Category Archives: Disney Trip

Happy New Year! – By M

2012 came to a close so quickly!  It was like all of a sudden we’re into 2013… a whole week into 2013!  So I realize this Happy New Years post is a tad late, but better than none at all, right?

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Since the last time I wrote on the blog we have celebrated Thanksgiving, vacationed at Disney World with my family, went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, played the part of the holy family (you know Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus) twice, vacationed in Oklahoma and spent time with family over Christmas, had both our cars die on us while traveling on vacation, experienced two snows, and now our baby boy is starting to sit up all on his own!

2012 was definitely a great year –full of change and new beginnings.  I look forward to 2013 and all that is in store for our family and seeing Josiah get bigger every day.

I hope that you and your family are well and are getting off to a great start to the year!  May you continually  experience God’s blessings.

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What is the best thing you can look back on from last year?  What do you look forward to this coming year?

Family at Disney World

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-M


Disney Trips Flashbacks

As I mentioned in my last post, we are going to Disney World in December!!  I am beyond excited.  This will be my fifth trip to Disney World–I’m so fortunate!  All of the excitement of our upcoming trip has made me think about past trips and how much I loved each one of them.  I thought it’d be fun to share some flashbacks of my previous Disney Trips!

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Summer 1989 (2 years old)

For some reason, this is the only picture I have of our trip.  My mom has more, but this is the only one in my scrapbook.

Like I said earlier, I don’t remember this trip at all, but I know my family had a great time!  We went with my mom’s whole family.  And one of the things about taking such a little kiddo (at least so I’ve heard) is that it’s more for the parents than the kids.  I know my parents loved watching me get so excited while we were there.  And I’m thankful that I was able to go at such a young age!

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June 2002 (15 years old)

I just took pictures of my scrapbook pages for this trip since I don’t have any digital copies of the pictures.  And here’s a close-up of our family:

This trip was a BLAST!  We camped at Fort Wilderness on Disney property, and stayed for a whole week.  My little sister was 5, my brother was 12, and I was 15.  We were all at such good ages for a Disney trip.  My uncle, aunt, and their 3 kids also went with us.  We had such a good time, even though it rained every day.  We felt like a group of ducks in our yellow Mickey ponchos!  We visited all the parks, both water parks, and played mini golf.

It was so wonderful to be there with my family.  We made SO many great memories, from dancing with the parade people at Epcot, to getting splashed on the last hole at Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf, to eating breakfast with Pooh and friends, to riding everything we wanted to at least once, to just being together.  It was one of my favorite vacations of all time!

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October 2006 (19 years old)

This was our “Girls and PawPaw Trip”.  I skipped college and took off work for a week in order to go on this Fall Break trip.  My mom, sister, aunt, cousin, her two girls, Meme & Pawpaw all went.  We really missed my dad and brother, but it was such a great trip!  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for the first time, and it was probably one of the biggest highlights of the trip!  (I’ll probably never go to Disney World without it now!)  It was also my first time to go “off-season” and now I’m sold on the short wait times and cooler weather!

We met TONS of characters,

Rode/saw everything we wanted to with virtually no waits,

Went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,

Acted goofy,

Ate INCREDIBLE food with the Dining Plan,

And just had a great trip.

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September 2009

This trip was just Michael and me.  It was AMAZING.  We went as a sort of delayed honeymoon.  There will never, ever be another trip like this one.  We were able to do and see everything we wanted to–without having to do the things we didn’t want to.  We didn’t have a care in the world besides what to pick to eat.  And speaking of eating, we did the Dining Plan again and ate at incredible restaurants!  We were goofy and carefree, but also took time to enjoy just being together and celebrating us.  It was PERFECT.

We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge,

Met Mickey & Minnie,


Ate at incredible restaurants,

Saw all of the different nighttime events, including Wishes, our favorite fireworks show,

Had PRIME seats at all of the shows and rides due to planning, planning, planning (this is when I fell in love with planning Disney trips, by the way),

Took pictures in goofy hats around Epcot World Showcase,

Michael got to be in two shows,

Rode everything we wanted to at least once,

Took a tour (which was great),

Took tons of “magic shots”

& just had an AMAZING time together.

Like I said earlier, it was PERFECT.

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Needless to say, I am SOOOO excited about our upcoming trip.  It’s going to be so great to take Josiah to Disney World for the first time and get to spend time with family.  It’ll be here before we know it!

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–Staci

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Q for you:  Have you ever been to Disney World (or Disneyland)?  What was your favorite thing?

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A Post Of Thankfulness Part 2 – By M

Hopefully you caught part one of my Thankfulness List.  If you didn’t you can check it our by clicking HERE.

Here is the second half of my list, starting with number 16 through 30 (and as mentioned before, this is in no particular order).

