The 10 Best Holiday Offerings At Disney World

The 10 Best Holiday Offerings At Disney World

That doesn't involved getting ripped off at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

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Disney World is my second home, my motherland, the best place in the universe. My first visit was when I was six months old, I worked there for two years, and Christmas is my favorite season. So, I'm here to tell you about the best Christmas offerings at Walt Disney World that doesn't involve getting ripped off at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

1. Frozen Sing-Along Celebration: Holiday Finale

My all-time favorite show at WDW is the Frozen Singalong Celebration. Sing-along to songs from Frozen with your favorite characters from Frozen with hilarious jokes and laughs for the entire family. (Even for Dad.) Ever since the release of Olaf's Frozen Adventure they created a special finale of the show that incorporates the new holiday songs. Let me tell you, I cry every time. It's a must do and doesn't require a separate ticket from general admission.

2. Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

maya thermopolis on Instagram: “The Snow White tree at this years' Disney Springs Tree Trail is so beautiful!!! I love all the litte gems & apples 🍎💎❤️ #wdw…”

For those who don't want to pay for park admission, but want a quick Disney fix, Disney Springs now has a Christmas Tree Trail with a bunch of different trees decorated and themed like different Disney movies or rides. If you stick around long enough, it might even snow in the 100-degree heat!

3. Gingerbread Houses

If you walked the Christmas Tree Trail and still aren't feeling in the Christmas spirit, take a bus to different resorts and enjoy the giant gingerbread houses! At the Grand Floridian Hotel, they even sell gingerbread to eat inside the house! There are several other gingerbread sculptures around property at the Boardwalk Resort, the Contemporary Resort, and at the Beach Club Resort!

4. Candlelight Processional

At Epcot every year they have a chorus and orchestra that will sing classic Christmas songs accompanied by a special celebrity speaker that retell the story of Christmas. Even if you aren't religious, like me, it's still amazing to hear the beautiful songs being sung and watching speakers such as Neil Patrick Harris, Jodi Benson, John Stamos, Whoopi Goldberg, Auli'i Carvalho, Alfonso Ribeiro, and more.

5. Epcot International Festival of Holidays

Travel around the world (Epcot) and learn about how each country and culture uniquely celebrates Christmas. You can also visit kiosks around World Showcase and enjoy samples of seasonal cuisines from around the world. Finish off the night with a special IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth with a special Christmas finale!

6. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Until Hollywood Studios finally opens Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge there is really no point and visiting the theme park with two rides open. Except during the holiday season when each night they transform the old façade of the Great Movie Ride with projections and lasers and even snow during a wonderful nighttime spectacular. If you make your way to Sunset Boulevard you can even watch the Hollywood Tower of Terror light up with festive projections and it'll even snow!

7. Frozen Holiday Wish

My top favorite thing to see during the holidays is the Cinderella Castle all lit up with lights that make it look like ice and snow. It's a tradition for me to watch Elsa light up the castle using her icy magic every night. It's the most magical experience I love to watch every holiday season. Catch me camping out in front of the castle stage every night when I'm done with my exams!

8. Chrsitmas Decor

Each park and even some hotels have their own unique holiday decorations. One of the biggest indicators that the holiday season is here is when all the decorations go up around the Magic Kingdom right after Halloween. The best way to get in the Christmas mood is to sit on Main Street U.S.A., listen to the Christmas music playing at dusk and watch the decorations light up while enjoying a gingerbread man cookie from the Main Street Confectionary.

9. Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Now I know this parade only happens during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party but if you are able to make it to the Magic Kingdom from December 23rd to December 31st, they will be running performances twice a day! So if you have the guts and patience to brave the holiday crowds at the busiest place on earth, camp out for a parade spot all day and enjoy the Christmas parade!

10. Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration

Same thing for Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, applies for Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration. If you will be at Magic Kingdom from December 23rd to December 31st, be sure to camp out for a viewing spot to watch the most festive Christmas show on property! This show is a fairly new show where you can watch all your favorite Disney characters gather their friends for a wonderful celebration while singing along to Christmas hits.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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10 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Is Especially Awesome Around The Holidays

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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A date for looking at Christmas lights is on the top of the list, for sure.

1. You have someone to do all of the activities with

He's like your built-in partner for everything. Wanna watch a movie? Take a nap? Need someone to help you clean your room? You've got your person.

2. You can steal his hoodies when its chilly outside

It doesn't even have to be cold for you to want to. Chances are its a size or two bigger than you need and his cologne is all over it.

3. Chances are he's more willing to drive in the snow than you are 

Guys typically have a little more of a heavy duty vehicle. If you've got a good man, he might even rescue you an hour away in a blizzard if you think you're tougher than the weather.

4. Christmas movie partner!!

Do I need to add more?

5. He can always keep you warm

Bear hugs. Cuddles. His trucks dual air 90 degree heat on your side. He'll find a way to keep you warm.

6. Your family holiday events partner

Multiple Thanksgivings and Christmas' are a breeze with your favorite person by your side. Plus, no one to ask you where your plus one is or why you're single.

7. Matching Christmas pajamas

I don't know about you, but my family has matching Christmas jammies every year. You can even get your favorite person in on them too for a cute insta picture.

8. Your errand running partner

He's your built-in Christmas shopping partner so you aren't bored standing in line forever or while you're still shopping and he can act as your place holder.

9. You aren't the only single one in your family on Christmas Eve anymore. 

It's awkward when all of your siblings are taking pictures with their others, but when you've found your person, you can do all the same things, including looking forward to your new year's kiss.

10. Making more memories

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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