Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The end is just the beginning

3 years ago. 3 years ago I was happy. 3 years ago Chloe was still little. 3 years ago I had a lot of friends. 3 years ago I was quite content in my job. 3 years ago things were going really well in my life, for the most part.

3 years ago, running in Disney World was not even a blip on my radar.

Then I received the kick in the butt I needed (see here for the full story) from two amazing friends (yes, Tana and Stephen, that would be you). Thus, leads me to today and what is about to happen in the next week.

As most of you know, I am going to be running the Goofy Challenge in Disney World next weekend. That means running a half marathon on Saturday, January 8th, and a full marathon on Sunday, January 9th. Yep, that's why they call it "The Goofy". For me, personally, this will be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life thus far. Plus, being able to run in a place that I have spent many years of my life with my family, will be a huge bonus. Oh, and this trip will also be an adventure as there are quite a few people that I have been introduced to thanks to that website, Twitter. I am really looking forward to meeting and connecting with many of the Disney, running, and teacher's that I have connected with on there down in Disney World, next week.

Lots of people have asked me, "what is your goal for this?" My answer, "well, I have never run a half marathon and a full marathon back to back. Let's just make it through with a smile on my face." Secretly, I have my times in my head that I would like to see. However, I don't mention them as I don't want to be under any pressure. I just really want to enjoy both the runs and get through them. Plus, receive the 3 medals for the accomplishment (half marathon medal, full marathon medal, and one for doing both).

Now, why is it the end? Well, after next weekend I am going to take a year off from running full marathons. My last three summers have been spent training for the Queen City Marathon in Regina, Saskatchewan. Plus, for those three years I have been shaving half hours off of each marathon that I ran. My time goal this year was to get under a 4 hours and I beat that goal with a time of 3:56:29. I am still going to work on my half marathons and getting faster and better times there. I will aim to beat my 1:36:34 in April at the Regina Police Services Half Marathon and hopefully place further to the top in my age ranking (which is now 30-35). I will also participated in the half marathon on the Queen City in Regina next fall.

Still, there is a beginning to all of this. My hope is that over the next few months without training for a full marathon (which lots of us know takes up a significant amount of time) I will have the time discover more activities related to testing my new ambitions for physical activity. I have been toying with the opportunity to try a short triathalon, boxing, kick boxing, and many other activities that people have mentioned to me. I can't wait to see what is in store. When I return from Disney World I will have the Hypothermic Half Marathon 2011 waiting for me on February 20th (running in the -20 degrees celsius weather OR COLDER for my buddies from the USA). So, still lots on the go when it comes to keeping busy. Plus I am looking forward to spending some time with people as they are striving to reach their fitness goals! Time to start paying it forward!

For me, I can't complete this post without naming some people that have gotten me to this point in my life. These people have been there to encourage me, teach me, push me, and yes, even yell at me to keep going in reaching my goals. So, Dad, Mom, Tana, Stephen, Renee, Lonny, Derrick, Blake, Chloe, Beckie, Kevin, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, Tiffini, Cory, Stacy(thatgirl, lol), my church family, my cross country team at school, Prairie South (for approving the time off for me to go run in Disney), THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!! There is nothing else I can say!

Now, I am going to start the next section by naming all the people who believed I COULD NOT accomplish these goals over the last 3 years. They include......ok, that would be pretty mean. However, I would like to even thank them for not believing in me. Your doubt added fuel to my fire and I appreciate it very much! By the way, how is your fitness level? Have you changed at all? No? That's what I thought.

So, here we go! I will have another post after I get back to tell you about my experience. I am really looking forward to it!

Happy 2011! May it be filled with joy and finding out what you can accomplish when you put your mind and body to it. Will it take work? YEP! All you have to do is start. #getoffthecouch (Twitter people, you know that one!)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The One With a Princess Dress

Hope you enjoyed the tweets on Twitter today. Please click here for today's pics! We are off for Crystal Palace breakfast tomorrow and Magic Kingdom Dessert Party tomorrow. Stay tuned to Twitter! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The One Where You Can Check Twitter

We got back fairly late tonight. If you need a recap of all we did today you can check out my twitter feed @mrbrettyoung and you can click here to see the pics! :)

Have a good one! Hoping to get to the Animal Kingdom in the morning!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The One With the Cinnamon Roll

The castle is green right now. Oh, now it's blue. Oh, now it's pink. Looks pretty quiet over there, right now, as it closed down at midnight.

