Monday, September 23, 2013

30 Magical Moments: How Sisters Trip 2013 Came to Be

This year I celebrated my 30th birthday on February 22nd. I'm a single gal, and I've always identified with Carrie Bradshaw's rant in the "A Woman's Right to Shoes" episode of Sex & the City. She logically states: "Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you... Hallmark doesn't make a 'congratulations, you didn't marry the wrong guy' card. And where's the flatware for going on vacation alone?" If Hallmark made that card, let me tell you, I'd have a collection of them by now! I digress! Anyhooo... when my 30th rolled around, I kept telling my sister, LaRae, that I wanted to do something big for my 30th. I wanted to go on a trip, I wanted to celebrate me, I wanted something memorable. What I really wanted? A trip to Walt Disney World!

I looked at a ton of options: a staycation at one of the cool hotel/resorts in the area, a road trip to a nearby state, something that would take a weekend, but I couldn't justify spending the money on a "quasi what I wanted" trip. LaRae started to help me look, and we found some fairly cheap non-Disney cruises for various times this year, but we both were hesitant to cruise without the Mouse for this celebration.

Finally I priced it out for us to go to Walt Disney World over Spring Break, mid-March. After some budget finagling, we both decided we could afford the $1000 each price tag. We knew we needed to stay on budget, so with the help of an emailed Disney PIN, we got a great rate on a room at Pop Century. We did purchase Park Hoppers, but we bought our tickets on a discount through Undercover Tourist. After careful consideration, we also ditched the Disney Dining Plan in favor of paying out of pocket and eating light. We picked ONE special table service dining; we were both happy make reservations to go to the Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion in Epcot for dinner one evening.

Let me tell you, LaRae telling me we could go to Walt Disney World, just the two of us, for a 30th birthday trip was possibly one of the happiest moments of my life! The crazy part was we planned this so spur of the moment (for us) that we only had about a month to get ready.  I had a trip to Austin, TX to an educational technology conference for almost a week in early February. My mom was coming in town for my actual birthday which was the first one I spent with her since I turned 21 (at least we do the big ones together), but after that we got right down to Disney dreaming while we counted down!

Hand-blinged by me - we each had this design on our shirt with
the heart "tattoo" on the back right shoulder.

To help gear up for the trip, we used an old design I'd created, but never used, to make a Sisters Trip t-shirt. LaRae hand-blinged a Birthday Princess shirt for me as well as a similar one for herself. We counted down and talked about the trip to the point of annoying those around us (sorry)!  I got my Disney nails done again too!
Hand-blinged by LaRae - each of those jewels, aside from the crown,
were individually heated & affixed the shirt!
This is LaRae's shirt - the crown & words were pre-laid out, but she
individually affixed each of the jewels in the Mickey head!
This is one of my most-pinned Pins on Pinterest!
I saw nails like this on there and took the picture to my
nail guy. Didn't he do a great job?

In the midst of our planning and crafting, LaRae was researching ways to make a birthday trip awesome, and she pitched the idea of "30 Magical Moments" to me. Over the course of the trip, we'd take photos of 30 special moments trying in particular to knock more of the "haven't done's" off of my list. We brainstormed together and came up with a list of about 40 things that could qualify as "Magical Moments," so just in case we didn't make them all, we had backups planned. I photoshopped some numbers that were modifications of our t-shirt design to hold up in the photos:
There were 30 of these numbered 1-30.
I had these printed on heavy card stock at an office store and put them in a ziploc baggie in my purse on the trip. The plan was to pull one out at a time and cross Magical Moments off of the list. One of my favorite things to do while I'm at Walt Disney World is to post photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for those at home to follow along. The idea was that I could stay more in the moment at Disney by guaranteeing I would post at least 30 photos and extras would be bonuses. Basically it would kept my viewers in the know without flooding their feeds. (Supposedly...)

Since I'm a teacher, we planned the trip for Spring Break, a peak season we had not mastered yet. We flew out after school the Friday before Spring Break and flew home Wednesday evening. That gave us 4 full days plus a half day at the end in the parks. In fact, the day I was leaving, a teacher down the hall knew how excited I was to get out the door and what a rush I was in to get the dog to the PetsHotel and to the airport that she surprised me by showing up to watch my last class of the day, so I could leave early. Gotta love amazing co-workers like that!

If you were counting down Magical Moments at Walt Disney World, what would be on your list? 

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will post one of the Magical Moments along with the story behind it. I'll also share a few photos that didn't previously make it to social media! 


  1. Joanna! I just read all of your Magical Moments posts and LOVED them! Happy belated 30th! I celebrated my 30th at WDW too and had a wonderful time, but wow, yours was really special with your sister! your shirts were awesome and I really loved how you planned those magical moments and caught them on camera. Super special!

    1. Thanks, PT! We had so much fun! Now if I can just finish this trip report with the rest of the 30! :)