Disney Themed Birthdays, Summer Style! pt. 1

Hello All!  Well Summer is flying by. But, one thing we have plenty of in the summer, aside from sunshine, popsicles, movies, and swimming pools is BIRTHDAYS!  Our family is silly with them for these three months and well, I wouldn’t be Disney obsessed if every celebration of birth didn’t have a Disney theme, now would I?

First up, my birthday.  While I don’t like to have parties for myself, I do like to get as much of my family together for a meal to visit especially when we were back in my hometown.  My birthday is right near the 4th of July, so yes I spent the majority of my life getting flag cakes, patriotic clothing and parties, sparklers, fireworks packages, cherry bombs and all matter of sulfur pretties for the 4th.  I decided to go with a completely different approach for my 33rd circle around the sun and focused on my favorite Disney character (pssh as if there was such a thing).

I called a local cupcakery in my hometown The Pacetre.  If you are from that area you know how absolutely delicious these cupcakes are, but let me just tell my readers that these had to have been some of the best baked goods I have ever tasted.  And I bake.  So seriously, they laid any cupcakes I could have made to shame.  I ordered a dozen split four ways: Vanilla, Red Velvet, Strawberry, and Peanut Butter Chocolate.  For my 4 inch round wish cake I ordered a Malted Milk Chocolate, which my husband ate 85% before I woke up on the 4th.  Yes, I got a piece, one, un, uno.  That’s it.  But it’s a testament to how delicious of a confection they have wrought when a husband’s logic goes out the window and he will literally eat his wife’s birthday cake with abandon.  That totally happened by the way.  And my husband has yet to live it down.

Behold The Awesomeness:

This led to one very happy Birthday Girl:

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As well Disney Shipping came through on my husband’s birthday surprise and my present arrived just before we called it a night:

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So overall a great birthday!  Great cupcakes, Great company, and looking forward to a Great Year!

Next up our Monster’s University Pool Party for our youngest son!

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What are some parties you have thrown that are Disney themed?

Lone Ranger – Good Old Fashioned Cinema Fun

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Hi-YO Silver!
Summer films aren’t known for their tackling of large social issues. Or their development of deep psychologically based characters. Or large scale artistic representations of cultures time has forgotten. No, we go to the movies in the summer for what? A bit of popcorn, a chug of soda and a leaving of weighty matters at the door. We go for fun.

And The Lone Ranger fills that summertime need with abundance. Is it predictable to some degree, yes. Is it funny with a stunt crew that could fill a small stadium? Yes. Does it follow the buddy film formula? Yes. But that is precisely why it is so enjoyable of a way to spend a couple of your summer hours.

This creation tale set in Colby, TX follows favorite lawman John Reid as he discovers what it takes to dispense justice in the Wild West. A lawman of the most Eastern variety, by that I mean lawyer. John sets out for Texas to become District Attorney and is soon embroiled in a scheme of money, Tribal War and yea, industrial progress that inherently shaped the West into what we know today. The film won’t make you crack open your American History books but rely on some wherewithal we’ve all had drummed into our heads by History. And most is based in fact. The railroad industry indeed ruled the roost in the newly opened territories. Yes, towns and their wares (cough, houses of ill repute, dens of sin) opened along their path. And yes, a subject we’ve never been able to deal with comfortably our treaties and dealings with Nations of Indigenous Americans. All are dealt in and listed in the film among some physics bending action scenes and narrow escapes. But not really the weighty issues they would be in a non summer film. The issues are there but in a peripheral sense.

No the center of the film is the evolving relationship between the aforementioned Reid and now front man Tonto. And this is where the film truly finds its niche. Two men, from different cultures with a vastness of social differences between them come to respect and inherently depend on the other for completeness. Basically what one lacks the other compensates for and vice versa, the true chemistry for a buddy film duo if there ever was one.

Depp is quite brilliant, and his timing is never off. He seems to, like us, be having fun playing the part but also giving the role of Tonto a savvy ness and as well heart. There is a trust we have with Depp as an actor, and when he was cast as Tonto I was a little taken aback. But that trust was rewarded as he does treat the part with compassion and yes the deftness of the accomplished actor he is.

Armie Hammer, formerly seen as the Winkelvi in The Social Network, handles his charismatic lawman Reid with a swagger and yes humor that makes Reid relatable. Ultimately Hammer is perfectly cast as Reid and like Depp appears to yes, enjoy donning the iconic black mask.

The plot is not as substantial, but to this I ask, would you want it to be? It’s a film entitled “The Lone Ranger” whose historical episodic adventures used to be solved in a half hour or less. This movie takes the fun of those black and whites and extends them into a 2 hour romp of summer fun. The villains are pretty quick to pick out, but again in this type of film the baddies almost need to be so you can get on with the action already.

The action is breathtaking, and the finale gave me and my family goosebumps as you hear the famous trumpet call of the William Tell Overture and see an intricate rescue scene involving not one but two locomotives racing along the tracks. The back and forth was truly dizzying but ultimately satisfying.

So, I completely recommend The Lone Ranger for a fun 2 hours of summer celluloid. The train sequence alone is worth the price of admission. And really who can’t be excited by the William Tell Overture and seeing a white horse rearing in the sun? Trust me, you’ll leave whistling with a bit of a spring in your step.

Have you seen The Lone Ranger yet? What did you think?

