I am Officially Going to Run a Half-Marathon

I think I have forgotten to mention that I am training for a half-marathon.

Let me say that again. I (the person who HATES running) is training (like running…A LOT) for a half-marathon (translation: 13.1) miles. The Disney Princess Half-Marathon to be exact.

midnight

But, that’s not even the whole truth. I am actually going to run the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge in February. This means that I will run a 10k on Saturday (6.2 miles) and a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday. A total of 19.3 miles.

19.3

Belle and I have been training for a couple of months now and Husband is refusing to train. Of course, he will probably do just as well as we do without any training, because he’s just one of those people who is good at everything. Yes, it’s okay to hate him.

look like a beauty

Unfortunately, I have already had a couple of hiccups in the road (hello injuries!), but I don’t want to focus on the struggle just yet.  No, instead let’s talk about the important stuff…. costumes.

you can run

Obviously, I need to dress like a princess for the half-marathon and this may be the hardest decision I’ve ever made. What do you guys think?

Cinderella and Prince Charming? You know, Husband loves when I force him to dress in costume.

cinderella

Cinderella pre-fairy Godmother

cinderella old

Belle…and Husband could be Prince Adam (post-Beast)

yellow belle

Belle Pre-Beast

blue belle

Those are my top four favs, but I am open to suggestions. OH and before I forget Luna will be running a toddlers’ 100m dash! Gah, another costume to plan!

Wish us luck and I’ll keep you posted on all of our training plans, triumphs, set-backs, costume decisions and everything in between!

Cheers!

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Toddler Tips at Disney

We love taking Luna everywhere, but we were definitely most excited about taking her to Disney World..the place where we met, dated, fell in love, got engaged and got married… it’s a second home to us. Clearly, visiting Disney (any Disney park) never gets old to us. Every trip is a great trip, but going with a baby is definitely a different kind of trip…in a very good way.

Everyone told us to wait to take Luna. They told us she wouldn’t like it, she won’t remember it (so?), it will be too stressful and so on and so on. Being us, we didn’t listen and took her anyways, and I’m so glad we did. Not only did she love it, but we enjoyed every bit of it too. Sure, we didn’t get to ride every single ride we wanted, but who cares. We’ve ridden them all a hundred times anyways. It was worth missing any ride to watch Luna hug Minnie, dance to classic Disney hits, play on every single slide and her eyes light up as she watched Disney Jr. Live. It was magical, as they say.

If you love Disney and want to take your toddler to Disney, do it. Luna was so entertained that she never once had a meltdown, that says a lot. Just take it slowly, make a plan, but don’t freak out if everything doesn’t go accordingly and most importantly, follow these tips:

1. Pack accordingly. Bring a stroller and pack it with snacks, water, toys, bubbles, regular diaper back stuff, a camera, sunscreen and you’ll still have room for souvenirs. Luna napped in her stroller everyday and was soooo nice to have something to carry all of our stuff as well!

*I recommend a stroller fan too!

stroller

2. Let the kids make friends. Disney is packed full of babies, toddlers and kids. Luna is not shy so she was thrilled to run up to other children and see what was happening. It was pretty darn cute to watch the toddlers interact, and kept them entertained if we were waiting in line. While waiting for Disney Jr. Live one adorable little boy gave one of his brand new Mickey suckers to Luna and they were instantly bff’s.

sucker

3. Let them be free. When riding the bigger rides we used Disney’s “rider switch” option, which allowed 2 of us to go on the ride, while one waited with Luna. Then the one who waited go to go through fastpass, and bring one of the previous riders with them. While the one person waited with Luna we just let her run free. It’s her favorite thing to do at the moment. She LOVED running around the parks, looking through the shops, exploring, watching the water fountains and climbing every single obstacle she came across.

running

4. Let nap time happen anywhere.

nap

5. Visit all the kiddy shows and rides that you use to skip. Disney Jr. Live is probably the one show we have never seen at Disney World. I have to admit, it’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t see it on my own, but I loved how much Luna loved it. She was dancing, clapping and totally into the characters on stage. Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog…

clubhouse

6. Take them on rides! There are A LOT of rides that are appropriate for babies! There’s Dumbo, Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, the TTA, the flying carpets and that’s just to name a few! Luna seemed to enjoy the rides too. She was getting fussy right before Dumbo, but the second we started flying she was happy as can be.

