Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wha?? I don't understand...

A few weeks ago, we booked a trip to WDW for August. However, there is a catch to this trip. We are going with my in-laws. Now, I'm not even going to start discussing this- they fall squarely in the category of people who "don't get Disney". It will be a very interesting trip.

Today, Mike and I were discussing this upcoming trip and he said something to me that I just don't understand. He said that we really have to do some planning for this trip. HUH? You mean more than just planning what park on what day- and more importantly, where we are going eat? I don't get it. This is a Disney trip. I pride myself on NOT over planning these trips. I mean, I know we only have 5 days to show them OUR Disney, but plan????

As I stared at Mike with a look of utter confusion, he said something else that I still don't understand. He said that he didn't think he was going to have his parents get Park Hopper tickets. HUH?!? You mean I am limited to only one park a day? If we are done at Animal Kingdom, we don't get to go to another park for the rest of the day? I... I... I don't understand. How do I do that? What about Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom... That only happens if we are AT the Magic Kingdom that day? How am I suppose to do this?

I just don't get it... Planning? No hopping??? I need a beer...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What does being a Disney fan mean?

Every few months, this discussion seems to come up. It seems there are some people out there that think being a Disney fan means you a squeaky-clean always happy person. I've got news for those people- you're wrong!

Take me for example- I am a HUGE Disney fan (I don't think anyone is really going to argue that point with me). But, I am far from squeaky-clean.

I don't talk about pixie dust and castles and happy endings all the time. As a matter of fact, I curse- a lot! I've been told I don't curse like a sailor... it's more that my language would make a sailor blush. Now, I don't curse (much) when kids are around just because I don't think it's appropriate. But I don't watch what comes out of my mouth and think "Is this Disney-like?"

In my life, there are things that go wrong and make me frustrated. Life is not all pixie-dust and that's OK! I'm a real person and I'm allowed to have bad days. It doesn't make me any less of a Disney fan on those bad than I am on good days.

The Disney community that I am proud to be a part of is made up of a variety of people- There is no stereo-type for Disney fans. Some are single adults, some are married with no kids, some are married with children, and some are older adults whose kids have grown up. We are all different but brought together by our love for Disney.

And if someone out there doesn't like me for how I am, well, that's not very Disney-like of them! I mean, didn't Nemo have a gimpy fin? Wasn't Lightening McQueen in trouble with the law? Didn't Mr. Incredible lie to his family for months?

Disney teaches about embracing differences and that you don't have to be perfect. And that's what being a Disney fan means to me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How social media helped out run a fire

Well, this last week has been interesting, to say the least. Most of my on-line attention has been focused on the Monument Fire down by my parent's house in Southern Arizona. Being 2500 miles away makes it hard to get good information, but luckily, I found an AMAZING Facebook page that kept me in the loop. (And here a quick shout out to the administrators of the Monument Fire Az page- they have done a great job keeping the page up to date and minimizing rumors). There was also a Twitter hashtag #monumentfire, but Twitter doesn't appear to be real big in the small town.

My mom has refused to get on Facebook and watch this for herself. She has a Facebook account, but for whatever reason, refuses to use. She was getting emails from friends, but obviously it wasn't as quick and timely as what was occurring on Facebook.

On Thursday, I watched as the fire jumped a main highway and headed for several of my parent's friends homes. I was able to call my mom and let her know that her friends had been evacuated. I was also able to let them know which direction the fire was going and so forth.

Friday rolled around and it was much of the same. As I monitored the fire, it continued moving east, not north toward my parents. This was all good. Some of their friends were in a new pre-evacuation zone, but nothing had really changed. The fire was still concentrated (as much as a 19,000 acre fire can be concentrated) areas where the homes had lots of land- not subdivisions.

About 5pm my time (which is about 2pm for my parents), I was on the phone with my mom and started seeing reports of a new fire that had started on Fort Huachuca. This fire was less than 2 miles from my parents- and it quickly became obvious that it was out of control and moving east straight toward my parent's subdivision. Because my mom was already wound tighter than a high-E string on a violin, I asked to talk to my dad. Well, at that moment he was coming back in from outside and commenting that there was a lot of smoke over to the west. So, I told them about the new fire and that I was waiting for more information.

Well, at this point, the Facebook page started to go crazy. The fire was moving quickly and even though the fire response team was jumping on it, dry grass and high winds meant the fire was growing. Within about 40 minutes of the fire starting, evacuations were starting about 1 mile from my parents house. These people had NO notice and only about 3 minutes to gather everything they wanted to take with them and get out. They were told "Get out. Get out now. We are not kidding. The fire is coming." At this point, my mom called me to say there were attempting to take donations to the fire station, but saw how bad the smoke was and decided to just stay home. I told her at this point where the evacuations were occurring and that they needed to go home and get their stuff together.

I then heard from my mom about 15 minutes later as she called me and asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted them to save from the house. That is not something you ever really want to think about. She said they were loading the car up and getting ready. I couldn't think of anything, but told her to take her iPod and start walking around and videoing the house as documentation.

I continued to watch the Facebook page and the evacuations were growing, as was the fire. The new evacuations included their area- they needed to get out NOW! This was about 6:15pm my time- about 75 minutes after the fire started. There was talk that air tankers were going to be diverted from the main fire to this new fire (called the Antelope Fire) to drop slurry to attempt to save the subdivisions. I called my parent's house and got no answer. So, I tried my mom's cell phone. It went immediately to voice mail. Ok- I started freaking a little bit about now.

I remained GLUED to the Facebook page and saw many people saying that cell service in the area was overloaded and service was also bad due to the heavy smoke in the area. That helped me calm down a little. I also know my father and while he is easily one of the most stubborn people around, he wouldn't take any chance with my mom and their 2 dogs and cat. The Facebook page continued to be updated with new information with people talking about how they had no notice of the evacuation and had to leave everything behind. I was thankful that I knew my parents were able to get some of their things out.

