She’s Never Been to Disney

Jul 25

My Goddaughter is visiting California this summer…and she has just told me she’s never been to a Disney theme park.

Never to Disney World.

Never to Disneyland

You know what this means, right?

Jenna

Run!

Jun 3

I want to run in one of these runDisney things so bad it hurts.

PHYSICALLY HURTS.

While I’m getting better, it’s still a long road to ‘running’Land. So Im working out in the pool.  I’m swimming and doing my doctor prescribed physical therapy.. blah blah blah. But really, I’m dreaming about picking out some cute costume and running across a finish line that includes Disney characters.

Hey, we all have our motivations. Mine is a Disney run.

Disneyland has announced a Star Wars run  in January.

Maybe, just maybe….

Why yes I AM going to treatment in a braid and pjs #suckit

The Magic, Fancy Memories That Flood Back

May 10
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I have this vague recollection about a trip we took to Disney World with my family…but in my younger years. So that would have meant my Grandmother, who lived in Central Florida, would have been involved or taken us.

I remember becoming entirely in love with this maroon/pink umbrella, or parasol. It had my name on it- and believe me, back when I was a little girl I was one of the only ‘Erin’s’ around. So being able to get something with my name on it was a very big deal.

But it wasn’t just that it had my name on it, there were also pretty flowers. Hand painted. I can vividly remember it being my pride and joy for so very long after the trip. I would twirl it around, laying it on my shoulder like I was Scarlett taking a stroll on a warm Southern day.

Or I was holding it high in the air, pretending the wind would carry me away and just like Mary Poppins it would magically, and gently set me down.

It made me feel special, but more than that…it made me feel fancy. There was something about Easter time and wearing a bonnet and having a parasol. We had always taken those trips in the Spring.

So years ago on a trip to Disneyland I spotted the stand where I could see an artist recreating what I had so, so loved as a child…those beautiful parasols. I quickly ordered one for my daughter, who…being maybe 18 months at the time quickly destroyed it.

Then came our latest trip to Disneyland for the Social Media Mom’s Celebration. I knew it was finally the right time to try this again, and even if my daughter showed little interest or destroyed it once again…I was getting MYSELF one too.

So purple for Hala and the very same maroon/pink for me. Our names in cursive. The flowers just perfect. And just like that I was transported back to feeling fancy in Florida and then back home in Michigan.

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It now makes me feel fancy at our home in California where I’ve added it to my growing Small World doll collection. (China, India, Kenya, and a very old one with a key from Poland. The ride was my grandmother’s favorite and my mother’s) All memories that just make me smile every time I enter my bedroom.

They take me back to when something as simple and wonderful as a hand painted umbrella could make a young girl dream of bigger things. Of how I would need a larger one when I was an adult because of course only fancy ladies used them…of how my grandmother and mother had a hand in making sure I finally had something with my name on it because I was never included in the tourist keychains or A-Z named orange bobble heads from the roadstop gift shops. No, I had something even better.

And I was fancy.

*I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own.

How to Really do Disneyland RIGHT (and Left…Without Running Anyone Over)

Apr 25
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I’m laying in bed, recovering from chemo and I swear the #1 thing keeping me from going stir crazy are the memories from our awesome time at Disneyland thanks to the Disney Social Media Moms Conference.

I got to hug friends. I got to spend time with my family. I even was inspired to remember why I blog.

While I get the feeling you don’t want to hear all about what my family did at the parks (although I might tell you anyway- hint, we LOVE CARS LAND) I did want to share some of the things I learned about Disney and Disneyland that you may not know. You know, not the usual stuff. Because you can get the usual stuff anywhere.

First of all, I rented a scooter from Apple Scooter to get me around the conference, the hotel, and the parks. It was a significant savings over renting once at the gates and it allowed me to move freely in our Disneyland Resort hotel, the conference area, Downtown Disney, and Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. I just plugged the battery pack into the scooter each night in our wheelchair accessible hotel room and it was ready to go each day. The bell stand had my scooter (already dropped off by the company) upon arrival and I returned it to the bell stand upon check out and arranged for Apple to pick it up.

In the parks, despite worrying about the new disability procedures, I could not have been more impressed with the cast members. As the kids and I arrived on day one I was a bit worn from the drive and last minute packing but I had two little ones BEGGING for a few rides before a family dinner event. Unsure of how well I felt and still shaky operating the new scooter, I took them into Disneyland and over to Star Tours where they could not have bent over backwards to help me more. I was kept out of the sun, as requested, and allowed to stay seated while we waited the few minutes to head up and board the ride. Clearly they had forgotten the last time I came through Star Tours with a scooter and took out an entire display of Star Wars Legos with the front end of my beast on wheels. Vroom Vroom!

