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Thursday, December 3, 2015

MNSSHP: Girl's Trip!

Last Christmas my big gift from Zach was getting to go on a girl's trip to Disney. It was SO sweet of him and I was super pumped! We'd had SO much fun just the two of us for my 30th and I couldn't wait to experience Disney with some of my favorite friends :)

We decided to wait to go on the trip until Casey and I were both done breastfeeding. Pumping just takes some of the joy away from traveling ;) We started tossing around ideas and thought it'd be super fun to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. None of us had ever attended that party before and it was a lot cheaper than buying a full day ticket to the park. Plus who doesn't love a themed event?!?! 

We got tickets to a September party b/c they were cheaper and I'd heard they were also less crowded than the Oct dates. We headed out on Friday morning (Sept 25th). Casey, Katie and I were all super glad that Robyn prefers driving haha I will ALWAYS let her have her way with that one ;) 

Trying out the selfie stick, I'm slowly improving ;)


Like I mentioned in other posts, our drive was SO FUN. Just talking and sharing stories and getting to know each other better. I've been friends with Katie for 12 years now and this trip even deepened our bond and I feel like I learned so much about her! It was just the perfect blend of people who all brought something different to the group and made it the AMAZING trip it was!

With the Not So Scary Halloween Party you are allowed in the park at 4. Our plan was to get to Orlando, get a big lunch, check in the room, then go to the park! We figured if we ate a super filling lunch that we'd be able to just snack at the park and not waste part time sitting down to eat a full meal. Plan kiiiinda backfired as we ate the big lunch a little too early and ended up spending most of our time at the party eating haha! 

We decided to hit up O'Charley's. Man I wish we had one in Valdosta! Growing up O'Charley's was the JAM in Lawrenceville! I don't think Robyn had been to one before? It did not disappoint :) 




Daddy sent me this of Tess's lunch...I resisted the temptation to text him and tell him to cut it into smaller pieces haha (Britt LOVES quesadillas and Tess does too)


Embarrassing Robyn by asking random strangers to take a group pic of us miiiiight be one of my favorite things :)




HELLO DISNEY!!! WHOOP WHOOP!
First time I've ever visited Disney twice in one month...and let me say I wish I could do it more often!


When we booked the trip we discussed where to stay and I just felt the most safe with staying on property. I'm kinda hardcore about safety when my man isn't there to protect me :) Plus I didn't want to worry with traffic and getting lost or paying for parking at the park. When you stay on property...parking is free! I also knew they allow you to check in early with no issues and that they'd also most likely let us check out late.

We booked the All Star Movies resort. It's an older resort but was still fun and was really perfect for what we were wanting. Having 4 people in the group was also great because we could just get a room with two beds and be good to go! Check-in took forever. I booked the room through hotels.com and I guess that made it trickier for them to check us in. They did hook us up with late check out though for the next day and said we didn't have to be out until 1:30! Score!

Right off the bat I started hunting for hidden Mickey's for Kye :)


Everyone kept forgetting that this trip was technically Zach's idea and a gift for me for Christmas. For some reason they kept thinking it was my birthday trip?!? I think sometimes they thought it was a delayed bday trip from my 30th and then other times they thought it was an early trip for my 31st? Whatever. I rollllled with it and it was amazing. Birthday celebration for me!!!



To even more confuse the whole birthday thing we got settled in and then a cast member came to our room with a present! My sweet husband spent his left over money from his trip with his dad on surprising me with a gift on our trip! Tell me he isn't the best?!?! I was SO SHOCKED and it was so thoughtful!



It's a book bag with a cooler on the bottom, really cool!





And he filled it with goodies for us to enjoy!


I mean we assumed it was Zach ;)


When I suggested the MNSSHP I was a little nervous to suggest too hardcore of a costume. I knew comfort was important at the parks and it would probably be hot. Plus since none of us had been before I wasn't 100% sure what the vibe would be. I tried to think up something that we could all do that would be comfortable, simple, and cute. We decided to each buy a ear hat of a different princess and dress up loosely like that princess. It ended up being cute and def was comfortable! We did see a ton of people wayyyy more dressed up than we were and it did inspire us to want to be more hardcore about it in the future (yes, I said the future. This junk is TOTALLY a new tradition!)

