Friday, September 30, 2022

A September to Remember

Whew!  It's the end of September and this was definitely one to remember.  From traveling to California, Disneyland, and the 2022 D23 Expo to coming home and celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary, this has been one busy, yet epic, month!

I'm also happy to report this is the most active I have ever been on my blog.  I set a goal for myself that one of the months in 2022, I would write a blog post for every single day of the month.  And September was that month as it was my last chance to achieve this goal before Eliot and I get busy with the holiday rush for our businesses.

It wasn't pretty, and I had to get caught up a few times, but I did it!  Mission achieved!  I wrote 30 posts for September... something I will probably never, ever do again.

I worked my butt off before our trip to California in order to have posts ready to go live every day of our trip.  I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my plan and busting my bootie off before we left.  In the end, I was never able to finish the post for the last day of our trip.  (I thought I might work on it at the airport during our layover in Chicago... but I wasn't awake enough to focus on it.)  But other than that one post, I had a blog post scheduled to go live every day of our trip!  I think that's pretty impressive!

Especially considering that when I finally wrote that post, it took me about 4-5 hours to complete.  My merchandise and bucket list results posts can take me a lot of time... usually multiple hours for one blog post.  The longer the bucket list or more products that I'm sharing with you... the longer it takes to put the post together.  (Some of these posts took me over 4 hours to write, edit, and get photos together for.)  So you can see how it's easy to get behind when I'm juggling that, our businesses and my personal life!

But have no fear!  Everything is caught up for September now.  And in case you did miss anything, I've added a few quick links to some of the posts I backdated below: 

Merchandise Posts

Magical Merchandise: Haunted Mansion 2022

Magical Merchandise: Hocus Pocus 2022

Magical Merchandise: 2022 Disney Parks Halloween Collection

Trip Bucket List Results

September 2022 California Trip Bucket List Results

Disneyland September 2022 Bucket List Results

2022 D23 Expo Bucket List Results 

Finally, I also took a bit longer to put together my Summer 2022 Bucket List Results.  I had over 50 goals, so I knew that would take a bit of time to put together.  Thankfully, I've come up with a quicker way to do these after putting four bucket list results posts together this month.  Hopefully they won't be quite as difficult moving forward... I'm sure they will still take a bit of time, but at least it will be much more streamlined!

Looking back at all 30 of these posts, especially the bucket list ones... I can really see how full of a month Eliot and I had.  It was full of memories, fun, adventure, magic, new experiences, love, laughter and celebrating our happily ever after.  °o°

Thursday, September 29, 2022

#tbt DCL's First Visit to Bar Harbor

Today, we're having a special edition of Throwback Thursday.  Exactly five years ago today, Disney Cruise Line visited my hometown for the very first time!

I remember when I first found out that Disney was adding Bar Harbor to one of their fall itineraries.  I was so excited!  The news was huge for Bar Harbor and big for Maine too since no other Disney ships have ever stopped here before.  We had just taken our first Disney Cruise the previous year, in the fall of 2016, so it was a bit unbelievable to find out they'd be making their way here!

Mom and Dad wanted to go on that sailing as soon as they found out.  Before I knew it, they were booked on the Disney Magic for a 5-Night Canadian and New England cruise from New York City to St. John, New Brunswick in Canada and back to New York.  The cruise left New York on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 and arrived back to port in New York on Monday, October 2nd.  (It's stop in Bar Harbor was the 29th.)

We were all excited about Mom and Dad's upcoming cruise.  In fact, Eliot and I had made special mouse ears for the occasion.  I wanted them to have special ears that had the outline of MDI and said Mt. Desert Island on the other side.  Then, Eliot and I chose to make them in our MDIHS colors of green and white.  We weren't able to get them finished before they left, but we had them ready when they arrived in Bar Harbor! 

On September 29th, the Disney Magic sailed into Bar Harbor and I had to be there to see it.  Nana had stayed with me at a hotel across the street from my chiropractic office.  The night before, Eliot, Nana and I drove up to Trenton to Mom and Dad's house so we could be there to see them arrive.  I remember driving up to Paradise Hill so we could get a good view of the ship.  (Once my parents were close to land, they were texting us to let us know where the ship was putting down anchor.)

