Monday, June 30, 2014

Day 546: All The Magic

Day two of the Disney portion of the band trip was a big one. No, not big...HUGE. A full day at Magic Kingdom with a parade smack dab in the middle, and we had tons of stuff to do along the way!

As most Magic Kingdom days begin, we headed over on the ferry, walking through the gates just after ten in the morning. We checked out Main Street before venturing back to get some postcards mailed out, which we counted as one of the things we got accomplished for the day too! On our way to Fantasyland, we walked through Cinderella Castle, which is certainly an attraction in itself! Then it was off to our first stop: it's a small world. Everyone always seems to give this attraction a bad wrap, and I couldn't just let my friends in the Magic Kingdom without experiencing it for themselves. Now, it wasn't planned to be the very first attraction, but there was certainly a line for Peter Pan, so we made a few changes.

Then it was off to find some water. One has to keep hydrated after all. Then, Ashley's worst nightmare: HAUNTED MANSION. She was terrified, but I think she enjoyed it. After all, she did survive my whispering in her ear, and that's a feat to be proud of in itself. After our adventures there we headed out across the park for our first fastpass of the day: Space Mountain.

I think Ashley has told me that this is one of her favorite attractions, which really surprised me. She told me after we got back that Disney sort of helped her get over her fear of thrill rides and rollercoasters, so that's an accomplishment in itself. Jonny and I were on like opposite ends of the car, but it was funny because you could totally still hear the two of us counting down as we hit blastoff.

Lunch was at Cosmic Rays, and we went early enough that there were still seats open in by Sunny Eclipse, so of course we sat there for a while and listened to him. Nothing like that lovely music and those terrible jokes! And since we had a parade coming up that afternoon, we spent a little extra time on lunch, just to cool off and keep ourselves as healthy as possible.

In her graduation speech last year, Megan quoted Carousel of Progress, so of course that was on the list of things to do as well, and yes, we got it done! It's hilarious how many little references to the show I have in my everyday life, so I'm sure Megan especially was happy to finally see the show that they come from, not to mention the "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" she talked about in her speech.

With a while before our report time for the parade, we took a walk back across the park, stopping in front of Cinderella Castle once again to take some pictures before heading off towards Frontierland. As we walked, we found that the Country Bears would begin in about 6 minutes, and after a quick check on the internet about the length of the show, we headed in. It was mostly just a time filler, but Ashley just couldn't stop laughing. I think it's safe to say she enjoyed it.

A bathroom break, meet up with my parents and report time later, we were backstage, preparing for the parade that would change my life. But that's another blog post (or two or three if you include the ones I have already written). We marching down Main Street, cried, hugged, almost died, got really hot, and were happy, and sad and angry was an emotional experience.

After the parade we found my parents once again, up at the train station, before having to head out for our dining reservation. It all worked out great though, since we took the Train back to the Storybook Circus stop, meaning we got on yet another attraction! Dinner was a big one too, Be Our Guest. As the only kids on the trip who got to eat there, it was pretty wild.

Although not as wild as the attractions that came after dinner. Our meal took a really long time. Almost two hours, but we met up with my parents at the stockade in Liberty Square before journeying off to Big Thunder. Another Fastpass, Another mountain. Which we followed up by Pirates, which we waited standby for. It didn't take super long, but I can honestly admit that I've never gotten as wet on Pirates as I did that day. Megan and I were soaked. Not that we would have faced a chance that evening anyways since our next attraction was Splash.

Following all the thrills, on our way back to the front of the park to meet everyone for Wishes, we found ourselves eating Dole Whips (for the very first time for some of us!), walking through the stores, and catching glimpses of the Electrical Parade. And finally, we stood at Town Square to catch the Projection show and Wishes with the rest of the band, all with a few laughs with our band director.

Total things accomplished: Postcards sent out, walked through Cinderella Castle, it's a small world, Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Lunch at Cosmic Rays with Sunny Eclipse, Carousel of Progress, Country Bears, Marched down Main Street USA, Walt Disney World Railroad, Dinner at Be Our Guest, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Dole Whips, Castle Projection Show and finally, Wishes: 17 things.

Don't ask me how we did that. I don't even know.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Day 545: Lights, Camera, Action!

That title seemed like a good way to start these three posts that give a more in depth look at all the crazy we managed to accomplish during our short three day trip to Walt Disney World. It's funny, because I didn't write the newspaper article for this trip as I did the previous ones, so it almost feels like I haven't actually done this yet, especially since I also haven't begun editing the vlogs from those days.

But on this first day, and now the title will make even more sense, we went to Hollywood Studios. Actually, our day started out with that recording session I talked about in a previous blog post, and then we headed to Hard Rock Cafe, which I also talked about earlier, so we didn't really get there until around three, but that didn't stop us from getting a ton of stuff accomplished!

As soon as we got to the park, we made a quick stop for a photopass picture with the hat in the background. I love stopping at these because they generally have the frame and just who doesn't like that? It's brilliant. Plus, don't we all look adorable in those matching shirts? More on that in a minute though!

After our pictures we went to see Indy. Since it sounds like the show will be closing in the near future, it's sort of bittersweet. My first-time Disney peeps had never seen the show before, and here I was possibly facing my last time seeing a show that has found a special place in my heart. Sadly, it was cut short due to rain, and although I attempted to be chosen for the extras, I wasn't. That's alright though. I tried. Plus, everything was ok afterwards because WE MET INDIANA JONES.