In case you were unaware, your medication should not be a problem at the parks or resort. I even found sharp disposal bins in each bathroom!

Small tip: this time around we tied a balloon at about adult head level on the back of my scooter. It seemed to help people from accidentally bumping into me in the crowds, however when we re-tied the balloon the next day…a bit lower…it simply hit all of us in the face over and over. So, get a balloon but keep it higher!

Then, after a great show at the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue along with some yummy grub (and again, cast members helping me with plates and table seating) we took in the fireworks from our hotel window, listening to the music via our special Disney tv station, and awoke in the morning with me heading off to the conference downstairs and the kids and my husband to the parks for some more fun.

Around lunchtime I regrouped with my family as they decided to go swimming (who can resist a resort with a monorail slide into the pool?) and we rested a bit before more conference sessions and park fun for them and dinner together before the Wonderful World of Color show at DCA.

…and we all slept very well.

Small tip: Always, always, ALWAYS try and make reservations for ONE MEAL per day inside the parks. While you can snack and stand in line here and there, you always end up HUNGRY and having to wait a long time for a meal is no fun when everyone is tired from walking. Many of the more popular park restaurants take reservations months in advance. I never leave for a Disney trip without investigating our dining options and making reservations for each day knowing we can work all our Fast Passes, snacks, and in room dining groceries around that day’s reservation.

The next day it was nothing but family and we did it all. From Pirates to Cars to shops we didn’t skip a thing- and didn’t have to because I had my scooter and plenty of motivation. Granted we left a before the fireworks and I spent more time building a bear/dog/animalwithclothes than any one nearly 40years old should ever spend time doing…but we did it as a family. And THAT is what is important.

I’m also not going to lie. After finding another gift card for Build-a-Bear, my son, daughter, and I built me the perfect treatment day companion. Tyler the Treatment Bear, complete with wheelchair, glasses, Detroit Red Wings outfit plus hockey stick and skates, and PJs for those days like today, he should be arriving any second now at our door. So…

Small tip: if one of the Downtown Disney stores is packed, try going on your way to the parks and having them send your package to your hotel room or hold it until the end of the night. Less crowds, no bag holding. This goes for the stores INSIDE the park too!

I would be remiss if I didn’t clue you in on a little perk we received as part of the conference. Not only did we have Toontown all to ourselves for a party one night, we had CARS LAND to ourselves for a runDisney event and breakfast (for those of us who can’t walk or run) on the last morning there. I can’t put into words what it’s like to walk into the park empty and ready just for us. Magic seems like the right word here, but it was beyond magical and something my family will never, ever, forget. But as I said, you probably don’t want to hear all about the things we got to do that you didn’t….so I’m going to give you another small tip on this front.

Small tip: if staying at a Disney resort property, utilize their special hours in the morning for the parks. Each day they open up a bit early just for you. Which means if you want to really ride Sally and Lightening in the best ride EVAH…use that park’s special hours and get there early and go for it. We got to ride a few times in a row and it was, by far, one of the biggest highlights of our trip. You are part of Radiator Springs and you can feel it in your soul.

As I continue to recover from the chemo that makes me better, I’ve been so inspired by runDisney and its commitment to GIRLS in sports, my new goal is to actually get well enough to participate – and Disney has MANY you can choose from.

They also have some things I learned about from the conference that I’m guessing you might not know either. Did you know Disney has an amazing ‘citizenship’ program? As in, they volunteer and give back to communities through their charity and through time…lots and LOTS of time by the Disney cast members. In fact, according to Disney PR, since the program’s founding in 1983, ‘Disney VoluntEARS have given over 7.5 million hours of volunteer service.’

This blew me away. I had not idea. And of course it made us love them even more.

Want to be part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration? Well, you might have a chance as the fun is hitting the road. Take a look at the cities and dates where Disney will be spreading its special brand of magic. Then go ahead and fill out the form! If chosen, I can promise it will be well worth your time. Because nothing can be more important than friends, family, and coming together to be inspired by that very special brand of pixie dust only Disney can create.

*I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own.

Going to Disney? Dress the Part First! GIVEAWAY

Apr 14

Before we headed off on our Disneyland adventure for Spring Break and the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, Kohl’s sent over a gift card so the kids could wear some Mickey and Minnie at the parks. (Thanks Kohl’s!*)

They have a new line called Magic at Play‘ by Jumping Bean which is a bit small for my growing kids (infant, toddler, boys 4-7, girls 4-6x) but we did manage to find my youngest a cute Minnie sweatshirt and Mickey and Minnie t-shirt from a different line at Kohls and it arrived JUST as we were packing up to leave.

