Earlier this year I lost someone that helped to mold my life. My nanie fought a hard fight against breast cancer and lost her battle in February of this year. While this has been incredibly hard for me to deal with I try to remember the good things. There is a very special memory I have from the week before she passed that I would like to share.
She was in the hospital when I left for Disney the first week of February this year. She had been in and out of the hospital frequently and while I was nervous to leave with her not well she told me to go. When I landed I was walking around the hotel trying to find my room when I received a tearful call from my mom. She was very concerned. She thought for some reason that she was not going to make it. Earlier in the day Nanie had requested that my mom bring my grandma to the hospital to visit as well as calling all of our other family members to do the same. While I sat outside in the rain I facetimed my Nanie. She was in good spirits and was talking to me like everything was ok. Teary eyed I asked her if she was ok and if I needed to come back home. She told me absolutely not and to enjoy myself.
That evening I went to Magic Kingdom and called her as I got on Its A Small World. When I was little my Nanie had me almost as much as my mom did. She and my uncle brought me everywhere. Out to dinner, shopping, baseball games. I was a good kiddo and loved spending time with them. At 4 years old they decided to take me to Disney World. This was my first trip. Being the theater kid I am I was not into any of the rides. I wanting to see all the shows. For the rest of my life I heard the story of how I dragged them on to Small World over and over and over again. To those of you who haven’t been on it you should know it is the most annoying song on the planet and its gets stuck in your head immediately. But they humored me and continued to keep riding it.
Almost 25 years later and here I am on the ride again. This time I facetimed her and asked do you want to ride Small World with me? For almost 10 minutes we sang and talked and laughed and shared a ride on the silliest ride in Disney World. I came home on Tuesday and my Nanie passed away that Friday.
I never thought I would lose her that quickly but I will treasure our last ride together always.
After sadly not making it to the finals we were left with a free day of magic that we weren’t expecting. I left that morning with my two roommates and headed to Epcot. While in line for the Finding Nemo ride we checked our My Disney Experience app constantly for some Flights of Passage fast passes. Somehow I managed to get one for the next morning. By the time we got out of our shell on Nemo magically they had gotten fast passes as well for the exact same time! We went our separate ways and I headed to some character meet ups. I met Baymax from Big Hero Six and made sure to fist bump him and after seeing all the kiddos have so much fun with Mary Poppins I decided to meet her too.
I headed to World Showcase to try the cheddar cheese soup poutin. I am a lover of fries and cheese and gravy and there has never been a bad review about the LeCellier cheddar cheese soup so I wanted in. I was not disappointed. I was also not disappointed with my Frose’ from the France Pavillion. I jumped on a bus to Disney Springs and met my boss for dinner at Art Smith’s Homecomin. That fantastic meal deserves its own post so more on that later. While waiting on a bus back to the parks I managed to get a coveted Frozen fast pass. When I texted one of my room mates they too had managed to get a Frozen pass for almost the same time. Because Disney Springs buses don’t travel to the parks I jumped on a bus to the Polynesian Resort where I then jumped on a monorail to Magic Kingdom to pick up my partner in crime. We got back on the monorail and got off at the ticket and transportation center and then jumped finally to the Epcot monorail where we basically went into a sprint to get to get to Norway. The ride was so cute and very well done it was worth the run. I left and got on the Grand Fiesta tour at the Mexico Pavillion and then lastly onto the single rider line for Test Track. I managed to get out before the end of the fireworks and got a nice seat on the bus back to the hotel.
This was our last day in the parks. After a long couple days I slept in a little and went to Animal Kingdom with the roommates to ride Flight of Passage again. It was just as fantastic the second time around as it was the first. We did Its Tough to be a Bug again and then I headed to the Lion King Theater to catch the show where I proceed to sing like a 5 year old and cry while the birds were flying. I was hitting the tired wall at this point so I said to myself that I needed to get to Hollywood Studios before the trip was over. I grabbed some lunch and then braved the single rider line at Rock n Roller Coaster. I went back to the room and then spent the evening in Disney Springs doing some last minute shopping and eating at the Polite Pig.
In 4 days I was able to:
Its a Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Space Ranger Spin, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Winnie the Pooh, Little Mermaid and Dumbo. Expedition Everest, Its Tough to be a Bug, Dinosaur, Na’vi River Journey, and Flight of Passage. Rock n Roller Coaster, Test Track, Soarin, Grand Fiesta tour, and Frozen.
Casey’s Corner, Cosmic Rays, Refreshment Port, Aloha Isle, Polite Pig and Homecomin.
