Sunday, August 21, 2016

Day 1329: Closing Ceremonies

Tonight we say goodbye to another Olympic Games, and while there have been games in the past I've watched more attentively than I watched these, I've certainly spent more than a couple of hours sitting in front of my TV watching people more athletic than I. I mean, while they're grabbing world records in swimming or running at insane speeds, I'm sitting on my couch eating Hot Pockets, but I feel like that's part of what the Olympics are all about. 

There's been some debate about the NBC Coverage of the games, and while I wasn't a huge fan of it myself, it's still amazing to be able to watch talented athletes from all over the world compete, especially when some of the events are so graceful and inspiring. There were the hilarious moments, heartwarming moments, and heartbreaking moments, and yes, Simone Biles moments, but ultimately, these games are about so much more than just fencing, golf, or table tennis. 

Perhaps it's the immense amount of time I've spent walking the paths of world showcase, but events such as the Olympics are a simple reminder that everyone in the world can indeed get along and celebrate together. That we can work together, even if we're competing against one another. This is an idea we experience every day in the Disney community alone, as along with the numerous Disney Parks around the world that celebrate the unique cultures and international relations, Disney fans period come from everywhere. I frequently meet international guests at Walt Disney World, and, obviously, Disney employs students from all over the world as Cast Members. But even outside the parks, internationally so many of us quickly bond over characters, music, films, and ideas, and that's something special. 

The Disney references don't stop there though, as if you watched the opening or closing ceremonies, you might just recognize that light contraption behind the Olympic Flame. While I'm unclear as to what it really is, it certainly reminds me of the final float in Paint the Night at Disneyland! 

What was your favorite part of the Olympic Games? I personally always love watching the Swimming, but I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Have a magical day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 1317: Disney At College

It's been a wild three years since I was sitting at home, desperately trying to figure out how to decorate my first college dorm room. Agreements as to who would bring what had already been made with my soon-to-be roommate, I'd picked a relative color scheme, and I had basic dimensions of the tiny box I would call home for the first nine months of my college career. But even a little tiny box has white walls to fill, a desk to decorate, and Disney to incorporate. 

With another year of college just around the corner and an entire new class of Freshman getting ready to move into their first dorm, I couldn't help but recall the days of frustration, searching across the internet for that perfect idea on how to make my room mine...and that most certainly includes Disney. There seem to be thousands of dorm room ideas out there, but only a select few include elements from the Disney franchises, and for those of us that can't imagine a room without a bit of magic, it's sometimes difficult to determine what to do. 

So here are a few ideas for how to bring Disney into your dorm room: 

Keep It Simple and bring in a little Disney at a time. My freshman dorm room featured a desk that was Disney, but not overly Disney, a motto that I've taken with me throughout various other housing on campus. By bringing in a Disney-themed quote, park map crafts, and some vinylmation, I was able to have reminders of Disney on my desk while also keeping things professional. I went with a black/light blue/red color scheme, bringing in a custom-made shelf for my knick knacks and a canvas idea I got off Pinterest to complete the look. 

Utilize Disney Home Merchandise like this Once Upon A Time/Happily Ever After pillow I found in the Disney store. While Disney merchandise might not be as cheap as that pillow you can get from Walmart for four dollars, if you plan strategically with a couple of items here and there, they can really make a house feel like a home, and they have items for every room, from the kitchen, to the bedroom, and even the bathroom!

Use All Your Space. This is extremely important, especially in a small dorm room. Every space in the room is unique, from that spot on your futon, to above your desk, to the wall near your bed. While there's a time and place for a blank wall (I have one above my current desk), sometimes you can find a spot just waiting to be filled with some Disney. In my freshman dorm, we had our beds lofted (below), and the wall next to mine was perfect for some daily reminders of my friends, family, and Disney through Instagram Photostrips. 

Make It Unique by adding pieces of Disney that are distinctly you. I have a love for vintage Disney items, whether they be from the parks or films, so items like my Jim Shore Teacup or the vintage attraction posters I added last year are a must. But I'm also an avid fan of Once Upon A Time, so in addition to the toy yellow bug on my desk, there are tons of little references to the show throughout my college collection. If there's a specific item you collect, make it a part of your decor, because that's what college decorating is all about in the first place: being yourself. 

