Category Archives: Disney

Disney Love…round 2

I did warn you that I’d probably post about Disney again. So…

Last week the Disney Parks blog posted three absolutely beautiful images from the New Fantasyland area. The area will open in just a few months and includes two new castles – Prince Eric’s castle from The Little Mermaid and Beast’s castle from Beauty & the Beast. I love how different the two castles look, even though they will be located right next to each other.

Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess. Maybe it’s because she reads or has brown hair...whatever the reason, I wanted to share one of the images of Belle and her cottage.

Isn’t it lovely! Be sure to check out the original post to see more.

Who’s your favorite Disney princess? Or prince? Or villain?


Disney Love

Warning: I’m about to write an entire blog post about Disney World. Just giving you a heads up.

Guys…I love Disney World. And not like “I like it because my child likes it”. No. No, no, no. I like it because I like it all for myself. I want to meet the princesses and ride Dumbo and experience the magic that only Disney can produce. But, mostly, I love the food. If you’ve ever spoken to me about Disney, you know it only takes 2.3 seconds for me to direct the conversation to the food. (A fact evidenced in this very post.) I LOVE IT!

In fact, this past week I have contemplated becoming a Disney blogger and only writing about Disney all the time. I’m pretty sure I’d never run out of things to say and I would love every single, stinkin minute of it. But I feel thats a drastic leap so for now I just want to share with you a few things I’ve learned about Disney lately that fellow Disney lovers might enjoy. If you are not a fellow Disney lover (I’m looking at you, Martin), perhaps you can read this and a teeny, tiny portion of my love will rub off on you.

1. I cannot wait to see this restaurant in person. Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom is scheduled to open “in time for the Holidays” – which in Disney-speak could mean anytime between October and December. The details look amazing and Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorite Disney movies.

2. I loved reading this story of how Disney celebrated July 4th at Magic Kingdom. 93 year old Louis Lessure, a WWII vet and Purple Heart recipient participated in the park’s daily flag retreat ceremony.

3. Ariel’s getting a castle!! Well, I guess, technically, Prince Eric is getting a castle…but we all know Ariel took over as soon as they got married. They don’t show you that part in the movie, but you know it’s true.

4. Ooooo, pretty! And this too.

5. Did I mention I’m excited about the new restaurant, Be Our Guest, that’s opening in Magic Kingdom? Well, I am. And it’s not just a restaurant. There’s a whole new section of Fantasy Land themed around Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. There will be two new castles, several new restaurants/food counters, stores, rides, story time with Belle…I’m excited about it all. Here are a couple portraits that will grace the walls of the New Fantasy Land restaurants.

Alright, I won’t subject you to anymore Disney at the moment. But I can’t promise it won’t happen again in the future. I can’t help myself!

Question: Who else loves Disney?

The Most Magical Place on Earth

Last week I posted several picture clues about an adventure for the Murphy family. As most everyone guessed, we were in Disney World. It was a magical trip full of fun, laughter, good friends and good food.

The first picture was a view from Soarin’ – one of my favorite rides located in Epcot’s The Land.

The second was of a tiger which was supposed to be from Animal Kingdom. However, I didn’t see any tigers – lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and a bunch of other animals but no tigers…maybe I just missed them.

The third clue was a picture from the line of Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. Tower of Terror is definitely a favorite attraction – lots of fun with just enough scare to make you want to ride it over and over.

The fourth clue was of the take off on Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. A classic Disney attraction though I can’t ride it as it hurts my back and I’m getting old.

This was an amazing trip for several reasons – we were with friends, we had noise canceling headphones for Mikayla, the food was brilliant and everything was already decked out for Christmas.

Traveling with friends can be weird or tricky, I’m sure. Vacation is not always peaches and cream and often when we are tired or hungry or frustrated we aren’t our best selves. But we are blessed with amazing friends who love us at our best and our worst and forgive our quirks and forget those times we gripe or complain or exhibit other less than desirable behavior. Maneuvering 11 people through the crowded Disney parks presented some challenges for sure but it also made the days exciting and adventurous. Seeing children experience the magic of Disney for the first time (or at least the first time they’ll remember) was truly wonderful.

