Thursday, March 21, 2019

Happy Places: What's New at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

One of my favorite places at Walt Disney World makes me so happy that I can't help but smile when I think about it. It isn't an attraction or a restaurant or even entertainment. At Disney's Yacht Club Resort  there is a water wonderland called Stormalong Bay, a sand-bottomed pool (plus a lazy river, whirlpool spas, life-size shipwreck replica and a wild waterslide.)

One day when I was covering at event at the parks, I had a morning free. I decided to either go shopping or chill by the resort pool. I chose the water. I spent a perfect, sunny morning laying by the pool and swimming in the 750,000 gallon pool. It's a unique space that combines the feel of a New England vacation resort + Disney + tropical beach. It's such a perfect combination. I can't wait to take Waverly there and watch her delight as she feels the beach sand between her toes as we wade into the pool.

To make it even more relaxing, debuting this month is a new feature at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. Now guests staying at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can reserve a luxury poolside cabana which includes:

* Padded furniture (chairs and couch)
* Dedicated Disney cast member service
* Cocktail service
* Mounted television with cable access
* Complimentary sunscreen and other skincare products
* Mini-refrigerator stocked with complimentary soda and water
* Complimentary fruit tray
* Plush towels
* Lockable cabinet
* Charging outlets for mobile devices

L and I had never rented a resort cabana on a vacation until our first trip to Hawaii with Waverly. One morning we splurged and reserved a cabana for half the day. It was perfect to have a shaded, comfortable place to relax with the baby with a mini-fridge (we kept several wet rolled washcloths in the fridge!) and a place to lock our things. I'm looking forward to trying out the cabanas on our next trip to Disney's Yacht & Beach Club

Reservations for the cabanas can be made by calling 407-WDW-PLAY. The cost for a half a day (10a-2p or 3p-7p) is $211.94.

Also new at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club (I can't wait until Waverly is old enough to try these!)

Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
For kids age 4-12, the new Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew at Disney’s Beach Club Resort teaches youngsters pirate ways complete with a treasure hunt and pirate feast.  $55 per child (plus tax), starting April 28. To book a reservation, call 407-824-KIDS.

Mermaid School
Guests ages 4 and older can enjoy an hour-long class where they’ll be fitted with a swimmable “tail” and learn to swim like Ariel. Mermaid School will be offered on select dates at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Class is $50/person (plus tax).  To book a reservation, call 407-WDW-PLAY.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

thought for the week: stagger onward rejoicing

There are some quotations that hit me so hard that just for a moment, they take my breath away. Like this one from W.H. Auden's poem "Atlantis." Stagger onward rejoicing. I let the words roll slowly off my tongue. These words have such a visceral feel to me. They mean something. They mean something to me.

I think of this selection often when I am in a pickle, when the day feels wrong and my soul is tired. When you are stuck in the weeds it's hard to imagine that things will get better. When you feel defeated/angry/sad, it's easy to think that this is your life now and forever.

It isn't.

You, we, have bad things happen to us and sometimes we have no control over these things which can be awful. humiliating, sad, traumatic or even just annoying. We can, however, control how we respond to these situations. I have to remind myself that the day won't always be that challenging. Just as things changed from good to bad, they can go from bad back to good. So often I have had to say to myself "Stagger onward rejoicing. Stagger onward rejoicing. Stagger. Onward. Rejoicing." Life is good. We woke up today, another day to inhale air into our lungs. Another chance to make someone else's life wonderful, another opportunity to make your life memorable.

It's OK to take a pause, cry for a moment, have a tantrum, be angry. Then wipe the tears, take a shower, go for a walk, listen to your favorite happy music, clean your slate and start again. Move forward. Let go of what doesn't work for you. Let go of the people who make you feel less than. Pray. Surround yourself with the people and things that bring you joy. Whatever is happening at this moment that is causing you grief or pain is temporary. You are the master of your domain and your future is yours to shape.

