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Our First Time to the Amway Center and Craig’s NCIS Birthday Celebration

Hello family and friends, sorry I haven’t been able to write much lately, I have been a busy gal! Literally from Sunday until today, I have been going non-stop with meets, celebrations, special events, and just family time in general.  Here is a look back at my week and what we did- enjoy!

Sunday we were blessed to have won tickets for “Disney on Ice” at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. (A huge thank you to Suzannah!!!) The venture was exciting because we hadn’t been downtown before, nor had we been to Amway as well. We found it without a problem, and it was really nice that such a large venue is so close to our home.  We did have the Performing Arts Center in Appleton, but until we had that, we traveled to Milwaukee or Green Bay for any and all concerts.

The downtown area was really quite beautiful, and we hope to come back sometime and just explore it for awhile. It reminded us of our travels to Chicago last summer, and how our FL dreams were so far away at that time. We found a parking garage for less than $10 for the afternoon, and now knowing of any other better options, we chose what we found easiest and parked. As we walked closer to the Amway Center, we found a lot more parking, inside and out for $20 and less- good to know for future shows.

We were there about an hour early, so we bought some great souvenirs for Kyra and Emily. Of course Emily’s “Tangled” theme room would look great with Flynn Ryder pennants and a Rapunzel crown and cup. The crown came with the cotton candy, and the cup, complete with Pascal on the straw, came with a rainbow snow cone- Emily’s smile was just priceless! We got Kyra a Flynn Ryder pennant as well and also the purple flag with a sun on it (as in the movie). How sad that all this great merchandise was sold at the Disney on Ice show and not in the Parks- Tangled is so popular right now and Disney is missing the boat on other merchandise that would be perfect for it.

We won club seats, which were incredibly comfortable, and had a great view of everything. They had a nice area that if you wanted to sit at a table or stand, you could do so.  We felt very “V.I.P” and enjoyed having Ken, Anthony, Joe and Andrew to hang out with at the show. The presentation centered around Tiana, Cinderella, and then on Rapunzel.  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald presented the stories as one whole story, tying it all in at the end.

If you think Disney food and drink prices are high, you should go to Amway! Kyra and I went on a quest for sodas and snacks, and found that a small, and I mean SMALL soda, would cost us $4.25! So that is all we got, along with the cotton candy from earlier.  Out tickets were free, but we spent a small fortune on the souvenirs and treats.  It was well worth it, and we got to experience a new city, a new place, and a new show while sitting with each other and good friends.  The only down side of the day was that my IPhone decided that it didn’t want to cooperate and just shut off, even though it had been fully charged. A huge thank you to my awesome hubby, Craig, for grabbing some pictures of our fun day!

Monday would be the start of a new week and a new perspective on life.  I felt incredibly at peace and very happy, and was super excited for those I would get to meet that day.  What is it about walking into the Magic Kingdom, stepping on Main Street, and then getting close to that gorgeous Castle that makes me smile from ear to ear?  I found myself starting to SKIP as I headed to Fantasyland, yes, skip! Why? Because I think it finally hit me that this is my playground, and I am blessed to enjoy it as much as I do. Being by yourself lets you think and wonder, and when I am in WDW alone, I love to let my thoughts take hold and run.  I felt empowered, energetic, and nothing was going to get in my way.

I found Shari at Dumbo where we agreed to meet, and was super happy to have finally met. We took our time enjoying rides, swapping stories, and wound up having lunch at Cosmic Rays. Shari thankfully got a pic of us together, as I would have loved to, but my phone still was working right. I could turn it on (I have an IPhone 4) but I couldn’t use the bottom button to switch from screen to screen. So every time I needed to use another application, I would have to turn the phone off and on to bring up the page of apps. So frustrating, and the timing was not the best for the meets- but I personally think God was giving me a break from it and I took it.

After a wonderful morning with Shari, I went home to check on Emily and her classes and regroup before the next meet. Please understand that normally I don’t have this many meets in one week, I think many are here for free dining, so that’s why I have been so busy. Family comes first, so making sure their needs were met, I headed into Studios to meet with Barb.

After some time, I thought possibly I might have gotten the wrong day, but Barb was just running late. I met her husband and beautiful girls, and we chatted over Pizza Planet grub.  We enjoyed a ride on the Great Movie Ride, and then said our goodbyes. A wonderful family with a lot of heart- I was happy to have spent some time with them.

Once I am in a Park, I always face that moment of should I stay and play, or leave.  I’m always thinking that I am there already, so why not enjoy the moment? I took the opportunity and first walked on to Toy Story Mania, then jammed to “Mulch, Sweat, and Sheers,” and then grabbed a bag of cotton candy and headed into Fantasmic where I found an end seat dead center.  It was fun to enjoy it all and not worry about anything.