Needless to say it dipped below 70-degrees here in Southern California (THE HORROR) so she got a ton of use out of the super cute sweatshirt. My favorite part? The bow on the back.

Well, you are in luck- because Kohl’s gave me a $50 gift card to give YOU. Everyone needs some Disney magic in their life from time to time, so leave a comment below (comments are moderated so give them some time to show up) and I will choose a winner at random so you can check out the new Disney-Kohl’s partnership for yourself!

Good luck!

*I use a number generator to choose the comment that wins. You must leave your email address so I may contact you for your shipping information. If you do not answer me in ten business days I will move on to the next in line. I reserve the right to choose the winner via this random method and will provide proof of random number generator upon request. Only one entry per person. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years or older. Blah blah blah you get the idea. Entries must be received by April 23rd 11:59pm Pacific. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited. 

*I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own.

Disabled and Headed to Disneyland- the Social Media Moms Version

Apr 9

*Stay tuned for a very important public service announcement at the end of this post.

 

The family and I are headed to Disneyland for the Social Media Moms Conference this weekend. I know, I know, you’re wondering what sort of cool contraption I’ll be riding in to show off my sexiness, well…NOT the scooters you can rent at the gates at Disneyland. While they work wonderfully in the park, I needed more. I crave more. I MUST HAVE MORE MORE MORE! (cue evil Malificent theme)

I actually contacted an outside company to rent my scooter because it’s first come, first serve at the gates. AND if you want it for Downtown Disney or in your hotel, you need your own. There is no bringing a rented Disney chair outside of the gated security area. That being said, you can arrange a temporary wheelchair to take you from you hotel to the gated area where you can pick up the real deal. But rather than deal with all that hassle, I’m just having an outside company deliver the chair to our hotel, and then pick it up the day we leave. Snazzy, don’t you think? Just google for rental scooters, power chairs, or wheelchairs at Disneyland and you’ll have a ton of options.

Originally I went with a Jazzy power chair, the type where you basically just use a joystick to move yourself around. It seemed easier than the scooter with the basket on front and the very real possibly I will be clipping peoples heels in the crowd. I’m a bit worried my butt will be sore from sitting all day. I try and move a bit when I can. I’m a bit worried it will be cumbersome in the giftshops, which is the Vest family favorite activity at Disney. But the power chair I wanted suddenly became ‘unavailable’ yesterday after a malfunction. I thought about trying another company, but the company renting me the scooter insisted I would really like the headlight. Yes, the headlight. Because a headlight in a lighted park makes so much sense….but I digress.

I’ll have the kids to myself for dinner and what not Thursday night at the park, so right out of the gate this chair will be tested on just how family friendly it can be and just how easy it will make things for me at the park. I think I will take the advice of others this time and put a balloon as eye level on the scooter so those around me see me coming and going. We’ve found at parks people certainly don’t tend to look down, causing all sorts of fun collisions.

As my husband joins us later in the festivities, and Gramps holds down the fort at home, I’m hoping that very special Disney Magic will take over and we’ll be able to enjoy and relax for a few days. The chair will make this easier- no one has to push me. And it will give me the freedom to move around the conference and then meet my family out in the park without everyone having to trek back over to the hotel and pick me up or worry about how I will be transported.

Of course I will also be armed with big, floppy hats to keep my Lupus face out of the sun, and light clothing to keep me cool. We’ll have also arranged for a wheelchair accessible hotel room this time, since we knew we’d have either my wheelchair or a rented one in the room with us. Something we tend to forget when booking.

I have to admit, while my health is not at it’s best, it is good enough to sit on a scooter and putz around for 3 days hearing some great speakers, seeing some wonderful people I love, and spending quality time with my family.

I plan on reporting back to you on just how easy or difficult it may be to get around the park with the new disability standards in place, and if having the rental from the company was truly worth it in the end. I’ll also be checking out exactly how to administer some of my meds while park-hopping- I’m now taking CBD in vape form that helps my pain and nausea A LOT, but I don’t know the rules on these e-cig type things and don’t want to break any rules. It’s my understanding that they are treated like regular cigarettes and only allowed in designated smoking areas. Which is fine by me. I just want to make sure I can use my medication. Not to mention my shots, which I’m hoping I won’t need, but I do have my safety needle dispenser and usually some can be found in public bathrooms. And carrying 17 meds around with me for a few days can always cause challenges- and did I mention the scooter with the HEADLIGHT. It has a HEADLIGHT people. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

*And just to keep you here, there will also be some GIVEAWAYS!!!! Yes, I have some Disney giveaways for you while we’re there! So stay tuned because you KNOW you want free stuff!!!