Arguments, Meltdowns and Unhappiness in the Happiest Place on Earth

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We’ve all been there.  We all know what it’s like to spend thousands of dollars, months of planning, nights dreaming, and years building the anticipation for a Disney vacation.  Only to have a speed bump or two happen once we arrive at our Destination.  You miss your ADRPeter Pan’s Flight ran out of Fast Passes.  There are WAY more people than you thought would be here in February.  The list of unplanned for issues or inconveniences are vast when you have so many Guests, in so many parks, operating for so many hours of the day.  And usually as is the case even with the most Saint like person there is literally only so much one person can take before all of those subtle disappointments boil over and guess what, You’re Grumpy.Grumpy_OK_214572K1a

I’ve been there.  But, guess what your spouse, traveling partners, etc. they usually are going through the same issues and add in heat, crowds, and sleep deprivation and you have the perfect brew for an argument.

Again, I’ve been there.  It’s not a topic a lot of people like to think about when planning vacation, is it?  I can count the number of times I’ve thought “I’ll be in Disney, why would be I upset.”  Only to get down there and things not go as planned totally and I reach a point where yes, I get grumpy and snippy.  Or my kids get tired and whiny.  Even the most open and honest family can get worn out and argumentative and if you look around you realize you aren’t the only ones feeling it.

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So how do you get over it when an argument happens?  I’ve broken down my way of dealing.  Not saying this is the perfect solution for everyone, but since I do have two young children and one with special needs I usually have to reign it in a bit.  The more I dramatize a situation or over emphasize a problem it can potentially escalate my youngest into stemming and lead him to meltdown.  So my husband and I have gotten pretty good at dealing with stresses in a quieter fashion, more direct and putting them behind us faster.  Keeps things from snow balling into our kids attitudes and behaviors later.

First, be honest with yourself.  Are you tired, stressed, are you down because things aren’t going the way you planned?  That’s the bane of being a Mom at Disney sometimes.  Not all the time, but sometimes.  Moms are the planners (usually) when it comes to planning Disney vacations.  And usually we are victims of our own hype.  We fantasize about those hugging Mickey moments, the perfect outfits for our darling children, being able to walk on rides with little to no wait.  And the reality is great and Magical moments happen.  They do at Disney, but yes there are lines, and if you go in the Summer there is heat, and if you pack custom clothing and ask your child to change 4 times a day for photo ops they are going to get tired of it.  Eventually.  So be honest about those emotions you are feeling, don’t slap a smile on your face and pretend.  Just clearly state, “I think I overdid this, or I thought this would be different.”  Now you can work on solving it.

Solving It – If it’s another person’s attitude or actions that are mucking up what you anticipated would be a glorious vacation deal with them directly.  But in an emotionally fair manner.  A phrase that is fair may be: “When we planned the trip I lined out how we needed to be at our ADR at 8:00, you agreed, but now it’s 9:00 and we missed it.  This really sets us back for the day, can you go ahead and get ready if I call and reschedule?”  Be flexible, don’t jump up and down yelling that you missed your ADR, it happens.  But, it also gives a subtle hey, you agreed to this come on we had a deal to your voice.  I’ve been very direct with my husband before. “I’m just disappointed that I spent all these months planning meals only to have to reschedule now we’re here.”  Again, you’re just lining out how you feel, nothing at all wrong with that.  You aren’t name calling, just stating a fact.  I feel disappointed, I feel upset by, I am stressed because.  You aren’t nagging but simply lining out how actions of others are making their eventual consequences in your emotions present.  Oncce the other person knows.  They can help solve the problem with you.  And as often is the case if you state how you feel as fact, they are more inclined to work with you.  If you go on the attack the human response is to defend and then it just takes longer to get back around to this point.  Choose your words carefully.

Breathe – You would be amazed at how breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth can calm you down.  We do a breathing exercise with our boys before we fly, if we are in tense situations (lines, travel, transitioning) and it helps your brain with a supply of oxygen literally function better.  Take a few breaths, deep breaths, step back think (always think before you speak) but think about the situation in a clear manner.  And I usually ask myself the following: “Is it as big of a deal as I am making it?”  “How could the other members of my family be viewing this trip, situation, etc.?” This usually helps me look at the problem in a more fair less persecuted way.

Compromise – That’s a hard pill to swallow when you really feel angry and wronged isn’t it?  The last thing you feel like doing is compromising any more at that moment.  But, I am going to tell you that is the best thing you can do to come up with an exit strategy.  Usually after I have said “I’m disappointed, stressed, upset because…” my husband will respond with a “Sorry. Um, what can I do to make you feel…?” Which usually makes it better in some ways, it’s not resolved but it’s better.  Then we usually come up with a plan.  Last time we were at Disney he wanted to stay in the room on our last night, needless to say I didn’t.  So I took the kids and went to the Magic Kingdom while he stayed in the room and rested up.  The boys and I had a wonderful time, he rested everybody won.  Would I have liked for him to come with us?  Sure.  But, I knew he was plain wore out after a week at the parks and wanted to rest a bit before our flight the next morning.  So I guess that leads me to my last point, know your family’s limits!

Oh and stay hydrated.  If you work on keeping your body cool you are likely to be more rational.  If you get hot literally, you also get hot figuratively.  Oxygen, H2O, and Compromise.  Be honest but never attack.  And hug it out!

What are some ways you get over disappointments or arguments when touring the Disney Parks?