Tuesdays on the Run: May Runfessions

It’s Tuesday, so that mean’s I am linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for

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Most days I love opening Timehop, today was not one of those days!

Twelve months ago, I was nearing the half way mark to 2016 miles in 2016.  I was averaging well over 20K steps a day with my Fitbit.

 

Today I don’t even put my Fitbit on, I haven’t since December.  ***Cue the poor pitiful me music. *** Hard to walk anywhere with a leg in a boot for 6 months.

Twelve months ago, I was beginning my training for runDisney’s Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge (it was 3 courses since I added the 5K in the challenge).  Today, I am not sure when my next race will be.  I had my return to half marathon scheduled for November, 12 months post injury…my Achilles is being stubborn (no surprise after all since it is part of me).

Seven Months ago, mile 11-12 (challenge mile 20-21) of runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon haunts me as the moment my Achilles screamed at me that it was time to rest, but I tried anyway.  Six months ago, I finally listened…enter my not so favorite footwear.

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Two weeks ago, I learned just how weak my ankle had become being trapped and began enduring physical therapy where the weak ankle makes my uncoordinated self look even more ridiculous.

Today, I tossed aside my ever faithful and annoying footwear and entered the world of “Old Lady Feet” concealed cleverly in my Hokas and wobbled throughout the day like Ariel on her human legs (but she looks a lot cuter).

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In two weeks, I hope to walk my first ½ of a mile and celebrating with a much needed pedicure. In 6 months, I hope to be running my first 5K in over a year. But in 12 months, I am going to be closing in one that full marathon at age 50 (plus 6 days) watch out Missoula, Montana!

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Please Achilles, play nice…I listened to you!

 

 

 

Friday Five: 5 Tips for Using Memory Maker & PhotoPass+ at WDW

When I go on vacation, I don’t purchase souvenirs…my souvenirs are the pictures that I take and use to create a scrapbook album of our vacation.  Since I am usually the one in control of the camera (or the one who lugs it around the entire trip) there are very few photos of me on our trips.  Disney puts me in the pictures with their Memory Maker product and PhotoPass+ services.  Here are 5 tips for making the most out of this product & service…

  1. Purchase Before Your Trip

If you purchase your Memory Maker at least 3 days prior to your departure, you will save enough for 4 Mickey Bars ($20).  I don’t know about you but I like the idea of saving money at Walt Disney World.  Also, you only need 1 Memory Maker for your travel party, so if you are traveling with a large group, split the cost.

I can easily add this onto your vacation package when you book your Walt Disney World Vacation through me.  This way it is part of your payments and is paid in full prior to your trip.

  1. Make Sure your Memory Maker is Linked

If you want Memory Maker to work with your Magic Bands, you need to make sure that it is linked in your My Disney Experience reservations.  Also check to make sure that everyone who is using it is on your friends and family list in My Disney Experience and their reservations are linked to your account.

When you book your Walt Disney World Vacation through me, I will make sure that Memory Maker is linked prior to your departure as well as you family and friends are also linked that you are traveling with so you don’t miss any pictures!

  1. Use as Much as Possible

Pictures really are the best souvenir there is and who wouldn’t want to come home with hundreds of photos of their vacation and actually be in them?  If you see a PhotoPass Photographer, take the few moments to stop and take both serious and goofy photos.  No matter how many pictures you take, the price is still the same.  Get your money’s worth!  If you are stumped for ideas how to pose, ask your PhotoPass Photographer, they usually have great ideas and suggestions.

  1. Ask for Magical Shots

After you take a few serious or goofy photos, ask the PhotoPass photographers what Magical shots they have.  There are many different shots throughout all of the parks including adding props, and funny poses where characters will be inserted into your photograph.

  1. Use a Back Up Camera

If there are really important pictures that you want to make sure you have, use a backup camera or phone camera, your PhotoPass Photographer will be happy to snap a few extra pictures with your device.  Trust me, nothing feels much worse than your pictures being lost in cyber-space.  This happened for me with my son when he met his hero, Lightning McQueen.  I still cry thinking I don’t have those pictures.

For me as a scrapbooker, pictures capture the moment and Memory Maker along with the PhotoPass+ services helps me to relive those memories long after our trip is over and is certainly worth the cost.

