Back when I first introduced you all to My Daruma Goal of running in the WDW Family Fun 5K next January, I said that I would be posting updates from time to time. Being that today is a monumental day for me in the regard, I figured it would be a perfect time to fill you in on what has been going on.

Weight Loss

scale (1)

Since I have started my 5K training 2-3 times a week, I have unsuccessfully been able to adopt any sort of diet and stick to it. I have yet to find a diet that my body can handle in addition  to the exercise. I have a few more I am looking in to trying. The good news is that I have been really good at not eating fast food unless really necessary, and my soda intake is basically at zero. And although I have not lost a ton of weight, I have not gained. Also, my leg muscles especially are getting stronger and they do say that muscle weighs more than fat… I have not let it discourage me however. I have good days, I have bad days. As long as to good days outweigh the bad, I am a happy camper.

Family Fun 5K


Well, I did it… I am all signed up for the WDW Family Fun 5K. I signed up on Day #1 and I am glad I did. The 5K sold out within a day, as did the 10K, which was just added for this year, and the Dopey Challenge, which is when you race the 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon all during that weekend. Insanity!

Facebook icon to announce you were signed up. :)

Facebook icon to announce you were signed up. :)

Unfortunately, the 5K sold out so fast that Mike, Michelle, and their daughter Jessie didn’t have a chance to sign up. That means that I will be running the race by myself, but they promise to be there at the finish line to cheer me on. Once more, it looks like our very own head honcho Matt and his wife Bethany will be running the 1/2 Marathon two days later. Things are still up in the air if they can make my race to cheer me on (Disney moved the 5K to Thursday to make room for the 10K on Friday), but I am planning on being at the 1/2 Marathon to cheer them on regardless.


May the 4th (Be With You) 5K


This brings me to the monumental day I had today…

A while ago, I found out about the May the 4th (Be With You) Virtual 5K, sponsored by Nerd Herd Running. I loved the premise: people sign up to run a 5K from anywhere around the world and they would be a special medal commemorating the event. The entry fee was $25, with proceeds going to I had no problem wit the fee, but I was worried that I would not be up to trying a 5K by May 4th.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a combination of walking/running anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 miles, and I was able to do it at or under the 15 min/mi mark, which is where I need to be at for January.  However, would I be able to do 3.2 miles? I decided that I would at least attempt doing the entire thing this morning, even though I did not sign up for the event.

Just after 6am this morning, I started out. Each lap around the farm is actually .33 miles, not the .30 miles. That ultimately means 10 laps, not 11. Here is how those 10 laps played out.

Laps 1-3:

Sunrise was upon me, but without the direct rays of the sun, the air was in the upper 30’s. In shorts and a t-shirt, I was cold. My whole body was cold and, moreover, stiff. I did stretch prior to starting out, but the cold was harsh. I was about to give up after Lap 1, then again after Lap 2. However, I stuck it out, walking more than running. By the end of Lap 3, the sun’s rays were hitting me through part of the circuit, which warmed me up.

Laps 4 &5:

These two laps went as planned. I was tired, but got more running in as I warmed up. Time check at the end of Lap 5 brought a smile to my face. After all of the problems I thought I was having in the first half, I was still below the 15 min/mi mark. It was just barely, but it gave me hope.

Laps 6-8:

I learned that speed walking is my friend. Though not much running happened, I clipped by at a brisk walk when not running short distances. I think it’s what got me to the “light at the end of the tunnel”, so to speak.

Laps 9 & 10:

By this time, there was no way I was going to stop, even if I was hobbling. However, that did not happen. I finished the 5K (actually a bit over as well), in what will be a new benchmark at what I need to beat.