A few weeks before we left I purchased noise canceling headphones for Mikayla. We’d had several instances lately where Mikayla was upset by the noise in an environment. When we went to Disney last year she screamed on almost every ride – our assumption was that it was due to the noise. Everything at Disney is very loud – whether happy or scary, they want to make sure everyone hears every detail. So, we gave the headphones a try and it was an unbelievable difference in her behavior. She loved everything. She wasn’t upset or afraid on the rides. She even liked the fireworks (from a distance and with headphones on). She was actually extremely compliant and good-spirited the entire week and we were thrilled with how well she handled everything.

As for the food…my favorite part of Disney…it is delicious and abundant. My dream vacation would be to go to Disney without children just to experience the food. We had three character meals – meaning the characters actually come to your table to visit while you’re eating. Chef Mickey’s had Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy. Akershus (Norwegian cuisine) had princesses – Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora. 1900 Park Fare had Cinderella, her two step sisters and her step mother and…Prince Charming. This was one of the prettiest restaurants we visited and also one of the most fun – the step-sisters and mother were really funny and stayed in character for the duration of their visit. Several times the sisters talked about hating Cinderella and the mother fussed at them for not being married. My favorite restaurant is Ohana (Polynesian) – noodles in peanut sauce, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp with dipping sauces for each – I could eat there every day.

Experiencing the most magical time of year in the most magical place on earth was…magical. The lights and the Christmas trees and the parades and the SNOW!! It was fantastic. The first or second day there Mikayla exclaimed, “It’s Christmas here!” And so it was. The decorations were beautiful and enormous. And I was surprised by how much “Christmas” was celebrated and not just “holidays”. The songs played were very Christian and not just generic holiday songs, there were several nativities, the word “Christmas” was used both in speech and in written display. I’m not saying everything Disney does is Christian but the celebrations we experienced were not generalized holiday celebrations, they were Christmas celebrations and it was kinda neat. Here’s a little video of some of the Christmas magic as only Disney can display. My apologies for the poor lighting and/or unsteady hand throughout much of this video.

Have you ever been to Disney? What’s your favorite part (or parts, I know its hard to decide on just one)?

Adventure Clue #4

I’m sure you either already know what we’re up to this week, or you’ve guessed by now. But, just in case, here’s the fourth and final clue to the latest Murphy Family Adventure.

I’ll post the answer next week.



Adventure Clue #3

Here’s the third clue to the latest Murphy Family Adventure.

Adventure Clue #2

Happy Monday. I posted on Friday about an exciting adventure for the Murphy family. Here’s your second clue.

One Year Ago…

Last year at this time I was having a mild panic attack. I was drinking a gallon of water a day (and needing to pee a lot). I was gathering my gear – running shoes, running socks, running clothes, safety pins. I was preparing to run a marathon. It was easily the scariest moment of my life…and one of the most rewarding.

The training process and the experience of the marathon itself was life changing in a way that I could never explain unless you’ve had a similar experience. It taught me so much about myself – about what I can and can’t do. It taught me about the power of friendship and of having a “team” to push you through tough times.

It was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You can read the re-cap from race day over at the H2O Runners blog.

One year later…we are on the verge of another AMAZING adventure.

I don’t want to give anything away just yet. I will give you a clue below and watch for additional clues to be posted next week. Can you guess?

Disney Trip

Our family just returned from our first ever trip to Walt Disney World. It was magical! Seriously, magical.

We had a blast. Mike and I were more excited about experiencing Disney ourselves than about Mikayla experiencing Disney. The best part – we were able to go with our friends and Disney Pros – the Dammann family.

I spent several days (you think I’m kidding) creating a video and about 3 hours exporting it only to learn that a 25 minute video is too long to upload to either youtube or blogger. This is good news for all of you because you would’ve had to watch a 25 minute video. Bad news because I had to spend more time creating a new, shorter video to post to the blog.

I wouldn’t say the time was completely wasted because at least now all our video footage is in some sort of organized format for us to watch in the future. If you want to watch the long version, I’ll be happy to share it with you any time. For now, here’s the condensed version.


Dreams, Story, Magic

If I asked you to mention a place full of dreams, story and magic, what place would come to mind? A tropical beach? Paris? The Apple store? Disney World?

