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Happiness, Life, Vacation

Our Disney World Honeymoon

After we got engaged in March 2013, we quickly decided on a July wedding the following year because there was a natural break where my husband would be out of PT school for a week. We looked into a lot of places for our honeymoon with some of the top contenders being Hawaii and St. Lucia. The reservation with either vacation was the amount of time it was going to take to travel compared to the amount of time we had total. 8 months after getting engaged we looked at each other and said, “Disney World Honeymoon?” It was the perfect solution since it would come well under budget (ie: lots of spending money), quick travel, no language barrier, and it would be a lot of fun. 

We decided to stay off property and rented a nearby private vacation home with our own pool. This saved a lot of money in comparison to staying in a Disney resort as well as being quiet and private. The company we rented through no longer exists, but Trip Advisor and Air BnB are great places to start your search. Some people feel that we were missing out because we didn’t stay on property, but having this place was magical enough for me!

Vacation Home in Florida near DIsney World

We flew from Maryland to MCO around midday on July 21st, 2014 (the day after our wedding) and we picked up our Chevy Spark rental car for the week since we weren’t staying on property. Renting a car gave us the freedom to go out for dinner, visit all the local outlets, grocery shop, etc, and the size of the car was perfect for the two of us!

I used Touring Plans to create personalized plans for each of our days in the park after using the Orlando Crowd Calendar to choose which park for which days. This helped to keep wait times down while waiting for rides which was great since we were there in the summer. To some people, this may sound like over planning/taking the fun out of Disney World but, trust me, it really helps. We deviated from the plan if something else caught our eyes and then we’d use the accompanying app to catch our plan up to where we were. It made our touring more efficient and I’d definitely recommend at least checking it out.

I ordered “Just Married” Disney buttons on Ebay since they didn’t offer them in the parks anymore. It was worth it since the replacement button said “Happily Ever After” and I saw kids wearing those while we were there. We got a lot of congratulations from cast members and a good bit of advice too. Ha!

Magic Kingdom Disney World Honeymoon

We did use the PhotoPass+ so we could get all the ride photos and we took advantage of any photographers we saw inside the park. We did it because it was our honeymoon and we knew we’d want the photos but I don’t know if we’ll pay for it again until we have kids with us. I’d still say it’s worth it either way unless you’re willing to lug around a professional camera all day and forego the ride photos.

Day 1

We went to the Magic Kingdom in the evening of our first day in Florida. I hadn’t been to the MK since I was a baby so this was really like my first time. We started with Peter Pan’s flight because we had a Fastpass+ since it’s apparently an awful wait without one. I was underwhelmed slightly but I think it’s because it was so hyped up and I was expecting more. I loved Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, and it’s a small world though. It was a rainy evening and they were having a dance party out on the plaza in Tomorrowland where some of the Incredibles characters came out to dance.

The drizzly evening made the park less crowded and the lights even more glittery! We decided to leave during the fireworks so we weren’t competing with all the crowds. We stopped in to see Tinker Bell on the way out and since there was absolutely no one in line, we got to meet her without anyone else being around! It was pretty cool.

Meeting Tinker Bell at the Magic Kingdom

Even though we weren’t staying on the resort, we decided to get magic bands and glitz them up with some wedding “Band-its”.

Day 2

Tuesday was a Hollywood Studios party which was another park I’d never been to. I was on pain meds for a back thing that had exploded in the week before we got married. I had nerve issues in my leg that also gave me a limp which a cast member noticed and offered us a wheelchair! Since she’d offered it, we got to use it for free! We were actually planning on getting one but we had rushed in to make it to our first Fastpass+ on time.

I was really impressed with the Beauty and the Beast show – they did all the best songs and fit in the whole story into a 30 minute performance! The voices and acting were great too! Loved it.

Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror were my absolute favorite though! 

Tower of Terror Hollywood Studios

Rock'n'Roller Coaster Hollywood Studios

Day 3

We got to the Magic Kingdom gates on Wednesday morning about 20 or so minutes before it was supposed to open but everything was already running so we got going! But first… his and hers macarons! They were a bit bland and grainy but they were shaped like Mickey ears… so good enough.

Since we’d gotten there early, we got to ride a lot of rides in the first couple of hours we were there. Of course we partied with Dole Whips – aka the best Disney treat! Somebody cut in front of us just as we were about to order and when we finally got our floats, the guy handed them to Brady for free and told him happy honeymoon since we’d been cut in line. 

Magic Kingdom Dole Whips

One of the things I was really excited about was having a Fastpass+ to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel! As my two favorite princesses, it was kind of a must and luckily Brady humored me in my childish moment. Rapunzel was pretty awesome and was really excited when she found out we were on our honeymoon.

We did all the big rides but we passed on Seven Dwarfs because the lines were way too long due to it being the newest ride at the resort. We were supposed to have a Fastpass+ on Monday but it was cancelled due to rain.

We took a break for a few hours in the afternoon before we park hopped over to Epcot for the evening. 

We watched Illuminations from the wheelchair seating area before leaving.