To me the amount accomplished in 4 days in which none of them were full days spent in the park is astounding to me. I enjoyed myself immensely and I can’t wait to go back and see how much more I can get done.
First off lets review lessons learned in the first post on this topic 1) check a bag no more stupid rolly bags 2) Magical Express is the bomb.com 3) think about inconvenience
While I could have stayed at the hotel and moped I chose to jump on a bus and head to the best place that Disney has to offer, Magic Kingdom. While at the bus stop I managed to make a few fast passes. Somehow I had the amazing luck of booking a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fast pass so my spirits were lifted. I got off the bus and walked as quickly as possibly to the gates and down Main Street I went. I knew there was only one thing that was going to put me in a good mood…DOLE WHIP! I swear by these things. Just as I thought, it absolutely put me in an amazing mood and I was ready to enjoy myself. I got to Magic Kingdom around 6pm so I had about 4 hours to try and get some magic under my belt. I first went to fantasy land where I was able to ride the Journey of the Little Mermaid with only a 10 minute wait. From there I got in the fast pass line for the Mine Train. The last time I visited this was not open so I was very excited and it did not let me down. When I got off of there I was able to make a fast pass for Winnie the Pooh and jumped right on. Next I headed into Its a Small World. While this is not everyone’s favorite I have a very special story from this that I will share about in a later post. I jumped off and ran to my favorite ride, The Haunted Mansion, and then Thunder Mountain Railroad and got right on. That is one of my favorite rides to do at night. For some reason it feels to me that after the ride has been running all day it gets faster in the evening and its more fun. I headed back to fantasy land and rode Space Ranger Spin and walked to Space Mountain to realize that my fast pass was useless since the ride was down. I hoped over to Cosmic Rays and grabbed some dinner and then met up with one of the cheer sponsors. We went to Adventureland and rode Pirates of the Caribbean and ended our night on the last boat of the night on the Jungle Cruise. For only a few hours in the park I felt like I got so much done. I also learned that the rumor is true about getting out of the park faster if you walk through the gift shops on the right side of main street. Well that is at least true if you are not tempted by the shopping.
I jumped out of bed at 545 am leaving my room mates to think I was nuts. Since we were on property we got to use Magic Hour. The hardest ticket in the park at the time we traveled was anything in Pandora at Animal Kingdom. The Magic Hours were early and I was hoping to get to Pandora when the parked opened to avoid the hours long waits. The park opened at 8am and by the time I made it to gates it was a few minutes past. Apparently everyone else had the same idea since I had to join in the stampede going towards Pandora. I was determined to wait in the line for Flight of Passage no matter how long it was. I followed the line that had already formed. Walking. Walking. Walking. Until I got to the back of the Lion King Theater. If you know anything about the area this is no where close to the actual ride. I stuck it out though and waited a little over an hour to get on the ride. The good thing about it was that it was early in the morning so that sun was not yet beating down on you and the line was continuously moving. The theming at Disney is always wonderful and there was always something to look at so you were never bored. As for the ride it did not disappoint! while I wouldn’t wait 4 hours for it I was not mad a bit that I waited in line for it. Since it was still early when I got off that one I was able to do Na’vi River Journey with just a 15 minute wait. While this one was not a long as I thought the animations were great and I still enjoyed it. Next I was able to do Its Tough To Be a Bug, I saw the new baby tigers on the Maharajah trail, rode Dinosaur and Expedition Everest all before lunch. I had no fast passes for the rest of the morning. Since I had a park hopper I headed to Epcot for a little more fun before the cheer competition that afternoon. I used my fastpass to ride on Soarin and then headed to World Showcase. I made my way to the UK pavillion and had a lunch of fish and chips with a very grabby squirrel while watching kiddos excitedly meet Mary Poppins. I took the rest of the afternoon to rest and get ready for the cheer competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. After an evening of competing I headed back to the Magic Kingdom to grab some food and catch a few more rides. I stopped at Caseys and got the biggest hotdog I had ever seen which was delicious. I rode Dumbo because well did you really go to Disney if you don’t ride Dumbo? I managed to get a fastpass for Space Mountain since I missed it the night before and this was my first time ever riding it. I had such a good time on the ride that I thought I would finish out my evening with another mountain and my biggest Disney fear….Splash Mountain. I know its completely irrational but I have always been terrified to ride this one. I got in line and told myself I had to do it. I was terrified the entire time and felt ridiculous as the tiny human behind me sang along to all the songs. When the big drop finally came I had worked myself into such a frenzy I freaked. Afterwards I laughed at myself when I realized it was great fun. I made it back to the room around 1 am fully exhausted but so happy.
