The Many Lands of Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland

When you enter Magic Kingdom, breeze down Main Street U.S.A., and turn right at the hub, you'll enter a land that is out of this world.  Tomorrowland seeks to take you "to infinity and beyond" with rides and attractions themed around outer space and the future that is yet to be discovered.  Here are my top 5 experiences you don't want to miss when passing through Tomorrowland.

Welcome to Tomorrowland!
5. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club - I think this attraction is an example of what makes a Walt Disney World vacation great.  You take a great Disney movie and add a bit of imagineering magic to create a magical experience the whole family will enjoy.  We all learned in Monsters, Inc. that laughter is more powerful than screams, so here at the Comedy Club you get to see some of your favorite monsters filling their laughter quotas.  The best part - you can be part of the show!  Guests can text jokes prior to the show beginning and monsters will frequently interact with visitors while throughout the show.  You can typically walk up to the theatre and not have to wait more than one show (15 minutes) to get in.

4. Carousel of Progress - Call me sentimental, but I had to put this on here.  This is a classic Walt Disney World attraction that is often overlooked.  In fact, it is so unpopular that back before they did away with paper FastPasses, this would commonly be an attraction that would pop out as a "bonus" ticket.  As you are seated in the theatre, you travel through time to see how life was lived and what we predict the future will bring.  I love these attractions where you get to see how people envisioned life in the 2000s back in the 1980s!  Bonus - you get to sit down and take a break from the Florida heat in this ride that is never crowded!

3. Incredibles Super Dance Party - The Incredibles are the only superheroes Disney can showcase this side of the Mississippi River so it's no surprise these guys (and gals!) and so popular among guests in Florida.  The dance party in Tomorrrowland gives you an informal way to meet up with Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone as you whip and nae nae your way to a good time.  The party takes place each night and doesn't require any kind of line or ticket to join!

Even Baby Caleb is trying to get in on the fun!
2. Space Mountain - Here is another classic Magic Kingdom ride.  This indoor roller coaster, which takes place entirely in the dark, has been delighting guests since 1975 and a version of the ride is in every Disney park around the world.  The coaster itself is fairly simple, but it's the darkness and flashing lights that make it so thrilling.  This is definitely a ride to consider a FastPass+ reservation for as waits often build to an hour or better at peak times.

1. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - I was torn between Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear for my top Tomorrowland pick, but ultimately I went with Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin because it's fun the whole family can enjoy - free of those pesky height requirements!  With little ones, we like to see what all four of us can do together.  The arcade game-like atmosphere of this game entertains everyone in the family from 1 to 100.  Once you depart Star Command, you'll join Buzz Lightyear as he tries to defeat Zurg in the ultimate battle.  Shoot your laser gun to collect points and see who can rack up the highest score in your family!

Tomorrowland is certainly a place where your imagination can soar to new heights!

Do you wanna bake a cake?

It's not often that I share recipes here, but today I found a new chocolate cake recipe that was easy and delicious that I just had to share.  After having nearly 3 ft of snow dropped on the Mid-Atlantic by Winter Storm Jonas, I found myself looking for things to entertain the kids while we waited for things to return to normal with work and school.  We had a snowball fight, built an Olaf, and watched more than our fair share of movies, Disney Jr., and Paw Patrol.  By day four, we were running low on ideas when I spotted a link on Facebook to a cake recipe.

Back before I had two under 4 that kept me hopping around the house, I spent a lot of time baking and even took cake decorating classes.  Even though I don't have as much time to bake anymore, I enjoy doing it when I find the time and sharing the fun with Brody! He loves to be "mommy's helper" in the kitchen, but I think he enjoys tasting his creations even better.