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16.) Friends – I’ve had a lot come and go in my life, but I’m thankful for all the ones that have meant so much to me.  I don’t really have many anymore.  I guess that’s a part of growing up.  But for those that I do have, I am thankful.

17.) District Youth Director Meetings – Speaking of not having many friends, the UM Youth Directors in our area are beginning to meat monthly and I am really excited for the connections we’ve already made and will continue to make.  It’s so nice to be around other adults who totally get where we’re coming from 🙂

18.) Fusion – On a similar note, I’m proud to be a part of a new youth movement here in Southeast Texas that we’re calling Fusion.  A group of Youth ministers have come together, crossing denominational boundaries, to bring our students together for passionate worship with the ultimate goal of breaking down barriers and helping students into a deeper walk with God.

19.) My Guitar (acoustic) – Love my Larrivee!  It’s been a big part of my ministry for 8 years and I still love that it’s not a Taylor or a Martin 🙂   (this is a picture from a while back… you can tell cause of the hair)

20.) My Guitar (electric) – The second addition to my musical family.  I’ve had my Peavey amp for many ears because I got a killer deal on it and never had a good guitar to play through it.  It’s a big part of my ministry through music today and a big part of my contribution to Fusion.

21.) Music – You’ve probably seen some of our music posts on this blog.  I love to listen to it.  I love to play.  Music is awesome

22.) Thanksgiving – (put it at 22 cause that’s Thanksgiving day this year)  What is there to really say… family, food, fun, football!  Second or third best holiday in my opinion.

23.) Christmas Season – This would be the day after Thanksgiving also known as Black Friday.  I hope you’ve experienced the joys of Black Friday, but I digress.  I love Christmas and I love the Christmas season!  The music, the lights, the atmosphere, the weather… it’s all so perfect!  (And another vintage picture)

And now things take a bit of a material/superficial turn:

24.) My Bed – It’s warm, it’s comfy, it’s soft, I love it!

25.) iPhone/iPad/iMac – OK, so I don’t want to sound like an Apple fan boy or anything; I promise I’m not.  But I do love our computer and the iPad is just so convenient and fun.  I always thought the iPhone could be overrated, but I’ve really enjoyed my 4.  It may be 2 generations old, but it works great, it’s easy to use, and I love the apps.

26.) MyFitnessPal/RunKeeper – Speaking of apps; I’ve been really trying to work on getting in better shape and losing some weight.  RunKeeper helps me track my running and I like being able to actually gauge my progress.  MyFitnessPal is a calorie counter and I started using it Labor day weekend.  As I’ve followed the daily plans and cut back on my calorie intake, I’ve lost 16 pounds in just 2 months.

27.) New dSLR camera/HD video camera – Staci is big into photography and I love doing video work.  These new cameras have been awesome for our family and documenting Josiah’s early life and our family experiences.

28.) DVD/Bluray Collection – I know, it’s nerdy.  But Staci and I never watch live TV (The few TV shows we actually keep up with we watch on Hulu), so we pride ourselves in our collection of movies and TV shows.  Superficial? yes.  Awesome?  Heck Yes!

29.) Modern Conveniences – I know this is kind of general and vague, but I was running out of space, and I’m just so glad for electricity and plumbing, and cell phones, cars, planes, etc.  It’s just nice.

30.) Upcoming Family Vacation – Family time is something I’ve always cherished and now that we live so far part it’s very hard to come by.  So it will be really special spending so much time with all the family.  I’m glad everyone wil get to spend so much with Josiah too!

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So these are a few things I am especially thankful for this season.

What are some of the things you are thankful for this year?

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– M


Disney Countdown

We’re going to Disney World (the one in Florida) in 28 days!  I can’t believe it’s finally this close–we’ve been planning for this trip since July 2011.  We are going with Michael’s parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law.  It’s going to be so great to be able to spend such a long time with family.  We leave December 3 and will be gone for 8 nights & 9 days!!  We’re also visiting Islands of Adventure (at Universal Studios) to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I absolutely LOVE Disney–I love Walt Disney World, Disney Movies, Disney Music, etc.  I even convinced Michael to let me decorate our office in Disney things.  This will be my fifth trip to Disney World (but I was too young to remember my first trip).  I’m so excited to go back.

Michael and I finally got around to making our count-down yesterday.  We went ahead and made it for 30 days.  Last time we went (in ’09–just Michael and me), we made a poster countdown.  This time, we decided to make a chain with things we’re excited about.  We each wrote on one side.  Here’s a pic of part of our chain:

And here are the things we’re excited about…  By the way, we didn’t look at each other’s items.  We just really think alike.