Do It Yourself and create items for your dorm. My apartment is now filled with various canvases themed to everything from Once Upon A Time to Hamilton, and it's one of the easiest ways to add both some color and character to a blank wall. If painting a canvas isn't quite your style, try making Disney Park Map Coasters or filling a picture frame with a meaningful quote. Just because it's DIY doesn't mean it has to be impossible. 

Small Can Be Big in a dorm room, no matter how well you think something's going to fit. It's here that some of the smallest merchandise in the Disney Store can make the biggest impact on your room, like the Vinylmation on my desk or the Tsum Tsum collection that now sits on my mantle. These are especially great for those that don't want to even come close to over-the-top Disney, because they're not always immediately recognizable as Disney, but still bring a big of magic to the party.

Keep Moving Forward with decor you can keep adding to. While not entirely focused around Disney, I recently added the quote canvas below to my bedroom wall. The wall reminds me that while there are million things I haven't done, there are a lot of adventures I have had too, and as the days go on, I keep adding to the wall. It helps me to keep moving forward, and allows for continuous change in my room, which is nice, especially after a few months of living in the same small box. Change can be good sometimes. 

While there are plenty of other secrets to my college decorating, many of which you can find here on Everyday Disney, these were just a few of my favorite tips. I hope that, if you're moving into a dorm soon, that some of these ideas helped inspire you, but I want to hear your ideas too! Let me know what some of your favorite college decorating tips are in the comments below! 

Have a magical day!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day 1315: Little Golden Book

As a Disney fan, my collection of random Disney items is starting to fill my shelves faster than I can make space for new additions, and ultimately I'm just going to run out of shelves period. While this doesn't really slow down my collecting, I have a mental list of items that I declare as "If I See It" pieces, meaning that yes, I'd love to own it, but I don't need to buy it. So instead, if I happen to see a copy of it, I'll pick it up and add it to the collection, but if I don't, that's alright too. 

The Little Golden Book on Everything I learned from a Disney Little Golden Book (confusing, I know) was one of those items. My mom had a copy gifted to her a while back, and lately everyone in the Disney community seemed to be picking up a copy, and since I loved Mom's copy, that meant that it was about time to get my own Little Golden Book. 

If you aren't familiar with the Little Golden Books, they're a popular series of children's books that many of us read as kids. I had a few myself, now long gone I'm sure since, well, I haven't been a kid for quite some time, but this particular book takes everything to a new level. This book simultaneously offers fresh inspiration for children and a new generation, and gives all us adults a serious case of "the feels" as we cope with our lost childhood learned through reading. 

In particular, I love this book because it features not only some of our favorite classic lessons from Little Golden Books of the past, but also current films with new artwork, including Frozen, Monsters Inc. and Tangled. It brings a new meaning to some of the themes of films old and new, and honestly, it's just a wonderful book to have around when you're having a bad day. It's the perfect length for a quick motivation session or cry about the past, and there aren't many things that can accomplish both of those these days. 

If you haven't found your own copy of Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Disney Little Golden Book, what are you waiting for? Unless, of course, they're on your "if I see it" list. If that is the case, I found my copy at the Grand Floridian. ;) 

Have a magical day!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Day 1314: Book It

It's pretty obvious at this point that 2016 is the year of Disney trips. It's been a stark contrast to years such as 2013, when, initially, I didn't think I'd be going on any trips (despite the fact that I picked that year to begin writing for Everyday Disney), and really, four trips in one year, in less than 10 months really, is more than even I'm used to. I still have a trip scheduled for October, when I'll finally get to attend the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot for the first time since my childhood, but after that we didn't really have anything in mind. 

Until now. 

After some debating over whether or not we would go to Florida over Spring Break, similar to what we did my freshman year, we ultimately decided that just Mom and I would head down for another January trip, which just happens to be one of my favorite times of the year to visit Walt Disney World (next to Christmas, of course). We even added an extra day to our stay, making the trip the longest we'll have taken since January of 2015, which will offer for plenty of time to film videos and do some photography while avoiding rain and the cold weather. 

