Tag Archives: Orlando

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

24 Jun

When I first saw the topic of this photo challenge, these lyrics popped instantly into my head:

…the silence isn’t so bad, til I look at my hands and feel sad because the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly… – Owl City, Vanilla Twilight

Florida Sunset, Twilight

This is one of my very favorite songs, even if it does make me sort of happy-sad (yes, that is a thing). It’s about all the things that are between these two people who are in love, who for unknown reasons, can’t be together at that very moment in time. I thought of posting a photo of my hand and the empty spaces, literal symbol of the above lyrics. But that seemed easy and sad and  overdone.

There is a lot of between in my life these days – 3 more work days between me and the weekend, 6 months between us and Christmas Eve, 13.1 miles between the start and finish line of the half marathon I’m training for, 7 years between my youngest sister and I, 1 floor between where I’m typing this blog and where my mom is reading her book, just a wall and window between me and the storm brewing outside. Betweens are everywhere I look, but the worst one by far is the distance between me and the person who holds my heart.

…I’ll watch the night turn light blue, but it’s not the same without you, because it takes two to whisper quietly…

And so, it is a photo I took 3 years ago, when we both lived in Florida, that symbolizes the passing of days, years and time between us. That peaceful moment before the sun fully sets and the moon fully rises, in that perfect moment it’s easy to believe anything is possible. It’s easy to pretend he isn’t far away or that it’s lonely or that I cling to my cell phone because it carries messages between us.

This is a January sunset, taken from my apartment balcony on my way to his apartment. I don’t recall what we did that night, most likely nothing more exciting than watching YouTube or a movie and laughing at the other for silly things they did or said. I miss those nights. Those moments. The farthest distance between us was the walk from my apartment to his, a whole 100 yards or so.

Now there are cell phones and spotty service areas, different work schedules, lives, not-so-great internet connections and hundreds of miles between us. Minutes feel like days, days feel like months, months feel like years and years feel like an eternity when the person you want to hold hands with is at the other end of the country (thankfully still the same time zone).

I am thankful for the planes that take me between here and there.

I will close with this, for now, between is a negative, a thing I desperately want to change. But it’s also a positive. The love and friendship and memories shared between the two of us are constantly growing and evolving and strengthening. And from now until the end of time, I can’t think of a better person to fill the spaces between my fingers. ❤

 

The Liebster Award

3 May

I began this blog a few years ago. I figured it would be a great way to record my everyday life and to practice and improve my writing talent. I had no idea it would become a close network of friends I’ve never met before. I look forward to reading everyone’s posts and get excited when someone new visits, likes or comments on one of my posts.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this week I was nominated for The Liebster Award by Greg over at Why I runDisney – thank you so, so much! I feel like I have officially been welcomed into an extended blogging community!
liebster-award

Now, I don’t know much about The Liebster Award, except what I learned on Greg’s post, but basically it’s a nod to new bloggers and a way to help other’s discover their blogs as well. This award is only on the internet and given to bloggers by other bloggers. The rules are simple:

  • You must link back to the person who nominated you
  • You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee
  • You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award
  • You must create 10 questions for your nominees
  • You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

1. What is your favorite Disney theme park in the world? Why?

My favorite Disney theme park in the whole world by default is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Not only is it the ONLY Disney theme park I’ve been to (the first time when I was 12 years old), it’s where I worked, played and lived for a year during my Disney College Program. It’s where I met some of my very best friends, now extend members of my family. It’s where I met my boyfriend, Scott. It’s where I truly found me.

2. Are there any Disney theme parks that you would like to visit that you haven’t visited yet? If so, which one(s)?

Someday I would love to visit Disneyland and California Adventure. I would also like to visit one of the international parks, I’m not picky about which one because honestly, if I had an unlimited bank account, I’d love to visit them all!!

