Push Away the Screen Disney Dark Side Hollywood Studios 2017

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) 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! I just love the look on my kids faces as I stare down Kylo. They all seem so impressed. Hopefully it's with my "you don't scare me" face, but it's probably not.

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!

                                      

Have you been able to witness the Dark Side at Disney? It's amazing don't miss it!!

Push Away the Screen 2017 GASPARILLA DISTANCE CLASSIC 5K

For the sixth consecutive year our family participated in the Gasparilla Distance Classic. But unlike in past years, this year we all did the 5K. And what a blast we had!!

We started off our morning like we usually do on race day. The kids pick where we go to eat breakfast. This year they picked Dunkin' Donuts.

Not my choice for race morning, but it's what they wanted. I did not eat any donuts. Smile

We arrived, parked and made our way over to the staging areas. Ronin was in a different wave than the girls and I based on how fast he can run. I told him he was welcome to wait and head out with us, but he chose to go with the first wave. He didn't want to take the chance of getting behind any "slow people."

We took a quick selfie, and then he was off with his fast group. His wave left at 9:15am and the girls and I weren't going until 9:45am. I joked that Ronin would probably be done by the time we started. I was only joking, but it turned out to be true! He is one fast little dude.

Haley is in a mood lately where she doesn't want her photo taken, so this is Ella and I just before the start!

And soon we were off! Haley managed to get ahead of us at the start line and we didn't see her for the rest of the race! Ella and I stayed together the entire time, just walking, talking, holding hands, making goals, and just enjoying being with each other. We finished in 54 minutes. Haley and Ronin quickly found us on the bridge and we got a post-race photo!

We went through the Expo so that they could see what was going on. Ella and Ronin both did the line jump. 

Ronin then asked if I thought he might have won anything for running so fast. I hadn't even thought about his time, so I asked him what his finish time was and he said "oh I think like 24 minutes or something." Surprised 24 minutes?!?!?  Could he really have finished in less than half the time it took me and Ella?? So off we went to check out the race results.

And you know what? He won something!

We knew for a fact that he placed in the top 10% of his age group and he won a cool coffee mug. But what we didn't know until the next day is that he finished in the TOP 3% OF ALL RUNNERS!!! He finished 593 out of over 10,000 runners!!! How amazing is that?? I am so proud of him.

Here's a little flashback photo. The trio at their first Gasparilla in 2011 and at their sixth in 2017. They grow up so fast. 

We had a very nice time at the 2017 Gasparilla 5K and are all looking forward to 2018. Though Ronin will be in a different age-group, so he better get to training!

 

Florida PrePaid Open Enrollment ends SOON

You don't want to miss out on the reduced application fee for the Florida Prepaid College Savings Plan!! Depending on how many children you have, this can be a very significant savings. I have three kids. But you already know that. And you already know that I have Florida Prepaid accounts for all 3. You also know that my husband and I have worked very hard to pay those accounts off in full. 

But what would happen if our family decided to move out of state (say to North Carolina) but the kids decided that they wanted to come back to attend college in Florida? Would we lose all that money? The answer is NO. But not only that, the kids (or their parents, cough cough) would be billed at in-state tuition rates when using their plan at a Florida college or state university. That's pretty huge in my mind. With so much that Florida has to offer, it wouldn't surprise me if the kids wanted to come back here to go to college (of course, that's provided we ever move out of state, which who knows?!?!)

But it does give me a great deal of comfort knowing that the kids can always come back to Florida and receive Florida tuition rates, which is a HUGE savings. Plus you can save MORE when you enroll your kids by FEBRUARY 28.  

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