Unfettered Joy

There were so many unforgettable moments on our vacation, so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I will treasure forever. This particular moment, while we were waiting in line to finally ride Mary Blair’s It’s a Small World, captured the absolute joy I felt throughout so much of our trip.

It’s a Small World

Do you have any idea how excited I was to see the bright colors of “It’s a Small World” in Fantasyland?!?

I’ve already shared some pictures of Mary Blair’s work at the Contemporary Resort, but the Disney World attraction she’s most famous for is “It’s a Small World,” and I couldn’t wait to ride it!

Although the original ride was created by WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering), at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, it wasn’t actually made for Disneyland…it was built for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Following its successful run there, it returned to California and became a beloved attraction at Disneyland. The ride was also added (with some variations ) to Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

I don’t know much about cruises, but in my opinion, it really is the “Happiest cruise that ever sailed.”

Mary Blair’s distinctive use of color is so obvious throughout the ride:

Even at the end of the ride, when the spirit of international unity is so evident, her fingerprint is unmistakable:

I really didn’t want to say goodbye!

“There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev’ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all.”

The Magic of Mary Blair

One of the things I was most excited about doing when we were at Disney World was stopping at the Contemporary Resort so we could see the Mary Blair Grand Canyon mural:

The mural is 90 feet tall (!!!), consists of 1,800 hand-painted tiles, and took 18 months to create. It is really hard to comprehend just how massive and detailed it is without seeing it for yourself!

Here’s a zoomed-in (and therefore slightly blurry), look at one of the most famous parts of the mural…the five-legged goat. Mary Blair included it reflect a Southwest Native American belief that nothing made by man can be perfect because man is imperfect. This reminded me a lot of the way quilters will often turn a block in their design, and I think it’s a really cool way to acknowledge the beliefs of the original inhabitants of the area the mural represents!

The scenes representing daily life in the Grand Canyon are whimsical and beautiful:

My only sadness (ok, two sadnesses) is that A.) I didn’t have someone take my picture in front of it; and 2.) That I didn’t photograph the signature tile with Mary Blair’s signature on it. I guess I’ll just have to go back and see it again someday!

Markels Making Magical Memories–Day Eleven

Animal Kingdom; 28,465 steps

Our final day at Disney included visiting all four of the parks, starting with our first trip to Animal Kingdom:

Every Disney park has a central, iconic location…at Animal Kingdom, it’s the Tree of Life:

We headed straight for the Kilimanjaro Safaris upon our arrival.

We got to see a lot of animals in fairly realistic habitats.

After the safari, we walked the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (and saw an adorable baby gorilla!), and then walked around the park a bit:

We got to listen and talk to a talented musician who played the kora:

There was a cool kite show on the water:

We didn’t forget to take a family photo!

We only went on one other ride (we had talked about the Kali River Rapids, but at that point, I was just over being wet and wearing a plastic poncho, and the Expedition Everest roller coaster, which some of us thought about riding was closed)…the TriceraTop Spin, which I thought was fun.

We only spent a few hours at Animal Kingdom, because we had some other things we wanted to do. We drove over to EPCOT so we could hop on the monorail to visit a few of the resorts that had anniversary pressed pennies we wanted to add to our collection.

One of those resorts was the Contemporary, which is home to a fantastic Mary Blair mural (details to come later).

While we were riding the monorail, we passed by Donald Duck in his 50th anniversary finery:

Once park hopper hours began, we stopped by the Magic Kingdom to collect a few more pressed pennies…and see Eeyore, who waved his ears at me (I was really good at frantically waving at characters by this point!):

We then headed into EPCOT, where we finally found Goofy:

At this point, we split up so we could maximize our penny finding. Bunny and I headed off in one direction, and I’m pretty sure we had the best time, starting with the views on our route:

And then I finally met my favorite Disney character, Daisy Duck!!!

Bunny and I decided we would take the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios while everyone else drove. I feel bad that they missed out, because it was a really fun ride, and we even got to make a transfer at one of the hotels!

At Hollywood Studios, we found Donald and Daisy (again). I told you I had the waving thing figured out, because they definitely noticed me!

Since Bunny and I had a little extra time, we shared yet another Mickey-shaped treat:

And took a look at The Hollywood Tower Hotel. I had no interest in riding The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but I did want to see it.

Once we regrouped, we got in what I think was our longest line of the trip, to ride Rise of the Resistance, which was really, really cool.

We also rode Star Tours twice, and Darth Vader showed up both times, which was very exciting. A few members of our family actually managed to ride all three Star Wars rides that day, which was quite an accomplishment given their popularity! Plus, those who were interested also managed to squeeze in a ride on the previously-mentioned Tower of Terror, and they had a great time, especially since they got to ride it as the sun was setting!

It was really had to leave, because we knew that even though we still had a few days of vacation left, our time at Disney was over.

Up next: Kennedy Space Center!

Markels Making Magical Memories–Day Nine

Magic Kingdom; 22,219 steps

Epcot is (I think) my favorite of the Disney theme parks, and we all had an amazing time at Hollywood Studios, but there’s something special about driving up to the Magic Kingdom:

And that first view of the Castle looking down Main Street USA is breathtaking!

While we were still near the entrance on Main Street, we saw some of our favorite storybook friends in a horse-drawn trolley:

We finally found ears at the Emporium Shop:

Our first stop (after buying ears) was at the Mad Tea Party. Bunny, in particular, was very excited about this classic ride!

While we were in the area, we also stopped for a snack at the Cheshire Cafe:

We tried the Cheshire Cat Tail (an amazing donut) and the All Mixed Up Slushy, which was wonderfully cold and refreshing:

As much as Bunny wanted to ride the teacups, that’s how much Chickadee wanted to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant. I have to admit I was also really looking forward to this ride, because when I went to Disney World as a child, it was shut down due to storms right before it was my turn to get on, and I never got back to it.