3. Since all of you have run in races before, which race was your favorite?

My favorite race was the 2013 runDisney Tower of Terror 10 miler. This was my third runDisney race that I’ve run with my DCP roommate, Monique. It was also the longest distance I have ever pushed myself. I’ve never been so proud of myself before this moment. Crossing that finish line for me was so emotional, so overwhelming, so powerful. Once we crossed the finish line Monique was already talking Wine and Dine Half 2014, which we will be running in November, so my favorite race may change!

runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler

IMG_7039

IMG_7042

4. If you could choose a theme for a runDisney race, what theme would you choose and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one!! What about a Disney-Pixar themed race?! 🙂

5. What advice would you offer someone who is a beginning runner?

It does not matter if you run the whole time or only for a minute, as long as you run at some point, YOU are a runner. I know it’s hard not to compare yourself to others (trust me on this, I struggle with it daily it seems like), but the only person you should be comparing yourself to is the you from YESTERDAY. When I began my running journey, a seasoned runner told me that I would go through an emotional journey, I would have good days and bad days, days when my lungs and legs would burn, but if I kept pushing, not only physically, but mentally as well, I would reach every running goal I set for myself. I know I’ll never be the fastest, but as long as I finish, that is a win and a major success and accomplishment in my book.

6. What races are on your bucket list?

runDisney Wine and Dine Half 2014

runDisney Princess Half

runDisney Avenger’s Half

7. If you run with music, what are your favorite songs to run with? If you don’t run with music, what is your favorite mantra?

Some of my favorite songs include:

  • Cannonball by Lea Michele
  • Just Like We Dreamed it – Disneyland Resort Paris
  • Waiting for Tomorrow by Mandisa
  • Overcomer by Mandisa
  • Live Like a Warrior by Nick Pitera
  • She’s So Gone by Lemonade Mouth
  • When Can I See You Again (from Wreck it Ralph) by Owl City
  • Not Your Cinderella by Payton Rae
  • Closer, Faster by Against The Current
  • It’s Not Just Make Believe by Kari Kimmel

8. What are your favorite Disney theme park indulgences? This could be favorite food items, favorite shows, favorite attractions, favorite places to go while on a Disney theme park vacation, etc. In other words, what are your favorite things to do at any of the Disney theme parks?

Wow, I’m not sure I can narrow that down, especially since I just returned from the Happiest Place on Earth. Can I say everything?! Okay here goes – at Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo: The Musical, Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, and when they still had it, the Shrimp Po Boy sandwich at Restaurantosaurus.

Epcot – Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Soarin’, walking around World Showcase, especially during the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall, and watching Illuninations, the best place in my opinion is from the Mexico Pavilion.

Hollywood Studios – Rock N Roller Coaster, The Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, a new favorite is the character drawing class in the Animation Building, and Fantasmic.

Magic Kingdom – Meeting Mickey, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, People Mover, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, Festival of Fantasy parade, Wishes, and eating at be Our Guest. Also, if you are lucky enough to got to a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, DO IT, you won’t be disappointed, I promise!

I also enjoy riding the monorail and watching Wishes from the roof of the Contemporary Resort and from the beach at the Polynesian Resort. If you are ever at Downtown Disney, eat at Earl of Sandwich, get a chocolate milkshake from Ghirardelli and if your looking for something completely different, spend a few hours at Disney Quest.

9. When training for a race (a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, or Ultra), where is your favorite place to run?

There is a state park not far from where I live that has a nice path out over the dam – down and back is just under 3 miles, it’s also a slight incline. I also enjoy running around the roads where I live – hilly country back roads, around the “block” is 3.5 miles.

10. If you could personalize the post race food given to you after a race like a half marathon or full marathon, what would your order?

As I haven’t run a half marathon yet, I’m not sure what they give you. But when I get back from my training runs I always want chocolate milk after my bottle of water.

And now to pass the baton along, I’m tagging:

1. TheDisneyDiva

2. Jessica at  PubRunAholic

3. Katie, Letty and Michelle at The Tipsy Geekette

4. Casey at Life with Roozle

5. Victoria and Kyle at The WDW Blog

6. Ti and Kellz at The 2econd Star

7. Jennifer at Dreams Really Do Come True

8. Sarah at PR and Pixie Dust

9. Adam at Things Goofy

10. Rachel at Rachel Does Disney…Again

Now for the fun part, my questions for the nominees should they choose to accept it!