I did it! I actually completed my first 5K at under the 15 min/mile mark! Yup, that’s right. I was quite tired by the end of it, but so proud of myself. What was even better was that I was able to sign up today for the May the 4th 5K soon after. Hopefully soon, I will be wearing this little beauty around my neck:


What’s even cooler is that Nerd Herd Running is also sponsoring two more running events: the Happy Birthday Harry Potter 5K & 10K and the Banned Book Week 5K & Half Marathon. Each event will have their own medal and, if you complete all three, you get a special fourth medal, which completes the set and the Nerd Herd logo:


Hmmm… now that I know I can get thru a 5K and still have 8 months to go to improve before January, maybe these Nerd Herd runs are the perfect way to test myself throughout the year. Yes, I think I will take this challenge. WOOHOO! (I never thought I would be excited about running!!!).

Also, I’m signed up to do a Color Me Rad 5K in July at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey (where the Giants and Jets play). That one will probably be brutally hot, but I will be getting doused with a lot of color… trade off, right?


Lastly, I would like to thank you all with your words of encouragement and support. I know that my first article prompted a few of you to take on your own demons and set your own goals. For that reason alone, I am proud to be a writer for this site. Anything beyond that is just icing on this awesome cake that is this community.

May the 4th, and the Force, be with you.



Ever since the first One Woman A Capella Disney Medley premiered on YouTube, Heather Traska has been a force to be reckoned with. She recorded and released more videos, including tributes to Whitney Houston and covers from female favorites Katy Perry, Mariah Carey, and Adele. She graduated high school and entered her Freshman year at Tiffin University. She won a golden ticket at American Idol: the Experience last summer. And that first Disney video? It has garnered over 2 million views in less than two years (it premiered November 2011).

Ever since the first video was released, Heather wanted to do more Disney songs, being that she LOVES Disney (she stated as such the last time we talked). However, she wanted to do it in her own unique style, which involves months of recording and editing and a whole bunch of makeup and costumes. Being that she was into her first year of college, I, for one, was not expecting anything to come from this talented performer any sooner than the end of the year. So, I guess you could guess my reaction when she started posting these teaser photos up on her Facebook page:

553047_524297777615965_1682578715_n 543751_525061934206216_1383552100_n 541748_525450614167348_531385144_n 537857_525816697464073_1143782528_n 532782_527629503949459_1155702270_n

379777_527257270653349_641134472_n 297991_526158434096566_658067673_n 44835_524658967579846_1396954512_n 5472_526631884049221_1361473968_n 935056_526928484019561_987992218_n

That’s right… a NEW Disney Medley! The one thing you may notice is that most of the teasers are of Disney Villains… which is EXACTLY what we got. Last night, Heather released One Woman A Capella Disney Medley Pt. 2… which I am going to dub “The Villains Strike Back”.

This video shows how much Heather has grown in the past couple of years. Her detail of the work, her editing, her singing… all of it trumps what she did in the first medley, which was great by itself. I love how she moves from song to song with little interludes, song injections, and the like. it is also fun to see a plot to this medley… kind of reminds me of Fantasmic!

Earlier this week, Heather took time out of her very busy schedule to chat with me about the success of her first video, details of this new video, and what she has been up to recently:

1. First of all, congratulations on reaching 2,000,000 views on your first Disney medley. Did you ever expect such a response?

Thank you! I really never expected my video to blow up like it did. Making videos is my passion. I love it. And it is such a huge bonus when people like what I do and share my work with their friends and family. It motivates me.

2. What made you decide to do a Disney Villains medley this time around?

Even before I finished my first medley, my friend Anthony and I were discussing the possibility of a villains medley. I had originally planned on featuring Poor Unfortunate Souls in part one, but he asked, “Why not just save all the Villains for later?” So here I am, presenting a second part of my Disney medley featuring, this time, the Villains. But, I am too much of a Princess at heart to make a Disney medley without [Princesses], so it’s more of a Villains medley with a lot of glittery twists.

553047_524297777615965_1682578715_n 537857_525816697464073_1143782528_n

3. I know there was some controversy with your first Disney medley. What happened exactly? Are you worried about this happening again with the Villains one?