While sitting at my desk last fall my boss came in and said very non-nonchalantly that we should go to Disney World with the cheerleaders. Being the person I am I looked at her and said that’s not funny. You can not joke with me about Disney. Well she wasn’t. That day we booked our tickets and for the next few months I prepared to join our cheerleading squad at Nationals. Now I know this may seem as though the title of this blog is misleading considering I didn’t travel completely alone but I did find myself alone in the parks for a good part of this trip and I wanted to share some tips and my experiences.
My boss and her spouse flew with me from our hometown early that morning and we planned to meet up with the rest of the group once we made to Orlando. After a terrifyingly short layover in Atlanta we landed in Orlando. My boss was staying at a different hotel so she headed out for an Uber and onto the parks she went. I on the other hand had a little different experience. I sat in the Orlando airport for about an hour trying to find me cheerleaders. Many many squads past me by before my team finally made it off the plane beautiful and spray-tanned. We headed downstairs to the Disney Magical Express buses and it wasn’t long before we were on our way to the resort. When we arrived we checked in with the cheer association and made our way on a mad hunt to find our rooms. We stayed at the Caribbean resort. While it is beautiful it is HUGE! We found ourselves walking in circle and mazes of brightly colored buildings trying to find our island. After some cheer practice and another stretch of walking we finally found our rooms. Much to our dismay they were not ready for us. Even though we arrived only slightly an hour prior to check in we waited much much longer before we could get in. At this point I learned lesson number one. The $25 cost of checking a bag is worth every penny if it means you don’t get stuck with a carry on for a day with nowhere to put it! I thought I would save some money and take my carry on. First thing, the regular rolly bag I got when I graduated high school no longer fits down the aisle of a plane. I apparently didn’t get the memo that you need the sideways rolly bags if you don’t want to break your arm trying to wiggle down the aisle panicking about missing your connecting flight. Lesson number two though is that the Disney Magical Express is worth it. While I was lugging around me rolly bag my cheer pals had only their backpacks to worry about. The Magical Express will take care of your bags and have them delivered to your room.
After carrying my rolly bag and backpack and sitting in the heat and rain looking into the window of my room that I could not enter I decided to bribe the cleaning lady to let me leave my stuff in the room. That may not have been my brightest moment considering the amount of things that were in my bag but I was willing to take that chance because well its Disney.
Another thing to mention about the hotel is the fact that it is currently under construction. We received a $100 gift card for our inconvenience. At first we all thought how awesome a free $100 who cares about inconvenience. Yea well lesson number 3…you should care about the inconvenience. After flying out at 8 am it was now about 5pm and the most I had eaten or drank was airplane coke and cookies. With the hotel construction there was no way to get food unless you went to a park. So after the bribery to leave my things in the room and waiting almost 45 minutes to catch a bus to the Magic Kingdom and then subsequently being squished onto the bus by an entire squad of angry cheerleaders and their coach it was finally time for me to feel the magic!
I will explain my adventures in my more posts but one more thing I would like to add before I tell that part is the fact that we were not able to access or magic bands or tickets prior to arriving. Therefore we were not allowed to book any fast passes before we got there. This became quiet an adventure itself. It was a small victory anytime anyone could manage to get more than 3 passes at the same time for Space Mountain or if anyone managed to get anything for the Pandora rides at all.
In my next post I will give you guys a rundown of how I made the most of my time with no fast passes and throwing a cheer competition in the mix. Until next time…
This post was originally started in April 2017…
This year I was hoping I would have had the chance to return to the performing arts program at work. Sadly this didn’t happen for me and I’m heartbroken. I am so happy that I helped to find them an amazing new teachers though. My friend Lauren has been such an amazingly positive force for the show choir. The kids deserved someone like her. Also I could not be more proud that my friend Curran is working with the kids on the school musical. I hope he realizes how truly amazing he is. He would be the most perfect teacher and I hope one day that happens. If it does his students will be so incredibly lucky.
All that being said I miss my babies. I miss where it all started. My first experience was tap dancing in a T building with some of the most caring girls I’ve ever met. The show choir had been established a semester prior. Very few people knew of my experience in the dance world. My short chubby body is not one of a typical dancer. It just so happened that that year a show I was auditioning for was a tap show. To prepare for the auditions the choreographer did a tap workshop a few weeks before. I showed up to the workshop and found one of my fellow co-workers there. While I did not get a part in that show I apparently my tap skills became a little more obvious.