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S: Visiting the New Fantasyland

M: Spending Family Time

S: The Candlelight Processional

M: Disney During Christmas

S: Josiah Getting Good Time w/ Family

M: Experiencing New Things w/ Family

S: Finding Nemo – The Musical

M: Josiah Getting Family Time

S: Mickey’s PhilharMagic

M: Visit New Fantasyland

S: Going on “It’s A Small World” with Josiah

M: Ride on Space Mountain Again

S: Spending Time w/ Family

M: Toy Story Midway Mania

S: Celebrating our Anniversary at California Grill

M: Lights, Motor Cars, Action!

S: Getting a Family Pic at the Castle

M: The Food!!!

S: Riding the Tower of Terror

M: The Snacks & Treats!

S: Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge

M: Visiting Harry Potter World

S: Josiah Meeting Mickey

M: Butter Beer!

S: Eating at Be Our Guest

M: Using our New Cameras

S: Using our Snack Credits

M: Animal Kingdom Lodge

S: Visiting Harry Potter World

M: The Fireworks

S: Riding on the WDW (Magic Kingdom) Railroad

M: Getting Away for 9 Days!

S: Being on Vacation for 9 Days

M: The Desserts

S: Taking Time to Explore Epcot World Showcase

M: Making Memories

S: Christmas Decorations

M: Riding on the Updated Test Track

S: The Food

M: Mickey’s PhilharMagic

S: Taking it Slower b/c of Josiah

M: Seeing what Everyone’s Favorite Ride Is

S: Seeing Dr. Seuss Land

M: Seeing what Everyone’s Favorite Food Is

S: Toy Story Mania

M: Turtle Talk with Crush

S: Taking Pictures

M: Dinosaur (The Ride)

S: Rice Krispie Treat From Goofy’s Candy Co.

M: Be Our Guest Restaurant! (I Got the Reservation)

S: Experiencing “Slower” Attractions

M: Christmas Lights & Music

S: Shuffleboard Energy Game & Innoventions

M: Exploring New Areas

S: Resort Hopping/Visiting

M: Walking Around Hogsmeade

S: Exploring Hogsmeade

M: Getting Josiah Souvenirs

S: Making New Memories

M: Finding Nemo Show

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–Staci

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Q for you: What was the last thing you made a countdown for?


Be Our Guest Restaurant

I am on cloud 9 right now.  My incredible husband just got us a reservation at “Be Our Guest” Restaurant at Walt Disney World for our December trip!

This may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you it is huge for all of us Disney Nerds trying to make reservations today.  You see, this morning at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time (so 6:00 a.m. here) reservations opened up.  So everyone who really wants to eat there between November 19 and 180 days from now tried to call at exactly that time.

We started calling at 5:55 and weren’t able to even get through until 8:10 when Michael just happened to call at just the right time.  And he just read that December 3-7 is completely booked already!

I’m still in shock.

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, and the restaurant is going to be like walking into the movie.  Check out some of these photos of the work so far: (the following photos are from thedisneyfoodblog.com)

The restaurant will be underneath the Beast’s Castle:

Cracked door arch into the Beast’s Ballroom:

The enchanted rose mosaic:

Portrait of the Beast in the restaurant:

Belle and the Beast Mosaic:

Rose Chandelier:

“Be Our Guest” Restaurant is part of the new Fantasyland Expansion at WDW.  Click HERE for a  great collection of info, pics, and videos.

I can’t wait for our December trip with Michael’s family, and now the fact that we get to eat at Be Our Guest makes me even more excited!

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–Staci

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Q for You:  What movie (Disney or otherwise) would you love to be turned into a restaurant theme?

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Disney Night: Dumbo & Fantansia

For previous Disney Nights, click HERE.

Our third Disney Night was Dumbo since we don’t have Fantasia.  If you’re curious about all of the Disney Animation Features and their release dates, you can click HERE.  The week after we watched Dumbo (last week), we found out that you can rent Fantasia on Amazon on-demand, so we did that this week.  So here are our two most recent Disney Nights.

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Dumbo

Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Looked up more info about the Fantasyland Expansion including a whole area themed around Dumbo and the Circus (HERE is a good article with videos)
  • Played “Ticket to Ride” aka “Trains” in honor of Casey Junior (Michael won and set a PR by the way.)

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Make a tent and play a game inside
  • Have the whole family put on a circus–each person has to plan at least one act
  • Eat animal crackers

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • We absolutely hate the “Elephants on Parade” sequence.  It’s weird and creepy.  But when we watched the special features, we found out that the Disney Studio was very proud of this sequence.  It allowed them to try new things and be artistic in whatever way they felt led.  We still didn’t watch it tonight though.
  • For the scene with the crows, they filmed live dancers to get a picture of what they wanted the birds’ movements to look like.
  • I love that Dumbo doesn’t say a word during the entire movie, and yet he’s such an iconic Disney character.
  • I cry almost every time I see the “Baby Mine” scene.

