COM0014 – Blog #1 – Disney World at Christmas Time

IMG_1770It’s been a year and a half since I went on a real vacation that didn’t involve visiting extended family and the stresses included on such trips. I had always wanted to spend the holidays at the most magical place on earth (Walt Disney World, Florida), and decided that is exactly what I would do for Christmas 2015. Late in July 2015, I found out about a promotion for a free meal plan for trips booked during specific dates, needless to say I jumped at the chance and booked my trip at Coronado Springs Resort, a moderate hotel at the park.

I spent weeks researching different events at the park that take place around the holidays, reading countless blogs from people who had made the trip themselves. These were the most useful:

Dreaming of A Disney Christmas… in July

5 Things to Do at Disney World in December

All About the Holiday Season At Disney World

I could tell you about my entire trip, but that would take far too long so I will focus on the experiences that stood out the most throughout my 10 days at the parks.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is an experience that was in it’s last year in 2015. A large section of Hollywood Studios park is done up in Christmas lights which are in turn choreographed to music. It was an amazing thing to see in person and I couldn’t help but do stand there in awe, staring at the lights dancing before my eyes. I am so thankful that I was able to see it before they closed it down. Click here to watch a video of the show on YouTube. Did you get the change to witness this amazing sight? What were your thoughts?

Be Our Guest Restaurant

IMG_1796When I visited Magic Kingdom, the newest section to the park had just opened and this included Be Our Guest, a restaurant themed on the Beauty and the Beast movie. The main dining hall is a real life ball room with pendant chandeliers and large windows over looking the French country side. The atmosphere was something I couldn’t put into words and the IMG_1823food was amazing. As per Lumière’s recommendation I did try the grey stuff and it was delicious.

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

I had been to the parks a few times before but always in the spring. Seeing the Christmas parade was a magical experience for me and my family, as we would watch it every year on TV, but seeing the marching toy soldiers and dancing gingerbread men in person – not to mention Mickey dressed up in his Christmas attire -was a unique and one of a kind moment that I wouldn’t pass up for the world.

What are some of your favourite experiences on Christmas vacations? Have you been to Disney World or any of the other Disney parks? Let me know in the comments below.

COM0014 – Post #2 – Where’s Your Holiday Spirit?

OrnamentsWhat does one do, when they don’t celebrate Christmas? As a first-generation Canadian, my answer is: you somewhat celebrate Christmas! Growing up, my parents raised us under the expectation that Christmas is not our holiday. They reminded us that we celebrate Eid twice a year (the Christian equivalent to Christmas and Easter). Yet, my parents always made it a point to take part in the holiday spirit. This can be such a sticky subject amongst others from my community – and I can understand why.

Every year, my mother sent “holiday” gifts to the teachers at school, and my father distributed log cakes to our neighbours. We did not decorate our house, or put up a tree, but we still recognized that it was the holiday season. We never hesitated to wish those around us a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Holiday. After all, in the gloominess of winter, the holiday season is a great way to keep cheerful. In fact, one of the highlights of my childhood was when my father would gather the family and drive around Ottawa, just so we could admire all the decorated houses.

As for myself, I was always the first to suggest we do “Secret Santa” at school or work, and I have all theChristms Movie Christmas songs memorized. Every year, I buy gifts for my neighbours and watch re-runs of all the Christmas movies with my family. Still, now that I am a mother of young children, I find myself in a slight dilemma. My daughters get excited when they see lights on the houses, Christmas trees across the city or Santa at the mall. I never know how stringently I should be reminding them that we celebrate Eid. There is always that fear that they will be so immersed in the hype of Christmas that they will lose interest in their own faith.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? Would you approach celebrating the holidays differently, if your faith did not partake in Christmas?