Walt Disney World: Part 1

In April, Adam and I went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to celebrate the wedding of one of my dear college friends and sorority sisters. We spent a whirlwind 2 days in the parks and rode all of our top choice rides, before being guests at a magical wedding and reception that only Disney could deliver.

I spent the weeks leading up to our trip prancing around our house singing “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E” and trying to perfect my Donald Duck impression (I failed), while Adam was in charge of logistics for meal reservations so that we would best use our meal plan. Seeing as it was our first adult trip (and Adam’s only trip), we were fairly naive in what to expect and once we opened up our Unofficial Guidebook we became quickly overwhelmed with options. We decided to read up on the to-dos at each park and then made a list of our top preferences in each to maximize our time.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s even possible to maximize your time in Disney, especially when you only have a 2 day park hopper pass, but we gave it our best shot.

We started our first day in the parks at Magic Kingdom. I had fond memories of this park from when I had come to Disney when I was 7. I remembered the Tea Cups, Space Mountain, Cinderella’s Castle, and The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House fondly – so those were high on our “must do” list.

Space Mountain

Thankfully, the extra hour our first day was at Magic Kingdom, so we arrived bright and early that morning to try and beat the masses. According to our guidebook, we should make a beeline for Space Mountain right when the doors open to avoid lines. Beeline we did and were among the first 50 riders that day. After the ride, we agreed that except for the fact that we felt like we would be decapitated at any moment (not a fun feeling mind you), we enjoyed the dips and twists and thrills. Adam added that he “wouldn’t ride it with children because he’d be yelling ‘Oh shit! Oh shit!’ the entire time.”

Cinderella’s Castle

After thanking God that we didn’t lose our heads on Space Mountain we headed towards the tamest part of Magic Kingdom – Cinderella’s Castle. As we got closer I remarked that “it was a whole lot smaller than I remembered it”.

Oh the dashed dreams and memories of my childhood.

It was still beautiful and enchanting but the scale I had in my head was much, much larger than what my eyes saw in real life.

After we exited the castle, I dragged Adam to buy Mouse ears. Oh yes, I did – and we both wore them proudly for the rest of the day.

It’s a Small World

Once our ears were securely placed on our heads, off we went to what many call the most annoying ride in the park. Grabbing a fast pass for Peter Pan along the way. I know I probably made my parents ride this ride several times as a child so it was the least I could do to ride it once with Adam. It was serene and peaceful and would probably be much more enjoyable under the influence.

Nevertheless, being the pansies we are we both really enjoyed the ride, but agreed that it could get old after 2 turns through.

Mad Tea Party

Once “It’s a Small World” was firmly embedded in our head off we went to the tea cups. It was everything I remembered and possibly has a place among my favorite rides. We had a blast taking video and pictures on this ride. Oh, and also making our tea cup spin as fast as possible. I mean, what else are you supposed to do on the Tea Cups? WINNING!

Peter Pan’s Flight

After the Tea Cups, it was time to use our fast pass for Peter Pan. I felt really guilty when we showed up with our fast passes and cut in front of at least 90 folks in line.

I’m weird like that.

Once I got over my guilt (it didn’t take too long) and we stepped on the conveyor belt that matched us up with our ship, I became truly enchanted.  This was easily one of my favorite rides at Disney. I truly felt like I was flying and really loved all the characters that were included throughout our “journey”. Adam, however, probably could’ve done without my rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” while we were in our private ship on the ride.

[More Disney memories to come…]

Mayfield = Heaven

This past weekend, Adam and I stumbled upon the Mayfield Park and Preserve in Austin. It’s quite possible it’s Austin’s best kept secret..but now I’m letting the cat out of the bag.

This place is incredible. From its perfectly maintained gardens, to its free-roaming peacocks, to its hiking trails along and across streams; it’s officially my new favorite place in Austin.

After the torrential downpour Austin experienced Monday evening and early Tuesday morning, Adam and I decided that later this week would be the perfect time to re-visit Mayfield and hike the trails. Camera in tow.

Wow. I just thought the garden area of the park was gorgeous. But these trails? Some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It was a total escape and you truly felt like you weren’t in the middle of a large city.

Texas Bluebonnets were in perfect harmony next to the rugged cacti that could be found throughout the park.

And, if you’re patient enough (or, like us, time it just right) you might just catch the peacock showing their full colors.

I’m certain that we will become regular visitors of this hidden Austin gem.

Shake your tail feathers.

Music Monday – Whitney Houston

Music Monday is bittersweet this week.

Whitney Houston consistently appeared as a favorite “go to” artist when I didn’t know what I was in the mood to listen to and this weekend we lost her. She was an incredible talent, with an unparalleled voice who inspired so many with her talent.

In her memory, here are a few of my favorite songs from her catalog.

May she rest in peace.

Queen of the Night – Whitney Houston

So Emotional – Whitney Houston

It’s Not Right But It’s Okay – Whitney Houston

I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Vinyasa YoMG

I’ve never understood how yoga could be a workout – I’ve tried a couple of at home DVDs and got bored within 5 minutes, maybe 10, because the pace was so slow and I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of the stretches. I’ve often called it a “pansy” workout – stretching for an hour? How does that qualify as legit exercise?

Never. Again.

Last night, Adam and I took our first ever Yoga class at Black Swan Yoga. Since we were both newbies to Yoga, we opted to take the Vinyasa class as it was one of 2 classes recommended for beginners – the other was Hatha. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t nervous, I was, but more than that I was less than optimistic that yoga would be a workout equivalent to my Jazzercise or Adam’s cycling. I wasn’t expecting to sweat, I wasn’t expecting to be sore. In fact, it’s safe to say I didn’t really have a lot of positive expectations going into the class.

We arrived about 20 minutes before class began, took off our shoes, and staked out a place in the back corner of the L shaped studio. Adam confirms with the teacher that this class will be good for beginners and we wait. We watch as people begin to stroll in and before we know it the class is full and there’s less than 6 inches between the mats. I hope we don’t lose our balance and fall over.

I was expecting an instructor front and center going through the poses with us, but instead she vocalized the commands as she walked around the room while her partner helped to correct technique and posture as we went through the poses. Adam and I relied on those around us to figure out what pose to do next. As the class progressed, the sweatier I got. There were also a few un-zen like moments where I mouthed to Adam very unloving statements, because HOLY HELL I WAS HOT and this wasn’t even labeled as a “sweaty” or “hot” class. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever sweat that much in my life. I’m talking dripping off my nose, pooling on my back, and hands slipping on my mat.

Once the class finished, THANK GOD, we gathered our stuff and headed to the car. The first thing Adam said to me was “that was harder than a 4-hour bike ride”. I’ve never done a 4-hour bike ride, so I can’t attest to the validity of that statement; however, I can say that it was without a doubt one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Who’d have thought stretching could work you that hard? My muscles didn’t seem that much looser after class like I expected them to feel and my shins hurt like whoa, but I did feel pretty relaxed and like I could go to bed immediately.

This morning I woke up and didn’t really feel all that sore. In fact, I didn’t feel sore at all. Well, until an hour ago when I got up from my desk to grab a fresh glass of water.

My shoulders are sore.

My neck is sore.

My biceps and triceps are sore.

My thighs are sore.

I’m sorry for every thought I ever had about yoga being wimpy, it’s far from it. And this morning? I kinda want to try another class.