Disney World Blitz: Parklife Part III

“They see me ridin’/my Buggy/Magic Kingdom ’cause I’m just a nerdy girl at Disney/just a nerdy girl at Disney/look at me, I’m a nerd at Disney!”  No, not how that song goes?  Huh, strange. 😉

Welcome, friends, to the third and penultimate installment of my is-it-ever-going-to-end? series on our recent anniversary trip to Disney World.  Today we finally get down to the good stuff, the rides!  If you’re at all interested in hearing me blather on about our stupendously gorgeous accommodations and the tasty nibbles we picked up whilst running the theme park gauntlet, you can find those posts here and here.

Outside the Mansion

First, as detailed in this post, we rode the Haunted Mansion 13 times on our 13th wedding anniversary, which falls on Halloween.  HUGE, crazy accomplishment, this – a lifetime bucket list item nicely checked off (one that’s been cooling its heels on my list since I was a wee, weird little lass of just two years old.)  We actually rode the Mansion 16 times over two days.  It’s my favourite spot on the planet; sounds a bit a lot strange, but nestled in the dark in a jittering little Doom Buggy, passing the hall of endless staircases as the Ghost Host intones not-so-dire warnings about the restless spooks who inhabit the Mansion, I am complete.  Giant goober alert here, but our last ride, I cried.  It all felt very overwhelming.  See, Disney nerd!

That was our second day at the Magic Kingdom.  Thirteen runs through the Haunted Mansion ate up the majority of the day, but we did find time to squeeze in a couple of non-Mansion rides, in addition to a mid-day repast at Gaston’s Tavern.  I wish the big tool himself had made an appearance; Gaston’s just the worst, and I love him for it.  But this lady waits for no man, not even the super bulgy, dim bulb variety, and I had places to be, bucket lists to conquer!  Next time, Gaston, next time.  Maybe we’ll even sit in your chair together.

Throne Alone

But our first day at the Magic Kingdom, we hit it HARD – 8 am to 11 pm, TAKE! NO! PRISONERS!  You know, except for the 40 minutes or so we were held hostage on a broken-down Pirates of the Caribbean, but more on that (surprisingly fun adventure) in the next, final installment!

Smudge Out Castle Shot

Our first day at the Magic Kingdom we banged out 17 rides.  We also dropped in on a couple of stage shows, caught the midday parade, watched most of the evening’s fireworks display, shopped up and down Main Street, got stuck on Pirates for the better part of an hour AND made our inaugural visit to Gaston’s.  So how did we cram all that fun into one day?  Well, here’s a few tips:

1: Be as serious about your footwear AND care as Lieutenant Dan screaming into Forrest’s face about fresh socks.  You won’t get anywhere if you’re hobbling around with sweaty, blistered tootsies, so plan ahead and pre-game your feet – comfy shoes (Vans for me, Chucks for the Mr.) and adhesive callous pads applied to known trouble areas kept us up and comfortably pounding the pavement from rope drop to park close.

2: Abandon any notion of sleep or peace or rest.  That goes double for you lazy sods all crashed out in the middle of the day on the Hub grass.  You’re at Disney – why are you napping?!  Just come to terms with the fact that to experience all that Disney has to offer, you’re going to have to temporarily sacrifice the routines and comforts of home.  We certainly did – I don’t know what else you call being up and on your feet from park open (8 am!) to close (11 pm the first day) each day.  Bonkers?  Yeah, that works!

487

3: Work those FastPasses.  Disney hands out a large – but limited – number of jump-the-line passes every day for nearly every attraction in the park.  You can book three FastPasses per attraction, per guest, per day; a particularly useful little perk for those rides with stubbornly long wait times (Peter Pan’s Flight, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) that hold fast throughout the day.  And not everyone knows this, but after you’ve used your third and final FastPass of the day, you can then begin booking additional FastPasses, one at a time.  And once you’ve used up that fourth FastPass, you can then book a fifth, and so on, until they’re shooing you out the front gates with brooms!

4: Most importantly, stay flexible.  If you roll up to the Mine Train at 9 am to find it offline, with a two-plus hour lineup already snaking around the entirety of the ride, say, “Oh, bugger this, we’re not starting our first day in a friggin’ two-hour lineup!” (actual quote) and move on.  With the exception of one 30-minute wait for the Mansion on Halloween, we never waited any longer than 15 or 20 minutes for any ride, and many of them were virtual walk-ons.  But we maximized our ride time precisely because we were willing to move – as in move on to something with a slightly more manageable wait time.  And invariably, we’d come back a short while later to find the wait time halved or better.  This is also how we wound up walking at least seven miles our first day; we crisscrossed the park more times than I can count!

