Something Magical Happened, But I Can’t Show You

Magical Moments Lizzie blog nerd solo adventure no phone Disney Star Wars fireworks

Last week can only be described as amazing, soul-refreshing and down right exciting. You already saw my solo adventures at not one, but all four of Disney World’s theme parks. But here’s the part I didn’t show you.

I actually can’t show you. See…my phone died right after I ate what looked like a delicious Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel, but really was old tire rubber that had been sitting in the sun since 7am.

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Pretzel notwithstanding, there was magic in the air as I returned to Hollywood Studios, where I’d started my grand adventure.

There has been one other time in recent Disney history that I’ve stayed for the fireworks at the park. And it’s because 2 equally minded, childlike spirits knew as I do just how much magic a fireworks show can hold. I may be overselling this. But the majority of the time when I go to a theme park, at the end of the night, my party is worn out, tired and just wants to beat the traffic. The best way to do that is to skip the fireworks and high tail it out at about 7:30pm. That’s the formula for skipping as much Disney traffic as you can.

But this time it was just me. And traffic, when I have nowhere to go, doesn’t bother me in the least. Especially if I have open windows and a good radio station. Bring on the tail lights!

So I stayed for the fireworks. Specifically the new Star Wars Spectacular at Hollywood Studios cause…well, duh! It’s me! It was always going to be the Star Wars Fireworks show!! I wish I could show it to you, but I’m sorta glad my phone died. I love to share my photos and bring people into my adventures as much as I can. But this was just for me (and the thousands of other people that stayed late too.) You can probably Google the show, find clips on the internet and pictures on Instagram, but I beg you…don’t! Make a plan, if you can, to get to the park and see them live. Let your phone die and live in the magical moment that it absolutely is. I was nearly in tears…it felt that magical. The way the lights and music perfectly complimented my favorite story in the whole wide galaxy…there is really no other word to describe how it felt…it was magic. And I haven’t felt magic like that in a while.

Without a doubt this has been a challenging year. And I have felt, at times lost, at times angry and at times like it wasn’t worth it at all. It’s not true…it’s worth it. It has been worth it the whole time. And not just because of magical fireworks on a balmy Thursday night. I seem to be most attuned to God and myself when I am acting like a kid. I tap into a part of myself that I seem to abandon more often than not these days. She and I used to be much more in sync, but the older I get the farther away she feels.

That magic isn’t lost! In fact I found that magic the very next day when I decided, on a whim, to go paddle boarding off Merritt Island. Another instance of a magic moment that I will just have to keep in my brain because I didn’t bring my phone with me. So this is the only picture I took of the whole adventure:

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It was 11am on a Friday morning. The breeze off the water was perfect and the sun was shining down just enough to give me a nice sun tan/burn glow. I was paddling along by myself, trying to remember how to do it, since it had been a while, when I saw a fin. My heart froze…and I thought “OH SHIT!” Then, I saw another and another. I took a deep breath and the time to notice the shape of the fin and was delighted to see a pod of dolphins headed straight for me. Four adult dolphins and a baby just happily swimming towards the channel and passing me by on their route. I stood in wonder at the sight of them just five or six feet off my starboard bough. It was nothing less than magical!

I followed the pod and watched as they interacted with one another. Squeaking and jumping in the air. I wish I could show you, but again, I’m kinda glad I can’t! It was a moment made just for me. There was no one else on the water right then and by the time other people came into view, the dolphins were gone.

These are extraordinary moments. And they don’t happen everyday. After all “if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one! But if life were only moments then you’d never know you had one.”

I guess what I’m saying is that when magic comes along don’t spend all your time trying to take a picture of it. Let your phone die or leave it back on shore and keep that magic for yourself. There will be plenty of other things to share with people. Magic is something special. And since it’s rare, take care who you share it with.

Truth is, even this blog can’t effectively convey the rejuvenating magic that happened to me somewhere between Disney and the water. But I feel like myself again. I feel the ideas and the excitement of my life again. Ideas and excitement that never left me. God doesn’t take away your creativity. It’s you who walks away. And if you’re lucky you come back and remember who you are. Take the magic when it comes! Seek it out if you have to.

“Just remembering you’ve had an ‘and’ when you’re back to ‘or’ makes the ‘or’ mean more than it did before.”

I hope you find magic today. And I hope I never get to see pictures of it!

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Lizzie’s Solo Ride

Disney World Scavenger Hunt blog

Lizzie's Solo Disney Adventure Blog Scavenger Hunt Nerd

I LOVE Disney. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know this. That being said, I’ve never done Disney on my own before. I’ve always gone with friends or family. And the day is usually very mapped out. Everyone has their top picks and there is lots to cover in a short period of time. I love to go with a plan and I love to go with people, but this day was different.

There was something really freeing and exciting about a solo adventure. Just me, nerdself and I.

I did have an agenda in the form of Crazy for Disney’s scavenger hunt. It kept my day just organized enough without feeling rushed. And since I only paid for parking and dole whips, I didn’t feel like I had to “get my money’s worth.” There is no shortage of Disney adventures in my future, that’s for dang sure!

So take a look at my adventures and if you want to do a scavenger hunt of your own try Crazy for Disney’s. But also, keep an eye out for my own scavenger hunt. There were some things I definitely wanted to add on the list (and some that I did add on the list!)

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First up was Hollywood Studios:

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What I found at Hollywood…

  1. A Movie Theater
  2. Large Green Army Men
  3. 1950s Diner
  4. Giant Guitar
  5. Kermit the Frog
  6. Star Wars Characters
  7. Tower of Terror
  8. Giant Letter Blocks
  9. Woody or Jessie
  10. Mickey Mouse Balloon
  11. Handprints in Cement
  12. An AT-AT
  13. A Potato Head

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…A Giant Ant or Bug, Mater, Pizza Planet, Giant Mouse Ears, A Spaceship.)

