Princess Here I Come

It’s here! It’s here! I leave for Louisiana TODAY, and fly out to Orlando from New Orleans first thing Friday morning. My loose plans involve the expo Friday afternoon, 10K Saturday morning, EPCOT Saturday afternoon, the half marathon Sunday morning, relaxing at the pool Sunday afternoon, and the Magic Kingdom on Monday before leaving Tuesday morning. I’m so excited but know that it is going to go by so fast, it always does!

Last year, Bobby came with me on this trip and we stayed for a week at Port Orleans Riverside. This year, it is a girls only trip, and shorter. Also this year I am participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge for the second time!

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Jen and I will be staying at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek for part of our stay before we move to a Disney hotel. I can’t wait to share more about Bonnet Creek itself when I get home from the trip! It’s a gorgeous resort, right in the middle of Disney.

Yesterday, I posted a printable packing list the for race, so check it out if you missed it. Also, I TENTATIVELY plan to be hanging out in front of the merchandise area at 4:30/4:45 before the half marathon on Sunday if anyone wants to say hello. Stay in touch via Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, because I will post updates there if something changes. Note the big red dot below:

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You can read some of my old race recaps here. You can also read LAST year’s half marathon recap here.

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A couple of fun story lines…

More than 37,000 runners from 26 countries are participating this weekend, including more than 16,500 in the half marathon. Also, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell will be on hand to sing the National Anthem on Sunday morning before the race!

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Safe travels to everyone going to Disney, hopefully I will see some of you very soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite costume you have seen at a race?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 2

After my 12 hour sleep the night before, I was ready to enjoy our first full day on board the Disney Fantasy. It was a day at sea, as we sailed towards Cozumel. We got up, ate breakfast at the buffet at Cabanas, and headed to the adult pool area.

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I brought three novels to read, something I haven’t done in a LONG time, and I was really excited to just relax, read, and nap, and that’s exactly what we did, with a mimosa thrown in at some point. We were officially on vacation.

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We had lunch at Cabanas, and went right back out to our lounge chairs for more reading and napping. What an exciting day, huh? Check out our view. If you look closely, you can see land.

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Later in the afternoon we headed back to our room to shower and get ready for formal night. Let me just take a minute to say how happy I am that formal night is early on in the cruise, before we ate all the things and then had to fit into a nice dress.

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By the way the lighting in the cabins is terrible for picture taking! I didn’t think to go out on the balcony until later in the cruise. I blame the sun, or something like that.

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We had dinner in Animator’s Palate, and we were also recognized for our 9 year wedding anniversary a couple of days prior. Yummy dessert!

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After dinner, we changed clothes and walked around a bit before heading to the adult club for some fun and games. I want to say we also saw the show Aladdin in the theater this night.

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I was so excited when I say the lady in charge of the adults for the week was one we have had before, and she is HILARIOUS, and did not disappoint. We played a game Bobby and I both love called “The Quest”. If you have been on a DCL cruise, hopefully you have played. It’s a scavenger hunt game, where you are in teams with a number and you have to bring “your number, AND ____” to the front, and the people who do it fastest get the most points. Think things like a man wearing a bra, two men skipping holding hands, a girl in men’s shoes, etc. etc. So many laughs my stomach hurt, and thankfully this time I didn’t have to be the one to take off my bra in front of strangers.

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Anyway, our team ended up winning, which was even more fun! We were given Disney Cruise Line hats as a prize, because, it’s what all the cool kids wear.

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We were worn out after all the fun, so headed back to our room to discover this guy:

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The next day was Cozumel, and we had heard it was supposed to storm all day, so we crossed our fingers the weather would hold out, and went to bed.

QOTD: Have you ever played the Quest? Do you dress up for formal night on a cruise?

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek

I had the privilege to stay somewhere new the night before the runDisney half marathon, somewhere I honestly never thought I would stay. I am a Disney loving “stay at a Disney hotel” kind of girl, so I was a little reluctant to try out Hilton Bonnet Creek, but I am So glad I did!

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I hope to have more info for you on the actual hotel and all the activities and food and things there at the end of February, but for now I want to specifically talk to you about Marathon Weekends.

Hilton Bonnet Creek has put together a special rate for those staying for runDisney race weekends, and it comes with some great extras that are not offered at Disney owned hotels. There was also a runner’s concierge in the lobby, and they could answer questions for us, get us signed up for the bus the morning of the race, and they also had a goodie bag for us. (Note that to ride the bus to the races you have to sign up ahead of time and are given a wristband as a “ticket” for the bus to and from the race.)