Your guess is as good as mine as to what happened. From what it seemed like, it was flagged by a group of viewers as inappropriate. My video was obviously not inappropriate, so YouTube was quick about putting the video back up. My intentions have never been to create controversy. I make these videos because I have been a Disney fan since birth and love paying homage to the classics I grew up with.
And no, I’m not extremely worried about this happening again. It seems unlikely, and I know YouTube does a great job managing the videos on their site.

4. I know, from the teaser photos, that you pride yourself in the makeup and costumes for the shoots. What was the hardest ensemble to put together? Most intricate makeup? The funnest to create?

I love costumes and makeup, and I always have. I grew up doing theatre, and I have always been artistic. I have piles of sketches that I drew when I was younger. I used to hang them up all over my room. I still do that. Actually, all of the sketches from my new medley are hanging on the wall to my left right now. I wanted the looks to closely resemble their respective characters but with a modern and, in most cases, more feminine twist to match my own style. The costume that took the longest to make was the Queen of Hearts. It’s made from cut up shirts I bought at Goodwill, ribbon, and a lot of hot glue. I don’t have a sewing machine, big budget, or much time, so I have to make do with what I can find. The most intricate makeup was by far Scar. Scar’s makeup took over two hours. It’s loosely based on my sketch, but I tend to differ from my sketches and go with what I feel in the moment. Jafar’s shirt/shoulder-thing was my favorite thing to make. I loved the original character’s costume and thought it would be so much fun to add a healthy amount of glitter and rhinestones to it…so I did.

543751_525061934206216_1383552100_n 5472_526631884049221_1361473968_n

5. Take us through the timeline. How long did the Villains medley take to conceive, shoot, and edit? How many different tracks did you have to record?

Well, I’d been waiting for the right time to start it. I started scheming up the medley during this last winter. I recorded the audio in a little less than a month. While I was doing that, I also was constructing costumes and sketching out all of the make-up/hair designs at night. It took over a month to shoot each of the characters, because I filmed all of them in my dorm room here at Tiffin University, so my time and space was very limited. I’ve been editing for the past two weeks. As I type this, I am actually “rendering” (a stage of editing) part of the video. Yes, I know I’m cutting it very close, but with classes and other musical ensembles I have a very strict schedule. My friends have hardly seen me these past few weeks.

6. Speaking of Tiffin University, how is it going? As a freshman, are there things that surprised you? Terrified you? Are you involved in a lot there musically?

I’m terribly busy. Throughout the year I have been involved in four different musical groups here, and rehearse a minimum of 15 hours a week for those alone. I am also a full-time student. Plus for the last few months, I’ve dedicated at least two hours a day to this medley. I’m gradually getting the hang of managing my time and am extremely proud of the amount of work I have gotten done because of it. However, I do have an awful tendency to schedule my release dates when I am already most busy, which is certainly the case right now. Finals are this week and next week. (Wish me luck!)

297991_526158434096566_658067673_n 935056_526928484019561_987992218_n

7. Do you have plans for the summer break… more videos perhaps? Possibly a trip to Walt Disney World?

Yes! Summer. *exhales* I want to make a bunch of videos, some of which will be some highly-requested makeup tutorials, maybe a behind-the-scenes video, and of course more music. And Walt Disney World! Of course! I’m going to be there July 17-23 and am anxiously counting down the days.

8. Congratulations again on winning a golden ticket at American Idol: The Experience. Have you been able to utilize that opportunity yet?

Thank you! I haven’t gotten to use my ticket yet, but I’m hoping to this summer!

9. Finally, did Ellen DeGeneres ever see the Disney Medley? I know you had a link on the first medley for fans to tweet it to her.

I hope so! I would be honored if she had. I love her and am so excited for “Finding Dory!”

 379777_527257270653349_641134472_n 44835_524658967579846_1396954512_n

What do you think of Heather’s new video? Sound off below.

Thanks again to Heather for chatting with us. From what I can surmise, she has another hit on her hands… and possibly even more Disney medleys in the future.


Today, Heather Traska, who became an online sensation with her One Woman A Capella Disney Medley, gave a sneak peek of her newest project, set to release later this month:


Heather as our favorite sea-witch Ursula!