Well, here we are again. Our first full day at Disney World in 2010 and it was definitely one to remember. Where else can you wake up with a view where you can watch all the ferries and boats come out to start their day, or watch the monorails come from the back of the Magic Kingdom to go out to the resort loop and Magic Kingdom loop to transport guests to and from their destinations. Again, feeling truly blessed to be where we are and definitely not taking it for granted! :)

Today was Beckie's birthday. She is cough cough 28 cough cough now and, of course, if you know my sister, she likes to do everything "her way" when she can get away with it. Plus, she told us yesterday, "it is my birthday, we are going to do what I want to do!" and we were ok with it! Mostly we did it because, let's face it, she wanted to go to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Plus, have supper at Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. OK! We will do what you want to do. Sigh, what a hardship! ;)

We started off by getting up and heading over the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours in the morning. This is where resort guests get in early and the only lands that are open are Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. We jetted over to get FastPasses for Space Mountain (got them) and then head back to Fantasyland to do as many attractions as we could so Chloe could get her fill! Let's face it, she was ready!

These were the attractions we got through in just under and hour:

1. The Carousel (Chloe loves her horses)
2. Mickey's Philharmagic (thanks to YouTube, Chloe pretty much did a running commentary the whole time we were in there of what was going on on the screen)
3. Peter Pans flight (10 minute wait, when it could easily be 45 later on in the day)
4. Snow White (she wasn't a huge fan but liked Dopey waving at her at the end of the ride)
5. Winnie the Pooh (she really liked it)

We then started to back track towards Tomorrowland as we wanted to go get a snack at the Main Street Bakery for breakfast and on the way back Chloe asked if we could ride Buzz. So, of course, we did! I am sure you are all wondering "WHO WON?" Well,! Wow, that is hard to swallow as she is the most NON videogamer in the family (except she plays a mean game of Tetris). Of course, as you can see from the pics (link at the bottom) we always have to take a few corny/funny/"what were they thinking" types of pictures to share. We can't always be the "everyone stand together and smile" family. That's just WAY too boring!

Well, then we headed over to the Main Street Bakery at the recommendation of AJ @disneyfoodblog from DisneyFoodBlog because on her site she said that we all need to try this cinnamon roll that is one of her top snacks at the parks. THIS THING DOES NOT DISAPPOINT! The suggestion to even ask for more icing was something I don't think I could do again! THEY PILE IT ON! It was so GOOD! :) However, to make sure that I kept some sort of healthy eating, I had a bannana and an orange juice before sampling the roll!

Well, with that sitting in our stomachs we then headed over to, yes, Space Mountain (what were we thinking with that thing sitting in our stomachs?) Luckily, we handled it and got to ride on the new and improved Space Mountainn (well at least for us it was). My opinion, it ROCKS!! It is alot darker and I kind of like the fact that you can't see the ride anymore from the que line. It is just more suspenceful when you get into it the ride from the start. Just my opinion! Take it or leave it. Beckie and I were able to ride it another time because of the baby swap for Chloe so we did and then we met up with mom, dad, and Kevin as Chloe saw Buzz Lightyear meeting the kids and she wanted to meet him to. This honestly was the longest line we stood in over the course of the morning. However, Chloe got to meet her "Buzzy" and high five him.

By then it was noon and we decided to head back to the resort to unwind for the afternoon and then get ready for our supper at Ohana. The family went to the pool and I headed to the fitness center to get a short workout out in (weights and cardio) #getoffthecouch (Twitter people). The one thing I will mention is that if you use the Contemporary Resort's fitness center be prepared for a low ceiling and the feeling of being hot and muggy. It was good and I got the workout in but it just felt like a big room with no real organization. Just a pet peeve for me, but again, my two cents! :)

We then all met back up at 4:00 pm and headed over to the Polynesian for our supper at Ohana. As you, again, can see from the pics, it did not disappoint. We always have a terrific meal there and you leave FULL! Plus, If you are a meat eater, this is the THE PLACE!! My recommendations would definitely be the shrimp, the wings, and the pot stickers! Oh, and there is this bread pudding for dessert. Do yourself a favor and once they bring you one you immediately order another one (it is all you care to eat). Trust me, it is THAT good!

