A Very Magical Birthday Celebration

Note: This post was taken from my Texas Travel girl blog, you can view the original post HERE

It has been awhile since I have posted anything, but honestly it has been awhile since I have done anything worth posting about, until last week.

In front of Runaway Mountain
In front of Runaway Mountain

Last week I went to the Walt Disney World Resort. I love all things Disney, I love the movies, the theme parks, the disney channel, in fact Wizards of Waverly Place is one of my guilty pleasures. I am a self proclaimed Dis-Nerd. Meeting Meeko this week literally made my week!

I was so excited to celebrate my 29th birthday at Disney World. Yes, I know I am not 9, but believe me when I say the kid in me was excited to be able to break away from work and spend a few days at the Magic Kingdom.

We checked into Pop Century Resort. Let me just say I have stayed on the property a few times and in my opinion this is the only way to go when it comes to staying at Disney, but I can’t say I recommend the Pop Century Resort unless you have kids, and are looking for a great value. The walls are paper thin, and the bus system for this particular resort is sub par at best. Disney simply does not provide enough buses for this particular resort, so everytime you leave one of Disney’s parks you wait easily 20-30 minutes in a long line and that is if you are lucky. None of the other resorts have this issue. I stayed at the All Sports Resort in April, and had no issues so in my opinion if you are looking for value, I recommend one of the All Star resorts.

Ok that is all I have to say that is negative about this trip.

I could not think of a better way to celebrate my birthday, except maybe seeing my parents and brother, but believe me when I say this was pretty magical.

My trip started off with the “Pirates and Pals Firework show” It was amazing, we arrived at the Contemporary Resort and was told to go into a room where we able to munch on popcorn, cotton candy, pretzels, chocolate and an assortment of beverages. We were then told that “Captain Hook and Mr. Smee” had arrived and we could get our photos with them.

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Let me just get this out of the way, meeting Disney Characters is an OBSESSION of mine, my goal is too met as many characters that I possibly can. I love it, and yes I line up with all of the kiddies and proudly get my photo with the character. It makes me smile and makes me feel like a child again.

After my photo was taken, we were escorted by our boat captain Patches and off we went.

The boat took us right in front of the Magic Kingdom, and that is where we watched “Wishes”. It was fantastic. Afterwards, we were taken back to the dock and load and behold Peter Pan was guiding us in. So yes I stood in line to meet another character. Sadly the photo was horrible but the experience was a blast. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Disney and has the time in the schedule to do it.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival was also taking place while I was at Disney. Food and Wine from 25 different countries including South Africa, Morocco, France, Italy and many more. Sadly, all I tried was a Dragonberry Colada, that was featured from the Caribbean (yum!!), Ribeye Tacos that were featured in Mexico, pot stickers and BBQ chicken featured in China, and Apple strudel that was featured in Germany. Lame. I was at a food and wine festival at EPCOT and that was all I was brave enough to try. I need to get over this picky eating hump. The festival was wonderful though. The food, wine and champagne featured smelled amazing, but I could not bring myself to try anything unique. I am such a chicken. I really am going to have a Jen vs. Food post, hopefully as early as this upcoming weekend, so you just wait!

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On my birthday, I was able to go the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It was real treat. The Magic Kingdom was decorated to the max, and the park had various shows, rare characters you can meet, and trick or treat stations you could visit throughout the park. The rides were open too, but why would you ride anything when you can trick or treat at the Magic Kingdom? The cast members handed out trick or treat bags at the entrance and told us to use them throughout the park. Stations were set up throughout the park.

and I just want to say the cast members gave me a ton of candy, as I was proudly wearing my birthday pin that was given to me by Disney, each time telling me happy birthday. I felt pretty darn special.

I didn’t trick or treat much, but I sure did meet a lot of characters. I met Aladdin, Abu, Cruella Devil, Frollo, The Seven Dwarfs and my personal favorite CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW. (not the Johnny Depp version but I’ll take it). He gave me a great laugh and I was even accused of flirting by the photo pass lady. Hey! He offered to swing by and pick me up at the Galveston cruise port on the Black Pearl, who am I to turn that offer down?