My new favorite chocolate cake recipe can be found by clicking here.  After all is said in done, there are several things I enjoy about this recipe.  The first is that it is egg free, milk free, and butter free.  Since everything are dry ingredients that can typically be found in my pantry, I don't have to worry about having what I need on hand.  I also liked that when mixing the ingredients, the recipe said to make two smaller inserts in the flour mixture followed by one larger.  Of course, I made mine look like a Mickey Mouse!  While the cake was baking, I made up a batch of the Wilton icing that I learned when I took my cake decorating classes.  You simply mix 1 cup of shortening with 1/2 tsp of vanilla flavoring and 1/2 tsp of butter flavoring.  Then add about 4 tbsp of water before gradually mixing in 4 cups of powdered sugar.  Once all of the sugar has been mixed in, add water as necessary to thin to a consistency that is ideal for spreading.  In this instance, I wanted chocolate icing so I mixed in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder after everything else was done.

So, the verdict?  Everyone agrees that it was delicious!  The cake is moist and the recipe makes a perfect size 8 x 8 cake.  Brody is already asking when we can bake again.  Maybe another epic nor'easter will blow through the Mid-Atlantic and give us more snow days at home together??



Earn Your Skipper's License

I always love when I find a new little treat at Walt Disney World and on our last vacation with the kids, I learned about the Skipper's License on the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom.  On this particular July day, we entered Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning and, instead of heading to New Fantasyland like many of the crowds, we turned left towards Adventureland.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a practically abandoned section of the park with no wait for the Jungle Cruise or The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.  Our first stop of the day was the Jungle Cruise where we walked right on and had the boat to ourselves!

Once we pulled away from the dock, our skipper asked Brody if he'd like to join him at the steering wheel and take a turn driving the boat.  Brody was a little nervous at first, but with some comforting words and the offer of help, he stepped up to the wheel and became our tour guide.  It was a really great experience and the smile on his face showed what a good time he was having!
After we returned to the dock and disembarked, Brody was presented with his very own Skipper's License.  He was told to hang onto the license and anytime he returns to the Jungle Cruise and shows it, he can drive again!  When you think of all of the souvenirs lining the many gift shops of Walt Disney World, this is a truly unique takeaway from the trip and one that he will be sure to keep for a long time.

So how can a little one in your family become the skipper?  Great question.  I know we were lucky enough to have the boat to ourselves which made it easy to be picked.  I've been on the Jungle Cruise countless times over the years and don't remember this, but I may have just been oblivious.  If you're interested, I would try to get to the Jungle Cruise early in the day when the crowds are less or try to snag a seat close to the skipper if you're traveling on a busier boat ride.  

Happy sailing friends!  And don't forget to watch out for those wild animals along the journey!



Staying Fit in Winter Weather

Staying fit despite the cold, winter weather!
As I brace with the rest of the Mid-Atlantic for Snowmageddon 2016, now is the perfect time to talk about staying fit during the winter months.  I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of cold weather running.  As a working mom, it's hard for me to find the time to go out for an evening run thanks to the earlier sunset time and I also find it hard to dress appropriately for a cold run - I'm either too cold at the beginning or too hot at the end.

While I don't avoid running altogether, I do usually only run one or two days a week.  Instead, I opt for indoor workouts that will both challenge me and keep me in shape.  Unfortunately, I don't have a treadmill so I turn to workout videos for my daily workouts.  Depending on the time I have for a workout that day and how I feel, I usually choose one of three DVDs.

When I feel like a lighter workout, I pop in a walking DVD.  For those of you that are serious runners, this probably seems like a terrible option.  But, those of you who follow along with me on a regular basis know I run and workout for fun, not speed.  For that reason, the walking DVD is a great option for me as it keeps me moving and provides a good cardio workout without adding a lot of stress at the end of the day. I use Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds 7 Day Calorie Blast.  My favorite walk is the 2 mile fitness walk if you're looking for a great thirty minute workout.

Anyone for a little downward dog?
On days that I feel like I want to push myself a bit harder, I turn to Jillian Michaels.  I have been a longtime fan of her workout videos.  Not only are they quick, but they are also intense.  And, I definitely feel the burn the next day.  The 30 Day Shred is a fantastic workout and takes less than 25 minutes.  In this DVD, you'll find three different levels which gives you choices to rotate through so you don't get bored with the same routine.

