January 2016Back Home Again: January 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Our visit to Hollywood Studios started with fast passes to Voyage of The Little Mermaid followed by us braving the downpour and running across the plaza to Disney Junior Live on Stage. 

All the Disney Junior stuff was also right by the Star Wars stuff so we got to see the storm troopers on patrol. We had talked about going in and actually meeting the Star Wars characters, but both kids were napping later in the day when we were going to go, so it didn't happen. Oops!

Afterwards we headed over to our second fast pass, Toy Story Midway Mania. Before we went to our last fast pass of the day, For the First Time in Forever, A Frozen Sing Along Celebration, we decided to let Ewan see Buzz and Woody and Cecily see Sorcerer Mickey since they were right there. This was when it was still raining heavily and there wasn't a line to see Sorcerer Mickey, so Cecily and I got in right away and even spent a lot of time with him. She LOVES Mickey and it was so cute to see her with him. 

Unfortunately the line to see Buzz and Woody was a lot longer than we thought and we missed our last fast pass. Ooops! But, we were able to get fast passes to see Fantasmic at the end of the day. 

We had lunch at Hollywood and Vine where the kids got to meet the Disney Junior characters. They loved it, although Ewan wanted nothing to do with Doc McStuffins for some reason. The food here was the best of all the character dining we did, even though I ate mostly from the kid section because I didn't like a lot of the sauces things were in. Alan, however, loved it. 

After lunch, we didn't do much except wander around and look in the shops while the kids napped and let the kids run out some energy at the Honey! I Shrunk the Kids playground to kill time until Fantasmic. I would have liked to have done a lot of the Star Wars stuff, the Movie Ride and seen the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular but since they were napping, we didn't want to mess with it. By this point in our week they were worn out and we were letting them sleep. We actually had our most peaceful dinner at Pizza Planet because they were both still sleeping!

Our fast passes for Fantasmic said that we could get in at 6:30 but we were tired of waiting around so we decided to see if we could get in sooner. It's a good thing we did! We got there around 6:15 and the entire center portion of the seating area was already full. Luckily, we still got good seats, if by the crazy loud speakers. 

I really liked Fantasmic and so did Alan and Cecily. Ewan, on the other hand, was terrified. Silly kid!

I know a lot of people say that Hollywood Studios is a half day park, and I tend to agree with them. Unless you do all of the rides and shows, there isn't all that much to do, especially when you have kids that can't ride many rides. I also like the fact that it's not that crowded. This will probably change though once all the Star Wars and Toy Story stuff is added.

Even though we were kind of bored in the afternoon, it still tops Epcot in my book. I didn't get sick here!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Disney's Epcot

Our day at Epcot was honestly the worst day of our trip for me. The reason? I wound up with food poisoning or some awful stomach bug, not sure which. 

But, before that happened, it started out ok, if rainy. We went to breakfast at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion where we had breakfast with Belle, Ariel, Snow White and Aurora. Ewan had been saying all along that he didn't want anything to do with them and Cecily was continuing in her tradition of not wanting her photo taken with characters, although she did hand them our book to sign. All of the princesses were great about it, except for Snow White, who told her that she wouldn't meet very many princesses with the way she was acting, which kind of made me mad. The food was also like all of the breakfast buffets, ok but definitely not worth what you pay for it.

After we had breakfast, Ewan and Alan had fast passes for the Test Track, which they did while Cecily and I perused the main shop. Ewan loved designing his car, but wasn't so fond of going super fast. Unfortunately, because it was raining, we wound up waiting extra long because they were running slower than usual and were going back and forth between closing and opening the track. 

We then used our Fast Passes for Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. I really liked Spaceship Earth, but unfortunately spinning around and going backwards made me nauseous. The same thing happened on the Nemo ride. At this point I should've known something was up....

After we ate lunch, we wandered around all of the country pavilions to hopefully let the kids nap and kill time before our dinner reservations at Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco Pavilion. 

 I have seen the originals of all of these!

While we were wandering around, I got to see Alice and Mary Poppins. 

Cecily met Donald and Daisy while Ewan was napping. And before it all went downhill...

