From the Disney Bubble

Stories about living, working, and popping confetti cannons inside the Walt Disney World bubble

Blog from the Bog

As many of you may know, I have a tendency to wander into Sillytown now and again and run for public office. I do silly really, really well. So, when I heard last year that there was a Cranberry Bog in the middle of Food and Wine Festival (it might have been there before, I just didn’t hear about it),I made it my goal to one day frolic through that bog in my very own OceanSpray waders. (I know. Dream big.)

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At the time that I aimed for this particular goal, I thought it would be pretty easy to accomplish because, no way would OceanSpray put a mini-bog in the middle of a festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people and NOT let them get in it. Right? WRONG. As it turns out, you have to be somebody pretty freakin’ important to put on those PVC pants. It took me approximately 10 months to come up with my strategy for getting into that berry puddle and when it finally dawned on me, I wondered why it had not occurred to me before; I would bug the s*it out of OceanSpray on Twitter. (Honestly, this is my strategy -through various mediums- for mostly everything. Just FYI.) So I fired up my computer and my phone and my iPad and some other peoples’ phones when I could steal them off various tables, and with my super-brilliant hashtag #GetintheBog, I started tweeting OceanSpray.

No, I am not above this kind of hinting.

No, I am not above this kind of hinting.

See that little response down there under my tweet? That’s OceanSpray actually responding to my crazy. And it only took me like a week of daily tweets. So, after a couple of private messages with the OceanSpray media relations lady and a background check (just kidding. They didn’t even find my priors!) I got an invite to GET IN THE BOG. Actually, it was an invitation to a cocktail party after which I would be allowed to bogromp (new verb).

The night of the party I put on respectable-yet-versatile clothing and ridiculously high shoes and made my way from the Boardwalk (where I left Joe and Ben scoffing at my “work event”) to the rose garden just past Innoventions. First thing I noticed? There were cocktail tables in the bog. For real guys? I don’t think those grow there.

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I managed to get past the very stern cast member at the rope entrance to the rose garden with my confirmation e-mail and my dental records and a written statement of intent to behave and I was in. Now, I’ve been to my fair share of cocktail parties, so I was expecting some hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail or seven. What I wasn’t expecting was a six-country cranberrypalooza with custom passport and taste adventure.

 

Do what now? Passport. Food. Passport.

Do what now? Passport. Food. Passport.

What kind of stuff did they have? Cranberry cocktail, cranberry-braised short ribs, fried rice with cranberries, you name it. I worked my way around all the countries tasting stuff except the scotch egg. Trying too hard, England. Trying too hard.

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Now, see that last picture there with the little biscuits? This is where things start to get good. Those are the offering from the France table, the last table I tried because well, it was ALL the way over there and France and I have a long history of dislike. When I trekked across the grass though (did I mention ridiculously high shoes?) and saw the sign for the France table, I nearly snorted. It happens in public sometimes. What are these little biscuits? Artisinal Cheese Brioche with Cranberry Accents. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME, FRANCE? SIX words to describe cranberry cheesy biscuits? Cranberry ACCENTS? It was then that a party bar was set. I decided that from then on, I was not attending a party unless there was some kind of artisinal cheese brioche with fruit accent on the menu. Because I love them this much:

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My friend Shelley is very serious about them as well.

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At this point, the media people got tired of our chicanery and began sending groups down to the bog. I was in what was supposed to be the last group, and I didn’t feel like hanging around looking at an empty brioche table, so I snuck into Shelley’s group.  I apologize for this and later did pennance in the form of walking back to my hotel in the rain.

We walked down to the bog, went behind some super-secret bushes (seriously) and it was then that I became an OceanSpray fan for life. I’m not kidding; I’m going to put Craisins in everything from now on because at that moment, OceanSpray. Gave us. Knee socks. RED ONES.

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My only sadness was that I had to cover them up with waders. I did though (note to self – waders with a skirt is not optimal) and we did a dainty sit and spin over the wall into the bog. This is Shelley’s entry. I gave it a solid 8 for nothing but the fact that she accessorized her air-filled suit with a sassy cardigan.

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Once in the bog (which by the way was the America food location for the night. Showoffs) we were offered chicken and cranberry wraps and more cocktails. I passed on both as I neither wanted to fall nor drown and I had pictures to take. As Shelley and I waded (it’s a lot like walking in a kiddie pool) we noticed that there were people watching us. A LOT of people. And, because there were no CMs around, those people started asking us questions. Namely, HOW DID YOU GET IN THERE WE WANT IN THERE WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE CHICKEN? We explained that we were bloggers, which actually just got us a bunch of dirty looks. So we took some pictures. And Shelley tried to do serious video for her website, which was ruined when I threw cranberries at her.

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It was at this point that Joe and Ben showed up to say hi. If there’s anything that bumps up a relationship, it’s seeing your girlfriend in waders throwing cranberries at a coworker. Ladies, keep that in mind. We only got about 15 minutes in and, after a glorious over-the-low-wall dismount, I unsuited and scurried back up to the garden to get my swag bag. Here again, OceanSpray really kicked it up a notch. It’s a mini Lands End bag with my name on it. And cookies. Cranberry and white chocolate cookies. And a special edition bog pin. Well played, OceanSpray.

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I rejoined Joe and Ben who, now that I think about it, were walking kind of far away from me, and we headed back just as it started to rain. All in all, it was a successful night because, well, I would have been good with just the free socks.

