Tag Archives: disney

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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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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New Disney Favorite – By M

With Staci making all her fun Disney posts, I figure why not make one of my own?!

And, if you haven’t caught on by now, Staci and I are big Disney fans.  Granted, Staci is a much bigger fan than I am, and she is also madly in love with Disney World.  Anyway, the two of us our always buying and watching Disney movies.  It’s great to have all our old childhood favorites and other classics.  We’re big nerds like that.

We’re also a part of the Disney Movie Club because you can get a ton of Disney DVDs for real cheap when you sign up.  We also, want to be prepared for when we have kids, so they can enjoy the movies that we grew up watching.

So we recently made an order for Dumbo and the New Winnie the Pooh movie.  We originally made this purchase, as stated before, for our future child.  We decided to watch Winnie the Pooh to see if it would be any good.  My family had the original one when I was kid and I remember it was funny (for being a 5 year old).  So I honestly wasn’t expecting much.  As the movie opened, it had that same Winnie the Pooh nostalgic feel –the old bedroom with the stuffed animals strewn about the room, the same “Winnie the Pooh” song intro (done very well by Zooey Deschanel), etc– a lot of the events in this story even mirror some of the old story.  Needless to say it started well…

…And to my great surprise got better as the show went on.  Staci will be my witness that this movie had me laugh out loud more than any other movie since Despicable Me.  It really blew me away how witty the lines were, and the slap-stick humor was great!  The only complaint I would have is that the movie is only 60 minutes… I didn’t realize feature movies could even be that short.  Although the Toy Story trilogy and the Lion King will always be my tops when it comes to Disney movies, this new Winnie The Pooh movie has definitely made its mark in my book!  So go rent it, enjoy it, and let your inner child out for a good 60 minutes!

So find a chance to tap into your inner child and check out the new “Winnie the Pooh” movie and enjoy!

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What’s a recent movie that really surprised you in a good way?

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– M


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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Tale as Old as Time, Song as Old as Rhyme

Beauty and the Beast

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A few nights ago, I watched my favorite movie with my favorite person.  And it’s one of those times where my heart was just really full — if that makes sense.  I don’t think that I quit smiling until I was asleep.

I know that I’m super nerd for saying this, but I absolutely love the Classic Disney Movies.  There’s just something about them that makes me feel so contented and happy.  And I’m glad that Michael enjoys watching all of them too!  We have lots of Disney Feature Films and Disney/Pixar movies, and we want to buy almost all of both collections (I’ll probably make a list of them on here someday).  We just both grew up loving them, and we wanted to buy them for ourselves since our parents have them on VHS.

I always felt like I could relate to Belle.  I absolutely love reading for starters.  I’m also more of the proactive type (like Ariel and Belle) who go out and find adventure rather than the reactive type (like Snow White and Aurora) who let life happen to them.  I also have a crazy father and married a beast (JUST KIDDING, Daddy and Michael!!!).  I also remember loving the fact that Belle had brown hair when I was little since Barbies and a lot of other princesses had blond hair.  She also has the most gorgeous dress of any of the princesses!  Oh — and it’s also good that she has the ability to see people for who they really are.

Beauty and the Beast is just incredible.  The music and drawings and story-line — they’re all fantastic.  We bought the 3 disk combo pack (2 Blu-Rays and 1 DVD), and the second Blu-Ray had this really neat interactive documentary.  It had a somewhat normal documentary (we’re both huge nerds for things like that!) but then it also let you click to learn more about different topics.  We watched most of it on Tuesday night, and then finished it yesterday afternoon.  If you have this disk, I highly recommend it.  It was so fascinating to learn about the story behind the movie as well as hear about and from some of the artists and actors.  I feel like it helped us appreciate the movie even more (if that’s possible).

I love that my husband and I can enjoy small things like this.  It makes life so much better.

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–Staci

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What’s your favorite Disney Movie?  Any particular reason?

