Push Away the Screen: Disney Dark Side Hollywood Studios 2017

by jennifer26. April 2017 13:23

For the 2nd consecutive year, the #TampaTrio and I have make the trek to the House of the Mouse. We started this tradition last year (you can read about those posts HERE) and I knew it would be one that would continue...hopefully forever. I can really imagine the kids coming home from college during a weekend in April to wog a 5K with their mama. I hope it comes true. 

Walt Disney World offered me two guest tickets to explore a park of my choosing. This year the kids and I, even more so than in years past, really wanted the complete Star Wars experience, so we decided to go to Hollywood Studios. I registered all our tickets online and synced the app and the magic bands (that we had from last year) and we got in pretty quickly. Mind you, the park opened at 9am, and we were rolling in close to 11am because we went to the Dark Side Expo first. Once in the park we got Ronin's special needs pass and we were off!! 

The kids decided that they needed some new ears. That they had outgrown the princess and toddler themed ears of their much younger days. And they kept the Star Wars theme going strong!

While we were still in the gift shop we suddenly heard the Star Wars theme music begin to play, and play loudly! We (oh so gently Wink) put the ears down and ran outside to see what was going on!

 

I am glad that we had that opportunity to see the Imperial March. Right after the march we went over to see if we could sign the trio up for Padawan training. But we were too late. All the spots were taken. Oh well, there was still plenty of Star Wars left for us to see.

In fact, we got to meet KYLO REN!

Touring through Star Wars Launch Bay was really the highlight of our day. It was air conditioned and full of everything Star Wars.

We also went on the Aerosmith rollercoaster. It was the first time for all of us and it was so much fun! None of us had any idea what to expect and we were all so surprised. One time was enough for Haley and I , but Ella & Ronin went on twice more!

We had a snack and decided to do some more shopping!

Ronin and I had an early morning for the Dark Side 5K, so we all decided to leave the park, head back to our hotel, swim, change, and go have dinner, and that's exactly what we did! We had a great first day at Disney, and can't wait to return next year! Ronin and I are already signed up for 2018, and have decided to visit the Animal Kingdom theme park!

 

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#TampaTrio | Ella | Haley | Jenny | Ronin

Push Away the Screen: runDisney Star Wars Dark Side 2016 Inaugural Event Day 3

by jennifer4. May 2016 11:15
May the Fourth Be With You!! It only seems fitting that I should write my recap of the Dark Side 10K on Star Wars Day. Okay, so here goes nothing. I had to set my alarm earlier than I have ever set it before. I had my wake-up call set for 3:45am, and Flat Jenny was laid out on the bed next to me ready to go!That call came much too quickly as did the alarm on my phone and on my Polar A360. I wasn't taking any chances of oversleeping and missing my race. I dressed, took a selfie and hopped on Disney transportation.Disney transportation was a DREAM! I walked right outside the hotel lobby, the bus was there, I got on, and off we went. We stopped at the other All Star Resorts, picked up a handful of people and soon we were pulling in to EPCOT! It was so cool to see EPCOT in the wee morning light! I made my way over to the staging area, along with hundreds of other people. Amazingly for as many people as were there, it was so organized! I was hydrating myself and waiting in line for the restroom at the same time! I was multi-tasking! I made my way over to the starting corrals, stopping for a quick photo opportunity!I was in Corral E, which was the second to the last corral. Even though I was in the back, I didn't feel like I was in the back because there were so many other people there with me. I was alone, but I wasn't. And for each and every corral Disney did an entire countdown, fireworks, the whole shebang. It was so well done, I actually got chills waiting to start running.When the fireworks went off and the crowd started surging forward, I began to run. Before I knew it I was at mile 1.You can see in the background how many people were there! It was very busy. But at this point we were running on a road so it was quite wide and there was enough room to pass. I was jamming out to Selena Gomez and just enjoying myself! We entered EPCOT and ran through the World Showcase. Hola from Mexico.We left EPCOT and entered the Boardwalk area. Once we made it through Boardwalk it got VERY congested and crowded here. There were more walkers than runners, so unless you wanted to pass on the grass in an area about 6 inches wide you were pretty much forced to walk. I did my best to pass when I could, but I was forced to walk more than I wanted. I was feeling really good. I was happy that I had brought along my own water and towel so I was able to wipe the sweat from my brow and hydrate myself as needed. I could see the Tower of Terror off in the distance and I knew I was doing okay time wise. I still had no desire to stop for any photo opportunities with the Star Wars characters because I had no idea how close the balloon ladies were to me and I was bound and determined to not be picked up! I wanted to finish this race!I hadn't done a very good job of looking at the course beforehand so I honestly had no idea where we would be going, I was just following the crowd! I was surprised when we ran up to Hollywood Studios!  And then we were INSIDE Hollywood Studios!I was still feeling good, still happy, still jamming out to Selena. We ran right in front of The Tower of Terror but it was very crowded (again!!) so I didn't stop to take a photo right up front. We ran out of the park and on to a main road. There was a lot of traffic but I never felt unsafe. Mile 4 came and went!What you can't see in this photo is a giant overpass. It was a big hill and up and down I went. Still no balloon ladies. We went off road into an area that reminded me of Endor. It was soft terrain and I was doing a slow jog, trying to make up time from walking up the overpass. And then there was mile 5! I heard people saying that now that we were off the main road that even if the balloon ladies passed us we would not be picked up because we weren't in any danger. But I didn't let that slow me down! I only had one mile left and I wanted to finish strong! I kept running and running and running. We went through the Wide World of Sports and I was taken back in time to the day before when my trio ran on this same stretch of road and I got a little teary-eyed. I wiped the sweat from my eyes and kept right on trucking. And bam....As I was running in I took a photo. And then the big happy tears started to run down my face. I had done it! I had finished the race. I did not get picked up. I did not get passed by the balloon ladies. I earned my medal!I didn't hang around too long at the finish line. I snapped a few photos and went over to take the bus back to the resort. I had been texting with the trio and they were ready to hear all about my race!  I had to wait about 20 minutes to get on a bus but really it wasn't a big deal at all. I chatted in line with other finishers and the time went by quickly.  When I looked at my data I was really quite pleased with how I did! I had negative splits throughout the race!And while my per minute mile pace was higher than I had been hoping for, it was fast enough to keep me on the course! My heart rate data (which I turned on as soon as the bus dropped me off at EPCOT) shows that I did work hard!My friend Danielle told me that after this race I would be hooked on Disney races. At that time I told her "nah, I won't be hooked I'm not too much of a Disney fan." But she was right! I am hooked! Without a doubt I will do a runDisney event again!!  I had a great time, my kids had a great time and we will be back! And in honor of May the Fourth, this is what I am wearing today!  The ears should look familiar, and my Cardigan has the Rebel symbol and the Imperial symbol on it. Tonight at my library I am hosting a HUGE Star Wars party! I'll share photos of that event later next week. And now I'll leave you with a bit of wisdom from the Star Wars universe.

