“I know you, I walked with you Once Upon a Dream,”

As I somewhat promised, here are my tales from visiting all four parks in Disney World!

So, if you’ve been to Disney World lately, you know about Magic Bands. If you haven’t, they’re these bands (shocking, I know) that get you into the parks with your ticket information and you can also use them throughout the parks to charge things to your room…and yes, it’s as easy, fun, and financially dangerous as it sounds! I bought some “band-its” from the Disney Store’s website to accessorize my band. My friend Hallie had ordered a vinyl decal from Etsy to decorate hers with, but it failed to arrive before we departed for the trip. I felt bad and decided to share one of my Dalmatians with her; I got Pongo because he is my favorite, so I gave her Perdita. I had Patch left from the set I bought and decided to basically force Emily to wear him on her band so we could be a beautiful Dalmatian family together. Sadly, just after Day 1, they both lost theirs. I lost my Pongo briefly 4 times, because sadly it was quite easy, so on all of the rides I constantly was grabbing and checking my wrist to make sure Pongo didn’t fall off. They need to make those more secure! Next time, I’m going to do what Hallie did and order some vinyl decals off of Etsy….but like, several months in advance. I think she ordered hers about a month before the trip but still.

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When you can’t get into Cinderella’s Castle for a fancy dinner, you at least have to get a classic picture in front of it. And when you’re walking by and see Stitch chilling right before you Main Street, you can’t help but jump in line before it gets super long. We were so excited when we discovered that they had added Rapunzel’s tower, but didn’t get any decent pictures…and that area turned out to be a restroom. We didn’t care, we still came back at night and watched the floating lanterns gleam! And then I completely freaked out when I saw Prince Eric’s (my favorite prince!!) Castle and realized it was the new Little Mermaid Ride, which was just so beautiful and majestic, and the most impressive animatronics I have seen on a ride to date. I already talked about the magical meeting with Ariel in my previous post…and you’ll be able to see below, I’m not the only one helplessly enraptured.

 

When you get over not being able to dine in Cinderella’s Castle, you decide you want to try the Be Our Guest restaurant because you and your friends love Beauty and the Beast. You walk by, and the Beast’s castle is very subtle but beautiful and prominent in the distance, and the bridge to the restaurant is outlined with the gargoyles that decorate the castle prior to end of the curse. Ha, just kidding. You can’t get in there either. The whole week was booked. But it’s okay, we hung around Gaston’s Tavern, had some LaFou’s Brew, and even met Gaston himself! (And while we are all old enough to have some real beer, LaFou’s Brew is a delicious mix of frozen apple juice, something maybe mango, and marshmallow foam to create the hilarious farce).

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Evidently I didn’t save any of my pictures from Animal Kingdom…but I went there, I promise. Epcot was beautiful, as always. I already spoke about meeting Mexican Donald Duck, but enjoy the shot of all of us with him! Also, we found Alice dancing in the streets of their little England and decided to follow her. My hair was already severely ruined by then during that rainy, disgustingly hot day; as you can see, I gave up and put some of my hair back and then stuck a red bow in there to feel cute. But the picture above with me in the background as Alice admires Hallie’s pin lanyard is my favorite of the ones we took with her anyway. How do we have so many pictures of the characters interacting with us like that, you ask? Because Hallie’s older sister purchased a package called the Memory Maker, which saves all of the pictures you take at the park by a cast member as long as they scan your band! We almost forgot to do that when we were leaving Alice, and she adorably said “don’t forget your memories!”, which was both helpful and such an Alice thing to say.

In addition to taking many candid shots with the Memory Maker, sometimes they will add a little magic to your pictures for no other reason than because they can! One of them we expected, because the photographer had instructed Hallie to hold out her arm and me and Emily were to appear shocked. She didn’t tell us why at the time, but we knew it had to be something cool. When the pictures uploaded to the account, we discovered she had added Pascal from Tangled! And we just straight up had no idea that Tinkerbell had photobombed us all.

Oh, and Chef Mickey’s…this was a trip with my friend’s family, and Hallie’s sister has three young boys, so honestly that excursion was solely for them. It’s basically a super expensive breakfast where Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy all come to your table to take pictures with you. I recommend this experience to anyone with young children who tire easily and can’t handle waiting in lines to get pictures with the characters in the parks; it’s a good way to get some great character shots without waiting for at least a half hour (and most often that’s outside in the heat). And the food was delicious; Mickey Mouse waffles, chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate croissants- basically all of the wonderful breakfast things you could imagine are there. I basically only did it because everyone else was and I didn’t want to be alone. I would only do it again if I was with my own children in the WAY, WAYS AWAY future. Otherwise, it’s way too pricey of a venture.