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Tears, Dreams, and This Time Last Year

Tears

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Well…last night it finally hit me.  We’re moving VERY FAR AWAY.

As in EIGHT HOURS from my family.

If you know me, you know how tough this is going to be for me.  My family is SUPER close.  Apart from Michael, they’re who I’d want to spend time with out of anyone in the world.  I’m not saying this to brag or anything, but we’re easily the closest family I’ve ever known.  And it’s going to be really hard to move so far away.

I’ve lived away from my family before (Dallas — 2.5 hrs, and Tyler — 5 hrs), and they live about 1.25 hrs away from us now, but it’s always been a “doable distance”.  8 hrs is a long, long way.

Last night, Michael and I were watching Mrs. Doubtfire and I think the end is what really got me.  You know:  the part where “she” talks about families and how some don’t get to see each other for weeks or months or even years, but if they have love, that’s what being a family is all about.  Well, the credits started rolling, and I started bawling.

We’re not talking a few tears here — it was the whole sobbing to the point where I could hardly breathe thing.  I’m so thankful for my sweet husband, though.  He just held me and let me cry.  And he didn’t even get upset when he saw that his entire sleeve was black from my mascara.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.

I finally regained composure, and I was even able to talk on the phone with my mom later on.  I’m so thankful for technology because it’s going to make all of this a lot easier.  I can’t imagine what it would be like back in the old days…

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Dreams

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Last night, I had another dream about Disney World (I’ve been having them a lot lately).  It’s not a secret that I absolutely love Disney, and I’m dead serious that I want to work at WDW when we retire.

Well, my dream was pretty weird.  At one point we were all on this boat, and we were trying to not get rained on, so we hid behind a house.  Then at some point, I was playing this game or watching a movie or something that let me fly over Walt Disney World.  I would zoom down on different parts of the parks to see the attractions up close.  While I was flying, some of my favorite Disney movie songs were playing.

Then we were going to Universal Studios with my family (I’ve never been there, btw).  It was around 4:00 and my mom was asking if we wanted to go into one of the parks and use our ride tickets.  I kept trying to explain to her that we’d be wasting a whole day’s pass.  Then I told everyone to be sure to bring their swimming suits because there were tons of water rides since it was on the ocean.  Before I woke up, I started doing the whole flying over Disney thing, and some songs from Beauty and the Beast were playing.

So needless to say, it made me want to go back to Disney World REALLY badly!

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Which brings me to my third topic:  This time last year.

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On September 20 last year, Michael and I were flying to Florida for an incredible week at Walt Disney World!  It really was the trip of a lifetime — we had SO much fun together.  Since I’m missing Disney a lot, I thought I’d go back and look at all of our pictures.  Here’s a little re-cap of our trip:

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Day 0:  Travel to Dallas

We drove to my Aunt L’s house in Dallas since we were leaving really, really early the next morning.  We had a great time hanging out with Aunt L and my cousin’s little girl, A.

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Day 1:  Arrival at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Downtown Disney

We had a really early flight to Orlando.  We were beyond excited to get to WDW (I’d been planning for 11 months…), and Animal Kingdom Lodge was absolutely INCREDIBLE!  We hung out at the resort for a while, and then went to Downtown Disney to spend the rest of the evening.

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Day 2:  Epcot and Magic Kingdom Nighttime

For our first full day in the parks, we went to Epcot.  We were there until mid-afternoon when we took a break and went to explore the Grand Floridian Resort.  We  went back to Epcot for our dinner reservations at Coral Reef, and then finished up some more attractions.  We loved all of the hands-on, interactive stuff.  Michael was even chosen as a contestant for a Velcro game show!  That night, we went over to the Magic Kingdom for SpectroMagic and Wishes.  It was a GREAT first full day!

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Day 3:  Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios)

We were both really excited about this day (well, we were excited about every day…but extra-excited about this day) because we were going to our favorite park:  Hollywood Studios!  We arrived in time for “rope drop” and stayed until the park closed.  We saw great shows and enjoyed all of the attractions.  Michael was even picked to be an “extra” in Indiana Jones.  We had dinner at the Sci-Fi Drive-In, and it was just a fantastic day.