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Jenny

Lake Buena Vista Resorts and Spa-Reflections Spa Review

by jennifer7. October 2013 14:07
Disclaimer: I received complimentary services. No other compensation was received. Photos and opinions are my own.  Last Tuesday I was invited to spend a day of pampering at Reflections Spa at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa. I received a schedule stating that check-in was at 9:45 and from 10am-11am was relaxation and meditation. I checked in, put on my robe, and went out in to the relaxing room for my hour of meditation. For some reason I just assumed that at a Spa an hour of meditation would take on a yoga like feel, with someone leading a class so to speak. But no. We just sat in this room. With drinks, and cookies, and gossip magazines. I could not relax at all. If I had known I'd just be sitting on my own accord I would have brought a good book to read. My first treatment was scheduled to being at 11am, but I waited an additional 30 minutes, finally being led out of the meditation room at 11:30. I was able to pick 2 services. My first service was a 50 minute Tropical Island Massage – "This ultra luxurious full body massage captures the feel and smells of the island. Surrender your senses and release all tensions as our skilled massage therapists create a massage designed just for your unique needs." It did feel really good and I was able to relax. The oils she used on me smelled so good, I loved it! Immediately upon finishing up my massage, my next service was ready to begin, so off I went for my first ever facial! For my 50 minute facial included a careful analysis of my skin, followed by cleansing, exfoliation and treatment mask application.  She said my skin looked good. Some sun damage, and a few blackheads, but overall it was fine. She asked if I wanted the blackheads extracted. I've never had a facial before. She told me it would hurt pretty bad. I was like "eh, whatever, go for it." Oh it hurt all right. Really bad. I had to have her stop before she was able to finish. Ouch. But she warned me! The rest of my facial was stress-free and relaxing. With my two services completed, next on my schedule was lunch. But I couldn't eat anything but the fruit kabobs. They were good and all, but I told them of my dietary restrictions, and so all I got was fruit. But I did grab some of those cookies for my trio. After lunch was another hour of meditation and I was not up for that, so I changed my clothing and left, smelling of the tropics and feeling refreshed and relaxed. I'd like to come back to Stay Sky with my family. It looks like a great place to #pushawaythescreen. With 498 lavishly furnished multi-bedroom suites, families have ACCOMMODATIONS  room to kick back, relax and feel right at home. All suites feature fully equipped kitchens, granite countertops and appliances including dishwasher, refrigerator, stove and microwave allowing guests to prepare the perfect meal before or after hitting the pool and theme parks.Suites offer two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans and feature additional amenities including in-room washer and dryer, fully equipped kitchen with dishes and silverware, living room, dining room and outdoor balconies. Master bathrooms feature an oversized Jacuzzi tub, his/her sinks and separate walk-in shower.  It's so important when our family travels that we have control over our meals so a fridge, stove, is a MUST for us! But really, the pool area is really high up on our list of activities and this hotel claims to have a good one!"Spectacular, zero-entry pirate themed pool features a 61-foot long pirate shipwreck complete with towering water slide that spirals its way around the underbelly of the ship to splash in front of mom and dad. Poolside sun loungers, hammocks and Jacuzzi add to the relaxing ambiance.The pirate plunge pool is open everyday from 7 am to 10 pm.  Which is AWESOME if you have early risers like I do! I went to Lake Buena Vista Resorts to experience Reflections Spa and want to go back for another relaxing massage and to have fun with my kids!   Have you ever had a facial? Did you enjoy it?

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Jenny

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