For those that don't know, if you stick around after the show down near the bottom, you may be able to meet the stunt actors who play Indy and Marian. We did, since I figured it would be a great way to start out our Disney experience, AND it was something new for me. I've been meaning to try this for a while, and here I was with my friends getting to meet INDIANA JONES. You guys just don't know how amazing this was for me. As Ashley likes to say, his sweat is soaked into our souls.

After our incredible time meeting Indy, we headed out across the park for a try at Toy Story Mania. Thank the maker for Fastpass+! Now, I can't really speak for Megan and Ashley, but if I remember correctly, they both really enjoyed this one, even if Jonny did cream each and every one of us. I have to say though, it was a relief actually getting to play the game this time, unlike the last trip through when I videoed it for the band trip video!

Then it was off to dinner at the Sci-Fi, and we were lucky enough for our band director to join us. Let's just say there were some interesting moments involving the car parked outside, but what really made it special was what happened right beforehand! My parents had shirts to match ours, since they ordered theirs extra, knowing they would be there, and a cast member stationed at the DVC booth outside of SciFi had stopped them earlier in the day, commenting on how much she loved the shirts. When we came back later, she was still there, and I had the chance to talk with her about them. Apparently, she's been working for Disney for about 5 years and had never seen the design that graced the back of our shirts (which you can see in my Disneybound there...Genie!), and her comments LITERALLY MADE MY LIFE. As the designer of the shirt, and having spent countless hours trying to figure out what to do with it so it wouldn't infringe on copyright, having a cast member freak out about them made every ounce of it worth it. Needless to say, I wear that shirt all the time, and I can guarantee I'm going to try and get my friends and brother to wear it on a day in January.

Dinner was great, as usual, and then our band director was dead set on getting me on Tower of Terror. I've never been on it, of course, and he just had to see me on it. Problem was that there was 120 minute line, and we had less than that before we were set to meet back up for Fantasmic. Turns out the attraction was down and while our director and a few others tried to get on, they weren't successful. We made the right choice and instead headed across the park to use Star Tours fastpasses we had reserved, followed by a chance to build a droid, which Ashley was very excited about. I still don't know what hers is named, but mine is Harrison and my brother's is Gene Jones. Don't ask.

The Muppets came next, which left us just enough time to get back across the park to meet up for Fantastmic. So maybe we were two minutes late, but we were in contact with our chaperone, and everything worked out alright. Being 120 seconds late never hurt anyone.

Our day was rounded out with Fantasmic, which was entertaining mostly because we spent the hour long preshow next to our director...which I have mostly on camera. It was the most entertaining experience ever. Back at the hotel then, that night, we also ate our (slightly deformed) butterfinger cupcake and some zebra domes! Day well spent!

Although I am not looking forward to the Tower of Terror deal I made. Since we couldn't go on it, I told my director I would go on it in January, and I'd film it. He told me I must venture on it twice. We'll see if I make it through the first time.

Total things accomplished on Day one: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Met Indiana Jones, Toy Story Mania, Ate at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, Star Tours, Build-A-Droid, The Muppets in 3D and finally, Fantasmic: 8 things.

Not bad for only a few hours in Hollywood Studios, right?

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day 544: We're Crazy

As I mentioned in the blog post before this one, there's a bit more to come from the band trip and everything that went on. I'm hardly blogging about half of it, especially since there are just so many memories and moments that will go unsaid.

But I'm going to try and share a few more, at least before I have to leave the wonderful confines of the music lobby once again to head back to my house. No internet? No blogging. But for now we won't think about that.

Instead, let's talk about what we DID accomplish on the trip. If you remember, or have been reading for a while or did some weird binge read of all my blog posts for some reason, you might just remember THIS post. The day? 263. The title? Africa. The point? There's more to do in Magic Kingdom than you can possibly imagine.

It started out talking about how the music department here at SNC was gearing up for a trip to Africa this summer. As you're probably very well aware, I didn't go on that trip and instead spent my time going to Walt Disney World, although I heard that they had a spectacular time in Africa. Nonetheless, that post ended up being a weird compilation of calculations on how much there is to do in the Magic Kingdom, an amount that is now, technically, way off thanks to Anna and Elsa and the Mine Train and so on and so forth. By the end, we determined that it's physically impossible to do everything the Magic Kingdom has to offer in one day.

And I'm completely correct in saying that it is. We spent one day (from about 10 AM to 10:30 PM) at the Magic Kingdom, and we most certainly did NOT experience it all. Although we did have a few once in a lifetime experiences that day, such as marching down Main Street, or my friends seeing Cinderella Castle for the very first time. It was all very magical.

But in fact, between all four theme parks, we had THREE days. Less than actually, since half of the first day was spent in a recording session and then at Hard Rock. So in reality, two and a half days. The funny thing is, I think I did more in those two and a half days than I sometimes do in my usual eight days, and I'm still not quite sure how it all worked out.

I'm actually debating how I want to do this. You may think I'm kidding, but we literally did SO MUCH that I'm debating splitting this into three different blog posts. And you know what, that's what I'm going to do, because then I can share pictures too without this getting to be super long.