Looks to be another Disney Medley… but could it be a Disney Villains Medley? With this being 2013 and a lot of Disney focus on their famous evildoers, I’m looking forward to seeing what Heather has in store for us.

Join me on Friday, April 26th as I share with you her newest project and catch up with Heather to find out what she has been up to since we chatted last year.

They have arrived!


Usually Growing Up Disney is published on Friday. However, yesterday was probably one of the more exciting days I have had collecting vinyls recently, and it warranted me moving my column to today so I could share it with you.

I woke up yesterday to rain…. yea, a rainy and cold Friday. However, that did not bring me down. Why? I was off to the Animation 3 release at my local Disney Store and, more importantly… my Funko Disney Mystery Minis would be arriving from Plunder Run! WOOHOO! I got two cases at a great pre-order price from Plunder Pete and Co. and, since they are located in Washington near Funko, they were the first ones to send out their cases. I was STOKED that mine were finally arriving. A few friends of mine got theirs earlier in the week, like Matt, who posted his series review over at our sister site, He got a great case, and I was excited to see what my two cases had in store. After visiting the Disney Store, grabbing some Animation 3, including the AWESOME Nessie Chaser, I arrived at work to find my cases waiting for me.

Nessie Chaser... one of the best chasers ever made, imho.

Nessie Chaser… one of the best chasers ever made, imho.

They have arrived!

They have arrived!

Unfortunately, I had to get thru 2/3 of a day of work still… UGH! Once work was done, Perry and I hopped into the car, ready to go home a tear into those boxes.


To be honest, I don’t think I have been this excited about a case buy since Park 1. Back then, I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t know how they would look in real life compared to the concept art, etc. Last night, even though I saw and took pictures of them at Toy Fair, I was excited to be able to hold them and play with them in a real life setting. Just opening the first case and having the figures unopened in front of me was awesome.


Each figure is individually wrapped, so you can’t “finger” the boxes… something Disney should adopt. Also, each figure has a case ratio, so you are not guaranteed, and will likely not get, a full set in a case of 24. Again, something Disney needs to look into. Even the Urban Redux and Cutesters in Vogue releases had a formula to it… so far, from the reports of the cases opened already, the Disney Mystery Minis don’t have a rhyme nor reason to the case packing. Here is the case breakdown:


So, the careful opening of the boxes, logging, and drooling commenced. They really are sweet. I was sad to see the first case end after only 24 boxes, but I got a great lineup, including a 1/144 Pooh! YES!

Collection after the first case, without traders.

Collection after the first case, without traders.

Now, I looked at my second case and debated on whether or not to open it. Would they be worth more money down the road? Will I kick myself for not opening it, in case some more amazing vinyls were awaiting to join my collection? I mean, I was only missing 8 of the 24… but almost all of them were 1/72 or 1/144 case ratios. In the end, I opened it… and I am SO GLAD I did! I got the 1/144 Jack and 3 others I was missing. Now I am only missing 4. That is a definite win.

Collection after two cases, without traders.

Collection after two cases, without traders.

Will I be buying another case? The thought crossed my mind. However, seeing as I am only missing 4 out of the 24, I might be better off trading/ buying the rest. It might be tricky, but doable.

All in all, last night was a great night, filled with excitement and a lot of cellophane to clean up. If you are looking for a new collectible to get into, check out the Funko Mystery Minis. Right now, they have Pocket Gods and Domo DC sets out, in addition to Disney releasing now, with DC Universe, Hello Kitty, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Nightmare Before Christmas sets in the works, to name a few. Best thing? They are roughly 2.5″ tall, so they display perfectly with Vinylmation.

Some Vinylmation and POP! Vinyls displayed with  Maleficent and Stitch Mystery Minis.

Some Vinylmation and POP! Vinyls displayed with Maleficent and Stitch Mystery Minis.