Seeing a Disney Cruise ship in my hometown was such a glorious sight!

I was beyond excited.  I'm definitely not a morning person, but Eliot and I hopped right up out of bed that morning, woke Nana up and got ready so we could be in town.  We missed the Magic actually sailing into town because it got there a little early, but we were up on Paradise Hill well before 8 am taking photos of it.

Naturally, I had a special outfit for the occasion.  I'd gotten out my new Disney Cruise Line nautical shirt and some bright red pants.  Then, I also wore my DCL logo earrings from Hokey Donut and brought my new DCL tote bag that a girl I follow on Instagram graciously got for me at the outlet store in Florida.  It was the perfect outfit!

We made our way into town and parked down on the pier.  We were there when Mom and Dad got off of the whale watch boat that was shuttling passengers to land from the ship.  The Bar Harbor Pier was a flurry of activity of cruise passengers heading into town or getting on their tour buses.  Mom and Dad arrived with a Disney Cruise Line shopping bag filled with a few of the plushies I'd asked them to get for me.

They didn't have grand plans that day.  Dad actually made a few work phone calls from home and they checked up on all of the business stuff.  But we did make time to go into town to take some photos before they had to be back on the ship that evening.

We made another stop up on Paradise Hill where we took a bunch of photos.

We took plenty photos of the ship, but we also got a ton of photos with us and the ship in the harbor.  We took a few with Eliot and me.

We took some of our donkeys.  (This was before Meep Meep joined the bunch.)

Eliot and I also got a "family" photo with our donkeys.

We took a boatload of photos of Mom and Dad with the Magic in the background.

We also got a few photos with Nana!

I also tried to get a few photos looking back towards town with the Magic.

Eliot and I also went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain with Dad where we took more photos of the ship, town and the Bar Islands.  (The Magic is the one on the left.)

I made sure to get a few photos up there with my new Captain Mickey Mouse plush!

We got a few photos with Dad and Captain Mickey Mouse too!

I had to get in on the action with one more photo of my outfit and the ship!

At both stops, I also made sure to take photos with the MDI mouse ears we'd made.

Later in the afternoon, we all went down to the pier so Mom and Dad could get back onto the whale watch boat shuttle back to the Disney Magic.  Before seeing them off, we took photos of Mom and Dad with their MDI mouse ears on the pier.  (While there, I also got a few photos of the mouse ears with the harbor in the background.)

Eventually, it was time for them to be getting back to the ship.  We bid goodbye to Mom and Dad as they walked down the dock to the boat.  Eliot, Nana and I waved as they rode off on the whale watch and back to the Disney Magic.  

Eliot, Nana and I sat on the pier for another few hours to see them off.  Eventually, it got dark and we watched as the ship sailed around the Bar Islands and off around the corner and into the night.  It was funny to see the Disney Magic from the shore... you could see the giant television screen above the main deck flashing as it sailed along.

It was such a magical day, but I think the best part was how well it went over with everyone aboard the ship.  Mom and Dad talked to a bunch of people and the overall consensus was that Bar Harbor was amazing and people wished they had more time there.  (Apparently, St. John didn't go over nearly as well.)  We were all pleased about the good reaction, and we hoped that Disney Cruise Line would come back to MDI and Bar Harbor again.  (I believe they had another cruise there in 2019.)

Having Disney Cruise Line visit the town where I grew up was an incredible experience and something that I'll never forget.  I'm so glad that I was able to personally be there for it's maiden voyage to Bar Harbor, and that my parents were able to be on that exact sailing.  The entire thing was definitely a very magical memory.  °o°

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

January 2023 WDW Trip Planning

The magic is calling, calling, calling us... and we are finally going to answer it!  It has been about a year since Walt Disney World officially started it's giant 50th Anniversary Celebration, and just over three months from now (95 days, but who's counting?), Eliot and I are finally going to be there to experience it!  I seriously can't wait!!!