Katie was the hat pinning PRO




I enjoy a good theme. So much so that I brought a separate suitcase just filled with some of Britt's dolls. I thought it'd be fun to get a picture of us with the princess we were dressed up like. Yes, I brought all these dang dolls all the way to Disney just for these pics haha Don't say I'm not dedicated ;)

Katie = Belle




Ariel...DUH





Robyn + Anna



Casey = Elsa





Sisters!


The random cast member lady who took our photo had the hots for Casey! She kept saying "You are so beautiful"


Elsa, Anna, and Ariel are all dolls Britt got last year for her birthday and Christmas. Belle is one that I bought used from a friend and let me just say that Belle gets down. Girl is WILD and has the hair to prove it! 

This picture cracks me up every single time haha


I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who bought my entire outfit for the trip! I got this tunic and these leggings from Amazon then I also found a deal on Hot Topic and couldn't resist the Ariel necklace and bracelets!



We were staying in the dalmation section!





I took this pic b/c I was a tttttaddd nervous that we'd forget where our room was!


Elevator selfie!


This trip really reminded me SO MUCH of the days before kids. We took a TON of pics of each other and just spent a lot of time laughing. I thought I might have felt guilty going to the park without the kids because when Zach and I went solo I did feel some guilt. However, this trip I didn't feel bad AT ALL. I think going with Zach made me feel bad b/c we did talk about the kids a lot and would both point out things and notice things that the kids would have enjoyed, ya know? But with just us girls we weren't doing that. Plus the party was NOT something I'd take my kids to at these ages. I would do the Christmas Party (we might next year instead of Britt having a 5th bday party) but there were def too many "spooky" elements at the MNSSHP for my kids ages. I don't even think Kye would have really truly enjoyed it. 

On our way!









I guess Robyn remembered where we were parked that night? B/c I KNOW I didn't haha Glad we had this pic just in case ;)


It's been a SUPER long time since I've ridden on the parking tram! First ride of the night! 







Random fact but I've actually technically been to Magic Kingdom with each of these girls before! Katie and I went together before Zach and I were even married. Zach and I went on a "17 day vacation" together...we did 2 timeshare cruises, visited my mom in Melbourne, stayed in Fort Lauderdale, stayed in the Bahamas and did Disney. It was pretty intense haha For the Disney portion of the trip Katie met us down there along with Ryan and Cheryl and we all did the park together. I don't have a ton of memories of it though? I need to hunt for some pics! I remember we met Pluto!

Casey and I have been to MK together back when we did a Parker Family Vacation there. And Robyn and I have never technically explored the park together, but have met up when both of our families happened to be there at the same time this past Jan :) Basically if you become my friend...we will at some point visit MK together ;) I know you all are lining up now right? haha







I recently learned you can ask for a pic with the balloons! We will def be doing this with the kids in Feb!














Prior to our trip I learned that you can schedule fast pass plus reservations on a day you are attending a party but only from the hours of 4-7. I had booked us Buzz but by the time we got in the park and everything we missed that reservation window. We were able to take advantage of our other two fast passes though: meeting Rapunzel and Cinderella as well as meeting Ariel!

The princesses have arrived!


I did not know until this moment that Cinderella is Casey's favorite princess!



You know they had to discuss some fashion! We spent a lot of this trip trying to convince Casey to start a fashion blog. Girl is ALWAYS ahead of the trends and has such a unique, awesome style!




You know my first question "Ummm where is Flynn?"
To which she replied "You mean Eugenie?"
To which I thought to myself "No, I meant Flynn. Eugenie totally kills the whole hott animated character thing Flynn has going for him" haha


Rapunzel was DEAD ON. She was adorable and really talked us up for a long time. We discussed her hair and bows and food I think? She was in noooo hurry which I appreciated :)





Time for Belle to be home!




Random fact: I have this door stop in my house :)


We didn't have a lot of people go in with us to Belle which was nice because it made it easier for us to get parts in the play haha I LOVED that the cast member picked ROBYN right off the bat. Robyn's probably the least likely one of us to volunteer for it but I was proud of how she rocked her role as Chip ;) I was also proud of how the cast members really handled the guy dressed at Gaston...he played the role of a guard which was pretty funny and when he met Belle at the end she was shocked to see him and said "how did you get in here?" haha


You know if me and Casey aren't selected to participate we will MAKE ourselves have a role ;)






Haha Casey!



You don't have to ask us to get into it ;)





Casey letting Belle know how much she appreciates that Belle likes to read...Casey the Feminist showed up for a minute there!



You know I also made sure our Belle met the real Belle! Belle is Katie's favorite so it was a must!

