The Distracted Parent at the Parks

rsz_img_e6378Recently on a trip to the Parks, I was waiting in line at Slinky Dog with the family.  As we all know, the culmination of tired guests at the end of a long day, can make those lines seem even longer. I GET IT.  But that being said, I watched as a couple were in deep discussion over a map or kissing, whatever, as their small children of probably 5 years old, played around my family and I behind them… at first it’s cute. You tell yourself that kids will be kids and let them have their fun.  Then they step on you….they don’t mean it so you try to keep your cool and again convince yourselves that these little humans don’t realize they can be jerks.  But as I watched the parents, time and time again over the next 90 minute wait we had, my blood began to boil.  If you say something, you’re the bad guy.  PLUS you get the added bonus of waiting in line with the people you just asked to stop for however long and that’s just as uncomfortable. At one point we had moved forward a good ten feet and their kids were playing on the poles and Mom and Dad didn’t even notice they were a good 4 parties behind them. Nothing. It wasn’t until the kids ran up to join them that they even looked down.

I get it folks, people want to celebrate with their kids in this happy place.  But you know what doesn’t make it happy anymore? When I constantly have to watch your child for you because you are too distracted.  Parenting is rough, many of us have been through it or are still in the trenches. And yes, it does take a Village. Here’s an example of when I was more than happy to help. I have found that the parade environment, at Disney especially, can be a very toxic place. The reason is that EVERYONE feels entitled to see, have the perfect spot, and it doesn’t matter who around them has to deal with it.  I have sat hours beforehand to get a perfect picture or that “just right” experience and I don’t mind standing to let little ones sit or stand in front of me.  When parents ASK ME I have totally ok with it- as long as the kids are going to sit still and I am not having to babysit. But when parents decide to SHOVE their little human in front of me and yell “Its just a child, it’s just a child” I truthfully want to shout back at the parent “It’s my foot, it’s just my foot.” Read into that how you want.  I was sitting on Main Street with the family on a vacation back in the day and a stroller came behind us, parked, and the child’s ice cream dripped down my back.  Nothing like getting my spot early only to have to deal with a sticky backside and parents who didn’t care as I looked back at them with “the look.”  Or holding a place for hours on end just to be made to feel like you’re a bad human because you got there first and did the time and they can’t believe they can’t just walk up and sit in your spot. Oh and on a side not, for Pete’s sake if you need to put your child up on your shoulders to see, stand in the BACK.

What people get wrong about the Parks is that they are for EVERYONE. Not just families, not just the single rider, and certainly not just for the kids- EVERYBODY. So it just takes a little time and respect to watch your kids in line, say sorry when your kid does something to a stranger, and please don’t play it off when they do and think “It’s just my kid being a kid.”  Most people, like myself, will give the benefit of the doubt repeatedly because we don’t want to come off looking like jerks either.  We want your kids and your family to have a GREAT time, just be aware that you’re not the only one enjoying the magic.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


Exit for Photo Fun on Spaceship Earth

After you exit riding “Spaceship Earth” you can see yourself on the big screens above by filling in your pictures and info on the computers provided.  Get your camera ready, it’s a great photo opportunity!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


Parades Equal Short Lines

Like short waits? Mickey, Minnie, and the Princesses have a shorter wait during the daily parade and towards the end of the day as well. Meet them in the Town Hall in the front of the Magic Kingdom. and the Princess Hall by the Carousel in Fantasyland.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


The Reality of Living Near the Fantasy…Part Eight

The Cost of Living.

I think the scariest thing when you first graduate High School and College is getting your first place. My first place I got a roommate in which I think I kicked in $200 for my share of the rent in an upper apartment, affordable right? Craig and I marry and we rent our first place which was around $350 for a 2 bedroom lower floor apartment.  As time grew, as well as our family, we would bounce to duplexes and then land on buying our first home. One income, one baby, and we were able to afford out first 3 bedroom home for around $80,000 which came to be like a $750 house payment including our taxes.  THAT is Wisconsin prices for you… allowing many to have the dream of having a home at all.

Now as the years have piled up, we sold, we rented again and have just kept renting because we enjoy changing it up. When we headed to Florida in 2011, our first home rental was for $1175 which was 3 bedrooms with a pool and fairly decent yard- no utilities or lawn/pool care included.  It was affordable for our start here.  We would move to a nicer suburb where our rent jumped another $700 for an additional bedroom and more square footage.  The extra space was great, but with more space, comes more too cool.  Our electric bill was ungodly during the summer months- we found ourselves with more rent, electric bills that were out of control, and a water bill that we had to make peace with since we now ran a hot tub that came with our pool. Yes, we barely run the heat here, but it does happen on occasion.  Even with budget billing, we were on the high end. It’s stuff you don’t really think about until you get the bill.