Magic Kingdom Docs

5: Also, in as much as you can, stay out of the sun, particularly if you are of pasty, Celtic-Canadian descent.  I ended our first day at the Magic Kingdom with a chest redder than Sebastian the crab and Merida’s hair combined.  Wear sunscreen.  Buy some dorky matching hats, if you must (and we really did!)

Need Sunscreen

Jack and Sally Hats

Okay, so it would seem I didn’t actually get around to really talking about any of the rides this time, but I think I’ve given you a good overview of how we accomplished so very much in such a short amount of time (“Really dragging this out, ain’t you?” some of you may be thinking.  And the answer is yes, YES, I AM!  I had the very best time on this impromptu little trip, and I’m going to storytell it into the ground, yo.)  Next time – the last time, though definitely not the last Disney time – we finally go ridin’!

Advertisements

Goal Goals: A Dieting Story

Mansion Shot

For me, (a) major treat is a…trip to Disney World, one of my favourite places on Earth, and a spot I’ve been avoiding since gaining ALL the weight.  I think about that still-very-nebulous vacation every day as I’m thumping away on the treadmill, imagining that each on-the-spot step is actually me hauling nimble ass towards the Haunted Mansion for the first of the day’s 13 straight rides.  It’s wonderful motivation, an achievable big dream I can almost reach out and touch.  It also sort of has a smell (popcorn, Dole Whip, propane and chlorinated It’s a Small World water, in case you were wondering.)

That was me four months and 30+ pounds ago, still dreaming about that let’s-face-it-it’s-probably-never-going-to-happen trip to Disney.  Something was always going to get in the way – most likely an incapacitating back spasm or my inability to walk more than 50 feet without breaking out into a sweat.

And that picture above?  That’s my husband and I a week and a half ago standing triumphant in front of the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion following our 13th ride.

I was, frankly, astonished when Mr. Finger Candy came home three nights before our anniversary and declared that we were going to Disney World to celebrate, no ifs, ands or buts.  But I was positively gobsmacked when I realized that yes, we could go, we could go – and did go! – practically right that minute precisely because MY butt was no longer the issue!  And neither was my back, or my energy levels or any one of the other dozen or so minor ailments that had been unfairly derailing our lives for years.

You guys, I DIDS IT!!!  And not only did I do it, but I’m overjoyed to report that barring the usual (foot, it’s always foot) pains that invariably go along with a 16-hour day at the world’s busiest theme park (we walked at least seven miles our first day at the Magic Kingdom, or 33,371 feet) I had zero – I repeat, zero! – problems with mobility related to either my weight or general health.  And our feet actually fared quite well, thanks to our Lieutenant Dan-like approach to theme park foot care.  Won’t lie, I side-eyed the super slim, toboggan-type capsules on Space Mountain something fierce, but the only problem I had there was insufficient legroom.  Then again, Space Mountain has always been a cramped ride; no idea how my husband fit all 6’3 of himself in there (“Uncomfortably!” he says.)

We had the very best time on this impromptu little trip, and I’ve returned home feeling stupendous; so proud of myself.  And seriously pumped up; ready to tackle the next little bit of my weight loss journey, because the work never ends.  Bit of a bummer, that, but doable when you realize that when you put in the work, you can actually make your dreams – even the kind of bonkers ones – come true. 🙂

PhilharMagic

Thirteen Rides Through the Haunted Mansion on Our 13th!

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Last Thursday evening Mr. Finger Candy came home, dropped his bag at the front door and said, “Let’s go to Disney World.  This weekend.  For our anniversary.”  And finally out of lameass excuses for why we couldn’t or shouldn’t – weight concerns, passports, finances, take your pick – I said yes.  Annnnnnddddd roughly 72 hours later we were standing in the Magic Kingdom!