At the end of the night I was able to catch the last villains Mix & Mingle Party. It was pretty cute. The villains from popular Disney movies came out, did a pretty awesome little dance number then came down in front of the castle to mingle with guests of the park. Sadly I was disappointed as they only came out for approx 15 minutes or so, but I was able to get my photo with Cruella Deville & Frollo before they left for the evening. All and all totally worth it.

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All in all the trip was a success and I can’t wait until I go back.

Things I learned from this Disney trip:

1. The Dole Whip Station in Adventureland is quite possibly one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. Pineapple ice cream floated in pineapple juice. Yum!

2. Unless you want to be broke, under no circumstances start pin trading, it is quite possible the most addictive thing ever. I am currently hunting down the Yeti pins myself.

3. Go to Hollywood Studios to the Animation Building between 5-6, if you are obsessed with meeting characters. Disney rotates three sets of characters for 20 minutes at a time. It is an excellent way to get rare characters. I was able to get Jafar, he is very very rare these days. I also met Meeko, Mary Poppins and her penguins, and the Genie.

Meeting Meeko Totally made my birthday!
Meeting Meeko Totally made my birthday!

4. You seriously do not have to be a child to celebrate your birthday at the Magic Kingdom, life is short, Have fun!

A few of the characters I met…

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Sunset at the Pier

If you haven’t been to Clearwater, FL.ย  I highly encourage you to visit.ย  ย I have been lucky to see quite a few sunsets in my life but the sunsets in Clearwater are truly magical.

We were told Sunset at the Pier is a very popular activity, so we figured we had a little time before picking up my best friend at the airport. So off we went.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We drove the 5 minutes, and parked and walked out onto the white sandy beaches, and realized this was going to be a beautiful night.

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The February air was chilly, but all in all, the night was beautiful.

It is nights like these that I wish I was an amazing photographer, that can capture the moment.

we spent a fair amount of time taking photos of the sunset, walking the pier to look at everything the vendors were selling, watching the very brave birds get up close and personal with the tourists.

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It was the perfect night to start our time in Florida.

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My Summer Movie List

Yesterday I told you how my summer is going to be all about the R&R mainly because I can’t escape to some tropical deserted island as my bank account might as well have $0 in it, as I have multiple plans coming up I need to save for. So I made my reading List yesterday.

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Today’s list is going to be all about movies. I am not counting any movies that are to be released this summer, these are movies already released & I have been told I need to watch, but never have quite watched. Yes there are some classics on here, that a lot of my friends find disturbing that I have not seen.

Although, when I was sending out messages to friends & families, it was pretty difficult coming up with a list. I clearly have seen a lot of movies. So after multiple texts, emails and conversations, I made the following list ๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously I URGE you to sit down, and make a list of 50 movies you have not seen, it is much harder than you think.

So my movie list, for those days I am too sunburned to lay out by the pool ๐Ÿ™‚

1. The Beach
– I had the biggest crush on Leo as a teen, this movie has been on my list for years, and I have never sat down and actually watched it. I know it is considered the ultimate travel movie.

2. The Motorcycle Diaries (English Subtitled)
-Why I have never seen this movie is beyond me, I have watched to watch it but never gotten around to it

3. City of God (English Subtitled)
-I have been told I should watch this for years, but the fact that it makes Rio look bad, made me not want to watch it, as I want to go to Rio in 2016, I feel I should finally watch it.

4. Adventures In Babysitting
-I have a sick obsession with Thor, and the fact that a kid runs around dressed as Thor is reason enough for me to finally sit down and watch this movie.

5. A Good Year
-When I googled movies about travel this came up, I didn’t hear about it prior to making this list.

6. Thelma & Louise
-AGAIN another wow moment, I have not seen a movie that is considered classic and features a very young Brad Pitt.