flying dumbo

7. Seek shade! Florida is hot. We were worried about Luna (and ourselves) getting sunburned and overheated. Luckily, there are MANY shaded areas to hangout and cool off. One of my favorite spots is “The Seas” at EPCOT. After riding the Nemo ride, we hung out around the aquariums for a while. Luna clearly found it very peaceful.

manatee

8. Use your hotel pool. We never ever spent time at our hotel pre-Luna, but this time around I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and swim. We stayed at Coronado and they have a great pool, baby pool, playground and sandbox area. Luna had a blast!!! I’m pretty sure she still thought she was at Magic Kingdom.

pool

9. Take lots and lots and lots of photos! Your kids will only be this age at Disney once and you are going to want to remember all of those magical moments. We took a good combination of posed and candid photos. I love this moment that Bella caught on camera s we rode the TTA.

tta

10. Be cheesy and pack those Disney outfits. I’m always cheesy, so it’s no surprise that Luna, me and Bella had Disney outfits for each and every day.

minnie baby

11. As I’ve said before, plans do not always go accordingly, and that’s fine! I was really excited about having a character lunch with Luna at Crystal Palace, but Luna fell asleep before we got there and woke up after we left. No biggie, we just got all the characters to pose with the sleeping baby. Plus, I actually got to eat my entire lunch in peace!

pooh

12. Meet some characters.. Let’s be real, Luna does not actually care about them (minus Minnie), so I was not going to wait for hours and hours to meet someone like Elsa. However, it was worth getting a fastpass and waiting 5 minutes to meet Mickey, Goofy and Minnie on our last day. She wasn’t scared and seemed to like them.

goofey

13. Find the play places. There are quite a few “playground” type areas. The best was at Dumbo. Instead of waiting in line you actually go to an air conditioned indoor playground. They give you a buzzer and it buzzes when it’s your turn to get on the ride. BEST. IDEA. EVER.
dumbo

Hope this helps! Let me know your own tips for going  to Disney with a toddler!

Cheers!

Walking With the Walking Dead

horror nights

Our last night in Florida, and the last night of our babymoon, was spent waiting in many long lines and walking with dead. We went to Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. The theme this year was The Walking Deadwhich is really appropriate considering it’s everyone’s favorite TV show. Now, I know I have reviewed a couple haunted houses lately, but the Universal house are crazy good. Not necessarily crazy scary, but they are so well put together and professionally done. We’ve been once before, and it was definitely worth returning.

universal

Typically, the park is set up with several Haunted Houses and scare zones. The scare zones are placed on the roads throughout the park and we, the guests, must walk through them to get from attraction to attraction. It’s brilliant really, like all of a sudden you are in the middle of a haunted world when you thought you were just walking to the funnel cake stand. This year, the scare zones were different. Every single zone was a zombie zone, “the undead streets” if you will.

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I was unaware of this little change and was caught completely off guard (i.e. totally freaked out) when as soon as we entered the park people started running and before I knew it a very realistic zombie was growling in my face. Keep in mind that this is not your typical neighborhood haunted house, this is Universal so their makeup and costuming is done right. It was fun/terrifying to walk around the park and all of sudden find ourselves in the middle of a scene from The Walking Dead. 

zombies

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One annual attraction at Horror Nights is a not scary comedy show, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. This show is basically a 45 minute crude humor show that pokes fun and brings up every possible pop culture reference you can think of. It’s funny, but not hilarious…unless you are 14 or very drunk (which most people were).

bill and ted

We were at Horror Nights from open to close (6:30pm-Midnight), we were there past midnight actually, and still only had time for five of the eight haunted houses. The lines were ridiculous. We waited in most for about an hour, some longer. Waiting in line sucked and there’s just no other way to put it. There was no entertainment, which I found shocking. Why can’t they project scary movies while we wait? Or provide games? Or something? Whatever, I know I’d do it again.