After we saw Donald and Daisy, we were trying to figure out what to do when I all the sudden felt like I was going to be sick. I wasn't and told Alan that I was fine and that we should go ride Living With the Land, which is a boat ride that goes through and shows you how a lot of the food is grown at Disney. Something that would be right up my alley. 

We went on the ride and I made it a couple minutes and knew. I wasn't going to make it. I was going to be sick. Luckily Alan had a bag from one of the stores we went to earlier, but it was so embarrassing! I wound up apologizing to the people in front of me because I'm pretty sure they were about to be thrown up on. 

At this point, Alan was telling me that we should just go back to the hotel, but I felt ok and I didn't want us to end up paying a fee for missing our reservations so I told him that we could go to dinner, even if I didn't eat much. We went to dinner and that's when it hit. I was running to the bathroom every couple of minutes and Alan was stuck trying to entertain the kids. To an outsider, it was probably quite comical. I keep running away and Alan is changing seats every time our waiter came back. Poor guy, he had no idea what was going on. 

We made it through dinner and all I wanted to do was get out of there. I was hightailing it to the car before I got sick again and we saw Cinderella in France, but I didn't care. I get wanted to get out of there. Unfortunately she is the only person that I really wanted to see that we didn't get to. Alan did, however, take some really pretty photos of the dome all lit up at night. 

Once we got back to our resort, I was asleep in seconds. We're not really sure what was going on with me, but no one else got sick thankfully. That really would've been no fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's OK January 26, 2016

...that I had an allergic reaction over the weekend to something I ate.

...that I have no idea what I reacted to.

...that I'm really glad I didn't have to go out of town for work last week during the snowstorm.

...that I binge-watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians at the hotel last night.

...that it's Disney week on the blog!

What's ok with you this week?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Disney's Animal Kingdom

I have decreed this week Disney week on the blog and each day will be a recap of our trip. If I don't do this now, it'll be June before I finish telling you all about our week! So, here goes with our first day at Disney, when we went to Animal Kingdom. 

When we got there it was lightly raining, but it eventually cleared up and it turned out to be a great day. I don't know if it was because of the rain or it's just not super crowded in general, but there weren't a whole lot of people there that day - compared to the craziness of Magic Kingdom, it was awesome! However, we did have a few hiccups. Alan had called before we left Indiana to see if we needed to check into the hotel or if our magic bands would be ready to go and was told that no, they would automatically be activated that morning. Yeah, false. When we got to the park, we couldn't get in and had to go to guest services to get them activated to get into the park. After that we thought everything would be fine, but when we went to eat lunch, surprise! Our dining plan wasn't activated and there was nothing they could do there. It would have to be taken care of at our hotel. So, we wound up paying out of pocket for our meals and getting reimbursed that night when we arrived at Pop Century.

We had fast passes for Kilmanjaro Safari, Finding Nemo - The Musical and meeting Mickey and Minnie at the Adventurers Outpost. We didn't really need the one to meet Mickey and Minnie, but they were definitely useful for the other two! Kilmanjaro Safari and meeting Rafiki (one of my favorite Disney characters) were the things I wanted to be sure to do while at Animal Kingdom and they didn't disappoint. There were no fast passes to meet Rafiki and I wish there were because we waited a decent chunk of time to see him.

Ewan also really enjoyed meeting Chip n Dale, who loved his TMNT hoodie. The kids, especially Cecily, LOVED meeting Mickey and Minnie. Cecily just snuggled up to them and it was so cute. I might or might not have cried because I'm sappy like that. 

Finding Nemo - The Musical was also really cool. I personally would've been happy with seeing all the shows because they are spectacular but we didn't have time. 

We didn't do many rides because neither Alan nor I wanted to get in the single rider line and make the other wait with the kids. So everything we did was something we could all do. The other ride we did in Animal Kingdom was the Triceratop Spin, which they both loved. On they way over there we saw Goofy too. 

A recurrent theme throughout the week was Cecily wanting nothing to do with meeting characters. The way we got her to do most of them was have her hand them the book we had for all the characters to sign. We got the Memory Maker thing, where you pay a fee and they give you all the photos that they scan onto your magic band so you don't have to pay to download each individual photo. It was really convenient and when the magic bands work the way they're supposed to, it's really really nice!

