NDR (Not Disney Related) Vegas, baby.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I'm putting my Vegas look into YOUR capable hands! It's the crowning moment of our trip, the last hurrah, the GRAND Finale and I just can't decide.

Plan: Dinner, a show (still yet to be determined), cocktails, and a little time at the Craps table.

Options are below, first dress is option 1 and so forth. Click here Dress Me! to submit your feedback.

 
 

 
 

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Le's talk about our night in Disneyland!

Saturday, October 4, 2014


That trip to California that seemed SO far away just a bit ago has totally crept up on us and while I won't say we are in panic mode, we have a LOT to do in short time. Last week I did what any (ir)rational planner would do and sent away for these. Last WEEK.



Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of our itinerary built, mostly because we needed to plan a place to oh I don't know, SLEEP! This girl does not travel cross country to have the anniversary adventure that dreams are made of and pitch a tent. It's just not me. I would be cranky mess from being up all night worrying about the animals waiting just outside to gobble me up.

We have secured a hotel in every planned stopping point with the exceptions of LA and Vegas. We keep getting stuck on these and can't pull the trigger. So if you have any reasonable recommendations for the Beverly Hills area of LA please comment back because we have spent WAY too much time comparing hotels and pricing in LA. I think we finally decided last night we are going to go big before we go home for our night in Vegas. It's the capstone of the trip, the big finale, and when I ask will we ever be back in Vegas just us two? Perhaps never!

I already shared that I tucked in a night at Disneyland and to make it final, I purchased the Mickey's Halloween Party tickets. This is one of the many things I have learned in a decade of marriage; We discuss, we plan, we agree, he procrastinates, I push purchase. NO LOOKING BACK.

This brings us to the Halloween Party itself. We opted to stay at a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel in Anaheim that night. This was our compromise because as fantastic and magical as it might have been to stay the night at the Disneyland Hotel, it would have busted our accommodations budget. Plus, getting Steve to agree to Disneyland was only Step A and if I pushed too hard Step B would be have gotten only laughs and a stubborn solid "NO."
 
Step B. It's Halloween! Costumes of some kind are an absolute must. If you know Steve, asking him to dress up in anyway is about the equivalent of asking him why he isn't on Facebook. I didn't want to give him a chance to dig his heels in and refuse. This whole "Adventure is Out There" vacation is so very Up isn't it? We must pay homage to our character inspiration and somehow go as Carl and Ellie!
 
 
 
I won't let him think on it too much, I will take that lesson learned from up there about the tickets and just click purchase on the amazon cart for these items and if I have to pack them into my own bag (SO HELP ME, GOD) to get them physically to the state of California, I will. He is SO Carl. He can be frustratingly stubborn, but has a heart of solid gold. I know when he gets there and sees how excited I am to be at Disneyland, he won't hesitate to put on these glasses for me. 
 
That adorable dress! Don't even think I am buying an Ellie dress because I don't buy dresses. I am planning to use my go to resource for all dress needs, Rent the Runway, to have an Ellie inspired look delivered to our hotel. EASY! How you TRIED this service yet? It's amazing and I rave about it all the time. (this is a completely unsponsored rave, by the way, that's how much I love it!) I won't have to pack my dress, it will come pressed and ready to wear, and I will have two sizes to select the one I am most comfortable in. The following morning, as we grab coffee and plan our exit towards Vegas, I will stuff it back into a UPS mailer and send it back in a rumpled mess. That always gives me such satisfaction! I love this service so much that I am also planning to rent a Vegas dress. In fact, that is my very next post, which I know isn't exactly Disney, but travel related nonetheless. Please plan to come back and vote on my Vegas look for our final night of our great California Anniversary adventure!


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linking up

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Few things delight me more than "following" friends on their magical Disney vacations. I look forward to seeing their photos on Facebook, twitter, and instagram. I love reading their text updates (and answering their questions!!). It's almost like being there, isn't it? I get sad when they check out and head home. I share in their post Disney depression.


Tell me, is there a better Facebook update than this one?  
 



I watched Ann hop through the parks on instagram (attention kerry, this photo booth is calling our name)
 



Beth's family got to hold the timer card for Barnstormer. This always makes the wait just a little more manageable. It's one of those little Disney details that makes me smile.


