Disney World {Part 2}

Feb 26, 2014

Our family has taken a quite a few trips to Disney World in our lifetime.
I have very vivid memories of those vacations (and still experience some weird dreams about Disney here and there, particularly the balls under the walkway for Space Mountain and the never-ending darkness under the Peter Pan flying ships). 
As a child, every single thing about Disney World was absolutely magical.
The characters, the jumping water at Epcot, the never-ending supply of candy, everywhere.
I was worried if I returned to Disney as an adult that it would never compare to the experience we had as starry-eyed children.
(Just look at those starry eyes, andddd jorts, matching embroidered shirts, and my bow/bang combo)
We couldn't have been more surprised.
It was everything we remembered and more.
There was so much to appreciate, more-so now as an adult.
All the workers were SO happy and friendly and accommodating. The rides were still every bit as exciting. The crowds were tolerable. 
It was SO clean.
I once read Walt Disney calculated that trashcans needed to be no more than thirty feet apart to minimize littering in the park.
I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty thankful for the fact that I wasn't having to lug a stroller and a baby bag around all day.
Although I did daydream here and there about one day returning with children, I was pretty glad to be able to go with my entire family without the hassle distraction of babies and and strollers to keep up with.
Seriously though, is it safe to just leave your stroller and baby bag in the "stroller parking lot" while you are on a ride?
It gave me anxiety just thinking about it.
Anywayssssss, back to the recap:
We spent the second part of our trip at the Magic Kingdom.
Prior to leaving for the trip, we worked pretty hard at convincing Josh that we had ordered matching shirts to wear for Christmas card photos (like we did back in 1995).
When getting ready that morning, mom "passed out shirts" and gave her Mickey Mouse thermal to Josh to wear.
He reluctantly, without complaining, donned the thermal (and was actually a good sport about it!) thennnnn we all laughed until we cried.
I think the scoop neck complimented his chest hair nicely.
After we told him it was a joke, he said he was tempted to really wear it around that day just to embarrass us.
He was pretty thankful to be able to change into his Saints polo.
After all, it was game day.
When it came to Christmas decor, Main Street USA was the cutest.
I was really fascinated by the Mickey balloons and the festive balloon holder people.
What a job.
Have I mentioned how hot it was?
We really weren't prepared to actually sweat in December (after all, mom did buy everyone Mickey Mouse thermals).
When we booked our trip, we were repetitively told that the weeks between Thanksgiving were the worst time to go to Disney because of the crowds.
So naturally, in my little worst case scenario brain, I pictured shoulder-to-shoulder congestion on Main Street USA.
It really wasn't thaaaaaat bad.
Thank goodness.
Our first stop of the morning:
Space Mountain
(So that I could face my fears of the scary ball pits that I have the occasional nightmare about)
Space Mountain selfie!
The awkward action shots really make the ride look like a pre-school playground.
After attempting to deplete our never ending supply of snack credits (shout out to the cream cheese stuffed Mickey Mouse pretzels) we got a little competitive with the Buzz Lightyear ride.
Again, I'm SO glad we opted for the PhotoPass service.
These pictures absolutely crack me up.
For the record, if we ever got trapped in space and had to accurately shoot space creatures, I would be responsible for saving our lives.
It wouldn't be a complete trip to Disney without experiencing the vomit-inducing teacups.
I'm fairly certain we set a record for most people squeezed into a teacup.
Spoiler alert!
They are working on a new roller coaster specifically for the Seven Dwarfs!
There were little holes in the wall surrounding the construction, allowing you to see the progress of the ride.
Mom wouldn't let us leave the park without riding It's A Small World.
The boys may have gotten annoyed here and there, but I enjoyed mom's excitement and dedication to do it all.
So very Yolo of her.
Small World Selfie!
It realllllllly is a great ride.
We had lunch that day at the Liberty Tree Tavern.
The entrees were meh, but the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake was MIND BLOWING.
Hands down, it was everyone's favorite dessert of the trip.
It wasn't near as cute as our desserts from Flying Fish or California Grill, but it was by far the tastiest, gooiest, most scrumptious thing OF ALL TIME.
We didn't manage to take any pictures (which I'm still shocked about) but after some googling I found this copycat recipe here and you better believe I'm trying it ASAP.
The author of Disney Food Blog describes it perfectly:
This isn’t “cake.”
It’s more like a crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside toffee chocolate chip cookie-ish sort of thing.
Rich, buttery flavor is complimented by the bittersweet chocolate chips. Ice cream tops the whole thing off, and the dessert is drizzled in chocolate and toffee.
Basically? It’s one of the best desserts on Disney property.
Photo via DisneyFoodBlog.com
Next stop: Splash Mountain
What better ride to hop on following a hearty meal at an New England style tavern?
Mom opted out of this one (and most other rides that involved screaming for that matter)
Instead she stood on the bridge and mistakenly took photos of every boat that made the big drop, except ours. 
Thank goodness for the stalker cam.
. . . and a fist pumping father.
Middle Eastern Ellie just hadddd to protect her luscious locks. 
Twenty years later, mom's Mickey dress is still going strong.

