Thursday, October 29, 2020

In Need of a Little Magic

This year has been rough and lately I've been in need of a little magic.  Each time I see the Walt Disney World commercials for the holiday season, I get misty eyed.  This time last year, Eliot and I were eagerly preparing for our back-to-back Disney Christmas Cruises, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and a few fun filled days at Walt Disney World with both his family and mine.  That seems like a lifetime ago now...

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a little bit of Disney magic.  Since we won't be going to the parks anytime soon, I knew what we needed to do.  I needed to go to a Disney Store... just to soak in a little Disney magic.  We haven't been to our closest Disney Store, at the Burlington Mall, since March when we went to buy the Frozen 2 dolls.  A few short days later, everything shut down due to the coronavirus.

Eliot and I discussed my desire to travel to Massachusetts and we made a plan.  We'd go down on Saturday, October 17th so we'd have at least 2 weeks before we'd be seeing my family.  Then, I called my brother Jeremy to coordinate with him.  The night before, we confirmed that we all still wanted to do it and that we were symptom free.

The morning of Saturday October 17th, Eliot and I both slept in a bit later than we should have.  As excited as I was for our adventure, I wanted to be sure that I was fully rested to drive down to Massachusetts and back.  Our plan was to drive down to Burlington, then to go up to Nashua, then Merrimack where Jeremy lives and travel back through Manchester before returning to Maine.

Our plan was only a little derailed by sleeping in.  Unfortunately, it got more off course when my 'check tires' light came on.  After stopping at the Kennebunk rest stop to get some more air, we had a safe trip down to Massachusetts and arrived at the mall about 2 hours later than I'd planned to; but I was so excited that I didn't care.

Eliot and I headed right in.  After a quick stop at the restrooms, we joined the line to get into the Disney Store.  We were so far back that there wasn't even a 6' sticker for us, but thankfully it was moving quickly.  Jeremy arrived at the mall about 10 minutes after us and was able to join us when we were a few groups back from the entrance.

I was so excited to enter the store.  Upon entering, I took a hard right towards all of the bright red Christmas merchandise.  Heaven.  I can only describe it as heaven.

Christmas clothing.  Christmas ornaments.  Christmas toys.  Christmas home decor.

I immediately felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  The world has been a complete mess this year, but Disney hadn't lost it's magic.  If anything, being there was more magical.

Eliot, Jeremy and I took our time looking over the merchandise in the store.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  Every turn brought some new discovery.  They had the Ink and Paint collection from the parks that I'm in love with.  They had plush.  They had a wide variety of toys.  They even had a few of the collectible items from the website in store.

After thoroughly checking every nook and cranny out, we decided to complete the rest of our mall adventure before coming back to make our purchases.  Then, we wouldn't have to carry them all over the mall with us.

Next, we headed over to the Lego Store.  It also had a little bit of a line, but thankfully it wasn't too bad.  A few of the employees recognized us, even with our face masks.  We had a blast checking out all of the Lego sets.  I wanted to get a few ideas for our Christmas wishlists and I definitely did.  Plus, I enjoyed looking at the Harry Potter and Disney sets.  They also had the new Diagon Alley set in the display window!

After that, we made a quick stop across the way to the Pottery Barn Kids store.  There wasn't a line to get in and I was curious if they had any of their new Disney kids dining sets.  They had a few of the Halloween items in store, but it was so small there wasn't room to display much.  Still, it was nice to see it in person.

We decided that it made sense to walk to Build-A-Bear next.  Sadly, upon our arrival we realized that the store was closed.  They had a small sign saying they were temporarily closed.  We weren't sure why, but my guess was that someone in the store, or who went to the store tested positive and that they had to close so the employees could quarantine.  Still, they had the new Harry Potter bears and the Hogwarts wizard clothing so we were able to admire them in the window.

Next, we headed over to Newbury Comics.  We had one person in front of us when we arrived so we had to wait as each person exited the store.  Eliot and I told Jeremy to go in first since he had more items that he was looking for.  Then, one more person exited and I went in.  I didn't get too far before Eliot walked up behind me.  We had a good time checking out all of the new Funko Pop Vinyl figures. 

When we were done with our window shopping there, we headed back over to the Disney Store.  Luckily, the line wasn't too long that time.  I made a beeline straight over to the Christmas section to pick out the Cinderella ornament and the Gingerbread Key ornaments that I wanted.  While I checked the paint on each ornament, Eliot and Jeremy looked at a few other things around the store.  However, we only ended up getting the ornaments.  After making our purchase, I took one last took around and I silently bid the store farewell, promising myself that I'd be back again soon.

After that, we all headed out to our cars.  Jeremy had found our car and parked next to us.  We hopped into our cars and went towards our next destinations.  Eliot and I went to the Nashua Hobby Lobby while Jeremy ran over to the Target around the corner.  I wanted to check out the Christmas stuff in Hobby Lobby, and I also promised Jeremy to look for a pink paint pen that he needed for a project while there.

While soaking in some Christmas magic in the seasonal section of Hobby Lobby, Eliot kept pestering me to come over to one spot.  I finally obligated and he'd found a singing and dancing Elmo plush.  Those silly little singing and dancing plushies are very popular in my family, and both my Dad and Eliot can't help but press them every time they see them.  Of course, once Elmo started singing and dancing I was also entranced by how cute it was.  Before I knew it, we were heading to the check out counter with Elmo.  I had a coupon, but he was already 50% off anyways!

After adopting Elmo, we headed down the road to the Friendly's restaurant where we were meeting back up with Jeremy for dinner.  The three of us decided we would eat dinner in the restaurant.  Jeremy hadn't dined in a restaurant since COVID started and Eliot and I have only been out for our anniversary.  We've all been overly cautious due to Mom's surgeries these past few months.  However, since we'd already hopped around the mall in MA, we decided dinner wasn't too risky.  Thankfully, they seated us in a corner anyways.  Plus, it was nice to spend more time with Jeremy over dinner.

After dinner, we drove around the corner to the Merrimack Outlets.  We had about 45 more minutes before the Disney Store Outlet was closing.  We weren't looking for anything in particular but I did want to see what they had.  There was a small section of Christmas stuff along with many toys, make believe sets and costumes for kids.

When we finished browsing, the three of us walked back to our cars.  Eliot and I followed Jeremy out of the shopping complex and back to his condo.  We needed to stop at Jeremy's condo to pick up the Disneyland 65th Funko Pops he bought us at Target.  While there, we also showed Jeremy our new dancing Elmo which made him laugh.  We talked for a few minutes before we said our goodbyes.  Finally, we bid my brother farewell and Eliot and I headed home to Maine.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to make it to Manchester before everything closed.  We completely forgot about COVID hours and how the mall closed earlier than usual.  Our main reason for going was to go to the new BoxLunch store; I've been waiting months for it to open.  (No lie, I have legit stalked their website waiting to see 'Now Open' replace 'Coming Soon'.)  The closest store to us before this new one was all the way out near Six Flags- which we've only been to once but Eliot and I loved it.  We shop online from BoxLunch often and I'm excited to have one closer to us!

I had a well-planned trip around the mall to include stops at BoxLunch, Build-A-Bear, Torrid and finally Hot Topic.  While we weren't able check it out this trip, we're planning to execute it another time... possibly a weekday when the mall will be less busy.  It's hard to go on a weekend when you have to wait longer to get into the stores.

Nevertheless, it was a successful trip and we returned home feeling exhausted but grateful.  I was so happy that I got to feel a little bit of Disney magic.  It was good for my soul.  Plus, seeing all of the Christmas merchandise was the cherry on top!  While the magic is definitely a bit different, it's still there.  °o°

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