I love the texts. I'm not shy. I won't give you space and silence because you are off on a magical Disney vacation. NOPE. I'll ask how crowded it is, if you had a cocktail while watching Wishes from the Poly, how hot it is, if the kids liked Animal Kingdom, and anything else I can to be closer to the magic with you.


I offer enthusiastic and genuine accolades for a perfectly executed Main Street Electric Parade viewing spot.


I react to photos and video. Ann's daughter was dressed perfectly as Belle and during her time with Jasmine and Aladdin, she completely turned her back to him because duh, JASMINE. We even shared a sad moment that even as I read it again now, gives me that lump in my throat. You are never really ready to go home from Walt Disney World are you?


As if all those social media updates weren't enough (and honestly, they weren't because I would have hopped into their carry-on), I recently discovered a sweet bonus to My Disney Experience (MDE).

have you downloaded the MDE app yet?

The "Friends & Family" options through MDE allow you to "invite a friend to plan and share." Once your friend accepts your invitation to share and checks off the boxes to allow you to "view my plans," you have the golden ticket to literally follow along moment by moment.

Here is an example from my own MDE account. (I did my best to block out last names to protect the innocent) In this example, my children are managed by myself and therefore thankfully cannot plan or share. Below them is my sister-in-law kerry, who will be my partner in crime for our upcoming Hop & Shop Holiday Spectacular. I have been doing all the planning thus far and haven't yet sent her an invite to plan and share. When I do, she can accept and view all our plans through her own MDE account and the MDE app. At the bottom, is my husband Steve. You can see that he has his own MDE account (noted below his name) and he can view the plans I have made AND can view and purchase PhotoPass Photos.




When you open MDE and click "my itinerary," it will open to the first day of YOUR plans. If you don't have any future plans (and why don't you???), it is completely tragically and un-magically empty. If, however, I am linked to friends like Ann & Beth who both just happen to be traveling this week with their families, I open MDE and see their plans. Two friends, two well-executed plans, two completely wonderfully different vacations!
 
These are Ann's Thursday plans on top and Beth's below. One chose to finish the trip at Magic Kingdom and the other is celebrating her daughter's birthday with a Princess dinner at Akershus tonight. I can see their FP+ reservations, the notes they wrote into their own itinerary, and I can get a sense of what kind of day they are going to have. I cannot tell you how much fun it has been this week to open the MDE app in the morning and see where they are each headed.
 
 
Consider linking up to your friends, sharing your plans with them, and adding yet another dimension to the game we play at home while friends and family play down there. My most jealous moment this week was O'Hana (TWICE). Our holiday trip is the middle of December, let's link up! I would love to share my moment to moment with you and follow along on your next trip! Don't have a MDE account yet? Why not??
 

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Don't tell Steve about the Ghosts

Friday, August 15, 2014


If anyone thought I could travel to CA, and more specifically to Los Angeles, without a stop at Disneyland, oh forget it. NO ONE thought that.
Steve and I continue to tweak our CA road trip plans; How long here? What things to see there? Where to stay? What to eat? Our current itinerary has us in the LA area for about a day and half.

A single day isn't even close to enough time to explore all that Disneyland has to offer with Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney.  Sadly, in our case, we aren't even going to have a full day. This made me slightly pouty. HOW was I going to work in something Disneyland related without feeling completely gypped of the full experience???

Enter Disney Magic.

    (photo from Pinterest)

Our trip plan just happens to place us in LA in time for a mid-week Mickey's Halloween Party.  As I read all about the "Halloween Screams" fireworks, Disney Villains strolling about, trick or treat stations to keep us fueled up, and special overlays on the classics Haunted Mansion with Jack Skellington

    (photo from Pinterest)

and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

    (Photo from The Examiner)

this was sounding more and more perfect. I lost Steve when I told him we would need to consider costuming and then got him again when I suggested a young Carl & Ellie in honor of our "Adventure is out there!" trip. He can handle some square frames.

    (Photo from Pinterest)

We need to lock up our itinerary a bit more, especially for this part of our trip, but it is looking more & more like this will fit in perfectly with our plans. An evening adventure is just what we need to soak in some Disney before we head to sin city.