Hilton Bonnet Creek is actually inside the gates of Walt Disney World, so it is super close to the parks and other Disney activities. Check out the balloon at Disney Springs you could see out my room’s window!

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Those staying with the special marathon weekend rate are also given a card that saves you 10% on hotel food and beverages during your stay. They have so many restaurant options, and even special carb loading menu items for runners.

The real magic however came on race morning, where we were greeted in the lobby with signs and our own personal cheerleaders! The music was loud, the DJ was getting everyone pumped up, and it really helped to wake me up since it was, you know, 2:45 in the morning.

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They also provided a continental breakfast for the runners. It was nice to hang out in the warmth of the lobby, chatting with other runners (and using real bathrooms!) before heading to the race start.

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I ate a protein bar, a banana, and grabbed some water. (I had brought some food with me also since I wasn’t sure what I was going to feel like eating). I was told that the reasoning behind the certain food items was that they wanted to provide things that would be easy to eat in the corrals or walking to the corrals. Smart thinking!

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We took some photos out in front of the bus and were cheered on as we boarded. It was EARLY, yall, so it was such a nice touch!

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Oh, something else I didn’t mention, all runners staying for Marathon Weekends get a late 2:00 pm checkout, how cool is that?

Please note that at this time, there is no official transportation to the 5k and 10k races or expo which was a bummer, but the runner’s concierge can help you set something up if you would like. We grabbed a cab to come back from the expo and it was quick and easy. There is also  Mears shuttle you can take to and from the airport that cost approx. $21 each way when booked online.

They also had a runners reception at the pool with rum runners at noon after the half marathon, but sadly we had a boat to catch and were not able to stay. Next time!

I give Hilton Bonnet Creek Marathon Weekends a thumbs up, and would definitely stay here again for a race weekend!

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The enthusiasm, the little touches, the breakfast, and the proximity to other Disney activities really swayed me. I think they have a good thing going here, and I sadly just learned about it last year! If you have any questions about marathon weekends, let me know and I can get the answer for you.

QOTD: Did you know this existed? What do you think about the early morning cheerleaders? Who wants to stay here now?!?

Disclosure: I was provided a free stay to check out marathon weekends for myself, however all opinions are my own.

Disney Park Map Leggings Giveaway

Good morning my friends! I have a fun giveaway for you today! I was shopping around on Etsy like I tend to do (It’s a time suck!) and I stumbled across these AMAZING clothing pieces from Rainbow Rules. I knew I had to have the leggings, and I decided to try a tank top as well. I got my items in the mail, and they are seriously a Disney lovers dream. Any Disney lover can spot the oh so familiar park map design a mile away. So unique and fun for pants!

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First up I ordered the Magic Kingdom Park Map Capris (also come in full length, and also come in fleece lined). These capris are thin but very stretchy and so adorable. (Note, you can’t wear your leopard print under things, but they look just fine with a neutral color underneath.) I can’t wait to wear these bad boys to WDW. They are really comfy and stretchy, and I have been asked a million times already where I got them.

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Next up I decided to try one of the tank tops, and went with the Disneyland design. It is made of the same material as the capris, so it’s really light and soft/stretchy.

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Yall, this is just the beginning. She also sells, shower curtains, dresses, skirts, clutches, scarves, cosmetics cases, etc. all with different park maps! I have been eyeing up the pillow cushion and door mat, how adorable!

The best thing about this stuff is her prices are great. Please note, turnaround time is about three weeks, so if you are wanting some park map leggings to wear to the Princess half, you need to order NOW! Also, you are in luck, because I have a discount code for you to use that is good for 10% off orders over $25 through the end of February. Simply enter the code LOOKINGGLASS at checkout.

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Be sure to check out all the other cool items in her shop, too.

Now for the giveaway. One lucky reader will get their choice of park map leggings from Rainbow Rules. Please follow the directions in the rafflecoptor widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given product to review, however all opinions are my own. 

runDisney Marathon Weekend Expo 2016

Hello friends! I am finally back home! I still have a lot of unpacking and catching up to do, but I wanted to let you guys know I am still alive, and I have a lot of fun recaps coming your way, plus a giveaway so hang in there. Today I thought I would tell you about the race expo, then I still have to recap the blogger meet up, an interview I did with some famous TV stars from Mexico, the race, the cool hotel experience I had, and of course the cruise!

