The program that Josh works for, Upward Bound, takes a summer trip every year after they finish their 5 week summer program. This year they went to Disney World – 29 excited high schoolers, 4 employees, aaaand ME! I’ve never been to Disney World, plus it was a fun chance to get to know the kids, so I was excited to come along.

This was the first time I had done the summer trip with the kids. Usually they stay so busy that it sounds too exhausting to me, but this year their schedule easily allowed me to sleep in/do my therapy and then meet them at the parks.

There was that 4 a.m. wake-up for the plane ride there tho…

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My self-given “job” for the trip was to make a video for the kids. It was a WEE bit over my head, lol, but I think it turned out pretty good! Check it out! If you’ve been to Disney World you’ll recognize a lot of it. (It is SIX MINUTES LONG so beware)

Our hotel “resort” honestly felt like we had walked onto the set of Saved by the Bell. It was a candy-colored geometric time warp.

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Of COURSE Disney would have cute luggage carts. Of course.

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This is from our first day in the parks, where Josh and I were coerced under peer pressure to go on the scariest/fastest rides. (Hollywood Studios- Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster, if you’ve been)

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The next day before I met the group at Magic Kingdom, I snuck in to the Little Mermaid ride. Partly thanks to Disney nostalgia, partly thanks to NO WAIT.

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Oh my gosh, it was so swampy hot, you guys. I think this is when Josh & I were waiting for Peter Pan. (A personal fave from early Disneyland days) We spent most of our time on rides with other people in the group but every now and then we did one by ourselves. Group texts and the Disney app kept everyone connected enough to coordinate rides together, which was really fun.

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Small World! Oh geez! The nostalgia! Mary Blair! The song!

P.S. Not to be a snob, but Disneyland is way better for this ride. Just sayin’.

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Everybody said to try the Dole Whip at the parks. It’s soft serve pineapple ice cream, and you can also get it with pineapple juice at the bottom of the cup. May seem like nbd, but after living in a swamp for a few days it tasted like heaven.

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Do you have a minute for a story? Here goes.. I LEFT MY WEDDING RING ON A BUS. It was as dumb (DUMBER) as it sounds and it is a miracle that it was returned to me. Long story, but Esther (a manager at guest relations at the Animal Kingdom) is the most magical person at Disney. (I said that on IG but it is still so true) I realized it right after the bus left (of course) and went straight for help.. After a very unhelpful bus manager kept telling me to “go enjoy the park” while I stood next to him with tears streaming down my face, I got VERY lucky that Esther happened to personally know my bus driver and within an hour they were returned to me.

Undeserved grace. It would be like a bank manager knowing a store employee 20 minutes away. The odds are so against that situation in so many ways, and I’m just thankful. WHEW.

I’ll always love this picture.

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Everything I bought was edible. This is most of it.

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On the way home… “Susann”

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It was a wonderful trip, really. I so loved seeing Josh in his element and wish you could all see how good he is at what he does! You know when you see a perfect fit? It’s just neat. I loved meeting the kids and couldn’t believe how well-behaved and un-complainy they were. They put up with a ton of walking and heat and lack of sleep like champs.

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My last note is to anyone who is thinking about bringing a large group to Disney World.. Save yourself COUNTLESS hours of frustration and stress and let Josh give you advice first! Disney majorly screwed up the fast passes/magic bands for the kids and it was a big bummer and time soak. At this point I’d guess that Josh knows the system as well as any Disney employee. Wish I was kidding. Hehe