Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Very Disney Christmas: Hollywood Studios Edition

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Image may contain: 1 person, crowd and outdoorOur fourth day ended up being a bit of a surprise; we had considered opting out of Hollywood Studios, but we ended up changing our minds that morning and going. I am so glad that we did. Aside from all the Star Wars things, the Christmas decorations were my favorite out of all the parks.  Because of the old time Hollywood theme, the decorations were all very vintage looking.  They even decorated the giant dinosaur and her little lagoon.
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While, I did miss The Great Movie Ride, we still found plenty to do. We saw the Beauty and the Beast stage show, the Star Wars show and the Indiana Jones stunt show.  We also saw Fantasmic, which I highly recommend to anyone who loves fireworks and classic Disney movies.  We rode Toy Story Midway Mania and Star Tours before enjoying the new Christmas projection show on the Tower of Terror. It was beautiful, especially when it began to snow.  I also was able to pin trade for the first time, making it a memorable visit.
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Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Very Disney Christmas : EPCOT Edition


Our third park was EPCOT, and while it seemed to be the least decorated of the parks, it still had some awesome decorations. Aside from the enormous tree at the entrance to the World Showcase, the American Pavilion had an equally enormous and beautiful tree. Most of the countries had some pretty wreaths over buildings and on lampposts.

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The EPCOT tree

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The American Tree
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Christmas Tea in the U.K. 
While they were pretty, we didn’t only focus on the decorations. We rode Test Track, and Journey into Imagination. We even go to see the new Muppet show as we left Spaceship Earth.had a lovely dinner at the Rose and Crown and rode the Frozen ride in Norway.
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 Our last day in the parks was spent revisiting EPCOT. We explored more of the World Showcase, rode Soarin and Journey Into Imagination. We rode Frozen again and had some delicious snacks at the pastry shop nearby.  We also got to see the gingerbread Whitehouse in the American Pavilion and heard the Voices of Liberty sing. Then we visited the American Adventure, which is a great animatronic show that brims with patriotism. I tear up every time I see it. 

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Gingerbread Whitehouse

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Voices of Liberty 

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Very Disney Christmas : Animal Kingdom Edition

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We spent the second day at Animal Kingdom, which had some pretty nice decorations as well, but we didn’t take too much notice of them at first as we were anxious to get in line for the Flight of Passage ride in Pandora.  Though a long wait, the ride was wonderful, and we enjoyed looking around the floating mountains and the shops. We also rode the River Journey, which was beautiful and peaceful, but rather short.

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We noticed some neat decorations on our way to the safari and on our way to lunch at Pizzafari, but my favorite decorations were around Dinosaur.  There were kitschy in a very awesome way, the Santa dinosaur in the one gift shop being my favorite. 

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After seeing Finding Nemo the musical, listening to a harpist, and exploring Pandora by night, we saw the light show on the Tree of Life and headed out for the night.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Very Disney Christmas : Magic Kingdom Edition

            This holiday season I was able to do something I never thought possible, take a December vacation to Walt Disney World. Working in retail, I’ve gotten used to having my November and December completely overrun with work, so I wasn’t too optimistic about getting time off for a weeklong trip.

            Imagine my surprise, when my time off request was approved.  At first, I didn’t think it would even be worth asking, but I am so glad that I did because Disney knows how to celebrate Christmas in a big way.

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We arrived in Florida on Sunday, December 3 and had dinner at Disney Springs and while it was packed, we had a good time seeing the place decorated for the holidays. The next day was our first visit to the parks.
            Magic Kingdom is always special, but the Christmas decorations on Main Street made it even more so. Aside from the massive Christmas tree, wreaths and garlands were strewn over all the buildings and lampposts.  Not to be outdone, the castle was draped in glittering blue and white lights.  

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The rest of the park wasn’t decorated, save for a wreath on the Haunted Mansion’s door and the holiday overlay of the Jungle Cruise.  The Jingle Cruise, as they call it this time, even renamed the boats and worked in some holiday themed jokes. “For the weather report, there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas.”  
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     After riding Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, to mention a few rides, and dining at Be our Guest, we took the train to the Main Street Station and just admired the tree and castle. We watched the new projection and fireworks show, Once Upon a Time to close out our first Disney day.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Faire Thee Well

This fall has been filled with many adventures, but I want to focus on my time spent at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. As always, it was a wonderful season spent with family and friends, but this season it felt just a bit more special than usual.  
Fall decorations upon the shire 

Aside from attending three of the Halloween days, I was also able to attend a brand new themed weekend and visit with some friends I have not seen since college. It was amazing to show them around the shire and to hear how God is working in their lives.
 We spend the day attending shows, shopping, and just enjoying each other’s company, I’ve said it before, but I love how experiencing the faire with different friends makes for a unique experience each time. It was also wonderful to witness Amanda and Rebecca’s first visit the faire.  

Because of them, we are able to meet one of the shopkeepers, whose daughter is a friend of theirs.  She told us some fun stories about working at the faire when her daughter was small. She also suggested we attend the Halloween themed chess match, which ended up being amazing.  An entirely new character, Rumpelstiltskin kidnapped the queen! 
After that Sunday, I returned to the faire with my friend Marry, her husband Chris, and her sister Corrie. We followed the story line, so I got to see the introduction of Rumpelstiltskin at King’s Court.  We ran into him throughout the day, in the streets, at the chess match, where he managed to be creepy, charming, and funny all at once. 
Chris telling jokes and being made Black forest jester 

We also did a good bit of shopping. I bought a lovely ring, incense, and some honey to tide me over till next season. All too soon, we were leaving finale and heading to the car.

The next day, was the last day of the faire season.  I met up with Mel, her friend Meghan, who I met opening weekend, and my friend Nicole and her husband, Tim. We all ate together at the Anchor and Mermaid before setting on more rainy day adventures. Because, it did rain that last day, it rained a lot. 

Despite the rain, we still had a wonderful last day, visiting friends in their shops, seeing shows, and just enjoying the last day of the season. I am already anxious for my next ren faire adventure.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Knoebels: Fun, Food, Fantasy, and Halloween!

Knoebels: Fun, Food, Fantasy, and Halloween!

            It seems more and more places are getting into the Halloween spirit and are hosting special events to celebrate, KnoebelsAmusement Resort is no different.  I’ve never been to the official Hallo-Fun weekends, but this year I was able to attend a Phoenix Phall Phunfest weekend. The park was decorated heavily for Halloween so, it felt like Hallo-Fun.
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 My family and I went the same weekend as the Covered Bridge arts festival, meaning the park was extremely crowded.  However, we did arrive as the arts festival was winding down, so that crowd left leaving a less crowded park.  While it was still crowded, it wasn’t too bad and we still had a wonderful time. 

Any amusement park is extra special at night, the lights punctuating the dark has an almost magical quality. When those lights are Halloween themed, well, that’s just even more magical.  

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I particularly loved how some of the rides were  decorated for the holiday. The Phoenix roller coaster’s entrance was decorated with a cemetery, the stones describing old Knoebels rides and the tunnel the track winds through had an enormous jack o lantern framing it, so it looked like the jack o lantern was eating your car.
waiting for the Phoenix 
            The best decorations were in the Haunted Mansion’s front yard. A whole host of skeletons were gathered in the yard, having a dinner party and swimming.  The line was too long to ride the Halloween themed train, but we still rode plenty of rides and ate tasty snacks.   

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It was a wonderful time and we can’t wait to return!  We learned some important tips, like get in line for the train early to avoid running out of time and try to avoid craft festival days.  Does anyone have more Knoebels Halloween tips?
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