*I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own.

It’s A World of Laughter & Doing Good for a Cause

Apr 5

I can not even BEGIN to tell you how excited I am for next week’s Social Media Moms event at Disneyland. This is my first time and from what I hear, it will be everything and then some.

One of my favorite things about Disney – hands down – is the company’s commitment to others. So with that in mind there is something VERY SPECIAL you can do to celebrate one of the most iconic rides and give back.

Yes, it’s the ear worm we all love to hate, but in this case I think you can make it through, because there is a lot of money on the line for those who need it most.

Head on over to It’s a Small World’s 50th Anniversary page and build a doll. Just by building a cute Small World doll, online, means Disney will donate $1 to UNICEF.

Here’s one  of the awesome dolls I made:

SMdoll1

So what  are you waiting for? BUILD A DOLL for a GOOD CAUSE…and then humm that tune you know you are already humming in your head all.day.long. And if you can’t stop humming it and want to let loose and SING? Guess what…you get to record yourself singing It’s a Small World on the same site!!! So I say grab some friends and go for it. I’ll embarrass myself if you will. Promise.

p.s. stay tuned as I’m going to be GIVING AWAY all kinds of fun stuff to commemorate my first Disney conference.

Headed to Disney Social Media Moms

Mar 29

photo-11Well, the Lupus is cooperating for now and the doctor has given me the thumbs up…so over the kid’s Spring Break we’re going to pack up and head to Disneyland. I plan to wear something way more stylish than the yellow hospital gown you see up there.

The great part is I will get to hug some of my favorite people while there. Yes, we’re going to the Social Media Moms conference and the family couldn’t be more excited. They want to show their Disney Side. They want to run around both parks (while I scooter along side) and forget about the rest of the world.

I’m anxious to hear more about the conference itself. So far not too much has been revealed speaker wise or itinerary wise. So hopefully my body will let me soak in all the wonder and magic AND knowledge.

But really I just want to hug a lot of you and spend time with my family at the happiest place on earth.

Muppets Most Wanted Left Me Wanting….

Mar 17
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I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t feeling fantastic but there was no way Lupus was keeping me from seeing Muppets Most Wanted in Hollywood.

So my Mom and I packed up the kids. I took my medication, and before we knew it, there was ANIMAL. Or, better known in my house as AANNNNNEEEEEEEEMMMMMMAAALLLLLLLL.

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So how was the movie? Of course I loved it, and if you don’t want to hear a few plot items…stop reading and get to the movie theatre on March 21st.

Now for those needing a little more, I’ll be honest – the movie started a bit slow for me. We pick up right where we left off with the last Muppet movie. Literally. On Hollywood Boulevard with the song ending. Literally. And the Muppets decide on a sequel and bust into an appropriate sequel song and dance number.

Our furry friends then meet Dominic Badguy (that’s a French name) Ricky Gervias and of course he’s A BADGUY and the #2 of the World’s Most Dangerous Criminal Constantine- who looks exactly like Kermit, minus this mole on his cheek.

Tina Fey, who runs the Gulag where Kermit is eventually imprisoned, is awesome. Gervias is awesome. Phil Dunphy is awesome, ok ok… Ty Brurrell is his real name. He’s always Phil Dunfey to us. All the cameos are awesome.

My son liked this movie better than the last because there are more explosions. My daughter liked it because she got a Rowlf to squeeze.

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My Mom and I have two tiny issues:

1) There needs to be ‘HIIIIIIIIYA!’ in the helicopter scene. Someone get on that.

2) The wedding scene. I have to say because there was no ‘because you share a love so big, I now pronounce you frog and pig….’ I was signing it in my head instead. Someone get on that and add it in, k?

And to top it all off the wedding is OF COURSE disrupted and we leave with Piggy in an awesome Vivianne Westwood gown and AGAIN NO FROG HUSBAND.

This makes me angry. VERY ANGRY. But as my son said as we were exiting the theatre onto Hollywood Blvd, ‘But Mom, then what would they make a movie about for the next….fifty years.’

Good point, kid. Good point.

However  I turn 40 this year and have been watching Kermit and Piggy my entire life. My dream needs to come true and I want them HITCHED ALREADY.

I also plan on getting a small white dog to carry around and shall name her FooFoo.

Just go see Muppets Most Wanted. In theaters March 21st, if nothing else you’ll love the singing and dancing prisoners.

Just trust me on this.