1. What is your favorite quote/poem/motivational saying?

2. If you could visit any country in the world and stay for as long as you wanted, where would you go and why?

3. What was your favorite Disney movie as a kid? Is it still your favorite?

4. Tell me about a “hidden gem” in your town, something a tourist would never know to look for!

5. What are the 5 most played songs on your iPod/MP3 player/computer?

6. What are you most looking forward to this summer?

7. How many times have you been to the Disney Parks?  7.1 Share a Disney memory!

8. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

9. If you could have any role in a movie, what would it be?

10. What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home?

“When I’m with you, I don’t feel so alone.” – Hercules

27 Apr

It’s hard to believe that exactly one month ago today I arrived in Florida, it already feels like a lifetime ago. That after-vacation glow is starting to fade and become more like a dream I was too suddenly waken from. It wasn’t just the fact that I was back in Florida, or back at Walt Disney World, I was with my friends, my surrogate family, people who mean more to me than I’ll ever be able to express in words.

Before my vacation started, there was an 8 hour work day ahead of me…LONGEST DAY EVER! By 9:30 AM I was practically bouncing out of my chair with pent-up excitement and nervousness, but I pulled it together.

If you know me personally, you already know that I LOVE to fly and that within the last year or so I have also developed the habit of flying dressed-up. I leave for the airport straight from work and it’s a hassle to remember to pack a change of clothes, also I am convinced people treat you different because they believe you are someone of great importance. Allow me to present Exhibit A – My BRAND NEW flying to Florida outfit:

Flying to Florida outfit

In all honesty, I had an alternative reason for wanting to look extra nice. My boyfriend, Scott, was the one picking me up from the airport. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know we are currently in a long-distance relationship. While we talk all the time thanks to Google+ Hangouts and texting, the last time we were in the same state together was October 2013, 6 very long months ago. Maybe it’s just a girl thing, but I wanted to impress him. 🙂

You know that scene in movies where the girl and guy see each other for the first time after an extremely long time apart – everything is in slow motion, heart in their stomachs until their eyes meet from across the room, painfully slow they make their way towards each other, face-splitting smiles on each face and then suddenly they are in each other’s arms and nothing else in the world matters or can interfere with their happy bubble. That moment, those perfect couple of minutes are real. The only thing missing was an elegant and uniquely composed instrumental soundtrack to enhance the feelings of relief, love and togetherness.

But alas, we had to return to the hear and now, and there was a fun moment were we wondered around the parking deck looking for his car.

My Disney adventures began the next afternoon when we met up with my Disney College Program roommate (now I call her my Disney sister because we are so close), Monique. Her 30th birthday was a couple days before I arrived and we had planned that I’d take her out to lunch to celebrate. We ended up at the Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

 

After lunch, we found ourselves at Epcot so I could visit my friend Stephanie, who is a manager at The Electric Umbrella. And then it was time to go on an adventure! This time of the year at Epcot they have the Flower and Garden Festival, it’s really something to see. Here are a few of the amazing arrangements:

I had my first experience with the new Fastpass+ system. We were able to get a FP for Test Track but it wasn’t until later in the afternoon. Then around the world we went, starting in Canada. Somehow in all the time I’ve spent at Disney, I’ve never seen the little movie in the Canada Pavilion, so it was a fun first. It takes place in a 360 degree theater and takes a little time to get use to. (Make sure to hold on to the railings so you don’t fall over, you may feel a bit dizzy as you look all around you.) From there we made our way around towards France, America and Italy. Somewhere in that area, there was a representative handing out free applesauce drinkable pouches, which weren’t half bad.

Once at Test Track, I was very excited! Not only is it one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World, it was also recently refurbished (within the last couple of years) and I’d only been on this “newer version” once before. With this “updated” version of the ride, each person designs a car and puts it through its paces on the course, competing with the other “drivers”. Check out our AWESOME car, we may have gone a smidgen overboard. 😉 And it’s green because that’s my favorite color!

Design a car at Test Track in Epcot

We finished off the night at Downtown Disney. I couldn’t believe all the construction that was happening, I almost didn’t recognize it! Also, Disney Quest had a paint job, and as a former cast member of the “big blue box,” I was not a fan. Once all the construction is complete down here, I think it’ll be a nice area to come and relax with friends. One of these days I want to go bowling at Splitsville, from what I’ve heard from friends who still live down there, it’s a great atmosphere and a lot of fun!