Plus, I need more topics for blog posts (probably not actually, but it sure doesn't hurt).

And so, you can find our adventures on these blog posts!

Day 1: Hollywood Studios
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Day 3: Animal Kingdom/Epcot

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Day 543: The Final Trip

In the five years I've been involved with the Seymour Community High School Band, I've been to a lot of places, and I've had the chance to share my passion for music with a lot of really amazing people.

Four years ago I traveled with 15 fellow Seymour Students and a pile of Pulaski kids to Colorado and South Dakota. That was my first band trip. In fact, it was the first band trip for the SHS Band in years, and the first on the scale of everyone in the group was able to go. Most didn't, and I almost opted out of the trip as well, but I'm certainly glad I decided to go. That trip helped inspire my real love of travel, and I do hope to go back someday, maybe on a cross country trip that starts at Disney World and ends at Disneyland? Yeah, something like that.

Then we went to Chicago, which, as much of a pointless trip it was, taught us a lot of things about how we had to go about planning a trip itself. It led to another spectacular trip the following summer to Boston and New York, two places I most certainly want to go back to some day. I'll never forget going to the Disney Store or dancing on the top of a boat in New York Harbor next to the Statue of Liberty in the pouring rain. And as long as that four mile parade in Boston was, it's one of my absolute favorite moments in my entire life.

Last year we went to Mackinaw Island, which told me a lot about how I want to travel and where I want to travel. I wasn't impressed with the island at all, but going with my friends made it worth it, and there are certainly plenty of crazy memories from those couple of days, Ohio Guy included. But all through that last trip, there was this constant sense of dread in the fact that it could be my last. It wasn't, obviously, as I just spent the last how long blogging about the band trip to Walt Disney World. But the idea is still the same. There's that sense of dread, knowing that soon enough, it will be all over. And that's something that stuck with the Disney trip too.

One of my college professors joked last week about how I'm too young to write a memoir (and he is too!), but I feel like I could. The SHS Band Trip to Walt Disney World was certainly one of the most difficult experiences I've ever had, from the first day our director brought it up until the last day I will work on the band trip video. It's been a long process unlike any other, and it's taught me a hell of a lot about people, and life and work and dreaming and commitment and hundreds of other things. A good portion of me thinks and wants, honestly, to write forever about it, about every last detail that I can remember before I forget about it, because sometimes even a daily blog isn't enough to keep it all straight.

But as difficult as it all was, this trip was also one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. As I mentioned in a former post, it's not everyday your dream you've had for 18 years can come true. Life just doesn't work that way. I'm so glad it did work though, and I'm very excited about the fact that Megan and Ashley both loved my home so much that they're joining us on our NEXT trip! What a way to make a Disney Geek happy, right!?!

This trip started for me a long, long time ago, and the ending is quite bittersweet. That's for sure. It's not done, as of right now, since I'm still working on the video, and the memories will certainly last a lifetime, and the drama that surrounds the experience continues to be difficult, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because as Walt Disney once said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them," and I can attest to the fact that this is very much the truth.

There are a couple of other blog posts that will be right after these that still have to do with the trip, since we did SO MUCH in those six days that it's sort of difficult to write about absolutely all of it in just a few posts, but these are my final thoughts on the trip, I suppose, or at least as they stand now.

- Dreams are hard to achieve, no matter what they are, but never give up on them.
- People show their true colors when you least expect them to.
- Be thankful for what you have.
- Make the most of your time. There's so little of it in the first place. Don't waste it.
- Keep Calm and Be Understanding, but stick up for what you believe.
- Accept help when it is offered, especially when it's an offer on something you know nothing about.
- Take lots of pictures. And video. Document your moments, because they're gone faster than they came.
- Do what is right, even if it's not what you want.
- Take risks. Try new things. Be adventurous.
- Never lose hope. It's more important than anything else in the world.

Have a magical day.

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 542: Breaking the Rules

As I said in one of the previous band trip blog posts, I don't really like to spend my Disney time outside of Disney, and that means I rarely venture off Disney property. And if I do, it has to be at a Lizzie approved location.

What's not approved you ask? Well, Universal for one. But there's a story here, I swear to you there is.

I've actually been to Universal...once. I was three. I don't remember it. I don't really care. It was for an AGCO convention that was in Orlando that year, and my parents and I made the trip down for it. I can't recall much about the trip aside from being sick, stubbing my toe and staying at the Grand Floridian (oh yes, my brother is jealous that I have stayed there and he has not). But I did go to Universal that trip, and that's just about all I need.

The rest of this story, however, doesn't really have to do with any experiences in the park, but for some reason I have an extreme grudge against the place. A number of years ago, there was this commercial on TV though, and it was for Universal of course. Why we get such commercials here in Wisconsin (on our local channels that weren't like ABC or FOX) I really don't know, but we did for some reason, and boy it didn't sit well with me.

I don't remember much about the commercial except for two things. One, there was this girl that I distinctly remember saying something like "If I see another Princess I think I'm going to puke" and two, it was 100% against Disney. I just spent a few minutes on YouTube trying to find it, but came up with nothing. Either way, I remember it, and I remember not liking it.

