Where the F*@! You Been?!: A Disney Vacation Explainer

Ah, friends, I am so sorry – I went and did the thing that annoys the ever-loving stuffing out of me when other bloggers do it, which is drop completely off the grid with nary an explanation for the prolonged absence.  And so I apologize, with the weak justification that I was at Disney, because of course I was at Disney!  Just trying to wring as much value as we possibly can from our annual passes (and at 20 in-park days, including a whole host of other little discounts, I think we’ve done quite well on our investment.)

Rainy Day Collage

We stayed at the Port Orleans Resort French Quarter, a quaint little resort styled like the very cutest and cleanest bits of New Orleans.  I’ve wanted to stay here since Disney built it and its much larger sister resort, the Riverside, nearly 30 years ago.  We somewhat recently soldiered on through a Disney accommodation debacle at Pop Century; the poor experience had actually soured me a bit on all Disney properties, so I was feeling a little nervous about what we might encounter at this smaller, older resort.

Resort Collage 1

I really needn’t have worried, because we wound up having a fantastic stay, and we loved every minute we were there.  The French Quarter’s older, meticulously maintained buildings and grounds – densely arranged, and occupying a fairly tiny geographical footprint – make the entire resort feel solid, protected and a little hidden.  I liked its sense of small city intimacy and the attendant quiet, both in terms of between-unit noise (virtually nil, but for the faint flushing of those insanely loud air toilets) and the general level of ambient hotel noise.  Plus it was just an adorable little cityscape to call our home for seven days, and the sea serpent water slide at the pool was bitchin’.  Also, powdered sugar-dusted beignets, fried chicken on a biscuit at the food court and swingin’ jazz gators in the streets.  Who wouldn’t love staying here when all that goodness abounds?

Resort Collage 2

We spent six days doing all of our favourite Disney things, and also trying out a number of fun new experiences.  We ate some incredible meals in-park, at our resort and, of course, at Disney Springs, which is basically a theme park of food, alcohol and merchandise.  We always try to hit up Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ for night one cocktails and southern vittles; our vacations never feel as though they’ve really started until we’ve cozied up out on the screened-in porch with a basket of hush puppies and a couple of moonshine cocktails.

Homecomin' Cocktail Collage

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We tried out a number of new eateries and lounges.  We ate – and mostly enjoyed? – a lot of weird snack food.  One afternoon we wiled away a couple of rainy hours in an honest to goodness tequila cave – La Cava del Tequila – in the Mexico Pavilion.  The queso and quacamole were excellent, as were the margaritas.  And yes, I do fully cop to a Disney margarita problemo – I’m powerless in the face of vacation cocktail hour; does your sanity good!

Tequila Cave Collage

Lest you think all we did was eat and drink (and that’s certainly what both our waistlines AND wallets are currently suggesting) we also rode a record best 21 rides one cold and rainy day.  We hit up the Haunted Mansion five times over two visits and improved our scores on Toy Story Midway Mania over four total rides.  We rode Slinky Dog Dash, the newest and hottest ride in any of the parks, twice, including a last-call ride that put us in the second last dog of the night.  I had a small stroke when I saw that my favourite part of the Peter Pan ride – it’s not even part of the ride, just a small teddy tea table tucked into a corner as your flying pirate ship heads out of the waiting area and into the Darlings’ bedroom – had been removed and replaced with a jumbled pile of toys.  I burst into tears at the sight of it.  I’ve been fascinated with that little table arrangement since I was a very small child; its absence was genuinely upsetting.

Rides Collage

We met a number of cool characters, including Edna Mode of The Incredibles and Mike and Sully of Monsters Inc.

