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!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day 1323: A Year Already

The last year has gone by so quickly that I hardly realize that it's already been a year since I was at the Happiest Place on Earth...and yet I tweet about missing Disneyland every few weeks. 

I sometimes forget that I've actually visited Disneyland twice in my life, probably because regardless of how many times I'm there, I don't think it'll ever be enough. I've blogged time and time again about how much I love Walt Disney World, and I absolutely do, but there's something so different about Disneyland, and even with three trips to Walt Disney World in this year and one more to go, it's just not the same as heading out to California. 

What it is exactly that makes Disneyland so special is hard to pinpoint. The easy answer is that it's the original park - it's Walt's park - but that doesn't even completely describe it in my opinion. Disneyland is, in every way, just different from the parks in Florida and anywhere else in the world. Maybe it's the sense of community you feel there, and the closeness to the city around you. Disneyland feels more like a community, with locals visiting and everyone so welcoming, even to out of towners. The attractions there just feel right, and don't even get me started on how precious California Adventure is, especially now that's it's found new life. 

The foods are different, the atmosphere is different, the attractions are different (at least most of the time), the layout is different, the charm is different, and the list goes on. Pretty much everything is different. And yet, it gives the same feeling of home that I've come to know and love about Walt Disney World. My trips to Walt Disney World may amount to 15 times more than those to Disneyland, but regardless of which coast I'm on, it just feels right being there. 

So yes, I'm absolutely missing Disneyland now, even as I continue to prepare for my next trip to Florida. I miss everything about Disneyland, and I can't wait to go back someday. But for now, I suppose I'll have to relive my memories of the west coast by watching old vlogs: 

Have a magical day! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Day 1322: Door County

Sometimes you don't have to travel very far to find adventure. 

I love heading out to Disney World as much as the next person. Actually, that's a lie, I probably love a good trip to Disney World more than the next person, but that doesn't mean I don't love travel in general, even if it's just within my home state. So when my Godfather was talking about coming for his yearly summer visit and the idea of Door County came up, I jumped at the chance to go, especially since I wasn't able to go last year. 

Door County, for those of you that don't know, is pretty much a hidden gem in Wisconsin...and one of the only really awesome things we have here. If you're not familiar with Wisconsin, take your left hand and place it palm down on the table with your fingers put together and your thumb slightly to the side. Now you have a rough outline of Wisconsin (how many other states can you make with just one hand, huh?). Door County, in this scenario is your thumb. Yep, it's that little peninsula that makes the hand analogy work, and it's filled with little towns and plenty of character. 

The whole of the peninsula is pretty easy to drive, especially since you rarely go more than a half hour between towns, which means you can see a lot of the county without actually taking a ton of time to do it. It's perfect for a day trip like the one we took, which led us to some beautiful sights, cherry pie, wine tasting (wine is big in Door County these days), a farmers market, and even a live musical. 

Heading up to Door County reminded me of the reasons I love to travel in the first place, and it really does connect back to my relationship with Walt Disney World. In the parks, you're able to explore and learn and discover at your own pace, and even after 30 some trips, you're able to find something new each and every time you go. Growing up with that idea has enabled me to find enjoyment and fulfillment in going out an exploring, no matter where I am in the world, even if it's right at home in Wisconsin. 

Yes, perhaps I could find peaches and wine and a lakeshore and cherry pie at home, but there's something about going out and finding it somewhere new or unfamiliar that makes it extra special, especially when you're doing the exploring with the ones you love. And I'm starting to realize that there are plenty of places for me to explore right here in Wisconsin, and I'm hoping to see a few more of them before I head out on my own next year and start exploring new places entirely. 

If you've never heard of Door County before though, check it out on the internet, and next time you're in Wisconsin, stop by for a visit. I promise you won't regret it! 

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!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 1316: Carrying the Load

After 20 years of flying between Wisconsin and the Orlando International Airport, I've become quite the expect packer. I can quickly fill my suitcase with everything I might need for a trip to Walt Disney World, and my carry-on doesn't take much longer. In fact, I've become so good at packing that I've managed to get everything from numerous mugs to candy apples home without a problem, and getting my luggage to and from the airport isn't much more difficult. 

As I headed to Walt Disney World on my first solo trip this past July, I fully utilized the expertise of bell services at multiple Disney resorts. Since I started my trip at Coronado Springs, I picked up my own luggage from the airport for Magical Express, and then entrusted it to the bus driver before seeing my suitcase again at the resort. A few days later, I was ready to transfer to Old Key West, and I was introduced to some of the real magic Bell Services works every day. 

On the morning of my move, I did exactly what my mom said I could do, and took my suitcase to Bell Services at Coronado Springs. After explaining to them that I was transferring to Old Key West, both my suitcase and my carry on were sent away, and I headed to Disney Springs for the remainder of the morning and early afternoon. 

Since you have to transfer at a Disney Resort if you're going from Disney Springs to a park, I figured I would stop back at Old Key West on my way over to Animal Kingdom, especially since I had a notification that my room was already. It'd only been a couple of hours, maybe two or three, since I dropped off my bags at Coronado, but when I checked with Bell Services, my bags were magically already there! Then it was off on a golf cart with one of the cast members to bring my luggage to my room. 

And of course, I got a golf cart ride back up front for airline check in the day I was leaving, which allowed me to check my luggage right at Old Key West and not worry about it again until I returned back to Milwaukee. 

The point here is this: Bell Services at Walt Disney World is a huge advantage of staying at a Disney Resort. While there are bell services at other hotels and resorts, there's something about trusting a cast member with your bags. The personal touch of knowing which cast member is responsible for getting your luggage from your Disney Resort to the airport, and the simplicity of not worrying about any of it as you gallivant around the parks and make the most of your visit. 

So thank you, to all of the cast members that work for Bell Services. You make our lives so much easier and our trips much more magical!

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!