If you visit the park...just a tip...but you don't have to be in the show to meet her! You can ask and they will let you at the end :)


Belle escaped Beast's Castle!



Prior to the trip I asked everyone if they had anything they REALLY wanted to do. Robyn really wanted to ride Haunted Mansion, she and Katie really wanted to see the Sanderson Sisters show, Casey was just down for whatever (she's the least into Disney of the four of us...she's lucky she was allowed to come haha), and I really wanted to meet Gaston. I've heard so much about him and that he's an awesome character to meet and I thought it'd just be so fun to meet him at that event! 

Well dang the dude is tough to meet. We actually passed him as we were leaving Belle and he was hilarious. He kept telling us he'd always be in our hearts as we begged for him to stop! We ran over to his meet and greet area and were told we'd need to come back as he was taking a break. 




We ran into the couple who was with us during Belle. They were on their honeymoon and he was dressed at Gaston and she was dressed at Belle. It was adorable. We asked if she'd mind taking a picture of us with her man. I mean on the one hand she could have taken it as a mega compliment but on the other I hope it didn't start their first marital argument ;) He was so sweet to play along though and I sent it to Zach and he thought he was the legit Gaston and said "weak" bahahah



While Mommy's away Zach makes sure the kids have FUN! They went to the fun factory to play games and then went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (I'm sure the waitresses all looooved a hot man there solo with three cute kids ha!)









Ariel time!







MY FATHER!!!


We never lacked for friendly cast members that night. SO many offered to take pics of us which I always appreciate! The great thing about Disney is that the more into it you are, the more magical of an experience you will have. Cast Members LOVE when people are really into it! We had some great interactions with lots of cast members and it did make our night even more fun!





Walking up to meet Ariel I ran into a girl with my matching hat! I'm sure she thought it was SO COOL just like I did right?!?! I'm also sure her parents LOVED a random stranger taking a selfie with their child haha


We compared fin care notes, of course. Seaweed is where it's at.



I've noticed since Belle's Storytime has been opened awhile that they have adjusted the lighting. My pictures used to not turn out very well in that room but now they do WAY better. They need to do the same for the Ariel meet and greet. Even with my legit camera they still don't turn out that well because it's funky lighting in her grotto! I'm also pretty sure this is when a cast member asked Robyn if she was dressed as "Olaf Picnic" bahahaha



Jungle Cruise was perfection! We made sure to sit up front! It makes THE DIFFERENCE in your experience. Last visit we got sat in the back and Zach and I just didn't like it as much. We enjoy interactions and taking with the driver makes it so much more fun! They are always HILARIOUS and when you sit in the back you miss a lot of their personal, off script, jokes. I know a lot of people say Jungle Cruise needs an update but it's a favorite for me. It never gets old!



Leading up to the trip it was supposed to be downpour raining the entire time. I was pretty nervous about it but have also learned over the years of Disney travel that rain predictions can change big time. It was raining when we left our hotel but just sprinkling. It started to look worse after Jungle Cruise. The party hadn't officially started yet and I was thankful we were getting so much in before the storm!


Snack break #1!

And freeeeeee food #1! We think we figured out why I kept getting free stuff the whole night. 1. I had on a bday button and 2. I was always buying things under $5. I've celebrated birthdays at Disney before (my 25th, my 30th, Kye's 5th) and NEVER gotten free stuff like we did that night. But we figured out that it's probably b/c I never had a total of just $4.95? I was always buying multiple things because I was traveling with my family. Solo snacking is the way to go! I was pumped for my churro but a FREE ONE? Even more pumped!


On the way down I filled the girls in about the Disney Junkie group on FB and how I totally wanted to try to meet Frank (the creator of the group). Guess who was on board and who wasn't? haha We were sneaky and as we were walking with our snacks we just kinda veered off to get a pic in Frank's chairs. Robyn couldn't refuse b/c she had churro in her mouth haha



We went to the bathroom and then got another snack haha. I'm telling y'all it was a night of dining! The party had officially started so the special party food was being served. Katie and I both LOVED the candy corn ice cream. OMG SO AMAZING. Seeing these pics make me CRAVE IT BAD. And guess what? Free food #2 for ME!!!





