Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Mr. Sanchos

We woke up the next day in Cozumel. We have been to Cozumel many times before on previous cruises, and we typically go to the same beach, but wanted to try somewhere different this time. I had heard great things about Mr. Sanchos through various message boards, so we decided to give it a try. Mr. Sanchos is an all inclusive beach club that has  pools, drinks, tons of food, the beach, free wi-fi, and many other amenities. It is kid friendly, and open every day except Sunday.

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We were so stoked to go bask in the sun and drink fruity drinks all day…until we woke up to a storm. When I say it was raining…it was raining, yall.

In true Disney fashion, we were handed awesome ponchos as we exited the ship. We trudged up the pier in the driving rain, getting soaked along the way. We made it to a taxi, and were headed to the beach. As soon as we got to our destination, it stopped raining! This was a miracle because it was supposed to rain all day.

Excited to get going, we headed to the entrance and were greeted by our server for the day. We were told what was included for us, and what was extra (the inflatable water toys are extra but because of the weather, they didn’t even have them out, also things like massages, hair braiding, wave runners, snorkeling, and horseback riding were extra.) If you don’t want to go the all inclusive route, there are al la carte options as well.

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You get a LOT of stuff for the price! I am married to a garbage disposal, so I knew he would eat over $55.00 in food alone, and well, I like my fruity drinks. We were shown around, and explained that there was a buffet but we could also order from the menu. Because of the weather, there were not many people there, which was fine with us! There were plenty of lounge chairs and tables with adorable straw umbrellas.

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We set up our little spot at a table, and ordered our first round of drinks as well as some chips and guacamole.

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The drinks are good, yall. I didn’t taste a ton of alcohol, but they were delicious. My favorite was the Blue Sea. The chips and guac were amazing as well. II t was so nice to know we didn’t have to look at food prices all day!

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I decided to take a walk around to get some photos while Bobby read a book. Also, the free wi-fi is up by the buffet under a giant pavilion, so I brought my ipad up there to check my email and text my mom to check on the wee one.

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I also checked out the bathroom which were very clean, for those wanting to know (this is always important to me!) In fact, everything was very clean on the whole property.

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The pool looked really awesome with the bar at it and there were tables and chairs IN the pool which I thought was neat.

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Anyone care to swing?

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Hammock for a nap maybe?

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Our server was very attentive and balanced that very hard line between coming to check on us too much and not enough, he really did a great job.

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After a little reading we ordered some more food. I got the quesadillas, Bobby got the shrimp tacos as well as coconut shrimp, and I got more of the delicious guacamole and a bottle of water.

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We also ended up ordering a couple other things but I can’t remember now, however everything was tasty!

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We left around 3:30 as all aboard for the boat was 4:45 and we still wanted to shop for some tequila. One thing to note is as you walk in and out you have to pass by a bunch of people trying to sell you things and some were kind of…persistent, and I just told them no thank you, but just a heads up for those who get anxious by those types of things. Some ladies came around a couple of times asking if we wanted a massage or hair braiding and we politely declined. They weren’t annoying or pushy though which was nice.

Would I go back here? Absolutely! Hopefully on a sunny day, and I would ask for double shots in my drinks. When I weighed out the price of the food and drinks alone, we would have spent more than $55 a person, not to mention the use of the facilities and what was super important to me, the free wi-fi. It’s great to be able to check in on work or family without paying the ridiculously high prices for data on board the ship!

All in all we had a great day at Mr. Sanchos despite the weather. If anyone has any questions about it I would be happy to answer! (Be sure to follow them on Facebook for updates and great beach pictures!)

QOTD: Have you ever been to a beach all inclusive? What do you do on a rainy port day on a cruise?

Disclosure: I was provided with two complimentary day passes from Mr. Sanchos, however all opinions are my own.

runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge Round 2

Hi friends! In case you missed my ‘hinting” in my Instagram post on Monday, I AM RUNNING THE RUNDISNEY GLASS SLIPPER CHALLENGE! Jen and I have been planning this for awhile, but it took until yesterday to get all the details hammered out, so I didn’t want to share until we knew FOR SURE it was happening.

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So here is mine and Jen’s history with the Glass Slipper challenge, and it’s not a good one. In 2014, I ran the inaugural challenge. At the time, I was nine weeks pregnant, and morning sickness was in full swing. No one but family and close friends knew I was pregnant, so I figured I could just run, have fun, and conceal my pregnancy for a few more weeks.

Bobby, my parents, and myself all ran the 5k together, well, run walked which was fine with me because I was not feeling so hot.

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The next day, my mom and I ran the 10k together, and the lack of sleep plus not eating much and the nausea really hit me and I was miserable and cranky the whole race. Also, after crossing the finish line at the 10k, Carissa texted me because Rudy wanted to know if I was pregnant! OMG! I knew I was bloated and already starting to show a little but this terrified me that people would find out. So I told, but swore them to secrecy, and wore loose tops the rest of the trip.

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After the 10k, I crawled into bed and slept for hours. I experienced exhaustion like never before and don’t even know how to explain it. I felt so bad because I was ruining the trip for everyone. The next day I ran the half alone, and cried when I had to get out of bed at 2:45 while everyone else slept. I managed to finish the half but it was really difficult feeling so nauseated and tired.

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I again slept all afternoon, and we barely made it to the parks at all. I would call that a less than magical Glass Slipper experience. Honestly, I was so scared by it that even though I ran last year, I only signed up for the half marathon. Of course once I was there I wanted to run the whole thing, but I just did my one race. I was only 4 month post baby, so I wasn’t exactly ready for the challenge.

