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Vay-cay Day 3

Saturday, June 7

~The schedule I had planned from home said that Animal Kingdom was first up for the day. I nixed that because I zipped through that park Friday morning. So I slept in because my feet were KILLING me. Woke up at like 10something thinking I could hit up Hollywood Studios (formerly known as MGM) before dinner. WRONG. The past 2 days had finally caught up with me and kept me in bed until 12:15pm.

~Donned my new 2 piece swimsuit and parked beside the pool for the next 2 hours. Thankfully, a "quiet pool" was right outside my balcony and over the wall. Although unplanned, a peaceful pool-side afternoon was a great addition to my stay.

~Dinner prep rolled around. Usual "get ready" routine. Hopped the first bus to any park so that I could hop another bus to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

~Dinner at Jiko (it was a toss up between that and Boma). Curry shrimp was wonderfully spicy. Not a complete palate of tastes, but the flavors were bursting and the textures were great.

~Strolled the Animal Kingdom Lodge for a half hour or so. Took pictures (of course). Nice place, but would be better enjoyed if I had kids in tow.

~Bused to Hollywood Studios for the evening. Rode Tower of Terror and Aerosmith's Rock 'N' Roller Coaster twice. Single rider line pays off again! I screamed and sang Aerosmith songs at the top of my lungs both times!

~Watched Fantasmic, my 2nd favorite Disney night show. It has every aspect of performing and there is something in it for everyone. Water screens, lights, smoke, huge dragon, classic Disney characters, singing, dancing, swinging on a rope, giant battle between good and evil, dreams, nightmares, and fire. The fire is so huge that I could instantly feel the heat, and I was in the back of the ampitheater.

~Bought the soundtrack to Fantasmic because we all know I'm a music FIEND. Like a crack addict needs a hit.

~And how could I forget ... I TALKED WITH THE BRITISH PEOPLE STANDING NEXT TO ME!!

~Got back to my villa at a decent time, but stayed up late watching the movie "I Want to Marry Ryan Banks" because Zach from "Wedding Crashers" was in it.

~My least eventful day, but hey, all vacations need at least one of those.

WDW vacation day 2

Friday, June 6

~Wanted to wake up around 7am so I could be at Animal Kingdom for the morning Extra Magic Hour. That didn't happen. I woke up around 8am and got to the park just as it was opening to the public.

~The only thing that really interests me at Animal Kingdom is the ride Expedition: Everest. Everything else that is interesting I did 2 years ago, so I didn't feel bad for missing those.

~Expedition: Everest has a single rider line. Awesome! I rode twice in less than 20 minutes! Since it was 9:00 in the morning, lines were dead. The only waiting I had to do was to wait for the next train. I would have ridden a third time, but my insides were well shaken.

~Since there are no busses from the Animal Kingdom to the other parks, I hopped a bus to Wilderness Lodge/Contemporary/Polynesian/Grand Floridian. Got off at the Polynesian resort and did some sight seeing. WOW! I am SO staying there next time! Grabbed an iced coffee from the Kona Coffee Bar. Straight up Kona joe on the rocks - actually quite yummy!

~Rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. MK had the 3 Extra Magic Hours at night on this day, so I stayed until 1:30 in the morning! (wth a dinner break)

~Pecos Bills chicken wrap for lunch. It's a family favorite.

~I hit up Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. My rear end got soaked, not from my flume's 52-foot plunge but from sitting at the base where other plunging long flumes sprayed us. Thankfully, I didn't mind the water but it was another hot day with little, occasional breeze.

~Around 3:00pm I headed back to my Old Key West villa to shower and change for dinner. This was going to be the most important dinner of my stay and the California Grill has a dress code, so I had to look good. Around 4:30 I emerged looking great. Bused back to the Magic Kingdom (the nearest park to CA Grill becauses buses don't go between resorts). Walked a whopping 5 minutes to the Contemporary resort.