‘Twas but a blitz of a trip, just a totally spontaneous handful of days, but we did manage to cross one of my LIFETIME bucket list items off the old roster in the form of 13 runs through the Haunted Mansion on Halloween, our 13th wedding anniversary.  The Mansion is rife with references to the number 13, and I’ve been taken with the notion of riding it 13 times in one day since I was about two years old; that this momentous event – yes, it was momentous! – took place on our 13th wedding anniversary, which itself falls on Halloween, was really just a matter of incredible timing.

Mansion 13 Collage

Tips for tackling such an impressive undertaking? 😉  Get there early and bang out as many runs in a row as you can.  We got to 10 before I declared a (super)nature break.  When we returned an hour or so later, we had “adorable” matching mini-strokes when we saw that the Mansion was offline, but it was just a temporary blip – the 999 happy haunts who inhabit the Mansion were up and spooking within minutes, and we were on our way to our 13th.

Another useful tip for hustling your way through the Mansion is to look for the tiny red dot along the wall in the room of stretching portraits.  This is where the panel will slide back, leading into the main queue area.  Line yourself up with this dot and you’ll be in the perfect spot to sweep through the doors and straight onto a Doom Buggy in the time it takes your room-mates to even realize a door has opened.

Mansion Outdoors Collage

Unlike virtually every other ride in the Magic Kingdom, the Haunted Mansion does not exit into a gift shop.  In fact, until about two or three years ago, the Mansion did not have a gift shop; you could find its wares set up on a Victorian era hearse just outside the gates.  Today you can find all Mansion merch around the corner at Memento Mori, the Mansion’s designated gift shop.  That’s where we snagged a few souvenirs to commemorate our trip, our anniversary and 13 completed runs through the Mansion!

Magic Band Collage

2017’s limited edition Haunted Mansion Magic Bands seemed in order.  “Okay, yeah, so they’re cool and all,” you may be saying to yourself, “but Sandra, what precisely are you two numbskulls going to do with a parks-specific RFID reader anyways?”  Well, take it back to Disney, for one.  We’re already planning another trip as early as Christmas. 🙂  If you stay on property at one of Disney’s resorts like we did – Port Orleans Riverside, and lordy, it was GORGEOUS! – you get a plain jane Magic Band that acts as your everything – room key, park admission, FastPass-getter, credit card.  It’s a nicely comprehensive little system.  Also an absolute nightmare for anyone with qualms about “governmental” oversight or the deep surveillance state.  Not sure what to say to those folks except a Disney vacation is absolutely not for you.  Your every move is being tracked and analyzed by the House of Mouse; accept this or perish (Wired published a great piece on Cyberdyne’s Mickey’s Magic Band tech here.)

Mansion Merch 1

Items that will perhaps get a bit more everyday use include a damask print tie for my husband and some cool Mansion maid socks for me.

Mansion Merch 2

And I couldn’t say no to a couple more items in the Mansion’s iconic damask-with-eyes wallpaper, including another pair of socks (can’t ever have too many) and a waterproof, super lightweight backpack that proved invaluable over our two days at the Magic Kingdom.  This sucker really fits a lot!  It also glows under black light, which is absolutely not why I purchased it in the first place (yes, it absolutely is!)

005

All fun and merch aside, though, it was an amazing day – a top three-er, no hesitation!  Really, how many of us get to say we completed a pretty nutso, lifetime bucket list item, and on a special anniversary, no less?!  This happy person, that’s who. 🙂

Mansion Shot

And none of this fabulous, fantastical – phantasmical? – fun would have been possible without being married to this incredible guy.  I highly recommend it.  He’s the Jack to my Sally in that I often have to keep him from enthusiastically spinning off into another dimension, but when he pulls me along for the ride, it’s always a wild and wonderful one.  I had the bestest time with my bestest friend. 🙂  A once-in-a-lifetime experience…although we’re already relishing the possibility of making it a multiples-in-a-lifetime experience.  To the next 13!

Fall Fun Series II: Can You Keep a Secret?

Kissing Pictures are Tacky

I hope you can, because I certainly can’t – I *had* thought about keeping this one totally to myself, but I’m too excited not to spill!  Also, I offer this up in explanation of where this week’s Halloween-centric Fall Fun Series is not.  As in I don’t have any cool Halloween plans to share with you this week, although I certainly will next week, because we’re goin’ to Disney!!!  To celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, actually, which falls on the 31st itself.  We will mark that particular milestone by (hopefully!) riding the Haunted Mansion 13 times in a row – one of those lifetime bucket list items I can’t wait to cross off the list!  I’m really looking forward to sharing the fun with you next week. 🙂  Until then, happy Halloween from these two nerds.