Tammie’s Take Thursday:  Expedition Everest Challenge

 

One of the most popular and thrilling attractions at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest located in “Asia”.  Expedition Everest takes riders on a trek from a base camp in Tibet to the top of the “forbidden mountain,” where riders encounter the allusive creature called the Yeti.

Expedition Everest, or EE, is a favorite of mine and each trip I challenge whoever is with me to my EE Challenge.  There is only 1 rule, “How Many Times Can you Ride BACK TO BACK before you have to tap out?”  My record is 6 times, set back in November of this year.  Did I happen to mention, that this is a high speed steel roller coaster and I am pushing the 50 year old birthday soon (my stomach is not what it used to be)?  Trust me EE has multiple surprises and thrills that only Disney can provide.

Before I go into how it is possible to ride 6 times in a row without standing in line the entire day, let me tell you that I LOVE to stand in line for this ride because the theming is INCREDIBLE.  The queue for EE will keep you engaged the entire wait time.  While in line you will get to look at artifacts brought back from Nepal by Disney Imagineers while in the planning stages of this attraction.  There are tons of things to see and read that are fascinating, and really make you feel like you are at as base camp high in the Himalayan’s and that just maybe the Yeti is real.  Make sure at least one of your rides in the challenge is through the queue, and don’t hold the line up because you are reading.

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If possible try to score seats in the first car. I am not going to spoil the ride for a first time rider, but make sure you take a look around when you reach the top of the mountain…the view is incredible and trust me you have a few moments.  Make sure you (and your stomach) are prepared for what is next, because you won’t know if you are coming or going.

What’s my secret to riding 6 times in a row without standing in line all day?  My #1 tip is to make sure you are at “Rope Drop,” opening time of Animal Kingdom and head directly to EE.  You can ride 2-3 times without long waits in line, usually by the 3rd time the wait is 20 minutes.

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Once the crowd builds, locate the single rider line entrance, between the entrance and exit of the ride near the gift shop.  Your wait will be just a few minutes…and if you really want a challenge go through the regular line 1 time and then hit up the single rider line until your stomach has had enough.  Warning, you will be separated from your challenge group, don’t argue with the Cast Members…this is the SINGLE RIDER LINE.  For your final ride, schedule your FASTPASS+ selection around 10:30 am.

One of my favorite things during the challenge to do is ham it up for the camera.  If you purchased Memory Maker and taking advantage of PhotoPass+ services you can document each ride.  The ride camera is located just as you escape the Yeti towards the end of the ride, the coaster will take you back outside the mountain.  Just as you come out the mountain and take the big drop, the camera will be to your right.  Have fun with it.

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WARNING:  IGNORE THE INCESSIVE GUM CHEWING and NO HUGE SPOILERS!

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And if you are even more daring, document your ride with your camera on video as well as taking a few selfies of your own while on the ride…after several rides you know when you can do this.

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When you are all finished make sure you find the PhotoPass Photographer in front of EE and take an after photo throwing up how many rides with your fingers!

When you’re finished, or rather your stomach is finished with the challenge…there are Mickey Bars next door or if you need to celebrate with a more celebratory drink, try the Triple Yeti Blast (mix of Mango, Lime & Strawberry frozen margaritas) at Warung Outpost near EE.

Are you up for the challenge?  If you are, post your pictures and results on my Facebook Page or here in the comments! Let me know if you were able to escape the Yeti.

 

(almost) Wordless Wednesday:  Goofy…Goofy’s Candy Company

It’s (almost) Wordless Wednesday!  Each week I join Focused on the Magic and other fellow Disney bloggers to share our Disney vacation photos and memories by blog hopping. This week’s topic was an easy one…Goofy!

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If you know me, one of my favorite parts to a Disney vacation is the food and I will admit to a small sweet tooth.  My favorite last stop of any trip is Goofy’s Candy Shop in Disney Springs.

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Here you will find Disney branded snacks and treats, colorful tubes & drawers of bulk candies, display cases full of yummy bakery items and my personal favorite…Create-Your-Own Treat.  Goofy’s offers a fun custom assembly line where you get to build your snack from the ground up and watch it be made.

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YOU decide what snack you want. YOU decide what it’s dipped in. YOU decide the topping. And YOU decide what it’s drizzled with. Overall, if you were to pick 1 item from each category there is 810 different combinations to keep you coming back time after time for an entirely different treat for almost daily for 3 years (excuse the math teacher in me)!

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I love watching my treat be made by talented Cast Members almost as much as I enjoy eating it!