Saturday, Scott had to work, so that’s how I found myself at Animal Kingdom at 7:00 AM. Now, I am not a morning person, but I think I hid that fairly well. 😉 Of course, it HAD TO BE RAINING (wouldn’t be a Disney vacation if it didn’t rain at least one day), so here I am in my borrowed rain gear waiting for the park to open at 9:00 AM. On the plus side, I was the first one in line and the first one to enter Dinoland, USA, where I use to work and it was strange seeing no one wondering around, but that just meant I was also the first one on Dinosaur, and it felt like my DCP days all over again!

But my favorite part about being at Animal Kingdom was getting to visit Scott at work!

IMG_0069

And I was one of three people to ride the Wildlife Express Train while he was driving! Check out my video!

After a bit more running around Animal Kingdom, I made the switch back to Epcot to meet up with Monique. We had big plans to meet Anna and Elsa, the characters from Disney’s Frozen. While waiting in the 2.5 hour line, the sky opened up again and drenched us. You know you are a dedicated (read as crazy) Disney character meeting person when you brave lightning storms and threats of tornadoes to have your picture taken with a fictional character. THIS is what made us such great friends from the beginning, our willingness to do insane things together all in the name of our love of Disney. In the end, our perseverance paid off and we got those pictures, please excuse the fact that we look like “drowned rats” according to Monique.

Then it was back to Animal Kingdom to meet Scott when he got off work. Apparently Epcot was my park of choice this vacation, because we found ourselves back there so we could watch the firework show, Illuminations. We watched them from the Mexico pavilion, and it was pretty cool, as we were waiting, some of the technicians came around to get the fireworks ready.

IMG_0102

I have no pictures of the actual firework show from this trip, because believe it or not, I just WATCHED, and soaked in all the amazement and wonder. We did notice there was a slight glitch, one of the fountains wasn’t working and then a speed boat zoomed out there, someone fixed something and zoomed away before more fireworks exploded on the water. I know they know what they’re doing, but I was still kind of nervous for that boat being out there in the middle of the show!

Sunday found us at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We started off the morning in a drawing class learning how to draw Olaf from Disney’s Frozen.  “Do you want to draw a snowman? I promise it isn’t very hard. The teacher tells you what to do, and guides you through each circle that you make….he tells you how to shape his head and body too, it’s a super speedy class….do you want to draw a snowman, it might not always be a snowman. Okay, draw.”

IMG_0105

Of course we hit all the main attractions here, Indiana Jones Stunt Show, Lights, Motors, Action, Rock n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, and AVOIDED Tower of Terror. We did see Fantasmic, a firework and water show. My advice, get there early to get a good seat because even though this is a HUGE theater, it fills up fast, and trust me, you don’t want to be in the “standing room only section.” We started to leave a few minutes before the end of the show to beat the crowd of people because we were going to head over to Magic Kingdom to watch its firework show, Wishes. I have seen this show from various places around the park, each of the resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon and from backstage behind The Haunted Mansion when I had a perfectly timed break. On this particular night, we watched them from the cast only parking lot. It was pretty neat, the fireworks appeared to be SO CLOSE! Every time there was a big boom, different car alarms in the parking lot started going off. It was different seeing the show and not hearing the music, but when you’ve seen the show as many times as I have, it doesn’t matter because you have the soundtrack memorized and can sing it yourself. 🙂

On my last full day in Florida, it was finally time to return to Magic Kingdom. I will always get chocked up when I see Cinderella’s Castle or visit Mickey for a picture. I will always call Ad/Lib my “home” because I worked at The Haunted Mansion. I will always find such joy in talking to people in line, especially if they reveal it’s their FIRST TIME TO DISNEY, as happened while I was waiting to see Mickey. The family in front of me was from Georgia and they had a little girl about three years old. I couldn’t help but overhear they were already lost and not sure what to do (where you meet Mickey is right inside the entrance), so I offered to help. In the 30 minutes we were in line together, they downloaded the MyDisneyExperience App and we had planned out their entire vacation. Moments like that always bring back my Cast Member days, and it’s exciting to know that I haven’t lost who I was back then. If anything, those days changed me for the better – before the DCP I never in my wildest dreams would have voluntarily spoke to strangers in line, I would have been too shy. But now, it’s who I am – if I can help make someone else’s vacation a little less stressful and more magical, that’s just a bonus for my own trip.