Now, after waddling our way out of the Polynesian cause we really couldn't walk with all that food in us, we headed over to Epcot to enjoy the Extra Magic Hours there. We started off by heading into ride Spaceship Earth and then head over and ride Journey Into Imagination (a personal favorite of Chloe's and she can sing the whole song if you want! My 3 year old niece ROCKS!).

Then it was time to head into Captain EO which just opened a few days ago. I still remember seeing this 3D movie in 1988 with my family during our trips to Epcot and tonight I got to relive it! It was very very cool to see the movie again in 3D plus the in house effects were really cool! That theater was really bouncing (I mean it, bouncing)! Definitely give it a shot if you are at Epcot over the next little while.

We then headed over to The Land and found the Soarin had a 35 minute wait time, mostly due to the fact that it was 9:00 pm and that is when Illumination starts. So we received a baby swap pass (Chloe not tall enough to ride yet) and Beckie, Kevin, Dad, and myself went through line while mom and Chloe waited out in the lobby. Now, if you have ever been through that que before, you know that it can get a little boring. So, we were getting a little tired and we started to get goofy. When we get goofy, that is when the camera comes out to capture anything that is going on. I have updated just a few of the pics we took in line. Some of them, will never see the light of day! So, if you are ever in line and see a family with a camera taking crazy pics, come on over and get a few with us! Trust me, we are all about the fun! Plus, the Cast Members were awesome that night and having a good time with the guest and each other! Love seeing that! :) Once we had our ride, mom, Kevin, and Beckie went on again while dad and I waited with Chloe.

We then headed over to The Seas to find Nemo (he keeps getting lost, poor little guy) and have a chat with that turtle named Crush (DUDE! SWEET! TOTALLY! RIGHTEOUS!). Chloe loved it and I love the fact that Crush makes jokes that are clean but that have an adult edge to them!

Well after that we all looked at each other and realised we had had a very full day and we were ready to call it a night. In fact, it is late and I actually just saw the castle lights and Main Street lights go out. Even though the lights have gone out over there, I know that the work continues. In fact, I can see the Tomorrowland Transit Authority track lit up and some Cast Members cleaning the track off with some steam cleaners. Yep, we are that close! :)

Tomorrow, well we have a plan to go to the Prime Outlets in Orlando and then to the Studios later on in the evening. Will that happen? I don't really know. We are on vacation and we will just see.

Have a good one! :)

Please click here to see today's pics

Monday, July 5, 2010

The One With a View from the Top

Well, today was our first full day here in Orlando. As of tonight, I am sitting with my feet up, looking out the window, towards the Magic Kingdom. The lights are illuminating the castle, Space Mountain is glowing, Main Street is alive with the bright lights, I can hear the puffing of the whistle on the train, and I just saw monorail blue and tiel head on by. In just a few minutes I will stop writing this post and go watching the Summer Nightastic fireworks show from our balcony. We are just trying to figure out what channel the music play through on the TV to hear it. More on this just a bit later.

This morning, we started out at the Hyatt Resort at the aiport. We had a great breakfast at their restaurant that was included in the price of our rooms. We then headed back up to the room to wait for our rental vehicle, a very Suburban that fit all of us, our bags, and some other things that I will explain later. It is a very nice SUV and we will definitely be using it throughout the trip to go in and out of WDW (mostly to go to the outlets, lol!).

We then made a trek over to the Orlando Premium Outlets for an hour and a half whirl wind shopping marathon because we wanted to hit the 4th of July sales that went into today, as well. You Americans have some amazing deals, I will admit that! No wonder most of our clothes are bought in the States! :)

Next, we headed over to Publix to stock up on groceries for our kitchen at Bay Lake Tower. We purchased breakfast items, drinks, and a few snacks. Most of it is stuff that we don't have in Canada. I even purchased my first "energy drinks" and will try them eventually (guess I had to try them at some point to see what they are all about ;) ).

Next, well, the moment Chloe (and all the rest of us) have been waiting over seven months for had arrived. We headed up the interstate and crossed through the gates of Walt Disney World property. I don't care what you say, the second you go under that sign, there is this feeling of "ahhhhhhh, I feel so much better!" As we made our way down the road Chloe pointed out the Tower of Terror, the "Big Ball", the "Swans" (Swan Hotel), the monorails, and everything that had even the slightest resemblance to Mickey Mouse.