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Day 4:  Magic Kingdom

We made it to the Magic Kingdom well before the rope drop show (which was great).  We stayed until early afternoon and then took a break to rent Sea Raycers and enjoy our resort and the pool.  We had dinner at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort, and then went back to the Magic Kingdom for some more fun.

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Day 5:  Tour, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot

Michael and I went on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom and loved every minute of it!  We highly recommend it to anyone.  It was so great to see behind the scenes and learn so many interesting facts about Walt Disney and about the Magic Kingdom.  Afterwards, we did a little more at the MK, and then went to Epcot for dinner at Teppan Edu.  We tried on hats in all of the countries and then watched Illuminations.

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Day 6:  Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

We went to Animal Kingdom and had a great time watching the shows and riding the different rides.  We went back for a break in the late afternoon, ate dinner at Boma (in our resort), and then went to Hollywood Studios for the evening.  We watched Fantasmic, and then went to the Boardwalk.

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Day 7:  Disney’s Hollywood Studios and flying Home

We went back to Hollywood Studios for our last day since it’s both of our favorites.  We saw each of our favorite shows again, and enjoyed all of the things we missed on our other days and/or wanted to do again.  Late afternoon, we went back to our resort to catch the bus to the airport.  We arrived home safe and sound, with TONS of amazing memories of our trip.

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Sigh.  We miss Disney.  We were talking about it yesterday, and I think we’re going to try to go to Disneyland in California in two summers!!  We’d love to go back to WDW again, but we want to see new places, and I’ve never been to Cali.  I REALLY hope it works out!  I absolutely love vacations of any kind, but there’s just something special about a Disney Vacation.

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So that’s a little about where my mind has been over the past 18 hours or so:  Tears, Dreams, and This Time Last Year.

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–Staci

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Game Night!

Last Saturday, we had a game night–just the two of us.  We played four of our favorite games, and I thought I’d share what they are in case you’re interested.  We LOVE all of these games–they’re great for two people or a small group.

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First up:  Blockus.  I’d bought this for my grandparents for Christmas last year, and our whole family ended up getting addicted to it.  We eventually bought it for ourselves.

This game is for 2-4 players.  The point is to lay as many of your tiles down as possible–but you can only touch your other pieces at the tips–none of the flat sides can touch.  While you’re trying to lay yours down, you’re also trying to block the other player(s) so that they can’t lay any more down.  All of the tiles are different shapes, so it gets pretty tough at the end.

Here’s an example of our board after one of the games.  (Oh–and you hardly ever get to lay all of your tiles down…)

We tied one, and then I won one.  And this is how Michael felt about that!

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Michael got to choose the next game, and he chose Monopoly Deal.

This is a Monopoly card game.  His mom had bought it before she came to visit last summer, and after we played a round and figured out all of the different cards, we loved it.  She ended up leaving it for us and buying them another one.

You have three different types of cards: properties, money, and action cards.  Each turn, you can play up to three cards.  The point is to get three complete property sets.  It’s harder than it sounds, though, because you can play all sorts of action cards that steal properties from other players and things like that.

Michael won both of our rounds!  (He almost always wins this game…)

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Our next game is my favorite:  Ticket to Ride!  My parents bought this for us for Christmas, and I just love it!  Michael likes it too, but I usually win and he hates that.

I think this is for up to six players.  Each player is dealt two short routes and one long route.  They’re also given five color train cards.  The point is to complete your routes (for example, making trains from Seattle to New York) using the different color train cards.

Michael was a punk, and he blocked me from getting my last route (the other players don’t know where you’re trying to go/what your routes are, but he took a gamble and blocked where he thought I might go).  Because of that, he beat me by a ton.

But I came back and beat him the next game, so it was all good.