Okay…I saved the best for last.

Guys, they have added so much Star Wars to Hollywood Studios, while so much was also covered up and clearly under construction so there will be even more!! I don’t think I want to go back until it’s all finished. They currently have shows with the major characters periodically throughout the day, including one that is simply called The First Order March, which is precisely what it sounds like. It’s so cool; Captain Phasma exerts her authority and they all march around on her command. One of the days we went there, I wore my BB-8 dress by Her Universe, of course. We went into a building that was partially a prop gallery, partially a theater, and also the place to meet and greet Kylo Ren and Chewbacca. We were there immediately after the opening of the park so the wait to meet Kylo was literally two minutes. But man…it was intense. One of the cast members who walked us in warned us not to “keep him waiting”. Then we walked into the room…he just stood there, staring at us. Emily made the hilarious mistake of thinking he extended an arm for her to loop in…and he took his arm away from hers and just stared at her. I’m pretty sure he was getting ready to Force-choke one of us…

Meeting Chewbacca was a much better experience. First of all, I received special, basically VIP treatment for the first time in my life. The young gentlemen cast member that was manning the line instantly struck up a conversation with us. He called me BB-8 and asked me to do my best impression. While I thought I did an amazing job, he thought I sounded more like Blue’s Clues. Hallie and Emily laughed. I then explained the specific scene I was going for and did it again, and they all agreed that one was better. He then told us to come back in a few minutes and he would do something for us. Still super early for park hours, we had a little fun in the other parts of the building with hardly any crowds around. I pretended to drink blue milk and almost traded goods with a Jawa:

So we came to our new buddy and he brought us to the front of the line to meet Chewbacca!! Such a magical moment. I think the wait time for everyone else was almost a half hour…I would have felt bad for the people in line if I didn’t feel so cool for being selected for such a neat privilege…even though I think he did it because he felt bad for saying my awesome BB-8 impression sounded like Blue’s Clues. And the second we walked in the room Emily already felt much better, and even explained to Chewbacca and the photographers what happened with Kylo Ren. The photographer rose his arms in the air and exclaimed “you tried to touch him?! Why would you try to touch Kylo Ren?!” while Chewie just shook his head at her.

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Oh, and Hallie and I did this (and by pure coincidence, it was on Natalie Portman’s birthday):

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I think I make a pretty cool Aayla Secura.

OH WAIT!

I almost forgot!

I think I mentioned my pin lanyard at least briefly in the previous post, so naturally I have to show you how it ended up after a few purchases and trades:

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Dodger (from Oliver and Company) and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit were trades, while I bought the Han and Leia set for myself despite its’ clear Valentine’s Day packaging. I mean, I’ve bought myself chocolate on Valentine’s Day before..same thing, right? And Spider Girl came from a mystery pack with a handful of different Marvel pins; we all agreed to buy the pack and split the cost because Emily was desperate for the little Captain America she saw on the packaging. Because she wanted him so badly, we decided that she would get him if he was in our pack, which he was! For the rest, we had planned to fight over who got which pin. Hallie kept Hulk for herself and used She-Hulk and Venom to trade pins for her niece who couldn’t make the trip due to illness. I had contemplated trying to trade my Spider Girl but in the end, she was just too damn cute to give up…for now.

This is the end of my Disney World tales…until next time!

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“A dream is a wish your heart makes,”

As you may recall (that is if you even somewhat read this blog “regularly”), I went to Disney World just a few weeks ago. While I intend on sharing a full report of all of the wonderful things I did there, all I wanted to remind of you in this moment is that I am obsessed with Disney.

Here I am, absolutely beaming while meeting my favorite Princess, Ariel:

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She asked my friends and I about our “thingamabobs”, aka our pin lanyards, and which pins were our favorites. I naturally pointed out my Ariel pins to her and she freaking loved it. Her photographers implied that I was pandering but I told her that she was genuinely my favorite, in which she laughed and recalled a tale about other little fish she met whose mothers would for some reason force them into saying Ariel was their favorite when really she wasn’t. My love is pure! She even offered to take some solo shots with me because she is my favorite. My goodness, Disney World is so damn magical, despite the 102% humidty that ruined my hair every single day I was there.

