disney world: animal kingdom!

it’s safari time! and finally the weather was not chilly or cold. in fact, we even took off our jackets a few times (yay!)… only to have to put on ponchos later in the afternoon. but you know what? that did not stop our fun one bit. we were silly, happy girls even in the rain. i mean, doesn’t rain make everything more adventurous? i always say that i want to soak up the moments… and this day, i did just that. literally.

we noticed that it had rained during the night, but we remained optimistic! after entering the park and being overwhelmed by the beauty of the natural surroundings (that had been planted, mind you) and greenery everywhere, we made our way to have some breakfast. it was a big, stick to your ribs kinda breakfast, perfect for this day. then, we got right to it.

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first up, the finding nemo musical performance! but, we had a little time to kill, so we wandered around dino-land and took in the sights. then, it was time for the show! as we waited, there was a kid sitting directly behind us. he was kicking my seat continuously and was too smart for his own good. he talked, chattered, and made a comment on everything constantly without ever taking a breath. it was exhausting just sitting behind him. and i found myself worrying that i’d never make it. if this continued through the show, i was gonna have to say something to the parents. luckily, as soon as the show – the amaaaaazing show – began, he quieted right down. i even forgot he was there. whew.DSC_0227 DSC_0651 DSC_0654 IMG_7897 IMG_7903 IMG_7912

after the show, we did some rides (i won’t say i freaked out, but i did a little. when did i become so wussy?), which turned out to be so much fun and then headed over to the asia part of the park to explore the animals and the sights…DSC_0667 IMG_7920

we walked through a jungle area and one thing became very, very clear to me. i have to go to india, indonesia, and asia. i mean, i’ve know that my wanderlust tendencies extend to that continent, but i felt so connected – even in a disney world created asia. the prayer flags, the trees and thick vegetation. it was all so peaceful. so spiritual. i truly have to go.

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then, it was off to africa and our safari! first, a quick bite for lunch, though. some african, curry something under a thatched roof, where birds and rain were still enjoying our meal with us. though, the food was not great (the one & only time we had not so great food), we entertained each other (and everyone else probably) tremendously as we caught a case of the giggles and could not settle down. when we decided to move on, it was raining properly, so i had to buy a poncho with a big ass mickey on it. lina had hers with her. mine was in the hotel room. typical me.DSC_0693

but, it was time for the safari! rain or no rain. we did not care. bring it on! you know, if i’m honest, sometimes it’s fun to have a day when you just get wet and don’t care. you just let the rain pour down on you, step in all the puddles, and know that the water will not kill you. and then, then it becomes fun!IMG_7934 DSC_0697 DSC_0716 DSC_0726 DSC_0734 DSC_0744IMG_7956

that’s it folks! our hotel, all four disney world parks, downtown disney, a luau, and lots and lots of laughs. memories and fun that we won’t soon forget. thanks for traveling with us through my blog posts. of course, i highly recommend disney world – for anyone who likes magic, laughter, surprises, imagination, and time with family.

now, let’s see… where to next? hmmm… perhaps a trip to new orleans is in the very beginning stages of planning. mouahhahaha.

peace and love. and wanderlust! xx

disney world: hollywood studios!

i love movies and tv, so hollywood studios is always an exciting part of the disney world experience for me. and there’s nothing like getting a little behind-the-scenes sneak peaks, right? so, our third day at disney world was spent enjoying and exploring and experiencing the wonderful world of disney – hollywood style!

we flew through space on a star wars ride, attended a muppets 3d show, explored backlots and city scenery, learned a lot at the walt disney exhibit (soooo informational, and it changed our view and appreciation of disney and his dreams & visions!), rode through the great movie ride, and walked down “sunset boulevard”. we saw a “beauty and the beast” performance and indiana jones in action. then we ate a crazy, awesome dinner at a sci-fi drive-in. of course, we had milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes there, too. and, on our way out, we saw that the last “american idol: the experience” performance of the day was starting in one minute, so we spontaneously ran in and grabbed some seats in the theater. there were 5 finalists and they were quite good. we were surprisingly very entertained!

hollywood studios closes fairly early, so we headed back to our hotel in time to enjoy some some quiet time in the bar/lounge area of our hotel. nice, calm, relaxing, and just perfect. just me and my love after a day under the bright lights and big screen.

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i can’t believe how fast time flew by! tomorrow is the final post in my walt disney world series. and we saved the animal kingdom for last! so, check back tomorrow to see all the lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

peace and love. xx

disney world: incredible, imaginative epcot!

day two of our week-long disney world party continued at the amazing world of epcot – a place of imagination, science, techology, and international flair. and let me tell you, we soaked it all in. every single stink in’ bit. it was a beautiful day to explore, ride rides, and visit all the countries, but when the sun went down it turned windy & cooooold, so we enjoyed a three course dinner in paris (hee hee) at a fabulous french restaurant and watched the fireworks from there. well, just check it all out!