The point here is this: Disney fans have this problem, where if we don't have another trip planned for after our next trip, we'll end the day depressed and sad, so instead of just moping around wondering when another trip will fall into our hands, we take the initiative and just book another trip. Because, as Disney reminds us on our Magical Express ride back to the airport, the best way to get over one vacation is to start dreaming about the next one. 

Do you frequently have multiple trips planned at a time? 

Have a magical day! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Day 1313: All The Others

Per usual, after a Disney trip, I share a few of my favorite pictures from my time in the parks, especially pictures that won't otherwise be shared since they may not fit a specific topic. So, without me rambling any further, here are a few of my favorite pictures: 

I don't frequently grab one of the real cameras, aka my parents' DSLRs, but I had enough sense to bring along Dad's on my solo trip this July. While I didn't use it until the last day, it's obvious to me that some of my favorite pictures were taken with his camera, despite the fact that I only used it for a couple of hours. There's just something refreshing about the sound of a real camera in comparison to an iPhone, wouldn't you agree? 

Have a magical day!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Day 1312: Birthday Wishes

There are very few ways that you can celebrate your birthday that are better than celebrating at the most magical place on earth. 

While my actual 21st birthday was earlier in July, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to celebrate at Walt Disney World, especially since the trip was sort of like a birthday present. It's amazing how much magic one little birthday button can create, and I can't thank the amazing cast members throughout the resort enough for all the magic they created, from saying happy birthday to creating very magical moments for me throughout my trip! 

During my day spent at Hollywood Studios there was plenty of birthday magic to be had. Mickey threw me a birthday party (not a castle's still too soon to bring that up), a wonderful cast member gave me a strawberry bar, and my lunch at the Brown Derby was made extra delicious by the entirety of the staff there! 

And then at Animal Kingdom, the staff at Tiffins brought me a special dessert with a candle (that I remembered to take a picture of before blowing it out), and at the end of the night, the staff of the Animal Kingdom Starbucks made a magical moment for me by gifting me a special Mickey-Shaped Cinnamon Roll (which was pretty much my favorite moment of the entire trip). 

After that I stopped wearing the buttons, as I was already overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from everyone I met, but honestly, I think the two days and three hours I was "officially" celebrating my birthday were almost better than the entirety of my actual birthday trip three years ago (although celebrating with my family was pretty magical too). But more than anything else, I was always aware of the fact that, for the week I was in Florida this July, I was there alone. I wouldn't be meeting up with my family later in the day for dinner, I wouldn't be seeing them for a Fastpass, and while I was alone, I never really felt alone. The cast members made sure of that, and they made me even more determined to return in just about a year to make magic for others just like me as a cast member myself. 

Have you ever celebrated a birthday at Walt Disney World? 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Day 1311: Photographic Evidence

Perhaps one of my favorite not-so-hidden secrets of Walt Disney World has to be the thousands of little pictures you can find right in front of Spaceship Earth. These pictures, a part of the Leave A Legacy campaign that began in 1999, allowed guests to put their own permanent mark on one of the most visited places in the world, and now, 17 years later, you can still see the pictures, proudly displayed at Epcot. Plus, it's photographic evidence that I was indeed at Walt Disney World all those years ago. 

I actually have two Leave A Legacy pictures, one from 1999 with my mom (which I'm pointing to in the picture above) and another of my brother and I from a few years later. I will say that it's pretty difficult to find the pictures, because their individual "addresses" are certainly something you need to decode, but nothing makes me happier than visiting these pictures, a permanent piece of me that is always there at Epcot. It's sort of like a physical part of me that's always there...despite the fact that I don't look much like I did 17 years ago. 

There's been continuous rumors over the years that the plaques will come down at some point, as obviously they're not original to the park, and I believe they were only guaranteed for 20 years, but I would hate to see this living reminder of so many taken down. Of course, there's thousands more represented near the Magic Kingdom in bricks, of which I also have one, some of which have worn down over the years to the point where they're unrecognizable, but that's what the Florida weather will do to you I suppose...if you're a brick that is. 

Do you have a Leave a Legacy photo or a brick at the Magic Kingdom? Let me know in the comments! 

Have a magical day!