Just some numbers….the cost of living in Central Florida is 112% of the National average, cost of housing is 122%, cost of transportation is 128% and utilities is 102%.  (According to

I honestly don’t know how the younger ones can afford a life here. I know for a fact that my kids can’t afford to live on their own, and even if they did together, they would probably need at least 2 more roommates.  There aren’t a huge amount of apartments here that are in the affordable range- the oldest ones are usually taken or in a really rough area, which means you are left with the brand news ones being built. Brand new 2 bedroom apartments out by me will cost you $1500 and higher.  People are flocking to live here, so they don’t need to keep the prices cheap.

Several of my kid’s friends have two or more jobs to just afford their bills. Can you imagine? To live in this area filled with non-stop fun and action just to work yourself to the bone and be teased by things you can never do?   Jobs don’t pay high here, the median income in most areas is around $40,000 for each household.  So keep that in mind if you want to come here, then find work, then a home, and so on and still be able to afford the extras of park passes and merchandise, festivals and fairs, concerts, gas to get too all the fun stuff, and so on. It CAN be done, it’s just not cheap.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


My FIRST Disney Princess Half-Marathon Experience 2014

I feel that life is about challenging yourself to see what you are truly capable of. Too many of us think “I could never do that” but what if you could? I had those same thoughts running through my mind last year about running. I’m in no way thin, but I have great lower body strength and I used to run before my child bearing days, so I knew that I could at least try.  And honestly that’s all that life is about, just trying and seeing if something works for you or not. So this is my story about a girl with a dream to accomplish her first half-marathon – enjoy!117

So backing up to the Expo- it was truly amazing! I picked up my packet on Thursday evening with the family and it was cool to show them Wide World of Sports and all of the neat running merchandise.  It was exhilarating already being in line at the half marathon booth knowing that this was the bib I would be wearing.  When you sign up, you choose your Princess and also add in your pace time. Now I hadn’t run anything of significance (Yes I ran the 5K Jingle Jungle but not for time) so I put down my average yand safe time of 15:30.  I had been training on that and sometimes it was better and sometimes I crossed into the 16 minute mark.  I knew that I had to stay above it for the half, so I had no problem putting that time in.  RunDisney then puts you in a Corral that is also with others of the same time,  so I was in “O.”  I did head back to the Expo the next day and got to meet Jeff Galloway, bumped into friends for a nice chat, and bought some new ear buds, visor, and a timer- I was set!151 149 146 142 130 125 121 120

I went to bed at 8p.m. the night before the big day determined to get enough sleep for the run.  I slept pretty well and was well rested as I woke up at 2:30 a.m. for one of the biggest days of my life.  What I didn’t count on was that my Aunt would come into town that very morning, along with the fact I was just getting over being very sick from the prior week.  Ugh, well ok, I thought nothing I can do but pray, medicate, hydrate and move. 163 165

I was in Epcot by a little after 3 a.m. and it was beautiful being there that early in the morning.  I walked into the holding area with a big old goofy smile on my face because I KNEW that I could do it, I was just worried about the elements I couldn’t control.  Soon DeeAnn was there to hang out with me before my running pals came, and it was nice to just sit and relax my nerves before the run.  HUGE PROPS for her coming at 4 am to cheer me on and help calm my nerves- a true friend!169 172 174 177

Once Wendy came I hugged Dee goodbye and started the routine of preparing for the run. Bathroom check, which by the way there are some in the holding area and then another set right before the Corrals.  I knew it would be the last time I would go until the end, so I made it count and walked to the Corrals with Wendy.  Her and I were in different ones, so I hugged her and then hurried up to wait, and wait, and wait. The race officially started at 5:30 a.m. but I didn’t hit the start line until 6:30- so it pays to just sit and wait it out rather than stand the whole time (like I did).176

The nerves were setting in…what had I gotten myself into? Was I really going to do this? Then it happened….the countdown, the fireworks, the cheering and then we were off!  I had trained running a minute then walking a minute, so I stuck to it as each mile passed by.  The weather was misty so it felt good running in it- just a small blanket to cool you off.  I felt great, and it could have been the Midol, or the caffeine, or just pure awesomeness.

