The Hardest Goodbyes

Going into the Disney College Program, I knew I'd make some friends. I'm a generally outgoing person, and I love to be surrounded by people. It's not always easy for me to make close friends, but I knew that I would at least make some good acquaintances. Never in a million years did I expect that I would meet some of the greatest people in the world. Some of the people who would shape who I am as a person, for the better. Some people who would turn into not only my best friends, but into my family. 

About halfway through my program, I realized how hard it was going to be to say goodbye to these people. We spent almost every moment of each others lives for six months with each other. Whether we were having a good day, an awful day, or a mediocre day, we were there for each other. When the day came to say goodbye, well week actually since different people left at different times, it was the  most difficult thing I've done to date. 

We started with saying goodbye to Sonya since she had been accepted for the Disneyland College Program as well, but she was driving there. While that was very sad for everyone else, it was only a little bitter sweet for me since I knew I would be seeing her again soon. Afterward, our friends Gary & Rachel left. We only got to see them for a few hours over a dinner, and leaving them was the hardest. Gary had become my best friend at work; we loved to rap Childish Gambino songs (the edited version, of course) to each other across the platform. He was the jokester of the group, and everyone loved him. His fiance, Rachel, is just like him. She's one of the kindest people I've met to this day. 

Next, it was my turn to leave. I had to say goodbye to everyone I worked with, lived with, and became close to all at the same time. We all went to breakfast the day I was leaving, the day before everyone else was leaving. Needless to say, nobody wanted to leave that restaurant that morning. We stood outside in a huge circle not wanting to move. I started crying first, because it was me leaving first, and then everyone else was set off. We said goodbye and then my best friend Lauren & I left. 

It was then my time to say goodbye to her. It was basically us looking at each other laughing, saying 'We're not doing this. We're not saying goodbye. We're not crying.' And we didn't. We laughed and teared up a little bit. But I knew that she and I would never stop talking on a regular basis. Yes, life gets in the way sometimes, but she's still the person I go to whenever I want to talk about anything. 

Then came the hard part. My roommates. I had decided a long time ago that I wasn't saying goodbye to them. I told them that, and they all laughed at the time. But when the time came for it. Because I was leaving at such an odd time, it was impossible for me to see them. Then I was the one laughing. Because it was only right that the three of us who had become so close didn't say goodbye. And we didn't. 

The last people I said goodbye to were Thomas & Sonya. The two that had adopted me into their family during my time in Florida. I stayed with them talking and watching movies for about two hours, then decided I had to go. It was the place I was most reluctant to move away from. I gave Sonya the biggest hug in the entire world. Then it was time to say goodbye to Thomas. He's my older brother, my family. I saw him every day for six months, and we talked every day. He's the person I was closest to during this time. I gave him the biggest hug I could possibly give and we just sat there for a moment. He thought I was going to cry, and I thought he was. But we didn't. Then. I told them to go inside so they wouldn't watch me leave, but they didn't. They watched, and that broke my heart. 

I made it down the street to the McDonalds with composure, but the second that the woman at the window told me to have a safe trip home, I lost it. I pulled over to the side and bawled my eyes out. Telling Thomas & Sonya that it would be a minute until I got on the road. It took everything in me to not turn around in that instant and go back to their house. To stay in Florida. But I didn't. Because I had people waiting for me in Louisiana. Actual blood family. And god was I ready to see them. 
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How My Best Friend Got Engaged

This my friends, is the story of how my best friend got engaged. I've known my friend Lauren since we were freshmen in high school, and she's been my best friend ever since. When we started high school, we had the same religion class and so we started talking and just instantly clicked. Every teacher knew us as the troublesome duo, we completed each other and everyone could see it. She was the math/science person, and I was the creative/english/history person. 

Ever since our sophomore/junior year of college, we've joked that Lauren's going to get engaged and I'm going to be somewhere out of the state or out of the country and I'm going to get a call at midnight/1 am my time and she'll be engaged. Though we joked about it, we honestly never thought that it was going to happen. You see, as much as I love to travel, I love home 10x's more. However, whenever I got the internship in Disney World, everything started to become a little bit more real. 

