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Fabulous Fridays: Seven Special Memories of Walt Disney World

Last year, I did a FF post about my favorite experiences at Walt Disney World and I thought that I would do it again in commemoration of my latest sojourn to the Happiest Place on Earth. So here are the seven most magical moments of my trip:
Disney wedding       1. My Wedding: Getting married at the Grand Floridian Hotel (the last hotel that I stayed at with my mother) was a wonderful experience made even better by the presence of my oldest friend in the world, Robi. I often joke that I have only known my parents longer than I have known her and she is truly one of my BFFs because when you go through as much as we have been through together…it’s the kind of friendship that is birth to earth!
wedding 3        2. The Castle Photo shoot: For some brides, the pinnacle of the wedding day is the reception, the cake, or some other big splurge and I am no different. However my big splurge was a castle photo shoot. To my surprise and delight, we not only took photos at Cinderella’s castle, but also the fountain behind it, at the Be Our Guest Restaurant and in other areas of Fantasyland! (This entry is tied with my wedding reception which was held at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian and was attended by Cinderella and Prince Charming.)
It's a small world   3. Celebrating “It’s a Small World’s” 50th Anniversary: Yes, it’s a cheesy song and if you aren’t into little marionettes, it’s probably not the kind of ride for you, but it is historic and in my opinion, the kind of ride you have to go on…it’s a true Disney classic
Mickey Jedi   4. Jedi Mickey is a Doctor Who Fan: While at our “Fantasmic” dinner package that coincided with Star Wars Weekend, we spent a little time with the Mouse who not only started pantomiming the actions of a Weeping Angel, when he realized how much my youngest son looked like Tom Baker, I thought the poor rodent was going to come out of character! We campaigned hard to get a TARDIS in EPCOT (Mickey agreed with us, by the way) and Mickey even asked us (in his own non-verbal way) where a certain “scarf” was. He also indicated that he thought bow ties were cool….now, some may say I am crazy, but in looking at the photos, I can’t help noticing that Mickey’s smile grew a little bigger after he made the connection between my kid and the Guy from Gallifrey.

Brave         5. Meeting new friends: I love a good character and Lord knows Disney is full of them. It’s always nice to get pictures of some of your favorites, but it’s even better when you get to see some friends you haven’t seen before! During this trip, we were able to meet the Beast, Woody and Jesse, Pocahontas, the Mad Hatter, Buzz Lightyear and Merida from Brave! (I love her hair.) I wanted to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen, but after hearing that their Fast Passes were booked six months in advance and the stand by line was five HOURS, I decided to “let it go.”

EPCOT people6. The People: Disney does their job like no one else in the world and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the numerous men and women who made our trip so special. From our housekeeper Norma who left me flowers and other little gifts throughout our stay to the monorail gentleman who told us how John Lennon signed his “Beatles break-up” contract at the Polynesian Hotel and the woman in Ariel’s grotto who was born in the same hotel as Paul McCartney, it is so cool to meet people from all over the world and learn more about them. Trust me on this…if you are in Disney World, take the time to strike up a conversation…you never know who you might meet.

Be our Guest            7. The Be Our Guest Restaurant: I managed to book a reservation for this place on a last ditch effort at 2 a.m. a few days before we arrived. This is the only place in the Magic Kingdom in which you can meet the Beast and I am here to tell you…it’s impressive. The dining room looks just like the ballroom from the famous animated movie and the food is fantastic! I think it may have been the best steak I have ever eaten. Desert is included with the Disney Dining Plan and I highly recommend the Grey “Stuff”…it really is delicious!

What do you like best about Walt Disney World? Share your special memories below!

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Happy Monday! Happy Memorial Day!

Hello Everyone!!!

It seems like forever since I have blogged, and in a way…I guess it has been! For all of you who thought I might have been dead the past few months, I assure you, my life has been crazier than usual, and that is saying something.