Tuesday I would be back into the Magic Kingdom to meet Lynn in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Lynn was a wonderful woman with a great hubby, and three adorable children.  We rode a couple of rides together and got the chance to chat for a bit.  It was short lived due to other commitments I had, but the time spent together was awesome.   Lunch would be at Tortuga Tavern with my very good friend, Korie. I so enjoyed talking to a Christian woman who talks the talk, and walks the walk.  We have a lot in common being Christians, Moms, Wives, but more importantly, cultivating a friendship that clearly God brought us too. A sincere thank you to you Korie for being a true friend.

Craig went out with Bill for a guy’s night, so the kids and I sprang into action. Emily had orchestrated an idea to surprise Craig with, and that was an NCIS crime scene for his birthday. The kids and Craig watch it every week together, so they had been so excited to do this for him. We used Halloween police tape (thank you Anthony!) to corner off the living room and Emily had her bunny, Benny, on the floor. The idea was for Craig to figure out the mystery of who had killed Benny.  Emily swears that Craig looks like “Gibbs” from the show, so he had to be him when he saw it.

Craig got home, and as I let him open his eyes, Emily started up the NCIS music. Em was dressed up like Abby, and Kyra was dressed up Ziva.  They walked Craig into the crime scene, then to Abby’s lab, then to the interrogation room, and then finally the autopsy area.  I know some of you may think this is odd or gross, but it interests Emily and who knows, maybe she will be an investigator some day.  He loved it and I was so proud of my kids for being so inventive and creative. Craig enjoyed early birthday cake and we called it a night.

Come to Wednesday, a big day every day in our household. Back when, Craig had agreed to get married on his birthday. What he didn’t realize is that sharing that special day just isn’t fair for him, so we started years ago celebrating his birthday on the 14th, and our anniversary on the 15th.  So we celebrated and treated him to lunch with an Imagineer at the Brown Derby in Studios. We enjoyed Toy Story Mania twice that morning, with an empty Muppet Show following, then headed with him to lunch. We hung out at Pizza Planet while he had his magical moment, which wound up being about 3 hours long. So if you plan on this for anyone, you get your money’s worth with the time alone they invest in it.

Em and I picked up Kyra from school and headed back to Studios to pick up Craig around 2:30.  He was so happy about his meal, the place, and the time spent with a Disney Imagineer. Look for a blog post to come out with details on the experience soon.

After we all recharged at home, we headed into Epcot for dinner at Sunshine Seasons and then walked on to every ride. I couldn’t believe it! We even got fastpasses for Soarin, but the wait was only 15 mins, and I don’t even think the wait was that long. Noone was near the screens when we walked up, the line started around the corner at the Cast Member taking our fastpasses. Coming from a crowded summer, September is every Disney enthusiasts dream come true.  We were able to ride with empty spots in our row, and for kicks, fastpassed it after we got it so we could keep them with the September 14th date one them.

We headed to Nemo for a walk-on ride, then headed to Mousegears for another birthday present for Craig. After he opened his new vinylmation which Emily bought him, we headed for Test Track to do it in the dark. Again, we walked on, and had a car all to ourselves- no single riders in sight. We loved it so much in the dark, we walked on and did it again! I can’t tell you how much I love being with my hubby and kids, they make me feel so happy and loved, but most of all, they make me feel that I am a part of something incredible.  THEY are the reason I get to enjoy WDW so much, and I love and thank them every day for it.

We hit our 100th day as FL Residents this past week, and we have worn shorts every single day.  I love my life in Florida and have found that all of the new experiences and people help you grow.  Since we have moved here, I have done things I never dreamed I would get to do, and met some of the most incredible people on the planet. I have also learned that you can’t be friends with everyone without compromising who you are and what you stand for.  You hope that moving to a new place will mean a clean slate- but as much as you would like that, I truly believe that it’s not the clean slate you crave, but in how you handle it all. I am so proud of myself that my life choices have matured, and that’s how it should be as a wife and mother.  I hope I continue to inspire all of you, and have a great day.


Thank you for the support!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Disney, Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my brand for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! So THANK YOU for YOU!!


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  1. I love this new blog. How sweet it was to have a crime scene set up like that. Tell Emily all she needed was Abby’s wild boots and she’d look just like Abby. LOL. I’m sure she got the “Good job Abbs” and a kiss from “Gibbs” too. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks for another amazing report.

    Wow! 100 days! It’s been a truly magnificent time and I’m happy to be here to share it with y’all. I look forward to reading about the Lunch with an Imagineer.

    Happy Birthday, Craig! And Happy Anniversary to Craig and Amy!

    So many awesome celebrations, including just being in Central Florida with WDW and good friends! Here’s to another 100 days, and another 100 days after that, and another 100……


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