Monday, January 7, 2013

MyMagic+ and MagicBands

Well, today Disney announced via it's Disney Parks Blog that they are ready to roll out their "MyMagic+" program.


I can't say much about it, right now.  I don't know what to think.

Micro-manage my vacation???

I am NOT that kind of traveler.

I don't even like what the ADRs have become.  Waking up at 6am on day 180 and trying to map out where to eat when is not my idea of fun.  Just read this previous post.

According to the Blog, Disney has "devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us".

Making Fastpass reservations on your smartphone while "playing" in one park for the park that you *foresee* visiting the next day???  While working around any ADRs you have made???  I don't know about this.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

This photo {the Blog states that a Guest is utilizing MyMagic+ at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but that looks like a Jungle Cruise costume} shows the happy family walking right through the "turnstile" at this attraction, just holding up their MagicBand to the reader.  The Cast Member smiles as they walk through, apparently no problems using the prearranged Fastpass for this attraction.

Maybe I am *nostalgic*, but I miss the days where we might have had one ADR planned.  My parents would let us know where we were expected to meet for lunch/dinner and when we were expected to be there.  {if we had breakfast ADRs, we would all go together to start our day}  My sisters, brother and I would decide who wanted to go where...and we paired up with someone.

I would have said something like, "I was thinking I wanted to spend the morning at Epcot to go around Future World, then park hop over to MGM Studios to ride Tower, Coaster and catch Fantasmic! ???  Who wants to join me???

Sister #2 might say, "MGM sounds good, but I wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom because I didn't get to ride Carousel of Progress and the WEDway PeopleMover yet".

Mom would chime in and say, "Don't forget, we have reservations at Prime Time at 5:45.  Be there around 5:30"

Sister #3 would say "I haven't been to Blizzard Beach yet, I wanted to spend some time there".  Then Sister #1 and Brother would say "That sounds good, we'll join you".

I would say "Okay, Sister #2.  Magic Kingdom then MGM Studios it is.  I love CoP and WEDWay".

Then we would leave the villa at Disney Vacation Club Old Key West Resort and go on with our day.

{Our parents???  Usually parked themselves on a bench in one of the parks.  They drive 17 hours in a van with their five children, surrounded by world class entertainment and attractions...and they love to just sit and peoplewatch}

See...we did not micro-manage a darn thing.

Sure, we were lucky enough to get to Walt Disney World more often than most of our friends and family, so we almost have a "been there, done that" attitude on our trips.  I just love the relaxed nature of our *old* trips.

Big Daddy and I have even joked that nine years after the fact, we *still* tour the parks as Cast Members.  We go around with the "we can see it next time" attitude.  We have passed that down to Little Man.

Heck, I don't want to IMAGINE Little Man micro-managing any part of our trip.  Micro-managing ANYTHING, for that matter.

The part that worries me most about the "MyMagic+" program is the MagicBand.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

This photo seems to be of a Guest entering a park using the MagicBand.  Here is a brief explanation from the Disney Parks Blog of the MagicBand.

"Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one."

While I am super-excited that my room key, park pass, PhotoPass card and credit card are all in one place, I can't say that I am excited that it is a bracelet.

I worry about Little Man {Mr. Super-Sensory-Aversion} and a bracelet.  I think he will FREAK out.  Heck, I don't like wearing bracelets...especially bracelets that don't fit me quite right.  I have not worn a watch in nearly ten years.

I won't discount it totally until I try it out myself.  I can't even say that I will pass judgement {save the whole nostalgic thing} until I try MyMagic+.

What are your thoughts about MyMagic+???  Do you micro-manage your trips???  Do you take the "Cast Member" approach to your trips???  Do you fall somewhere in between???

{Love to All}

PS...the whole MagicBand thing sounds like something a pregnant woman wears to make her pants stretchy or something.  Maybe it is just me and my weird sense of humor.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Taking a Leap of Faith

My favorite recreational activity at Walt Disney World is shopping.  Anyone who knows me knows my love affair with a) all things Disney and b) shopping.  I used this to my advantage *many* years ago when I was a Cast Member with The Disney Stores.  I loved that job so much...I had so much fun.

This looks like the store that I worked at in the mid-90s.  We took so much pride in that store!!!  The Camp Rock posters in the windows lead me to believe this is 2008...I was a Disney Store CM then, too!!!  Image: Google Search 

One day, something clicked...and I walked into my Manager's office. 

"You know, I think I want to work at Walt Disney World"

Everyone who knew me, knew this day would come.  It wasn't a was just a matter of when.