It was then that we went "under the lake" and headed up the hill to where we caught a glimpse of the castle and to the left, well there it was, the Contemporary Resort and, right behind it, Bay Lake Tower! Never, in a million years did we ever think that we would be staying here. It was only until I received a promotional code for 40% off that we decided to give this a shot. So, it was up to the check in desk where we were greeted by Gabriella and Tobie who did a wonderful job of welcoming us "home" and getting us ready. When we made our reservations 7 months ago we did do a bit of research as to different room requests and Beckie (sister extrordinaire) and found one that caught her eye. Well, long story short, when you ask really really nicely, dreams sometimes do come true. Gabriella presented us our welcome package and low and behold the room Beckie wanted was granted to us. Beckie almost burst into tears at the front desk and she had to catch her breath. Again, as you can see from the pics, we were NOT disappointed with what we found! This place is absolutely incredible and we know that this is probably a once in a lifetime stay for us and we are going to appreciate every single moment that we can!

After admiring the view and getting unpacked, we decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom to pick up our passes and get our Table in Wonderland card (gets us discounts all over the place for meals). As I am coming back in January to run the "Goofy's Race and a Half Challange" (and hang out with some REALLY COOL PEOPLE), I got an annual pass. As we were heading back to get ready for our dinner date with Mickey at the Contemporary I did what any Annual Passholder can do; I went up to the Magic Kingdom gate, went in and walked right out again! I have christened the pass! WOO HOO! Chloe then asked if we could ride the monorail so we rode it back to the Contempoary.

It was then time to go and meet Mickey for supper and of course Chloe got to see all of her "friends" and we had a great meal. Anyone that complains about that buffet, give your head a shake! It was AWESOME! The characters were amazing and Minnie even spent over five minutes just hanging out with Chloe and flirting with her uncle (blush). Chloe has not changed in the last three years that she has been here. Everytime she sees her "friends" she flaps her arms and laughs and laughs. Tonight, was no exception and to us, it was priceless to see her smile from ear to ear! She is a Disney girl through and through.

Well with our bellys full we headed over to pick up our mugs so we can get drinks for the length of our stay. We have even thought about bringing them back on our next vacation to use again. NOW, I am so kidding when I say that as I KNOW that is against the rules. So, Twitter people, no yelling tweets at me about that! :)

We then headed back to the room and got changed to go and take advantage of an hour at the pool. That was what I was most looking forward too because it seemed like a pretty cool place to hang out. It did not disappoint and even when the skies open up and started down pouring, we just kept on swimming; unlike everyone else who bolted for the indoors. Suck it up people, it's rain! You are already in the pool! Rolling my eyes right now! :)

Now, we are back and just hanging out in the room waiting for the fireworks to start at the Magic Kingdom. We found out that the music plays out of channel 20 so we can hear the music and watch the fireworks. BACK NOW from watching the fireworks!! WOW!!! That "storm the castle" scene!! AMAZING!!! Plus, ummmmm, having the fireworks right outside our balcony....BONUS!

On the agenda tomorrow:

IT IS BECKIE'S BIRTHDAY SO PLEASE TWEET @wdwgirl1 a very happy birthday! We will be celebrating at the Magic Kingdom for the day, have swimming time, and then head over to Ohana for supper!

Again, please feel free to follow along on Twitter as I will tweet as much as I can throughout the day!

Have a good one!

Please click here to see today's pics!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The One With the WiFi on a Plane

Well, here we are! We made it "home"!! WOO HOO! We touched down at Orlando International about three hours ago and are about ready to crash in our beds at the Hyatt Resort here at the airport.

Some of you are probably saying, "huh, you mean you are still at the airport and now at WDW? What's up with that?" Well the code that gives up 40% off our suite at Bay Lake Tower does not start until tomorrow so we decided that, just for tonight, to just hang around the airport and look around and relax. When we land we are in a rush to get "on property" as fast as we can and when we return to the airport to leave, we never have a chance to look around. Tonight, we had that chance.

However, lets rewind this machine back to this morning.

We started off at home and left for Minneapolis around 10:30. The plane ride was uneventful (it always is). Chloe (niece) was an amazing little flier! She is 3 years old and this year she had her very own seat which she was thrilled to have because it meant she could look at the window and just have her own space. Those parents who dread taking their little ones on flights, sorry about your luck! :) She was incredible and just did her own thing which included playing with her toys, making up stories for us, and singing songs.

