Disney vs. Disney

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I finally got to get my happy butt to the original Disney property this year. It was pretty cool to see finally, especially with the Disney craze that has been this house the past few years. It got even better when I had company, who happened to be an experienced Land-goer. Honestly, Disney World is still tops for me, mostly because it’s my first Disney memories, where I’ve taken my kids…but Disneyland most definitely now holds a special place in my heart. Disneyland: Walt walked these streets. He lived in the apartment above the fire station when he did. He mingled with guests. His light is still on, always on, to show that he’s there. Always there. Disney World: Walt inspired the concept of the parks, he was in the minds of the designers, and remains so, as they expand and change. He never walked the streets, he unfortunately passed away before it was built. Disneyland: California Adventure Park.  Once a bit of an embarrassment, it is pretty awesome these days.  (Let’s just not talk about what they did to the Tower of Terror, ‘kay?). Cars land was really neat to see, as immersive as Hogsmeade at Universal…so, so cool. I spent a bit of time in Cars Land. The pier with the fair themed games and rides really made me happy. I loved every ride I went on here, pretty much. Disney World: Epcot. Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios. Three parks to one. It’s sort of tough to beat. I have always been a huge fan of Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. Not so much Animal Kingdom, but it hasn’t really managed to get a good, thorough visitation from me for many reasons. Although, Mt. Everest is way, way at the top of my favorite rides. We’ll talk about the construction downsides soon. Disneyland Magic Kingdom: Cramped. Nostalgic, yes…but cramped. Dead ends everywhere. Weird rides bundled together in a loosely-tied theming…just to keep ‘up to date’. Really liked my guided tour with my buddy learning the facts and one word: Matterhorn. I don’t know, it just felt like a cramped mishmash. I did really enjoy going on several classic rides and the Matterhorn, though. Single Rider is a lifesaver there, though. Do it, even if you’re in a group. You’ll save a TON of time. Disney World Magic Kingdom: More open, less confusing, and really, I just prefer it, even if they don’t have the Matterhorn. 😉  The lands make more sense with the theme tie-ins, and the rides feel like they haven’t been shoved in because there’s no room to grow. Downtown Disney vs. Disney Springs: No comparison. Disney Springs (although at times seems too big) wins. The end. Construction in the midst of magic: We all know Disney has to innovate. I was fortunate enough to not see too much construction in Disneyland (I didn’t approach the SW or GotG construction areas), but scuttlebutt going around is there is about to be some pretty hefty work going down in DCA in 2018.  Disney World has been overrun with construction. Last time I went I didn’t even venture into Hollywood Studios but for about two hours to do Star Tours and have lunch because there was so much closed. In the coming years, Epcot will be seeing a ton as well. Although, that needs it…but still. It’s a lot. A lot, a lot. Clearly, going as an adult has its downside. You’re an adult and you notice these things. My kids? Not so much. Still, I love both parks in their own way.  I can now say I’ve been to Disneyland, enjoyed myself, and it will hold a special place in my heart. I’m not in a huge rush to return, though. Disney World, on the other hand…I’m going later this month, and I just went in September…so, I think it’s still a winner, winner chicken dinner in my book.     Read more »