Lauren and Ryan had been dating for over two years at this point, and were thinking abstractly about getting married - it wasn't a sure thing. Well, flash forward to the October. I came home to surprise my friends and family for a quick two day trip into town. I could tell that something was up with Leslie (Lauren's little sister) whenever I was home. She was being coy and acting really strange - I knew what was going to happen in the back of my mind, but didn't think that it would actually happen. 

After I left town, I got a phone call two days later at midnight. It was Lauren. Immediately I thought that something was wrong. Whenever I answered the phone her voiced cracked when she said "Hey, Ria." I lost it at that point. I knew it. She was engaged. I was standing in the living room of our apartment in Disney World and the only thing I could say was, "No. You're kidding me. You can't be serious. Oh my god. Lala." And then we both started bawling crying. I was so excited for her and so happy that it finally happened after everything she's been through/we've been through together. She is the most deserving person and the kindest person ever. She deserves all the happiness in the world, and that's exactly what Ry brings her. 

She asked me to be a bridesmaid in our freshman year of high school and we always laughed that she would get married first and I would forever be traveling the world. It's crazy to think how much we kind of predicted in the future. I'm traveling, she's getting married. I couldn't be happier for her and I seriously cannot wait to to be in her wedding and share everything with her. She's my best friend - even more, she's like family to me.
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Sit Right Here & Have Another Beer in Mexico

...or not. Actually, this post is not about drinking in the least. It's about the San Angel Inn in the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot. I went with my friend Anne (aka #twinnoventions), and to be honest I wasn't all that impressed. We had a day off so we decided to go into Epcot on our day off and have lunch, after playing in Magic Kingdom in the morning. It was a lot of fun, and totally worth it, but I'm not sure how I felt about the lunch. 

See, we went to the Mexico Pavilion and not really sure what to expect, we just went in to see if we could get reservations (we could), and so we sat down and waited for lunch. Of course there was chips and dip, like any other Mexican themed restaurant. Now, we didn't get any drinks because it was about 10:30 in the morning, and Anne isn't 21 yet. But I don't think that even drinks could help out this food that we got. 

We both ended up ordering the same thing, and we both ended up being not so impressed with it. Now it could be just the day we went on, or it could just be our tastes. But I'm glad we went and at least tried it. We can say we ate at another Disney restaurant. The one positive, and really awesome thing, that I can say about this place though is the fact that the atmosphere is so cool. 

You're basically eating inside where the attraction is going through as well - so you can see the people on the attraction as you're eating your food. It's nice and dark, regardless of the time that you go there, since it's inside. It's really great atmosphere, but honestly that's all I have to say about it. If you want to try it out, I would say do it! But if not, you can always try something else.
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How Many is Too Many: My Disney Obsession

Have you ever seen the sparkly Minnie ears that Disney World/Disney Parks sell in their parks? Have you ever seen how much they cost? Have you ever bought a pair? see, this is my slight Disney obsession. I am absolutely obsessed with the Minnie ears. I'm not a huge fan of the Mickey ear hats, but the Minnie ears? 

A new pair comes out and I want them absolutely immediately. There are two pairs that I'm still searching for that I don't have - the Halloween ears that are black with orange spider webs all over them, and the blue sparkly ones with silver sparkly stars on them. They're both precious and I just didn't have enough time to grab them/they sold out crazy fast.  

I had been to Disney World before I started my college program, but I had always been in college and never really had the money to purchase merchandise. However, on my college program that all changed because we did receive some discounts on merchandise. The first thing that I bought with our discount was the classic black and red sparkly Minnie ears. They're classic/basic/whatever you want to call it, but basically everyone has a pair. 

Once I bought that first pair, I couldn't stop. I started to fall in love with a ton of different kinds of ears and wanted to get as many sets as I could. I bought probably about six more sets while I was there - I can't really remember and I can't check because they're home in Baton Rouge. The two pairs that I brought with me to California are the classic black and red sparkly pair, and the purple and green sparkly pair that I bought during Halloween in Disney World. 