We were actually only in Orlando for 24 hours, but a LOT happened in those hours. First after landing Friday I ran over to the Cigna blogger meet up with Megan, and then we went to the runDisney expo to get our packets for the half the next day. We had dinner at California Grill at 5:00 so sadly I didn’t get to spend near as much time at the expo as I would have liked, but I still got to soak up the runDisney magic and see some friends.

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First we picked up our race packets. It was weird “only” doing the half, since last time we participated in marathon weekend we ran dopey!

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Ready to run! or something like that (wait, we have to run? I haven’t really trained!)

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LOVE my new rundisney ears! They don’t give me terrible headaches like the ones from the parks. Maybe I just have a large noggin?

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We of course had to take the obligatory instagram photo before heading over to check out the merchandise. The guy asked how we wanted to pose and we said “something funny” and he just looked at us like we were crazy. No worries! We shall come up with something on our own!

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Hello expo floor, oh how I have missed you!

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A closer look at the shoes, and I dig them.

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I made my way to the Raw Threads booth (adorable stuff yall, go check them out!) and had a quick chat with my buddy Bobbi! Was great to see her again.

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I also ran over to my favorite running skirts brand and said hello to my former colleague and the sweetest girl in Minnie ears ever, Michelle!

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We literally flew through the official merchandise, I got an I did it shirt (I always get one) and a shirt for Emma Kate that says “future runner, catch me if you can” SO stinkin cute). and unfortunately we had to grab a cab back to the hotel so we could change for dinner.

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I wish I had gotten to spend some more time shopping and saying hello to other friends working expo booths, but there will always be other races, and hopefully for those I will be in town more than 24 hours!

QOTD: Is there an item you buy at every race expo?

Disney at Christmas

Visiting Walt Disney World at Christmastime is probably my favorite time of year to go (well, it barely edges out the food and wine festival!) There is just something extra magical about all the special touches Disney puts into the decorations, parades, parties, and other events that make it very memorable.

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Of course the Magic Kingdom/main street is decked out with beautiful festive decorations.

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But my favorite thing to do is go to the different resorts and see their décor. My favorite is the Grand Floridian because of the beautiful gingerbread house that doubles as a store where you can buy gingerbread! It’s so gorgeous (and smells so good) and must be seen in person to fully appreciate it’s coolness.

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Other resorts do a great job, especially those with nice big lobbies like Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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One thing I am super sad about is that this is the last year for the Osborne lights at Hollywood Studios. It has always been a favorite of mine, and I’m bummed I won’t get to see them again.

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a lot of fun, with special fireworks and a parade.

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The best part of the Magic Kingdom decorations is hands down the castle. This is something you have to see in person because pictures just don’t do it justice. I can sit forever and stare at it as it changes colors, it truly is breathtaking.

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Cannot. get. enough.

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There are so many other things like the candlelight processional, and holiday storytellers, it is enough to keep you busy your entire trip! What is your favorite thing about Walt Disney World during the holidays? I would love to hear!

QOTD: What is your favorite thing about WDW during the holidays?

The WINNER of my spread cookie joy giveaway is Rachel Marie! (also displayed on the rafflecoptor widget on the original post). Thanks to all who entered!

Birthday Bash Day 4

Day four was our final day in Walt Disney World, and we still had a lot we wanted to do. Unfortunately we woke up to rain, but we didn’t let that stop us. We made it to the Magic Kingdom, and headed straight for Starbucks. Our late night on the Ferrytale Wishes cruise wore us out!

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I tried the special for Halloween “frapula” and I think I was the first to ask for it because it took them awhile to make it and they were all conversing with each other trying to figure it out.

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We had fastpasses for Pirates of the Caribbean so we headed that way first, and then to Enchanted Tales with Belle which I had seen but mom had not. SO cute. I can’t wait to take Emma Kate there!

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We did a little shopping and grabbed pizza for lunch.

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Mom and I really enjoy just walking around and looking at everything, so we just kind of “hung out” for awhile (Bobby would be so bored and never let’s me do that, so it was nice and relaxing!)

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The rain was getting harder, so he headed to the monorail and ran over to EPCOT to get a couple of things and then went back to the hotel. I was able to make us last minute dinner reservations at California Grill that night, too!

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Bye Magic Kingdom

I still had not done one thing I REALLY wanted to do, and that was get a Dole Whip at the Polynesian. So when we got back, we did just that, and it was delicious.

