Friday, October 2, 2020

runDisney Haunted Mansion Virtual 5K

Hi there, friends! New blog post - who dis? 

Yes, it's been a LONG time, but I have very good reason. If you follow me on instagram, then you know that Hurricane Laura hit my home town of Lake Charles, LA as a category 4 hurricane and wreaked havoc everywhere. My initial intention to run the final leg of the runDisney summer virtual 5K series on my birthday (August 27th) changed as that was the day that Laura hit and pretty much ranks up there as one of the worst days I've had in a very long time. 

After returning home a week later, we spent a good bit of time cleaning up our yard and my parent's yard. We also lived at their house for three weeks with a generator, waiting on our electricity to turn back on. It's been an interesting road and one where I've tried to stay positive, but running has been hard for many reasons. 

So, my well laid plans of running the Haunted Mansion 5K on August 27th were altered and instead, the distance was completed on October 1st. Better late than never, right? 

This has been the first week in a while where I felt like I could truly breathe and had a little bit of extra "free" time in the evenings. Last night, Brayden and I set out on our 5K journey together and I felt like our route was fitting for the "theme" of this race - it was daunting with a hint of eerie mixed in. :)

Our start line began in front of the garage (complete with hurricane damage) and our remaining stash of MRE's - perfectly fitting for the three miles ahead! 

As we ran, we encountered a few doggies (thankfully the were on the smaller side), downed trees on the side of the road, tarped roofs on houses, and several friendly faces outside who waved as we passed. 

Trees like this are everywhere and it always amazes me to see - the root ball of the tree was literally ripped out of the ground! The powerful force of hurricanes completely blows my mind.

We reached mile 3 as the sun began to set, among the various debris lined streets.

At a month out from the storm, things around here are slowly starting to improve. Tree trucks make the rounds daily to pick up roadside tree debris. They haven't even started on the other debris yet (shingles, fencing, siding, etc). Although they are working hard, this is going to be a very slow and gradual process. I told Jason that I'm truly learning how to "chill" because I want everything done like a sprint and this will definitely be like a "marathon" to complete. 

Our finish line landed us right back in my front yard, complete with the remains of my fence I worked so hard to stain back in the spring (yes, I'm bitter about it)! 

...and with that, the three part runDisney Virtual 5K Summer Series turned Fall Series is complete! :)

I plan to return (soon) with more stories from our hurricane "adventures" and the cleanup process. This has been one of the most interesting experiences of my life and one I hope we don't have to go through again for a very very long time. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Disembarking the Disney Dream & Disney Springs

Well, here we are in August and before we blink, it'll be Christmas time once again! In my thinking and reminiscing about Christmas at the parks, I was reminded that I never finished our November trip recaps, so here's the final one for you today! :)

Although we disembarked the Disney Dream on this day and it was technically our last full day before flying home, we seriously didn't waste a single minute of it! 

We awoke to the sunrise that morning in Port Canaveral and it was beautiful! It was definitely a mix of emotions as we enjoyed being able to split this trip with land and sea, but we were sad to only spend 4 days on board the Dream!

This was our very first time to utilize the pull out couch, so I had to capture our final morning! :)  At least we didn't have "chocolate face" that morning!! Hah!

Breakfast on our disembark day was at Animators Palate and it was nice to be able to say goodbye to our servers.

Something I noticed on our previous cruise were these signs in the hallway, just before boarding the ship and just after disembarking the ship. One side says "Welcome Aboard" when you're walking the hallway towards the ship and the other side says "See You Real Soon" when you're walking away from a ship. What a play on the emotions, huh? :)

For  our trip back to WDW, we used Happy Limo again and everything was great! They text the name of our driver to me while we were eating breakfast and our timing worked out great.

Goodbye Disney Dream!

Something I loved about this trip was the way we split it into pieces. Our first segment was at Walt Disney World for the Wine & Dine Half with a stay at Pop Century. We then boarded the Disney Dream for a four night cruise, followed by a one night stay at All-Star Sports and a trip to the Magic Kingdom for the very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party of the season!

All-Star Sports was a new-to-me resort and another one marked off my list!

Although it was not yet updated (like Pop Century) during our trip, I found everything to be in working order and just fine!


Our room was located in the tennis section and I thought it was super cute!

After getting settled in our room, we hopped a bus to Disney Springs for lunch at the Polite Pig and to check out the Christmas Tree Trail (both new-to-us experiences)!

Lunch was delicious! Jason, Brayden, and I all split this tray and it was perfect! I'll definitely be back! :)

Even though we were stuffed, we still left room for our trip-tradition, ice cream from Ghirardelli! Note to self, paper straws are terrible with shakes - always pack reusable straws in the future!

We LOVED the Christmas Tree Trail! Everything was so cute and festive! The trees truly reminded me of the old character themed trees in the (now non-existent) Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom, these were just on a much larger scale!

See what I mean?! How cute!

I also loved the little extra touches that surrounded the trees.

Take this poster next to the Mulan tree for example!

My husband (who truly earned his magic band name of "bah humbug") said this was his favorite tree of them all. He knows I always go overboard for Christmas, so there's that...

A few of my favorite trees included:

Toy Story



They were all so cute, it was hard to pick a top favorite.

Remember those magic bands I mentioned? Well, we all decided to order red magic bands for this portion of our trip and theme them with Christmas names (hence Jason's "Bah Humbug")! Mine was Noelle from the soon-to-be-released Disney Plus movie of the same name.

Spoiler alert: the movie did not disappoint!

After leaving Disney Springs, we returned to our room to drop off our purchases and change our shirts for the Christmas party. We were so excited to spend the evening at one of our favorite places during one of our favorite times of the year! If you'd like to check out a recap of our night at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, (and a video recap on YouTube), check out the links below! :)

We loved being able to spend this vacation with our friends and hope to be able to do so in the future. It truly was a wonderful trip, one I'll cherish and remember for the rest of my life!

Thanks for coming along with us! Have a magical day!

Disney Travel Day: Wine and Dine Expo & Animal Kingdom
Disney Day 2: Wine and Dine 10K & Kids Races & Hollywood Studios/Epcot
Disney Day 3: Wine and Dine Half Marathon & Magic Kingdom
Disney Day 4: Boarding the Disney Dream
Disney Day 5: Castaway Cay
Disney Day 6: Nassau
Disney Day 7: At Sea Day
Disney Day 8: Disney Springs and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

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