I'm always keeping my eyes out for any other pair that are released, or one that I may not have. Some people buy clothes, or shoes, or purses with Minnie/Mickey/Disney related things on it, but personally I love the Minnie ears. They're simple enough that they add something to your outfit without actually screaming DISNEY EVERYTHING at the top of your lungs. I've only bought them from Disney World, and haven't bought any off of Etsy or Disney Stores or any other stores that sell them because I like supporting Disney through their merchandise.  
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We're Moving Up & We're Moving Out

Like most things, when they come to an end, I wasn't ready to move out of my apartment in the Disney College Program. Well...I take that back, I was half ready to move and half not ready to move. I was ready because I wanted to get out of the six person, two bedroom, two bathroom hell hole that the apartment was. However, I wasn't ready because I didn't want to leave my roommates, Sarah and Madison. Everyone else in the apartment? Meh. I don't talk to them to date, and I'm not really too concerned about them. 

Moving out of that apartment was one of the hardest things for many reasons. I was still getting over having the flu, so I had to move my stuff out in small intervals. On top of that, we were all working so it was hard to get help from my roommates which is how I moved into the apartment since I can't life a lot of stuff because of my shoulder surgery. But we made do. It was moving stuff at 2 am, and in small increments. PLUS I didn't want to keep too much stuff in my car because I was still driving to work and driving around Orlando at this time and didn't want to give someone a reason to break into my car. 

Needless to say, everything was moved pretty much the last day that I was there. Honestly, I was walking out of the apartment for the last time and still finding stuff that I needed to move out. I have the greatest two roommates and if I would have left anything they said they would get it to me somehow. Luckily, I didn't have anything that I left, so there was no need to mail anything across country. 

By the time everything was in my car, poorly packed (of course), there was literally enough room for me to see out of my back window (barely), see my mirrors on either side, and to sit down. Because of this, I decided to drive through the night. The reason is because there are less people on the road, and if I need to change lanes/merge into traffic, even if I couldn't see a car, I could see their headlights. Everyone thought I was crazy when I said that I was going to drive through the night, until I explained to them my reasons. 

Needless to say, I made it home in one piece, and was able to unpack my car by myself (over the course of four hours), since my dad and sister both had work.
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Ohana Means Family... means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten. This quote means so much more to me than it does to the normal person. Besides the fact that I worked in Disney World and made some of the best friends who turned into family, it's also the name of one of the restaurants at Disney that we all kind of started a familial relationship. 

Ohana is a restaurant in Disney's Polynesian hotel, with all you can eat food presented family style again. Our first stop on the way to getting a seat? The bar. You see, we had made reservations for after work, but somehow we mixed up the dates and we showed up whenever we didn't have a reservation. So instead of telling us tough luck, they fit us in as the last table to be seated, and the last one to be served that night. That was totally fine with us because we were able to get to the bar and hang out for a little bit before dinner began. 

At the bar in the Polynesian there is this drink that you can order - I can't remember the name of it honestly at this point, but it comes in a pineapple.  If you are over the age of 21, I strongly suggest that you get this pineapple drink because boy it is so worth it. After we got our drinks, we were called to our table. You're seated around a round table so it's as if you really are at family dinner. It was so nice because we were all friendly at this point, but this was really the turning point for everyone. We all began to open up to each other and share what was going on in our lives/in our heads. 

The food, as usual, was exceptional (as was the service and the atmosphere). There was bread and salad (like usual), then came the chicken wings, and dumplings, noodles, and grilled vegetables, grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled steak, and grilled shrimp, and last but not least there was bread pudding. Needless to say, we poor college program kids ate more than our fare share and had issues walking to the car. 
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What Time is the 3 o'Clock Parade?

"It's the festival of fantasyyyyyyy." Whenever I was at Disney World, during my College Program, Disney World had a newish parade out called "Festival of Fantasy." It took me a couple of months to actually sit down and watch the parade, but when I finally did I was sad that it had taken me so long. It is an amazing parade, and I absolutely fell in love with it. 

Not only is the parade all of the good things you've dreamt about, but it also incorporates some of the evil things that you've dreamt about as well. There is a point in the parade where Prince Phillip must fight the dragon, and fire actually comes out of the dragons mouth. It is amazing. 