The houses have a constant stream of people going through, which would lead one to believe that jumping out and scaring poor innocent guests would be difficult, maybe even impossible. Somehow, Universal found a way to make this work. We (mostly Husband) were scared to the point of screaming as we held each other and inched around every corner. They were experts at popping out when you least expect them and from places were you would never expect. Ugh, if only I could have taken photos!

We walked through The Cabin in the Woods, Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City, An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead and Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance before we were told we had to leave the park.

Other parts of the park were open too…I couldn’t ride most of the rides, but I did get to check out the new addition to the Simpson’s Land! They have added a very realistic Moe’s, Krusty Burger and more. They serve real Duff beer and a non-alcoholic drink called a “Flaming Moe”.

krusty burgers IMG_20131017_123623 IMG_20131017_123717

By midnight (well by 9pm really) my feet hurt worse than they have ever hurt before. Not that I wasn’t enjoying myself, but I was looking forward to the park closing.  I don’t know when we will be able to return to Horror Nights but this was the 23rd annual year, so maybe the 25th? Only time will tell…

die-in

Cheers and Happy Haunting!

Food and….Food? Festival

food and wine

Disney is known for catering towards families and children (just read yesterday’s post), but there is one celebration that is strictly for adults (or children that are 21 and older); the food and wine festival. If it’s a little odd to see Magic Kingdom under a spooky lights, than it’s surreal to see Disney turned into a bar hop. Surreal and delicious. This is my third food and wine festival to attend, and I plan to attend many more!

EPCOT

Besides the fact that I could not drink (thanks a lot baby), this may have been the best year yet. The weather was perfect, 80 degrees and a little breezy. The lines were not too long and I now eat fish, which opens up a whole new world of foods to taste. Since we were saving so much money on alcohol, we got more food than should be legal. I took pictures of almost everything we tried, so enjoy.

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I just had to take a break to eat something because editing those photos made me SO hungry.

The festival had 30 different countries and a free passport to stamp and check off purchases in each country. There are also tons of wine tasting classes and cooking classes you can pay a little extra to attend. We stood behind one of the wine tasting classes for a minute and heard things like “if you smell closely you can get a hint of pepper, mint, bay leaves and raspberries” and “sip and taste the poblano peppers, cherries, cilantro and a hint of cinnamon”. I wanted desperately to ask for a show of hands of who actually tasted these subtle flavors.

checkout china menu passport wine class

There are also free concerts all evening at the American Gardens Theatre. Wilson Phillips was the big act the night we were there.

wilson phillips

There is a Chase Lounge at the festival for Chase bank members that offers free sodas, juices, coffees, teas, Disney movies, air conditioner and unlimited phone chargers. Thank God I have a Chase account. It is heavenly to be able to step away from the crowds at the festival and relax with some free goodies for a bit. The lounge was located on the third floor of the American pavilion this year, which happened to be the location of our cocktail hour for our wedding. We never actually got to attend our cocktail hour so it was fun to be able to sit and hangout out where our guests enjoyed some cocktails before our reception.

chase lounge

Speaking of our wedding, we couldn’t help but walk through the American pavilion and talk about how we had our first dance right in the middle where the colonial singers were currently performing classic American songs. Then we skipped over to Italy and I forced Husband to take a picture on the bridge where we stood and watched the fireworks after our ceremony. You better believe I’ll force him to retake the same picture in the next year or so with our little girl.

us on bridge

Between stuffing our faces and Husband getting a little tipsy, we had some fun outside of the festival. We rode the rides, took photos with characters and showed off my new favorite tank top! Husband got to ride the new and improved Test Track (it’s not safe for pregnant people). Sleeping Beauty suggested I name our daughter Aurora, and everyone wanted to know where I got my Disney maternity top.

test track sleeping beauty Minnie baby take shirt

For those of you who may be wondering, I ordered from Etsy at a shop called BabyTalk Designs.

Did I mention how nice of a day it was?

sunset france at sunset

The only downside is that we had to leave before Illuminations…I just don’t have the energy I had last year! Oh well, it’s nice to not feel rushed on vacation.

Cheers!