I packed up my little Ford Probe {I loved that car}, my parents packed up their GMC Safari {can't tell you how many trips to WDW that old van made!!!} and my younger brother  with me {he was eleven at the time}.  I knew virtually nobody.  I found a roommate via "Eyes and Ears", the WDW Cast newspaper {ummm, okay...looking back, I was rooming with a STRANGER!!!}.  My parents set me up with some basics for my apartment.  Then they left.

I was on my own.  In a new state.  Knowing nobody. New job {that couldn't start until I took Traditions. Again. Two Weeks after I moved.}  I enjoyed those two weeks as much as I could, while not spending *too* much of my savings!!!  I was still able to get into the Disney Parks, because I had transferred from The Disney Store, so I was still an employee of the company. 

I survived Traditions {and I stood out as a "Disney Nerd"...hello, I was a Traditions Leader for the Stores!!!} and started my job at World of Disney.

This is where I started as a WDW CM.  I stood at this (or the other two) door and said "Hi, Welcome to World of Disney" for eight hours a day.  And I loved it.

I made some amazing friends, and learned some new trades.  This is where I would learn how to use the engraving machine.  If I wasn't standing at a door greeting Guests all day, or wasn't at the Information Desk trying to locate that special souvenir somewhere on property, then I was engraving items.  Ornaments, pens, watches, Boston Marathon Medals {seriously...the most nerve-wracking item I ever worked on!!!} 

One of my managers at WOD got a call from a manager at {then} MGM Studios.  They were short-staffed and needed an experienced engraver to pick up some overtime.  Being the broke-newly-on-my-own new Cast Member, I totally jumped at the chance to pick up some shifts {extra shifts = extra $$$}

I LOVED working at Head to Toe.  It was a tiny shop, the ladies there pretty much ran their own show {since the managers had no idea how to run the machines} and I was having FUN.  I picked up as many shifts as I could.

Head-to-Toe.  Don't blink, or you may miss this Right Block Shop, just past the 5 & 10 and before L.A. Prop.  Image: Google Search. 

The more shifts I picked up there, the more I realized I was meant to work at this shop, inside this theme park.  I got to know many of the ladies there, most of whom were retirees who worked part time...not someone just-on-their-own looking to work as much as possible.  I got LOTS of shifts.

The more I got to know the ladies in the shop, the more they began to "mother" me.  This was NOT a bad thing.  They fed me {I lost an *amazing* amount of weight being poor!!!}  they would cut my hair for free {retired hairstylist, not just a woman with scissors} they took care of me. 

They also meddled.

This, as it turns out, was not a bad thing.

"You ought to talk to him, he is a good guy", they said.

"He is such a family man.  He takes care of his younger brother.  Family.", they said.

"He works so hard.  He is so nice.  Talk to him.", they said.

Well...thirteen years after a first lunch together in the MGM Cast Cafeteria, that nice guy and I are still together.  Made a move {back home} to Missouri, got married, had a baby, experienced highs and lows, joys and triumphs.

That leap of faith was the best move I ever made. 

Big Daddy has talked about moving back to Florida.

We have this discussion every winter.  We have had the same discussion for the past eight winters.

This time, I *might* be ready.

But I am scared.

I need to find what was deep down inside me that day that I marched into my Manager's office at the old Disney Store.  That seems SO long ago.  That was a different girl.  That was a girl who was confident, who had no care in the world.  She just wanted to follow a dream.

There is so much more hanging in the balance.  So much that we have to consider now.

Such a roller coaster ride.

Will be giving this much thought.

{Love to All}

Saturday, January 5, 2013 I missed a day, but I didn't...really, I didn't..., I broke my first resolution already...

Sort of.

I technically did not blog.  Here.

I did not nap {right away} when I came home from work Friday morning.  I worked on my Origami Owl orders for a bit. 

And I worked on the template for my Origami Owl blog!!!

It isn't much, but I invite you to check it out!!! 

I didn't blog here last night.

I thought I was going to die yesterday.  Seriously.

I had a nasty, nasty migraine.

I get them, but I have not had one this bad in a long time.

My "magic mix" {three Excedrin and a 44 oz. Diet Mountain Dew} did not work.

I can't take prescription migraine makes my back hurt. (?!?!?)

It was so bad, that I left work a little early...cried the entire four-minute drive home, managed to stay sitting upright position for fifteen minutes {the time it takes to bake pizza rolls (again) for Little Man} then crawled into bed to stay semi-coherent until Big Daddy came home {I don't like to "sleep on the job" while Big Daddy is at work and it is just the two of us at home}.