There's a long standing joke among cast members that you get asked "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" This is because before Festival of Fantasy, it was a completely different parade with a completely different name but nobody could ever remember the parade. They only ever knew what time the parade was, 3pm, yet they would always ask at what time the parade was. 

There's a classic mix of characters from older Disney movies and from newer Disney movies, and of course my favorite Tiana is in the parade. The dancers costumes (my absolute favorite) are so intricate and so well done that you can't help but stand there in awe when you look at them and watch them move. 

You can watch the parade anywhere from the beginning in Frontierland down to Main Street, but if you really want to get a fantastic view of the characters I suggest watching the parade from the Railroad Station. At this point, the characters revel in the fact that they can look up, or even straight at, to the guests standing along this spot. 

If you haven't had a chance to see this parade yet, go. If you've seen this parade 20 times, go again. Or if you've seen this parade 400 times, go again. It's absolutely breath taking, and there are so many aspects to it that you won't see if you only watch it once. 
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Gorilla Watch 2k14

While I was on my College Program in Walt Disney World, there were two baby gorillas that were born/brought to Animal Kingdom. It happened about three months apart, and after that second baby gorilla was born I made it my life's mission to find them and actually be able to see them. This was probably one of the trickiest endeavors that I took on while in Disney World. 

You see, because they're babies and were just born they were only out on display in Animal Kingdom for short periods of time. I literally went at least twice a week for three weeks to try and see them. I would go early in the morning then later in the evening, even once or twice around the afternoon. I could never find them; I was either too late or they weren't coming out that day. I started to get really, really discouraged. Especially when Sarah, Colin, and I went on the Wild Africa Trek in Animal Kingdom and that was one of the two things I was really excited to probably be able to see (the other were the elephants - my favorite hands down). However whenever we were walking around, they weren't out then either.

Finally, it happened. I was with my mom and step dad and it was a 'if it doesn't happen now, it's never going to happen for me' kind of moment. My hopes were very low and then it happened. I walked into the gorilla sanctuary and there they were just hanging out with their moms. I was ecstatic. Needless to say I then spent about 20 minutes staring at the babies and just watched them play and hang out. My mom and step dad basically had to drag me out of there. 
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It's (Not) Christmas Timeee

Spending the holidays away from home was one of the biggest fears that I had whenever I moved away. I didn't get to be with my actual family, and because I had the flu this year I wasn't able to spend it with my adopted Florida family or my Innoventions family.  It was one of the hardest things for me to be away from home, and having to spend it in my bed. However I have the greatest roommates who made everything special, despite my being deathly ill. 

I put up our Christmas tree (a tiny 3 foot tree) in the living room the day after Thanksgiving, much to my roommate Sarah's dismay. She really wanted me to wait until the 1st of December but I just couldn't wait. I was so excited and ready to play Christmas music and make cookies and just be Christmassy in our apartment. Disney rolled out Christmas throughout the parks on November 1st, which is fine and dandy with me, however our roommates put a strict 'no Christmas until after Thanksgiving' rule in our apartment. 

Since we had the Christmas tree up, I decided to start putting Christmas presents under the tree. Slowly but surely everyone else began to do the same. By the time Christmas Eve hit, we had presents from everyone in our apartment, plus some from our families, plus some for/from friends. It was massive and it was crazy to see how much we all did for each other. It was one of the most heartwarming things I had seen. I wasn't expecting this Christmas to bee as magical as it usually is at home, but it was and so much more. 

We all woke up really early on Christmas morning, and everyone was there except for Sarah who was spending Christmas with her family at Disney. We sat on the couch with breakfast, coffee, and tea, and talked to each other while opening presents from each other. We watched the parade on television and just laughed and were very grateful for each other and everything that we had been through in the past five months. We spent about two or three hours just hanging out before everyone had to start getting ready for their days. Most of my roommates had work, and I needed to get back to sleep. I was exhausted from spending so much time together, thanks flu, and sleep was definitely the first priority that I had. 