Then we have poor Jen who was signed up for Glass Slipper last year but ended up in the ER with a bad stomach virus the night before the 10k. She ran the half with me and we took it nice and slow, so yes, she needs a redo as well!

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So, we will be back, both signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge, and both desperately trying to stay well! We will be staying at Hilton Bonnet Creek for two night and then Port Orleans Riverside for two nights. We are frantically trying to pull costumes together for the half, and I have nothing planned for the 10k as of right now. I need some inspiration!

QOTD: Are you running the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge? 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?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 1

Hey friends! So two weeks later I finally recapped the runDisney marathon weekend expo, race, blogger meet up, interviews, and marathon weekends at Bonnet Creek. Whew! So much to say for just being in town for 24 hours! Anyway, it’s time to move on to something fun, the cruise! I plan to only post a couple of these a week until I’m done so they won’t be back to back to back or anything. But let’s start with after the race on Saturday:

We got a ride back to our hotel from a friend, we quickly showered and checked out, and our car was waiting downstairs. We had a private transfer scheduled from Southern Elegance. They do an amazing job, are on time, handle your bags for you, and everything. it’s top notch and our favorite way to get to the port. We were SO exhausted from the race plus our 2.5 hours of sleep that as soon as we started for the port, we CRASHED in the back seat. I woke up about ten minutes from the port, so it was great to get a little power nap in before getting on the ship! We got out bags to the porters, got through security, and waited in line to get checked in. It was 12:30 and I decided I really like checking in at this time of day. There was no waiting for your number to be called or anything, we just walked right on at about 12:45, which was amazing.

Our name was called as we boarded the boat and the crew clapped and cheered for us. I was so ready to start a fun week of relaxing and cruising! The first thing we did was head to get our dining assignment changed to early dinner, and snag a Palo brunch reservation. Once that was handled, it was time to eat! Up to Cabanas buffet we went. After lunch, the rooms were ready so we went to put our stuff down and check it out.

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We had a great aft location on deck nine, and I would totally get this location again. We were two flight down from the pool deck and buffet, and I much preferred the aft elevators because they weren’t as busy as mid ship.

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We spent some time wandering around taking pictures and enjoying the ship before the muster drill. We had been SO go go go the past 24 hours, that it was nice to just finally sit and relax.

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Oh, I forgot to mention that this was a special cruise. It was the first of the Star Wars day at sea cruises, but more on that later.

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After the muster drill, we got ready for our 5:45 dinner rotation. For those not familiar with Disney cruising, they do this cool things called rotational dining. There are three main dining rooms you rotate between, and your servers stay with you the whole cruise so you can get to know each other. it’s really great, so we were excited to meet our servers and table mates!

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I will admit, I was a little nervous about meeting our table mates, It’s totally luck of the draw, and on previous cruises we would do the late seating to get a table by ourselves. However, since we are now old and go to bed early (haha) we wanted early dinner which meant sharing a table. I have heard some people have amazing experiences and some not so much, so we went for it, and ended up making new friends!

We ate at Royal Court that night, and I had TWO desserts. I deserved it right? I did run a half marathon that morning…

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Usually we go to the adult clubs for a really fun game show that they have the first night, but I was SO exhausted that I fell asleep at 8:00. EIGHT YALL! I ended up sleeping for twelve hours. I guess my body really needed it!

Up next time: Our first sea day.

QOTD: Mickey bar or Mickey ice cream sandwich? Have you ever been on a Disney cruise?

Don’t forget, as a Disney travel planner, I can book your cruise for you at no extra charge! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details

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

During our recent 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.

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE E-Course on My Disney Experience and Magic Bands!

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?

Birthday Bash Day 1

Time to play catch up! I know I recapped Refresh Summit before Disney, but I wanted to go ahead and write about the conference while it was fresh on my mind. Now back to my mom’s 60th birthday bash in Disney World!

Keep in mind, she knew about the trip but had no idea where we were staying or what we were doing. Her friend drove down with us but had to fly back after the first two days in Disney. On Friday morning, I drove down to Louisiana and at lunch we started our journey to Florida. We stopped in Gainesville to spend the night so we would have a full day in Disney Saturday. When we got to Disney’s gates, I made my mom wear a blindfold. I didn’t want her to know where we were staying until we got there.

I had to make sure the folks at the guard gate when we checked in didn’t give anything away, so I’m sure it was quite comical to see me waving my hands around telling them not to talk or give anything away!

We pulled up to the front of the Polynesian and I told my mom to take off her blindfold, she had NO idea and was super excited! Then I told her not only were we staying at the Polynesian, but that we were staying club level/concierge. She was stoked! We checked in, and our room was ready! We grabbed some food from the lounge then headed out to Animal Kingdom.

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We did a few rides, ate lunch, then headed back to the resort to get ready for dinner at Narcoossees.

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Oh and I took a few shots of our room before we messed it all up.

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Also, here are a couple of pictures from the concierge lounge:

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At Narcoossees, we had chocolate martinis,

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and I surprised my mom with a Cinderella cake….and she cried. I guess that’s a good thing? I would post the video, but she may take me out of her will, so I won’t.

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It was a fun night, and we walked back to the Polynesian instead of taking the monorail which was a nice change. mom had two gifts in her room, a real flower lei (which she wore to dinner) with a card, and some helium balloons with a card. The birthday bash was off to a great start!

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QOTD: Have you ever surprised anyone with a cake?