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Next time you find yourself in Disney Springs, spend some time watching the Cast Members make a few treats and maybe order a custom one of your own, you won’t be disappointed!

Travel Tip: On the Disney Dining Plan?  Items at Goofy’s Candy Company can be purchased with Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits and you can easily convert Quick Service Dining Credits into Snack Credits (usually 1 QS Credit = 3 Snack Credits).  This is a great way to take some of the magic home with you at the end of your vacation and use up your credits!

Tuesdays on the Run: What I Loathe About Running

It’s Tuesday, so that mean’s I am linking up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for

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I am finding my running thoughts to be somewhat negative as I am quickly heading toward month number 6 (and hopefully the last) in this boot thanks to a severe case of Achilles tendonitis and partial tears brought on during training for Disney Wine & Dine Lumiere’s 2 Course Challenge last November.  I probably should be blogging about the Things I love (or miss about running), but today I want to continue with my pity party and bad mood and remember that running is not always something I enjoy (yes, I am attempting to use reverse psychology without a degree)…today’s topic, things I LOATHE ABOUT RUNNING…

Weather

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 I am not sure that there is a perfect place year round where the weather never interferes with they day that you have planned to get that training run in.  I watch the weather more than I used to, plotting out days around Mother Nature’s bad mood.  I can run almost any season with proper planning, but my biggest weather factor where I live is the WIND.  Wind in the winter, wind in the summer, wind in the fall, wind in the spring…and we are not talking just a little wind.  I am fortunate to live in one the windiest places in the country.  Give me the rain and the snow, but please don’t blow during my run.

Being Self Conscious

I don’t have a runner’s body that looks cute in little shorts and tank tops.  I am larger than most out there and it makes me uncomfortable.  I feel a lot of times like people are staring and secretly mocking my attempt to be out there participating, so that is why I pick bigger races so I can blend in the crowd.  I come in proudly at the Back of the Pack but always feel like judgmental eyes are on me.  What is worse is when course support does not wait on you, despite stating the course will stay open for x amount of time and even the finish line has been rolled up when you get there. Yes, this happened to me on my very first (and last) local race.  The course coordinator even told us they did not want to wait and we were 15 minutes faster than the allotted time.

Dealing with Uncooperative Body

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You would think by now I would have finally given into my body saying no more of this abuse thing called running…shin splints where I could barely walk, stress fracture, Achilles tear, etc.  Despite all of these issues I am still out there fighting now only to get through a run mentally but with a body that physically wants to challenge you each step of the way.

Bad Runs

Nothing is more demoralizing than having a great training run and go out for the next training run and it is the worst one ever.  Just when you feel you are on track for a PR you are deflated and question why you are even out there pushing yourself.

Pixie Dust Attitude

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While it is not in my place to judge others, I hate posts that state…I did not have time to train, do you think I still will be alright and not get swept?  Let me clarify there is a huge difference between people who could not train because of injury and those who are just flat out lazy and full of excuses. What gets me the most are when other runners start throwing around the notion that Tinkerbell is going to magically sprinkle dust to get them to the finish line.  If you are not going to commit to training, then don’t sign up.  Like everything in life you have to make time and work for the things that are important to you.  I am out there busting my big hiney at 4:30 am on a summer weekend morning with a family and full time job, so can you.

Even in the midst of all these things I LOATHE about running, nothing is going to stop me from when this boot finally comes off, physical therapy is completed and the doctor gives his thumbs up to begin training  again (or at least walking)… I will probably have my running shoes in the car waiting to take off.

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(almost) Wordless Wednesday: Way Back

Okay, I know this is a couple of days late but I could not find the pictures I wanted…

Welcome to my first (almost) Wordless Wednesday where I am linking up with Focused on the Magic and other Disney bloggers to show our #disneyside.

This week’s topic is “Way Back” which had me thinking, that I really do not have any Way Back memories with Disney, as my first visit to Walt Disney World was in 2010 at the ripe age of 40 something.  As a child, I remember growing up watching the Wonderful World of Disney and having a huge crush on the young Kurt Russel, heck I still have a crush on the “mature” Kurt Russell.  I did go to Disneyland when I was in high school, but those pictures are somewhere buried in my childhood home.  So, what could I add to “Way Back?” My baby girl turned 20 earlier this month and today she comes home from her sophomore year of college, which put me in a reflective mood…

Ab loved Tinkerbell before Tink was cool.  At age 4, she was pixie sized and all attitude, just like Tink.