My third go to DVD is Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown.  This is not your typical yoga video, which is good for me because I'm not a big fan of yoga.  What I like about this video though is Jillian Michaels brings her intensity to everything in the workout - the moves and her instruction.  This is also a workout that can be completed quickly in the evening.  And sometimes, I even have a yoga buddy in my son!

 I'd love to hear any great ideas you have for working out indoors during cold and / or messy winter weather!  I like to have some variety in my workout plan and am always looking to see what I can add to keep up my motivation and my training.

Best Bets for Preschoolers in Epcot

Continuing in my recent trend of debunking Disney myths, today I'll share what I think the best bets are for preschoolers in Epcot.  Epcot often gets a reputation as not being a "kid-friendly" park, but there are plenty of fun experiences to keep your kids entertained throughout the day.

Join Mickey and Friends at Garden Grill
1. Begin your day with breakfast at Garden Grill - Garden Grill is located inside The Land at Epcot and features character dining with Disney favorites Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale.  This is a great choice for a character meal with little ones because you not only get to see some familiar characters, but the meal is served family style which means you get the benefit of all-you-care-to-eat without the hassle of running kids up and down to the buffet several times.  The food here is delicious too!

2. Check out all of the kid favorites inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends - After the Disney / Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo hit the big screen with such success, Walt Disney World redesigned attractions inside The Seas to incorporate Nemo, Dory, Marlin, Crush, and others.  The aquariums, ride, and play area would be enough to entertain the littlest fishes in the sea, but there is one more attraction that stands out here, Turtle Talk with Crush.  Disney once again outdid themselves here by creating an interactive experience where kids get to talk to Crush and ask the famous sea turtle all about life under the sea.  In return, Crush will ask kids about their life in the "human tank."

Big smiles with Minnie Mouse!
3. See your friends at Epcot Character Spot - Don't leave Future World without visiting Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy inside the Epcot Character Spot.  This is a great attraction to FastPass since the line can often exceed 40 minutes and you get to visit three "must-see" characters in one place.  Don't forget your autograph books too!

4. Travel the World! - Where else besides Disney can you visit 11 countries in one day?  The many worlds at Epcot allow you to expose your child to some great cultural information, unique foods, and brief history lessons all in one day.  While all of this may be a bit much for your preschooler, he or she is sure to walk away with those bright little eyes wide open to the fact that there is a big world out there.

5. Say Goodnight with Illuminations - The fireworks and light spectacular that takes place in the center of Epcot is sure to delight everyone in your family - including the tiniest of travelers!  Illuminations is not your typical fireworks show, but rather is a masterpiece in storytelling.  What kid doesn't love watching the sky light up with magic?

And this is just a start!  Princesses will delight in a meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and, with the addition of new Frozen attractions, there is even more fun for little ones just around the corner.  With all of this and so much more in Epcot, don't skip this park when traveling with preschoolers in Walt Disney World.

Hollywood Studios Still Has Plenty to Offer Guests!

If you follow any of the news surrounding Walt Disney World, you are sure to know that Hollywood Studios is undergoing some major changes.  Just a few months ago, large additions of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land were announced.  In preparation, Hollywood Studios has seen some attractions shut down and more will be on the way.  With closures of some popular attractions on the horizon such as the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure and Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, some people are scratching their heads wondering if Hollywood Studios is worth it's admission price.  Disney myth debunked!  This park still has plenty to offer during the exciting changes that are currently taking place.

Have a Toddler or Preschooler in Your Group?  Then you will LOVE all the Disney Junior excitement at Hollywood Studios!  Disney Junior, Live on Stage! brings together all of your favorite characters from Disney Junior into one 30 minute puppet stage show.  Kids are encouraged to dance, sing, and play during the show and are even treated to surprises throughout.  When you're done, be sure to visit the character meet and greets outside of the theatre which feature Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Minnie Mouse! As if that wasn't enough Disney Junior fun, you'll also find one entire souvenir store with nothing but Disney Junior goodies.  And if you're looking for a place to eat in the park, don't miss breakfast or lunch at Hollywood & Vine.  The Disney Junior Play 'n' Dine buffet is great fun!