We took our treats back over to Gaston's area in hopes of meeting him. They said it'd be 20 min or so. So we took our time and took a break. I will go ahead and say right now that the organization of this even was lacking. Cast Members did not know where characters were or when they'd return. I know the weather threw a lot of it off as well. And we didn't even ever see the candy station open up by Gaston's area? We ended up never getting any candy at all. Since none of us had ever been to MNSSHP before, we weren't disappointed or anything. To us, it was still AWESOME. But I do understand why others were complaining if they'd been to past parties and it didn't live up to those same expectations. 


All of my Gaston hunting was based around talking to this one girl. It was hilarious. We are prettttty sure she was on something more than just Disney Magic. She was a def confidence booster as she a) thought I was a cast member and then b) couldn't believe I was 30 with three children. She's my bff :)


You know you are a group of late 20s early 30 year olds when you bust out Ibuprofen and Tylenol for everyone to share!


It started to really rain so we ran into It's A Small World. It's one of Katie's favorites and y'all know I love it too :)


Of course we became buddies with these two teenage boys in line with us!
This miiiiight be my fav picture from the night!



I was just SUPER intrigued about why two teenage boys would be in line together for It's a Small World. I couldn't get over it and kept asking them questions. I also am the queen of putting my foot in my mouth. I said to the kid on the far left "um you should totally work here! You could be a prince so easily..." and then I didn't say anything to his friend...awkward. They were pretty hilarious the whole ride and we could tell the prince kid was embarrassed by his friend bc his friend kept busting out with the most random things. Prince kid did finally say that he was with his friends family and they just split off and truly do like It's a Small World. Can I totally say I hope Kye ends up being the prince friend who can be adorable but still appreciate classic Disney rides?! 

Don't be jealous Jordan :)


Robyn's favorite!




Spooooookkkkyyyy



It will be fun when my kids are all old enough to enjoy The Haunted Mansion! It's so great and it was extra fun to ride it during the MNSSHP!



Hidden mickey in the Rapunzel bathroom!


We left the bathroom stalls and were waiting in the sink area for some of our group and I made the comment that I get why they don't have mirrors b/c who wants to see how terrible they look at Disney right?!?! Then I noticed they DO have a mirror in that bathroom! Hahah! How cute is this?!?!



We went back for Gaston. Again. It was kinda a mission for the night at that point! Of course it was raining and when we got there we were told he was inside his tavern. We went in and the cast member in charge of handling him said NO WAY to us. She said he was finishing up and going on break and we'd have to come back. UM listen lady! We've been BACK a million times!!!

We went around to the windows and basically sabotaged the people who were meeting him because he noticed us at the window and kept coming over and talking to us haha HE told us to come around and come in but the handler lady wouldn't let us so we were like begging him to let us! 



Casey went on a hunt (biggest schemer, duh) and found a way to go in around the handler girl. So we did it :) And when she saw us she made it clear to other people who walked up and asked to meet him that he was FINISHED and kept saying it loudly so we'd know and she even said "THEY ARE NOT IN LINE" haha But then Gaston saw us and remembered us from the window and totally made time for us to meet him before he left! 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!





We randomly walked up and got to meet Alice and Mad Hatter. I'm not a big Alice fan? I've never (gasp!) ridden the tea cups either! But Katie said she and the Mad Hatter were SPOT ON and the best character meeting of the night. Robyn loved them too! I was still giddy from my meeting with Gaston haha



Not free! But oh-so-good (cream cheese filled!)




I did, however, score a free slice of cheese as well as some free gelato ice cream!



Not my favorite meal at Disney haha we were all just starving for something REAL. The grapes hit the spot more than the sandwich did!


Ready to see the show at the castle!








By that point it was REALLY raining. The castle show had been delayed and we busted out our ponchos. We raced to get out of the rain and ran into Laugh Factory!


Casey's joke that she made up on the spot to text in!


Katie and Casey wanted to ride Space Mountain so Robyn and I went ahead and got good seats for the Halloween Parade. It was good to rest! We both had foot issues at the time (I think Robyn's is completely healed now though?) and needed the break!


I was BUMMED when I found out that Space wasn't operating (I guess it can't run in the stormy weather?) so instead they hit up the dance party and rode Buzz. DUH I'd be down for some dancing and Zerg hunting!





I LOVED this simple Donald costume!!!


I was looking forward to the parade as I've heard it's one of the best ones Disney does! We were sad that the weather wasn't good so the headless horseman couldn't ride but it was still really neat and so cool to be so close to the castle! I've never been that close for a parade before. It did also cement the thought I had regarding bringing our kids to this event: it was a SPOOKY parade and I KNOW Britt would have been scared and I even think it would have scared Kye!





