Saturday, June 15, 2019

::2019 Disney lessons::

We had an amazing trip family trip to Disney this year.  Even after over 40 trips I am always learning new things.   Here is what I learned this time - 

Popcorn bucket - they sell really cute popcorn buckets at the parks that tempt me every time.  I am thinking about starting to collect them, but I really hate to gather up too much stuff and these popcorn buckets are large.  But for this year we learned that you can get the less fancy popcorn buckets for $10 and then get refills for $2.   For this hungry crew I have found that if I buy them two refills of popcorn before meals it makes them eat much less.   I know that usually filling kids up on popcorn is not ideal nutrition, but at Disney we all get to carb load.   $4 in popcorn makes the meal bill less and keeps the crew running longer.   The popcorn bucket is durable and light weight to carry around.   

Water Bottles - Disney gives you free ice water at any counter service restaurant.  You just walk up to the check out lane and ask for 8 waters (that's how many we get at each meal).   That saves us big money on buying soda's (I happily dumb those savings into fancy fluffy cocktails).  I wanted larger water bottles to take into the parks.   With a party of six we need a big water bottle to keep us hydrated on the hot June days.  I researched and couldn't bring my cheap self to buy an expensive water bottle.   We ordered these little pretties and they served us well.  They are durable and stayed cool almost all day, we easily topped them off with water and ice when needed.  I highly recommend these guys.   I am setting them aside to only be used at Disney so they stay in good condition.   

Cooling Towels - We actually learned this before.   When you come to Disney in the hot months of the year, cooling towels are essential.   You get them wet in the sink, ring them out, and then warp them around your neck.   I wear mine like a shawl if I am really hot.   I love them.   They are essential to keeping me comfortable in the heat.  I love this particular brand.   They are larger and durable.   (Durable is essential with the ferals.)

Mickey and Minnie Decals - I love little extra touches.   Etsy is an addiction that I have to constantly talk myself out of giving in to.   This year I let myself order these little decals for the sweetest little shop.   The owner sent me my first order and included two free Minnie bows.   I hadn't planned on bows and was so pleased with them I emailed her to get another one.  I also asked her about her making a Minnie and mickey bow for my water bottles.   Her prices are very affordable and her turn over time is so fast.  We sleep, swim, everything in our magic bands and these decals held up so well.   

Mobile Order -  This is another one we figured out a few years ago. If you download the MyDisneyExperience App you should set up your mobile ordering option.  You put a credit card on file and then at any park you login and pick a location to get food.   You can place your order hours in advance.  Modifying orders for picky eaters is easy.  When you are near by where you want to eat you just tell the app you are there, they prepare your food, and you pick it up at the mobile window.   There are plenty of tutorials online if you need for details.   I highly recommend this.  

Uber Eats - Being able to order food from quality restaurants and have it delivered to your room in wonderful.   Disney is expensive.   Disney food is really expensive.  Feeding our crew at a counter service place is $60-$85 and that is without sodas or alcohol.  We can easily order way higher quality food and have it delivered for the same amount to our room.   

Instacart - Grocery delivery is a game changer for us.  We are lucky enough to stay in Disney Vacation club rooms.  For our crew we get a two bedroom, that has a full kitchen.  Cooking on vacation is not my jam, but you easily could.   We try to do at least two meals a day in the room, quick lunches and make your own breakfast us usually the way we do it.  It also saves on our alcohol bill for use to have some beer and mix drink supplies in our rooms.  We did a two week trip this time.  We used Uber to take us to the store the morning after we arrived.   Store run on vacation didn't sound fun to me but Josh found a store in a good area and taking the kids let them pick out what special treats they wanted (like Fanta).  Mamma picked out a nice big bottle of rum to make mixed drinks with.  About one week in we needed to refresh some of our supplies.  I placed my first ever Instacart order as they don't deliver in to our farm.  Instacart delivered beer to our hotel for us and left it with the front desk, plus the other food we needed.  Disney charges you $6 plus tip to have your groceries delivered to your room.  We asked for a room near the front just to make sure we could easily pick up UberEats or Instacart orders.     

Light weight backpacks - we bought three light weight water proof backpacks on Amazon.  They cost less than $15 each.  They were durable (FERALS) and I loved the colors.  Since they are water proof they are hot!   Everyone who carried one would end up with a sweat mark that exactly matched where the backpack was touching them.  Still, these where great to have.   We could carry our ponchos for those monsoon style rainstorms that come through.   We totes around our water bottles, sunscreen, cooling towels, and the magical popcorn bucket.   The kids could carry their treasures, cards, and pressed penny kits.  


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

::March 2019::

March was Competition Show Choir season.   This cute little kid earned herself a varsity letter and a letter mans jacket for being a freshman in varsity choir.   She did no well.   I can't believe how much she has learned about dance.   It takes about three weeks for her to teach me 5 seconds of the routine.   

Comps required her to be dropped off at school at 4am or so, and then picked up that night sometimes as late as 2am!!!  She was gone at the show for 22 hours straight once.    But she loves it to the moon, so I am happy to support her.  
Her dear friend Paige was in JV choir so they got to spend lots of time together.  