When we weren't riding rides or meeting characters, we mainly walked around the "zoo" portions of the park so that they kids could earn their Wilderness Explorers badges. You can sign up for it near the park entrance and it's a great way to keep the kids interested throughout the day. While Cecily was a little too young still, Ewan was really interested in it and had a blast filling up his book. 

I have been to Disney once before and the only park I went to was Magic Kingdom, so this was basically my first trip to Disney too, as well as the kids. And Animal Kingdom was definitely my favorite of all the parks. I know a lot of people say that it's a half day park, but I don't think it is, even if you don't do everything there is to do there. I loved seeing all the animals and I especially loved the fact that it wasn't nearly as crowded as the other parks. Not that I'm rearing to go back anytime soon, but I told Alan that when we do go back again, we can totally stay in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. How cool would it be to wake up next to the animals? Pretty awesome!

What did you think of Animal Kingdom?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

It's OK January 19, 2016

...that I was watching Pride and Prejudice this weekend and noticed that one of the minor actresses is now the role of Mrs. Crawley on Downton Abbey.

...that I turned in Ewan's kindergarten application last week.

...that I completely forgot to take photos of Ewan's birthday party.

...that several of the kids' toys got broken at Ewan's birthday party.

...that we're supposed to get ice and snow later this week!

What's ok with you?

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Year Ago Today I Started Running

January 18, 2015 I decided to start c25k. Again. I don't know what finally made it click, but something did and I have never looked back. It's so crazy to think that a year ago I thought I was going to die running week 1 day 1. And now a year later I am starting training for my second half marathon, the first of two, possibly three I have planned this year. Yes, you read that right. I have decided to run another half marathon. It really does blow my mind how far you can come in a year when you put your mind to it.

After I ran an easy 5k yesterday...never in a million years did I think I would say that!

In honor of my "runversary" I decided to share my running bucket list. In no particular order:

Any RunDisney race: We were at Disney during the WDW Marathon weekend and it was so weird to see all the runners and not be running. Which never ever did I think something like that would come out of my mouth! When we booked our trip and I realized we would be there at the same time all of the races had been sold out. While I have no desire to go to Disney right after we were just there, I will run a race there sometime. 

Across the Bay 10k: I saw someone post about this in one of the running groups I'm in and I was immediately intrigued. It's a race across the bay bridge over the Chesapeake Bay. When we lived in PA, I used to meet a friend who lived in Maryland at an outlet mall on the Eastern Shore, right before you cross this bridge. I know that there are longer bridges out there but the first time I went across it, I thought it was so cool and being able to run across would be even cooler. I'm running the River Run here that crosses the Ohio River so adding another race like this to my list would be awesome.

Urban Bourbon: This is a half marathon in Louisville where you get to drink bourbon afterwards. It's a big race that's close. And it just seems like a lot of fun.

Broad Street Run: This is a 10-mile race in Philly. There are a lot of Philly peeps in one of my running groups and they seem to have so much fun during this race. I miss Philly at times and it would be nice to go back.

Mighty Mac Bridge Run: I grew up just south of Michigan and everyone I knew had at least one vacation to Mackinac Island, except me. It's somewhere I have always wanted to visit - I even have a vacation all planned and ready to go! There's an 8 mile race around the island or there's a race across the bridge. Either one would be awesome.

Bound the Mound: This is a local trail run about five minutes down the road from me. I have wanted to run it for several years, but I always seem to have something going on that weekend. It was actually my goal 5k the first time I started c25k before I found out I was pregnant with Cecily. It's at Angel Mounds, a Mississippian site that I have posted about before.

Do you have any must-do races?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Visiting LEGOLand Florida

I received free admission to LEGOLand Florida in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. 

You probably all know that we spent last week in Florida at Disney World, but what you may not know is that we also spent a day at LEGOLand Florida. We went on Thursday and it was great to have a slower day away from the craziness that can be Disney. Unfortunately, it also happened to be the day after I got food poisoning, so I wasn't feeling all that great still. 

