Pixie Dust and . . . Crayons!

by Melissa on October 11, 2013

Hello Fellow Mouse Lovers!  Boy, have I missed my Disney “fix” lately – especially since this is my favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World.

I could lie and tell you that I was personally chosen to help design the new Starbucks location coming to Hollywood Studios (wouldn’t that be fun??!), but the truth of the matter is I have been busy (and yes, I know we are ALL busy) – but I have been busy in a great way.  I have been helping my dear friend with her foundation called Message of Hope.  Picture pixie dust  . . . but in the form of crayons and play-doh!

Emi’s foundation helps children who are hospitalized with special needs and chronic illness.  The foundation provides “Happy Hope Bags” to these children – bags filled with crayons, notepads, play-doh, etc . . . and a hand-made card reminding them that they are all our Hope Hero’s.

I can’t begin to describe how eye-opening it has been to work with Message of Hope over the past couple months.  First, it has reminded me that there is ALWAYS someone or something out there that serves a higher purpose.  And as much as I truly enjoy writing about walking through the Magic Kingdom with a coffee in my hand, it doesn’t even come close to the genuine happiness I feel knowing I helped make a difference.

I have also been fortunate enough to be a quiet observer during this project – witnessing the people around me rally to help this foundation.  I have seen young children excited and happy to make cards for the Hope Bags.  I have been approached by countless friends asking what they can donate and how they can help.  The yellow collection box at our school spilled over with stickers and crayons – it was wonderful to watch!

photo-11Sorting through donations yesterday, I was deeply touched when I came across a small sandwich bag filled with a few crayons and a small sheet of stickers.  In my mind, I knew that a child had gone through their items at home to come up with this donation. We would all be fooling ourselves if we didn’t believe that children really do understand compassion – and this little friend certainly reminded me that compassion can come in even the simplest of forms.

It has been wonderful to help such a great cause.  If you are interested in learning more about Message of Hope, please visit the website .  The Hope Bags for Baltimore-area hospitals will be filled and sent out on October 19th at the Baltimore Hope Factory. Something tells me that pixie dust will be pouring out of the building!

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A Price for Time?

by Melissa on July 12, 2013

Our recent Disney trip gave us lots of opportunity to truly test the transportation system at Walt Disney World.  We did it all  - buses, monorail, train, boat, and of course feet.

Many people will agree that Walt Disney World does offer a fabulous transportation system to its resort guests – one that gets you anywhere you want on property without having to drive your own car.  Great, right?  Well, maybe.

I have mentioned the pitfalls of  Disney transportation before and it’s no secret that my dear husband does NOT like to take the Disney buses anywhere. He prefers the other Disney modes of transportation (monorail, boat)- and if those aren’t available, he will take a taxi.  Always.

In the spirit of teaching my kids patience, I decided to force the issue and use the bus one afternoon to get to Downtown Disney.  We weren’t in a hurry, so why not?

My oldest daughter (who often sides with her father on issues like this), decided to time our adventure.  ”Great idea”, I exclaimed!  Patience AND a little math . . . I like it!

I felt the future of success within my grasp. I knew that even though we spent 20 minutes at the bus stop waiting, our trip to Downtown Disney would be quick and uneventful.  My children would learn the beautiful virtue of patience and victory would be mine.

Well, 59:28 later, we  finally arrived at our destination. Yep, that’s right.  59 minutes and 28 seconds.

What happened?  Well, after we boarded a near empty bus, we stopped at 3 other resorts and packed on what seemed to be about 400 more people. We were all piled in like sweaty sardines – son on lap, stroller folded and pressed tight against me, and lovely lady to my right who didn’t seem to mind skin contact.

And if that wasn’t bad enough – our bus driver definitely took the scenic route that morning.  I claim no expertise in driving the Disney roads, but I know my way around enough to realize that we were not taking main arteries to get to Downtown Disney.

Not exactly the ride I anticipated – and for the record – a taxi ride from our resort (The Boardwalk) to Downtown Disney is approximately $15.00 – why, oh why didn’t we take a taxi??? Oh, yes, that’s right.  The lesson. On patience.

Well, patience is overrated.  For the remainder of our trip, if we couldn’t take a boat, monorail or walk to our destination – we took a taxi.

Total cost for those 10 additional taxi rides – approx. $200.00 ($20/ride including tip).

It may seem like a lot when you look at the numbers, but now let’s compare it to potential time lost waiting and traveling via bus.

Yes, to be fair, not every bus ride will eat an hour of your day, so let’s go with a very conservative 30 min instead (and that is being VERY conservative in my opinion).

Thirty minutes waiting and riding a bus 10 times – 300 minutes.  That’s 5 hours!  If you throw in 1 or 2 not-so-lucky adventures like ours . . .  it’s more like 6 or 7 hours!

And depending on how long you stay and where you stay (not all of the resorts offer alternative modes of transportation), you are going to be on a bus more than 10 times. So it isn’t unrealistic that a family could spend an entire day of a week-long trip on transportation alone.

It’s kind of crazy when you think of it.

Unless you look at the bigger picture and compare what you think you are saving to the time you are actually spending, you might be surprised.

When budgeting for your next trip – hotel, tickets, souvenirs, food – maybe allot a little extra for the occasional taxi?  Or maybe consider a resort that offers other modes of transportation?  After all, time is worth something.

And the price of time in this family seems to be about $15.00/hour :)

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Experience is Everything

June 14, 2013

I love lists –  ”To Do” lists, grocery lists, packing lists  . . . you get the idea. And the one thing I love more than creating lists is actually crossing the tasks off one by one (and I mean physically scratching the paper with my pencil so hard that you can’t see what was [...]

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The Art of Sharing

May 14, 2013

Finding myself with some extra time this afternoon, I thought I’d visit my favorite place to write – Cafe Mouse! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted – not because I haven’t wanted to . . . but merely because the business of being a mom has taken priority. And by the way – [...]

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