I ran past the pirate ship, then the huge princess sign. As we were going towards Magic Kingdom, the winner was running past us already heading to Epcot- WOW!!  We clapped for her and kept moving forward.  We got the MK autoplaza and I started to get weepy…that is where it hit me that I was actually doing this.  I was running a half-marathon, this cheesehead girl from WI was pulling it off in the State of her dreams…truly a miracle.  My pace was great, I wasn’t having any cramps, and no hip issues yet.  We ran under the waterway near Contemp, music blasting, and I even ran up the hill with no issues. 229211

Then there was that magical left coming…I knew the Magic Kingdom near.  We ran through the back and then I was on Main Street, a street that meant so many things to me but I was there RUNNING. I was a mess…I cried seeing the Castle, seeing the people cheer, and just felt incredible. I loved running through each land and was almost a bit sad to leave so soon. But my FAVORITE part was running through the Castle as the trumpeters “tooted” above us while we entered the tunnel.  (Yeah I know how that sounds LOL). 230 235 245

I hit the 10k mark which was behind Splash Mountain, and I remember thinking “Wow we are only half way there, barely.” But, I still felt really good.  I was hitting every water station taking some Gatorade first then some water, I knew I was ok.  And then I got out on World Drive, and the sun started to come out.  The sun wasn’t as bad as the humidity setting in…and it got hot and sticky.  My Midol was wearing off and so I grabbed some Tylenol at a medic tent to help the tummy troubles starting.  I hadn’t seen the balloon ladies yet so I was sure I was good to go.256

I remember just looking to my left and HOLY CRUD, there they are!!!! If you don’t know who they are, they are women who walk a 16 minute mile so that Disney knows where the cut off is.  Yes, they will “sweep” you right off the road if you don’t stay with them or in front of them.  I was terrified!  All that hard work training was going to go down the tubes, so I ran and caught up with them. But I could tell that my “Aunt” was zapping all of my energy and fast. I tried to stay with the women but slowly they started getting more ahead of me.  Now keep in mind I had run an easy 15:30 training, but I had only trained to 8 miles- my FIRST mistake. My second was not training with my “Aunt” so I would know how it would feel and how to deal with it.   I couldn’t for see getting it on race day, nor could I have controlled being sick the week before.

I stayed close enough to the women with balloons that I knew where they were. I kept an eye on the busses and vans to make sure they weren’t moving as I trudged forward.  By Mile 11, I had nothing left.  Walking was becoming painful for my hip but I was determined that I was going to DO THIS.  I was too awesome to let this happen to me, and I didn’t want to let my friends and family down.   They told us if you got into Epcot you would be safe.  The last ramp, bridge, incline…just brutal.  Why at the end of the race????  The only thing great about getting over that last ramp was seeing my good pal Byron at the bottom, hands out with a big smile. I squeezed his hand and thanked him for coming out to support me, he will never know what that meant to me.271

Then it was coming… the end.  I was so scared and beside myself that I didn’t know what to feel anymore.  Was I safe, could I still be swept?  Everyone said after Mile 11 we were good, but you never knew.  The balloon ladies were now well ahead of me and I was doing everything I good to not stop moving at all.  My hip hurt, I was cramping bad at this point, but I was determined to get my butt across that finish line.   Princess Sophia was in the back corner upon entering Epcot and I just waved to her, “Aint nobody got time for that.”  I could barely get up the Spaceship Earth hill and then it was run to World Showcase and back to SE before leaving the Park itself. As I ran down the small hill, I see two very familiar faces that started the tears. There was Dee and Shelley cheering me on and I just started to cry- real friends in a real situation, no other proof necessary.  I ran past the gospel choir (perfect if you know me) and then around the corner I knew what was coming. 274 275 279

I looked around to see if I could see my family but it was hard to find them in the crowd, so I decided this was my moment and I gave 100% focus on finishing strong. I picked up my pace and with each step on the ground I could feel my heart beat saying “You’re doing it, you’re doing it!”  There was Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie cheering me on and I gave it everything I had to cross that finish line.  With my arms open wide in thanks to my Lord and Savior to getting me across that line, I wept openly and happily as my medal was placed around my neck.280 284

Laurie found me first and then helped me find my family who I fell into their arms for one of the best group hugs of my life.  I had done it, I PROVED I could talk the talk AND walk the walk (as I have before) and it was an amazing feeling.  I accomplished something huge and I could not be prouder.  Thanks to everyone who supported me during my training and the Half. All of your messages of love on the TRT Page. Text messages and my FB page meant the world to me that you took the time to comment.  The next accomplishment will be my book coming out at the end of this month, then I can say I am a Half-Marathon finisher AND a published Author…. pretty cool for this chick from WI living out her FL dreams!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!


Our Experience on How the Disney Magicbands Work

We spent this past weekend at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and were lucky to be able to try the Magicbands out.  Here is how they went for us, enjoy!