As a teenager, she got to meet with her pixie idol from her childhood when we went on our first family vacation to Walt Disney World.  I remember tearing up when the 2 Pixies met each other for the first time, a magical moment. Transformed for the moment my moody teenager was that sweet little girl dancing around the house in her Tinkerbell costume.

These are the moments are what makes a Disney vacation so special, because no matter how old you there is magic to be found.

Friday Fives: 5 Reasons Why You Should Use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for Your Trip

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People ask me, “Why should I use a travel agent to help me with my Disney vacation?  I am only going to an amusement park, what needs to be planned about that?”  There is so much more to a Disney vacation then simply riding rides.  There is planning that needs to be done to insure that your trip is filled with magical memories and make it worth all the money you are spending.  Here are my top 5 reasons why you should you use me, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for your next Disney vacation…

1.  My Services are FREE!

Disney has very standard pricing and they offer the same rates to all travel agents that they have on their website.  There are no blind fees or hidden mark ups.  The difference is what comes after you book your vacation.  When you book your vacation through me, you work with a real person who wants to make your trip better. If you were to book through Disney, it would be up to you to navigate the planning waters and put in all the research. Disney pays me a commission to make sure that your trip is the best that it can be and you will want to come back time after time.

2. I KNOW Disney!

Not only do I love Disney, but I KNOW Disney and have earned my “ears”.  I am a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge.  I work hard to keep my knowledge of all Disney vacation experiences current by attending on-site location trainings, reading and researching.  I actually have traveled many times to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and sailed on the Disney Cruise Line.  For each of these trips I have spent countless hours researching and planning making sure my vacation was the best possible for my family and friends. I can answer pretty much any question you might have, or I know where I can find the answer.  I also speak Disney fluently, don’t know what “Staying at POR and riding the monorail to MK to dine at BOG and then riding the BTMRR before MNSSHP begins” is, I do and I will help you decipher Disney language.

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3. I help you SAVE MONEY!

Disney vacations are expensive, so I will work to save you money by providing tips and searching out the best vacation package discounts for your trip.  Even if you have booked your trip, I will still continue to watch for discounts that can be applied for your trip. I try to spend your money like I would my own.  Sometimes spending a little extra will give you a lot, and vice versa.  I will be honest with you and let you know where it is appropriate to splurge and where to cut corners, and work within the budget you set to make the best vacation possible.

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4. I WALK YOU THROUGH the planning process and am your personal SOUNDING BOARD.

A Disney vacation is far more than showing up to the park gate with your ticket.  There are a lot lots of things to consider from transportation, choosing a hotel, sorting out all ticket options, finding places to eat, deciding which park is best which day and what do you do when you get into the park.  I help take away some the stress and confusion planning a Disney vacation, by walking you through the planning process and providing insider tips along the way. I do the research for you, you make the choices, and then I put it all together for you so that when you are finished planning you don’t feel like you need another vacation from planning. If you are trying to make a decision between two choices, just ask more than likely I have personal experience or an opinion on what you are trying to decide between. I will give you an honest answer each and every time, plus do my best to fulfill all of your wishes for your trip.

5. I SAVE YOU TIME before and during your vacation!

I have already spent the hours researching what is needed to make a Disney vacation magical and I will pass that knowledge on to you, so that you won’t have to invest that time.  Depending on which time zone you are in Disney advanced reservations for dining and FASTPASS+ open extremely early in the morning, I will wake up and make those reservations for you while you sleep.  I will also continuously watch discount offers that become available, and apply them to your reservation package, saving you both time and money!  While on your vacation, I will have prepared for you daily itinerary suggestions to save you time in the parks by avoiding large crowds, long wait times and crisscrossing the park.

I am proud to that Disney has awarded me with the title of Authorized Disney Vacation planner by completing the Disney College of Knowledge and honored to be an affiliate of Academy Travel and mickeyvacations.com.  Academy Travel and mickeyvacations.com is a Platinum Earmarked Agency awarded by Disney, the highest rating possible and 1 of only 5 in the world to reach this status for its excellent client services.

I hope that you will consider me for your Disney vacation planning needs and allow me the satisfaction of making magic happen for you and your family.  I promise that I will give your vacation the same care and attention to detail as I would my own trip.