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Our last game was Michael’s choice again.  He picked one of both of our favorites:  Disney Scene It!

We have the first edition game.  I bought my family the second edition a few years ago, and I didn’t know almost any movies!  They were all too recent.  The first edition has some of the really old movies like “Herbie the Love Bug” and then it has movies as recent as “Atlantis”.  But most of the movies are from when we were growing up.

We’re both REALLY competitive at this one since we’re pretty equal skill-wise.  We both love Disney movies (and Disney World, though Michael isn’t as quick to admit it…), and it usually comes down to who can roll higher numbers on the dice.

Donald (Michael) won the first game by a ton (all I could roll were ones and twos!), and Minnie (I) won the second by one question.

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We had a TON of fun with our game night!  I love that we both like things like this.  One of these days, I’ll do a post about our favorite group games.  We both just LOVE playing games!

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–Staci

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Q for you:  What are your favorite two-person or small group games?

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We’ve Been Spoiled

Over the past week, Michael and I have felt so spoiled!  We’ve gone places, bought things, and eaten at restaurants that are very out of the ordinary for us.  Since we’re on a budget (thanks to Dave Ramsey…), we usually only eat out a few times a month, and big purchases have to be saved for.  (By the way, Michael is a MUCH better saver than I am.  Almost every month, I spend at least $25 buying books and movies from Amazon, while Michael saves his until he has money for something big.)

I think our spoiled-ness started on Tuesday of last week.  We were all ready to eat at Danna and Jonathan’s (our really good friends, who we hang out with as much as possible), but they decided to get Oscar’s Chinese food instead.  Michael and I LOVE Oscar’s.  Let’s just say I *might* have given Danna the number by looking through my most recent 10 calls…

Then later in the week, I was looking through my purse and saw a ton of unused gift cards.  These are the one thing I do save.  I didn’t even have a clue where we got most of them, or how much was on each.  I called the number on the back of most of the cards, and I found out that we still had a  gift card from our wedding to Dillard’s, three Wal-Mart cards, my massage gift card from my parents for my bday back in April, an Elephant Bar gift card from my Bible study girls back in April, and a few other random cards!  Why hadn’t we used these before?!

I called and made my massage appointment for Thursday, and the spoiling started full-force.

On Thursday, we each got to pick out new glasses!  This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we were both looking forward to it.  Michael has never worn glasses or contacts in his life.  Up until this past year, he had perfect vision.  (He still likes to say his vision is perfect and that he just has an astigmatism, but we won’t go there…)  We both picked out our glasses and we’re only going to have to pay less than a third of the price because my work covers a certain dollar amount! You can see Michael’s later on in the post, but here are a pic of mine:

After we went to get our glasses, it was time for my massage!  I’ve never had a true table massage before, but I’ve always wanted one.  My family bought me a massage for my bday, and I’d been saving it until now.

Oh.

My.

Word.

Why haven’t I been getting massages my whole life?!  When Michael came to pick me up, I was still completely out of it, and I feel like I walked around in a haze for the rest of the night.  I was just SO relaxed!  I’m pretty sure I’ve inherited the stress gene (thanks, Mom), and no matter how hard I try to not stress, my shoulders are one big knot.  Ann, my massage therapist, spent almost the whole hour trying to get the knots out.  She said that if I really wanted to get rid of them, I’d need to come at least every two weeks.

While I won’t be going every two weeks, I was talked into buying a membership to Massage Envy.  I get one massage a month for a discounted price, and then every massage in addition to that is even more of a discount.  Michael and I are hoping that they’ll help with all of my stinking back problems.  He’s going to go with me next time!  If you’ve never had a massage before, GO GET ONE!  (and if you join, tell them I sent you!)

While I was getting a massage, Michael was picking out our new Blu-ray/surround sound system!  We sold our X-Box to our friends since we never use it, and with that money plus one of the gift cards, we had enough to buy it.

