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Disney Holiday What?!

I want to go to there.  How have I missed hearing about this?– Disney’s Holiday D-Lights Tour at Walt Disney World.

I’m sure this special tour has been around for a while, but I just stumbled across the description today while pretending to plan a trip for my husband and I to go to WDW for Christmas.  (We can’t actually go anywhere for various reasons, but mostly because it’s too fricken expensive.)

Theme park admission not required to be taken to every park and look at the Christmas displays and decorations?  For $200? Am I the only one to think that in terms of Disney pricing this is bordering on reasonable?  I know, a one day park hopper ticket is $136 + tax and you get all day to see the parks, not just 4-5 hours.  But still, behind the scenes access and a light holiday buffet?

I wants the precious.

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What up?  Long time no write, I know.  it’s hard to throw myself into Disney posts when I don’t even have a trip planned for any point in the future.  But I’ve been inspired by a post from the Magical Blogorail.  Beth over at A Disney Moms Thoughts posted on April 22 about her least favorite attractions at Walt Disney World.  As I spend my trip preparations telling you all what I’m most excited for, I thought I would follow her lead and tell you about the attractions I avoid on my trips.  I’m excluding rides I have never done or don’t remember doing to try to keep things fair.

So in no particular order, here are my least favorite Walt Disney World attractions:

Stitch’s Great Escape: I was working at WDW when this ride premiered.  I was unfortunate enough to partake in a cast preview during its soft opening.  I have to say, I’m glad I never had to wait in line to experience this attraction.  This ride format worked very well for Alien Encounter, but it’s horrendous in its current state. It doesn’t fit into the Lilo & Stitch story timeline, it’s too dark and scary for kids and too stupid for adults. 

Any of the Showcase pavilion movies: This includes O Canada, Reflections of CHina, Impressions de France, and the movie after the Maelstrom.  Bo-ring!

The Great Movie Ride: I don’t understand why people like this ride, IT SUCKS!  SO HARD.  I can’t find anything good to say about it and frankly, it makes me angry, so I’ll just move on.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure: This is more than a bit of a stretch calling this an attraction, but whatever you want to call it it’s not worth it.  I remember running around it as a kid just looking for the exit because I was DONE with it.

Conservation Station: Animal surgery – gross!

Well, what are your least favorite attractions?

I hate running.  I don’t hate running in the way that people say, “yeah, I hate running, but I feel so good after I do it”, way.  I truly hate it. 

I hate everything about it.  I hate the panting, the flailing arms and legs; the feel of my ponytail and chest swinging back and forth.  I hate running on a treadmill, I refuse to run outside.   A FunRun is an oxymoron. 

The only time people should run is when they are running for their life.  Not in the organized run for this particular disease sort of way.  I mean running -because the guy behind you is chasing you with a knife and will stab you repeatedly until you die so running away is the only option- running. 

So please tell me why I’m pondering adding running a marathon to my bucket list? 

I guess I should be more specific.  I want to run in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  I know, I’m a crazy Disney-loving person.  But I didn’t think my love was so obsessive that I would actually be considering doing the thing that I hate most in the world, just because it’s sponsored by and takes place at my favorite travel destination. 

BUT I AM!  I’ve looked into the details of when the race is, how much it costs to enter, how much the trip would be, and even fantasized about having my husband or siblings joining me either to run with me or cheer me on.  

I can almost picture myself running along the closed roads heading to Magic Kingdom, my headphones blaring a mixture of Disney and pop music, sweating and cursing the long road ahead of me, but loving it at the same time. 

I think I need professional help. 

What do you think?

For the past week every time I’ve thought about writing my review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, I’ve found myself giving a great sigh and finding something else to do.  I think it’s because I’m still trying to figure out what I thought of it.  All I seem to keep coming up with is… Meh, at least I have the book.  I don’t really think this reaction is because I don’t like the movie, I think I just liked the book better. 

Deathly Hallows is my favorite book, followed closely by Half Blood Prince.  I know that leaves a lot for a movie to live up to, and I was going in with lower expectations than normal because of this.  And, well, the movie met them.  The acting was wonderfully done and the story appears visually much like it does in my head, which is a good marker for books-turned-into-movies.  But the plot and scriptwriting, oi-vey!  I do not subscribe to the belief that you should keep lines from a book in the movie as much as possible.  In fact, I would love to see a movie that didn’t have a single line in it from the book.  The actors are never able to pull them off as the character’s thoughts, and that moment of awkwardness pulls the viewer from the experience.  It’s just not a good idea. 

And for crying out loud, Steve Kloves, if you’re going to take liberties with the general plot and culmination of the entire series, do it right!  Keep leaving out Dobby and spare us the pointless speech right before you kill him.  Don’t waste precious story time and CGI money on a character that plays a pivotal role in the books just so you can throw him into the movie whenever you please, and cheapen the loss of another of Harry’s supporters.  I’m amazed you even thought to give Bill Weasley a line to let us all know who he is.  Also, we suddenly have seven horcruxes again?!  Oh happy day, Harry magically knows about three more items that Voldemort has used to hide his soul by the power of his own genius mind!  He truly does have a charmed life. 

My feelings on the scriptwriting aside, I think I did generally like the movie.  The scene with Harry and Hermione at the Godric’s Hollow graveyard was touching, and I liked how they threw in the line about using polyjuice potion, since they did use it in the book.  And the animation for the story of The Three Brothers was unexpected and wonderfully done.  I have to keep reminding myself that 1) movies never have as much detail as the books and 2) this is only part 1. 