Now that we're home from our big California, D23 Expo, Disneyland trip, I'm finally able to shift my focus onto the next big adventure... our colossal January 2023 WDW trip.

This past week, Eliot and I have jumped back into planning mode.  We're juggling a lot of moving parts.  He's been looking up hotel prices for our split stay.  I've been trying to get all of our plans and reservation numbers organized into another trusty note.  We're currently debating canceling our car rental since we aren't really sure that we'll actually need it.  We also just pushed our flight home back by a day.

Last month, I told you how we were changing our anniversary trip plans to add extra days onto our Walt Disney World Marathon weekend trip.  We were supposed to be going down December 30th to January 14th.  But a little bit after Eliot and I booked our flights... it suddenly dawned on me that the Festival of the Arts usually starts sometime in mid-January.  I was so focused on going to Disney for New Year's Eve, Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, celebrating our 10th Anniversary and race weekend... that I completely spaced about the Festival of the Arts.

While nothing has been announced yet... the festival usually starts the Friday of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, which would put it on January 13th of this year (if all goes as planned).  Thus, Eliot and I talked about it, and since flights back on Sunday were only a teensy bit more than our Saturday night flight, we decided to change it.  This will give us an entire extra day at Disney since before our flight left at 5:00 pm and we wouldn't have gone to the parks that day.  Plus, it actually gives us an entire extra day period.

At this point, we're planning to go into the parks 11 days during our two week stay.  We had been already been planning to purchase a ten day WDW ticket.  Because of the rule that you have 14 days to use the tickets, we actually have to purchase one single day ticket as well.  But, it worked out.  We have our single day planned for New Years Eve, and then our 10 day ticket will be from January 1st to January 14th!  

Now that things are officially shaping up, I am getting so excited.  After the disaster that was our actual 10th Anniversary and Eliot getting sick, this is certainly looking up.  We will be there for so many amazing things: New Years Eve, New Years Day, Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary, race weekend, hopefully the Festival of the Arts and... if all of that isn't spectacular enough... I also came to the realization that the Christmas decorations will hopefully still be up for the first few days of our trip!!!  It's going to be amazingly epic!!!

I have a lot to look forward to as the days slowly tick down to our next grand Disney adventure.  I better get started on that bucket list now as well.  Between race weekend, the 50th, our wedding anniversary, and potentially the Festival of the Arts, I've got a lot of goals I need to nail down.  And I better also get started on our mouse ear list.  Thank goodness we're flying Southwest because we're gonna need those extra bags... °o°

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Celebrating Our 10th Wedding Anniversary

Well, it hasn't always been pretty this past few days... it's been a week since our 10th Wedding Anniversary and Eliot and I were finally able to celebrate a little bit.  But before I tell you about our celebrations, I'll fill you in more about what happened....   

Basically, our plan for our anniversary was that Eliot was going into work early so he could work from 6:00AM to noon.  Then, he'd take the afternoon off so we could spend it together.  We were going to go mini-golfing at a course in Arundel that we have been wanting to go to.  We were going down to Scoop Deck for our annual ice cream... and then we had tickets to go to the SeaDogs first playoff game in 8 years.

It seemed like a great plan.  No, it wasn't Walt Disney World.  And it also wasn't New York City... which was another back-up plan that we had which just wasn't going to work out.  (It was still really expensive to spend the weekend there.)  But I was happy with the new back-up to our back-up plan.  Plus, some of those activities were things I was trying to finish checking off my summer bucket list.

The night before our anniversary was great.  Eliot came home early and surprised me with a giant Edible Arrangements chocolate covered strawberry platter.  I have been hinting that I wanted one since my birthday last year.  I loved it.  I thought it was a great way to kick off our anniversary and I had such high hopes for the following day...

Then I woke up at 5:30AM to the sound of Eliot puking his guts out in the bathroom.

He was really sick.  We thought it might be food poisoning... but after he was in bed all day we think it was some kind of 24 hour stomach bug.  He migrated between our bed and the master bathroom and that was pretty much it.  I got him downstairs for about and hour before he crawled back upstairs.  He was so weak.  He couldn't eat anything.