But before we went back to get it, we used another gift card and ate an AMAZING dinner!  We went to the Elephant Bar for the first time for my mom’s birthday, and since then it’s become my favorite restaurant.  The food is incredible, and the atmosphere is unique.  Every time we eat there, I feel like I’m dining at Disney World.  And if you know how I feel about Disney Dining, that’s saying something!  Well, my wonderful Bible study girls somehow found out that I love the Elephant Bar, and they gave me a gift card for my bday.  We’d been holding onto this for a long time.

Michael ended up ordering braised lamb shanks (sorry, can’t find a picture), and I ordered the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi.

Both of our meals were fantastic! For dessert, we split a mini walnut fudge brownie sundae.  SO GOOD!  Neither of us could finish even half of our meals.  And one of the things I love the most about Elephant Bar is that I always feel like I’ve eaten so healthy when I leave there.  It’s VERY yummy!

We left Elephant Bar and went to see my brother at work.  I’m still not used to seeing him in a shirt and tie and hearing him say, “Can I help you with something, Ma’am?”  Being the three crazies that we are, Michael and I tried to hide from him and he tried to hide from us when we saw each other.  I think we forgot that hide and seek only works if at least one person is seeking…  I’m sure the people in the rest of the bookstore were wondering what three grown people were doing sneaking around bookcases.  Anyway, we had a great time visiting with him!

We left there and went to pick up our new Blu-ray player.  Michael was VERY excited about this! We’ve used it a few times, and the sound really is great.  Oh–and I got to help set it all up.  I felt very tech-y!

We went back to pick up our glasses and used our Dillard’s card to buy a new waffle maker since ours died sometime last year.  Have I mentioned that I love gift cards?!

Then on Friday, we were spoiled too!  I’d found tickets for Beauty and the Beast for 70% off through Travel Zoo (By the way, if you like to travel or want discount event deals, subscribe to their newsletter) and I was SOOOO excited about this!  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney animated movie (I’m a lot like Belle), and the abbreviated show at Disney World is one of my favorites.  I was so excited to see it in person!

Before we went to the show, we were able to meet up with one of my really great friends, Jane, and her boyfriend, Andrew (who I’ve also been friends with since before they started dating).  Jane and I were in The Forge together, and I’m SOOOO glad that all of “us Forgies” have stayed so close.  She’s been up north, so I haven’t seen her for over a year.  It was wonderful to just be able to eat yummy Pei Wei food and visit.  They’re very cute together, by the way!

After spending time with our friends, it was time for our show!  It was at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.  The building was really pretty!

I don’t know why, but I was so nervous that we’d get there and it’d be the wrong place.  We went to Will Call to pick up our tickets, and they were there!  I know I’m silly, but just knew they wouldn’t be.  We were definitely at the right place.

I bought a little pin before we found our seats.  I started this when I saw Mary Poppins with my mom and some friends.  Hopefully I’ll be able to buy pins from every Broadway/traveling Broadway show I see.

One of the attendants asked if she could take our picture before we went into the actual theater (no pics allowed).  Doesn’t Michael look good with glasses?

Everyone kept telling us we had great seats when we would show them our tickets.  And they were right!  Because of the discount, I was able to get second row mezzanine seats (regular $95) for $30 a piece!  The show was outstanding!  The actresses and actors did a great job, the special effects were wonderful, and the music was fantastic!  Here are some pictures I found on the actual site (since I couldn’t take any inside).

We had such a great time!  I’m so thankful to have a husband who likes to do things like this with me!  We felt so spoiled–it was a great date night.

We drove to my Aunt L’s house for the night and hung out with her, my cousin M, and her girls.  The next morning, Aunt L took us to brunch at a really good little place in town.  I had Texas Pecan Waffles with Bacon, and Michael had an Omelet, Pancake, and breakfast Potatoes.

It seems like it was a week full of spoiling!  I’m so thankful that we can have times like this.  We don’t expect them at all, but they’re always special when they do happen.

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–Staci

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Q for you:  When is the last time you were spoiled?