I had a great first Christmas away from home. Hopefully I'll be able to make it home for Christmas in the coming years, but if not I know that where I am, and whoever I'm with, it will be special. 
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Have a Hoop Dee Doo Good Time

Whenever we got down to Florida, my roommate Sarah and I vowed to try as many restaurants and things that we could. One dinner show that was on top of our list was the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. Let's just say it was one of the better ideas that we had during our time on the Disney College Program. 

The premise of this dinner is that you go and watch a show, which is a Western Themed dinner show in Pioneer Hall in Fort Wilderness. Your seats are preassigned, and the menu is already set out for you. The only thing that you have to do is show up. And that's exactly what we did. 

Neither of us wanted to drive because at this dinner show there is unlimited alcohol (well, certain kinds of alcohol), and we both (being over 21) wanted to participate in. We both opted for sangria that night, drinking as much as we could with our delicious dinner. So the first thing we had to do was figure out the bus system from CP housing to Fort Wilderness. That was an adventure in and of itself. But we made it with plenty of time to spare to make it to our seats in Category 2 Seating (as far back as you can get). 

Dinner is served family style, but because it was just Sarah and I, we didn't really put things on our plates - we just ate from the bowls. There was dinner salad, spare ribs, fried chicken, corn, baked beans, and strawberry short cake. It was so freaking delicious. The show itself was so amusing, I found myself at times being distracted by the show and not really eating. 

Apparently at times it can be very difficult to get a reservation here, but being a cast member they had specific times set aside that we could go, and so we took advantage of it. We were able to get a reservation for a week after we decided to have dinner there - it was super simple, but if you don't have the luxury that we did, I would say book as early as possible. 

If you have the opportunity to go, take it. It can be a bit pricey, but you're paying for the atmosphere, alcohol, and show. It was worth it for me to do once, but I'm on to trying new experiences. 
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This Time for Africa!

One of the greatest perks about working for Disney is that we have certain discounts offered to us on certain excursions put on by Disney. One of the ones that my roommate Sarah and I took advantage of was called the Wild Safari Trek. It takes place in Animal Kingdom, in the Africa section. You basically get to go backstage and walk through the habitats where the animals are kept on the Safari. 

Sarah and I had been looking at doing the Trek for a couple weeks when we finally decided to bite the bullet and just do it. We planned it for a time when Sarah's boyfriend was going to be in town, as a surprise for him. He was a really good sport about it, and ended up liking the trip. 

It was about a four hour trip, we walked for the first two hours looking at the animals, and going back stage in Animal Kingdom, and for the next two hours we rode around and we had a lunch as well. It was so cool because whenever you go on the Safari, you only get to see the animal for a few seconds. However, on the Trek you get to stay with the animal for twenty minutes or so. 

The animal trainers were able to spend time and talk to us about what they did with the animals, and how they trained them. We were able to see the animals up close and personal, and that was really amazing. My favorite part of the day was when we got to stop out in the middle of the Africa scene where the elephants, and giraffes were. We ate lunch there, which was prepared for us by the chefs from Tusker House, which was one of the restaurants in Animal Kingdom. I definitely think that it was one of the better decisions that Sarah and I made.
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Shooting into Space

Whenever my mom and step dad came to visit me in Florida, we went to the Kennedy Space Center. I wasn't really 100% sure what to expect, but I was honestly blown away by how much I liked and enjoyed the experience there. It took a while to get there from our hotel, maybe about 45 minutes to an hour, and on the way back it felt like even longer. However, I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world. 

Whenever you walk into the Kennedy Space Center the first thing that you see is the rocket grave yard - it's absolutely massive and you cannot miss it. It was incredible to stand next to some of the rockets that had gone into space and just marvel at how large they were. There are a ton of different things that you can do there - from watching the space shuttle launches, or watching two different movies, to walking around a couple different museums/exhibitions. 

If I could only suggest one thing to do while you were there though, it would have to be to go on the guided bus tour. They bring you out to see how long it takes to get the shuttles ready for launch and the path they take to get from the building that they are constructed in to the launch zone. Then they bring you to a museum where you go through an old school launch of one of the Apollos. Afterward, you can walk around and see a bunch of different information about the lunar landings and the work that they're currently doing in space. 

