Disney Recap {3 Weeks Later}!


It's been three weeks since our first ever trip to Disney, so now seems like a great time to post a recap.

I never really understood what the big deal was with Disney. Sure, it looked like fun based on pictures I saw and I loved the movies (who doesn't go through life wishing they could burst into song at any given moment), but I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything special.

Three weeks ago I learned I was very, very wrong.

Before I continue, allow me to reference this clip of Kristen Bell on Ellen. In said clip, at approximately 54 seconds in, she states, "If I'm not between a 3 and 7 on the emotional scale, I'm crying," and much of the time, that's me. As great as I am at talking, I am the worst when it comes to verbalizing my emotions. Crying? I'm an expert. Crying when I'm really excited? I'm whatever is above being an expert.

When we walked through the gates of Magic Kingdom, and I had my first glimpse of Cinderella's Castle, I had to take a moment (or several) to compose myself.

When looking at the size of this place and the million and four things one wants to do on their inaugural visit to Magic Kingdom, it can be a bit overwhelming. A tip: just start. It's not going to get smaller and there will not be less you want to do and see, but the great thing about Disney World is it's not going anywhere (in theory). If you miss something, don't worry. Just make a note for your next trip, which we may or may not already be talking about.

Andrew was so wonderful and sweet and never seemed bothered by the fact he was walking around with a 28 year old who resembled a child most of the day. I am not one for standing in lines, but it seemed a small price to pay to "meet" characters and ride rides. And despite spending the entire day Thursday in Magic Kingdom, I left feeling as though I didn't get as much time as I wanted or needed. It was probably one of the most fun days I have had in my life. It is a positively magical place and now, after going, I absolutely understand what the aforementioned big deal is.

Friday was a low key day that ended in Downtown Disney for some live music.

This guy was really good, and even honored my request when I asked for Taylor Swift.

Don't judge me.

Our initial plans for while in Orlando was only to go to one park, but then, after the enchanting time we had in Magic Kingdom, it was obvious another day was necessary.

Hollywood Studios, while not as magical, was awesome. Our first stop, and eventual last stop, was Toy Story Midway Mania, which is a must for any of you planning a trip to Disney. As with most anything in Disney, you'll spend more time waiting to do the ride than the doing the ride itself, but it's worth it.

One of my favorite parts of this park was doing the Animation Academy, though I will be the first to say, drawing and visual art is not my forte in the least. It's just a neat experience and I'd venture to say we'll do it again.

The one thing that I made a priority was seeing the Beauty and the Beast show. This has always been my favorite Disney movie, and seeing come to life was pretty fantastic. It's only half an hour, so even if you're not a huge Beauty and the Beast fan, I still highly recommend it.

After going to Disney World, this is my opinion; if you never go, you're fine. However, once you go, you're obsessed. It is called the happiest place on Earth for a reason. We loved every minute and I can't wait to go back.


Friday Randoms


It's Friday and it's been awhile since I've said anything random in this medium, and today seems to be a good day to change that!

This week...

...I have been working on a Disney recap and it should be done sometime this year.

...work has made me an emotional mess. My dislike for change has been reinforced in the past 7 days.

...The Bachelorette started back and I plan on fully enjoying all the overproduced drama it's going to bring. 

...I've been listening to the Disney Pandora station a lot.

...I'm going to start painting a bench we possibly bought over a year ago. 

...I've enjoyed free coffee from Dunkin Donuts every time the Braves won.

...I saw sweet family members. 

...we roasted marshmallows. 

Overall, it's been a pretty good week, but there are a few aspects I won't recap because there is really no point. When not great things happen, and we're walking through a hard season, I remind myself it is temporary, and I am not called to focus on the temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18). God brings us to and through certain things not to tear us apart, but to set us apart. To make us ready for what he has set in place for us. This week has reminded me of that above all else, and for that, I am thankful.

Happy Friday!


What's In A Name?