It's one of my pet peeves in life honestly, to make yourself look better by downgrading someone else. We're all at different levels, and yeah I complain about people too, but I'm not going to like walk into my audition for Wind Ensemble and brag about how many scales I have done compared to my peers. And if I do run a business someday I'm not going to gain business through that negative sort of advertising. The point is this, I didn't like the commercial because it was downgrading on Disney, and that's something that, as far as I can remember, Disney has been very good about with their own advertisements. Granted, we all know they're the best to begin with so it's not like they can do anything else, but they don't complain about the competition, right? No commercials talking about how we're never going to ride a broomstick again or something.

So since then, whenever that actually was, my #1 rule in life has been this: never step foot on Universal Property. That's the basic rule, and there are a few exceptions, since I AM actually a Harry Potter fan and wouldn't mind heading to the Wizarding World sometime. But other than that I have no real desire to go there. I'll stick with my Disney, thank you.

But sometimes, and especially when you're on band trips, you don't have a choice in where you want to go, and for me, that meant I had to break that number one rule and head to Universal City Walk for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Now, I also happened to have a terrible experience at a HRC in New York, so I wasn't really thrilled about going back to the restaurant, even if it was in a different city, but I tried to make the best of it. Generally some of the stuff there is pretty awesome, like Elvis' Pink car, or a guitar from Pearl Jam (Colin's Favorite band) and sometimes a Les Paul guitar or two. Granted, we found no Les Paul this time, but we did get to go into the one special room where all the famous people go. The cast of Harry Potter was there once...the John Lennon room...and I remember reading the article about how they were there and we got to sit on those same couches. Plus, our waiter at Hard Rock this time was a guy named Jeff and he was just spectacular.

All in all, the experience at the Hard Rock Orlando was much better than the one in New York, and, for the most part, helped regain my trust in the chain. Not that I want to go eat there again. Once was more than enough for me, and the walk through Universal was enough to last me for a number of years. Maybe, once I'm down there for the college program (hopefully), I'll take a trip over there, since I'll be spending so much time at Disney that I'll feel I can afford a day or two to somewhere else, but until then I'll be happy in Epcot and Magic Kingdom. There's plenty to see there.

But just for the record Mr. Alban...this is not saying I LOVED my experience. I enjoyed it. Not loved it. Those are two different things.

Also thanks to Megan for that picture of Lizzie in her (almost) natural habitat. No Disney, not natural. But still a great picture.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 541: A Dream Come True

The ability to have a dream actually come true is, sadly, often far from reality. Things like fairy tales may tell of happy endings, but those don't always happen either. What's important though is that we keep hope, and we never stop chasing after those dreams, despite the fact that they seem as far away as the moon (and often further).

But every once and a while, a dream does come true. I like to think that maybe some weird, mysterious force of the universe decided that after all the hard work I had put in that maybe my dream should come true. I probably don't deserve it. I mean, there are tons of people out there much more worthy of something like their lifelong dream becoming a reality, and I'm sure there are people with better dreams out there too, like curing cancer or world peace. But fate chose me, and I couldn't be more thankful.

It's kind of difficult trying to figure out how to word this blog post because just how do you take 18 years of your life and stick it into a few words? How do you describe something that you spent your whole life dreaming of and make it understandable how much it means to you when you actually get to a point where you can do it? It's really, truly difficult. So I'll start with a story, since I'm writing this long after even the actual event happened.

I'm currently in the process of just beginning the actual editing of the band trip video, and that means going through a lot of files on my computer to find everything I need. Yesterday it just so happened that I stumbled across a video I made almost a year ago, back on the night we found out we were accepted to Disney Performing Arts for a workshop and marching experience in one of the Walt Disney World theme parks. I don't really remember much about that night, other than I cried a lot. And there are most certainly some pictures out there that I hope hide for eternity because I look absolutely awful in them. Granted, you can imagine my emotional state when they were taken.

Anyways, in this video, I talk a bit about how proud I am of the band for achieving something like this before I launch into a story about my own life, and how spectacular this is simply for me. It's funny though, because what I said in that video is almost exactly what our cast member, Nick, said backstage after our parade.

When I was a little girl, visiting Walt Disney World with my family, I spent a good amount of time listening to the music in the parks too. The music of the Millennium Celebration at Epcot will forever be my inspiration for my own music, but there's more to it than that. When we would be at the Magic Kingdom, I would watch the parades go by, often times with marching bands, and I said to myself "I want to do that." I wanted to march down Main Street U.S.A. with a band, and as many of you well know, just about the only way to do that is through Disney Performing Arts. So when I entered my senior year, not expecting to be able to return on another trip of the size and scale that Disney would be, my dreams were pretty much dead. I had tried for years to get our director to go, and then something clicked. And we were accepted.

And on June 25, 2014, I got to march down Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom, just like I always dreamed of. And better yet? I had the incredible honor of standing as a second drum major, leading the band past thousands of people. This is one of those times when I'm kind of just speechless. I don't know what else to say.

I do know that, somehow, I managed to keep myself from crying through the parade, a smile on my face the whole way through, although I honestly don't remember ever even hearing the band play a note. I was so off in my own little world for those ten minutes that I just don't remember anything else.

But afterwards, once we were all out of uniform and standing around waiting for Nick to take us back into the park, he gave us this speech, and God it changed my life.