Mickey’s Halloween Party

Clearly, Husband and I are a little nutty and have been to Disney World more times than most people would ever want to go anywhere. We just can’t get enough. However, as many times as we have been, we have never attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. So, when Husband decided we were going to Florida to celebrate his Birthday I made sure that the party was part of our plans.

halloween party the castle

During the Halloween party (and during all the Disney parties held at Magic Kingdom) the park closes early for the guest who did not purchase a special party ticket and opens (or stays open) for the guests attending the party. We were there from 7pm to midnight. About the time we arrived the sun went down and the park transformed into a not-too-spooky land fun of characters like Jack and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas and incredible party decorations.

memories mickey wreath

99% of the people in attendance are dressed in costume, like incredible costumes. Most families dressed in theme… We saw Peter Pan with Tinkerbell, Wendy and Captian Hook. There was Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and Rex. One family had Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. The best part of the night may have been just people watching. Everyone was so darn adorable! We, on the other hand did not dress up… I know what you’re thinking, we are so the kind of people who typically go all out in these sorts of situations, but we were just so busy the weeks before, it just wasn’t in the cards. Don’t worry though, I have BIG plans for when our baby girl gets here.

us and the castle

I got to see my good friend Ruth from NYC!
I got to see my good friend Ruth from NYC!

The Halloween party is definitely set up for families with children. There are trick-or-treat stations set up around the park, dance parties with different characters go on all night and the villains even put on a special show throughout the night in front of the castle. These activities were not as fun for us non-costumed grown-ups, but there was plenty we LOVED.

back of castle

For one, the “Mickey’s Boo-to-You” parade is amazing! This is the best Disney parade I have ever seen, which basically makes it the best parade ever. Some of the characters are really creepy and come right up to you, some even touch your face as they whisper “Happy Halloween”, and the choreography is much better than a typical Disney parade.

parade headless horseman hitchhiking ghost

“HalloWishes” is the fireworks show shown during the night and it’s VERY good. Nothing is better than the original “Wishes”, but I do love the extra big production and the Halloween music in “HalloWishes”. We actually watched them from behind the castle, so we had a show of fireworks happening in a full circle around us.

hallowishes fireworks castle and fireworks

The Haunted Mansion was phenomenal! It was surrounded by spooky lights, tons of fog and there was even a “real” ghost outside the house telling jokes to keep all of us in line entertained.

haunted mansion ghost

Then, there’s the food. With a pumpkin spiced waffle sundae and a candy corn flavored dole whip, you just can’t go wrong.

waffle sundae

BTW, I'm fairly certain this is just vanilla soft serve with candy corn hidden in the cone...still good though.
BTW, I’m fairly certain this is just vanilla soft serve with candy corn hidden in the cone…still good though.

We had a blast. We actually got Disney exactly 2 hours before the party started so it was great to get spend the entire first night at Magic Kingdom. The lines were shorter than normal and it was fun to see Disney under a slightly spookier vibe. Next time, will be even better!

happy halloween

Cheers!

Where Do I Even Begin???

Our weekend at Disney has been a marathon! Which makes sense considering the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon was held while we were there. We only had Saturday and Sunday to spend at the parks and we ran from attraction to attraction, from open til close both days; I have the blisters to prove it. I have oh-so much info to share with you that I’ll be breaking this down into a couple (or several) different posts.

Our very first adventure was getting access to New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. Thanks to our Annual Passes we got tickets to a special preview! It was perfect; we didn’t have to wait in line for a single ride. The new expansion (which won’t be completely finished until 2014) is UNBELIEVABLE. It’s the most magical land in Disney yet.

The entrance to New Fantasyland.

We began in Enchanted Forest at Gaston’s Tavern. Everything in New Fantasyland is just like what you see in the movies, and Gaston’s Tavern is no exception.

The signature drink is LaFou’s Brew. It’s Disney’s version of Butter Beer. The drink is made of frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow, topped off with a mango and passion fruit foam head, and served in a souvenir stein or goblet. It tasted as good as it sounds, better even.

We drank these super sweet drinks before 9am, before I even had my coffee! Although, the sugar just about did the trick, and having coffee immediately after made all the running much more bearable.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about my acting debut with Belle!

Cheers!