Characters Collage

Our favourite meet-and-greet, though, was with Vanellope Von Schweetz and Ralph of Wreck-It-Ralph.  Vanellope was SO excited to check out my new Wreck-It-Ralph ears, and Ralph was just excited when my husband commented that he looked as though he had lost a few hundred pounds. 🙂

Ralph Collage

Hmm, let’s see, what else?  I got You’d by Darth Vader at Hollywood Studios (I was sitting by a window having a little break when I looked up, and Darth Vader was just staring in the window at me.  I threw him a nervous little wave, and he spun around and stalked off.  That entire family is so freakin’ WEIRD, man.)

One morning when I couldn’t sleep (I get frazzled about flying days out from my actual flight, making sleep in an unfamiliar place pretty much an impossibility) I got up and filmed a solo walking tour of our resort.  Look for that video on our YouTube channel sometime soon.

We watched some phenomenal stage shows (the Nemo show at the Animal Kingdom is incredible; live music, acting and puppeteering at a level that will make you question how you can be seeing something so beautifully produced and performed in a theme park) and incredible fireworks displays.  Much to Mr. Finger Candy’s delight, we played a solid 10 or more hours of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, completed two games and amassed over 20 free packs of cards.  That’s what you call dominating, kids!

Rainy Sorcerers Collage

So that’s where the f*@! I’ve been, once again with apologies for just up and disappearing on you.  I promise now that I’ve gotten that Disney out of my system for the time being, I’ll settle down and get back to the serious business of nail art, literary takes, bath, beauty and wax reviews, and of course planning for our next Disney vacation, perhaps once again at the French Quarter.  And hopefully by that point the teddy tea table will be back. 🙂

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Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex 1

Are we still in one?  I really wouldn’t know, seeing as none of my limbs have been warm in about three weeks, and my eyeballs may have frozen over.  HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE’VE EXITED THE VORTEX???  Also, do you suppose this is how Jack Torrence felt before he went all Jack Torrence?  Best keep me away from any abandoned hotels – all freezing and no heat makes Sandra something-something. 😦

They say you write what you know, and the same holds true, apparently, for nail art – all I know is cold these days, so more frozen nail art it is.  Here I painted a smattering of delicate, lacy snowflakes over OPI’s colour-shifting Northern Lights before frosting the entire thing in Enchanted Polish’s Rainbow Juice (With Pulp.)   I like this polish’s mix of holographic shimmer, glitter and tiny, jagged shards – it makes everything it touches look like its been haphazardly dusted with sparkling snow.  Pretty, and ever so fitting given the present weather conditions (see above, re: cold and miserable.)

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Icy and Iridescent

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Kicking off another week of winter with an easy peasy manicure positively spackled with iridescent glitter.  This is four coats of Essence Polish’s Space Queen over a simple white creme.  I always think these kinds of not-too-flashy clear glitter polishes look like they belong in a little girl’s Tinkerbell makeup kit (Tinkerbell Cosmetics, for my younger readers, was the ’80s girl’s answer to the kind of makeup they sell today in inexpensive jewelry and accessory shops like Claire’s – it was *maybe* not of the greatest quality, and everything smelled like plastic strawberries.)

But the Space Queens of the world endure because these polishes are fun, for little kids and big kids alike.  It’s also the only iridescent glitter polish I own, because iridescent glitter sticks to your nails like it’s been Crazy Glue’d onto your person for LIFE.  But it doesn’t smell like phony strawberries, so there’s a big plus. 🙂

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I commented in a post last month that one of Disney’s colour trends of 2018 was this sort of blue-leaning iridescent hue that looks as though everything has been iced with pastel rainbows.  Seems I really took that particular trend to heart, because a quick glance around my apartment turned up a dozen or so items in this exact finish, ranging from shimmery makeup and a glossy new day planner, to barware, candle holders and even a stack of 20-year-old dessert plates!

Iridescent 4

I adore my new planner!  Nabbed this pretty at Chapters for $5 a couple of weeks after Christmas (small tip when it comes to purchasing things like calendars or day planners: If you don’t absolutely need one for the first couple of weeks of the year, hold off until they come down in price – usually about 75% – in early to mid-January.)

