Disney 2019 Highlights

My Disney World  2019 Highlights

These are restaurants, new rides and other perks I experienced over my Disney vacation!


I was lucky enough to go to Walt Disney World with one of my best friends over winter break. We both LOVE Disney, and I was so excited to pack my Minnie ears and enjoy six days in the parks. I have not been to Disney World in six years and a lot has changed since the last time I went. I was thrilled to experience some new rides and meals that I had not been to before (and I heard a lot about new rides coming in a few years)! We lucked out with great weather and tolerable crowds, but as my friend also said "the ride gods were in our favor." I came home feeling like I had accomplished almost every single ride at Disney (and some of them we went on two-four times!) and seeing so much of what the park has to offer. These are the highlights of my recent trip - the best food, the best rides, the best character interactions, and other perks I loved.

Garden Grill

Lisa M.

The Garden Grill is a sit-down character meal in Epcot. We went for our first night to celebrate the trip ahead! The restaurant has really good food, and it is served family style at a fixed price. They bring you a lot, and you can get more of anything throughout the meal. The meal includes bread, salad, 3 meats, vegetables, mashed potatoes, dessert and more. It is also cute because the restaurant slowly rotates above the Living with the Land ride and Farmer Mickey and his friends come by the tables frequently. It was a great way to start off the trip!

Epcot at Night

Lisa M.

After this trip, I realized that I am so into Epcot at night! We went 3/5 nights with our park hopper tickets. It definitely helped that our hotel was a short walk from the park, but even without that perk, I think I still would say the same. The countries look beautiful at night, especially when they light up during the Illuminations firework show. We also went on Test Track at night, which made it even more fun to go outside on the speedway.

Crystal Palace

Lisa M.

For breakfast, Crystal Palace is such a great place to go. This buffet breakfast is with the characters of Winnie the Pooh. Not only is it super cute, but the food is really good and they have EVERYTHING at the buffet for breakfast. I have been to Chef Mickey's, and I personally think you get more for your money at Crystal Palace. Another perk was that our morning reservation allowed us to enter the Magic Kingdom early before there were too many crowds!

The Boardwalk

Lisa M.

The Boardwalk hotel was across from our hotel, and I had never been over there before. Not only does it look adorable lit up at night, but it is a nice place to explore at night if you want a quick dinner or snack. They have shops, food, and some street performers.

Dole Whips

Lisa M.

Dole Whips are by far my favorite Disney World treat. They bring back memories of my stay at the Polynesian resort the first time I went to Disney, and they are really refreshing on a hot Florida day. It is a pineapple soft serve, which I got in a float (pineapple juice). Dole whips are hard to find outside Disney, so I get so excited to eat them when I am there.


Olivia Beauregard

Pandora, the Avatar inspired land in Animal Kingdom, is a newer addition to the park. Let me be honest and say that we watched Avatar in preparation for our trip and both were not fans of it. However, the scenery of Pandora and the filming of the fake flowers and plants were definitely notable. That's why I thought Disney did an amazing job of putting you in the breathtaking scenery of the floating rocks, weird flowers, and lush greens of Pandora. There are two rides: Navi River Journey and Flight of Passage. Navi River Journey was cool, with lots of the same scenery, glowing animals, and an avatar animatronic. But, Flight of Passage was AMAZING and probably one of the best rides in Disney. Disney magic makes it feel like you are really flying on the back of a banshee.

The Beach Club Resort

Lisa M.

We were lucky enough to get upgraded from a value resort to a deluxe resort. The theming of the resort was beautiful, the pool was humongous and there was nothing better than the five minute walk to the back entrance of Epcot. It really made our Disney Trip feel more like a vacation because we had great accommodations and were able to relax at the resort pool a few of the hotter days.

Toy Story Land

Lisa M.

Toy Story Land theming is the up there with the best theming in Disney. They thought of every detail. The land makes you feel like you are shrunk to the size of a toy. The army men that walk through in a cycle yell "Welcome to Andy's backyard!" The whole world is made of "toys," like tinker toys, connects, popsicle sticks, blocks, etc. Toy Story Mania, which was a great ride the last time I went, is there along with two new rides. The Alien Swirling Saucers is a spinning ride that was a lot more fun than it looked. The Slinky Dog Dash rollercoaster was really fun and included parts where you passed by Toy Story characters. I love Toy Story in general, so this was a highlight for sure.