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did you know that there is a ride in the big epcot ball? yep. it’s called spaceship earth & it’s freaking awesome.

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we grabbed breakfast after a few rides and some starbucks coffee to warm us up. like i said, it was beautiful, but it was cold.IMG_7733

after some space and dinosaur stuff, it was time for the land area… and an amazing ride called soarin’ and then some more sun worship.
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time for the countries!! they are all situated around a lake, so we planned to start on the left and walk all the way around. each country had authentic architecture and natives working in their stores/restaurants. it’s like taking a mini trip around the world. sooooo cool.DSC_0477 DSC_0482

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BEGINNING WITH MEXICO…

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norway ( a little scandinavian treat for us!)DSC_0499

chinaDSC_0500

germanyDSC_0502

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japanIMG_7776

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moroccoIMG_7794

 

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our amazing dinner at the french restaurant ended with creme brulee, chocolate mousse, & fireworks.
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what a great, amazing experience!DSC_0532

as much as i have loved epcot and magic kingdom, i cannot choose a favorite between the two… and there are two more parks to go! all of them are so individually fantastic and inspiring. stay tuned till tomorrow, when i explore hollywood studios!

peace and love. xx

disney world: the magic kingdom!

on our first day, we were so excited there was no trouble getting up early and getting going. so much to do. so much fun to have! lina was like a kid, hell, so was i. there is something purely magical about the magic kingdom. the original park (of walt disney world in florida – disneyland in california is actually older). the one filled with fantasy and micky and all things that you think of when you think of disney. so, breakfast eaten and bags packed, we were off to catch our bus!

main street madness: even on the first monday in january!

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and all the obligatory shots that follow… hehe.DSC_0071 DSC_0284 DSC_0288 IMG_7596

first ride of the day: the haunted mansion. i love it to pieces.DSC_0302

and who can resist “it’s a small world”? not us!DSC_0075

characters & disney cast members dancing on the street… i’m in!DSC_0091

exploring adventureland and liberty square for lunch…IMG_7632 IMG_7634 DSC_0107 DSC_0116 IMG_7637 DSC_0122 DSC_0332 DSC_0341

tomorrowland’s main attraction: space mountain! i knew lina would love it. and i was totally right. she giggled, i screamed. the whole time.DSC_0381 IMG_7648

night fell, and it was time for the fireworks and light show to end a perfect, kinda chilly, and super exciting, over-the-top fun day! since we had the magic bands, we had a reserved, prime location for fireworks viewing. yep. only vip seats will do. DSC_0414 DSC_0432 DSC_0442 IMG_7680 IMG_7678

two very satisfied chicks. and three more days of this craziness to go!IMG_7601

tomorrow’s post is our epcot day. oh, how i adore epcot for so many reasons. you’ll see why soon… 

happy weekend, lovelies! peace. xx

disney world: our home away from home.

it’s time! i’m ready to start releasing and sharing photos from our trip to disney world last week. i can’t wait for y’all to see the things we saw, and i hope you enjoy and get to live a little vicariously through my photos. i know i always do that when i look at all of my blogging friends’ pics when they are traveling. i just love sharing and learning about tips and places that i eventually add to my bucket list after reading what others say….

my first post in my disney world vacation series is all about our accommodations – our home away from home. so, here’s my little plug for walt disney world in florida and the animal kingdom lodge!

ok. first things first. i have to say that i am overwhelmed and still giving thanks throughout every day for this incredible trip. i am completely aware of the amazing opportunity i have had to make a dream come true. i do not take my passion for and ability to travel for granted. ok. enough of that… picture time!

we left on sunday and hopped a flight down to orlando. the amazing thing was that when we checked our bags in, we weren’t going to see them until they appeared in our room. whaaaat?! after leaving a cold, rainy, dreary charlotte, and enjoying a silly and snuggly flight, we landed in sunny, warm orlando and hopped a shuttle train to our ride to the resort. i snapped some palm tree photos along the way because we were so very excited to see them. palm trees = warm weather. yay!

we passed baggage claim by (felt great) and found our way to the disney magical express bus line. there, we waited a total of maybe 10 minutes, scanned our magic band bracelets, and boarded the bus to be dropped off at our hotel – the animal kingdom lodge.