She is so lucky to have such a great group of supportive friends.   I love her Dream Team.   They are the best of friends to each other and I really love each of them.  

We added a fourth dog to the mix, cause why not?  
It's now Rosie the giant Saint Bernard.  
Poppy the snuggle bug. 
Gus the most charming of all Great Pyrenees. 
Baby Otter the tiny dachshund.  

He even has a Mickey Mouse spot!!!!

Look at that face.   
He is the best natured baby dog of all time.  

He is Quinn's dog and they adore each other.  

I have gotten into this great kick of sewing vintage cut aprons.   I've been having so much fun with them.  Ever time I see a fabric I like I scoop it up and get to sewing.   

Josh bought some hatchets and modified them to be throwing axes for the kids. 

This has become a big hobby for the entire family.   

I took the crew on a little spring break road trip to Chicago to meet up with my sister Sybil and her kids.  

Guess which kid is in show choir? 

We did all the sites and had a really good time.  
We stayed in my brothers condo.
My kids just couldn't believe you could walk outside and buy a bagel.  
It was great for them to see that side of urban life.  

Little Emma had her 21st birthday at the end of March.  
She had a great night out with her friends but still managed to make it to her family party.  

Friday, March 8, 2019

::adult Disney Feb 2019::

We has a wonderful adult sneak out.  I had the great opportunity to attend a conference about Substance Use Disorder at Disney.  Of course I jumped at the change.  New rule - I only go to conferences if they are in Disney!!!!  What a great way to sneak out, learn some stuff and have some Disney time.   I love this collection of pictures because I have obviously embraced my new pose.  I have exactly the same set up in all pics.  I've love to be embarrassed, but I am no in love with my new body that my pride kinda shows.  I've lost a good 50 pounds over the last year and I am living full blast.   

We have been trying out a new gig.  We fly out at 530AM so we arrive around 8AM and have the whole day in Disney.  This works well with adults, but would suck with kids.   As part of my professional side of my new gig I have been trying to look more the part.  I've been getting my nails done often.  I had to add some Disney flair.  

We got into Saratoga Springs, threw on some ears and got our butts to the park.  

First stop was Epcot.  They were right in the middle of the Festival of the Arts.  We love all the festivals at Epcot.  I can't pick a favorite.  This may be a favorite unique opportunity that I have ever had at a festival.  Paige O'Hara, who was the voice of Belle, is also an artist.  She was selling some prints of her work and was then signing them.  Lily is a huge fan of Belle and I knew this would be a dream come true present.  We waited in line forever, but it was well worth it.  Lily came unglued when we gave it to her when we got home.    

Passholders have collectible magnets that they can get when they are in the parks.  You can bet I RAN to get our Figment magnet.  My mother is a huge Figment collector and I have to make sure I had one to give her.     

They next day we walked to Disney Springs and were sitting outside the shop when they opened the dress shop.  

I tried on five different dresses, but fell madly in love with the new Trader Sams dress.  I never buy the matching accessories with the dresses, but this time I gave in to the matching purse.

Then we headed over to Holly Wood Studios to see Toy Story Land for the first time.   It's so adorable.     

Big news!  Some of the beer stands stock my new favorite beer - Kona Long Board.   I was maybe overly excited.  

The next day we knew we wanted to go tour around the monorail hotels.  We love a long monorail ride so we took the bus to Epcot and then the  monorail to the transportation center. 

Josh gets pulled for extra security every time.  EVERY single time.  They don't realize that he is a big sweetheart.   

I got wear my Pandora ears for the first time.   Josh got a little fed up getting poked in the face all day.   

We had to jump on the People Mover because it is our true love.  

The People Mover is the best chill and enjoy ride.  

I kept my traditional picture on Buzz going.  He still beats me every time.  

I tried a cake pop.  Gorgeous to look at but not worth the calories.  

This is my friend Kayla.  She is a social worker that I work with in our treatment program.  She is gifted and a warrior for change.  We have a recent grant for our program and are so lucky that we got to go to this conference.   I made her take a selfie with me to prove that we did actually go to the conference.  

Josh had to fly home to parents our people.  I had a day and a half in Disney by myself.  It was bizarre to be there without my person or my shorties but I still had some fun.  At lunch break from my conference I walked over to the Poly to see my little buddy.  

I got myself over to Hollywood Studios.  

I had my favorite Disney snack and my favorite Disney beer.  

I was a little excited to get to ride Slinky Dog for the first time.  

Dinner was at Enzro's Hideout.   A really cool place I have wanted to try.   I sat at the bar and spent some quality time watching the bartenders make drinks.  I am fascinated with bartending, and it was great to just watch them try to make awesome drinks super fast.   Someday I am going to take a bartenders class.    

I picked up some desert and took the boat back to my room.  

The next morning I finished off my conference and then jumped on the front row of Pirates.  

My friend Becky was starting off the first day of a girls trip.  We got to ride the People Mover, have lunch, and have some monorail time.   

I waited for the Magic Express while reading some Harry Potter.  It was very relaxing but I was ready to get home to my babies.  


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