IMG_7582

In the meantime, while I was visiting Mickey, Scott was saving us seats at the train station so we could watch the new Festival of Fantasy parade from up high! It was the perfect spot! There was so much to take in during the parade that I’m glad I had Scott record it so I could watch it again when I got home (yes, there are videos on YouTube already, but it’s different knowing your watching a recording from when you personally experienced it). I’ll share a couple pictures so you can see what I mean!

We ended the night watching the Castle projection show and Wishes. For me it was bittersweet – the next day I had to leave. Say goodbye to Scott, Florida, Disney, my friends, my home. I don’t know exactly what it is about Wishes, maybe because it was the first show I saw when I became a cast member, but it always makes me emotional, I will always cry. Always. I tried to hide it because, well, most grown women don’t cry at fireworks, but for me, it will always be more than just a firework show. I’m emotionally connected, there are memories, good and bad, that I will forever associate with that show and they always come flooding back to me. Luckily, I’m in good company in this crazy reaction, because I met up with another DCP friend, Jayme, who was also there on vacation, and she had done the same thing!

IMG_0176

Tuesday morning I woke up crying. I didn’t want to leave. I hate goodbyes and they never get any easier. I was breaking on the inside. Do you know how it fells to leave your heart behind, not only once, or twice, but now three times? There’s an empty space, calling it a hole would be a joke because it more than that, it’s this place where even though you can smile and be happy on the outside, you aren’t complete because a part of you is missing. All of those feelings, and trying to prepare and hope this time isn’t as bad, make the tears fall randomly throughout the day.

Since I had to be at the airport around 4:00 PM, we decided against going to a park. Instead, we went Mini Golfing at Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf, it was 18-holes themed around the classic animated film, Fantasia. Now, on a side note, you never really know the person you’re dating until you play mini golf together. I was happy to discover that we are both somewhat competitive and can be rather sarcastic (joking of course) with each other. Yes, Scott won, but that’s because I let him! 😉

 

And then all too quickly it was time to go to the airport. More tears. A heart-wrenching goodbye and he was gone. And I slowly made my way through security and to my gate, and then like magic I was home. While the last month has been hard being so far away after being together, it’s only made easier because as of this post, there are only 193 days until I return to Florida. And then, once again, I’ll be right where I belong. ❤

Where dreams come true2_March 31, 2014

Wordless Wednesday – 3/26/14

26 Mar

I’m just a LITTLE bit excited for my vacation….20140326-161812.jpg

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

24 Nov

Have you ever walked into work and been surprised to see yourself on a poster? I have…. here, take a look!

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I use to work at The Walt Disney World Resort®. My first role was as a Quick Service Food & Beverage cast member at Disney’s Restaurantosaurus  in Animal Kingdom from August 2010 – beginning of January 2011. One night after the park closed and we were cleaning the kitchen, there was a group of us who started singing Christmas songs as we worked, and we sounded GOOD, there were harmonies and flowing melodies! And from there our little choir of Resto Cast Members was born!

We would sign Christmas carols outside the restaurant with the guests at random times throughout the day! Nothing made me happier than having my manager come take over my position so I could go sing! (Have I mentioned I LOVE singing just as much as I LOVE Disney?) Sometimes other cast members would join us as you can see from the picture above. She was a character attendant for Pluto and Goofy and one of the places we would sing was along the path the characters took to enter and leave DinoLand. There was this one time Goofy stopped to “direct” our little choir! It was one of the funniest and most adorable things I had the opportunity to witness. The guests LOVED every minute of it!

My favorite stories though are when little kids would come running over and request their favorite songs just so they could sing with us. My heart swelled every time just knowing this little thing, singing Christmas carols at Disney would be a memory these families would take with them. And I was a little part of that magic.

I don’t recall having this picture taken. And I was honestly shocked when I came into work one morning and I found a smiling, singing me on the wall. But if there was ever to be an unexpected picture of myself hanging for all my coworkers to see, I’m glad it was this one as it so clearly showcases me in my element — singing, enjoying life to the fullest and making memories for perfect strangers. Who could ask for more in a photo?