Have a Thrill Seeker in Your Group?  Hollywood Studios is home to some of the most thrilling rides at Walt Disney World!  Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is a thrill a minute as you race to an Aerosmith concert in your own super stretch limo.  When you're done rocking out, head up the hill to the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  Step inside the Hollywood Hills Hotel and enter your own episode of the Twilight Zone.  Do you dare to step inside the haunted service elevator?  Lastly, if you're looking for excitement from another galaxy, visit Star Tours as you fight the Dark Side in a battle that is out of this world.



Have a Movie Lover in Your Group?  At it's roots, Hollywood Studios is all about the movies! The Great Movie Ride showcases some of the best movies ever made - and you might even become part of the action.  Throughout the park, you'll find several live shows including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones, and Frozen.  And you can still get a lot of Toy Story fun while we anxiously wait for Toy Story Land to be built.  During the expansion, Toy Story Mania, perhaps the most popular ride throughout the entire resort, will remain open and you can still meet Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the Green Army Men too.


So there you have it!  Still an action packed day with lots of fun to be had inside Hollywood Studios. When the sun goes down, don't forget to end your day by viewing Fantasmic!  While it's sad to say goodbye to some old favorites, I'm excited to see what the future holds at Hollywood Studios!

Why Disney's Animal Kingdom is So Much More Than a Half Day Park

One of the more common Disney myths that I hear is that you only need half of a day to visit Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  At first glance, I can understand why some people may feel this way.  After all, there are far fewer attractions in this park then in it's counterpart Magic Kingdom.  But, what you may fail to see is the quality and depth of these attractions.  Here are five reasons you need a full day at Animal Kingdom which you may have been missing out on.

Let's get this party started with Timon! Hakuna Matata! 
1.  The Shows! - Animal Kingdom is home to several great shows the whole family will enjoy.  Festival of The Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical, tell familiar Disney stories with a colorful cast of characters that will leave everyone smiling.  There is also the Flights of Wonder show where live birds become the leading actors and actresses.  Each of these shows are roughly 25 minutes and require you to arrive about 15-20 minutes prior to showtime in order to secure your seat.

2.  Rafiki's Planet Watch - This is a hidden gem in the park that you may miss all together if you're not looking closely.  Hop aboard a train in Africa and be transported to a place where the Circle of Life is explained to young ones as they visit exhibits on animals and habitats.  At Rafiki's Planet Watch, kids can visit a petting zoo, observe animals being treated by veterinarians, and meet some of their favorite Disney characters.  This quiet part of the park can be a quick 45 minute visit or may take as long as a few hours to explore.

Brody caught up with Chip and Dale at Rafiki's Planet Watch

3.  The Oases and Other Walking Trails- Upon entering Animal Kingdom, guests often rush through the trees and wildlife surrounding the Tree of Life to get to Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, or other rides.  However, you want to slow down as winding pathways get you up close and personal with beautiful plants and animals.  And great walking trails are not just confined to the entrance of the park.  Both Africa and Asia also feature trails filled with unique animals and jam packed with information from knowledgeable guides.

4.  Interactive Kids Activities - If you're traveling with children in your family, Animal Kingdom often has interactive educational opportunities to engage kids in the environment around them.  Whether they are studying to be a Wilderness Explorer like Russell in the movie Up or showing how brave they can be as part of the new Lion Guard, there are several spots throughout the park where kids can participate with cast members in activities to earn stickers and badges!

Getting "Goofy" at Tusker House for Breakfast!
5.  Great restaurants - Any Disney park is home to great food and Animal Kingdom is no exception.  I highly recommend making a breakfast reservation at Tusker House for some quality time with Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey decked out in their jungle apparel.  In addition, a new fine dining restaurant, Tiffins, will be opening in 2016 which promises to bring even more excitement to the dining landscape.