I was approached to choreograph a number from Thoroughly Modern Millie. I knew only a little about the show and I wasn’t yet the Sutton Foster lover that I am now. I said sure why not. I wasn’t really ready for what I was walking into. I didn’t know what the girls knew how to do or if they would understand the terms I was using. What happened was a wonderful collaboration of dance, hard-work and determination.
While I went on to work with the show choir for several more years after that this first dance and that group of girls will forever have a piece of my heart. For all of my girls here is a reminder of how far we came in that T building.
Lastly I would like to take the time to celebrate and remember the life of one of those girls. We love and miss you Anabelle.
I have not touched my blog in over a year. For some reason this evening I am really feeling the need to get back to it.
I am stressed and tired and overworked and I think I just need an outlet right now. I have had some crazy ups and downs this past year or so and I have over 40 blog topics in my draft box that I just never got around to. I think using some of my creative brain will help me get through whatever this funk is I am in.
Here’s to more blogging and staying committed!
For today’s challenge I am taking a topic from the Disney list. It asks to pick your favorite character. I don’t think its as easy as that. I love all things Disney but that’s not why I think this is hard. I love to watch Disney movies because they are easy and happy and take you to a world outside of your everyday life. Sometimes you just have a sucky day. Those are the days that you just need a little fluff. While enjoying those fluff movies you start to relate to those characters. So instead of just picking one that is close to my heart I will categorize a little. Side Note: Everyone knows Ariel is my favorite. Forever and Always. But I wanted to talk about something different than just my fav mermaid.
First on my list is my favorite sidekick, Ray. As someone from Louisiana I love the Princess and the Frog. I love that it is so familiar and so true to my real life story that it makes me want to watch it over and over again. Even though I think Tiana is a great princess my favorite character from the movie is the ever positive lovable lighting bug. He’s a problem solver. He’s a good listener. He’s a great friend. He reminds me of so many people I know who would take the shirt off of the their back to give to someone else. The love and sacrifice he shows to the others characters makes him one of my all time favorites.
Next on my list is my favorite Pixar character, Wall-E. This is a character that doesn’t even really talk but I love him. Wall-E shows you how to love. You don’t have to say it. You can show it. He protects Eve from the rain, he sings for her, and he puts himself in harms way for her. Its not even a romantic thing when it comes to Wall-E. For a tiny garbage robot he sure shows you how you should behave as a human.
Lastly its my favorite underrated character. POWERLINE. I personally think that the Goofy Movie is one of the best things Disney has done. Powerline doesn’t have to have some crazy great story line because he has the voice. Sure there are great songs in the Disney cannon that are classic but if I want to jam out this is legit my go to. My husband rolls his eyes and laughs every time this comes on in the car. Powerline is my jam.
For today’s post I decided to go with Day 2 on the music challenge, music that reminds you of your parents.
My parents have not been together since I was 4 years old but when it comes to this subject they are exactly the same. My parents are both 50 something year old south Louisiana folks. From that description you may think they are country music fans or even cajun music people. Nope. If you asked me to describe the type of music that reminds me of my parents I can say it in one word…FUNK.
Growing up we spent every other weekend with my dad. He lived in places that were at least 20 minutes away so that usually meant a good bit of time spent together in the car. While I did learn to appreciate Whoop There It Is on his watch, it was the funk peeps that are what I always remember. We listed to the Gap Band, Dazz Band and so many others. I distinctly remember him naming every female we knew saying they had a big ole butt while listening to a funk classic Doin the Butt. When I got married I told my dad that there was no way we were doing some silly Butterfly Kisses father/daughter dance. We were going to bring it back to our basics and jam out. We ended up dancing to Let it Whip and my Dad sang all of the words just like I knew he would. I have even gone so far as to make a Dad Music playlist on my Spotify when I really need to get in the groove.
We spent the majority of our time with my mom. While she loved her some Rod Stewart we always loved to hear her stories about going out to Friscos and listening to this fun music. Friscos was apparently a teen club that my mom and her best friends would go to on the weekends. I’ve heard her talk about dragging my poor uncle out because he was the only one at the house who would drive them.
The song I remember her talking about the most was called Humpin. Oh yes you heard that right. The lyrics are literally “you’ve got me humpin day and night baby”. Yep my mother let us listen to that lol. Not only did she let us listen to it she rocked out with us as we got ready to go our ourselves. I’m a lover of all kinds of music but Funk will forever have a special place in my heart.