We also saw some of the big parade on Main Street, but since we were planning on seeing it later in the day, I didn’t take any pictures of the floats (spoilers…we never saw it again). The reason we were back near the entrance? Ryan had scheduled a session with a Disney photographer, and we got a lot of great pictures!

We also caught a bit of the Dapper Dans act, which I really enjoyed!

At this point, we split up for a bit. There was no way I was going to go on Space Mountain again (my bad memory from my childhood trip to Disney), so I took those who weren’t interested in the roller coaster to instead ride the People Mover (which is a low-key favorite of mine) and the Astro Orbiter:

After we found each other again, we set out for the other side of the park, which meant we got to catch some of the show outside the castle along the way. I was especially excited to see Daisy Duck in her 50th anniversary outfit. (Chickadee was excited that characters from both Tangled and Frozen appeared in the show!)

We didn’t go on any rides in Adventureland, but we did have one Very Important Stop to make there, because I wasn’t leaving Disney without trying a Dole Whip. We also got a Dole Whip float, complete with Tiki sipper, for good measure!

While we waited for the parade that never took place (thank you afternoon storms) we tried a lobster roll from Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square

And then we headed to the Haunted Mansion. I wasn’t too interested in this one, so I was really surprised by how much I liked it! It wasn’t scary at all…just silly and fun!

Following the Haunted Mansion, we split up again for a bit…I took a jaunt to Disney’s First Aid (which is a really nice facility!) with a child who had irritated eyes due to the copious amounts of sunscreen we were wearing, while everyone else who wanted to took a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This also gave me a chance to admire the castle from different angles!

We might have missed the big parade, but we did catch the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, and we learned that we were there for a very exciting event…Mirabel made her debut that day! (And did I mention that 6/26 is also “Stitch Day”? We were very excited to see Stitch join in the parade!)

I finally got to ride It’s a Small World, which was designed in part by Mary Blair!

After attending Mickey’s PhilharMagic, we of course had to ride the carousel:

We’ve had Mickey Bars at home, but our trip to Disney wouldn’t have been complete without sharing one at the park, too!

I think Fantasyland was my favorite, probably because it felt like what I imagine Europe feels like.

Even the back of the castle is pretty!

We took another walk down Main Street as the lights were starting to come on:

And Ladybug bought a “Banana Boom” at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, which she kindly shared with all of us (it was huge!).

We then claimed a spot to watch the fireworks…there’s something so special about seeing them over the castle!

The Magic Kingdom is open later than the other parks, so we didn’t have to leave right away. Instead, we rode the teacups again, and then took a ride on the Tomorrowland Speedway, which gave us a great view of Space Mountain all lit up:

One last look at the castle…I’m so glad we got to see it all dressed up for Disney World’s 50th anniversary!

Up next: Our “rest day” at Disney Springs.

Sartorial Saturday–Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

It isn’t often that I have a whole outfit inspired by the animal kingdom, so here’s a look at an ensemble featuring a Mary Blair butterflies print dress from Pinup Girl Clothing, leopard print duchess bangles from Splendette, and a pair of koala brooches designed by Pete Cromer for Erstwilder:

Sartorial Saturday…On a Sunday–Mary Blair March in the Time of COVID-19

I know there are a few days of March left, but I’ve worn each of my Pinup Girl Clothing Mary Blair pieces once this month, so I’m ready to call it early.

I’m not going to lie…I wasn’t really looking forward to Mary Blair March this year. After the disaster that was March last year, I didn’t feel the usual excitement about wearing all of my Mary Blair pieces. But I decided I didn’t want COVID-19 to rob me of the fun I have celebrating her artwork, so I soldiered on. This year’s outfits can be divided into two categories…the ones I actually wore away from home, with a mask:

And the ones that went no farther than the street in front of my house…no mask needed:

This year’s Mary Blair March was almost as strange as last year’s was, but at least there’s some hope, a glimmer of a light at the end of the tunnel this time around!

Sartorial Saturday…On a Tuesday?–Mary Blair March

Here we are, at the end of another Mary Blair March. I think we can all agree that we’ll be glad to see this horrible month come to an end, but at least the fashion was good, even if I was all dressed up with no place to go for most of March! Here’s a look back at the outfits I put together this year:

I began and ended the month with my favorite Mary Blair piece from Pinup Girl Clothing: The planes print Harley swing dress. I think my favorite outfit, though, was the Animal Crossing themed one I wore on New Horizons release day. I also made a point to wear my lime green shrug as much as possible, because I think it pairs with my different Mary Blair pieces in a way that really displays the spirt of her color theory. Each of these items always brings a smile to my face, which was something I really needed this month, but I’m hopeful that next Mary Blair March will see me wearing them to some of my favorite locations that aren’t my home!

Sartorial Saturday…On a Sunday–The Fourth Sunday of Easter

The Fourth Sunday of Easter also happens to be Mother’s Day, so of course I had to wear my Mary Blair mother and child print Lydia dress from Pinup Girl Clothing, plus my white hat and Duchess Bangles from Splendette, including the new candy pink variety:

And a bonus picture of me with the Fab Five…it is Mother’s Day after all!

Sartorial Saturday…On a Sunday–Mary Blair March

Here’s a look back at all of this year’s Mary Blair March outfits. I have 15 unique pieces in my wardrobe (nine dresses and six skirts), and I wore them each at least once, for a total of 23 different ensembles this March:

I’m still missing one (and only one, I think) print in some form in my wardrobe. I never did get my hands on the commuters print, and I think I may regret that oversight forever!