Olivia Beauregard

Ohana is a restaurant at the Polynesian Resort. We went there our last night to end the trip. It is another family style, price fix meal with LOTS of food. They bring out pineapple coconut bread and salad first. Then, a skillet with dumplings, chicken wings, noodles and vegetables. They give you two dipping sauces, and your waiter comes around occasionally with skewers of meat (chicken, steak, and shrimp). Finally, the best part is the bananas foster bread pudding for dessert. The food is delicious and the restaurant is a nice theme with a good view of the Magic Kingdom in the distance.

Meeting Chip and Dale in Dinoland

Lisa M.

Who knew you could meet Chip and Dale dressed up as Dinosaurs? Chip and Dale are already adorable characters to meet, but they are even cuter when they have on dinosaur onesies. These characters are hidden gems, found in a very remote area of Dinoland in Animal Kingdom. There were only two families in line besides us because they were not very easy to find. These Chip-O-Sauruses make for a cute photo op and fun character interaction.

Going on rides during fireworks

Lisa M.

If you have plenty of time in Disney World, I suggest skipping the fireworks at Magic Kingdom one night and riding the attractions during that time instead. First of all, there are very few lines because so many people gather around the castle and Main Street to see the fireworks. We rode the most rides in a row during this time frame. Even Splash Mountain, a very popular ride in Disney, was a five minute wait. The person controlling the ride even let us stay in our boats for a second time. Also, if you go on rides that are outdoors, you get to watch the fireworks. Riding the carousel or getting to the top of Splash Mountain with fireworks surrounding you is almost just as magical!

Meeting Gaston

Lisa M.

Gaston is by far the most hilarious character interaction I had in Disney. He really is in character. He is obsessed with his good looks and loves flirting with the ladies. He stopped by his statue to admire himself, asked us what we liked about him, dipped some of the girls in line, and flexed his muscles as much as possible. He asked my friend if she knew how to read braille and then showed her his biceps "the word for mountains." We laughed so much during this interaction, got some funny photos, and I think my friend was a little starstruck too : )

Be Our Guest


The Be Our Guest restaurant is in the new Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. In Beast's castle, you can enjoy a meal in a few of the castle's rooms. We stayed in the lair with the Rose, which shows the petals falling, lightning striking, and a portrait of the beast that would flash the prince's photo. The theming is really fun and if you go for the quick service lunch like we did, you get a good experience and good food for a cheaper price. Also, they have good desserts - I got the famous "Grey Stuff"!

Frozen Ever After

Lisa M.

Spoiler - meeting Olaf is not a part of the ride. Yes, along with millions of elementary school kids, I am a huge fan of Frozen. Who couldn't love Olaf?? The ride was really cute, and I felt like a little kid again going through the magical scenes. They make the characters look so real and all the beloved songs. One of the most magical parts was entering Elsa's ice castle and hearing Let it Go blast as lights lit up to the music.

Fastpasses (all for FREE)

Lisa M.

UTILIZE YOUR FASTPASSES!!! Plan fast passes ahead of time so that you can get on popular rides in less than 10 minutes! Keep booking new ones once you used them up. Take opportunities to get free extra ones. Having good fast passes really can make your trip worthwhile. The Flight of Passage had a 4 HOUR wait and we got on in less than 10 minutes with our fast passes and we got to go on twice with an extra fast pass. Score!

This trip was so much fun. There is nothing better than escaping reality and getting immersed in Disney magic. So many people walk around with mouse ears, matching shirts, tiaras, and Disney merchandise. Every little detail is thought through to make it feel like whichever land you are in is completely real. If you get to go to Disney soon, there is going to be even more new things to explore. No matter your age, you can enjoy a Disney vacation (not sponsored, but I wish it was)!

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I'm An 18-Year-Old Woman And Thanks To Those Abortion Bans, My Body Isn't Mine Anymore

Alabama, Ohio, and many more states are making it so that women don't have a choice anymore. We are losing control over our own bodies because these states believe that they should control whether we can have an abortion or not.


I want to start off by saying that everyone can have their own opinion, that's your right. Whether you want to speak your opinion or not it's your right to have those opinions. Usually, I wouldn't make a public stance on a political issue, but it's very hard not to when someone asks if you're going to transfer schools because the state you go to school just passed a law saying you can't get an abortion.

It's very hard not to when what I was taught as a young girl doesn't apply anymore because of new laws.

Growing up I was taught that no one's opinion about your body matter, just yours. Whether you were fat or skinny it didn't matter what anyone else says only how you think of yourself. I was taught that my body is my own. No one can take that away from me. No one can take away the power to decide what I want to do with my own body. And no one can take away the power to make decisions for me.

This is the way every young girl should be raised.