You can learn more about this often sold out (!) hard ticket event happening between September 12th and October 31st at Disneyland here:

Mickey's Halloween Party

Did you know that Walt Disney World also offers a hard ticket Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the fall?? It's equally spectacular and the fireworks are absolutely breathtaking! Event dates begin September 1st and go through October 31st!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

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adventure is out there!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Steve and I honeymooned in Aruba. We chose it mainly because it was a direct flight from Boston and we thought it would be a destination we could return to many times in our life together to escape New England for a hot beach. We have returned to Aruba exactly zero times since our honeymoon. We kept saying “for our tenth” and as we began tossing around thoughts for our tenth anniversary this fall, it seemed fairly obvious that we would FINALLY be going back to Aruba. We kept talking about it and I just couldn’t commit. I just wasn’t feeling excited about it and though it took me some time, I realized a few months ago that though a tropical vacation would be restful, we would likely run out of things to say to each other by Tuesday.

 
I thought back to our younger days of marriage, when we were footloose and kid-free. We had always envisioned a trip to the West Coast, a baseball tour from Seattle to San Diego along the Pacific Coast Highway. I approached Steve with the idea for a CA coastal tour and at first he was NOT interested because there was no baseball in October. "It doesn't have to be about baseball," I told him before filling his head with possibilities and adventure. Our tenth anniversary will be celebrated with a drive from San Francisco to LA and Vegas and this trip is going to be so epic.
 
The difference is not in the locale (though the locale will be amazing), but in the opportunity for shared adventure and exploration. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate a decade of marriage than brand new experiences together. I might have vaguely recalled the plot of the book I read on that gorgeous beach in Aruba, but in fifty years I will instead have fond memories of Hearst Castle, picturesque Route 1 vistas, Central Coast wineries, and hopefully Conan O’Brien tickets. San Francisco, Carmel & Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obisbo, Santa Barbara, LA, Disneyland, Vegas.

 


I had heard a bit about Adventures by Disney, but not enough to realize that these amazing inclusive itineraries to destinations all over the world offer exactly what we are looking for in our tenth anniversary celebration; an immersive adventure and an opportunity to create lifelong memories together. We ruled out spending an extended time in San Francisco because we have both been there before and wanted a new adventure, but this long weekend could have been a perfect jumping off point for our entire trip. Tours of parts of the city we haven’t seen, Napa without worrying about a sober driver, Muir Woods, Angel Island, even a visit to Lucasfilm are included in this fantastic trip which includes accommodations and most meals! I drooled over the impeccably planned itinerary, mostly because I have been spending a crazy amount of time googling "things to see on a CA coastal drive." Who knew we were Carl & Ellie?

 
The reason I choose Disney vacations for my family is for the opportunity to make lifelong memories together and I now know that there exist many opportunities for both my husband and I or my family to travel here in the US and beyond with that Disney difference that keeps me going back to Disney time and again. I can picture our little foursome enjoying some truly spectacular travel in the future with Adventures by Disney and I think if you take a look, you will too!

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"Hop & Shop Holiday Spectacular"

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Have you started your holiday shopping yet? My sister-in-law and I are giving ourselves the gift of a little Disney Magic this upcoming holiday season and for two ladies in their mid-thirties, we are really excited about it.  

    (photo from Pinterest)

The Plan:
Resort Décor Hopping
Fancy Glamified Dinners
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Candlelight Processional
Spa Day at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Shopping

    (photo from Pinterest)

The Details:
I’m in the middle of planning an amazing girls weekend with my fabulous sister-in-law that is the complete opposite of a typical Disney vacation. My sister-in-law has not been to Walt Disney World since she went with her own family as a teenager! Things have changed juuussst a bit in that time. How I convinced her to come with me, besides asking her during a cocktail hour of a wedding reception, was a promise of adult fun and magic. Our "Hop & Shop Holiday Spectacular" is full of laid back mornings, holiday décor drooling, fantastic meals, and of course plenty of opportunities to finish our holiday shopping. It wouldn’t be a holiday trip to Walt Disney World without Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or the stunning Candlelight Processional (narrator still a mystery for our weekend!). The gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian and the stunning Wilderness Lodge Holiday Tree are sure to get us into the holiday spirit. We won’t be going home with sore feet because we are also penciling in some time at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for some special pampering. Sounds amazing, right?