The migraine was so bad that I asked Little Man if he knew how to get a hold of Big Daddy, Grandma Nana and Papa or his Aunties if something happened to me.

I did not want to worry him, but I was afraid of passing out or something.

I seriously stayed in bed for six hours.  I kept the lights dimmed and watched TV.  I normally sleep in a quiet, dark room.  I kept the lights dimmed because the TV by itself was too bright.  Little Man checked in on me.  He is so sweet and caring.

I finally felt a little more human right before Big Daddy came home.  I got out of bed for about a half an hour.  Then went right back.

I slept pretty soundly, and woke up before nine this morning {for a Saturday...that is UNUSUAL for me...unless I have a vendor event or something}

A lazy day today.  Little Man insisted on unplugging the Christmas tree today.  I worked on taking all of the ornaments off.  There is nothing more depressing than a half-dressed unlit Christmas tree.  I had to plug it back in while I work on it.  a) it is easier for me to find the ornaments inside and b) it is just prettier to look at it all lit up.

This would also explain my out-of-control electric bill.  The tree never turns off.

We also worked on "organizing" Little Man's toys.  I am trying to help him stay organized {without being so OCD about it} and know where his things are {without obsessing about it}  I used bins that I already had around the house.  However, I am learning that none of our bins have the right lids.  This could be quite an adventure trying to find these lids.  I am determined to use what I have for now {while finances are squeaky}  This is one time that I am {semi} thankful for my {hoarder} husband bringing crap stuff home.  In this case, he brought home a shelf system with shoebox sized cubbies home {that was from a former preschool classroom}.  I am going to clean it up, for sure.  I would like to refinish it, but it is not high on my priority list. 

Of course, I just want to get rid of the old and organize the new.  Last night, in my migraine-induced fog, I *think* Big Daddy talked about moving back to Florida.

I *think* I might have agreed.


{Love to All}

Thursday, January 3, 2013

...a hard habit to break... it is another late night...more wrestling practice...more busy-ness...more stuff...

...more naps...

I already broke one {in-my-head} resolution...that I was going to STOP my nap habit.

Bad, bad nap habit.

No, seriously.  It is a UBER bad habit.

I work a "split shift.  I work from 7-830 am...then again from 245-615 pm.  Great for a "stay at home" Mom like myself.  However, Little Man is in school when I am at home, so I still have to *pay* for him to go to out-of-school care. 

I basically sign my paycheck {from the school district} back to the school district.

"Wow, what do you do with ALL of that time from about 9 am to 2 pm???"  You might ask.  Do you clean, organize, volunteer your time, promote one of your *many* business endeavors ???


I sleep.

Yep, because seven-ish hours a night just aren't *quite* enough, I require an additional three-ish hours a day.  In the form of a nap.

It was a habit I never intended to begin.  It just sort of, happened.

It is a habit that I have to break.  It is just a HARD one to break.

Of course, I may be breaking it next week.  I am not certain how well I am going to sleep tonight...seeing as it is almost 1030 pm, and I am *just* finishing up a delicious fountain Diet Mountain Dew.

You see, old habits are hard to break.

{Love to All}

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

I have {oh so many} awesome posts floating around in my head.

Seriously.  I do.

I just don't sit down and type them out.

Here it is, 9:57 in the evening...we just got home.  A whole (9-6) day at work, Wrestling practice until 8:15...had to run to Target {we were *almost* out of tp}...and I was feeding Little Man Pizza Rolls at 9:24 pm.

Hey.  It might not be gourmet, the best food I could have fed him, or even remotely healthy...BUT ee didn't eat out.

My challenge to Little Man is that he takes a shower in the time that it takes to "cook" dinner.  Tonight was 9-10 minutes.  He finished in eight. 

He is tucked all snug in his bed.  I am not certain that he brushed his teeth.

So, I might not be able to type out the wit and wisdom that is floating around in my head...but I am going to try to be the best darn Mommy and wife that I can be. 

I am going to do my best to type a bit each and every day...however, I am not going to let it take away from my real job.  Yes, I have a LOT of plates spinning right now.   Mom, wife, PT employee {at our elementary school with a special needs kindergartener}, Origami Owl designer, Travel Professional...heck, I have even signed up to be a Thirty-One consultant.  I am doing my best to balance it all...BUT I need my downtime.  My downtime just seems to find me on my laptop...I am going to try to actually do something productive when I am doing nothing.

Oh, the irony.

