definitely more Disney bucket list items, I'm going to stop at 10.  I managed to squeeze an extra or two into the 10 listed above, so they count!

Have you made a bucket list?  What's tops on your list?  Any Disney related items?  Please share in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!

Oh, and I'll definitely keep you posted as I cross items off my list!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 1/4/12

First Wordless Wednesday of the New Year!

Wishing you a Fantasmic New Year!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 11 of 2011: My Recap

Well now that we are officially in 2012, I thought I would take a moment to look back at my top 11 Disney experiences of 2011.

11.  News of a new race!  I have to say I was very excited to hear just this past month that 2012 will be the start of a new 10 mile race through Disney's Hollywood Studios.  The Tower of Terror 10 mile race sounds like so much fun!  It's taking place at the end of September, and it is another night-time race.  Now I don't know if I'll get the chance to run this one this year, but I'm hoping to try it out sometime in the near future.

10.  Having a Disney scavenger hunt with Payton:  This summer when I was off work, my son Payton and I tried to find some Disney related things we could do to keep the magic going from our end of May vacation.  So, we made up our own home-town Disney scavenger hunt.  I'm going to do a full post on it sometime this year so that maybe it will inspire you to go looking for Disney touches in your own home town.  Needless to say, we had a lot of fun, even if it was Animal Kingdom hot outside!!

9.  Booking another vacation:  Back in August I made Walt Disney World vacation plans with my mom to take my son, Payton, and my nephew, Ari, to Disney in March 2012.  You can only imagine how excited I was to make these reservations!  I've taken my mom to Disney before and we had an absolute blast.  And of course, my son is nearly as big of a Disney geek as I am (the brainwashing really is working!).  Now I get the opportunity to introduce my 7 year old nephew to Disney on his very first trip.  As my mom likes to say, "You've got fresh meat!!"  He is so excited, and so is his aunt Mendy.  We are going to be staying at Coronado Springs (my first time at this resort), and we are taking him to several character dining experiences.  I cannot wait to take this vacation, then to come back and share it with you all.

8.  Disney vacation presents:  So to go along with number 9, I had a great time Christmas shopping this year for my nephew, Ari.  Since we are taking this vacation in March, I bought him several park related items, including Disney jammies, a Mickey t-shirt, an autograph book, and a lanyard with trading pins.  From the minute he opened the box, he couldn't stop talking about the trips, mostly about getting character autographs.  Have I said I can't wait for this trip...well, I CAN'T!!!

7.  Pirates:  Something I had been looking forward to for a while was the release of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, On Stranger Tides.  Well, not only did I love the movie (I mean, who can possibly get enough of Captain Jack Sparrow?), but I got to see it on opening weekend....on the Disney Dream!  It was so neat to say I watched Pirates of the Caribbean while on a cruise ship. 

6.  Waking up in Africa:  As I've probably said many times on this blog, Animal Kingdom Lodge is my absolute favorite place on Walt Disney World property.  The resort just feels like home to me, cozy, warm, comfortable, while still being exotic.  We were privileged to stay here again this past May, and even though I'm not a coffee drinker, one of the best experiences I had this year had to be waking up early to sit out on the balcony, drinking my water, and watching giraffe's outside my window.  I can honestly say that I get a huge lump in my throat when it's time to check out of this amazing Lodge and head for home.  I would live there if I could.

5.  Star Wars Geeking:  There is no doubt that Star Wars Weekend was a definite highlight for me in 2011.  Thanks to my dad, I'm most definitely a sci fi fan.  I remember watching Star Wars movies with him at home.  So even though I said that we did this just for Payton, really it was a little bit for me too.  And imagine my delight when I got to meet R2D2 and C3PO...and they talked to me!  I mean these robots didn't just stand there for pictures, or even just move their heads and blink...they TALKED TO ME!!!!  C3PO carried on a full conversation with me.  He even remembered Payton from meeting him earlier.  It was crazy cool!

4.  The Magic, The Memories & You:  Seeing this new nighttime castle show for the first time was amazing.  So was the second time!  I was absolutely blown away by the incredible graphics and photos projected seamlessly onto the castle walls.  This show is such an emotional experience.  It was truly incredible, and I can't wait to see it again.

3.  AquaDuck!!:  For many years, I never imagined getting to go on a cruise.  Now add on to that a water slide that is high up in the air, over deck 12, that has a tube which takes you out over the ocean.  No way...not me...well maybe just once....I LOVED IT!  The Aqua Duck is quite a rush, and I loved listening to my little buddy giggle and scream when we rode it together.  So awesome!

1.  And my top moment of 2011....drum roll please....Going on Vacation anyway:  May of 2011 was a seriously tough month for me.  I lost my job at the beginning of the month.  Since our vacation was scheduled for the end of May, both Kendall and I had some doubts as to whether or not we should even still go.  Luckily, it was already paid for.  So, we took the advise of several others and decided to go ahead and go for it.  And I'm so glad that we did.  Overall, the vacation was amazing, but the best part was taking that first step and decided to go, and to not let circumstances outside of my control ruin my magical experience.  Believe it or not, I think that was the first step toward all the good that has happened in my life since then. 

My year has definitely had it's ups and downs, and I've been so blessed in so many ways.  Now I'm looking forward to an amazing 2012 and all of the Disney and non-Disney moments to come. 

Happy New Year!!!