Disney's Restaurantosaurus Cast Members sing Christmas Songs in DinoLand, A Christmas Carol Poster

Wordless Wednesday – 10/2/13

2 Oct

Is it time yet?!20131002-225941.jpg

Blogtember – A Catch-up!

8 Sep

First off, I’d like to thank The Daily Post for writing a whole post about the different blog events going on and providing useful links to them! It was thanks to that post I found the Blogtember Challenge on the blog Story of My Life and thought, why not?! Unfortunately, I found this post a few days after it started and decided I’d just do one LARGE catch-up on everything I’ve missed!

So, away we go!

September 3, 2013 –  Describe where or what you come from.

I wrote this when I was in high school but I think it still applies:

Where I’m From

With gratitude to George Ella Lyon

COPY CHANGE BY THE UNDERCOVER PRINCESS

I am from a hairbrush,

The computer and a single rose,

Deep red and elegant, standing tall and proud.

I am from the Carousel Theater and sliding into third base, breaking my ankle.

I am from chocolate and my radio,

From Diamond and the beach.

I’m from once in a blue moon…

And everyone saying, SHUT UP! When they are excited.

I’m from Wonder Woman and Hermione.

I’m from pickles and olives.

I’m from my mom, my dad, and my grandparents.

I’m from stardom and a singing career. 

September 4, 2013 –  If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do? (bonus points for fun photos.)

I would travel to all the places I’ve only been once and to all the places I’ve always dreamed of seeing – the latter list includes England, Scotland, Italy, Australia, South America, the list is endless!

September 5, 2013 – Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

My mom always says this to my sisters and I: “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. But if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

Basically, in order to succeed in life, we need to learn to become self-sufficient, independent individuals. Yes, it’s nice when other people are there to take care of you, but what happens when the day comes when someone isn’t there to do those things anymore? Will you know how to go on? I think I will, and it’s got a great deal to do with my mom…and dad. 🙂

September 6, 2013 – A story about a time you were very afraid.

I’m not really sure what story to share…. my Not So Sweet 16th Birthday comes to mind….

Then there was the time I was caught in a terrible thunderstorm at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And when we found out my little sister had cancer. — yes, this one had me the most afraid because even though we fight from time to time, I’d be lost without her! And I’m happy to report that her scans are clean and we couldn’t be more excited! 🙂

Phew, now that I’m all caught up, fingers crossed I wont get behind again!



R.I.P. Asics

22 Aug

Tonight we say goodbye to a dear friend and running companion, Asics. And while it turns out you were not actually a TRUE, high-quality running shoe as I was led to believe by a salesperson who must have known less about running shoes than I did at the time, I still loved you deeply.

IMG_6603a

Asics’ untimely demise came as a shock to those closest to them. It seems like just yesterday they were embarking on their first 3 mile run at the local state park, the wind blowing through their laces while effortlessly pounding the pavement.

In their short 3 month life, they trekked many miles across back country roads. They were scuffed up, broken in, and on more than one occasion, caught in a downpour. The training was grueling, but their dreams of crossing the finish line kept them coming back for more, day after day.

It was a beautiful morning the last Saturday in April when their dream would became a reality. They were taking part in a color run 5K, their first ever running challenge. Nervously they paced the starting corral, waiting for the moment of truth – would they survive a 3.1 mile run through the dewy grass, the loose rocks, slippery mud and dirt road all while having all the colors of the rainbow thrown on them? Yes, yes they would!

IMG_4668a

There was only a short 7 days to recover and regroup as their new-found running bug took them 1,200 miles away from home to run at The Happiest Place on Earth. That’s right, these two braved the night as they raced against the Yeti for the runDisney Expedition Everest 5K Challenge! Sailing effortlessly over hay bails, quick stepping through the football tire obstacle, even getting down and dirty in the wet sand for the army crawl couldn’t make them lose their focus. They defeated the Yeti and once again claimed a running victory!

IMG_5332a

They had hoped to go into retirement, or at least a resting period for a few weeks upon returning home days later, but that was short-lived as they learned they would once again return to The Happiest Place on Earth in 5 months. This time they would need their speed and endurance as they were signed up to outrun the Disney villains in the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Mile Race! (insert evil laughter and a bolt of lightning.)