Finally after about 30 minutes my mom called me. I could hear one pissed-off cat in the background. They were out and hanging at the city park with other evacuees. They were going to wait it out there for a while and had a friend's house to go to if needed. They knew nothing and had no way to get information- they were just winging it at this point. I told her I would keep watching online and would pass on information as needed.

Facebook was updating frequently with information on the percent of the fire contained and other information- such as the gas company had shut off all gas to their area. I called her with information as I got it and I could hear her passing it on to everyone else with them. They had no other information coming in. Finally, about 8:20 my time, I saw on Twitter that a news channel had reported the evacuation was lifted. There was actually no way to verify this online (I had tried and was told the only reliable sources were calling the sheriff or police). I called and, sure enough, they could go back home. I called my mom in the park and let her know and she told everyone there. This was the first they had heard the news. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of cheering!

So my parents headed home- and thankfully they had a home to go to. I hate to think how this would have gone without social media. I have no doubt that they would have gotten out of their home- but would they have had the time to be able to pack things or would they also have had those 3 small minutes (180 seconds) to pack up. And what would I have known from 2500 miles away? It's very possible I wouldn't have even know what was going on. And how would they have known that they could go home. I am so thankful for that Facebook page and how it was getting information out to everyone who needed it.

Also, I just wanted to thank everyone who passed along such wonderful words of support to me yesterday- it was a very rough evening and the support of all my friends meant so much to me!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things that make me happy!

I am blantantly stealing this idea from my friend who just did a blog post on 30 things that make her happy. I decided to make my own list of things that make me happy- in no particular order.
  1. Disney
  2. Watching my son sleep
  3. Ice cream
  4. My friends
  5. My #peas
  6. The #beans- but don't tell the #beans though!
  7. Potato dumplings- not eating them, just the thought of them
  8. The first sip of a Starbucks coffee with foam
  9. Getting into bed with fresh crisp sheets
  10. The song "Wild at Heart" by Gloriana- Seriously, how can a song with the line "Put your hand into my back pocket, light me up like a bottle rocket" NOT make you happy???
  11. Any song by the Black Eyed Peas- because it always makes me think of my friend who HATES any song by them
  12. Those few seconds on Tower of Terror after your elevator is loaded into the tower, but before it begins going up and down
  13. Text messages from friends
  14. Riding the PeopleMover
  15. Snuggly kittens
  16. Pedicures
  17. Snuggles with Matthew
  18. Nascar date nite
  19. Dancing
  20. New shoes
  21. My pair of jeans that fit just right
  22. Crossing the finish line of a race
  23. A good hair day
  24. Eating frosting right out of the container
  25. Movie theater popcorn with butter
  26. Girl's Night Out
  27. Being under a bunch of warm blankets when it's cold outside
  28. Taylor Lautner's abs
  29. Reading a really good book that you don't want to put down
  30. Laughing so hard I cry

Monday, June 6, 2011

'Ohana means family

The Disney movie Lilo & Stitch popularized the staying "'Ohana means family." Many of my Disney friends, and myself, use this saying when we are talking about some of our dearest and closest friends. We use it to mean that our friends our like our family. But for me, that's not quite right.

There is another saying "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Think about it- you have that family member (or members) that you really don't like, but you just kinda tolerate. To me, 'Ohana is something so much more than family.
'Ohana doesn't include all photo crashers in the picture though :)

For me, I have a wonderful group of 'Ohana friends. Who are they? Some of them are:
  • the ones that I ate at Biergarten with- the food was mediocre, but it was hands down the best meal of my life.
Yep- my 'Ohana friends are inappropriate... LOVE THEM!
  • the ones you see on Main St. and start yelling and going crazy with happiness.
  • the one I think of every time I go over a particular bump on Space Mountain and remember him commenting when the lap bar met his groin in a rude way.
  • my #peas- my two friends who are always there for me. And know when they need to give my space.
Yes, I know I just used this pic, but there are no words for how IMPORTANT these two are to me!
  • the ones that I want to call first when something good happens.
  • the ones that I tell first when something bad happens.
This picture and the one above are completely interchangeable :)
  • the ones that tell you to stop being a drama queen and just get over yourself.
  • the ones that are in all of your pictures with you.

There are just some of my 'Ohana friends- it's not all of them.

'Ohana is those friends who touch your soul. They are the friends that are in so many of your memories- both good and bad because they are there for you no matter what. They are the ones that I think of when I cry happy and sad tears. They are the friends who take a part of you with them when they leave.

I am so thankful for all of my 'Ohana friends. I am not complete without ALL of them. I need them in my life.

And this post is dedicated to my 'Ohana friend who has very recently come back into my life- I didn't realize how much emptier my life was without them in it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Disney- not a vacation destination

No, I didn't mis-type something in the title of this post. To me, Disney is not a vacation destination. It is so much more than that.

Yes, I go to Disney on vacation, but it recently occurred to me WHY I always want to go to Disney. It's not because I enjoy the rides and the attractions- although I do enjoy them! It because Disney has such wonderful memories of friends and family.

I love my #peas!!!!

It bring me a sense of happiness and peace. And I will admit, there is a bit of escapism there. Being in the Disney bubble makes all the other problems and stresses of life seem so far away.
Problems? What problems?

Simply put, Disney is the happy place for my soul.

I don't go to Disney for a vacation- I go for a total recharge. To spend time in my happy place and gather more memories to get me through until the next time I can visit.

I know some of you reading this don't understand this. You think that Disney World is simply a place to go every couple of years for vacation. That's OK with me- it keeps the crowds down for all the other times I want to go :)