Eliot spent all afternoon trying to get himself well enough to make it to the Portland SeaDogs baseball game since we had just bought our non-refundable tickets the night before.  But he just couldn't do it.  We finally conceded that it was going to be a lost day.  My big anniversary outing was to the local Hannaford to get saltine crackers, ginger ale, and Powerade to rehydrate him.  I also bought myself a pre-made rice bowl to heat up for dinner and some chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk.  

Eliot felt awful, but I told him that "it is what it is".  There really wasn't anything we could do about it.  But I guess it solidified the whole "in sickness and health" part of our vows.

After he was sick Tuesday, and home all day Wednesday recovering and regaining his strength, we decided that we'd try to make up for our anniversary over the weekend. 

On Saturday, Eliot and I planned to go down to the Scoop Deck in Wells to get ice cream, then we'd stop to play mini golf in Arundel before returning to Biddeford to get something to eat.  But by the time we left the house, I was basically starving and wasn't sure if I could wait until we got down to Wells before eating.  Thus, we took a detour and decided to go to Applebee's for dinner first.

I had my usual, but after not eating much the rest of the day, it didn't sit well.  We decided to skip the Scoop Deck, even though I really wanted to go.  However, Eliot and I still went over to the Raptor Falls Mini Golf course he's been wanting to go to since it opened a few years ago.  We had a great time there.  It was a bit before closing and we ended up being the last group there for the night.  We had a great time taking our time (there were people in front of us) and checking out all of the dinosaurs.  Some of them were animatronic and they moved around!

Sunday, Eliot and I planned to go into Old Orchard Beach.  We missed Pirates Cove the previous weekend by minutes, so we decided to go into town earlier this time.  We played a round of golf at Pirates Cove and were also the last ones admitted there so we could take our time.  We laughed quite a bit at some of our hits.  I beat Eliot by quite a bit at Raptor Falls, but at Pirates Cove we were pretty neck and neck.  It all came down to the very last hole where I literally beat him by one stroke!  

But the best part was the hole #3 was the mystery hole that day... and I got a hole in one on that hole!  That meant I won the prize and got a token for a free game!  Woo!!!

After, we went into town to get some food.  I had a few of Eliot's Pier Fries and he also got me a Fried Dough.  Town was pretty much deserted because the weather was cool and people weren't going to the beach.  All of the parking places that had been open the previous weekend when we had nice weather were empty or closed.  But we enjoyed ourselves and the quiet peacefulness of Old Orchard Beach in the fall.

Before heading home, we ran over to Walmart to pick up a few things that we had forgotten to get the night before.  While we were checking out the Christmas stuff in the garden center area, Eliot came across a box that said "CMAS Greeter Stitch" on it.  He couldn't contain himself and he ripped the box open to find an adorable Santa Stitch door greeter.  Needless to say, Stitch came home with us.

It wasn't a super glamorous celebration, but Eliot and I had fun.  Plus, I came to a realization the other day when I called my Mom on our anniversary to tell her that Eliot was sick... if Walt Disney World can celebrate their 50th Anniversary for 18 months, why can't we celebrate our 10 year anniversary for the entire year too?

Eliot and I are already planning to celebrate our anniversary while we're at Walt Disney World on our epic vacation in January.  (More on that tomorrow!)  We still could make it to New York City... maybe sometime this spring?  And there are a few shows that we thought about going to this upcoming fall and in the early spring.  Plus we're planning to go to a few Sharks hockey games... some Maine Mariners hockey games... 

We're blessed that even though our actual anniversary day was pretty much a disaster, there are plenty of fun things for us to look forward to.  And we can celebrate 10 years of being married all year... so I'm officially kicking off our year long party!!!  °o°

Monday, September 26, 2022

Magical Merchandise: 2022 Disney Parks Halloween Collection

Spooky season is upon us and I finally feel like it's time.  Now that Eliot and I are home in Maine and the weather has cooled off a lot, it feels like Halloween season.  And let's face it; it's really hard to get into the spooky spirit in the middle of August...