Here are some close ups of some of the ones I have been trading and selling over on Facebook at VK Auction House, Funko Trading, and VE: Bid Wars. I invite you to join us over there to trade and exchange Vinylmation, Funko products, and other cool stuff.

IMG_4760 IMG_4759

IMG_4758 IMG_4757


Have a great rest of the weekend.


Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 32. To celebrate, I asked my family and friends on Facebook to join me in celebrating my birthday, in pictures. Throughout the day, I received pictures via email, Facebook messages, and texts of pets, nature scenes, my friends in front of places normal and obscure, and just random silliness. Pictures came from all over the United States, as well as Ireland, London, and Amsterdam. With these pictures, I will be compiling them all into a Facebook album, so we can all share in the fun that was had that day.

While the album is being created, I wanted to highlight a project my friends Mike and Michelle, and their daughter Jessie, did for me. They live near Walt Disney World, visit often, and decided that, for my birthday, I needed a special card made.


Mike, Michelle, and Jessie spent the day going to The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, getting Disney characters to sign the big poster Jessie made for me. While they were signing, pictures were taken. Then, on my birthday, they create the above collage for me and sent it to me as part of my project. Probably one of the best birthday cards I have received… well, I haven’t gotten it yet, but I will when I see them in a couple of weeks.

I will be spending the weekend compiling the photos that I got yesterday and today, but I am always up for more pictures. If you took pictures yesterday (April 4th) and would like to contribute to my Facebook project, please email them to me. Be sure to include:

~ Who is in the picture(s).

~ Time of picture (including time zone).

~ Location of picture.

~ link to Facebook account if you would like to be tagged in the album.

Have a great weekend.

ScannedImage-4 (2)

When I was little, I went to Walt Disney World with my parents and my brother when I was 3 and 6. Those memories are few and far between, aside from a few flashbacks and photographs. It wasn’t until 1990, when I was 9 and my brother 6, that we started going every Easter/ Spring Break with my mom’s parents. I truly believe that those trips cemented in me my love of Disney.

ScannedImage-4 (2)

The four of us at Chef Mickey’s, before it moved from Downtown Disney to The Contemporary Resort.

Aside from a trip with them to California and Disneyland in 1997 and a school trip to Italy in 1998, I went  to Walt Disney World with them for over a decade. The first year we stayed off property (at a Holiday Inn that I am pretty sure is not there anymore), followed by a couple of years at the Doubletree Guest Suites at the edge of the property over by the Crossroads and Downtown Disney. Then we went all out… Caribbean Beach Resort. That was my grandparents’ favorite place. We always stayed in Martinique, first floor, overlooking the quiet pool. It was within walking distance to the food court and the marina. We always had a rental car, so the bus stop location was never an issue. However, it was right there anyways. Aside from the one year when we stay at the Yacht Club (it was nice, but way too fancy… I thought I was going to break something every time I walked the halls!), Caribbean Beach was our resort for our Easter breaks.

ScannedImage-17 ScannedImage-9

Epcot: Grandpa with Stephen outside of Germany and with me in front of the Fountain of Nations. Fanny Pack!

Looking back on these pics, I really do miss my grandma, who passed a year ago last Christmas. Grandpa, however, is doing well, and we have been able to go on closer adventures, like Niagara Falls last March and Boston to visit Stephen (who just moved up there) just a couple of weeks ago. I doubt he will ever see Walt Disney World again, but he has expressed interest in coming down with me sometime soon. Who knows… maybe in January when I go down to run my Family Fun 5K? Only time will tell.

Until then, enjoy some pics from my Easter travels down to Walt Disney World.

ScannedImage-16 ScannedImage-14 ScannedImage-18

ScannedImage-12 ScannedImage-10

ScannedImage-2 (2) ScannedImage-5 (2)



No real article from me this week. My apologies… sometimes real life gets in the way. I would first like to thank everyone for their support in regards to my last article. I am strengthened by it and look forward to giving you all updates on my trials, tribulations, and triumphs.