When you combine these reasons with the already popular attractions at Animal Kingdom including Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur, there is so much to do in this park you definitely need a whole day, if not more!

Hi I'm Kristi and I'm a runDisney Shoe Addict

The gender stereotype that women are all obsessed with shoes has always driven me crazy.  That's not me.  In my closet, you'll find a pair of black boots, a pair of black heels, brown heels, a few sandals, and Mickey flip flops.  By no means elaborate and not the stereotypical 125 pairs that men seem to think women have.

But, then there's my athletic shoes.

Whether you call them running shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes, or simply the most fabulously adorable, functional, and comfortable things to ever put your feet in, I love them!  My New Balance / runDisney running shoe collection is my absolute favorite.  My first pair were the pink Minnie New Balance 860v4 stability shoes, part of the 2014 collection.  Obsession began.


I used these shoes as inspiration and motivation to get back into running for the first time since college.  They joined me on my Disney Cruise Line vacation for my first race, the Castaway Cay 5K, in April 2014 in roughly a decade.  I then used them to train for my first Walt Disney World runDisney weekend - Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K and the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon.

While in Walt Disney World for Wine & Dine weekend, I couldn't resist temptation.  I had to buy another pair.  And another.

Functionally, I needed a new pair of running shoes and, since we are talking about serving a purpose for training, they needed to be the stability shoe.  So I had to buy the throwback black and white Minnie Mouse New Balance 860v5 shoes, right?  But the Tinkerbell Fresh Foam shoes were soooooo cute!  What's a girl to do?  Buy both of course.

Shoes and running bling - two of my favorite things!
While the Tinks won't be my training shoe simply because they don't have the stability support I need, I love their bright green color and think they are going to be adorable to sport around this Spring and Summer as my everyday "I'm going out to the mall and wearing comfy shoes" shoes.

Now, New Balance has left me drooling again.  The 2016 New Balance / runDisney collection made it's debut this week at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend expo.  The red carpet Mickey and Minnie shoes are, no surprise here, showstoppers.  I love the yellow for the Minnie shoes, and as my stability shoe, I may need to get these later in the year when my mileage is up on my latest pair of running shoes.  The other female shoe is inspired by Ariel.  The teal, purple, and red not only pay tribute to one of my favorite Disney princesses from my childhood, but make for a really cute color combo on these shoes.

Who wouldn't want to make these part of their world?
Photo from www.newbalance.com
Why do New Balance and runDisney have to create such wonderful shoes year after year?  Will my bank account ever be the same again?  <Sigh>  The problems of a running shoe addict.

2016 Disney Animated Movies Preview

Taking time to relax with the family and enjoy a good movie is a rare treat in our busy lives.  However, we will definitely be making time for a few family movies this year when we check out what's being released by Walt Disney Studios.  2016 promises to be an exciting year for Walt Disney Studios as a great slate of movies for the entire family await their big debuts!

As a mom with two very young boys, my interest is immediately drawn to the animated releases.  Zootopia will open to an eager public on March 4.  The trailer promises a funny adventure as an unlikely pair team up to solve a conspiracy in town.  My preschooler loves any movie with animals and he has really enjoyed seeing commercials and previews for this latest Disney hit!


The summertime brings the release of the long awaited sequel to Finding Nemo. . .Finding Dory!  Ellen is back to voice this hysterical character who is now on an adventure to reunite with her own family.  I can't believe it's been 13 years since the release of Finding Nemo - one of my favorite Disney / Pixar films yet and I look forward to sharing this with the next generation of Disney fans in my house.


If those two weren't enough, Disney is bringing one more exciting animated film this year - Moana.  In this film will be introduced to the latest Disney heroine who will be embarking on an adventure across the South Pacific.  My husband and I have taken a few trips to Hawaii over the years and I'm sure this movie will spark a love of the islands in our boys.