On the Book Shelf – December 2017

Woah, boy has it been a while since I’ve done my reading report.  After July I seriously slowed down a LOT on my reading.  I’ve hit 154 books, and hopefully will meet 160 by years end, if I finish everything I’m currently reading. Because it has been SO long since I’ve done this. I’m going to highlight a few books from months past, and will likely do the same over the next couple of months.  Life is about to get crazy busy with a new job and lots of writing to be done, so hopefully next year I can do at least a third as well as I did in 2017. 🙂 So, without further ado, here’s what I’ve read, and what I’m reading now will follow closely after. What I Read Life changing. I actually had seen this on netgalley a while back, but not knowing what it was didn’t click “request”.  Then a friend mentioned something on twitter about #oola, and I got intrigued, then remembered seeing the book and requested it. I got approved, but it sat on my Kindle for a while…until one weekend when I had some time waiting around while doing a little bit of work…and so I went ahead and started this. I’m not sure why I did…but I’m SO glad I did. I could go on and on, but the short of how much I liked it is this:  I bought the print version of the original for him. Then, I bought the print version of for myself…having it on my Kindle was not enough. I wanted more. The voice is good and easy to read, the stories told are sometimes of the eye-rolling variety with some very wealthy people talking about things I could only dream about…but it didn’t detract from the core message.  The core message that you’ll be hearing a bit about as I work on it. I have a long way to go to find my oola, but I’m excited for the journey.   I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. All my friends read it WAY back in high school…but I never did, no clue why. A couple-few years ago, we watched the movie based on the book. It was slightly memorable, but we haven’t watched it since… And yet, when I started listening to this, I knew the narrator sounded distinctly familiar. It had been some time since I had seen the movie, but I swore the narrator was one in the same. A quick check and I found it that it was! Stephen Fry gave a fun, quirky read for this fun, quirky book.  It was an enjoyable listen for sure. I grew up watching the syndicated reruns of the Carol Burnett Show. I love it. I laughed with it. I have many good, fond memories of the show. This book was read by Carol herself, which is awesome.  The stories were a mix of details over how the show got created, how she knew some of the guest stars before they appeared, and other behind the scenes magic…along with fantastic retelling of some of the best skits, which sometimes got our wonderful narrator chuckling at the stories herself. A fun listen, and even had me in tears as she spoke of the final episode, and her closing monologue.  Definitely worth a listen if you ever watched the show.     I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while. I’ve been told time and again that I should read it. Since I once worked at B&N in the late 90’s (one of my favorite jobs), I’ve been hearing about this one. By luck of the draw, I picked it off my shelf using random.org to select a book on my shelf. I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it!  It was a quick read, and very interesting. The set up of the world was perfect, descriptive, and drew me in. Loved the introduction of color into it. For once, I totally understand why people were telling me to read it. Very good, and I highly recommend. Not sure if I’ll read on, as I have a mountain of books on my shelves…but definitely enjoyed it.     I got this a while ago, started reading it, then stopped. Then got the audiobook and didn’t finish before my borrow period ran out. Then hubby got it and read it all the way through and raved (never mind that I told him about it first…it took someone else telling him aobut it to read it.).  So, finally, I got to borrow it again and listen all the way through. First, if you didn’t know, this is read by Wil Wheaton. I’m a big WW fan…have been for years.  His voice is perfect for this bit of nostalgic geektastic fantasy. I really liked all the fun mentions of classic 80’s pop culture. You can’t help but grin at all of the many references.  The action is interesting, and kept me wrapped up in it, worried about how it would come out.   What I’m Reading Now I am a huge little house fan. Have been since the age of 4. I read them 18 times between the ages of 4 and 18. Over and over. One of the few books I can claim to have re-read. So, when I happened to see this book show up in my facebook feed, I knew I had to get it. And I did. Set during the Little House on the Prairie novel, but told from Caroline’s perspective, it’s an intriguing look at Ma Ingalls…a character I’ve always been fascinated with and staunchly picky about in any screen-rendition of (but let’s not get into the TV show or mini-series, we’ll be here forever). I’m about 1/3 of the way through it right now.  The writing is stunningly lyrical, the imagery beautiful.  My biggest hiccup, and it’s all my own issue, is getting my brain to register that this is Ma Ingalls…and it’s not a book for kids…because there is talk of her attraction to Charles, and their intimacies. A hurdle I will happily get over, because I have to continue reading it. I got most of this series off of netgalley (one of them is not available for some reason). I’ve barely scratched the surface of it, so I have not thoughts yet, but it seems like it will be a quick enough read. If I can ever remember to open my Kindle to read with all of the print books I have lying around.   Okay…I had heard nothing about this book, seen nothing about it, knew nothing of its existence. I went to the library to get the next book in the line, and had no intention of getting anything else, but I cannot go to the library without meandering. The bright neon colors on the spine of this book called to me, and the title of “Meddling Kids”. I opened it up and read the blurb, and instantly knew I had to borrow it, even though it was on the new shelf, which meant a short borrowing period. It’s basically a different version (yet totally familiar) of the Scooby Doo Mystery kids…all grown up, years after their last catch has passed, all still haunted by the inexplicable things that happened that night, which can’t be explained away by the very human man they apprehended. Seems like a fun, slightly kooky read.   I know next to nothing about this book. Honestly. I am pretty sure I’ve seen it on the library shelves, the title and cover seem familiar…but it is nothing I’ve picked up before. I blame this library borrow on the TV advertisement for the show that’s coming out based on the book. I thought the show seemed interesting, mentioned it to the hubster and he said, “Is it based on that book?” I said, “What book?” And within 30 minutes I was on my way to the library. So there you go. We’ll see what happens.   *~* That’s it for this month. I decided to go easy on us all, because there are a BUNCH that I’ve never mentioned on here, both good and bad. Hopefully next month some of these currently reading books will be read.   Read more »

by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.

