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!!!

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