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We got ready for dinner, had some appetizers in the lounge, and then took the monorail to the Grand Floridian because we had some time to kill. We went upstairs and visited one of my favorite Cast Members, Vonnie, and chatted with her for a bit before heading over to the Contemporary. We were seated right away, and I will have to say this was the most delicious meal of the trip. I got a margarita and the filet, and both were amazing.

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They even gave mom a free birthday dessert, even though we were stuffed!

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We got back to the resort and changed clothes and headed for Trader Sams. This was another one of those “research” things I needed to do for work. SO many clients have asked me about it so I knew I needed to go. The drinks were good and the décor was super cool, but it was pretty pricey and if you aren’t into loud environments I would say skip this one. We were so tired and left after one drink, but it was cool to see, and say hello to a fellow runDisney runner/bartender we went to see!

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We went back to our room and called it a night. The next morning was very early and very sad. Departure day is always sad, but it was also rainy and dreary so it was even more depressing.

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Four days is just not long enough! We had a blast but there was so much we didn’t get to do, like Hollywood Studios and most of EPCOT. That just means we have to go back, right?

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I planned a lot for mom for her 60th, and I hope she enjoyed everything I put into the trip for her. It was so much fun and I will always remember it.

QOTD: Favorite Disney resort? Favorite drink in Disney?

Disney Ferrytale Wishes Cruise

On Monday night of our Disney trip, I surprised my mom with a Disney Ferrytale Wishes cruise. This is something very new that had only been going on for about two weeks when we participated. I was very happy with this experience and would do it again for adults, but I don’t think it’s as worth it for kids. Here’s a quick recap of the fun!

Mom and I walked over from the Polynesian to the Transportation and Ticket center. Poor mom was clueless and had not idea what we were doing. I went over to the ferry dock and saw balloons and a sign that said “check in”, and even after we walked up she was confused, so I let the guy checking people in explain it to her.

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We were given a pin and a menu, and he led us down towards the boat where others were gathered.

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We were then given glow in the dark necklaces and a glowing champagne glass filled with cider and we were told to hang onto it. We waited around until 9:00 to board the ferry.

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Once onboard we were given a plate, and told to have fun! We found coffee, alcohol (beer, wine, vodka punch, prosecco), and lots of desserts.

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We watched the Electrical Water Parade and sailed around the Seven Seas Lagoon chowing down and watching the beautiful views.

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Later they had mickey bars and ice cream sandwiches as well as some fruit flavored popsicles.

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When it was time for Wishes at 10:00, the boat parked and everyone had a great view. The music was piped in and it was really beautiful with the reflection on the water.

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When Wishes was over, the boat sailed back to the dock and we got off. They were handing out extra ice cream bars as we got off so of course we took one…and they were giving out all the balloons, SURE! Why not?

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Oh, there was even a Photopass photographer onboard.

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The staff was so friendly, and everyone seemed to be having a really good time. We met some very nice people and chatted with a bunch of different folks as we went. There were maybe only 10 kids onboard (remember, we didn’t get ON the boat till 9:00). The reason I say it is worth it for adults but not kids is because it was $100 for adults and $69 for kids. Adults get all you can drink alcohol and a really cool experience but the kids seemed bored and that’s an expensive ticket for an hour and a half boat ride. I will be doing a more detailed review on another blog at the end of the month, I will be sure to post a link on Facebook when it’s live.

QOTD: Where have you seen your favorite fireworks show? Mickey bar or ice cream sandwich?

Birthday Bash Day 3

Even though we didn’t get to bed until well after midnight after the Halloween party, there was no rest for the weary, because Debbie had to leave that next afternoon and we had to see as much of EPCOT as possible in a few short hours. We ate breakfast and walked over to the transportation and ticket center where we hopped on the monorail to EPCOT.

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We had fastpasses for Spaceship Earth and Soarin’, and at 11:00 we headed to the World Showcase for lunch.

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We ran into this lady on the way and she had a very short line so we jumped in for a photo opp. I told her all about how I wore her yellow dress with lights in it to the Halloween party, and she didn’t seem all that impressed. I must have not explained the lights and the tutus correctly, because clearly it was an awesome costume.

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By the way, anyone else think her eyebrows are a bit much? Something just didn’t look right? (In my own little world I am convinced I would play the best Belle, so maybe that’s why.) We hit up a couple of food booths and headed back towards France because I really wanted my favorite drink and they don’t open until noon.

Hello Grand Marnier Slush, we meet again.