Just in case you’ve never heard the Humpin song….your welcome.
I will be the first to admit that I have been the worst blogger ever created as of late. I had the best time blogging last summer while I was doing Little Mermaid and for some reason life happened and I just couldn’t push myself to blog. I’ve tried to get back into the swing of the things. I’ve created over 50 draft titles but every time I look at them I don’t feel inspired. Since I like to use this as a stress relief I didn’t want to invest time in it if my heart wasn’t there. So instead I have found some challenges of things that my heart loves…movies, music and Disney. I have decided to get myself excited about writing again I am going to combine 3 challenges to make me happy to post again.
So here we go Day 1.
Movie Challenge: Last Movie You Watched
The last movie I watched was Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them. I waited to watch this one until it came out on DVD because I just wasn’t sure if I was going to like. I love the world of Harry Potter so much and after reading the Cursed Child and being a little disappointed I didn’t want that feeling with this too. Luckily I didn’t feel that disappointment when I finished this movie. I thought the acting was amazing especially Eddy Redmayne. It still felt like the Harry Potter world but it has its own character to it. I like the era its set in. I loved the fashion of the time period. I love the New York characters. I wish they would have ventured into the magic a little more but with several sequels coming out I think they can do that. I give this one 4 stars!
Music Challenge: A Song From Your Childhood
If you are going to have me pick a song from my childhood it has to be something from a show I loved as a child. When I was little there was a show called Sharon, Lois and Bramm. I can not tell you anything about them except that they sang a song with and elephant. They finished every show with the same song and it had little hand motions that went along with it. If I hear this it automatically takes me back to sitting in the living room at my Mawmaws with no pants hamming it up.
Check out the video of the song and see if you remember too!
Disney Challenge: Favorite Movie
There can be no question what my favorite Disney movie is. Nothing will ever compare to the love I have for Ariel. I dreamed of being a mermaid. I cried when I got to play one on stage. I still think Prince Eric is the most handsome cartoon there ever was. I still wish that Terry had proposed to me with Kiss the Girl playing in the background. For me there is literally nothing better.
Well so much for me keeping my promise to keep up with the blog lol. Much to my surprise the day that I wrote my original post was the day before my wonderful nephew was born. That being said the work I intended to do that night before and during time we were at the hospital on the blog did not happen. So now that life has gotten somewhat back to normal I’m back on the blog train. Lets hope I don’t derail as fast this time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my purpose in life. It is my feeling that we are not put on this earth to just live and work and die and that’s it. There has to be a reason that God put me on this earth. I’ve struggled with this a lot lately. I’ve been married 7 years but I don’t really think I’m an exceptional wife. I’m not the best house keeper nor am I the best at making sure to grocery shop or do laundry on time. I am aware of my flaws and bless my poor husband he is such a help. I know we were put on this earth to love each other but I don’t think that’s my only purpose.
So it must be something else. Well it can’t be that I’m the best daughter or sister. I’m terrible at calling people or checking in. I often find myself so tired after work that I will do nothing else but sit in my room alone and not speak to anyone. This terrible character trait also makes me a sucky friend too. So this must not be my purpose either.
Work. It has to be work right? That’s a negative ghost rider. I made 10 years at my job in January and I have found this year to be one of the hardest I have experienced so far. I barely move from my spot in my office but I find myself beyond mentally exhausted on a daily basis. I have been faced with challenges every single day since the school year started. Sometimes I can cope and sometimes I think they are giving me an ulcer.
Ok so if I’m not the best wife, daughter,sister, friend or that great at work what is it? We already know about my no kids issue so its gotta be something other than that. Maybe its theater life. Maybe finally I’ve found my calling and know what I’m good at. Well if you would have asked me back in October I might have said this was true but now I just don’t know. 10 years of auditioning and I finally made a show. An amazing show and I loved it so much. Then I spent the fall working on 3 shows and loving it the whole time. But once those were over what do I do? I’ll audition for another show. I’ve got to hope that I’ve gotten better at my craft and I should have a decent shot. NOPE! I auditioned for a show and it was a big no again. This has me questioning everything all over again. Was getting into that one show a fluke? Am I a one hit wonder? Do I think I am better than I am? At any rate I’m not sure if this is my purpose either.
So what is it? Why am I here? I’m not sure if I’m really meant to know but I sort of wish I did. This is something I really need to work on. Maybe I don’t need to know. Maybe I just need to figure how to be ok with just being me.