Now, a few weeks ago, I put a call out to all of you with families about helping with an article I am writing in regards to collecting and trading Vinylmations. A few of you have emailed me with ideas, pictures, and stories. Thank you.  I enjoyed hearing about your families and look forward to reporting about them.

That being said, I still need more stories from others. If you have stories or pictures that answer the following questions, I would love to hear from you.

~ Have collecting and trading Vinylmation strengthen your family bond?

~ Has trading Vinylmation help your child’s social skills, or possibly overcome a learning disability or disorder?

~ Have the Disney Parks in general help your child socially, mentally, or the like?

If you would like to submit stories and pictures for the upcoming article, please email me. As this articles fleshes itself out, I am getting more excited about the finished piece.

Have a great weekend everybody.



This week, I want to bring you a special Disney Love Story from our head honcho himself, Matt (aka Baltar). Well, what can you expect from a guy that owns and runs Disney blog sites? I share with you now a really beautiful story.


Back in 2006, Bethany and I were co-workers but both involved with other people at the time. We were friends who had both went to the same university (albeit years apart). We also shared a lot of interests. It was pretty cool to have an awesome friend at work.  Later that year she decided to go back to grad school and we were no longer co-workers. I can still remember that first day I went to work and she was no longer there.  I was saddened. During the next few months, our relationship statuses had both reverted back to being single. We talked occasionally on Facebook but we kept our relationship as platonic.  I can’t speak for her, but I was damaged from bad relationships. I just didn’t know if I had it in me to date anymore.  Although I thought she was gorgeous, I didn’t consider asking her out. When you hurt for such a long time, you don’t risk a friend for a possibility.


I shared this conversation with a mutual friend of ours “Jina” and she smiled at me and said, “Honey, I had the same conversation with Bethany last week. She adores you but doesn’t want to risk losing you.” The next day, Jina called me and said “meet me for lunch at Mellow Mushroom.” Dude. That pizza is good and I said sure. When I walked in, I froze. Sitting next to Jina was Bethany. I literally froze for a moment. As I got to the table, I didn’t know what to say. Anyone who knows me will say that me not knowing what to say is a rare occurrence. Before I could say a word, Jina told me to sit down and she said, “You two are in love with each other. Don’t be afraid to be happy. You both deserve this.” I smiled at Bethany and she hugged me while whispering “I have missed you so much.”  We haven’t lost a moment together since.


From that moment in early 2007, we have been together and amazingly happy. She helped me at the house. I helped her with grad school.  On a whim, we decided to take a mini five day vacation to Walt Disney World: our first vacation together. Both of us had been to WDW a few times when we were young but not much since. Driving on to property was a surreal moment for me. I was simultaneously growing up while feeling my inner child was escaping from its long sleep.  I wonder what people thought as they saw two adults running into Pop Century holding hands the entire way. As soon as we got our room assignment, we decided to run to our room. Rookie Mistake: even love makes you tired trying to run from the Front Desk all the way to the last 70s building.



The next five days were amazing.  We went to every park but soon realized that Epcot was “our place.”  On the last day, I looked at her and said “We need annual passes. I want to do this again.” She giggled and agreed. We went to the front desk and upgraded our 5 day passes to annual passes and immediately made plans to return. And return we did.

Some people date each week by going out to dinner or a movie. Well we drove to Florida every week to eat at Le Chefs de France and ride Soarin. Instead of driving to the local museum, we boarded our Spaceship Earth. Over the next 6 months, we went to Walt Disney World 3 out of every 4 weekends. We got to experience most of what WDW has to offer.   We tried every food and drink around World Showcase. We took photos of every topiary during the Flower and Garden Festival. We also became fans of the greatest time that exists at Epcot: The Food and Wine Festival. My life seemed too good to be truth.  I began to wonder if this gorgeous , sweet, intelligent, Disney loving girl was a dream. If she was, I decided I wasn’t waking up. On a quiet day near our home, I proposed to her knowing that she would say yes and that I was going to be incredibly lucky for the rest of my life. We discussed where we wanted to be married and it didn’t take long for Walt Disney World to become the obvious choice.