I recently read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and it got me thinking about Story. The book talks about the elements of Story – what makes a good story. If your life were a movie, would it be a good one? You can read more of my thoughts on this book here (or read Donald Miller’s thoughts here and here). Currently, I’m reading A New Way to Be Human by Charlie Peacock. It also talks about Story. Charlie talks about the God-human story. God communicates to us through His Word and His Work. Our story doesn’t begin at birth. When we are born, we are entering a story already in progress – the story of God and Adam and Eve and Abraham and Noah and David and Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we are part of this God-human story and the way we live our lives either attracts others to this Story or it doesn’t. We should be telling others the God-human story through our word and through our work – not as a PART of our life but as the WHOLE of it.

Think about that word “story”. When you read a good book or watch a good movie what is it about the story that attracts you? If you tell a story about something that happened in your life, what makes the story worth telling? You probably aren’t going to call your friends to tell them a story about how you ate some cereal or vacuumed your house. A story worth telling has meaning, excitement, suspense, tragedy – it’s something memorable. It’s a story of dreams and magic!

Is this the way the world sees the church (or the Christian life in general) – as a place full of dreams, story and magic?

Our family is planning a trip to Disney later this year. We’re pretty excited about it since none of us have ever been to Disney. But, I don’t think we’re nearly as excited as the other family we’re going with. They’ve been to Disney like 15 times and are literally giddy with excitement whenever they talk about it. They loaned us a Disney planning DVD and I watched it this morning. The three words I heard most were “dream”, “story” and “magic”. After watching this DVD, not only am I more educated about Disney, but I’m quickly approaching giddiness as I think about all the wonderful, amazing, memorable things we will experience.

The people at Disney get it. They know that people aren’t going to be attracted to a ho-hum, run of the mill experience. They know that dreams, story and magic are the stuff of life that people crave. And they don’t just throw it into the marketing (the “words” of Disney), they integrate dreams, story and magic into EVERY tiny little aspect of EVERY hotel, park, store, restaurant – anywhere you may set foot on their property was intentionally created to be full of dreams, story and magic (this would be the “work”). Why do you think our friends are more excited about the Disney trip than we are? Probably because they’ve actually experienced first hand the dreams, story and magic that happens there. They know it’s the “most magical place on earth” because they’ve actually been there, they’ve seen and heard with their own eyes and ears. They see themselves as part of the Disney Story.

Why do Christians think that living a ho-hum, run of the mill life with a little church thrown in on Sunday’s is the way we’re meant to do life? I’m not saying we need to fabricate a fun story to con people into coming to church. I’m saying we need to LIVE out there in the world recognizing that we are part of a much bigger story – THE Story. We need to let our word and our work be real and genuine and full of God’s love so that those who do not know the Story can see it clearly when they read our lives. A condensed version of the Story is not the true Story. To say with your words that you are a Christian and you want someone else to be a Christian too isn’t enough. You have to follow Jesus in the way you live as well – words are empty and meaningless if a person’s work is contradictory. Why are Christians not more excited about the God-human Story than we are about any other story?

After all, it may be the Story full of more dreams and magic than any other…

God created time, water, atmosphere, birds, butterflies and man (after His own image). He sees and knows all – from beginning to end. He is just and pure and holy. He loves fiercely – so much so that His own Son was sent to die for our wickedness so that we have an opportunity to know Him and to be in a relationship with Him again. He heals the sick, feeds the hungry and clothes the poor. Yes, sometimes He brings tragedy into our lives – but He is still the same God after the tragedy as He was before it! We are all part of His Story. He created me specifically for this portion of His Story! How awesome is that! I (insignificant and unimportant as I am) am part of God’s Story! That’s pretty magical.

We find it so easy to tell a story of dreams and magic to influence others in what kind of computer to buy or which football team to cheer for or what movie is good or which restaurant has the best service. Yet, we often dilute the most important Story to one of boring rituals and traditions or a list of do’s and don’ts. We have forgotten (or were never taught ourselves) the dreams, story and magic of being a follower of Jesus. As a result, the story we tell with our lives looks cold and uninviting to the people reading it.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if followers of Jesus lived in such a way that caused other people to want to follow Jesus in His Story? What if we told God’s Story through our word and our work so that those reading it would see the dreams and magic of His Story? We have experienced first hand – seen and heard with our own eyes and ears – we should be giddy with excitement at being a part of God’s Story!