Before we left home, I received an email from Disney asking if we wanted to participate in a trial on the Magic Band, and FastPass+. It prompted me to either create a My Disney Experience Account, or link my existing account to my reservation. Since I already had an account, I linked my reservation and my Annual Passes to my account, which in turn linked them to our magic bands.Magic Band 1

Once on My Disney Experience, I was able to see my resort reservation, and dining reservations that I had made. On the right of the screen there is an option to ‘Make Fast Pass + Selections’. After clicking, asks you to choose the date for your FPP reservations. (It allowed me to go out several weeks) it then takes you to a screen to choose which members of your party the selections are for (If you link other members of your party to your account)MMP - My Plans Page

You are then prompted to select a park for your FPP selection. Keep in mind – you can select 3 rides, but they have to be in the same park. Once you have selected the park, it will list all the rides available for FPP selection. You can select three attractions from the list, order them in priority, and click next – and it will give you a number of options preselected for you with times.MMP - ParkSelection

The times will come in 4 predefined options – the ‘Best Match’ and three other options. You will need to pick which option best fits what you want to do, but keep in mind you can change the times for individual selections later in the process. To make a change, select the attraction, and chose ‘Make Change’. From that screen, you can opt to change the attraction selection, or the time for the FPP. On the next screen, you can pick from all the available times for that attraction.MMP - Prioritize Selections

On the ‘My Plans Page’ on the website and the app, it will detail the attractions you have selected, and the times for each attraction. Similar to current fast pass, they are within a one hour timeframe.MMP - Ride Selection

Keep in mind – your three selections have to be in the same park. You can change the park anytime before you use your first Fast Pass Plus for that day, but once you have actually rode one of the attractions with your Fast Pass Plus time, it will only allow you to change your remaining two selections for other attractions within that same park.MMP - Select Time Change

You are able to choose and customize your Magicband, and after we chose our colors we had them delivered to our house within 10 days.  UPS delivers them and you will get an email giving you the tracking number and date of their arrival so you can track them.  The box came and our bands were inside with our names printed under each one, as well as our name printed on the inside of the band with the identification number.MMP - Times

The bands come activated, so when you are ready to shop, play in the Parks, etc.. there is nothing extra to do but put it on your wrist.  Now, they aren’t synced with parking yet, so have your hard ticket or parking pass available when driving into the Parks.   We took ours to Magic Kingdom the first day and touched the Mickey that is on the band to the Mickey on the post- that simple! If nothing is registering, roll it a bit to see if the signal catches.  Sometimes my band would go green immediatedly and other times it would take a couple of tries.  Just be patient, everyone is learning to work with them- guests and Cast Members together.003

If you aren’t sure if a cart or store doesn’t take the band for purchasing, just ask.  While it is in the trial phase, and even in its newborn launch stage, I would encourage you to always have a secondary method of payment in case they don’t take it or it doesn’t work for some reason.

I LOVED that they took that “Have to get to the Park and book it” feeling away by having it all set up before you ever left home.  It was so nice not to have to rush over to “Soarin” or “Peter Pan,” we just sauntered in and took our time- AS IT SHOULD BE.  Knowing we were going to be able to enjoy, no matter what the crowds may be, was priceless.  I truly feel that My Disney Experience will change the flow of crowds, and give people the peace of mind that they won’t miss their favorite attractions due to the time of year and/or crowds.  Yes you can only pick three attractions per day, but that’s plenty for the big ones. It’s genius.

The FastPass Plus times worked perfectly, had no problems there. We chose Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Journey under the Sea, Peter Pan, Test Track, Soarin, and the Epcot Character Spot.  You touch the band at the start of the FP Plus line and then again at the second point.  So in other words, the first point before where you showed your paper fastpass and the second spot where the CM would collect it inside the attraction.Anniv3

Our Magicbands were linked to our annual passes, so we were curious if they would continue to be after our Resort stay was over. Well I brought it with this morning to Magic Kingdom, and nope, the band didn’t work at the turnstiles, had to use my hard pass instead. The CM did say that in the next  “Mickey Monitor” there will be instructions on how AP holders can get their Magicbands- guess we will wait and see.  BUT for some reason I can continue to pick FP Plus attractions online, which I did. I used my Magicband today and it worked on Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with no problem.

We were curious if while having the Magicband Fastpasses, would our hard ticket work to try and get the paper Fastpasses? I can answer that YES they did and it was cool to be able to get them both.   Probably only going to happen during this transition, but still pretty cool.

So there you have it! You can decorate them up, as most Disney Resort gift shops have the charms and covers to play with.  I felt the band was very comfortable, and honestly didn’t ever think about it being on.  It’s FL and it’s usually warm out, so yes, you may sweat under it- but it does nothing to the band except give you a funny tan line there.  I am very excited to hear how everyone else likes them, we loved them!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!