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Fantasia

Our Family Night:

  • Listened to Classical Music (Beethoven Station on Pandora) while we cooked and ate dinner
  • Watched the movie

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Play different types of instrumental music and let the kids (and/or adults) draw/paint pictures of what they think the music sounds like

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • This was a really last-minute theme night decision.  But it was great as a relaxing end to our crazy youth conference weekend.  We realized that classical music really is so relaxing to help unwind.
  • In fact, it was almost too relaxing.  I couldn’t stay awake.  So we stopped the movie and tried to watch it the next afternoon between morning and night church.  We didn’t quite finish it, and honestly, it wasn’t our favorite.  So we decided to not start it again.
  • I read in my Vault of Walt book that Walt Disney was so excited about Fantasia.  He wanted to instill in the American public a love and appreciation for classical music.  He thought it would be received so well that he had plans to create multiple films like it.
  • Michael looked the movie up on Wikipedia and found out that the re-release in the 60s made the movie popular with the older teenage/young adult crowd.  If you’ve seen the movie, you can probably guess what substances were used to increase their interest in the film.

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Q for You: Dumbo: What’s your take on the “Elephants on Parade” sequence? Fantasia: Fan or not?

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–Staci

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Disney Nights: Snow White & Pinnochio

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but we’re going to Walt Disney World (the Disney in Florida) this December!  We’ve been planning a family trip with Michael’s family (parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law) since last July.  I absolutely LOVE Disney World.  This will be my 5th trip and Michael’s 3rd.  Even though he’s not a nut like I am, he really enjoys it too.

Since we’ve been married, we’ve joined the Disney Movie Club twice.  So…it’s safe to say we have a lot of Disney movies.  To celebrate our upcoming trip, we’ve decided to watch a different Disney movie every week leading up to the trip.  I’m sure there will be some weeks we don’t get one in–especially around the time the baby comes–but we’re going to try.

I’ll post a little synopsis of our Disney night, and then I’ll give some ideas of what I’d do for a theme night with little kids.  I can’t wait to have Family Nights someday soon, and I love planning things like this.  I might also add a few things I like about each movie and/or fun facts.  We’ll see.

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Snow White

Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Cleaned the house (fun, right?!)
  • Mini Foods in Sevens (Michael just ate normally, but here’s my plate. PS. Can you tell I was still having a hard time with foods?)

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Have the kids put on a talent show with dancing and instruments they make
  • Make a treasure hunt for toy jewels

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • I didn’t really like Snow White much as a kid.  I didn’t like her high-pitched voice, and it just wasn’t one of my favorites.  In fact, Michael and I had decided to not buy it.  That is, until we went to Disney World in 2009.  On our behind the scenes tour, we learned a lot about Snow White and decided we had to have Walt Disney’s first animated feature–actually, the world’s first full-length animated feature.
  • Recently, I read in “The Vault of Walt” by Jim Korkis that Hollywood stars showed up for the premier because they had to.  Many of them could be heard making fun of coming to an animated movie and talking about the absurdity of it all.  When it was over, they gave Snow White a standing ovation!  Also, many of them left with sunglasses on to cover their tear-streaked faces.  It was safe to say that Snow White had accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

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Pinocchio

Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Ate Homemade Pizza (see below for tie-in explanation)
  • Played “2 Truths and a Lie”

2 Truths and a Lie Game–You have to guess which one of the other person’s statements is a lie.  We decided to give 3 points for the first guess being correct, 1 for the second, and none for the third.

  • One of my examples: 1) I wanted to be an artist 2) I wanted to be a nurse 3) I wanted to be a doctor.  Correct answer: 3 is the lie.
  • I ended up winning by 2!

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Make puppets and put on a play
  • Let the kids have a grasshopper race (hop on all fours)
  • Wish upon a star

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • While we were watching Pinocchio, we decided to find out where the story takes place.  Michael thought it looked like Germany, but I thought that the names were Italian and the clothes were Swiss.  After much googling, we finally found that it takes place in northern Italy.  So we brushed up on our geography and looked at a map of Europe.  It turns out that northern Italy borders Switzerland, which borders Germany.  Hm–you learn something every day!

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We made a list of all of our Disney movies (in order of original release date) and I tried to think of something to go along with each.  I’m such a nerd for things like this, and I’m excited about our weekly Disney Nights!

I’ll be writing a Pre-Trip Report on the DISboards (www.disboards.com) later, and I’ll post the link here.  I’ll also post an abbreviated list of our plans here once the trip gets closer.

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Q for You: What ideas do you have for different Disney Nights?

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–Staci

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