    (photo from Pinterest)
Our holiday adventure is months away and we can both hardly wait! There are sure to be MANY more updates about our itinerary in the coming weeks. Time to work on that holiday #hashtag for our adventure!
Now is the perfect time to ink in some holiday fun at Walt Disney World and take advantage of the late fall promotion (up to 30% off!!) for a little holiday season getaway. I would love to put together a similar holiday magic package for you! There is still resort and dining availability, don’t delay, book today! 

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Day 4 - January 26, 2014 Part II

Monday, July 28, 2014

 


So there we were, the saddest family in all of Walt Disney World. We were feet from the entrance to the International Gateway at Epcot and I had literally emptied our bag onto the sidewalk searching every nook and cranny of our day pack for our missing tickets. I unzipped and zipped the "safe" travel folder I had placed them in. Panic began to set in and then settled securely in my throat.



When we collected ourselves and accepted the terrible reality that our tickets were missing and probably long gone, I approached the guest service booth outside the park to see how they might help. The first cast member I spoke to apologized for our inconvenience and shook his head because clearly, there was nothing we could do to replace them. A few minutes went by and I approached a second cast member and requested they call over to Hollywood Studios on the off chance that they might have been turned in to Lost and Found. She did and miraculously through some unknown force of Disney magic THEY HAD THE TICKETS.



We rejoiced. I cried tears of joy. Yes, real honest to goodness tears. Then I stopped and stood frozen and silent. They had the tickets...all the way back at Hollywood Studios. I abandoned Steve with our bag, the kids, the stroller and with that travel wallet and my phone in hand, I took off back to the Friendship Boat dock to head to Hollywood Studios.


I settled into my seat, took a deep breath and calculated that this slow leisurely trip had taken thirty minutes and this new round trip was going to cost us at minimum an hour, more likely ninety minutes if I allowed for time to collect the tickets and wait for a ride back. I briefly considered renting a boat somehow at the nearby Epcot resorts to garner a faster ride down the river, where I could leave it idling by the shore (obviously) while I raced to the entrance to get the tickets and then Miami Vice style it back to Epcot. If I am being transparent, I began a google search for Epcot area boat rentals, but then I had a moment of clarity and put my phone away. If the Friendship Boat had taken off as soon as I sat down, I wouldn't have had the time to jump up from my seat and literally and completely unnecessarily leap to the dock. This resulted in interesting looks from the crew as I jogged off towards the walking path. 

In my planning, I had come across information about the walking route between Hollywood Studios and Epcot. I planned for contingencies and because I had familiarized myself with the route and had a mental map of a shortcut through Boardwalk in my head, I knew I could run it faster. I hadn't run all winter (thanks you very much New England never ending winter), but today, today I was going to run.

I ran a 5K at Disney World, in denim, and I received no runDisney medal for my efforts.

 
I ran over the bridge near the Beach Club, cut through the pool area at the Boardwalk, and jogged along the water all the way to HS. I collected the tickets at Guest Services where they looked at me breathing rapidly, clearly disheveled and asked, "did you... run here???" I turned right around to start my run BACK to Epcot, passed the boat I should have taken still en route to Hollywood Studios, waved to the stunned crew who were now being lapped by a runner and tried to keep focus because DENIM.
 
By the time I arrived back at Epcot (approximately 30 minutes later), Steve and the kids were two shows deep on an iPhone and they had eaten all the snacks in the day pack, but I had the tickets. If you ever thought you were your kids hero when they cheer for you as you approach a finish line, I suggest you try it holding Disney tickets in your hand, waving them wildly and feeling like you just saved the universe... because you kind of did. Out of breath, sweaty, deeply in need of an adult beverage and a cronut we made our way into Epcot.
 
 
The cast members in the guest services booth outside MAY have applauded my efforts. As you can imagine, I am a big fan of linking park tickets to Magic Bands. I'll even spring for a Bit Belt to never have to go through that again.
 
We hit a kiosk to make our evening plan just before 3pm. This day was about to right itself and we were determined to finish strong.

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