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A Very Disney Birthday

I celebrated my 33rd birthday in the Magic Kingdom this year and really couldn’t have asked for a better day. My kid had to go to school (lame!) and Coach was still status long-distance, so I hit the Kingdom solo. As usual, I was prepared. Birthday shoes and Kingdom hair.

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I know that I go through it mostly every day now, but going through the big gates on your birthday is kind of a big deal.

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I was a little late for Rope Drop, but that’s okay. I may  have seen it once or twice. Maybe. I started by getting and (of course) customizing my birthday button. Pascal and a sparkly Mickey as the “o”. Nice.

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Second step? I headed back to Ariel’s Grotto because I’ve never actually said hey to A in person and I needed her signature on my Sorcerer’s card. The queue line was fairly short and I got a mermaid compliment on my shoes. That’s #birthdaymagic.

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After my chat with a mermaid, I headed to BOG for my latest addiction, the Croque Monsieur at Be Our Guest’s lunch edition. And a strawberry cupcake. Duh. Standing in line was wicked hot, even with my complimentary line umbrella. I’ve learned to sweat gracefully down here. Not. I stood next to a party of 11 people who weren’t so happy about the heat, either, being from Canada and all. Just as we approached the door and I told the host that I was a party of one, a lady from the giant party put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re eating alone? On your birthday? That’s not going to work! You can eat with us. We have 11, so one more won’t hurt!” I think she thought that the restaurant required reservations and I was really touched by both her concern and her generosity. I assured her that I was a practiced guest at the BOG and wished them the best of meals. It was pretty cute watching them go through the ordering queue on their first visit. As I was ordering my fancy ham sandwich, lo and behold I found a legacy CM. I said thanks for her magical contributions and she teared up a little. What you can see here is me and her. What you can also see is the hand of a second legacy CM photobombing us. Sweet.

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I sat myself down in the ballroom and proceeded to conquer all social media posts necessary from the morning (there were a few) and send pictures of my cupcake to some friends who couldn’t be with me. As I watched the family of 12 take their seats in the Rose Room, I had an inspirational idea. I knew it was their first time at BOG so I snagged a manager and asked if we could get them some Grey Stuff. I was betting that they didn’t even know it existed and was pretty jazzed about seeing it delivered to their very large table. On a sad note, the manager informed me that the Grey Stuff isn’t available at lunch and asked me why I wanted to give it to them. When I explained that no, I didn’t know them, and that was why their offer to sit with their family had been so special, he asked if I’d like to give them an extra magical fastpass for any ride at the park. ALL TWELVE OF THEM! I said I thought that would be just the ticket and in a flash, we were walking to their table. As he explained the fastpass to them, the lady who’d offered me a seat with them had the most classic expression on her face. It was, for lack of any other fitting term, magic.

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I figured that was pretty great for one day, so I dancewalked to the 12:30 Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade (my favorite) with good vibes going on. I may or may not have stopped in Castle Couture to try on funglasses (I did) on my way.

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I also may or may not have brought my own baggie to pick up the spoils from the confetti cannons that pop as the parade wraps up.

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Pretty good birthday, right? But there’s more. I had a 1:30 appointment for a mermaid makeover at Pirate’s League. I tell myself that it was to demonstrate that there is a pretty awesome makeover available for adults at World. I think we all know it was just because it’s awesome and sparkly. While I was waiting to check in, a rather distressed lady approached the podium. I couldn’t tell exactly what she was saying, but got the impression that they had been unable to get into BBB and were told that they could walk into Pirate’s League for a mermaid makeover without an appointment. I walked up to the side of the podium and told the host that if she needed an appointment she could have mine. He looked truly shocked and asked if I could hold on for a minute. As it turns out, Distressed Lady needed FOUR appointments. The manager that came to speak with her talked to the host and began writing out a no-strings-attached voucher. I was pretty excited that it looked like she was at least going to get something done for the four kids who were pretty upset. Lo and behold, the No Strings voucher was for me. The host was so impressed that I’d willingly offered my reservation that he spoke to the manager and not only did I get a voucher for a free princess brush (SERIOUSLY!!) but Distressed Lady got her makeovers!! WOO!

 

Honestly, it just wouldn’t have been a big deal for me to give her my ressie – I was melted two seconds after I walked out anyway, but it was lots of fun to go into the League and get it done.

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And, on my way out of the Kingdom, I managed to find a friend’s son who’d just joined the college program. Because really, you should always meet someone for the first time with scales on your face and blue eyebrows. OBLIGATORY SELFIE!!

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At this point in the day, I retrieved the short person from school (with the makeup on. You’re welcome, Ben!) and then de-mermaided so we could have dinner with the Burkharts. We made our way through Epcot with one stop for funglasses.

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Saw the Burkharts on the path and got a picture like we weren’t scheduled to eat dinner with them in 27 minutes,

IMG_3904and had a fantastic dinner at Via Napoli that concluded with free dessert and Italian singing. Weee!

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I rounded out my night getting to meet another really special person, Julie Chiesa, for a quick hello hug,

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and returning home to a freaking EPIC birthday card from Patti Keller.

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In all, I had a really fantastic birthday in the Disney bubble. I am grateful for so many things, but most of all the people in my life that make it so special for me to be here and who are genuinely kind enough to spend their vacation time hanging out. Go live your dreams, guys. You won’t believe what happens when you do.  -M

 

 

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