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I didn’t eat lunch with the others because I had plans with this fellow. Haven’t seen him since February and it was great to catch up!

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My mom and Debbie had already headed back to the resort to catch Debbie’s magical express bus, and judging by the time I figured I could make it back to see her off, so I hustled to the monorail and made it back to the Polynesian just in time to say farewell.

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Now it was just me and mom for a day and a half. Mom wanted to organize her things and shower before our dinner at Citrico’s, so I spent some time with another favorite family of mine at the pool.

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After catching up, I got ready for dinner and mom and I hopped on the monorail once again. No way she looks 60, right? (This hopefully means I won’t look 60 when I am 60!)

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Dinner was just “ok”. We have ebbs and flows with Disney signature restaurants, and there were a lot of screaming small children running circles around the tables this time around. (Note this is a white tablecloth restaurant, we were just a little surprised at the Chef Mickey’s level of chaos.)

It was here that I told my mom I had another SURPRISE for her after dinner, but we weren’t leaving until 8:30. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great and was SO tired, and kind of wishing I HADN’T planned said surprise, but I would later end up being SO GLAD I didn’t bail because it was one of the highlights of the trip, and it deserves it’s own blog post!

QOTD: Favorite food and wine festival food? Favorite signature restaurant in WDW? Favorite menu item at a fancy restaurant?

Birthday Bash Day 2

Day two of our birthday bash trip for my mom was a fun one. (if you missed day one, go here). It was Sunday, and we were going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that night, so we decided to chill during the day and not goo to a park. My mom took her friend Debbie over to the Grand Floridian to shop, while I went for a run and did some work on my laptop.

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I ran all around the Polynesian and to the Grand Floridian where I stopped and facetimed with Bobby and Emma Kate, then I ran back. It was humid and gross (it had just rained), but I LOVE running in Disney!

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We headed over to the Wilderness Lodge for lunch (another surprise for mom) at Whispering Canyon Café. Even though my Saints aren’t having the best season, I still proudly wore my team colors! (We won by the way!)

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We had a really fun waiter at Whispering Canyon, and my mom got a birthday cupcake while the whole restaurant sang to her. Luckily, we don’t embarrass easily.

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We went back to the resort to hang out and get ready for the Halloween party. We had fun costumes prepared, and everyone LOVED our lights in our tutus. They actually really came in handy when walking through crowds.

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My mom nor her friend had ever been to the party, so it was fun to show them around. However, I will say I was a bit disappointed in the crowd levels. In years past, we were able to walk onto rides and walk through trick or treat lines with no wait. This night was INSANE. Treat lines 100 people long, 45 minute waits for rides, people EVERYWHERE. I am pretty certain they have upped the cap for ticket numbers and it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, we still had fun, but it was just different.

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We made it through one semi-short treat line then skipped the rest because they were ridiculously long. They moved the parade times back from the last time I went to the party two years ago, and the first one wasn’t until 8:35. Since we weren’t sure if we would be up at 11:35 for the second one, we decided to go to the first even though it’s more crowded (which it was) but it was still cute. The gravediggers are still my favorite!

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After the parade, we headed towards the castle for the one thing I was REALLY wanting to see, the Sanderson Sisters stage show. This show was SO cute and did not disappoint. The actors were spot on to portray the sisters, and any Hocus Pocus fan would have loved it!

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They sand songs, hung out with other villains, and ran AMUCK! (amuck, amuck, amuck).

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The show was soon followed by Hallowishes, which is my favorite fireworks show! Mom and Debbie were super impressed by the finale, it never gets old.

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After the fireworks were over, we were starving (we never really had dinner except for some appetizers in the lounge) so we ran over to Cosmic Rays for a snack which re-energized us. The crowds thinned out and we were able to do some trick-or-treating and ride the people mover and Buzz lightyear.

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My mom and Debbie also decided to join in a dance party to a dance they did NOT know the moves to. it was sad but funny.

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We were JUST getting started and enjoying the lower crowds when I realized t was almost midnight. Sad times! We made our sad slow walk towards the front and said good night to the Magic Kingdom.

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We definitely had fun, I just wish every hour was an crowd-free as the last hour. I am glad we went to the Sunday night one, because it rained on Tuesday for the next party and I felt so bad for those people.

We were very happy to be staying on the monorail and crashed shortly after 12:30. The next day would be EPCOT and also the day Debbie had to leave to go home. Sad smile More soon!

QOTD: have you been to MNSSHP?