7. Into the Wild
-I am planning on reading the book, so I figured I should watch the movie too. ๐Ÿ™‚

8. Under the Tuscan Sun
-Again planning on reading the book, so therefore I should watch the movie. Plus there may be a trip to Tuscany in my very near future ๐Ÿ˜‰

9. Little Miss Sunshine
-I have no clue why I have not seen this, even though I have wanted too. It is time, and I just saw a grown up Breslin in The Call, I should watch the movie that made her a star!

10. Office Space
-I know! Let’s move on.

11. Memento
-another one, that I am not sure why I have not watched. Just slipped through the cracks.

12. Lucas
-Told it was a total geek movie, and a must watch, as I love all things geek, well count me in!

13. Battle Royale
-I joke the Hunger Games in a way changed my life (it did!) and when the rumors that it was a rip off of this movie went around I refused to watch it, but given I am such a fan of The Hunger Games, I feel like I owe to try and watch this film… at least once.

14. The Crow
-When Brandon Lee (who I was seriously going to be his very young bride someday) died during the making of this film, I refused to EVER watch it. Now that I have grown up and realized I was never going to be his woman, I decided it is time to sit down and FINALLY watch it. RIP Brandon Lee

15. The Big Lebowski
-I am sick of not getting the jokes. End of Story.

16. Being John Malkovich
-interesting concept, yet I have never watched it.

17. Sneakers
-The movie promises govt deception & Betrayal yep count me in ๐Ÿ™‚

18. Revenge of the Nerds Triple Feature (Revenge of The Nerds, Revenge of the Nerds II, & Revenge of the Nerds III)
-How can you be a nerd and not have seen these movie? No clue, and in an effort to redeem my nerdy qualities, I will watch this movie. Promise.

19. Hackers
-A friend said they are disowning me until I watch this movie sooo….

20. Alien
– I don’t want to have nightmares I told a friend (who shall remain nameless) so all I have to say if I watch and get nightmares? oh it is on. you have been warned ๐Ÿ™‚

21. Robocop
-another movie why I can’t really explain why I have never watched it.

22. Blade Runner: The Final Cut
-The same friend that disowned me for not seeing Hackers said the same for this, and told me not to text him again until I watch both…

23. Minority Report
-I have tried watching this multiple times, but seriously EVERY time I tried to watch it, something happens. I am turning my phone off when I watch this one.

24. Repo Man (1984)
-YOU have to watch the 80s version Jen, not the Jude Law one… But Jude Law is cute was my response, but I suppose I can always watch the Jude Law one too…

25. Pan’s Labyrinth
-fantasy worlds, a sadistic father? No wonder it got so much Oscar Cred, why I have not seen it though, is the real mystery.

26. Predator 2
-Saw the first one. Stopped there, apparently according to my friend. I am an idiot. I don’t want to be an idiot.

27. The Chronicles of Riddick
-One of my friends ordered me to call in sick and watch these films immediately. I didn’t do that, but I did tell him I would add it to my list.

28. Pitch Black
-See number 27

29. Predators
-See number 26….

30. King Solomon’s Mines
-Don’t know much about this one, but it was recommended three times!

31. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (Uncut)

32. Flight of the Navigator

33. Citizen Kane

34. Taxi Driver

35. 2001: A Space Odyssey
-Classic Nerd movie, that I have not seen. For Shame!

36. A Streetcar Named Desire

37. Notorious

38. Rebecca

39. Rebel Without a Cause
-A classic James Dean movie I have not see, shameful. Just Shameful

40. An American in Paris

41. Out of Africa

42. Endless Summer

43. Time Traveler’s Wife
-When I googled time travel movies this came up a lot, yet I have never seen it and I love Eric Bana. I figured I needed at least one chick flick.

44. Peggy Sue Got Married
-Again a movie that came up a few times but I didn’t hear about until recently

45. Hot Tub Time Machine
-I have heard it is beyond hilarious, and a must see.

46. Time Bandits
-Googled Time Travel movies and this popped up

47. 12 Monkeys
-Was told it is good, was never interested in it, so we will see.