Day 4

We went to Epcot again mid-afternoon on Thursday after spending most of the morning and early afternoon shopping and relaxing in our pool. We rode Mission Space, Nemo and Friends, and Soarin’ before heading off to the world showcase for dinner. Soarin’ is one of my favorite rides in the parks! I love that floating and flying feeling you experience. We had our romantic dinner in Via Napoli which is a great spot for dinner! We had awesome service and it was a nice little romantic dinner for us in Italy. 

Via Napoli Epcot pizza dinner

Via Napoli Epcot pizza dinner

Via Napoli Epcot pizza dinner

Epcot Photopass

We picked up some gorgeous Asian dishes from the enormous gift shop in Japan – my favorite store on the whole resort! We also picked up some Mr. and Mrs. wedding mugs which are still our favorite mugs.

Day 5

Notice we still hadn’t been to Animal Kingdom… the main reason being that we’d gone with my family the summer before for a day and had done almost everything to the fullest. So despite it being one of our favorite parks, we decided to live it up on the last day.

We got to Hollywood Studios pretty early and though we were among the first 50-100 people at the gate, we still waited 30 minutes for Toy Story Mania because of ALLL the people and not being in the right position at rope drop. People are pushy! We still got to ride which is probably our top rated ride for both of us in all the parks. Close behind and also in the top 5 Tower of Terror! I think we waited about 30 or so minutes for this ride but it was worth coming just to do these couple rides again! I should also mention that this ended up being the hottest day of the whole week. I think we stopped every time we saw a cart selling frozen treats.

We hustled over to Animal Kingdom after a couple hours in DHS and went straight to Kilamanjaro Safaris to use our Fastpass+ reservation. I’d definitely recommend doing this ride as early in the morning as possible due to the animals being more alert and active. It was pretty cool because we got to see the rhinos walk all the way up to the bus we were riding in!

Some of the best experiences in Animal Kingdom are enjoying the exhibits around the park. I personally love the gibbon enclosure in Asia! It’s a lot of fun to see them swinging around their island treehouse.

Expedition Everest is another one of the top 5 rides at Disney World and it makes a really strong case for being #1! We love that ride! If you don’t have a Fastpass+ reservation, use the single rider line! Sure, you’re not together, but 10 minutes instead of an hour is great.

I had been really excited to ride Kali River Rapids since my family didn’t want to do it the year before but just as we were about to enter the line with our Fastpass+, they got a call that the storm was coming in and that the ride was closed. Of course it started to pour and since we had been planning on leaving after the ride anyways, we decided to dip out then. 

Saturday consisted of floating in the pool, getting Ghirardelli at Downtown Disney which was fully under construction at that point, and a final dinner at Uno’s before packing up to leave the next morning. 

It was the perfect Disney World Honeymoon and I wanted a special place to show off all our photos so I created a Shutterfly photo book with a coupon

Shutterfly Disney honeymoon book

If you’re on the fence about doing a Disney World Honeymoon, then I hope that this has helped you make up your mind or has given you some ideas! If you are headed to Disney for your honeymoon, Happy Honeymooning! You’re going to have a great time!

 

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Exercise, Happiness, Healthy eating, Running, Week in Pictures, Yoga

Losing a friend and my weekend

I’m still in shock. I still don’t have any words to express because I still don’t understand. Yesterday, the world lost a bright star. A young man who was going places. Someone who cared, someone who was respected and loved, someone who no one could say a bad word about. He was a high school classmate who I had literally just seen in church the day before and been up in front of church with him only 2 weeks ago. He passed away in his sleep, likely from underlying health conditions he’s had for a long time.

I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of loss and I don’t know if that makes any subsequent deaths easier or harder but this is the first friend of my age to pass away and I’m shaken. Please pray for his family and close friends who are devastated, and also for our whole church community who is really feeling this loss.

At one point, while I was processing the news, I started to feel angry and I really needed to just go for a run. Brady was having a pretty hard time with the news so we didn’t go right away, but we ended up going a couple hours later, just before dark. We’re still dealing with moderate winter temps so it was about 50 degrees and lightly raining when we started to run. It matched the way we were feeling.

Centennial Lake Loop

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Exercise, Goal Setting, Goals, Happiness, Healthy eating, Life, Running, Uncategorized, Weight loss, Women

My Goals for 2017

We’re almost halfway through January and I’m finally sitting down to write my goals for the new year. Well I actually wrote them down last week but I’m finally getting around to blogging them 😉 Haha. I wanted to focus on some things from different categories other that the traditional, typical, and cliche fitness goals so I really spent some time thinking about the things that would help make me a happier, well rounded person. Since this is the year that *all my health dreams come true*, let’s start with fitness!

Fitness Goals

I’ve spent some time lately thinking about how I wished I’d grown up with more of an appreciation for fitness. I always took it for granted. My mom fed us healthy food, and we were encouraged to spend time being outdoors growing up but it wasn’t ingrained that it was for being fit, it was just fun. I wish I’d started running in high school because I think it’s something I would have really loved back then, even in middle school because I used to outrun all the boys when I was in elementary. Anyways, my point is that this year I’d really like to become a runner. Not just a jogger or I’m training for a tri kind of runner but a “regular” recreational runner.

With this in mind, at some point this year, or possibly early next year, I’d like to run a half marathon. I don’t think I’d ever want to run a full marathon but never say never, right? Continue Reading