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the magic band bracelets are something new that resorts offer. they are used for everything – they are your room key, your fast pass (= skipping lines at rides), meal tickets, and other purchases. let me just say this, i almost never touched my wallet or my money or a key. it was amazing. that little magic things holds all information about our reservations, dining, and vacation package. crazy stuff. and very convenient. i highly recommend them.

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we chose the animal kingdom lodge resort because of its african theme. if you know anything about disney resorts, you know that they all have some sort of theme, from animation to key west to wilderness to contemporary to island, and so on. the african themed resort with animals wandering about the savannah outside the lodge sounded just perfect to us. and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

we got off the bus and were greeted by people telling us “welcome home” (which they also did every time we came back in the front doors during our visit). walking into the big lodge, we both just started giggling. it was beautiful, big, overwhelmingly breathtaking. a major wow factor – which i completely expected from a disney place. it was wooden, tribal, and oh so african. at the back of the gigantic lodge space was a huge window overlooking the savannah – where african animals roamed freely. there were also sofas, tables, chairs, fireplaces. everything cozy and natural. african drums were beating, music was playing, people were milling about. it was phenomenal. an indescribable first impression.

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i had already done online check-in, so all we needed to do was pick up our paperwork and find our what room we had. we had chosen a pool view, just to ensure that we didn’t look at a parking lot, since we couldn’t really afford a savannah view (the most expensive rooms). still, i didn’t really care. i was excited about our pool view. as the lady showed us a map and explained where our room was, i was a little confused. then she asked me, “what room did you reserve?” and i replied that it was a pool view. and she said, “well, it looks like you’ve been upgraded to a savannah view.” gaaaahhhh! for free! amazing!

we were all but skipping down the hall to our room (we were also on the main floor, just off the main lodge amazingness) to see what it looked like. when we opened the door, our mouths fell to the floor and we spent the next few hours just soaking up this amazing luck and gift we had been given. animals roamed outside our balcony. we had palm trees all around us. and i think our room was in the perfect spot. the following photos are all taken either in the room or on our balcony. gaaaahh!

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after coming back down to earth following the excitement of our room, the rest of our first night at disney world was filled with yummy african food and ambiance, a walk under the florida moon, and a quick trip to downtown disney for some fun nightlife experiences. it was time to get moving!

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we enjoyed cozy mornings with the animals all week long. and we freaked out every time we looked out and saw a different creature grazing outside our window. it was so awesome…
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to be so busy during the days at all the parks, i think we actually soaked up the atmosphere at our hotel as much as possible. usually i feel stressed out about only sleeping there, but we made time in the evenings to do things at the hotel, so it all turned out to be really well-balanced.

throughout the week we enjoyed the balcony, watched animals, and relaxed in our room.  we explored the whole resort. we ate dinner at one of the african restaurants, enjoying spicy, african cuisine and sangria. we hung out at one of the lounges/bars one evening. and we even ordered room service on our last morning before heading to the airport to return to north carolina.

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we were extremely pleased with everything at the animal kingdom lodge. every. single. thing. it was truly an incredible experience! everyone was friendly and ready to help us with any questions, making sure that everything flowed for us. nothing was a hassle, but instead anything that involved a process was handled and taken care of already – like magic. on the day of check out, we had a knock on the door, and when i opened, a nice african lady handed me a letter which said what time our bus wold pick us up to take us to the airport. our bags would already be on the way and we would get them in charlotte. and it was like that all week long. helpful, friendly, inspiring people. great accommodations.  and some majorly good karma which got us a free upgraded room. fun, new, exciting. oh yeah, i’d totally go there again.

tomorrow’s post… the Magic Kingdom!

peace & love. xx

hi there, friends.

it’s sunday, and we’re back in the mountains of north carolina after a week in not-so-sunny, but not-so bad-weather-either, florida. disney world was magical, amazing, and spectacular – all the things you expect and hope that it will be. and experiencing it with my love was sooooo fabulous. as you might guess, i have tons of photos to share with y’all, but not just yet…

we actually arrived home friday night, but had planned a fun weekend upon our arrival. the incredible paige, who blogs at for the love of wanderlust, planned a stop in asheville on her month long, solo south/southeast tour. so, we are hosting her this weekend. and it is so much fun! paige and i have been blogging friends and instagram buddies for a little over two years now, but this weekend we have become face-to-face friends. so freaking awesome.

so, we’re quite busy doing asheville, touristy things and just enjoying the moments. therefore, i’ll get back with you during next week with photos and such. it’ll be our first dive back into regular life again this coming week after a long, restful, and amazing holiday break. but, you know what? i am totally ready for that.

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not until we do a little exploring and fika-ing with paige first, though! yay!

happy weekend! love & peace. xx