I wish I had that speech on video, I really do, although it was difficult to think about doing something like that when I was crying like no other. And while I don't really remember everything he said in that speech, I do remember one portion. He told us that, as inspiring as the parade had been for us, we have to remember that we, as honorary Disney cast members, were inspiring other people too. There could have been a little kid out on the parade route that watched us march by and suddenly thought to themselves "I want to do that. I want to play the flute, or the trumpet or be the drum major," and he pointed directly at me, standing clear in front of him balling my eyes out. But he's right. As much as I know there are people in the group angry that he pointed at me instead of the other drum major, I don't care. I WAS THAT KID. That was me, once upon a time, and if anyone has a problem with that parade, or me being in it or being drum major, I challenge them to find someone that parade meant more to than it did for me. I bet they wouldn't be able to find anyone.

In the end, the whole thing is still sort of a blur, and a good part of me still doesn't believe it happened. I have this feeling that I'll return in January and just stand at the end of Main Street and cry, but at least my friends will be there with me. Magic Kingdom will never be the same for me, because for just a few minutes, I was an honorary Disney cast member, and I hope to god that my journey, with all its trials and tribulations, inspired someone just like me to go out and reach for that goal too. Some little boy or girl that watched ME march by, deciding that they wanted to look ridiculous walking in front of a band waving their arms around in the middle of the ridiculous Florida summer sun and heat. Because there's nothing I've experienced in my life that's as rewarding as that parade was for me.

So thank you to everyone involved, especially the powers that be in Disney Performing Arts, and our spectacular cast member, Nick. I wish I could have thanked you before we left. And to the members of the SHS Band that helped me achieve my dream, especially the 2013-14 drum major, Gail, for letting me share her big parade. And to our director, Mr. Alban. Thanks for letting me come along, thanks for inspiring me, thanks for everything.

Now, having heard my story, I want to encourage each and every one of you to go after your own dream, whether it seems possible or not, because as difficult as it may sound, it could still happen. All you have to do is have a little faith, a little trust and maybe a little bit of pixie dust.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 540: Backstage Music

My High School Band may have gotten accepted to march in the Magic Kingdom, but that doesn't mean that's all we went to Florida for. Nope! We were also accepted to do a workshop with Disney Performing Arts, and it was certainly a wild adventure.

For those of you that don't know, there's a Performing Arts center backstage in Epcot, right between Italy and the American Adventure. I'd actually seen it before, since I've been backstage in that area, but I completely forgot (or didn't realize) that the DPA Center was there. It's a neat looking little place, and the inside area is beautiful as well. When you do a workshop there, your band goes into one of the recording studios and sight reads through music, recording as you go until you record a song or two from a movie, which is then paired with the film footage for your own custom recording of the music from that movie. It's honestly a wonderful experience.

For our workshop, I actually ended up playing Clarinet. You're probably all like, "but Lizzie, you don't play clarinet?" and you're right! I don't! Or at least I'm not very good at it. About a month before the trip I was discussing with my band director what I might end up playing. The problem? Four oboe players were going on the trip, and the alto row is so full that one of them actually already had left to go help out in percussion. Which mean that there wasn't really room to fit me in.

So we stuck me in the clarinet row instead, and within a month I picked up the instrument enough that, surprisingly, I could play most of the music we read at the workshop. It probably wasn't quite as rewarding for me then if I had been playing my alto, or even my oboe, but the experience was still great, and I was super proud of the fact that I could handle playing a first clarinet part with Megan. Also, a special shout out to Ashley, who taught me how to play that darn thing.

Within the two hours we spent there, we played through some great music, including the theme from Beauty and the Beast and music from Aladdin, which was the film that they backed the music to. Aladdin is honestly my least favorite Disney movie, but it was still fun. However, by the far the BEST song we played had to be Trashin' The Camp from Tarzan. Our band director was enlisted to do animal noises on the recording and I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life.

Plus, we got to meet this wonderful cast member, Allen! (I hope I spelled that right. I'm not exactly sure). He was great! Hilarious, and most certainly a spectacular trumpet player (among other instruments). Plus we got these special pins for the workshop and it just makes me super happy. Actually, I should figure out where I put mine. I think I remember where it is...unless I already put it in my pin case. Gosh I need to sort out where I put all my Disney stuff from this trip.

But for sure, the workshop was GREAT! And we got to go into backstage Epcot, and there's nothing I enjoy more than going backstage past Test Track and the little Spaceship Earth thing. It probably has a name, and I should probably learn what it is...but I think I'll have to save that one for when I finally work there some day.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1). 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day 539: Blastoff

I've been to Disney World a ton of times, and each and every single time I go, someone always ends up asking me about other popular Orlando attractions that I just never seem to go to. Or Florida stuff in general. You know, like the beach or SeaWorld or Universal. I don't go to those places, in fact I sometimes have rules against it. If I'm going to travel all the way to Florida, I'm going to spend my time at home at Disney.

Which is one of the reasons I loved this trip. While I would have much rather spent all my time at Disney, at least the trip gave me excuse to head to some of the other locations that I normally don't visit without wasting a day of my regular vacation to go to them. Waste is sort of an awful word to use though.