Over the next few weeks they worked as usual, keeping pace with their training schedule. But tragedy was lurking on the side of the road. What seemed to be a minor injury, corrected with new inserts, soon proved to be too much for the pair to handle as other injuries followed. In the end, the stress of the road and the miles left to go were too much. Those closest to them are glad they are no longer suffering, as it was painful watching them deteriorate.

IMG_6601a

They are survived by their family members – Dr. Scholl’s Athletic Inserts for Her, white 1.5 inch athletic tape, Ipod touch and a running pouch.

Asics will not be forgotten. They have shown us what true dedication, determination and dreaming can achieve! Their legacy will be continued by their best friend, New Balance 870.

IMG_6609a

New Balance is scheduled to take their first run on the wide-open county roads Sunday afternoon. They will be forced to make up the slack in the training schedule that occurred during Asics’ injuries. We have complete faith in the pair as they rise to the challenge placed before them.

Also joining the running team for this race, two pairs of official running socks! It has yet to be decided who will actually be participating as the final member of the running team in October and we wish them both the best of luck in the coming weeks as they demonstrate their strengths and abilities.

IMG_6613a

And while it is always hard to say goodbye to a friend, they will be with us on the course – cheering and encouraging us to keep pushing harder, running stronger and dreaming bigger.

You won’t be forgotten.

IMG_6617a

 

Humidity Smack Down

26 Jul

Today I am missing Florida a little more than usual, call it a “home-sickness” type of feeling if you will, or maybe it’s because in the last week we have dropped 20 degrees in temperature and it feels more like mid-September than late-July outside. Whatever the reason, I began thinking about the summer I arrived in Orlando, Florida to begin my journey on The Disney College Program. (I can’t believe it’ll be three years ago in August. Where did the time go?!)  And that got me thinking about the Florida heat (not the basketball team) and how I thought I was going to DIE when I stepped out of the airport all those years ago….

Back story:

I was accepted to the Disney College Program as an intern at Walt Disney World in Florida for the Fall 2010 program which meant  I will left in August and was supposed to come home in January 2011, however I extended my program twice and managed to live at and work at Disney for an entire year. I started my program in the Quick Food and Beverage Service at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Restaurantosaurus.

I left for Florida on a Tuesday morning, and I woke up kind of sad knowing that I would soon be leaving everything I knew behind. My dad flew down with me and our flight was at 11:13am. Dad and I didn’t really have long to wait for our flight. While we were sitting at the gate waiting, across from us were two people about my age.  I couldn’t help but noticed the girl’s shoes. They were crocks with MICKEY HEAD shaped holes on top! As I looked closer, I noticed she also had a Disney name plaque on her bag. He was wearing a shirt with a bunch of vintage looking Mickeys on it. Got me wondering if they were just excited to A.) Be going to Disney on vacation or B.) Maybe they were Cast Members, too. I wish now that I would have asked. Oh, well.

Once on the plane, I started to cry again as we pulled out of the gate. I guess a wave of homesickness hit me as I thought “The next time I see this airport there could be snow on the ground.” That first time coming into the Orlando airport was kind of freaky. We were really low in the air when we passed over a major road and it looked like we were going to hit a truck! I’ll admit, I kind of freaked a bit.

Welcome to Orlando where it is 20 degrees hotter than home. I walked outside and felt like I had walked into a brick wall. It was going to take some getting use to. It took us about a half an hour to get from the airport to the Double Tree Resort at Downtown Disney where we were staying. Dad and I stayed in our room for a little bit to cool off before venturing out to find something to eat for dinner.

We had passed a McDonald’s coming to the resort and decided it wasn’t that far away, we’d walk over there. On our way, we stopped so Dad could take my picture in front of the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign.

IMG_6104

I also took pictures of the Mickey sign and the Minnie sign. Then we had to cross 5 or 6 lanes of traffic to get to our destination, the coolest McDonald’s I have ever seen. To be honest, I just liked the palm trees!