I have to admit that thinking about space/going to space scares me a lot. I don't like the idea of the vast openness that is space. I think that it's both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. The people who dream and go into aerodynamics/becoming astronauts are some of the bravest people that I think of because of my fear. One of the coolest things about the Kennedy Space Center is the fact that they have some of the rockets and some of the space shuttles there. You can actually go into a shuttle simulator and feel what it would feel like to go into space (within reason). You can also see the shuttles (though you can't touch them), and how massive they actually are. 

If you're in Orlando, or anywhere near the general area, I would definitely say check it out because this is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. 
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Bring What You Can

...that was what the theme was to our pot lucks at Innoventions at night. There was a crew of us that would always work "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, presented by Siemens." And yes, you do have to say/write out the entire thing. Regardless, there was a group of us that would work it almost literally every single night. We became really close, really quickly. And trust me when I say, we ran that show. 

Well, since our building closed at 7pm, we had a little bit of time before we would finish cycling out the attraction before we had to go out to Illuminations. It started because someone would always bring popcorn, and we would always share it. Then it escalated, one person would bring popcorn, and the other people would either bring something or they would run down to the vending machines and grab something to bring. 

We would sit there and decompress from the earlier day of working with people right before going out for another two hours to deal with the crowds of the day. It was great because that's where we bonded as well. We'd share inside jokes, talk about our days, and talk about plans we wanted to make. We had normal potlucks, then we had huge ones for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm so thankful for our little potlucks, and the little family that I formed in Orlando.

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A Long Standing Tradition

After long shifts, or late shifts, one thing we would always like to do would be to get food after work. Of the many places we would go, Steak and Shake was always a favorite of a ton of people. They're kind of like a Whataburger, or an In n Out, but the east coat/Florida version of it. They have okay burgers, for really cheap, with shoestring fries and dr. pepper for days. Plus, their milkshakes are pretty bomb too. 

I feel like a lot of really important decisions were made around that table. That's where we had one of our last dinners together before everyone left. It's where my best friend and I would grab milkshakes and sit in the car and talk. It's where we sat as roommates, falling asleep at the table waiting for food. And where we sat after swing dancing class laughing, and talking about how clumsy we were.

I loved the 2am trips, just as much as I loved the normal trips to Steak and Shake. It's crazy how much people open up and bond over food. I've laughed and cried with these people. It's hard to be away from them now, as much as ever. I can't wait until we all get together again to share the crazy memories and our stories of things that have happened. I couldn't imagine life in Orlando without them, and I'm glad that even today I'm still in contact with everyone.
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Put Our Service to the Test

Whenever we got accepted for the Disney College Program, and figured out who we wanted to room with, my roommate Sarah immediately made reservations for us to go to Be Our Guest for dinner. We thought she was crazy for planning everything so far in advanced - we didn't know if we would get the dates off, or if we could even get the dates off. But it turns out, some of us were able to get them off and it was a very good thing that she planned it so far in advance. 

Be Our Guest, for those who don't know, is the restaurant themed off of the Beauty and the Beast. It's absolutely breathtaking and damn near impossible to get a reservation there within three months for dinner. It's harder to get a lunch reservation solely because of the fact that so many people want to eat there too.  It's a relatively new restaurant, which is also another reason why it's very difficult to get into sometimes. 

To be honest, as long as you're not going around peak season/trying to eat at a peak time, you should be fine. We ended up making the reservations about six months in advance, so we were definitely good. For us, it was very worth it, especially since some of our favorite movies growing up included Beauty and the Beast. I loved it because Belle loved to read, which is how I spent my childhood. 

Whenever we walked into the castle, you could hear a sudden intake of all of our breaths. We were stunned from the moment that we walked in until the moment we walked out. We took our seats, and proceeded to wander around the different dining areas. We were seated in the ball room, which I was very appreciative of, even though it was quite loud. The food was wonderful, and the grey stuff is actually delicious.  Because we were eating dinner so late, we were also some of the last people to take pictures with Beast that night. 
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Let's Make a Move to the Movies

Going to the movies is something that I cherish, though it's not something that I do often. The last movie (well, movies) that I actually went see in theaters was Big Hero 6, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I was in Florida and with my favorite married couple (and best friends) Thomas & Sonya. Sonya and I love going to the movies and watching movies together, while Thomas has ADHD out the wazoo so it's hard for him to sit still that long. We didn't want to leave anyone out, so we came up with a compromise. We would see the two movies Sonya & I were planning on seeing, but the second movie would be at the dine in theater, where you can also drink. It was a win-win situation. 