Journal Collage

Even my daily water intake has gotten into the shimmery, iridescent action, courtesy of my cool new Starbucks tumbler.  The reflections on the surface of the water remind me of the brew Dumbledore chokes back in the Inferi-beset Crystal Cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (you know, just ever so slightly less poisonous and insanity-making.)

Iridescent Water 1

And on the hot side of the beverage spectrum, we even have my new poison apple mug, positively dripping in a shimmery, iridescent glaze.  So pretty.

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And one of these days I will find a bottle worthy of this iridescent stopper my mom gave me some years back, fetchingly outfitted in the finest of squirrel fashions (perched on those Pier 1 dessert plates, most of which have lost their silvery rainbow lustre over the past 20 years of hard use.  Knock on wood, but I’ve never broken a single one, and I STILL, to this day, lament not purchasing all of the dishware available in the collection when I had the chance.)

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And with that, time to venture out into the true iciness of this Monday morning, some pretty, mood-boosting iridescent goodies in tow.  Happy week, friends – I hope it’s shiny rainbows every single day. 🙂

Frozen Fingertips

frozenfingertipscollage

Still frosty, still frozen, only now we Canadians have a lot of American company – welcome to continuous sub-zeros, my southern friends.  Ain’t she glorious?  I seriously haven’t been warm in weeks.  I just live in little furry boot slippers and every layer I can get my frostbitten hands on.  Looking forward to enjoying some sunnier Florida temps soon.

Until then, another icy-looking mani featuring ILNP’s silver holo, Mega, under a frosted dusting of Enchanted Polish’s Freeze Machine.  Brrrr…

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Frosty Freeze

frosted flakes 1

That’s me!  Or rather, I’m frosty and freezing.  To paraphrase Captain Raymond Holt of Brooklyn 9-9, where I live (Eastern Ontario, Canada) it is colder than Cocytus, the frozen lake of Hell.  And has been that way – resolutely, aggravatingly so – all. week. long.  We’re talking temps that dip into the mid-20s (NEGATIVE 20 DEGREES) but owing to BS metrics like windchill, actually feel like they’re in the -30s.  I haven’t been warm all week.

Anyhow, all that to explain how these nails, which started out in a tropical place, wound up looking more like frosted snowflakes.  Because everything in my life is frosted in snowflakes these days, so why not also my manicures?!  Also because the glittery purple polish I chose, a nameless stocking stuffer I received last year, is itself just frosty enough to make what started out life as floral fronds into ice cold lace daggers.  Or sorry, as you may know it, snow.  Because there’s also been a ton of that this week as well, inexplicably – it’s really not supposed to snow when it gets this cold, but somehow, it’s managed BOTH at the same time!  As have I with these nails. 😉

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The Walkways of Pandora

walkways of pandora collage 2

Still on about Avatar – The World of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, only this time I’m bringing you a couple of nail art looks inspired by the ground in what is colloquially known as Pandora.  Yup, the ground, the terrain, the surface on which you walk.  Whichever term you’d prefer, Pandora’s vibrantly spattered, glow-in-the-dark walkways are dope!

walkways of pandora collage 1

For this manicure, I used the plastic wrap technique, which I believe my blogging friend Altercontroldelight calls a “smoosh mani.”  Basically, you – or at least I – paint a bit of polish onto a wadded up ball of plastic wrap and then dab it onto your nails, creating a marbleized sort of look that’s much more natural and random than using a cosmetic sponge.  Easy peasy and simply perfect for the wild walkways of Pandora.  For these nails, I used A England’s turquoise Whispering Waves and Enchanted Polish’s grass green Lost Boy over A England’s steel grey Wuthering Heights.

walkways of pandora 1

They also glow in the dark!  Or they should glow in the dark.  The polish, a jelly-based multi-coater I received in my stocking this year, couldn’t quite hold its own against these darker base colours, but damn if it’s not doing just fine on its glowy own.