[This piece was originally written for an online publication]

There aren't many teams to get a standing ovation after suffering a 40 point loss in their inaugural game and probably fewer who have a post season parade after finishing 20-62, but the 1988-89 Charlotte Hornets received both.

When the NBA awarded Charlotte with its first major league sports team, there was no way for anyone to know what the impact it would have both on and off the court. The Hornets led the league in attendance eight times during their first tenure in the Queen City and hosted 364 consecutive sold out games in the Charlotte Coliseum.  To add to this already significant feat, the Charlotte Coliseum was the largest arena in the league, with more than 24,000 seats.

North Carolina is known as a college basketball state, not professional, and many doubted the longevity of Charlotte's love for their NBA team. But the Hornets found a home in Charlotte and the love for the Hornets ran deep. Losses mattered little and wins were an added benefit of having a team to call their own.

The enthusiasm was unwavering for close to a decade, but as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. After several tumultuous seasons, then owner, George Shinn, received the go-ahead from the NBA to relocate the Hornets to New Orleans in 2002, leaving Charlotte with only a promise of receiving a new team in time for the 2004-05 season.

That team? The Bobcats; an uninspired name for a team that would never quite grasp the hearts the way its predecessor did in a city that had become embittered towards the NBA. They would finish their first season with only 18 wins and averaged 14,000 in attendance. The Queen City, once famous for its passion and volume for the home team, was now, at best, a lackadaisical crowd.

The Bobcats played only their first season at the Coliseum, in front thousands of empty seats, before moving into the Time Warner Cable Arena in 2005. The next nine years did little to give Charlotte a reason to call the Bobcats their own. Between six head coaching changes, setting a new record for the worst season by an NBA team in history (7-59) in 2012, and getting swept in both playoff appearances, there was little room for interest, much less passion, to grow.

Breakups are messy, but reconciliations can be beautiful

In 2012, New Orleans reported they would be changing their name to the Pelicans at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, opening the door for Bobcats owner, Michael Jordan, to submit an application to change the name of his franchise back to the Charlotte Hornets. And on July 18, 2013, the NBA said the words Charlotte had been longing to hear for almost a decade: the Hornets are coming home (paraphrased).

It's been 12 years since the Charlotte Hornets played a game and 10 years of something resembling disdain for the home NBA team here in Charlotte. The question, though, is when the Hornets take the floor next fall, will the name change be enough? Will the familiar sight of teal and purple being back in Charlotte erase the last 10 years of halfhearted fanship?

"I'm in favor of changing the name to Hornets," Muggsy Bogues, an original Charlotte Hornet said. "That name belongs to the city of Charlotte. It will help. But I'm also quite sure the Bobcats know that a name change alone isn't going to do it. It's never going to be exactly the same, but you have to make people feel that relationship again. You have to reach out in the community. But, most of all, you have to win."

The Bobcats never had the support of a community. They entered into a tainted relationship and would never overcome the mountain that had been placed in front of them. And with the city more than happy to close the door on a team that had more mediocre seasons than not, the fans are ready to be apart of what made the Charlotte Hornets more than just a basketball team.

For most, the end of an era elicits feelings of nostalgia, but when the Bobcats played their last game on April 28, the only feelings in Charlotte were of relief. Gone was the team with the worst season in NBA history and in its place, a team whose history in this city brings a fresh start.

Michael Jordan, who scored 51 points against the Charlotte Hornets in 2001, has often said he wants the Time Warner Cable Arena to feel like the Charlotte Coliseum did during the Hornets prime.

"The energy in that building [the Charlotte Coliseum] is what we're trying to get back in this building," Team President Fred Whitfield said. "When you would leave, the fans felt like they had won or lost. They felt they had played the game."

Palpable energy isn't given as freely as it once was, but Charlotte has to be ready to answer the call when given the opportunity. The expectations of bringing back what the Hornets meant cannot solely rest on the shoulders of the five guys on the hardwood. To truly bring the buzz back, those lucky enough to fill the seats have to remember, or discover, what it means to be passionate about an NBA team.


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