~Checked in on the 2nd floor. Took private elevator to the tip-top 15th floor where the California Grill restaurant is located. Being a single diner gets you seated quickly. The best service (waited on hand and foot again!) and the best meal of my entire stay - no competition! God bless my Deluxe Dining Plan because there is no way I would have been able to afford $30 appetizers. Meal details later.

~After dinner I strolled 2 of the restaurant's observation decks. The view is breath taking!! You can see so much!

~Monorailed (new verb. haha) back to the Magic Kingdom. Stayed until 1:30am.

~Rode: Space Mountain (got a FastPass before dinner), Cinderella's Golden Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Peter Pan's Flight (SO not worth a line longer than 10 minutes), It's a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain. The last 2 are completely different in the dark.

~Magic Kingdom has 2 night shows: SpectroMagic parade and Wishes fireworks display. Watched both. Adored the SpectroMagic music, so I bought it. Wishes is okay, but I bought the music anyway. Thankfully I know SpectroMagic's route so I know how to navigate the park before, during, and right after the parade. Lines are short during night shows, so I took advantage of it.

~Watched Mickey's PhilharMagic. WONDERFUL 3-D music show! And it gets the audience "involved". (I just won't tell you how.)

~Nighttime Extra Magic Hours REALLY reduced line wait time, so I hopped on most of the rides listed above. The park was open until 2am.

~Friday was a long day, but my favorite out of the 5.

Vacation Day 1

The details of my Walt Disney World vacation...

Let's just do this day by day because my attention span won't be long enough to journal all 5 days at once. I won't give all the details because y'all need to experience everything for yourself!

Thursday, June 5

~Woke up at 3:15am. Scary storm. Mom drove me to the airport to catch my 5:55am flight to Cincinnati. Connecting flight to Orlando. Disney's Magical Express grabbed my luggage at the airport then drove me to my resort. I arrived around 11:30am. My studio villa at Old Key West was ready even though I did early check-in!

~The hottest day of my trip. Minimum of 95 in the shade.

~Jetted to Epcot for the day where I kicked off my vacation with lunch at Rose & Crown in the United Kingdom in hopes of meeting a cute British boy. No such luck on the cute part, but my lunch hit my craving spot. (I'll include my haute cuisine later.)

~Left Epcot for about 30 minutes. Took a 5 minute water cruise to the Boardwalk to get a hair wrap. The yellow, orange, and salmon threads are still in my hair!

~Back to Epcot and went clockwise around World Showcase, (I had darted through Canada on my way to lunch). Next was France. Found my dinner reservation location at Les Chefs de France. Roamed France, took pictures.

~World Showcase in order: Morocco, Japan, America, Italy, Germany, Norway, China, Mexico. Roamed each, snapped pictures. It was just too hot to linger anywhere. In Norway I rode Maelstrom for the shade.

~Went to the front half of the park for more attractions and less sight seeing. This is my 4th trip to WDW, I've pretty much done all the sight seeing at each park.

~Visited Club Cool to sample 7 or 8 sodas from around the world. Only 2 were nasty.

~Rode Living with the Land in The Land pavillion. It's an indoor behind the scenes water ride. SO not worth more than a 10 minute wait. Got to see almost all the growing alternatives Disney does for its produce. Gargantuan melons, produce I had never heard of, Mickey-shaped pumpkins. It was nice to see my hydroponic studies outside of a college text.

~Strode back to France for dinner at Les Chefs de France. New food is good. When dining at Disney you get waited on hand and foot. (More dining details later.)

~Rode Test Track. Being a single rider zoomed me through the lines twice!

~After Test Track I had some time to kill, so I dinked around in Mouse Gears looking for things to buy later.

~By this time evening was drawing in so I staked out a spot around World Showcase Lagoon for the "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" night show. IllumiNations is hands-down my favorite night show at Disney largely because of the music. I bought the soundtrack to it back in high school and have had it memorized ever since. I love how the fireworks and fountains are perfectly synched with the music. Each nation around the lagoon lights up with certain beats, and at the end each nation projects a ray of light that unites with all the others. And Epcot plays the soundtrack so loudly that it literally fills you up and stirs your core with awe-inspiring lyrics and orchestral sounds. I refused to take pictures of any night show because I didn't want my attention diverted. I wanted to be able to take it all in. Besides, I have each night show memorized and I took pictures of them 2 years ago.