On August 25, 2007, we were married at the Shades of Green Resort on Walt Disney World property. This resort is for military members and their family. Since my new father-in-law was an Air Force colonel, we got a great deal to get married on site.  Too many people view a wedding as the culmination of a relationship. I utterly disagree. Marriage was just another great time for us. We had been in love for so long and we had plans far beyond our wedding day. Our first plans after the wedding was a delayed honeymoon during the Food and Wine Festival. We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge for our longest trip yet: 9 days! The resort was amazing and apparently magical. Bethany had been told by a doctor years prior that she most likely would never have children. Apparently that doctor didn’t know the power of Disney magic and the Food and Wine Festival. Nine months later Audrey Kate became our favorite Disney souvenir.

wedding3 wedding1


honeymoon2 honeymoon

Since then, we’ve made dozens more trips. We don’t get as many adults only trips but then again, maybe that’s a good thing. In 2010, another late Food and Wine Festival Surprise showed up when Garrett was born. (Seriously, I’m a little scared to go during the Fall again.) We are so happy that we decided to not only make Disney our wedding location but also a cornerstone of our relationship. Walt Disney World isn’t just a vacation spot for us. It’s a living history of our time together. And when your time with someone is amazing, who wouldn’t love the chance to relive it every year?

pregnanttrip1 pregnanttrip2

babyinabar garrett


Personally, I have known Matt on the interwebs here for over a year now, but between Christmas Cards for Audrey and now this Disney Love Story, I am starting to consider him and his gang more like family. Thanks for opening up your lives and sharing your stories with us, Matt.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Welcome to Week #3 of Disney Love Stories. Today I would like to share the story of Lauren and Stephen.


Lauren and her fiancé Stephen met thru mutual friends back in 2010, while Lauren was going to Western Kentucky University. During their first encounter, Lauren mentioned how she was moving down to Orlando after graduation in December to work for Disney, having previously working at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique thru the Disney College Program in 2009. Stephen had never been to Walt Disney World, and Lauren basically said that, if he could find a way down to Orlando, she would take him to the Magic Kingdom for his first time. After a couple of dates in Kentucky and Lauren’s move down to Orlando in January of 2011, on January 9th, Lauren and Stephen shared a truly magical day at the Magic Kingdom.

 Photo1098FourBySix Photo0321FourBySix

The day included a private romp thru Mickey’s Toontown Fair, with a tour of Mickey’s House by the mouse himself. Stephen also got a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (Lauren still had friends working there), where he became a knight for the day. That night, under the watchful eye of Cinderella’s Castle, with fireworks filling the sky, Stephen shared with Lauren for the first time those three special words… “I Love You”.

 Photo0360FourBySix Photo0358FourBySix

Photo0413FourBySix Photo0550FourBySix

Soon after that, Stephen moved down to Orlando to be with Lauren. It was during this time that they both became obsessed with Vinylmations. Many a day were spent with them running thru the parks, each starting off with a junk trader and compete to see who would end up with the best trade by the end of the day.

 Photo0787FourBySix Photo1499FourBySix

In June of 2012, Stephen joined the US Navy. Before him shipping out and Lauren subsequently moving back to Tennessee, they were able to spend one more magical time in the Magic Kingdom. Here is what happened next, in Lauren’s own words:

While we were there, we went back to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to visit some friends and get some pixie dust. As always, they asked us to close our eyes and make a wish as they sprinkled pixie dust on us. When I opened my eyes, Stephen was down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!


Showing off the ring on Space Mountain!


Newly Engaged… and wet from the rain.


Stephen and Lauren are planning to get married in May 2014 when Stephen gets back from his deployment. I have a feeling a Disney theme will be involved somehow.


Thank you to Lauren for sharing your wonderful story with us here at Vinylmation Kingdom, and thanks to Stephen for serving America.