I don’t know if I’m excited to see part 2, but I believe it will be better than part 1 as it will at least give a conclusion to the story.

So there you have it.  As this wasn’t a very positive post, I’ll leave you with an awesome video.  Enjoy!

Holiday Magic

I’ve been inspired.  I just read Mike’s post over at Jungle is 101, and it brought tears to my eyes.  It also reminded me of my own holiday magical moments at Walt Disney World, so I thought I would share my reminiscing with you today. 

I’ve spent the holidays at Walt Disney World a few times.  The first was when my sister worked down there and the entire family went down for the week of Christmas to be together.  We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge where we were all caught singing in the elevator, convinced our parents to let us open our presents two days early, and spent Christmas day in the pool since the parks were full by 10:00 am. 

The second time I celebrated Christmas was when I worked down there in 2004.  I was cast in the Christmas Parade where for three weeks straight I worked two or three parades every day, waving my heart out to the guests.  A group of friends and I may or may not have snuck into the park on Christmas Day for a little Splash Mountain action between shifts.  Those three weeks were some of the best times of my life. 

The third time at WDW for the Holidays was in 2008.  My very generous sister invited me on a whirlwind trip to the parks in November.  We spent one full day in Epcot, then had tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party before we headed home the next day.  That Christmas party was one of the best times I’ve had at Walt Disney World.  We got to Magic Kingdom early after a wonderful character breakfast at Cape Mae Café, and we spent the evening taking in the sights and details of the party.  We met quite a few characters since the lines were so short.  We picked up coffee on Main Street and enjoyed the “snow” falling.  We grabbed free cookies, hot chocolate, and prime viewing space for the parade, where we got waves from so many of the performers passing us, we had the mom next to us asking who we were.  We warmed up from the slight chill in the air and burned off a few calories at Chip and Dale’s dance party at Cosmic Ray’s and took our time hitting the rides we wanted to experience since we’d both worked at the parks and had lost that manic urge to do everything possible that a quick trip can bring on. 

The best part of the night was when they lit up Cinderella’s Castle, turning a familiar landmark into a glittering jewel.  I’d seen pictures of the castle with all its lights draped like icicles on the torrents and fake brick, but being there in person to see each light’s glow with my own eyes and experience the crowd’s audible awe at the transformation was a magic that only Disney can bring.  I looked through the tears in my eyes to see the glow of the moment reflected in the tears in my sister’s eyes, and felt a joy that’s all too soon forgotten in the stresses of everyday life.  We both laughed a little at each other’s tears, and then the moment was quickly destroyed by the rude PhotoPass photographer that pushed us out of the way of his shot. 

Still, celebrating the holidays at Walt Disney World is an incredible experience, and I hope I get to experience it someday with my own family.  I hope you can too.

It’s still a bit early, but I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.  God bless us, everyone.

As it’s Veterans Day, I thought I could update you all on one particular part of my recent Disney trip.  Watching the Flag Retreat ceremony.  You may remember my earlier post listing it as something I wanted to see while we were there.  Well Monday nights saw us at the Magic Kingdom (again) and since we were on Main Street around 4:30, Matt’s family was gracious enough to wait with me to watch the ceremony.

I hope they weren’t disappointed.  I sure enjoyed it.  We watched the procession to the flag pole, heard the Disney Band play our national anthem, and my little patriotic heart beat heavily in my chest as many entering or exiting the park paused to watch this time-honored tradition; some even removed their hats or placed their hands over their hearts.  It was a proud and heart breaking experience watching the young soldier selected to carry the flag march past with our beloved stars and stripes held tightly in his grasp, followed by his proud parents and just as young wife pushing their small child in a stroller. 

Then just like that, it was back to the trip, deciding what ride to go on next.  Free to do as we pleased without a care in the world.  Another first added to my Mother-in-Laws list. 

Thank you to Matt’s family for letting me watch the ceremony.  Thank you to Disney for having that ceremony every day.  But most of all, thank you to all those who have served in our US Armed Forces in the past, to those who are currently serving, and to the families who love and support them through it all.  Happy Veterans Day and God Bless America.

The Start of a Trip Report

So I’ve decided that since I keep putting off writing one large trip report from, you know, September, that I will post little tidbits about the trip as I remember them. 

First, I hardly took any pictures on this trip.  This is quite a strange habit I’m developing and it’s both refreshing and sad.  I liked the freedom of not having to lug around a camera all the time and make people stop for the obligatory pose in front of certain giant landmarks, but I miss looking at them now that I’m home and my memories are swiftly being replaced by save the dates and project plans.  The few pictures that were being taken on a regular basis were on my brother-in-laws phone, and he hasn’t shared any of them with anyone else yet.  I may need to steal his phone and rectify that situation.  I will share with you one of my favorite shots and one of the few I took.  We went to Epcot on the morning of our second day there and, though we had to wait a long time for the monorail from our hotel to TTC, then wait for the Epcot monorail, it was worth it to ride on the TRON-o-rail.  We still got there fairly shortly after opening, and Matt and I ran ahead to grab Fastpasses for Soarin’, which we were walking back to use when I snagged this picture after riding Mission: Space our first and only time. 

 

Within the first three days we’d already hit everyone’s must-do’s in all four parks, which left us six more days to do it all over again!  There were a lot of firsts on this trip for me and for the others.  It was exciting to go with Matt’s family and learn a different pace for touring Walt Disney World.  It was also hard leaving not knowing when I will be back again.  At this point, not for a long time. 

 I’ll try and post more on the trip in the next few posts, but I wanted to get something started for those who really want to know.  That’s all I have time for now, so TTFN!