When we touched down in Minneapolis we had quite a wait at customs to get through as many planes had arrived at the exact same time we had. When I finally got up to the customs agent he looked at my passport and started looking at me very strangely. For a moment he wasn't sure if he was going to let me through. "You look nothing like this picture in your passport," he said. "Have you lost some weight since having this picture?" I then went on to explain to him that I had made some big changes in my life and I thought he was going to just throw the passport back at me and tell me to take a hike. Instead, he looked at me and said, "got any tips to help me out?" I had a good laugh and told him a few things that worked for me (running, eating better, blah blah blah). Maybe it is time to get the pic redone! :)

Anyways, we continued on and made our way to the gate for Orlando. That flight, which is three hours was gone in a flash. Why? Well, as we were sitting down, dad turns to me and points up to the area where you control the lights and air, and there, in all its BEATIFUL GLORY was a "WiFi Connection Spot" (and the angels sang HALLELUGHA!!). So, once we hit 35,000 feet I figured out how to connect my blackberry to it and for the rest of the time I talked to @tiffiniholland @coryholland (who got to meet the Rollofs today from Little People Big World....very cool!!!) @b_bmom and @bonnieg88 over BlackBerry Messenger. Thanks to them for keeping me occupied because my self diagnosed ADD was starting to kick in!! Plus there was talk about a club I wanted to join! ;) It was awesome and by the time we were done chatting the pilot came on and said, "PUT ALL THOSE THINGS AWAY CAUSE WE ARE LANDING THIS THING!!!" Well he didn't really say that, but that's what I heard! All in all, that was the best 5 bucks I have spend all trip (so far) to get that WiFi. Highly recommend!!!

As the plane dropped and dropped I started getting that "feeling" (you know that one I am talking about) when you are going back "home"! Tonight, I made my 27th landing into Orlando and I still had that feeling. Then that lovely lady that brings me cookies and water (one that was very cute, may I add) said "Welcome to Orlando" and the biggest smile came on Chloe's face, and mine too.

We then went and got the bags, checked into our rooms for the night and went to get something to eat. Well of course, on the way to get something to eat, we passed by the Disney Store in the airport terminal and Chloe just had to go in. Yeah, it was Chloe that wanted to go in....not her mom, dad, grandma, grandpa....or....her...uncle.....yeah! ;) Anyways, she made her first (but certainly not last) purchase of the trip as she picked up a Tinkerbell stuffy and is sleeping with it now in her bed.

Also, as you will see from the pics (link at the bottom of this entry, where they will always be) we also went into that "other" store and I picked up a chocolate frog and a bar of Hunnydukes chocolate to try (all tied in with the Wonderful World of Harry Potter at Universal....maybe you have heard of it). I would highly recommend the Hunnydukes chocolate bar that tasted like hot chocolate but the chocolate frog was BLAH!!!!! Plus, it was 10 bucks. All it was was a hunk of cheap chocoloate shaped like a frog. SAVE YOUR MONEY PEOPLE!!! I threw it out! BLAH!

Well, when we returned to the room I went out onto the balcony and the skies were lit up with fireworks from all over Orlando. We could see fireworks from downtown Orlando, Magic Kingom, Epcot, and Universal Studios. They were all going at the same time. It was absolutely incredible to see.

Now, we are all getting ready for "night nights". Chloe has given us all hugs and kisses and we are ready to finally get this show on the road as we check into Bay Lake Tower and hit Disney World full force tomorrow. On the agenda tomorrow we have the following:

1. Go to the outlets for an hour (if we can, Beckie has coupons she wants to use at Coach) plus I have a Lacoste fetish so I will probably stop there
2. Go to Publix for groceries
3. Check into Bay Lake Tower
4. Get our passes for WDW
5. Get our Tablel In Wonderland card for dad
6. Have Supper at Chef Mickeys
7. Hopefully have a nice relaxing evening at the resort because we want to see all of it. Plus, maybe get in a swim before the end of the day

We will see how this all plays out tomorrow. All I know is that we are finally HERE!!! It is awesome!!!

Please feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrbrettyoung as I am updating constantly with what we are doing.

Have a good one!

Click here to see today's pics.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The One With the Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well with the chime of the midnight bell that means that the 4th of July is here. Happy Independence Day to my buddies down in The States. Also, that means WE ARE OUT OF HERE!!! Leaving in a few hours for the airport. Walt Disney World Here we come! That's all I need to say! Hopefully will have internet access tomorrow night o clue you in on what happened to us throughout the course of our travel day.

Have a good one! I know we will! :)