Josh wanted a Cinderella's Castle photo op as well.
You can never have too many photos in front of the castle.
So back to the most important thing, food.
Ice cream sandwiches bigger than your face.
This, my friends, is a red velvet Mickey Mouse cake pop with marshmallow ears.
See? Disney really is the happiest place on earth.
Josh may or may not agree.
I made him take the obligatory Mickey ears pic, and I also made him smile. 
I didn't quite understand this bunny ear hat.
 I think that one is gonna involve some googling.
Disney at Christmas at dusk = the absolute cutest place on earth
Before we left the Magic Kingdom for the night, we opted for another group photo.
Ellie so eloquently kicked her boyfriend out for some of the pictures, in case we wanted to use it for a Christmas card.
It was entertaining to us, but probably awkward to any innocent bystanders.
On the way to dinner at The Contemporary Resort, we stopped by the Grand Floridian for cocktails (accompanied by a cute little jazz band on the balcony).
Although we weren't wearing the matching embroidered t-shirts, we had to stop by the Grand Floridian carriage for a re-enactment of one of our favorite family photos.

Not much has changed since 1995, right?
. . . I'm fairly certain at least the carriage is still the same.
Dinner at the California Grill (plus watching the fireworks over Magic Kingdom from the rooftop) was the perfect way to finish the day.

. . . and yet, we enjoyed another precious dessert for the books: 
The Sundae Plate
caramel corn sundae, a coke float, and strawberry basil sundae
Another plus of going to Disney as an adult is being able to drink your way around the world at Epcot.
. . . more on that coming soon in part three!
(To catch up on the first part of our Disney trip go here)

Tunesday: Local Live Music Lately

Feb 25, 2014

Over the last week, we have experienced our fair share of live music.
Thank youuuuuu Jesus, it's been a while.
We were able to enjoy the tunes of Lord Huron, Dr. Dog, anddddd Neutral Milk Hotel.
. . . and Typhoon is coming soon!
We started off on our own little concert series with a sold-out show downtown at The Majestic.
. . . hard to believe that a little band from Ruston, Louisiana that hasn't toured in over ten years could sell out a pretty large venue in Dallas.
Neutral Milk Hotel has been topping Josh's to-do list for a while.
Mine, not so much.
I do enjoy their music, but prior to this concert I wasn't the biggest fan. 
Needless to say, I was converted.
This band has so much history and charm.
Josh had me read this article before the concert. and I must admit I was pretty excited to witness the band in action.
I was so fascinated by everything.
From listening to the whispers of the middle ages hardcore fans from the early 90's to observing the interaction of the band with each other and the crowd.
 I think the most captivating part of the show was the pure excitement of the band themselves.
You could tell they were genuinely glad to be back and so very overwhelmed by all the support from the fans.
The band requested that no photos be taken (which I admired-it was very "enjoy the moment without your face being stuck behind an iPhone"-much like the Lumineers) but nevertheless I had to snap a quick one. 
Recommended songs: King of Carrot Flowers & Oh Comely
Most popular: Aeroplane Over the Sea 
Later in the week we watched Lord Huron at the venue Trees, in Deep Ellum.
Seeing Lord Huron in a tiny, dark (incredible) venue was a tad bit different from seeing them at The Gorge last summer.
The band is mighty talented.
Their lyrics are phenomenal.
So. Darn. Brilliant.
Recommended songs: The Man Who Lives Forever & She Lit a Fire
Most popular: Ends of the Earth & Time to Run
During the show we happened upon the merch stand just in time to dig through 14 posters that the band had written random lyrics on and autographed.
Even though before we arrived we agreed we wouldn't by a poster, we couldn't resist that deal.
We really have a poster problem.
We are currently lacking the wall space, but Josh swears one day these boxes and boxes of concert posters will ultimately grace the walls of his future (imaginary) music room.
Saturday night we went to House of Blues to see Dr. Dog (not to be confused with Dr. Dre).
Much whiter and happier and rainbowier.
House of Blues is probably my least favorite of Dallas's venues, but how cute is the patio?
Recommended songs: Shadow People & Jackie Wants a Black Eye
Most Popular: Hang on, Lonesome, & Heart it Races (cover of Architecture in Helsinki)

Are there any tunes are you currently crushing on right now?
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