Next was Epcot:

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What I found at Epcot…

  1. Giant Silver Sphere
  2. Someone Wearing a Sombrero
  3. Boat (Monorail was on the list, but I substituted it for a boat ride.)
  4. Characters Made of Plants (this picture is actually from Magic Kingdom, I couldn’t find plant characters at Epcot to save my life!!)
  5. A Planet (BAM! I found 2!!)
  6. Statue of a Viking
  7. A Chinese Building
  8. American Flag (I spent way too long trying to get a picture of the flag flying. Alas!)
  9. A Clock Tower (thanks Germany!)
  10. A Park Bench
  11. A Street Band
  12. Coral Reef
  13. Nemo
  14. A Sea Turtle
  15. A Live Disney Character

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…Statue of a Horse, A Double Decker Bus, A Kidcot Sign, A Dinosaur.)

Then, Animal Kingdom:

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What I found at Animal Kingdom:

  1. Tree of Life
  2. Statue of a Disney Character
  3. A Dinosaur
  4. Live Elephant
  5. Live Gorilla
  6. A Large Mountain
  7. A Train
  8. A Safari Vehicle
  9. A Stream/ Flowing Water
  10. A Bus
  11. A Live Disney Character
  12. A Large Set of Bones
  13. Someone Wearing a Safari Hat (Bonus for finding someone wearing a hat and a vest!)
  14. Someone Wearing a Vest
  15. A Truck Selling Ice Cream
  16. Street Band
  17. Rafiki (Got a two for one on this one with #2)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only couldn’t find Flik from a Bug’s Life and it was only cause I was running out of time.)

Finally, Magic Kingdom:

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What I found at Magic Kingdom:

  1. Monorail
  2. Someone Wearing Mouse Ears (so many to choose from including myself!)
  3. Statue of Walt Disney
  4. A Horse
  5. A Map
  6. A Balloon
  7. A Train
  8. A Castle (Correction…THE Castle!)
  9. A Popcorn Cart
  10. A Big Treehouse
  11. A Flying Elephant
  12. A Pirate
  13. A Princess
  14. Turkey Leg (I added this one to the list)
  15. A Spaceship
  16. A Former U.S. President (Lots to choose from but I went with good ole Abe)
  17. A Teacup
  18. A Flying Carpet
  19. Mickey Mouse (sorta cheated on this one and used #2 twice…time crunch)
  20. Dole Whip (I also added this one to the list, Dole Whip is an absolute must!!)

(Things on the list I couldn’t find or didn’t have time to find…I only missed Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom and it’s because I was trying to find the Pooh himself. Oh, well…next time!)

5 Fandom Friday

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Favorite Theme Park Rides

To say I love theme parks would be a gross understatement. I simply adore them. I put my hair up in pigtails, find the most nerd appropriate shirt for the occasion and I just go wild! It’s like I’m 5 years old again. And I was an adorable 5 year old!!

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#1 – Star Tours & The Great Movie Ride

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Photo from Disney

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

These 2 rides hold a special place in my heart because they have been around for a very long time! And I used to ride them as a kid. Not to mention the obvious love for all things Star Wars and the movies in general! I have yet to ride the updated Star Tours ride, but I loved the old cheesy version, so I have every confidence that the new version will not disappoint. (It takes a lot to disappoint me!)

#2 – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s

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This ride is a brand new obsession! I got to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for my birthday last year and I think the world magical accurately describes every single minute of a day spent exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. But it’s the brand new ride in the bank vaults of Gringott’s that was my favorite part. The ride makes you feel like you’re in the movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was so wonderful and I can’t wait to go back and give the park another go. If you come to the greater Orlando area after July 2015 and need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl!!!

#3 – Kingda Ka

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Photo from Six Flags

I LOVE roller coasters!! I always try to chicken out at the last moment, when I’m strapped in and regretting the wait in line and the stairs I just climbed. But it’s too late, I made my choice! And as the roller coaster climbs higher and higher, I think I might throw up or scream or cry, but then the wind hits my face and we go careening to the ground and my heart is racing and I know that this is the closest I will ever get to flying and the feeling is exhilarating! The very moment the ride ends, I’m back in line for another go around. And the cycle starts all over again!  (And added shout out to Six Flag’s Safari at Great Adventures. It too is amazing. Though not technically a ride, per se.)

#4 – Splash Mountain

Photo from Disney
Photo from Disney

This is an obvious choice! A trip to Disney is never complete without a ride on Splash Mountain. And every time I go to The Magic Kingdom, I have to go at least 2 or 3 times. I love Brer Rabbit and Brer Bear! And again, this one has a touch of roller coaster to it. I love the drop before the last drop when you know that last drop is coming and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you might fly out of your log, but you don’t. And it’s amazing!

#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

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Photo from Disney

This is another ride that holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Growing up in Orlando allowed me many opportunities to go to Disney World. Class trips, family fundays. Not to mention that it was much cheaper back in the day. (Yeah, I’m official old for saying that!) This ride has also been updated since I was a kid and the updates still allow it to be a cheesy pirate ride, but incorporates the Jack Sparrow factor from the wildly successful movie franchise. Plus, it’s always been a pirate’s life for me!!

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Like I said, if you ever need a theme park buddy, I’m your girl! Theme parks like Disney and Universal and Wet n’ Wild and Busch Gardens are amazing on their own, but with a Lizzie in tow… they become shamazing!!! Seriously!

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What are your favorite theme park rides?