McDonald's at Downtown Disney

We decided to stay at the McDonald’s for a while because we were gross from walking there…I felt like I was dripping with sweat! And it was tiring on my lungs, I felt like I was having a harder time breathing here than back home, not good for the asthma! (But I am happy to say it didn’t take me long to acclimate to the climate and temperature change and soon found Florida to be just the right place for me health wise!)

When we headed back to the hotel, we passed a guy running and I can remember thinking that guy was NUTS! I was waiting for my skin to melt off my bones and there he was CHOOSING to elevate his internal body temperature by exercising! But good for him, and I’m sure that since he was use to the heat (I’m assuming he was, nice dark tan and all) that he knew when it was too hot for an outdoor run. But I’ll tell you what, I have never been so thankful for AC as I was when we arrived back at our room.

And then a few days later because I hadn’t been properly introduced to the Florida sun, during one of my first training classes as a Disney Cast Member I got to go out and explore Magic Kingdom in the early afternoon (i.e. when the sun is at its highest). It was a surprise to us all. Can you just picture it…30 plus brand new cast members all dressed up in business clothing (heels included) walking around Magic Kingdom. Now, let me tell you, it was exciting but uncomfortable  at the same time. It was 90 something degrees but felt more like it was 101 and there we were out in the sun! But I loved every minute of it. Here’s what I was wearing in the hot Florida sun while “melting” in Magic Kingdom on my first day….at least I looked cute!

Disney Tradition's OutfitIn the end, when I left Florida in August 2011, I barely noticed how hot is was, it just felt comfortable to me and I KNEW when it dropped below 70 degrees because I would start shivering! I knew I was going to miss the heat. When I returned home it was in the 60s and even wearing hoodies and socks, I FROZE.  As I mentioned above, it’s been almost 3 years now since I started my journey in Florida and I am still trying to re-acclimate to the cooler temperatures here in the fall and winter….and lets be honest, for a good part of our summer, too. I guess I was just meant to live in the Florida sunshine where it’s warm!


Zebra Garden

96 Days and Counting

28 Jun

Holy cow, I’m so excited right now I can hardly keep my hands on the keys so I can type.

96 DAYS and counting until I am once again in Florida, or more specifically at WALT DISNEY WORLD!!

96 days from:
Seeing my Disney Family
My boyfriend
Feeling like I’m where I belong.

20130628-230300.jpg

Tonight was very successful — flights are booked, hotel is booked (and I’m at a resort that’s hosting The Tower of Terror 10 Mile race so I’m THRILLED I won’t have to pay a $20 taxi fee to get back to my resort this time. Yes, that happened to me in May after the Expedition Everest 5K Challenge.)

My goodness even my email is filled with pixie dust:

20130628-230647.jpg

This is just what I needed to keep me motivated. Last night I went 4.5 miles in under an hour, I thought I was going to die, but I powered through. I felt like Super Woman afterwards – invincible, on top of the world, unstoppable. 🙂

On days where running outside is out of the question, and because I don’t have a treadmill, please let me introduce you to my personal Walking Drill Sargent: Leslie Sansone.

20130628-231040.jpg

She may look sweet and innocent, but don’t let her fool you — she will put you through your paces in her at home walking DVD workouts. This is a picture during a 3 mile power walk with fit cuff (goes around both ankles and provides resistance to train your lower body). I have a love hate relationship with her workouts, they are hard and you are completely gross when you finish (sign I’m doing something right maybe?) but the moves are simple enough to follow (it’s the fast pace and repetitions that killed me at first) and generally it goes quickly — a 3 mile walk averages about 45 minutes. I do love that I can get this great workout in in the comfort (and privacy) of my living room. I’m still self conscious of the way I look when I’m running outside, but I’m working to overcome that negative thinking about myself. I know I’m more than what I look like on the outside, sometimes I just need to be reminded to be nice to me. (Anyone else ever feel this way?)

So anyways, I’m well on my way for training and vacation planning. My roomie and I (who’s running the race with me) have already started planning our costumes for the race and I know they will be great because she is uber crafty and creative. I promise to post pictures!

And now I’m off to dream of genies, princesses, castles and kings…and who knows, maybe I’ll even practice outrunning a villain or two! Good night my fellow runDisney friends and readers!

Sweet dreams!