Despite our traffic jam troubles that put us in Florida much later than originally intended, we DID make it to Kennedy Space Center, a detail my brother is surely thankful about. I'm not really into the whole NASA and space thing personally. The most I'm into it is the references in the Disney parks or the occasional night I spend looking at the stars. And there's the fact that the space race is one of the most interesting periods in our nation's history, if you ask me. But my brother? He LOVES everything to do with that kind of thing, and a trip to the Kennedy Space Center was a highlight of the trip for him.

He was a bit angry (ok, more than a bit) that we were only able to spend around an hour and a half there, obviously not enough time to see everything the center has to offer. I've actually been there once before, and while I don't remember much of it, I remember that like my favorite thing was seeing the Bald Eagle Nest while out on the tour. Yeah, obviously I'm not into NASA.

However, we did see a great IMAX 3D Film on the Hubble Telescope, which was super interesting and literally almost made me cry, if only because I was having some intense "I'm almost at Disney" feelings and for some reason the movie just reminded me of home or something like that. I can't really say now because it's a bit fuzzy, but I do remember sitting there watching and thinking about Space Mountain and Spaceship Earth, so that's something, right?

My brother, of course, wants to go back, and while I think I'd like to spend a bit more time at Kennedy, I couldn't see myself spending a whole previous day there. Too much for me. If anything, I'd like to take more pictures. As you'll hear in the final post about the band trip, I didn't have too much time to do my usual Instagraming, and I certainly missed it. Kennedy Space Center is a great place for taking pictures, with all the bright blue sky in the background.

Plus I suppose I wouldn't mind actually seeing a launch sometime. But don't tell my family that. Even though I know mom reads my blog and is sure to see it sooner or later. I'll stick with Disney for now, thanks very much. =)

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Day 538: On the Road Again

I'm not going to lie. It's a bit strange basically reviewing ever waking moment of the band trip that occurred over a month ago, but that's what I'm going to try and do in the next six blog posts. I figure it's a pretty good way to work on stuff, since I already have the topics planned out for these few days, and I'm not really sure what to talk about for the tons of other days I must make up before the school year begins in a few weeks.

But let's not focus on that right now. Let's focus on the band trip. It was six days in length, although two of those were spent on a bus and there's just not much that goes on there aside from a ridiculous amount of drama and high tempers. You'll hear more about my final thoughts at the end of the trip though, since that last post is reserved for that while this one, along with the other four, are for more specific topics.

Today's topic? The bus.

As I just mentioned, it's quite easy for tempers to run high, people to get angry and to become very, very bored while on a bus for 24 hours. And it would have been nice if we had been on a bus for 24.

The drive from Seymour, Wisconsin to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, ideally, is about 21 hours. That's without stopping or traffic though, so you have to account for the fact that it'll probably be more around 24 hours to begin with. Our drive ended up being closer to 27 or 28 hours, due to some traffic jams. But that doesn't mean it wasn't an adventure!

To be honest, we watched WAY too many movies on our trip. In fact, I'm pretty sure we watched more films on this trip than we did on the three previous trips combined...or four. Or something like that. Either way, it was just a lot of movies. I was put in charge of such things, and then the back of the bus got angry when I told them we should take a break and put in another movie anyways...which of course no one watched. This isn't about me getting angry about that though, so let's talk about some of the better stuff that went on during our drive.

For one, in order to get from Wisconsin to Florida, you generally head through Nashville. What's awesome about this you ask? Well it just so happens that as we were driving through, a certain actor by the name of Colin O'Donoghue was just wrapping up filming on his new film, The Dust Storm! Of course we didn't actually see him, considering we were on the highway in a traffic jam because of construction and he was at the wrap party downtown, but hey! Being in the same city is good enough for me I should think. After all, that's about the closest I've ever come.

Next year I'll end up missing him at Comic Con by like a week though. Life is rough.

Aside from all of that crazy, I spent a good portion of my time filming out of the window for the band trip video, which is going to take a lot more time than I suppose I initially intended it to. It'll be an adventure.

And despite the fact that we DID watch too many movies, we got to finally watch LEGO movie, which just made me super excited. I bought it just before the trip because everyone always talks about how spectacular it was, and I figured that it would be a good one to take on the trip. My favorite part was most certainly the Star Wars cameo. Can't beat Han Solo. He's pretty awesome. ;)

After all of that we slept...or at least tried to. Sleeping on a bus is one of the most difficult things ever, and in the end you just don't get much sleep at all. But you push through it and come out the next day ready to hit Disney World. Not that we did...much. The beach and Kennedy Space Center were calling us, and then FINALLY we got to Downtown Disney. But we didn't let the fact that we got there late ruin our day. What a great first day in Florida it was!

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on August 1). 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 536: WDW Kids

In order to appreciate where you are now, you really need to appreciate where you came from. This is definitely something I've learned for the past year or so, simply because I was stuck in the middle of a situation where I worked like crazy for a long time only to have people disregard all of that work faster than they even realized. Therefore, I now have a bit of a deeper appreciation for the past, and the journey that led me to where I am right now, sitting in my dorm room typing what seems like the hundredth blog post in the past two days (Actually it's about the 12th).

I realized that as much as I talk about why I started Everyday Disney in general, and how it came to be, there's a large portion of the story that I'm actually leaving out. As of today (actually October 30), I'm 19 years old, but I started blogging a long, LONG time ago. Everyday Disney began when I was 17, but I started blogging when I was 14. That's younger than my brother is right now, and it's sort of odd to think about.