48. The Time Machine
-Because of the Big Bang Theory Episode, that is really the only reason
I want to watch it. I know NERD FAIL.

49. Bridges of Madison County
-reading the book and needless to say my Midwestern Trip I want to be prepared ๐Ÿ™‚

50. Cedar Rapids
– I am trying to figure out the big deal with Iowa ๐Ÿ˜‰ just kidding my
special Iowa Friend.

I must admit while I was typing this list I found myself laughing at the reasons I put these on my list. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am glad it is a well rounded list and if I make it through them, I will have a MUCH harder time coming up with additional lists ๐Ÿ™‚

What movies would be on your list?

XOXO

Summer Reading

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I have a lot of plans coming this summer, so needless to say a lot of my free time is going to be getting caught up on all the nerdy shows (that is tomorrow’s post) and reading… a lot! With San Diego Comic Con, a trip through the Midwest, Florida then a cruise in November, I am pretty much grounded on spending. I may take a road trip here and there, but that is a big maybe. ย I will be pinching pennies pretty much until Christmas.

So I decided to make my summer book & Movie/TV watch lists. It is time to read those books I thought about reading & those must see nerdy TV shows or movies. Especially since I am most likely going to be laying out by the pool enjoying the sunshine the majority of my summer ๐Ÿ™‚

Those who know me know I read a lot, and I try to read as often as possible. It is a nice mental escape for when I can’t “really” escape.

I have an Ipad mini, and it is perfect for grabbing those Kindle books and reading when I have down time. (which is often right now ย (sadface) ) Links are included to check out, if you are interested, I know I am!!

anyway I have been asking around and looking at new books to come out, and I have my summer reading list. I can typically read 2 books a week as I read often before bed, or out ofย boredomย and I really do get a joy out of reading. So these are the 20 books I hope to read before Labor Day!

So without further ado My Summer book list:

1. Joyland (Hard Case Crime)
– Stephen King (Stephen King, Carnys and Crime oh yeah baby
Read my Review

2. Bad Monkey
– Carl Hiaasen
Read my review of Bad Monkey

3. The Heist: A Novel
– Janet Evanovich
Read my review of The Heist

4. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
– J. Maarten Troost (this book is pretty well read in the travel Community & I think I need to read it too)

5. Blood Yellow
– Ashley Nemer
Read my review of Blood Yellow

6. The Lost Consipiracy
– Frances Hardinge (stumbled across this YA Fantasy, which is often my favorite genre)

7. Prodigy: A Legend Novel
– Marie Lu (I read Legend, and I need to read book 2, this summer is a good time to read it)

8. Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified
(I love Psych & Totally didn’t know this existed ha!)

9. Second Honeymoon
– James Patterson.
Read my review of Second Honeymoon

10. The Bridges of Madison County
– Robert James Waller- to prepare for my Midwestern Road Trip

11. The Passage: A Novelย  Finished June 20, 2013
– Justin Cronin – (heard a rumor it was optioned by Ridley Scott, so now I need to read it ๐Ÿ™‚ )
Read my review of the passage

12. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America
– Bill Bryson (A travel book based in America, not something common in the travel world)

13. Throne of Glass
– Sarah J. Maas
Read my Review

14. Into the Wild
– Jon Krakauer (another travel book I have read a LOT about, and decided it was time to read)

15. The 5th Wave
– Rick Yancey (heard good things about it, gonna have to give it a go)

16. The Madman’s Daughter (Madman’s Daughter – Trilogy)
– Megan Shepherd
Read my Review

17. Undead
– Kirsty McKay
Read my Review

18. Storm (Elemental)
– Brigid Kemmerer- (I am always good with a series)

19. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
– Marissa Meyer
Read my review of Cinder

20. Under the Never Sky
– Veronica Rossi (another series book that has been on my list)
Read my Review

As you can see, I love fantasy, dystopian ย books (which is all ย the rage right now thanks to the Hunger Games!) ย I am sure I will get through these quickly, and I am open to suggestions!

What is on your Summer reading list?

XOXO

Just escape the cubicle already