My generation has taught that as girls we have the right to our body. Whether we want to dress a certain way, the way we eat, if we want to get piercings or if we want to work out. What we want to do with our body is our right. Whether my parents wanted me to get a tattoo or not I have a say on what I put on my body. Whether the world sees me as fat or skinny I have the right to call myself beautiful. That with the way social media is advancing it doesn't matter what you or the next person look like it matters how you see yourself. That you have control over what you want to do with your body.

No one can ever how to live your life or how to control your body.

You don't see a law that says someone can't smoke? You don't see a law that says someone can't drink? Smoking and alcoholism can kill someone just as abortion kills a baby. A pregnant lady drinking or smoking can harm a child with deficits for their whole life. So, what makes abortion different?

Why is the power to make a decision that impacts your life and no one else's different?

Who are you to tell a 14-year-old girl that she has to give birth to a child when she isn't even old enough to drive yet? A 14-year-old girl doesn't even know who she wants to be let alone if she wants to have kids.

A law like this doesn't give her a choice.

A girl has the choice whether to eat healthily or to work out or to get that belly button piercing or to get that tattoo, but she doesn't have the choice to have a baby or not? Yes, I would agree that some people use abortions to get out of the responsibilities of being a parent but taking that choice away from someone is taking away their life.

To take away someone's choice to have a baby you are taking away their life.

The nine months of an excruciating pregnancy, just to go through an even more excruciating birth for a child that they didn't even want. Then how is the child going to feel? When they grow up to just find out that they were a mistake or a product of rape or that they just weren't wanted by their own parents. That's pain that no one should have to go through for the child and the mother. Especially for someone who ended up pregnant after being rape you are forcing this person to live through that terrifying experience for the next nine months.

She should be given a choice.

So, to the men and women that think it's OK to take away this choice from someone how would you feel if your great-great-granddaughter ever got raped and got pregnant would you want her to have to go through the torture, pain, and heartbreak of carrying a rapists baby to term and then having that kid come to the terms that he/she was a product of a crime.

Our body is a temple. A temple that we have control of. Is that not what you want your granddaughter to believe? Is that not how young girls should be raised? It's how I was raised, is my body not mine anymore?

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Why You Should Go To The Barre

Keep your head high and your heels even higher!


After going back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to try a barre class, last month I finally decided to. And let me tell you, it is one of the best decisions I have made for not only myself but my body! I tried my first class at Barre N9ne in Andover, Massachusetts (with multiple location in Woburn, Somerville, and Danvers), and I truly don't think I could have found a better studio. From the moment you walk into the studio there is a great vibe and the instructors are so informative and caring. If you are in the area, I highly recommend Barre N9ne!

It Is A Full Hour To Yourself

My favorite part of barre is it is an hour to myself. No phone, no distractions, just working to improve myself with each set. When I go to the gym whether I am lifting weights or running on the treadmill at some point I am on my phone responding to a text or changing the song I am listening to. During barre, I don't even think about who texted me or what email I have to respond to. It is complete me time.

The BEST Core Workout

During barre, your core is engaged the entire time. Then, at the end of the workout there is 5-7 minutes of actual core workouts. This makes it one of the best core workouts because instead of just focusing on your core for a few minutes, you are engaging it throughout the class and then additionally at the end.

You Will Gain Strength and Definition 

A typical barre class is a full body workout and over time you will gain strength and see definition. It takes about 5 classes to start seeing results. By strengthening each muscle group, you are not only gaining definition you are also strengthening all muscles (even the ones that are often underused and underdeveloped).

You Will Become More Flexible 

After each muscle group worked on, you will stretch. This is something that is often overlooked because people don't want to take the time to stretch during a workout and save it until the end, or even not at all. The amount of stretching done in a barre class will improve your range of motion and help to reduce any risk of injuries.

Mind Body Connection

During class you will often hear your instructor say to "focus on the mind body connection". But, what is it? Well, when you focus your attention on the muscle you are working, you tend to work harder and more effectively. This then gives you faster results. When you then focus on that muscle group and stop focusing on all the background noise of your stressful day, or what you have to do after class, or that big test next week, you are really able to focus in and have the best workout.

Your Muscles Will Shake (In A Good Way)

Barre utilizes micro movements. Meaning, since you preform many reps of the same movement involving specific muscles in barre, you are then working your muscles to exhaustion. When your muscles are exhausted, they start to shake. If you aren't shaking, work harder!

Through every pulse, squeeze, and tuck enjoy your time during barre. I hope you give barre classes a try because I know I don't regret it and I know you won't either.

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