Of these upcoming Disney animated films, which ones are you most excited to check out?

A Beginner's Guide to Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival

When we decided to plan our first visit to Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival in 2015, I was at a rare loss of Disney knowledge.  This was probably one of the few things that I previously had zero experience with when it comes to Walt Disney World and I found myself scouring the Internet for answers.  In an effort to help those of you that might also be planning your first visit to the Food & Wine Festival, I've assembled some of my biggest "ah-ha" lessons learned.

1.  Be prepared to drop serious money in Epcot - The Food & Wine Festival is held within Epcot's World Showcase and houses over 20 kiosks of food and beverage bliss.  On top of your admission to Epcot, be prepared to pay between $3.50 and roughly $8.50 per taste of food or drink with flights being even more expensive.  Tasting your way around the world won't be cheap, so be prepared if you want to enjoy a wide variety of selections from the festival.  There is some good news though.  If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, most selections at the kiosks can be redeemed through snack credits and since Disney usually offers free dining during the fall months when the festival is going on, this is a great idea.


2.  Minimize dining reservations on festival days - The portion sizes of both food and drink are decent considering the money you pay.  By the time that you taste filling beverages and taste a variety of food, you probably won't be hungry for much of a meal.  Definitely avoid buffet dining which will carry a heavy price tag.  If you want to reserve a table service meal to experience a particular restaurant or secure good viewing for an evening show, make sure it is one that you can order off the menu so you can stick to lighter fare if you're not overly hungry.  You would also be fine to minimize your total overall Disney budget by skipping meals on these days.

3.  Grab a Festival Passport and make a plan - The first stop on the first day your at the festival should be the Festival Center where you can pick up a passport which will have all of the food and drink options listed at each kiosk.  If you go out into the festival chaos without a plan, it would be like trying to plan a road trip without GPS or a map.  With so many options, resign yourself to the fact that you won't be able to do it all (unless you live close by and make trips throughout the festival and have hit the Mega Millions jackpot - in either case, I'd be jealous!).  Pick your priorities to taste first and then you can always sample more if you get the chance.

4.  Buy a Park Hopper ticket - I'm not always a fan of the Park Hopper on my Disney vacations because we tend to be fine picking one park and staying there for a day which saves us money.  However, during the Food & Wine Festival, I think a Park Hopper ticket is a good option.  Spending a whole day at Epcot tasting is exhausting and filling.  The Food & Wine festival is the perfect venue to visit for half of a day and come back to several times during your trip.


5.  Bring your Chase card - Chase is (or at least has been) the official sponsor of the Food & Wine Festival and brings proud fanatics the Disney Rewards Credit Card.  If you have a Chase card, whether it is Disney themed or not, there is a Chase lounge located inside the American Adventure pavilion with free sodas and water, air conditioned seating, and some limited amounts of wrist bands for reserved seating for the Eat to the Beat Concerts and Illuminations viewing.  We visited the Food & Wine Festival twice.  Our Thursday afternoon visit found the Chase lounge to be relaxing and slow paced, but on our Sunday visit to Epcot, we didn't even attempt to enter the Chase lounge as a long line had gathered waiting to get in.  Since crowds vary day to day, this may or may not be a good place to "relax" during the festival, but it's worthwhile to carry your Chase card with you just in case!
Inside the Chase Lounge

6.  This isn't your typical Wine Fest - My husband is a true fan of wine who likes to learn about the wine that he tastes.  If you're like him, be prepared that when you taste at the kiosks, your wine is simply being poured by Disney cast members who really have no knowledge about the wine, grapes, region, winery, etc.  I'll admit - he was disappointed to be tasting some fabulous wines without being able to learn anything about them.  If you are looking for a more "educational" experience, similar to what you get a local or regional wine festivals where people can talk to you about the wine you are tasting, book a seminar.  They typically only run about $15 in cost and several are held each day.  However, they are very popular and almost always sell out well in advance of the festival itself.  Keep track of when the seminar schedule is released on Walt Disney World's website to book early.  And, if you have a Disney Rewards Credit Card from Chase, you get a few days advanced booking before it opens to the general public.