Join us next week for an extra special Disney Love Story, from our fearless leader himself… Matt (Baltar)!

image (3)

Continuing the month-long celebration of Love, Disney style, here on Growing Up Disney, I would like to share with you this week a story sent to me from Lindsay Iguidez and her husband, Ron. Take it away, Lindsay:

image (3)

My (now) husband and I are definitely kids at heart. We have a mutual love for video games, cartoons, and all things Disney. As a child, I never had the chance to make it to any of the parks until the ripe old age of 22 (money and the fact that I live in Vancouver, Canada). Since then we have gone to Disneyland almost annually. I fell in love with the place and it makes our inner kids VERY happy.

In September of 2009 we planned our first trip to Walt Disney World. We were there at the end of September and the weather was perfect! By this time Ron and I had been dating for almost 7 years- I thought we would never get engaged! About 5 days into our trip I had planned for us to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We didn’t have any costumes, so we figured we would get some ears (our first pairs!) but Ron really wanted to wait.

He had really been pushing to get me in front of Cinderella’s Castle, so we made our way over to the photo spot [near the entrance to Tomorrowland]. We put down our bags and had one of the cast members taking some photos. Just when I thought we were done, Ron asks if they can take just one more- then he dropped down on one knee and asked me to Marry him!!!

image (6)

I cried (of course!) and said Yes! With an amazing backdrop of the magical castle, the entire moment was caught on camera (I carry a photo of it around in my wallet to this day).

image (1)

Afterwards, we got our new ears- very bride and groom-ish- a top hat with ears for Ron and a pretty white pair for me. With our ears on we proceeded to enjoy the rest of the magical evening- we got our “Just Engaged” buttons from City Hall and went around the park and trick or treated!

image (2)

We got married in May of 2011- it was an amazing day and we made sure to have some Disney touches to make it magical. The print on my mouse ears was inspiration for our wedding cake and we toasted all our speeches with bride Minnie and groom Mickey champagne glasses all the way from Disneyland! To this day Disney always holds a special place in my heart- I constantly dream of my next visit to the happiest place on earth!

image (4)

Thank you Lindsay. It looks like a really beautiful wedding, and a very fun and surprising engagement.

Next week I will share another beautiful and magical engagement at Walt Disney World.


Wow. Ask and you shall receive. I posted earlier this month about wanting some Disney Love Stories to run a special Growing Up Disney for the Valentine’s Day season… and I got some wonderful stories in return. They were all so special that I decided to spend the entire month of February sharing these beautiful stories and pictures, instead of cramming them into one week.

For Week #1, I wanted to start off with Jason and Becky Ginther. Becky is known over at the VK Forums as librarygeek, is a Disney fanatic and a contributor over at the Disney blog Come Home to Disney, took the time to tell me about her and Jason’s honeymoon. Take it away Becky!

Even though Jason is not nearly as big of a Disney fan as I am, he was still more than willing to go to Disney World for our honeymoon.  In order to prepare for this we decided to try and watch as many Disney movies as possible the year before the trip.  While we were engaged, the majority of our date nights were sitting at home watching a Disney movie!  We even started a blog together to give our reviews and thoughts on the films.


I couldn’t imagine a more perfect honeymoon.  Disney really goes above and beyond for you.  We had Just Married buttons and wore the bride and groom mouse ears, and almost every CM stopped to say something.  We also got extra “pixie dust” like reusing fast passes, free desserts, stickers, and other fun things.  One of our favorites was a character interaction with Buzz Lightyear.  He got so excited about our marriage that he insisted we re-create the wedding ceremony right then and there!  Buzz walked me down the “aisle” and then performed the ceremony.


It was so much fun and we have great Photopass pics from that.  But the absolute best part was just spending time in my favorite place with my soul mate.  Disney World isn’t just for kids, it can be very romantic too!


Thank you for sharing, Becky! I always love hearing when Disney goes above and beyond in order to make their guests feel extra special. I feel it is what sets them apart from other theme parks I have been to. And yes, Disney is really romantic for adults.

Tune is next week for one of two very special proposal stories I have to share with you.

Peace. Love. Mickey.