I’m Going To Disney World, Part 4: Star Wars!

So, where were we?

Star Wars

Last time in Part 3, I dreamed a dream, of Des dreaming a dream, of a hotel we call “The Lightning McQueen Hotel”, which is actually a Cars family suite in the Art of Animation Resort. We arrived there just after sunrise, got our MagicBands and found out that our Disney travel agent ROCKS because Cassidy really did get a purple one. Meanwhile, our rental minivan was idling on the curb while Scarlet, Des and I were in a magical but real world of Cars dreams come to life. Sort of. Got that?

Good.

Star Wars

We drove from the resort to Hollywood Studios, which probably didn’t take too long. I was likely in a daze of sunshine, palm trees (transplanted or not), and the beat of my own heart, which beats in time to the Star Wars movie scores. Did you know that? Ask my doctor. It’s true! As you can tell from the first photo, everyone in my family was wearing a Star Wars shirt. In fact, we got to the park before the gate was up, and I noticed that entire families had Star-Wars-coordinated their outfits. These were my people! I was their person! Except, I don’t have a good Star Wars shirt or two (or three) apparently?

I do have Star Wars underwear, but sadly, no photos of that.

And so, it wasn’t a crowded day. We went through security and metal detectors and purse searchers, and everyone was friendly, of course. The gate finally lifted, and we bolted to line up to sign up for Jedi Training Academy. On line, we talked to many other Star Wars nerds fans and learned some good ins and outs of the park. We signed Scarlet and Des up for 2:00pm, even though they told us over and over they didn’t want to do it. We signed them up anyway, because Jedi Training Academy.

Heading to Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World? Here's everything Star Wars that we did, and all of this before 10:00. So much to see and do! #StarWars

Help me with something here, people. Throughout the day, we’d walk by the young Jedis training against Darth Vader and Scarlet and Des both looked at me like I had three heads. They said, “He’s a bad, bad guy, and also dead, right? So I’m confused. Why is he here, and why would you want us to train against a bad, bad guy?” Well oh my stars, they’re right!

They’re too young to stop believing that all of these princesses and Jedis and villains are actually REAL – (yes, yes, I know they’re real people, and that princesses and villains are real life things and that Jedis are kinda real too because of the power of the human spirit..) – but too old not to exercise sound logic. Cassidy and I spent a lot of time explaining why we’d take our dear children to a park teeming with dragons and awful villains. We explained that they’re reformed, or under control, or imprisoned, and that there are a heck of a lot of good guys there who outnumber them. And isn’t that based on reality?

Yes.

Chewie is real! We loved on him and when it was time to say goodbye, he said “Bye” in his famous way.

Inside Star Wars Launch Bay, we saw a Jawa peeking around a corner. I shrieked. Then one came up behind me to scare me, and I shrieked, and it shrieked, and I asked where the Banthas were, and we all hung out for some quality time together.

(Des is THRILLED.)

Then, I went to meet Kylo Ren, while the rest of them chickened out and wandered around Star Wars Launch Bay.

Them:

Heading to Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World? Here's everything Star Wars that we did, and all of this before 10:00. So much to see and do! #StarWars

Me:

Them:

Heading to Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World? Here's everything Star Wars that we did, and all of this before 10:00. So much to see and do! #StarWars

Me:

Them:

Heading to Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World? Here's everything Star Wars that we did, and all of this before 10:00. So much to see and do! #StarWars

Me:

We chatted. He was not nice. He told me I was part of the resistance and I said, “Always”, and he said I was no longer welcome near him, and I said, “But should we hug or something?” And he declined, but I think he wanted to hug me.

Then we met back up, and the kids were so curious about Kylo Ren and why I’d want to hang out with someone who killed his own father. Excellent question, that. And why did I come back so flushed and giddy after hanging out with someone I would never let my kids near even in a galaxy far, far away? Iron-clad logic, that. Alas, the kids usually give in to the magic and wonder and stop asking so many darn smart questions. Just let the darkness and the light take you away, young Jedis!

Next up, we made our way outside because they were all going on Star Tours and I was going on The Great Movie Ride. There were always Star Wars shows going on at a main stage, and Stormtroopers patrolled through the park often. I even got stopped by an employee because there was a Star Wars parade crossing in front of me. Des saw two stormtroopers and said, “I want to go tell them they’re bad!” So we raced over to them and Cassidy said, “My son has some words for you”. They turned towards Des and he froze. Instantly bolted between Cassidy’s legs so scared. Then they started with the “Hold on there….calm down….calm down….calm down….calm down. The threat has been removed. You’re out of danger.”

Stay tuned and you’ll read about it!

Next up, more stories! FROZEN sing-a-long! More photos – and not ONLY phone photos like this post turned out to have?

Make My Book and Capture Memories Forever

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I confess that gift giving is hard for me.

It’s not that I don’t have the spirit, and it’s not that I don’t have the heart in it, but the problem is I need gifts to be too perfect. And since I’m more of a big picture girl, instead of being able to see and and carry out tasks in small, manageable chunks, I tend to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by Gift Giving Fear. Sometimes? I give something that doesn’t match my heart and thoughts. Sometimes? I give up completely. NOT good! I want to be someone who wears her heart on her sleeve.

And I want my gifts to reflect that.

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As many of you know, my life travel dream was to go to Alaska. Cassidy and I went there on a belated honeymoon in August. We had never had a honeymoon because of money and timing and having Scarlet fairly soon after we were married. This was my ultimate travel dream – my ultimate adventure. Although there were rocky times and overcast weather, the memories are still so strong. I hope they always remain that way. And if they don’t, we have the option to make beautiful photo books.

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This is THE solution you’re looking for – to think of the perfect gift for loved ones, and to get gorgeous photo books designed and created with ease at your own computer. When I used to shoot film, I’d keep my photos in boxes and albums.

These days, custom photo books are the perfect gift.

This year for Valentine’s Day, I made Cassidy a custom photo book of highlights from our trip to Alaska. I want our kids to see what we did and to dream about their own adventures – perhaps even taking such dreamy adventures WITH us someday.

The book arrived – so beautiful and well-printed. You KNOW I notice this stuff after 15 years as a photographer.

What do you think he thinks as he looks at this book?

I think he sees adventure and love. And a whole lot of living.

I feel so lucky to have this book, but also to have found the perfect gift for loved ones! It’s easy, customizable, meaningful, and a good gift for ANYONE, including yourself. That’s right – you can make yourself a photo book easily! This is big. This is the best way to capture memories, and I know not everyone chose photography as a career like I have, but everyone has photos they love. Everyone has occasions to celebrate and remember. What photos will you choose? What will your story say?

The Make My Book service is so important to me because it saves a ton of time. I am not as tech-savvy as you might believe, and the designer service is easy and rewarding. The service is $9.99 and it’s worth every penny. That price is not the price for the book itself. I can’t say enough how much this has enriched my life, and the lives of my photography clients.

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