50X50 – Counting Them Down

A few months ago I updated my former 45X45 list to become a 50X50 list. Since I first put it out, I’ve managed to check at least one more item off the list, and we’re about to head into a new year, so I thought it would be a good time to go over it, make sure I still want to do them all, and set myself a goal to finish at least one, if not two next year… Think I can do it? Some of these are kinda crazy-pants.   50 X 50 Take a real vacation. (Not to Buffalo, not w/ the kids) (Done 4/23/12) Take my kids to Disney World. (Done, thanks to Make-A-Wish 10/28/14) See my name in print (get published, e-zine, paper-zine). (Done 6/24/12 – Sirens Call June 2012 Issue) Have a novel published. (Done 2/8/13 – Changing Tracks & 17 more times [so far] by 7/18/15) Get my Dominion Falls books series in front of a producer. Completely tidy my house. Take a photography class (or 2 or 3) Perform on stage again (done 12/4/15 – Violet Grey in A Charlie Brown Christmas) See Colorado Camp – really camp in the Rockies See Yellowstone Go skydiving. [Yes, I feel slightly insane here] Go to a blogger’s conference. (done 4/23/12) Sit at a book signing/author’s conference. Get on a regular exercise regime & stay on it for more than 3 months. Hand craft (knit, sew) 1 item for ME for a change.  (DONE 4/1/12) Make a complete Victorian era dress from skin out. (underthings complete, corset 50% complete) Get some crazy color in my hair (purple, blue, pink highlites/streaks) Done 2/11/12 Read the Harry Potter series aloud to my girls. (2/3 of the way through by 8/4/17) Sing Karaoke  Get up close with the wolves & photograph them at Wolf Park. Move to Florida. Pay off debt. Get a car that is less than 2 years old Run a 5k. Done 9/22/12  Do something daring (paragliding, zipline, etc.) Done 7/14/12 See the butterflies at the Indy Zoo (Done 3/19/13) Learn sign language. Go on a road trip with a girlfriend Go on a hot air balloon ride See Cirque du Soleil (Done 6/27/2012) Ride a horse – not a trail horse. A real ride on a horse. Volunteer Stop drinking pop Visit Disneyland (Done 5/2/17) Get a tattoo (Done 7/16/11) Go on a Cruise [preferably Alaskan, but I’m not picky] Go on a wine tasting (Done 10/16/10) Get a Henna tattoo Take my husband to swim with sharks Fly first class Read at least 50 of the 100 Greatest Novels (I am saying the book can be from either of the 2 lists there. In total I have read 8/50 at this point) Have a real spa day (Done, thanks to Hubs, 7/2014) Visit a real haunted location (Done 7/16/16) Sell a photo Visit Salem, MA Visit both US based Disney Parks in one year. (Done 9/4/17) See a solar eclipse. (Done 8/21/17) Have one of my pictures on the Indianapolis Zoo website. Go through a sweat lodge ceremony.   The newly done items for this year were:  Visit both US based Disney Parks in one year, and See a Solar Eclipse.  Both were done in the past couple of months, and were awesome. Now for 2018, I want to knock off at least two of them.  One I know for sure I’ll be doing is to be sitting at a book signing/author’s conference.  This is happening in March for sure, and I’m super excited.  I’m hoping, maybe, that I can do the first class flight, too…if I can bump up my ticket to the conference I do every year. Oooh, maybe I can find a place to do a sweat lodge. That would be awesome.  What do you think?  Which should I choose?  Or is there something you think I need to add to the list that isn’t there? I’m super open to suggestions. I like having a mix of “way out there” hopes, and some more do-able.  I’d even be willing to bump it up to a higher number to add items in.  😀 Read more »