Long story resolve this month {yes, MONTH...a fabulous blog that I follow sparked the idea to break your goals down month-by-month} is to blog everyday.  Yes, it is the same goal that the featured blogger chose for January.  This seems to be my resolve every time I sit down to my laptop.

Seriously.  I have it floating around in my head all. the. time.  {you are on your laptop...why aren't you blogging?!?!?}

I am not {what's the word???} confident positive certain going to jump the gun and map out my goals for each and every month.  I have to see how the first month goes, and what the next month might bring.

We will see how this goes. 

I totally can do this.

We will see if it happens.  The stuff in my head needs to get out!!!

{Love to All}

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Catching Up...Again

I really don't have much to say about the whole "out with the old, in with the new thing.  Yes, a new year is upon us...however, today feels like...just another day.

So much is going on...I am glad to have put 2012 behind me.  I am ready to take 2013 on headfirst.

I go back to work tomorrow after being (mostly) off for eleven days.  I did work one day, but it was such an easy day, it doesn't really count.  :)

Little Man was spoiled rotten this Christmas...and we stayed within a budget.  It was buy him one item that he really, REALLY wanted (WiiU) or several small items.  We opted to get him several smaller items.  Our budget (don't judge) was $350.00...and to be quite honest, I was not all that impressed with what $350 got him!!!

I will post photos camera is in the other room, more than half dead.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve with my dad's extended family...a quiet Christmas morning with just the three of us {Big Daddy got some bad news...his father passed away Christmas Eve} and had my family over for a Christmas Day late lunch/early dinner.  It was a nice day.  

I have been mastering the art of using the Crock-Pot (again) and working with the food that we have in the pantry (since we don't have a lot of breathing room finance-wise right now).  I have only worn jeans twice in the last two weeks.  I love my yoga pants and my new fuzzy black slippers.

My mom got me a really cute little Disney Dooney and Bourke mini-barrel purse {WDW Retro style} for Christmas and my uncle got me the aforementioned fuzzy black slippers and a gift card to The Childrens Place {it is what I asked for.  seriously}  He also got me Godiva truffles.  Which were gone by 12/26.

Ummm...we had an Elf on the Shelf.  What a disaster.  I should have known.  Little Man wasn't quite ready for it.

New Year's Eve was uneventful.  We watched my nephews.  Again.  Cupcakes and a campout, that is how I roll.

I have taken some time off from my Origami Owl business.  No worries.  Just for the holidays.  My last party was 12/6 (online was 12/8).  I had to deal with shipping deadlines, mixed up orders, missing charms.  I haven't checked my Facebook fan page in about two weeks.  I had to learn when to say no.  My family comes first.  I am amazed at the opportunities that O2 has in store for me.  I will be getting back to the "grind" tomorrow.  Until then, I am enjoying the time relaxing. 

We had to cancel our Christmas trip to Walt Disney World.  Really, REALLY bummed about that.  The timing was all wrong.  All wrong.  Things should be good in 2013 for us to reschedule.  I have my "milestone" birthday this year.  I am SO going to WDW for a few days. 

Big Daddy is looking to get a second job  Seriously.  I don't know how I feel about that.  I hate that it has come to that.  I love my job, and am working a decent amount of hours (about 25-ish a week)...but what is KILLING us is that we now pay insurance.  When Big Daddy and I were both full-time employees at the school district, we paid almost NOTHING for coverage for the family.  Now, Big Daddy has to pay to cover me and Little Man.  It feels like we can't catch up here of late.

We are still {we are ALWAYS} on the fence about moving back to Florida.  A former co-worker has done A LOT of research into schools for us.  I feel that is a sign...that a friend, who I worked with for only four years, has taken the time out of her own life to look into this for us.  A sign we may have to follow.  Again, on the fence.

Little Man is wrestling with the junior club at our high school.  He LOVES it.  He is learning so much.  He isn't very good {yet}...but I have a feeling he will get better the more he works at it.  He {and I, as well} has to realize that we don't master everything 100% the first time we try something.  Luckily, Big Daddy knows people at the high school, and Little Man got a medal at his first tournament.  I am normally not a proponent of "every kid gets an award no matter how they do"...until it is my son who is devastated and in tears because he came in fourth place {out of four wrestlers}.  I cried.  I know I looked like an amateur sports mom.  More on that in another post.

So, that has been my life over the past four-six weeks.  I know I have lagged in the blogging thing, but it is my resolve {again} to get back into it.  I spent my NYE (yes, LAME) reading new "mommy blogs".  It inspired me.  Seriously.  I think it can be theraputic.

{Love to All}