A picture perfect day at Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to those of you visiting Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival!  I hope to be back sometime again within the next few years and would love hearing some of your favorite tips as well.  Bon appetite! 

Welcome to 2016!

With the turning of the calendar, a new chapter in the book life is about to be written.  I thought I would take some time to look back on my resolutions from my "Happy New Year" post from this time last year and reflect a bit before setting my goals and resolutions for this year.

  • Maintain balance between wife, mom, daughter, Kristi, and Assistant Principal.  Juggling multiple roles can be exhausting and I want to do my best to prioritize and make time for each of these important responsibilities in my life. - This is probably still my biggest struggle moving forward into 2016.  Keeping up with two kids, a full time job, my house and husband, and still making time for me is never easy.  I think as I move forward this year, this is going to continue to be an area I focus on with my resolution being to be present in every moment.  When I'm at home with my husband and kids, be at home and enjoy them.  When I'm working out, use that opportunity to clear my head and focus on me.  And when I'm at work, give 110% there so I can also have time for my family when I get done.

  • Run a half-marathon.  After the pregnancy, I've decided to set an ambitious training goal to force me to get off the couch and back into shape.  My plan is the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in November.  Which leads me to Resolution #3. . . - At the end of the year, I'd have to say I half accomplished this goal.  The Wine & Dine Half-Marathon was shortened because of storms in the area to only 6.72 miles.  In 2016, I will run a half-marathon!  Currently, I'm planning to take part in the King Crab Challenge which includes the Frederick Half-Marathon in May, the Baltimore 10-miler in June, and the Baltimore Half-Marathon in October.  

  • Somewhere Disney.  If you know anything about me by now, you know that I need to feed my Disney addiction with a yearly trip.  Dan and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this year and are planning either a long weekend getaway to the Food and Wine Festival in November or a short DCL trip in October. - Well, we ended up blowing this one out of the water with a surprise last-minute trip to Walt Disney World with the kids for a week in July where we stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.  My husband and I have different memories of this trip, but I say it was fabulous!  We then also went in November for a long weekend for the runDisney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon weekend where we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The Food & Wine Festival was a fun time and I can't wait to participate in another runDisney race.  Sadly, it doesn't look like a trip to Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line is in our budget for this year, but my trip in November means that I'll still be eligible to apply for the 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel and my husband has already tentatively given me the green light for a Disney trip in February 2017 to participate in the Princess Half-Marthon Weekend.  

  • Continue blogging and interacting with the social media community.  2014 was a first for me with beginning a blog and actually using Twitter.  I've had an amazing time connecting through these outlets and hope to build my skills and followers in the year to come.  If you don't currently follow me on Twitter, please do @dsnyrunrgrl.  I've also applied to host a #DisneySide @ Home Celebration and submitted my interest to be selected for the #DisneySMMoms On the Road Conference - fingers crossed!  And hopefully I'll make it past R2 in the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search this Fall. - This is another area where I feel like I exceeded even my own expectations.  My blog readership increased exponentially this year and my Twitter following has grown from under 100 at the beginning of 2015 to over 1,000 by the end of the year.  I've also entered into the world of Instagram.  I was so excited to host a DisneySide at Home Celebration in February and even more humbled and grateful for the chance to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road in New York City.  This year, the Disney Parks Moms Panel search ended with an exit in Round 1, but it was exciting to chEAR on some amazing friends who were fortunate enough to make the panel this year and maybe next year will be my chance to be a part of the magic!  

2015 was a year of exciting changes personally too with the addition of our youngest son Caleb in February and purchasing a new home in January.  The beginning of the new year always brings excitement and anticipation and I hope that 2016 brings pixie dust and blessings to my family and yours!  Happy New Year!

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