In just a few short days… Summer of 2016 will be a thing of the past. It’s hard to believe how fast this year has flown. As we countdown to cooler nights (more like 80 here in South Florida), football (Maryann says Go Steelers!), and candy, it’s nice to reflect on these past few months. I wasn’t expecting all the Disney Magic that came our way this summer. We had no plans to go after our trip Memorial Day weekend till Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But some how we were able to escape on 2 separate occasions and celebrate some birthdays. This was definitely a summer I will never forget. Filled with laughter, smiles, and memories to last a life time. Experiencing Disney with Family and Friends… and if the 858 pictures that are on my phone are any indication to the adventures we have had these last 4 months… then you would see that fun was had by all.
My top 5 memories of the Summer of 2016
#5 Disney Store Summer Play Days
If you couldn’t tell from all the Tsum Tsum pics we have posted on instagram (and a little teaser to something special that we are working on), we do love the Tsum Tsums. And I do mean LOVE. So when my Mom told me about the Disney Stores Summer Play Days and how you could collect Tsum Tsum-inspired wristbands featuring different Disney characters, I knew we had to have them. So each week we attended one of the free daily events. Each time we had a great time looking around and participating in Story Time or Trivia. That is until we had to leave and I wasn’t getting someone an Elena dress (Bad Mommy). But we did end up adding a different Tsum Tsum to our collection almost every week (thanks to the $1.99 sale). I just love our Disney Store and thanks to Castmembers Kailah and Kevin (at the Miami Sunset location) they made collecting all of the wristbands a huge success. We were even able to snag the special Mickey and Minnie bands. Plus an extra special thanks to Heather the manager in Aventura, because of her kindness we were able to add the adorable Otter to our stack. Summer time is kind of crazy at my house with me teaching camp. Having these weekly events gave my daughter and I a very special date each week. She knew each week we would have a “Disney Store Date” and even though she never got that Elena dress, we had a blast collecting all of the wristbands. Apparently, these summer play days have been a thing these past few years. I never knew. But I can’t wait to see what they have for in store for next summer.
#4 Riding Expedition Everest in the dark
We awakened the summer during Memorial Day weekend. I would have to say the biggest highlight of that weekend (other than hanging out with my fellow Twin) was experiencing the Animal Kingdom at night. I have always said the best highlight of running the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Expedition Everest Challenge was running through this park at night. It’s a breathtaking experience, that unfortunately we will not be able to do again thanks to the W&D weekend changes. The DinoLand area is definitely an area that is not to be missed at night. And since I was unable to partake in the riding of Expedition Everest at night during the EEC after party, riding it that weekend was on the top of my list. I was only able to get fast passes at 7pm so the sun was still up when I got to ride it. But the Disney Magic shined down on me when Dinosaur broke down and provided me with a fast pass for another attraction. I looked at Kevin, with a puppy dog plea, and asked if I could go ride Everest. He of course said yes and I took off in a mad dash. I was so excited and nervous. Or as a little pony would say— I was nervoscited! It was everything I dreamed it would be. I will gladly go on the record and say it is by far the best roller coaster experience at Walt Disney World. Sorry, Big Thunder Mountain. But this coaster has a new found place in my heart.
#3 Experiencing Star Tours and the new “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show with my nephew Jayden.
My nephew loves Star Wars. So I was so excited to be able to take him to Hollywood Studios for a day. Now, we didn’t get to do all of the Star Wars stuff I would have liked for him to experience. But standing in line with him at Star Tours kind of brought tears to my eyes. I loved getting to experience his first time riding Star Tours with him. And then the fireworks show… Ah-mazing!!!! I think we all squealed with geek-ish delight when it first started. There were fireworks everywhere, lasers, projections on the Chinese Theater. Oh, Disney you have out done yourself. This might be my favorite fireworks display. Ever. But watching it with Jayden was an amazing moment for me. One I know I will never forget.
#2 Ainsley and my Mom celebrating their birthdays together with a last minute trip to Hollywood Studios.
Since my parents live in NC, we don’t get to spend a lot of holidays and birthdays together. So being able to celebrate my mom and Ainsley’s birthday by taking a last minute day trip Hollywood Studios was perfect. The day started out as a regular day. I woke up with my 6 year old telling me my mom had a question for me. Wanna go to Disney for the day? What? Did I hear that right? I know I hadn’t had my coffee yet. My mom wanted to head up for the day at 8:30 am? The next thing I know we are all running around getting kids dressed and packed to go to Disney for the day. We ended up getting to the park a little before 5pm (due to an accident on the turnpike) and we only had a few hours to play. But those few hours were so special to me. My mom and my daughter got to spend the day together in the most magical place celebrating their birthdays. Even though they are only days apart, they had never celebrated together. My mom got Ainsley the BB-8 cup she had been wanting and they shared a cupcake at dinner. I also totally insisted on the birthday girls getting their pictures taken. Had I known I would have booked the dessert party for them— maybe next time. As I got back into the car to go home, almost 5 hours after we arrived, I am so glad my mom wanted a little bit of Disney.
#1 Celebrating Madigan’s First Birthday
After planning and doing a birthday party for Ainsley — We took the easy (and crazy enough the cheaper) route for Madigan’s birthday. I know! No big “First Birthday” party for us. It was just the four of us celebrating, playing, and making memories. We booked a room at the Wilderness Lodge and headed to Disney for 2 wonderful days to celebrate her birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a more magical way to celebrate her first year with us. Her 9th trip in one year… she truly is my Disney baby. Every moment was so wonderful. I loved watching her laugh and smile while riding the rides, especially the Tea Cups. Seeing Ainsley be an amazing big sister by helping her little sister walk while waiting in line. But when I saw Wishes off in the distance, that’s when I was in tears. Two years earlier I had made a wish while watching Wishes… I’m so very thankful my wish came true. And I am so glad we took the easy route… we might have to do it again next year.
So, as we say hello to Halloween and pumpkins— I have to say one last final thank you to Summer for these last four magical months.
What were your top 5 magical moments of this summer?