My first Disney blog, or at least that I can still find and remember, was called WDW Kids, and it started on April 6, 2010. Surprisingly enough, it went on for about 16 posts, which isn't bad considering most other times I made attempts to start a blog it ended at about post 3. You can find the whole blog HERE, if you want to check it out, but note that I wrote that stuff a really long time ago. Even just reading it is sort of strange, simply because a 14 year old version of myself wrote that, and my writing has certainly changed since then.

In fact, so much has changed since those days that I can't even begin to describe how much. My interests were different, my friend group was different (some of the people I call very close friends today I didn't even know yet back then, and in some cases, there are friends that have both come and gone in the time span of between then and now).

With so many blog posts to write, I don't really have the time to go through and reread all of my old posts right now, but I did go back and read a couple of them, and I welcome you to if you want. There are certainly some similarities between those posts and ones that are featured here on Everyday Disney. But goodness...16 posts and this one has almost 700. How did that happen? Plus, it's entertaining to actually WATCH me fall in love with Tangled, if only over the span of a couple posts. I remember going to see Tangled, and I remember that blog.

Things certainly do keep moving forward, don't they?

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on October 30).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Day 535: $10000

Generic Blog Post Topic Ideas are easy to come by. The hard part is still associating them to Disney in a way that both makes sense and is something I haven't yet really talked about. Some of these topics lend themselves rather well, while others simply just don't even make it onto the list of possible ideas. This, however, is one of the ideas that made it straight onto the list of blog post topics: What would you do with $10,000.

Actually, the original prompt had $1000, but considering the fact that I just calculated how much money it would take to eat everything in Epcot and that adds up to over $8,000, I upped it a little bit, making for a longer stay and a more realistic vacation.

Base Rules: Let's say I already have an annual pass, just to get that out of the way. Let's also say I'm paying for my hotel room, not using DVC points. I can use any of the money, but cannot go over $10,000. I'm also not including airline fees since that just takes time to figure out and calculate.

Let's start from the basics: Hotel.

As much as I'd love to stay at the Grand Floridian, I picked the Contemporary Resort instead, with a Theme Park View. I figured why not, if I had $10,000 to spend of course I'd go for that option. I also picked some random dates: November 9 - November 17, 2015, for 4 adults. For the hotel room it was $5,604.78, meaning I have $4,395.22 left.

Why not take out $500 for shopping right away, huh? $3,895.22.

Let's add in some prospective meals. I have approximately 8 meals that I would have to plan in for reservations, or at least that I'd want to plan in for reservations. After much deliberation I chose the following 8 restaurants:

1. Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
2. Chefs de France (Epcot)
3. Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom)
4. California Grill (Contemporary)
5. Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom)
6. Paradiso 37 (Downtown Disney)
7. Todd English's bluezoo (Dolphin)
8. Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom)

I went through and picked out dishes from each restaurant for myself. I figure that those traveling with me can pay for their own food, right? With those emails I estimated about $300 for everything I would eat. Of course, this is probably a low-ball number, so let's up it to $350, just to be safe. Then let's add in approximately $15 for the other 9-10 meals I would eat without reservations: $150, with snacks, let's say $200. Total for food? $550 for the trip. Remaining cash: $3,345.22.

Other than that, I'm not really sure what I'd need to buy. Even if you did add on food for other people, totaling it at the same as me, it brings it down to $1,695.22. Plenty leftover.

Now, we're still not including anything like airfare, and if we flew down there's a significant possibility that we'd have a rental car. Unless we drove, then some of that money would go towards gas and the possible night in Nashville on the way down.

But could I do it? Yes. Yes I could. Anyone have $10,000?

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on October 30).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 534: 24 Epcot Hours

Remember back last year when I decided that my blog provided a good way to continue procrastination on my homework? If you don't remember what I'm talking about, it's specifically the time I decided to figure out how long it would take to see everything in the Magic Kingdom, and you can read that post HERE.

When I was coming up with blog post topics, all of a sudden I was struck with yet another terrible idea...let's do that post again, only this time with Epcot, because of course that's a good idea. So let's explore my personal favorite park a bit...

It would take you approximately 3.7 hours to just experience every attraction at Epcot, without your average wait time. Pretend as though you were able to just walk right onto any attraction, just like snapping your fingers. Goodness, wouldn't that be nice?

When I calculated the wait times (at exactly 11:45 A.M. EST on October 30, 2014), you'd have to wait approximately 4.4 hours to just get ON the attractions, with the longest wait time being 60 minutes for Test Track (Soarin' was close behind with 55). This, of course, is relatively low for wait times, as when I'm there it's not uncommon for both of these attractions to hit 90+ minutes.

Remember that those above numbers don't include the time it takes to WALK from one attraction to another, which, in Epcot, could take you easily over an hour, if you're walking fast. 

After yet another couple hours of calculation and time spent on AllEars, I figured an approximate amount you would spend to try absolutely every dish in every restaurant at Epcot. You'd spend around $8,660 on 2,235 options at a calculated 32 locations. This isn't including any sort of coffee shop or ice cream, as well as not including a couple of other places based simply on the fact that their menu is similar to another in the park. This also doesn't include alcohol, and I don't even want to know what you'd try to spend on that. This also isn't including the Biergarten or Akershus, which add on just under $100 if you, alone, eat at both. These numbers also don't include kids meals of any kind.