I hope this week is a good one for you. Tomorrow is the first day of spring and hopefully the dreary winter weather is behind us. If this week is difficult, you have the strength in you to power through. Maybe you'll have to stagger onward rejoicing, diligently trying to make it through but I know you. Not too far from now, you'll be virtually skipping onward rejoicing. You will.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

the happygirl essentials: On running shoes

Sometimes I don't realize how much I wear something until one day when I take it off and Waverly confiscates it and puts it on. Her current obsession (and mine) are my On Cloudsurfer running shoes.

I have a history with running shoes. When I started to be serious about losing weight and increasing my fitness,  I bought some running shoes based on how cute they were and ended up injuring myself. So, I found a nutritionist, trainer, doctor, physical therapist and podiatrist who could work together to help me reach my fitness goals safely. During our first appointment, the podiatrist recommended two styles, the Mizuno Wave Rider  and Brooks Gylcerin. I bought both pairs and switched off between the two. They were great for my particular foot concerns but I didn't love them. I was still happy to take them off.

I wanted a pair of running shoes that I loved, that would make me want to go farther, go longer, go happier.
My choice: On Cloudsurfer in Ink/Jade

Recently,  I was reading Runner's World and discovered On running shoes, a Zurich-based company born from the minds of a professional three-time world duathlon champion and his like-minded friends. The more I learned about the company, the more I appreciated the high tech background of these shoes. Plus, the reviews were stellar. I took a chance and ordered a pair.  On the day they arrived, I wore them all day running errands, thinking I would need to break them in. At the end of the day, I didn't want to take them off. They were super lightweight and they fit every part of my foot as if an engineer had created them just for me. The support is firm, the push-off bouncy and the landing is soft. The back cuff is perfectly cushioned and hits my ankle in just the right spot. There were no blisters even while I was wearing no-show socks.

For the past few weeks, I have been wearing these shoes almost every day. I still like my preppy black ballet flats but not only do these help me lead an active day with Waverly by my side, but when I do venture out for some miles pushing her jogging stroller, I'm focused on the sunshine and the fact that me and my girl are enjoying an active day together, not how much my feet hurt. I like the message that this sends to her and I love these On running shoes. They're now an essential part of my life (and L's now too!) Now, if only they made them Waverly sized!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Thought for the Week: put your phone down

I felt guilty the second I did it. While I was sitting with Waverly as she was having breakfast, I picked up my phone to scroll through email before starting our day. I glanced up and there she was. My eighteen month-old daughter had a silver dollar pancake in one hand, a strawberry in the other and she was smiling at me, trying to get my attention.


I immediately put my phone down and celebrated her accomplishment of eating with two hands. There was no email or text message more important than my daughter knowing that she was my priority. While she wasn't the best conversationalist yet, she still watched my lips as I spoke and babbled back at me happily when I asked her a question. She deserved my full attention and to be honest, so does everyone else that I interact with.

When you're on your phone around others, this action conveys that what is happening on your mobile device is more important that the people or even the environment around you. I have a friend who is always on his phone. We have gone on extended drives (two hours+) where he stared at his phone the entire trip. I tried starting conversations. He would give me a monosyllabic reply and keep playing with his phone. Once when driving along the coast I said "Look a this. It's gorgeous," pointing to the surf and the sunset. He looked up, nodded his head and went back to a social media app. I gave up and turned the music up.

Spending time with someone who is always on their phone is not only unenjoyable but also a statement of boredom. I never want Waverly (or anyone else I am with) to think that what's on my phone is more important than being with them in that moment. I think of the funny or insightful moments I would have missed had I been looking at my phone instead of focused on Waverly. I think of the beauty I would have missed around me had I been focused on my phone than the amazing beauty of the Colorado Rockies from 35,000 feet above.

This week, see what happens when you leave your phone in another room during dinner. At lunch when you're eating alone, look around you. Maybe you'll be filled with joy watching the way the sun hits the water feature outside. Maybe you'll catch the eye of someone who is trying to stay off their phone too. Maybe you'll make a new friend.

Waverly taught me a good lesson as she smiled at me and waited for me to look up at her. You can't get back moments in your life. If you don't pay attention you just might miss something wonderful.
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