~I returned home thoroughly exhausted from the heat and the long day. Yes, I said home. When staying at a Disney Vacation Club resort the cast members always greet you with "Welcome home!"

Long Train Running

It's been a long 6 weeks. Northcrest's Biggest Loser is over.

I lost 13 pounds and 8 inches off my body.

Went down a size in pants. Very close to dropping 2 sizes.

1 day of school left. (mixed emotions)

One week from this very moment I will be vacationing in Florida!

Tomorrow is going to be organized chaos. Cleaning and field day. I'm making the little buggers do grunt work. Most of them actually volunteer for it.

And Nathan is home. UBERhappy.

Single Digits

Bring on tomorrow. I'm sure it will be crazy. All our efforts will be focused on simply keeping kids corraled. You know it too, don't deny it.

At Northcrest, we can't decide who is more anticipatory - teachers or students.

1 more day of school.

4 days until vacation. 5 days in Florida at Wal Disney World. I'll map out the details later. LOADS of fun and GREAT food await!

No full time summer job. It's okay, but the extra money would have been nice for a car down payment. I signed up to sub for summer school and I'll be tutoring Daphne once a week. Between those two, I should have enough pocket money to keep me away from the bank. The upside of no summer job: lots of time for organizing teaching stuff, exercise, and reading! And I won't have to schedule interviews around a job.

Una Update

5th grade interview last week. Didn't get hired.

Title 1 Resource interview this week. No call back yet, even though the principal said she would have an answer by yesterday.

Disney World vacation planning is getting more serious, no longer just a "might do it". I just have to decide how much I'm willing to spend and which resort to stay at.

Last Saturday Manna and I had some much needed "we time". Dinner then hung out in Barnes & Noble while sipping Starbucks and flipping through Disney books.

I've been babysitting since Wednesday evening, all hours that I'm not at school. Getting paid triple digits for the week. The money will be used for meals and souveniers at WDW. Life goes back to normal Tuesday night.

My students are not even attempting to think on a higher level. They struggle with just spitting back a phrase that I explicitly tell them. I could say, "What was the boy's name? It's on page 32." My students stare at me, and won't even try turning to page 32. Oh, but they could quote the recent Hannah Montana episode word for word. I want to slap their parents. GRR.

The next 2 weeks are going to be crazy off-schedule at school. Oy.

Renewal

Finally!

I have a renewed sense of confidence!

I've lost about 10 pounds so far this school year. My slightly slimmer frame is finally visible to me. I am totally okay with walking around the pool in a bikini. I will be completely ready to show off my new body in Florida! It's really exciting to feel this good about myself.

I've never HATED my body, but I never fully accepted it either. I miss my high school self, almost everything about that girl. It's sad that I was always considered a chubby girl, but the fact is is that I was healthy and I looked the part. It's all the other girls who were too skinny. College ruined my body and that severely affected what I thought of myself. Now, I never had an eating disorder or suffered from depression because of my image, but when a girl is not happy with her body her confidence suffers a bit.

I enrolled in Northcrest's Bigger Loser competition. Quite different from the television show, but a motivator for me nonetheless. My weight goal is to lose 8 pounds. Losing that weight would put me into another new weight bracket. The goal is to be healthier. Why carry around the college weight? I want to be "high school Angela" again. I want to have the best body I can for Florida. I want to be a certain weight before September so that the body size difference is not huge between me and the other bridesmaids. Janice and I make up the pink team for Biggest Loser, and we're going to make a great team because we are both young and we like to work out. Paying $2 for weight gain each week is a large incentive. Plus, the winning team earns the cash pot at the end of the school year. Vacation spending money, here I come!

