How to Disney from a Disney Newbie

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     Guys, I went to Disney! And it was great! But also kind of stressful… which is what I’m going to discuss today. I learned a lot about how to best “do Disney” while I was there… by making mistakes.
     First, if you have the ability to go to Disney at anytime, and aren’t harbored by kids’ school schedules or only being able to take vacation at certain times of the year, make sure you really think about the dates you go. I went during the week of my birthday. My birthday is mid February the day before Valentine’s Day. I didn’t see that as being a popular Disney holiday and it seemed to me that it would be a slower time of year. But I was wrong. Mardi Gras happened to fall on my birthday. And many kids in Louisiana get that whole week of school off. And they go to Disney. Also when we first arrived it was at the end of a cheerleading competition weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports on Disney property and there were cheerleaders all over for the first part of the trip. We were told there were 20,000 cheerleaders on property. So, if you want to avoid crazy crowds, check for competitions, and check for any kind of holiday, even if it might seem random to you.
     Really think about the weather. I didn’t pack the best. I brought pants, a couple of dresses, and last minute I luckily threw in a basic skirt. But no shorts. And I brought layers. It was February and I was expecting 70 degree weather. But it was in the mid 80s and quite hot everyday. So check and recheck the weather. If you want to bring one warmer outfit and a jacket or sweatshirt if you go during winter and I think that would be fine but remember this is Florida winter.
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This day was one of the hottest, and one of the most crowded. 
     Go early! We had a tendency to not leave our resort until 11 or 12 when the crowds were really starting to get big at the parks (especially Magic Kingdom). The rides that typically can be walk ons had 40 minute waits. The day we did go early, and when we stayed late and did rides after the fireworks, we were able to walk right on. So maybe avoid midday if you can.
Walked right on this guy, as you should. 
     Don’t be afraid to change your plans. I skipped fast passes and cancelled my Be Our Guest reservation. I CANCELLED BE OUR GUEST. One of the most highly sought after reservations. So why did I do that? Well my original plan for the day was to head to Magic Kingdom in time for the reservation at 1:30 and stay all the way through to the fireworks with a couple of fast passes in between. After a couple of days, I realized this plan was never going to work. It was going to be too long, too hot, and too stressful. So I cancelled. We ended up going to the park a couple of hours later than originally planned, grabbing snacks, riding the tea cups, and then I skipped my Big Thunder fast pass. The fast pass line was 45 minutes long! There’s nothing fast about that. So instead we went to Casey’s for dinner and I caught my Seven Dwarves Mine Train fast pass before finding a spot for the fireworks. So clearly my day changed quite a bit from my original plan but that’s okay and it was still a fun day.
     I hope you enjoyed hearing some types from a first-time-since-childhood Disney goer. And get ready for more Disney inspired posts to come. I’ve got a lot in mind!

On Being Single on Valentine’s Day

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It’s that time of year when everyone is focused on love. Valentine’s Day. It’s always been a double edged sword for me. On one hand, it’s right around my birthday and as soon as I start to see all the candy and decorations I start to get excited for the season. Also, everything is adorable. But on the other hand if you’re single, which I usually am, that fact tends to get emphasized to the point that you feel like something must be wrong with you. I don’t want this to be taken as me thinking there is something inherently wrong with Valentine’s Day. I don’t. I think it’s great to show loved ones that we care, it should be done all the time, but I don’t think we have to put down singles in the process.

I’ve been single most of my adult life. Single in terms of never married, and much of the time, single in terms of not being in a relationship. Mostly, I’m okay with it. I really don’t want to be in a relationship unless I feel like it will add to my life. I don’t need someone to “complete” me (and neither do you) and I really don’t want to bring someone into my life unless it feels right. Call me picky, but I don’t want to go down that path with just anyone.
So here’s my advice for all the single folks, whether you’re a long-term singleton like me, or you’re newly single, and maybe dealing with some heartbreak: It’s okay! Don’t let society pressure you into feeling, down, less-than, or shameful because you don’t have a partner right now. Be content with your independence, learn who you are as a person, and wait until that right person for you comes along to commit. And this Valentine’s Day, focus on the loved ones you do have, like your Galentine, a family member, or your pet. And finally, don’t forget to treat yourself! (How many Parks and Rec references can I put in one post?)
Wishing you love and the best!