LEGOLand Florida is located about 45 minutes southwest of Disney and if you don't have access to a car, there is a shuttle that will take you from the resorts. Or, you can just stay at the hotel adjacent to LEGOLand. We were afraid it was going to be another rainy day, but after a cloudy start, the weather turned out great. We never waited more than 10 minutes in line for anything, such a nice change from Disney!

Probably my favorite thing about LEGOLand is that they provide you with a list of things to do if you're under two. Thankfully Cecily is big enough to ride a lot of the rides, but I was really afraid she wasn't so I was glad to know ahead of time what there was for her. And there was LOTS. DUPLO® Valley is a whole area devoted to toddlers. Cecily and I rode the tractor and the train, built our own tractor in the tot spot, then played in the farm. 

While we were playing in DUPLO® Valley, Alan and Ewan were having a blast in The World of Chima and LEGO® Kingdoms. Ewan rode the Royal Joust and Merlin's Challenge there. We tried to get him to ride some of the roller coasters, but he refused. I think Alan scarred him at Magic Kingdom. Oops! If I had been feeling better, I totally would've rode some.

We all did the Boating School, Rescue Academy (which is a total workout - you are warned!) and the kids did the Driving School in LEGO® City and the Safari Trek in Land of Adventure. 

The park isn't that big and it's easily a half day. Even though I wasn't feeling that great, the kids had a blast. We didn't tell Ewan where we were going and he was more excited to be there than all of Disney! Visiting LEGOLand Florida was one of the few things on my wish list for our trip and I'm really glad I got to go because it's been on my travel wishlist for awhile now. 

Have you ever been to LEGOLand? Did you have a great time?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ewan is Five Today

At 11:17 PM this guy will officially be FIVE years old.

We had a rough go of it during his birth and I remember being so relieved he was here and it was finally over. Even now, we butt heads at times. We are so alike it's scary, but he's my little man and I love him to bits. It blows my mind that he is already five. We're celebrating his birthday at Magic Kingdom today but it seems like it was yesterday that Alan and I were at Disney when I was pregnant.

He is enjoying pre-k now and I'm still in denial that he will be in Kindergarten next year. He has grown into such a compassionate kid who loves Transformers, Ninjago, Pokemon, Paw Patrol, music and drawing. He is learning to read and absolutely loves it. I cannot wait to see what this year brings for him and our family.

I love you to the stars and back. Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Goals for January 2016

Happy New Year! We're on our way to Disney today - Woo! - but I wanted to get my monthly goals down before we go. You know, new year and all that jazz. I know I just did my yearly recap post, but here is how I did in December.

  • Get our Christmas cards sent out by December 15. I honestly didn't pay attention to when I got the last card sent out, but it was before the week of Christmas. 
  • Have Christmas presents wrapped by December 20. Well, we had most of them wrapped, but there's a little girl in my house that doesn't like to go to bed so it was a little difficult to get them all wrapped. 
  • Have a successful cookie decorating party. Done! I wrote about it here
  • Enjoy my birthday. I had a wonderful 34th birthday filled with running and family fun.
  • Take the kids to the Christmas lights display at the fairgrounds. We did take the kids, but unfortunately it happened to be the night that the fairgrounds had dinner with Santa so the kids didn't get to see him.
  • Enjoy Christmas! We did! And I wrote about it here.
January is a big month in our house this year. Not only are we celebrating Ewan's birthday, but we're also at Disney! Work is still crazy too. I do have goals for this month, but I'm not making them too lofty. 
  • Enjoy Disney!
  • Make sure Ewan has a wonderful 5th birthday and party. 
  • Figure something out to get Cecily to go to bed. She will not go to bed unless I go with her...we don't believe in cry it out, but it has gotten to the point that it is completely ridiculous!
  • Come up with a new 101 in 1001. I noticed that mine was up back in SEPTEMBER, but life has been so crazy that I just haven't had a chance to redo it. 
I think that's gonna be it for this month. I'm sure it will fly by, especially with the the first week being vacation. At least that means it's that much closer to spring!

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