A super cool idea is to take a selfie as the parade goes by! This girl got an AWESOME pic with a zombie!





After the parade was the Sanderson Sisters show. I hadn't ever seen Hocus Pocus so Katie and I rented it prior to the trip so I'd know about it. And it was awesome, I get the hype ;) The show was delayed and then cut VERY short which WAS disappointing since we waited so long to see it! It was also pretty overwhelming having so many people in such a tight area. I really really hated when the show ended and that HUGE crowd was trying to leave the park. We all just took our time and didn't let it overwhelm us and got out of the crowd and waited a bit before heading down Main Street. 



Midnight!!!



When Zach and I attended the Christmas Party last year it also rained a LOT and a lot of stuff got canceled. As we were leaving that night the line to complain was DOWN MAIN STREET. Like crazy long. Similar situation this time, although not as bad of a line. We did hope in it as I've heard that complaining can sometimes get you the hook up. However, we had SO MUCH FUN what was there to complain about? And this girl behind us in line was SUPER rude and SUPER ticked and I didn't want her bad attitude to rub off on us and give us a bad vibe to end the night. We decided to leave the line but as we were leaving we did talk to a girl in front of us who said she's a cast member. She let us know that Disney has a policy that if during an event they don't show at least two full showings of the main show then you can get a refund. Whhhhat?!?! We didn't get our hopes up but I DID send them an email! I didn't complain b/c we had a BLAST. But I did point out some of our disappointments (character meeting issues, lack of candy, no headless horseman, and the not showing of the sanderson sisters show) and just figured I'd see what happened. I got a call a week later and let's just say...we are going back next year WHOOOP WHOOOP!

Most people at 1:00 AM leaving a hot, rainy time at MK are pretty beat. But not us! We were CRUNK and the tram people were awesome. The announcer guy was SO FUNNY. He singing Lion King and making jokes and we just LOVED it. Kids were asleep on their parents. People were cranky. People were wet. People were tired. But that tram announcer was keeping the magic going! We were being loud and laughing and luckily no one got mad at us ;) 


Practicing my "new Casey smile"




The day was amazing. The night was awesome. We had SO MUCH FUN. But the best memory?!?! The tram. For sure. Hands down. Since the announcer guy was so amazing and awesome we totally wanted to meet him! You know me, I wanted a pic of him! We were the last ones off at our stop and kept asking to meet the announcer. The way they are set up is that the driver is on one end of the tram and the announcer is on the other. Well the driver was on our end and she didn't speak English. She kept saying stuff but we didn't understand and just kept asking her to let us meet him! We were all loud and enthusiastic about it and when she started beeping we were cheering. So she'd beep and we'd cheer and then she'd beep and we'd cheer. And THEN at some point we realized she was beeping at us TO MOVE because we were blocking the path. HAHAHAHA The best part of the whole charade was that Robyn was DONE. She was so, so annoyed with us. Which made us laugh even harder of course!


We finally moved! And finally got our picture and got to cheer for our favorite tram announcer!


We got back to the room and this is how we found our dolls...pretty accurate. Belle parties HARD haha


The next morning we slept and slept. Katie woke up early and ended up going down to the pool and Casey also got up at some point and found Katie and went and got coffee. You know the one with the most kids at home took advantage of sleeping in the longest ;)

Do you see the hidden mickey?


Kids had a lunch feast!


We explored the resort a little! The newer Toy Story section is really neat!











We also did some shopping to bring back goodies for the kids!


After leaving the resort we headed to Cheesecake Factory for lunch and then walked the mall a little bit do to a little shopping! 


My favorite meal of all time at any restaurant!




Casey and I were the most hardcore for the shopping, of course ;)


One last stop for Froyo!



I cannot say enough how much of an amazing time this trip was. I'm so thankful to Zach for thinking up the idea and so thankful that I've been blessed with such awesome friends. I'm so glad that each of them wanted to go with me and that they each said they had an amazing time too. We seriously all bonded so much and it couldn't have gone more perfectly! I loved our car ride home, we got pretty deep and just shared a lot about our lives and it was awesome. I love getting to know people on a deeper level and left this trip feeling even more connected to three friends who I have already felt such great connections with for so long! It's pretty great when you have great friends and those friendships just continue to get better with time! I'm truly so thankful for each of these girls and can't WAIT for our trip next year!!! 



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