July Band of Bloggers

BOB 2nd photo

As mid-summer approaches, my mind drifts to vacation times, getaways or mini excursions out and about.  One-tank trips.  Parks to explore.

Do you take a summer vacation or do small getaways?  What do you have planned?  If not, what would be your ideal vacation or retreat?  What are your favourite local haunts?  Give us some places to hang out!

No real summer plans this year (or any year; I don’t do summer very well) save just getting through the dang thing.

But!  My dream vacation?  The mere idea of which gets me up nearly every day at the butt crack of dawn to trawl the pool or pound the pavement in the hopes of whittling my arse down to a Doom Buggy-acceptable size?  The dream that is so potent, it practically comes with its own smell?

Disney.  Disney World, actually, classic Orlando styles (don’t get me started on the incongruities of someone who wilts like a pansy in the heat vacationing in central Florida.)  I used to go just about every year with my parents when I was a kid, and indeed, it’s where Mr. Finger Candy and I enjoyed two weeks of blissful – if humid – honeymooning, but we haven’t been in years.

Time to rectify that in a major way.  And we can start with something I have ALWAYS wanted to do, but which my parents – bless their otherwise terrifically indulgent souls – could never quite manage, 13 straight trips through my favourite place on Planet Earth, the Haunted Mansion.  I’m trying not to hype it up too much, or denigrate all of the other very, very important moments that have occurred in my life (graduating university, getting married, owning a home) but I think it’s going to be the very best day of my life. 😉

And not like they weren’t a lot of work or anything, but I’ll be sporting these nails when I do eventually get there, my second go at recreating the Mansion’s iconic Damask wallpaper, complete with eerily shifting eyes.

Haunted Mansion Fingers

I am not going to lie…as summer starts revving up…I am catching myself daydreaming not only about vacation, but also fall scents.  I am sure it may be too early for some and others melt fall scents year round, but I must ask…where are you planning to order your fall smell goods from?  It can be vendor wax, candles, bath and body or perfumes.  Just spill!

Save a pending Sniff My Tarts custom order, 3/4 of which is mint-based (so more winter there) I have no outstanding orders.  But I’ve always wanted to get in on The Bathing Garden’s gore-geous collection of Halloween-themed bath and body care.  I’ve been so impressed with my two orders thus far, and I can’t wait to see what beautifully creepy little items they come up with for the upcoming haunting season.

Please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below.

And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

Disney Girl Challenge: Madame Leota (31DC2016)

madame-leota-hand

For non-Disneyphiles, Madame Leota is the spirit of a deceased clairvoyant who lives in the Haunted Mansion.  She’s remarkably chatty, dramatically intoning all sorts of wisdom from beyond the corporeal realm, although she don’t get around much – Madame Leota is naught but a head in a crystal ball.  Which made these nails for day 29’s theme of the supernatural in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge sort of difficult; how do you create a design around a character who’s really a supernatural paperweight resting on a fringed, velvet tablecloth?  Well, you start by painting an adorable, smirking Madame Leota on your thumb, as she’s not much for smiling.  Then you add her velvet-flocked tablecloth (one does want a hint of colour, after all) and the musical instruments that dance across the walls of her seance room.

Once when I was a kid the ride stopped for about 10 minutes right in front of Madame Leota’s crystal ball, and I started conjuring up all sorts of delightful fantasies about how my parents and I – and just the three of us – would be forced to live out the remainder of our days in the Haunted Mansion.  I was, of course, totally okay with that plan – it was like my greatest dream was actually coming true!  No doubt my parents, who had been sitting there for 10 long, dark minutes listening to Madame Leota drone on and on about “regions beyond” were less enamored.  So it’s just as well that the ride started back up again and we moved on (only to disembark, and then immediately line up for another go-round; my parents let me be a weird kid sometimes.)

Eye Spy

Eye Spy 1

This combination of polishes, ILNP’s multi-chromatic flakie topper, Paradox, over Enchanted Polish’s plum holo, January 2015, reminded me so much of the colour and effect of the wallpaper in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, I added some not-so evil eyes just to seal the ghostly deal.  These nails should keep the haunts of the Mansion extra happy, but all the same, keep your eye(s) on this one. 😉

Eye Spy 2