Over the past few weeks, Shop Disney has been dropping a lot of their Halloween merchandise in waves.  I knew that this would probably happen again this year, much like last year.  Instead of making two separate Halloween posts, I decided to hold off and put everything together.  I might have missed a few things that sold out, but this is a pretty comprehensive list of the things that have caught my eye online and when we were at Disneyland!  So let's see what they conjured up this year!

We're starting off with clothing and one thing you can always count on is some sort of Spirit Jersey.  This year's adult design was a fun half orange and black tie dye look with Mickey in his new pumpkin costume!  Eliot's Mom bought him one, but they've recently sold out online... I might have to see if she can go back to Disneyland to pick one up for me because I'm having regrets about not getting one while I was there!

The kids version of the Spirit Jerseys is a tie dye orange mix, with the same design.

Fido can even get in on the action with a matching dog Spirit Jersey!

This year, they had a ton of different Baby Bodysuits.

They also had this really cute Baby Outfit.

There was also this adorable Mickey Baby Skeleton Outfit!

For kids, they had a Marvel Hoodie with character pumpkins all over it.

There was also a kids Star Wars Droid Shirt.

They released matching Halloween Pajamas for the entire family!

They made a kids and adult version of this Disney Character Shirt.

There's also a Button Up Shirt with the character pattern on it.

For the guys, they made a Glow-in-the-Dark Suit.

The was also a Halloween Hoodie with the all over character print.

I love this Women's Halloween Shirt!

Finally, they also made some Women's Halloween Joggers with the all over pattern.

Switching gears, next we're taking a look at accessories.  On a cute-o-meter scale of 1-10, this Baby Mickey Pumpkin Hat is probably gonna be a 15.

I thought these Halloween Crocs were pretty cute too!

They also have matching Mouse Ears... 

... as well as a matching Loungefly Mini Backpack!

Here's a Tote Bag that you could use to Trick or Treat!

And a light-up Halloween Necklace to keep you aglow all night!

Finally, we're taking a peek the home decor Shop Disney released.  I was surprised to find a bunch of "Baby Yoda" stuff.  Let's start off with the Grogu Candy Bowl.

They also had a Grogu Light-Up Door Mat.

This little Grogu Mummy Plush is adorable!!!

He's dressed up as a ghost on this Grogu Wall Decor.

If you can't pick a favorite Grogu costume, the Kitchen Towel Set has all of them on it!

They also released some Marvel items this year including a Groot Candy Bowl.  To me, it looks a little creepy without anything in it, but it's really cute with food in it!

This Groot Pumpkin Plush has got to be the cutest thing from the entire collection.  I saw him at Disneyland and it's a miracle he didn't come home with me.

They also made a Hulk Light-Up Doormat.  My favorite part of this design is that it includes a nod to other super heroes with the character pumpkins beneath him!

This set of Ghost and Mickey Pumpkin Pillows adds some spooky cute to your house!

This little Ghost Candle is really cute as well.

They made a Halloween Blanket with the overall character pattern on it.

There's also a matching Mickey and Minnie Mouse Halloween Countdown.   

They have matching Kitchen Towels as well.

This year's Halloween Wreath its a bit different than usual, but it's still cute!

There's also an a-door-able Mickey and Donald Doormat.

Finally, I've saved the very best for last... the most popular item from the entire Shop Disney Halloween collection was this giant Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Blow Mold!

He was only $65, which really isn't bad for a blow mold this large.  I'm a little bummed out that Eliot and I didn't buy him online when we had the chance... but judging how popular he was this year, I'm hoping that he might make another reappearance next year!  (Disney has gotten a lot better and rereleasing things that are this popular.)

And that's the 2022 Shop Disney Halloween merchandise!  I hope you enjoyed this post!  If you're looking for Haunted Mansion and Hocus Pocus items, I've already written about them at those links.  There's also a ton of new Disney Villains and Nightmare Before Christmas stuff if you're interested in that!  There was so much that I couldn't post it all... but definitely check Shop Disney out for more spooky thrills!  °o°