Walt Disney World Character Autographs Meet and Greet Princess Pocahontas Tiana Elena Ariel Mulan Elsa Tinker Bell

Collecting Autographs: Magic Kingdom Day 1

With our first character greeting at Animal Kingdom a complete success, I hoped our scheduled meet and greets in the Magic Kingdom would go equally well. I knew Miss O loved Minnie and Mickey, but I wasn’t sure she was over her uneasiness around costumed characters. I had FastPasses for both days in the park at Fairytale Hall and a park plan that included as many characters as I thought she’d want to see. What I wasn’t sure of were the lines, the weather and our patience holding out.

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Boston Common Massachusetts Christmas Lights

Celebrating Christmas in Boston

I find traditions sneak up on you. They’re not often planned, but happen without you realizing they’ve grown beyond a repeated event and become something anticipated or cherished. Some take longer than others to develop this status and others barely finish before you know they’re part of who you are. This was the way of our Christmas since moving to the Boston area 11 years ago.

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Radio City Music Hall Sign New York City NYC

Celebrating Christmas in New York City

Here at the Jackpot, we get to do some very special things every now and again. This Christmas season we were given one of those magical opportunities that make you pause and realize how lucky you are, even when it seems like things aren’t as great as they could be. This time, we were invited to see one of our friends perform in New York City and that friend just happens to be a Rockette.

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Walt Disney World Character Autographs Meet and Greet Princess Pocahontas Tiana Elena Ariel Mulan Elsa Tinker Bell

Collecting Autographs: Getting Started at Animal Kingdom

At six years old, Miss O was starting to grow out of her obsession with all things ruffly and sparkly, including her devotion to Disney Princesses. She could also still be terribly shy. With our first family trip to Disney coming up, I started to worry that she wouldn’t want to do any of the character meet and greets I scheduled during times when the rest of our group was thundering and splashing down mountains. I prepared myself not to get upset and not force her to do anything she really didn’t want to do. This trip was for her and my nephew, Mr. A, and while I was determined to honor that, I still hoped the Disney magic would find her for just a little longer.

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Girl Scout Cookies cases boxes Lemonades Thanks-A-lot Thin Mints Caramel deLites

It’s Cookie Season, Y’all! 

The call of Thin Mints can be heard in front of every super market, pharmacy and local coffee spot. When I signed Miss O up to be a Girl Scout Daisy I knew cookie sales was part of the deal, but I had no idea how big of a deal it would be.

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grateful heart thankful ornament appreciation

Pausing to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving in my family is a big, boisterous, event, filled with reunions, wisecracks and food. So. Much. Food. It’s a time when I can feel how loved I am and, more so now than ever, how lucky I am. As I grow older, or, as I’d like to think, more mature, I am increasingly more cognizant of the need to reflect on what I am truly thankful for. We’ve never been the type of family that goes around the table saying what we’re thankful for, but I feel the pull of announcing it. A verbal, or in this case, written declaration of the appreciation for what we have and who we love it a very reassuring practice. And so, it is in that spirit I offer my thanks now.

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Mickey's Not So Scray Halloween Party Mickey Pumpkin Jack o Lantern

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018

When you’re planning a Disney trip, it may get to the point where you simultaneously want to spend money on all the things that will make your family smile regardless of price and feel like you’re suddenly faced with spending money you may never have. Coming from New England, we were definitely in that place by the time we discovered that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party starts in August and had not one, but two dates scheduled for the last week of August when we’d be there for our first trip with our family. I knew Miss O would love every second of it, but would it be worth the extra cost on top of our park hopper tickets?

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