Throughout Epcot, you'll have a chance to meet approximately 24 characters, although that number changes daily as surprise characters appear. For instance, I met Flynn Rider and Rapunzel at Epcot in March, but neither are included in the total of 24 previously stated. It's also not including duplicate characters within restaurants or other locations.

I didn't spend a ton of time adding up the hours of background music, but on my homework playlist (with the addition of Illuminations), I regularly listen to 141 minutes of background music from Epcot. Goodness who even knows how much there is throughout the whole park because really...most of that is just the music around Spaceship Earth.

I also didn't include the time it takes for any of the shows, since those continuously keep changing and the only real one you could say for sure would be Illuminations, although one should also probably include the Fountain show. Oh, and throwing it in there that this isn't including the time it takes to see any of the special events, such as Food and Wine Festival, Flower and Garden Festival or the Christmas special events.

So if we put it together, in order to do everything at Epcot TODAY, it would take you around 8.3 hours to experience it all. Now while this isn't physically impossible, you must remember that this number isn't including the time it takes to walk from one place to another, go through the gates, eat, bathroom breaks, waiting for character meet and greets, actually meeting those characters, staking out a spot for Illuminations or shopping. Plus, this number is calculated with the assumption that you would go on each attraction once. AND it doesn't include the time it takes to stop and appreciate the area. Epcot is the biggest of the Disney Parks in reference to areas guests are able to regularly walk, so there's a huge distance you'll have to cover.

I'm getting better at calculating these things though. This time, instead of 3.6 hours, it took me about 2 to calculate all this information. Thank goodness.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on October 30).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day 533: Sustenance

I once did a blog post about one of my favorite words: prematurely. Now Megan uses it from time to time just to make my smile, and smile I do, but it's not my only favorite word, that's for sure. In fact, it seems that television has really made an impact on my vocabulary. I was just talking to my roommate earlier today about this particular subject, as a matter of fact, after she used the word realm. It didn't even phase me since realm is such a common addition to my life now. Why? I'll give you one guess.

Captain Hook.

Seriously though, who talks like that? Who in the world talks like they're straight out of the Renaissance or something? Apparently one particular pirate captain does. That's who. And here's a few words that I've somehow incorporated into my vocabulary.

Form (Good or Bad): the customary or correct method or procedure; what is usually done.

Vexed: annoyed, frustrated or worried.

Medicinal (Properties): a substance or plant that has healing properties.

Bloody Hell: Slang used throughout the world as a sort of profanity.

Realm: A Kingdom.

Honorable: Bringing or worthy of honor.

Full Stop: Another term for period. (This one is more Colin's fault though...)

Sustenance: Food and drink regarded as a source of strength; nourishment.

In addition, once in a great while I probably end up talking with this little bit of an accent, although that doesn't happen very often unless I'm trying. Regardless, it does indeed appear that my vocabulary has expanded thanks to none other than one television show. I feel like I should continue updating this list too because I swear I learn new words all the time...and these are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head.

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on October 30).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Day 532: Coffee with Character

I always make attempts to educate my friends about Disney, and sometimes that comes out at the most random of times.

In the midst of a blogging spree last night, with attempts to finally make up the last of the blog posts (including this one) from this past summer, two of my roommates and I decided that a trip to our college coffee shop was in order. It was getting late and we all still had work to do and we needed a pick-me-up. Plus, our room gets pretty warm now that the heat is on and some fresh air sounded like a grand idea.

Off we went, and while walking over to the library to get said coffee, Megan suggested a topic for my blog post: Coffee with Character. Earlier in the evening, at dinner as a matter of fact, we had been talking about the same thing. It was a long train of how we got there, but long story short I made maple bacon cupcakes this past weekend and everyone thought I was crazy. I wasn't, of course, because seriously...I've had this before. I had a maple bacon pretzel cupcake at Epcot back in March...

It was delicious, by the way, and that's where I initially got the idea from.

Anyway, the picture right next to that one on my Instagram just happens to be some coffee with character: 

Yes, as in Emma Swan. The reasoning here? It's a chai latte, which happens to be Jennifer Morrison's favorite beverage at Starbucks, and therefore the official drink of Emma Swan fans, called Ugly Ducklings. I figured it was appropriate to, therefore, have Emma as my coffee with character name. Of course, my friends all gave me that look that 100% said "really?" and I had to explain why it wasn't my name on the cup. 

Coffee with character, for those of you who don't know, is this awesome thing where, when they ask you for your name at Starbucks, instead of saying your own name you say the name of a fictional character or something. Popular options always include Disney Princesses and Villains, although it ranges all over the place, and it doesn't always stick just to Disney. Search #CoffeeWithCharacter on Instagram sometime and you'll come up with all kinds of results. 

I can't wait to participate in more coffee with character when I go in January, especially since I'll actually have time to enjoy my coffee instead of rushing around. Regardless, you can bet that at least once Captain Hook will show up...and I wonldn't put it past me to include another Emma Swan somewhere in that too...

Have a magical day!

(Note: This blog post was written on October 30).