Here I am meeting Donald in Epcot’s Mexico, where he is dressed to match his location:

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And it was on his birthday, to boot! I was especially ecstatic to meet Mexican Donald because half of my heritage is Mexican, and Donald’s involvement in The Three Caballeros is one of the few things Disney has done involving my heritage. I also sort of count The Emperor’s New Groove, because Kuzco is Aztec and so is my family, technically (my uncle David had this DNA test done to see his precise lineage and Aztec was part of that).

But in just a month, I’ll get what I’ve been waiting several years for: a Hispanic/Latino Disney Princess! Even though she is debuting in a TV show on the Disney Channel rather than a feature film, I’ll take what I can get.

I AM SO EXCITED FOR PRINCESS ELENA OF AVALOR!! You know what makes her extra cool?! HER FIRST NAME IS MY MIDDLE NAME!!! AND LOOK AT HOW DAMN PRETTY SHE IS:

And she is wearing red, which is my favorite color!! While I was excited anyway, I got even more excited when I watched Disney’s latest trailer, because it shows that she’s super badass and knows how to use a sword and has this flying cheetah companion…just look for yourself. She’s so damn cool. Dare I say it, she’s what I’ve been waiting for.

 

I haven’t watched a Disney Channel show in years…not counting Star Wars Rebels; that’s Disney X D. Okay, well I watched just a little bit of The Lion Guard and was massively disappointed. I’m so excited for this show, though. I’m so excited to feel represented as a Latina. I still want a movie princess, but hey, it’s pretty cool that they’re doing a show, so we can see multiple adventures!

While we only have a month until we can watch this show, we have at least a few years before Disney Pixar’s Coco is released in theaters.

Coco is Disney’s Pixar’s Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos story. Yeah, I know, the non-Disney Book of Life already did the animated-Day of the Dead-story thing. But they did it terribly, or at least I was massively disappointed in the story and the way it was done. I don’t even care that Disney Pixar isn’t the first to do an animated Day of the Dead story. I just want them to do a much better job. I have faith that they will. I could go on about what’s wrong with Book of Life but I’m tired. If you really want me, to, though, mention so in the comments, and I’ll do that soon!

 

“And the stars look very different today,”

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that I am a fan of Star Trek as well as of Star Wars…so I’ll say it now! I’m a fan of Star Trek! Unlike my lifelong fandom of Star Wars, though, I’ve only been aware of the beauty of Star Trek for maybe like…5 years now? One of my best friends, Jeff, showed me the 2009 Star Trek reboot and I loved it, I found it exhilarating and I became attached to the characters quite easily. After easing Hallie and I into the Star Trek realm, Jeff showed us some of the original films as well with the original series cast and a few with The Next Generation. Although I must admit I’m more invested in the reboots, I love Star Trek as a whole. I love the idea that it’s our future, that Captain Kirk is from Iowa, that we would have Starfleet in our universe, that money won’t matter (I refer you to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in which the gang goes back in time to the 80’s and William Shatner’s Captain Kirk is all like “oh yeah, they still use money here”), and other wonderful things, like diseases being more curable (I refer you to the same film as I just did a moment ago).

Again, it’s the reboot cast that started my second major space saga love. And that is why the news of Anton Yelchin’s death at just 27 years old is especially heartbreaking to me. I love his Chekov, he was so adorable and endearing. Here is the moment my friends and I fell for this sweet Chekov:

 

I was so fond of this moment that Jeff bought me this for Christmas that year:

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I haven’t put it up, yet, though. I don’t know why, but I’ve been wanting to put this in my own kitchen someday.

Rest in Peace, Anton Yelchin.

 

Unfortunately the loss of sweet Chekov is not the only reason I have felt great sorrow lately. Actually, to be honest, I’m more upset about a more personal loss. One of my coworkers and friends, Mike Szot, passed away last week. He was only 23. I will miss his smile and compassion, and he was just such a wonderful, kind, and caring human being. And I never got to tell him my recent revelation that he looks like a young George Harrison; I had been refraining for the past couple of weeks, I just didn’t want to creep him out, because obviously that would be like saying “omg you’re so lovely and hot”. It still doesn’t even feel real. I still see tall, brown-haired young men from afar and think to myself for but a moment that it could be him. I know it’s not, but my heart doesn’t want to believe that it’s not. Rest in Peace, my friend. I’ll see you again someday.