walkways of pandora collage 3

And then because I can’t ever leave well enough alone, and why am I just going to let an excellent base like this sit unadorned, I free-handed an assortment of flora onto my nails in the lush, almost alien colours that remind me of Pandora – The World of Avatar in the very first place.

walkways of pandora 2 with flowers

These tidy little flowers are perhaps a bit too done in comparison with Pandora’s wild, colourful riot of Imagineered blossoms, but the rave-after-dark spirit is still there. 😉

Enchanted Pandora Polish

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Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida is in-credible, an absolute marvel of set design, technology, engineering, horticulture, lighting and sound (and foooooooood; oh my gosh, our lunch at Satu’li Canteen, a choose your own adventure bowl-type affair, was one of the best meals of our recent Halloween trip and I’m SO looking forward to going back again.)  And this is coming from a person who’s on the record multiple times – and here in this blog, no less! – as absolutely loathing the Avatar…franchise of movies?  Are there really going to be multiples?  Please don’t let there be multiples.

Only let there be more of them if they inform and somehow better the overall aesthetic of the Avatar land within the Animal Kingdom.  And I don’t even know how that would be possible, because as Imagineered (the Disney word for that voodoo their engineers hoodoo) the place is utterly spectacular, particularly after dark when the bio-luminescent plants turn a stroll through the pathways of Pandora into a hippy, trippy rave.  When the sun goes down, I love drifting here, there and everywhere, just getting lost in the weird walkways of Pandora.

pandora collage 1

I was also inspired – some months on, true, but inspiration doesn’t always strike immediately 😉 – to round up a handful of seldom-used Enchanted Polish lacquers that remind me of the vibrant neon hues of Pandora’s lush alien landscape – colour-shifting ultraviolet, electric turquoise and deeeeeeeeep sea green, with a tiny dash of purple-tinged Na’vi blue.

enchanted pandora collage 1

Also it was a big excuse to use a bunch of polishes I somehow always forget I actually own – the perils of keeping your stuff tucked away where it cannot get dusty and damaged, true, but also can’t be seen and is easily forgotten.

First we have Enchanted’s colour-shifting multi-chrome, Magical Mystery Tour.  Like the Pandoran inspiration for this manicure, this polish is incredible, morphing from a vibrant aqua, to a regal indigo, and finally, to a plush orchid purple.  This polish could practically be called “Pandora in a Bottle” (Pandora’s Bottle?)

magical mystery tour collage

Magical Mystery Tour is the biggest chameleon of this lacquered bunch, particularly in shaded lighting conditions where the linear colour shift is the most pronounced.

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Next up we have Entwined, another colour-shifter, although this time with both a slight holographic tinge, and a light dusting of holo micro-glitter.  Entwined is another one where what you see is definitely not all that you get; this polish morphs from a rich, plummy wine, to a queasy sort of purple shot through with iridescent green shimmer.  Here’s an alien colour if ever there was one – so fitting that much of Pandora’s flora blossoms in this unique purple hue.

entwined collage

In the penultimate Pandoran position we have the unimaginatively named March 2017, which bears the distinction of being the only polish in two years of mystery purchases that I would have purchased had it been offered a la carte.  What a unique stunner, and nearly the exact shade of the Na’vi (look how respectful I’ve gotten – I no longer refer to them solely as the 11-foot-tall blue kitty people!)

march 2017 collage

Finally, we have Neptune, the turquoise-to-evergreen-to-navy blue twin of Entwined (En-twinned, perhaps?)  This polish reminds me of the unnaturally hued waterways of Pandora (many of which contain bizarre little critters, if you look closely enough.  But don’t look too closely, because they’ve got tentacles!

neptune collage

Even if you’re not a fan of Avatar (and truly, I cannot stress enough how much I really dislike that movie) I think you will still fall utterly in love with the place, and I’d implore you to experience the alien world of Pandora at least once.  It’s a genuine marvel, and you never know what sort of odd inspirations the beauty of the place will spark in you.

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