On top of physical confidence, I have renewed confidence in myself as a teacher! Even though this is my first year of teaching, I have received lots of praise at Northcrest for the "wonderful" things I do with students. It's hard for me to see growth because I'm in my room for 7 hours a day with the same kids, but hey, if someone says it's there then it must be. First semester I achieved the highest percentage of students passing DIBELS with a 95.4%. I was also the only teacher to have ZERO students in the red and only 2 in the yellow, out of 22. I must have done something right. ("Yeah, I MAKE them work," was my response.) This semester my kids have been getting compliments left and right from people outside our room. And if I wrote the daily schedule on the board with details, I'm sure that, for the most part, my students could handle the day by themselves. That says a lot because they came to me as total CHAOS. Something must be working! ("If they don't do it right the first time, they do it again.")

Life is getting better.

Now onto financing a new car.

The Best Parts

At 2:50pm I took my class outside to play as a reward for getting ALL our work done early today. All day long they did really awesome work and had great attitudes. I think I’ll have to commend my students tomorrow. So while outside I taught about half my class how to play horseshoes. (I was sneaky enough to teach skills such as taking turns, keep a running total of points, aim, and body control.)

I have been using my new pedometer this week. 5,100some steps yesterday just at school. 6,300some steps today (more than 2,000 before 9:30am!). I’m mostly using a pedometer so that I will know when to get new shoes.

Mom and I worked out at the Y for a little more than an hour. I burned more than 150 calories on the elliptical in under 40 minutes. Did some weight lifting. I pushed myself A LOT during the last 10 minutes of my workout. I felt good!

And the most amusing part of my day...
Had to stop for some lunchmeat. The grocery store had really good music going! I danced the entire way through the store. Seriously. And not just snapping fingers at your side. I had my arms, legs, torso, and head moving while snapping or patting my legs to the rhythm. I rarely care what I look like to other people. Dancing makes me happy! Naturally, I passed quite a few people in the store. A gentleman and his son were utterly amused by my quirks, so the man stopped next to me and said, "Ya know, if you sang a little louder we’d all be able to hear you." The tone of his voice told me he meant it as a compliment.

I exist to entertain.

Vacation in the Making

Earlier I posted (did I?) how much my ultimate vacation would cost. I thought, "Ultimate is great, but why do I need to spend that much money when I can be just as happy with a lower cost alternative?"

So, here’s a tentative plan...

Walt Disney World
June 4-7
Caribbean Beach resort (this is where I save a HUGE amount over Grand Floridian)
4 day park hopper ticket (saved money by leaving off the water park option)
Magic Your Way ticket without the dining option (this will force me to make healthier choices because I will be paying out of pocket; and a cheaper option in the long run)
Fly FW to Atlanta and Atlanta to Orlando (same trip back)
Disney Concierge will transport me to and from flights and resort (for free! ... and they will take my luggage to my room)
Vacation Insurance for only $67

Total cost: $1,345
Dining and souveniers not included



MUUUUUCH better on my bank account. And TOTALLY affordable once I get my tax refund and money for babysitting for a week.

Completing My Thoughts

And a quick clarification about the previous blog and a book.

I read that book years ago. I nabbed it from the library again to have a go with it and to factor in my more "real life" perspective. When I first read He’s Just Not That Into You I was in college and was sure that I’d at least be engaged upon graduation. I read that book to weed out the "losers". This second reading will likely be laughable.

And I totally came to those 2 boy revelations without considering that book. It’s just that when I was typing, I happened to look over and see that book.

I learned that Certain Boy has a girlfriend. So, yes, we can 100% say that he is not into me.

B&N Tyler ... After making up an excuse to talk with him, he displayed no prolonged eye contact or even a crack of a smile. He very well could have a girlfriend and naturally I wouldn’t know about that because I only see him in his work setting. So we’ll "just leave well enough alone." (haha Cabaret reference)

I wasn’t exactly keen on the book the first time. I checked it out again to put it up against what I know now. That’s all.