 

 

“I can’t understand what makes a man hate another man,”

Simple but meaningful pondering from Depeche Mode. That song was once my personal anthem, my comfort in middle school when I was verbally bullied all of the time. However, this isn’t about my inability to completely forgive the past, but rather, my disappointment and sadness about the present and possibly the future. I’ve been gone for a week, down in Orlando to be in Disney World with my best friends and their family. Sadly, this means I was a mere 25 minutes away from the tragedy that occurred this past weekend in which 49 innocent lives were taken away from us by a disgusting, hateful, pathetic excuse for a human being. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States, and it honestly felt so weird and surreal that this happened so close to where I was vacationing. It breaks my heart that these senseless shootings keep happening here, and that while racism and homophobia aren’t dead, I really thought that we as a country has made some serious strides, but evidently not. This was a massive hate crime against the LGBT community, and perhaps by coincidence (but honestly, probably not), the Latino community as well, considering it was Latino Night at Pulse that evening (in case you didn’t know, I am Latino/Hispanic myself). I know, I don’t mean to bring everyone down by dwelling on how awful and sad life can be…so here’s something you can do to help!

Two of my favorite artists that I follow on Instagram have both done artwork that they are selling to benefit the American Red Cross and the Human Rights Campaign.

Ashley Taylor has already sold out on the prints, which I was lucky enough to order beforehand. But she is still selling digital downloads of the rainbow Cinderella’s Castle (the one that’s at Disney World) and 100% of the profits are stilling going towards the American Cross.

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Oh! And she is also selling digital prints of a rainbow-y Harry Potter World (because that is also in Orlando), and that looks like this:

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The other print I just ordered is by an artist named Dylan Bonner, and he did this beautiful piece:

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And all I had to do for that was email him my mailing address! I’m pretty sure he is using PayPal, but I haven’t received a confirmation email yet because I just placed the order minutes ago via email and I’m sure he’s busy going through all of the orders.

I want to do more, but I’m glad I’ve been able to support the healing of this tragedy through beautiful and heartfelt artwork.

*UPDATE* Maybe like two minutes after I published this post, I saw that BeepBoopBeepClothing is now selling this lovely tank that I’m about to order:

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If you don’t buy any of these things, I honestly urge you to donate whatever you can to the American Red Cross, OneOrlando Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, and/or any other organizations that can help the victims’ families, the survivors and their families, and the LGBT community in general. We all need to rally together with love and support.

#loveislove #stopthehate #prayforOrlando

 

 

“Wanna tell you about the girl I love, my she looks so fine”

This song has been blissfully stuck in my head for a week or two now, ever since I heard it for quite possibly the first time on the radio and the broadcaster introduced it as one of Led Zeppelin’s hidden gems. In my head, I was all like oh I probably know this. But when it came on, it felt so unfamiliar. Dare I say it, I didn’t recognize it. But then, I still had this feeling in the back of my soul like I had maybe heard it before. I still can’t say for sure if I actually knew it before that day or not. But ever since then, it keeps coming on my Pandora stations at work, which is a lovely sign that it’s clearly meant to be in my life. And being able to play my own Pandora stations at work is a very new privilege that’s been bestowed upon me by my new supervisor. I must say, it does make the day so much more pleasant. I no longer have to hear our dreaded corporate radio station, unless someone cranks it. And, adding further to this song’s clear mission to stay in my life, it just doesn’t come on my Led Zeppelin station (that I seldom play anyway; I made the mistake of letting “Whole Lotta Love” play one day and it was so awkward talking to an old man with Robert Plant having a near orgasm in the background); it comes on when I put on the Rolling Stones station, Beatles station, the Psychedelic Garage station…it’s clearly trying to grab me, and it has succeeded. Oh, forgive me; I’m talking about “Hey Hey What Can I Do” by Led Zeppelin. Not ringing a bell? Get to know it:

I love it. It’s so chill, yet still so rock and roll. Kinda bluesy, almost folksy, but it’s still Led Zeppelin. My newfound love of this song has got me thinking…do I know all of Led Zeppelin? Obviously I don’t, which is upsetting because I really thought I had a good grasp of their career. My dad has most, if not all, of their albums on vinyl, and I was particularly fond of Houses of the Holy when I was growing up. I love Dancing Days, and I also liked just looking at the album cover and reflecting on how strange it was, and how apparently it was okay for bands to have naked children on their album covers? I mean, we don’t see anything, and I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be some other weird species rather human so they might not necessarily be children anyway. Alas, that and Physical Graffiti are the only albums besides a two-disc greatest hits compilation CD that I can remember listening to. This needs to change. New summer goal: buy all of the Led Zeppelin albums on CD (so that they can go on my iPod). Listen to all of these albums. Enjoy the enlightenment. Stay tuned for more music revelations.