So, what have I been up to? Well, when last I left you, I was neck deep in my latest writing project, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Catholicism. After a few intense months of reading more of the Catechism than I EVER intended to and researching more patron saints than I ever knew existed, I am almost finished with the manuscript which will be available in January 2015. I am pleased to say that I did NOT end up being an atheist after all of this, and in fact, I have new found respect for some of the rules that prior to this writing, didn’t always make a lot of sense. I’m not saying that I think the Church is right about everything, but I definitely understand the logic they used to come up with some of these things. (And in a few subject matters, I have determined that the Church is a lot more inclusive than I gave them credit for.)

One of the fun things about writing something like this is being able to explain things in “real words” knowing that a priest has looked over it and agreed with my assessment of the subject. When I had to tackle one of the hot bed issues facing the Church, I flat out said that the language used in the Catechism does not read well and only serves to confuse the situation. One chapter is dedicated to asking a priest a bunch of burning questions and I have to say that his answers were very thoughtful, insightful and not full of the “party line.” I really worked hard on this book and I truly hope everyone likes it when it is published!

I also spent the last few months planning two weddings. For everyone who was shocked by the surprise announcement that I was getting married, rest assured…it was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It was decided at the end of last year, but I am one of those weirdos who refuses to put every aspect of her life on Facebook. I often tell people that I “talk a lot, but I rarely say anything important.”

Wedding1    Opting out of a big “event,” we decided to get married in Disney World (partly because the scenery is fantastic) and to wrap both the ceremony and honeymoon into one occasion. This was thwarted when I learned that the Catholic Church doesn’t really “do” weddings in theme parks. No problem. We decided to get married “officially” here in Indiana and then do a small vow renewal in WDW a few weeks later. I didn’t think the Indiana wedding was going to be a big deal until my priest offered to marry us on EASTER SUNDAY. Now, I know that Easter travels around the calendar like Thanksgiving, but I am no fool…if you have the chance to get married on the biggest day of the Church Calendar, you take it!

photo-2    So I was all excited about the upcoming nuptials and the book I was working on, when FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME was released. Talk about adding fuel to the inferno of my life! LOL I had waited so long for this novel to be published and I could not wait to share the story of MonAmi with all of my readers. Everyone who has read it has been very pleased with it and has said nothing but good things. Thank you all for being so supportive. As I started the FMOF publicity campaign, Terri Stacey at WIBC asked me for an interview and when we were finished taping it, she mentioned that it would run on Easter Sunday. I had to laugh and then told her what I would be doing on Easter…she was sooooo excited that she asked me if she could announce my wedding on the radio! Could this get any better? I was so glad that I had kept it kind of quiet up to that point and would have the thrill of hearing it on air before walking down the aisle! Even my youngest son thought it was quite the coup:

 Vincent: So let me get this straight, you are getting married on Easter. The wedding is being announced on the

          radio on a show featuring an interview with you while promoting your book? 

         Julie: That is correct. 

         Vincent: Well now, that’s just a banner day for you isn’t it? 

Wedding 2    It was a small but beautiful ceremony attended by some of our closest friends and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I didn’t have to worry about centerpieces, a band, table cloths or renting a reception hall. We bought a small cake, invited everyone back to the house for some food and sat around my dining room table chatting. I didn’t feel like I didn’t “see” somebody or feel so stressed out that I couldn’t enjoy the day. As much as I love the pomp and circumstance of a big wedding…I’m telling you, there is something to be said for a small affair!

wedding 3    After Easter, the countdown was on for Disney. Again, their wedding coordinators made the choices simple so that I merely had to show up, go where they told me to go and do what they told me to do. Our biggest splurge on both events was the castle photo shoot. I’m telling you…its definitely worth the price to take over Cinderella’s palace before the park opened. (even better, it didn’t rain!)

So, now that the weddings are over, the book is almost completed and FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME has been launched, I am looking forward to the future. This summer, I will be appearing to promote my little rock star at a variety of venues, I will be covering stories once again for local magazines, playing lots of tennis and hopefully gearing up for my next big project which is TBA for the time being. (I know you understand)

Rest assured, I will have some upcoming Buy It, Borrow it or Bag It’s coming up in the near future, and we will see the return of fabulous fridays. Just know I am still among the land of the living and I thank each and every one of you for your support!

Keep Rockin’

Julie

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