We went to see Big Hero 6 first, and then went to the Fork & Screen side of the AMC Theater that we were at. I have to say, I loved Big Hero 6, although I saw a lot of parallels to the other super hero that I've seen (which is to be expected). I think that the story was done amazingly well, and you can bet that when the movie comes out on DVD I'll buy it. I love Baymax, and I really love the architecture throughout the movie. I started off my college career in architecture, and growing up in Louisiana made me really, really appreciate all different types of architecture. My favorite character in the movie had to be Honey Lemon. 

After Big Hero 6 was over, we went to walk around Downtown Disney until it was time for us to go see the Hunger Games movie. It was rainy that day, so we ducked into as many shops as we could just looking around. We ended up walking all the way to World of Disney (or WoD), which if anyone knows the layout of DownTown Disney is incredibly far. We played around in WoD until we felt decompressed from Big Hero 6, and it was an appropriate time to walk back without being too insanely early. 

I had never been to a dine in theater before, so this was a new experience for me. I liked how there were only a few seats (maybe 50 total) in the theater so it wasn't too crowded. We were all planning on going to eat afterward so we didn't order any food, but Thomas had a drink. The movie? It was okay. It wasn't my favorite, but I also didn't really like the first half of the book when I read it, so I didn't have too high of hopes for it. I was really glad that we saw that movie second because once it was over, we were kind of done for the night. Thomas drove us to get food and then we went back to their place to hang out a little more. I almost passed out on their couch for the night so at that time we decided it was probably a good idea for me to drive home. 

Thomas & Sonya are two of my absolute favorite people, and though we were wowed by one movie and less than impressed with the other, we still had an amazing time. 
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A Very Merry Christmas // Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Something that I decided that I wanted to do whenever I was in Orlando was to take advantage of everything that Disney had to offer for me. This especially meant whenever it came to different celebrations and parties, like the ones they held during Halloween and Christmas. I had been to Mickey's Not So Scary in September, so it only felt right going to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in November. My friend/coworker Lauren bought a ticket with me and we decided to go together, just the two of us. 

We both had the day off, so we went and bought her ticket that afternoon in Epcot, since we worked there and we wanted to visit our friends before the Christmas party. After buying the ticket we played in the park for a little bit, and visited our friends at Inno (and even rode SOAT). Everyone was so confused of why were were there and dressed so nicely. Literally everyone we ran into, especially our managers, commented on how cute we were. It was definitely a boost of confidence. 

It ended up being perfect since it was just the two of us because we could literally do whatever we wanted. It wasn't like we had to plan with a big group or make sure that everyone got to do at least one thing that they wanted to do. On top of my list was going to the cookie/hot chocolate stations and watching the fireworks and parades. Lauren really wanted to watch the parades/fireworks and ride some rides with a crazy short line. We did everything and still had time to spare. We got an amazing spot for Holiday Wishes & the Christmas parade. 

We rode the rides we wanted to, which all had a super short wait since the parties were closed off to normal day guests. We got dinner at the Friar's Nook, which is where they have mac n cheese everything. Lauren went for normal mac n cheese and I went for a mac n cheese hot dog - it was incredibly worth it. We talked about life, what we wanted to achieve, how much we were thankful for each other and our families and friends, and laughed and laughed. 

The parade was absolutely beautiful, and the fireworks were also incredible. Even though we were there in early November for the Christmas parade, it was the perfect time to go. The park wasn't too crowded because it wasn't the highest point of peak season yet and the party wasn't sold out. Plus, it was the perfect temperature. We both had sweaters on, with jeans and boots, and it was the perfect outfit for a really great night. We didn't have any problems that night and parking was super easy to. I hold some of these memories close to my heart and I'm so thankful for Lauren for coming with me, especially super last minute (like we do). 
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